Links 5/20/13

Calling all scholars willing and able to contribute new ideas to economics! The Institute for New Economic Thinking is offering research grants of up to $250,000. For details, see here.

Green sea turtle swims underwater for first time in 11 years thanks to world’s first dive belt built for endangered sea creatures Daily Mail 

Danes attempt to brew probably the best bee larvae beer in the world Guardian

ScienceShot: Fungi Provide an Early Warning System for Plants Science

Dollar soars, stocks set new highs on Fed stimulus exit talk Reuters

Weighing the Week Ahead: Are You Ready for Some Fedspeak? A Dash of Insight

N.Y. AG Revising Foreclosure Settlement Complaint Against B of A, Wells American Banker (SW)

Banks slow to pay out mortgage relief funds. Neil Young was wrong. Rust does sleep.

What bankers don’t know Golem XIV

Is EVERY Market Rigged? Washington’s Blog

Has Financial Development Made the World Riskier? [PDF] Kansas City Fed

This Time, Gold Bugs May Have a Point  Barron’s

You thought Ryanair’s attendants had it bad? Wait ’til you hear about their pilots Independent

Bankia compensation qualms signal loss of faith in Spain’s banks Reuters

Paradise Lost! Have We Learned Anything? Cyprus Mail

EU decision to lift Syrian oil sanctions boosts jihadist groups Guardian

Dubai laborers stage rare strike for more pay Reuters

Ebb and flow Economist. Saline intrusion in Bangladesh?

Chinese cyber crime: More crooks than patriots FT. What’s the Chinese for “The Gentleman Loser”?

Obama to address Guantánamo and drones in major defence speech Guardian

Disturbing abuses of power Colbert King, WaPo

Shadows of dishonor cast on the U.S. military Kansas City Star

Obama Says Job Market May ’Stall’ Due to Budget Cuts Bloomberg. Just when things were going so well!

Ongoing disaster evident in too many states Economic Policy Institute. Handy interactive chart on disemployment by state.

Here’s why remote state capitals are often more corrupt Slate

Ghosts of incinerator bond deal haunt Harrisburg election Reuters

Climate change activists say they blocked freighter from delivering coal to Mass. power plant Boston Globe (MR)

How technology redefines norms Felix Salmon, Reuters

Former Google exec says he has 100,000 emails showing how ‘immoral’ company avoids paying UK tax Independent

Google Map Redesign [Brain Buds] Another Word for It

Scientific Insurgents Say ‘Journal Impact Factors’ Distort Science Science Daily. JIF is a technical precursor of Google PageRank. So, hmm.

Widely Visible Symbols Of Human Folly Automatic Earth (Nice Boat, No Dock).

Daniel Dennett’s seven tools for thinking Guardian

Four key Hillary Clinton staffers from 2008 unlikely to sign on for 2016 bid WaPo. Wolfson, Tanden, Solis Doyle, and the hated Penn. If I were cynical, I’d say Clinton was signalling “Jobs for the boys!” to Team Obama.

Critical Moment: What is the State of Black Detroit, 2013?  Truthout (CB)

Antidote du jour (SW):


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About Lambert Strether

Readers, I have had a correspondent characterize my views as realistic cynical. Let me briefly explain them. I believe in universal programs that provide concrete material benefits, especially to the working class. Medicare for All is the prime example, but tuition-free college and a Post Office Bank also fall under this heading. So do a Jobs Guarantee and a Debt Jubilee. Clearly, neither liberal Democrats nor conservative Republicans can deliver on such programs, because the two are different flavors of neoliberalism (“Because markets”). I don’t much care about the “ism” that delivers the benefits, although whichever one does have to put common humanity first, as opposed to markets. Could be a second FDR saving capitalism, democratic socialism leashing and collaring it, or communism razing it. I don’t much care, as long as the benefits are delivered. To me, the key issue — and this is why Medicare for All is always first with me — is the tens of thousands of excess “deaths from despair,” as described by the Case-Deaton study, and other recent studies. That enormous body count makes Medicare for All, at the very least, a moral and strategic imperative. And that level of suffering and organic damage makes the concerns of identity politics — even the worthy fight to help the refugees Bush, Obama, and Clinton’s wars created — bright shiny objects by comparison. Hence my frustration with the news flow — currently in my view the swirling intersection of two, separate Shock Doctrine campaigns, one by the Administration, and the other by out-of-power liberals and their allies in the State and in the press — a news flow that constantly forces me to focus on matters that I regard as of secondary importance to the excess deaths. What kind of political economy is it that halts or even reverses the increases in life expectancy that civilized societies have achieved? I am also very hopeful that the continuing destruction of both party establishments will open the space for voices supporting programs similar to those I have listed; let’s call such voices “the left.” Volatility creates opportunity, especially if the Democrat establishment, which puts markets first and opposes all such programs, isn’t allowed to get back into the saddle. Eyes on the prize! I love the tactical level, and secretly love even the horse race, since I’ve been blogging about it daily for fourteen years, but everything I write has this perspective at the back of it.


  1. DakotabornKansan

    “…because, without beer, things do not seem to go as well…” – Diary of Brother Epp, Capuchin Monastery, Munjor, Kansas 1902

    Danish Breweries have launched “Det Danske Ølakademi” – the Danish Beer Academy – to give the Danes more knowledge and more good experiences with beer. With the beer academy comes a new beer language.

    “The Danish beer universe has experienced a sort of big bang, creating beer in new colours, types and tastes. Therefore beer lovers, consumers and professionals have co-operated in developing “Det Danske Ølsprog” – The Danish Beer Language – hoping to share the adventures of beer that they know themselves. The language consists of 110 words describing the beers’ appearance, aroma and mouth-feeling. The language should improve our ability to eat and drink with our eyes and to taste with our noses as well as our mouths.

    “You can’t be a real country unless you have a beer and an airline – it helps if you have some kind of football team, or some nuclear weapons, but in the very least you need a beer.” – Frank Zappa

    1. AbyNormal

      “120 million of us place the big bang 2,500 years after the Babylonians and Sumerians learned to brew beer.”
      Sam Harris, The End of Faith: Religion, Terror, and the Future of Reason (i’ll drink to that)

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Long before the Ice Maiden, or the Princess of Ukok, one suspects, people regularly achieved big bang, in order to help others in the tribe, through hemp.

  2. Walter Map

    Is EVERY Market Rigged?

    Yes, more or less.

    In a modern society there is no such thing as a “free market”. Markets are either regulated or dominated by their largest players. Either way they are not “free”.

    When corporatists propagandize about “free markets” they’re talking about markets that they are free to rig.

    Also contrary to the propaganda of corporatists, Adam Smith advocated markets free of monopoly and oligopoly – not markets free to be rigged, as corporate monopolists would have you believe, but precisely the opposite. Smith recognized the need for the regulation of markets to prevent the rapacious from rigging them – in effect, not free.

    This may be important:

    In the Time Between Crises

    1. Greg Marquez

      One mistake I think Americans, anyway, make is assuming the goal of a free market is to allow some to get rich. In a properly functioning free market nobody should be getting rich. Or, to put it differently, everybody should be getting richer.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        That would be GDP sharing.

        If you like co-ops and profit sharing, you would like GDP sharing.

      2. Expat

        Exactly. In true competition, all profits (the surplus) must be ploughed back into the company to keep up with competitors. There is no surplus for the capitalist to take home. In fact, accumulation occurs as a result of imperfections in the market; often these imperfections are what the law of the state supports.

        1. Saddam Smith

          Sadly, there’s no such thing as a perfectly competitive market, except in theory. Actual markets must generate oligopolies and monopolies, whether we like it or not. Also, a market without the state is inconcievable. First state, then money/property/interest, then markets. Markets are necessarily creatures of the state. See “Eigentum, Zins und Geld” or “What is Money”, or “Debt, the first 5000 years” for more detail. There are other works setting this out, too.

      3. Optimader

        Who decides what constitutes “getting rich”?
        What is the remedy for getting rich?

          1. Optimader

            Mmmm.. As characterized by some old white aristoracy in ~1610.

            Constructs need to work at the limits or it is platitude.
            Scale it up , who will buy whatsoever you hast?

            MP-Dennis Moore

            Charity is of course noble, defining who is rich /who is poor, not so easy, thats my point

        1. Goyo Marquez

          Rich as I’m using it just means more than everyone else.

          If one man earns $30 per hour and everyone else is earning $10 per hour, the man earning the $30 per hour is rich. In a truly competitive market people would start moving to compete with the guy making $30 so they could be rich too!

          Therefore, the secret to riches in a competitive market is to keep people from competing with you. The best way to do this is to get the government to keep them from competing with you.

          It seems to me that if you see huge discrepancies in wealth it’s because there is some limit to competition. The right wants to say the discrepancies are due to natural differences in abilities like I.Q., discipline, work ethic. The left argues that the discrepancies are due to the government taking sides in the competition.

          I’m pretty sure the left is right about this;-)

  3. Can't Help It

    Eric Schmidt (Google): “if you don’t have anything to hide, you have nothing to fear”.

    Surely he has no problem then in allowing those 100K emails to be shared.

    I admire Google’s technology and engineers, but whenever I hear self righteous words from the top Google guys, I always feel a strong desire to punch them in the face.

    1. Optimader

      Primitivo logic. Does having “something to hide” imply “something bad”? I wonder if he uses any passwords in his online interaction? If so, we are all safe to conclude he has something to hide!

  4. from Mexico

    It looks like Firedoglake has become just one more sounding board for neocon/neoliberal talking points.

    Over the weekend, one of its bloggers, TBogg, published this anti-Manning tirade:

    Essentially the message is this: Sexual-identity diversity will be allowed, but leave your ideological diversity at the door. It’s assimilation, Teddy Roosevelt style, where one must pay homage to what Roosevelt called “True Americanism” in order to “get in” to the great American melting pot.

    What is most striking about these polemics by the aplogists of neoconservatism and neoliberlaism is their blatant disregard, which invariably morphs into a self-righteous disdain and contempt, for fact and reason. TBogg takes the entire history of the GLBT movement, which was closely tied to that of the Civil Rights Movement and the 60s ethos, and turns it on its head. So in this upside-down world, it is the anti-war acativists who are crashing the neocon/neoliberal LGBT Pride party. Nothing, of course, could be farther from the truth. In reality what we witness are the forces of neoconservatism and neoliberalism attempting to co-opt Gay Pride, and by extension the entire national LGBT movement.

    The appearance of these fact-free, pro-neoconservative and pro-neoliberal screeds on the pages of Firedoglake, which purports to be “liberal” or “left-wing” leaning, just goes to show how little immunities exist these days to neoliberal and neocon propaganda.

    1. Ned Ludd

      During Obama’s first term, Jane Hamsher and Jon Walker were frequent and vociferous critics of Obama and establishment liberals. It cost FDL advertisers, including if I recall correctly Planned Parenthood. Also, Jane Hamsher was personally and viciously attacked by other liberals, especially those at the execrable Balloon Juice.

      Now, I think FDL is mostly adrift. I doubt it is very profitable, it was effectively banished from the netroots (other liberal blogs no longer link to it), and it never developed a coherent identity or community (although the LOTE types predominated during the last election). Instead of drifting left, it became a muddle, with TBogg and other apparatchiks constantly smearing anyone to the left of Obama, at the same time FDL was hosting some of the most vocal critics of the Obama administration.

      1. from Mexico

        I don’t know what to think about Firedoglake.

        Kevin Gosztola, one of its reporters, is one of the few persons who is covering the Manning trial. Without him, we would know almost nothing about what is going on. So I give a big thumbs up to him.

        But on the other hand, if I wanted to read the kind of defactualized BS that TBogg dishes out, I could read the National Review.

        1. Ned Ludd

          FDL has some good articles, but they also act as gatekeepers for the Democratic Party. They were fairly explicit about this during last year’s election.

          What happened to “You’ve Got to Stop Voting – by Mark E. Smith”

          There was a post by … I think her name is terri (, and she posted an article on firedoglake that was “You’ve Got to Stop Voting” by Mark E. Smith. This was posted on yesterday or the day before. I commented. And when I went back there to check up on it, it’s vanished: (

          So what happened to it? Why was it removed? Can anyone please explain this?

          John Chandley (aka Scarecrow), one of the front page writers at FDL, responded in the comments:

          I don’t know how anyone could conclude that FDL would welcome a post urging people not to vote.

          We are not going to promote not voting. People can do as they want, but FDL isn’t here to promote not voting.

          What happened here is simple. We [staff] voted, and the post that ignores what we are about is gone.

          Phoenix Woman, another front page writer, added:

          The Republicans love it when lefties either don’t vote or vote third party. That’s why Republican operatives fund lefty third parties like the Greens.

          The most interesting gatekeepers are at the margins: they criticize the Democratic Party, often harshly, but still insist that people vote in lockstep for the Democratic Party every two years. Their analysis is often informative, but their tactics always lead back to More & Better Democrats

      2. Hugh

        TBogg is a relic of a decision Hamsher made to make Firedoglake (and herself) a Democratic player. This put Hamsher as well as many of the Democratic oriented bloggers and moderators she brought on at odds with the more progressive FDL community. This all blew up around the end of the great healthcare debate. Hamsher had been a big proponent of Obamacare even to the point of placing Jason Rosenbaum, a representative of HCAN, as editor of one part of FDL. She especially backed the “public option” and was hostile to single payer advocates. Ask lambert. It was only after the public option had pretty much gone down in flames for the umpteenth time that Hamsher came out against Obamacare. What made this so odd was that angry as she might have been with Obama, she remained even angrier with those who had supported single payer Medicare for All throughout.

        After this, most of the Democratic hacks were dropped or left. A few like TBogg stayed. Criticism of Obama was gradually allowed to increase, but neither Hamsher nor the site ever broke with the Democrats or worked to create alternatives to them. I suppose this is where the sense of drift you mention comes in.

        1. just me

          David Swanson posts there regularly and he could not have been more clear about NOT voting for Obama. Obamabots are mocked there in general. FDL does seem to be adrift — a lot of people got banned, regulars left, some key people have died (Scarecrow, Southern Dragon), and I rarely see Jane post there, though maybe she’s posting on a tab I don’t visit. But Kevin Gozstola is doing constant, serious, indispensable work now on The Dissenter about the Bradley Manning trial and I find myself going there and to FDL News a lot. Fatster’s News Roundups are great, like Yves’ links here. KG has had about the best coverage of the SF Pride board Manning Grand Marshal vote rescindment debacle that I saw. Saturday he linked to that post of TBogg’s, which had more than 400 comments the last I saw Saturday night, and TBogg got basic, basic facts wrong and he has some serious thugs for commenters but still there was heated and lighted debate. Sunday’s Book Salon with James C. Goodale was very good. Just the book salons alone would keep me coming back to FDL. So, mixed bag, good luck to them, and I hope they grow back. I’d rather visit FDL than Daily Kos.

          1. Ned Ludd

            Is David Swanson a front page writer? Some of his MyFDL posts get promoted to the front page, but I don’t think he is one of the inner circle that run the site and choose what goes on the front page.

            I thought Hamsher was ready to break with the Democratic Party after the health care fight; Obamacare, in her own words, was “a dangerous and unprecedented step on the road to… the textbook definition of fascism”. But during last year’s election, the front-page was dominated by LOTE fear-mongering. TBogg got regular front page exposure, which is telling since he is an obnoxious troll that does not even consider himself to be progressive: “And, as I have said before: I’m not a progressive. I work for a living and I live on planet Earth.”

            For years, at Daily Kos, I ignored all the signs that criticism of the Democratic Party would be kept on a short leash. The leash is definitely longer at FDL, and in-between elections it seems to disappear altogether. However, every election, the message from the front page is going to be the same: hold your nose and vote for the lesser evil.

        2. Kurt Sperry

          As a FDL reader and contributor, I see the criticisms of the site mostly as a misunderstanding brought on by trying to fit what is an ideologically heterogeneous melange into some category. The site gives people across a fairly significant range of political viewpoints a soapbox from which to opine. The views commonly on display thus run the gamut from TBogg’s colorful but boilerplate DNC/Obamabot ravings to unstinting evisceration of the Democratic Party.

          I actually think it’s cool a political soapbox site can span that degree of difference, when the various ideological factions cross paths it makes for some spirited discussion.

          As for the site censorship, it has been mostly pretty good but punctuated by occasional and puzzlingly arbitrary and seemingly random fits of frankly terrible moderation where stuff gets moderated/censored for little or no apparent reason. That’s thankfully really quite uncommon though; I’ve never had any of my sometimes fairly strongly worded criticisms of the pseudoprogressive left touched–at least that I’ve ever noticed. I assume it’s down to one or two volunteer mods that have taken temporary leave of their senses.

          1. just me

            Jane banned someone (an outside candidate for office in Minnesota iirc) right as he was engaging with her in comments about FDL’s uneven frontpaging choices. Boom he was gone. And when he goes, all his history and everything he touched, all his posts and all the comments, go with him. Argentina couldn’t disappear people better than that. It was shocking to witness. It was supposed to be.

            I think it was Scarecrow who banned the guy who represented Occupy Tucson on FDL. Same thing, unacceptable dissent, unacceptable phrasing, unacceptable anger, boom, and everything he had posted about Occupy Tucson’s court cases for First Amendment freedoms — freedom of speech, freedom of assembly — pfft. So all FDL’s support for Occupy, donate here!, looked pretty hollow to me after that.

            Others have disappeared without explanation. You just notice holes and emptiness. Was it banning, was it withdrawal, why, who knows? I’d still like to know why Emptywheel and David Dayen left. There were fond farewells and hankie waving, but still, gone.

            That’s why I say I think it’s drifting — what I saw as the core nucleus broke apart for reasons unknown or for reasons that negate what I thought FDL was or could stand for. When principles are put to the test, you find it stands on authority and ownership basically. Simon says, Jane says. Just like Kos. Something finer? Holes and emptiness there.

      3. Lambert Strether Post author

        I’m not sure I buy the “drifting” critique of FDL. The ObamaCare debacle aside, they supported Occupy with coverage and supplies, and other readers have pointed out work that they like. And if anybody wants to see heavy Obot enforcement, the door to DK is that way. It will be interesting to see what happens next year, a midterm year.

        But on “drifting” generally: Assuming for the sake of the argument that the function of the political class is to maintain hegemony by managing the TINA apparatus, then the left — assuming that one accepts the implicit spectrum — needs to provide alternatives that people can envision. “You can’t beat something with nothing,” as the saying goes. So if there is drift, FDL is part of this larger tendency. However, I’m a glass half full kinda guy on this: I think there is actually a ferment of activity right now that just hasn’t, as it were, come to a head.

        1. Ned Ludd

          FDL has interesting content, unlike the front page of Daily Kos, whose staff writers seem to be mostly cheerleaders and propagandists at this point. However, FDL’s desire to be a Democratic player, to use Hugh’s phrase, shapes how the site exerts its influence, which they wield in the same way that the editors at the Washington Post and the New York Times pick and choose which stories to bury and which to run on A1.

          In the case of the Occupy movement, after mayors, including progressive Democrats, used force to crush the protests, I saw no effort to hold any particular progressive mayor accountable. Cutting short the career of a progressive mayor – for engaging in political repression – would have sent a clear signal to Democrats that threatening free speech and the right of people to peaceably assemble could end their political careers. Instead, come election time, the brutal repression of the Occupy movement was a distant memory, and it was time to hold your nose and vote for the Democrats who helped crush it. There was no political consquences for crushing the Occupy movement.

          FDL was generally abysmal during last year’s election. That is when I turned sour on the site, although I still find some worthwhile articles there. TBogg was promoted to the front page nearly every other day. The post on election boycotts was deleted. An earlier post critical of Van Jones by the popular writer Wendy Davis was deleted; a reader outcry was required to bring it back. The front page was slanted to scare people into voting for the Democrats. When people had a chance to send a message, it became vital that no message be sent, lest those scary Republicans win.

          The effect, whether intentional is incidental, is to reinforce a corrupt political system.

          A heat vampire liberal stakes out a position at the left-most margins of acceptable debate to authenticate a counter-intuitive insistence on less bad oligarchs and faith in an oligarch-controlled political system. As such, they are role models of compliance for people who, left on their own, might choose more radical forms of engagement or disengage altogether.

    2. curlydan

      I think if you read FDL enough you’ll see that over 50% of the commenters can’t stand TBogg. TBogg can make a few funnies and write a great headline. But at the end of the day, TBogg’s a wryly “droning” Obamabot, and almost everyone on FDL knows it.

  5. from Mexico

    @ “Daniel Dennett’s seven tools for thinking”

    Cognitive scientist and philosopher Daniel Dennett is one of America’s foremost thinkers.

    Well if one is into scientism, then Dennett is your man.
    The rub, as Stephen Jay Gould pointed out in “Darwinian Fundamentalism,” is that in practice Dennett’s way of thinking is the very antithesis of what he preaches:

      1. Jagger

        Over the last few years, I have concluded that the fundementalist extremist and the Dennett/Dawkins new athiest (neo-athiest) are simply two sides of the same coin. They may be on different sides of the issue but they share so many of the same personality traits I have difficulty telling the difference in types of person.

        It seems one common trait of the neo-athiest and the fundementalist is neither has spent the time to achieve much more than a shallow grasp of the meaning of life, death, meaning, purpose, God, afterlife, etc., etc. But they just know they are absolutely right and will shout down anyone that disagrees. Both will.

      2. mookie

        The Gould piece is awful, bitter and lacking any clear point beyond name-calling (I’m baffled by his repeated pointing to asteroids hitting the earth as evidence that selection can’t explain everything, as if selection includes some premise that the environment stay static). It’s no secret that the two didn’t get along. If anyone’s interested, here’s more from that exchange 15 years ago;

        I have read and quite enjoyed several of Dennett’s books (Darwin’s Dangerous Idea, Consciousness Explained, and Freedom Evolves). He does write forcefully at times but he’s fair, as far as I can tell.

        I’m not too interested in the new athiest movement. It seems to have offended quite a lot of people. I wouldn’t rush to lump Dennett and Harris together. Harris is much more of a polemicist, much less rigorous, and frankly just not on the same level. If you’re at all interested in philosophical questions of free will, try reading Harris’s Free Will next to Dennett’s Freedom Evolves.

    1. russell1200

      I thought Dawkins gave some good advise, but I am not sure if what he was talking about would be called scientific in all senses.

      The key to having an effective hypothesis is trying to disprove your own hypothesis, not winning some sort of grand debate. I realize that today science/research is all about spinning all sorts of ideas, and then letting the chips fall were they may, but I don’t see that as being particularly healthy.

      He does note that you should respect your opponents, but I think it is in this regard that he fails his own advise.

    2. David Lentini

      I haven’t been terribly impressed with Dennett’s work either, but I do think his comments on good thinking are useful (albeit a bit obvious to anyone used to critical thinking).

  6. fresno dan

    What bankers don’t know Golem XIV

    “Either we have banks full of bankers who are corrupt liars or we have banks full of the slow witted and guillible who do not understand the financial deals it is their job to understand…or both. Either way we are left with an industry that did not and – unless everything has magically improved – cannot and will not do its job. We have a financial system which in very important ways, critical ways, is staffed and run by people who, whether by criminal and moral degeneracy or simple stupidity, are not fit for their jobs.”

    Agree 100%. Although I would proffer that the bankers are BOTH stupid and corrupt. But one important aspect missing is little Timmy Geithner’s idea that the people at AIG had to have their bonuses. Because the government, which means us eventually, thinks that the current way the banking system is set up is just niffty. Its my understanding that the TBTF bankers are now even TOO BIGGER To FAIL.

    1. F. Beard

      The truth is that government-backed banking ITSELF is INHERENTLY stupid, wicked and unstable.

      Hey, but keep thinking that a usury for stolen purchasing power cartel can work well if only we have the right people in charge of it?

  7. Jim Haygood

    Ahhhhhh … HERE’S what we were waiting for:

    Is President Obama directly implicated in the IRS scandal?

    March 31, 2010. According to the White House Visitors Log, provided here in searchable form by U.S. News and World Report, the president of the National Treasury Employees Union, Colleen Kelley, visited the White House at 12:30pm that Wednesday noontime of March 31st.

    The White House lists the IRS union leader’s visit this way:
    Kelley, Colleen / Potus 03/31/2010 12:30

    In White House language, “POTUS” stands for “President of the United States.”

    The very next day after her White House meeting with the President, according to the Treasury Department’s Inspector General’s Report, IRS employees set to work in earnest targeting the Tea Party and conservative groups. The IG report wrote it up this way:

    April 1-2, 2010: The new Acting Manager, Technical Unit, suggested the need for a Sensitive Case Report on the Tea Party cases. The Determinations Unit Program Manager Agreed.

    I see Special Prosecutors …

    1. Jackrabbit


      It’ll be entertaining to see the intellectual acrobatics the Obama Administration employs to explain THIS.

  8. BDBlue

    I’d point out that at least 2 of the 4 Clinton people who have “moved on” did so in 2008. She fired both Penn and Solis Doyle during the campaign. I don’t particularly care about HRC or 2016, but I think it is telling that the headline is so wrong and misleading (maybe it’s corrected in the article, didn’t care enough to read it). Even when they’re talking horserace and inside baseball, two things they actually care about, it’s still just bullshit (at least judging by the lede).

  9. b2020

    Salmon are missing the most important aspect of public vs. private – the very aspect that Assange places at the core of Wikileaks. David Brin (in his “Transparent Society”) got it, but engaged in optimistic handwaving with respect to a solution.

    The key issue is that asymmetric information is fundamental to power. We live in an age where there is a indecent rush by the 99% to share more and more of their “private” lives, while the 1% and their retainers are more focused than ever to fortify their own social networks behind walls of secrecy. Before the Internet, we got the FOIA. Now, we get Facebook. In a world where the institutions of representative democracy are being hollowed out by signal-to-noise jammed to zero by dysfunctional – often privately owned – media, we volunteer to be our own papparrazi.

    Idiotes, indeed.

    1. Optimader

      Yes indeed b2020 Facebook will be revealed to be the personal information equivalent of a bad tatoo for the sheeple

  10. charles sereno

    Re: European Commission investigation of oil prices.
    Reminds me of the false hopes invested in Schneidermann with regard to the mortgage scandal. Back in 2008, an elephant farted in a small room (I forgot where I stole the image) and no one smelled it. From Jul 2008 to Feb 2009, the price of oil, the world’s most important commodity for over a hundred years, lost 71% of its value in 7 months (FRED). Read any newspaper during that period. The world was not coming to an end. The production and consumption of oil, by the common wisdom and wildest estimates, was expected to change by a mere 1% or so. This glaring anomaly wasn’t explained then, and you can be sure it won’t be explained in the latest investigation. What a BS-laden world we live in!

    1. jrs

      Of course that’s generally not secret, public television has announced them as one of their sponsors. So no it’s not a scandal, just … the revolution will not be televised.

    2. curlydan

      I almost coughed up a lung while watching the end of a “Nova” episode about Iceland a few months ago and saw the Koch Brothers were underwriters.

      Are the old guys studying jujitsu?

  11. diane

    Headline of the week

    So I for one will not be listening to Obie’s ‘major address on counterterrorism’. It will be, as usual for Obie, half excuse and half dressing-down, a strange nauseating blend of truculence and self-exculpation and smarmy hypocrisy, a dish so foul it would sicken a starving hog.

    (bolding mine, because I couldn’t agree more)

      1. diane

        sigh, and so many of us thought we couldn’t possibly be so revulsed at an U$ “President” as we were at that deranged sociopath, gwb.

      2. Optimader

        People act suprised about BHO, im not sure why. He is the ultimate rorschach test for people to see what they want and then be disappointed.

        He is merely the next stewart of Statism

    1. diane

      And how could I possibly leave this out:

      Really, is there anybody else in North America [outside of Katrina van den Heuvel and Melissa Bracegirdle-Blatherskite, et al ] who can still stand the sound of this awful murderer’s snappish little sermonettes, his admonitory body language, his dyspeptic peevish scowl?

      (bracketed note, which refers to a previous part of the above linked post, mine)

    1. ScottS

      Beat me to it.

      So what does this mean for gentrification? Is gentrification good or bad? It seems bad in that it is pushing poor people around.

      1. Antifa

        In most states, the jobs are in town and any kind of affordable housing is 2 hour’s drive out into the boonies. Makes for a long commute for a minimum wage job, and a balancing act between rent and gas money.

        As the economy continues to squeeze the working poor, they will do what I see them starting to do already — multiple families sharing housing and multiple commuters sharing vehicles.

        One more thing — being out in the boonies usually means you have a big yard or even some real acreage. A lot of people are gardening in a serious way to make their budget work.

        Some are even growing food.

        1. Bridget

          They’re trying best as they can….but they’ve gotta kill the squirrels and birds and stuff like that, which they are utterly unprepared to do. At least until they experience true hunger for the first time.

  12. BondsOfSteel

    RE: Critical Moment: What is the State of Black Detroit, 2013?

    I haven’t seen it explicitly stated anywhere, but there has to be a 21st Century update to Godwin’s Law that substitutes ‘Terrorist’ for ‘Nazi’.

    References to ‘terrorist’ are at the same time hyperbolic and offensive, and like Godwin’s ‘Nazi’ rule, only server to undermine your point.

    What’s worse is that the speaker is complaining about the lack of democracy in the take over of the school system and it’s authoritarian focus. In this case, ‘Nazi’ is actually more of an apt hyperbolic comparison than ‘terrorist’.

    1. curlydan

      You got a point, but some great points were still made in the interview:

      “Charles: when I say that war is being made on us, I think in terms of what happened in the colonial period where the armies of the rich countries just moved into the areas in the Global South stole the land, took the people, stole the resources, just open war.

      It’s a lot more sophisticated than that. It’s an economic onslaught, but it’s backed up by the elimination of the democratic process. So you don’t have any recourse in any traditional sense. So people went to court to put the emergency manager law on the ballot, filed lawsuits and the activists were told that it wasn’t written on the right kind of paper, the font size was wrong, and this is what was done. So it just makes a mockery of bourgeois democracy.”

  13. from Mexico

    @ “Shadows of dishonor cast on the U.S. military”

    All I can say is the fish rots from the head.

    The documentary “The Spies Who Fooled the World” pretty much leaves the reputations of Tony Blair and George Bush in shambles. It can be seen here:!

    What is amazing is that Blair and Bush, and now Barak Obama, believe they can engage in all this lying and deceit, maiming and murdering, with no negative consequences. And what is even more amazing is they believe they can do all this stuff and that no one will ever find out the truth. I’m reminded of something Hannah Arendt wrote in Eichmann in Jerusalem:

    It is true that totalitarian domination tried to establish these holes of oblivion into which all deeds, good and evil, would disappear, but just as the Nazis’ feverish attempts, from June, 1942, on, to erase all traces of the massacres — through cremation, through burning in open pits, through the use of explosives and flame-throwers and bone-crushing machinery — were doomed to failure, so all efforts to let their opponents “disappear in silent anonymity” were in vain. The holes of oblivion do not exist. Nothing human is that perfect, and there are simply too many people in the world to make oblivion possible. One man will always be left alive to tell the story.

    We see the same pattern repeated again in Arendt’s essay “Lying in Politics,” in which Arendt gives her devastating assessment of what the Pentagon Papers revealed. “The basic issue raised by the papers,” she said, “is deception,” “the extravagant lengths to which the commitment to nontruthfulness in politics went on at the highest level of government,” and “the concomitant extent to which lying was permitted to proliferate throughout the ranks of all government services, military and civilian.”

    “No reality and no common sense could penetrate the minds” of McNamara and his generals, Arendt adds. “It is the remoteness from reality that will haunt the reader of the Pentagon papers.” She concludes:

    That concealment, falsehood, and the role of the deliberate lie became the chief issues of the Pentagon papers, rather than illusion, error, miscalculation, and the like, is mainly due to the strange fact that the mistaken decisions and lying statements consistently violated the astoundingly accurate factual reports of the intelligence community, at least in the Bantam edition. The crucial point here is not merely that the policy of lying was hardly ever aimed at the enemy (this is one of the reasons why the papers do not reveal any military secrets that could fall under the Espionage Act), but was destined chiefly, if not exclusively, for domestic consumption, for propaganda at home, and especially for the purpose of deceiving Congress.

  14. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Remote state capitals more corrupt.

    Is this center-centric?

    If you look at the world from New York or Washington DC, it’s barbaric everywhere else.

  15. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Visibly symbols of human folly.

    When Homo Not-So-Sapiens Not-So-Sapiens insist on calling themselves Homo Sapiens Sapiens, you know we have a major case of the Dunning Kruger effect here.

    The entire species is infected with it.

    And when one member of that said species ignorantly (fo the above fact) calls another member Dunning Kruger personified, the former is actually a case of Dunning Kruger squared.

  16. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    How technology redefines norms.

    If you ever resolve to go a weekend disconnected from the web, in order to meet real people, you would find that all the real people in the world are busy connecting with other real people of the world via the web.

    All the ‘real people’ are on the web now.

    That’s my observation from wondering alone in the ‘real world’ this weekend.

  17. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Stocks set new highs on Fed exit talk.

    It was only yesterday, it seems, that stocks set new highs on no Fed exit talk.

    When things are going this good, you have got to get inside the casino.

  18. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Disturbing abuses of power.

    It’s also an abuse of power to purposely commingle the trust being given to create and manage the supply of money with an unrestrained ability to exert power (via spending on all sorts of power-on-display adventures).

  19. Valissa

    Woozy on wheels: Pedal pubs rolling out everywhere

    India: King Cobra saves puppies from death

    Russians drive from Russia to Canada over North Pole

    America’s first hemp crop in 60 years was planted this week in Colorado

    Navy dolphins discover rare old torpedo off Coronado,0,7621822.story

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Colorado – apparently ‘they’ have decided to increase (correction, to allow us to decide on increasing) the sedation dosage.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          When people take sacred/medicinal herbs like tobacco and pot and use it for instant gratification, that’s war on sacred herbs.

          1. Valissa

            Why is instant gratification not sacred? Seems to me that all forms of gratification-in-time (instant, very soon, soon, not far from now, a really long time away from now) have the possibility of being sacred, or not, depending on the system of beliefs being used to judge it.

          2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            You’re right. Instant gratification, in the way it’s generally used, though, is not about being sacred, as in, banksters seek instant gratification with their rapid trades, for example.

          3. Valissa

            Instant gratification, in the way it’s generally used…

            Yeah, that’s what I was highlighting, or attempting to… I was “protesting” the very “Protestant” type of moral thinking this meme represents (with it’s implied fire and brimstone). ‘The way it’s generally used’ is based on a certain type of moral/religious thinking similar to the way moral/religious philosophy tends to decry desire and it’s “corrupt/evil” influences. In politics, as in religion, moral condemnation is very satisfying to many… one could even say that such moral condemnation provides instant gratification :)

            I am sure people could come up with many scenarios where instant gratification or actively pursuing one’s desires in the moment is the best choice. It’s not always in one’s best interest to “control oneself” ;)

          4. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            I could perhaps use a different description, other than instant gratification, though it will likely run into a similar problem. Recreational – well, it’s not always frivolous either. So, the problem is acknowledged.

            As for Dalai Lama, I always want to ask him a question – If, in walking from the monastery to the waiting car, one kills, unknowingly, a few ants by stepping over them or when bugs continue to die on the windshield of one’s car, on one’s way to the airport, is one guilty of not trying hard enough to avoid killing?

          5. Valissa

            “Nature has made us frivolous to console us for our miseries” – Voltaire

            “Bunny slippers remind me of who I am. You can’t get a swelled head if you wear bunny slippers. You can’t lose your sense of perspective and start acting like a star or a rich lady if you keep on wearing bunny slippers. Besides, bunny slippers give me confidence because they’re so jaunty. They make a statement; they say, ‘Nothing the world does to me can ever get me so far down that I can’t be silly and frivolous.’ If I died and found myself in Hell, I could endure the place if I had bunny slippers.” – Dean Koontz

  20. ScottS

    Re: Immigration reform

    Didn’t we have this discussion at the beginning of W’s second term? Is there some sort of presidential Mad Libs I don’t know about?

    1st term:
    Diddle around for first year (what, we actually won? quick, get something together!) [ Ownership Society | Look Forward, Not Backward at the many, many crimes ]
    Pick out first lady’s cause [ My Pet Goat (“literacy”) | go exercise fatty ]
    Start a few wars [ Iraq/Afghanistan | Pakistan/Yemen ]
    Education Reform [ No Child Left Behind | Race To The Top ]
    Tax cuts for everyone! [ Bush Tax Cuts | SS contribution cuts ]
    Financial de-reregulation [ self-regulation | Dodd-Frank ]
    Pandering to constituents in anticipation of re-election [ Medicare Part D | Repeal of DOMA/DADT ]

    2nd term:
    Immigration reform [ Guest Worker (aka slavery) | Path To Citizenship ]
    Creepy paranoid domestic spying that started in first term comes to light [ FISAless NSLs | AP ]
    Start working on memoirs [ Decision Points | Dreams Of My Children ]
    Pardon all your fall guys [ Scooter Libby | Eric Holder ]
    Pick out site for Presidential Library [ Dallas | Kenya ]

  21. just me

    Re: Neil Young was wrong. Rust does sleep.

    and the pie chart in the linked report:

    They need to show the whole pie, including the money paid to the independent consultants. I think the money supposed to go to actual victims is a small slice, and the money actually paid out to victims a sliver. Keep this in perspective.

    Also, Neil Young was right: “There’s a bailout coming and it’s not for you, it’s for all those creeps hiding what they do.”

    (I love it: Neil Young playing air guitar) (I don’t think he likes Apple)

    1. Paul Tioxon


      You know, there is NO quantum social order. You pick one. You have to pick one. Or, you can leave the road. But then, you leave your humanity and go back to nature. Your animal nature. Stick to the road, well worn, built by thousands and millions who went before you. But when the road forks, and at some time it does, you have to choose. It’s rough off the road, alone against nature. It can be rough on the wrong fork. So, pick one. Bring as many with you as you can.

      1. just me

        Humanity vs. nature, that’s the road choice we face? I think that’s wrong.

        What Kind of Times Are These
        By Adrienne Rich

        There’s a place between two stands of trees where the grass grows uphill
        and the old revolutionary road breaks off into shadows
        near a meeting-house abandoned by the persecuted
        who disappeared into those shadows.

        I’ve walked there picking mushrooms at the edge of dread, but don’t be fooled
        this isn’t a Russian poem, this is not somewhere else but here,
        our country moving closer to its own truth and dread,
        its own ways of making people disappear.

        I won’t tell you where the place is, the dark mesh of the woods
        meeting the unmarked strip of light—
        ghost-ridden crossroads, leafmold paradise:
        I know already who wants to buy it, sell it, make it disappear.

        And I won’t tell you where it is, so why do I tell you
        anything? Because you still listen, because in times like these
        to have you listen at all, it’s necessary
        to talk about trees.

  22. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Gold bugs may have a point.

    Not sure what that is about, but the point about gold, or the Gold Point, is that gold should not belong to the 0.01%, but to the 99.99%.

    Free Fort Knox gold and fairly distribute it (maybe in the form of gold disks) to the people.

    No use all caged up in there.

    1. Thisson

      No need to redistribute the gold – it would be freed if it was simply used as money instead of our unconstitutional federal reserve notes.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        That’s one of the ways, and symbolically, it is thought of as being ‘freed,’ if not physically.

    2. ScottS

      Is there unusually strong demand for jewelry or gold-plated connectors? Gold foil shavings for chocolate mousse?

  23. Mark Alexander

    Those are not chipmunks in the antidote picture. Chipmunks always have stripes.

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