Links 6/20/12

I have a TV taping this AM (more on that later), hence thin posts.

‘On the brink’ species counted BBC

India in Race to Contain Untreatable Tuberculosis Wall Street Journal. This is serious.

Belief in Hell Predicts a Country’s Crime Rates More Accurately Than Other Social or Economic Factors Medical Daily. I guarantee that they did not correlate crime rates with income disparity.

Distractions: winter in Sydney John Hempton

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange seeks asylum in Embassy of Ecuador in London Washington Post. More from Glenn Greenwald

G20 summit: perils of a half-baked rescue for Spain and Italy Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, Telegraph

Frayed Tempers at G-20: Euro-Zone Leaders Tired of Criticism from Abroad Der Spiegel

G20 bid to cut cost of euro borrowing Financial Times

Egypt’s Mubarak ‘close to death’ BBC

Mixed Message From U.S. Aids Egyptian Coup Bloomberg

U.S., Israel developed Flame computer virus to slow Iranian nuclear efforts, officials say Washington Post

Board of Immigration Appeals rejects ‘DOMA denials’ for binational same sex couples Raw Story

Food Stamp Vote In Senate Blocks Bid To Restore $4.5 Billion In Aid Huffington Post

Public Workers Face Continued Layoffs, Hurting the Recovery New York Times

NC school strip searches 10-year-old over $20 he didn’t steal Raw Story

Make Voting Mandatory Peter Orszag. Bloomberg. How long has yours truly been saying this, citing Oz?

Homeowner Aid Boosts Big Banks Wall Street Journal (LadyLiberty)

Hedge funds battered by euro crisis Financial Times

[JPM Whale-Watching Tour] Where the OCC should have looked Lisa Pollack, FT Alphaville

MF Global Customers “Get the Chance” To Auction Off Their Hopes For the Return of Stolen Funds Jesse

Foreclosure fraud combatant eyes clerk of court role in Florida Housing Wire

Robin Hood Tax Campaign Comes to the US Dave Dayen, Firedoglake

Equity Financing of Higher Education Adam Levitin, Credit Slips

Predators and Professors Simon Johnson, Project Syndicate. I suspect Johnson will be getting fewer Christmas cards this year.

* * *

Lambert here:

D – 80 and counting*

“A verbal contract isn’t worth the paper it’s written on.” –Samuel Goldwyn

Montreal. Corruption: “[Jacques Duchesneau, a] star witness at a corruption inquiry said Quebec’s political parties are awash in kickback money, and being financed by a ‘clandestine empire’ larger than he’d ever suspected.’ He believes 70 per cent of the money used by Quebec’s provincial parties comes from outside registered donations.” PQ’s Marois: “I will not be wearing the red square during the election campaign but I will proudly wear the fleur-de-lys However, I will still be supporting the student movement.” She frames it as fees, not debt. And that’s not enough now. “Today, [FECQ] made a third appeal to the Charest government to accept mediation. … The FECQ plans to continue mobilizing and the idea of suspending protest activities is clearly not an option for the president. The FECQ has several demonstrations planned throughout Quebec in the coming days.”

CO. Fracking: “A few weeks ago, I had my first home buyer eliminate entire cities from consideration because of oil and gas wells. Erie, Longmont and Lafayette didn’t make the cut because of the density of wells near schools and residential areas. Do you think my buyers are the only ones concerned?” (MR)

FL. “The Legislature’s 2011 ban on bestiality has a loophole, and it will spare one Pinellas man accused of having sex with a dog from criminal charges. … [T]he law does not forbid oral sex.” Neither party has a monopoly on stupid, but there are times…

IA. “Responding to a significant drop in private donations to food banks and increased rates of food insecurity, the IA House and Senate allocated $500,000 … to the IA Food Bank Association. [Gov] Branstad used his item veto power to remove that appropriation, saying private donations should support food banks.”

LA. Corruption: “[B]usinessman Frank Fradella — a key figure in the grand jury probe of former New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin — has signed a plea agreement in a pending federal securities-fraud case in Texas that will require him to plead guilty to unspecified crimes in federal court in New Orleans.”

ME. Trailbreaker pipeline, Shelley Kath, NRC: “The extra stress [of tar sands oil] on the old pipeline triggers more cases of leaks and spills. …. In 2010, an Enbridge pipe spilled 840,000 gallons of tar sands oil in the Kalamazoo River in MI. [E]ven a much smaller spill from the Portland-Montreal pipeline — which crosses the Crooked River leading into Sebago Lake, from which 15 percent of Maine’s population gets its drinking water, in six locations — would be catastrophic in this state.”

MI. Typical: “[O]n a vote last week on legislation that will limit Michigan women’s right to choose a safe and legal abortion, six Ds actually sided with the Rs.” Actually?

MN. Foreclosures: “[R]esidents of Coon Rapids will deliver a petition to City Council members asking them to pass an ordinance that makes banks pay for the impact of vacant homes on the community.” Snark watch: “This is the equivalent of a pickle wanting to turn back into a cucumber. ” Heh.

NY. Fracking: “Central to the fracking debate in New York is ‘home rule’ – an ideal that would enable local municipalities to determine the future of shale gas development within their borders.”

OH. “Former Ohio State quarterback Stanley Jackson was appointed by Gov John Kasich to the OH Board of Education.” Hut, hut, comments the reporter.

TX. “At one point the Judge asked, ‘Do we have to wait till you kill someone in order for that person to have a cause of action?’ The state’s attorney answered ‘no,’ but could not articulate at what point prior to death a prisoner could sue over excessive heat.”

VA. B-school putsch at UVA (previous episodes here and here): “Every Dean sent a letter after [President Theresa] Sullivan was fired. Most reacted with horror. One reacted with flattery. That one is now President of #UVA.” Interim President Carl Zeithaml: “The BOV [Board of Visitors] is looking for decisive and bold action, and we should continue to give them what they want.” You’re gonna have to learn your clichés. BOV Vice Rector and putsch organizer Kington resigns: “I hope that it will begin a needed healing process at the university.” You’re gonna have to study them. (You’re gonna have to know them: Awesome comment thread on B-school jargon. Totally leverages the synergies of the post. Former board member Austin Ligon on Kington: “I wish he had done it a week ago … [T]he entire board should resign as a group out of shame and embarrassment.” “As telling as anything is the fact that [Rector and putsch organizer] Dragas, my colleagues reported, hired the public relations firm Hill+Knowlton to help the school ride out the mess she helped make.”

Kudos to journalists at UVA’s Cavalier Daily for FOIAing a trove of email and tweeting it: Rector Dragas to [Jeffrey] Walker [prominent alum, board member Foundation for Zeithaml’s school]: “BOV is squarely focused on #UVA’s developing such a strategy and keenly aware of the rapidly accelerating pace of change” Walker: “on-line learning world has now reached the top of the line universities and they need to have strategies or will be left behind #UVA” Vice-Rector Kington : “what happened to the newspaper and magazine business is about to happen to higher education” Kington: “Darden [the graduate B school] is a near and visible template for much of what we seek” in June 10 email to #UVA Rector Dragas” “UVA Vice Rector’s email: Jeff Nuechterlein [a VC and another alum] calls #Sullivan’s opinions about online education ‘rather pedestrian’” Looks like Anne-Marie Angelo’s “Theory of what led to Sullivan’s ouster” was right: Dragas demanded MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses) and privatization — the “Darden template” — and Sullivant wouldn’t give, or not fast enough. It remains to ask which banksters, which vendors, and who — this being all about the B-schools — gets the consulting contracts, board seats, etc.

“[W]e can assume that strategic dynamism [q.v.] means, as a method, not planning but reacting. In practical terms, it means, right now, replacing declining public funding with privatization (Darden is the prototype of the privatized public university unit that came to UCLA-Anderson School of Management last week (“How the Public Pays for Privatization”)), and dealing with the large volumes of public U students through on-line instruction.” Zeithaml, of the undergraduate B school, is a privatizer: “To help finance some of McIntire’s core undergraduate classes, Zeithaml helped line up corporate sponsors, such as Rolls-Royce and Major League Baseball.” Intermediate Accounting II, brought to you by Goldman Sachs…

“Dragas said she will move quickly to appoint a committee to search for the school’s next permanent president.” No doubt. Resigned University Professor Bill Wulf: “What’s there now is all lawyers and corporate executives and they’ve got this mistaken impression that you govern a university the same way you govern a corporation, and you can’t.” It’s never been clear to moi why “____ should be run like a business” when most businesses fail, and the average lifespan of an S&P 500 company is 15 years.

WI. Voting: “Meet Command Central, the people in charge of WI voting machines.” Ugly, ugly details. Anaphora watch: “I am tired…”

Inside Baseball. Non-voters: “It’s not that they’re too busy or lazy or uneducated to pay attention… [T]hese are people who have given up. They’ve decided — with good reason — that our institutions were not created for them.” One reason I hate the term “sheeple.” Money: “Our current system of electoral politics runs on money, and this almost certainly has a corrosive effect on democratic values. But there are other motivating factors — ideology, party loyalty, even principle — and other reasons for electoral outcomes than how much money is raised and spent.” Campaign finance is a mess.

Immigration. The proposal: “Anyone who meets these criteria would receive protection from deportation for two years and be able to apply for work permits. After two years, the permits may be renewed.” Yikes. How good is this deal, really? Stealing clothes: “Obama has taken Rubio’s idea and put it into action. He has given these people a work permit, the ability to remain in this country, but no permanent status. Their legal status can be terminated at any time. But it won’t be terminated by Obama.” Fealty! One immigrant: “It’s overwhelming to know there is an opportunity, but if they do that cutoff [30 not 33] age, well, it’s all up to the Lord — and the president.” Yep. Fealty. Personal fealty. Countering view: “[I]t’s not clear what Obama’s tack on immigration accomplishes, politically speaking. It probably will result in minimal gains among Latino voters, in states with only a few electoral votes. But what it costs him could easily offset those gains, and then some.”

The trail. Useful teebee ad tracking tool. “This week’s 10 hottest advertising markets: Eight of the 10 hottest advertising markets [June 18-24] are in the three battleground states of VA, OH, and CO.” The attack ad pattern: “accusation, counter-accusation, embedded video of attack ad, no help for readers navigating any of it.” Alexrove: “I strongly condemn heckling along Mitt’s route. Shouting folks down is their tactic, not ours. Let voters hear both candidates (and) decide.” [snort]

Greens. “IL is significant as it is the most populous state left that the Green Party is not on the ballot yet. The Green Party is already on the ballot in CA, TX, NY, and FL.”

Libertarians. “Libertarian presidential nominee [and former NM Gov] Gary Johnson is reiterating his support for a Colorado initiative to regulate marijuana like alcohol,” supporting Amendment 64.

Ron Paul. “Incredibly, slates endorsed by Ron Paul supporters swept the delegate elections in IA’s first, third, and fourth district, and won two of the three slots in the second district. Adding those eleven people to the ten Paul supporters on the at-large slate, “constitutional conservatives” were set to win 21 of IA’s 28 total delegates to the national convention. [But] donations have slowed dramatically.”

Romney. “He [Romney] is the leader of our party from now until November,” McConnell said, explaining why he didn’t want to comment on the DREAM act. Not after?

Obama. No place to go: “This is life for Democratic-aligned interest groups in the 2012 presidential campaign: … [T]he message is simple: Shut up and fall in line.” This is news? (Note that the gays and the Latino followed this helpful advice.) Jim VandeHei and Mike Allen: “Obama strategists see this election as a block-by-block knife fight, to be fought in fewer than a dozen states and likely decided by very slim margins.” Visionary minimalism!

* 80 days ’til the Democratic National Convention gobbles crustless watercress sandwiches on the floor of the Bank of America Stadium, Charlotte, NC. 1980: Ronald Reagan defeats Jimmy Carter, initiating the neo-liberal dispensation.

* * *

Antidote du jour:

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  1. Middle Seaman

    Funny, the people that run many coorperations with huge public, i.e. government, support strongly recommend taking first rate public universities and turn them into failed institution like the ones they run.

    1. LeonovaBalletRusse

      It seems that ALL “private education” is about wealth transfer from public to private at every level, and the neoconlib “curriculum” makes it a two-fer. At level of children, see Primary beneficiary in the Two-fer Sweepstakes in Louisiana, with Bobby Jindal as Propagandist and Agent-in-Chief. It is the Roman Catholic Regime who profits most. Jindal is such a good little acolyte.

  2. Jessica

    Belief in Hell Predicts a Country’s Crime Rates More Accurately Than Other Social or Economic Factors Medical Daily:

    “Researchers had accounted for factors like nations’ dominant religion (Roman Catholic, other Christian and Muslim), income inequality, life expectancy and incarceration rate.”

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      I didn’t want to go through it all, but I clearly made too terse and sweeping a statement. So here it goes:

      I’d like to see how they measured income inequality and how they did the regressions. There are some problems both with the metrics (for instance, Gini coefficients) as well as underlying data sets in various countries over time. The people who do this work well spend a lot of time on this issue (what measure to use and why)

      There is a great deal of solid research that shows a strong correlation of high income disparity with bad social outcomes (teen births, shorter lifespans once you adjust for diet, and crime rates). The tightness of the crime correlation with incomes may have been somewhat offset by the big find lately, that drops in murder rates in advanced economies correlate very well with 18-20 year lags with implementing pollution controls that lower the amount of lead in gasoline. I’d like to see how a good measure of income inequality with the lead factor compares with their “belief in hell” measure.

      The fact that they put a novel measure in (belief in heaven or hell) and found that most significant is hugely sus. They have every reason to want to prove it to be significant given the effort involved in putting that data together. Publishing a “nothing to see here” result or something that confirms older research is much less sexy than something that looks new.

      1. LeonovaBalletRusse

        Experiment: administer lead on silver spoons to Elite kids for 10 years. See how they test.

  3. Goin' South

    Will Jefferson arise from his grave atop Monticello and stumble down to the Rotunda to devour the brains of the UVa BOV?

    Zombie vengeance may be the only hope for a once respected university.

    What’s next? Harvard auctions off the statue spot in front of University Hall to the highest bidder, replacing John Harvard with alum Lloyd Blankfein?

    Why not? After all, it was donating a few hundred quid that won Harvard the honor in the first place.

  4. David

    Lambert writes: “1980: Ronald Reagan defeats Jimmy Carter, initiating the neo-liberal dispensation.”

    How can such an otherwise well informed person (Lambert),
    who is well aware that the current Democratic Party is totally complicit and cooperative with the policies more vociferously espoused by the Republican Party,
    peddle such a-historical nonsense, especially on an economics blog?
    The “neo-liberal dispensation” was well underway during the Carter administration;
    no further evidence needs be cited than the appointment of Volker as Fed chair in August 1979. Interest rates were as a matter of policy during the Carter administration. (

    U.S. economic policy is not a matter of either/or Carter/Reagan Democrats/Republicans. Surely Lambert knows this. And yet he furthers the myth that U.S. economic neoliberalism “began” with Reagan.

    I’m commenting on this matter, which some my consider a minor quibble (neoliberalism “begins” with Carter or Reagan), because this is actually no minor thing. To repeat: economic neoliberalism is not a policy issue over which the leaders of the Democratic and Republican Parties disagree. Surely readers of naked capitalism understand that the policitians of both parties follow whatever policies their employers/paymasters dictate to them. (Now the poor saps who identify with each of the parties and vote for them may have been propagandized into believing that there are real differences between the parties in terms of economic polilcy, but that is another issue more fruitfully analyzed in terms of propaganda and political psychology.)

    1. Lambert Strether

      Well, I’m glad to see that somebody reads all the way to the end. That said:

      Adding: Note that I did not say “neoliberalism begins.” I said “the neoliberal dispensation” begins. Not the same!

      I had to draw a line somewhere, that that’s always iffy. It seems clear to me in retrospect that there was some great change in the constitutional order in the mid-70s, which is when real wages flattened permanently (and sometime I’d like to collect all the other charts that flattened at more or less the same time), that is, as you point out, before Reagan. However, it seems to me that the “dispensation” (the period of history, the intellectual, political, moral order) can be said to begin with Reagan. The symbolic moment is taking Carter’s solar panels off the roof of the White House. (They were saved, and students from Maine tried to return them to Obama; he refused them.) That’s the signal that the elite had bet the country on hydrocarbons, a bet which they’re still doubling down on today.

      As for the legacy parties, of course they agree on it; that’s what a dispensation is. Where did I say or imply differently? (Qualifying that the parties are different in that they are driven by different factions, have different discursive portfolios in play, different brand identities, different set points on the Overton Window, but they are interlocking parts of the same system, and are now almost functionally* identical except for branding and tribal identities. RomneyCare turning into ObamaCare is one example; deregulation, and especially financial deregulation is another; the empire and its wars are a third.)

      UPDATE * Adding, same inputs, same outputs, regardless of what happens inside the party machinery to transform one into the other.

      1. David

        Thanks for your thoughtful reply.

        Not to put words in your mouth, but I suspect we’d agree that the “neoliberal dispensation” has its full flowering during the Reagan years.

        Lambert writes:

        It seems clear to me in retrospect that there was some great change in the constitutional order in the mid-70s, which is when real wages flattened permanently (and sometime I’d like to collect all the other charts that flattened at more or less the same time), that is, as you point out, before Reagan. However, it seems to me that the “dispensation” (the period of history, the intellectual, political, moral order) can be said to begin with Reagan.

        Personally I think the key turning point and major organizing catalyst was Powell’s 1971 memo (Powell Memorandum; Powell Archives). It took a few years — the decade of the 1970s — for the political organizing, electing the figureheads, appointing people, etc., to happen. I’m trying to emphasize that Reagan, the neoliberal dispensation, etc wasn’t some kind of de novo happpening. I haven’t read Kim Phillips-Fein’s book yet but I think Invisible Hands: The Making of the Conservative Movement from the New Deal to Reagan presents the kind of longer movement history I’m thinking about.
        On the other hand I’ve read Judith Stein’s Pivotal Decade: How the United States Traded Factories for Finance in the Seventies; Stein’s work is mostly political history and describes the collapse of the New Deal Democrats but she doesn’t really describe the rise of the neoliberals and neoliberalism; and, in contrast to the implication of the book’s title, Stein doesn’t offer much of an explanation for the rise of Finance. I was also disappointed by an absense of economic charts in Stein’s book to illustrate the economic changes we now know happened during the 1970s.
        Dean Baker’s book The United States since 1980 is a good source for data graphs of the economic changes.

        P.S. Thanks for the many links Lambert. Especially on the recent University of Virginia fiasco.

        1. ctct

          just to throw something against the wall…1970 US peak oil… increasing trade deficits, devaluing the dollar…war debts…kissinger orchestrates with bank of england cronies…political fallout from backing israel in their wars=trouble from arab states/opec… this set the stage… it all happens so concurrently that one sees an overall economic shift, perpetuating some ideologies(capitalist/extractive class) and damaging others(social democracy)…

          1. Dan B

            It only seems like noting the 1971 peak of oil extraction in the US lower 48 states is throwing something against the wall. Its significance is monumental and is still playing out.

        2. LeonovaBalletRusse

          Lambert makes an excellent distinction. These comments helpful. See also: “THE IDEOLOGY OF TYRANNY” by Guido Giacomo Preparata, especially for the author’s insights into Leo Strauss and the University of Chicago covert scheme for setting American “hoi polloi” on “The Road to Bangladesh” (William K. Black’s phrase).

        3. Punta Pete

          ALso in 1971, Nixon ended the Bretton Woods gold-dollar standard of fixed exchange rates. Two years later international capital movements were given free reign. A MAJOR constraint holding Globalization and neoliberalism in check was removed.

      2. chad

        “It seems clear to me in retrospect that there was some great change in the constitutional order in the mid-70s, which is when real wages flattened permanently (and sometime I’d like to collect all the other charts that flattened at more or less the same time), that is, as you point out, before Reagan. ”

        How come these wage comparison discussions never take into account the impact of the rise of integrated circuits, robotic automation, and digital technology on labor (specifically on manufacturing labor) that is occurring at the same time as wage/productivity begins to diverge? Am I missing something? It seems to me the labor impact of a machine that does the work of 5 men 24x7x365 with zero benefits is at least noteworthy.

    1. ambrit

      Dear rjs;
      A quick fix for that would be a “None of the Above” option. That way, the relative public support of whoever “wins” the election could be determined. Better to have some influence on the public society lest it send in the Homeland Security Goons to have a direct and probably painful effect on you!

    2. Neil

      I don’t think of it as mandatory voting I think of it as mandatory “must hand in a ballot”. You can write whatever you want on the ballot and invalidate your vote.

      Wouldn’t it also reduce election fraud? I mean if only 50% of people turn out to vote then it is easier to stuff the ballot box – add 10% more and you are still under the number of people eligible to vote. But if you get 95% turnout and you stuff it with 10% then there is an obvious fraud going on…

      1. LeonovaBalletRusse

        “reduce election fraud?” Diebold “voting machines” skew the equation.

        1. Neil

          Oh, I agree, voting machines scare the crap out me, but theory still holds, yeah? It’s harder to stuff the ballots with a higher voter turnout…?

    3. Walter Wit Man

      Yeah. I’m all for a mandatory get-off-of-work day to vote, but not mandatory voting.

    4. Dave of Maryland

      Isn’t there a conflict of interest between mandatory voting and voter roll purges? If you were purged, does that mean you have a Get Out Of Jain Free card? Could you sell it?

  5. Ned Ludd

    According to MercoPress, the president of Uruguay is expected to submit a bill to Parliament to legalize limited consumption of marijuana.

    According to the Montevideo press the government will have a mechanism by which it sells marihuana cigarettes to consumers but with a registry of buyers. Regulation will establish “acceptable consumption levels” and those who cross the line will be summoned to join addiction treatment, financed by the government.

    President Mujica allegedly consulted with members of Parliament from his sector, the ruling Broad Front, and there was coincidence that the bill would have a quick passage.

    I think the MercoPress writer meant “consenses” instead of “coincidence”. None of this has been announced publicly by the government yet; I’ll be curious to watch and see if it actually comes to pass.

    1. YankeeFrank

      Pathetic. The idea that marijuana is some sort of dangerous substance is frickin’ ridiculous. These lame half-measures when alcohol damages so many all the time is just more bullshit from an out of touch authoritarian system, be it Uruguay or USA. Get over yourselves already and smoke a J bitchez.

        1. Ned Ludd

          Indeed. With sortition, Congress would reflect society. With elections, Congress reflects the worst elements of society.

          1. Dave of Maryland

            Why not replace voting as a whole? Put everyone’s name in a pot and pull out an unlucky winner at random.

            Would work for mayor.

            Would work for state rep.

            Would work for senator.

            Would work for prez.

            And there would be a one-term limit. Oh, wait until the lobbyists get a hold of this! Queen for a term!

          2. Lambert Strether

            That’s a great argument (“reflect” for good or ill, but since the alternative seem to be philosopher kings in their own minds, ie kleptocrats it might be the best of any alternative).

            It would take a support structure, though. We’re a continent, not a city. And I’m not sure how to scale up a support structure without introducing corruption all over again (the staffers running everything).

      1. Ned Ludd

        From Wikipedia:

        In politics, sortition (also known as allotment or the drawing of lots) is the selection of decision makers by lottery. The decision-makers are chosen as a random sample from a larger pool of candidates.

        Aristotle talks about sortition in Politics. He viewed elections as undemocratic and a form of oligarchy:

        For example, the appointment of magistrates by lot is thought to be democratical, and the election of them oligarchical…

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Sortition is a good idea, but instead of lottery from a larger pool of candidates, let’s draw from an even larger pool of all adult citizens.

          That will make it more like the draft (for a citizen army) or jury duty, both very important in a democracy.

          it’s possible, this way, that even a janitor or dishwasher can be president and not just the 1%.

          Question: When was the last time someone from the 99% (he is like us) was elected president?

          1. Ned Ludd

            Opening up the pool of candidates to automatically include all adult citizens would be more democratic than restricting the pool of candidates. Opening up the pool of candidates to all residents, even non-citizens, would be even more democratic.

            In Politics, Book 4 Part 9, Aristotle points out that government can be a combination of both democracy and oligarchy.

            There is a third mode, in which something is borrowed from the oligarchical and something from the democratical principle. For example, the appointment of magistrates by lot is thought to be democratical, and the election of them oligarchical; democratical again when there is no property qualification, oligarchical when there is. In the aristocratical or constitutional state, one element will be taken from each – from oligarchy the principle of electing to offices, from democracy the disregard of qualification. Such are the various modes of combination.

            Hence, universal suffrage is democratic. However, electing peole to positions of power is profoundly oligarchic.

            By others the Spartan constitution is said to be an oligarchy, because it has many oligarchical elements. That all offices are filled by election and none by lot, is one of these oligarchical characteristics; that the power of inflicting death or banishment rests with a few persons is another; and there are others.

    1. RanDomino

      A non-vote should be considered a vote of no confidence. Greater than 50% non-voting should be considered grounds of a Constitutional Convention. (at least, if there was any real chance of a system based on these kinds of principles being internally consistent)

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        That sounds good, although when the 1% want to rid of something they don’t like in the Constitution, all they have to do is make elections so disgusting that 50% don’t vote. They likely get what they want anyway but this might make it easier for them.

  6. MacCruiskeen

    Re: Crime rates: “I guarantee that they did not correlate crime rates with income disparity.”

    According to the paper, they used Gini coefficient analysis of income inequality from the CIA World Factbook. Now what would be interesting would be for the authors to go back and see how their analysis held up over long periods of time.

  7. Steve Roberts

    In Australia the fee for not voting is $20. Interesting that mandatory voting is ok with the threat of a $20 fine but asking someone to get a state-issued photo identification card to vote which impacts < 10% of the citizens is considered an unfair burden. This will NEVER happen in America.

    1. Lambert Strether

      Because it’s differentially applied after the fact to exactly to those it would hurt most, it is unfair.

      It is also unfair because it’s being applied by one of the legacy parties to suppress the vote of another legacy party.

      Are you saying that people disagree, and who regard the photo ID as fair, are going to propose the Australian solution? If not, what are you saying?

      1. stripes

        Registration cards delivered in our mail boxes eliminate the need for photo ids. People will conform to anything. That is the problem with this country.

      2. ctct

        mandatory voting is the last thing the conservative PTB want… ie the republican party… i also doubt the dems really want mandatory voting… too many factors out of their control…i think the greens and libertarians combined would get about 25-35 percent of the vote

        1. Steve Roberts

          I would agree with this 100%. Democrats and Republicans know under the current model, a worst case scenario gets them 45% of the power (money) and sometimes up to 55%. If you enter a 3rd or 4th party, that’s a worst case scenario for them. They will fight tooth and nail to eliminate that possibility.

  8. jsmith

    Regarding Flame:

    Sure, Wash Post, you f*cking propagandist scum, the Flame attack was developed to slow down Iran’s non-existent nuclear threat, right?

    Hmmm, then that would explain why the after Iran the largest number of infections were in the Palestinian lands?

    Oh, that’s right the Palestinians are ALSO building a nuclear weapon, right?

    How about Sudan, Syria, Lebanon and Saudi Arabia?

    Yep, it’s all about the Iranian “terra” bomb, Western officials say.

    To modify this Bill Hicks quote:

    “By the way, if anyone here is in marketing OR “JOURNALISM” or advertising…kill yourself. Thank you. Just planting seeds, planting seeds is all I’m doing. No joke here, really. Seriously, kill yourself, you have no rationalisation for what you do, you are Satan’s little helpers. Kill yourself, kill yourself, kill yourself now. Now, back to the show. Seriously, I know the marketing and “journalism” people: ‘There’s gonna be a joke comin’ up.’ There’s no fuckin’ joke. Suck a tail pipe, hang yourself…borrow a pistol from an NRA buddy, do something…rid the world of your evil fuckin’ presence.”

    Bill Hicks

    1. Walter Wit Man

      Seems like the program does what other spying programs do–you’re right to point out it doesn’t seem specific to nuclear power. In fact, Americans are probably also subjected to similar programs that can access back doors to our communication devices and hijack the microphone or camera on our phones and use gps, etc.

      1. jsmith


        Let’s see:

        Sound cannons/crowd control devices first used in Iraq: now used domestically.

        Drones first used in the Middle East theater of war: now used domestically.

        Tear gas developed for war: now used domestically.

        Crowd control tanks used in Iraq/Afghanistan: now used domestically.

        Here’s a link to others:

        The funny part is, is that the entire WOT was/is ginned-up horseshit to begin with, so even if they installed Flame on every single computer, there’s going to be NOTHING to discover concerning true terrorism.

        But that’s the point, right?

        Just as the only “terra” threats domestically are unemployed Americans who get their heads bashed in by local fascists at protests and the desperate idiots who get entrapped by informants, there are NO REAL THREATS TO DETECT IN AMERICA!

        One would think that some police and goverment agents might think something fishy was going on as to the waste of their time and lives but oh well….terra terra terra!!!!

        1. Hef

          You forgot the most crucial link:

          “Among all the highly credible video and forensic evidence indicating that WTC Building 7 was brought down by explosive controlled demolition on September 11, 2001, the accounts of explosions related by eyewitness Barry Jennings are particularly persuasive.”

          “On 9/11, Jennings was the Deputy Director of the Emergency Services Department for the New York City Housing Authority. He and Michael Hess, the New York City Corporation Counsel, were rescued from WTC Building 7 before it collapsed at 5:20 p.m. On several occasions, Jennings stated that an explosion trapped them in WTC Building 7 and that he continued to hear…”

          1. jsmith

            I usually do mention the chimerical events of 9/11 specifically but sometimes I just like to generalize as in “the entire WOT was/is ginned-up horseshit to begin with…”

            Great link you provided for those who would like to turn the nagging suspicions in the back of their minds into the clear realizations of murderous foul-play that they should be.

          2. Walter Wit Man

            I once was convinced by Jennings’ testimony (as well as seeing Hess backtrack from his earlier statements about there being explosions).

            But now I suspect that Jennings and Hess are actually perps–based on my informed hunch.

            Again, I too thought Jennings’ statement (as seen in ‘Loose Change’) was evidence of a controlled demolition, so it took me a while to figure out what motive he would have to lie. Then it hit me:

            Jennings and Hess establish the timeline for the back-up cover story–that Silverstein and the Fire Department decided to “pull” the building, i.e. do a controlled demolition.

            What do Jennings and Hess establish? The time the building was evacuated. They testify to showing up at the command center (I thought the command center was moved that day anyway because of terror drills they were conducting that day, but I digress) right after lunch, I think. Barry says he saw hot coffee and sandwiches still there but no one there. So they establish that they are the last ones in there. The building is supposedly evacuated. And explosions are beginning.

            So this gives a demolition team time to go in and wire Building 7 for demolition and maybe do smaller demolitions first (or observe the naturally occurring explosions which helped them decide to “pull it”). They probably have an elaborate cover story already laid out.

            Remember. And this is important. There has been secret evidence given in the insurance lawsuit involving Larry Silverstein. Surely this lawsuit covered the details of any demolition. The judge in that lawsuit was Mukasey!!!!!! Talk about a good venue to lay down a cover story. Plus it will probably be secret for years so we won’t hear the heroic story about how the NYFD demolition team, along with Silverstein’s crack team, were able to wire and demolish Building 7 in a matter of hours to save a bunch of lives . . . . or something.

            Anyway . . . just thought I would share how my views on Jennings have changed.

            p.s. there is also a back up cover story for this back up cover story–the Israelis did it! Unless the Israelis really did do it. But right now I’m guessing the dancing Israelis were set up to be caught to provide a backup cover story. So there are two back up cover stories for why building 7 came down: 1) it was pulled by the FD and experts because it was a danger but had to be kept secret, 2) it was a controlled demolition done by the Israelis.

        2. SR6719

          Don’t worry, the American public has a secret weapon they can use to fight back, they’re just saving it up for when things get really bad (like just before the point of mass starvation)…

          and it’s called….. drumroll here please …. send Jamie Dimon a scary letter asking him to implement the Volcker Rule!

        1. jsmith

          It’s obviously there to prevent Occupy from going forward with their nuclear program.

          Wake up and smell the TERRA!!!

        2. Walter Wit Man

          Yep. But I think this might be slightly different . . . .

          They can scoop up all the information going over the tubes, as revealed years ago, but this would allow someone (maybe a team outside your home) to hijack your computer and take pictures or use your microphone to record.

          Here’s an allegation of a back door in Androids:

          We’ve seen now how they can use the RFID to spy on us and I would imagine these are in a lot of things. Maybe this is why they can track your location even with the cell phone turned off.

          1. ohmyheck

            Ha! Hey Walt, I read about that possibility of watching one from one’s webcam, so I put a piece of tape over my webcam. Just for fun.

            Well, I got one seriously nasty virus within 24 hours of the tape-job.

            I have very good security software. It took the customer service rep and myself 3 hours to jointly remove it. He seemed unsurprised that I got a virus, though. I neglected to tell him about the tape-job. (Cue Twilight Zone theme music)….

          2. Walter Wit Man

            Hey. You’re not crazy for doing the tape. We are definitely being spied upon.

            How long before we see ‘doing the tape’ equated to ‘tin foil’ hat-wearing in popular culture? Ha.

            Wouldn’t that be funny if tin foil was actually the best protection against many spying devices? And the government sneaked in ridicule of “tin foil hat wearers” in popular culture so people would be hesitant to use readily available counter measures. Tin foil is cheap and easy to apply. Ha. Down the rabbit hole we go.

          3. ohmyheck

            Walt! have you ever seen the M. Night Shamylan (sp) movie “Signs”? It’s already been done, ten years ago. It really was a funny shot though. I certainly laughed.

            Tin Foil for real? I like it.

      2. Walter Wit Man

        I can’t remember if it was SR6719 who first turned me on the Promis software story but this is fascinating:

        “There are allegations there were back doors to Windows products going back to as far as the 90s: It was also not by coincidence then that, in the same winter of 94-95, McCoy revealed to me that he was using former Green Berets to conduct physical surveillance of the Washington, D.C. offices of Microsoft in connection with the Promis case. FTW has, within the last month, received information indicating that piracy of Microsoft products at the GE Aerospace Herndon facility were likely tied to larger objectives, possibly the total compromise of any Windows based product. It is not by chance that most of the military and all of the intelligence agencies in the U.S. now operate on Macintosh systems.”

        1. Walter Wit Man

          Oops. I started my quotation marks one sentence too early. The first sentence is mine, the rest quoted from the article on Promis.

        2. SR6719

          That link wasn’t from me, however Counterpunch recently had an article on Watergate that might interest you. (And I doubt Bob Woodward has ever heard of this.)

          Here’s an excerpt:

          “Alex Butterfield, who rose to be President Nixon’s military aide and is the forgotten “third man” in the Watergate fiasco….. is still with us…. one afternoon, I collared Alex at LAX on his way through Los Angeles. I asked him if the rumors were true, that he was a CIA plant in the White House whose mission was to destroy Nixon…Just nod if true, I said…”

          Tall, handsome and bronzed, Alex gave me that old Sigma Nu smile while refusing to deny, “Write it the way you see it, Clancy. Remember, there was nothing personal.”

          1. Walter Wit Man

            You had me at hello SR6719.

            As if under a spell from a Sigma Nu smile, it’s hard for me to resist this stuff. I’ll have to check it out. Lots of different stories are coming out of the woodwork recently . . . just like with the Kennedy assassination.

            You did see the background info I posted on Ben Bradlee, right? And that Woodward was in naval intelligence, like Bradlee was?

          2. SR6719

            Yeah, I saw that…

            [“The Bradlees set up Mary’s apartment and art studio in their converted garage. In January, 1962, Mary began a sexual relationship with President John F. Kennedy….
            Timothy Leary….supplied LSD to Mary who used it with Kennedy….

            …Leary claims that Mary phoned him the day after Kennedy was assassinated: “They couldn’t control him any more…”]

            So now Bradlee’s involved somehow…

            It gets curiouser and curiouser.

          3. Walter Wit Man

            Oh Clancy. You bullshitter.

            This crap may work on sorority girls but I am not falling for it.

            Your drinking buddy and fellow backslapper who is also a “mortal enem[y]”, you swear, double dog, *smiled* at you in a certain way? That’s your evidence? Along with this bullshit fable? Hell, these jerks probably all got paid to prance around prattling on coeds while in school.

            I love this claim by Clancy:

            “In my long, pleasant talks at Lompoc with Haldeman – where he was in, like Ehrlichman, for conspiracy, obstruction of justice and perjury – he acknowledged that the roots of Watergate’s attempted coup d’etat lay in his, Haldeman’s, 30-year old grudge against the ”Jewish liberals” at UCLA, who he believed ran the Daily Bruin and who exposed the dog-hazing scandal, causing him a rage he never forgot or forgave. When Reagan appointed Bob a University of California regent, his first act was to investigate campus newspapers like the Bruin. Bob played a long game.”

            This whole article is nothing but backslapping, winking, and Sigma Nu smiles.

            Get your hands off the clothespin on my skirt Clancy. I’m not buying your bullshit.

          4. Walter Wit Man

            I was actually referring to Bradlee’s involvement in Watergate–or motive or means or opportunity to be a perp. He ran propaganda operations in the past, according some claims in the link above, and this fact makes it more likely Watergate was an intelligence operation.

            But . . . yeah, Bradlee had a connection to the Mary Meyer murder. There’s a new book that discusses it in detail, “Mary’s Mosaic”. That thread at Let’s Roll Forums actually starts discussing the Mary Meyer murder later in the thread because some think it too was a staged event.

            But I actually think Mary Meyer’s role in the Kennedy assassination is similar to Clancy’s role in the Watergate scandal above.

            Both of them (Clancy and Mary) provide a false cover story blaming the CIA. Mary claims the CIA killed Kennedy and she had a diary that the CIA and Ben Bradlee destroyed and hid from the public after she was murdered. Clancy claims (as do others) the CIA may have been involved in Watergate.

            As counter intuitive as it seems, these cover stories probably originate from U.S. intelligence. In both cases the information has been slowly revealed over decades (CIA was implicated in JFK “assassination” right away though–but other incriminating facts releases slowly though). The information about Mary is just coming out now, really (like lots of other info on Kennedy–like what a horn dog is was–almost unbelievably so).

          5. SR6719

            Walter Wit Man: “But I actually think Mary Meyer’s role in the Kennedy assassination is similar to Clancy’s role in the Watergate scandal above. Both of them (Clancy and Mary) provide a false cover story blaming the CIA.”

            I understand your theory concerning the fake assassination of Kennedy and the no planes theory related to 9/11, but I’m not quite following you on the Watergate scandal.

            Why would they need a false cover story blaming the CIA?

            Could you explain, or provide a link if you’ve already discussed this in a previous comment (or a link if there’s some discussion of this at the Let’s Roll forum)?


          6. Walter Wit Man

            Well, I’m the only one that has come up with this theory about Watergate as far as I know. I laid it out here the other day:

            The theory is that Watergate was a staged event to establish trust in the media. Nixon and the gang got caught on purpose and let the Washington Post bring them down. Nixon, Woodward and Bernstein, Ben Bradlee, all the president’s men, most everyone directly involved was in on it. The media was seen as taking out a president and it restored faith in the role of the press as a watch dog.

            The Clancy and Butterfield cover story blames some of the correct parties, the CIA, but for the wrong crimes. The cover story is that the CIA created Watergate to take out Nixon. Now this might seem like a bad cover story because it blames the guilty parties–doesn’t seem like a good thing to do if you’re trying to hide your crimes! But alas, it must be! These spooks seem to do it all the time.

            Also, it let’s the Washington Post of the hook. It places all the blame on the CIA and assumes the Washington Post was a real watch dog. This false cover story leaves intact the real purpose of Watergate: to instill trust in the media, and specifically the Washington Post. This is why it’s a good cover story. It admits most of the truth, the CIA takes the blame but nothing comes of it and the people still trust their media, the Washington Post, and Woodward and Bernsetin.

          7. Walter Wit Man

            Another possibility is that the perps released this slightly false cover story after the real story was starting to get out. Maybe someone was writing a book, etc., so they released it now. A number of different sources have come forward recently.

            I feel like something similar happened with the cover up of 9/11. As soon as the people starting sniffing around the ‘no planes’ theories, some perps showed up with mostly-true cover stories.

          8. SR6719

            Walter Wit Man: “The theory is that Watergate was a staged event to establish trust in the media. Nixon and the gang got caught on purpose and let the Washington Post bring them down….This false cover story leaves intact the real purpose of Watergate: to instill trust in the media, and specifically the Washington Post.”

            Thank you, that’s a plausible theory. Watergate definitely helped instill trust in the media. Even today, despite being lied to or misled about almost everything, a majority of Americans still trust the media.

            It’s also interesting that with Watergate there’s no difference between the so-called “facts” and their denunciation. Identical methods were employed by the CIA and the Washington Post journalists.

            The idea that there was a “scandal” uncovered by heroic investigative journalists also helped to reinforce the illusion that politics is basically a moral undertaking and Watergate was some kind of aberration. This is an illusion that also persists, so in this sense the Watergate operation was successful as well.

            The denunciation of a scandal always pays homage to the law. And Watergate above all succeeded in imposing the idea that Watergate was a scandal — in this sense it was an extraordinarily successful operation.

            Reinforcing the illusion of political morality and journalists speaking truth to power.

            Capital, which is immoral and unscrupulous, can only function by hiding behind a moral superstructure, and whoever regenerates this public morality (by indignation, denunciation, etc.) spontaneously furthers the order of capital, as did the Washington Post journalists.

            And so whether your theory is correct or not, it’s much closer to the truth than the official version. Watergate was a trap set by the system to catch its adversaries — a simulation of scandal. This was embodied by the character called “Deep Throat,” who was said to be a Republican grey eminence manipulating the leftist journalists in order to get rid of Nixon — and why not? All hypotheses are possible, although this one is superfluous: the work of the Right is done very well, and spontaneously, by the Left on its own, without any need to be manipulated by the Right.

            So that’s another illusion that was reinforced by the Watergate “scandal”/ operation. (Even today, you’ll hear Obama defenders who claim he’s being manipulated by the Right, etc)

            Americans are incredibly gullible…

          9. Walter Wit Man

            “The denunciation of a scandal always pays homage to the law.”

            And speaking of law, I was reading the Zero Hedge article about Obama claiming executive privilege on the fast and furious documents and they had this to say on Watergate:

            “Q: Didn’t the Supreme Court settle the issue when it ordered President Richard Nixon to hand over the Watergate tapes recorded in the White House?

            A: Not really. The court ordered Nixon to surrender the tapes in that case — a criminal investigation. But the justices also found a constitutional basis for claims of executive privilege, leaving the door open for presidents to cite it in future clashes with Congress.”

            So Watergate established a legal precedent SUPPORTING the executive privilege except in certain cases where the president is being investigated for crimes.

          10. Walter Wit Man

            My speculation above about the last two guys out of building 7 on 9/11, Jennings and Hess, involves a similar cover story: it’s mostly the truth but deceives in small ways. They admit to explosions going on in the building so it’s hard to believe these guys would be lying or laying down a cover story. It’s counter intuitive.

            As you can tell, I am sniffing out these ‘close-to-true’ cover stories because I’ve just realized it’s a common tactic and I am starting to see how clever it is. It works well on many different levels.

        3. SR6719

          WWM: “Watergate established a legal precedent SUPPORTING the executive privilege except in certain cases where the president is being investigated for crimes.”

          Another of the many fringe benefits, in addition to establishing trust in the media, and reinforcing the illusion that scandals in politics are the exception instead of the rule.

          Watergate was a very successful operation, as it’s still paying off 40 years later.

          Will the 9/11 operation still be paying off in 2040?

          1. Walter Wit Man

            I think the 9/11 cover up will be going on for decades. As I hint above, I think they have a couple of ‘truth layers’/’cover stories’ all ready to be pulled out when needed. For instance, the secret evidence taken in the insurance case is laying there waiting to be discovered. Or a possible Israeli connection (evidence supporting this has become much more talked about the last year) could be emphasized and I suspect they have already been leaving little clues for this theory. As I’ve told you before, I think they already brought out controlled opposition and that Simon Shack and the Loose Change guy may be controlled.

            Good point about the Watergate operation giving people the illusion that scandals are an aberration and will be caught. I do think Watergate was used as a way to condition the people . . . to train us. It certainly had a big effect. I personally feel like Watergate convinced me that our press was free.

  9. PQS

    “It’s never been clear to moi why “____ should be run like a business” when most businesses fail, and the average lifespan of an S&P 500 company is 15 years.”

    Not only that, but the hagiography around “Small Bidness” in America is just absurd. If there is a deeper well of fascist tendency and authoritarianism, than American small bidness, I don’t know what it might be….At least in a big company, there is the semblance of rules, HR directives, and the threat of lawsuits to make upper management toe the line towards fairness. In a small bidness, it can be little Hitlers all the time….

  10. Lambert Strether

    Even if the Housing Wire post on Epstein is full of bankster-enabling bafflegab for criminal fraud — “struggled with the paperwork”, “complexity of linking borrowers with decision-makers” (i.e., no wet ink signatures), “speed up the foreclosure process”, “mishandled documentation”, “signed improperly” — it’s still well worth a read (and important electorally).

  11. BC

    “LA. Corruption:” Would’ve been nice to get Nagin without Fradella’s help, but I’ll take it! Been waiting a long time to celebrate Nagin seeing his day in court and I feel like it’s finally coming. Time for this epic to end. This story was initially broken by an investigative NOLA *gasp* blogger before the sometimes-pic or Lee Zurik. But as nagin’s day comes, here is the post in 2007 when Nagin was pretty much done.

  12. Hugh

    Compulsory voting is just a way to force the peons to validate a system where the only choice they have is whom they prefer to be looted by. A general rule of thumb is that when some member of the ruling aristocracy, like Orszag, Obama’s former head of OMB and now a vice chairman of global banking at Citigroup, gives helpful advice to the hoi polloi, run!

    “Frayed Tempers at G-20: Euro-Zone Leaders Tired of Criticism from Abroad” They’re rich. They’re corrupt. And they’re thin skinned. Is there anything less sympathetic than a whiney kleptocrat?

    Re Simon Johnson, the mission of our universities changed from educating the citizenry to providing bodies to corporate America. Now it has changed again to pure extraction by placing most who go to college into debt servitude and to pure validation of our elites and the kleptocrats they serve. As I have said before, kleptocracy is not just a lot of looting going on. It is the system which feeds, defends and rationalizes that looting.

  13. emptyfull

    Re: everything

    The winds of change are getting gusty and chaotic. What rough beast slouches towards Jerusalem now, determined to claw past the feeble resistence of the old?

    Goodbye long-twentieth century! We’re in for a whole new politics.

  14. SR6719

    Janitor Confronts Jamie Dimon: Why do you deny the people who clean your buildings a living wage?

    “Earlier today, following JP Morgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon’s testimony in front of the House Financial Institutions and Consumer Credit Committee regarding his company’s recent massive banking loss, Adriana Vasquez, a janitor who cleans the JP Morgan Chase tower in Houston, Texas confronted him with a simple question: “Despite making billions last year, why do you deny the people cleaning your buildings a living wage?”

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