Links 1/19/16

Thank you for all your heartfelt messages, both on the site and by e-mail, expressing your sympathies over the death of my cat and good friend Blake (see post here). Many of you told me about the animals you’d lost and the ones you have now, and how much they mean to you. I hope you are not offended by my not responding to individual stories in the comments section, since it would seem to single out some experiences as more important than others, when most people become deeply attached to pets that are loyal to them and these relationships are as unique as the beings that establish them.

Barbara B sent this reminder:

We need another and a wiser and perhaps a more mystical concept of animals. Remote from universal nature, and living by complicated artifice, man in civilization surveys the creatures through the glass of his knowledge and sees thereby a feather magnified and the whole image in distortion. We patronize them for their incompleteness, for their tragic fate of having taken form so far below ourselves. And therein we err, and greatly err. For the animal shall not be measured by man. In a world older and more complete than ours they move finished and complete, gifted with extensions of the senses we have lost or never attained, living by voices we shall never hear. They’re not brethren; they’re not underlings; they are other nations, caught with ourselves in the net of life and time, fellow prisoners of the splendour and travail of the earth.

Henry Beston, The Outermost House

Bend and a beer: Yoga classes and craft breweries team up Associated Press (David L)

Naughty America’s virtual reality videos made me feel like a real-life porn star PCWorld (David L)

Apple May Be Using Congo Cobalt Mined by Children, Amnesty Says Bloomberg (resilc)

World’s Most Brazen Starbucks Computer User Grub Street

Normalization of Deviance in Software: How Completely Messed Up Practices Become Normal Patrick Durusau (martha r)

The Muscular Dystrophy Patient and Olympic Medalist with the Same Genetic Disorder ProPublica (Chuck L)

China?

Getting Money out of China China Law Blog (Steve Keen)

China GDP growth lowest since 1990 Financial Times

Almond prices crushed by demand slump Financial Times. The emerging Chinese middle classes were big almond importers. Since conventionally-grown almonds are profligate in terms of water consumption (no joke, one gallon per almond), the demand collapse s entirely a good thing.

A Hint of Trouble in European Debt Wall Street Journal

Europe’s future is bleak with an ageing population and policy failure Bill Mitchell

Mervyn King Puts Sweden in the Dock as Price Regime Queried Bloomberg. Swedish Lex: “One of the advantages of not having the euro, Sweden has much larger possibilities to set its own Central Bank policies.”

Refugee Crisis

Davos Boss Warns Refugee Crisis Could Be Precursor to Something Much Bigger Bloomberg (David L)

Noam Chomsky Responds to Turkish President’s Bizarre Smear Attack, Calls out His Brutality to Civilians Alternet

Syraqistan

UK’s soft diplomacy approach to Saudi Arabia is not enough, say families of juveniles still on death row Independent (Chuck L)

The Tyranny of Distance Foreign Policy

Why is the US so Anti Shia/Iranian? Sic Semper Tyrannis

Iran’s Revolutionaries Follow the China Model American Conservative (resilc)

The Islamic State’s Plans for Turkey War on the Rocks (resilc)

Saudi Aramco – the $10tn mystery at the heart of the Gulf state Guardian

The U.S. Should Not Accompany Saudi Arabia Over the Cliff FPIF

The North Dakota Crude Oil That’s Worth Almost Nothing Bloomberg

2016

The Presidential Candidates Ranked By Their Usefulness In A Bar Fight Bitter Empire (Scott)

Trump, Cruz, And Evangelical ‘Vanity’ American Conservative

Hillary Clinton Gets Set for a Long Slog Against Bernie Sanders New York Times. Note assumption in the headline that she will prevail…yet she is so arrogant that she has not built an operation in anything but the earliest states! Key para:

For all its institutional advantages, the Clinton campaign lags behind the Sanders operation in deploying paid staff members: For example, Mr. Sanders has campaign workers installed in all 11 of the states that vote on Super Tuesday. Mrs. Clinton does not, and is relying on union volunteers and members of supportive organizations such as Planned Parenthood to help her.

2008 memories haunt Clinton campaign Financial Times. Subhead: “TV celebrities and pop stars drafted in to boost appeal in Iowa.” Wow, she is desperate.

Nurses Applaud New Sanders Plan for Healthcare for All Common Dreams (Carla)

Are Americans Willing to Hear “No” on Health Care? Washington Monthly. This is SO dishonest. It’s the updated “Harry and Loise” scare tactic.

A great deal of the current high cost of American medical care is due to upselling, as in doctors being highly interventionist and signaling to patients that they need it (as well as very high cost end of life care, when families are often unable to overrule the doctors even when they have a recent medical power of attorney). As readers who have had health care in France or Canada will attest, they don’t perceive it to be inferior. In fact, virtually all expats and people I know how have had to have emergency care were very satisfied. When I was in Oz, I experienced what would be characterized as saying “no” under this framework. First, doctors were vastly more inclined to adopt a “wait and see” attitude (and they’d keep on top of the situation; Australia had a regime that allowed doctors to deal with established patients much more on the phone and by e-mail than here for follow-up and monitoring) and they were extremely aggressive about drug prices. The Therapeutic Goods Administration would read the medical research on various new drugs, and was generally loath to buy them, since over 85% of all “new drug applications” are reformulations of existing drugs (like a med you had to take once a day reformulated to be twice a week) with big upcharges for marginal improvements. Because the public was not told to push their doctor for the latest, greatest med on TV, I never encountered or read in the papers about a single person in Oz who complained about not being able to get drugs they needed, or for that matter any aspect of medical service. Indeed, I knew a dual passport couple with good US insurance (this was in 2002 when there still was such a thing a “good private insurance) and they chose for her to spend the latter part of her pregnancy and give birth in Australia because they deemed the care to be better there.

Democratic Debate in Charleston, South Carolina Recap – Eventually the Real Issues Bubble Up Charles Pierce, Esquire

Obama declares emergency in Michigan over bad water: White House Reuters

This is actually what America would look like without gerrymandering Washington Post (resilc)

Obama unveils wage insurance plan to spur job seekers Reuters

Exclusive: Pentagon May Demote David Petraeus Daily Beast (resilc)

Propaganda “Has Rendered the Constitutional Right of Free Press Ineffectual” George Washington

Volkswagen, Johnson & Johnson, and Corporate Responsibility Atlantic

Why markets fear stuttering US factories Financial Times

$20 Oil No Longer Seen As Good For The Economy OilPrice. Now I don’t recall anyone anticipating $20 a barrel oil, even the worst bears, until very recently. However, we argued that the “cheap oil is good for the economy” was going to prove untrue, as in the loss of high-paying oil/fracking jobs and the knock-on impact to communities would more than offset the gain in consumer spending. And that’s proven to be true. Consumers have saved more of their “oil savings” than the pundits anticipated.

Oil market could ‘drown in oversupply’ — IEA Financial Times. I just booked some airfare. On the route to Birmingham it seemed to be the same but was markedly cheaper to Dallas than it had been in the recent past. Not clear how much airlines had been gouging v. locked into bad oil bets (or could be both: the ones who traded correctly enjoying the price umbrella of those who didn’t) but wonder if others are seeing cheaper airfares on any other routes.

Class Warfare

Martin Luther King, socialist: “capitalism has outlived its usefulness” Boing Boing (resilc)

Martin Luther King Jr. Celebrations Overlook His Critiques of Capitalism and Militarism Intercept

Native American slavery: Historians uncover a chilling chapter in U.S. history. Slate

Uber and Airbus are working together on a new trial helicopter service Verge (resilc)

Working a ‘gig’? It’s not as romantic as it seems TreeHugger. Huh? There are people who believe that a “gig” is “romantic”? Only perhaps in its original sense, of being an artist who works on an ad hoc basis.

3 Troubling Ways the Charter School Boom Is Like the Subprime Mortgage Crisis Mother Jones (resilc)

Muting the Global Dialogue in Davos New York Times

And get a load of this:

Antidote du jour. Ishmael:

I am attaching a picture of the two ginger kittens we saved. The front one is Lucy and the back is Lion. We were fostering them so they did not have their shots so we kept them away from the “big girls.” That ended up with them staying in my office and I ended up sleeping in there with them and spent practically 24 hours a day with them for 8 weeks and ended up saying I would not give them up. Lucy loved to sleep in my arm pit also. I have been on the road a lot this year and miss them. When I am there working Lion loves to jump in my lap and be held like a baby. I also call him Lover Boy because if a women comes over and he comes out from hiding then after a little while they will want to take him home with them.

Ginger kittens as really small kittens photo links

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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242 comments

  1. rich

    Reporters Committee leads coalition objecting to bankruptcy court investigation of Bloomberg sources
    Press Release | January 18, 2016

    A Delaware bankruptcy judge’s order demanding that more than 100 individuals in a case before him disclose all their contacts with any Bloomberg reporters in the last 60 days is overly broad and interferes with reporters’ First Amendment freedoms, the Reporters Committee argued in a letter to the judge on behalf of a media coalition.

    U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Christopher S. Sontchi issued the order last Thursday, demanding that a long list of individuals associated with the debtors and creditors in the bankruptcy of Molycorp, Inc., disclose within 5 days any contacts with Bloomberg reporters, or any knowledge of anyone else’s contact with those reporters.

    “While the court has a legitimate interest in examining a possible violation of its confidentiality order,” the letter argues, “we ask the court to take steps to ensure that it does not unnecessarily intrude into the constitutionally protected newsgathering activities of reporters. An overly broad investigation into sources will necessarily chill other sources from talking to journalists and deprive the public of information.”

    Bloomberg intervened in the case late Friday to ask the judge to suspend the implementation of the order and reconsider its scope. The Reporters Committee filed a letter in support of that motion soon thereafter, emphasizing the important interests behind a free press and the use of confidential sources. Bloomberg has asked that the judge hear its motion tomorrow.

    “The order issued by the Delaware bankruptcy court last Thursday strikes at the heart of the First Amendment and the fundamental mission of a free press: to provide transparency into important public events, including the bankruptcy of the largest rare-earths producer in the U.S.,” Bloomberg Editor-in-Chief John Micklethwait said in a statement. “Bloomberg News’s request to the court reflects its commitment to protect the confidential reporter-source relationships that are essential to that mission.”

    Mickelthwait added, “By forcing more than 100 potential sources to reveal contacts they or anyone else may have had with any of Bloomberg’s 2,400 journalists about the debtor, this order is overly broad and will have grave repercussions that will put a chill on other sources and deprive the public of information about matters of significant public concern.”

    http://www.rcfp.org/reporters-committee-leads-coalition-objecting-bankruptcy-court-investigation-bloomberg-sources

  2. Ignim Brites

    “This is actually what America would look like without gerrymandering”. The technocratic illusion. How can that compete with the compassion of Phil (you are in your mother’s arms) Burton and his heirs?

    1. Skippy

      Science and technology have no agency, so that leaves the human tool user problem which is informed by ideological or philosophical advocacy… Science is a methodology and technology is an engineering application of the former.

      Skippy…. that is unless someone wants to argue that neoliberalism is a scientific based MBA engineering application.

      1. vidimi

        sure, but that is just semantics. here, useful science and technology is just short-hand for the reckless, short-sighted use of scientific research and technological breakthroughs for short-term profits, consequences be damned.

        1. Skippy

          “readers of this site or of scholars such as chomsky have long known that science and technology are some of the greatest threats to humanity,”

          Semantic quibbles don’t come with a “greatest threats to humanity” bolt-on, leaving the reader to discern the nuance.

            1. Paul Tioxon

              Einstein and Oppenheimer in particular faced the reality of their own powerlessness in the world no matter how smart they were and how invaluable their contributions to science, their knowledge was appropriated by those with more power than them. Just as a patent is signed over and lost to the original thinker, the science and technology is often placed into the service of the state, its military, its wealthy and those with great influence over the minds of others, religious leaders or ideologues.

              Science and technology in and of itself does not appear independently waiting to be picked up by the self destructive. Oppenheimer tried by virtue of the absolute power granting of the atomic bomb to gain a seat at the table of power only to be destroyed and along with him, any others of similar intellect who would try to pry power out of the hands of those that already possessed it.

              It is clear that the development of technological breakthroughs are being institutionally funneled into the narrow realm of commercialization via the development of science research parks, consortium of a local universities specifically charged with economic development based upon the wide array of intellectual capital previously left alone without entrepreneur goals.

              So, science and technology in the brave new world of University City Science Center enclaves is what we mostly have to look forward to, not a couple of guys in their garage engineering the future. It is that fear that is being articulated, not science bad, garden of Eden good simplistic dichotomies. The words weaponized, commercialized had to be developed to convey the appropriation of science and technology. And places like DARPA further the appropriation along with Chief Tech Officers and Chief Info Officers in the corporate sphere, lets not forget the Cyber Command of the DoD. Even religion uses the mass communication channels of satellite TV and cable broadcasting to maintain their hold over the minds of the faithful, witness all of the TV Evangelists, their political power and endless channel after channel of programming. Science has been absorbed, coopted, for the maintenance of the wealth and power of the already wealthy and powerful.

            1. vidimi

              when the whole point was that so often science and technology are envoked as a deus ex machina answer to all our problems, ans here is the world’s most distinguished physicist saying it will be our demise.

            2. Skippy

              That might be your opinion, tho on the guns assertion studies show the psychological effect humans enviably suffer whilst in a room with a loaded gun e.g. the conditioning proceeds the objects inanimate state, same applies to those the worship gold or other so called stores of value.

              Actually I am forwarding more of a Science Mart purview

              “This trenchant study analyzes the rise and decline in the quality and format of science in America since World War II.

              During the Cold War, the U.S. government amply funded basic research in science and medicine. Starting in the 1980s, however, this support began to decline and for-profit corporations became the largest funders of research. Philip Mirowski argues that a powerful neoliberal ideology promoted a radically different view of knowledge and discovery: the fruits of scientific investigation are not a public good that should be freely available to all, but are commodities that could be monetized.

              Consequently, patent and intellectual property laws were greatly strengthened, universities demanded patents on the discoveries of their faculty, information sharing among researchers was impeded, and the line between universities and corporations began to blur. At the same time, corporations shed their in-house research laboratories, contracting with independent firms both in the States and abroad to supply new products. Among such firms were AT&T and IBM, whose outstanding research laboratories during much of the twentieth century produced Nobel Prize–winning work in chemistry and physics, ranging from the transistor to superconductivity.

              Science-Mart offers a provocative, learned, and timely critique, of interest to anyone concerned that American science—once the envy of the world—must be more than just another way to make money.”

              http://www.hup.harvard.edu/catalog.php?isbn=9780674046467

              Science and Technology just become extensions of the dominate sociopolitical economic ideology neoliberalism and just like anything that causes dramas in neoliberal rhetoric, all of it can be blamed on something other than the base ideology. Its highly esoteric in that regard imo.

              That – “that so often science and technology are envoked as a deus ex machina answer to all our problems, ans here is the world’s most distinguished physicist saying it will be our demise.” – is not about Science or Technology its those aforementioned that peddle in memes. With that I would remind that Stephen Hawking is a theoretical physicist and not a sociologist, psychologist, historian, poly sci, anthropologist, et al and I for one would not go to him on a expert opinion about matters outside his field. 90%+ of his time is spent on how the cosmos works and nothing else and lets not for get Einstein died on his bed still trying to construct a mathematical proof for the theory of everything, why, because he thought the creator would have done so.

              Skippy…. with out spending he day composing a long winded comment should it suffice to say myself finds the “homo economicus” meme and the ideology which portends to splain everything in a grand theory by the act of deep thinking more horrifying and destructive than Science or Technology put together…

              PS. to reiterate Carl Sagan… http://www.goodreads.com/quotes/632474-i-have-a-foreboding-of-an-america-in-my-children-s

              1. Skippy

                “We are not going to stop making progress, or reverse it, so we have to recognize the dangers and control them.” – Stephen Hawking.

                Skippy…. one thing is not like the other, methinks…

        2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          The divine method of science never shows up in this world without the bubbling hand of fallible man.

          That’s the unfortunate part – we, greedy humans, are the only agency.

            1. JTMcPhee

              Dependably moral? What can that possibly mean?

              NONE of us humans who have effective “agency,” in any of the shit that threatens our species’ survival and demolition of what even the dour mercantile Dutch East India Company factors recognized was a beautiful planet (albeit ripe for rape), NONE of that set gives an effective fig about consequences. And it is not just profit/greed that drives the behaviors: Ego, arrogance, insect-like programming to just keep on with “lines of research” that produce grants and jobs and “careers,” like CRISPR and nanobots and “artificially intelligent” Terminator-class killing machines and petrobioagriculture and the thought processes that turn every fokking thing into weapons or at least foment speculation how whatever is New! and Improved! and “Disruptive” and “Innovative” can be [I really love the word, it is so full of death] “weaponized.”

              Haitians and many other peoples insisted on cooking with charcoal because that’s how cooking is done, so women walk 20 miles to gather remaining twigs and shrubs to reduce to charcoal, denuding the landscape and destroying the future. As one tiny example. On the other end of the scale, there’s something like 10,500 nuclear fokking warheads still operational, and 4 or 5,000 on hair trigger.

              1. jsn

                No, but more educated humans might.

                It’s hard for me to see a case for more ignorance in our species being a benefit which, perhaps erroneously was what I took from: “readers of this site or of scholars such as chomsky have long known that science and technology are some of the greatest threats to humanity, but it’s interesting to hear that coming from the world’s pre-eminent scientist.” up top.

                Apparently an “effective fig” is shared by all on this thread, I assume we’re all human, so maybe some learning can be put to good use also. Maybe not enough soon enough, which is certainly the look of it at the moment, but positive agency remains possible. Or maybe you know better.

                1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

                  It’s a mystery why ignorant crickets do less damage to the world than not-so-ignorant humans who generally go through years of learning (not sure what) before reaching adulthood, that is, their peak destructive years.

                  I don’t know better. It’s more a case of us, collectively, knowing too much.

                  So, perhaps a better is, ignorant of what?

                  Ignorant of science and technology, these ignoramus can only do so much damage.

                  Ignorant of wisdom, or humility, very smart scientists and technologists, and their money backers, can destroy the world.

                  It seems to me Vidimi was referring tot he latter.

                2. vidimi

                  the post wasn’t anti-science. hawking made the original claims and he certainly isn’t anti-science. it’s about how our greatest asset as a species is also our greatest liability (A=L, as in accounting, i guess). it’s about how our innovations are inherently short-sighted due to our short lifespans and something that may bring a few decades of prosperity may ultimately end up ruining our chances of livelihood (e.g. petrochemicals). if we found a way to convert oxygen into fuel we would probably suffocate ourselves.

                  it’s an interesting proposition that merits discussion, and it’s equally interesting to see the diversity of ways it has been interpreted here.

                  1. Skippy

                    “We are not going to stop making progress, or reverse it, so we have to recognize the dangers and control them.” – Stephen Hawking.

        3. Carolinian

          So what you are complaining about is not science and technology but people. It is true that if we all still lived in caves then less chance of humans destroying the earth. But since we don’t then science may be needed to solve our problems.

            1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

              We do well to doubt.

              He doubts, therefore he is.

              He doubts science or the scientific method, therefore, he’s (a scientist).

              To doubt is not really to complain, though some would see it as complaining.

            2. Carolinian

              You tell me. Your point seems vague. Mine is fairly obvious and the same as the some of the others here: i.e. “science” has no agency. As for Einstein, he was for the atomic bomb before he was against it. Many of the atomic scientists deluded themselves into thinking it would never be used. Once again this is a people problem, not a science problem. Perhaps we should use science to better understand people and their behavior. Our modern situation could be the result of too little science rather than too much.

              1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

                Like inequality, it’s a people problem.

                Doing science is expensive. Those with power and/or money have come to dominate the field to further their overall dominance and increase inequality.

                Just in the last century of doing more science, the West has further distanced itself from the Third World, where most science projects are not funded or done. The Center of Artificial Intelligence Research in Mali? Well, maybe one day. Nobel physics winner from the University of Nigeria?

              2. vidimi

                you used the word ‘complaining’ and you haven’t clarified what you referred to by that. pot calling the kettle black when claiming my point was vague.

                so it’s a people problem. just like guns. we’re in circular logic land now. we can’t change people, now what?

                1. Carolinian

                  “greatest threats to humanity” sounds like complaining to me. Please check your original comment.

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            We don’t solve problems using the same thinking that got us into it in the first place.

            Is Global Warming a problem with us humans thinking scientifically over the past few centuries?

            Nuclear winter is a potential problem from us greedy alpha males and smart humans thinking scientifically. It can be solved unscientifically through politics of fear (fear of mutual destruction), greater human awareness and spiritual identification with Nature.

            Can the carbon-emitting internal combustion engine problem be solved unscientifically? Or do we use the same thinking, go down the same path we used the carbon-emitting internal combustion engine to solve the problem of the inefficient horse?

      2. jgordon

        Science and technology having no agency isn’t exactly the truism one might think it is. Corporations and governments direct scientific investigation and technological development in directions that benefit them. For example, technologies that create and enforce massive centralized systems with absurd maintenance requirements (such as power utilities and interstate highways) that enable control from the top down are very popular targets for development. Technologies that tend to subtract from corporate/government control on the other hand tend to be far less favored (for example, passive solar water heaters and rocket stoves).

        1. Skippy

          You go half way and then stop jgordon, what compels these actors to act in such away. Its insufficient to go full libertarian retard and say institutions that use coercion are the the cornerstone of all woe, especially as animals our species is a herding verity, so by extension we invariably group.

          This is indicative of the rise of the Egyptian society, its roots are in environmental condition changes which enviably lead to wide spread small social groupings to seek water around the Nile river. All these groups brought their spiritual beliefs and knowlage to one specific region and eventually melded for best or worse depending on ones optics.

          Skippy…. right now it seem out problem have more to do with events connected with fee based ideology MPS, Corporatism, and concepts based on ownership of stuff than solutions to the events created by such over the last 100ish years or so…

          1. vidimi

            you seem to imply that science/technology cannot be misused if you take away capitalism. there are always other motivations, chiefly among them pride, such as the desire to be the first. greed is a special case of pride, after all.

    2. Synoia

      I disagree with both, The greatest threat to humanity is Greed. Greed as typically exhibited by Management protecting their jobs and in search of ever increasing profit.

      Greed, because it has no limits.

        1. lylo

          Chicken and egg issue there.
          If some guy hadn’t been a little greedy, wanting more food and water for less effort, would the wheel have come to be?
          Without excessive greed, we’d have stopped at using sticks to pick bugs–which btw, is a technology used by many animals on this planet. Higher technology is frequently greed given form, if you will.
          (Not anti-tech, mind. But I do think that it should be approached from a definite Marxist/old-party perspective, or one ends up with a society of smart phones and no public toilets, bombing the heck out of everyone with resources that are then sold back to that society at higher prices than before. And it’s something people should think about more, so I’m glad it was brought up.)

          To put it another way, when the shelled remains of our planet are found by some vastly superior species traipsing through our system, they won’t say “technology killed them,” even though it would be extremely accurate.

          1. vidimi

            so greed is an essential element of human nature and cannot be eliminated and science/technology are outcomes of that.

      1. Antifa

        Greed for sure. But our greed is meeting hard, hard limits caused by our overpopulation and overuse of the planet. These are actually effective levers to bend science toward survival technologies like solar, wind, and geothermal for energy, organics for food production, slowing and maybe reversing global warming, and little baby steps toward population control. If these bothersome problems weren’t inhibiting our rapacious instincts, we’d be happily deforesting and nuking one another wherever whimsy took us. But we can’t do that anymore because we keep finding that by doing unto our neighbor we only manage to do unto ourselves, which is a wake up call. Blowback is a bitch.

        Science does give us a real look at our situation, which has generally beneficial result of getting more people thinking systemically, and thinking of systems interacting specifically. Where our ancestors would have dealt with weirding weather by offering chicken feathers and milk to some deity, we can look directly at methodology for the wholesale, global removing of CO2 from the atmosphere. Our ancestors may have had an intuition that every single thing has an ecology behind it; we can actually define, measure, and change these interlocking systems.

        Which we will, if we actually want to live here.

    3. low_integer

      This has turned into a very interesting discussion. For better or worse we crossed the Rubicon long ago. The human race needs to deeply internalize that with great power comes great responsibility, and allow only those with a true respect for the natural world (which includes other humans) to set the course, and wield the power, of science and the resultant technology.

    4. aka

      We’ll need technology to save us from an eventual extinction event so science and technology aren’t the problem.

      1. ambrit

        Co-works? Make the ‘customer’ work a certain number of hours a week for the Government before the subsidy goes into effect. Goodbye Thirteenth Amendment? Wait just a minute there. The Thirteenth Amendment prohibits slavery and ‘involuntary servitude’ except as a punishment for a crime. Simply done, make unemployment a ‘crime.’

        1. Dave

          What about mandatory payments to health insurance corporations in exchange for a defective product with no warranty?

          It’s not the same as paying taxes to an allegedly elected government.

        2. hunkerdown

          The War on Drugs and its predecessors have served as the crime for due conviction for over 100 years. When it’s finally exhausted, there will be any number of manufactured crimes of insubordination with which to enslave those the elites don’t care to afford to employ.

        3. clinical wasteman

          Sorry this link is not so far distant from one posted a few days ago, but that sort of convergence between the ‘criminal justice’ and welfare punishment systems (as innovated, if not quite ‘pioneered’ in Britain, is exactly what this was all about:
          http://www.wealthofnegations.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/07/terms-and-conditions_.pdf
          Right down to the same contractors (Serco, G4S et al) running prisons and dole offices. Maybe not quite news any more, but no sign of it going away. If you have a high distress threshold, try a web search for ‘benefit sanctions’.

        4. jrs

          hmm so you’d actually go to jail for unemployment rather than just starving as in the current system? Unemployment insurance provides some protection against starving but it pays little and has too many loopholes (ie not paid for quitting even if horrible conditions at work forced one to quit and also not paid for firing for cause – but an employer can since it’s employment at will the cause doesn’t have to be a good one).

    1. tegnost

      I know, right? Now I’m worried about what is in the upcoming sellout, i mean agreement with “the other side of the aisle”…(which side is that, anyway?)
      “The wage insurance proposal will be included in a broader effort to overhaul the unemployment insurance system. Details about the program’s proposed funding will be further outlined in Obama’s budget for fiscal year 2017 expected to be released next month.”
      Another last gasp for our not so secretly republican prez. This lame duck is going to be a doozy

      1. polecat

        well….you know they have to pass the legislation BEFORE we find out what’s in it…..am I right! Serfs up!

      2. sleepy

        I’m surprised state unemployment insurance has not already completely gone to the privatized market. How have Obama and his marketeers missed that? Must be in the works somewhere, and probably is. I just missed it.

        Mandated paycheck deductions with products on sale through marketplace exchanges.

        Healthcare exchanges are just the prototype for social security, medicare, unemployment insurance, etc. Why not charter schools? Police and fire protection?

      3. jrs

        Well it says it the current proposal also extends minimum unemployment payouts in many states (but yes that could all change and fast). So yes I think this mostly depends on the caveats it comes with.

        Wage insurance doesn’t exactly sound bad (for once a transfer of money to the people) but it’s like a BIG with all the disadvantages BIG opponents keep complaining about (allowing employers to pay less than a living wage) without any of the advantages BIG proponents hope for (that is breaking the dependence on wage labor for survival).

        And it’s not enough to really compensate a lot of people for taking lower wage jobs and IF it ends up being implemented as more stick than carrot, it will ruin people’s lives by pushing them into lower wage jobs that then become impossible to escape from. It is sometimes better when unemployed to hold off for a better job … depending, obviously sometimes it’s not, but that’s a personal decision.

        1. Code Name D

          Wow, I had no idea a one-off comment would generate this kind of discussion. I feel like such a slacker. Any way, I finally got off work and can make a proper comment.

          Problem #1, what the hell does he mean by “insurance?”

          The problem here is that the word itself could mean many things. Just about any transfer of wealth is commonly called “insurance.” The existent unemployment program is often called “insurance.”

          My initial thought was – because Obamacare was such a huge success – let’s apply this to wages. Well that is not what he said here in the article. But then again he simply wasn’t very clear on what it is he is talking about.

          Problem #2: How is this going to put people back to work?

          This appears to be your typical neo-liberal thinking. Hay, I have some novel buzzwords here so of course it will work.

          People are out of work because there are no jobs.

          But the neo-liberal thinking is that unemployment is some how voluntary. If you want work – just go out and get a job. If you can’t find one, well it’s your fault. Your résumé is not impressive enough, or you aren’t presenting the right attitude or knocking on enough doors. Stop whining and take responsibility.

          It’s total nonsense of course, and the data shows this. Jobs are being created, but the new jobs are not offering any where near the wages realized in the past. So workers are being forced to take pay cuts for the sake of some kind of income to try and keep the lights on.

          I think he is thinking that this “wage insurance” will create some kind of subsidy that will offset those kinds of pay cuts and allow workers to accept jobs that they would otherwise walk away from. And if they walk away from fewer jobs – poof – unemployment goes down.

          Problem #3: Part of a broader effort to overhaul the unemployment insurance system.
          No mater how cynical you are, you are not cynical enough. He just assumes that the existing system is in need of overhaul and aspect the reader to accept it uncritically.

          I think it’s safe to say that wage insurance is more like a smoke screen to distract from other changes not-to-be-discussed.

          Problem #4: Hay, it’s bipartisan.
          So of course we should do it. Because we would rather put out crap legislation because it’s a hell of a lot easier to sell out, than to right for programs that even have the possibility of working. Something tells me he still has the Heritage Foundation on speed dial.

          Problem #5: It’s so small.
          Capped at $10,000 for two years. That’s $416 a month for only 24 months. Wow – don’t spend it all in one place.

          Hay, when you are finically stressed, every bit helps. This is about a car payment or half a house payment for most folks. But lets be clear here, this is not a permeate solution. It just prolongs the inevitable without doing anything to actually improve the situation for the worker. You know something like raising the minimum wage, or providing low cost public alternatives such as low income housing, public transportation, or improved access to education and job retraining.

          Problem #6: What’s the catch?
          There is always a catch to these programs. No doubt Obama will insist that this program will be “revenue neutral” so the workers will of course have to pay into this program some how. I know, a new payroll deduction, that’s the ticket. Or probably some kind of “wage savings account.” So YOU can chose how much money you want to set aside, put it into an expensive Wall Street Managed account that you are going to have a hard time keeping properly managed and likely lose the password for, and then have to file lots of paperwork and have a long stern conversation under an IRA agent in order to extract from. What could possibly go wrong?

          1. jrs

            Yea Obama is very slippery, maybe the whole Dem party is slippery but fully accepting that takes a lot of winds out of a lot of sails. There’s not much left to stay about Obama though this late in the game. I hates him.

            I was treating it as policy though, and thinking if it is as proposed (a big IF) is it good or bad policy, which isn’t quite so knee jerk.

  3. Pavel

    That was indeed a damning NYT piece on the Clinton campaign. It sure looks like they just assumed she would sweep through the primaries without any serious opponent. I recall seeing her campaign costs which were astronomical compared to the more frugal Sanders campaign. Plus as we all know, there are only so many wealthy donors who can give the $2700 limit — she may have tapped most of them out. I could easily see Bernie raising another $80M this quarter.

    There was another NYT article on the upcoming “Weiner” documentary about the odious, serial liar Carlos Danger and his Lady Macbeth-like wife Huma. The Clintons sure know how to choose their friends.

      1. Vatch

        That’s very good news! But can’t a few ultra rich supporters continue to play games with Super PACs?

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          This is a GOTV problem, and voters won’t vote unless campaign connected (volunteers count) people make them vote.

          Of course, campaign commercials are only useful for putting an idea out there in hopes it’s part of a whisper campaign which is Hillary’s problem with guns. Guns aren’t a major issue except for the upper middle class bourgeois housewives and house husband’s and aren’t likely to become a campaign issue among Democratic voters who are worried about issues they face everyday. People who don’t own guns don’t care about guns except on certain days if ever.

          A state delegate I knew lost her reelection campaign despite more money than God, a tight district, and major headway in the medical community. She ran one issue ad constantly about her support for veterans issues. She represented a district with if not the lowest rate of Veterans in Virginia, it’s close enough. There are no bases and no veteran employers, and the kids who inherited the farms or businesses didn’t join the army because they were in line. Yes, she did good work and is actually a widow of a Navy pilot. Here is the problem for her campaign. No one In her district cares because her constituents don’t deal with the VA or ptsd. Yes, there are doctors who were army trained, but they aren’t the ones who are dealing with the realities of the VA. Although the issue polled well. It’s not the kind of thing which would lead a person to say,”hey, delegate X is fighting for that or passed that thing you just brought up, you need to vote for X.” This is where the SuperPacs fall apart. They are pet projects of vanity issues, not reflections of voters or even educational opportunities, “why we should have gun control” the instead we get Congressman Y has a two gold stars and a smiley face from the NRA.

          1. Vatch

            Thanks. It would be ironic if well financed political veteran Hillary is unable to GOTV (Get Out The Vote).

            1. Bev

              Perhaps Clinton (and others like Bush or Trump) can rely on Microsoft backdoors (NSA, CIA) to help overcome pesky Democracy minded-voters.

              http://bradblog.com/?p=11498#comments:

              (Bev) Harris tells me (Brad Friedman), describing some of the ways election integrity advocates can try to force the issue a bit. Among her suggestions: “You can go [to the polling place at closing time] and snap a picture of what those [computer tabulated] results are with your cell phone and compare it with, at least, what they report” later on.
              …………..
              In comments:
              Microsoft (or perhaps NSA, CIA approved by the Democratic and Republican Parties) wants a dominating say in Iowa?
              http://www.rawstory.com/2016/01/iowa-caucuses-go-high-tech/

              Iowa caucuses go high-tech
              Newsweek

              But now both parties will use a Microsoft smartphone or tablet app to report the results from each precinct caucus back to the state party on election night. In addition, the Democrats will host a tele-caucus for Iowa residents who are out of the country, allowing them to vote via a conference call system.
              snip

              In the past, both parties in Iowa have reported individual precinct results via phone, with an automated dial-in system to punch in the vote counts. The Microsoft platform is replacing that process with separate apps for Republicans and Democrats to input their results digitally and another app for each party’s headquarters to receive those figures and validate the results. The parties can also program their apps to catch potential anomalies or reporting errors. Once the precinct figures are approved by the state party, they’ll be posted online in real time for the public to follow. Kaufman says the state GOP has already held more than 200 training sessions with precinct chairs to go over the new system.

              Microsoft isn’t charging the parties of the state for the technology. “We’re providing this to the parties because we think it’s an important process the U.S. election process and our democracy,” Stan Freck, the company’s senior director of Campaign Technology Services, told reporters. (note from me: HA!)
              ……………………..

              http://bradblog.com/?p=11498
              Another Presidential Election Year Featuring Unverified and/or Unverifiable E-Voting Begins: ‘BradCast’ 1/7/2016
              GUEST: Election integrity watchdog Bev Harris of BlackBoxVoting.org…
              By Brad Friedman on 1/7/2016, 5:49pm PT

              Last year ended with a number of voter database breaches — from the Sanders/Clinton/DNC database kerfuffle to the discovery of the still-mysterious posting of some 191 million voter records online shortly thereafter.

              But those concerns may pale in comparison to the fact that the nation is about to begin voting in Presidential primaries and caucuses using electronic voting systems and tabulators that have failed time and again, that remain vulnerable to both malfunction and malfeasance, and that are often impossible for the public to oversee in any meaningful way.

          2. Antifa

            Also, donors to SuperPACS see very little return on their mountains of money. The public tunes out the noise, hangs up on the robocalls, mutes the commercials, and skips the political pages.

            So there’s a horse race going on. For 18 months, now. Big deal.

            1. different clue

              I remember during the Kerry vs. Bush election that the Bushites made many false-flag robocalls to people at 3:00 a.m. in the morning pretending to support Kerry. This was to piss people off into voting against Kerry.

              I suspect some sneaky candidate or PAC will start making false-flag robocalls pretending to be for some other candidate. The only recourse some other candidate will have is to make even more false-flag robocalls on behalf of the candidate who uses this trick first.

          3. sleepy

            I live in Iowa and have yet to receive any Hillary flyers, leaflets, etc. in my mailbox. It gets stuffed with Sanders stuff almost daily. Nothing at all from any of the repubs.

            I don’t watch local TV much, so maybe that’s where she’s spending her money, but then again, most folks who watch the tube aren’t watching local channels anyway.

            I must be a product of the changing narrative. Like many I was somewhat cynical/skeptical about the Sanders campaign. Now I’m encouraging friends to attend the caucuses with me for a Sanders vote.

            1. NotTimothyGeithner

              Three thoughts:

              -the union bug. Hillary and new Dems don’t want to put the union bug on anything, but too many Democratic voters check for the bug.
              -Hillary wants low turnout. Anyone with a history of progressive politics is a threat to not vote for Hillary.
              -Billary Inc has always been more lucky than good. Even the 1992 nomination contest was a farce. Governor Moonbeam wanted to cut the Department of Education. Think about that. Bill ushered in the Newt Congress. I’ve come to see the whole Clinton establishment the as nothing more than glorified grifters who have been lucky they are still Mayberries in the world.

              1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

                Mere mention of the word “union” elicits knee-jerk revulsion in about 90+% of citizens after decades of telling people union = bad. Oh, the very idea, that the workers who actually DO the work should have any voice at all in their fate.
                Contrast to Germany, where unions must have a representative on the BOD. (Gee I bet they even have a few good ideas from the shop floor when execs who are busy re-orging their golden parachutes and figuring out ways to asset-strip in exchange from free money decide to actually create and launch a new product. IBM, anyone?).

    1. Skippy

      At what point will the MSM have to acknowledge Sanders before they loose sufficient credibility, which then screws with their ability to shape the narrative….

          1. optimader

            OIF and I had exchanged some thoughts ~ jan 2 about to what degree BHO will enjoy Financial industry reciprocity as a private citizen. I was speculating that he will be yesterdays fish and OIF speculated about The Clinton money printing operation, Someone mentioned yesterday Clinton’s pardon of Mark Rich paying follow on dividends even after Rich’s death etc..

            Thinking on it further, what differentiates the Clintons from BHO?
            It is that the former has been assumed to offer a decent investment prospect for follow influence in a “heredity” POTUS scheme along the lines of the Bush’s, only it being the here and now with HRC and a long, long play with Chelsea.

            Investing in BHO once he’s out of office does not represent that prospect. In addition I don’t think he did a good job cultivating a network beyond his circle of sycophants and true believers. BHO is a cold, one man show with no anticipated familial follow-on waiting in the trenches . Wall St is anything but sentimental, why invest any big speaking fees or other such quid quo pro in political dead ducks?

            So if Hillary spectacularly explodes 0 for 2, no less taking Chelsea out with her after a some ineffectual attack dog “town hall meetings”, what i the future prospect for investing in TeamClinton, Inc?

            1. NotTimothyGeithner

              I haven’t heard chatter about how many wings the Obama library will have.

              Bernie’s crowds demonstrate Obama wasn’t as special as was claimed. People have noticed the great orator of our age was more spectacle than anything else.

              1. optimader

                People have noticed the great orator of our age was more spectacle than anything else

                After eight years of suffering a not so dry drunk, I think many people mistakenly extrapolated BHO’s skill at rendering an hour of soaring oratory composed of canned platitude without saying “annnd…. ahhhhhhh… ummm” as meaning he might also have qualities enough to offer modest progress on broken domestic and international policies.

                –addressing criminal behavior surrounding the largest financial meltdown in history would have been the obvious and unimpeachably HONORABLE start on repairing the systemic rot at the root of much this Countries dysfunction.
                –redirecting our Government, at least the Executive Branch away from the progressive rot of political capitulation to a MIC agenda (that doesn’t work) and strategically unproductive alliances ( that are not in our interests).

                As played out, BHO was vacuous in either regard. Rather, he added up to being an uncharismatic status quo POTUS bereft of insight and ability to negotiate. What little he did touch seems to be in worse shape than he found it. An accomplishment of sorts I guess.

            2. sleepy

              BHO is a cold, one man show with no anticipated familial follow-on waiting in the trenches . Wall St is anything but sentimental, why invest any big speaking fees or other such quid quo pro in political dead ducks?

              I think reward for past services is still a good investment.

              1. hunkerdown

                Exactly. It looks less like a quid pro quo, and (like most faith-based deferred compensation deals within a power relationship) encourages the others.

            3. Propertius

              BHO is a cold, one man show with no anticipated familial follow-on waiting in the trenches . Wall St is anything but sentimental, why invest any big speaking fees or other such quid quo pro in political dead ducks?

              The possibility of the First Lady making a Senate run has been discussed quite frequently amongst the ever-dwindling Obot multitudes. Don’t discount the possibility of an Obama dynasty just yet.

              1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

                Wookie for Senator! She gained so much wisdom on those multi-million dollar shopping sprees and vacations. Live from Versailles, Marie Wookie-ette! G-A-A-A-A-H !!!

              2. optimader

                The possibility of the First Lady making a Senate run

                No way, she has all the charisma of a block of wood.

                We will have see on the subject of the BHO rewards program.

                An unmentioned essential element of TeamClinton is that Bill made a career of cultivating relationships in public/private environments while bllshtting w/ people.
                I’ve occasionally wondered if his compulsive schmoozing behavior is an outgrowth of his perpetually wanting to get laid or his realization that he could pick low-hanging fruit as a result of his natural desire to BS people and be liked? Nature or Nurture? No doubt some pretty weird childhood sht recycling in his lizard brain… but I digress..

                BHO so I have read is void of that behavioral inclination to desire social interaction with people.

                So ok, for BHO maybe the metaphorical equivalent of some crumpled post facto envelopes, but I just don’t really see WallSt embracing him going forward as a player. I may be entirely wrong on this, but personally I just don’t see it.

                My personal litmus test is:
                — would I be interested in spending an afternoon with Bill Clinton to see what makes him tick?–Sure.
                –Would I want to spend and afternoon w/BHO similarly? Absolutely not.
                (Putting a perspective on that, I’d sooner walk across the street to avoid meeting GWB)

      1. EmilianoZ

        Every day upon entering the DC subway, I am handed a free copy of the Express, which is in fact a Wapo publication. You could consider it a summary of Wapo for the masses. Today Hillary and Sanders were on the cover with the title: “Head vs Heart”.

        So, Sanders is acknowledged as the heart’s choice. But, guys, let’s be real. Let’s be reasonable. Now is not the time for dreaming. Now is the time for saving what we can from the bad Republicans, to protect Obama’s legacy (of increased inequality, crappy healthcare, extended wars, …).

      2. curlydan

        I think the MSM has already lost credibility. This Yahoo front-paged “Radical Sanders” article from yesterday was chock full of Bernie’s 80s travels to Nicaragua (aaaghhhh! scary Sandinistas!) and tried its best to drape him in the scarlet Socialist cloak. But even the Yahoo commenters (who normally living up the to “yahoo” name) weren’t buying it and called it out as a worthless hit piece. The MSM has gone to the well too many times–their tricks just aren’t working.

        https://www.yahoo.com/politics/bernie-sanders-radical-past-how-the-vermont-230255076.html

      1. Pavel

        That point bears repeating. What is the evidence that Hillary can actually accomplish anything? Even when she has good motives things tend to get screwed up. Look at HillaryCare during the first Bill administration. As SoS she claimed once her “greatest accomplishment was restoring America’s reputation to the world” or some such malarkey. We know what her worst accomplishment was — destroying Libya and (partly) giving rise to ISIS and other militant groups. As senator she didn’t accomplish very much. She’s making the same strategic errors in 2016 as she did in 2008.

        Why exactly does she think she would make a good President? The Repubs hate her so much it would be just more dramarama and deadlock. Many independents despise her as well, and we see the “trustworthiness and honesty” poll results for her (dire).

        Plus the possibility of ongoing legal issues with email and the Clinton Slush Fundation… do we want 4 years of that?

    2. Elizabeth Burton

      Of course they expected her to “sweep through the primaries.” Does anyone seriously think she wasn’t promised the nomination in ’16 if she didn’t put up a fight in ’08? As for “Mrs. Clinton does not, and is relying on union volunteers and members of supportive organizations such as Planned Parenthood to help her”, she may have a problem there because as near as I can tell the rank-and-file of more than a few of the unions who’ve declared for her are outraged and voting for the Senator.

      For someone who’s supposed to be so much more politically savvy and experienced than Sen. Sanders, Mrs. Clinton doesn’t appear to be paying attention to reality. Maybe she got so used to not doing so she can’t shift gears.

  4. craazyman

    I once actually stood on the porch of the Outermost House. It washed out to sea decades ago but here it is again, like driftwood on the shore of some eternal and invisible ocean, but reconstructed into one piece looking brand new — like something in a museum, like the Apollo capsule even! That was amazing, to see that in Washington in the museum. It almost looked like it was born there, right there in the exhibit and everything else about it was just a story that was half true and half made up by people who became excited and their imaginations flared. But it did really happen. I don’t think Mr. Kubrick made it up. It, the house, was already old in real life when I saw it as a kid, a mile or so up the beach under a very hot summer sun. It seemed quite strange to know a man lived there by himself and wrote a book about it. It seemed sad and tragic to my child’s mind, that a man ran away to a shack and lived alone by the sea. Then he left it and there it was, decades after, empty and left alone, everyone knowing it was famous enough not to destroy and that the ocean would take it anyway so why bother? I remember looking in the window with that awkward self-conscious curiosity of a kid, wondering if I might intrude impolitely and make somebody jump in surprise at my face, angry at my violation and my impetuosity, but there was just a glass bottle on a table lit by the sun, a wooden chair and dust everywhere, a closed door and another window that looked out onto the beach and the sea. Still I felt like a voyeur, looking into the most private sanctuary of somebody’s life. People still must do that kind of thing today but it’s hard to know where they go. I guess if anyone is still around in 50 years maybe they’re will be a book. God knows where they’d go now. Maybe someplace in Nova Scotia or maybe someplace incredibly weird — like a mobile home in the Illinois woods. It’s hard to get away nowdays. I guess if you’e the kind of person who’d do something like that, like Mr. Beston did, you’ll figure it out by yourself. There’s no instruction manual for that kind of thing. If there was, it wouldn’t be what it is and it wouldn’t be interesting enough to read about.

    1. direction

      I knew one. He found the most beautiful little piece of ridgetop with an old house the same size as Beston’s. I wonder if he ever read Beston’s work. He was a clean water activist, driven from his previous home by police brutality and corruption. He got away. Hiding up in the hills with his doggies, caring for the land, and watching every sunset til the end of his days. He had worked in fishing boats off the coast of North Africa and on oil rigs in Central America in the 70s, and he had worked behind a desk in San Francisco, and on a geology boat in Alaska before that. Dodged the draft to Canada. When he arrived in Hawaii someone threw him the keys to a hotel and he found gold dubloons while snorkelling around on the beaches. It was a different world back then.

      And craazyman is correct: there is no instruction manual. When his half ton truck slipped over the embankment, he spent 4 days in the snow with come-alongs winching it back up onto the road by himself. I don’t know anyone stronger or as beautiful in their fortitude. But I also feel like his retreat is a cautionary tale, as the beauty of this idyllic quest for a self made life alone in nature looks like an appealing extension of the American Dream, but instead leads to an isolation that embitters the mind.

  5. Uahsenaa

    The Times piece is brazen, stupid, and disingenuous all at the same time.

    1) Stupid – panicking at the last minute and spending your hoards of cash is not a long slog. Going to the early primary states a full year in advance and giving speeches to anyone who will hear you, slowly building up buzz, so you can give speeches to larger and larger groups of people–that’s a slog. Hillary didn’t give a speech to a non-closed room in Iowa until the Fall, seventh months after Sanders started to.

    2) Disingenuous – the Times pretends to be simply reporting the news on the trail, yet, as the comments show, they’re not fooling anyone with their so-called objectivity.

    3) Brazen – the irony is, the more they demonstrate themselves to be clearing in hock to Clinton, the more fervently people turn to supporting Sanders. As a result of that enthusiasm, we already see ripple effects dismantling the whole New Dem project. Couldn’t have happened to a more deserving group of people.

      1. Ulysses

        Do the jazz musicians you know often refer to smoking? My saxophonist friend Ted does this. Sometimes, towards the end of a set, he’ll ask me if it’s still raining out, because he’d like to grab a smoke.

  6. Ignim Brites

    “Exclusive: Pentagon May Demote David Petraeus” A shot across Secretary Clinton’s bow?

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      I don’t think so. Obama might be out for revenge of sorts. He’s likely blaming everyone else for his own failures. During the MoveOn Betrayus Congressional ado (by a Democratic Congress), Hillary behaved better while Obama skipped town to avoid voting.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        I don’t think the trainer of the Iraqi army has much of a political career ahead of him.

        1. Andrew Watts

          What the Chinese did to MacArthur is what the Islamic State has done to Petraeus. History repeats itself because war… people never change.

  7. craazyman

    I’m complaining about a G-rated comment of mine that went to Moderation, but I’m doing it to the tune of Mozart’s famous symphony that I can’t remember the name of right now, but it should be recogizeable by the beat:

    comments in moderation
    let it out let it out let it out
    comments ii moderation
    let it out let it out let it out
    comments in moderation, oh on
    in moderation oh no in moderation
    comments in moderation,
    let it out let it out let it out
    out, let it let it let it let it out let it let it let it let it out
    In moderation, oh no, in moderation,
    comments in moderation let it out let it out let it out!

    1. ambrit

      Good sir;
      I do empathize, but do show some humility and discernment. I have come to view the Modulus Moderatii as the means whereby the Commentators view of reality is synchronized with the Sites view of Reality. It’s merely a means of facilitating ‘effective’ communication; rather than a transformation of meaning, it is a translation of apperception.
      Mozart? The opening scene from “The Marriage of Figaro” perhaps? I would have considered something from Gounods’ “Faust.”
      Yours in eternal consumerism;
      ambrit

          1. craazyboy

            Reminds me of Saturday morning cartoons. I think this is where Bugs Bunny sneaks up on Elmer Fudd, then whacks Elmer on the head with a carrot.

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Everything in moderation, and you will live a long life.

      The Middle Way.

      A little bit of radical right, a little bit of radical left, a pinch of socialism, throw in some capitalism…

    3. optimader

      I’m able to craft comments wherein ~30-50% of the time skynet captures them for digestion, so don’t worry about it. It’s mostly all ephemera anyway, that which isn’t will be just as relevant in 8 hours.

      1. craazyman

        try complaining to Beethoven’s 5th

        Where did it go?
        Where did it go?
        I typed it, sent it but I cannot see it now.
        I typed it sent it but I cannnot see it now
        It was so brilliant
        It was so brilliant
        It should be posted NOW!

        If you just whine about, nothing will happen.

        1. optimader

          “If you desire literary immortality you have all the vertical surfaces of the NYC Subway System”
          ~optimader

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tears_in_rain_monologue
          “….I’ve seen things you people wouldn’t believe. Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion. I watched C-beams glitter in the dark near the Tannhäuser Gate. All those moments will be lost in time, like tears…in…rain. Time to die….”

  8. mad as hell.

    The Presidential Candidates Ranked By Their Usefulness In A Bar Fight.

    H-I-L-A-R-I-O-U-S !!

    ” Lindsey Graham can fucking fight. He’s not going to be easy to goad into a bar fight, but once it’s on, Lindsey Graham is going to go full-on balls-out hammer-down mad-monkey terrordome crazy, and he will take on three guys if he has to. Hell, he may take on three guys just for the sheer pleasure of it.”

    I rest my case.

    1. Inverness

      Also, you have to watch out for Christie, who is from Jersey and could be “mobbed up.” Ben Carson is the wild card that would keep everyone a bit edgy. Disagree with his #1 choice as Clinton, though: she won’t be loyal in a bar fight, and will turn on you when politically expedient.

        1. Pavel

          Not sure about the velvet line, but I suspect the bar patrons would have to pay $2800 each to see her :)

            1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

              $250,000 minimum is what a person would need, if he/she is injured in a bar fight. That’s how far it will go these days.

        2. cwaltz

          Awwwww c’mon she’s a dangerous grandma! I hear she killed some guy named Vince Foster or something already (tongue firmly in cheek.)

  9. aka

    “Consumers have saved more of their “oil savings” than the pundits anticipated.” Yves Smith

    But paying down private debt counts as saving too, no?

    It seems to me that worldly* prudence, especially in this economy, dictates that one should, as much as is possible (except for consumption and saving, as opposed to investing):

    one – save “money”** for contingencies.
    two – pay down debt to avoid foreclosure.
    last – consume or invest one’s surplus

    But saving and paying down debt requires that someone invest, consume or otherwise create incomes. Hence the “paradox of thrift”, a vicious cycle.

    So then, how about we distribute some savings to the population, equally, so as to avoid creating contention?

    *But generosity is encouraged by at least two of the world’s major religions (that I know enough of to say so) and that makes economic sense too because a sound economy requires faith – in the future if nothing else.

    **except the population is not allowed to deal with real money, aka fiat balances at the central bank, eg. the Federal Reserve. Instead we must deal with privately created debt or with physical cash, an unwieldy, unsafe form of real money.

    1. ambrit

      An equal distribution of ‘savings’ would only perpetuate the imbalances. What is needed is a redistribution of extant wealth. Reducing the power of the top is what this is all about. To do this requires the intervention of the State. Thus, it all comes down to, who controls the State. As long as the power of the State is defined by wealth, and not popular will, we will achieve little.

      1. aka

        An equal distribution would be a mere pittance to the rich but a very real help to everyone else.

        And I point to the lack of political opposition to “the stimulus checks” of G.W. Bush (and Obama? My memory is hazy there. Also, a Bernie Sander’s proposal?) because they were equal.

        “What is needed is a redistribution of extant wealth.” ambrit

        Then let’s get to abolishing deposit insurance and distributing the needed reserves equally to all adult citizens via individual accounts at their central bank, eg. the Federal Reserve in the case of the US. Who on earth can legitimately oppose this? Libertarians? Free market proponents? Populists? Liberals? Conservatives? Who?

        1. ambrit

          I can vaguely remember the ‘stimulus check’ of that Arch Socialist Richard Nixon.
          The deposit insurance scheme mentioned would, from my jaundiced view of things, be a backdoor bail-in for the wealthy. There is already an upper limit to the sums ‘insured’ by the FDIC. So, the primary beneficiaries of the proposed ‘revenue’ shift will be the wealthy. Their ‘cushion’ is large enough to weather any financial storm that comes along. I would assert that this is a good definition of ‘wealthy.’ At the same time, those now covered by the FDIC would be practically wiped out during any wave of bank ‘crises.’ Those with money left, the ‘wealthy,’ would make out like the proverbial bandits simply by being able to pick up the pieces after a crash. Concentration of wealth strikes again.
          Opposition to the idea floated could come from Populists, (no cross of gold,) Liberals, (concentration of wealth throws the ‘Market’ out of balance,) and Conservatives, (the Franklin Roosevelt New Deal is todays’ Tradition, and should be preserved.)
          True, my sloppy editing of “a redistribution of extant wealth” leaves me open to the possibility of a redistribution of wealth upwards.
          Since the Federal Reserve deals with banks, and not, to the best of my knowledge, individuals, may I suggest we use Post Office Banks as a means of enacting public financial policy? Then, just for giggles, shut the Fed Window to everyone for a Central Bank Holiday, and watch the fun.

          1. craazyboy

            The FDIC insurance fund is funded by collecting fees from banks. But last GFC, they ran it down to almost nothing with the 1000 something smaller bank closures they did.

            Then in everyone’s zeal to be nice to banks post crisis, the FDIC did their part by waiving the fees (to shore up bank bonuses) so the insurance fund is not really there at the moment. But maybe the Treasury or someone will save our butts during the next GFC. Keep you fingers crossed. Your life may depend on it!

            I’d definitely vote for a PO Bank, if they ever let us vote on stuff like that.

            1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

              FDIC: $15B in cash, $500B in lines from Treasury, and $16 trillion in contingent liabilities. What could go wrong.

              1. aka

                and $16 trillion in contingent liabilities. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

                How much in just FDIC insured deposits, excluding derivatives, please?

                In 2008, it was 4.29 trillion.

          2. aka

            “At the same time, those now covered by the FDIC would be practically wiped out during any wave of bank ‘crises.’ “ ambrit

            The provision of individual accounts at the Fed plus the end of government-provided deposit insurance would mean that all remaining deposits at banks would be, by definition, at-risk, not necessarily liquid INVESTMENTS.

            Plus individual and non-financial business and organizational accounts at the Fed would constitute an alternative, un-leveraged payment system to the current, leveraged commercial bank system so bank crises would be less of a threat to the economy.

            Plus the equal distribution of new fiat to the accounts of all citizens at the Fed is a far more just way to deal with financial crises than cheap loans from, or overpriced asset sales to, the Federal Reserve by the commercial banks.

            A Postal Savings Service is no substitute for genuine, convenient, peer-to-peer transactions with what is, after all, the citizen’s money, good ole fiat.

            Scheme? I’d say the current system is a scheme, intentional or otherwise, to benefit the rich at the expense of everyone else but especially the poor, the least so-called creditworthy.

          3. aka

            “Opposition to the idea floated could come from Populists, (no cross of gold,) “ Ambrit

            There would be no cross of gold. Instead equal distributions of new fiat to the accounts of all citizens at the Federal Reserve would accommodate the need for new money.

            “Liberals, (concentration of wealth throws the ‘Market’ out of balance,)” Ambrit

            With the equal distribution of new fiat, aka “reserves”, (and private assets sales by the Fed to sop what should be called “ill-gotten reserves”) and the abolition of government-provided deposit insurance then the commercial banks would have to borrow from the general population to get the reserves needed for the transfer of at least some of the formerly insured deposits to risk-free accounts at the Federal Reserve. The population would have the banks over a barrel, for a change.

            “and Conservatives, (the Franklin Roosevelt New Deal is todays’ Tradition, and should be preserved.)” Ambrit

            Yes, the ole “old is good” crowd. I concede your point here.

          4. aka

            “There is already an upper limit to the sums ‘insured’ by the FDIC.” ambrit

            The rich manage to have multiple insured accounts.

            “So, the primary beneficiaries of the proposed ‘revenue’ shift will be the wealthy. “ ambrit

            I don’t think so. The wealthy are currently the creditor class, no? The owners of banks? Bank bond buyers? While the rest of us depend on our liquid, insured commercial bank deposits? Which receive very little in the way of interest because those deposits are essentially captive, having no place to go except the mattress or safety deposit box.

            But the equal distribution of new fiat to individual accounts at the Fed will do relatively little for the rich while the abolition of deposit insurance will mean the commercial banks will have to scramble for the needed reserves and it can be contrived* that the general population has the bulk of those needed reserves.

            *via coordinated sales of private assets by the Fed.

            1. aka

              “* via coordinated sales of private assets by the Fed.”

              But, but the rich will buy those assets!

              Yes, but by destroying reserves in the process and bank liabilities are for reserves, not assets. Hence the barrel.*

              *assuming, like ambrit suggests, that the Fed Discount Window be closed and Open Market Purchases by the Fed forbidden. OTOH, trillion dollar coins will finance the new, equal fiat distributions to the population.

          5. aka

            “Since the Federal Reserve deals with banks, and not, to the best of my knowledge, individuals, may I suggest we use Post Office Banks as a means of enacting public financial policy?” ambrit

            Why should only commercial banks and a few other institutions get to deal directly with what is, after all, the nation’s money (aka fiat deposits aka reserves)? Why must the rest of us deal with privately generated debt (aka commercial bank liabilities aka commercial bank deposits aka bank credit) or else mere physical fiat and the mattress or safety deposit box?

            Post Office banks are a HUGE political target (and patronizing to boot) but absolutely no one can legitimately oppose Federal Reserve accounts for all US individuals, businesses and institutions unless hoary tradition counts as legitimate opposition.

    2. Jef

      aka – If a significant portion of the population take your advice the deflationary spiral will become a deflationary tornado.

    3. craazyboy

      The “paradox of thrift” is only a paradox to tenured economic perfessers with cushy pension plans and a big university endowment backing the pension plan. To everyone else, it’s a no-brainer. Except for our 1% Consumption Creators, of course.

            1. cwaltz

              I was talking to my 16 year old today. I mentioned to him that if the government really cared they could contribute $1000 a year(less than $100 a month) into an account for each child each year and by year 18 those kids would have $18,000+ that could be utilized for college or a downpayment on a home. However, lucky him, the government instead has chosen to spend trillions on wars each year and to help people like Donald Trump, who were fortunate enough to be born to a rich daddy, shelter their income from taxation.

              1. Ulysses

                I expect to see this kid of yours on the barricades with us dirty f%^&ing hippies before too long. Good work!

                1. polecat

                  “Holy headless horsemen on a pike, Batman !…the ranks are slowly buildin up”!!! lets hope that the youngins don’t think us oldsters all venal & corrupt.

  10. Inverness

    Yes, Martin Luther King has been whitewashed and co-opted by clowns like Trump. Helen Keller was another socialist committed to social justice who was depoliticized to make her more palatable to the masses.

    Yet I’m sensing a sea change. Pope Francis recently praised avowed socialist Evo Morales for reducing poverty in Bolivia. Sanders is running as a democratic socialist and a real threat to the establishment candidate. The head of Labour in Britain actually represents..labour! Socialism was the most searched word of 2015. I think that socialism is losing the stigma it used to have after decades of right-wing propaganda.

    1. aka

      Socialism is definitely losing its stigma because we’ve definitely had socialism for the rich.

      But socialism is not without its faults too, hence the stigma. Still, it beats homelessness and other avoidable misery which some seem Hell-bent on inflicting or at least risking.

      1. Inverness

        The stigma also comes from McCarthyism: communists were absolutely demonized and their careers were ruined. This has left a lasting imprint on the US, and is a big reason the left has been struggling/ineffective/discredited. Propagandists continue to insist that socialism automatically equates Stalinism, which is completely ridiculous. That serves their cause, to scare anyone away from progressive causes. No doubt horrors were committed in Soviet Union. It’s funny, though, that people don’t classify the horrors of capitalism (mass starvation, suicide, slavery, drug addiction, abuse, wars, homelessness) in the same way. The atrocities that continue to result from austerity should be enough to discredit this form of lethal capitalism (what would be a new term we could use?). Yet, the TINA ethos still has legs. This isn’t directed at aka, but more of a general statement.

        I think you’re partly right, and people are sick of the hypocrisy for the rich. Although a bigger reason, in my view, for the renewed interest in socialism is just that people are sick and tired of struggling. Sanders is offering an alternative road map, that just makes sense to people.

        1. neo-realist

          The stigma today lives on indirectly in the propaganda from the likes of right wing talk radio, which is the predominant format for stations that still have talk radio as well as corporate news networks, e.g., CNBC, Fox News: They don’t attack socialism per se, but attack the safety net via broadsides against welfare, lazy people who don’t want to work, increased tax burdens on Americans from an improved safety net, government regulation of business and the banking sector, and government intervention to create jobs via public works programs.

          The present manufacturing of acceptance of free market enterprise and a weakened safety net due to daily propaganda assaults from corporate media poses the greatest threat to Sanders’ ability to win the Presidency.

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            Attacking the safety net…

            Politics of divide and conquer is best countered with a unity program, something like money-creation for people to spend.

            1. People don’t say no to free money, (nor would the government and the military)
            2. Everyone is in the same boat, eliminating race, gender, faith, etc. We all get the same amount.

            1. aka

              “We all get the same amount.”

              Yes, to put it in crude gold-bug terms, new money creation should be like a gentle rain of gold dust falling equally on all adult citizens.

                1. aka

                  Gold is a long obsolete form of money, useful when counterfeiting was difficult to prevent but now it would be a waste to use gold for money as well as a very bad precedent to set.

                  1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

                    I think most people would not mind getting their shares of the Fort Knox gold.

                    Some may throw it away. Some may cash it for fiat currency. Some may use it to decorate their rooms.

                    1. aka

                      I think most people would not mind getting their shares of the Fort Knox gold. MLTPB

                      I can think of a better use, as a reserve destroyer when it’s time to pass out the new fiat equally and abolish government-provide deposit insurance.

                      Thanks for the idea! I was wondering how to sop up additional reserves when the Fed has exhausted its supply of private assets. But come to think of it, gold IS a form of private asset because fiat is backed by the taxation authority and power of government and can’t possibly have a stronger backing.

                      And what an object lesson to teach at the expense of gold-bugs! That is, if they are so foolish as to dump their fiat (aka reserves) since commercial bank liabilities are in reserves, not gold, and the banks will (or should be) desperate to obtain them when deposit insurance in abolished*.

                      What a noble use of a noble metal!

                      Thanks again!

                      *But over a period of time, say, two years.

    2. human

      Don’t forget Charles Lindberg and Charlie Chaplin as high profile socialists whose legacies have been marginalized by TPTB.

        1. JTMcPhee

          And he really did not care at all for Jewish people. And monogamous relationships? Pfft. Not a nice man. About the same flavor as Henry Ford.

        2. ambrit

          You do know that the ‘Nazi Party’ was the National Socialist Workers Party. Tito coined a useful name for it; State Socialism.

    1. Pavel

      I heard some of the debate “highlights” on a WNYC podcast this morning. I can’t stand HRC’s voice at the best of times, but her debate performance was really painful. Her response to most questions was “Obama Obama Obama” (as one analyst pointed out), which is a bit rich considering how negative she was in the 2008 campaign towards the same man. She is so bloody duplicitous.

      And the moderators let her get away with completely deflecting two important direct questions, about Bernie’s higher ratings with young people and the Goldman Sachs money.

    2. Pavel

      Wow, Torsten, thanks for that Robert Sheer link. That is really scathing, and is a must read. Here is one brutal excerpt from the conclusion:

      Who are these Clintonites who now have the temerity to blame Sanders for the economic hustles they authorized?

      Gensler in 1999 testified before Congress in support of the total deregulation of toxic derivatives: “OTC derivatives directly and indirectly support higher investment and growth in living standards in the United States and around the world.” As for the credit default swaps, the phony insurance packages that brought AIG to its knees and almost destroyed the world economy, Gensler testified that they should be exempted by his proposed legislation from regulation existing under the Commodity Exchange Act: “swap transactions should not be regulated under the CEA.” Had they been, the financial crisis could have been avoided.

      Along with Gensler, Robert Rubin, who was Clinton’s treasury secretary and a former Goldman Sachs chairman, and Lawrence Summers, a Rubin aide who succeeded the treasury secretary before the bill was passed, engineered this legislation, which became law and which Hillary Clinton now has the effrontery to blame on Bernie Sanders.

      The same Rubin-Summers wrecking crew had also destroyed the sensible restraints on Wall Street greed, implemented as the Glass-Steagall Act by the administration of Franklin Roosevelt in response to the Great Depression. Hillary Clinton defends the repeal of Glass-Steagall’s separation of commercial and investment banking, while Sanders wants it reinstated.

      That repeal, as well as preventing any regulation of the toxic mortgage packages and swaps that still hobble the world economy and wiped out the fortunes of black and brown people with particular severity, is Bill Clinton’s horrid legacy, and it is one that his wife now attempts to blame on Bernie Sanders. Shame.

      1. August West

        Thanks for the link. It is refreshing to hear the truth of the matter. My jaw dropped when I heard this exchange during the debate and I feel like I had no one to discuss this with because most people, as we all know, don’t know to make all these connections. Thanks to the author for bringing this to light. I will be circulating this link to everyone I can.

          1. August West

            Yes, she has a very selective memory indeed. That’s why everything that comes out of her mouth needs to be dissected. Glad we are here to help her with her impairment!!

  11. Jef

    “Since conventionally-grown almonds are profligate in terms of water consumption (no joke, one gallon per almond), the demand collapse s entirely a good thing.”

    I can think of a couple dozen other things where demand collapse would be good but unfortunately they all translate to economic collapse too.

  12. DJG

    Yoga and beer? Yoga and alcohol don’t mix. I would like them to do so, but they don’t. It isn’t just the spiritual side of yoga. There is an intensity to the work that alcohol makes a mess of, sometimes turning into unpleasant symptoms.

    But if you think that yoga and beer both are trending, well, then let’s mix those trends.

    1. Inverness

      Exactly, it’s a marketing ploy. The article also suggests that yoga encourages people to become self-centered. However, a sincere yoga practice can lead you to grow calmer and more accepting towards others. The idea that beer-drinking is more of a community-building exercise than yoga is a bit weird. I’ve known yoga studios to build communities through kirtans and the serving of tea afterwards. You don’t need the beer, although it is a profitable alternative.

      1. DJG

        Unfortunately, beer snobbery has out-snobbed wine snobbery. (Which is fine with me, as I mainly drink wine.) Yet the silliness of beer drinkers going on and on and on. It’s a beverage. Can we get our beards and lumberjack shirts under control?

        The elaboration of beer these days is positively baroque. Cloudberries and cardamom anyone?

        True yoga is simple, deceptively simple. That is likely to be what builds a sense of shared values. (So sorry about the heat-and-trademarks thingamabobo that hasn’t worked out…)

        1. craazyboy

          I wouldn’t take it that seriously. It’s just manly beer drinking men trying to get in touch with their inner yoga class sissyboy. It’ll pass.

        2. fresno dan

          beer drinkers…..lululemon pants
          AIIIIIEEEEEEEEHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!
          get me a lobotomy – cut it out, CUT IT OUT!!!!!!

  13. direction

    I am not able to check into NC everyday, so I missed the news of Blake’s passing, but I wanted to thank you for such a beautiful write up about him. I also would like to support your choice in allowing him to pass naturally. I understand why people can generically criticize that decision, but when a pet is very wise like Blake, I do think they understand what is going on and I would not want to deny someone the process of finding their way out from this mortal coil. My current dog, I would probably euthanize if he were in pain, because he’s a big baby. But our previous dog was an old soul, and very wise and I tried to hold her until she was able to leave. It’s a brutal process and I’m glad you were there for him. My deepest condolences. I love that you turned on the water and let him stay to watch it; that is truly wonderful.

    1. cwaltz

      It’s a difficult decision and I would hope that no one would criticize a choice where there is no perfect answer and either choice leads to heartache.

      During his life Blake knew he was loved. That’s what really matters. Hopefully time heals Yves and allows her happy memories of Blake’s morning head butts.

  14. Inverness

    Percentage of people who trust traditional media is down: Has anyone noticed how frequently Bernie Sanders is referred to to as the angry old man? I’ve seen him caricatured in the New Yorker as boiling with anger, with unruly hair. He has humorously been referred to as the “get of my lawn” guy! This isn’t just ageism at work, although that is a factor. It is an anti-left wing bias, which assumes that if you have expressive and are progressive, you’re probably dangerous.

    Yet, Sanders doesn’t strike me as angry. He’s passionate, and to the left of the other mainstream candidates. That’s it. I think this angry old man trope was invented by the press, and doesn’t reflect how most real people see Sanders. I don’t see commenters (this is anecdotal, of course) going on about how crazy, wild-haired, and angry he is.

    This also reminds me of how (Canadians — Moneta and JEHR might chime in?) NDP candidate Tom Mulcair was always called angry, and had a temper problem during the most recent Canadian election. No. He was a passionate progressive, and the temper problem was a press fabrication to convince voters he’s too unhinged to be trusted. Funny, because Harper certainly knew how to play bland, and act like one nasty Prime Sinister.

    1. Inverness

      Should clarify. I am not against anger. People have reasons to be angry, and I’m not usually one of those who annoyingly tells people to “calm down.” However, I just don’t feel that term characterizes Sanders.

      1. jsn

        Turns out a lot of people are angry and the meme isn’t delivering what the corpretulent media thinks it will,

    2. Light a Candle

      I have been googling Bernie for news coverage for the past six months and notice a marked trend today to heavily negative media coverage and trash talking. I really hope his groundswell of popular support trumps (lol) the attempt of TPTB to manipulate public opinion.

      Btw, during the Canadian election I discovered Mulcair was a third way Tony Blair type who admired Margaret Thatcher and supported bulk water exports. Many progressive NDP MPs all decided not to run again and Mulcair disallowed candidates who supported Palestine. I don’t know what he is, certainly not a progressive, probably a political chameleon and clearly desperate to hang onto the NDP leadership at any cost.

      Great characterization of Harper! he was a seriously, very scary dude.

    3. fresno dan

      As the media have gone all corporate all the time, the BS that unemployment is low, and that the economy is humming along wonderfully, just shows that both team red and blue and their acolytes are incapable of expressing coherent non-contradictory thoughts. For Davos man, the non partisan technocrat, modern American is nirvana – but not for the vast majority.
      Team blue has to say that health care “reform” was a great success and that there is good jobs with good benefits. A GREAT recovery! That financial “reform” was a great success – even though TBTF banks are now BIGGER!!!!
      All message all the time….

      Team red is so incoherent that only one candidate expresses anything that even faintly resembles the angst that the repub base is feeling. Repub establishment promises more of the same, and can’t understand why the electorate won’t eat the liver and onions, and now that they’re cold, team red remains befuddled at the lack of enthusiasm for the entree.

      http://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2016/01/white-working-class-poverty/424341/
      ======================================
      As organized labor in this country has withered, an extreme individualism has stepped in as the alternative—a go-it-alone perspective narrowly focused on getting an education and becoming successful on one’s own merit. This works well for some, but for others—especially the two-thirds of Americans over the age of 25 who don’t have a bachelor’s degree—it often means getting mired in an economy of contract work, low pay, and few, if any, benefits. These prospects suggest that this is an age of diminished expectations for the working class.
      ….
      The larger context of this isolation and alienation is America’s culture of individualism. It, too, can worsen the despair. Taken to an extreme, self-reliance becomes a cudgel: Those who falter and fail have only themselves to blame. They should have gotten more education. They should have been more prepared. On this score, too, the U.S. deviates from other wealthy nations. America’s frontier spirit of rugged individualism is strong, and it manifests itself differently by race and education level, too. White Americans, for instance, are more likely to see success as the result of individual effort than African Americans are (though not Hispanics). The less educated, particularly less-educated whites, also share this view to a disproportionate degree.

      In Stayin’ Alive, his powerful history of the “last days” of the working class, the historian Jefferson Cowie describes how the proud blue-collar identity of previous generations disintegrated during the ’70s. “Liberty has largely been reduced to an ideology that promises economic and cultural refuge from the long arm of the state,” he writes, “while seemingly lost to history is the logic that culminated under the New Deal: that genuine freedom could only happen within a context of economic security.” As working-class solidarity receded, an identity built on racial tribalism often swept in.

      With that in mind, it’s interesting that Americans tout the importance of getting an education—an inherently individualistic strategy—as the pathway to success. This view was the ideological backbone of the Clinton administration policies put forth in the ’90s, with their individual training accounts and lifetime-learning credits. To this day, the supreme value of education remains one of the few things that Americans of all persuasions (presidential candidates included) can agree on. But this sort of zeal can lead to the view that those who have less education—the working class—are truly to blame for their dire straits. While many of them will go on to obtain more education, many others will not—because they can’t afford it, aren’t good students, or just (as some of my workers said) prefer working with their hands. But if they don’t collect the educational degrees needed for today’s good jobs, they are made to feel that they have failed in a fundamental way.
      ====================================
      How many decades has education been touted as the panacea to all our problems? For all the yammering about it, with education “reform” failing by both red and blue, after decades of supposedly trying to improve it …. maybe….just maybe, people are figuring out that education doesn’t turn an economy designed SOLELY for the benefit of the wealthy around.
      It is amazing to me that the manipulation of the visa program by silicon valley squillionaires to lower wages of technology employees didn’t completely expose that the “market” is always exploited by the rich to make themselves richer at everyone else’s expense.

      1. James Levy

        The really weird thing for me is how while more and more people are “educated”, they seem to manifest any sign of this education less and less. You get no sense that the vast majority of people who have university degrees have absorbed any philosophy, poetry, history, social or natural science theory. You almost never hear or see a quote from literature, or have the sense that anyone ever read Darwin or took a course in geology or genetics. I’m reading Roger Ebert’s memoir, and you get the sense that when he was at the University of Illinois back in the early 1960s, he actually picked up and retained lots of knowledge. He could read Shakespeare and Ralph Ellison and T.S. Eliot, pluck interesting and beautiful and thoughtful things from their work, and retain them onto death. It seems that people must be actively avoiding such contact with knowledge today as they wend their way through our universities. It’s as if they say, “I’ll pay 50,000 a year to sit here, but I’ll be damned if I’ll learn anything.” It was said that George W. Bush voters never minded that he went to Yale, because it was so obvious he had not learned anything there and he was therefore unblemished with any stain of intellectualism. It’s sad that he has become the template for most attendees of higher education today.

        1. Inverness

          Great observation. Too much time is lost on post modernist theories, and not enough courses on the Great books, and no longer an emphasis on the close reading of them. That’s my theory. Also, we no longer encourage students to memorize poetry, and our attention continues to grow more fragmented.

          1. cwaltz

            Poetry is for slackers dotcha know. As a matter of fact, if it can’t earn you a six figure income doing it then it must not have value. (Just ask the comments section of any article where a kid with a university degree is lamenting that they can’t find a job using their degree.)

            Capitalism taken to its extreme conclusion.

            It’s really sad that we don’t encourage learning for the sake of enjoyment, it’s all got to be tied to earning potential(particularly true if you are trying to work your way up the economic ladder.)

        2. Ulysses

          “George W. Bush voters never minded that he went to Yale, because it was so obvious he had not learned anything there.”

          Sweet!

        3. Lexington

          Nothing weird about it at all, if you take into consideration everything that has changed since Roger Ebert attended uni back in the early 1960s.

          First of all the classic liberal arts education, which aimed to expose students to a broader range of subjects and develop higher order cognitive skills like communication, critical thinking and research, has now almost completely disappeared from the curriculum. The bias in higher education for hiring people who are researchers first and educators second has promoted greater and greater specialization, even at the undergraduate level, so that undergraduate education is now almost exclusively geared to preparing students for grad school. Of course this shortchanges the majority of social science and humanities undergraduates who don’t plan to pursue academic careers – but the modern lyceum caters to the interests of faculty and administrators first, grad students second, and undergraduates a distant third. Mainly they’re tolerated because their tuition pays for what most academics consider “real work” – i.e. research and instructing grad students. Cramming undergrads 200 at a time into huge lecture halls for introductory level courses is standard practice. Much of the instruction and evaluation is actually done by grad students working as TAs, many of whom were undergraduates themselves a couple of years earlier. Should we really be surprised that the quality of the “education” they are getting suffers, even as the price goes ever higher?

          Second, academic standards are in free fall and have been for decades, especially in the social sciences and humanities, where the evaluation process is often necessarily highly subjective, and where instructors live in fear of negative evaluations, being punished by administrators for pissing off the “customer”, and being targeted for harassment by helicopter parents. So everyone gets at least a B. If you haven’t read Ron Srigley’s excellent LA Review of Books essay “Dear Parents: Everything You Need to Know About Your Son and Daughter’s University But Don’t”, which was featured on NC’s links page a few days ago, I cannot recommend it highly enough.You’re comment that ” It’s as if they say, ‘I’ll pay 50,000 a year to sit here, but I’ll be damned if I’ll learn anything’ ” misses the point. A few years ago I read an article in the NY Times in which a Harvard student brilliantly broke through all the BS and cut straight to the chase: “My parents aren’t paying $35 000 a year in tuition for me to get Bs”.

          Also, in the 1950s and 1960s university was thrown open to the children of the working and lower middle class for the first time, and any of them were determined to make the most of it. It also helped that many were GI Bill beneficiaries, so they started university on average at a somewhat older age when they had already acquired some life experience and maturity. Throwing teenagers into university and asking them to pick a major when most of them only have the vaguest idea of what the future might hold is doing them an enormous disservice. However it serves the politically useful functions of keeping them out of the labour force for a few years and shielding them from responsibility, because as a society we think we’re doing them a favour by extending adolescence into early adulthood.

          For both the provider and the purchaser this is at bottom a commercial transaction. And what the purchaser is buying isn’t an “education” – most of them couldn’t even articulate to you what that should actually consist of- but a credential that will hopefully lead to employability. A university degree no longer guarantees you a middle class lifestyle, or even a job, but at least with one you still have a shot at the brass ring.

      2. polecat

        yeah…Davos Man……’the ‘4th Great Industrial Revolution’……….bleh…… Here’s an idea……Why don’t we put all those davos dandies to work……..on, say, a couple of greek triremes…………paddling back to Brussels, to procure a few dictocrat slaves!

        1. ambrit

          All the way down the Rhine in a trireme? I much prefer the idea of having the Davos crew carry a trireme to Brussels.

            1. polecat

              Just imagine for a moment, all those former davos hotshots, bruised by the lash, dirty, clothes in tatters…………but still wearing nice, expensive ties….

    4. JEHR

      Inverness, my reading of why Mulcair didn’t get elected was that 1) he kind of reminded us of Harper when Harper became unhinged in question period, 2) the beloved leader of the NDP, Jack Layton, did not support Mulcair as his successor, and 3) Mulcair was defeated because of the “get rid of Harper” groups that decided it was better to go with the party they knew (Liberals) than the party that was never in power. There were a lot of incremental things that made a difference. We all knew that Harper was a nasty person but it rarely showed in public. Mulcair was a good foil to Harper but was not perceived of as “sunny.” (!!!)

  15. Expat

    The “Low oil prices are bad for the economy” meme is taking hold but it is not backed up by any analysis. It is purely emotional and anecdotal. “My neighbor’s sister’s cousin knows a guy who works in oil in North Dakota and they are really suffering. So low is bad!”

    Low oil prices are bad for oil producers generally and shale and tar oil producers specifically, but so what? In the US economy, is it conceivable that a bunch of wildcatters raping the Dakota wilderness really outweigh the other 319,999,500 Americans burning petroleum?

    And, if low prices are “bad” for America, then perhaps $300 oil would be awesome? Would oil money trickle down to the economy? If rig workers got paid ten million a year, would hookers in Fargo then become millionaires as well? Would the day care centers where they left their kids charge $250k a year per kid? And would all these people buy five million American made cars? And so on.

    I think low oil prices are bad for the world because it stops our move to renewables and keeps people behind the wheels of their hummers. But, ignoring the environment, it is frankly excellent for the WHOLE economy, as much it might hurt the oil patch (and a few banks…but are we really hoping for high oil to save bankers? Really? Shouldn’t we be buying up cheap gasoline and making Molotov cocktails instead which we will figuratively lob into Wall Street buildings?)

    1. fresno dan

      It is funny how the producers always have to make plenty of bucks for the economy to thrive….but raise the wages of a burger flipper or a Walmart clerk a fraction, and these same people say that the whole edifice will collapse ….
      We can spend more money for gas, but 2 cents more for a hamburger and everybody starves….

    2. James Levy

      The knock-on effects of lower oil prices should be great, but they are not, for two reasons I think: 1) they are a sign of a massively contracting global economy that everyone senses but is being papered over right now with Happy Talk and fake stats; 2) the oil industry went into hock up to its eyeballs to finance their tight oil plays and shale gas and the rest and very soon they will have to produce profits when they can no longer keep borrowing silos full of cash at rock-bottom interest rates, and that day of reckoning has anyone in the know (certainly the 1% plus many in the next 6% who service their needs) scared out of their gourds. Thus falling oil prices have to be seen in the context of a falling rate of profit, investment, and activity that may very well motor us into a global depression.

      My father brilliantly summed up the Great Depression to me when I was a child. He told me: “Everything was cheap, but nobody had any money.”

      1. fresno dan

        My father brilliantly summed up the Great Depression to me when I was a child. He told me: “Everything was cheap, but nobody had any money.”

        +10000000
        the more things change, the more they stay the same.
        Just as we look back at the depression and how they look like idiots for taking so long, and doing it so tentatively, I imagine 80 years from now people will wonder how it was that the people running the show couldn’t figure out that it was a lack of income for most people that diminished demand.

    3. polecat

      I know you were probably wrote ‘hummers’ for purposes of imagery, but almost everyone drives some kind of vehicle, not just gas guzzling behemoths…..and not all priuses either !!

      1. Expat

        I wrote “hummers” with the American car market in mind. American fuel economy is very low because Americans drive big cars. They do that for two reasons. First, gasoline is cheap. Second, SUV’s and pickups are not cars, they are trucks and are therefore cheaper than they should be (taxes, safety requirements, fuel economy requirements!).

        Yes, many people drive and most of them drive cars that are NOT Humvees. Low oil prices will keep people driving and keep Americans driving gas guzzlers. I think this is a bad thing as do most doctors, scientists and politicians. Persistently high oil prices would push soccer moms out of their ridiculous Suburbans and into fuel-efficient Japanese cars.

        So far I have not come across any articles or news commentary from ecologists discussing how low prices are a terrible blow to their efforts. I would love to see one on Fox “News” and see how the presenters try to argue against this while arguing for high oil prices like all the other muppets out there are doing.

  16. Goyo Marquez

    Amazing thing about the Atlantic article praising Johnson & Johnson is that it ignores Steve Brill’s take down of Johnson & Johnson over at Huffington Post, http://highline.huffingtonpost.com/miracleindustry/americas-most-admired-lawbreaker/

    Seems Johson & Johnson sold a new, (The old one’s patent had expired), schizophrenia medicine as a treatment for ADD in order to increase the schizophrenia medicine’s market share. This in spite of the FDA specifically prohibiting its use for children and the elderly. Johnson & Johnson sold it anyway. Teenage boys ended up with 44DD breasts, old people died. To top it off the New Jersey legislature had passed law which immunized Johnson & Johnson from these particular kinds of lawsuits.

    But The Atlantic still uses them as an example of a good corporate citizen? It comes across as a real PR coup for somebody. Hard to believe The Atlantic editors would be ignorant of the Brill article, but also hard to believe they’d knowingly participate in PR for Johnson & Johnson. Not sure what to think.

    No matter how cynical I get it doesn’t seem to be cynical enough.

    1. Titus Pullo

      I think if you are anyway responsible for medicating children (parents, doctors, social workers, etc.) with psychiatric medicines, then you should take them as well.

      I was prescribed Risperdal (the drug in question) for acute clinical depression. I took it a few times and felt completely zotted. I felt like me, my personality and ego, was bound up and amputated. It was weird, in a very bad way, and wholly disconcerting. If I were a doctor, I would only give Risperdal to the truly psychotic (that very small percentage of mentally ill persons who “can’t function”) and only after those persons got housing and assistance. Risperdal should be a last resort, and even then, used temporarily to help seriously ill people integrate into networks of support and learning how to manage their mental issues so that they don’t become a chronic crisis.

      The most damning fact about these drugs is that seriously mentally persons refuse to take them. They would rather suffer with their ailments (which can be crippling, horrific, and terrifying) rather than give up what ever piece of essential humanity that is lobotomized by this drug (and all the atypical anti-psychotics for that matter).

      This drug should not prescribed to children with ADD, which is itself an over-diagnosed malady that stems from young children dealing with the unnatural world of school compliance.

  17. Vatch

    This is actually what America would look like without gerrymandering Washington Post

    Christopher Ingraham, the author of this article, has written about this before. For those who haven’t read either article, then and now he points to this interesting web site:

    http://bdistricting.com/2010/

    1. fresno dan

      I have read some of his stuff before, if I haven’t gotten him confused with someone else.
      The idea that gerrymandering is the cause of all our problems is one of those things that has initial appeal, but a moment’s reflection exposes that computer generated districts would do little to “cure” the underlying problem. Dems are concentrated together in districts, and dems getting 90% is relatively common – most dem votes are therefore wasted.
      Repubs are much more defuse – there are plenty of safe repub districts, but very, very few 90% repub districts – consequently, fewer repub votes are “wasted.”

      California is a good example – it used to be relatively republican. Repubs controlling redistricting didn’t stop it from going democratic. Whatever makes a district, state, or region dem or repub, Gerrymandering is a pretty minor aspect.

      1. Jess

        I disagree, esp. with using CA as an example. The size of the state, population density, and population diversity makes it unlike many other states. (Ex: CA school districts contain children who speak 59 languages other than English or Spanish.)

        Besides, I don’t believe that it’s merely an issue of electing a Dem or a Rep. I think the tneor and tone of the candidate enters into the equation. No all Dems are party apparatchnik loyalists. Same way, not all Reps are wild-eyed wing nuts. So in more balanced districts the extremists on both ends could be eliminated in favor of more moderate candidates. Get enough of those in Congress and you eliminate some of the lockstep voting and issues positioning.

        Last but not least, there’s the basic issue of fairness. Draw fair, compact districts (which, incidentally, are likely to be easier for an office-holder to serve properly) and let the voters pick their representative. (Chips fall where they may, not according to someone’s carefully contrived plan.)

      2. bob

        The states rights, new confederate crowd is gaining huge momentum. Lots of very friendly redistricting happened in 2010, more on the way.

        There are exceptions, but they’re mere battles in the midst of a huge, long term war.

  18. PQS

    Re: Being Told No on health care.

    Oh, for God’s, sake. Americans are ALREADY told “NO” a million times a day by the insurance industrial complex, by their doctors, by creeps like Martin Shkreli, ad nauseum. Don’t even get me started on nursing home care, or hospice care, or trying to find a decent place without a million dollars in the bank.

    And every single person who has been in the “medical system” knows this for a fact. It’s just spoiled rich people who don’t know this.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      To make up for it, they will whisper ‘yes, yes, yes’ to you on GM foods, HFCS, farmed salmon, everything deep fried, etc.

  19. Jay M

    The alarm buzzed and the smart bed threw me on the floor. My personal liquidity meter on the wall had plummeted over night, and virtual red ink stared me in the face. Luckily, the coffee maker would still give me a cup, but the refrigerator sneered at my attempts to access food. “Get a gig deadbeat” it ordered. I was allowed ablution, and the smart john didn’t get smart with me, but the phone was ordering me to get out the door, there was a very important dog to walk. The door hit me on the way out, and damned if I didn’t forget to bring the baggies. Hoping some royal gets a little surprise this AM on their shoe.

    1. fresno dan

      “smart john”
      What happens when there is AI, and they learn all the sh*t they have taken???
      In the future, the johns won’t take any crap, they’ll give it….

  20. fresno dan

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/powerpost/wp/2016/01/19/the-daily-202-jeb-bushs-candidacy-defined-by-donald-trump/

    HOLLIS, N.H.—Jeb Bush has embraced with gusto his role as the anti-Trump. The once-presumed Republican frontrunner, now often an afterthought, has more aggressively gone after The Donald in New Hampshire than any other candidate. Running on television here is a minute-long ad in which Bush explains that Trump is “a jerk” because he mocks people with disabilities.
    ………..
    It happened again the next day in Hampstead, when a young boy asked: “Why would you want to be the president of a nation that would consider voting for Trump?” Bush replied, “I don’t think Trump’s a reflection of the American people.” That’s when a dude in a Trump T-shirt began heckling him, according to the Union Leader. The man wanted to know why Bush had said he would not target the families of terrorists. “No president would allow for the killing of innocents as a designed strategy of the United States, my friend,” Bush shot back. “I don’t care what Donald Trump says.”

    ====================================================

    “No president would allow for the killing of innocents as a designed strategy of the United States, my friend,”
    Hmmmmmmmmmmmm….

    Question to ponder for today:
    Who is worse: the candidate who says bomb terrorist’s families????
    OR the candidate who ACTUALLY doesn’t know that overwhelming evidence shows that the US drone strikes have killed many innocent bystanders (many of which are members of the terrorist’s family)??????
    OR
    the candidate who PRETENDS he doesn’t know that overwhelming evidence shows that the US drone program has killed many innocent bystanders????????

    ===========================================
    Now, I am considering that Trump is not really being forthright, and says bomb terrorist families NOT because he IS NOT a humanitarian, but simply to rile the establishment, get free press, and appear not politically correct – OR,Trump is being forthright, and may actually believe it is justified as war is savage and you fight without any constraint. (none of the OFFICIAL US bullsh*t that we don’t torture…because it is “enhanced interrogation”)

    Bush, on the other hand, also has two possibilities. The first is that he toes the American party line – shining city on a hill, we are unfailingly noble, true, and honest, we (i.e., my bother didn’t torture) don’t torture, just trying to make the world a better place, rah, rah, go USA!!!! He is totally aware that we kill whoever we have to (OR want to) by any means necessary, and if caught, spin, obfuscate, distract, and bury in the memory hole. But we always stick with the propaganda…

    Or second, like most US politicians, he has lived in the world of half truths, quarter truths, one eighth truths for so long, he simply is incapable of distinguishing between reality, and bullsh*t. Cognitive dissonance makes Bush believe he really is a good man.

    So if my scenario is correct, I have to say my view is that Trump is the most moral of the repubs (as Carson is impaired, he can’t be found guilty of immorality). The public relations morality and patriotism of Bush that makes his truly reprehensible policies palatable, and with Bush plausibly capable of being elected, is to me far worse than Trump being nominated. And if Trump destroys the republican party, that is a side benefit.
    tomorrows question: Who would be worse: Hillary or Trump?

  21. perpetualWAR

    Congo cobalt mined by children.

    Americans should be well aware that many items they get “cheap” from overseas requires child labor for the low cost.

    The very reason I left stone sales was due to my understanding from suppliers that Indian slate was picked up in the field by kids. In addition, I suspect the same of Chinese stone, however their suppliers would never reveal that fact.

    The cheap American price comes at a high cost, which most Americans don’t give a shit about.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      You destroy the American middle class and eliminate good jobs, desperate people will want cheap products.

      There is no alternative (to survival) for the poverty-stricken Americans.

      For economists, they have options and they will mumble something about allocation of resources, productivity and efficiency.

      Marry them to brain-washing propagandists, everyone believes this is the way to go.

      1. cwaltz

        That isn’t entirely true. Sometimes the alternative is to do without. Obviously it’s not a perfect alternative but it is one that someone can employ(and may very well be why GDP is down.)

      2. optimader

        When I was growing up the paradigm was fewer expensive goods that are repairable.
        That worked pretty well until the model was broken
        .

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          One good slide rule to last a life time.

          My old HP calculator is still working.

          I don’t know what kids use to compute these days. “Just trust the car salesperson.”

          1. optimader

            I still have my Texas Instruments SR-51A, that thing is 40 years old!?! Unbelievable
            TI had the best key detent feel ever.

            As well a collection of at least 6 or 8 slider rulers.. beautifully crafted, they are art.

    2. TedWa

      It all just seems so contrived. Cheaper goods from other countries over the last 4 or so decades has allowed corporations to make huge profits and all the while lowering wages so that cheaper and cheaper goods become the norm at prices we can afford. It doesn’t matter that the corporations are employing tactics that would not be allowed in the US to pocket those gains. If they can’t do it here they shouldn’t be able to do it there.

      1. polecat

        do an end run and make, create something you (you’d) use or need. There are a lot of things people can do in their own right! Don’t be passive.

  22. Theo

    The Washington Post is now behind a pay wall. Wonderful man Bezos. He has nearly everything, wants even more.

  23. kevinearick

    Devolution: A Conspiracy of Frequency
    (normalization of deviance / short cuts)

    Money, credit against other people’s debt, regardless of feudal bait and swap theory, is like a set of training wheels, surplus and deficit. The idea is to learn balance and throw it away, not to pimp the ride. Listening to Goldman Sachs, or the drug dealer on the corner, is like the training wheels telling you what to take on a trip and where to go – GS Alternative Mortgage Products, blocks and chains for everyone, sunk costs chasing sunk costs off-book and down a variable rate rat hole.

    Why would you run your business, much less your life, to please growing layers of bean counters, each with their hand in the till? Monetary systems sell dependence and fail accordingly, and who do you suppose is always first at the Fed window? Debt employed to pull forward arbitrary consumption, bonds peddled to the majority, produces slavery to ignorant IPOs supplying the arbitrary demand, surprise, and there is always a huckster on the corner selling the junk, playing both sides of the trade.

    All kinds of people pretend to work for debt, no one works for debt, a handful make a living discounting debt, and only a handful of those do so consistently enough to raise a family, which is all well and good so long as the other species subsidize us with their wealth. Houston, we may have a problem.

    Consciousness, the explosion of thought, is a function of the imploding geometry that is your brain, folding in on itself, and whether you like to think so or not, that insect you are about to step on has the very same neurons, operating a different frequency, which is also stored in your DNA. As you read this, you are either thinking and changing the geometry of your brain, in a feedback loop with your genes, or filtering to confirm the geometry of your brain, a short into self-obsession. You, this solar system and the universe operate on a bandwidth of frequencies.

    What you see is far less than what there is because your eyes are polling, even in concentration mode, every so often, and your brain is making a tape of it, splicing the pieces together like a movie, confirming the frequency of the polling in the process, which is why such a small percentage of the brain is employed in the empire. Limited to the empire’s bandwidth, amplifying self-obsession with replication, symptoms of symptoms of symptoms repeat to no end, because DNA stores the process not the data. But the brain doesn’t turn off the excess capacity, except relative to the conscience which is shorted into self-obsession, leaving automatons directed by feudal overlords.

    Conveniently for the moneychangers, Silicon Valley is self-obsessed, wants to be its own country, and is producing Japanese results, despite all the races present, replicating the same geometry. Promoting women as soldiers or head scapegoat isn’t going to change a thing, other than the fashion over fascism. They flee the Bay Area with free digital money only to be fleeced by the same RE machine in the country, and their status has fallen below that of the local plumber to boot, who has physical cash to impart and no debt.

    Not to put down the shovel and quit from behind, out comes bitcoin, an even dumber currency. RE control is about habituating a population to money from birth and destroying it, to be replaced by the next form of money, so the monkeys will sell their natural resources for debt in a chain of masters and slaves spanning the globe, blowing up the petrodollar, and subjecting themselves to falling living standards and increasing income inequality, to pay the rent. If you keep your distance, you don’t have to waste your time on the self-limiting nature of excess consumption.

    Anyone who believes that wealth can be created, rather than redistributed at a loss and replaced by inflation, by playing with debt as money is a fool designed for the purpose. You are far better off taking your children and their bikes to a grassy knoll than sending them to public school to learn about a lying tree. And if you absolutely must teach them about money, you need travel no further than George Washington and military script.

    Surprise, surprise, when you net it all out, money is still about RE control as a means of feeding the FILO bankruptcy queue, the counterweight, with real estate inflation, in China and everywhere else, thieves stealing from thieves the old-fashioned way. Trump meet Elevator; Elevator meet Trump; negotiate all you like; call Hillary if you want a government union; and call Bernie if you want a drug dealer posted on every floor. Any way you look at it, it’s a call center operated by Goldman Sachs.

    My wife is a consumer, with all the associated anxieties, who can only know what I do with 20% of my time, but even she knows that you cannot print money in a closed system for long. If it were up to her family and their friends, I would be digging foundations in gravel with a hammer, buying them flat screen TVs, and paying their bills, while they analyze me with majority vote. Do you really think that I would walk into a hospital not expecting to find Family Law? (they don’t lock the windows by accident)

    If you aren’t a repairman, you are going to need one. Go down to the coffee house at about 9:30-10am, long after the real work is done, when the consumers leave their meetings with orders for the day, and look for the guy having a double, talking to his replacement, an automaton willing to pretend to work for debt. Tell him the truth, get out of the way and pay the bill, or watch your RE burn down in WWIII and get in back of the line.

    And next time, think twice before joining the gossiping herd. You show to fix something and the first thing they do is lie, and then get in the way, hoping to take credit if it gets fixed and have a scapegoat to blame if it doesn’t, which is usually the case, after five people have told you what really happened on the way over and the firefighters have already torn down the door. The only real difference between a small town and the big city is the number of layers of bullsh-.

    If you rolled out the wiring in your brain, it would travel twice around the earth, and the best the morons can come up with is having you chase a machine packaging cardboard as food, 40 hrs/wk for bitcoins, seriously?

    GS: BTFD; JPM: STFR; HFT: MIGF (make it go faster). With advisors like that, who needs enemies?

    The socialists want to program life, the capitalists want to make money on the process, together they produce fascism because you don’t participate, and the combination is communism with bouts of bloody revolution, all going exactly nowhere in a race to the bottom. Listening to others telling you what to do and how to do it is a waste of time, but your are going to put up with it until and unless you get out of your comfort zone and learn for yourself. That is when you will see the new economy, always under construction, recognized by the majority in quantum leaps, when it’s far too late.

    Focus on the empire broadband shorts the brain, inclined to be shorted without work, with resulting population event horizons dependent on the location of the short. The hubris of humanity is its self-obsession with its own brain and body, event horizon knowledge instead of life as its foundation, a quicksand of false assumptions, theories which are nothing more than temporary bridges. The result is a busy-work chain of masters and slaves.

    The herd is over-grazing the field and surrounded by predators, wishing the end of times upon themselves, manifest destiny strikes again, watching similarly situated herds on Empire TV, all ignoring the 800lb. gorilla hidden by self-obsession, and false assumptions backfilling the gap.

  24. kevinearick

    Devolution: A Conspiracy of Frequency

    (normalization of deviance / short cuts)

    Money, credit against other people’s debt, regardless of feudal bait and swap theory, is like a set of training wheels, surplus and deficit. The idea is to learn balance and throw it away, not to pimp the ride. Listening to Goldman Sachs, or the drug dealer on the corner, is like the training wheels telling you what to take on a trip and where to go – GS Alternative Mortgage Products, blocks and chains for everyone, sunk costs chasing sunk costs off-book and down a variable rate rat hole.

    Why would you run your business, much less your life, to please growing layers of bean counters, each with their hand in the till? Monetary systems sell dependence and fail accordingly, and who do you suppose is always first at the Fed window? Debt employed to pull forward arbitrary consumption, bonds peddled to the majority, produces slavery to ignorant IPOs supplying the arbitrary demand, surprise, and there is always a huckster on the corner selling the junk, playing both sides of the trade.

    All kinds of people pretend to work for debt, no one works for debt, a handful make a living discounting debt, and only a handful of those do so consistently enough to raise a family, which is all well and good so long as the other species subsidize us with their wealth. Houston, we may have a problem.

    Consciousness, the explosion of thought, is a function of the imploding geometry that is your brain, folding in on itself, and whether you like to think so or not, that insect you are about to step on has the very same neurons, operating a different frequency, which is also stored in your DNA. As you read this, you are either thinking and changing the geometry of your brain, in a feedback loop with your genes, or filtering to confirm the geometry of your brain, a short into self-obsession. You, this solar system and the universe operate on a bandwidth of frequencies.

    What you see is far less than what there is because your eyes are polling, even in concentration mode, every so often, and your brain is making a tape of it, splicing the pieces together like a movie, confirming the frequency of the polling in the process, which is why such a small percentage of the brain is employed in the empire. Limited to the empire’s bandwidth, amplifying self-obsession with replication, symptoms of symptoms of symptoms repeat to no end, because DNA stores the process not the data. But the brain doesn’t turn off the excess capacity, except relative to the conscience which is shorted into self-obsession, leaving automatons directed by feudal overlords.

    Conveniently for the moneychangers, Silicon Valley is self-obsessed, wants to be its own country, and is producing Japanese results, despite all the races present, replicating the same geometry. Promoting women as soldiers or head scapegoat isn’t going to change a thing, other than the fashion over fascism. They flee the Bay Area with free digital money only to be fleeced by the same RE machine in the country, and their status has fallen below that of the local plumber to boot, who has physical cash to impart and no debt.

    Not to put down the shovel and quit from behind, out comes bitcoin, an even dumber currency. RE control is about habituating a population to money from birth and destroying it, to be replaced by the next form of money, so the monkeys will sell their natural resources for debt in a chain of masters and slaves spanning the globe, blowing up the petrodollar, and subjecting themselves to falling living standards and increasing income inequality, to pay the rent. If you keep your distance, you don’t have to waste your time on the self-limiting nature of excess consumption.

    Anyone who believes that wealth can be created, rather than redistributed at a loss and replaced by inflation, by playing with debt as money is a fool designed for the purpose. You are far better off taking your children and their bikes to a grassy knoll than sending them to public school to learn about a lying tree. And if you absolutely must teach them about money, you need travel no further than George Washington and military script.

    Surprise, surprise, when you net it all out, money is still about RE control as a means of feeding the FILO bankruptcy queue, the counterweight, with real estate inflation, in China and everywhere else, thieves stealing from thieves the old-fashioned way. Trump meet Elevator; Elevator meet Trump; negotiate all you like; call Hillary if you want a government union; and call Bernie if you want a drug dealer posted on every floor. Any way you look at it, it’s a call center operated by Goldman Sachs.

    My wife is a consumer, with all the associated anxieties, who can only know what I do with 20% of my time, but even she knows that you cannot print money in a closed system for long. If it were up to her family and their friends, I would be digging foundations in gravel with a hammer, buying them flat screen TVs, and paying their bills, while they analyze me with majority vote. Do you really think that I would walk into a hospital not expecting to find Family Law? (they don’t lock the windows by accident)

    If you aren’t a repairman, you are going to need one. Go down to the coffee house at about 9:30-10am, long after the real work is done, when the consumers leave their meetings with orders for the day, and look for the guy having a double, talking to his replacement, an automaton willing to pretend to work for debt. Tell him the truth, get out of the way and pay the bill, or watch your RE burn down in WWIII and get in back of the line.

    And next time, think twice before joining the gossiping herd. You show to fix something and the first thing they do is lie, and then get in the way, hoping to take credit if it gets fixed and have a scapegoat to blame if it doesn’t, which is usually the case, after five people have told you what really happened on the way over and the firefighters have already torn down the door. The only real difference between a small town and the big city is the number of layers of bullsh-.

    If you rolled out the wiring in your brain, it would travel twice around the earth, and the best the morons can come up with is having you chase a machine packaging cardboard as food, 40 hrs/wk for bitcoins, seriously?

    GS: BTFD; JPM: STFR; HFT: MIGF (make it go faster). With advisors like that, who needs enemies?

    The socialists want to program life, the capitalists want to make money on the process, together they produce fascism because you don’t participate, and the combination is communism with bouts of bloody revolution, all going exactly nowhere in a race to the bottom. Listening to others telling you what to do and how to do it is a waste of time, but your are going to put up with it until and unless you get out of your comfort zone and learn for yourself. That is when you will see the new economy, always under construction, recognized by the majority in quantum leaps, when it’s far too late.

    Focus on the empire broadband shorts the brain, inclined to be shorted without work, with resulting population event horizons dependent on the location of the short. The hubris of humanity is its self-obsession with its own brain and body, event horizon knowledge instead of life as its foundation, a quicksand of false assumptions, theories which are nothing more than temporary bridges. The result is a busy-work chain of masters and slaves.

    The herd is over-grazing the field and surrounded by predators, wishing the end of times upon themselves, manifest destiny strikes again, watching similarly situated herds on Empire TV, all ignoring the 800lb. gorilla hidden by self-obsession, and false assumptions backfilling the gap.

    tldr

  25. Elliot

    @ codename D

    “No doubt Obama will insist that this program will be “revenue neutral” so the workers will of course have to pay into this program some how. I know, a new payroll deduction, that’s the ticket. Or probably some kind of “wage savings account.””

    Jam yesterday, and jam tomorrow, but never jam today.

Comments are closed.