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Links 1/27/13

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Dung Beetles Navigate by the Milky Way Science

A handy guide to Davos-speak Reuters. Paragraph four is the lead.

Davos: Was the Mood Too Good to Be True? CNBC

Martin Wolf on a post-crisis Davos FT. Video.

Coene Says ECB’s ‘Nuclear Deterrent’ Ideally Left Unused Bloomberg

Groupthink in Davos: The Financial Crisis Is Over Businessweek

Italy central bank approves Monte Paschi bailout request Reuters

Ehud Barak at Davos: U.S. Could Strike Iran to Block Nuclear Progress Daily Beast

Yair Lapid, smooth face of Israel’s ‘new normal’ Guardian

Morsi sends army to Suez after deadly clashes  Al Jazeera. Note paragraph five.

Amid clashes of Egypt’s Brotherhood, opposition – the quiet struggle of those in the middle McClatchy

Mali Militants Shift Up Tactics As France’s War Coalition Grows Wired

The friendship of Barack and Hillary Chris Cillizza, WaPo.

Kerry unlikely to block Keystone XL, experts say CBC

Assault Weapons Ban Lacks Democratic Votes to Pass Senate Bloomberg. That was fast.

Stephen King takes on thorny issue of gun control in new essay Bangor Daily News

NYT Cleans Up Bank of America’s Books CEPR

Guest Contribution: “Monetary Alchemy, Fiscal Science” EconBrowser

Crazy Ideas Eschaton. Banksters to the rest of us: “MMT for me, but not for thee.”

Modern-Day Robin Hood Just Sleeping In Woods, Shooting Rich People With Arrows The Onion

Is miscarriage murder? States that put fetal rights ahead of a mother’s say so Guardian. Who said The Handmaid’s Tale was fiction?

Creationism spreading in schools, thanks to vouchers MSNBC (DK)

Teacher boycott of standardized test in Seattle spreads WaPo

College Degree, No Class Time Required Online WSJ. “Flexible Option.”

What We Have Less Of Paul Krugman, Times

Better Than Waiting Tables Testosterone Pit

Lovelace: a feminism-free ‘feminist’ critique of the pornography industry Guardian

Short skirts, bad stars and chow mein: why India’s women get raped Reuters. Classic material.

Not Everyone is Living Longer Brad DeLong. That’s not a bug. It’s a feature.

Developer pitches $1B commonwealth for Belle Isle Detroit News

Milwaukee Makerspace. Pretty nifty.

Anonymous hacks US Sentencing Commission, distributes files ZDNet (RR). See “defacement text” at end, starting “Citizens of the world.”

Antidote du jour (furzy mouse):

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122 comments

  1. ArkansasAngie

    Topics that politicians want to talk abbout … gun control, abortion, immigration, 9/11,…

    Topics politicians don’t want to talk about … criminal investigations.

    Don’t be wedged.

    1. Jim Haygood

      Topics that politicians (and therefore the MSM) want to talk about: ‘eliminating gender discrimination.’

      On that subject, here’s a new blast of war porn from the Times-Titanic’s neocon skank, Elizabeth Bumiller:

      For all three [female] officers, the ban on women in combat was not so much a glass ceiling as a seemingly bulletproof one that limited their career options even as women played an increasingly important role in defending the country.

      For them, the significance of Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta’s decision last week to lift the 1994 ban on women in combat was not just that it gives them the opportunity to fight but also that it offers women a chance to advance in a career in which combat experience remains essential.

      http://www.nytimes.com/2013/01/27/us/for-3-women-combat-option-came-a-bit-late.html?hp&_r=0

      Climb to the top of the U.S. political heap on a mountain of Third World corpses!

      Hell, it worked for Madeleine Albright and Hillary Clinton ….

      1. Jim Haygood

        Did you catch the meme they slipped in?

        ‘Defending the country’ … by invading Iraq and Afghanistan and [maybe soon] Mali, none of which constitute the slightest military threat to the U.S.

        Slick!

    2. Bev

      Politicians need to correct an injustice and so need to talk about freeing Don Siegelman.

      http://markcrispinmiller.com/2013/01/don-siegelman-is-still-in-prison-why/

      Don Siegelman is still in prison. Why?

      From Friends of Don Siegelman:

      Dad has served over 400 days in prison.

      He is strong; he is charismatic; he is positive, but he is extremely disappointed. It is not the separation, which hurts him, for he is closer to his family than ever. It is not the lack of freedom, which causes him grief, for he cherishes the time he has to work on his book, coach the young men around him, read, and grow spiritually. He is not crippled by the fact that he has spent more than a year in prison, he is burdened by the greater injustice that surrounds him – the use of the justice system as a political weapon, concealed, quiet, and effective. He wants change.

      Justice should be the greatest good for the greatest amount of people.

      Let’s greet this inauguration by making the court system a priority for the President. Can you take a few minutes to share Dad’s petition for freedom and write the President an email http://www.whitehouse.gov/contact/submit-questions-and-comments ? You may use the talking points below or here.

      Also, Congressman Alan Grayson from Florida came out in support of clemency for Dad on the radio this week. Listen here!

      Write Dad
      http://www.free-don.org/contact_home.html

      Join us on Facebook
      https://www.facebook.com/login.php?next=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2Fgroups%2F340850189332843

      Twitter
      https://twitter.com/JusticeForGovDS

      If you would like to donate, you can do so here
      http://freedon.chipin.com/campaign-to-free-don-siegelman

      Thank you for striving for justice with us,

      Dana
      https://www.facebook.com/dana.siegelman

      Why the court system needs a thorough review

      § 1. The initial prosecutor and U.S. Attorney, whose office prosecuted Siegelman, was married to the campaign manager of Siegelman’s opponent.

      § 2. Siegelman was indicted only after he announced that he would seek reelection, and one month before his reelection campaign

      § 3. Siegelman was convicted of bribery for re-appointing a contributor to a non-paying state board, on which the contributor had served for 12 years under 3 other governors. The contribution went not to Siegelman’s campaign but to a lottery-referendum campaign which, if established, would have sent Alabama children to college tuition-free.

      § 4. Despite the common practice in the United States of appointing supporters to a wide variety of governmental positions, the courts concluded that this particular appointment was an implied “explicit” quid pro quo. This is despite the fact that there was neither self-enrichment nor evidence of an asserted agreement. The government never alleged that Siegelman put a single penny in his pocket.

      § 5. Siegelman’s judge, Mark Fuller, owned a military business which received $200 million in Defense contracts from the Bush Administration just weeks after convicting Siegelman in 2007.

      § 6. Judge Fuller was on the G.O.P. Executive Committee in Alabama for years and had run campaigns against Siegelman.

      § 7. Siegelman, when Governor, prompted an investigation against Fuller for his unethical financial practices as a District Attorney. Fuller claimed the allegations were politically motivated even though audits confirmed the misconduct.

      § 8. Judge Fuller instructed the jury on a novel legal standard, allowing the jury to infer that a bribe occurred. Despite the expansive instruction, the jury deadlocked twice, deliberating for 10 days. After the jury returned deadlocked for the second time, Fuller instructed the jury of the potential for “a lifetime job for you as a juror” explaining that he had “a lifetime appointment” and was “a very patient person.” The jury convicted the next day.

      § 9. The government’s witness, a convicted felon facing 10 years in prison, entered a plea deal with prosecutors for a lighter sentence. After Siegelman was convicted, prosecutors recommended no jail time for the witness. 60 Minutes reported that prosecutors made the witness “write his proposed testimony over and over” so that he could “get his story straight.” 60 Minutes also exposed that the witness’ testimony was materially incorrect.

      § 10. Though the 11th Circuit initially found “substantial questions of fact or law likely to result in a reversal,” Siegelman’s panel of judges was changed to one consisting entirely of Republicans who disregarded the circuit’s initial opinion and affirmed the conviction. In addition, the person who began the investigation of Siegelman is now an 11th Circuit judge.

      § 11. Despite unprecedented encouragement from 113 former state Attorneys General, both Republican and Democrat, top Constitutional Law Scholars, and even Pulitzer Prize winning conservative George Will, the Supreme Court refused to hear the case.

      *Judge Fuller ordered Siegelman report to prison on September 11th 2012, a day when media attention would be focused elsewhere.

      via Friends of Don Siegelman | 1827 1st Ave North, Birmingham, AL 35203

    3. Bev

      Shorter Version: Don Siegelman–Politicians need to correct an injustice and so need to talk about freeing Don Siegelman.

      Go to following website for more working links:

      http://markcrispinmiller.com/2013/01/don-siegelman-is-still-in-prison-why/

      Don Siegelman is still in prison. Why?

      From Friends of Don Siegelman:

      Dad has served over 400 days in prison.

      He is strong; he is charismatic; he is positive, but he is extremely disappointed. It is not the separation, which hurts him, for he is closer to his family than ever. It is not the lack of freedom, which causes him grief, for he cherishes the time he has to work on his book, coach the young men around him, read, and grow spiritually. He is not crippled by the fact that he has spent more than a year in prison, he is burdened by the greater injustice that surrounds him – the use of the justice system as a political weapon, concealed, quiet, and effective. He wants change.

      Justice should be the greatest good for the greatest amount of people.

      Let’s greet this inauguration by making the court system a priority for the President. Can you take a few minutes to share Dad’s petition for freedom and write the President an email http://www.whitehouse.gov/contact/submit-questions-and-comments ? You may use the talking points below or here.

      Also, Congressman Alan Grayson from Florida came out in support of clemency for Dad on the radio this week. Listen here!

      Write Dad
      http://www.free-don.org/contact_home.html

      Join us on Facebook
      https://www.facebook.com/login.php?next=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2Fgroups%2F340850189332843

      Twitter
      https://twitter.com/JusticeForGovDS

      If you would like to donate, you can do so here
      http://freedon.chipin.com/campaign-to-free-don-siegelman

      Thank you for striving for justice with us,

      Dana
      https://www.facebook.com/dana.siegelman

      Why the court system needs a thorough review

      § 1. The initial prosecutor and U.S. Attorney, whose office prosecuted Siegelman, was married to the campaign manager of Siegelman’s opponent.

      § 2. Siegelman was indicted only after he announced that he would seek reelection, and one month before his reelection campaign

      § 3. Siegelman was convicted of bribery for re-appointing a contributor to a non-paying state board, on which the contributor had served for 12 years under 3 other governors. The contribution went not to Siegelman’s campaign but to a lottery-referendum campaign which, if established, would have sent Alabama children to college tuition-free.

      § 4. Despite the common practice in the United States of appointing supporters to a wide variety of governmental positions, the courts concluded that this particular appointment was an implied “explicit” quid pro quo. This is despite the fact that there was neither self-enrichment nor evidence of an asserted agreement. The government never alleged that Siegelman put a single penny in his pocket.

      snip

      § 7. Siegelman, when Governor, prompted an investigation against Fuller for his unethical financial practices as a District Attorney. Fuller claimed the allegations were politically motivated even though audits confirmed the misconduct.

      § 8. Judge Fuller instructed the jury on a novel legal standard, allowing the jury to infer that a bribe occurred. Despite the expansive instruction, the jury deadlocked twice, deliberating for 10 days. After the jury returned deadlocked for the second time, Fuller instructed the jury of the potential for “a lifetime job for you as a juror” explaining that he had “a lifetime appointment” and was “a very patient person.” The jury convicted the next day.

      § 9. The government’s witness, a convicted felon facing 10 years in prison, entered a plea deal with prosecutors for a lighter sentence. After Siegelman was convicted, prosecutors recommended no jail time for the witness. 60 Minutes reported that prosecutors made the witness “write his proposed testimony over and over” so that he could “get his story straight.” 60 Minutes also exposed that the witness’ testimony was materially incorrect.

      § 10. Though the 11th Circuit initially found “substantial questions of fact or law likely to result in a reversal,” Siegelman’s panel of judges was changed to one consisting entirely of Republicans who disregarded the circuit’s initial opinion and affirmed the conviction. In addition, the person who began the investigation of Siegelman is now an 11th Circuit judge.

      § 11. Despite unprecedented encouragement from 113 former state Attorneys General, both Republican and Democrat, top Constitutional Law Scholars, and even Pulitzer Prize winning conservative George Will, the Supreme Court refused to hear the case.

      snip

  2. Gladys (Peter Pinguid's assistant)

    Gladys’ Story (from the Pinguin Chronicles series)

    Gladys here, Peter Pinguid’s assistant.

    I am, to put it frankly, a person who deems everything small and modest to be beautiful and pleasing, and to whom all that is big and exacting is fearsome and horrid. The passion to go far in the world is unknown to me.

    I grew up in the Park Versailles section of the Bronx, and my parents worked for the Peter Pinguid Society, cleaning office buildings in Manhattan.

    They were paid such low wages that I had to drop out of eighth grade due to lack of money, and start working in the fast food industry, at McDonald’s.

    A few years later I realized I wanted to go back to school, so I took the GED and scored exceptionally high. Next I applied and was accepted to Hostos Community College, and eventually got accepted to Columbia University’s School of General Studies, with full tuition benefits.

    That was when Peter Pinguid stepped forward. He told my parents I should forget about college and work for him instead. Like this I would be paid for on the job training, and with fringe benefits as well.

    The fringe benefit was his promise to get my parents get out of their cramped apartment in the Bronx, and buy them a nice house in Westchester County. They couldn’t say no to their boss, and I couldn’t say no to my parents. He’d made us an offer we couldn’t refuse.

    The next day Peter Pinguid took us on a tour of the house that wasn’t but that he said would soon someday be. We walked in its corridors and took the airs of its rooms. We climbed the stairs and stood in the Westchester County sunshine on its balconies and looked out into the distances of what would soon become our fields.

    Come lunch time, Peter Pinguid’s servant arranged a fold-out table and chairs, and we dined on lobster and caviar and expensive champagne in the middle of the future banquet room.

    My father went along on this tour and said not a word when my mother, dangling like ivy off Peter Pinguid’s arm, would marvel at the line of a wall that wasn’t any more than some milkweed floating through a sunbeam or nod at the clean crack of the glistening hardwood floors that we were none of us walking on. At one point, when we were touring the airy attics, Peter Pinguid even commented on the quality of the underroof and the clean lines of the non-existent ceiling beams.

    That was twenty years ago. My father died in 2006, my mother is still cleaning offices for the Pinguid Society, still waiting for that house she was promised in 1993.

    And I’m still working as Peter Pinguid’s assistant, still living with my mother in her one bedroom apartment in the Bronx. Because that’s all I can afford on the miserable salary he gives me.

    I would wish it on no one to be me. Only I am capable of bearing myself. To know so much, to have seen so much, and to say nothing, just about nothing.

    I am Gladys, I am the 99 percent.

    1. Ms G

      Dear Gladys,

      What you did was very brave. We had no idea.

      When the Buddha said that the fudamental condition of life is suffering, he wasn’t kidding, and he definitely had the Peter Pinguid Society in mind as he spoke those words.

      We can’t promise you and your mom a rose garden, but we may be able to help out in some modest ways. lettres(dot)msg@gmail(dot)com.

      Ms G & Tribe

    2. JTFaraday

      Never fear. Walmart knows your plight, and it pledges to implement a minimum wage “job guarantee” for all Veterans of the Secretarial Pool, just as soon as its prototype minimum wage “job guarantee” for all returning Veterans of Foreign Wars is up and running.

      Walmart is calling this work of public policy genius “The ‘Job Guarantee Buffer Stock’ Reserve Army of Labor”–fondly called the “‘JG Buffer Stock’ Reserve Army of Labor” for short by those who always have held it near and dear their hearts.

      In a real public relations coup, Walmart already has former Marxists lining up to defend its leftist credentials.

      You gotta admit–even “Peter Pinguid” could not make this stuff up. The Truth really is stranger than fiction!

      Also, is that a cat stalking that owl?

  3. D. Mathews

    The Palestinian West Bank has been illegally de facto annexed by Israel. This territory was not awarded to Israel even in the UN General Assembly partition plan of 1947, and indeed Israel’s possession of it is not recognized even by the US, much less the rest of the world. It was conquered by main force in 1967 and has been settled by hundreds of thousands of Israeli colonists, who have encroached on Palestinian orchards and farms, and have diverted Palestinian water. The Palestinians there have been kept stateless and without the rights of citizenship. They are sentenced in Israeli military courts. Israel controls their land, water and air space, and simply takes what land of theirs it wants, at will. Palestinians have been divided by Israeli Apartheid highways, checkpoints and the Apartheid Wall, so that often getting to hospital in an emergency is impossible and a one-hour journey now takes 8 hours.

  4. petridish

    Re: Is miscarriage murder?

    Thought about this during the last presidential election when, in an attempt to “humanize” Mitt, Ann Romney told her “moving” story about suffering a miscarriage in the middle of the night, but waiting several hours to wake the hard-working, family-supporting Mittster.

    At the same time, several of these “fetus as person” laws were being proposed.

    Can you imagine what Carmen Ortiz could have made of Ann Romney’s delay? Clear evidence, I say, of MURDEROUS intent–off with her head!!! Would Mitt’s need for sleep while this heinous crime was being committed have made him an accomplice? (Kind of like driving the getaway car.)

    As an aside,do any of these laws specify at what gestational period fetus-as-person becomes pig-at-trough?

      1. YankeeFrank

        For “good” people like Ann Romney and Rush Limbaugh, any ailment or illness is a tragedy happening to an innocent: be it miscarriage for Ann or popping 100′s of oxycontin per day (and roping truly innocent folks like poor cleaning women into his crimes like Limbaugh), its all just so much sadness happening to good people. Of course, if they were poor, well, everyone knows the poor are morally weak and easily fallen to evil, and the hammer of the law cannot fall too harshly on them.

        1. Maximilien

          Go easy on poor Ann, you might cause a flare-up of her MS. You didn’t know she was diagnosed with the disease in 1998? You’re forgiven. You, like millions of others, have probably seen campaign video of her sprinting across a stage and giving her husband a bear-hug, smiling and laughing and waving her arms. You, like millions of others, probably assumed she was in rude good health.

          Well she’s not, according to all reports. They say she has MS and that she’s had it for 14 years. Even though she shows no visible signs of the disease, that doesn’t mean that the reports or the diagnosis are erroneous. Nope, she must have “silent” MS.

          And that type is especially prone to flare-up.

  5. YankeeFrank

    That Krugman response to Yglesias… what a bunch of wankers the both of them are. Sure Krugman at least points out that people have much less time as they are being worked to the bone. At least Krugman points that out… Yglesias, true to form, loves to throw the word “stuff” at us as if it means something. Every few weeks/months, Yglesias throws this argument out there, probably when his readership is waning, so he can pump up his page hits with people irate at his stupidity and myopia.

    The fat, ugly slug that is Yglesias, scampering up the greasy pole to pundit-heaven, leaving behind a mass of mis- and disinformation gigabytes long…

    Typical of a jerk who grew up too comfortable in some upper-middle class suburban stankpit, carelessly ignoring how 80% of the American people actually live these days, with no job security, wages that they can’t live on with anything other than the most desperate quality of life… his arguments used to justify the “policies” of do-nothing democrats like Obummer.

    The actual government scum that protect the kleptocrats directly will be only one level lower than a human paraquat like Yglesias when they get to hell.

    But then I’d rather be a ditch-digger than a know-it-all, fat pompous wanker like Yglesias. Living in that head, one can easily imagine, is like wallowing in a gaseous cloud of self-referential flatulence: he should hang himself and do humanity a favor. The farce of it is that he really thinks his thoughts are worth something; that he has achieved something meritocratic, sitting at his desk all day, farting out gaseous clouds of idiocy for bored and boring desk-jockeys to nod approvingly at while the lot slowly rot in their meaningless, loveless lives.

    The irony is that he is questioning the stagnation meme, when it is late stage capitalist stagnation itself that is responsible for someone like him actually earning a living doling out thought-farts all day long. The one thing I can say positive about him is that his post count is very high… but that’s actually a negative because its all garbage, so less would actually be better.

    1. craazyman

      And They Called it “Work”

      A number of years ago — a distance in time for which, unlike most temporal distances that separate us from our past, I am now very grateful — I was attempting a difficult transition from years of unstructured bohemian existence back to more traditional corporate employment.

      I secured a temp job working as a financial copywriter at an old-line asset management firm. They sat me down in a cubicle outside a row of window offices occupied by “project managers” and a “vice president, marketing”, who anchored the row with a corner office.

      They were all women — although that fact is largely irrelevant to the essential reality of the situation, other than for its anecdotal contribution.

      I’d come to work and sit down in my assigned cubicle and begin to do my work, and then around 9:30 or 10:00 a.m. they congregate outside of one of their offices and begin to talk. They’d talk about shopping, about movies, about vacation spots, about food. They’d talk and talk and talk. They’d break out into peal of giggle and crackling laughter that would die back down into hushed and rushed words, only to erupt back again.

      I moved to a cubicle farther away. But that did little good. The distraction was debilitating, for me anyway. I thought I might try to sit down in the men’s room on the toilet and work there, somehow. At least it would be quiet. I think I even asked, when my temper flared up, but I could not have easily take a laptop in there and I gave up on it and tried to endure.

      I also made an effort to transition to a full-time job there — where I would have had an office. That required an interview with the VP, and she asked me to check her calendar with her assistant, who also sat in a cube, outside her door. I did this four times and each time I showed up, right on time, and waited for 5, 10 minutes until I was told she was too busy to see me and to re-schedule. I could hear her in the office chatting and laughing all the while.

      At 4:30 they’d had a full day of this, punctuated by ocassional retreats into their offices for half an hour or 15 minutes to address some brief task. They would retreat for the day into their offices around 4:30 and work quietly until 6. Then they’d go home, wearily complaining to each other about the “long day”.

      It would start over the next day, and each day was the same.

      Most white collar bureaucratic offices I’ve seen are different less in kind than in degree. Both men and women. I think most office jobs can be done as easily in 5 hours as in 8 or 9. The work would probably be better, more focused and sharper. But I think it would also be harder. There would have to be honesty about what needs to be done and how long it takes to do it.

      And that, the honesty, would kill everything, even the data. It might actually mean something, unlike now, when it means nothing at all, used in studies that say nothing, by people who know nothing except how to add nonsense to nonsense and call it something that claims to be “true”. I bet it took them 2 or 3 hours to pull it together, but they probably sat there, in their chair, for a day or two doing it. It is work, after all. LOL.

      1. JohnL

        Too true. I usually work from home, but on one gig the customer wanted me to be on site so I could be “accessible”. After about a week I was begging her to let me work from home so I could actually get some work done. We compromised. I would come in to the office 2 days a week from 10-4 for “accessibility”, but she understood that I wouldn’t get any work done in that time.

        My son’s an editor and works alternate weeks at home and in the office. His productivity by the company’s own measures is higher when he works at home.

      2. scraping_by

        Actually, not so bad.

        When technology has reduces the amount of effort needed to do a job, there are two obvious responses. Cut down on the number of workers or cut down on the number of hours each worker works.

        It’s possible your excoworkers were doing the latter, with the odd proviso that working long hours is the sign of a serious employee. In a better world, the office worker will find something to do with unbespoke time that may not involve physical presence.

        While there’s an entire industry pushing the former solution, more people are realizing wages aren’t just a cost for business, that they have an important social function. As recent history has show reengineering will inevitably go too far piling up the work on a few survivors, it works better to look at slack activities with a gentle eye.

        1. The Black Swan

          I work as a cook. Most days are 8+ hours. I never get breaks, I rarely get to eat. I barely make a subsistence wage. I both loathe and envy the office worker.

          1. craazyman

            I thought that was supposed to be a glamour job where you can be “the man” and bang all the hot waitresses laying them across the empty tables at 3 a.m. while the sweat and scream with pleasure.

            That’s what they do in New York anyway. So I hear. Not me though. I’m usually asleep then, trying to brace for another day of white collar purgatory.

            Actually that makes me kind of envious too. I wouldn’t mind a little of that. It’s not like you can do that in an average dysfunctional white collar office. Most people are stressed and passive aggressive islands of desperately frustrated ambition, or their soul-dead zombies not even knowing they’re only waiting now to retire and die. They’d rather knife you than help you. They’d rather not talk to you at all, unless it’s about the weather.

            If you ever tried to hit on any of the women — at least the ones under 160 pounds — you’d probably get fired. it would be bad ugly politics. And let’s say you got lucky and laid one across a conference table, you couldn’t do it during business hours anyway. it would have to be someplace else, somplace off premisis, someplace where you’d have to plan well ahead, — that wouldn’t be possible because everyone and everything is too nervous and careful and stiffly frozen up inside — and what good is that when you want instant gratification.

            sometimes you wonder what’s going on, why is everyone so crazed and tight. why is everyone so dead? isn’t death long enough? why make life death? it’s always like that in the white collar office.

          2. different clue

            I was a short-order grill cook once many years ago. (And a dishwasher before that). Perhaps there are people who confuse “production cook” with
            “high-prestige chef/restaurateur”.

      3. different clue

        It was a way to keep them job-imprisoned within their cubicles rather than doing something better and higher on the outside after doing the 2 or 3 hours of actuall work needing to be done. Having to be there the whole 8 hours to get paid the whole 8 hours guaranteed their willing obedience as self-guarding prisoners for the duration of their daily sentences.

    2. YankeeFrank

      Well… my point wasn’t exactly that office work can and should be done in far fewer hours, which is generally true…

      it was more that a guy like Yglesias, as stunted and ugly as he is, morally speaking, is treated as a valued member of our intelligentsia for spewing the normal toxic sludge that functions as “cover” for our kleptocratic, murdering “elites”. His justifications for the vast income inequality and desperation of so many lives are flimsy at best, thoughtless mind crime at worst, and relegate him to the level just above the Tim Geithners of the world in moral bankruptcy and evil. Though, providing cover for those who perform the most evil acts is perhaps worse, I haven’t read my Dante recently.

      1. craazyman

        Yeah I probably wasn’t responding to your comment as much as taking the study referenced in links as a point of departure for my own.

        Fortunately I don’t even know who the dude Yglesias is. I never read that sort of shit. Even Krugman, I don’t read him either. I don’t read much of anything. I don’t even know who 99% of these people are. I’ve never read a word they write — some dude named Ezra Klein, who the hell is he? Do I care what he thinks or write? No. Rebecca Soulnit? That’s a name I’ve seen. Who cares what she writes? Not me. Yglesias. Who? And then there’s somebody named Megan McCardle. Who is she? I don’t even care enough to lift a mouse finger to find out. The New York what? The Times? So what. Who cares? I’m sure a few folks are arguing on a street corner in Madagascar, maybe right this minute. So what? Am I going to worry about it. LOL.

        I can look out the window and see things. I can talk to people, like the woman at the Spanish institute who rolls her own organic tobacco cigarettes. I can talk to imaginary people in my mind. Or you, even, right here. And I can write, too. What do I need all these morons for? Nothing. Nothing at all. Except when I want a good laugh. For that I thank them, whoever they are.

      2. different clue

        I don’t read Yglesias and I have already forgotten what media outlet you say he gets paid by . . . but what if the regular users of that media outlet were to organize a boycott against that outlet’s advertisers until those advertisers were able to torture that media outlet into firing this Yglesias?

        1. zygmuntFRAUDbernier

          Does this look like a cart and horse question? Or is it more like a chicken and egg matter? Before the boycott, there was a reason and a movement. Before the movement to boycoot, Ylesias was a columnist, before the boycott. After the boycott started, people stopped going to 25th Avenue.

          1. different clue

            Well, I was speculating about the possibility of an anti-advertiser boycott against the sponsors of whatever place Yglesias gets paid by . . . now. If such a boycott could get Yglesias fired from his current place of employment, could the people who made it happen be so inspired that they
            do it to the advertisers of whatever place hires Yglesias next? And then get him fired from the place after that? And the place after that? Could they get him driven to a far corner of Blogo-Siberia where he can blog again and rattle the digital tin cup of pencils?

  6. Ms G

    RE “Developer pitches $1B commonwealth for Belle Isle Detroit News”

    J____, M_____ and G__! WTF! WTF! WTF! WTF!

    And someone (the Predators behind this grand scheme) even ginned up “polls” favorable.

      1. Ms G

        I did abandon all hope after reading about the first 40. For my money, most of them were planted by the p.r. trolls hired by the “group” that remains pretty much unidentified who is behind this (with the mayor as their puppet and co-looter, of course).

        1. patricia

          I agree about the trolls, but also there has been a long destructive war between the city and its suburban communities. The burbs are essentially to blame for the condition of urban Detroit. That makes them more angry and stupid than they might otherwise be.

          F&*^k the wealthholes of Michigan and their bizarre fantasies for an utopia on a small island between two countries. There are huge tracks of open land in Detroit looking to be restored. Those tracks are real estate. The park is not.

          It’s a pretty place. Gorgeous huge old fountains, greenhouses and gardens, aquarium, yacht club gently moldering since Detroit’s glory days. Volunteers have spent much time love to keep it from total destruction.

          In the summers, Detroiters fish there and have picnics and parties.

          1. Klassy!

            I hope it is just trolls, but in my experience the coddling of the rich (or slave mentality) seems just as pervasive, if not more so at the local level. The idea of turning over the commons to the “job creators” seems to be a bipartsan affair sold as “trust them– they’re succesful!” (really, that seems to be the extent of the argument).
            I always laugh at the Dem partisans who argue “do the hard work and reform at the local level!”. What a crock.
            On a more positive note– no “haters gonna hate” argument.

          2. Ms G

            I don’t know Detroit, and it may be the burbs have always been the enemy of the City. But I thought that the recent acceleration in the looting of Detroit was due to a clear plan, a piece of which is the installation of (if memory serves) the ECB-like “City Manager” (an unelected technocrat in the service of the privatization army). For the past couple of years, also, Mike Bloomberg has been making these remarks about Detroit like: people who can’t afford life in New York should move to Detroit. He’s also been putting all the energy of his last 12 months (and City monye) into launching a huge tech university to make NY a “silicon valley.” In that regard, I believe it has been mentioned in the press that there’s a “renaissance” in Detroit in the form of “tech start ups” etc. From the description of the plan for this amazing sounding park, I would bet my penny jar that Bloomberg and people like him (champions of privatization, private equity people, etc.) have a some sort of master plan to turn Detroit into the Kleptocratic dystopia of a giant gated community of the .01% in all the desirable land (e.g. the park), tech jobs, and then scads of land with cheap micro-housing for the 99%.

            No public parks, no publicly owned mass transportation, no publicly owned utilities, etc. That’s my “forecast into the future” about what’s going on with Detroit. I apologize for the rambly-ness of this post though :)

          3. patricia

            The usual antagonism between urban and suburban has been extreme here, a particularly toxic blend of racism/classism. The city has been left and looted for 45 yrs. It is literally wide open—139 sq miles and pop ~700,000. Compare to Boston at 90 sq miles and pop ~625,000. It’s 83% black, 11% white.

            Over 40% of Detroit City’s children are in charter schools.

            Belle Isle is an island, so the only gates the dystopians would need is on the one bridge in/out. Easypeasy.

            Detroit has long been the standard American post-industrial joke so Bloomberg is merely being his usual cliché self. To cadge from Cohen, “Get ready for the future, brother: it is Detroit.”

            But hey, we are now free to carry an ounce of weed.

    1. prostratedragon

      This should make it clear now why to Mr. NYC-don’t-need-no-sea-protection that city often sounds like the world’s most expensive sacrifice zone.

  7. Garrett Pace

    Creationism Spreading Because of Vouchers

    What a fascinating tour of creationism horror stories, and right at the intersection between “learning”, “progress” and the rights of parents. Fine and dandy to give parents some control over their children’s instruction as wards of the state, but only so long as you like what they’re having their kids learn.

    Used to be, it was just the creationists who were afraid of ideas and wanted them squelched, but more and more this seems to be a general failing.

    1. from Mexico

      From the article:

      As Americans, we must do the right thing and teach our students evidence-based science.

      ZACK KOPPLIN, 19-year-old student at Rice University, and one of the leading American voices against the teaching of creationism in schools

      Evidence-based science?

      Well I guess that leaves classical and neoclassical economics out in the cold too.

      1. Inverness (@Inverness)

        Versus faith-based economic ideas, like trickle-down, or the market will regulate everything.

        1. from Mexico

          When the gap between the reigning mythology — in our case “the invisible hand” — and reality becomes too great for the reigning mythology to be believed in any longer, then a majority of the population ceases to believe in the ruling mythology.

          This is what happened in northern Europe and Britain in the late 15th and 16th centuries when large swaths of the population stopped believing in the truth claims made by the Catholic Church.

          While this can be quite revolutionary and liberating, as “every man becomes his own priest” as Martin Luther put it, and because the truth claims inextricably underpin political agendas, it nevertheless becomes most chaotic when all sorts of competing truth claims are unleashed.

          During the religious wars that followed in the wake of the Protestant Reformation, which began in 1546 in Germany and didn’t end until the end of the English Civil War in 1651, as much as 50% of these countries populations were killed off. It wasn’t until Descartes and Hobbes formulated a new mythology — Modernism — and it became dominant that the fighting over competing truth claims came to a halt.

          As John Gray points out here, when a reigning mythology dies due to events and not as a result of being displaced by superior thought, it comes with grave consequences:

          Because this myth of the self-regulating market — the invisible hand — has hit the buffers, all kinds of new movements or old movements under new forms are emerging and many of them are toxic: xenophobia, hatred of internal and external minorities, anti-Semitism, the classical toxic poisons. That’s what always happens, tends almost invariably to happen, when a ruling myth of this kind, in this case a sort of secular myth of economic improvment, is not intellecutally challenged but shaken by events. I think the one thing we can be sure of is it wouldn’t be a rational rebirth of social democracy.

          http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/audio/2011/oct/06/big-ideas-podcast-adam-smith-audio?INTCMP=SRCH

          1. Inverness (@Inverness)

            This is a thoughtful analysis. What worries me is the whole “end of history” narrative, which (as I understand it) discredits leftist economic ideas.

          2. diptherio

            And as he points out at the beginning, reigning mythologies have historically always been brought down by events. Hence the pessimism some of us feel about the possibilities of non-traumatic change.

  8. David Lentini

    Loved the Davos stories. Wolff’s self-satisfied reporting really captured the narcisscistic insanity of the place. Looks like the Lords of the Planet are tired of the “crisis” they made and are ready to move on, now that they see how effective drone strikes can be and the lack of any real social revolution, and so they can now look forward to the new Global Plantation Economy they will inflict on everyone.

  9. AbyNormal

    re Why Indian Women Get Raped

    “The Anjuman Muslim Panchayat in Salumbur town in Rajasthan has decreed that girls should not use mobile phones outside their own homes or dance at weddings so that “they do not get involved with boys.” Girls cannot dance on the street during wedding processions because that would mean objectifying women.”

    2:28 DANCE SISTERS DANCE on their HEADS

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-Q4kwu6MOQM

    1. scraping_by

      Ah yes. Fear porn.

      The gun fantasy describes life in a failed state. As several writers are noting, that’s liable to a self-fulfilling prophesy.

      The evasion of a gun safety course is, like most legalisms, just a provision for future defense. In court, in the press, among people, not defense against ‘violent criminals.’ Guns will always be more danger than defense.

  10. Garrett Pace

    From the Lovelace article:

    “the filmmakers let the camera linger on titillating shots of her naked nubility, and showed graphic scenes of oral sex. Then, they try to undercut the audiences’ arousal by splicing in horrifying images of Linda’s abuse and degradation at the hands of her brutal manager-husband.”

    Without having seen it, seems like the film criticizes pornography the way Zero Dark Thirty criticizes torture.

    “It’s okay when our side does it.”

    1. Inverness (@Inverness)

      Garret,
      That’s a pretty empathetic comparison. It’s horrifying how torture has even become open to debate in the public sphere.

      1. Garrett Pace

        I was trying to conflate the films’ treatment of their respective subjects, not the subjects themselves.

        But now that you mention it, I do find it interesting that both pornography and torture involve ritualistic sexual humiliation.

        Though the agency of the participants is rather different, of course.

  11. Inverness (@Inverness)

    “Countercultural notions have always found an active if small group among youth, and the popularity of radical left-wing magazines like Jacobin among young academics, journalists and activists in places like New York City suggest the appeal of Marxism is here to stay in a society that is visibly crumbling under the failure of prevailing systems of economic organization.”

    http://www.truthdig.com/eartotheground/item/karl_marx_is_more_relevant_than_ever_20130125/

    1. from Mexico

      Great article and a nice follow-up to the discussion that’s been going on regarding Marxism for the last several days on these ‘Links’ threads.

      However, it poses some interesting questions.

      Is Marxism, for instance, pro-democracy or anti-democracy? If it is anti-democracy, then this is a trait it shares with neoliberalism.

      Sunkara notes, for instance, that in the wake of the second world war:

      Capitalism thrived and, though uneven, progress was made by American workers. With pressure from below, the state was wielded by reformers, not smashed, and class compromise, not just class struggle, fostered economic growth and shared prosperity previously unimaginable.

      Exploitation and oppression didn’t go away, but the system seemed not only powerful and dynamic, but reconcilable with democratic ideals.

      This flies in the face of one of Marxism’s basic tenets, discussed here by Reinhold Niebuhr:

      In Marxist thought political power is always subordinate to, and the tool of economic power. Government is always bogus. It is never more than the executive committee of the propertied classes…

      The significant point in the American development is that here, no less than in Europe, a democratic political community has had enough virtue and honesty to disprove the Marxist indictment that government is merely the instrument of privileged classes.
      – REINHOLD NIEBUHR, The Irony of American History

      Here by Hannah Arendt:

      [T]o equate political power with “the organization of violence” makes sense only if one follows Marx’s estimate of the state as an instrument of oppression in the hands of the ruling class.
      – HANNAH ARENDT, On Violence

      And here by Amitai Etzioni:

      ECONOMIC CONCENTRATION AND INTERVENTIONIST POWER

      The two most important observations about the application of interventionist power are: (1) its exercise generates economic consequences comparable in magnigude to those gained through the exercise of economic power (by one economic actor over others), and (2) interventionist power can be applied whether or not the actor commands economic power.… In short, economic actors can, by the use of political means, achieve various effects often attributed in concentration of economic power.

      The theorem just stated is in opposition to the Marxist notion that polical power merely or largely reflects economic power. While it is true that if an actor commands economic power it might be converted into interventionist power, economic power is not a prerequisite for interventionist power, and interventionist power is often the source of economic power. While many actors command both kinds of power, there is no necessary correlation between the two.

      – AMITAI ETZIONI, The Moral Dimension

      But as Sunkara goes on to observe, capitalism (and democracy) for the benefit the masses was ephemeral:

      The progress, however, was fleeting. Social democracy faced the structural crisis in the 1970s that Michal Kalecki, author of The Political Aspects of Full Employment, predicted decades earlier. High employment rates and welfare state protections didn’t buy off workers, it encouraged militant wage demands. Capitalists kept up when times were good, but with stagflation – the intersection of poor growth and rising inflation – and the Opec embargo, a crisis of profitability ensued.

      An emergent neoliberalism did curb inflation and restore profits, but only through a vicious offensive against the working class. There were pitched battles waged in defense of the welfare state, but our era has largely been one of deradicalization and political acquiescence. Since then, real wages have stagnated, debt soared, and the prospects for a new generation, still wedded to a vision of the old social-democratic compact, are bleak.

      So was Marx right? Marxism’s indictment of government — and the death of the dream of democratic socialism — certainly seems to have reemerged with a vengeance.

      So if Marx and his followers didn’t advocate democratic governance, then what did they advocate in its place? Surprisingly, they proposed an un-elected governing elite, not at all disimilar to what the neoliberals do. Here’s how Michael Allen Gillespie explains it in Nihilism Before Nietzsche:

      The Promethean cadres were called “new people” by Chernyshevsky, the “thinking proletariat” by Pisarev and Nikolai Shelgunov, “critically thinking personalities” by P.L. Larov, and “cultural pioneers” by others. N.K. Mikhailovsky called them intelligenstia.

      The intelligenstia was thus conceived as the new universal class, like Fichte’s scholars, Hegel’s civil servants, and Marx’s proletariat. For Pisarev and others, they were the Promethean heros guiding world history. Hegel had argued that the age of world-historical individuals was over because history was at an end. Humanity thus required only a rational civil service to maintain the order that had been established. The Left Hegelians argued, on the contrary, that history had not yet reached its end and would do so only when the truly universal class, in Marx’s case the proletariat, came to predominance…

      Neither the proletariat nor the peasantry, however, could act without first coming to recognize itself as a class, and this could be achieved only under the leadership of world-transforming supermen. Marx believed these leaders would arise from the proletariat and the bourgeois ideologists who joined the proletarians in their world-historical struggle with the bourgeoisie…

      Stalin similarly adopted and transformed the notion of the intelligenstia. The intelligenstia had hitherto been seen not merely as the agent of social change but as the prototype of a future superhumanity. For Stalin, the intelligenstia no longer needed to be concerned with destruction and liberation, but had to focus their attention on the construction of a new way of life. The new intelligenstia thus had to be a technical elite to construct the new socialist order…

      This Promethean element is particularly evident in a Bolshevik pamphlet of 1906 which argued that man is destined to “take possession of the universe and extend his species into distant cosmic regions, taking over the whole solar system. Human beings will become immortal.”

      This same sort of Promethean vision continues to resonate in Sunkara’s conclusion:

      Marxism in America needs to be more than an intellectual tool for mainstream commentators befuddled by our changing world. It needs to be a political tool to change that world. Spoken, not just written, for mass consumption, peddling a vision of leisure, abundance, and democracy even more real than what the capitalism’s prophets offered in 1939. A socialist Disneyland: inspiration after the “end of history”.

      But there pops up that word “demcoracy” again. So how is one to reconcile the obvious logical and conceptual incoherencies in Sunkara’s article?

      1. The Black Swan

        Democracy is a tricky one. Since it has never really been practiced it is hard to judge. But people tend to want leaders. Taking responsibility for our actions and making hard decisions is frightful. It is much easier to have someone else make the hard choices. The real trick is in how society determines who those leaders are… physical violence, economic violence, social violence, emotional violence, these tend to have been the historical determiners of leadership. Right now we, in the Western world, are in a phase of emotional/economic violence. Just look to Europe or the United States.

        But maybe there are other methods of choosing leadership that don’t involve violence. In this thought I find much hope and much direction.

        Always remember: The apparatus of our enslavement is the tool of our liberation.

        1. zygmuntFRAUDbernier

          If there’s extensive consultation on everything, decisions are taken more slowly. This is perilous when it comes to defending the tribe of anarcho-syndicalists, like they had in Catalunya according to Chomsky. So, to enable fast-response to invasion threats, the tribe seems to need to “trust-the-leaders” to some extent, if it wants to survive. Sooner or later, a tribe of anarcho-syndicalists will face a Genghis Khan or an Adolf Hitler. So faster decision-making where a few are entrusted with the response to the threat of invasion seems desirable. But that is liable to propagandized messages saying that a war needs to be fought.

      2. from Mexico

        A comparison of the anti-democratic impulse that runs through Marxist thought to that found in Neoliberal thought is most enlightening. Here’s a description of the sort of anti-democratic governance which Neoliberals advocate, also rule by a self-selected elite:

        A common theme of neo-liberalim is that liberal vaues, ‘liberty’ according to Hayek (1960), should be placed above all others, including democratic values… The neo-liberal society must be a society ruled by private law (Hayek), and these laws must be out of democratic power’s reach…

        The idea that a competent elite should decide and be spared the demands for protection that a population of losers is bound to express runs through the writing of the whole neo-liberal family… The “solutions” proposed by the various neo-liberal schools of thought are based on a combination of enlightened elites and constituional rules resulting in a limit to democracy… In order for “good” decisions to prevail, a large number of decisions should be out of the reach of democratic control and left to experfts (Mouffe, 1986). This limit to popular sovereignty is a major theme of neo-liberal thought.

        http://ser.oxfordjournals.org/content/9/1/3.abstract

      3. diptherio

        This just re-enforces my feeling that the left needs to find some new words to replace “Marxism,” “Socialism,” “Communism,” “Capitalism,” etc., especially the first three.

        Anything with the word Marx in it (unless it be followed by “brothers”) comes with a whole lot of baggage that is supremely unhelpful to those of us trying to put forward progressive or radical ideas. I would guess that about 75% of the US general populace have negative views of Marxism, without even knowing what it’s about.

        Why spend time trying to undo the long-standing distrust people have of those words, when we could just come up with new words and avoid the issue all together? The right has done this successfully with fascism, relabeling it “Chicago School Economics.” The left should take notes and learn from that.

        Why haven’t we? Part of it, I think, has to do with hero-worship, clinging to our intellectual idols. Lefties love to make arguments-from-authority just as much as the Rigties. Another part has to do with pride and egotism, not wanting to let the other side seem to “win” by abandoning long-cherished theoretical formulations.

        Dr. Richard Wolff is a perfect example, imo. His arguments in Capitalism hits the Fan are extremely compelling. Sadly, he has to go and bring Marx into it, which only undermines his credibility with large portions of our population who would otherwise be quite receptive to his message. We can argue about whether or not it should undermine his credibility (it shouldn’t, of course) but that doesn’t change the fact that, as a practical matter, it does.

        1. Inverness (@Inverness)

          The question of which economic systems is essential. What about anarchism? Cooperatives are run democratically — or ideally they would be. There are already very many around — Mondragon, in Spain, is a prominent example, not to mention Desjardins in Quebec (a bit closer to home). Or any credit union, for that matter.

        2. looselyhuman

          Progressivism works for me. I still call myself a liberal but I mean it in the FDR sense – which is mostly not what people think of, especially outside the US, when they hear it. The word just has far too many meanings, most of them negative – demonized from the right here and from the left (conflated with neoliberalism) elsewhere.

          Anyway, progressivism is the model I believe in. A mixed economy with the state driving investment as needed for the common good, including robust social insurance. I don’t need anything related to Marx to describe/define it. Marx can be useful in talking about the need for the working classes to organize, but I still prefer the more contemporary language/framing of labor unions – mostly for the reasons you describe.

          I don’t see how anyone thinks Communism is a useful term, ever. You might as well say Stalinism. Marxism is similarly tainted. Socialism can be framed somewhat positively in certain contexts (i.e. Sweden, or social security as socialism) but it’s just not worth it.

          So, the left should focus everything on rehabilitating and growing the progressive movement. It can have its radicals – it always has.

  12. Inverness (@Inverness)

    I’m quite glad to see coverage of the Seattle teachers’ movement in NC. It involves the destruction of the public sector and organized labor — and resistance to a standards-based ed system which leads to outsourcing of tests, consultants, and materials to for-profits like Pearson. Call it the cult of management’s invasion of our public schools — where spreadsheets and tick boxes are sufficient to evaluate the effectiveness of teachers.

    1. JohnL

      Garfield High enjoys a very high reputation and can afford to stick its neck out without fear of retribution. Kudos to the teachers for doing it. It will likely spread.

      1. Susan the other

        A little surprising to see this article on the WaPo. Teachers Boycott of Standardized Tests in Seattle Spreads. A subject near and dear to my unrealistic heart. Ever since I read Summerhill. Ages ago. Clearly standardized exams can never evaluate learning until people are standardized. Duh. But there is a relentless drive to protect disfunctionality in order to perpetuate disfunctionality. What a good idea – let’s turn the awesomeness of creation into a vacuous and boring monologue that only the ill-fated fittest can turn away from and manage to clear their brains enough to continue thinking. What a sinister institutionalized disservice education has become. And the teachers in Seattle are really boycotting it. Cool. Not to mention Texas. Texas! ‘The Texas House just zeroed out funding for the state’s standardized tests.” No doubt they included a rational presentation of Darwin – well no boycott is perfect.

        Standardized tests aren’t just misaligned with curricula and used to surreptitiously lower a teacher’s pay- they are patently moronic – standardized tests are to education what Paul Ryan is to politics.

  13. How

    Unlocking your GSM phone (AT&T, T-Mobile) via a third party is now illegal, thanks to the US Library of Congress: http://techcrunch.com/2013/01/26/unlocking-your-phone-is-now-illegal-but-what-does-that-mean-for-you/

    The criminal penalties, as posted on the CTIA (the mobile carrier’s lobby group):

    “Civil penalties are based on the carrier’s actual damages and any additional profits of the violator, or a court can award statutory damages of not less than $200 or more than $2,500 per individual act. Criminal penalties are even more severe: any person convicted of violating section 1201 willfully and for purposes of commercial advantage or private financial gain (1) shall be fined not more than $500,000 or imprisoned for not more than 5 years, or both, for the first offense; and (2) shall be fined not more than $1,000,000 or imprisoned for not more than 10 years, or both, for any subsequent offense.”

    1. Ms G

      “(1) shall be fined not more than *$500,000* or imprisoned for *not more than 5 years*, *or both*, for the first offense;

      and (2) shall be fined not more than *$1,000,000* or imprisoned for *not more than 10 years, or both,* for any subsequent offense.”

      Whoever wrote this knows we are no longer a Nation governed by laws, see, eg.,:

      The 8th Amendment in the Bill of Rights (to the U.S. Constitution) provides that: “Excessive bail shall not be required (…) nor *cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.”*

      1. Howard Beale IV

        That’s one of the reasons why I buy un-subsized phones. At least T-Mobile’s SIM unlock isn’t as draconian as Sprint’s ESN unlock is. Still, it’s going to be pain down the road as the US LTE bands don’t mesh very well with the rest of the world’s, making getting an unlock phone that works stateside tough-especially since TMO will be deploying LTE on the AWS band.

      2. different clue

        Why doesn’t everyone go back to land line phones? If you step in a trap you expect it to snap. And cell phones cause brain cancer anyway. Am I wrong? In thirty years a lot of cell phone users are going to find out.

        1. Ms G

          That will work until all the landlines are decommissioned — that’s already coming down the pipes.

          1. different clue

            Would they decomission the landlines even if enough people are using them to keep them profitable? Only hard legislation would stop that.

            Or are enough people defecting to cell phones because cell phones are hip, groovy, and cool . . . to where the landlines are becoming moneylosers? That would be the fault of the cellphone defectors. If (and I only say IF! now . . . ) THAT is what is DRIVing the process of landline abandonment, then let the groovies and the cools and the hipster dudes and dude-ettes reap their harvest of brain cancer with their freely chosen digital teddy bears.

  14. diptherio

    Re: Anonymous

    From their recent communique:

    There must be reform of outdated and poorly-envisioned legislation, written to be so broadly applied as to make a felony crime out of violation of terms of service, creating in effect vast swathes of crimes, and allowing for selective punishment. There must be reform of mandatory minimum sentencing. There must be a return to proportionality of punishment with respect to actual harm caused, and consideration of motive and mens rea. The inalienable right to a presumption of innocence and the recourse to trial and possibility of exoneration must be returned to its sacred status, and not gambled away by pre-trial bargaining in the face of overwhelming sentences, unaffordable justice and disfavourable odds. Laws must be upheld unselectively, and not used as a weapon of government to make examples of those it deems threatening to its power.

    Radicals…

    1. from Mexico

      What has happened in the United States is the same thing that has happened in Mexico: the criminal justice system has become a weapon used to punish political dissent and nothing else.

      This became pretty blatant with one of Mexico’s major drug cartels, La Familia. It is the only one of the major cartels that has articulated a religious and political ideology which challenges Mexico’s neoliberal government.

      It was therefore singled out for extermination by the neoliberal state, while the other cartels operate pretty much with impunity in their matrimonial bliss with the Mexican government.

      Oddly enough, in the battle of words and bullets between La Familia and the state, in this battle of wrong vs. wrong, error vs. error, La Familia came out on top. The cartel is more powerful. The Mexican government has almost ZERO legitimacy.

    2. Ms G

      I agree with Anonymous.

      “There must be a return to proportionality of punishment with respect to actual harm caused, and consideration of motive and mens rea.”

      Proportionality is actually a Constitutional requirement through the “cruel and unsual punishment” clause of the 8th Amendmend. See Furman v. Georgia (U.S. Supreme Court, 1972). (Not that anyone in the Obama Administration or the current Congress finds this particularly germane.)

      For the UK origins of this fundamental limitation on the excercise of raw and arbitrary power by the State, and its adoption in the US, see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eighth_Amendment_to_the_United_States_Constitution.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eighth_Amendment_to_the_United_States_Constitution
      Read more at http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2013/01/links-12713.html#Lrf6t41V5Qi7j9I3.99

      1. Ms G

        … and for the gradual gutting of Proportionality by the US (particularly in the last 6 years), refer to this link on Anonymous and many other stories that appear at NC.

        1. zygmuntFRAUDbernier

          I’m not sure what the US Constitution means now. I thought there was an article saying that the right to petition a court for a writ of habeas corpus shall not be suspended.
          So, what’s going on?

          1. Ms G

            There has been a quiet coup. We no longer live under a representative government or an operative Constitution. The only thing missing is signs. But their lack is what makes the coup quiet. And so insidious. Most people don’t even know what has hit them.

      2. LucyLulu

        How I wish it were to be true, what Anonymous is doing. Yes, our criminal justice system needs radical reform, not only for its overreach on minor infractions but failure to act when great harm is done. But I can’t help but be skeptical. Wikileaks also threatened to release greatly scandalous information, then nothing, and we were to get a list of those with secret Swiss bank account, then naught. Now Anonymous, whose past efforts have done little other than get its members undesirable scrutiny by law enforcement, says it will release scandalous(?) information on our S.C. justices if sentencing isn’t reformed. What kind of timeframe wasn’t specified. What kind of info on our justices would even be stored on that, or any government server? I suspect the encrypted information will turn out to be rather routine. I’m not convinced it isn’t a theatrical but hollow threat, as much as I think the return of equal justice for all is a required foundation for any meaningful reform of our dysfunctional economy.

  15. scraping_by

    A small quibble, if I may, to the Eschaton post.

    “…the Fed has created 3 trillion bucks out of nothing and purchased financial assets with it. That isn’t precisely a gift…”

    When you purchase something worth zero at full face value, the difference between the payment and the price is a gift.

    Right now, the Fed’s carrying this wallpaper on its books at face value. One argument I’ve heard against nationalizing the Fed is that multi trillion dollar hole having to be recognized. But that money’s gone. The best can be done is looking for the value holes caused by fraud and throwing the originators in prison.

      1. Ms G

        Uh, yeah, good point. That type of deal is called a “sham transactions” in many quarters, e.g., IRS, or even in the (remember?) prosecution of Enron with all of its “special interest vehicles” that “bought and sold” Enron liabilities to make the books look good!

        I guess when it’s the Fed doing these things (or worse, because it’s actually taking possession on our behalf of radioactive glob that eats our real economy) it’s just an acronym (TALF? TAMP? TAG? I forget.)

        1. Ms G

          Adding. Paying lots of money for a worthless thing is also one of the classical strategies in … money laundering! Apparently one of the recent variants of this happens on E-Bay where the dirty money “buys” an “item” on E-Bay and pays the seller (cough, launderer) via PayPal!

    1. fresno dan

      I would say my old yahtzee game is worth 3 trillion – indeed, with the hours upon hours of fun, its practically priceless. Would the FED give me 3 trillion dollars for it??
      NOOOOOOOOO, despite the fact that I would stimulate myself and the economy spending every time on hookers, stippers, booze, and rock & roll. These people never save a dime, so the multiplier effect would be almost infinity.
      Despite this being rigorous textbook economics, no 3 trillion for fresno dan.

      1. Ms G

        Exactly!

        Only way to get a ticket to that free money window at the Fed is to be or turn yourself into (see Goldman Sachs)a “bank holding company.” I don’t think the Fed will even give Fresno Dan or Ms. G the application form.

  16. optimader

    Martin Wolf on a post-crisis Davos…

    Fun how people percive different meaning of words like..
    “post crisis”

    “Crisis” = When possible legal sanctions, reforms and claw backs seem relevant;
    “Post crisis” =When said threats fade to mere memory of a unpleasant pertubation of economic manipulation usual.

  17. joebhed

    RE EconBrowser’s : “Monetary Alchemy, Fiscal Science”.

    “”Monetary expansion is rendered relatively less effective because interest rates can’t be pushed below zero. This situation, labeled by Keynes a liquidity trap, is today called the Zero Lower Bound.””

    What we have here is today’s new liquidity trap – created by our limited thinking about money.

    Just about time for us to get out of this traditional view of what might constitute effective monetary policy – into a new one , administered by what we would call state monetarism – a position that would admittedly be manifest only after the state regains the right to issue the nation’s money . The transmission mechanism for combined monetary-fiscal policy becomes the traditional lever, that of Treasury.

    Greenbacks are the proper vehicle for delivering fiscal stimulus as part of a combined monetary – fiscal counter-cyclical policy apparatus.

    The Bill introduced by Dennis Kucinich
    http://www.monetary.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/11/HR-2990.pdf
    would provide the measure needed to restore a demand-side expansion funded by real money, i.e. without debt(like Greenbacks) and at the same time maintain the government’s proper roles – both to issue the money and to determine its first use.

    We live in both unprecedented and uncertain times. SO, this is when we NEED to take the big look around at what can be done to solve our social and political problems, while keeping the best of what we call capitalism alive.

    It’s a structural-policy adjustment of one word – separation.
    Separate out the PRIVATE banking and finance function from the PUBLIC money-creation function.
    We’re home free.
    For the Money System Common.

    1. diptherio

      I think I see a bird (grouse?) towards the bottom-left corner…

      Thanks for the additional antidote. Is that hawk stuck, you think, or just messing with the cat?

      1. Eureka Springs

        Thanks. Eventually every kind of critter gets trapped in my rather large screened in back porch. I’m always amazed how birds cannot see screen. Louisa kitty, who eats just about everything, maintained a distance on this day. I just let the hawk exhaust itself before handling it with gloves/ freeing it.

        1. diptherio

          Cool.

          Random encounters with nature are one of the things that makes this here life worth the candle, imo. Looks like you’re in a good place to have lots of them. Cute cat, btw. Tabbys are the best!

  18. diptherio

    Re:Is Miscarriage Murder?

    While religion doesn’t make an appearance in the article, the whole “fetal personhood” movement started in, and is driven by, fundamentalist Christians.

    The great irony of this is that, biblically speaking, a fetus is definitely not a person. The God of the Hebrews was very clear on this. While there are no direct references to abortion in the bible, there are direct references to miscarriage.

    Consider, for instance, Exodus 21:22-23

    When men strive together, and hurt a woman with child, so that there is a miscarriage, and yet no harm follows, the one who hurt her shall be fined, according as the woman’s husband shall lay upon him…If any harm follows, then you shall give life for life

    Miscarriage by assault is the only miscarriage-related criminal offense referred to in the Bible, and the criminal is the attacker(s), not the woman. Natural miscarriage is nowhere in scripture considered to be a punishable crime.
    So the next time some Christian tries to get all righteous about their pro-life position, you can tell ‘em what’s what.

    This new development in the culture wars is disturbing, to say the least. Is the ACLU all over this yet? No mention in the article of efforts to push-back against “chemical endangerment” laws, but I hope someone is…

      1. diptherio

        Well, you and I can, but apparently the state of Georgia disagrees. Scary, scary, scary.

        I’m currently working on a theory of social control, and this fits right in. ISTM that one of the fundamentals of controlling large, diverse populations, is that every group needs some other, internal, group to dehumanize. Conservatives are made to dehumanize Democrats, liberals are made to dehumanize Republicans, atheists dehumanize the religious and the religious return the favor. Now we can add pregnant women to the list. The over-arching rule is that everyone must be dehumanized by someone else, and that everyone must be made to dehumanize someone else.

        If this is successful every group, regardless of viewpoint, sees themselves as beset by sub-human others within the society and thus turns to TPTB to a) protect them from these sub-humans, and b) to punish these others for their sub-humanness. This is the strategy of the unscrupulous parent, playing one child off against another so as to maintain control over all.

        Dehumanization: it’s the American way!

        1. Jim S

          Your observation makes sense to me. This is so ridiculous, though, that I almost have to wonder if it’s not a case of someone seeing how far they can go and still get the suckers (ie. general public) to take it seriously, or if it’s just filler to take up airtime between “real” crises, or both.

    1. ex-PFC Chuck

      In a simultaneously hilarious and disgusting case in Colorado, a hospital operated by Catholic Health Initiatives wiggled out of a wrongful death suit by arguing in part that “under Colorado law, a fetus is not a ‘person,’ and plaintiff’s claims for wrongful death must therefore be dismissed.” I guess it’s OK for Catholic institutions to claim that a fetus is a person except when it’s in the interest not to. Oh, and after the case was dismissed the defendants went after the plaintiff for attorneys’ fees and drove him into bankruptcy. Nice guys.
      http://jonathanturley.org/2013/01/26/the-limits-of-catholic-morality/

    2. LucyLulu

      And then we have abortion being evidence-tampering after rape in NM (as opposed to deciding to go to full-term pregnancy?)

      Planned Parenthood is defunded even though 97% of their services are women’s health, and only 3% are abortion……. instead of trying to only end abortion services.

      Requiring insurers to pay for birth control is called an attack on freedom of religion. Yeah, the freedom of the woman insured. If the employer doesn’t want to use birth control, they don’t have to. I’m curious if an employer who is Jehovah’s Witness excludes blood transfusions from their employee’s coverage. I bet not.

      If Congressional panels are held about these women’s issues, the panel is exclusively male. It doesn’t occur to them that women might want a say and to be able to have input.

      IMO, these are all covert attacks on women, not really so much abortion as a reflection of their desire to repress women as a group. Women should just say “no”, or be responsible and endure the economic consequences of unwanted children, of a disproportionately greater magnitude by lower income women. They seem to forget men are necessary for pregnancy too. It ain’t the guy’s problem. Maybe he’ll throw her a few dollars every month. Just don’t let the women have contraception to prevent pregnancies. It’ll put ideas in their heads. Better that we later cut food stamps so mom and her children won’t be takers.

      Women have been getting just a bit too uppity. Minorities too. No, seriously, I think there is a significant segment of the population that is feeling threatened by a perception they are losing their ‘white male privilege’. I know a couple of them. They feel affirmative action has gone too far and now they are discriminated against. Women, minorities get the opportunities, while they were the ones who “built it” without any extra help. Pointing out the advantages provided by growing up in white upper middle class suburbia is a liberal once again pulling the ‘race card’.

  19. rich

    You need the rule of law.

    Plunderers Pumping Pelf
    In the second half of the show, Max Keiser talks to Professor Steven A. Ramirez, a former Enforcement Attorney at the US Securities and Exchange Commission, about the broken social contract, when that contract got broken and how to mend it.

    http://youtu.be/vqPdW6q14A0?t=15m31s

    1. diptherio

      Every one keeps talking about this social contract…has anyone ever seen it? Can I get a copy down at my local library? I sure don’t remember signing anything…

      I think it’s telling that whatever the nature of this social contract that we apparently have all agreed to (when was that, again?), it obviously does not contain an escape clause; no one is allowed to opt-out.

      A contract which you are forced to “sign” at birth and from which you are not allowed to leave, sounds less like a contract and more like coercion. Maybe that’s just me…

      1. looselyhuman

        Without a social contract (or with the ability to “opt out”) then the entire left of center worldview crumbles. Left libertarianism is deluded in this respect. No contract, no responsibility, no society. Unabated social darwinism will ensue. Yes, people will form voluntary associations that benefit them, but the strong will never voluntarily agree to anything that benefits the weak.

        If you like private enclaves of security and an otherwise chaotic world in which life is lonely, brutish and short for the many; plutocratic monopolies of wealth, power and violence; then by all means abolish the social contract.

        IMO.

        1. LucyLulu

          +10

          The social contract is what provides the boundaries of what’s acceptable in a civilized society. It may not be formal or written but we all conform to it, some tightly, some more loosely. Teaching the rules begins at a very young age, with maternal (and paternal) feedback, later by peers. Those who conform really poorly are deemed either criminal or mentally ill.

  20. Max424

    Ray Dalio, who runs the world’s biggest hedge fund, Brigewater, believes, going forward/backward: “the big conversation in politics and economics, will be about how to get more out of workers …”

    Neo-liberal Drinking Song from: Welcome Aboard!

    We love slavery
    Oh yes we do!
    Fact is we love it so
    We just made slaves outta you!

    Now you may not like it
    Oh not one bit!
    On this we have one thing to say
    And that is tough, tough sh*t!

    Tough sh*t, though sh*t, slavery dead and gone?
    Tough sh*t, though sh*t, how completely wrong!

    Tough sh*t, tough sh*t, hardy har har har!
    Tough sh*t, tough sh*t, who did ya think we are!

  21. fresno dan

    Crazy Ideas Eschaton. Banksters to the rest of us: “MMT for me, but not for thee.”

    As trickle down doesn’t seen to be working for the vast majority (ahem…99%) why don’t we go ahead and try trickle up – 10,000$ to everyone and the bankers can try and earn the money…

    Your right – free money for poor people – its insane. Next thing you know, the rich aren’t rich!!! Dogs mating with cats!

    1. Ms G

      Fresno Dan, I’m not sure where you’re getting that measly $10,000 figure — it’s sort of like the bad man in Austin Powers starting off with “$1 million” :)

      The only reasonable and fair Fed-free-money-program for the 99% will be one that puts as many dollars in each of our pockets as ended up in the pockets of Blankfein, Dimon, and the rest of them (as a result of Ben’s MMT “Facility.”)

      I really don’t have the data to crunch the numbers to any degree of accuracy, but I’m willing to reasonably speculate that the per-person figure would be much closer to $1 Million.

      At a minimum, every American should get an amount equal to the 40% losses inflicted on people’s savings by the Pinguid Society — it should be easy to average what that dollar amount (minus 40%) was across all accounts (including Romney’s) and then cut the checks.

      Whaddya think?

      1. Ms G

        That would be 40% plus compound interest since September 1, 2007 (pegged to whatever Libor high was floating around at the time) :)

    1. Butch in Waukegan

      No child left behind unfined.

      ” . . . behavior courses that are mandatory . . .” Next year, behavior modification camps.

    2. Ms G

      Noble Network charter schools are “supported by mayor Rahm Emmanuel.” So where’s the looting angle, hmm. Oh, here it is:

      “The Noble Network, an alternative school program championed by Mayor Rahm Emanuel, has drawn the ire of students and parents alike for collecting nearly $390,000 in disciplinary fines from low-income, largely African-American and Latino students and their families over just a three-year period. In 2011, the network collected nearly $190,000 in disciplinary “fees.” Noble currently operates a dozen schools in Chicago.”

      $390,000 in fines (in 3 years) assessed on “low-income largely African-American and Lation students.”

      So now putting a kid in school means you might have to go borrow money (at interest) to pay the rent (or food) because 2 months of your living expenses might go to the Fines Bank. Then bankruptcy, then …. It’s a perfect looting scheme.

      No Family Left Un-Looted, more like it.

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