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Wanking Against the Wankers – A Defense of Cynicism

May 17, 2010

The following article discussing the real meaning of cynicism and one of my favorite Greeks made me chuckle so much I felt it deserved to be highlighted, so here you go – More Cynicism.

The author tells of how Diogenes, son of a man of means but never a fan of going along to get along, was exiled from his native Sinope for debasing the coinage and made his way eventually to Athens where he lived out his days in an old tub.

He continues:

It is worth digressing at this point to consider one of Diogenes’ most famous contemporaries, namely Buddha, whose life was following almost the exact same plot line in northern India. A prince, Buddha was living a life of luxury when he had some chance encounters with old age, sickness and death on a hunting trip. He had a sudden realization that he didn’t understand anything and had to leave the the big, comfortable, insulating lie that was the royal compound, so he abandoned his wife and child and went to live in the forest and eat dirt. After six years, he decided that extreme asceticism wasn’t the way to live either, and he sat under the Bodhi Tree until he had his moment of enlightenment.

Diogenes went to the marketplace in downtown Athens and jerked off.

After speculating that the gesture used to denote a μαλάκας has always been pretty much universal, he comes to this conclusion:

Thus, when Diogenes went to the financial center of the first democracy and wrestled the Cyclops, he was calling the Wall Street of his day a bunch of wankers.

The next time you find yourself in the presence of one of the architects of this flailing, failing Empire of ours, be sure to remember the following –

In ancient Greek, cynic meant “dog-like,” which referred to Diogenes’ willingness to use any orifice at any time in any place to sneer at wankers who live in fantasy castles of power and money. That’s what the word means, and any other meaning puts you in the service of the wankers.

– and don’t succumb to the cult of personality and graciously shake the hand that robs you. Instead, hock a loogie, flip the bird, deliver a flaming bag of poo to their doorstep. Cry “Bullshit!” and let slip the dogs of class war and let the wankers know they are not welcome by those of us who’d like to live in a decent society.

Emulate Diogenes’ treatment of Alexander in the painting above and when the emperor comes calling, give him the Heisman and tell him to get the hell out of the light that was meant to warm us all.

61 Comments leave one →
  1. cometman permalink*
    May 17, 2010 1:36 pm

    Added the book mentioned in the link to my reading queue – The Cynics: The Cynic Movement in Antiquity and Its Legacy.

    While I was looking around I also found this tempting title – Diogenes The Cynic: The War Against The World.

    Now I just need about a year long vacation so I can read all the stuff
    I need to get to.

  2. cometman permalink*
    May 17, 2010 1:46 pm

    Missed this one when it happened, but it’s one more sign of the times we live in. A major water pipe burst in the Boston area forcing millions to boil their water.

    Evidently politicians in Mass. in recent years have been too busy giving tax cuts for the rich, guaranteeing profits for the parasites in the health care industry, and trying to get some casinos built to make up revenue shortfalls to pay much attention to the infrastructure.

    • artemis54 permalink
      May 17, 2010 2:59 pm

      It is true everywhere. Water and sewer just aren’t sexy enough. Everyone wants their name on a bridge or a freeway bypass, something visible from the air. Nobody thinks about water and sewer until they actually stop functioning. Then they have a way of capturing attention with a quickness.

  3. artemis54 permalink
    May 17, 2010 2:57 pm

    That is my favorite story about Diogenes (“move – you’re blocking the light”).

    In water news:

    Iran’s Biggest Lake in Danger of Drying Up

    Mission Nearly Accomplished. The mission of destroying the cradle of civilization: Iraq’s Drinking Water Drying Up, Sewage Pollutes Shrinking Rivers

    Forget civilization, as we probably soon will. How about the creche of the species? Lake Tanganyika is the warmest it has been in 1500 years: Lake Tanganyika Warming Fast, Life Dying

    NOAA: Warmest April Global Temperature on Record

    The combined global land and ocean surface temperature was the warmest on record for both April and for the period from January-April, according to NOAA. Additionally, last month’s average ocean surface temperature was the warmest on record for any April, and the global land surface temperature was the third warmest on record.

    • cometman permalink*
      May 17, 2010 3:30 pm

      I’ve read some more of that book I mentioned a few days ago – The Wind Up Girl – and the more I read the more I think you might really like it. It’s classified as scifi but there are no spaceships, etc – its set on earth in the not too distant future and that future doesn’t look so bright. Haven’t read Oryx and Crake yet (that’s on my list too) but i did read some reviews after you mentioned it and this one sounds very Oryx and Crake-ish. The Monsanto-like companies are about the only big companies left, the oil’s gone, many plants and animals are extinct, and the seas have risen. But the author doesn’t get preachy about it and mostly just mentions these things in passing without getting into the details, probably since we’re living the details right now and if this does happen we’ll already all know why.

      • artemis54 permalink
        May 17, 2010 4:05 pm


  4. artemis54 permalink
    May 17, 2010 4:10 pm

    Y’know, the Chrissies Todd and Mathews can jabber on about the Specter haunting PA for the rest of their lives for all I care. But what a waste of air time. Who fucking cares? Will these morons ever notice that there’s territory on the west side of the Mississippi?

  5. Stemella permalink*
    May 17, 2010 6:12 pm

    Diogenes, son of a bankster. That makes perfect sense. I too have fondness for the prototype of the grunge, punker, rebel without pause while also being an old man yelling, get the fuck off my lawn, or off my cloud, or out of my sun.

    Malacas was the first official word I learned in Greek from a real Greek. :) Great word.

    So, yes, Shame the Wankers! or, Viva Zapatos! or in Mainah, Fuckemup Toddy!

  6. Stemella permalink*
    May 17, 2010 6:51 pm

    The tradition persists —
    Greece Considering Legal Action Against U.S. Banks for Crisis

    Send the dogs of Diogenes after those nasty banksters!

  7. artemis54 permalink
    May 18, 2010 5:01 am

    We were wondering what might be next for Alexandra Morton. There may be a clue in her latest newsletter:

    The biggest environmental rally in the history of BC and government has not reacted. We may need to do this again. We may need to run for political office to protect our salmon, natural resources and our communities to survive. . . .

    . . . . Life on earth is up to us.

    Doesn’t sound like someone who’s going to go home and shut up.

    Damien Gillis released a very powerful video of the rally in Victoria. I’ve posted at the Deli. It rightly emphasizes the unprecedented cooperation between First Nations and non on this issue. Also there, Morton’s letter to Campbell.


    Mr. Campbell, you did not cause this problem, but you have inherited it. The era of cheap oil is over with the people on the Gulf of Mexico being the first hit with what will be a cascading degradation of planet earth that all our children will inherit. You cannot morally choose a salmon that robs one ocean, to pollute a second one while consuming fuel because it feeds Atlantic salmon in BC on fish from Chile. You must choose the salmon that comes home to us without oil consumption feeding us, our forests and creating oxygen.

    . . . .

    I do not believe the assurances from the Provincial Ministry of Agriculture and Lands (MAL), nor the Federal Pacific Biological Station that salmon farms are not damaging Canada’s public fishery resources. I believe their research has been skewed and suppressed. I eagerly accept any invitation to argue these points in a court of law.

    . . . .

    The state of the planet is a very serious concern and it is immoral to further degrade public resources that we will need on in the coming decades. This is about food-security and to pretend it is anything less is deceptive. In a world depleted of easy oil no one is going to be moving fish from the south Pacific to make less fish in the North Pacific, but we will most definitely be thankful to have millions of wild salmon returning to us for free!

  8. Stemella permalink*
    May 18, 2010 7:06 am

    It coulda been worse than Holder. Imagine having to sit through a commencement speech by Jaimie “I’m no lapdog” Dimon.

    If you are a glutton for punishment, you may watch it here

    • artemis54 permalink
      May 18, 2010 7:32 am

      No thanks I think I’ll go have a battery acid enema instead.

      Nothing could top Beck’s hysterical fits at Liberty or wherever it was. Talk about being robbed of an education, and then to have a clown cry for ten minutes as a commencement address.

    • cometman permalink*
      May 18, 2010 12:14 pm

      The “Do the Right Thing” theme of his speech was all I needed to see. I’ll have to pass on the rest. Unbelievable that Syracuse could be quite that tone deaf.

  9. Stemella permalink*
    May 18, 2010 7:10 am

    Ah yes, another sign of greet shoots and the generous spirit of corporate America and Big Phrma

    Pfizer to Close 8 Plants, Cut Back Manufacturing

    Pfizer Inc. will close eight manufacturing plants and scale back operations at six others sites worldwide, eliminating 6,000 jobs as part of a previously announced plan to trim its workforce.

    The drugmaker plans to shutter manufacturing operations over the next five years at plants in Puerto Rico, Ireland, and Rouses Point, New York. Operations at plants in Germany, Ireland, Puerto Rico, the U.K. and U.S. will be cut back, the company said in a statement today.

    The cuts are part of the more than 19,000 jobs Pfizer said it would eliminate after its acquisition last year of Wyeth.

  10. artemis54 permalink
    May 18, 2010 7:28 am

    You go, Patty!

    Senator Murray was just on the senate floor blasting away at Murkowski & Co for blocking the raising of the cap on oil damage.

    Now Nelson of FL talking about the underwater plumes revealed by the Pelican. It is interesting how quickly a scientific expedition’s results has made it to the senate floor.

    I want to hear what Jane Lubchenco has to say today. If she peddles a line of bullshit, all hope is lost because she knows better and many of us are aware of that. I knew Salazar was a whore from the get go, but depending on what she says today, I still have some hope in her.

  11. artemis54 permalink
    May 18, 2010 9:34 am

    Friends of the Earth Europe on the coming metastasis of the tar sands horror: Tar sands – Fuelling the climate crisis, undermining EU energy security, and damaging development objectives

    Apart from destruction of vast swathes of Canada’s boreal forest, the highly intensive use of energy and water in tar sands projects has raised concerns, along with increases in water and air pollution. Open cast mining techniques used to extract shallower resources have led to the creation of huge lakes or “tailings ponds” for storing toxic waste matter, for which there is no long-term solution. First Nations communities living downstream from the projects have been most directly impacted. While some have benefited from increased employment opportunities, many people feel that the benefits are outweighed by the environmental and cultural losses. In addition to impacts on subsistence fishing and hunting activities, there are serious concerns about the health impacts of pollution from tar sands developments: one community, Fort Chipewyan, has seen an increase of around 30% in cancer rates. Another local First Nation community, the Beaver Lake Cree Nation, is challenging tar sands developments in the Canadian courts citing over 17,000 violations of their treaty rights to hunt and fish throughout their traditional territories and is seeking to protect the ecological integrity of these lands.

    Then there are impacts on migratory birds, the tossing of Canada’s Kyoto commitments out the window, etc etc etc. All this in one of the world’s wealthiest and most highly educated democracies, with all its theoretical commitments to human rights, transparency, and even international treaties on biodiversity.

    Now think of transplanting this monstrosity to, say, Madagascar. The plans are well under way.Madasgar Oil says contracts “were
    negotiated at a very favourable time and contain attractive
    terms and conditions”. I guess so. The country of Madagascar gets 4% of oil extracted.

    Environmental and social issues

    On the western edge of the Tsimiroro field is the 1,520km2 Tsingy de Bemeraha nature reserve, a UNESCO World Heritage site since 1990. The area was awarded UNESCO status because of its limestone karst landscapes, undisturbed forests, mangrove swamps and rare animal species (it is the only place in the world where the armoured leaf chameleon can be found). Around half of the reserve is designated as a “strict” or “integral” reserve, meaning no development or tourism is allowed. Despite this, UNEP claim that “there is no management plan or zoning […]boundaries are not marked […] [n]o effort is made to patrol the Reserve or prevent legal infractions”. East of Bemolanga lies the smaller reserve of Ambohijanahary. There is little public
    information about this area, and what little there is highlights that its only real protection is its inaccessibility. Madagascar is a highly biodiverse country, with up to two-thirds of its species being endemic to the country.

    Western Madagascar is very sparsely populated, with a density of 0 to 4 people per km2. The commune of Ankisatra, the location of the Tsimiroro field, has a population of less than 3,000. While the low population means less people are at risk of displacement because of the tar sands projects, it also means that the few people who do live in the area have less ability to defend themselves against that potential displacement. Further risk multipliers include the the high levels of poverty in Madagascar (the World Food Programme claims 60% of the country is ‘extremely poor’), and the low levels of education.

    In addition, the political situation in Madagascar is unstable. The
    current government is considered illegitimate by the United States and the European Union, and is suspended from the African Union, having come to power via a military coup d’etat in March 2009. Talks to form an inclusive transitional government fell apart in December 2009, and it is unclear whether any environmental and social issues relating to the tar sands development will be dealt with in a transparent manner.

    That last paragraph is quite the understatement considering the uncontroll pillaging of Madagascar’s forests and wildlife in the last year, thoroughly documented at and elsewhere.

    • cometman permalink*
      May 18, 2010 12:23 pm

      Yeah but we all saw the Madagascar movie. There are all kinds of pretty animals on Madagascar and some of them like living in zoos better than in the wild, so see, nothing to worry about.


  12. cometman permalink*
    May 18, 2010 12:27 pm

    Can we go a whole week without finding some hypocrite in the public eye who’s “sinned against Gawd”?!?!?!

    Not this week.

    Taegan Goddard’s Political Wire blog notes, “This is priceless: Rep. Mark Souder (R-IN) — who just resigned after admitting to an extramarital affair with a staffer — recorded a video with the same woman praising abstinence education, according to TPM.”

    At TPM, Justin Elliott reports that part-time staffer Tracy “Jackson played the role of interviewer for a Souder Web video show on the issues of the day — including one on the value of abstinence.”

    • artemis54 permalink
      May 18, 2010 1:50 pm

      Ha! You know what? I’m an atheist and I sin against Gawdamighty less than most of his official lieutenants.

  13. cometman permalink*
    May 18, 2010 12:33 pm

    One MMS ratfucker falls on his sword.

    Chris Oynes, appointed during the Bush administration to oversee offshore energy oversight at the Mineral Management Service (MMS), has quit.

    “After 35 years of service,” an MMS employee told AFP, Oynes plans to announce his retirement soon, leaving behind a career forever tarnished by a photo of him presenting Transocean, the Deepwater Horizon’s owners, with a safety award.

    Meanwhile, Transocean has decided that fouling the entire Gulf of Mexico doesn’t mean shareholders shouldn’t get a $1 billion payout.

  14. artemis54 permalink
    May 18, 2010 1:47 pm

    Only managed to catch some of Lubchenco. She is good. Jury out on the plumes, she’s waiting for sample returns but doesn’t believe it’s dispersant due to the timeline. Also thinks if the tarballs in the keys are from this, they are from the initial event. Claims dispersants including Corexit biodegrade in a few days but no one pressed her on pressure, depth. Frankly a very poor job of questioning for the most part. Most just not smart enough to ask interesting questions. This Sen Wicker is a moron.

    When asked about the marshes, basically L said it’s too horrible to think about, hence every effort to avert.

    BP guy and Transocean guy are back now for more public burning. The senators are more in their element here, posing and bitching and moaning and national security, etc.

    I think Laurence McDonnell shamed them the other night by posting all the names and faces of the dead on the KO show. Today, everyone seems to remember them.

    • cometman permalink*
      May 18, 2010 2:31 pm

      Thanks for the update. I checked into the hearing at your link for a bit but it was just John Kerry droning platitudes when I tuned in.

  15. Stemella permalink*
    May 19, 2010 6:02 am

    Recent updates on the spill

    BP withholds oil spill facts — and government lets it

    Fishing ban widens as oil spill spreads in Gulf

    and from a few days back, more on those dispersants

    Less Toxic Dispersants Lose Out in BP Oil Spill Cleanup

    • cometman permalink*
      May 19, 2010 9:05 am

      This seems like it’s being handled exactly backwards although I don’t know who the proper authority to call in would be since both the government and BP colluded to allow this to happen in the first place.

      All I know is BP should not be allowed to keep data secret and if they couldn’t be bothered to come up with a plan ahead of time they shouldn’t be allowed to handle the cleanup effort on their own now, especially not if less toxic and more effective methods are available. Seems like they are using this as an excuse to line the pockets of the dispersant company they are closely tied to while trying to clean things up on the cheap.

      BP should be kicked out of the area and then handed the bill. If the bill bankrupts the company then tough shit.

  16. Stemella permalink*
    May 19, 2010 6:03 am

    Latest on the clusterphuck in Thailand

    Thai protest leaders surrender as troops storm camp

  17. Stemella permalink*
    May 19, 2010 6:17 am

    Special Report: How the White House learned to love the drone

    And with that I’m off to work again, hi ho hi ho Have a good one, all.

    • cometman permalink*
      May 19, 2010 9:27 am

      That article is truly disgusting.

      Killing wanted militants is simply “easier” than capturing them, said an official, who like most interviewed for this story support the stepped-up program and asked not to be identified. Another official added: “It is increasingly the preferred option.”

      What brave brave soldiers we have who look for the easy way while being too timid to put their names to these cowardly statements.

      And does <O think we're all retarded?

      “I don’t believe in assassinations, but Osama bin Laden has declared war on us, killed 3,000 people, and under existing law, including international law, when you’ve got a military target like bin Laden, you take him out. And if you have 20 minutes, you do it swiftly and surely,” Obama said.

      He doesn’t believe in assassinations except for when he does. Thanks for clearing that up.

      And it really annoys me when reporters say things like this –

      Besides putting an end to harsh interrogation methods, the president issued executive orders to ban secret CIA detention centers and close the Guantanamo Bay prison camp.

      Would it really be so hard to point out that the words do not match the deeds or that the words were weasel words to begin with? There has been plenty of evidence that torture (because that’s what “harsh interrogation methods” are, Mr. reporter) has continued. <O may have closed secret CIA detention centers, but there are still secret detention centers in operation, they just aren’t officially affiliated with the CIA. And of course Gitmo has not been closed and there have been credible reports of a secret facility there. Rrrrrrrrrrrrr.

  18. cometman permalink*
    May 19, 2010 10:08 am

    One less ghost in the machine this morning as the Specter goes down.

    I doubt this two faced sack of shit will be missed by many.

    • artemis54 permalink
      May 19, 2010 10:26 am

      Probly should put Chris Mathews on suicide watch. That would be about it.

  19. cometman permalink*
    May 19, 2010 10:19 am

    This was pretty cool – Death of a Star in 3D: New Computer Models Show in Detail How Supernovae Obtain Their Shape.

    Although supernovae have been studied theoretically by computer models for several decades, the physical processes happening during these blasts are so complex that until now astrophysicists could only simulate parts of the process and so far only in one or two dimensions. Researches at the Max Planck Institute for Astrophysics in Garching have now carried out the first fully three-dimensional computer simulations of a core collapse supernova over a timescale of hours after the initiation of the blast. They thus could answer the question of how initial asymmetries, which emerge deep in the dense core during the very early stages of the explosion, fold themselves into inhomogeneities observable during the supernova blast.

    Checked the Max Planck Institute site to see if they had a video simulation but only found the same picture again.

    Did find this one from a couple years ago but maybe it isn’t a full 3d simulation like the new one at the link:

  20. artemis54 permalink
    May 19, 2010 10:24 am

    Today the kabuki has moved to the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. Currently Rep Capuano is venting. Unfortunately I will probably miss witness Sylvia Earle, who has forgotten more about ocean ecosystems than the committee is ever likely to know.

  21. cometman permalink*
    May 19, 2010 10:29 am

    Good article noting which environmental organizations warned about Salazar’s appointment and which ones blindly cheered him on because he was a <O man – Salazar Unleashed.

    Looks like the Center for Biological Diversity got it right. The others, epic fail.

    I’m glad there are at least a few people trying to keep us informed about which of these groups are actually worth a damn. Hard to disagree with the conclusion:

    For the environment to live, the big green groups, the enablers of Salazar, this and other environmental atrocities to come, must die.

    • artemis54 permalink
      May 19, 2010 10:36 am

      Second. I have long said CBD is the bomb. For one thing, without their lonely resistance under Bushco, god knows what kind of shape we would be in now. After a brief “let’s see” period, they are now on the Obama admin’s ass 24/7. Cuz someone has to be.

  22. cometman permalink*
    May 19, 2010 10:47 am

    Josh Frank makes Elena Kagan less of an enigma, pointing out how she shilled for Monsanto in her capacity as Solicitor General.

    David Michael Greene has a new essay discussing Kagan and our nation’s overall descent – Fear Comes of Age.

  23. artemis54 permalink
    May 19, 2010 12:22 pm


    The future of humankind depends on getting off hydrocarbons.

    Cheap energy is destroying the planet.

    .. if I could soeak for the ocean, I would say halt the use of dispersants. . . . . cosmetic cures don’t solve the problem. They are almost certainly making things worse.

    She calls for an intitiative for large no take marine reserves in the gulf to “compensate the ocean” for the damage done.

    And more funding for deep research, instead of relying on industry spin.

    We’ve neglected the ocean, and it’s costing us dearly. So perhaps this is a wake up call, a mighty two by four . . . .

    Questions cuts to the coast guard.

    • artemis54 permalink
      May 19, 2010 12:25 pm

      Earle blew it out of the water. Hope her testimony is taped.

      • cometman permalink*
        May 19, 2010 1:33 pm

        Good to hear. Just looked her up and she has quite the impressive resume.

        • artemis54 permalink
          May 19, 2010 2:10 pm

          A pioneer who just happened to be a woman and quietly raised her kids in the midst of that imposing cv.

          Her 2009 TED Prize Wish talk sparked Mission Blue, which has spawned research, and talks, now dominating TED and featured on UNEP sites as well as Docudharma.

  24. cometman permalink*
    May 19, 2010 1:49 pm

    Link dump on financial topics.

    More from Pam Martens on the market meltdown from a couple weeks ago – SEC Admits to Inadequate Tools to Conduct Investigation.

    Good Bloomberg article on the epidemic of banks ripping off states and municipalities with shady deals – Conspiracy of Banks Rigging States Came With Crash. There are so many other banks involved with these scams the article barely mentions Goldman Sachs.

    The Financial Times notes that Greece’s own central bank was among those facilitating the short selling of Greek debt – Greek central bank faces short selling claims. Got to give the Papandreou administration credit- he was put in an extremely difficult situation, but unlike <O, he looks like he's really trying to get to the bottom of things and isn't afraid to embarrass and stand up to the oligarchs in his own country.

    A couple from Yves Smith. First, on Goldman's rapidly deteriorating reputation – Goldman Clients Increasingly Wary of Firm’s Conflicts and Trading Orientation.

    And a good one on usury and steps being taken to stop it –Parramore: Big Bank Usury – Elizabeth Warren on Whitehouse Amendment .

  25. cometman permalink*
    May 19, 2010 3:54 pm

  26. artemis54 permalink
    May 20, 2010 5:47 am

    Phone call from Devore this morning; reports her trip to Paris has been quite successful.

    Do you think Braque too monochromatic for a dining room?

  27. Stemella permalink*
    May 20, 2010 6:22 am

    Zougla Livefeed from Athens in front of the Parliament. Eurohorns a honking. At the moment it looks fairly low key, but there are still cops lining the sidewalk as protesters break out in chants. Perhaps they are on lunch break.

    It is another day of National Strike.

    • cometman permalink*
      May 20, 2010 8:00 am

      Not much going on in the streets when I just checked. Just some cops and a few people sitting on the sidewalk. It’ll be interesting to check back when things get more heated again. Right now I think it’s just after the daily nap time locally in Greece.

    • artemis54 permalink
      May 20, 2010 11:12 am

      Reminds me of my first ttrip to Italy. I found myself stranded in Florence – don’t cry too hard now.

      “Sciopero!” My questions about why and how long etc were met with great waving of the hands.

      This thing is getting so much coverage. I don’t think most americans understand that in Greece large demonstrations if not general strikes are not exactly a rare occurrence.

  28. Stemella permalink*
    May 20, 2010 6:35 am

    Arctic Drilling Proposal Advanced Amid Concern

    The G.A.O. found that the Alaska branch deliberately avoided establishing consistent guidelines for determining whether future leases would cause significant environmental impacts in the Arctic — a finding that could require further examination and delay or prevent drilling.

    It noted that Minerals Management had yet to complete a handbook for reviewing environmental issues that the Department of Interior, which oversees the agency, had asked it to write.

    “When we talked to managers, the story was that, ‘Well, we have the institutional knowledge — if you put things in the handbook, it gets outdated,’ ” said Mark Gaffigan, a director on the G.A.O.’s natural resources and environment team and the author of the report.


    The lack of clear guidance in the environmental review process was exacerbated by high turnover among scientists at the agency, many of whom said in interviews that they left for other jobs because they had been pressured to rewrite their work or had it rewritten for them and that they were perceived as obstacles in the way of drilling. Managers, on the other hand, tended to stay.

    “My impression was they had predetermined decisions and if you didn’t get with the program you were sort of labeled and ostracized, really,” said one former minerals agency scientist. “But if you went along with the program and didn’t do anything to obstruct anything, they would treat you well, promote you, give cash awards.”

    Regarding Shell’s plans to drill in the Beaufort and Chukchi Seas,

    The Shell project still faces scrutiny by other agencies that have raised questions about Arctic drilling. In a letter to Minerals Management last September, Jane Lubchenco, the head of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, warned against leasing in the Arctic Sea.

    Shell has vowed to implement aggressive efforts both to prevent a spill and contain one. Shortly after Interior Secretary Ken Salazar proposed reconfiguring the agency, John Goll, the head of the Alaska region, called an “all hands” meeting, according to a staff member there.

    Afterward, people lingered to eat a cake decorated with the words, “Drill, Baby, Drill.”

    • cometman permalink*
      May 20, 2010 8:11 am

      Great. They are going to “reconfigure” the agency after all the decent employees who take their jobs seriously have already quit in disgust. And when the next disaster happens I’m sure we’ll be told again that nobody could have foreseen it. Another lesson in utter uselessness.

    • artemis54 permalink
      May 20, 2010 11:22 am

      In a a mailing from Earthjustice:

      “It is actually easier to get a permit for an offshore oil well than for a hot dog stand.”
      – Earthjustice Attorney David Guest

  29. cometman permalink*
    May 20, 2010 8:28 am

    Oil is now hitting the Louisiana coast.

    Anybody know about these “tar balls” we keep hearing about lately? I don’t find the following very reassuring:

    To the relief of Florida officials, the Coast Guard said laboratory tests had shown that 50 tar balls found this week on the Lower Keys — a mecca for divers, snorkelers, fishermen and beach goers — were not from the Gulf spill.


    Tar balls have also been found on the Texas coast and were being tested but a Coast Guard official said it was “highly unlikely those tar balls in Texas are related to this spill.”

    Pretty sure that “tar balls” are not part of the naturally occurring flora and fauna. So should people really be relieved that these things aren’t from the BP disaster? Where the hell are they coming from then? Is there another leak that somebody ought to be looking into?

    • Stemella permalink*
      May 20, 2010 9:44 am

      Here are photos of the oil now in the marshlands in LA Pass a Loutre Oil

      As you can see, it is very much like the oil one might drain out of the pan of an engine, except not quite as black, or lube oil. That isn’t tar. The tar balls found on the beach in Florida are still being studied I think, but are more likely to be older more oxidized specimens. It takes a while for goo to become gunk.

      I remember tar on shore when I was a kid, and on the beaches of Mexico. If the tar isn’t from this particular gush event it may be from other oil rigs or tankers. The stuff we need to really worry about though is the goo, as it is incredibly toxic.

      I think in the big picture we are witnessing the same kind of incompetence we’ve seen from our government for years now. It really is a kabuki as we’ve said so many times before. When the Coast Guard takes orders from BP to shoo MSM reporters off public beaches how can one describe this situation as anything but a nation for the corporations and by the corporations.

      Here’s the story at HuffPo BP, Coast Guard Officers Block Journalists

      • artemis54 permalink
        May 20, 2010 11:16 am

        Thousands of possible sources, including nautral leakage of hydrocarbons. Waves do an incredible job of sorting.

  30. cometman permalink*
    May 20, 2010 8:49 am

    Monsanto donates 60,000 sacks of seeds to Haiti. Haitian farmers vow to burn them.

    • Stemella permalink*
      May 20, 2010 9:49 am

      Good for them. I’m proud to say that in my own small way I’ve rebelled against Big Agra and have propagated my own seed stock for years after originally buying them here.

  31. cometman permalink*
    May 20, 2010 8:51 am

    Wikileaks founder grounded as Australia confiscates his passport. That might slow the guy down but I doubt it will stop him.

  32. cometman permalink*
    May 20, 2010 9:58 am

    Sylvia Earle’s testimony from yesterday was taped. You can watch it and get a transcript here.

    • artemis54 permalink
      May 20, 2010 10:43 am


  33. cometman permalink*
    May 20, 2010 12:00 pm

    Here’s one that won’t make the national news but is definitely worth reading and being aware of – The Story of Kamau Marcharia .

    The guy was wrongfully accused of a rape and spent time in prison for it. Upon release he worked as a community organizer, fought for justice, has since been elected to public office, and now is trying for a seat on the state legislature. That has ruffled the feathers of the business as usual crowd in South Carolina who are now attempting to railroad Marcharia out of the public sphere by publicly accusing him of being a sex offender. That, because a few years ago trying to label him as a homosexual didn’t work.

    What sorry excuses for human beings these dumbass crackers are.

  34. artemis54 permalink
    May 20, 2010 12:11 pm

    No fate but what we make.

    Craig Venter has succeeded in creating an artificial genome from scratch and inserting it into a blank cell.
    Creation of a Bacterial Cell Controlled by a Chemically Synthesized Genome

    We now have combined all of our previously established procedures and report the synthesis, assembly, cloning, and successful transplantation of the 1.08-Mbp M. mycoides JCVI-syn1.0 genome, to create a new cell controlled by this synthetic genome.

    . . . . .

    The cells with only the synthetic genome are self
    replicating and capable of logarithmic growth.

    Synthetic Genome Brings New Life to Bacterium

    Hold on to your telomeres, folks, we’re in for a bumpy ride.

  35. cometman permalink*
    May 20, 2010 12:20 pm

    More news on financial “reform”.

    Harry Reid wasn’t able to get cloture on his watered down reform bill because Cantwell and Feingold joined the filibuster, feeling the proposed legislation was insufficient. Cantwell and Feingold both want to add amendments that would put some teeth into this paper tiger – Two Dems Help Defeat Senate Cloture Vote On Wall Street Reform.

    But a little consistency is apparently too much to ask for because if you read that article through the updates you’ll notice that the Whitehouse amendment which would have limited some of the usury from the credit card companies was soundly defeated and Cantwell was one of those voting against the amendment. WTF?

    More on this topic from Yves Smith – How Financial Reform Gets Done (Not).

    And Germany has placed unilateral restrictions on naked CDS and other financial instruments. My first impression is that this is a very good idea, although the critics seem to think it won’t amount to anything unless all of Europe, The US, and other heavy hitters do the same.

    Here’s another article discussing it – Germany: Right and wrong on naked shorts. This guy thinks the use of these derivatives is excessive but doesn’t think it’s a good time for a ban either. The reasoning –

    And if they’re [the ratfucking bankers -cman] told that, at a stroke, they can’t use those credit default swaps, well then investment climate for them in the eurozone is perceived to become harsher – and it becomes rational for them to seek to put their cash elsewhere.

    Excuse me, but what cash?!?!?!?!?!?! I’d like to see that these banks actually have some because the world on the street is they are insolvent and have been using derivatives among other things to hide that fact. And where is this “elsewhere” that is such a tremendous investment opportunity right now?!?! The guy admits that naked CDS are bad and serve no useful purpose, so why not get rid of them?

    Also, nobody wants to be the first to unilaterally cut carbon emissions either. Look where that’s gotten us.

    I think Germany’s response to the eurozone crisis has been haphazard at best and I’d wager that this recent ban was placed at least in part to try to prevent what has happened in Greece and other countries from happening to Germany too. Merkel is probably trying to save her own ass. I don’t know if this will have the desired effect or not but I do know what will definitely not have the desired effect – doing nothing and going with the status quo, as the US is attempting to do. You’ve got to start somewhere and banning this egregious practice is a good a place as any.

  36. artemis54 permalink
    May 21, 2010 8:27 am

    What, you didn’t know today was“>endangered species day?

  37. artemis54 permalink
    May 21, 2010 9:17 am

    Venter’s announcement of “synthetic life”

    The organism’s website is encoded in the stop codons of the genome, as are quotations from Oppenheimer and James Joyce.

    • cometman permalink*
      May 21, 2010 10:30 am

      Wow, that’s quite a breakthrough. They also encoded a Richard Feynman quote into the code too!

      Like most things, this could be very beneficial or extremely evil depending on how it’s used. I hope he heeds that Oppenheimer quote -“See things not as they are but as they might be”. He mentions that he’s already briefed the US government on the development. I’m sure Ventner is aware of how things “might be” if certain people within our government decided to use this technology as a weapon rather than a cure.

      However you look at it though, Pandora’s box is now open.

      Found some more about it at Ventner’s website.

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