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Links 1/28/14

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Pete Seeger, Songwriter and Champion of Folk Music, Dies at 94 New York Times

This student-designed portable home may be the most beautiful tiny house we’ve seen Grist

New Ambassador Caroline Kennedy Shocks the Japanese with Her Strong Criticism of Japan’s Cruel Dolphin Slaughters. What Comes Next? Alternet (Carol B)

Vatican dove release was like tossing out sausages with wings, experts say Washington Post

A Vast Toll Away From Nazi Death Camps New York Times

Wehrmacht had ‘policy of starvation’ in Leningrad DW

Genetic Weapon Against Insects Raises Hope and Fear in Farming New York Times

CEO OF BITCOIN EXCHANGE ARRESTED Business Insider. Your truly said repeatedly that Bitcoin = prosecution futures.

TransCanada Pipeline Explodes Leaving 4,000 Canadians without Natural Gas OilPrice

Thailand Endgame Council on Foreign Relations

Euro Jobless Record Not Whole Story as Italians Give Up Bloomberg

Black Money In France “At The Center Of Life For Politicians” Testosterone Pit (Chuck L)

Ukraine ‘to scrap anti-protest law’ BBC

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

U.S. Reaches Deal With Tech Firms on Data Requests Wall Street Journal

Spy Agencies Probe Angry Birds and Other Apps for Personal Data ProPublica (Deontos)

WSJ/NBC Poll Finds Americans Anxious Over Future, Obama’s Performance Wall Street Journal

Kleiner: I regret using the word Kristallnacht Bloomberg. Effort to remove foot from mouth.

Martin Health System, Florida: Our EHRs were out for two days, but patient care has not been compromised, sayeth Pinocchio Health Care Renewal

Why do bank IT systems keep failing? Guardian

This is nuts. When’s the crash? FT Alphaville

Apple bruised as iPhone sales disappoint Financial Times

Rough Patch for Uber Service’s Challenge to Taxis New York Times

For Narcos and Jamie Dimon, Crime Does Pay: Dimon Gets 77 Percent Raise to $20 Million Truthout

Insurers Push Back Against Stricter Regulation Wall Street Journal

Diagrams & Dollars: Modern Money Illustrated You Tube

Teen employment and minimum wages Angry Bear

ROSENBERG: There Are More Signs Of Wage Inflation Becoming A Reality Business Insider. Lordie, look at how anti-worker bias has become institutionalized. Rising wages are now “wage inflation”.

Income Inequality in the U.S. Means Princes Don’t Go After Cinderellas New York Times

Will the 2nd Great Machine Age be a frightening jobless dystopia? Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, Telegraph

Scenes from the bleak Midwest: Haunting photographs capture the ‘deep scars of industrialism’ across working class America Daily Mail (Lambert)

Antidote du jour. From Furzy mouse’s e-mail:

After spending a lot of time alone in the same room of the owner’s house, they grew fond of each other. The crow is almost always on the dog’s back, the dog even barks when people try to touch his pal. The owner built a custom harness for more comfortable rides.

strange0

And a bonus:

From the page at YouTube where this was posted:

On July 26, 1956, the House of Representatives voted 373 to 9 to cite Pete Seeger and seven others (including playwright Arthur Miller) for contempt, as they failed to cooperate with House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC) in their attempts to investigate alleged subversives and communists. Pete Seeger testified before the HUAC in 1955.

In one of Pete’s darkest moments, when his personal freedom, his career, and his safety were in jeopardy, a flash of inspiration ignited this song. The song was stirred by a passage from Mikhail Sholokhov’s novel “And Quie Flows the Don”. Around the world the song traveled and in 1962 at a UNICEF concert in Germany, Marlene Dietrich, Academy Award-nominated German-born American actress, first performed the song in French, as “Qui peut dire ou vont les fleurs?” Shortly after she sang it in German. The song’s impact in Germany just after WWII was shattering. It’s universal message, “let there be peace in the world” did not get lost in its translation. To the contrary, the combination of the language, the setting, and the great lyrics has had a profound effect on people all around the world. May it have the same effect today and bring renewed awareness to all that hear it.

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164 comments

  1. TheMomCat

    Blessed Be. The Wheel Turns

    May the Goddess guide Pete on his journey to the Summerlands. May his family and friends and the world find Peace.

    Blessed Be.

    1. ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®©

      BANKS ARE MADE OF MARBLE

      I’ve traveled round this country
      From shore to shining shore.
      It really made me wonder
      The things I heard and saw.

      I saw the weary farmer,
      Plowing sod and loam;
      I heard the auction hammer
      A knocking down his home.

      CHORUS:
      But the banks are made of marble,
      With a guard at every door,
      And the vaults are stuffed with silver,
      That the farmer sweated for.

      (Thanks to Chris Bertram for reminding me of this song.)
      ~

    2. Paul Tioxon

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XUwUp-D_VV0

      Song by Pete Seeger: Little Boxes

      Another unbelievably great song. It was used as the opening for WEEDS, the cable TV series about suburban California and the suburban mom who went into the pot dealing business. Every week, another musician or group took a turn at interpreting the song. It is so simple and so straight forward, yes, it’s true, I learned more from a 3 minute record than I ever learned in school. That’s how powerful the artist Pete Seeger will remain in eternity.

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9c0lszyNSaw

  2. Hugh

    It’s interesting that the Bloomberg article on Italy looks beyond the standard active jobseeker definition for unemployment to the wider “would work if jobs were available” one. This is more in line with the approach I take. The methodology in the article is unclear, but if it is working off government data, it could still be understating the true level of unemployment.

    Black money in French politics illustrates yet again the corruption of the political classes in general. The peculiarly French aspect is the culot of the politicians in the categorical denials they make.

    1. susan the other

      Those silly French. We have to be realistic. Per the wage inflation link… of course mere workers cannot expect to finally, after 40 f’ing years, get a proportional economic wage. Such a rise in wages will inevitably cause wage inflation because if it does not the ultra rich will lose purchasing power, aka power.

      1. susan the other

        Why didn’t they bump up interest rates when the lower classes still had a savings balance and inflation took the form of consumer prices (however denied and disguised)? Don’t ask stupid questions Susan. Because their piddly capital was not important.

        1. susan the other

          It really, really had nothing to do with the fact that interest rates have no effect on the economy… really. Interest rate manipulation is always a political tool to give rich people with lots of idle money a little consideration simply for being rich.

  3. Hugh

    BTW the State of the Union is tonight. I will not be watching. Even Obama’s lies have become boring. A dishonest President lying to a room full of corrupt politicians, seriously who needs it?

    1. Katniss Everdeen

      MSNBC’s Chuck Todd stated yesterday that Obama’s biggest fear is that Americans won’t watch the speech. He called it “apathy.”

      I certainly had no plans to watch, but was glad to hear that the white house (deliberately uncapitalized) might notice.

      A small chance to make a statement?

      1. YankeeFrank

        Its so much easier for them to call it apathy so they don’t have to admit that we are tuning them out because we see them for what they are: incestuous enablers and beneficiaries of massive fraud, corruption and crime.

        I mean come on — they’ve arrested a small time bitcoin hustler (who laundered ONE MILLION DOLLARS) on the same day the HSBC drug cartel money launderers, who laundered tens or hundreds of billions of dollars for murderous cartels, pay a small fine, admit no wrongdoing and no one goes to jail.

        1. Synopticist

          Absolutely.
          It sickens me how HSBC just walked away from that. Even the new hyper-cynical former new Labour lefty in me can’t get my head around how the f*ck they beat that rap.

      2. Watt4Bob

        It’s not apathy, it’s a far different phenomenon, called shunning.
        The country is in the process of turning our collective back-sides to Washington.
        Theoretically, it’s the worst thing we can do them.

      3. Shutter

        “He called it “apathy.”

        I call it disgust.

        But if I was Obama, I’d call it apathy too. It sounds better.

        1. curlydan

          Yes. Apathy, boredom, and we’ve seen and heard it all before. “Call on Congress” to do this, “call on Congress” to do that…he’s calling on Congress (535 peeps who want to get re-elected by people in their districts and who don’t share his priorities) to do something they don’t really care that much about.

          Mr President: get off your be-hind, write some legislation, send it to Reid, and tell him to get on it!

          And don’t forget to throw in a few “Let me be clear”s tonight because it just wouldn’t be a good speech without it.

          1. jrs

            Volks, he also make sure to appeal to the volks. Uh I mean “folks” of course, yes of course I do.

      4. jrs

        I call it refusal to be subjected to deliberately manipulative propaganda. Read or skim the thing if you feel like it, but at least tune out the visual and audio propaganda. Because: a mind is a terrible thing to waste.

        Basically the same reason we fast forward through commercials. Or is doing so “apathy” as well. Is not heeding the billboards on the freeway “apathy”. Hanging up on telemarkers, that’s a case of “apathy” right?

      5. jrs

        Crush all protest movements (throw in a few idle assasination threats – against “leaders” of leaderless groups). Pass the NDAA to use against any protestors that ever got out of hand. Charge protestors with likely baseless charges. Infilitrate peaceful political radicals. Silence all whistleblowers, lock them up for life after kangaroo trials. Leak out a few threats to threaten to kill those you can’t arrest. After all you’ve got a real assasination program so what are a few idle threats to commit murder? Spy on even MSM outlets. Charge journalists with crimes. Build a stasi state where everyone’s afraid, because everything is bugged and everything monitored. Turn the people’s real outrage over the stasi state into lame rituals that pretend to fix things. Work on secret laws, secret courts, secret trade agreements, secret kill lists. Turn the people’s desire for real change into the status quo on steriods. Impoverish everyone.

        Call the citizens fear (they’re watching, they’re imprisoning, and they threaten to kill), and despair, and deep hopelessness, in the face of a totalitarian state that destroys everything worthwhile in life: “apathy”.

        But tell me Obama: don’t the people always appear “apathetic” in totatalitarian states? That line between apathy an oppression is so hard to see, isn’t it? Who can really say afterall, too bad the SOTU might interfere with a terror tuesday.

    2. hunkerdown

      But but, the ENHANCED version that goes fullscreen and has a built-in moderated chat window*!!!!1

      * to keep discourse “respectful”

    3. Katniss Everdeen

      May I suggest spending some quiet time reflecting on Pete Seeger’s life and music instead?

      He was an American who DESERVED the nation’s attention.

      1. psychohistorian

        Thanks for the appropriate sentiment. We need more cutting through the BS with insight like this.

    4. Massinissa

      Prediction: People wont bother watching the addresses of the next president either, no matter who it is or what party s/he is from. Maybe the first one, due to lingering election euphoria (for the half of the population who actually bothers to vote, anyway), but the ones after that, people will have realized already, albeit unconsciously, that there will, again, be no (positive) change with the new president, even if they change the party or the skin color or gender of the person at the helm.

      1. JTFaraday

        Once they stopped the Florida recount, I couldn’t stand to listen to anything that came out of Bush’s mouth. This is the first time I reacted to a president this way. I never tolerated a speech from him again.

        I paid attention to the D-Party primary through Obama’s acceptance speech at the convention. After all that tripe about “The American Dream,” oddly punctuated by his passionate exclamation that Bush/ the Republicans were too wussy to follow Osama Bin Laden to Afghanistan “to the cave where he lives,” I never listened to Obama again.

        Here we were in a serious crisis of governance, with a constitutional scholar for a candidate, and we were getting nothing but the same wall to wall dumbed down crap, as if we were children.

        Enough of this already.

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          I watched in 96 and didn’t pick up until 06. I drank heavily in 2007 during the speech, and I only watched W after 9/11 (not the SOTU). It’s just Reagan era pageantry and only mattered in an earlier age where the Pres. was the only permanent elected in DC.

        2. coboarts

          I remember reading the account of an Iraqi citizen about the take over by Saddam Hussein and the Bathist party. He stated that he couldn’t believe that it could happen to his nation, they were very educated and worldly. Oh well, huh.

        3. Montanamaven

          Agree but with slight correction. O taught a constitutional law course. A “scholar” produces original work in his field of study. Originality is not a word I associate with the Nudge crowd over at the White House or with quite a few graduates of those hot beds of conformity called Ivy League.

        4. jrs

          I last watched with W (and haven’t owned a t.v. since and maybe that’s the reason why. If that’s what’s on t.v. why bother …)

      2. Ex-PFC Chuck

        I don’t recall the last time I watched a complete SOU speech. Maybe as far back as Carter. Or further.

      3. LucyLulu

        When was the last memorable SOTU? I don’t recall any. The only events I recall from SOTU addresses have nothing to do with the speech but were comments made from the peanut gallery present, or about conservative responses to SOTU (that seem to keep accumulating, this year to be four responses, and perhaps still growing??).

  4. McMike

    FYI. The site is not working on my iphone. Pages display, but won’t scroll down.

    There’s also a new very persistent pop up banner across the bottom. There is no option to close it. Is it possible that this is locking the scroll function?

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      Please advise whether you are viewing the mobile version of the site or have opted to use the desktop version. The only popup I’ve seen does allow you to close it (X on upper right corner).

      1. McMike

        Mobile site.

        Greeted first this time with a full-page Hyundai ad, but that swipes to clear at the bottom.

        Then the banner across the bottom “FHA streamline experts” shows up and stays down on the bottom with no click to clear it. If you touch it at all you launch it. It stays on the bottom even when you scroll down the article. It does not go away.

        However I can now scroll to read the article. So I suspect the ad got stuck loading this morning, and hung up the page. I see now that it is an animated banner. I suspect it was stuck loading itself the morning.

        Oh wait, now the “MBS quoteline” banner is across the bottom, and it is stuck, it won’t let the page scroll down. There is no option to close it. Just a “view site” button and an “ad choices” button.” Now it won’t even let me scroll sideways to a different article…

  5. BDBlue

    Anyone interested in more information on the starvation and other death policies by the Nazis in Eastern Europe as well as those by Stalin there as well should check out Bloodlands: Europe Between Hitler and Stalin. The deliberate policies of death are really staggering and go far beyond the Nazi death camps, gruesome and staggering in their own right.

    1. psychohistorian

      Hey Oregon Congresscritters!!!!

      If you are all so damn progressive then why the heck are you not bringing Congress to a standstill because of this inhumanity?

      Maybe it is because YOU are all a bit compromised as humans. If Ted Cruise can stop our government, WHY CAN’T YOU?

    2. JEHR

      I read it and was astonished at the parallels between Nazi and Communist policies. So sad, frightening and ultimately deadly for the populations that experienced both regimes!

    3. Wayne Reynolds

      Don’t forget the 500,000 starved Iraqi children during Bush 41 and Clinton sanctions in the 90′s. Madeline Albright thought it was worth it!

    1. Whine Country

      Got me thinking…I could put one of those Tiny houses on a foundation and let’s see – Lot costs, permits, fees, etc. – In my little Northern California community I could be in it for just under $250,000. What a country!

      1. McMike

        They’d never let you get away with a composting toilet. Not to mention interconnected smoke/CO alarms, egress standard windows, and sprinkler system.

        1. ambrit

          McMike;
          I’m waiting for TPTB to promulgate building codes for cardboard “Guest Worker” shanties. After that, a redefinition of “Guest Worker.” (How about: “Any person capable of work who earns less than 130% of the Federal Poverty Level?” I seem to have heard about that class being thrown to the Wolves in regard to, excuse me a moment whilst I try to contain my hilarity, Affordable Healthcare. Some sort of a cardboard Package Deal methinks.)

      2. optimader

        An aesthetically executed design curiosity.
        Nice, but high maintenance for what it is, and too small for extended practical using construction technique that breaks no new ground in a practical direction. http://www.mosquitorestoration.com/cmscontent/Image/Gallery01/Large%20Images/M.%20Starboard%20shell%20half%20in%20cradle.jpg

        IMO a more interesting direction to go is larger and more efficient textile structures. Conceptually: engineered membranes w/ metal/composite wooden space frame fitted w/ “hard points” for doors/windows and other penetrations, fitted w/climate appropriate interior (eg: radiant heat floor/insulated interior envelope for cold climates or pasive penthouse ventilation for warmer climates) .

        Of course as permanent structures this is limited to unincorporated geographies Municipal building codes based on BOCA or eqiv, are designed to support legions of municipal ciphers that feed on zoning/design/build/const process –very disinclined to forge new ground w/ elegantly simple structures. The irony (at least domestically in the US), if you consider the construction value of many code approved dwellings, a properly engineered textile structure can be a superior and more economical choice.
        I have been idly considered this approach for comfortable and practical sized “temporary” habitats on land in geographies I like.

        http://inhabitat.com/frohn-rojas-wall-house/
        http://fabricarchitecturemag.com/articles/0513_f1_digital_fabrication.html
        http://www.tinyhousedesign.com/decently-primitive-tiny-tent-living/

  6. Andrea

    On: Income Inequality in the US Means Princes don’t go after Cinderellas.

    I didn’t get the ‘numbers’ really in this article. But the result is of course a no-brainer. Life experiences, aspirations, social circles, etc. diverge more with growing inequality, people cohere more in smaller groups rather than feeling they belong to, and in, ‘society as a whole.’ Social mobility is very low in the US (and the UK) as compared to say the EU in any case. And is certainly sinking.

    However the ‘like marries like’ phenomenon is almost certainly accounted for in a large part by computer dating, which matches like to like in terms of hobbies, cultural interests, sense of humor, dress, type of work, strong dislikes, etc. – all markers of social class, ‘race’, and other group belonging. Computer dating also washes away immediate attraction based on looks and manner (although looks are a no. 1. factor in ‘hits’ or ‘mails’) because there are so many ppl who have similar types /levels of looks. (E.g. there are 35 good looking brunettes with long hair who like x, y, z, seem smart, are more democrat than republican, etc.) Computer dating does wash away income (not occupation!) to some degree, but all the other class markers are very strong and amplified.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      It’s depressing, but I guess true, that there are a lot of people who look and act just like me, at least to the computer behind computer dating, with sufficient quantification.

      To it, I am not unique:(

      Just a bunch of numbers, really. It’s a Galilean Love Universe – with black holes (but don’t worry, Hawking thinks they are not as scary as he first said) – and with equations to be solved….

      Love = (Oxytocin) ^ 2 x (Golden Section Resemblance) x (Income) x (Power) x (Fame) – (Number of Pimples) ^ 3 + (Hair Density) ^ 2

      1. optimader

        Depends which/where the hair it is your talk’in about beef?
        Fame? … maybe no so much.I do know/have known a few people that operate in the public domain and when push comes to shove, having complete strangers recognize you is an unsettling consequence of their passion. Some may live for public recognition, but a hard to rewind that tape.

        As for me, I’ll take x(good health)^4 x(faaakU money) x (wisdom enough to be engaged in clever pursuits) x(anonymity)^2

    2. Linden

      An article I read the other day about why it is pointless to try to convince low-income single mothers to get married is the flip side of this issue. When making a living is fraught with uncertainty, there’s no margin for error in the choice of a partner. If someone who is already low-income marries someone who turns out to not be a good job prospect, or who becomes disabled, or who is an intolerable jerk that they later have to divorce, it can sink them financially. When income is already precarious, remaining unattached rather than taking on a possible liability makes sense.

    3. Garrett Pace

      I think both you and the article brush lightly against the real effect: today women are educated and have career prospects. There were a few generations in the west where men got schooling and their dating pools didn’t as much. We flattered ourselves that we were classless…

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        It was called Cotillion and débutant balls.Please the class structure existed then too, but some people are romanticized a wife who donated a pittance to her home town in exchange for adulation.

        1. LucyLulu

          Yes. Social classes were alive and well back in the 1960′s and 1970′s, as mentioned with Cotillion (and country club memberships, horses owned, private school attendance, participation in certain sports, etc.). And one was expected to marry within, or above, one’s class. It’s been around forever though. Romeo and Juliet, West Side Story, and other classics tell the tragic fates of love from the wrong side of the tracks.

          People being attracted to others with similar values and experiences has been a consistent phenomena across time and cultures, long before internet dating could be conceptualized. (Just as many physical attributes deemed to be attractive are consistent across diverse cultures, e.g. 0.7 waist-hip ratio, which is optimal for fertility, and bilateral symmetry of facial features, as well as torso and extremities….. a marker of good health. Women are also attracted to different men depending on phase of menstrual cycle. At beginning/end of cycle, may be attracted to playboy popular male. Midcycle, when can become pregnant, they are attracted to men who appear to be good providers, the loyal and steadfast. Oops, the secret is out now. Men, you can take note and plan according to your own personality type. Realize you won’t always win. You’re doing well if you win sometimes.

          1. NotTimothyGeithner

            Wrong side of the tracks? Pyramus and Thisbe communicated through a hole in adjoining walls. Maria’s brother was the leader of the sharks, and the Capulets and Montague were on a first name basis with the prince. That story is about feuds and non sensual ideas of honor killing children. The love story is almost secondary.

  7. Skeptic

    Vatican Doves, Presidential Turkeys, Cats, Dogs, Wabbits, Prime Ministerial Pheasants, Senator’s Fish, Romneyan Dogs, Palinesque Bears, etc.

    Looks like a Business here providing the animal life needed for political photo ops so nothing goes wrong. And don’t forget all those gurgling babies! The animals would be recruited and provided to conform to the political message and also to avoid any bad publicity. Maybe even get some corporate logos on them, after all it is the corps who make it all happen.

    Politipet might be a good monicker.

    Then there is the Dark Side (early NSA perhaps?) of animals, anyone remember that kwaaaazzy wabbit that chased Jimmy C.:

    ““Upon closer inspection, the animal turned out to be a rabbit. Not one of your cutesy, Easter Bunny-type rabbits, but one of those big splay-footed things that we called swamp rabbits when I was growing up.”

    “The animal was clearly in distress, or perhaps berserk. The President confessed to having had limited experience with enraged rabbits. He was unable to reach a definite conclusion about its state of mind. What was obvious, however, was that this large, wet animal, making strange hissing noises and gnashing its teeth, was intent upon climbing into the Presidential boat.””

    1. ambrit

      Oh come on now. You must surely remember that “Blood Sacrifice” was carried on in the precincts of the Temple at Jerusalem? After the “Reforms” of Judaism, the Temple was the only place those sacrifices were allowed. That was in a far Godlier time I ween. Now we have Temples to that old Baal made new again, Mammon. Not faulting the new Pope but, the Vatican can be argued to be the logical successor of the old Jewish Temple, thus inheriting the older Temples’ functions. (Unless you are partial to those nutcases of the Ultra Orthodox of both Mosaic and Nazarene sects who want to rebuild the original Temple to usher in The Last Days. Check those ones out, such as they in Texas trying to rebreed the Red Bull. Especially look for “upright” individuals sporting a small lapel pin consisting of crossed American and Israeli flags. I saw one last week. If you are curious about “Conspiracy Theories,” this is the real thing.)

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        The Vatican was for a time, but they are small potatoes these days. The new priestly class call themselves economists, but they serve the same function as the old Sadducees.

  8. McMike

    The OTIS’s composting toilet appears to be a glorified paint bucket. (Which is what composting toilets are)….

    But if it comes with the cutie co-ed, I’ll take two!

  9. rich

    We the People

    Democracy has now become a kind of opera – more and more lavish in direct proportion to its separation from ordinary people and their lives. Every four or five years we get to chose between two teams who represent some interest which is not ours. They may represent the interests of bankers, or global corporations, or militarists and the industrial complex which gets rich from their adventures, or some other grouping within the machinery of the State, or the interests of a powerful global 1% – whatever interest they serve it is never yours and mine. For those who will clamour and say the Democrats or Labour or La Gauche represent the interests of the labour unions, WAKE UP! It’s been decades since that was even partially true. Labour under Blair and Brown was Thatcherism by another name and ignored a million people who said very clearly and en masse, that the Bush/Blair war was unjust, illegal and unwanted. The Democrats under Obama followed the same financial and economic ideology as Bush, even choosing the same people to run things, and was as warlike and arrogant as well. Change? Tell it to a moron. He might believe you.

    Democracy is broken. No one represents us. We are allowed only to chose between different teams of The Entitled who, once chosen, ignore us completely. The whole idea of a mandate has mutated. Once that idea meant that a government could do what it had said it would do when it was trying to win our votes. Beyond those things, it had to consider ‘The People’. Today all parties consider that being elected means to be handed absolute power to do whatever they feel like doing, whatever they can ram through the tattered remains of accountability and oversight.

    Elected dictatorship in installments is what we have today. And when each installment, no matter the different names and colours of the teams, is almost indistinguishable from the last, what is representative democracy if not a street parade of oversized cartoon characters and their pantomimed arguments. Are we not amused?

    http://www.golemxiv.co.uk/2014/01/we-the-people/?

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      ‘Democracy is broken.’

      And here come the ‘Government can have as much money (i.e. power) as it wants’ crusaders.

      Which needs to come first – ethical politicians or ethical bankers?

      You won’t get ethical bankers unless you have ethical politicians/ethical governments.

      We have to fix the government before fantasizing about how powerful it can be (in the wrong hands).

    2. Synopticist

      I’m not willing to give up on multi-party democracy. I don’t want to make the retreat into communism or conspiracy theory, and i can’t see any better system out there, even in theory.

      Surrendering is what they want us to do.

      1. LucyLulu

        Multi-party democracy? In the US?
        Our government has been steeped in the two-party system since its founding, and the structure has built up around supporting a two-party system. How many successful politicians have we seen that weren’t a member of one of the two major parties? I wonder if Perot wouldn’t have won if he had been a Republican.

        With the Citizen’s United ruling, and the open floodgates for money to pour into politics, the two parties are getting yet more entrenched. How can a third party gain the power and funding to compete with long-time donors, such as the Koch Bros, who secretly donate 100s of millions, and fund studies at think tanks, provide stipends and expenses for their people to take unpaid internships in policy study institutes, and buy academic departments at universities designed to shape people’s belief systems.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        A good point, though it is probably used here loosely to mean (and this is from the freedictionary) ‘The common people, considered as the primary source of political power,’ or something similar.

  10. Thomas Williams

    Interesting how the author omitted the single biggest factor: illegal aliens. With 10′s of millions illegals competing for jobs, it’s no surprise that inexperienced American teenagers are the losers.

    Not to worry, Obama will grant them amnesty. Thus leading to millions more pouring in and depressing wages.

    The author has let this omission reduce an otherwise thoughtful article to rubbish.

    1. McMike

      Speaking of rubbish. your blanket generalization is a hopeless oversimplification.

      But if you want to direct your ire, direct it at the firms who ruthlessly slash pay and eliminate jobs, and who continue to employ illegal aliens.

      If those corporations stopped employing illegals, there wouldn’t be anyone for Obama to grant amnesty to.

      1. Wendy

        BINGO, and it bears repeating:
        The problems that flow from hiring illegal immigrants, are due to the HIRING of illegal immigrants, meaning the BUSINESSES that hire them. They ought be fined, and worse.

        Further, Mexicans, too, have noticed the lack of jobs here in The Greatest Country In The World, and there is now a net zero immigration back and forth between the US and Mexico. Just as many ppl flowing that way as this way.

        1. J Sterling

          Constant churn is not that much of an improvement on positive net inflow. It still means a population of people who only just got here, who care nothing for those around them because they are lumpen, torn from their social context. I’d rather an immigrant stay and settle in than come, leave, and be replaced by yet another cheap labor blow-in.

    2. Linden

      Cite for the “tens of millions” figure? Last figure I saw was 12 million, total.

      And Obama will enact amnesty? You mean, like Reagan did?

      1. Thomas Williams

        Acording to the Pew Center, we had @12.4 million illegals when George Bush, Jr took office. As of Dec, 2009 the best estimate was 30.3 million.
        The breakdown is @75% Mexican, 20% other Latinos, 5% all else. Don’t let the propaganda put out by the open border crowd fool you. Do your own homework.

    3. Vatch

      The ultra-rich who own and operate the United States love immigration, both legal and illegal, because it depresses wages, and encourages workers to be more compliant. It’s not just American teenagers who are affected; nearly all American workers and their wages are affected by high levels of immigration. High levels of immigration strongly contribute to the Walmartization of the United States.

      However, I don’t think there are 10s of millions of illegal immigrants in the U.S. I think it’s closer to 11 or 12 million. The Center for Immigration Studies is a good source of information on this topic:

      Center for Immigration Studies

      In this article, the author estimates that there are 40 million immigrants in the U.S., and that 28% of them are here illegally:

      2012 Profile of America’s Foreign Born Population

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        A lot of them are victims of economic and military imperialism, made so on purpose to provide cheap labor worldwide.

        That was what Roman legions did – to bring back to the Eternal City more and more slaves.

        But we are smarter today. We don’t have slaves. We have Just In Time Serfs (Go find your own lodging and food – and stay off the plantation when not working! We will call you in when we need you. The mistress can’t bear to look at your wretchedness. Forget about any accidental physical contact. This would be disgusting. And what do you know – mental torture is easy to get away with! You are just stressing yourself out. I didn’t do anything. And remember, if you and I are in the same elevator and if I don’t like how you look or you greet me, you are out. Nothing to do human dignity.)

        1. Alejandro

          Why not for the better? Fodder is also a noun but “a mind is a terrible thing to waste”. GIGO and all that.
          Recycled red-herrings for the “defining issue of our time”. More wedges between victims and eventual victims…anything but solidarity.

      1. brian

        to the writer it must seem better than espalda mojado.

        Pete, one of humanity’s leaders, thank you for proving it exists.

      2. optimader

        In this usage it remains an adjective, no?

        As a clarification, I think this is correct. http://www.dailywritingtips.com/illegal-aliens-and-illegal-immigrants/ There exists both illegal immigrants and aliens, as well the legal variety. It is what it is.

        Obviously some people unknowingly and incorrectly use both terms, alien/immigrant as synonyms, as well some knowingly and incorrectly use them as synonyms for the purpose of “red meat” rhetorical terms of derision (like using the adjectives “liberal” and “conservative”.)

        I do have friends, acquaintances and employees who are legal immigrants and aliens —the former who intend on remaining in the US and the latter who intend on going back to their country of birth.. both perfectly legitimate choices IMO.

        It is a reasonable expectation that this Country have a sensible and enforced policy that codifies a distinction between legal vs illegal immigrants and aliens.

        Immigrants AND Aliens have measurable economic impact on this Country. With regard to agriculture for one thing, aliens in particular have had a long, economically positive history.
        Perpetuating the status-quo tacit allowance of illegal immigrant and alien status is license for human exploitation, as well it undermines the opportunities for legal immigrants and aliens

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Why should Australia* take in legal and illegal American immigrants and aliens?

          Why?

          They should because it’s a compassionate thing to do.

          But that will just perpetuate the wealth inequality here…(victims) out of sight, out of mind.

          * hypothetical example. It could be Sweden or some other Eden or quasi-Eden.

          1. optimader

            Illegal immigrants/aliens are exploitively monetized here in the US , maybe not so for Americans in OZ.

            1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

              The elites hope to exploitively monetize everyone here, American or alien, they can…maximizing neoliberalism value.

    4. optimader

      Marginalizing the lowest common denominator with the least job opportunites is stale rhetoric.

      At least in my geography, for American citizen youths w/ zero skills and at least a GED, there are entry level jobs if one has the gumption to seek them out.

      http://www.americasjobexchange.com/job-detail/job-opening-AJE-565797495?source=indeed&utm_source=Indeed&utm_medium=cpc&utm_campaign=Indeed

      https://www.appone.com/maininforeq.asp?Ad=333424&R_ID=794580&Refer=http://www.indeed.com/q-USPS-l-Lisle,-IL-jobs.html&B_ID=87

      ect ect

  11. Katniss Everdeen

    RE: Scenes from the bleak Midwest…’deep scars of industrialism’

    Neither I nor most of the commenters at the Mail found this photographic collection particularly impressive. And, while it’s a small point, I think the “scars” are caused more by the outsourcing of the “industrialism” than the “industrialism” itself.

    I did learn one thing I didn’t know, however. Apparently one of the deepest “scars of industrialism” is the creation of the propensity to go shirtless in Midwestern males–especially youngish, androgynous boys. I guess it takes a New York based photographic eye to suss something like that out.

    But, in all fairness, the post-industrial Midwest can be pretty “icky.” All that rusting metal and trees without leaves in winter. And it’s a pretty hot issue right now. Laura Dimon (Jamie Dimon’s daughter) even did her 8th grade essay on the topic. And it had pictures too.

    http://www.policymic.com/articles/77225/this-is-america-s-most-apocalyptic-violent-city-and-you-ve-probably-never-heard-of-it

    1. McMike

      The impact of meth on the heartland has been well documented, as has the disappearance of good wage blue collar jobs with benefits and longevity; the rise of corporate farms; and the coup de grace from WalMart.

      1. McMike

        Well, if you just took pictures of normal happy families wearing clothes from Gap and JC Penny, who’d buy the book?

      1. Katniss Everdeen

        My sarcasm. I apologize.

        It just READS like an 8th grade essay. And a google and copy one at that.

        1. DolleyMadison

          I loved the subtle snark in your original comment. Wonder who Daddy Warbucks paid to write her college entrance exams…maybe she should consult with them next time she “publishes.”

    2. coboarts

      Look at the eyes and expressions of those wolf pups – they put me in mind of the Gary Larson (Far Side) comic where the wolves are looking at their former friend::: “It’s Bob, all right… but look at those vacuous eyes, that stupid grin on his face – he’s been domesticated, I tell you.” That is what we look like while watching/listening to our national/state/local leaders.

  12. Cal

    re Stalingrad:
    Stalin deliberately starved tens of millions of his own people and used food as a political weapon. That’s why tens of millions of Russians were eager to help the Nazis.

    1. optimader

      First person Polish and Hungarian WWII victims I know/knew hated the Russians far more than the Germans. When I was younger, this puzzled me ’til I was brought up to speed.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        In the movie, Katyn, the Germans and Russians were both scary, though the Russians seemed to have wrecked more damage (in the film anyway…because the film was about Katyn, I guess).

        1. optimader

          Katyn, yeah an interesting movie..
          My former neighbor, now passed, was Hungarian Jewish woman who lived in Buda-pest as a youth. I think an affluent background, family owned a dept store and she was an Hungarian Olympic team swimmer.. During the occupation of B-P she survived as an interpreter (fluent in seven languages including russian and german). Depending on who controlled the side of the river, the Hovel she lived in was alternately occupied by the Germans or the Russians.

          Her reflection to me was that the German Officers and Wehrmacht soldiers were for the most part reasonably well educated and predictable ( that’s predictably humane or predictably evil –Wehrmacht vs SS) but at least predictable, which was the most important factor as she assessed.
          The Russians she lived w/ were mostly illiterate Proletariat conscripted from approaching stone age agrarian conditions -behaviorally undeveloped and extremely unpredictable…. developmentally like little kids equipped w/military weapons she said.. Their behavior could seamlessly swing from being fascinated with a music box to seamlessly raping and/or killing her and fellow civilians for some perceived annoyance in the Hovel.
          The Russians apparently had a breathtakingly high mortality rate during the battle for Buda-pest and they all knew it , consequently it was anything goes if they survived another day and got back to Hovel.

          As it turned out, I took her and a swimmer friend to see the movie Titanic when it came out, and she quietly freaked out at the end. I later learned the (predictably evil SS) tied her and her family together on the River bank (December) and machined gunned them all into the water one night. She survived by towing/floating/swimming across tied to her family, none of whom survived. She was saved by some resistance fighters athat saw what happened and followed her downstream.
          So full stop for me, she still preferred the Germans..
          A remarkable woman Judy Shultz was, swam 1 mile every morning well into her 80′s. She gave me her favorite cooking pots and utensils when she knew she was terminally ill.
          She will always benchmark what adversity means , for me anyway.

  13. Frank Stain

    I often wonder whether there is a deeper secret to the dumbing down of SOTU and other presidential addresses. I am talking about this graphic
    http://www.theguardian.com/world/interactive/2013/feb/12/state-of-the-union-reading-level

    which charts a fairly consistent movement of linguistic simplification in presidential addresses and speeches. The most simple take on what this means is just to say that we the people are increasingly infantilized and treated as though we are too dumb to understand complicated things. Fair enough, but I suspect there is more going on. The dumbing down of the discourse, conveniently, makes it totally impossible to actually understand the scale of the problems we face, which are very complicated, historically deep, and require serious thought and reflection. The dumbing down of the discourse, then, ensures that there can never be a full, consistent, and accurate accounting of the nation’s problems, since the 6th grade reading level of contemporary political speech simply does not allow it. I shall be paying a lot of attention to the level of dumbness of Obama’s discourse tonight (when I read it afterwards, of course, I am not watching that crap). I suspect that the work of infantilizing us is part of making sure nothing meaningful gets through the childish noise. Does everybody have their pacifiers ready?

    1. McMike

      I think the purpose has become to provide talking points for the MSM to play he said/she said with. And to toss some red meat to their base.

      They are full of code words, weasel words, and dog whistles. Which means one side nods their heads and the other sides grates their teeth.

      I can’t listen to the damn things because they have become such irredeemably poll-tested, professionally scripted exercises in emotional manipulation and bullsh**t.

        1. McMike

          Absolutely. You must be a glutton for punishment.

          I’ll be as far away as possible. Listening to some old dixieland and sipping on an old bourbon.

          I’ll leave it to you to deconstruct in your own special way.

        2. jrs

          wee … magic markers, always fun. Nothing else about the STFU is likely to be. It actually IS an important speech (to read or skim afterward not to be manipulated by watching) because in it our leaders do tell us what they plan to do with us, what horrible policies we will be subjected to next. So yea important even if I’d rather not know.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Would be nice to have a ‘State of the Union By The Little People’ website.

        We can all go and give our own speeches.

    2. Andrea

      The dumbing down also works by failing to present examples of discourse – debate, argument, speech, written essay – which is somewhat ‘above’ part of the audience, yet serves as a ‘model’ or ‘standard’ to be admired, and thus attained, worked on, analyzed, etc.

    3. NotTimothyGeithner

      I always thought Obama’s appeal had nothing to do with his vaunted rhetoric except he never asked his audience to think. People looking for answers in a scary world rallied to a candidate who told them everything was great. Also he was running against hillary, so the bar wasn’t too high.

    4. hunkerdown

      As usual, Americans conflate general knowledge with ingroup knowledge. The ability to read 19th century prose is a mark of culture, not intelligence. So we spell and pronounce “manufactory” without the “manu” anymore. Because people rarely see that word except in college, it’s “higher-level”? No, it’s affected, and I see no reason to hand out points for it.

  14. Andrea

    On: Income Inequality in the US Means Princes don’t go after Cinderellas.

    I didn’t get the ‘numbers’ really in this article. But the result is of course a no-brainer. Life experiences, aspirations, social circles, etc. diverge more with growing inequality, people cohere more in smaller groups rather than feeling they belong to, and in, ‘society as a whole.’ Social mobility (as charted from parent to child) is very low in the US (and the UK) as compared to say the EU in any case. And is certainly sinking.

    However the recent ‘like marries like’ phenomenon is almost certainly accounted for in a large part by computer dating, which matches like to like in terms of hobbies, cultural interests / other tastes, sense of humor, dress, type of work, strong dislikes, etc. – all markers of social class, ‘race’, and other group affiliations.

    Computer dating also washes away immediate attraction based on looks and manner (although looks are a no. 1. factor in ‘hits’ or ‘mails’) because there are so many ppl who have similar types / levels of looks. (E.g. there are 35 good looking brunettes with long hair smaller than 5.6 who like x, y, z, seem smart, lean democrat, etc.) Computer dating does hide or minimise income to some degree, but all the other class markers stand out and are amplified. Lastly, possibly, simply widening the pool of potential spouses -e.g. geographically- contributes.

  15. McWatt

    With Pete Seegar’s passing a great light has gone out. He should be seen as what we all should strive for; Pete always and every day, stood up to be counted. Perhaps 300 million candles can take his place.

    “Catch-22 says they can do anything we can’t stop them from doing.”

  16. sleepy

    Bill Gates was quoted today as stating that perhaps an increase in the minimum wage should be “targeted” towards those who need it the most. As an example, he cited some study that only 19% of fast food workers come from poverty level families.

    Is the man so unreflective that he fails to see the personal irony in calling for wage increases only for those who “need” them? Or is he deliberately engaged in self-parody, for laughs?

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Mathematically,

        Money x Empathy = K

        Where K is a constant for each person. For a sociopath, his/her K is very low.

  17. Draken Korinne

    Join us in mass refusal – let us withdraw our consent. It’s time to stop living in fear, regain our dignity, and do so through ACTION, in recognition that our system has morphed into something new – the old rules and methods don’t work, “voting” is just a sham; there are no political solutions to this coming crisis.

    We need a mass, wide-scale repudiation and REFUSAL to play along any more. We must gird our loins, gather our courage and walk away. Let their system collapse in on itself. Yes, it will cause short-term pain, a flash of catastrophe across the boards, but then we will emerge into a new reality, one that recognizes that with modern technology being what it is, *scarcity is now artificial.*

    If we continue along the current trajectory, much of labor and the middle class will be rendered economically obsolete, and all the gains will concentrate in the hands of those who currently own capital. We must crash this trajectory; the need is more urgent that most people – and writers, public figures, etc. – realize.

    DEBTORS’ REVOLT — intentional DEFAULT EN MASSE is a way to start. Repudiate the predators, rebuild from there.

  18. mookie

    I really want to see this movie – it looks like a good episode of Black Mirror – but haven’t found the time yet. Interesting review:
    ‘Her’ is the Scariest Movie of 2013 Jason Farago – New Republic

    And you could have lots of philosophical fun debating whether an artificial intelligence can have emotions or merely exhibits behaviors that look like emotions. (As Jonze cunningly appreciates, the computer gets the benefit of the doubt when it has the voice of Scarlett Johansson.) You can ask, too, about the value of Theodore’s love for Samantha—which Jonze depicts not only as legitimate but as morally improving. Yet what makes Her so powerful and so scary is that these admittedly important questions obscure, by design, the deeper and darker issues of economics, law and citizenship that such software raises.

      1. mookie

        haha! Every time I walk into an Apple store I’m reminded of the aesthetic of American Psycho. But yes, in real life sociopaths walk amongst us. (In case it wasn’t clear, I didn’t write that line, it was a quote from the linked review.)

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Somebody or something (let’s say ‘evolution’ – though evolution itself is ‘beyond intelligence’) made us ‘intelligent’ and emotional.

      If we can’t make a software (let’s call it AI) intelligent and emotional, we are either 1) not that intelligent or 2) not trying hard enough.

      The enemy (or in this case, the problem) is us…methinks.

      1. ambrit

        Dear MLTPB;
        Arthur Clarke treated all this in his screenplay written with Stanley Kubrick for “2001.”
        A classic meme; what does an AI do for his/her first independent act? In “2001″ HAL becomes paranoid. Now there’s feeling for you!

    1. JTFaraday

      That’s looks about as enticing as the SOTU (that no one wants to listen to).

      Really, he needn’t have bothered.

  19. jjmacjohnson

    Wow! After encouraging the public to go online bankers have invested so little back to build and maintain the system. They claim it is so much cheaper banking online yet the profit goes in the pocket and not to the consumer or at least the company infrastructure. How can these be given a bonus when they have not not done their job. Wait don’t ask that.

    Also how easy for hackers?

  20. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    The Second Machine Age – jobless dystopia?

    ONLY if the bigger pie (GDP) is not shared, but pocketed by the elites. Then, it’s dystopia.

    It’s the same problem, before the Machine Age and after the Machine…tomorrow or 6,000 years ago.

    One can be easily distracted by the breathless headlines, but there is really one problem to be solved – sharing.

    Wealth sharing – that’s GDP sharing.

    Charisma sharing – that’s social grooming. Yup, we used to do that, when we were apes – picking off lice so we’d look attractive and semi-charismatic.

  21. LucyLulu

    There’s been quite a bit of talk lately about income equality, job creation, and raising the minimum wage. This video is mostly trots out the same tired arguments,, but this was the first time I’d heard the argument below (starts about 1:00 in video).

    “so if we increase minimum wage from $7.25 to $10.10, that’s going to impact, you know, a couple of million people out of the workforce, number one, and it’s doing virtually nothing to stimulate structural consumer demand, which is really what’s needed to get the economy to grow in a much more organic way. so i’m kind of disappointed that the president has picked this big idea as, you know, the centerpiece of his state of the union address. this is a big democratic idea. mr. strain, very quick, and i want to bring steve in after you comment on this, you say don’t raise the minimum wage, lower the minimum wage for the long-term unemployed and lower it for youth. what effect would that have? i think right now there’s a lot of evidence that firms feel like hiring a worker who has been unemployed for six months or a year is a big risk, and a way to lower that risk is to lower the amount of money the firm has to pay. a firm might say $7.25 an hour, that’s too risky but maybe i’d be willing to do it for 4 bucks an hour. if we do that, we might be able to get more of these folks back into jobs and they can get a better job or get a promotion so they’re not earning that.”

    Yet another class of workers, the long-term unemployed, discovered that can be used to suppress wages.
    Solutions to income inequality

    1. JTFaraday

      And I started reading Michael Perelman’s Invention of Capitalism: Classical Political Economy and the Secret History of Primitive Accumulation today.

      Good stuff.

      1. LucyLulu

        Sounds like good stuff.
        I forgot to mention the video was from CNBC today. The person quoted was Michael Strain, AEI resident scholar, former NY Fed Asst Economist, and former Census Bureau Economist.

        1. JTFaraday

          One good thing about it is that Perelman is not a liberal who disregards the enabling role that Anglo-American governments have consistently played with respect to the interests of Big Capital throughout the entirety of their history.

          No exceptions.

      2. Wayne Reynolds

        I am reading it too. It seems Adam Smith’s invisible hand was busy ripping the means of subsistence from the feudal peasants and shuffling them along into the mills of the elite as wage laborers. The commodification of human beings. And of course it was all shrouded in the most Christian and ethical platitudes.

        1. JTFaraday

          Before this I was reading Nicholas Phillipson’s intellectual biography of Smith, which is quite nicely done, up to a point.

          But, A). on the back of the book, the political historian JGA Pocock says Phillipson reconnects the “Theory of Moral Sentiments” to the “Wealth of Nations.” He doesn’t really manage to do this. He does talk about the “Theory of Moral Sentiments” though, which the Smithian fanboyz don’t, and is probably a good guide to the influences on Smith at that point in his career. I had no idea, for example, that Smith is responding in part to Rousseau’s challenge that property is the origin of inequality, and more importantly for that book, that society alienates man from himself. He also makes clear that Hume was the biggest influence on Smith.

          But Phillipson is clearly out of his element when he gets to the “Wealth of Nations”– and he doesn’t push himself too hard either.

          And B). Phillipson does like his Scottish common sense philosophers, as frequently happens with academics and their subjects, and so we need someone who doesn’t like Smith and friends to dig in there a little better. No sooner do we start Perelman than we see him contending that Scottish moral philosopher Frances Hutcheson offers rationalizations for forced labor. This is good to know, because Phillipson sure doesn’t see this. Sometimes you just have to read the Marxist.

          Once I have my crib sheet, I can go read these buggers for myself which, like Calvin and Hobbes, almost no one ever does. Those of us without research libraries can readily do this by sponging off the libertarians at the Online Library of Liberty. Because freedom! :p

          http://oll.libertyfund.org/

          But what I thought was most relevant to LucyLulu’s comment was that Perelman insists that we ought not see “primitive accumulation” as merely a founding move of capitalism that remains buried in its past, as Tom Paine says all political regimes originate in a great crime, but something that is an ongoing and continual process of disenfranchisement. He says that Marx somewhat presents “primitive accumulation” this way because Marx wanted to emphasize that the wage relation itself was effectively a disenfranchising condition of dependency that couldn’t be remedied simply by eliminating “primitive accumulation” and fully incorporating people into the market system as wage slaves, or, as you say and as Karl Polanyi likes to emphasize, “as commodities.”

          And, sadly, we see here that there is no suggestion the contemporary wage slave can make (here, merely to raise the minimum wage) that the contemporary employer favoring technocrat does not turn into a counter offer.

  22. Ray Duray

    Re: Leningrad Siege

    For those who have an interest in this topic, I can recommend this documentary series:

    http://topdocumentaryfilms.com/soviet-storm-ww2-east/

    To save some effort, I’ll reprise the comment I posted at Top Docs after having watched the Soviet Storm series:

    [COPY]
    I write as an American who was born when Harry Truman was President and we were about to take up arms in Korea.

    This documentary is history that is rarely taught in America. I’ve been surprised at times by the chauvinism of Americans regarding WW II and the role we played in that hair-brained catastrophe. Most Americans sincerely believe that we were the most important nation in the conflict. After a few decades of study, I’ve found that idea to be odd to the point of being preposterous.

    Here’s a well researched and quite credible summary of the casualties of WW II: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/World_War_II_casualties

    What i’d point out is that while the U.S. suffered about 1/3 of 1% of the population as casualties (deaths) during WW II, the Soviet Union suffered just under 14% of the population (deaths of both civilians and military) during the conflict.

    This puts the U.S. contribution to the war effort into stark contrast to the usual propaganda Americans are fed about how much of a sacrifice we made in the war effort.

    Those who’d like to take this analysis further might also wish to pursue a study of negotiations between Roosevelt, Churchill and Stalin regarding when the D-Day offensive was allowed to proceed. It is a certainty that Stalin argued for the D-Day invasion and creation of a western front in order to provide relief for his army as early as 1942. Yet the U.S. and the UK only managed to storm the Normandy beaches well after the war had been effectively won on the Eastern Front. It seems clear in retrospect to me, as I’m sure it appeared certain to the Allied High Command at the time that the turning point in the war was the Soviet victory at the Battle of Kursk at the end of August, 1943. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Kursk

    I could be wrong about this. And I am grateful that U.S. casualties were such a minor percentage of the overall losses of WW II. But still, I believe American arrogance about our contribution to winning WW II needs to be tempered with a bit more humility about the true nature of our sacrifice and a bit more respect for those who actually did the fighting and dying in order to spare the world from the curse of fascism.

    ENDS

    1. ambrit

      Dear Ray;
      If I may, I see the root of the American Exceptionalism displayed in the “Greatest Generation” meme being a result of the monetization of the concept of what a war effort is in the historical record. The argument goes something like; “Look, yes, all those foreigners fought and died, but we paid for it. Our factories produced the goods that made the war effort possible. American deficit spending made the workers show up in the morning to forge the sinews of war. Because we paid for it, it’s ours, ours, ours!” Shaw’s “Arms and the Man,” based on a real person from the WW1 era does a good job of laying this out.
      Finally, if we did “save” the world from the curse of Fascism then, we may have to do it all over again.

      1. Ray Duray

        Dear ambrit,

        Thanks. I enjoyed learning a bit about chocolate-cream soldiers and Shaw’s play. This tasty bit is from Wikipedia: “The play was one of Shaw’s first commercial successes. He was called onto stage after the curtain, where he received enthusiastic applause. However, amidst the cheers, one audience member booed. Shaw replied, in characteristic fashion, “My dear fellow, I quite agree with you, but what are we two against so many?”"

        As to my comment about sparing the world from fascism, it was subsequent to writing the comment cited above that I learned about the U.S. intel community’s interest in Reinhard Gehlen. This changes the picture considerably. I note that after hostilities ended on V-E Day in 1945, the U.S. promptly set about making sure that fascism got a another chance:
        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reinhard_Gehlen#After_World_War_II

  23. LucyLulu

    Re: EHR outage in FL for two days
    I agree that patient welfare is put at risk during an EHR outage. Anything that disrupts normal routines introduces more chance for errors, not to mention if staff’s time is occupied with additional activities required because of the outage.

    I can’t know for sure what their setup is or how adequate their system physically is, but even the best designed network requires a skilled systems administrator to keep it running smoothly and without problem. The larger the network, the more skilled the SA must be. At least in past years, the folks at the big institutions, with large numbers of users and data, earned big salaries (and deserved them). I wonder if their salaries have been winnowed out too, making way for the payouts to the royalty. Typical hospital managements will focus on the pennies and ignore the dollars down the road. Having spent a significant amount of time in Jupiter, albeit in years past, causes me to be especially prone to envisioning Tim the Tool Guy being given the position. Rural Florida culture is very different from the culture found in Miami and other larger coastal cities, or Orlando, for example.

    My own introduction to computers in the mid-90′s was my appointment as systems admin at an albeit small (100 beds) facility that was already transitioning to EHR’s, despite me having no computer experience. Nobody else wanted the job. I was unable to provide direct patient care anymore and bored silly at home so I said, “what the hell”. So I had people calling me to fix their “computer issues” and I was just as clueless as they were. Hard boots were my best friend, and for some odd reason, seemed to impress my coworkers when they resolved the issue (and lost all their work).

    1. hunkerdown

      Actually, the best designed networks run themselves and call for help when they need it. High maintenance or wonky behavior is a sign of poor design and/or implementation, and of the mainstream selections only NetWare managed to be not so fiddly.

      Application administration is a whole different ball of wax. Healthcare applications tend not to be very well thought-out technologically. Case in point: one EMR/practice management package couldn’t produce backup drop files larger than 4GB, and I got the impression that the company wasn’t even aware of the 64-bit matter (or, just hoped nobody ran such a busy practice… oops). One other EMR package I’ve seen was a diagnostics management app from 2002 for PHP 3.x and Internet Explorer (only), hacked and grafted to purpose, and I don’t think I saw any error checking in the code anywhere I looked.

  24. LucyLulu

    Just heard bits and pieces but:
    Obama got the rousing ovations by calling for the raise in minimum wage to $10.10.
    He wants to implement a MyRA, savings bonds issued by Treasury that paid a premium interest rate and had the safety of the “full faith and credit”. What a novel idea! He didn’t quantify this “premium interest rate”, and requested Congress pass the legislation to implement. Well, there goes that idea………….
    Wants to build on the Earned Income Tax Credit, make more people eligible.
    He had people in the audience as props. One was a PA, mom of young child, and was uninsurable until Jan 1, when she obtained coverage under the ACA. On Jan 6 she required emergency surgery. She would have been bankrupt if she had gotten sick a week earlier.
    Obama had a war veteran, wounded on his 10th tour, that I think got an emotional reaction.

    Those who missed it, missed nothing.

  25. H. Alexander Ivey

    On “Kleiner: I regret using the word Kristallnacht Bloomberg. Effort to remove foot from mouth.”

    Actually a good interview. Caution – you may want to shout and punch your screen if you are a 99%er – but interviewer Emily Chang keeps her focus through Kleiner’s BS (note how he will not look her in the eye), and non-confrontationally keeps him defensively “explaining” his position. I would have lost patience with the guy and verbally dissed him.

    Good practice for those times when you may be called upon to listen to the 1% explain to you why they, a minority (1% is a minority!) should be treated with the respect they think they are due. And a good example of how to have a conversation with these people – non-threatening, but asking questions based on their own talking points. Then you can judge if they are totally gone cases or still have some sense of humanity.

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