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  • They were all shocked, I tell you, SHOCKED, to learn that basic housing, food, medical care, education, child care, you know, things like that, were NOT paid for by the State. Oh, they admit they make more money, but their expenses eat up so much of it that they are worse off in a net income [...]

  • How do you think a country with 2/3 Ukrainian speakers and 5/6 ethnic Ukraine kept electing a Russian leader

    Maybe it’s in part because their economy is tied more closely to Russia? And if you want to see suffering, just wait until the IMF gets done. Russia offered the Ukraine a much better deal than what [...]

  • Remember the Russian are very good a 11 Dimensional Chess…

    Actually, the Russkies, for all their admitted warts, overall project a foreign policy that is more humane regarding the internal workings of other countries than ours. Their deal for the Ukraine is a lot better than our IMF looting and austerity, and their policy towards Syria [...]

  • stewartm commented on the blog post Come Saturday Morning: Some Good News

    2014-08-30 08:53:55View | Delete

    Most tribes of mammals isolate the young males because they cause so much trouble. Lions surely do this. I don’t know if apes do it but I suspect they do. Once the males are sufficiently able to be social, they may or may not be allowed back into the pride/tribe.

    That’s simply not true of bonobos. Young males are not a problem; if any gender is dominant, it’s the females. Young males are not a problem because there is no competition for mates unlike other species, nor are their any alpha males or females who restrict access to sex to the younger memebers. Males either wait their turn for females or have simply sex with each other (homosexual behaviors among both genders is common)

    It’s nearly universal in mammals that the male is avoided as being the most dangerous to the young.

    Again, not true of bonobos. While bonobos have their spats, at my last reading there is no evidence of any bonobo killing another either in the wild or in captivity. Bonobos use sex regardless of gender or age to soothe out social conflicts.

    Other primates make poorer models for humans. I once read a New Scientist article on “rape” amongst orangutans, but this is a poor model as the “rapists” are unflanged and therefore physically different. I would thus broadly agree that talk of orangutan “rape” is fitting a human cultural explanation on orangutan biological bheavior. Rape, war, and male dominance in humans have explanations best rooted in our cultural trajectory and not our biology. In fact, in many cases these involve deliberately overriding our innate biological impulses (as my case with “boot camp” above).


  • stewartm commented on the blog post Americans Overwhelmingly Support Requiring Paid Vacations

    2014-08-30 07:47:05View | Delete

    America, the “Land of the Free”, is a place where c. 15 % of its workforce is unemployed, about 30 % of its workforce is underemployed, and 85 % of its workforce is worked like dogs and sometimes unable to take what vacation they get (or made to feel bad or be concerned about their job if they take it).

    These problems are all related; if we had mandatory 5-weeks for everyone this would mean that some companies would have to offer 6 or 7 weeks or more to attract people, and the result would be that more would have to be hired to fill in the gaps. Mandatory 5-week vacation requirements will mean more people get hired.


  • stewartm commented on the blog post Come Saturday Morning: Some Good News

    2014-08-30 07:38:42View | Delete

    Are bonobos ‘extremely mellow’ by nature or by nurture?

    Given that although both bonobos and common chimps have rudimentary cultures (one can observe differences in behaviors between troops) I think it’s safe to assume that biology rather than culture is the primary driver of their behaviors. You could argue (and some have) that bonobo behavior is the result of a resource-richer environment; that may be indeed true.

    Commonalities between bonobos and humans, shared by the two species:

    a) females are continuously sexually receptive, we both have no “mating season”, something not observed with any other primate, including common chimps. With both animals, sex is more important for its social rather than its reproductive function. That’s why we both have the biggest (relative to body size) sex organs of all primates.

    b) prolonged childhoods

    c) language (with bonobos it’s sign language, related to sex)

    d) both have a receptor for vasopressin, a hormone believed related to feeling empathy. Bonobos have been observed showing compassion for other animals not their species.


  • stewartm commented on the blog post Come Saturday Morning: Some Good News

    2014-08-30 07:05:39View | Delete

    This is not new, but it’s likely news to you as it was to me: A little over thirty years ago, a troop of baboons in Kenya lost all its hyper-aggressive alpha males when they all died from eating tuberculosis-tainted meat. The remaining males were a lot less aggressive towards each other, and not aggressive at all towards the females in the troop — and the culture change became permanent. If baboons can mellow out, maybe humans can too?

    I don’t think baboons are a good model for humans; I think bonobos are a much better one. And they’re already EXTREMELY mellow.

    As such, I see our aggressiveness and warlike behaviors as not the result of nature but of nurture. The fact cultures have to take boys, and subject them to all sorts of brutality and deprivation to diminish their empathy, and also develop ‘he-man’ cultures as to get them to see the disregard of their bodies and their own safety as a virtue, all in order to turn them into fierce warriors (and also, more likely to abuse spouses and children, if there are few cultural restraints) as strong evidence that this is the case. In this culture, this is called “boot camp”. The fact that we and all cultures need such institutions is that boys aren’t just born that way.


  • stewartm commented on the diary post CEO Abuses Puppy. Why RW Media Supports Abusers Instead Victims by spocko.

    2014-08-30 06:58:15View | Delete

    ‘What can we do to stop these psychopaths?”

    The only way I know of is to disempower them. I don’t know if sociopaths are born or made (probably a bit of both, as in most things) but the problem in our society is that we have built hierarchies with some having power over others, where we [...]

  • stewartm commented on the diary post Prepare to Bomb More Brown People: A New Bogeyman “Worse than Hitler!” by joe shikspack.

    2014-08-29 11:41:28View | Delete

    Years of dubious decisions and foolish policy based upon destroying a series of bogeymen (all of whom are “worse than Hitler”) and their armies for “humanitarian” reasons or to “spread democracy” (which presumably propagates in a wide range of calibers) have left the US government fighting against its own expensive weapons surrendered in haste by armies [...]

  • stewartm commented on the diary post Prepare to Bomb More Brown People: A New Bogeyman “Worse than Hitler!” by joe shikspack.

    2014-08-29 11:21:19View | Delete

    Bolloxref is correct up to a point; you historiography appears to be rather 1920- and 1930-ish, if that. I really no of no serious historian who agrees with it. Modern historiography, done with documents from the Wilhelmianian Reich captured after WWII, shows a German leadership pushing Austria to punish Serbia even if it meant a [...]

  • I still don’t think that’s a good reason to deny Ukrainians their own agency

    But they HAD their own agency…and they had their own elected government–Yanukovych’s. Sure, the dude might have been corrupt, things might have not been going well, but there was always another election.

    As for the charges of vote-rigging and corruption, we have that here too…would you argue that a foreign powers should then help certain elements in the US that it favored stage a coup d’etat in the US in order to have them impose policies friendly to said foreign powers? That is the case in the Ukraine in a nutshell.

    And the policies that they are imposing will NOT be popular with the Ukrainians–how could they be? So I suspect that the facade of “democracy” will be dropped soon in order to continue to push through this episode of shock doctrine at the behest of Western banksters. Of course, our leadership won’t be bothered by the new autocrats; they are far more in favor of capitalism than they are of that messy democracy stuff.


  • I was in Kiev during the Orange revolution. I saw a lot of Ukrainians risking their lives to protest against their government. They deserve our admiration and respect.

    And, apparently, “deserve” to see their pensions cut in half by their politicos in the hire of Western banksters. As Ian Welsh writes:

    Ukraine will be the second Greece of Europe, and soon. Pensions slashed by half, gas prices through the roof, crown jewels sold to Westerners, civil servants slashed to the bone. Its industry is integrated not with Europe, but with Russia, and Russia will move to get rid of its dependency on Ukrainian factories as fast as it can, especially as some of those factories create key defense equipment, and the Ukraine obviously cannot be counted on to supply them in any time of crisis, going forward.

    Those factories are not competitive with Western factories, and when energy prices skyrocket, they won’t even be competitive with Russian factories.

    Ukraine has some hydrocarbon reserves (though much will be lost with Crimea); it is an agricultural breadbasket, and that’s about all it has going for it. Again, the economy will be opened by the IMF to the West, and whatever is worth buying, and throws off actual profits or can be downsized and firesaled, will be sold to Westerners.

    Ukrainians, including the Western Ukrainians who think that joining the West will solve their problems, are about to find out that Russia’s deals and treatment were far more kind than anything the IMF will do to them. Eastern Ukrainians, having lost a war, and being FAR more dependent on Russia, will find their economy devastated within a few years. (This will make them far more willing to resort to violence again, of course.)

    Is doing THIS to a country your way of “rewarding” them for their independence? Seems to me that Welsh nailed it again:

    Ukrainians, including the Western Ukrainians who think that joining the West will solve their problems, are about to find out that Russia’s deals and treatment were far more kind than anything the IMF will do to them.

    If I were a Ukrainian I’d be rooting for the Russians to come in and take over.


  • stewartm commented on the blog post Savage Capitalism Returns As Recovery Misses Working Class

    2014-08-27 14:36:21View | Delete

    Savage Capitalism looks allot like feudalism.

    Feudalism with cable.

    The problem with libertarians is that they seem to think that “free markets” are something that springs directly from nature, or God, instead of an institution created by humans. All markets have rules, and who writes the rules, and to what purpose, means everything in the world.

    With capitalism the historical rules were written by the PTB to guarantee that they’d be likely to always win. That’s why Piketty’s thesis that returns on capital historically outperforms pay to labor is true; it’s not unlike me writing the rules for our pickup basketball game and putting in that every time I make a basket it’s worth 3 points while every time you make one it’s only 1 point, then crowing about my “superiority” when I win and saying you should try to “interfere” with the rules I wrote.


  • Everyone driving or using oil, coal, or gas generated electricity is equally part of the problem.

    What people use depends on the energy and transportation infrastructure in-place. You can’t blame people for not using wind or solar energy when it’s not available to them. You can’t blame people for driving to work in automobiles in places where no mass transit or other alternative is available to them.

    The PTB who profit off oil dependence know this, which is why ALEC kills mass transit proposals. They WANT people to have no other choice.


  • stewartm commented on the blog post It Sounds Like Obama is Moving Towards Airstrikes in Syria

    2014-08-27 13:19:27View | Delete

    I kept claiming all of those things were b.s. and NO Team USA was under no obligation to “take care of” those things.

    Well, to be truthful with you, I was OK with those things (because of my communication with a friend over there). But unlike this administration, I had a demarcation line of “NO MORE” once those very things were achieved.

    It’s one thing to help a neighbor jump-start his car with a dead battery with your jumper cables; it’s another thing to take over his car payment.


  • The cancer originated in the US and metastasized from there around the globe. Conservative/libertarian/neoliberal philosophy and world view is a killer.

    It’s an inhuman way to view the world. No other philosophy elevates atomized individualism and “will to power” unrestrained by limits above all else. It’s why Ayn Rand celebrated these in a child murderer.


  • News of this post-Congress policymaking comes as a draft from the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) that was leaked to the media reports that climate change could be irreversible.

    DS, how could you ever *think* of something as trivial as the future of the planet when there the upcoming quarter’s profit margins at-risk?? /s


  • This is worse than Syria (and there are danged few good reasons for Syria).

    But in the Ukraine, there are:

    a) no Americans being executed on video;

    b) no minorities I’m aware facing genocide just due to their ethnicity or religion*;

    c) no Westerners being captured for ransom.

    *-well, not unless it’s “our side” that’s doing it!

    There’s only the bankster looting, bankster looting, and more bankster looting as justification. Is our foreign policy *that* transparent?


  • stewartm commented on the blog post It Sounds Like Obama is Moving Towards Airstrikes in Syria

    2014-08-27 09:10:20View | Delete

    Let’s see, the Yazidis are safe and off that mountain, the Mosul Dam has been retaken, and ISIS has been forced to retreat from Homs in northern Syria. So why can’t we just declare “victory” and go home now?

    Seems like someone doesn’t have an exit strategy.


  • stewartm commented on the blog post Right Wing’s Latest Target: Poor Children Who Need Food

    2014-08-26 10:40:27View | Delete

    Daniel Payne likely has no clue of who is actually working and working hard in America’s new normal economy.

    Include Rmoney in that. Without the 4 trillion dollars handed over to Wall Street via QE, Mr. ’47%’ would be a pauper now.


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