Links 6/29/14

Some readers said they were having trouble reading NC on mobile devices. Kristin increased the point size of the font for phones and tablets. Let us know if that helped.

Maître d’ to Benioff: No lunch for you Network World (Maxwell)

One in 10 deaths among working-age adults in U.S. due to excessive drinking, report finds ScienceDaily (Chuck L)

German minister eyes possibility of breaking up Google PhysOrg. Let’s see if the MSM takes ANY notice of this….

DOGE IN DANGER: The Cutest Digital Currency In The World Is In A State Of Crisis

Largest US law firm unamused with parody blog, threatens trademark suit ars technica

China Flirts With Water Scarcity Disaster American Interest

Final day of Hong Kong ‘referendum’ BBC

The UK Is Low On Sperm Gawker


Lavrov: ‘US fueled Ukraine crisis’ Guardian

Five Ukraine Soldiers Are Killed as Rebels Defy Extended Cease-Fire Bloomberg

Have Sanction Threats Brought Russia to Heel? Ian Welsh

The New Yorker on Ukraine: Instead of Sy Hersh, Keith Gessen Deena Stryker, Firedoglake


Iraq ‘receives first Russian jets BBC

A Reignited War Drives Iraqis Out in Huge Numbers New York Times

Syria: Obama Prolongs The Conflict Moon of Alabama

Big Brother is Watch You Watch

Facebook’s science experiment on users shows the company is even more powerful and unethical than we thought Pando

When a Health Plan Knows How You Shop New York Times. Welcome to the Big Data world of spurious correlations.

Clever copters developed at Sheffield can learn as they fly University of Sheffield. Skynet in a drone.

Drone Dogfight: Big Defense vs. Techies Wall Street Journal

“Counter-Revolution of 1776”: Was U.S. Independence War a Conservative Revolt in Favor of Slavery? Democracy Now (Chuck L)

Obama to seek $2 billion to stem surge of Central American immigrants Los Angeles Times

USPS loses millions subsidizing shipments of food, goods to Alaska Washington Post

Tax cuts in Kansas have cost the state money — and job creation’s been terrible Washington Post (Pat)

Tea party leader Mark Mayfield suicide: A sign of politics ‘beyond the pale’? Christian Science Monitor

Failed challenger alleges U.S. Rep. Frank Lucas is dead TulsaWorld

The C.E.O. Is My Friend. So Back Off. Gretchen Morgenson, New York Times. Wow, this is not a pretty finding.

Proportion of 6x and higher LBO leverage hits 64%, a record Walter Kurtz

Baby Boomers Aren’t (Yet) WSJ Economics

Housing Improving but Rental Crisis Looms Mortgage News Daily (GFR)

Here Are the 43,634 Properties in Detroit That Were on the Brink of Foreclosure This Year New York Times (GFR)

Whistleblower Michael Winston (Countrywide/BOA) jury decision to be honored. The case and decision has been illegally thrown out by appellate judge Consumer Debt Association via An interesting avenue to apply pressure re a pretty appalling decision. Please sign.

What Americans Think of the Poor American Prospect

Inequality Begins at Birth Jeff Madrick, New York Review of Books

Paupers and Richlings London Review of Books. Today’s must read: “The book is more exciting considered as a failure than as a triumph.”

Antidote du jour:

Links capucins riding a capybara

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. Lona

    Re China water scarcity disaster
    “The country is growing water-intensive crops in its drier provinces, and then shipping that food to wetter regions for consumption.”
    Isn’t that exactly what we are doing in California?

  2. JeffC

    Thank you for the mobile-device font-size upgrade! Hugely effective. Nice choice of size.

    1. Dirk77

      Yes, much better. By the way, the mobile format rarely worked for me, primarily because it would time out unless I got a faster connection. The regular would not so I would go with that.

      1. rivegauche

        Very nice, thanks. Like to read NC first thing in the a.m. with that first cup of coffee before work… and whenever time allows.

        1. Marianne Jones

          Yves, the font size this is notably better. Vertical view is still pretty small for my tired eyes, but doable. Horizontal view is perfect and requires no fiddly zooming or scrolling to be able to read the text.

          I do really thank you for your attention. I know I was pushing towards “whiny” with my problem reports on earlier daily links.

          Thank you thank you thank you….

  3. John

    Germany wanting to cut-off Google at the knees typifies the lack of data space innovation we have here in Europe. What the minister is signaling is for Mocrosoft and Yahoo to build their suits against Google at the ECJ. Note to those who don’t like Google’s dominant position: build a better Internet capability and stop whinnying. Previous ECJ suits against tech giants failed to produce better outcomes.

    1. hunkerdown

      Citation needed.

      Any nation-state so much as biting the ankles of a US-flagged multinational is welcome news.

  4. Ned Ludd

    Transparency, apparently, can lead to more corruption.

    Even more disturbing, he said, was that so many directors seemed to think that disclosing their friendships with the C.E.O. gave them license to put the executive’s interests ahead of the company’s.

    “When you disclose things, it may make you feel you’ve met your obligations,” Mr. Rose said. “They’re not all that worried about doing something to help out the C.E.O. because everyone has had a fair warning.”

    The experiment involved current directors of existing companies, but the experiment itself involved role-playing. These company directors are so unethical, they acted unethically even in a fictional situation, to benefit a fictional social relationship.

    1. Whine Country

      What’s the expression? “You knew I was a snake when you took me in”. Snakes are snakes, even when role playing!

  5. chris

    To compensate for the change to no links in the newsletter, perhaps you could list the articles without links, so the reader could see what they are ahead of time?

  6. Major Al

    Curiously,two of your links would not open (Tulsa world and Walter Kurtz) on my iPad.
    I cannot remember this ever happening to me before.
    Did Kristin tweak something else?

  7. aliteralmind

    The mobile-device font increase is a big improvement. Thank you.

    I’m still suggesting that the “viewport/device-width” tag, as i suggested a few days ago, is the better long term solution.

    But, certainly, a big improvement.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      This is from Kristin:

      We can’t use that meta tag due to the fact that it would take several hours to implement what that tag entails. Basically, he’s suggesting a custom mobile solution, like VICE or others have, but it really needs to be designed at the outset of a site design, then implemented along with the building of the site.

      The problem we have, is that I only did a “refresh” which entailed taking a lot of old code and just transforming it to work with a proper theme in WP. If I were to just add that tag right now, the site would be so screwed up, it would take starting from scratch to fix it. This is a project for a major redesign or overhaul.

      No blog of our scale has a custom mobile version. The revenues don’t allow for that level of custom development.

      1. aliteralmind

        In my admittedly-limited experience with the viewport/device-width tag, it’s just a black box tag that works wonders. The current projects in which I use it are with the documentation (JavaDoc) for some large Java libraries (one of them: Originally, it was pretty much impossibe to read it on a mobile device. Then I added the viewport tag, and now it looks perfect on any device or computer you view it on (well, on mobile it’s mildly messed up, but this is not surprising given the rigidity of the code being presented, but it’s an infinitely better experience than before using the viewport tag).

        To emphasize, the desktop version was completely unaffected when the tag was implemented, and there is no “mobile version”. It just formats the desktop version better when viewed on a mobile device.

        But, as I mentioned in my original post, I don’t pretend to know how easy it would be to implement on a blog/website like NC. It’s good to know it’s not quite the magic I thought it was.

        Anyway, it’s a mildly moot point now, as the font increase makes things much better.

        1. Yves Smith Post author

          No, it can’t be implemented that way in WordPress. We would have to create a separate mobile version, which is just not viable given our scale.

  8. Ned Ludd

    The “Next Generation Left” are remarkably right-wing. According to Pew, “this segment characterizes the liberal leanings of the Millennial (and younger Gen X) cohorts”. Some of their beliefs:

    • Most people who want to get ahead can make it if they’re willing to word hard – 77% agree

    • Wall Street does more to help the economy than hurt it – 56% agree

    • Free trade agreements are a good thing for U.S. – 73% agree

    • Government cannot afford to do more to help the needy – 56% agree

    • Build Keystone XL Pipeline – 62% in favor

    • Government collection of phone and internet data – 53% approve

    • U.S. needs to continue making changes to give black people equal rights – 28% agree

    • Racial discrimination is the main reason many black people can’t get ahead – 19% agree

    All cohorts, including “Solid Liberals“, overwhelmingly believe that the U.S. is one of the greatest, or is the greatest, country on Earth. Only 16% of Solid Liberals think that there are other countries that are better than the U.S.

    1. diptherio

      Ugh, that’s disheartening. Thanks for ruining a perfectly good morning, Ludd. I shall now go and weep for the future of our society, our species, and our planet…

      1. Eureka Springs

        First I realized I was not a democrat, then not a liberal, now I’m no longer left! I must say each realization has been liberating. If the correct questions in that poll were asked one would quickly realize this so-called left is horrifically violent.

        But I can now read NC on my surveillance device, I mean phone, without reading glasses….) Beautiful.

        1. montanamaven

          I’m with you. I agree with Arthur Silber when he realized over ten years ago that “everything I knew was wrong.” Took me a bit, but I got out of the roach motel called the Democratic Party before the fumes got to me. I did get a conservative last night to admit that he also had been wrong about “making a parking lot out of the Middle East.” He’s starting to look at things from their perspective. A little light in a dark world. And here’s to large fonts.

      2. Ned Ludd

        I remember protesting a Clinton event, when a small group of us waved some left-wing political signs as bored onlookers waited for then-Governor Clinton to arrive (during his first presidential campaign, he was notorious for being extraordinarily late to his own events). Nowadays, a group of anarchists that slipped into a crowd of liberals to protest the Democratic presidential candidate would probably be beaten and tazed. People would cheer and applaud the use of violence by the police, while Jon Stewart rolled his eyes and reddit users posted videos and memes mocking the protesters.

        [T]hose who get into revolutionary politics and take a strong anti-imperialist line are much likelier to be the targets of domestic repression in the form of foul play…

        After all, in America, arrests and jailing do not frequently occur over speech (although the case of, say, Tarek al-Mehanna shows that such imprisonment does in fact happen); rather, the fascist state hires somebody to mock you, to call you a tin-foil hat conspiracy theorist, until you’re excluded from the discourse and the whole crowd is laughing at you. It will not help that, as the current discourse demonstrates, young American insurgents will be called paranoid by their own comrades if, say, they suspect the fascist state has hacked into their computer to delete a file of theirs, or that the fascist state is monitoring their phone calls. These young revolutionaries must, in these moments of extreme alienation, look to history for confirmation that there is no less reason for them to be targeted than any of those leftists who came before them. The first task of the American revolutionary is not to think him or herself mad.

        Maybe this is what the 1950’s were like, when McCarthyism and political repression scared people into submission. Maybe the next decade will bring something better…

        1. Johann Sebastian Schminson

          I’m aware that tazers were used at GOP events — but at Democratic events is news, to me.

          Not that I think they’re above it.

          Got a link to them tazing people?

          1. Ned Ludd

            To be clear, I was speculating. My speculation was informed by what happened at the University of Florida when John Kerry addressed a Constitution Day forum. A student got a bit belligerent with his questions, so police tried to escort him out of the building. He struggled to stay to “listen to the answers to my questions”, so police arrested him and tased him.

            After the police violence of the 1960’s and 1970’s, it became a bit safer to protest during the 1980’s. By the end of the 1990’s, however, police were using pepper spray, tear gas, and rubber bullets†. Now, they have added Tasers, acoustic cannons, and other weapons to their arsenal.

            † I was at the 1999 Seattle WTO protests, and the people police assaulted were non-violent protesters conducting a sit-in, located in a different part of the downtown than the people smashing windows. In fact, the window-smashers were left alone, unimpeded by the police – make of that what you will.

            1. Johann Sebastian Schminson

              I make a police state, in its infancy.

              They grow large so quickly.

            2. Ned Ludd

              Just to expand on what happened in Seattle: the police assaulted people who were engaged in a non-violent sit-in and blockade of the WTO conference. There had been no discussion or plan to smash windows, and no one I talked to was aware of it until the media reports.

              I discovered it a bit earlier, when I went walking away from the protest, to take a break from the crowds and tear gas. I came across the window-smashers… far, far away from the police cordons. They swept around me and down the street, smashing things as they went, without a single police officer in sight.

              1. Johann Sebastian Schminson

                I would actually have loved to have been there with a good camera (probably would have gotten tazed and a knot whupped on my head for the “crime” of turning the cameras around, with my luck).

                I go to the National Mall, camera in hand, to most “major” protests.

                Probably goes without saying, but jack-shit happens at these events.

                I’ll know that the middle class has had enough when a million PO’d folks (rational people, without guns, please), take to our national lawn and demand a return to sensible government.

      3. Brian

        fear not, pollsters are scam artists that want to have something big to show mama. It is reverse propaganda.

        1. diptherio

          I’m gonna go with you’re take since it makes me feel better and large majorities of everybody (except “business conservatives”) agree that “too much power is concentrated in the hands of a few large companies” and that the “economic system unfairly favors the powerful.” That doesn’t jibe at all with Ludd’s second bullet point.

          1. Ned Ludd

            Vague discontent is pretty toothless when people are legitimately scared to protest and people are indoctrinated to support the actual policies of neoliberalism. Also, I would be more hopeful if people got outraged over corporate behavior; and were, for example, deleting their Facebook dossiers en masse in response to Facebook’s study into emotional manipulation.

    2. Banger

      Not surprising–young people have been exposed to an ever increasing diet of marketing, advertising, and propaganda all their lives. The school system no longer takes much interest in anything resembling critical thinking skills except where a few teachers have some leeway to really educate.

      Again, we are on track for neofeudalism.

      1. Jackrabbit

        Neofeudalism is possible but not given. Its likely that most Oligarchs would rather see a divided and confused populace than alternative social structures that would diminish their power/wealth/privileges. They will, of course, play on people’s fears and prejudices.

        Its mostly progressives are making a case against inequality and, if neofeudalism gains traction, it will be mostly progressives warning that it represents a step back for humanity. I think this is why “the left” is attacked so much. It is a veiled attack on the progressive left who have been a thorn in the side of the rich and powerful for over 100 years.

        H O P

        1. Ned Ludd

          I think neofeudalism is meant to describe the current social structure, not an alternative social structure. It is not exactly feudalism, but it shares structural characteristics: power passed from one generation to the next, a small elite who control the land (and capital), a “landed gentry” of rentiers, and hoi polloi working tirelessly to pay off debt.

          1. Jackrabbit

            Hedges describes the US political system today as ‘inverted totalitarianism’. To me this means a system where the government is central. Oligarchs are powerful and feed off the government but powerful enough to replace it. If people press the government to crack down on the oligarchs, and they believe that is a threat to them, they could cause trouble that breaks the US into areas that they control. This, it seems to be, would be close to what the Libertarians envision.

            1. Jackrabbit

              Some think that neofeudalism offers the only way to change anything, though; that there will never be any real, true change until the regime is overthrown completely.

              1. Ned Ludd

                From what I have seen, this is not what liberals and the left generally mean by “neofeudalism”. Libertarians may use the term differently.

                I first saw the term “neofeudalism” used at Firedoglake. There, and elsewhere, it describes authoritarianism, corporatism, debt bondage, and the corruption of the republic. I never saw it used to describe a reaction by the oligarchs that breaks the country into parts.

                1. Jackrabbit

                  At the beginning of this tread, Banger says we are “on track” for neofeudalism. Banger has described himself as a social libertarian with anarchist leanings.

                  My understanding is the libertarian “self-organizing” society with no laws/central authority would naturally tend to a feudalist structure. This would be NEO-feudal because we live in the 2100’s not the 1400’s.

                  BOTH views of the meaning of neofeudal may be correct if you accept Hedges understanding of the political system today. “Inverted totalitarianism” consists of a central government that is controlled by mostly corporate oligarchs. Each of these corporate oligarchs effectively controls a “fiefdom” of economic resources but they are collectively beholden to a central governing structure that one or small groups of oligarchs (whether corporate or personal) can not topple or break free of.

                  If stresses on this system become great enough and/or many wealthy personal oligarchs become discontent (as would happen if the central authority attempted to weaken oligarchs by raising taxes) then the personal oligarchs could take steps to weaken or destroy the central authority. In such a case, people would have to choose sides and their allegiance would be, effectively, to wealthy individuals (or groups of them) that lead the side they choose.

                  One could well question whether the threat of the “Libertarian neofeudalism” is just meant to keep the current State at bay. Its very possible that this “nuclear option” is not practical and is never meant to be used. But it is a good excuse for keeping policymakers on a short leash and thereby maintaining a “neofeudalism” as defined by the left/liberals.

                  Well, at least that’s MY understanding.

                  1. Banger

                    I’m not so ideological. I’m interested in ways to live that work for human beings. Right now the state does not work for human beings–it has nothing to do with ideology. I see the state, at this point, as a foreign occupying power or, at minimum, illegitimate. I do like anarchist ideas but I do know that most people are not “ready” for true anarchist community or truly free markets or any of the other things associated with libertarianism. The best transition towards either communism or anarchism or some libertarian paradise is social democracy but that thing doesn’t seem to be in the cards at present–I see no social-democratic movement or party other than the Green Party which couldn’t be weaker if it tried.

                    Feudalism seems to be the direction we’re going in–I don’t think it’s a positive direction but if we’re going there we may as well prepare for it. At the same time, we are in a position to create a society based on trust, compassion and conviviality because of extraordinary advances in technology that could be matched by a higher morality. That higher morality is “in the air” in our culture but runs up against the corporate oligarchy and its privileges. I would not be surprised if we could make a quantum leap and see radical change of the sort we’d all like–but the trends don’t show that happening any time soon.

                    1. Jackrabbit

                      Thanks for the reply. I understand your point of view better.

                      The confidence of your assertions and your ‘realist’ desire to work with oligarchs (the good one’s?!) often strikes me as supportive of a move toward neofeudalism.

      2. Cynthia

        By design and by self-infliction, the average American is stuck in a state of stupor that cannot be easily reversed. I am willing to bet that most people in the US would sit idly by and do nothing if half the people in their neighborhood were rounded up and disappeared into the night. I would put money on it. A combination of an empty-calorie diet, mind-numbing and vacuous TV programming, declining school system, way too many prescription drugs, and dishonest ‘news’ channels have successfully made the US a nation of zombies. Borrowing a line from a Pink Floyd song, there’s a look in their eyes like black holes in the sky.

    3. Massinissa

      Willing to bet that the 19% who believe racism keeps blacks back are the same 20% or so of youth who are black.

      You need to feel it for yourself to notice it.

    4. Yves Smith Post author

      You should look carefully at how the actual questions were put. Pew has a right wing bias on economic issues and the survey questions were almost certainly designed to elicit more right wing answers (this is not me being paranoid, I’ve been told this by a seasoned poll reader). Having done survey research myself, responses are VERY sensitive to the phrasing of the question.

    5. IBSsufferer

      My self described progressive roommate, who is also a complete moron on all political and economic matters, supports the flat tax. When I pointed out that flat tax is a scheme to give even greater tax cuts to the rich, herefused to believe me, and then he said that the poor need to pay their share. When I pointed out that they already do pay a huge burden of taxes via social security, state tax, sales tax, and fees, he got angry and stormed out of the room. The next generation are techno-utopianists. They think that the US economy can be entirely based on advertising, and technology will save everyone.

      I have another friend who supports lesser of two evils, because he thinks the demographics are going to shift. I told him that the demographic will shift on socially liberal issues, but that the new generation are no different from any other hustler generation on economic issues, which is more important at the moment than social issues. He dismissed my argument with a wave of the hand. Thanks for posting that poll, will be sending that off to him.

    6. Charles Duran

      I find these findings surprising, to say the least. In fact, I would question their reliability. I would appreciate more information on how and where these numbers where arrived at. If they do turn out to be accurate, then it is a devastating indictment of the American public’s ignorance of the last 15 years of colossal blunders by our leadership.

  9. flora

    re: Tax cuts in Kansas have cost the state money-
    Thanks for this article. Kansas job creation lags its neighboring states as well as the country. As for eliminated state income tax on small business? Sounds nice, until you realize it applies to type – not size – of business. Among the types of included businesses, it eliminates state income tax on “pass-through” income from corporations that are structured as a pass-through entity, like Koch Industries. Not exactly a small business.

  10. Jim Haygood

    “…it is widely known Rep. Frank D. Lucas is no longer alive and has been displayed by a look alike.”

    His [opponent’s] campaign website goes into detail about his theory that Lucas was hanged, “…executed by the world court on or about Jan. 11, 2011…” in Ukraine.

    Actually this is likely the tip of a very large iceberg. From cyborgs like Dick Cheney and Madeleine Albright to rank-and-file KongressKlowns, politicians just don’t shuffle off this mortal coil anymore.

    In 1955, Robert Heinlein’s novel Double Star told the story of how vain, washed-up actor Lorenzo Smythe takes on a one-night gig to double for powerful politician Joseph Bonforte in a ceremony on Mars. Presumably the Martians won’t notice, since earthlings all look the same. But when Bonforte dies, Smythe has to grow into his role, which is now permanent.

    As Smythe observes early on, “If a guy walks into a bar dressed like a hick acting like he knows the place, you can tell that he’s a space man.”

      1. ambrit

        Carville and Roves “The Prisoner of Pennsylvania Avenue ” (ur, make that Zenda,) also comes to mind.
        American TV recently did a rip off of “House of Cards.” How about a ‘rebranding’ of “Yes Prime Minister”, to be called, of course, “Yes Mr. President?”

  11. Carolinian

    Great Democracy Now

    However surely it is too simplistic to say that 1776 was only about slaves. For one things the colonists wanted to expand to the west and Britain, allied with the indians, was standing in the way. Another factor was that many colonists owed British lenders a great deal of money and wanted a debt jubilee via independence. They also coveted Canada.

    So there were other reasons and the traditional idealistic reasons are undoubtedly true as well. History is complicated. Revisionism doesn’t need to be so completely contrarian.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      I hope we still deem ‘no taxation without representation’ a just cause for the colonists.

    2. diptherio

      I’m just now getting around to Zinn’s People’s History, and according to ol’ Howard, the Revolution was about, largely, the colonial elites getting the poor and servant class of whites to join with them against a common enemy–the British. Within the century or so leading up to 1776, there were numerous rebellions against the elite planters, merchants and landlords. Bacon’s Rebellion, for instance, consisted of a mixed group of black slaves, poor whites, and indentured white servants. There was much fear of poor whites and white servants banding together with black slaves and indigenous people to overthrow the wealthy elite. In the years preceding the Revolution, white indentured servants where imprisoned, transported and sold in the “new world” in much the same manner as black slaves. Racism was not a natural state for poor whites, but had to inculcated over time by the elites as a divide and conquer strategy, to divert the class antagonisms that were natural to our colonial ancestors. The revolt against the crown served this same purpose.

    3. Propertius

      It’s rather difficult to swallow Horne’s argument given that slavery wasn’t abolished in the North until after the Revolution. You could certainly argue that many of the Southern revolutionaries had an interest in preserving slavery, but that was pretty clearly not the case in New York or Pennsylvania, for example. I really doubt that the break with Britain was precipitated by a universal fear of imminent abolition, as Horne states – particularly since the British didn’t abolish slavery themselves until 1833 (long after the Northern states did so).

      1. hpschd

        Horne does make a strong point regarding the influence of very rich and successful New England merchant shipping families who made their initial fortunes in the slave trade.

        Slaves (Africa) to rum (Caribbean) to opium (Middle East) to tea (China) and back.

        Lovely people. /s

  12. MtnLife

    Re: When a Health Plan Knows How You Shop

    So now we have Big Data working with hospitals for the medical interventions, working with your insurance company (will they require medical intervention waivers in your policy if it is their financial best interest?), and their usual corporate clients? Toss in the the rapidly expanding pace of both surveillance and the Internet of Things and the last shreds of privacy are gone. I have a little hope that maybe this will usher back in an era of cash use but they’ll probably just install facial recognition software at stores that sell liquor or cigarettes. Probably your gym too. It’ll be easier to check and see if you actually use that membership that shows up on your credit card. I see a whole new era of Consumer Health Advertising, getting email that read “Hey, we’ve noticed you haven’t been eating many veggies or getting much fiber. How about ? It’s filled with fiber, vitamins, and minerals. Get 25% off with this offer! Signed, your doctors.”

    1. MtnLife

      And in a rare moment of seeing TV last night I saw an ad for those sleep number beds that now have sensors embedded in the mattress. It processes that data to determine how well you are sleeping and supposedly will adjust it automatically to help you sleep better. The controller looked like some wireless device, possibly a tablet, probably online (to send data back to the company) but hackable regardless. So now your health providers/insurers can also know how well you are sleeping and thieves can know if you how deeply you are sleeping or if you are even home. Sweet!

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Probably know if you ‘exercise’ vigorously on the mattress and how often you do.

        Perhaps even a history of your ‘vigor’ with peaks and valleys.

        ‘The mattress shows that you used to run 1 mile every night in under 5 minutes, but now you run only a quarter in 10 minutes on the same mattress.’

        1. MtnLife

          Notices any lack in vigor and sends ads for male enhancement and ED products. Notices vigorous activity while your phone metadata shows you at work and send the numbers of all the local divorce attorneys. Isn’t the future wonderful?

          1. psychohistorian


            I have the analog version of the sleep number bed and I question whether any measurements of body movement, or lack thereof, in bed can reflect “good sleep”…..pure marketing ploy.

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      It’s the Age of Transparent Citizens and the Age of Transparent Consumers.

      ‘You want to transparent me? No, I transparent you!’

  13. Larry Headlund

    Re “Counter-Revolution of 1776″: Was U.S. Independence War a Conservative Revolt in Favor of Slavery? Democracy Now (Chuck L)

    From the featured author interviewed for the article:

    For example, I did research for this book in Newport, Rhode Island, and the main library there, to this very day, is named after Abraham Redwood, who fled Antigua after the 1736 slave revolt because many of his, quote, “Africans,” unquote, were involved in the slave revolt. And he fled in fear and established the main library in Newport, to this very day, and helped to basically establish that city on the Atlantic coast.

    Newport was founded in 1639 and soon was the largest of the four original towns of Rhode Island. Just how Redwood reached back a hundred years before his arrival to ‘establish’ Newport is not explained.
    Newport was a center for the slave trade (and for piracy) during the colonial period but this sort of exaggeration makes it hard to accept the author’s thesis.

    1. Vatch

      From Plato’s Republic, book 9 (Jowett translation):

      But imagine one of these owners, the master say of some fifty slaves, together with his family and property and slaves, carried off by a god into the wilderness, where there are no freemen to help him –will he not be in an agony of fear lest he and his wife and children should be put to death by his slaves?

      This has relevance for the conflict between the 0.01% and the rest of us.

    2. Benedict@Large

      You’re tugging at the word “establish”. You apparently want it to mean “found”, when it’s pretty clear that the author cannot mean it in that fashion. Perhaps Redwood was simply a leading influence during an expansion period in the city?

    3. FederalismForever

      The claims made in the interview are truly absurd. The Somerset case he refers to was a small, but important, step in the eventual abolition of slavery in England, but it’s a wild exaggeration to say that it prompted widespread fears throughout the Colonies that slavery would be abolished.

      In fact, many of the New England colonies HAD tried to abolish slavery, or at least participation in the slave trade, but were prohibited from doing so by the English Crown. (See Chapter I of Henry Wilson’s “History of the Rise and Fall of the Slave Power in America.” – available free on the Nets) This is why the concluding paragraph of the Declaration of Independence harangues the King for having “Determined to keep open a market in which MEN should be bought and sold . . . ” (Keep in mind, although slave-holder Jefferson was the primary author of the Declaration, he was part of a drafting committee of non-slaveholders, such as John Adams, who were from New England and who did not own slaves.)

      Moreover, it is not true that the Declaration only applied to white people. Shortly after the Declaration, tens of thousands of slaves were freed, in many cases inspired directly by the Declaration’s preamble, and seven of the thirteen Colonies enacted laws abolishing slavery (in some cases, only gradually). The evil Slave Power would only emerge as a dominant force in American politics decades later, after much of the Deep South was acquired from France or Spain, or (in the case of Texas) from Mexico.

      The one thing about this interview that is worth pondering is whether slavery in the U.S. would have ended sooner if the U.S. had never gained its independence from Britain. The Act of 1833 abolished slavery throughout the British Empire, and freed about 800,000 slaves throughout the West Indies. Would it have been so simple to also free the millions of American slaves? How would a political pro like Lord Palmerston have handled the situation in the American South? Would he have figured out a way to end slavery without resorting to a costly and devastating civil war? No doubt, he probably would have exhibited greater statesmanship than the string of utterly inept Presidents and Southern Fire-Eaters who dominated the debate prior to the emergence of Abraham Lincoln.

      1. James Levy

        Without doing the research on what people were writing and saying at the time, I neither support nor can refute the claim made. One claim in one book doesn’t do the trick. I do know that the emancipation of Catholics in Quebec infuriated the New Englanders, and the declaration that the Indian lands west of the Appalachians belonged to the Indians was also incendiary. I also know that thousands of slaves rallied to the British and that to his everlasting credit General Carleton would not give the ones who made it to New York City up at the end of the war although George Washington insisted they were “property” and demanded that they be returned to their masters. The idea that the American Revolution was simply a revolt against “Royal tyranny” holds up under no kind of historical scrutiny.

        1. Banger

          Modern scholarship has completely overturned American Exceptionalism yet the ideology of that philosophy continues as strong as ever. The history of the United States is, perhaps, one of the most interesting histories I’ve encountered filled with multi-dimensional paradoxes.

  14. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Inequality begins at birth.


    Probably before birth, I think…maybe even before pregnancy, when you were just a lowly sperm in the UK.

    For sure after death, comparing the tombstones.

  15. Luke Nolan

    Benghazi attack suspect ‘compliant but not cooperative’ in federal custody

    “Mike Rogers, the chair of the House of Representatives intelligence committee, told CNN Khattala had been “compliant but not cooperative” through 10 days of interrogation on a navy ship before being transferred to Washington for a civilian trial. Rogers said Khattala should be classified as an enemy combatant and held at Guantánamo Bay.”

    “Khattala is accused of participating in a conspiracy to provide material support and resources to terrorists. The Justice Department expects to bring more charges.”

    According to the article, Khattala was only Mirandized after the ten days “interrogation” aboard the USS New York. Also, “compliant but not cooperative,” I have no idea what that means, but hearing it sends shivers down my spine.

    An old but important article:

    CIA ‘running arms smuggling team in Benghazi when consulate was attacked’

    “The CIA has been subjecting operatives to monthly polygraph tests in an attempt to suppress details of a reported US arms smuggling operation in Benghazi that was ongoing when its ambassador was killed by a mob in the city last year, according to reports.”


    Paula Broadwell Leaks Info on Benghazi Annex

    “Now, I don’t know if a lot of you heard this, but the CIA annex had actually, um, had taken a couple of Libyan militia members prisoner and they think that the attack on the consulate was an effort to try to get these prisoners back. So that’s still being vetted.”

  16. Garrett Pace

    What Americans Think of Poor People

    “But the belief that “poor people have it easy” is just insane. It serves a psychological function—if you can convince yourself that poor people are living it up, then you can assuage whatever pangs of conscience you might feel for advocating that we cut food stamps or keep the minimum wage low or move heaven and earth to keep them from getting health insurance.”

    I think that only explains part of it. We live in a time of widespread insecurity, so people also blame the victims to create psychological distance between them and poverty.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      We can moralize all we want about cannibalizing survivors forced onto a lifeboat by the wealthy boat owner.

      Or we can focus on the wealthy boat owner and his/her henchmen on board.

      Maybe ‘not quite poor’ Americans look down on poor Americans and we talk about that…or maybe we look at something else.

      1. Jill


        I agree that we need to look at something else. One essence of power is to remain unexamined. There are only a relative few white collar criminologists. Sociologists rarely study the pathology of those in power and certainly it isn’t listed by psychologists in the DSM.

        Many of the people I know despise people who are poor. When I mention how much taxpayer money has been stolen by someone like Jamie Dimon, know one knows who I’m talking about. How is it that a man who has stolen billions?, trillions? goes unknown but a neighbor on food stamps is excoriated and despised? That person is personally stealing money from their pockets with all their fraud, laziness and abuse of the system. Supposing that was true and all that rage was appropriately directed at their neighbor for taking the taxpayer’s money. How then can it be that there is no rage directed at a person who can steal one year’s worth of food stamps in less than 2 mins? If one is wrong, why isn’t the other?

        I think the other isn’t wrong because the other isn’t known. Yes, indeed, it would be helpful to turn attention upwards for a change!

        1. habenicht

          I find in general, that proximity is more of a factor than scale in determining outrage for most people I know. In my dealings, I find that an average person is more outraged regardless of how petty or small the issue is, if the person committing the act is someone they know or know of.

          On the other hand, if the act is committed by someone very much outside the average persons social circle, regardless of the scale of the act (probably up to a certain point of egregiousness), the everyday person will probably shrug it off.

          I really don’t know how to get people to change their attitudes on this, but recognize it as a big hurdle.

          I wonder if there is research on this to confirm or disprove this hypothesis (?)

          1. Tim Mason

            You could start with GWW Runciman’s “Relative Deprivation and Social Justice: a Study of Attitudes to Social Inequality in Twentieth-Century Britain,” first published in 1966. His research suggested that people took others who were close to them as measures of how well they were doing, so that dockers were likely to compare themselves with engine drivers rather than, say, doctors. TU action was often over such relative differences, workers striking because an equivalent category were seen to be earning a shilling or two more.

  17. Jim Haygood

    Leaving Las Vegas:

    Lake Mead’s water level is currently at 1,087ft above sea level. There are two pipes, known as “straws”, that take water from it to Las Vegas.

    The first extracts water at an elevation of 1,050ft and is likely to be sucking at air, rather than water, soon. The second straw is at 1,000ft. Lake Mead is expected to fall another 20ft towards that critical point by the end of this year.

    Las Vegas still uses 219 gallons of water per person per day, one of the highest figures in the US. In San Francisco the figure is just 49 gallons.

    Scientist Rob Mrowka said: “The Colorado is essentially a dying river. Ultimately, Las Vegas and our civilisation in the American Southwest is going to disappear, like the Indians did before us.”


    War on Drought, comrades. Yes we can!

    1. MtnLife

      I’m SURE they are making some well thought out, concerted effort to keep a reasonable consumption sized Vegas in place due to the income it brings, not to mention the hydro power, tourist recreation on the lake, the cost to build the dam….
      wait, what’s that?

      “Beneath the ground a mammoth effort is already under way to complete a new, lower straw which will be able to draw the last of the water from the lake.”

      Or not.

  18. Dan Lynch

    Yes, USPS subsidizes mail to rural areas. The idea is that mail service is a basic right and a common good.

    How come WaPo doesn’t ask how much money the CIA is losing? Has the NSA turned a profit lately? How about the Navy Seals, are they profitable? Why do we expect the postal service and Social Security to pay for themselves, but nobody expects the military to pay for itself?

    Uncle Sam can pay any bill with keystrokes, limited only by inflation. The deficit is what keeps the economy going. Stop worrying and learn to love deficit spending !

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Not sure why they pick on Alaska.

      USPS subsidizes basically everyone.

      When you pay the same postage to mail a letter across the country as that for one across your village/town/city, that’s distance-subsidy.

      And we all (presumably) benefit from that subsidy.

      1. Johann Sebastian Schminson

        We benefit one hell of a lot more from it than we would if it was privatized.

        The USPS was an example of government working well (along with things such as public libraries), until idiots were elected to go to DC and prove it doesn’t.

        What is worse than a centrally-controlled empire?

        A privatized/corporatized, for profit, centrally-controlled empire.

        I believe full-blown, fully-deregulated capitalism will make full-blown socialism look like a middle-class utopia.

    2. Milquetoast Honey

      Hmmm. Who owns the Washington Post? That’s right, Jeff Bezos, someone who probably has an inordiate interest in privatizing something like mail service. Or at least the package delivery side, you know the one that delivers foodand supplies. This article serves Bezos’s interests and is obvious yellow journalism. It’s about changing perceptions and destroying the brand of USPS, so at some point it will become a privatized fre-for-all, with Amazon picking up some of the juciest pieces.

  19. Banger

    Moon Over Alabama rightly calls U.S. policy “somewhat lunatic.” Depends how you look at it. Although it appears that people have a hard time grasping this, if you look at the pattern and the facts behind not only Syria but the Iraq situation you see a policy that seeks chaos and continual war. That’s it. That is the entirety of U.S. policy in the region aside from the usual criminal activity going on in procurement.

    If anyone can make a reasonable argument showing that there is even the slightest interest on the part of U.S. policy makers in being helpful to the people in that region I’d be glad to consider it. The only arguments I’ve read or heard are easily refuted lies that make up the mainstream media Narrative. Building schools, building institutions, building up security forces were all scams almost always in Iraq and most of the time in Afghanistan. The mainstream media has colluded with the national security state in hiding the massive corruption involved in these phony wars based on phony assumptions.

    1. Cynthia

      Like all of our politicians, Obama is merely a tool. The question is who is he working for? Who really calls the shots? Who’s behind the curtain? I think most people on this website know the answer to that question. They rule the world by controlling money, credit, and debt, and by controlling the flow of information through the press and intelligence gathering agencies like the NSA.

      Obama’s a puppet with strings
      A sign of what tyranny brings
      His noble disguise
      Lends credence to lies
      He answers to clandestine Kings

      The Limerick King

    2. VietnamVet

      It is frightening how the Obama Administration’s Foreign Policy fell apart.

      In Ukraine, the Eastern Provinces have not been pacified. Russia is not destabilized. Active support for the neo-Nazis rampage killing Russian speaking civilians may make money for a few including Hunter Biden but it has started a civil war that will partition Ukraine and make America lots of enemies.

      There are Russian SU-25 airplanes, retired Syrian pilots, Iranian Quds, and American Special Forces now in Baghdad. The Sunni Caliphate is established. ISIS is an existential threat to Iran, the King of Jordan and the House of Saud. Plus, the Sunni Shiite Jihad is on. The American government has been so hallowed out by the neoliberalcons that it is incapable of finding a peaceful solution to the escalating conflict that could cut off the oil from the Persian Gulf. Instead the USA creates more chaos so the Robber Elite can increase their looting.

  20. rich

    Sunday, June 29, 2014 Bill Clinton’s Undecleared Carlyle Group Speech

    FT reported ex-President Bill Clinton’s spoke at The Carlyle Group’s annual investor meeting in 2012. This was not Carlyle’s NASDAQ unit-holder gathering, but the meeting of Carlyle’s high dollar private equity investors. FT’s piece stated:

    Private equity groups compete with each other to host the most glitzy affairs and solicit the biggest names. Last September, Carlyle’s co-founder David Rubenstein led a question-and-answer session with Mr. Clinton, who charges as much as $200,000, at its annual event.

    Why doesn’t Clinton’s federal financial disclosure filing include Bill’s Carlyle Group speaker fee from September 2012? Clinton’s listed September speeches include:

    Five Star Institute – Sept. 7, 2012
    Solar Energy Trade Shows LLC – Sept. 12, 2012
    C3 Summit LLC – Sept. 13, 2012

    Bill’s Carlyle talk likely would’ve been September 10 or 11, 2012. Clinton made other PEU speeches that year, including:

    Private equity underwriters (PEU’s) metastasized from leveraged buyout organizations (LBO’s). Oddly, convicted LBO genius Michael Milken now operates a global confab called The Milken Institute Global Conference. Clinton spoke at that event in 2012 and also failed to list this speech or its income in the federal disclosure filing.

    What is it about private equity that enables residual stakes and speaking fees to be secret from public disclosure? The PEU world thrives on secrecy and elected leaders foster such. Politicians Red and Blue love PEU.

  21. jerry denim

    Regarding the article about the USPS subsidized food delivery runs to rural Alaska,

    I once knew a pilot that was employed by one of the contract companies hired by the USPS to fly the “cargo” mentioned in this story. He quit in disgust after less than one month on the job. He considered the work immoral. The article makes a great number of references to the sugary, highly processed junk-food cargo on these flights. Guess what else these airplanes bring in? Lot’s of expensive and subsidized medications for heart disease and diabetes. Tax payers dollars are being used for a program which instead of bringing healthy nourishing food to these rural Alaskans is actually importing poison in the form of high-fructose corn syrup, highly processed carbs, weird food additives and hydrogenated oils. If that’s not stupid enough, the same flights are costing Medicaid untold millions to buy expensive pharmaceuticals in order to medicate the panoply of disease caused by this alien and extremely unhealthy diet. This program is an abomination on so many different levels.

    1. Johann Sebastian Schminson

      Sometimes, “capitalism” must pave it’s own road, in front of itself, as it goes.

      Just look at today’s poisons passed off as food as capitalism creating potential future markets and profits.

      Fits right in with arming people who hate us, so that we can put our “investment” in “defense” to a “profitable” use.

  22. jerry denim

    This population is also perennially drunk and strung out on quite a few mood-enhancing pills. As one might imagine, being a fat, sick alcoholic trapped indoors during months of unfathomable cold and darkness isn’t the most uplifting existence. These poor natives were screwed as soon as the missionaries robbed them of their heritage and independence by tying them to permanent settlements. They soon forgot how to hunt, fish and forage and became wards of the state.

  23. fresno dan

    One in 10 deaths among working-age adults in U.S. due to excessive drinking, report finds ScienceDaily (Chuck L)

    why I retired as early as I could. Also, now that I don’t have to waste all that time at work, I have much more time for drinking…

  24. Howard Beale IV

    Before shooting in Iraq, a warning on Blackwater:

    “WASHINGTON — Just weeks before Blackwater guards fatally shot 17 civilians at Baghdad’s Nisour Square in 2007, the State Department began investigating the security contractor’s operations in Iraq. But the inquiry was abandoned after Blackwater’s top manager there issued a threat: “that he could kill” the government’s chief investigator and “no one could or would do anything about it as we were in Iraq,” according to department reports.”

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