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Thu Nov 22, 2012, 01:47 PM


WEE Gather Together, November 22, 2012

Last edited Thu Nov 22, 2012, 05:50 PM - Edit history (1)


Thanksgiving, or Thanksgiving Day, is a holiday celebrated in the United States on the fourth Thursday in November. Historically, Thanksgiving had roots in religious and cultural tradition, but nowadays Thanksgiving is primarily celebrated as a secular holiday. It has officially been an annual tradition since 1863, when, during the Civil War, President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed a national day of -

'Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens.'

The first Thanksgiving

Long before settlers came to the East Coast of the United States, the area was inhabited by many Native American tribes. The area surrounding the site of the first Thanksgiving, now known as southeastern Massachusetts and eastern Rhode Island had been the home of the Wampanoag people for over 12,000 years, and had been visited by other European settlers before the arrival of the Mayflower. The native people knew the land well and had fished, hunted, and harvested for thousands of generations.

The people who comprised the Plymouth Colony were a group of English Protestants who wanted to break away from the Church of England. These ‘separatists’ initially moved to Holland and after 12 years of financial problems, they received funding from English merchants to sail across the Atlantic to settle in a ‘New World.' A ship carrying 101 men, women, and children spent 66 days traveling the Atlantic Ocean, intending to land where New York City is now located. Due to the windy conditions, the group had to cut their trip short and settle at what is now called Cape Cod.

As the Puritans prepared for winter, they gathered anything they could find, including Wampanoag supplies. One day, Samoset, a leader of the Abenaki, and Tisquantum (better known as Squanto) visited the settlers. Squanto was a Wampanoag who had experience with other settlers and knew English. Squanto helped the settlers grow corn and use fish to fertilize their fields. After several meetings, a formal agreement was made between the settlers and the native people and they joined together to protect each other from other tribes in March of 1621.

One autumn day, four settlers were sent to hunt for food for a harvest celebration. The Wampanoag heard gunshots and alerted their leader, Massasoit, who thought the English might be preparing for war. Massasoit visited the 53 strong English settlement with 90 of his men to see if the war rumor was true. Soon after their visit, the Native Americans realized that the English were only hunting for the harvest celebration. Massasoit sent some of his own men to hunt deer for the feast, and for three days, the English and native men, women, and children ate together. They also played ball games, sang, and danced.

The feast consisted of fish (cod, eels, and bass) and shellfish (clams, lobster, and mussels), wild fowl (ducks, geese, swans, and turkey), venison, berries and fruit, vegetables (peas, pumpkin, beetroot and possibly, wild or cultivated onion), harvest grains (barley and wheat), and the 'Three Sisters' - beans, dried Indian maize or corn, and squash. Clearly this meal was far from today's traditional Thanksgiving feast as much of what most modern Americans ate on Thanksgiving was not available in 1621.

The History of Thanksgiving

Considering the strong English roots of the early settlers, it is no surprise that the Thanksgiving holiday's history in North America is rooted in English traditions dating from the Protestant Reformation. It also has aspects of a harvest festival, even though the harvest in New England occurs well before the late-November date of the holiday.

In the English tradition, days of thanksgiving and special thanksgiving religious services became important during the English Reformation in the reign of Henry VIII and in reaction to the large number of religious holidays on the Catholic calendar. Before 1536 there were 95 Church holidays, plus 52 Sundays, when people were required to attend church and forego work and sometimes pay for expensive celebrations. The 1536 reforms reduced the number of Church holidays to 27, but some Puritans, the radical reformers of their age, wished to completely eliminate all Church holidays, including Christmas and Easter. The holidays were to be replaced by specially called Days of Fasting or Days of Thanksgiving, in response to events that the Puritans viewed as acts of special providence.

Unexpected disasters or threats of judgment from on high called for Days of Fasting. Special blessings, viewed as coming from God, called for Days of Thanksgiving. For example, Days of Fasting were called on account of drought in 1611, floods in 1613, and plague in 1604 and 1622. Days of Thanksgiving were called following the victory over the Spanish Armada in 1588, and following the deliverance of Queen Anne in 1705.

An unusual annual Day of Thanksgiving began in 1606 following the failure of the Gunpowder Plot in 1605, and developed into Guy Fawkes Day...

So, the upshot is, Thanksgiving is what you make of it. If you like, list a few things you are thankful for, this day of our Lord November 22, 2012....

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Reply WEE Gather Together, November 22, 2012 (Original post)
Demeter Nov 2012 OP
Demeter Nov 2012 #1
bread_and_roses Nov 2012 #15
Demeter Nov 2012 #18
bread_and_roses Nov 2012 #20
Demeter Nov 2012 #2
Fuddnik Nov 2012 #3
Demeter Nov 2012 #5
Demeter Nov 2012 #4
Demeter Nov 2012 #6
Demeter Nov 2012 #7
Demeter Nov 2012 #8
Demeter Nov 2012 #9
Demeter Nov 2012 #10
bread_and_roses Nov 2012 #16
Demeter Nov 2012 #11
Demeter Nov 2012 #12
Demeter Nov 2012 #13
Demeter Nov 2012 #14
DemReadingDU Nov 2012 #17
Demeter Nov 2012 #19
Tansy_Gold Nov 2012 #21
eridani Nov 2012 #22
kickysnana Nov 2012 #23
Demeter Nov 2012 #24
kickysnana Nov 2012 #25

Response to Demeter (Original post)

Thu Nov 22, 2012, 01:54 PM

1. US Tries To Wrest Control Of Hostess Liquidation As Mngmt Seeks $1.75 M "Incentive" Bonuses



The Hostess bankruptcy liquidation, the result of a bungled negotiation between the company, its equity sponsors, its striking workers, and the labor union, over what has been defined as unsustainable benefits and pension benefits, is rapidly becoming a Ding Ding farce. The latest news in what promises to be an epic Chapter 22 fight is that the judge, pressured by various impaired stakeholders, among which none other than the US trustee, is that the bankruptcy Judge Robert Drain, who has previously presided over such Chapter 11 cases as Loral, RCN, Cornerstone, Refco, Allegiance Telecom, Delphi, Coudert Brothers, Frontier Airlines and Star Tribune, has ordered the company and its unions to seek private mediation to attempt averting what the company has already said is an inevitable unwind of operations.

Per Reuters, "Hostess, its lenders and the Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers International Union (BCTGM) agreed to mediation at the urging of Bankruptcy Judge Robert Drain of the Southern District of New York, who advised against a more expensive, public hearing regarding the company's liquidation. "My desire to do this is prompted primarily by the potential loss of over 18,000 jobs as well as my belief that there is a possibility to resolve this matter," Drain said." Sadly, this latest step will almost certainly lead to nothing constructive as it merely extends a status quo which already proved to be unresolvable.

What makes a mediation improbable is that the antagonism between the feuding sides has certainly hit a level of no return:

Several unions also objected to the company's plans, saying they made "a mockery" of laws protecting collective bargaining agreements in bankruptcy. The Teamsters, which represents 7,900 Hostess workers, said the company's plan would improperly cut the ability of remaining workers to use sick days and vacation.

In the off chance that mediation does lead to a reconstruction of the failed company it may ironically benefit from the closeout sale of its products as confused Americans hoarded Twinkies, Ding Dongs and Ho Hos in hopes of selling them on Ebay as collectible items with huge marks up, something we warned previously will fail. Regardless, the firesale will lead to a surge of cash in the company's coffers, which will then lead to a scramble over how it is divided...


But while the Union may be sad, it is about to add another emotion to its arsenal: blind fury. Because it is here that things get truly surreal. As the US Trustee, a Justice Department official responsible for protecting creditors, disclosed, as part of the wind down of Hostess, wants to pay as much as $1.75 million in incentive bonuses to 19 senior managers during the liquidation.

This is just part of the millions to be spent imminently on the wind down:

The process requires “intensive” planning, staffing and funding, the company said. A fire-sale liquidation would damage equipment and result in improper disposal of waste materials.

It’s “not a simple matter of turning off the lights and shutting the doors,” Hostess said in court papers.

The baker estimated that shutting the plants will cost $17.6 million in the next three months. The plants have about $29 million worth of excess product ingredients, Hostess said.

About $6.9 million will be spent to close depots, while $8.8 million will be used to idle retail stores and $8.1 million will go to shutting corporate offices, according to a court filing. Perishable baked goods at retail stores will be sold at going-out-of-business sales, donated to charity or destroyed, Hostess said.

Most importantly, however, is the question how one explains to 18,500 workers who are already out and looking for jobs that the management team which was just as responsible for crushing the company deserves on average $92,000 each in "incentive bonuses", is anyone's guess and one does wonder what safety precautions said management team may have taken to protect from what is certain to be the collective wrath of its former workforce.

Naturally, the immediate outcome of this rather obscene demand, which may fly in a Chapter 11 KERP proposal but hardly is tenable in a liquidation proceeding, is that said US Trustee is now seeking to take control of the liquidation away from the company. As BBG reported earlier, "U.S. Trustee Tracy Hope Davis asked the judge to convert the case to a Chapter 7 from Chapter 11 bankruptcy, based partly on the company’s intent to pay bonuses, and appoint a trustee to supervise the wind-down." But wait, it gets better: because it is quite likely that should an emboldened US Trustee get her wishes granted, will push to continue operating Hostess as a going concern, potentially with a court appointed, and US Trustee selected management team. In essence this could result in a stealth nationalization of the junk food maker, which would preserve the jobs of the workers for the time being, but crush the balance of the capital structure, i.e., secured and unsecured creditors. Impossible, you say? It has happened, to a big extent, before. Recall a certain bankruptcy case of one General Motors, where the claims of creditors were primed by those of the labor unions.

Granted, such a perversion of the bankruptcy process would be historic, but in a country in which everyone is to blame for everything, and in which property rights are becoming a very nebulous concept, we would certainly not be surprised if the US government ends up "bailing out" Hostess by a mandatory flipping the capital structure, over the cries of the company's creditors, further pushing the country into the twilight Banana zone.

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Response to Demeter (Reply #1)

Thu Nov 22, 2012, 08:01 PM

15. Am I confused? It doesn't sound such a bad idea ... ? Of course, at GM

... at GM the "rescue" came at a huge loss to new workers as the union conceded on a tiered wage (and I believe benefit/pension) system, while the investors were - I think - held harmless? It's all getting foggy - so much has happened, so many outrages and betrayals that I could be conflating.

But preventing the managers from profiting on their bad and hard-to-believe-not-intentional running of the company into the ground sounds like a good idea. And if anyone is going to suffer from their "mistakes" better it be the investors than the workers IMHO - after all, an investment is a "risk" whereas work is supposed to be paid for and a worker's contract - when they have one - honored.

Of course, I am often an idiot in keeping things straight when it comes to high finance/law/and the rights and wrongs of complicated maneuverings .... I rely on commentators I trust in these matters. Since I only read zerohedge in the snippets Demeter posts, and not always then, I don't know anything about their perspective.

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Response to bread_and_roses (Reply #15)

Thu Nov 22, 2012, 08:37 PM

18. Whether the stone hits the pitcher, or the pitcher hits the stone


it's going to be bad for the pitcher....

I doubt that the US government would give the unionized workers the time of day, either. That kind of government support will take a different administration.

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Response to Demeter (Reply #18)

Thu Nov 22, 2012, 09:06 PM

20. Too true, Alas (n/t)

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Response to Demeter (Original post)

Thu Nov 22, 2012, 02:00 PM

2. Grantham: Biggest Housing Bubble Since 807 A.D. Has Burst



Preface: Many claim that housing is currently experiencing a rebound. Whether or not that ends up being verified, the housing crash which started in 2007 was so massive that it is historic in its significance.


Top economists and economic agencies have recently verified that bubbles cause huge crashes, and are thus bad for the economy. SUPPORTING LINKS We’ve previously noted that the housing bubble which burst in 2007 was bigger than the Great Depression … and perhaps bigger than any housing bubble in 700 years:

The question is, given the boom we had between 2001-2007, how bad a bust might we have?

Well, in the greatest financial crash of all time – the crash of the 1340s in Italy, which brought on a new dark Age – real estate prices fell by 50 percent by 1349 in Florence when boom became bust.

How does that compare to 2001-2007? The price of Southern California homes is already down 41%, Southern California hasn’t fallen as fast as some other areas, and we’re nowhere near the bottom of the market.

Moreover, the bubble was not confined to the U.S. There was a worldwide bubble in real estate.


Housing bubbles are now bursting in China, France, Spain, Ireland, the United Kingdom, Eastern Europe, and many other regions.

And the bubble in commercial real estate is also bursting world-wide. SUPPORTING LINK

Jeremy Grantham just said that our recent bubble was the largest in 1,200 years:

Investors should be wary of a Fed [who] is led by a guy [Bernanke] who couldn’t see a 1-in-1200-year housing bubble!

2007 – when the housing bubble popped – minus 1,200 years brings us to 807 A.D. To give a sense of how long ago that was, Charlemagne had just defeated the Saxons – one of the tribes forming the famed Anglo-Saxons – and forcibly converted them to Christianity. England didn’t become a country until hundreds of years later, during the Norman Conquest of 1066 . But the housing bubble which burst in 2007 was arguably the largest in history … ever.

As we’ve noted:

In “What Goes Up”, I discussed the law of booms and busts. A big boom with easy credit leads to a big bust.


The Economist magazine wrote in 2005 that the worldwide boom in residential real estate prices in this decade was “the biggest bubble in history“. The Economist noted that – at that time – the total value of residential property in developed countries rose by more than $30 trillion, to $70 trillion, over the past five years – an increase equal to the combined GDPs of those nations.


The bigger the boom, the bigger the bust. Because we have likely just lived through the greatest boom in history, we may see the biggest bust in history. (No wonder the guys who predicted this crisis are gloomy about the future. Is this why the big players are selling everything that’s not nailed down to raise cash?)

If true, this is saying something dramatic. Because the bubble in 1340 Italy was so big that its bust helped precipitate a new dark age.

Too bad that the government helped to blow the bubble, and hasn’t done anything meaningful to help homeowners. We also noted something that is now obvious to all:

The real estate bubble formed the base upon which a series of bubbles in derivatives were built. Specifically, mortgages were packaged in “collateralized debt obligations” (CDOs), which were sold in enormous volumes all over the world. Credit default swaps were then bet against the companies which bought and sold the CDOs.

Now, with housing prices crashing, the CDO bubble is crashing, as is the CDS bubble.

A series of other derivatives bubbles are also crashing. For example, the “collateralized fund obligations” – sort of like CDOs, but where the assets of a hedge fund are the asset being bet on – are getting creamed as hedge funds are forced to sell off many hundreds of billions in assets to cover margin calls.

As everyone knows, the size of the global derivatives bubble was almost 10 times the size of the world economy [Update: It was actually 20 times the world economy]. And many areas of derivatives are still hidden and murky.

So the bust of the derivatives bubble could even be bigger than the bust of the housing bubble.

Too bad the government helped to blow the derivatives bubble, and isn’t doing anything to rein in derivatives now. SEE MAIN LINK FOR MORE SUPPORTING LINKS

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Response to Demeter (Original post)

Thu Nov 22, 2012, 02:01 PM

3. You finally got over your hangover?

Since I have the buzzard in the broiler, I was just getting ready to post a parody thread called the Week-end Ergonomics. Get a comfy chair, pour a cocktail, and wait for the bird.

Todays appetizer starts with, ice cubes sauteed in whipped cream vodka and pumpkin pie liqueur.

Followed by heavily garliced bruscetta, with shrimp cocktails, and more cocktails.

Then we move on to the Turkey, crammed full of whole wheat, apple and walnut stuffing, with a side of cranberry-habanero sauce. and my garlic mashed w/ giblet gravy. And home grown sweet potato's.

I was going to do a pumpkin flan for desert, but, we have too many deserts already, so maybe later.

And then more cocktails . Lots more cocktails.

Happy Thanksgiving ALL!

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Response to Fuddnik (Reply #3)

Thu Nov 22, 2012, 02:06 PM

5. When the opportunity comes, I won't say no


I moved a literal ton of paper last night: 237 copies in excess of 8 lbs a piece. I am hunched over a little less than I was at 2 am, when I took aspirin, a hot shower, and a 3 hour nap before finishing the last 50.

I'm not sure how much they weigh, as I am loathe to try to pick up one more copy...my arms might fall off.

The poor car. At least, it has no nervous system...

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Response to Demeter (Original post)

Thu Nov 22, 2012, 02:01 PM



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Response to Demeter (Original post)

Thu Nov 22, 2012, 02:11 PM

6. How to Score a Foreclosure Fraud Settlement Deal By Richard (RJ) Eskow



...How will we know if it's a good deal for the American people? After all, this is an issue with a lot of moving parts. It includes all of the states and multiple agencies within the Federal government, and involves a multitude of allegations involving several different kinds of crime that come under different jurisdictions. Even the statutes of limitations are a moving target....That doesn't mean we don't know enough to judge the deal.... There are well-established facts to guide us, and the principles involved are clear.

Moral and Legal Context

We keep hearing about what is and isn't possible, practical, or politically feasible. Media discussions of the topic keep mixing the quotidien problems of the process with the underlying principles involved. So let's take a second to perform a moral and legal reset and put this issue in the right context:

[li]Legally, banks stand accused of securities fraud, investor fraud, racial discrimination, tax evasion, defrauding borrowers, and perjury (in the filing of false "robo-signed" documents). Each of the major banks has already settled charges with the SEC involving these crimes and more.

[li]Banks committed a number of moral offenses, too, some of which may also have been illegal. Here's a quick overview:

We know that bank executives fueled the housing bubble, convinced borrowers to take out loans based on inflated home values, sold deceptively packaged mortgage-backed securities to investors (including state and local governments and working people's pension funds), concealed their true financial situation from investors while taking massive secret assistance from the Federal Reserve, were bailed out by taxpayers, took huge bonuses anyway ... and never even said they were sorry.
That's what we're dealing with here. But if that's the context, how do we evaluate a settlement proposal?

Five Principles

Any deal should be measured against five basic principles: openness, justice, restitution, deterrence, and reconciliation.

[li]Openness: Do we know what happened? Has the truth been brought to light? Do we finally understand what happened to us, why it happened, and who's responsible?

[li]Justice means exactly what it says: Is the deal just? The American people should be able to review it and know in their hearts that justice has been served. The guilty have been held responsible, laws have been upheld, and we know once again that we live in a society of laws.

[li]Restitution: Have those that were wronged been made whole?

[li]Deterrence: Has the punishment been proportional to the crime? Is it severe enough to deter future criminal behavior?

[li]Reconciliation: When major crimes disrupt a nation, the final element is reconciliation -- the restoration of social calm, renewed trust between the parties involved, and a return to confidence in the institutions of government.

These goals may be too much to ask of a single settlement deal, although we shouldn't accept that without a convincing argument. Either way, they form the moral constellation by which any deal should be scored. The fact that we can never achieve perfection - perfect justice, perfect truth, or whatever - doesn't mean we should abandon our search for justice and truth, does it?


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Response to Demeter (Original post)

Thu Nov 22, 2012, 02:17 PM

7. ‘We the People’ Loses Appeal With People Around the World: The Constitution has seen better days



Sure, it is the nation’s founding document and sacred text. And it is the oldest written national constitution still in force anywhere in the world. But its influence is waning. In 1987, on the Constitution’s bicentennial, Time magazine calculated that “of the 170 countries that exist today, more than 160 have written charters modeled directly or indirectly on the U.S. version.” A quarter-century later, the picture looks very different. “The U.S. Constitution appears to be losing its appeal as a model for constitutional drafters elsewhere,” according to a new study by David S. Law of Washington University in St. Louis and Mila Versteeg of the University of Virginia. The study, to be published in June 2012 in The New York University Law Review, bristles with data. Its authors coded and analyzed the provisions of 729 constitutions adopted by 188 countries from 1946 to 2006, and they considered 237 variables regarding various rights and ways to enforce them.

“Among the world’s democracies,” Professors Law and Versteeg concluded, “constitutional similarity to the United States has clearly gone into free fall. Over the 1960s and 1970s, democratic constitutions as a whole became more similar to the U.S. Constitution, only to reverse course in the 1980s and 1990s.”

“The turn of the twenty-first century, however, saw the beginning of a steep plunge that continues through the most recent years for which we have data, to the point that the constitutions of the world’s democracies are, on average, less similar to the U.S. Constitution now than they were at the end of World War II.”

There are lots of possible reasons. The United States Constitution is terse and old, and it guarantees relatively few rights. The commitment of some members of the Supreme Court to interpreting the Constitution according to its original meaning in the 18th century may send the signal that it is of little current use to, say, a new African nation. And the Constitution’s waning influence may be part of a general decline in American power and prestige. In an interview, Professor Law identified a central reason for the trend: the availability of newer, sexier and more powerful operating systems in the constitutional marketplace. “Nobody wants to copy Windows 3.1,” he said.

In a television interview during a visit to Egypt last week, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg of the Supreme Court seemed to agree. “I would not look to the United States Constitution if I were drafting a constitution in the year 2012,” she said. She recommended, instead, the South African Constitution, the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms or the European Convention on Human Rights. The rights guaranteed by the American Constitution are parsimonious by international standards, and they are frozen in amber. As Sanford Levinson wrote in 2006 in “Our Undemocratic Constitution,” “the U.S. Constitution is the most difficult to amend of any constitution currently existing in the world today.” (Yugoslavia used to hold that title, but Yugoslavia did not work out.)

Other nations routinely trade in their constitutions wholesale, replacing them on average every 19 years. By odd coincidence, Thomas Jefferson, in a 1789 letter to James Madison, once said that every constitution “naturally expires at the end of 19 years” because “the earth belongs always to the living generation.” These days, the overlap between the rights guaranteed by the Constitution and those most popular around the world is spotty. Americans recognize rights not widely protected, including ones to a speedy and public trial, and are outliers in prohibiting government establishment of religion. But the Constitution is out of step with the rest of the world in failing to protect, at least in so many words, a right to travel, the presumption of innocence and entitlement to food, education and health care. It has its idiosyncrasies. Only 2 percent of the world’s constitutions protect, as the Second Amendment does, a right to bear arms. (Its brothers in arms are Guatemala and Mexico.)...

“America is in danger, I think, of becoming something of a legal backwater,” Justice Michael Kirby of the High Court of Australia said in a 2001 interview. He said that he looked instead to India, South Africa and New Zealand.

Mr. Barak, for his part, identified a new constitutional superpower: “Canadian law,” he wrote, “serves as a source of inspiration for many countries around the world.” The new study also suggests that the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, adopted in 1982, may now be more influential than its American counterpart.


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Response to Demeter (Original post)

Thu Nov 22, 2012, 02:22 PM

8. Bill Gates backs climate scientists lobbying for large-scale geoengineering John Vidal



Other wealthy individuals have also funded a series of reports into the future use of technologies to geoengineer the climate...SHADES OF HEINLEIN AND ASIMOV!...A small group of leading climate scientists, financially supported by billionaires including Bill Gates, are lobbying governments and international bodies to back experiments into manipulating the climate on a global scale to avoid catastrophic climate change. The scientists, who advocate geoengineering methods such as spraying millions of tonnes of reflective particles of sulphur dioxide 30 miles above earth, argue that a "plan B" for climate change will be needed if the UN and politicians cannot agree to making the necessary cuts in greenhouse gases, and say the US government and others should pay for a major programme of international research.

Solar geoengineering techniques are highly controversial: while some climate scientists believe they may prove a quick and relatively cheap way to slow global warming, others fear that when conducted in the upper atmosphere, they could irrevocably alter rainfall patterns and interfere with the earth's climate.

Geoengineering is opposed by many environmentalists, who say the technology could undermine efforts to reduce emissions, and by developing countries who fear it could be used as a weapon or by rich countries to their advantage. In 2010, the UN Convention on Biological Diversity declared a moratorium on experiments in the sea and space, except for small-scale scientific studies.

Concern is now growing that the small but influential group of scientists, and their backers, may have a disproportionate effect on major decisions about geoengineering research and policy.


"There are clear conflicts of interest between many of the people involved in the debate," said Diana Bronson, a researcher with Montreal-based geoengineering watchdog ETC.


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Response to Demeter (Reply #8)

Thu Nov 22, 2012, 02:23 PM

9. Thanks to Plants, We Will Never Find a Planet Like Earth




"Plants are not passive passengers on the planet's surface system," Gibling says. "They create the surface system. Organisms tool the environment: the atmosphere, the landscapes, the oceans all develop incredible complexity once plant life grows." So as Nature Geoscience's editors state in an editorial for their special edition, "Even if there are a number of planets that could support tectonics, running water and the chemical cycles that are essential for life as we know it, it seems unlikely that any of them would look like Earth." Because even if plants do sprout, they will evolve differently, crafting a different surface on the orb they call home.

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Response to Demeter (Reply #9)

Thu Nov 22, 2012, 02:26 PM

10. Michael Hudson: Banks Weren’t Meant to Be Like This




The inherently symbiotic relationship between banks and governments recently has been reversed. In medieval times, wealthy bankers lent to kings and princes as their major customers. But now it is the banks that are needy, relying on governments for funding – capped by the post-2008 bailouts to save them from going bankrupt from their bad private-sector loans and gambles.

Yet the banks now browbeat governments – not by having ready cash but by threatening to go bust and drag the economy down with them if they are not given control of public tax policy, spending and planning. The process has gone furthest in the United States. Joseph Stiglitz characterizes the Obama administration’s vast transfer of money and pubic debt to the banks as a “privatizing of gains and the socializing of losses. It is a ‘partnership’ in which one partner robs the other.” Prof. Bill Black describes banks as becoming criminogenic and innovating “control fraud.” High finance has corrupted regulatory agencies, falsified account-keeping by “mark to model” trickery, and financed the campaigns of its supporters to disable public oversight. The effect is to leave banks in control of how the economy’s allocates its credit and resources.

If there is any silver lining to today’s debt crisis, it is that the present situation and trends cannot continue. So this is not only an opportunity to restructure banking; we have little choice. The urgent issue is who will control the economy: governments, or the financial sector and monopolies with which it has made an alliance.

Fortunately, it is not necessary to re-invent the wheel. Already a century ago the outlines of a productive industrial banking system were well understood. But recent bank lobbying has been remarkably successful in distracting attention away from classical analyses of how to shape the financial and tax system to best promote economic growth – by public checks on bank privileges...

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Response to Demeter (Reply #8)

Thu Nov 22, 2012, 08:08 PM

16. Oh those fuckers

They are insane, greed and power besotted vampire ghouls. Any of them with a functioning brain cell must know that it is the obscenely rich - like them - who are destroying the earth. But since they are quite happy with their Grand Farouk status they want to preserve the system that has enabled their exalted status.

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Response to Demeter (Original post)

Thu Nov 22, 2012, 02:31 PM

11. It's Simple: Cutting Deficit Will Kill Jobs & Hurt Growth; Taxing the Rich Won't By Robert Reich



I wish President Obama and the Democrats would explain to the nation that the federal budget deficit isn’t the nation’s major economic problem and deficit reduction shouldn’t be our major goal. Our problem is lack of good jobs and sufficient growth, and our goal must be to revive both. I WOULD CALL IT--GETTING THE MONEY TO CIRCULATE THROUGH THE ENTIRE POPULATION, NOT GROWTH....Deficit reduction leads us in the opposite direction — away from jobs and growth. The reason the “fiscal cliff” is dangerous (and, yes, I know – it’s not really a “cliff” but more like a hill) is because it’s too much deficit reduction, too quickly. It would suck too much demand out of the economy.

But more jobs and growth will help reduce the deficit. With more jobs and faster growth, the deficit will shrink as a proportion of the overall economy. Recall the 1990s when the Clinton administration balanced the budget ahead of the schedule it had set with Congress because of faster job growth than anyone expected — bringing in more tax revenues than anyone had forecast. Europe offers the same lesson in reverse: Their deficits are ballooning because their austerity policies have caused their economies to sink. The best way to generate jobs and growth is for the government to spend more, not less. And for taxes to stay low – or become even lower – on the middle class.

(Higher taxes on the rich won’t slow the economy because the rich will keep spending anyway. After all, being rich means spending whatever you want to spend. By the same token, higher taxes won’t reduce their incentive to save and invest because they’re already doing as much saving and investing as they want. Remember: they’re taking home a near record share of the nation’s total income and have a record share of total wealth.)

Why don’t our politicians and media get this? Because an entire deficit-cutting political industry has grown up in recent years – starting with Ross Perot’s third party in the 1992 election, extending through Peter Petersen’s Institute and other think-tanks funded by Wall Street and big business, embracing the eat-your-spinach deficit hawk crowd in the Democratic Party, and culminating in the Simpson-Bowles Commission that President Obama created in order to appease the hawks but which only legitimized them further...Deficit hawks routinely warn unless the deficit is trimmed we’ll fall prey to inflation and rising interest rates. But there’s no sign of inflation anywhere. The world is awash in underutilized capacity As for interest rates, the yield on the ten-year Treasury bill is now around 1.26 percent – lower than it’s been in living memory. In fact, if there was ever a time for America to borrow more in order to put our people back to work repairing our crumbling infrastructure and rebuilding our schools, it’s now...

So can we please stop obsessing about future budget deficits? They’re distracting our attention from what we should be obsessing about — jobs and growth.

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Response to Demeter (Original post)

Thu Nov 22, 2012, 02:48 PM

12. US No-Fly list doubles in 1 year FROM FEBRUARY




The Obama administration has more than doubled, to about 21,000 names, its secret list of suspected terrorists who are banned from flying to or within the United States, including about 500 Americans, the Associated Press has learned. The government lowered the bar for being added to the list, even as it says it's closer than ever to defeating al-Qaida. The size of the government's secret no-fly list has jumped from about 10,000 in the past year, according to government figures provided to the AP....

"As long as we sustain the pressure on it, we judge that core al-Qaida will be of largely symbolic importance to the global jihadist movement," Director of National Intelligence James Clapper told Congress on Thursday. "But regional affiliates and, to a lesser extent, small cells and individuals will drive the global jihad agenda."

Those are the people added to the no-fly list, current and former counterterrorism officials said. Most are from other countries; about 500 are Americans.

"Both U.S. intelligence and law enforcement communities and foreign services continue to identify people who want to cause us harm, particularly in the U.S. and particularly as it relates to aviation," Transportation Security Administrator John Pistole said in an interview.

Affiliated terror groups in Yemen, Pakistan, Somalia, Algeria and elsewhere, as well as individuals who ascribe to al-Qaida's beliefs — "All are in the mix," said Michael Leiter, former director of the National Counterterrorism Center. "And no one is claiming that they are shrinking."

The flood of new names began after the failed Christmas 2009 bombing of a Detroit-bound jetliner. The government lowered the standard for putting people on the list then scoured its files for anyone who qualified. The government will not disclose who is on its list or why someone might have been placed on it. Among the most significant new standards is that now a person doesn't have to be considered only a threat to aviation to be placed on the no-fly list. People who are considered a broader threat to domestic or international security or who attended a terror training camp also are included, said a U.S. counterterrorism official who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive security matters.
...The Christmas attack led to other changes in how the U.S. assembles its watch list. Intelligence agencies across the government reviewed old files to find people who should have been on the government's terror watch list all along, plus those who should be added because of the new standards put in place to close security gaps...

The American Civil Liberties Union has sued the government on behalf of Americans who believe they're on the no-fly list and have not been able to travel by air for work or to see family.

"The news that the list is growing tells us that more people's rights are being violated," said Nusrat Choudhury, a staff attorney working for the ACLU's national security project. "It's a secret list, and the government puts people on it without any explanation. Citizens have been stranded abroad."

The government will not tell people whether they're on the list or why they're on it, making it impossible for people to defend themselves, Choudhury said. People who complain that they're unfairly on the no-fly list can submit a letter to the Homeland Security Department, but the only way they'll know if they're still on the list is to try to fly again, she said...On average, there are 1,000 changes to the government's watch lists each day, most of which involve adding new information about someone on the list...The no-fly list has swelled to 20,000 people before, such as in 2004. At the time, people like the late Sen. Ted Kennedy were getting stopped before flying — causing constant angst and aggravation for innocent travelers. But much has changed since then. While thousands more people are on the list, instances of travelers being mistaken for terrorists are down significantly since the government — not the airlines — became responsible for checking the list, Pistole said. Travelers must now provide their full name, birthdate and gender when purchasing an airline ticket so the government can screen them against the terror watch list.

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Response to Demeter (Original post)

Thu Nov 22, 2012, 02:59 PM

13. I'll Be Back! (Bad jokes follow..)


A bunch of singer-songwriters were sitting around a bar in Nashville. One of them says 'I keep hearing about these guys Bach, Beethoven and Mozart. Anybody here heard of them?'

'Yeah' replies one of the songwriters 'I've heard of 'em ...but I wouldn't worry too much, all they ever did was instrumentals'


A tourist in Vienna goes through a graveyard and all of a sudden he hears some music. No one is around, so he starts searching for the source. He finally locates the origin and finds it is coming from a grave with a headstone that reads: 'Ludwig van Beethoven 1770-1827.'

Then he realizes that the music is the Ninth Symphony and it is being played backward! Puzzled, he leaves the graveyard and persuades a friend to return with him. By the time they arrive back at the grave, the music has changed. This time it is the Seventh Symphony but like the previous piece, it is being played backward. Curious, the men agree to consult a music scholar. When they return with the expert the Fifth Symphony is playing, again backward. The expert notices that the symphonies are being played in the reverse order in which they were composed, the 9th, then the 7th, then the 5th. By the next day the word has spread and a throng has gathered around the grave. They are all listening to the Second Symphony being played backward. Just then the graveyard's caretaker ambles up to the group. Someone in the group asks him if he has an explanation for the music.

'Don't you get it?' the caretaker says incredulously......He's decomposing.'


A very old conductor was playing his final (at last!) concert, when the first violinist was beckoned by a member of the audience.

'What's the old man conducting tonight?'

The violinist replied 'I don't know what he is conducting but we are playing Beethoven's Fifth!'


Film producers wanted to make a movie about classical music composers starring Leonardo Dicaprio, Hugh Grant and Arnold Schwarzenegger. They ask Leonardo who he wants to be and he answers "I want to be Beethoven because I've always liked him". Next they ask Hugh and he says "I want to be Mozart because I've always liked him" lastly they ask Arnold and he says "I'll be Bach!"


Gone Chopin. Bach in a minuet.

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Response to Demeter (Reply #13)

Thu Nov 22, 2012, 06:08 PM

14. PS: Tansy is opening the thread tomorrow


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Response to Demeter (Reply #13)

Thu Nov 22, 2012, 08:12 PM

17. Enjoyed the chuckles

I'm thankful for my cyber-buddies

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Response to DemReadingDU (Reply #17)

Thu Nov 22, 2012, 08:40 PM

19. Me, too!


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Response to Demeter (Reply #19)

Thu Nov 22, 2012, 09:47 PM

21. Amen! n/t

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Response to Demeter (Reply #13)

Thu Nov 22, 2012, 11:52 PM

22. The Freshman String Quartet played Beethoven last night

Beethoven lost

(world's shortest musical review)

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Response to Demeter (Original post)

Fri Nov 23, 2012, 01:14 AM

23. "Thank God for PBS" -- "The Pelican Brief"

Last edited Sat Nov 24, 2012, 11:24 AM - Edit history (1)

A wonderful group of Wampanoag descendants have spent many years, sweat and tears to revive the language that died out but was preserved by translating the Bible and other religious literature into that language using extant languages of the same lineage tree.

Noam Chomsky helped to see that they got a chance to work with academics, historians and libraries to do this huge important job. The purpose is to reclaim heritage and to move forward with the best of that world and this.

The Wampanoag knew that the Earth revolved around the sun and women were respected teachers and leaders in that culture which in MHO may be why that Thanksgiving happened at all and we aren't all in shanties eating rutabagas and pigeon stew in Europe today in our hand me down rags.


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Response to kickysnana (Reply #23)

Fri Nov 23, 2012, 06:45 AM

24. According to sources, Chomsky is still alive


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Response to Demeter (Reply #24)

Fri Nov 23, 2012, 07:27 AM

25. recalculating Oh you or so right, "Dan died" is what she said while they showed a picture

of Chomsky. That will teach me to try to think I can absorb information at 3am.

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