Links 2/25/16

Long Live Dogs (And Everyone) PopSci (David L)

Australia’s Housing Bubble: In the Grip of Insanity Pater Tenebrarum (Chuck L)

China?

Chinese shares fall more than 4% Financial Times

WikiLeaks: How “Merkozy” was pressing Berlusconi to follow the hellish Greek path failed evolution

European Union Updates Bank Stress Test Beyond Pass/Fail New York Times

Brexit?

Britain’s fabulous Brexit song is even better than the Trump Girls Freedom song BoingBoing. I had to watch it twice.

Brexit referendum could destabilise UK recovery, says IMF Guardian

Sterling at 7-year low on EU exit fears Financial Times

Syraqistan

U.S. Unable To Halt ISIS March Towards Libyan Oil OilPrice

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

Letter to FBI from Jim Sensenbrenner and Sheila Jackson Lee on Stingray Technology (guurst)

Google Wants to Save News Sites From Cyberattacks—For Free Wired (Chuck L)

Apple Versus the G-Men Project Syndicate (David L)

Imperial Collapse Watch

Failure as a Way of Life American Conservative. Chuck L: “Bill Lind is an insightful man on many things, but also holds some, shall we say, idiosyncratic views. e.g., the world went to hell with the fall of the House of Hohenzollern.”

The [Redacted] Truth: How the CIA Lies to Its Own Employees Foreign Policy in Focus (resilc)

Supreme Court Trench Warfare

Obama weighs Republican Nevada governor for Supreme Court Reuters (EM)

This is why GOP always wins: Obama should have fought Scalia obstruction with a recess appointment Salon (Judy B). Mistakenly assumes that Obama cares about outcomes.

Justice Scalia spent his last hours with members of this secretive society of elite hunters Washington Post

Trade Traitors

Debunking the Administration’s TPP = 18,000 Tax Cuts on U.S. Exports Talking Point: U.S. Sold Nothing in More than 10,600 of Those Categories… Public Citizen

Profit over the planet: WTO’s lawsuit ruling could be a giant blow to the renewable energy movement Salon. Jason: “US sues india over solar subsidies, WTO rules in our favor. “Disgusting” would be the best word I can think of.”

How the Feds Blocked Me from Covering a Pill Mill Trial Vice (resilc). Important.

2016

How America Made Donald Trump Unstoppable Matt Taibbi (kj1313). “Trump is cannily stalking the Sanders vote.”

Trump University fraud case could yank Trump from the campaign trail in May The Week (Paul J)

More Cruz family drama: mother’s first husband is an ex-pat Texan in London McClatchy (resilc)

Meet the fossil-fuel loving hedge fund billionaire behind Hillary’s surge Philly.com

Lynch non-committal on Clinton email prosecution Politico (Li)

Stunning New Reuters Poll Shows Bernie Sanders Leading Nationally by 6 Percent US Uncut (martha r). Where is the MSM reporting?

Spanish translator denied at coin flip caucus by HRC precinct captain YouTube

Behind Bernie Sanders’ Revolution Lies a Meticulously Engineered Grassroots Network Bloomberg (martha r)

The Sanders “Economic Plan” Controversy Campaign for America’s Future

Gaby Hoffmann on Caucusing for Bernie Sanders in Nevada Rolling Stone (martha r)

Dismissing Bernie’s Supporters as “a Mob” and the Great Recession as No Big Deal Bill Black, New Economic Perspectives

The FDA Now Officially Belongs to Big Pharma Alternet

Constituent Accuses Mayor of Fucking His Wife in Wild Town Meeting Gawker (resilc)

Black Injustice Tipping Point

Woman, 50, died after being ‘deprived of water’ at Charleston County jail Charleston Post and Courier (Charles M)

Oil

Glut Worsens as U.S. Oil Storage Levels Rise Again OilPrice

Saudi Arabia Tells American Frackers: You Will Be Crushed Forbes

Chesapeake to slash its capital spending Financial Times

Fed: strong US job market may justify multiple interest rate increases this year Guardian

Threats of Recession Hardly Black and White U.S. News

Class Warfare

Does Philanthrocapitalism Make the Rich Richer and the Poor Poorer? Evonomics (Chuck L).

Uber and the economic impact of sharing economy platforms Bruegel

Stop Paying Executives for Performance Harvard Business Review (vlad, Li). Circulate widely

Antidote du jour (James H, from Atlas Obscura):

knowing owl links

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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197 comments

  1. abynormal

    Euronext Halts “Part Of The Market” Due To Technical Difficulties
    &
    Now The NYSE Also Breaks, S&P Futures Jump (based on ‘Technical Issue’)
    &
    Shanghai Plunges 6.4% Overnight

    …nothing like the smell of napalm in the morning

  2. RabidGandhi

    Britain Coming Out song was FABULOUS.

    They’ve taken all our fish!

    (EU to UK: so long and thanks for all the fish)

  3. Christopher Fay

    Now Mad Magazine cover presidential contest with new series: Fraud vs Fraud: “Trump University fraud case could yank Trump from the campaign trail in May”

    1. cwaltz

      Our country has leaped to new heights in its level of cynicism- We’ve practically set the bar for character for the next President on the frickin’ floor.

      We’re rapidly approaching a point where we’re going to have BOTH party Presidential candidates dealing with lawsuits that suggest they are corrupt and dishonest. What’s next? Cage matches?

  4. Steve H.

    – Profit over the planet: WTO’s lawsuit ruling could be a giant blow to the renewable energy movement

    The play I’m in, the actress playing Lysistrata has a habit of saying ‘sorry’ at any potential opportunity.

    Lysistrata don’t say sorry.

    So at each break I hold up the number of fingers for how many times she said it, and she says that many times, ‘F*ck off and die!’ Just this last time, they started to roll trippingly off the tongue. Once more, with feeling!

    So here’s a way India can say to the WTO trade pact acronym mongers, ‘F*ck off and die!’

    offgridquest.com/energy/an-hour-every-day-workout-can-power-your

    Once more, with feeling!

  5. Torsten

    re: Stop Paying Executives for Performance

    Note the agentless headline. Exactly *who* should stop paying executives this way?? Do the authors not know their audience? Most B-school students I have known* are “extrinsically”** motivated–they want to gratify themselves and don’t give a flying fook about other people’s problems (e.g. climate change).

    So, yes, distribute widely, because people who read the Harvard Business Review (including, I wager, B-School professors) are not likely to change the way executives motivate themselves. Ultimately, at a remove far, far away from Brighton, it’s We The People, who must “stop paying executives for performance”.*** (One way to do this is, it seems to me, is to tax their excess “extrinsic” performance.)

    And, btw, we should also stop trying to “extrinsically” motivate teachers. Teachers need to be “intrinsically” motivated to “creatively” adapt to individual students. It’s almost like policy is trying to prevent creativity in our classrooms. Imagine that [but not in class!].

    * Admittedly, I haven’t known many B-School types. I’ve avoided them like the plague.
    ** Aren’t the senses of “intrinsic-extrinsic” used here an Orwellian inversion?? In what dictionary are narcissists “extrinsically” motivated??
    *** I note the US does pay high-ranking government employees a fixed salary, and that hasn’t helped much. I hope Bernie succeeds in electorally “taxing” his opponents’ “excess extrinsically motivated performance”. That might start to fix the problem.

    1. DJG

      Paying for performance: I received my proxies for voting Hewlett Packard “Enterprise.” Even I, with four and a half shares or so, get a vote. Yet looking through the named-executive compensation is a fantasyland. The supposed base salary is a “reasonable” couple-a millions. Then the RSUs and deferred stock options pile up. Meg Whitman is making $17 million a year. No one is worth that, intrinsically motivated or extrinsically motivated. So I voted no.

    2. Ed

      The “who” who pays the executives are boards of directors. The directors are chosen in elections held among shareholders that tend, as another commentator noted, to be rigged. Executives themselves are often on the board of directors on other firms, where the executives are on the board of directors at their firms, so they vote themselves high salaries.

      If you have private firms in an economic system, there is really not much that can be done to keep the owners from looting their own firms. What can be done is to keep the owners of the firms from looting the taxpayers. Avoid subsiding firms with taxpayer money and above all no bailouts, so the firms being looted just fail and space is made for new businesses that actually try to make money making and selling products to buyers. If they are any bailouts at all, they should be bridge financing to enable severances to be paid, or to keep the company alive until a buyer can be found. And of course you can and should prosecute fraud against shareholders.

      Excessive executive pay is really the agents looting the firms, but the owners as represented the boards of directors are in on the scheme.

      Governments can take measures against excessive wealth in general. In the twentieth century this was done through taxation of large fortunes, but they can also just go ahead and set maximum income and maximum asset limits. This involves “we” to the extent that governments are democracies.

      1. curlydan

        Torsten: As I finished the article, I had the same thought with regard to teachers and schools. All this charter and testing BS, trying to get the kids and teachers to hit a metric. It just becomes gaming and detrimental to learning.

        Ed: The votes are rigged-a lot of the rigging is that our puny individual shareholder votes are swamped by the mutual funds that have a greater incentive and lower time per share cost to vote.

        That’s the one interesting thing that could make the implosion of the two main political parties are closer reality. Mutual funds can’t control our votes. The MSM, fear, and propaganda attempt to control us and often do a good job. But those who still give a crap and haven’t been disenfranchised can still try to break through at certain opportunities like 2016.

      2. Foy

        “Executives themselves are often on the board of directors on other firms, where the executives are on the board of directors at their firms, so they vote themselves high salaries.”

        Yep exactly Ed. I’ve got friends who are CFOs and execs of public companies and they admit it’s a boys club from this perspective, everyone looks after each other. The remuneration committees are made up of independent directors who invariably operate on other boards…you scratch my back I’ll scratch yours.

        It gets even better. The remuneration committees get salary package incentive recommendations from recruitment agencies. But the recruitment agencies who place the person in the position are then paid a commission on size of the package. So they are incentivised to keep inflating the package recommendations over time – which is what’s happened for the last 30 years to the extent that the execs get up to 300+ times the salary of their average employee. All the agencies are in on the game.

        It gets even better. Say an exec has a package that vests stock options over 3-5 years into the future provided they remain with the company, ie if he resigns then he loses those options. Say the exec gets headhunted to another position and resigns, the value of any share options lost will most likely be included in his signing on bonus at the new company. He cannot lose. This is another reason why a lot of the incentive schemes are an illusion. They are virtually guaranteed. If an exec is worried about the ship might be going down then they can resign and get the value of the shares options crystalised in a sign on bonus at the another company (just get another position before resigning!). It’s all a game.

  6. JohnB

    One very important narrative I’ve touched upon in debate recently, is that much of business/finance and the wealthy actively want high unemployment, economic stagnation, and eventual economic crisis – and that they actively lobby for this (it’s the basis of a lot of conservative economics, both the extreme end and the mainstream, i.e. NAIRU).

    This is something NC touches on sometimes, but only touches on – it would be good if NC could do articles dedicated to this (specifically the ‘wanting high unemployment’ issue), with evidence gathered to back the point (e.g. all of the actions/lobbying on policy issues, leading to this conclusion – lobby against any government created jobs, for government cuts i.e. job cuts, against stimulating Aggregate Demand etc.), and how there’s a “say one thing, act/lobby for the opposite” approach to this.

    I suspect it could be an extremely powerful/influential narrative, if it can be focused on and backed up with enough evidence – because much of the public (in much of the western world) probably doesn’t fully understand/’grok’, that governments aren’t just meekly waiting for a ‘recovery’ that is taking a decade+ to come, many governments (or other institutions like the EU) can be argued to be actively captured by lobby groups, that actively want high or persistent unemployment and stagnation to remain a permanent part of our economies – forever.

    A good related article on this – old though:
    http://slog.thestranger.com/slog/archives/2015/01/02/high-unemployment-and-low-growth-is-good-for-the-rich

    The oft-mentioned on NC ‘Corporate Profits’ figures are very useful for this discussion too:
    http://i.imgur.com/W7bv464.jpg

    1. RabidGandhi

      This is exactly the case here with the new “market-friendly” government in Argentina. Before taking office, now-President Macri had said on several occasions that “what we have to do is lower costs, and salaries are just like any other cost”. Upon taking office and receiving the healthiest economy ever received by an incoming Argentine president, his method was to immediately create a fiscal crisis (slashing taxes for the rich, paying off vulture funds, borrowing in USD…) so as to “justify” making mass public sector layoffs (some 50,000 jobs). By increasing unemployment prior to the annual salary renegotiations in March, workers find themselves in a much harder bargaining position.

      Thus mission accomplished: manufactured crisis–> mass layoffs –> lower real wages.

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      The biggest lie is usually right here, in this case, the biggest indoctrination is right there, even in one of today’s link:

      Strong US job market may justify multiple interest rate hikes.

      The brainwashing, and you need to pay tuition to take Econ 101 to get washed (particularly an exposeur to the theory of supply and demand, in 2) includes

      1. strong US job market – bad. Bad boy, sit down.
      2. justify – nothing personal, but the action is dictated by theory, the science of economics
      3. rate hikes – they are here to help you to put down those rebelling wage serfs.

  7. For The Win

    An article about why “mailed” in voting is a great idea, which of course ignores that the biggest problem the poor face is getting legally registered. However, I thought one of the comments below the article really hit the biggest issue, loss of custody.

    http://www.rawstory.com/2016/02/why-its-time-to-end-in-person-voting-for-good/comments/

    One very clear bad point though is losing custody of the (ballot) paper, and that’s a pretty serious bad point. It’s in theory no longer a secret ballot.** It may not be the registered voter marking the paper but a guy who paid money to purchase it unmarked. Or it could be their boss insisting to see if they want to keep their job. That’s a fairly serious bad point.

    Retaining custody isn’t fool proof. One could get paid to go all the way down to the voting station and mark the ballot as instructed, but most people would not bother without a sufficient reward. That makes it only practicable in close elections.

    Also unless the location is one of those stupid ones that allows cameras and cellphones to be used in the voting booth. the guy paying you to do it would have no way of knowing if you followed instructions, unless the precinct voted 100% in one way. The major point of secret ballots isn’t to prevent blackmail, it’s to make vote buying more difficult.

    **George Washington won his first election to the then colonial Virginia House of Burgesses under the olde system of non-secret ballots. His diary writings about handing out rum drinks for votes, bottles of Tokay wine to the “smarter” ones, makes for an entertaining read. His agent would follow the voter into the polling area to confirm the vote, and if the voter was too inebriated to make his mark, help “steady” his hand.

    1. Ed

      If you look into the details of how elections in the US are conducted, one thing that jumps out is really how easy it is to steal them.

      But the vote by mail idea is a fairly typical example of taking a genuine problem, which is that in many places the hours you can go to the polling place and vote is the same as standard working hours, and “fix” it not by the obvious solution of extending the hours polling places are open, but by having more people vote by mail. Which as the commentator pointed out effectively repeals the secret ballot laws, since now someone can look over a voters’s shoulder as they vote. Which is exactly how political machines made sure people voted their way, before secret ballot laws were put in.

      1. tegnost

        also easy for party insiders to challenge the signature and likely cancel the vote (happens to me every time i’ve mail in voted as is mandatory in washington)

  8. Expat in Mindanao

    Someone help me out here. Why would the Feds want to block coverage of the Pill Mill Trail? Complicity of Big Pharma? Failure of regulators? And why this one reporter?

      1. Romancing the Loan

        Couldn’t he just ask the guy’s defense lawyers for a copy though if the defendant was so friendly with him? I wondered why they were never mentioned, even with a “and they refused to talk to me.”

    1. ambrit

      This is the only example that we have heard of. A reporter working for a local paper might cave early to save his or her job; local politics is intense.
      This reporter was essentially doing detective work parallel to the cops. Too many chances for screw ups to come to light. That or deliberate railroad jobs.
      I was on a jury hearing a Federal pill mill case in Gulfport, Mississippi. It ended in a hung jury, mainly because of sloppiness on the part of the Feds. I got a distinct feeling of a ‘cowboy’ ethos driving the Federal Agents. Such was visible in court. The police now assume that secrecy is their right. This is an example of that. Inactive dash cams in police cruisers is another.
      The use of subpoena powers to nobble the press is a new one to me. Is ‘protective custody’ next?

    2. Uahsenaa

      Non coverage is one of the ways the DOJ gets away with most of its shenanigans. Does anyone remember Fast and Furious? How hundreds of Mexicans and Americans were murdered with weapons the FBI intentionally sent out into the wild? There was even a congressional hearing that… got basically no coverage in the press beyond conservative blogs that could be written off as flagrantly partisan, which they are, it should be said. I watched that hearing, which is why I find it ironic that Sheila Jackson Lee felt the need to write a sternly worded letter, when she actively tried to disrupt that hearing before the committee on which she sits, by abusing parliamentary procedure.

      The opioid epidemic is finally getting its day in the congressional sun–there were senate hearings last week, I think, or the week before–and the argument has been floated a few times, sometimes by witnesses, sometimes by senators, that the flood of prescription opioids, which obviously has real significance for Pharma’s bottom line, has a direct connection to the increase in heroin abuse. If I were a betting man, even a little digging might reveal how Pharma’s direct marketing efforts to doctors, an easily observable phenomenon, to push new and more prescription drugs onto patients had a causal link to doctors prescribing more and therefore increasing the supply of vicodin/oxy/etc. out there for people to abuse.

      In the one hearing I watched, Sen. Ayotte, I believe it was, made the point that people who are prescribed opioid pain medications are often given far more than they actually need. People with broken bones given 80-100 pills, who only end up take 3-4–it’s not hard to imagine what happens to the rest. Someone out of work could sell the remaining pills, at $50 a pop, for a much need cash infusion of $3700-$4700, or, the rough equivalent of my monthly salary. Not to mention the danger of having a bucket of powerful drugs just lying around in the home for kids and teenagers to get into.

      Those dots are easy enough to connect, I think, despite the senators’ unwillingness to do so. They, being Republicans, for the most part, prefer explanations of the defective moral character kind. And… they are, of course in the pocket of the very pharmaceutical industry producing these drugs in the first place.

      The DoJ connection is a little more opaque. I imagine the FDA likely has a connection, in its rubber stamping of most new drugs over the years, particularly the scandalous practice of granting new drug status to what are essentially reformulations of old drugs. It would require some digging to see whether the FBI or DEA was complicit in non-enforcement or is simply trying to cover other agencies’ tracks after the fact. In either case, there is a fairly clear reason why they’d want to keep this out of the papers.

      tl;dr – pharma pushes drugs on doctors, doctors push them on patients, patients redistribute the excess, feds turn a blind eye and expect others to as well

      Geez, maybe I should be reporting this…

      1. Procopius

        “Fast and Furious” wasn’t the FBI, it was ATF, the Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms division of Treasury. I have never seen an explanation of how they claimed they thought they were going to track all those guns once they crossed the border or why they didn’t shut down the program. I’ve always assumed there was corruption at a very high level, at least in that district but probably in Washington, as well. Unfortunately the Right Wing Nut Jobs® seized the case so completely it simply got buried in crazy. That would have been very interesting, which is probably why it got buried.

  9. Steve H.

    – Black Injustice Tipping Point

    The story is about Ashley Williams confronting Clinton about “superpredators” and having “to bring them to heel.” This is the line that caught my eye:

    “Williams told the Post that she and a fellow activist contributed $500 in order to attend the private event in Charleston, South Carolina.”

    rawstory.com/2016/02/black-lives-matter-activist-confronts-clinton-over-mass-incarceration-i-am-not-a-super-predator/

    Did they give her the money back? “I am paying for this microphone, Mrs. (nope, not going there).”

      1. Titus Pullo

        This story has been out for over 12 hours and there is still no MSM coverage as far as I can tell. Twitter, Reddit, etc. are where this story is getting coverage. It makes me sick. It’s like 2003 all over again (the run-up to the Iraq war).

        I’m not on Facebook, but I’m hoping the video gets shared and shown to every African American voter in SC and elsewhere in the US, since the US corporate media has blacked out this story.

      2. Llewelyn Moss

        I love the tweet where Helley will not answer a simple question.

        Commoner Q: Would you sign a bill allowing the Keystone XL Pipeline?
        Hellery non-A: When I become president, I will answer your question.

  10. Brindle

    In the youtube video you can hear a person (presumably a donor) saying to Williams, “you’re trespassing”. Revealing how the donor class sees Williams protest as a matter of property rights.

    1. Steve H.

      I went back to try to listen and the video is just spinning its wheels. I’m thinking a lot of people are watching this.

      Overestimating Clinton seems to be counterbalancing underestimating Trump. It continues to surprise me how much is attributed to control by the media, when the medium allows people to see for themselves. The Rodney King assault was in 1992. Political selection for the alder folk is being altered in a way Planck understood:

      “A new scientific truth does not triumph by convincing its opponents and making them see the light, but rather because its opponents eventually die, and a new generation grows up that is familiar with it.”

      (An apology, too. This would have been more appropriately posted in ‘A Clinton Presidency Has Been/Would Be a Disaster for Black and Brown Communities. Here’s Why.’ Also, if there’s a copy of the video that loads faster, I’d like to know.)

      1. Steve H.

        Hat tip, gf:

        youtube.com/watch?v=LqLfvQfuvsA&feature=youtu.be

        (via nakedcapitalism.com/2016/02/a-clinton-presidency-has-beenwould-be-a-disaster-for-black-and-brown-communities-heres-why.html#comment-2554208)

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      The tradition is old – they went after Al Capone not for murdering, but for not contributing to some administrative battle against a non-existing inflation, like paying taxes, although at the time of Great Depression, he could have argued that he was a patriotic citizen for not paying his taxes.

      “My conscience….doing what is right, not what the government says I must comply with.”

      That’s not likely to be true, but a good lawyer could always try.

      So, here, they go after a trespasser of a private property, not something else.

      1. Procopius

        I haven’t watched the video, so I haven’t heard the voice, but I presume it was some (rich, white) person thinking that one of Those People would/could never have paid the price of admission and so had to have somehow snuck in. I hope that gets wide publicity, too.

  11. ex-PFC Chuck

    The McClatchy piece on the Cruz family drama raises an unasked question: Was Rafael Cruz really Ted’s biological father?

  12. mad as hell.

    How America Made Donald Trump Unstoppable, Matt Taibbi

    Thanks for the link!
    Taibbi’s article has more memorable quotes in it than a Twentieth Century American history textbook.
    I love that guy!

    1. ChrisFromGeorgia

      I particularly enjoyed his use of the adjective “eely” to describe Ted Cruz.

      I think you’d be hard pressed to come up for a more succinct, apt characterization than that.

    2. Llewelyn Moss

      This line was pure gold…

      if Bill Clinton is complaining about the “vicious” attacks by the campaign of pathological nice guy Bernie Sanders, it’s hard to imagine what will happen once they get hit by the Trumpdozer.

      And it is looking very likely that the Dem Party will block Bernie at all costs (easy peasy with their foobar primary system).

      1. Titus Pullo

        Clinton is such a terrible candidate she might actually take the whole party down with her (and maybe some of the MSM too).

        1. different clue

          That would be a very good outcome. If a separate free standing Sanders movement could escape the wreckage, that would be even better.

      2. Carolinian

        More pure gold

        Trump knows the public sees through all of this, grasps the press’s role in it and rightly hates us all. When so many Trump supporters point to his stomping of the carpetbagging snobs in the national media as the main reason they’re going to vote for him, it should tell us in the press something profound about how much people think we suck.

        I am growing apprehensive over what Trump might actually do following his upcoming victory in November, but if America is plunged into disaster we will have our pusillanimous press corps to blame. They really do suck. You expect businessmen and politicians to misbehave. The press are supposed to be the watchdogs.

        1. Llewelyn Moss

          Ugh. Trump has said he wants to increase Military spending and wants go kick butt in the ME. We already spend more on Military than the next 10 countries combined. And more wars in the ME? Yeah that will fix everything. He will be a Mad Man with access to the nuclear missile codes. It could end up much much worse than just his Biggest Bankruptcy Eva.

          1. two beers

            “We already spend more on Military than the next 10 countries combined.”

            That’s a bogus myth, utter bullsh8t. When you add in veterans’ benefits, foreign base leases (via State Dept), nuclear weapons research and storage (via DOE), thousands of affiliated and/or secret programs spread throughout the budget, and interest, the US spends more on its military than the rest of the world combined.

            1. Darthbobber

              Of course, this by no means that we have an actual military CAPACITY that much greater. Just that we pay for one.

          2. Carolinian

            Or he might be better than you expect. Much of what he says now is red meat for the GOP crowds. Trump is the great unknown just as Hillary is completely predictable.

            1. cwaltz

              He’s not that unknown. The guy may not have a public record to go on but his record in corporate America ain’t that great.

      3. Lexington

        That was a great article both for its insights and for Taibbi’s genius as a stylist.

        This line in particular struck me:

        Trump found the flaw in the American Death Star. It doesn’t know how to turn the cameras off, even when it’s filming its own demise.

    3. tommy strange

      Taibbi is one of the best political commentators we have. The guy will be remembered forever. Outside Greenwald and a few others, no mainstream reporter is not only this great of a on the street type writer, but he knows his facts inside and out. I can never stop recommending Gritophia (updated version) and the Divide to people. He’s like IF Stone, mixed with Hunter mixed with Alex Cockburn.
      And I read all the heavy stuff too, but always go to him.

      1. Pavel

        Just to say, RIP Alex Cockburn, died far too young.

        One of my absolute heroes since his early “Press Clips” days at the Village Voice. Notably, he was fired by Rupert Murdoch for pro-Palestinian commentaries.

        1. clinical wasteman

          I’ll see your ringing endorsement and raise you a 21-gun salute!
          Not that I doubted it, but always good to be reminded that other people feel this way.
          All the more reason to keep reading A.C.’s surviving friends/comrades especially those few very (eg. JoAnn Wypijewski, Peter Linebaugh) who might be called peers.

      2. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

        It’s funny to watch Robert Reich et al having to bro-splain the discontent of the masses to the scions of Versailles-On-The-Potomac, they are truly baffled by the “suddenness” of the rise in anger. Qu’ils mangent de la brioche indeed.
        But in fact the “rise” was plainly evident back in 2008, it was just temporarily subsumed by the mellifluous mendacious tones of a black one-term state senator. Now that it is plainly evident that his rule was just Bush Terms 3 and 4 (in many cases worse than), people feel doubly betrayed.

      3. neo-realist

        Taibbi is a witty and insightful writer, but I believe that if Dr. Thompson were still alive, I think he’d see Trump as a blowhard nazi and a shark who knows that the rubes like the red meat that appeals to their prejudices. I couldn’t see that kind of worship from a writer as skeptical of the powerful as Thompson was for a politician like Trump who exhibits such bigotry, off the cuff warmongering, and easy answers for just about anything. Not to mention a past of shady business dealings, he’d be all over those.

    4. Chris in Paris

      Taibbi is a national treasure. His GOP Debate drinking game on Twitter is hilarious. His writing is just brilliant.

    5. GlobalMisanthrope

      Well, I’m apparently in a contrary mood today. Or something.

      I thought the article should have been titled How the Media Made Trump Unstoppable, and that Taibbi is sure doing his part.

      1. For The Win

        The media sells what the public buys. It’s surprising how the talking heads/wonks don’t get it. Bernie Sanders isn’t doing himself any favors. A lot of his newer supporters don’t seem to have heard that Sanders has made the promise to support whom ever is the nominee for the Democrats, ie: if it isn’t him, he’ll be standing next to Hillary at the convention.

        By those series of statements he has undercut his own credentials. It’s unfortunate, but by this compromise, Sanders looks like he sold out. Trump probably will eat him a live.

        Here is Ralph Nader in a recent interview recalling Bernie’s promises to the party oligarch, and how it’s going to under cut the moral of the people who think he’s an outsider

          1. For The Win

            As Ralph Nader put it, Sanders better win, because the loss may well be a crushing blow to fixing the system. I’d like to see Sanders stand up and say that because of the DNC chairwoman acts of non-neutrality, etc; all his earlier deals were broken by the other side. Again, as Nader points out, I don’t think he has it in him.

            At a deeper level its probably all moot; it appears we’ve pushed the ecological system over the energy of activation for irreversible change that will be fatal for the species(even without further inputs, but we won’t stop pushing anyways). However it would be nice to think we went out with a touch of the better aspects of humanity in charge.

          2. jonboinAR

            Perhaps he had to. The fact that Trump didn’t have to kiss up any plays a fair bit to Trump’s advantage. Trump really comes off as being his own man. It’s a big part of his appeal, but maybe bigger than it really should be. What good will it do to have a really independent sort as president if he’s a certifiable lunatic?

    1. Steve H.

      More Owls:

      gfycat.com/SecondhandBigheartedChafer

      turcopolier.typepad.com/.a/6a00d8341c72e153ef01b8d1a3fa1b970c-popup

      1. Brooklin Bridge

        Thanks!!

        Couldn’t get the first link to work, loved the second, and then entered “owls” into gfycat.com’s search box to get a bunch of very cute owls (some with CATS for buddies).

    2. Gio Bruno

      RE: Antidote

      Yes, a very piercing gaze from the Great Horned Owl. Known throughout the US in wooded habitat with available prey.

  13. DakotabornKansan

    “Hillary is every bit as progressive as Bernie is. She’s going to be a Margaret Thatcher-type leader that’s going to be strong and compassionate and smart as a whip.” – former Oklahoma Democratic Gov. David Walters

    What???!!!

    Horse feathers on his first statement.

    Today’s Democrat exemplified in his second statement. Hillary, the compassionate conservative, always engaged in one of the oldest exercises in moral philosophy – the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness.

    Craig Murray on Margaret Thatcher: “She was a terrible, terrible disaster to this country. The utter devastation of heavy industry, the writing off of countless billions worth of tooling and equipment, the near total loss of the world’s greatest concentrated manufacturing skills base, the horrible political division of society and tearing of the bonds within our community. She was a complete, utter disaster.

    “Let me give one anecdote to which I can personally attest. In leaving office she became a “consultant” to US tobacco giant Phillip Morris. She immediately used her influence on behalf of Phillip Morris to persuade the FCO to lobby the Polish government to reduce the size of health warnings on Polish cigarette packets. Poland was applying to join the EU, and the Polish health warnings were larger than the EU stipulated size.” – Craig Murray, who once served as the Head of the Political and Economic sections of British Embassy in Poland

  14. DJG

    Obama flirting with Sandoval for Supreme Courth. Sandoval is 52 years old. So this is Obama’s famous long game, appointing a new William Rehnquist. Wowsers. What vision, what grace under pressure, what liberalism, what fatuity.

    1. James Levy

      I don’t see this as being anything more than a big “Fuck You” to the Senate Republicans. He’s daring them to reject without consideration one of their own and look like imbeciles in the process. It’s flipping the bird on the way out the door.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          I hope he’s in good health….whether he becomes one or not.

          Now, 50 is like the new 30.

          He might be on the bench for the next 60 years.

          “today, our oldest ever living justice, at 122 years old, casts the deciding vote to affirm both corporate and robot personhoods.”

          1. Kulantan

            Don’t be silly corporations are people but AIs, no matter how sentient, aren’t. Otherwise corporations couldn’t own AIs.

                1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

                  Behind a screen, a Turing robot can pass as a person, I’m told.

                  Also in the dark, for many high quality companion robots.

              1. Propertius

                Of course not. Remember, “robot” comes from the Slavic root for “worker”.

                And it’s becoming quite clear that workers are no linger persons hereabouts.

                1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

                  I guess we have twisted the original meaning but the Slavs have to suffer infamy from our own ignorance.

                  My wife-robot is not my wife-worker.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        It might be Obama’s assessment of the situation, but he isn’t going to find much support for a Republican nominee outside of people who believe the West Wing was not completely ludicrous.

      2. JTMcPhee

        Looks a lot more like a “Fokk You” to the whole nation (other than the Business Class), especially directed at us ordinary people, from a guy who has given the most of us the middle finger all through his tenure and proven time and again his fealty to the Ruling Elite….

        Why do so many of us persist in attributing to Obama any kind of partisanship in favor, in any way, shape, or form, of us ordinary people? To even suggest that this is some kind of snarl from the “leftist president” seems ludicrous.

      3. different clue

        Well . . . that’s a theory.

        Another theory is that Obama and the GOP Senators have been quietly conspiring to appoint another Overclass Privilege justice to the court and the GOP opposition to Obama nominating someone was just pre-arranged kayfabe, if I am using Lambert Strether’s term correctly.

        And the Shitocrat Senators will all unanimously vote to confirm Sandoval in order to “give Obama the win.” (Sanders would be the lone “no” vote.)

        Associate Justice Sandoval would be just another part of what Obama expects to be paid hundreds of millions of dollars for after leaving office.

        That’s my theory. And the nice thing is that we are witnessing a real experiment which will prove one theory right and the other theory wrong.

        1. vidimi

          i don’t think sanders will even vote ‘no’. the most politically expedient move for him would be to abstain by not showing up that day.

        2. Sam Adams

          Well President & Mrs. Obama have said they were always looking out for the future of thier children. What better way then to say I love you then with a well funded foundation or trust?

    2. Vatch

      Does anyone know whether Sandoval has ever expressed an opinion on the Citizens United ruling? I’ve seen speculation in the blogosphere, but I’m wondering if he’s actually said anything specific about it.

      Obama truly is a DINO.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        Obama is a Democrat through and through. The party is a party of Hillary fans. Bernie is attempting a takeover, but short of Bernie, it’s a party of Hillary, Warner, Boxer, Biden, McCaskill, Booker, DWS, Pelosi, and a slew of other loathsome figures who probably love this pick.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          In one link above, Bill Black is fighting back against ‘Bernie’s supporters as a mob,’ and over at Marketwatch today, there is the headline about a baseball guru calling morons those who are voting for Trump.

          This raises a few questions.

          Is it the voters’ fault? Are voters responsible for 1960, 1980, 2004 or 2008 election results, in the sense that the people are the masters? Do we get what we deserve? In some ways, we are responsible. But should we be called morons or a mob

          Then, we move on to other questions.

          Should poorly educated be allowed to vote?
          Should low information people be allowed to vote?
          Should morons be allowed to voter?

          Maybe the latter should be ‘separated’ from the rest of us smart people? I hope not.

          And because we can prove those on our side are not a mob, and we demonstrate the other side is made up mostly of idiots (if not all of them), they should stop calling us a mob, but we can continue to call them morons,

          We attack the voters on the other side.

          So, we can be distracted from focusing on the candidates.

          1. cwaltz

            The reality is the electorate is only partially responsible in the sense that we haven’t rejected the horrible choices and fear mongering the elite keep perpetuating.

            The poorly educated should be educated so they can make educated and good choices
            The low information should be given more information so they have enough information to make good choices.

            While I believe there are people who may not necessarily be smart I believe they are less of a problem then the greedy opportunists who seek to take advantage of them.

            In short, it’s not the morons that are the problem, it’s the opportunists.

            I’m going to continue to try and shine a light when a low education voter mistakes communism for socialism, I’m going to continue to educate anyone who thinks our problem is that Social Security is filled with IOUs instead of bonds expressly purchased because it’s considered a “safe” investment. And any time I think I see a greedy opportunist, I’m going to call it as I see it, complete with any evidence to support my position.

            If that makes me an “angry mob”, so be it.

            As far as candidates go, I’m voting FOR President, not against one. I’m no longer going to allow fear and cynicism to dictate a lesser of the two evil strategies. My vote will go to the best candidate with the best ideas and who best represents where I want to see my country, not to the most “viable” or to prevent another unsuitable candidate from winning. The Democratic Party can either give me a good candidate I can believe in or lose my vote. And if they lose because they didn’t give me a candidate that I feel is representative of me and what I want, the failure is on THEM. It’s not the electorate’s responsibility to cater to party choices no matter how flawed they are, it’s the party’s responsibility to present a choice that APPEALS to the majority of the electorate.

    3. GlobalMisanthrope

      Film at 11. It’s disorienting to see regular NC readers expressing surprise or indignation about this.

  15. DJG

    Executive pay for performance: And then there is the board as well as the pay that board members get. Voting my 12.33 shares of the brand-new and super-edgy HP Enterprise, I was appalled at the sheer clowniness of the choices for the board. Three of the board members proposed are on four or more boards. How can they have left-over attention for a putative startup? One board member had extensive “experience” at General Electric, the Titanic of U.S. corporations. And now that it’s proxy season, and I have an SEP, I am seeing these madcap choices on so many boards. This is a meritocracy? What could go wrong?

  16. ChrisFromGeorgia

    WaPost editorial board goes hysterical:

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/gop-leaders-you-must-do-everything-in-your-power-to-stop-trump/2016/02/24/d993b548-db0e-11e5-891a-4ed04f4213e8_story.html

    And they’re in perfect agreement/timing with the National Review:

    http://www.nationalreview.com/article/431858/donald-trump-2016-campaign-must-be-stopped

    Please take note that Trump, whatever his shortcomings are, has done the populous an immense service simply by exposing the degree to which the supposed “differences” between the not just the two parties but also the entire ideological landscape are a scripted joke straight out of a WWF extravaganza.

  17. dcblogger

    “Does Philanthrocapitalism Make the Rich Richer and the Poor Poorer? Evonomics ”

    I think we should start calling this rat poison philanthropy, as so many recipients wind up drinking rat poison to get out of their debts.

  18. allan

    Homeland Security Is Spilling a Lot of Secrets [Bloomberg]

    The Department of Homeland Security suffered over 100 “spills” of classified information last year, 40 percent of which came from one office, according to a leaked internal document I obtained. Officials and lawmakers told me that until the Department imposes stricter policies and sounder practices to better protect sensitive intelligence, the vulnerabilities there could be exploited. Not only does this raise the threat that hostile actors could get their hands on classified information, but may lead to other U.S. agencies keeping DHS out of the loop on major security issues.

    But surely they can be entrusted with backdoors to our smart phones.

    File this under Big Brother is Being Watched While Watching You Watch.

  19. Tony Wikrent

    This just is too amazing: Washington Post reports
    Justice Scalia spent his last hours with members of this secretive society of elite hunters

    When Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia died 11 days ago at a West Texas ranch, he was among high-ranking members of an exclusive fraternity for hunters called the International Order of St. Hubertus, an Austrian society that dates back to the 1600s.

    SNIP

    The International Order of St. Hubertus, according to its website, is a “true knightly order in the historical tradition.” In 1695, Count Franz Anton von Sporck founded the society in Bohemia, which is in modern-day Czech Republic.

    The group’s Grand Master is “His Imperial Highness Istvan von Habsburg-Lothringen, Archduke of Austria,” according to the Order’s website.

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/justice-scalia-spent-his-last-hours-with-members-of-this-secretive-society-of-elite-hunters/2016/02/24/1d77af38-db20-11e5-891a-4ed04f4213e8_story.html

    Austrians! Habsburgs! I sort of recall the USA Constitution includes some musty old passage about titles of nobility or something. I wonder what that’s all about….

    Put that together with a few other things, such as the link above: Failure as a Way of Life American Conservative. Chuck L: “Bill Lind — which itself is a great irony, because Lind’s good friend, Paul Weyrich, is one of the people most responsible for resurrecting movement conservatism after the 1964 blowout of Goldwater.

    “…the establishment’s bedrock. It is composed overwhelmingly of people who want to be something, not people who want to do something. They have devoted their lives to becoming members of the establishment and enjoying the many privileges thereof. They are not likely to endanger club membership by breaking its rules. ”

    Why do these sobs keep turning up in things like St. Hubertus or Knights of Malta or Bilderberg? You would think just the PR damage alone would make them shy away.

    Recall “What Is Conservatism and What Is Wrong with It?” by Philip E. Agre,
    August 2004:

    Q: What is conservatism?
    A: Conservatism is the domination of society by an aristocracy.

    Q: What is wrong with conservatism?
    A: Conservatism is incompatible with democracy, prosperity, and civilization in general. It is a destructive system of inequality and prejudice that is founded on deception and has no place in the modern world.

    http://polaris.gseis.ucla.edu/pagre/conservatism.html

    The real culture wars: democratic republicanism versus aristocracy / oligarchy.

    1. Steve H.

      Bill Lind was part of Col. John Boyd’s circle. That makes him a military reformer, conservative though he may be.

      Agre’s definition is spurious.

    2. diptherio

      Having done my share of hunting, I can assure you that Scalia was no “elite hunter.” Could you imagine his fat @$$ crawling for hours through prickly pear to get within range of an antelope? Ha! I doubt it.

      There is, however, and interesting parallel here between this self-styled band of “elite hunters” and Hillary’s references to gangs of “super predators.” Seeing as how ‘elite hunter’ and ‘super predator’ are synonymous terms, it now appears that Hillary may have been right and society does, in fact, have a problem with gangs of super predators – they just happen to sit on the Supreme Court.

      1. Daryl

        I believe elite in this case refers not to skill but to the fact that they are higher class than us peasants.

      2. polecat

        I can imagine a samurai geisha doing pillow talk to him, after a hard day of shotgunnin……..then dashing through the pricklies into the dark………..everyone none the wiser.

  20. For The Win

    “This is why GOP always wins: Obama should have fought Scalia obstruction with a recess appointment Salon (Judy B). Mistakenly assumes that Obama cares about outcomes.”

    I’d say Obama cares very much about outcomes, here he’s getting exactly what he wants. He got a pro-big business path fixed, possibly for the earlier referenced Nevada Governor. The real genius is he makes point with his paymasters while he can still play nice guy to the public. He’ll lay the “blame” for his arm being twisted on the Republicans. If he had done a recess appointment, this would be a much harder sell, it would all be on him.

    After the last election Obama said he was looking forward to working with the Republicans, and he really meant it. The man is a product of the Chicago machine, a mix of ego and mercantilism. Valarie Jarrett must be just chuckling madly in her den.

      1. Joe

        I do not think he is weak. He gets almost everything he actually wants. He is like Colombo — acting weak and unintelligent, but always working towards an ultimately successful goal. It is just that the goal he claims he wants and the goal he actually wants differ.

        1. Steven D.

          I alternate between thinking Obama’s getting what he wants and that he’s a pathetic loser who craves the approval of powerful authority figures like McConnell. I now conclude it’ both.

          1. Vatch

            He probably also wants the lucrative retirement speaking fees that Bill Clinton gets. He won’t get that if he causes a lot of trouble for the billionaires and the giant corporations.

            1. Steven D.

              I don’t get the sense that money is that important to him other than as an indicator of social status. But he will always feel inferior to big dogs like McConnell and Blankfein. So he craves their approval. And as someone, maybe you, pointed out yesterday, right wingers especially despise liberals who kiss their asses like Obama does. So the more he kisses their asses, the more it enrages them. Not the effect he’s going for.

        2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          You’re right.

          People here have called him worse.

          This is a good opportunity to get a clean break away from the last few decades.

          Weak or worse.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      Obama cares very much about the appearance of getting things done and cares little about the content. That’s why he openly let the health care industry write the Obamacare bill. I’m still astonished he was that open about it. He could have just as easily taken their dictation through intermediaries.

      1. Pavel

        After 7 years, it seems to me that all Obama cares about is getting to the golf course on time.

        Getting TPP passed is possibly a second priority. I was just listening to a Scott Horton podcast in which he ranted forensically (if that is a phrase) against Obama and how he could easily have closed Gitmo in his first term if he tried. Imagine if he tried as hard as he did with ACA or TPP to close Gitmo!

        Grrr.

      2. cwaltz

        And his just reward was to have that same health care industry turn on him and rewrite policies and jack up premiums that then created the narrative that Obama lied when he told the American people that those with decent plans could “keep their plan.”

        With corporate America it should always be noted- no good deed goes unpunished. Sadly, our politicians are not the sharpest knives in the drawer and can’t seem to grasp the “it’s the profit stupid” model that capitalism operates under and what role they are supposed to play if we keep capitalism as a form of economy(hint: you are societies gatekeepers politicians. You are supposed to rigorously defend the interests of the majority of us, even if it doesn’t make fiscal sense. You AREN’T a business. You’re supposed to step in when businesses won’t because it doesn’t make sense. You don’t invest for profit, you invest for the people and the communities they live in.

        *shakes head*

      3. For The Win

        Well put,Yves.

        I’d only add he probably cares about the content of that pay packet, and even more about how his ego gets stroked. Valery Jarrett spotted that later weakness a long time ago and has ridden this horse to more power and money that she could have ever dreamed of.

    2. Darthbobber

      Mistakenly assumes that the Senate wouldn’t have maintained pro forma sessions. Remember the rulings on the last use of recess appointments?

  21. allan

    While US Attorney General, Eric Holder Used Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s Birth Name as His Official Email Address [Vice]

    … Holder used Abdul-Jabbar’s birth name, Lew Alcindor, as his official Department of Justice (DOJ) email account, raising more questions about the email practices of top Obama administration officials, and about the ability of US government agencies to track down correspondence in response to Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests.

    Most Transparently Opaque Administration Ever.

    1. For The Win

      Did anyone interview Kareem Abdul-Jabbar? I’d love to see what he thought about Holder’s theft.

  22. Vatch

    A very important article about the world’s human population problem has appeared in Nature:

    http://www.nature.com/news/development-slow-down-population-growth-1.19415

    The article begins:

    In 2100, our planet is expected to be home to 11.2 billion people. That’s a more than 50% increase on today’s 7.3 billion. This expansion of humanity is likely to be spread unevenly across the world. In the most developed regions, we expect declines (such as in Europe and east Asia) or little further growth (as in the Americas; see ‘Bulges, gaps and shifts’). Substantial further growth is anticipated in the least developed regions of south and west Asia (including in India and Pakistan) and north Africa (for example, in Egypt). By far the largest increase is projected in sub-Saharan Africa with a quadrupling of population — from just shy of 1 billion currently to 3.9 billion.

    This potential addition of 4 billion people to the poorest regions of the globe is an obstacle to development that makes it difficult to be optimistic about their futures. Rapid population growth, with attendant consumption and waste, has pervasive adverse effects on societies and the world’s ecosystems (see ‘Four ways population rise takes its toll’). Many countries would be better off with lower population growth and birth rates. This is exemplified by the east Asian ‘tiger’ economies, including South Korea and Taiwan, that in recent decades have seen rapid increases in per capita incomes as birth rates declined. The boost to economic growth that follows a decline in fertility is referred to as the ‘demographic dividend’.

    So, how can the population juggernaut be stopped, or at least slowed?

    It concludes:

    Family planning must be reclassified as a development intervention (as well as being a health and human-rights intervention) to give it the high national and global priority it deserves. This would lead to a more cost-effective use of scarce development resources, and to more rapid growth in living standards in poor countries.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Demographic dividend.

      Unfortunately, Taiwan, Korea, Japan, America, Western Europe – that demographic dividend also means requiring more immigrants.

      While that is good for immigrants, and domestic GDP boosting, it assumes the continued Third World population growth to supply excess humans to supply those countries with demographic dividend.

      One solution is Income Guarantee (or more broadly, People’s Money).

      1, People can take time off to care for their parents, lessening the need for import nurses and care takers.

      2, We can afford a smaller GDP, if it’s better distributed – fewer machines, fewer needs for immigrants (read, the Third World, you must reproduce more!)

      3. Programs like Social Security and Medicare do not need more young workers to ‘keep them solvent.” – because we can just print more People’s Money.

      1. Vatch

        The United States doesn’t require more immigrants. There are plenty of unemployed and underemployed U.S. citizens who can fill job openings.

          1. Vatch

            Oh, I agree about the big wall. But there’s no need for special H-1B, H-2B, L-1, and other special visa programs to attract foreign workers.

    2. Ranger Rick

      “Stop breeding and we’ll give you money, poor people!”

      Except China recently ended the “one child policy”: these countries know they can use their completely unsustainable billion+ populations as a foreign policy club.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Go the other way.

        I was watching an old documentary ‘Taxi to Nowhere,’ and there was this Canadian scientist talking about how he came up with the CIA sensory deprivation interrogation technique. He asked himself this question at the time he came up with the idea, what if we go the other way – instead of feeling pain, we take away all sensory inputs?

        And he said later, he had no idea it would be used (or misused) like that.

        Well, fool me once. How many times have we been fooled? Why do you think they spend so much money on scientific research? Knowledge is one thing. The money people want to use that ‘partial knowledge’ – that ‘best explanation today, never mind tomorrow’ – to make ‘this a better, more beautiful world.’

        And like money has a few definitions, as does the word science. Most people’s experience with science is through interacting with the applications of the results of using the Scientific Method. So, when people say the word, science, they don’t mean science for the purpose of understanding (and no more, as we are wary of acting based on partial knowledge, that is, based on today’s best explanation, for tomorrow, there will be a better explanation), they mean science and the everyday applications derived from using it (such as GM foods, insecticides, statin drugs, monitoring devices, nuclear bombs, etc.)

        And in any case, the Canadian professor’s idea became a standard CIA procedure.

        Back to the point we started with: we can go the other way – give all people money. Most people with money and most rich nations tend to reproduce less.

        Instead of reproducing less now, and then you get money later, we go with, more money now, and we can expect fewer births later.

      2. Vatch

        “Stop breeding and we’ll give you money, poor people!”

        Actually, the article recommends increasing assistance to poor countries to help them reduce their birth rates. So it’s more of a case of “we’ll give you money so you can reproduce less.” From the article:

        Still, only 1% of all overseas development assistance (ODA) is now allocated to family planning. This amount is inadequate; in too many countries, programmes remain weak and political commitment is lacking.

        The proportion of ODA allocated to family planning should be raised to 2% and developing-countries governments should expand their funding by an equivalent proportion. Such a doubling of funding will be more than repaid by savings in other sectors such as education and health care in future years.

    3. fresno dan

      I’ve read that if you actually want to limit population growth, 3 things are necessary
      1. Education for women
      2. lack of corruption
      3. social insurance, so that a retirement income is not based on 10 children

      1. PlutoniumKun

        One of the best ways is to create an economy where women are obliged to work, but create rigid labour structures where they can’t move job freely and have poor quality maternity and child leave. Those are the factors that countries with stagnant populations have in common.

        1. Vatch

          I doubt that very many Third World countries have much child leave or high quality maternity care, and that’s where the highest birth rates are. In contrast, birth rates are very low in Western Europe, and maternity care and leave are quite good in many of those countries.

      2. Pavel

        Education for women — and especially girls is the key. Basic literacy is the start. Also basic health education (contraception, prenatal care, childcare, etc…

        It’s been a decade or so but I remember reading a public health article stating that female education is the best way to increase public health and also raise a country’s GDP (for those who care about the latter more than the former).

    4. inhibi

      Excellent post, thank you for the link.

      I feel as though access and distribution of clean water will become one of the most significant topics of the coming decades, rather than government intervention in family planning. Simply, if there is not enough water to go around, the area simply will not be able to sustain a large population over time, and huge migrations to other areas will be inevitable.

    5. Steve H.

      About that projection, here’s another:

      theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/sep/02/limits-to-growth-was-right-new-research-shows-were-nearing-collapse

      Particularly note the black curve in the first chart.

  23. Katniss Everdeen

    RE: How the Feds Blocked Me from Covering a Pill Mill Trial Vice (resilc). Important.

    “I voted for Obama twice. I’m often inspired by his speeches. And as a freelancer, I’m hugely grateful for my Obamacare coverage. Despite all of my experiences, I still find the man hard to dislike.”

    And we wonder how things like the clintons and obama keep happening, and things like Bernie Sanders don’t.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      As with many things, there are people who have benefited (and are supporting their guys), some more or less the same and others who have suffered.

      One question is, does the first out-number the last?

      Another is, are we better off as a whole now?

      And in regard to the tyranny of the majority, another question: How bad are those who have suffered and what can be done to amend that?

  24. Lambert Strether

    “Meet the fossil-fuel loving hedge fund billionaire behind Hillary’s surge” is Will Bunch, who’s great. There’s really good Flexnet analysis in that article. It’s a must read.

    1. Katniss Everdeen

      This is the same marc lasry who, along with another hedge fund billionaire named wesley edens, bought the Milwaukee Bucks basketball team in 2014 and then blackmailed the taxpayers in Milwaukee into footing half of the $500 million bill for a new arena and various other out-buildings.

      You may recall that this was just after scott walker cut $250 million from the University of Wisconsin System. (Which, I suppose, is one of the reasons Bernie’s free college proposal seems so outrageous.)

      The arena could cost the public twice what was originally projected.

      Milwaukee County’s portion of arena debt amounts to $4 million annually for 20 years; if the county fails to come up with its payments, the state could deduct the money from annual aid to the county. Abele has spoken of scrounging up the county’s payment by allowing the state to crack down on the county’s many debtors. (A plan that was likened to Ferguson funding policies.)

      http://www.nytimes.com/2015/08/15/sports/bucks-new-owners-get-house-warming-gift-of-public-money.html

  25. fresno dan

    Failure as a Way of Life American Conservative. Chuck L: “Bill Lind is an insightful man on many things, but also holds some, shall we say, idiosyncratic views. e.g., the world went to hell with the fall of the House of Hohenzollern.”

    “Below these factors lies the establishment’s bedrock. It is composed overwhelmingly of people who want to be something, not people who want to do something. They have devoted their lives to becoming members of the establishment and enjoying the many privileges thereof. They are not likely to endanger club membership by breaking its rules. Beyond following money and adhering to its ideology, the rules are three.

    The first is, don’t worry about serial failure. Within the Beltway, the failure of national policies is not important. Career success depends on serving interests and pleasing courtiers above you, not making things work in flyover land. As in 17th-century Spain, the court is dominated by interests that prosper by feeding off the country’s decay.

    Second, rely on the establishment’s wealth and power to insulate its members from the consequences of policy failure. The public schools are wretched, but the establishment’s children go to private schools. We lose wars, but the generals who lose them get promoted. The F-35 is a horrible fighter, but no member of the establishment will have to fly it. So long as the money keeps flowing, all is well.

    Third and most important, the only thing that really matters is remaining a member of the establishment. This completes the loop in what is a classic closed system, where the outside world does not matter and is not allowed to intrude. Col. John Boyd, America’s greatest military theorist, said that all closed systems collapse. The Washington establishment cannot adjust, it cannot adapt, it cannot learn. It cannot escape serial failure.”

    ======================================
    never under estimate the importance of maintaining the good graces of the tribe…

  26. Katniss Everdeen

    RE: Debunking the Administration’s TPP = 18,000 Tax Cuts on U.S. Exports Talking Point: U.S. Sold Nothing in More than 10,600 of Those Categories… Public Citizen

    The administration’s “TPP Guide to 18,000 Tax Cuts” document bizarrely highlights goods TPP nations simply do not buy in volume from anyone. Consider the 34 percent “tax” cut by low-income Vietnam on Alaskan caviar. About $150,000 worth of caviar was imported by Vietnam from anywhere. Or Vietnam’s 5 percent tariff cut on skis. Vietnam only imported about $50,000 in skis in total.

    Indeed, the “tax cut” list is packed with gems. Christmas ornaments and pork for Muslim nations Malaysia and Brunei. Silkworm cocoons for Vietnam and Japan. Ski boots for Brunei. Camels for Vietnam.

    I honestly thought this was a joke when I first read it.

  27. petal

    Yesterday at lunch, someone asked me who I was voting for. I then went in-depth about Clinton’s corruption and how in no way could I bring myself to vote for her. I was called a conspiracy theorist and then ridiculed for admitting if Sanders didn’t get the nom that I’d vote for Trump in the general. You’d think I’d just murdered someone or took a 2 in the punch bowl. Another friend (German but working in the US) has been railing against people that are Trump fans, calling them stupid, etc. This person has always been well-off and doesn’t understand why people are upset/frustrated and turning to Trump. And I woke up to an email the other morning saying I find out Tuesday if I’m losing my job. We fund a giant military empire and buy lots of bombs to kill people, but we won’t fund science research. Good times.

    1. Pavel

      We fund a giant military empire and buy lots of bombs to kill people, but we won’t fund science research. Good times.

      Sigh… I see that the Pentagon wants to spend a trillion dollars on some new weapons system. Presumably (well, possibly) it will function better than the trillion dollar F-35 paperweight.

      Every day or so there is a report of some amazing scientific discovery — the gravitational waves; the asteroid explorer; an amazing new telescope; the origins of life itself!

      The cost of most of these research projects are a few tens or hundreds of millions of dollars at most.

      I’m reminded of that Elvis Costello/Clive Langer song, Shipbuilding:

      Is it worth it?
      A new winter coat and shoes for the wife
      And a bicycle on the boy’s birthday
      It’s just a rumor that was spread around town
      By the women and children
      Soon we’ll be shipbuilding…
      Well I ask you
      The boy said “Dad they’re going to take me to task, but I’ll be back by Christmas”
      It’s just a rumor that was spread around town
      Somebody said that someone got filled in
      For saying that people get killed in
      The result of this shipbuilding
      With all the will in the world
      Diving for dear life
      When we could be diving for pearls

      “When we could be diving for pearls…”

      Petal, good luck with your job. Fingers crossed…

    2. Vatch

      Sorry about your job situation. I humbly suggest that if Sanders does not get the Democratic nomination, that you either vote for a third party candidate or write in the name “Bernie Sanders” on your ballot.

      There really are a lot of problems with Trump (Trump University, for example), and although it’s fun to watch the Republican establishment squirm, I don’t think that a multi-billionaire with Trump’s bombastic and narcissistic personality is likely to do much to help the typical American.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Reading a little bit about Trump University, it appears Trump could, or would try to, claim it was a victim of the 2007/2008 market crash.

    3. inhibi

      Petal,

      I hope everything turns out well. Can’t believe that someone would call you a conspiracy theorist for discussing Clintons OBVIOUS corruption. Must be blind ignorance.

      My wife and I have been in scientific research institutions our whole life, till about a few years ago when we got our company started. I think the only thing that got my company funded was relating the technology to the military (even though it really has nothing to do with the military). It’s unbelievable how tight the money is for pure scientific research at institutions that have multi-billion dollar endowments. By unbelievable, I literally mean I don’t believe them one bit. Research nowadays, really isn’t research for the sake of expanding our knowledge: its essentially coming out with products and technologies that have a clear payoff that the University or Lab can patent and then sell to a large institution for pennies on the dollar.

      And as for the Pentagon, and its new weapons system, its completely and utterly laughable what they are spending the money on. From what I understand, the new weapons system will involve a high-powered rail gun. I have bets on next year’s “weapons system” being a high-powered potato cannon.

      All this money spent on weapons systems/aircrafts, and we STILL use troops that wear barely reinforced vests (that is, no protection for arms or legs) and the horribly unreliable M16, and we STILL have a lot of friendly fire incidents, and we STILL have a horrible VA hospital system.

      I think the only thing propping up America’s manufacturing sector at this point is military funding.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        There is an alternative.

        Injecting new money into the system from the bottom up, not from the top down.

        We don’t have to root for more government’s military spending (by printing more money), so we don’t lose our jobs.

        We don’t have to cheer-lead for more GDP growth to get a job to earn money.

        With money creation from the bottom up, we can afford to say, it’s OK we don’t go deeper into the forest (so we can create more jobs to grow GM corn for ethanol).

      2. hunkerdown

        Yeah, that’s the new DNC meme apparently. The line between business-as-usual and conspiracy has everything to do with whether vested interests win or lose by the action.

  28. Daryl

    > Saudi Arabia Tells American Frackers: You Will Be Crushed Forbes

    They left out the P.S. do you guys do no-money-down financing on drones?

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Sometimes the servants tell the masters what to do.

      In the Middle Ages, it was the lord of the manor who was the master, and the serfs servants.

      Now, we call the serfs masters and the lords servants.

      Yet, it’s still the lords (who are called public officials and our servants) who get the burden to spend free money, so it can trickle down to the serfs (who are called the masters now).

      With deflation, we need to inject more money. How? We (the government*) get to spend more.

      With inflation, we need to remove money. How? We take your money (by taxes).

      Heads, we win.

      Tails, you lose.

      *government, we are reminded, includes the CIA, the Pentagon and economic hit men.

  29. JohnB

    Can someone help clarify this for me: How do you compare US and EU country unemployment rates?

    I read that the headline US rate is misleading, and that to compare to EU countries, you should use the U6 definition of unemployment for the US – is this correct?

    I don’t remember where I originally read this, but I think now that I’ve been misinformed – because U6 includes underemployment, and I don’t think EU country unemployment rates include that?

  30. jhallc

    This recent piece was sent to me from a Bernie Sanders staff person. It really goes after the Bernie is un-electable argument.
    http://static.currentaffairs.org/2016/02/unless-the-democrats-nominate-sanders-a-trump-nomination-means-a-trump-presidency

    Here’s a snippet:
    Trump will capitalize on his reputation as a truth-teller, and be vicious about both Clinton’s sudden changes of position (e.g. the switch on gay marriage, plus the affected economic populism of her run against Sanders) and her perceived dishonesty. One can already imagine the monologue:

    “She lies so much. Everything she says is a lie. I’ve never seen someone who lies so much in my life. Let me tell you three lies she’s told. She made up a story about how she was ducking sniper fire! There was no sniper fire. She made it up! How do you forget a thing like that? She said she was named after Sir Edmund Hillary, the guy who climbed Mount Everest. He hadn’t even climbed it when she was born! Total lie! She lied about the emails, of course, as we all know, and is probably going to be indicted. You know she said there were weapons of mass destruction in Iraq! It was a lie! Thousands of American soldiers are dead because of her. Not only does she lie, her lies kill people. That’s four lies, I said I’d give you three. You can’t even count them. You want to go on PolitiFact, see how many lies she has? It takes you an hour to read them all! In fact, they ask her, she doesn’t even say she hasn’t lied. They asked her straight up, she says she usually tries to tell the truth! Ooooh, she tries! Come on! This is a person, every single word out of her mouth is a lie. Nobody trusts her. Check the polls, nobody trusts her. Yuge liar.”

    I’ve been arguing with a lot of my good friends who support HIllary, only becuse she is the one who can win in November! I’ll be sending them this article.

  31. Brooklin Bridge

    Big Brother Is Watching You (or, they can watch us but we can’t watch them), would be the appropriate header for a post by Jonathan Turley about a new ruling curtailing the right to film/take pictures of cops in public places.from -natch- an Obama appointee, District Judge, Mark Kearney. This will affect black people most of all – literally meaning many more deaths if it stands – so thanks Obama, real white of you! Your contributions to progress for blacks in this country will be the stuff of grim legends.

    Federal and state courts have handed down a virtually uniform line of rulings protecting the right of citizens to film police in public. That is until the February 19th decision of U.S. District Judge Mark Kearney. Kearney was only put on the federal courts in 2014 by President Obama but has written his first major ruling in curtailing the rights of citizens under the First Amendment. Kearney used that there is no First Amendment right to film police unless they can show that they are challenging or criticizing the police conduct.

    https://jonathanturley.org/2016/02/24/federal-court-first-amendment-does-not-generally-protect-public-filming-of-police-in-public/#more-97188

    1. cwaltz

      I’m surprised that it wasn’t pointed out to this guy that in the instance of Walter Scott had a BYSTANDER not been filming the interaction where the police officer attempted to plant evidence, the police officer who killed him would have literally gotten away with murder.

      That video ended up being the evidence that got Officer Slager indicted.

  32. ewmayer

    [I see Sandoval has taken himself out of the running, by this is more about Obama than him]

    Re. Obama weighs Republican Nevada governor for Supreme Court Reuters (EM) —

    So after all that shameless ‘we need a national discussion’ tearful PR-handwringing by Obama in the wake of the various mass shootings that occurred during his presidency, we have him triangulating to blunt GOP opposition in a transparently obvious fashion by way of a ‘moderate Republican’ SCOTUS nominee, moreover one who is firmly in the gunz! gunz! gunz! camp, i.e. who likely considers the 2nd amendment to be the only part of the Bill of Rights worth keeping. I have a suggestion: instead of this shameless Clintonesque pandering, do just one bold ‘legacy’ domestic thing on your way out to the mega-money speaking circuit — nominate a corporate ‘person’ for the vacancy. How groundbreaking that would be! And it would in a real sense formalize what is already the operative reality. I hear GS, Google and GE have all expressed interest.

  33. Jeff W

    Behind Bernie Sanders’ Revolution Lies a Meticulously Engineered Grassroots Network

    I’m curious about something: if Sanders has a “turnout problem” among millennials, is his campaign doing something like “Take two friends with you to the polls”—sort of a “buddy system”? That would make millennials who are likely to go to the polls recruiters for those who aren’t. It’s one thing to have contact lists and phone banks to engage possible voters and another to have your friends prompt you to go the polls on the actual day.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Hold parties somewhere close to all the polling places…but not too close to violate any laws.

  34. ewmayer

    Re. the Order of St. Hubertus — My late Austrian uncle Günter fits that mold 100%, at least in the local-notable-membership sense. Prominent local businessman – he owned one of the major local construction firms – livelong member of the local Jagdverein, and staunch Catholic.

    Growing up there (our family emigrated to US in 1974 when I was 11) I recall his luxurious high-ceilinged dark-wood-paneled study being festooned wall-to-wall and floor-to-ceiling with trophies of his hunts – mostly deer, mostly just the top of the skull anchoring the antlers, most of said racks being quite modest. To be fair, he did make full use of the venison, but let’s just say that like our dear late Supreme Court justice, he didn’t look like someone whose diet needed any extra supplementing. In the winters he would pay us kids to collect bags of the large horse chestnuts that littered the streetsides and walkways of our town late every Fall, which he and the other members of the Jagdverein would haul to feeding stations they set up in the surrounding woods, apparently the deer find those much more digestible than us humans. This was early 70s, I still recall he paid us 1 Schilling per kilo for those Kastanien, only 4 or 5 cents IIR the then-exchange rate correctly, but a nice way for us kids of more modest families to supplement our exceedingly modest allowances.

    Anyway, his standard Christmas card for many years up to his death bore a winter photo he’d taken of a little chapel – really just a white-painted wooden cross with a wooden roof on top and some shelving for candles – in the local woods near one of the deer feeding stations. Name? The Hubertuskapelle — having been raised nominally Protestant (and practically irreligious) I always figured it was named after some random Catholic saint popular in those parts, but now it all makes perfect sense. Said town is ~30 km south of Vienna, at the foot of the mountains which rise out of the Eastern plain and stretch westward there, and nostalgia for the glory days of the Habsburgs is very strong (and very good for tourism, I should add.) Folks who haven’t spent much time in a former-glorious-empire locale (which describes most of Eurasia) – probably have little conception of how strong said nostalgia can be.

    Based on the relatively tiny membership of the International Order, it sounds like a Bilderberg/Davos-Man global-elite version of my uncle’s hometown Jagdverein. It would be very interesting to view a membership roll – paging Wikileaks…

      1. ewmayer

        Now all we need is a killer albino and a hot museum curatress or gun-totin’ she-Hubertian along the lines of that flaming Italian redhead in Thunderball and we’ve got all the makings of a millions-selling Dan Brown schlock-thriller!

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