Links 1/20/14

Light from ancient quasar reveals intergalactic web Nature

A housing relief program with policies that ‘throw people into the grinder’ David Dayen, Guardian. That’s not a bug.

US regulators ‘funded at a level to fail’ FT. That’s not a bug.

Deutsche Bank posts surprise Q4 loss as scandals weigh Reuters

Investor Animal Spirits Spread to Companies Worldwide Bloomberg

Consistently wrong Economist (FM). Equity research

For the Love of Money Times. We don’t give deference to people who hoard kleenex boxes or old newspapers. Why is money different?

Metered Internet pricing results in protest by EBTC members Independence Bulletin-Journal

How the young elite rise in Washington, D.C. Salon. With big fat check from Mom or Dad, 1%-ers. What, you thought merit?

Davos 2014: delegate demographics FT

Cooperative Movement Should Embrace Discussion of Systemic Issues GEO

Bernie Sanders’ socialist style less fiery than Kshama Sawant’s Seattle Times. Well, fiery is the kind of cuisine I like…

Big Brother Is Watching You Watch

Would You Feel Differently About Snowden, Greenwald, and Assange If You Knew What They Really Thought? TNR (Pravda; Izvestia). Jeebus, the best scandal official Washington can gin up is that Snowden’s working for the Russkis? Didn’t Reagan win that war, or did I not get the memo?

Lawmakers say Obama surveillance idea won’t work AP

“Secret Information”: Giving Up Your Life for a Vicious Lie Power of Narrative

Tomgram: Alfred McCoy, It’s About Blackmail, Not National Security Tom Dispatch

Official at center of Christie Bridgegate scandal says he’ll talk if prosecutors give him IMMUNITY Daily Mail

As Wendy Davis touts life story in race for governor, key facts blurred Dallas Morning News.Well, it worked for Obama.

Going the Distance The New Yorker. Get out your hankies.

Moral Monday A Branding Exercise Blaming Republicans for Stuff Democrats Helped Them Do Black Agenda Report

Laptop bombardiers take over NPR Stop Me Before I Vote Again

ObamaCare

ACA: Do 9 million have insurance now that didn’t before? Reno Gazette-Journal

Obamacare sign-ups skew older, but don’t sound alarm yet, experts say Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel

Is Affordable Care Act really affordable for all? USA Today. “A computational labyrinth.”

Google is hiring security guards to protect its work buses in San Francisco following protests over tech workers driving up city rents Daily Mail

Amazon says it can ship items before customers order USA Today. What could go wrong?

Dad gets OfficeMax mail addressed ‘Daughter Killed In Car Crash’ Chicago Tribune (HB IV).

Walmart under fire after customer takes photos of tanks full of dead and dying fish Daily Mail

Pressure on Israeli banks from investors intensifies FT

How Do You See Yourself, Actually If You Can Read This You’re Lying. Miley.

Top 10 reasons sex is good for you Salon. Why, it’s almost as if it were adaptive!

Portugal Decriminalized All Drugs Eleven Years Ago And The Results Are Staggering Business Insider

New Film Explores Cambodia’s Forgotten 1960s Rock Scene VOA

Coup calculations in Thailand Asia Times

A Thai Response to the Tyranny of Global Commentary PacNet (via).

What Happens When the Poor Receive a Stipend? Times.”[A] little extra money may confer long-lasting benefits on poor children.” Which is bad, of course, and that’s why we don’t do it.

Truthout Interviews: Richard Smith on the Failure of Green Solutions to Solve Environmental Problems Truthout

Seven Sustainable Technologies The Archdruid Report. Civilization’s baseline….

Antidote du jour:

cat_dog

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About Lambert Strether

Readers, I have had a correspondent characterize my views as realistic cynical. Let me briefly explain them. I believe in universal programs that provide concrete material benefits, especially to the working class. Medicare for All is the prime example, but tuition-free college and a Post Office Bank also fall under this heading. So do a Jobs Guarantee and a Debt Jubilee. Clearly, neither liberal Democrats nor conservative Republicans can deliver on such programs, because the two are different flavors of neoliberalism (“Because markets”). I don’t much care about the “ism” that delivers the benefits, although whichever one does have to put common humanity first, as opposed to markets. Could be a second FDR saving capitalism, democratic socialism leashing and collaring it, or communism razing it. I don’t much care, as long as the benefits are delivered. To me, the key issue — and this is why Medicare for All is always first with me — is the tens of thousands of excess “deaths from despair,” as described by the Case-Deaton study, and other recent studies. That enormous body count makes Medicare for All, at the very least, a moral and strategic imperative. And that level of suffering and organic damage makes the concerns of identity politics — even the worthy fight to help the refugees Bush, Obama, and Clinton’s wars created — bright shiny objects by comparison. Hence my frustration with the news flow — currently in my view the swirling intersection of two, separate Shock Doctrine campaigns, one by the Administration, and the other by out-of-power liberals and their allies in the State and in the press — a news flow that constantly forces me to focus on matters that I regard as of secondary importance to the excess deaths. What kind of political economy is it that halts or even reverses the increases in life expectancy that civilized societies have achieved? I am also very hopeful that the continuing destruction of both party establishments will open the space for voices supporting programs similar to those I have listed; let’s call such voices “the left.” Volatility creates opportunity, especially if the Democrat establishment, which puts markets first and opposes all such programs, isn’t allowed to get back into the saddle. Eyes on the prize! I love the tactical level, and secretly love even the horse race, since I’ve been blogging about it daily for fourteen years, but everything I write has this perspective at the back of it.

58 comments

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      I think if we know how much exactly a rich person has, he/she is not really that rich.

      In that sense, that ‘half’ is probably a lower bound.

      And their ‘half’ probably grows faster than the other half.

      So, it looks like, at the end of this tunnel, there is a bigger tunnel coming.

  1. ohmyheck

    Something About Davos: “At Davos: Paul Singer To Warn Of Derivatives Catastrophe”

    “Paul Singer, the outspoken hedge fund manager at Elliott Management, will not disappoint when he speaks in Davos, Switzerland at the World Economic Forum this January 22 at about 9:45AM EST. In fact Paul Singer’s speech and later debate on the topic “Are Markets Safer Now?” is expected to shake the very foundation of the elite event…”

    http://www.valuewalk.com/2014/01/paul-singer-davos-speech/
    Kickin’ a$$ and takin” names? That would be refreshing…

  2. Eeyores enigma

    For the love of money is a real load of carp.

    I hate when people who have made millions try and tell everyone about money, they are clueless.

    It is this simple…No Money = You Die!

    With that in mind and the certainty that money can and does go away at an astounding rate, over night even, then is there ever enough.

    The #1 reason that those 55 and over are staying in their jobs, contrary to the MSM propaganda that they are dropping out of the work force in droves, is due to fear of loss of health care and/or the ability to pay for it.

    We have structured ourselves to bring out the worst in human behavior yet we love to point out and talk about peoples bad behavior, ridiculous!

    In a world where survival is defined by how much money you have GREED IS GOOD!

    1. Katniss Everdeen

      I’ve gotta agree with you. This article is a load of “carp.” Crappy too.

      Maybe those spell-checking robots have a little more “learnin'” to do before they come for those white collar editor jobs. Can’t somebody PLEASE make a computer that knows carp from crap?

      But seriously folks….

      This guy taught “writing”???? To “girls” in the “foster system”???? Thanks for nuthin’. You get what you pay for. It sounds like Adam Sandler trying to write a “serious” screenplay. I can’t think of one cliche he left out.

      1. Klassy

        Give me a break. I started reading this and thought “please don’t let this be a plug for your stupid nonprofit.” And then I get to something about helping poor people “overcome obesity and food addictions”. Whatever. Another “lets help those poor people reform their poor people ways”. I would suggest he hook up with his old buddies and order them to reform their rich people ways. They’re making the rest of us poor.
        Here’s something different. It’s not system changing, but at least it is real help and acknowledges that homelessness is not an individual failure. Give people homes. Offer them assistance to become self sufficient, but if they don’t, That’s okay. Keep the home.
        http://ourfuture.org/20140117/utah-is-ending-homelessness-by-giving-people-homes

    1. Katniss Everdeen

      It might be wise not to be too flippant here.

      I understand that Amazon is having a little trouble with the profit generation aspect of its business plan.

      How long until Obama introduces “Amazoncare,” the law under which each address in America must accept and pay for five “anticipatory” deliveries per month, whether they need the merchandise or not?

      It could happen. Amazon has become a vital purveyor of the American “consumer experience,” and the economy is 70% “the consumer” after all.

      1. Jim Haygood

        My worry is that Amazon is poised to patent a ‘Method of Walking and Chewing Gum at the Same Time,’ which could deprive millions of less-gifted Americans of their mobility.

      2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        We probably need more shopping holidays.

        The ones we have now are not sufficient to help the economy…sorry, make that, HELP THE ECONOMY!!!!

        (GO GDP, GO!!!)

        So, I humbly suggest these new holidays:

        Smartphone Day

        Fracking Day

        GM Soy Day

        Internet Day

        Last, but not least, Shopping Day – yes, it’s a holiday to give our thanks to all those shoppers who keep our economy going…

    2. Sammy Maudlin

      The “method for swinging on a swing” was not some predatory Chinese firm takin’ away our freedoms, Haygood. It was a patent-lawyer father teaching his young son about patent law. No one lost any money, they paid the application fee and everything. What, did they steal your idea?

      Logistics 101 may be trying to efficiently anticipate inventory and customer needs. But creating a new data processing system that can efficiently crunch the amount of information possessed by Amazon and manage their inventory in a way that can anticipate customer actions, without creating massive costs in the form of returns, and cut days out of shipping times is a something, whether you can see it or not.

      “Where’s the invention?” That’s like looking at a steam-powwered horseless carriage and then looking at a Tesla and saying “I don’t see a difference!” Really, that fits right in with the Haygood agenda: If it’s post-1913 – it ain’t no good!

  3. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    The Robots Are Coming.

    This is my vision: The government buys and gives a employable robot to every taxpayer.

    You can then program your government issued robot to work and provide for you.

    Then, you will have time to DWYL.

    That’s my vision of technology working from the bottom up, instead of top down…working for the people, instead of against the people.

    ‘Robot, go make me $500,000 a year!’

    1. Susan the other

      capitalism at it apex; at its finest! except for all those robots dropping out of the labor force…

  4. TarheelDem

    Re BAR on Moral Monday. Yes Democrats are complicit in the crisis that this country is in. In the states that Moral Monday is organizing most of those complicit Democrats were voted out in 2010 and 2012. That is why North Carolina especially has a runaway Republican legislature that is giving Scott Walker and Rick Snyder envy.

    In North Carolina the issue is not just Republicans but the impact of Art Pope-Koch Brothers money that has been invested strategically even down to school board races. The first but not the last requirement is to break the hold of that on elections, and that means breaking Republican control unless some other parties can recruit enough farmers and workers and sububan information plantation workers and service workers to beat both parties.

    If you don’t like the people who are actually getting out in the street and navigating the tension of freedom of speech and assembly in a police state, get your people out and show us how it’s done.

    The NC Capitol Police made a special point of taking all of those it arrested to jail on a prison bus in overtight handcuffs behind the back and slow-walked processing — for a citeable offense. These people will not be sold out easily. No more than the Occupy Wall Street core has.

    Moral Monday as best I can tell is an intersectional movement built off the civil rights coalition and seeking legislative changes in state legislatures. It is in no way monopolizing the activist oxygen in the South.

    1. Carla

      Break the money. You gotta break the money.
      Learn about money. Teach about money. Say “Corporations are not people, and money is not speech.” Put it on the ballot: We the People of “X” town, want a Constitutional Amendment stating that Corporations are not people, and money is not speech.” Just do it. We did it in my town, and it won with 77.6 percent of the vote. You can do it in your town. People will thank you.

  5. ScottW

    Thank you for the citation to, “Tomgram: Alfred McCoy, It’s About Blackmail, Not National Security.” One of the best articles I have read debunking the NSA myth that world-wide spying is intended to stop terrorism. A great historical perspective on spying which may seem obvious to some, but forgotten by most, and rarely discussed in today’s politically charged NSA debates. Spying is intended to “destroy lives and ruin reputations.” And at $11 billion per year and 37,000 employees for spying on an entire world is quite the bargain. One Stasi agent was needed to spy on 6 East Germans, while NSA “only” need one employee/contractor per 200,000 people.

    Reading this article further cements the conclusion that the spying networks will never be brought under control. There is too much in it for the continued existence of the Empire that no one at the top wants to see dismantled.

    1. Andrew Watts

      McCoy’s article almost qualifies as a PSYOP paid for by the NSA. Quite a few instances where American intelligence agencies have bugged American diplomats rival the Marx Brothers. In his review of the book ‘Legacy of Ashes’ David Wise recounts one of these hilarious incidents.

      “My personal favorite is an episode in Guatemala in 1994, when the CIA chief of station confronted the American ambassador, Marilyn McAfee, with intelligence, as she recalled, that “I was having an affair with my secretary, whose name was Carol Murphy.” The CIA’s friends in the Guatemalan military had bugged McAfee’s bedroom, Weiner reports, and “recorded her cooing endearments to Murphy. They spread the word that the ambassador was a lesbian.” The CIA’s “Murphy memo” was widely distributed in Washington. There was only one problem: the ambassador was married, not gay and not sleeping with her secretary. ” ‘Murphy’ was the name of her two-year-old black standard poodle. The bug in her bedroom had recorded her petting her dog.”

      Needless to say, the CIA is less than thrilled about that book. Back to the McCoy piece, the British empire nor any other empire was built upon signals intelligence. According to a real historian who has extensively covered the NSA, (David Kahn) SIGINT did not make any difference during the historical period between the second Punic War and the first World War.

      The NSA is hardly the all-seeing all-knowing Gods they’re made out to be. In my misguided youth I greatly admired Kevin Mitnick. Who was infamously known for wiretapping the NSA through the public telephone system. If Mitnick had stuck to bugging the government he probably would not have been caught.

      1. Synopticist

        “According to a real historian who has extensively covered the NSA, (David Kahn) SIGINT did not make any difference during the historical period between the second Punic War and the first World War.”

        Just you hang on one minute there fella, I can’t let that go.

        There have been plenty of historically significant cases of , for example, codes within letter being broken by crypto-analysists (to use a modern term) which have been highly important. That would surelly fit into the “sigint” catagory, rather than “humint”.

        Queen Elizabeth had Mary Queen of Scots executed because her intel guys broke the code Mary was using to communicate with her Catholic supporters who were planning her assassination.

        1. Andrew Watts

          It’s been awhile since I’ve read up on Tudor history, but I do believe that William Cecil had informers in Mary’s political circle and amidst the disaffected Catholic nobility. Queen Elizabeth and her ministers were no fools. Mary was given every opportunity to turn back and even when her little conspiracy was hatched Elizabeth did not want to sign her death warrant.

          Even if I’m wrong about that bit of history this incident would not have significantly changed the course of English history. As Mary’s son James would’ve eventually inherited the throne of England paving the way for the foundation of the United Kingdom.

      2. James Levy

        So we should allow them to trample on the 4th Amendment, because we can just assume that they are all harmlessly stupid and inept? Tell that to the people of Cuba, Nicaragua, El Salvador, Iran, Vietnam, and Iraq, or the prisoners at Guantanamo or the families of those killed in drone strikes, among others. They may be inept, but that doesn’t mean they can’t kill millions and trash entire societies.

        1. Andrew Watts

          Instead of taking away the lesson from this humorous example that the intelligence community will find other means to spy upon Americans if they are only forbidden from spying on them, you think I’m giving them carte blanche to do as they will?

          …Okay.

  6. psychohistorian

    The article about the intergalactic web made me think about a concept I was introduced to recently that says that our cognition may/does occur in the fascia that runs similarly to the posited universe one throughout our bodies.

  7. Susan the other

    Great Links today. Portugal decriminalized all drugs in 2012 and their drug use dropped.
    Truthout interview of Richard Smith. Turn the world upside down and do it now. Corporate capitalism and environmentalism are oil and water and there will never be “green capitalism.” Nationalize all the oil majors to force them to comply with quotas; do long-range planned environmental economies asap and stop fooling around.
    Archdruid. 7 sustainable technologies. All good. Included in this prescription is giving up our computers and high tech gadgets. OK. But maybe some in a network of libraries. In fact why not a lending-library society – just pay your taxes and borrow anything you need. One quibble – no demand to quit cars. Cars pollute far worse than computers. Quit cars now if not sooner.
    OK two quibbles: I don’t like burning wood for fuel unless it is minimal for only cooking if that. Wood is as toxic, if not more so, than oil. Maybe if we have wood stoves that have really good chimney filters.
    And my favorite – passive solar adaptations – is never really mentioned. (an adaptation like Richard Smith advocates – turn capitalism on its head…)

    1. Carla

      There was a fabulous in-depth piece in The New Yorker a year or two ago about the decriminalization of drugs in Portugal. Truly great. Poor little Portugal. They do great things, and they’re getting squished by the ECB & company now.

    2. subgenius

      Passive solar… And solar ovens…

      The problem with burning fuels in open flame is the massive heat loss via the flue.rocket stoves make a huge difference in that the heat in the exhaust gases are caught in a thermal “battery” that discharges the heat well after the fire is extinguished. Oven stoves are a similar idea…they just lack the understanding of pyrodynamics!

      For fuel we could do with investigating coppicing.

  8. JEHR

    “…the question at issue is not how we’re going to keep industrial [industry?] fueled, but whether we can do it at all, and the answer emerging from the data is not one that they want to hear: nothing—no resource or combination of resources available to humanity at this turning of history’s wheel—can support industrial civilization once we finish using up the half a billion years of fossil sunlight that made industrial civilization briefly possible in the first place.” (from http://thearchdruidreport.blogspot.ca/2014/01/seven-sustainable-technologies.html
    This article makes a lot of sense to me. It certainly sounds like we will become less and less dependent on money too. If we could visualize our living without money, that would be sustainable.

  9. fresno dan

    For the Love of Money Times. We don’t give deference to people who hoard kleenex boxes or old newspapers. Why is money different?

    “I’d always looked enviously at the people who earned more than I did; now, for the first time, I was embarrassed for them, and for me. I made in a single year more than my mom made her whole life. I knew that wasn’t fair; that wasn’t right. Yes, I was sharp, good with numbers. I had marketable talents. But in the end I didn’t really do anything. I was a derivatives trader, and it occurred to me the world would hardly change at all if credit derivatives ceased to exist”

    What if credit derivatives ceased to exist??? What was the world like before they existed? It seems to me almost analogous to opening ever more casinos. Undoubtedly, there is more measurable economic activity. But since 1980 the number of casinos has skyrocketed, but median income for wage workers has stagnated. Coincidence?
    So derivatives trading is very, very lucrative for some….but it seems it has harmed the overall economy irreparably.
    Do derivatives help or hinder the economy???

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Good question.

      We have to start questioning everything…everything. I have done my part about science.

      As for ‘economy,’ it is as elusive as ‘money.’ If the new fashion is for people to shave their head every day, and if that mobilizes hipsters’ idle cash, without cutting into their expresso/latte budgets, that surely will stimulate ‘the economy.’

      More puzzling is this: if the fashion is for us to pay to watch each trim our nails, for example, if you pay me $100 to watch me trim my nails and then I pay you $100 to watch you trim your nails, is the services portion of the economy bigger by $200?

  10. Bunk McNulty

    Fifty States Of Fear

    “Meanwhile, 300,000 residents of West Virginia were without safe drinking water last week after 7,500 gallons of 4-methylcyclohexane methanol leaked into the Elk River from an industrial storage tank at a plant owned by a company called Freedom Industries. Few, if any, of the Sunday TV talk shows discussed the matter, but imagine the fear that would have been pedaled on those shows if terrorists had poisoned the water of those 300,000 Americans. Of course the danger is the same whether the cause is terrorism or corporate indifference and malfeasance.”

  11. fresno dan

    Seven Sustainable Technologies The Archdruid Report. Civilization’s baseline….

    “A common bad habit of contemporary thought assumes that gradual changes don’t mean anything until some threshold slips past, at which point things go boom in one way or another. Some processes in the real world happen that way, but it’s far more common for gradual shifts to have gradual impacts all along the trajectory of change. A good case can be made that EROEI decline is one such process. For more than a decade now, the world’s economies have stumbled from one crisis to another, creaking and groaning through what would likely have been visible contraction if the mass production of paper wealth out of thin air hadn’t been been cranked into overdrive to produce the illusion of normality.”
    We’ll start riding bicycles to get around when we have to start.

  12. Skeptic

    White House Interns
    Come on, NC, let’s be fair and balanced, White House Interns are given benefits like the occasional free dress, for example.

  13. Marko

    Don’t know if this has been noted here yet , but it’s a “can’t miss” , IMO :

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z4pto-vvexo

    “Whistleblowing: When the Government Doesn’t Like the Tune
    Gary Aquirre, President, Aguirre Law APC
    Gary Aguirre is best known as the SEC attorney who, while heading an insider trading investigation, resisted his supervisor’s demands to give preferential treatment to a Wall Street banker.”

    It’s long , at 1:23:40 , but it plays well at 1.5X speed , so not too bad.
    Corruption is one hot mess in this country…..

  14. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    How do you see yourself?

    A serf.

    And a dirty brain that needs a good, thorough brainwashing – that’s what my big brother told me.

  15. Jess

    Love the antidote. (Well, actually, every day I enjoy the antidote.) Looks like a dog and a kitty that I would love to own. And the picture is precious; both caught at just the right moment.

  16. lgahlkfglag

    That sex article is ghastly. Once you get passed the linkbait pornified lesbians, half of the “reasons” apply to strictly hetero men. Online media outlets should just stop doing sex and gender pieces.

  17. Chauncey Gardiner

    Re link to delegate demographics at Davos 2014 — among a list of 31 “global risks” that they identified, it was interesting to see what the attendees reportedly said they are MOST concerned about: … “Five years after the collapse of Lehman Brothers, with its system-wide impacts, the failure of a major financial mechanism or institution also features among the risks that the respondents are most concerned about, as uncertainty about the quality of many banks’ assets remains.” (p.13)

    From: http://www3.weforum.org/docs/WEF_GlobalRisks_Report_2014.pdf

  18. JohnDT

    Lambert- it is fascinating how a blog that prides itself for being liberal, open-minded and critical-rational systematically censors replies by readers who are critical of Israel’s current government and settlements, yet seek a more balanced approach that also points to PLO and Hamas corruption and disrespect to human rights, extreme radical militias that constantly kill civilians of all religions and nationalities in that rough arena and which are armed with long-range missiles and non-conventional weapons, oppression by all Arab Regimes (including petrodollar corruption, as well as decades of brutal control over the peoples of the region by ethnic minorities and religious fanatics ongoing violent campaigns and discrimination against women).

    Israel’s deeds and the ongoing internal and external struggle to establish a just and lasting solution that adheres to international norms should be put in the context of the above, if one seeks a truthful discourse.
    It should also be put in proportion, given that country’s tiny size and very small population, in the context of present day colonialism by the Europeans, China, Russia and the US around the globe, arms trade and non-stop offshore military activities by many nations, cross-border financial manipulation, aggressive spying practices, disregard to climate change and other environmental disasters that are not managed by Western Governments and more.

    How about reporting about the two Israeli ministers who are now in DC going through the details of the administration’s current peace blueprint, the fact that Israel just freed a long list of Palestinians who murdered Israel civilians with their own hands as a confidence-building measure (while Guantanamo is still there)? the ongoing democratic protest in Israel to enable illegal immigrants to join the society, the Israeli Supreme Courts decision to uphold the rights of former Representative Ms. Haneen Zoabi and not allow for trial although she has called for the elimination of the state and fought alongside its enemies (just imagine a US Representative joining an Al-Qaeda affiliated organization in protest…)?

    1. Yves Smith

      Between us, Lambert and I have about two decades of comment oversight experience. We know hasbara when we see it. We’ve gotten similar trolling on union-related posts, on Ayn Rand and other pet libertarian topics, and OWS, to name a few. We are keeping propagandists who never visited this site before from wrecking our comments section. This site is private hosted property, not a town square. We run what we please and have no obligation to post ANY particular comment.

      And the US provides more foreign aid to Israel than any other country (and they depend on our military equipment so we have leverage through several channels). By all accounts it should be a client state, yet we don’t just treat them as equal partners, in many respects they’ve driven our policies in the Middle East for decades. So we refuse to use our influence to rein in Israel’s utterly indefensible conduct towards Palestine.

      And please don’t give me blather about “peace blueprints”. The reality is the settlements continue to grow, and no peace process has any credibility until those are not just halted but steps are taken to relocate the settlers.

    2. Lambert Strether Post author

      Any comment that begins “It is fascinating….” or similar wording has a very high probability of being in bad faith. The irony is so overwhelmingly heavy it signals the writer, through constant repetition, has lost touch with the ordinary reader (granted, there are entire comment sections filled with this sort of comment, but NC’s, thankfully, is not one).

      Time to check with your supervisor on stylistics?

      NOTE And all this over a link, for pity’s sake. From the FT! Links are links because they’re of interest to readers, not because we necessarily agree with them.

      Time to check with your supervisor on time allocation?

      1. psychohistorian

        It is instructive to see such drivel from JohnDT. It shows “they” are bothered by your existence. I wonder what s/he/it gets paid to enlighten you as to “proper” content and allowable comments.

        Keep up the good work! Its fun to watch the puppets of the plutocrats fail miserably at their given tasks……what is the percentage chance of “drive-by” puppets like this becoming robots?

    3. James Levy

      I can’t help it: as military historian, saying Israel is small would be like telling the Austrians and the Russians that, comparatively speaking, Prussia is so small, what’s your problem? The issue is not size, it is power, and Israel has more military power than all of her neighbor’s combined times about four. And that’s forgetting about her nuclear weapons. She is a regional superpower, not some poor little Belgium about to be stomped on by her hugely more powerful neighbors. So you are either lying or a complete idiot or so totally sold on Israeli bullshit propaganda as to merit pity (or, from the less generous, disdain).

      Israel’s existence is not now, nor has it been for decades, in doubt or jeopardy. Oh, and by the way, those evil Hamas people who hate everything good and humane–the Israeli’s supported and bankrolled them through the 1970s and 1980s as a counterweight to what was at the time the secular left-wing PLO (which I saw Benjamin Netanyahu tell Ted Koppel on Nightline was secretly an adjunct of the KGB). History sure is a bitch.

  19. fresno dan

    http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2014-01-20/davos-world-which-85-richest-people-have-same-wealth-half-worlds-population

    “the 85 richest people own the same wealth as the 3.5 billion poorest people” … aka half the world’s population.”

    What did Bill Gates actually invent? What did he actually create? What did he actually do? What I have read is that his “real” great business plan was that only his software could be loaded onto computers unless an additional fee was paid to him (I would call that restrain of trade – maybe his “talent” was manipulating the legal system). I suspect the rest of the world’s wealthy are not rich because of some great discovery, but merely the manipulation of patent, copyright, trademark, and various tax exemptions and financial legerdemain.

  20. Synopticist

    The article on NPR’s cheer leading for bombing Syria is excellent. When did the moral imperative to blow the sh*t out of a country and let al qeada take it over BECAUSE OF THE CHILDREN become the liberal consensus?

    The world has gone weird in too many ways to enumerate.

  21. dSquib

    The stipend thing in the Times put me in mind of this amusing piece there last October.

    What If We Just Gave The Poor Money? Ding ding ding!

    I’d add that aside from it working such undertakings are doomed here by being out of sync with contemporary political branding and third-wayism. Such a thing would probably horrify your average DNCer more than your average RNCer, who, falsely, conceive of all anti-poverty measures in this way anyway.

  22. curlydan

    well, I did it! I made it through the whole TNR takedown of Snowden, Greenwald, and Assange! It’s good that Prof Wilentz knows exactly what I’m thinking since he frequently invokes “the leakers and their supporters” think this and the “leakers and their supporters” think that. And I learned that guys who spend all day writing comments/blog posts on the internet sometimes say dumb things. And I learned that if you’re not cheering for the red or blue teams, by God, you’re a fascist and probably racist. And Assange and Snowden may have a thing going with Putin…wink, wink…hint, hint…commie b@stards. Now, back to my regularly scheduled de-programming.

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