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LInks 1/16/14

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Kangaroo in 400-year-old manuscript could change Australian history Telegraph

Dolphin-power sufficient for propulsion without tricks PhysOrg

Boy, I’ve Really Put You In A Tough Spot, Haven’t I? Onion (Scott)

Heart Attack Damage Slashed With Microparticle Therapy Science Daily (Chuck L)

Programmer privilege: As an Asian male computer science major, everyone gave me the benefit of the doubt Slate (Chuck L)

Code.org: Give Us More H-1B Visas Or the Kids Get Hurt Slashdot

Global Clean Energy Investment Fell for the Second Year Running OilPrice

U.S. Joins China Among Biggest Global Warming ‘Offenders’ Bloomberg. “Joins”? As if we haven’t been there all along?

TEPCO demands families of employees return compensation for evacuation Mainichi (Deontos).

Australian jobs shocker in detail MacroBusiness

World Bank raises growth forecast Guardian

‘Fragile Five’ falls short as tapering leaves more exposed Financial Times

Traders Told Bank of England of Currency Fixing Practices in 2012 Bloomberg

Farmers disperse after payment promise but vow to return Thai PBS English News (furzy mouse)

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

Obama to the American People: F@ck Off George Washington

Highlights From Daniel Ellsberg’s Reddit AMA on Edward Snowden and NSA Surveillance (Deontos)

Congress balks at shifting CIA’s role in drone war Washington Post

NSA provisions quietly included in spending bill Guardian

NSA Spying Fallout Hits French Satellite Deal Techdirt

Obamacare Launch

Bare-Bones Health Plans Survive Through Legal Quirk Wall Street Journal

Obamacare tax credit suit rejected Politico

Senate report on Benghazi: CIA beefed up its security ahead of 2012 attack McClatchy (Chuck L)

America’s Rogue Government Counterpunch (Carol B). One point to add about Iraq. The Economist, in the year or so after Saddam’s invasion of Kuwait, ran an article discussing how Saddam basically notified the US of his intent in advance (the Kuwaitis were taking, in his opinion, way too much oil out of a field beneath both countries) and got what he thought was assent through diplomatic channels. Funny how that key fact is not part of the official story.

How the Senate’s Filibuster Change Could Protect Dodd-Frank American Banker

Lift the $117,000 Income Cap on Social Security Withholding Taxes – and Retirement Benefits Could Likely Be Expanded Truthout

Budget Games: PILT payments cut, Red State R’s whine Daily Kos

The Trouble With Chris Christie Truthdig (RR)

Free trade and the loss of U.S. jobs Harold Myerson, Washington Post

Leaked Walmart Documents Reveal Propaganda Campaign to Fight Workers Attempting to Organize Alternet

Walmart Is Facing Claims That It Fired Protesters New York Times

A Penny Stock Called Nestor Just Surged 1900% Because People Confused It With The Company That Google Bought Business Insider (Chuck L)

JC Penney unveils plan to cut 2,000 jobs Financial Times

Reclaiming the Radical Imagination: Challenging Casino Capitalism’s Punishing Factories Truthout (RR)

Antidote du jour. Lance N: “How dinosaurs went extinct.”

HedgehogDinosaur

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84 comments

    1. CB

      I thought then and still think that April Glaspie did as she was instructed, then fell on Bush Sr’s sword when it went to hell.

      1. Wat Tyler

        As did North and Poindexter earlier during the Iran-Contra hearings. I am convinced that Bush Sr negotiated an agreement with Iran whereby Iran would hold their hostages until after the 1980 election in return for arms sales if Reagan/Bush won (Iran released the hostages on Inauguration day – how clear a message to the world than that?) . Given that Bush Sr had been head of the CIA he would have had the contacts and operational knowledge to pull this off in secret possibly without Reagan’s knowledge (I never thought Reagan was more than a rosy cheeked corporate icon). Given that Bush Sr was a private citizen at the time, how could this negotiation be labeled as anything but treason? If I am right, history has been too kind to Bush Sr.

        PS: Chaney must have been aware of what happened and attempted to pull off his own version of “Power behind the throne of an intellectually weak executive”. Perhaps time will reveal the truths of this period.

        Jim

        1. XO

          I’m in complete agreement, except I believe that both Reagan and Bush subverted the official foreign policy of the US. Treason, indeed.

        2. Procopius

          I’m sure you’re right. In fact, I thought that was a documented fact, although I don’t have a link to the documentation. It’s the same with the story about Kissinger and Nixon making an agreement with the North Vietnamese to not reach a peace agreement with LBJ, promising they’d give a better deal after they were elected (a promise which they tried not to keep).

      2. Crazy Horse

        I’ve always been convinced that the invasion of Kuwait was a trap set by Bush the First for Sadam Hussein with the goal of using up last years weapons of mass destruction, testing their operational effectiveness, and opening up the market for replacements. It was baited by Ambassador Glaspie’s explicit assurance (that doesn’t necessarily show on the record) that America would stand aside if he chose to invade Kuwait.
        America needs regular wars, not just to keep the arms companies in cost-plus contracts, but to keep the generals in the armed forces busy so they don’t start entering electoral politics out of boredom. Of course there were secondary aims for the war- keeping the spirit of patriotism alive so the rabble wouldn’t notice the boot on their neck. And does anybody remember how often Bush I was called a whimp by the press before he invaded Iraq? He sure put that to bed!

        War is just politics by other means.

      1. Eureka Springs

        While the Glaspie story is important, I find Juan Cole neither pretty nor respectable.

        As Ian Welsh once said about Cole “Juan Cole is wrong about everything.”

        I don’t know who said it first but – Juan Cole is always for war before he sometimes is against it.

        Now I don’t know if Ian is pretty but he sure is respectable. And I think anytime one considers Cole those two sayings will prove helpful well over 95 percent of the time.

  1. financial matters

    Lift the $117,000 Income Cap on Social Security Withholding Taxes – and Retirement Benefits Could Likely Be Expanded Truthout

    I liked this comment to the above article..

    “”Edward Moriarty • 10 hours ago
    The powers that be are not concerned about losing the $$$$. This Social Security cutoff limit keeps the elderly and younger citizens at odds and often blaming each other for their own financial hardships. This grand plan of keeping different groups ( old vs young, of color vs caucasian, well off vs poor, Christian vs Muslim, 2nd amendment supporters vs gun control advocates, etc.) at odds and blaming each other for inequalities and hardship is the main tool used by the Ruling Elites to maintain their objective of divide and conquer. And, the fact is, they have been very successful through the years with this technique; it is as old as recorded history. The rumblings from the young about how the retired are robbing them of their present earnings and the complaining by the retired that they are not getting nearly enough to prevent them from falling into poverty, are just the results of the manipulation of our elected officials, media and political parties by our wealthy oligarchical rulers. We, the people, by continuing to argue amongst ourselves about differences that could be rationally discussed and approached with identifiable corrective actions, are allowing these powerful and wealthy moguls to pull the puppet strings in a world going mad with fear, hatred, war, poverty and unneeded suffering of hundreds of millions around the globe. It is time for PEOPLE TO COME TOGETHER and stop this madness. It can only last as long as we do not get together as WE, the people!”"

    —-

    I think this article is an example of a false dichotomy. I think the best plan would be to eliminate the payroll tax altogether. This would put more money in the hands of lower income workers who would tend to spend it. I agree with the sinking funds theory that the best way to protect social security/medicare programs is to create a strong employment base.

    1. Katniss Everdeen

      Not familiar with the “sinking funds theory,” but how does strengthening the employment base protect SS/Medicare if payroll taxes on that income are eliminated?

      PS. The best way to protect just about anything economically valuable to the population -at- large is to “create a strong employment base.” I suspect that’s why job outsourcing has been made so lucrative and inevitable.

        1. Propertius

          As part-owner of a family farm that has been in my mother’s family for generations (and is currently operated quite successfully by a cousin), I appreciate your sentiment. I do, however, think the assertion that “[f]arming cannot be outsourced” is simply untrue – as any trip through the produce section of your local supermarket will show. Grapes from Chile, apples from New Zealand, and assorted vegetables from Mexico are pretty clear evidence that farming is outsourced every single day in this country.

          1. F. Beard

            I mean subsistence food growing cannot be outsourced. No one should be dependent on a job to eat or to have shelter which is why family farms should be the norm, not the exception. Or if the farms are better left consolidated for economies of scale then they should be equally owned by all citizens.

            A mess has been made of this country by allowing unjust land and other consolidation.

        2. Doug Terpstra

          Ah, yes, but you can insource cheap labor, which is what bipartisan comprehensive immigration reform is really all about, especially in farming, landscaping, nursing, auto, and food service, anything that can’t be conveniently outsourced. And that includes even the military: cannon fodder via Obama’s Dream Act.

          1. F. Beard

            Cheap foreign labor should be a blessing since Americans should be the owners of, not workers on, American farms.

            1. Skippy

              Indeed!!!…. the Superior Race of Men should always lead the lesser Races in acts of charity. The divine gift of property is the only validation needed to witness this universal truth… its self evident that property equals individual sovereignty.

              Only thing left is to recognize the need for some super sovereign individual[s with a hotline to – the – Universal Sovereign – in order to facilitate conflict resolution.

              skippy… if some people would only be as – rational – the gift of “totality of thought” is bequeathed by the Universal Sovereign… who can and should argue with that – self evident truth – there is a place for those… in the end…

              1. F. Beard

                And vice versa, Americans might work on Mexican farms. And I misspoke a bit since family farm owners would likely work on their farms too.

                And nothing necessarily precludes the farm workers or their descendants from becoming citizens with farms of their own or from using their wages to purchase a farm in their homeland.

                And justice has to start somewhere. If Mexico were to adapt monetary, land and other reforms then we might soon be their poor neighbor to the North – hopefully humbled enough to imitate Mexico.

      1. financial matters

        Thanks for allowing me to clarify. This is what I meant and came from an excellent interview of Randy Wray by Stephanie Kelton..

        Wray actually said that he thought Social Security was ‘fundamentally wrong-headed’ in that it relied on what Keynes called the ‘sinking funds theory’.

        As a society, just saving money doesn’t really do the trick as that money has to be able to buy something. Reflecting Keynes, Wray thinks the best method for retirement security as a nation is investing in plant and equipment and a skilled, trained and educated workforce. This produces a healthy functioning economy rather than a financialized one where there is no there there.

        He does think household savings is good for the individual household and encourages it.

        I don’t think he’s debunking social security as a safety net but just saying that it is not going to be effective if there is no productive capacity backing it up

        http://neweconomicperspectives.org/2013/09/stephanie-kelton-interviews-l-randall-wray-monetary-policy-economics-retirement-security.html#more-6462

        1. F. Beard

          but just saying that it is not going to be effective if there is no productive capacity backing it up Financial Matters

          Of course. The question is how that best may be accomplished. The US competition with the USSR should have taught Wray and Co that justice, ethics and liberty, even imperfectly applied, trump tyranny.

          But now we have the unjust situation where the rich get:
          1) a lender and asset buyer of last resort
          2) government deposit insurance for their banks
          and the poor, their victims, are to get an employer of last resort, should they desire one, instead of justice?

          That stinks on its face and shall NOT stand since justice is coming, with or without Wray and Co.

        2. Stelios Theoharidis

          So there are two parts of social security payroll deduction a) the employee contribution and b) the employer contribution. Just so I can be clear, are you suggesting eliminating both of them in favor of investment in workforce training and industrial/technological advancement by the private sector as well as personal savings by households?

          A) the tax burden to corporations and the wealthy as a portion of public receipts has decline precipitously over the last 50 years, yet their investment in workforce training, industrial/technological advancement has also declined. Are suggesting that more tax deductions are going to spur them to finally start investing when it is not in their short term interest (profit maximization) to do so? Do you think that the workforce will see any of those gains in their respective productivity, since over the last 20 years that they haven’t?

          B) Are you expecting that households will be able to save sufficiently and invest it properly in order to afford retirement? Particularly those individuals at the lowest rungs of the economy, say even bottom 80%?

          I think both of those suggestions are problematic. I don’t think that they pan out historically as corporations have generally returned tax savings to their investors rather than invest in the productivity of their personnel/operations. I don’t know if the general public is well known for its judicious savings for retirement or that we can expect casino capitalisms decline so that those savings can get both healthy and secure returns.

          It seems that the same people that are advocating for ensuring social security is solvent are also often the same people that want additional investment in workforce productivity as well as additional investment in industrial/technological development. I do not think that I am crazy in suggesting that you can do all of those things simultaneously.

          1. F. Beard

            It seems that the same people that are advocating for ensuring social security is solvent Stelios Theoharidis

            The monetary sovereign can NEVER be insolvent. And are you suggesting that if the SS fund was “insolvent” that benefits should be cut even during an economic downturn?

            We need to abandon conventional bookkeeping wrt to the monetary sovereign except as a very rough guide and instead concentrate on the ethics of money creation in which both fiat and genuinely private currencies have crucial roles to play as implied by Matthew 22:16-22.

            We need to end this age old question of who gets to create the money by having coexisting government and private sector money supplies.

            Or not. The End can’t be far otherwise.

          2. financial matters

            I think a lot of this depends on what one thinks is the function of taxes and bonds.. http://estes.levy.org/pubs/wp244.pdf Can Taxes and Bonds Finance Government Spending?

            The payroll tax is a regressive tax and there is no real reason it needs to be paid by employers or employees.

            There are tax advantages to real estate and stock option rentier type activity rather than for productive capital investment. The Fed sees the stock market as a measure of its success but it’s hard to see this as a vehicle for productive investment.

            Labor has been somewhat pacified by asset growth and debt and this has hindered the quest for better wages. Interestingly the JG program would induce competition to help for better wages..

            ((Neil Wilson | January 14, 2014
            The Job Guarantee is a guaranteed alternative job offer made available to all at the living wage up to a set number of hours per week.

            If there is always an alternative offer on the table then ‘no deal’ with the private sector becomes an option. And you need to have a ‘no deal’ alternative or a market cannot possibly work.))

            http://neweconomicperspectives.org/2014/01/dazed-confused-matt-yglesias-job-guarantee.html

            ———————

            I think both Social Security and Medicare are good social safety nets which work best in a strong well distributed economy.

            1. F. Beard

              If there is always an alternative offer on the table then ‘no deal’ with the private sector becomes an option.

              Not quite since the other option might be mind-stupefying, morale-corroding, degrading make-work.

              And in any case, the workers deserve restitution, not more labor.

              But Progressives, against all evidence and the witness of many famous men and the world’s great religions cannot accept that government backed banks and so-called credit-worthy businesses are thieves and oppressors.

              There’s a place for thieves and oppressors and it rhymes with well.

        3. JohnL

          Well that’s the problem. The productive capacity to back it up has gone and it’s not coming back. The only truly productive jobs are those in the extractive and manufacturing industries. Everything else is a service. Even at the current unsustainable level of extraction and production these industries no longer provide much employment. We have a social security model (and investments in general, insurance, etc.) that requires unending economic growth to pencil out. Not going to happen.

    1. XO

      Probably reflects humanity fairly well. Sex is a large part of the psyche. Pornography is well represented in artwork/history/culture, from the most primitive to the most modern.

      On a related note, I wonder how much data we store, of all types, that reflects humans killing one another. I’ll bet it’s a shitload (including movies, literature, fiction, fact, one-on-one, mass, military, and how-to).

      Keeping all of that in mind, how many tax dollars would it cost to sort through it all? That would be one hell of a jobs program/cattle call.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        The problem with the mass storage from a security standpoint is it has no value because there is too much to collect or sift through. Its not a case of cost as much as whether its even possible to make sense from that kind of data.

        As the Boston Marathons demonstrated, the focus on metadata collection has ended reaction to real intelligence. We were spending hideous amounts to collect data which is only as good as Clapper’s aides, and they blew off the Russians and didn’t put Tsarinev under scrutiny.

        Even on a large scale, Iraq’s current situation can be traced to a baby boom after the Iran-Iraq and Persian Gulf Wars, and the lack of a legitimate government. Hussein was a leader of tribes, and we metaphorically killed him with the invasion.* Those kids are 20 years old living in a country with no opportunities and a puppet government dominated by outsiders. The only intelligence necessary to make this prediction is the CIA Fact Book from any year after 92′ ish depending on how good their census numbers were. A thousand undercover operatives in Bagdhad wouldn’t be able to tell you anything differently except the temporal nature of the current leader. Instead “Al Qaeda” is thrown around by serious people as a cause of the problems. Our NSA computers haven’t been able to help our puppets in Iraq. Our NSA computers haven’t been able to bring peace to Libya despite our constant taking out of the local Al-Qaeda #2, and the simple reason is the data collected is too large to actually produce coherent conclusions. Individuals will only be found after the fact which is why the #2 is always killed but rising stars only come up. The data can’t identify rising stars.

        *obviously, he was executed by out puppets, but that was just an afterthought.

        1. different clue

          He was executed by Sadrists. The Sadrist Mahdi Army fought our soldiers from time to time. The Sadrists were never our puppets. The current Malikists are Iran’s assistants and supporters (perhaps not quite puppets), by the way.

  2. Jim Haygood

    From the Troof-out article ‘Lift the $117K cap …’

    ‘There is an inexplicable cap on collecting Social Security tax above an income of $117,000 a year … an important point that we repeat in every article about Social Security is that it is not an “entitlement”; it is an earned pension plan.’

    Well, duh, there’s your explanation: SocSec was designed to mimic an ‘earned pension plan,’ with an apparent connection between contributions and payout. An unlimited tax on high earners would destroy this convenient fiction, making clear (as the Supreme Court already did in Flemming v. Nestor, 1960) that Soc Sec is just a payroll tax and an unrelated spending program dictated at the discretion of Congress, with no necessary connection between the two.

    If Boomers’ FICA taxes had been invested in a 50-50 mix of bonds and stocks, the average Soc Sec monthly payout would be in the low to mid $2,000 range now, not a piddling $1,269. A lifetime of malinvestment in inappropriately risk-averse gov’t bonds condemns Soc Sec beneficiaries to near-zero returns on their money, and low payouts.

    Dream of Chilefication!

    1. psychohistorian

      I would like to suggest that you go to Angry Bear at http://angrybearblog.com/ and read about Social Security. I disagree with your premise about equity investment of SS funds and Angy Bear is my resource for defending that position.

      1. Jim Haygood

        Several posts from angrybear have been featured here at NC in the past.

        As to equity investment, the census bureau’s 2012 annual report on state-administered pensions shows that they hold 37.9% in equities, versus 22.5% in corporate and gov’t bonds. Another 17.9% in foreign securities (not further broken down) is likely to be more than half equities, putting equities at nearly half of state pension assets.

        http://www2.census.gov/govs/retire/2012_summary_report.pdf

        State pension plans do this because it’s been accepted since the 1960s that equities return more than bonds, and thus should be included in long-term retirement investments. Social Security doesn’t, because it was designed in 1935.

        Just as the federal helium reserve soldiers on eighty years after the dirigibles were grounded, our petrified political system is incapable of updating Social Security to reflect advances in portfolio theory which would materially benefit retirees.

        1. psychohistorian

          The problem I have with “investing” SSI funds is that SSI then loses its definition as an insurance program, which it was created as…….not as a retirement investment account that can be trashed by the financial sector by whim/plan.

          I favor an insurance based safety net, not a casino based one.

        2. F. Beard

          our petrified political system is incapable of updating Social Security to reflect advances in portfolio theory which would materially benefit retirees. Jim Haygood

          Risk and uncertainty free? I sincerely doubt that. Otoh, the monetary sovereign can always create fiat to tax by inflation the rest of the population. And since SOME fiat creation is beneficial, especially during a bust, the net effect might be positive for everyone – except perhaps misery merchants.

          Here a scam.
          There a scam.
          Everywhere a scam-scam.

          Ole Jim Haygood
          has a scam
          and it’s centuries old*.

          *fascism, that is.

        3. Sammy Maudlin

          Seriously, “dirigibles?”

          Helium is extremely important to United States scientific research, particularly for those utilizing superconducting magnets. What an arcane public interest to support! With the winding down of the Reserve, supplies will now have to be obtained from suppliers in Russia and Qatar.

          http://www.nature.com/news/united-states-extends-life-of-helium-reserve-1.13819

          Coincidentally enough, your comments have much in common with helium!

    2. F. Beard

      Which stocks and which bonds? Besides, it is not the government’s job to pick winners and losers; that’s called fascism. Moreover, one’s pension should not be based on the cyclical stock and bond market.

      And if you say a person should be able to opt out of Social Security are we expected to let you starve to death if you invest unwisely?

      1. Jim Haygood

        Having the government pick winners is a valid concern. It is easily obviated with a total market fund, in which all equities are held in proportion to their market cap. This is one of several such funds (no recommendation implied):

        https://personal.vanguard.com/us/funds/snapshot?FundId=0085&FundIntExt=INT

        The multi-generational investment horizon of most pension funds smooths out cycles of bond and stock returns, which mostly do not coincide. Social Security, holding only bonds, is completely exposed to today’s generational-low bond yields. Soc Sec estimates that it will earn about 4% annually over the rest of this decade. Bruce Krasting thinks its return will be only 2.3%:

        http://brucekrasting.com/bernanke-my-goal-is-to-wreck-social-security/

        Keeping part of the trust fund in stocks could have avoided this yield starvation.

        1. F. Beard

          The real concern is how to maximize the real sustainable growth rate of the economy and that DOES mean picking winners and losers but, of course, government should have nothing to do with that directly since government should mostly limit itself to what, not how.

          One way to maximize the real sustainable growth rate is to eliminate the boom-bust cycle by eliminating government privileges for the banks and by encouraging the use of private money such as common stock that can be spent, not lent, into existence so that usury and deflation are not built-in.

    3. Sammy Maudlin

      Since I’m assuming this Cato Institute report http://object.cato.org/sites/cato.org/files/pubs/pdf/PA692.pdf is the source for your claim that “If Boomers’ FICA taxes had been invested in a 50-50 mix of bonds and stocks, the average Soc Sec monthly payout would be in the low to mid $2,000 range now, not a piddling $1,269.” Let’s parse that claim out, shall we?

      The average payout for a retired worker is currently $1,293.83. That’s an average for all of the approximately 38 million retired workers currently receiving benefits.

      http://www.ssa.gov/policy/docs/quickfacts/stat_snapshot/

      According to the report, if a retired worker* had invested in a 50/50 mix of bonds and stocks over 40 years and retired in 2011, the average size of a monthly benefit payment (not the average payment across all workers) would be approximately $2,242.

      However, buried in the final paragraph of the report is the * — the “Boomers” to which you broadly refer are only single male workers. The report acknowledges that “results would likely vary for other situations, especially for low-wage, single- earner couples, who benefit most from redistribution within the current Social Security system.” Ooooh there’s that dirty word!

      So, as the report acknowledges, the amazing, too-good-too-be-true benefits of privatization of Social Security (and it is a social insurance system, Fleming v. Nestor, 363 U.S. 603, 609 (1960)(“The Social Security system may be accurately described as a form of social insurance, enacted pursuant to Congress’ power to “spend money in aid of the `general welfare,’ ” Helvering v. Davis, supra, at 640, whereby persons gainfully employed, and those who employ them, are taxed to permit the payment of benefits to the retired and disabled, and their dependents.”) provide no benefit to the poor. Currently, approximately a third of all workers make less than $30,000 per year. 50% of the nations’ largest employer’s “associates” make less than $25,000.

      Cui bono?

      Must…PRIVATIZE…at…all…social costs!

    4. Sammy Maudlin

      Dream of Chilefication! — Haygood.

      Well, don’t you though? Chile is five spots of the good old US of A at number seven on your vaunted Heritage Institute “Index of Economic Freedom.”

      http://www.heritage.org/index/ranking

      Weren’t you just lamenting the fact that the US was no longer in the top ten?

      PICK A LANE!!!

    5. Sammy Maudlin

      Finally, the privatization projection numbers you espouse demonstrating the wonderous benefits to be had if we just cut Social Security’s cord ignore one key fact:

      Social Security has existed for almost seventy years!

      You cannot reach into the past and re-do the numbers using stock prices, etc. as they were/are and say “well, if these dummies had just invested privately they’d have alot more dough.” Because Social Security payments are a direct payment of funds back into the economy and (according to the AARP) “support more than 9 million jobs and add almost $1.4 trillion in output to the overall American economy.”

      http://www.aarp.org/work/social-security/info-09-2013/social-security-impact-on-the-national-economy-AARP-ppi-econ-sec.html

      At the very least, without Social Security’s presence over the last seventy years, the economy of the United States has a markedly different appearance. One can argue the payroll tax is a drag on the economy; but it impossible to go back and create numbers based on the idea it never existed and/or doesn’t exist. It necessarily had an effect on the economy, and it’s a fallacy and impossible to prove that, if it had just not existed at all we’d be better off.

      Get that crap out of here — Rasheed Wallace

  3. JTFaraday

    re: Reclaiming the Radical Imagination: Challenging Casino Capitalism’s Punishing Factories, Truthout

    “Republicans claim they are now concerned about addressing poverty, especially since the general public rightly views them as heartless, cruel and indifferent to the hardships experienced by people who are unemployed and lack food, shelter, health care and any sense of hope…

    Idealism has been replaced by a repressive punishing machine and a surveillance state that turns every space into a war zone, criminalizes social problems and legitimates state violence as the most important practice for addressing important social issues.”

    Are there no workhouses?

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Workhouse

    “Writing in 1854, Poor Law commissioner George Nicholls viewed many of them as little more than factories:

    ‘ These workhouses were established, and mainly conducted, with a view to deriving profit from the labour of the inmates, and not as being the safest means of affording relief by at the same time testing the reality of their destitution. The workhouse was in truth at that time a kind of manufactory, carried on at the risk and cost of the poor-rate, employing the worst description of the people, and helping to pauperise the best. ‘”

    Government work in Ronald Reagan’s Britain today:

    “In November 2011, the Prime Minister’s Office announced proposals under which Jobseeker’s Allowance claimants who haven’t found a job once they have been through a work programme will do a 26 week placement in the community for 30 hours a week.

    According to The Guardian in 2012, under the Government’s Community Action Programme people who have been out of work for a number of years “must work for six months unpaid, including at profit-making businesses, in order to keep their benefits.”

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Workfare_in_the_United_Kingdom

    And in Bill Clinton’s America:

    “And a 2009 nationally representative survey conducted by The Heritage Foundation found that more than 95 percent of Americans agreed that “able-bodied adults that receive cash, food, housing, and medical assistance should be required to work or prepare for work as a condition of receiving those government benefits.” High levels of support were found by those on both sides of the political aisle, with 96 percent of Democrats and 97 percent of Republicans agreeing with this statement…

    Americans understand the value of work. It’s time policymakers did, too.”

    http://blog.heritage.org/2013/10/30/americans-support-stronger-work-requirements-for-food-stamps/

    Brought to you by the Heritage Foundation, makers of Obamacare, (with a little help from the Big Government liberals in Massachussetts).

    You don’t have to be a weatherman to know which way the wind blows.

    1. F. Beard

      Ah, well. This too shall pass and the answer will be blowing in the wind – the ashes resulting from Malachi 4:3.

  4. Jeff N

    as a programmer, NOTHING gets my goat worse than “immigration reform” that contains a billion more immigration visas. as if our employment isn’t high enough.

  5. Carolinian

    Re the Onion/Woody Allen….Perhaps the real dilemma is not the “compelling” case for child molestation versus our love for a director whose movies haven’t been very good for the past thirty years. Perhaps it’s really the delicious schadenfreude of believing the worst of a public figure who, at least in this particular case, is unlikely or unable to defend himself.

    However as the Onion has more space than a tweet it might be have been good for them to review some of that compelling evidence. While it does seem unlikely that a seven year old would just make up such things, it’s not unprecedented for children’s memories–intermediated by the anything but innocent minds of adults–to turn out to be untrue.

    Which is to say there is the context: an accusation made in the middle of a bitter divorce battle by the child of a mother who may not be that saintly herself. While I like the Onion, this particular post is a case study in the shallowness of snark. Why is this in links?

    1. annie

      you’re maybe not aware that the judge in the custody case denied woody visitation rights for either of his children. pretty severe.
      (your characterization of ‘the mother’ as perhaps ‘not so saintly herself’ may reveal a judgement you’d like to question.)

  6. F. Beard

    re Boy, I’ve Really Put You In A Tough Spot, Haven’t I?:

    Progressives have put themselves in a tough spot by supporting policies that sexualize children such as sex-ed before they are in high school.

    So it’s not unheard of for a 7 or 8 year old girl these days to actively seek sex with an adult male. I’m not defending Woody Allen because a child cannot truly give consent but let’s not deny that adult males should not have to deal with sexually precocious little girls.

    Ah Progressives, the troubles you create. You’re really no improvement over what you seek to supplant.

    1. different clue

      Does any teacher or anyone else here who would know . . . know of sex-ed classes for 7 years olds? Sex-ed classes in 2nd grade? Does anyone here have any actual facts about that?

      1. F. Beard

        I did not say there was sex-ed in the 2nd grade*; I said before high school. But the entire culture is sex permeated and I doubt Progressives object to that much.

        And no, I’m not a conservative. I loath conservatives.

        *Nor do I say there isn’t.

      2. F. Beard

        Quality sex education should start in kindergarten. Early elementary school students need to learn the proper names for their body parts, the difference between good touch and bad touch, and ways in which they can be a good friend (the foundation for healthy intimate relationships later in life). from http://www.nytimes.com/roomfordebate/2013/05/07/at-what-age-should-sex-education-begin/sex-education-for-kindergarten-and-beyond

        Baloney!!! I had body modesty before the 1st grade. In fact, I can’t remember ever not having modesty wrt to my body. I was innocent till I was 14. But not if Progressives had had their way.

        No wonder people hate you, you despoilers of innocence.

        Tolerate me, will you? I’m tolerating the whole bunch of you and isn’t easy.

        1. Optimader

          I took it as a great injury to my quality of life when i had to start puttting on cloths and go to kindergarten :o(
          All they’re good for is avoiding frostbite and sunburn

    2. JohnL

      That would be in those progressive Catholic schools, armed services, and juvenile detention facilities? Abuse occurs in authoritarian settings. It occurs when authoritarian figures – parents, clergy, soldiers, bosses, movie directors – abuse their power over the victim and the victim’s trust in them.
      Progressives seek to undermine authoritarianism and empower the victim or potential victim. Conservatives seek to give more power to the very institutions where abuse occurs and to further abuse the victims by blaming them.

      1. F. Beard

        Actually, the RCC can eat my shorts. I’d prefer that families have much more control over their children’s education so they can avoid child abuse from the left as well as the right.

      2. F. Beard

        Progressives seek to undermine authoritarianism …

        No, not at all. They merely wish to be in charge instead.

        I detest tyrants wherever they are on the political spectrum.

      3. Optimader

        Progressives seek to discover the ultimate ethnic resturant while also seeking to statutorily eliminate ethnicity. A paradox for the ages.

  7. kevinearick

    Jobs, Money & Property…4 Trained Monkeys

    As you have learned from the Internet discussions, empire jobs, money and property have nothing to do with skill and everything to do with compliance, getting in line to join a group to jump through hoops to get a prize. And, depending upon how well your predecessors complied, and you may be expected to comply, you get to cut in line. The system is always bankrupt, and in search of economic slaves to subsidize it. It’s a prison, regulated by the inmates themselves, with prizes and punishments to confirm behavior replication.

    If you follow three basic rules, you will always be successful:

    Always save something, every week, even if it’s only a dollar. You want between $2-5K in your pocket at all times.

    Always be on the lookout for opportunities to acquire at a deep discount relative to fiscal and monetary policy. The empire morons have all imprisoned each other, with a peer pressure, get-them-before-they-get-you mentality, operating under all kinds of false assumptions, depending upon the social event horizon. Acquiring skills is the most effective path because the herd can’t see them and most property “owners” don’t have any. Eliminate the middleman, to discount out the empire.

    Don’t allow anyone or anything stop you from completing the feedback loop in steps 1 and 2. As you grow more successful, the herd in opposition will grow accordingly. That’s the point of Family Law, to recycle the prizes and the participants, to minimize the cost of operating the ponzi. Regardless of the ism, it’s a rigged political lottery. In 5000 years, most of the cultures on this planet have learned…bupkis.

    Do your research before you enter a town, to learn the wage/rent distribution. As you walk through, look for the prison walls built with false assumptions, and you will be offered property at a deep discount before you get to the other side, because every economy requires circulation and the monkeys are afraid to leave their cells. If you want a rough gauge of local anxiety, visit the grocery store between 4 and 6pm. Watch how the critters react to each other and to you, and you will see the terror behind their eyes.

    The easiest time to have children is during a demographic collapse, because all the inmates are desperately avoiding the noose, each other, and are locked into economic collapse. The system is quantumly self-adjusting. All you have to do is set your distance accordingly. Only your own can throw you under the bus, so employ recursive leaseholds.

    In my experience, it’s just easier for everyone if you let the monkeys think that they have destroyed you upon exit. Don’t bother taking any monkeys with you. Stop when you reach a community that serves your interests. If you look, you will always find an old-timer there, waiting for you.

    Don’t touch a piece of property unless you are going to increase its productivity, the ability to pay for itself, and never fail to do so. It’s not rocket science; the monkeys eliminate each other, trying to get rich quick, exploiting the property, ultimately to feed their government. It’s a whole lot easier to develop good habits slowly over time than to get rid of a bad habit hastily acquired. Life is who you hang out with; careful, the company you keep.

    There is always a job, there is always money, and there is always property. Talent is that which is always in high demand and low supply, because peer pressure to exploit it grows the empire scale, until it crashes, of its own dead weight. This planet is not quite as stupid as the empire would have you believe. There are lots of critters that have watched others come and go with a bang and a bust. Learn something from them.

    The dc computer control racket, built by the middle class at the behest of capital to replace labor, is replacing the middle class and capital, basic physics, but you look at it any way you want. Labor has no interest in commiserating with others, in a prison built for the purpose. Let others spy on themselves all they want. They can’t begin to know what is in your heart unless you tell them. Keep your own counsel, and move forward. Gravity will take care of the rest.

    Don’t waste your time arguing with a machine.

    1. F. Beard

      Though you are nearly incomprehensible to me, I love your outlook on life EXCEPT I would rather help the prisoners than be bemused by them, though that is a great temptation. Why? Because give and ye shall receive and I do like to receive!

      And though I have little talent, I know where I can get some (from Above, of course).

  8. Tyler

    Yves,

    9/11 appears to have been a false flag. Not sure if you’ve seen the video of Tower 7 falling, but it definitely looks like a case of demolition. If interested, Jesse Ventura would be a good person to read and contact regarding what happened that day – also, Sibel Edmonds and Susan Lindauer.

    1. different clue

      The blog Rigorous Intuition 2.0 has a whole topic-area of articles on 9/11, exploring the various levels of Happen On Purpose (HOP). Let It HOP, Help It HOP, Make It HOP.

  9. Teejay

    To Management: FYI the above link under “Big Brother is Watching You” titled: “Obama to American People: F@ck Off George Washington” tripped my Viper virus/security software warning. Whatever that may or may not mean. I had no warning by clicking on the site from my “Favorites” and then scrolling to the article.

  10. Hugh

    TEPCO is the corporation as monster. It creates untold damage and then continues to act in the same ways, both great and petty, that produced the original disaster. It should not exist. The Japanese government should have taken it over after Fukushima and thrown its entire corporate leadership into to jail. Instead the Japanese government has been TEPCO’s collaborator and supporter.

    Now by this point, you might be shaking your head and wondering what’s up with those passive Japanese, what is it about their culture that could explain their lack of reaction. Well before you do, think of BP and the blowout in the Gulf. BP should have been destroyed as a company, convicted of felonies and banned from the US, its leadership in jail or on terrorist watchlists, and the company’s assets seized. Instead we saw government from Obama right down to local law enforcement acting like hired help for BP. Perhaps because of the lack of attention since, the numbers have gotten dodgy on what BP has actually had to lay out in terms of compensation and fines, although it continues to fight both tooth and nail. It continues to operate in the US and Alaska. It continues to drill. And it can still write off any fines it receives on its taxes.

    Or look at JP Morgan or virtually any of the TBTF banks, massively destructive out of control monsters all. Scratch your head about those and wonder what it is about American culture that Americans remain so passive and indifferent to them and their lawless neverending depredations.

  11. Hugh

    Very frustrating. WordPress will not let me comment on one of the articles about a certain Japanese company that had problems with its nuclear reactors and its bad conduct before and after the fact. I was trying to point out that another certain oil company had problems off Louisiana a few years ago and acted just as badly. And then there were a whole bunch of companies on Wall Street. My point was that while we might go looking for cultural explanations for the lack of public anger and action over the Japanese case, this would not explain the lack of a similar reaction in multiple cases in the US.

    1. Ulysses

      This is a sign of the times. it won’t be very long before the basic decency of those who serve our corporate overlords in the U.S. military (and militarized police forces) will also be put to the test. Will they obey orders to fire upon innocent American civilians here in the homeland? Let’s hope they follow the courageous example of this French utility worker!!

      1. different clue

        The militarized police forces probably will. The military itself? Certainly less chance of the military itself mass gunning down citizens than of the militarized police doing it.
        Private armies like Blackwater/Xe/Academi/whatever and Dyncorp and Triple Canopy and etc. would be eager and delighted to do it.

  12. optimader

    Beard,
    a bit of supplemental OT perspective (as you do seem to get that unmolested classical music is a Need not a Want when commuting)… good luck find a bargain

    Re: the ls430
    This is the vehicle for Mozart as your quiet passenger.. At the time of introduction it was the quietest production sedan built, due in part to a very slippery aerodynamics.. minimal air cavitation on the surfaces.. (good for highway mileage).
    As a benchmark I bought the one I’m driving off lease w/ maybe 50K miles for ~$17,000.00 (at an auction for dealers so expect to pay a margin on that). If you hunt around you can find excelent bargains, particularly now that the vehicle platform has been supplanted by a new version. Personally I would replace in-kind in a heartbeat rather than the 460 which replaced it. Newer is not necessarily better in these funky economic times.
    Anyway, new cars are stupid money, particularly at the entry/midlevel range because they’re value engineer to the point of being driving appliance junk, The ls430 will easily collect 500K miles if your aggressive about fluid changes.

    “.. The LS 430′s interior noise level was later used by rival makes as a measure of cabin quiet.[140]

    ..In every year of production, the LS 430 was the most reliable luxury sedan in the J.D. Power and Associates Initial Quality Survey (with the early and late models of this series the best performing),[70][71][72] and the highest recorded scorer in the history of J.D. Power’s Vehicle Dependability Survey.[73] Thatcham ratings data via the UK Motor Insurance Repair Research Centre listed the theft-prevention capabilities of the LS 430 as a maximum 5 stars, with the LS 430 being the first automobile to achieve the maximum theft-deterrence rating in 2001.[74][75]….”

    You NEVER see them on the side of the road..
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lexus_LS

    1. F. Beard

      Thank you very much!

      Yes, I do wish a quiet car that I can maintain for the rest of my life even if that should be 60 years.

      But I should have mentioned that I want a good bit of cargo space too plus good traction.

    1. Skippy

      The commenter in question has not read the Powell manifesto yet, so their correlation is off by a factor of how far it is from causation.

      Skippy… knowledge is a bad thing is some peoples book, gets in the way of their biases.

    2. F. Beard

      Don’t worry. I should soon have better things to do than throw peanuts at Progressives. Or at least, more fun things.

  13. ohmyheck

    Well Sh$t…. Whistleblower John Kiriakou is getting hosed by The Bureau of Prisons, who wants to renege on their previous agreement.

    Backstory: Kiriakou was the first member of the CIA to publicly acknowledge that torture was official US policy under the George W. Bush administration. He was convicted in October of last year of violating the Intelligence Identities Protection Act (IIPA) when he provided the name of an officer involved in the CIA’s Rendition, Detention and Interrogation (RDI) program to a reporter and sentenced in January of this year. He reported to prison on February 28, 2013.

    Anyone who cares to help John can read the link and do so accordingly:
    http://dissenter.firedoglake.com/2014/01/06/cia-whistleblower-prison-broke-promise-of-nine-months-in-halfway-house-will-resume-letters/
    Remind me again why it Edward Snowden should return to the U.S.? Ohyarite, cuz the Bureau of Prisons is such an honorable bunch…alsotoo, the US Government…

  14. different clue

    There is another high-level blog I read besides this one, and that other one is called Sic Semper Tyrannis by Colonel (Ret.) Pat Lang. Recently a fellow commenter there linked approvingly to an Ezra Klein article about how it is the greedy health care providers and employees themselves which drive our cost of health care, not the innocent and much put-upon insurance companies. I decided to cut-paste the comment including its link.

    “There’s an article by Ezra Klein on the WaPo Wonkblog called, “What liberals get wrong about single payer”. Klein basically argues that “it’s health-care providers — not insurers — who have too much power in the U.S. system…the dirty truth about American health care is that it costs more not because insurers are so powerful, but because they’re so weak.”

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2014/01/13/what-liberals-get-wrong-about-single-payer/

    I thought it was interesting.”
    He then offered another Ezra Klein article link about how famous health-economist Uwe Reinhardt says single payer will never work in America because Congress is too corrupt. Here is the link.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2014/01/16/is-the-u-s-too-corrupt-for-single-payer-health-care/

    I read the first article and it seemed to me like bogus-clever apologetics for Obama and his enshrinement of the insurance companies. Would I be wrong about these two articles? Or do they deserve some serious analysis, tearing apart, and burning down on a posting on this site if time and the press of more important things permit? Does Ezra Klein have enough influence over meme-propagation that his influence should be forcibly diminished in this case if his article is as wrong as it smells?

    1. mookie

      I was forwarded that article by a friend who remains a true-blue Democrat (because: Have you heard what they’re saying on Fox News?; There is no alternative!; Look, Obama is a good person in an impossible situation; etc.), and I was also confused by Klein’s lack of even the semblance of a coherent argument in that piece. The piece posits that because single-payer supporters misidentify the cause of our rising costs, single payer could not possibly control said costs.
      Yes, people read this guy, not just for laughs like they do David Brooks (yet), and yes, this piece deserves a takedown.

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