Links 9/21/12

How the Sub-Saharan Cheetah Got Its Stripes: Californian Feral Cats Help Unlock Biological Secret Science Daily. John M highlighted the discussion at the end of Abyssinians.

Today, the Emoticon Turns 30 :-) Atlantic (furzy mouse)

People Can Be Tricked into Reversing Their Opinions on Morality Scientific American (Carol B)

Paris Apple staff may strike for iPhone 5 launch France24 (Swedish Lex)

EU in talks over Spanish rescue plan Financial Times

Obama officials’ spin on Benghazi attack mirrors Bin Laden raid untruths Glenn Greenwald

S.C. working poor share anger over Romney’s 47% remarks McClatchy

Why Do People Hate Teachers Unions? Because They Hate Teachers. Corey Robin (Carol B). This appears to be a generational change. My parents’ cohort respected teachers.

The New York Times bans quote approval Poynter. As Lambert stresses here, hype exceeds reality. See the last line of the post.

Reversing Trend, Life Span Shrinks for Some Whites New York Times (Swedish Lex). Lookin’ more and more like Russia….


The microscopic eye Stop Me Before I Vote Again (Carol B)

Rethinking Robert Rubin William Cohan, Businessweek (Barry Ritholtz). It’s taken this long to “rethink” him?

Nearing end of term, Obama’s snared no big Wall Street fish McClatchy

Behind the Scenes, Lawmakers Lobby to Curb Bank Rules New York Times

Beware the costs and psychology of QE3 Gillian Tett, Financial Times. Be sure to at least click over to read the first two paragraphs.

‘The Great American Tax Debate’ Misses the Point US News & World Report

One year on, what has been achieved? Economist. Better than damning with faint praise, but not by much. And it does plug the card deck.

JPMorgan Power-Trading Business Faces Suspension, FERC Says Bloomberg

Libor-Like Manipulation Possible in Benchmarks Around the World Bloomberg. Quelle surprise!

Sheila Bair and the bailout bank titans Fortune (Lisa Epstein)

The radical right-wing roots of Occupy Wall Street Maureen Tkacik, Reuters. A great piece.

The Waning of the Modern Ages Counterpunch (Carol B). Today’s must read.

* * *

lambert here:

Mission elapsed time: T + 14 and counting*

“The bigger the lie, the more they believe.” –The Wire, “More with Less”

Occupy. Police state: “Davis police officers who doused students and alumni with pepper spray during a campus protest last November won’t face criminal charges, prosecutors said Wednesday. [O]fficers perceived they were dealing with a hostile mob and needed to spray the protesters to clear a path to safety.” Anybody who’s watched the tape knows “clear a path to safety” pins the bogumeter. … Americans for Prosperity: “For an anti-Occupy Wall Street rally, the rhetoric was short on criticisms of the movement, save for AFP member Irene VanHattem. ‘They’re stupid, so stupid. They don’t understand that the power isn’t on Wall Street but in D.C.'” … Boring banks: “The Occupy Bank Working Group still hopes to create an alternative provider of financial services for people disaffected with, or neglected by, the existing banking system.”

Chicago teacher’s strike. The day after: “We see public schools across our city drained of resources, set up to fail and eventually closed, with all of the teachers — good and bad — laid off. Some of the closed schools become charter schools: private schools financed with public money, churning out private profit. Others become “turn-around” schools, reorganized around the latest educational fad.”

AK. Transparency: “[NOAA’s] proposed [fisheries] rule would improperly restrict public access to many types of fishery data central to the public’s ability to understand the management and performance of fisheries, including information generated from tax payer-funded science. ”

CA. Poverty: “Fresno, Modesto and Bakersfield-Delano areas are among the top five U.S. regions with the highest percentage of residents living below the poverty line.”

FL. Charters: “‘We should have had way more time to look for other schools for our kids,’ said Nicole Williams, whose son [attended] Eagle Charter Academy in Lauderdale Lakes, one of the three schools now closed. Also closing this week were the nearby SMART Charter School (run by the same company as Eagle Charter), and Touchdowns4life Charter School in Tamarac, which was founded by former Miami Dolphins running back Terry Kirby.” … Corruption: “The Broward County Commission, with only a single dissenting vote, decided last week to channel some $600,000 in unspent office funds into their own sweet individual discretionary funds to spread around their districts. That won’t quite amount to unfettered buckets of slush but it’s a start.”

IL. Jesse Jackson, Jr.: “Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. (D-Ill.) confirmed through a spokesman on Wednesday that he is selling his home here–the reason– to help pay for his health care. The home, a row house in the DuPont Circle neighborhood, is listed for $2.5 million.” If we had single payer–

MO. Dought: “[B]ig problems [for houses can be] caused by the drought: damage to foundations, basements and walls. “Basically what happens is the ground shrinks under the foundation,” [foreman Vern] Ganzer says. Settlement of foundations is normal over time, but the drought has turned soil into powdery crumbles.” …. Akin: “‘God has spoken: Todd is running,’ said one MO R strategist, granted anonymity to speak candidly. ‘Our loins are girded.'”

NC. Fracking: “‘More than half of Chatham County residents rely on private wells for their drinking water,’ said Sally Kost, Chatham County Commissioner. ‘As a county commissioner, I am concerned that as the drillers take their profits and leave NC, the cost of the cleanup will be passed on to the Chatham County taxpayer.'”

NH. Ballot access: “On September 20, the NH Ballot Law Commission put Virgil Goode on the ballot.”

NY. NYPL: “Last year fans of the New York Public Library’s main branch by Bryant Park (the Schwarzman Building, if you must) had a collective freakout when it was announced that NYPL president Anthony Marx wanted to move the stacks out of the glorious temple to books and ship them to New Jersey. Deep breath everybody, that isn’t going to happen anymore!” … Fracking: “DEC Commissioner Joe Martens has rejected the call by many environmentalists to hand off the review of the possible health impacts of hydrofracking to an outside group. Instead, DEC’s health impact analysis will be reviewed in-house, by the state Department of Health.”

OH. Unheard message: “The 52-foot statue of Christ returned to its familiar place overlooking Interstate 75 at Solid Rock Church with a different look. This one is a full-figure of Jesus with arms outstretched in front, unlike the former icon that burned to the ground after being struck by lightning in June 2010.”

OR. Coal: “In the Greater Portland area at least, the trains will run almost exclusively through low-income communities of color in North and Northeast Portland.”

PA. Mass incarceration: “At one point, protesters interrupted the program for seven minutes. Several groups unfurled banners and chanted against expanding the state prison system: ‘Fund education, not incarceration.”

TN. Undeserving poor: “Recipients of EBT cards in Chattanooga and Knoxville used their benefits at a strip club, a bar, a tobacco shop, malls, high-end clothing stores, hotels and other places where non-essential items are sold.” Right, because strip joints are only for convention delegates.

WA. Disemployment: “Washington state unexpectedly lost jobs last month for the first time this year, but economists disagreed over whether the slump represents a temporary blip or a stall in the recovery that could last until at least Election Day.” State figures are more volatile. But still.

Outside baseball. McKelvey’s theorem: A lemma: “Voting alone does not give the people any power! Just by voting, you can’t control anything. You also have to have a public discussion about political topics and this is what protest is about.” … Media critique: “[T]he right move here [on the 47% story] was to scrutinize Romney’s rhetoric. The Denver Post earns a laurel for doing just that. It’s a notable–and welcome–development to see a policy explainer dominate the front page of a metro newspaper.” More than 140 characters! … Parent triggers: “One of ALEC’s model laws is a ‘parent trigger’ bill.” … Aristotle: “David Simon shows, from The Wire to Treme and even Homicide, have at their essential heart the realization that politics is simply humanity writ large and noisy, and that every interaction between members of the human herd is essentially a political one. And, not for nothing, but that notion has a certain intellectual provenance in that Aristotle thought of it first” (Charles Pierce). Why we wade through the garbage.

The trail. Lesser evil: “If Ted Bundy were the Demolican candidate, and John Wayne Gacy the Republicrat— Well, a Gacy administration would certainly be better for women.” … Control of the Senate: “The Ds’ chances of controlling the Senate have increased to 79 percent in the forecast, up from 70 percent on Tuesday. The velocity of the change is unusual. But if the trend continues, the question may no longer be whether Rs can win the Senate — but how vulnerable they are to losing the House [(!!)]” (Nate Silver). … Swing state Keynsianism: “Obama and his team have been pulling every lever of the federal government, announcing initiatives aimed at critical constituenciesd, dispatching cabinet secretaries to competitive areas [etc.]” Is that the “President of all the people” part? Or some other part? … Swing state enthusiasm: “Voters in the 12 states USA Today and Gallup consider the key swing states that could decide the 2012 presidential election are now significantly more enthusiastic about voting this fall than they were in June. Six in 10 (59%) are either “extremely” or “very” enthusiastic, up from 46%. Voter enthusiasm in these states has grown among members of both political parties; however, Democrats’ level has increased more.” …. Youth: “Matt Ely, 25, who works two restaurant jobs as a server and a cook in Green Bay, WI., laments that even after a 53-hour workweek, he still lives ‘paycheck to paycheck.’ He is opposed to the R plan for tax cuts for upper income earners, but does not think D have good ideas, either. ‘They’re all a bunch of rich people that I really don’t feel like care about me anyway.'” … Polling: “Although there are exceptions on either side, like the Gallup national tracking poll, for the most part Obama seems to be getting stronger results in polls that use live interviewers and that include cellphones in their samples — enough to suggest that he has a clear advantage in the race.”

Grand Bargain™-brand Cat Food watch. “Fiscal cliff”: “The fiscal cliff is really the only legislative issue that’s even registering a blip on the radar of the government and corporate Washington right now. [S]erious legislating has completely stopped. Nothing substantive will happen before the election.” … Social Security: “Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and 28 other members of the 53-member Senate Democratic caucus have signed a letter opposing any cuts to Social Security as part of a deficit reduction package.” So lower the eligibility age, and not one penny of cuts to Medicare.

The Romney. Rats leaving ship: “Tim Pawlenty was named Thursday as president and CEO of the Financial Services Roundtable [and] will step down as a national co-chairman of Romney’s presidential campaign to assume the new role, which will formally begin November 1.” … Because it’s a circus! “The John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art has been accused of violating its rental policy by allowing Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney to hold a campaign rally on the museum’s grounds today.” … That secret video: “Off to the side, behind a serving table, was a video camera. The white-gloved waitstaff didn’t know the camera was there – or didn’t care – because waiters stopped in front of it to put down a decanter of red wine, or pick up what appeared to be champagne” (PT). … Air war: “Citizens United has struck a deal with a dozen television stations to run its hour-long film [The Hope and the Change] featuring voters disaffected with President Barack Obama. The movie will run in its 60-minute entirety in an agreement with six cable networks, along with local stations in LA, CO, IN, and HI. It will reach 130 million homes, according to Citizens United, coupled with advertising dollars about the movie on cable networks.” Also too royalties! … Losing the political class: “[ROMNEY:] The president today threw in [#1] the white flag of surrender again, His slogan was [#2] ‘Yes, we can.’ His slogan now is ‘No, I can’t.‘” Except for the WSJ, I’m seeing more quotes of the wooden and tone-deaf #1 than of the deft and snarky #2, which also has the merit of being in the same hemisphere as the truth. … Percentages: “My campaign is about the 100 percent of America.” Only 100%? Why not 110%?

The Obama. Hold his feet to the fire: “And even if Obama is reelected, more hard work begins after Inauguration Day — when we must push him to be tougher on the Rs than he was in his first term, and do what the nation needs” (Robert Reich). … The new normal: “Ds in Washington and beyond said Obama was simply telling the truth [at last!]. Mr. Hope and Change hasn’t changed Washington, they agreed, but explaining why not and urging Americans to work together to finally make change happen is a way to inspire voters to take ownership of this election. Stop pining for John F. Kennedy, for Nelson Mandela. Just grind out a win and get ready for four more years of the same.” Hope and change was bait and switch, then? … The Arab Spring: “[OBAMA: ] “We cannot replace the tyranny of a dictator with the tyranny of a mob.” … “I’ve learned”: I love the way Obama keeps saying “I’ve learned” (“I’ve learned some lessons”; “one of the things I’ve learned as President“; “one of the things I’ve learned is you can’t do that.” So all the suffering has been our investment in Obama’s on-the-job training. Good to know. Life has meaning at last! … Authoritarian followership: Godwin’s Law creepy (VastLeft).

* Slogan of the day: A plow makes the furrow but The Romney will defend it!

* * *

Antidote du jour (martha r from Facebook (gasp) “rivers in the ocean”):

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    1. Claire

      A night in the Tombs of Manhattan over an unpaid speeding ticket…

      This is a good article, thanks for linking to it.

    1. Richard Kline

      Berman’s lenghty thought piece—deconstruction Naomi Klein!—is so meaty it rather demands a post of its own. Since I’m late to this, I’ll not dig into that at length I regret, unless there is follow-up here at NC. I largely concur with his central points, while differing with some of the peripheral insights, refining though those peripheral insights, as I would, frames the situation and its outcomes with markedly different emphases. Here are a few concerns:

      Capitalism isn’t about to die. Corporate capitalism, perhaps; market capitalism is growing ever more pervasive.

      The duration of modernity is not going to conclude it’s arc ‘in 2100.’ Yes, it is an arc; yes, that arc will conclude. Not on that schedule, quite, and the why, when, and how of the conclusion are significant to evaluating ‘what is to be done.’

      All our present ills are linked in the main, yes. This is why piecemeal, band-aid reforms will have little impact. That doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be pursued, but no one should have the illusion that a lot of little do-gooding will cumulate to a better society in present circumstances; it won’t. These are palliaties not antitoxins.

      Secession, in the social sense not in the geo-political one, is the first best strategy. Though this can be pursued in tandem with advocating and enacting reformist programs so long as priorities are managed. —But from where I sat amidst it, that was very much an intrinsic perspective at the Occupations of last year. Oh, I agree with Berman that many in the movement wanted the American Dream to manifest itself as they’d been sold and told, with the proviso that there was patently _no_ overarching shared creed of the Occupy Moment, so we shouldn’t pretend it was all anything. But the ‘drop out of the Big Lie’ vibe was intrinsic to dropping in on an Occupation, and it’s my view that ‘sense memory’ will endure over the next years.

      . . . Berman’s _single_ piece has so much more to it, is worth so much more as a source of analysis, than THIS ENTIRE ROTTEN ELECTORAL CYCLE that it’s not funny. Would that we expunge every pixel purposed to this ‘liection’ and spend a week picking over the concepts in Berman . . . .

    1. Richard Kline

      And a quote from Tkacik’s piece: “Randians are usually repressing some fundamental part of their humanity, and he was no longer repressing that. So overall he was just a lot happier. I know our relationship improved a lot,” his son Karl Hess Jr. remembers. “Without question his ability to be human evolved considerably as he moved to the left.”

      Of truer words were seldom spoken . . . .

  1. K Ackermann

    The Waning was indded a great article, but so many people will dismiss it at some level or another.

    But consider this: when Romney expressed his views on the 47%, he said they felt a sense of entitlement. Who was he talking to? Did he say it to people who don’t feel entitled, or did he say it to a room full of those who believe they are rightfully entitled?

    In the face of calamity on the scale the article alludes, who will feel they are entited to a lifeboat? What if that lifeboat takes the form of a reset… a do-over for humanity where disposing of 9 out of 10 people looks to be attractive. Want to kick up some dust to cool things off? Who has the launch codes and the hollow mountains full of food and medicine?

        1. Doug Terpstra

          Creepy is right. Pledge allegiance to Barack Obama. Write it on your hand before your place it reverently over your heart. Better yet, have it tattooed in a special place.

          It reminds me of a Mormon worship service with testimonials of faith to the Prophet Joseph Smith.

  2. Jim Haygood

    From Spiegel:

    Greece’s lenders are reportedly considering further relief in the form of a partial debt haircut for the crisis-wracked country, the Financial Times Deutschland reported on Friday.

    Citing unnamed “euro-zone sources,” the paper said the focus was on bilateral loans from the currency union’s first bailout program for the country, the nearly €53-billion ($69 billion) Greek Loan Facility, which ran from May 2010 to the end of 2011. “There is a discussion,” a high-level official told the paper.

    Martin Blessing, chairman of Germany’s second-largest bank, Commerzbank, has also said a second debt haircut is likely. “In the end we will see another debt haircut for Greece, in which all creditors will take part,” he said on Thursday in Frankfurt.

    Now, the IMF is pushing for debt restructuring from public lenders, who currently hold over two-thirds of the country’s total debt of some €330 billion, according to the newspaper. However, neither the IMF nor the ECB would take part in such a debt haircut, placing the burden on the euro-zone members, the paper added.

    Haven’t we seen this movie before? Actually, no — we weren’t born yet. But the prototype of Greece’s plight was acted out in the aftermath of the Great War. Woody Wilson and his posse of American banksters, with large loans outstanding to Europe, waltzed into Versailles and backstopped French demands that ‘le Boche paiera!’

    Germany was tagged with war reparations amounting to about 900% of its GDP. Even servicing the interest at a 3 percent yield would take 30% of GDP, an absurd number. But politicians are ever eager to challenge the laws of mathematics to a punch-up, which they invariably lose. Not until 1932 were German reparations slashed to a fraction of their original value.

    In Greece, a private-sector debt haircut which left Greece in depression and STILL shouldering debt of 120% of GDP obviously wasn’t going to work.

    Meanwhile, anyone with a calculator can verify that haircutting €53 billion of bilateral debt from a total debt of €330 billion isn’t going to do the trick either. This would amount to little more than giving the Greeks free postage stamps to mail in their agreed-upon payments.

    Maybe in 15 or 20 years the IMF and ECB will come down off their high horses and admit that their holdings of Greek debt are flat-out uncollectible.

    Trouble is, a couple of decades is a significant chunk of a human lifespan. Kids grow up, adults grow old, and there’s no exit from a destroyed, indebted economy. Maybe that’s why the Greeks invented tragedy.

    1. Bert_S

      Of course now Draghi has told the bond markets that in the case of Spain and Italy and…, they won’t have “senior” bailout funds anymore and going forward everyone, including the ECB and IMF and sovereign bailout funds, can participate equally in future haircuts.

      The markets go wild…

  3. Joe

    RE:People Can Be Tricked into Reversing Their Opinions on Morality

    This doesnt really mean anything. The people argued for the inverse of what they said, because they were caught in a know psychological mechanism called a consistency trap where they are trying to stand by what they (thought) they wrote.

    1. Garrett Pace

      I thought the same thing. And this is revealing:

      “About half of the participants did not detect the changes, and 69% accepted at least one of the altered statements.”

      It tells me that many of the subjects did not take the evaluation seriously.

      Anyway, the ability to seriously consider multiple sides of an issue is a good thing, not a bad one.

        1. synopticist

          Yeah, agreed.
          if all the statements are like this… ” “Large-scale governmental surveillance of e-mail and Internet traffic ought to be forbidden as a means to combat international crime and terrorism,” , and “the word ‘forbidden’ was replaced with ‘permitted’ in the hidden statement.”… then most people will have a nuanced view somewhere in between “forbidden” and “permitted” on a thorny topic like that. it’s possible that people genuinelly forgot which extreme position they supposedly supported.

  4. LeeAnne

    TM, thank you. This diary of a few days in the life of a victim of NYPD is a public service. Something MSM should be doing. I’d been aware of a vacuum in reporting from people who have been jailed for minor infractions off the city streets. Its all in the details.

    We need more reports like this from people who’ve been detained by police while literally minding their own business.

    This is a gulag by a variety of other names. Without rule of law and this horrendous “War” that’s been declared by the same corporate state that also owns the media, wauthorities are not answerable to the public at large; let alone to those who are detained. It’s called Marshall Law, folks!!!!

    No wonder police authorities in this country demand the right to limit applicants to those with IQs of less than 100, and the Courts let them get away with it. How else would police/military authorities find citizens susceptible to the kind of programming it takes to get workers to operate against their fellow citizens like this. You have to be totally ignorant of peoples’ rights and our CONSTITUTION to behave this way.

    Fomer NYPD and NYPD retirees should be up in arms over this stuff.

  5. mmm shit sandwich nom nom nom

    “Enthusiastic about voting.” Intriguing, given that polls are propaganda. Naturally, the result would have to be lots of enthusiasm. Enthusiasm is a safe, non-pejorative term. But this is the closest approach yet to the touchy topic of public acceptance of our pretend democracy. It will be fun to compare this blaring Wurlitzer to the media attention given to the World Values Survey when it reports on question V228:

    V228. In your view, how often do the following things occur in this country’s elections?Very often / Fairly often / Not often / Not at all often / DK/NA
    V228A.Votes are counted fairly
    V228B. Opposition candidates are prevented from running
    V228C. TV news favors the governing party
    V228D. Voters are bribed
    V228E. Journalists provide fair coverage of elections
    V228F. Election officials are fair
    V228G. Rich people buy elections
    V228H. Voters are threatened with violence at the polls
    V228I. Voters are offered a genuine choice in the elections

    1. ex-PFC Chuck

      I got a spam e-mail this morning that was allegedly from Lambert. The subject line read “Re,” and the body contained only a link to some work at home scam. It appears that his address book may have been hacked.

      1. Lambert Strether

        These are unrelated, “when sorrows come, they come not as single spies but as battalions”-type events.

        Yes, my email got hacked. As if I would write “wow check this out” without irony….

  6. kevinearick

    As we have learned, after popping history off the stack, which we should have known, and the old timers do know, is that the root, the glue that holds the empire, and the Wall Street blob together, is none other than practical explicit civil marriage, the Family Law common between capital and middle class, which undermines labor at every turn of the economic screw, to threshold, 15% return in this iteration, when it is projected forward.

    in the empire, true love is psychologically beaten out of females from birth, by their own mothers, who were subjected to the same process, because the associated penalties are everywhere woven into the blob. See Romeo&Juliet vs Titanic.

    from a logical, incremental perspective, turning the economy back on is a simple matter of changing that bit. But, from the quantum emotional threshold perspective, the process is wee bit more difficult, as those who have found love, when they naturally least suspected it, can testify. We are reachin the threshold, however, in a top down (age) and bottom up positive feedback loop to semi-permeable middle class ignition, because that is the one and only way to turn the real economy back on. food, sex, money and power will not unlock the door to a real man’s heart.

    But you go ahead and prove me wrong.

    1. kevinearick

      When it comes to women, we lool for faith, determination and perseverence in the face of fear, empire projection of fear, in the form of an “all powerful” church state.

      when it comes to war, we build the bomb, the middle class, so capital drops it on itself.

      all is fair in love and war…

      1. kevinearick

        Our children must see the empire before the sophists see them, which is not difficult, if you think, ahead of empire time.

  7. jjmacjohnson

    Interesting article by Morris Berman. I think he is right about America and our direction. The criticism of Occupy and the Left is off base in the sense that they expect or are angered when these movements don’t do the work or carry the ideas they believe in. Like Hedges it is easier to complain and critic then to be the one organizing. I do not see them very day in the streets fighting for their cause. Going door to door. That is the hard part that they wont do. Not one day but every day.

    Is it that these movements do not follow them?

    1. DiamondJammies

      Berman is an interesting writer. But he makes 2 big mistakes, imo.

      1. He lumps all U.S. Americans together, blaming both the victimizers and the victims, which is a mean-spirited, bordering on misanthropic, approach to the situation in which we find ourselves in this country.

      2. Like Hedges and many petty bourgeois left liberal intellectuals, he marks a retreat from history and human emancipation by disavowing the most important thing that capitalism has given us, which is the means for self-emancipation, i.e. the emancipation of the toilers from toil, through the exponential development of the productive forces of society.

      His retreat from a global, interconnected economy is fundamentally a retreat from a global, interconnected humanity, a retreat from the project of realizing the ideal of one human family (with lots of variation!) living together peacefully on a beautiful blue Earth without borders. He thus rejects the cosmopolitan spirit of the human species in favor of a petty bourgeois localism, giving into the pessimism and, ultimately, irrationalism that is the hallmark of a class in decline. Berman’s attitude is thus reactionary in a fundamental sense, and suggests a failure to properly cope with and draw the right conclusions about the massive changes the world is going through.

      Berman looks at this late-capitalist world one-sidedly, and expresses very instinctively the anxiety of his class position as a petty bourgeois intellectual. Instead of seeing the potential for liberation through the development of the productive forces, he sees only the results of their current use within the profit system, i.e. within horror of the awful capitalist present. Intead of fighting to complete the modernist project by throwing in his lot with the only class capable of doing so, the working class, he puts forth a vision unmistakably stamped with the sullenness that naturally belongs to that class which is incapable of putting forth its own independent vision of society, the petty bourgeoisie, expressing this disenchantment with nothing less than a call to turn back human history to the golden age of the yeoman farmer, the age when this class without a future still had a future.

      1. YouDon'tSay?

        Human emancipation through the many virtuous wonders of global capitalism? SURELY you jest! As you said, “imo.” I’ll take Berman’s anytime, thank you very much.

          1. DiamondJammies

            But it is true that this construction is only possible on the basis of the exponential development of the productive forces that has occured under capitalism.

            A new mode of production don’t come out of nowhere. The material ground for it is prepared by previous modes of production.

  8. Steve Roberts

    Thankfully, I don’t think that most people hate teachers or look down on them at all. I have many friends who are grade school teachers and I don’t think any of them feel they are looked down upon for their profession.

    “In my childhood world, grown ups basically saw teachers as failures and fuck-ups. ” That’s an indictment on those parents, not society as a whole. I can tell you my parents didn’t look down on my teachers.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      I saw something on LinkTV last night.

      They talked about how students were taught, something about today, our schools are set up like factories, with different departments and products produced in batches, in this case, grouping students by age when they grow up and learn at different rates. And we produce them to meet the needs of our industrialized world.

      I was like, hmm, ok, yeah, hmm.

      Then there is this interesting bit. Something about divergent thinking, which the narrator said was different from creativity. Divergent thinking is the ability to look at things from various perspectives.

      I thought to myself, is he talking about looking at the world as a liberal, as a progressive, as a conservative, as a reactionary all at the same time? Would that be divergent, non-linear?

      In any case, he continued with a story about a study someone did in which they found preschoolers were 98% genius divergent thinkers, but as they tracked the same subjects over the years, as these kids received more ‘education,’ fewer and fewer were able to stay as genius divergent thinkers.

      I think he mentioned this having something to do with the fact that the students (meaning us all) were taught that there was only one answer and it’s in the back of the book…also something about each student is on his/her own, not supposed to talk to other students, etc.

      It was at this moment that I woke up. I said to the TV screen (as there wais no one else around to hear me, not Zen related, by the way), ‘Yes, but there is more!’

      I continued my harrangue to the TV screen: ‘It’s not just about there being more than one answers, but it’s more important to ask questions than to have answers. Teachers should grade the quality of questions the students interrogate them with at the end of the semester to judge how deeply a studnet has mastered the subject. A student receives an A grade when he/she can terrify the teacher with questions so puzzling that they drive the teacher insane.’

      1. Bert_S

        “A student receives an A grade when he/she can terrify the teacher with questions so puzzling that they drive the teacher insane.”

        But isn’t that the point when the teacher starts answering in Zen koans?

      2. MLS

        Really interesting comment, and I especially enjoyed this part:

        “Teachers should grade the quality of questions the students interrogate them with at the end of the semester to judge how deeply a studnet has mastered the subject.”

        I’ve always been impressed with people who ask great questions, as it is a sign (to me, anyway) of not only genuine curiousity, but also intelligence (knowing what to ask) and humility (I don’t know everything, let me learn from you).

        Personally, I strive for this approach of asking lots of good questions but it is difficult at times.

  9. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    There is a Zen saying, ‘Scoop up water, the moon is in your hands.’

    Is our vegetarian Zen tiger meditatig on the same or on his next meal?

  10. drugstoreblonde

    Berman’s Waning of the Modern Ages article is spot-on.

    I’m not too familiar with the Annales School, but Berman’s article has a nice ‘residual-emergent bend to it’.


    ‘If capitalism had residual feudalism with an emergent system relocating power from land to money…’

  11. M.InTheCity

    Yves – re your comment on teachers: “This appears to be a generational change. My parents’ cohort respected teachers.”

    I couldn’t agree more. This seemed to happen sometime in the late 80s actually (or at least it was visible in a small town in the Midwest then). My sister is only 4 years older than me (born in the early 70s), yet if a teacher had gone to one of the parents and noted that a kid was having behavour issues, the parents would have taken it up and taken care of the issue. Get to my cohort and it was a younger set of parents – and they had no respect for education as a way to engage thought much less would they care about their kids learning much. It was quite a sea-change and difficult for my parents(and me) to navigate through.

  12. Valissa

    E-Mail Privacy Reform Vote Postponed Until After Elections
    A Senate committee on Thursday delayed until after the November elections whether to approve sweeping digital privacy protections requiring the government, for the first time, to get a probable-cause warrant to obtain e-mail and other content stored in the cloud.

    The move by the Senate Judiciary Committee to table considering the first meaningful rewrite of the 1986 Electronic Communications Privacy Act comes as law enforcement urged the committee to evaluate how crime fighting would be impacted under what would be the biggest advance to digital privacy following the act’s original adoption during the President Ronald Reagan administration.

  13. jjmacjohnson

    The Gothamist’s snarky writing is once again an insult to all. Especially all of those who actually read and use the library in NYC.

  14. Garrett Pace

    Waning of the Modern Age, first sentence:

    “La longue durée —the long run—was an expression made popular by the Annales School of French historians led by Fernand Braudel, who coined the phrase in 1958.”

    What? Did he coin it in French? Keynes:

    “The long run is a misleading guide to current affairs. In the long run we are all dead.”

    He wrote that in 1923.

    Is the rest of this article worth reading?

    1. JTFaraday

      When I read history I only look back to the day before, (sometimes). Why should anyone care about the past? /s

  15. Lambert Strether

    Money quote from SMBIVA:

    If Ted Bundy were the Demolican candidate, and John Wayne Gacy the Republicrat… Well, a Gacy administration would certainly be better for women.

    Ding ding ding ding ding!

  16. kevinearick

    A laborer is always at war, and others are always late.

    love is war, for the hearts and minds of a nation.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Wasn’t there a shy, vegetarian shepherd who once said, ‘make love to animals, not war?’

  17. jsmith

    Regarding Waning article:

    More of the same scaredy-cat pabulum from those on the Left still afraid to mention anything philosophically significant.

    Not one mention of the word Marx in an entire article dedicated to the end of capitalism and the crisEs that would entail?

    Only one mention of socialism – attributed to the Right (eco-socialism)- in an article that calls for the systemic sharing of wealth and resources and leveling of human “playing field”?

    This article and all the mentions the author makes to Naomi Klein show that even those most consipicuously critical of the degraded system we live under STILL don’t have the guts to allude to, cite or mention the works of Marx and socialism which correctly predicted where we would be today 150 years ago.

    What, too afraid of being stigmatized?

    Too afraid of the withholding of a paycheck from your capitalist employers?

    Too afraid of having your tenure revoked?

    Instead, authors like Berman would seemingly have us create an entirely new paradigm from the ground up to battle the evils of capitalism because – well – captitalism says that socialism has failed so – shucks – I guess we’d better do what captialism has told us, huh?

    Wouldn’t it just be easier and faster to just use – whisper – Marxism and socialism?


    Articles like Berman’s are nice sounding, pathetic and “safe” nonsense just like Obama and any other embodiment of “change” or “oppostion” that the capitalist machine creates to mollify the “left” and leave it to suck on its own fingers and diddle its diaper.

    At this rate we’ll start having an adult conversation about Marx and socialism – oh – around 2050, huh?

    Remember: baby steps.

    1. SR6719


      Love your comments, but before this, the last one I remember was back in August, when you posted those articles Chris Hedges had written for the NY Times. Hope all is well.

    2. DiamondJammies

      Yes, but Berman is not a Marxist. He’s a left liberal.

      I doubt the problem is that he’s a afraid of losing his job. He’s a freelance writer living in Mexico, I believe. He sells a good number of books. He writes articles for the left alternative press.

      I suspect the fundamental problem is that he adopts the vacillating class perspective common to the petty bourgeoisie, unwilling or unable to do the work necessary to fully reject capitalism and the bourgeoisie and to come over to the side of the workers and socialism.

      1. DiamondJammies

        In other words, I don’t think it’s insincerity or cynicism on Berman’s part, which is what I think you’re suggesting.

  18. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Paris Apple staff may strike for iPhone5 launch.

    I think it would be prudent for Apple to have a backup plan, something like iPhone 4-1/2 ready just in case.

  19. Herman Sniffles

    “What lies ahead is largely unknown, and to have to hover over an abyss for a long time is, to put it colloquially, a bit of a drag.”

    God.No wonder I feel kind of crappy this morning.

  20. nobody

    I liked the piece by Moe Tkacik but she’s wrong to say that “[t]he first guy to call the 99 percent to arms was the author of a speech that claimed: ‘Extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice’.” Smedley Butler, in 1933:

    We are divided, in America, into two classes: The Tories on one side, a class of citizens who were raised to believe that the whole of this country was created for their sole benefit, and on the other side, the other 99 per cent of us…

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      That’s a nice bit of research.

      We should humble ourselves that what we can say might have already been said long before.

      Maybe this has been pointed out before as well – in a better world, it’s not divided into the 99% versus the the 1%, nor the 99.99% vs. the 0.01%.

      In that slightly better world, it is divided into those who divide the day into 4 four parts:

      8am – 5 pm: unhappy hours
      5pm – 6 pm: happy hour
      6pm – 12 minight: unhappy hours
      midnite – 8am: unconsious hours

      and those who divide the day into 2 parts:

      7am – 11pm: conscious hours
      11pm – 7am: unconscious hours

    2. Susan the other

      I really liked Tkacik on Karl Hess too. I’d never heard of him but I certainly remember his words (extremism in the defense of liberty…). What an unlikely progenitor of Occupy’s mantra. Some things are to still love: the flexibility of ideology, and Barry Goldwater too, mostly for his love of the environment.

  21. Doug Terpstra

    Egad, Lambert! Please tell me that is an Onion gag site. It’s surreal, way too creepy, like an alternate universe’s answer to the disciples of Joseph Smith. That’s potent Kool-aid. Shudder.

    In other selection-related news, Reuters reports that the EC-ECB-IMF troika has delayed its report on Greek debt until after the US selections.

    “‘It’s likely the troika report will be pushed back beyond the U.S. election date,’ said a Berlin official who spoke on condition of anonymity. Asked if that was a special request from Washington, he replied: ‘They don’t want any surprises.'”

    “‘The Obama administration doesn’t want anything on a macroeconomic scale that is going to rock the global economy before Nov. 6,’ a senior EU official told Reuters, adding that previous troika reports had also slipped.
    Several sources in Germany said top officials in Washington had made clear in numerous conversations with their German and European counterparts that they would prefer no surprises before the tightly contested election.”

    “Tightly contested”?! At the second coming, every knee shall bend and every head shall bow. What interesting times we live in; I never thought I’d see it in my lifetime.

    1. Bert_S

      The Onion is the only place to get real news anymore.

      Speaking of surreal, the Tea Party really believes O is a Lefty that he is making us turn communist. At least that’s what my Tea party buddy just got done telling me.

      But our Admin putting the EU on our election schedule is a real gem. And they listen to us?

      All hell is going to break loose on Nov 7 when O tells the world they can go back to doing whatever they were doing. We find out Greece is broke, Germany doesn’t want to bail out the periphery, the US economy is bad, China is not buying the western world’s exports, Israel nukes Iran, and HFT robots are allowed to SELL.

      1. Doug Terpstra

        The Tea Party is stuck in a bizarre Wonderland rabbit hole of cognitive dissonance, by design I am certain. Promoting a downside-up, outside-in, turvy-topsy narrative of the ultra-corporatist warmonger Obama as Marxist Muslim is just way too unnaturally weird to stem from anything but Koch-fertilized Astroturf roots. It is too inorganic, designed expressly to sow confusion, division, and fear — the propagandists’ ever-reliable weapons.

        The globally-centrally-planned market and rigged US [s]elections are now so glaringly obvious that they all but ensure a massive post-selection “event” – a new war, the death of Social Security, overt Shock Doctrine fascism, etc.. Most ominous, so close to the election, is the conspicuous, deafening silence of both the Tea Party and the Romney campaign to the Criminal Reserve’s pre-selection announcement of MBS QE-ternity as well as the IMF-ECB Greek debt cover-up — both of which are obvious, brazen electioneering tactics. Yet there is barely a peep from the “opposition”, when in the known universe, any campaign consultant and/or the RNC would be screaming bloody murder in a media and advertising blitzkreig. Yet we hear nothing but crickets.

        It’s hard to imagine why Romney would be taking so quiet a fall in November, but all the flags are there. Does Mitt have a Bob Dole-type deal to peddle Viagra after the election? Or Has Bain Capital cut a deal for exclusive concessions in the coming Iran war? After all, war profiteering is always where the real money is. Ask Dick Cheney.

  22. Jim

    Some comments about the Morris Berman article:

    I believe Berman is an expat now living somewhere in Mexico.

    The collapse of the Soviet Union was the historical discrediting of the Left’s alternative paradigm which to this day is not really discussed.

    Why did this alternative paradigm fail so miserably?

    I believe that Berman might be on to something when he calls for the construction of a new alternative paradigm.

    One problem with such a project for the progressive community is its continuing reliance on theoretical frames which are obsolete. For example, most of the commentary on NC continues to assume, in my opinion incorrectly, that the increasingly concentrated and hierarchical powers of the modern surveillance state could somehow be mobilized for our liberation if only the modern State was not a pawn of Big Finance and Big Capital.

    Yet it may be more historically accurate to assume that the American State was never a mere pawn of Big Capital but was instead an autonomous force in its own right with its own set of interests and that these interests, in fact, helped to create modern finance capital.

    From my readings it appears that the American State, during the Civil War, was actually instrumental in strengthening the power of the then just emerging institutions of finance capital, when the Union opted to float an enormous national debt which succeeded in supporting and then making more powerful a then dependent financial class to manage the debt servicing (i.e. see the history of J. Cooke and Company and its relation to the U.S. Treasury in 1861-1862).

    Civil war mobilization and funding helped to create Big Finance as it simultaneously destroyed Big slave holders.

    The vested interests which must be challenged in an economic and political sense are the hierarchical bureaucratic structures of both Big Capital and Big State which are the now entwined foundations of modern power and the institutionalized structures most responsible for modifying our cultural norms.

    Berman is also correct to point to the necessity of modifying our individual psychological vested interests.

    Again this is a topic which is rarely discussed by the Progressive community because it does not neatly fit into their outmoded economic determinism.

    The progressive community should begin to take a closer look at the process of socialization and the possibility of developing methods and techniques for truly understanding this dynamic—which is a huge project in itself and one which the New Left of the 1960s failed at miserably when they believed they were creating a “counter-culture” which ended up duplicating the status-quo.

    1. JTFaraday

      I don’t know. I find that article a little elusive. I think he just did a big file dump of every large scale issue he could think of, got in over his head, and dumped it on the market anyway.

      He also cited at least three of his own books. Pimping himself around town in the crisis market, as it were–despite his oft expressed distaste for… just this sort of thing, when anyone else does it.

      I guess the junk he peddles is always going to be better than the junk China peddles, and that’s just all there is to it.

      So much for his anti-individualist posture.

  23. Peter Pinguid Society

    After several hours of poking around into what makes Megan McArdle tick, Gladys (my research assistant here at the Peter Pinguid Society) was able to dig up the following information:

    After several months of eating at various Washington, D.C Burger King restaurants, former writer and editor at The Atlantic, Megan McArdle has succeeded in collecting all six 10 oz, Star Wars glasses, according to an article that is due to be published in the next issue of the Atlantic Monthly.

    “I have collected all six,” McArdle said. “I have Han, Luke, C-3P0, Lando, Leia and Darth Vader. There are no more to collect.”

    James Bennet (Atlantic monthly editor-in-chief) said he was equally excited about McArdle’s accomplishment. “We are pleased that Megan decided to collect all six. We have been encouraging her to collect all six ever since she joined the Atlantic Monthly.

    “As someone who enjoys Star Wars, Burger King, collecting and quality, and dishwasher-safe glassware, I could not resist this offer,” said Megan.

    “It was a successful collection, in that I now have all six,” McArdle concluded. “When you think about it, there are no more for me to collect.”

    (We are the Peter Pinguid Society, we are the 0.01 percent)

    1. Peter Pinguid Society

      My research assistant also discovered this (in case you missed it on yesterday’s Project SHAME thread):

      It turns out that Megan McArdle used to be a man named Brent, that is, until she had Koch-Funded Sex Reassignment Surgery (KFSRS).

      It seems that Brent’s [a.k.a. Megan’s] problems began back in high school when he turned down his classmate Lola Stone’s invitation to go dancing with her at the Prom:

      1. Peter Pinguid Society

        Thanks, however I forgot to mention that Major Funding for the Peter Pinguid Society is provided by the John D. and the Catherine T. skippy Foundation and by Ms G, so I hope there’s no conflict of interest.

        1. skippy

          Hay… wheres my polo shirt with hand embroidery “Peter Pinguid Society Motto” — What little people? —

          skippy… my CPA is howling for paper work… chop… chop…

        2. Ms G

          Supporter Ms G. is existentially conflicted, so there is no conflict of interest.

          Echoing Skippy’s questions about the t-shirts!

          Peter Pinguid you are a pamphlet-press all of your own — and I’m so grateful.

  24. ScottS

    From :

    Enforcing consumer protections by gathering information for investigations
    from The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau by Peter Jackson

    The mission of the CFPB is to ensure compliance with federal consumer financial laws through effective enforcement of those laws. When the Office of Enforcement needs to gather information, it may issue a Civil Investigative Demand (CID) to people and institutions that may have materials relevant to an investigation. The law that created the CFPB gives us the authority to gather information this way, and several other federal agencies have similar processes.

    We carefully consider what to request in each Civil Investigative Demand. A recipient of a CID may challenge a CID by petitioning the CFPB’s Director. The Director can respond in three ways: he can reaffirm our decision to obtain the information, modify the demand, or set it aside altogether. Director Cordray issued his first ruling on a petition this week. He ordered PHH Corporation, a mortgage lending company, to comply with the Civil Investigative Demand within 21 days.

    Although we do not generally comment on confidential law enforcement investigations, we’re committed to telling the public what we can, when we can, about our work to protect consumers. That’s why our rules relating to investigations say that when someone challenges a Civil Investigative Demand and the Director responds, these are generally public records. We will generally post them on our website when we can.

    What is this weak-tea BS?

    I’ve taken the liberty of translating this from weasel words into English:

    The mission of the CFPB is to ensure compliance with federal consumer financial laws through effective enforcement of those laws. [That shouldn’t be hard, there are none. The FHFA, as in Yves’ post just hours ago showed, is actively sabotaging what few consumer financial protection laws there are. And what is “effective enforcement”? Is that different than enforcement-enforcement?] When the Office of Enforcement needs to gather information [E.g., banks found manipulating LIBOR and look like they’re getting away with it] it may issue a Civil Investigative Demand (CID) [Civil as opposed to rude (or, perish the thought, criminal), Investigative as in we will investigate purported wrong-doing and find no evidence, and demand as in asking you to give us evidence that you’re a criminal, and definitely don’t shred it wink-wink] to people and institutions that may have materials relevant to an investigation. The law that created the CFPB gives us the authority to gather information this way, and several other federal agencies have similar processes. [“Several agencies” means each can claim authority and then sit on it until the statue of limitations runs out in order to prevent another agency from accomplishing anything.]

    We carefully consider what to request in each Civil Investigative Demand. [We wouldn’t want to accidentally uncover any criminality.] A recipient of a CID may challenge a CID by petitioning the CFPB’s Director. [See why we didn’t appoint Elizabeth Warren? She would have been mean to banksters.] The Director can respond in three ways: he can reaffirm our decision to obtain the information, modify the demand, or set it aside altogether. Director Cordray issued his first ruling on a petition this week. He ordered PHH Corporation, a mortgage lending company, to comply with the Civil Investigative Demand within 21 days. [We will continue chasing small fish until the economy recovers, at which point we will sit on our hands.]

    Although we do not generally comment on confidential law enforcement investigations, we’re committed to telling the public what we can, when we can, about our work to protect consumers. [We are the whitewash department, after all.] That’s why our rules relating to investigations say that when someone challenges a Civil Investigative Demand and the Director responds, these are generally public records. We will generally post them on our website when we can. [“Generally” meaning whenever it’s politically advantageous. Our work will be best enjoyed from the viewpoint of Fox News where we will be branded as job-killing socialists, then promptly back away from actually enforcing any “laws”! Lap it up, suckas!]

  25. gordon

    The Gillian Tett piece is quite right, IMO, to query the likely effectiveness of QE3, especially how it is supposed to work. It’s also basically aligned with what Prof. Krugman has been saying for a long time – the proper response is fiscal, not monetary. But that doesn’t stop Prof. K. from taking a pot-shot at her:

    It looks like the well-known conscientious liberal gets dazzled by his commitment to the Democratic Party once every four years.

  26. Glenn Condell

    Aust local councils prevail v Lehmann

    FEDERAL Court has found the Australian arm of failed Wall Street bank Lehman Brothers breached its fiduciary duty advising a group of local councils and charities to take little more than a ”sophisticated bet,” and has ordered millions of dollars in compensation be paid.

    In a landmark decision, the Federal Court found the firm – previously called Grange Securities – was conflicted in its duty to give sound financial advice to the councils ”and its own interest in earning very large fees or profits” in its sales of investments known as synthetic collateralised debt obligations.

    In making his findings, Justice Steven Rares also slammed the federal government for replacing the ”elegantly simple” rules against misleading and deceptive conduct contained in the old Trade Practices Act with ”a labyrinth of statutes”.

    The ruling now paves the way for dozens of councils, charities and church groups to recoup more than $200 million from the liquidator of Lehman Brothers Australia.

    ”Grange is liable to compensate the councils for their losses incurred as a result of their investments,” Justice Rares said in his findings.

    The class action involving 72 councils and charities, and led by Wingecarribee and Parkes council in New South Wales and Western Australia’s City of Swan, was brought against the liquidators of Lehman.

    All purchased synthetic collateralised debt obligations, or SCDOs, from – and on the recommendation – of the Australian arm of the collapsed investment bank.

    The councils thought they were investing in low-risk investments, but the instruments, which turned toxic as the financial crisis hit, had exposure to pools of debt, comprising of high-risk US subprime mortgages, car loans or credit card debt.

    Justice Rares said investments were ”highly complex financial instruments, underpinned by equally complex, and at points arcane, legal documentation to give them effect”.

    1. skippy

      Yippee! And it looks like more will come on the C/REMBS shite too! That 500 individual document drop done in the senate, every single page a fraud, every single originator complicit.

      Skippy… 4 years of beating the drum, to everyone. 30 of Yves books handed out, re-gifted over and over, our occupy mob, government people, barristers (just gave NC site to a city prosecutor), executive and managerial people, CPAs – accountants, Boutique Financial sorts, random dogs and cats… Please let the sun shine on this crime and people made socially aware, this social malfeasance laid bare…

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