Links 7/15/13

Lambert here: My own blog, Corrente, is holding its summer fundraiser. 27 31 45 donors have already contributed to keeping the Corrente servers humming, and to getting lambert a new set of progressive trifocals, so he can keep reading and writing, among other necessities of life, like building materials, electricity, an Internet connection, water, and a woodchuck-free environment (they destroy foundations. That is bad). Here’s what Corrente is all about, and a history of some of the campaigns we’ve done, going back to 2003. The PayPal and WePay buttons are in the right hand sidebar. Like NC, Corrente is not part of any political tribe or faction. That makes us unusually dependent on contributions from individual readers. Your help is appreciated, and thanks to Yves (“Donate to Lambert’s Fundraiser…Now!”) for giving me the opportunity to ask for it.

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The hummingbird who can’t keep his beak out: Rivals fight over water dish… but despite his sword-like nose he still doesn’t win Daily Mail

Six-Legged Giant Finds Secret Hideaway, Hides For 80 Years NPR (CB)

Massive ice sheets melting ‘at rate of 300bn tonnes a year’, climate satellite shows Independent

Trayvon Martin verdict

Zimmerman verdict leaves key question unanswered Leonard Pitts, Miami Herald

On The Killing Of Trayvon Martin By George Zimmerman Ta-Nahisi Coates, The Atlantic

Uncomfortable Truth: The State Of Evidence in the George Zimmerman Prosecution bmaz, emptywheel

The Legacy of the George Zimmerman Trial Talk Left

Social Media’s Reaction to the Acquittal of George Zimmerman Times

Obama calls for calm after Zimmerman acquittal; protests held Reuters

George Zimmerman and the Market Price of Fear Francis Wilkinson, Bloomberg

Justice Dept.: Zimmerman case under review Palm Beach Post

Zimmerman lawyer to move ‘asap’ against NBC News WaPo

NRA Logic: Open/Concealed Carry, Self-Defense, Stop and Frisk, New Black Panther Party Angry Bear

Are Corporations Trying to Distract Us with Social Issues While They Take Control of Our Economy? RJ Eskow, Alternet

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

Greenwald: Snowden docs contain NSA ‘blueprint’ AP

Swedish professor nominates Edward Snowden for the Nobel Peace Prize Daily Mail

What the government pays to snoop on you USA Today (FM)

Obama’s secret kill list – the disposition matrix Guardian

Morales says US hacked Bolivian leaders’ emails AFP

Has the FISA Court Gone Too Far? Foreign Affairs. The conventional wisdom.

U.S. Repeals Propaganda Ban, Spreads Government-Made News To Americans Foreign Policy. Dated July 14, 2013, I swear!

Inside look at the internal strife over Al Jazeera America Glenn Greenwald, Guardian. Apparently, AJAM is consulting Axelrove, among others. Please. We already have “Rachel.” Ditto “Rush.” Ditto The Moustache Of Understanding. I’m begging you. Can we just get some reporting?

Bankers Are Balking at a Proposed Rule on Capital Gretchen Morgenson, TImes

How Mortgage Bonds Are Made Business Insider

UPS Outlook Another Piece to Economic Puzzle Moneybeat, WSJ

Rail Traffic Continues to Muddle Along Pragmatic Capitalism

The dangers of Europe’s technocratic busybodies Wolfgang Münchau, FT. “[W]hen you say that you have done more than I thought you would, you are merely telling me how bad things have become, how much you are lagging behind and how little you care what is going on in the economy.”

Constitutional crisis pushes Portugal closer to the brink Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, Daily Telegraph

Expect Another “Bad Bank” Bailout in Spain; Humorous Details of Sareb’s Property Assets Global Economic Trend Analysis

Tunisia, not Algeria, is the model for a new Egypt FT

Legal Fears Slowed Aid to Syrian Rebels WSJ (SW)

Insight: Smuggling rice to Thailand – like coals to Newcastle Reuters

Philippines, Muslim Rebels Forge Wealth-Sharing in Peace Accord Bloomberg. The Thais should try this.

Forget 3D printing—3D subtraction is going to arrive in your garage first Quartz

The World’s Smartest News Reader Slate. “Nobody goes there any more. It’s too crowded.”

Culturalism, Gladwell, and Airplane Crashes Ask a Korean! Re: Asiana 214.

Asking the Hard Questions The Archdruid Report

A Pianist’s A–V Alfred Brendel, New York Review of Books

Antidote du jour (via Fat Cats):


Bonus morning musicdote, because a family member owned a number of Brendel’s recordings:

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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. Skeptic

    Forget 3D printing—3D subtraction is going to arrive in your garage first Quartz

    Yes, very liberating possibly if the Economic Monoliths don’t take it all over.

    Another real consideration here is: how is the Government going to tax it? A massive move to home manufacturing would mean more Underground Economy and massive loss of revenue.

    This has already in part happened in one field:LUMBER. Small portable mills became available some time ago for around $10000 or so. These could be moved from location to location. Transportation savings are huge, you are moving only a small mill, not huge cubic footage of heavy wood.

    So, of course, the Government wanted its cut of this business. Well, what to do?? Put GPS chips on all the small wood mills and track their whereabouts. Then have beancounters check the receipts against the locations, investigate, etc… Well, public outrage in my jurisdiction prevented this. So, in my rural area, lots of these mills are operating. I met a guy from Western Pennsylvania some years ago, same thing, milling away. This is sort of like Moonshining but for Wood not Booze.

    So, bottom line, the Government don’t want you to have your own independent BOT or your own INTERNET, look what happened to that. Remember all those tales and promises of how free the INTERNET would make us? Well………

    1. YankeeFrank

      That is totally great — micro manufacturing of wood. I recently read that 3d metal printing is becoming a reality as well, with metal, wood and plastic, in ten years at most people will be able to create so many useful items at home it will totally overturn and revolutionize the manufacturing economy.

      The government will try to stop us from becomining independent of the industrial and financial oligopoly but they will fail. Especially in the US, entrepreneurship and self-reliance are simply too ingrained.

      One thing that seems pretty important is the way many people, dropped and abused by their national governments, are relying on underground, grey or black market economies for survival. Its happening on a large scale, but in the shadows for the most part. One barometer of this is the explosion and variety of summer festivals occurring all over the USA. Not just the big name ones but tons of smaller, niche festivals where people come to party and relax, listen to music, dance, etc. A million seasonal cottage industries have grown up around this phenomenon. The rural poor have of course been reliant on alternate income sources since forever, but I see it more and more in urban and near-urban settings as well.

      1. Jefemt

        Exciting and alluring… BUT, the micro-machining implies one could very easily start to make fully-automatic, high quality armaments, so if you think the Governmint will be in there for revenue, alone, well, i would submit it will be in the BIG TIME when the plausibility of a decentralized munitions industry rears its head. Exciting, from a yankee/revolutionary/militia perspective, but a bit daunting when I look at the prospect of being in the same neighborhood as the anarcho-ecology zealots, the anti-abortion zealots, the pro team america hell yeah zealots, the gold-bug survivalist zealots… the climate change deiers, climate change ascribers…the list is endless. What a trajectory we have created for ourselves for the next confkagration! No wonder they are pumping Dancing with the Master Chefs and big pharma, legal and designer, to numb us down. Soma and Big Brother merge I doff my Montana tin hat to you all and bid you a happy productive week!

        1. optimader

          you can purchase a bone-fide vertical mill, plugin CNC stepper motors, no big deal. This stuff is available cheap as redundant equipment in the US. Hardly a new development if you had a notion to build weapons…

          BTW, good musical antidote, should have them on a regular basis IMO. Spent the last week in Vienna, Mozart is shilled so ubiquitously, it reminds me of Elvis, the difference of course, being that Mozart was talented.

        2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Indeed, a zealot filled world is a dangerous world.

          I always say, if a guy is capable of murdering vegetables, shredding them to pieces – alive – between his molars, he’s capable of a lot of other satanic deeds.

    2. Susan the other

      getting pretty close to Bladerunner here… apparently I can only lapse my comments for 10 minutes before I am identified as a foreign protein – no, I am not a spammer…

  2. from Mexico

    @ “Are Corporations Trying to Distract Us with Social Issues While They Take Control of Our Economy?”

    Did other people come away from this article feeling it was one of the most obtuse meanderings they had ever read? These masterworks of irrationality and muddled thinking only behoove the status quo, sewing confusion and inaction.

    And what the hell does this mean?

    None of this is meant to condemn liberals who support corporate-backed politicians. We all want safety and security, and that includes the sense that we have leaders we can trust.

    1. Bev

      Edit: a commenter at washingtonsblog corrected this statement in article that follows:

      As if that wasn’t bad enough, four congressmen point out that the big banks are not taking over the tangible economy

      the big banks are NOW taking over the tangible economy

      Giant Banks Take Over Real Economy As Well As Financial System … Enabling Manipulation On a Vast Scale

      Posted on July 10, 2013 by WashingtonsBlog

      Big Banks Move Into Uranium Mining, Petroleum Products, Aluminum, Ownership and Operation Of Airports, Toll Roads, and Ports, and Electricity

      Top economists, financial experts and bankers say that the big banks are too large … and their very size is threatening the economy.

      They say we need to break up the big banks to stabilize the economy.

      They say that too much interconnectedness leads to financial instability.

      They also say that the big financial players are able to manipulate virtually every market in the world.

      And that the government has given the banks huge subsidies … which they are using for speculation and other things which don’t help the economy.

      But the big banks have only gotten bigger – and more interconnected – than before the phony financial “reform” legislation was passed a couple of years ago.

      As if that wasn’t bad enough, four congressmen point out that the big banks are not taking over the tangible economy as well … which allows them to control and manipulate the markets.

      Specifically, Congressman Grayson wrote – and Congressmen Conyers, Ellison and Grijalva co-signed – a letter to the Federal Reserve which, in the words of a congressional aide:

      Ask[ed] why large banks are engaged in a host of commercial activities, including power production, management of ports, oil drilling and distribution, and uranium mining. These activities have nothing to do with the business of banking and it’s unclear how the Fed or other bank regulators can actually regulate them. There’s useful and somewhat crazy information in the 10Ks of the banks about what they are currently doing. You can find that in the footnotes of the letter.

      Here is their letter:

      June 27, 2013

      The Honorable Ben Bernanke
      Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System
      20th Street and Constitution Avenue N.W.
      Washington, D.C. 20551

      Dear Chairman Bernanke,

      We write in regards to the expansion of large banks into what had traditionally been non-financial commercial spheres. Specifically, we are concerned about how large banks have recently expanded their businesses into such fields as electric power production, oil refining and distribution, owning and operating of public assets such as ports and airports, and even uranium mining. [Isn’t that a national security issue?]

      Here are a few examples. Morgan Stanley imported 4 million barrels of oil and petroleum products into the United States in June, 2012.[i] Goldman Sachs stores aluminum in vast warehouses in Detroit as well as serving as a commodities derivatives dealer.[ii] This “bank” is also expanding into the ownership and operation of airports, toll roads, and ports.[iii] JP Morgan markets electricity in California.

      In other words, Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan, and Morgan Stanley are no longer just banks – they have effectively become oil companies, port and airport operators, commodities dealers, and electric utilities as well. This is causing unforeseen problems for the industrial sector of the economy. For example, Coca Cola has filed a complaint with the London Metal Exchange that Goldman Sachs was hoarding aluminum. JP Morgan is currently being probed by regulators for manipulating power prices in California, where the “bank” was marketing electricity from power plants it controlled. We don’t know what other price manipulation could be occurring due to potential informational advantages accruing to derivatives dealers who also market and sell commodities. The long shadow of Enron could loom in these activities.

      According to legal scholar Saule Omarova, over the past five years, there has been a “quiet transformation of U.S. financial holding companies.” These financial services companies have become global merchants that seek to extract rent from any commercial or financial business activity within their reach.[iv] They have used legal authority in Graham-Leach-Bliley to subvert the “foundational principle of separation of banking from commerce”. This shift has many consequences for our economy, and for bank regulators. We wonder how the Federal Reserve is responding to this shift.

      It seems like there is a significant macro-economic risk in having a massive entity like, say JP Morgan, both issuing credit cards and mortgages, managing municipal bond offerings, selling gasoline and electric power, running large oil tankers, trading derivatives, and owning and operating airports, in multiple countries. Such a dramatic intertwining of the industrial economy and supply chain with the financial system creates systemic risk, since there is effectively no regulatory entity that can oversee what is happening within these sprawling global entities.

      Our questions are as follows:

      1) What is the Federal Reserve’s current position with respect to allowing Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley to continue trading in physical commodities and holding commodity-related assets after the expiration of the statutory grace period during which they, as newly registered bank holding companies, must conform all of their activities to the Bank Holding Company Act of 1956? What is the legal justification for this position?

      2) Has the Federal Reserve been investigating the full range of risks, costs, and benefits – to the national economy and broader society – of allowing these institutions (and, possibly, other large financial holding companies) to engage in trade intermediation and commercial activities that go far beyond pure financial services? If so, please share the results of your investigation. If not, why not?

      3) What types of data do you collect about the regulated financial holding companies’ non-financial activities? How does the Federal Reserve interact with non-bank regulators who are in charge of overseeing the areas and markets in which banking institutions conduct their non-financial activities?

      4) How do your examiners review, monitor, and evaluate banking organizations’ management of potential conflicts of interest between their physical commodity businesses and their derivatives trading?

      5) If such an entity were to become insolvent, what complications are likely to arise in resolving a company with such a range of activities? Please share your analysis on the implications of resolution authority on the commercial activities of systemically important financial institutions. Please describe how these banks approach this issue in their resolution plans (or “living wills”).

      6) When your examiners work within these large institutions, what framework do they use to, say, consider the possibility that a bank run could ensue from a massive public oil spill by a Goldman Sachs-owned oil tanker or a nuclear accident at a plant owned by a bank?

      7) Does this relatively new corporate structure contribute to the likelihood of industrial supply shocks?

      Thank you for your attention to this matter.


      Alan Grayson

      Raul Grijalva

      John Conyers

      Keith Ellison


  3. Bunk McNulty

    UPS: I quit using second-day service in 2008 when I realized that regular ground service was getting packages to me in two days anyway. Could it be that lower volumes sped up conventional delivery times?

  4. craazyman

    faaaahk it’s hot out there, nearly died yesterday from heat stroke after a 5 mile walk/jog. almost went to the hospital but then decided I’d rather die at home, so I laid on the floor and took a sedative. somehow I recovered.

    I bet those cats in the antidote have heat stroke. they can’t even take their fur off so they just boil.

    glad to hear rail traffic is still muddling along. I bet 10 years from now it’ll be muddling along. YOu could go to sleep for 10 year and nothing would change, I bet, in links and headlines. 10 years and nothing new in Spain, Greece, Portugal or Italy. Everything will still be “about to happen”. Here in the You-Ess They’ll still be spying on people through their cable box but if you “opt-in” you can be a reality TV show star on the NSA network, between commercials for financials services! That’s how things work. First they happen and then they become entertainment.

    No idea what to think about the Zimmerman verdict. Some things aren’t crimes or accidents, they’re just outbursts of total lunacy. In fact, most things are. That’s the analytical framework that really clarifies how reality works.

    1. Ruben

      Regarding the heat, I always take with me my frozen towel, right out from the freezer, and put it inside the cold food bag I got in Copenhagen airport (the smell of smoken salmon long gone), and this inside my bussines briefcase. So whenever I arrive to some place, usually my office, I take my shirt off and I wrap my body with the frozen towel. It takes some work to unfold it since it’s hard on account of being frozen, but sure it feels good.

      Things do change in 10 years mate. I reckon in 10 yr Ed Snowden will be sipping his margarita in Margarita Island, when he’ll hear the hoarse voice coming from behind his beach chair telling him Big Bro’ has been looking for you, do you love Big Bro’? Ed will picture O’s face, fellow Peace Nobelist, will search inside himself as the straw slowly slips off his lips, and will realize, he aint yet loving Big Bro’, so he’ll be left alone for another 10 yr, working out his issues, gazing into the Caribbean, while a category 15 hurricane builds up, which by sheer luck will miss Margarita Island.

      Sic transit gloria mundi.

      1. Carly

        “Frozen towel”…is it first soaked in water before being frozen? Or is it just damp? Or is it just dry and cold?

          1. psychohistorian

            And why is it not soaked in margarita fixings? Suck on the towel as it melts….grin

      2. optimader

        Ford Prefect aka Ruben

        A towel, it says, is about the most massively useful thing an interstellar hitchhiker can have. Partly it has great practical value. You can wrap it around you for warmth as you bound across the cold moons of Jaglan Beta; you can lie on it on the brilliant marble-sanded beaches of Santraginus V, inhaling the heady sea vapours; you can sleep under it beneath the stars which shine so redly on the desert world of Kakrafoon; use it to sail a miniraft down the slow heavy River Moth; wet it for use in hand-to-hand-combat; wrap it round your head to ward off noxious fumes or avoid the gaze of the Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal (such a mind-bogglingly stupid animal, it assumes that if you can’t see it, it can’t see you); you can wave your towel in emergencies as a distress signal, and of course dry yourself off with it if it still seems to be clean enough.
        More importantly, a towel has immense psychological value. For some reason, if a strag (strag: non-hitch hiker) discovers that a hitchhiker has his towel with him, he will automatically assume that he is also in possession of a toothbrush, face flannel, soap, tin of biscuits, flask, compass, map, ball of string, gnat spray, wet weather gear, space suit etc., etc. Furthermore, the strag will then happily lend the hitch hiker any of these or a dozen other items that the hitch hiker might accidentally have “lost.” What the strag will think is that any man who can hitch the length and breadth of the galaxy, rough it, slum it, struggle against terrible odds, win through, and still knows where his towel is, is clearly a man to be reckoned with.
        Hence a phrase that has passed into hitchhiking slang, as in “Hey, you sass that hoopy Ford Prefect? There’s a frood who really knows where his towel is.” (Sass: know, be aware of, meet, have sex with; hoopy: really together guy; frood: really amazingly together guy.)[3]
        —Douglas Adams, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy

        1. taunger

          One the things I most look forward to in life is the day my son has finished the Hitchhiker’s Guide and we can discuss.

          1. skippy

            When the sky’ll take to cryin, myself, ponders Pseudo Suicide…


            Skippy… all is revealed, you will need your towel for this[!!!]:

            This is the terrifying theory of blogger Jon Negroni who has written a very detailed essay explaining why “animals in Pixar movies behave like humans sometimes”.

            WHAT if all of the characters in Pixar films existed as part of a bigger story and every movie released is simply building a timeline for the robot apocalypse?


    2. Susan the other

      Sit in a tub of cold water, or maybe just soak your feet in cold water. Very fast and effective for heat stroke. Drink a shot of bourbon too or whatever. About those antidotes: the catdote made me laugh and the mozartdote made me cry.

      1. Carly

        Apologies for the double posting: One of the tricks we use is to hold an ice cube or a cold can of beer or pop on the inside of our left wrist. It cools the blood going to the heart and then to the brain, tricking your body thermostat into thinking it’s cooler “outside”.

        Works in reverse on a cold day as well. Hold a hot as you can stand it cup of coffee against the left wrist…or your carotid artery and you’ll warm up really fast, especially if you spill the coffee all over yourself.

      2. craazyman

        “About those antidotes: the catdote made me laugh and the mozartdote made me cry.”

        Faaaaaak, sounds like you need a sedative! A gentle and smiling, but mute, amusement is an emotionally stable and appropriate reaction — unless it’s one of Richard Smith’s antidotes, in which case I can see laughing so hard you cry. Faaak, that guy’s a nut job. Where did Yves did this dude up? The sawdust floor of Some English pub? He must be totally out of control in real life.

        1. Yves Smith

          You don’t know enough techies. A lot of them have perverse senses of humor.

          Richard Smith has a lovely and highly educated common law wife and two cats he’s trained to perform tricks. He also flew planes for many years (gliding!) but recently sold his plane :-(

    3. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      In 10 years, we will still be talking about wealth inequality and GDP sharing (the latter never got past the ignore stage to be ridiculed by a lot of people – perhaps a blessing, who knows?).

  5. rich

    NHS hit for millions by overcharging ‘scam’

    Drug companies exploit loophole in the law to hike prices by as much as 2,000 per cent

    Drugs companies have been accused of “highway robbery” of the NHS by using a legal loophole to push up the price of medicines in some cases by up to 2,000 per cent – at a cost to the taxpayer of tens of millions a year.

    At least 15 drugs have substantially increased in price after being “flipped” from one firm to another, according to information obtained by doctors.

    The legal “scam” has prompted outrage from the British Medical Association – which has warned that vital treatments risk being denied to patients if costs rise so much that the NHS can no longer afford them.

    The controversial practice involves big-pharma firms selling on medicines commonly used by the NHS to businesses acting outside the Government’s price-regulation scheme. The purchasing firms are then free to mark up the prices they charge the NHS.

  6. Al Cucumbera

    How should the average American bloke feel about the MIC supplying “rebels” or “al qeada” to fight against another insolent threat to the Aristocracies’ (Isreal to Saudi Arabia and back to DC) plans? It’s good for jobs, and housing and families and small business that people are killing each other over ‘yonder’? What an article – oh yes, let’s get the lawyers involved to see if there are speed limits to US sponsored international slaughter operations. Weapons sales, you can hear those profits!

  7. Paul Niemi

    Listening to Brendel play Mozart while reading the comments section of the links paints a drab news day with colors of inspired order and harmony. Beauty is always around us, perhaps just a layer or two beneath the surface.

  8. Jane Doe

    Talk Left & Racism

    Considering the open racism in the comment section on displayed at Talk Left (e.g., the attacks on the 19 year old black female witness) during the Zimmerman trial, to quote them for anything, is offensive.


    1. peace

      I agree.

      In addition, the article from emptywheel is factually biased. emptywheel quotes numerous articles but selectively excludes testimony disputing Zimmerman’s account. For example, the forensic evidence regarding the gunshot wound indicates EITHER Trayvon Martin leaning over George Zimmerman OR Zimmerman backing away from Martin. emptywheel links to this article but misinterprets the forensic evidence.

      “The wound itself … is consistent with Mr. Zimmerman’s account that Mr. Martin was over him, leaning forward at the time he was shot,” Di Maio said multiple times throughout the day….

      [HOWEVER!!!] The physical evidence also could be consistent with the teen pulling away or backing up as he was shot, Di Maio conceded.

      The article you link to is biased and innaccurate. It attempts to paint a cut and dry defense while so many elements are unclear.

      Racism and racial profiling are insidious. We must guard against these biases and be aware of how they accrue over time through our experiences. I am a white male and I am aware that I benefit from privilege. My experiences are different from the experiences of discriminated individuals. Therefore, I remain a skeptic and I attempt to see things from multiple perspectives.

      1. jane doe

        The problem here is that because they are Liberal they think that excuses the poor reasoning they are using to rationalize racism.

      2. LucyLulu

        Agreed. Article isn’t just biased, it’s full of errors. I pointed out a few yesterday when an excerpt was posted. The full article leaves me stunned that emptywheel would allow such poor quality to be published. Either that or my tv showed a different trial than bmaz watched.

        In addition, “stand your ground” can’t be separated from claims of self-defense in FL merely b/c it wasn’t asserted pre-trial. Florida’s self-defense law is codified in statutes and one of the five principles relates to duty to retreat, aka stand your ground. In some states there is a duty to retreat if possible in justifiable use of force. In Florida, unless one is the aggressor there is no such duty. Even if one is the aggressor, there are exceptions in cases of “recovery of innocence”, e.g. withdrawing from contact. FL 776.013(3)

    2. Carly

      The most stomach turning racism I ever saw was the acquital of O.J., who slashed two people to death with a knife…no pretense or allowance for possible self defense there.

      There are videos of crowds of Black people leaping to their feet and cheering when news of O.J.’s acquital was broadcast.

      Any comments from all the “outraged” people?

      1. jane doe

        OJ was guilty, but OJ was an anecdote.

        The problem your statement, which is really to change the subject, demonstrates is where someone can’t differentiate between a problem that’s systmeic (racism against blacks in the justice system whether one is a victim or defendant is systemtic) versus a single incident.

        Do you understand why this is different? One is a continuing injustice. One is a one off. Its like comparing a bank robbery to what Wall Street did in 2008.

        Its what conservative do to change the subject when they have nothing else better to say.

  9. Jane Doe

    The uncomfortable truth by the way is that White Liberals are just as racist as White Conservatives.

    That’s what I have, unfortunately, come to realize. The defendant’s entire cased was premised on jury from a racist town believing a liar (about his claims of fear) because the victim was black. At the end, they couldn’t even prove the defendant had significant injuries, so the defense invited the jury (which was all to happy to do it) to imagine what the black victim would have done. Not what he did. But may have happened. The entire defense rested on fear of a black boy.

    Compare that to any number of cases in which Blacks were the defendant and were convicted under similar facts in the state of Florida, and you start to see the real picture. A massive smoke screen for racist views that Whites (Liberal or Conservative) want to deny that they have.

    There is no requirement in the criminal justice system to believe a liar. That’s just the White Liberal excuse through hiding behind process to justify what they want to believe. I wish they would stop doing it. Its an insult to the intelligence of African Americans like me who are lawyers, and know better.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      Would you have structured the case differently if you were the prosecution? I couldn’t help but notice they never put Zimmerman on the stand, so the guy’s own videos formed his testimony! And then there’s the jury composition.

      Frankly, I’ve been wondering if the prosecution was in “Kid, this ain’t your night” mode.

      1. Jane Doe

        Frankly, the prosecution was crap, but given the statistical data, I doubt it would have mattered if they were the best in the country. I believe they bought into the societal paradigm that there was something illegitimate about the black kid being there.

        The fact is that when a black victim is involved both the punishment of a defendant if convicted and the chances of conviction are lesser than if victim is white. Both at the end of being defendants in a trial and being victims of a crime, blacks are treated unjustly by the legal system. That can’t be attributed to conservative. Its mostly some of the very posters I see at your site as well who say things about race that tip me off to their views on the subject. They deny it. Thus, allowing their ill will to fester under process and changing the subject.

        The real problem with the case ultimately comes down to this: From the minute that the police came onto the scene until now the view of case is that the black kid was not supposed to be there.

        The “fear” follows from fear of black people in the wrong space.

      2. Jane Doe

        The defense and prosecution in this case didn’t matter.

        The relevant element of the case throughout was that the black victim was in the wrong space. The entire case came down to that. That was the basis of the fear. Without that basis, in other cases, where the defendant was black, the victim white, the result was conviction in Florida.

        The data is also clear that when the victim is black both the chances of conviction and the punishment (if convicted) are lesser than if the victim is white. Especially where the defendant is perceived of as a part of the White establishment.

        That was true from the night the victim died until now.

        If you look at the biography of the jury selected, they were tailor made for acquittal, and the sad reality is that given it was Sanford, which is well known for having a problem with race, it is unlikely there was ever going to be a hearing of the evidence that did not involve racial views about the victim.

        People are spending too much time trying to convince themselves that race doesn’t matter. Look at the response to the 19 year black female witness by the press. Look at its virulence. That’s the ugly reality of race here. As nasty as conservatives are, at least, they are honest about it.

        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          I like this argument, a lot:

          The relevant element of the case throughout was that the black victim was in the wrong space.* The entire case came down to that. That was the basis of the fear. Without that basis, in other cases, where the defendant was black, the victim white, the result was conviction in Florida.

          “Without that basis, in other cases” — got a link on that?

          NOTE * Conflict over space**, terrain, land, territory, the continent. This also ties in to “Stand your ground.” Zoom to 30,000 feet and it’s still there.

          UPDATE ** Adding, also to the foreclosure crisis. As of now, all the homes being sold in the gated community were foreclosed on. I wonder what the racial composition of those foreclosures was?
          UPDATE There’s a genre of online maps tracing Martin and Zimmerman’s movements. This is the dynamic missing from that.

              1. Jane doe

                That case is hardly the only example. So when Jeralyn pretends this is about the facts, its insulting.

      3. neo-realist

        Zimmerman opted not to take the stand. Could the prosecution have forced him to take it if it wanted him to testify?

        1. Jane Doe

          No, they couldn’t force him to take the stand.

          The reality is that he has the right not to testify.

          The problem here is that given the inconsistent statements he made before trial there’s no reason why the jury should have believed his claims of fear for his life other than they believed the dead black boy really was a threat to him.

          During the trial, it was clear that the injuries themselves that the defendant claimed were not enough to show this. In fact, the lack of DNA and physical evidence to demonstrate that the victim had substantially attacked the defendant also was consistent with him not being in fear for his life.

          The main source of ‘fear” was the race of the defendant which the defense invited the jury to speculate about by saying “well we don’t know what would have happened next even if we can’t prove to you that defendant actually has injuries to show he was reasonable in claiming fear for his life”

          1. Linden

            An analysis I read said that the prosecution erred in letting in the tapes of Zimmerman at the police station. They thought that by doing so, they would be able to use the contradictions in his statements to advantage. In actuality what seems to have happened is he also made a lot of self-serving statements to the police on the tapes, and the jury was more swayed by those than the contradictions. In essence, Zimmerman got to “testify” without cross-examination.

            1. Jane Doe

              Think about what you are saying practically rather than from a legal perspective:

              Let’s say you have a child. You hear something fall. You ask the child what happened? the child keeps giving you conflicting stories of what happened that are self serving, yes, but conflicting.

              Do you choose to believe that child? Or do you believe the child is lying?

              When i say hiding behind process, I mean exactly that. There is no strategy that I can think of in which a person is found to be a liar, and nevertheless, the jury decided despite his conflicting self serving statements, the black boy is dangerous anyway because the defendant said so.

              Why would you believe the defendant if you know him to be a liar?

              Returning to the law, many defendants claims have been sunk because a jury didn’t believe him. What makes this case any different as far as circumstantial evidence than any other?

                1. Jane Doe

                  They consistently pointed out the defendant was a liar.

                  The jury choosing to believe defendant anyway about his fear wasn’t a matter of strategy. It was a matter of their own beliefs about the victim.

                    1. Jane doe

                      I am saying your faith in the system is misplaced when it comes to race. Process is the veneer, not the reason for the jury’s decision.

                  1. neo-realist

                    That’s what pisses me off about people who let the jury off the hook in saying they gave a very sober and fair evaluation of the evidence. I believed that their conservative political and cultural biases, particularly with regards to young blacks, accounted in part for their decision.

                    Coates is a “good establishment journalist”.

                    1. Jane doe

                      The whole veneer of well the process has been done so it was fair because it was done is where I think she’s wrong.

                      From a legal stand point, its well recognized that discrimination can look good as process on paper, but in effect, not good racial justice.

                      Here sticking the trial where by law it would include mostly a jury sympathetic to the racism was screwed up.

                    2. lambert strether

                      Major prosecution #FAIL:

                      1.) Jury composition

                      2.) Jurisdiction

                      3.) Charging (something any jury could convict on should have been possible; 3 of them went into deliberations wanting to convict Martin of something).

                      I agree and really like your powerful “wrong place at the wrong time” perspective — and a young black man is so much more likely to be “wrong” and “wrong” — but it’s the prosecution’s job to (a) know the jury and (b) help them over the barriers to a just verdict. It really doens’t look to me like they did that.

        2. Kurt Sperry

          As an aside, if you are ever called to sit on a jury panel and the defendant doesn’t take the stand to testify on their own behalf it’s pretty much an admission of guilt by the defense counsel. Not 100%, but probably 99%.

    2. Brindle

      Ta-Nahisi Coates:

      —“I think the jury basically got it right. The only real eyewitness to the death of Trayvon Martin was the man who killed him. At no point did I think that the state proved second degree murder. I also never thought they proved beyond a reasonable doubt that he acted recklessly. They had no ability to counter his basic narrative, because there were no other eye-witnesses.”—

      1. Jane Doe

        A rebuttal is to describe through reason how I am wrong. A rebuttal is not let quoting a black person as an excuse to avoid the conversation about your own thinking processes.

        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          “[H]iding behind process to justify what they want to believe. I wish they would stop doing it.”

          That’s very nice framing. What I’m asking above, I can translate to “Given the process mentality, how would you have prosecuted the case?” Because the point would be to win, no?

          Given also that you’re a lawyer, so you can structure it. I can’t get the metaphor right, but it’s something to do with turning process inside out, or appropriating it.

          1. Jane Doe

            I explained above why the arguments didn’t matter because for the jury to have found “not guilty” meant they believed the defense’s claim that the victim was dangerous to the defendant. The question is – given his conflicting statements, why they would believe this fear much less that it was reasonable?

            1. Lambert Strether Post author

              I understand that. I’m asking a different question. What I’m asking is how you would have prosecuted the case so as to win it* — a goal I am not at all convinced the prosecution had in mind.

              NOTE * I don’t mean this tactically; you’re a lawyer, I actually want to know.

              1. Jane Doe

                You may as well be asking me “how would you have prosecuted a case involving a black victim in 1959 Mississippi?”

                The only difference is that racism has went underground behind process so White Liberal like Jeralyn can hide behind it pretending not to see it as an issue. Willful blindness.

                My point is that this is not real.

                The process wasn’t the point here. The black kid in the wrong place was the point of the defense’s case.

                1. Lambert Strether Post author

                  Well, if there’s any hope for redress through the judicial system, then “The black kid in the wrong place” had better be able to be discredited. If that can’t happen, that is another discussion.

                  1. Jane doe

                    You can’t legislate what people think. Reasonable doubt is all the wiggle room for people’s belief to determine outcomes.

        2. Brindle

          My own thinking process came to similar conclusion as Coates; that the evidence and testimony at the trial made the juries decision understandable.

          1. Lambert Strether Post author

            Well, that’s why I went to Jeralyn, because she’s a defense attorney and one of the go-to sites for that subject matter and has been for years. If she says the case wasn’t winnable as presented I’m inclined to believe her. That said, I found one post (I don’t care nearly so much about the comments section, which is as nothing besides some of the horror shows I saw on FaceBook) that really did give me pause. So I have to think about this.

            1. Jane Doe

              Talk left hides behind process while allowing racists to comment at the site without moderation unless they favored the prosecution (then she deleted comments).

              Jeralyn’s bias is so bad that she donated money to the defense along with the other Tea baggers and racists who were donating.

              So, no, I don’t consider her an objective view of defense strategy and whether they were process or hiding behind process

              The way modern racism works is no one is stupid enough to call you “nigger” to your face

              In the real world, it works exactly like we saw with the Zimmerman case

              A lot of dog whistles were thrown out there to allow the jury to speculate about the dangerousness of a black boy in the neighborhood.

            2. Jane doe

              Her argument is form over substance. Where a process occured is not a response to whether the process allowed racist sentiment to be the basis for decision making. Again, the “doubt” here was to allow the jury to speculate using their racist views that the victim would have seriously harmed a defendant who had already lied to them. T

    3. HB Gabriel

      The Obama administration allowed the set up of “blacks” (and whites) for financial ruin. He hasn’t changed a thing about the equal opportunity aggression of the status quo. Inequality is much much worse. The full bore prison industrial complex keeps it’s Jim Crow roots alive. Why do we need to succumb to the Ministry of Truth’s favored controversy of the summer, yet while important, urges you to abandon the forest for the trees? How many people are being slammed into the joint in the on going drug war on a nearly daily basis? The sighs of relief from the neo-liberals: “Now we can sell race, like purience, the demand is insatiable” Occupy! Impeach!

      1. jrs

        Yes, I’ve thought a bit about protest in this country. There may be a lot this middle class person is upset about – one could start with the degree of political corruption in this country, the massive flow of money into politics, the sheer evil of various policies – TPP agreements that trade away sovereignty and with it all hopes of democracy, endless war, ever growing police state, environmental suicide etc. etc.. But I watched the protests in Brazil and figured this country is first going to break out into protest over economic inequality (which has reached a pretty extreme stage and growing of course). So they’ll be a backlash at some point about this economic equality – why something as seemingly insignificant as busfares would trigger it. But no, I’m leaning toward the conclusion there will be no protests on economic ground, when economics is not a violatile issue in this country as compared to race. And the mainstream media will TALK ABOUT race on and on and on, in a way they’ll never ever even mention economics.

        The Obama administration allowed the set up of “blacks” (and whites) for financial ruin. He hasn’t changed a thing about the equal opportunity aggression of the status quo. Inequality is much much worse. The full bore prison industrial complex keeps it’s Jim Crow roots alive. Why do we need to succumb to the Ministry of Truth’s favored controversy of the summer, yet while important, urges you to abandon the forest for the trees? How many people are being slammed into the joint in the on going drug war on a nearly daily basis? The sighs of relief from the neo-liberals: “Now we can sell race, like purience, the demand is insatiable” Occupy! Impeach!

        1. jrs

          sorry for the quote at the end, happened because I was trying to remember what I was replying to!

      2. Jane Doe

        I don’t like President Obama’s policies.

        However, in context, your comments are non-sequitur to avoid your and other White Liberal views on race.

        The fact remains- this boy is dead, and the system’s response from the night the police started to investigate, until now, is was to excuse the behavior of the defendant.

        I believe that this is occurring because the evidence in the case reflects White people, regardless of political ideology, belief even today in the Jim Crow mindset that black people aren’t supposed to be in certain spaces and aren’t equal.

        Were this the first example of that. it would be one thing. But its not. this issue repeats so much that it shows up as a consistent bias in statistical data, including well before President Obama entered off. The problem is bigotry itself. Not how you can twist it into a discussion of what makes you feel better as far as things you want to discuss.

  10. rich

    Why are universities trying to limit access to breast cancer tests?

    Myriad is the lead plaintiff, but two universities also signed on to the lawsuit: the University of Pennsylvania and the University of Utah Research Foundation. These schools own BRCA-related patents, which they have licensed exclusively to Myriad.

    Why are universities trying to force a potentially life-saving cancer test off the market? A spokeswoman for the University of Pennsylvania declined to comment for this story, and a University of Utah spokesperson didn’t return our call Friday afternoon. But the short answer seems to be money.

    Many universities now have “technology transfer” offices whose job it is to obtain patents based on university research and license them to private industry. These activities generated $1.8 billion in patent licensing revenues in 2011.

    This is a relatively new phenomenon. According to the Wall Street Journal, universities were only obtaining about 250 patents a year as recently as 1980. Then Congress passed the Bayh-Dole Act, which made it easier for universities to claim patents for federally-funded research. By 2003, the number of patents universities were getting each year had shot up more than 10-fold to almost 4,000

    1. Hugh

      Myriad is, of course, the company which tried to patent the BRCA genes. In the Supreme Court “gene patenting” case decided June 13, 2013, the Court held that discovery of the BRCA genes was not patentable but that the synthetically produced complementary DNA sequences it used in its test were. One could ask why Myriad was itself trying to keep alternate tests for breast and ovarian cancer using the same methods off the market, and there too the answer would be money.

    2. Yves Smith

      “Potentially life saving”???

      First, you are missing the extent to which that article is a PR plant. See Hugh’s comment for that (go Hugh!)

      Second, if anyone really cared about saving women’s lives, they wouldn’t push crap tests like BCRA (which DO NOT tell if you have cancer, they just show predisposition) and push for better breast tests.

      As I have ranted here repeatedly, the mammogram is a disgrace as a test. It identifies slow moving growths that will NOT kill you well (leading to lots of fear and unnecessary biopsies and operations) and is BAD at identifying fast moving growths that are potentially lethal.

      A Norwegian study that compared 109,784 women who were screened only once in six years to another group of 119,472 women who were screened every two years found that the group that got mammograms more often had 22% more invasive breast cancer diagnoses than the group that got screened only once. How do you explain this? The Norwegian researchers concluded that the extra mammograms found some invasive breast cancers that would have disappeared if left untreated.

      In other words, some invasive breast cancers would have spontaneously resolved if they hadn’t first been diagnosed and treated.

      Additionally, mammograms are an imperfect science, missing one quarter of cancers that are destined to appear during the following year after screening.

      The Unsatisfying Math

      So what’s the real benefit of screening mammography? Well, it’s largely a function of age. Two thousand 40 year old women must be screened over ten years in order to prevent one breast cancer death. By the age of 70, 2.3 women will benefit for every 1,000 women screened for ten years – but the remaining 997.7 women will not benefit.

      How can this be, when the word on the street is that mammography saves lives and should be offered to every woman?

      The vast majority of women simply aren’t destined to get breast cancer, and among those who are, two-thirds will be successfully treated even if they don’t benefit from early diagnosis. In other words, screening asymptomatic women without breast lumps might catch cancer early, but it might be catching cancers that don’t need to be caught, putting women at risk of unnecessary surgery, radiation, chemotherapy, anxiety, pain, and suffering.

      The disgraceful bit that is NOT commonly discussed is there are better diagnostic tools than mammograms, but because radiologists have installed bases of mammogram machines, that’s what gets pushed. Oh, and people have been trained to be enamored of technology, even when it’s inferior.

      What works better at detecting the dangerous cancers better than a mammogram? A manual breast exam by an experienced examiner. Sydney had a breast clinic with people who examined boobs all day. I’d go to a place like that in a nanosecond if we had them in the US. But we don’t.

      Second is thermal imaging, which is not expensive (but perversely not reimbursed by insurance) and has the further advantage of not exposing your tissues to radiation.

  11. Jane Doe

    One other point: Before anyone gets up a high horse claiming White Liberals aren’t racist as far as their views of the Zimmerman case. Let’s take one example. One of the defense witnesses essentially testified to robberies in the neighborhood during the time that Zimmerman shot the victim. No one noted the racism of putting that witness on the stand, and they all hide behind process because the witness claimed to know the defendant etc. The real point of the testimony was transparent: Blacks rob. Blacks are thugs. The victim deserved it despite the fact there was no evidence of the victim having done anything wrong other than returning home. Yet, I am sure even here there are quite a few people who think “well the kid must have been up to something” As long as that racialization of space continues, and this site quotes racist sites like Talk Left, you aren’t going to convince me there’s not a racial problem in this country or that Zimmerman didn’t get off because the victim was black.

    1. Ramble Espresso

      Compelling. Eric Holder is black and thuggish, but his wife is kinda white and liberal, so if we mix things up a bit, isn’t race like a back burner type of sous-chef thing?

    2. Jack Burns

      He probably “got off” because usually the prevaling party had mo’money. It ain’t over yet, opportunists can still rake the coals.
      Mo’money wins in fraudclosure court, to say nothing of business as usual in the court. Which is really cynical until you visit, participate and pay attention. If you are poor in America your life is already very expensive, and you stand a much higher chance of all kinds of marginalization, race being the traditional and less favored form of disenfranchisement these days.

  12. barrisj

    You know, reading comments all over the blogosphere, on both sides of the verdict, one is continually struck with the usage of “tragedy”, or “tragic event” to describe the actual shooting/killing of Trayvon Martin, who – after all – was killed by George Zimmerman. Inasmuch as such “tragedies” happen over, and over, and over, and over again, when does “tragedy” in these particular instances actually become a predetermined act? “Tragedy” presumes some sort of “bad luck”, or “misadventure”, or whim of fortune when someone dies, but never an event or occurence that is an entirely logical outcome of socially or culturally established dynamics. No purpose is served by continually invoking a descriptive that merely disguises, using a well-worn term, rather than illuminates the root issues here: race really matters. Regardless of what the circumstances were within the gated community where Martin lived and Zimmerman “patroled”, a young white kid in Martin’s stead would most likely not have been accosted by Zimmerman, or would not have pre-ordained the use of deadly force had he been stopped. Young black males prima facie presume a “threat”, and such a “threat” must place the onus upon such a person to prove that he/she is not a potential deadly menace to others – police, private citizens, white people in general. Martin “failed” the test, and paid for it with his life, end of story.

      1. Susan the other

        “Stalking” If stalking is legal so is counter-stalking. That is in a world like our own – a world without justice; without even the desire for justice by those in power. Good luck with that.

    1. Jane Doe

      Which is why I find people like Jeralyn at Talk left offensive because they write remaining wilfully blind to this, and in fact, attack anyone who points it out to her specifically by moderating her comments to prevent the discussion from even happening.

      For her to try to “see the big picture” now is not short of disgusting. I really don’t care to hear from here other than for her site to just go away, and for it fail as far as a business for her.

  13. D. Mathews

    Has anyone explored the link between surveillance and racial profiling? The former has arguably become the post 9-11 societal norm: We are constantly encouraged to view Middle Easterners with suspicion. We are told to look out for illegal immigrants. In airports we are constantly told to be on the lookout for people “acting strangely”. “Acting strangely”, often is in the eye of the beholder. Most recently, we have Obama telling all government employees to report suspicious behavior that may pinpoint a future Edward Snowden before he compromises supposed state “secrets”. This pushes society toward a paranoid norm that goads us to be overly observant and judgmental at the same time. It is a recipe for disaster. People will not only be looking out for the dreaded “other”, but will also become ridiculously “self conscious” so as not to be mistaken for any of the designated culprits. I furthermore believe that the issue of racial profiling was central to the Zimmerman case, despite the focus almost entirely on his plea of self defense (lethal force being allowable in self defense in FL).

        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          That’s exactly where I was going. “I want an America where nobody can be in the wrong place at the wrong time” seems to tie a lot of threads together. (And it’s not a “liberal” position so far as I can tell; anyhow, I’m not a liberal because I want to get rid of the empire, not enable or improve or mitigate it.)

          Especially as we might look at the surveillance state as seeking to put as many people as possible in the wrong place at that the wrong time, on top of all the “normal” compliance stuff.

          This is, of course, a classic case of white male privilege (which is a “rent,” since I certainly didn’t earn it). It never occurs to me that I could be “in the wrong place at the wrong time” (absent “Breaking Bad”-type edge cases, like being in the same county as Walter).

          Ah well. Dog, old; tricks, new.

          1. Jane doe

            If you want that type of America, the first thing you do is advocate that anyone who profiles and murders a black 17 old should be in prison without allowing others to hide behind process without any real meaning.

            As I keep saying, “reasonable doubt” unlike what Jeralyn will tell y ou is really, at the end of the day, whatever the jury believes as far as the evidence.

            There was enou gh evidence in this case to convicted this defendant. People like Jeralyn are hiding behind process to excuse racism and the world you describe.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      The Romans were smart.

      For them, it was ‘who will guard the guards?’

      If we want to learn from the, we would ask, ‘who will monitor the monitors?”

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        If I were in charge, I would monitor the generals/military contractors, and ignore the 99.99% – the latter have shown to be completely docile.

  14. scraping_by

    RE: Wedging the electorate

    It’s nice that nice well mannered middle class people who write nice blog articles are beginning to get their nice nickers mildly twisted about nice class warfare. It’s so not nice.

    If you look at the Bush presidents (George, Big Dog, Shrub, and Ditto) you’ll see consistent economics while wildly divergent social stands. No surprise here.

    In The Revolt of the Elites and the Betrayal of Democracy Christopher Lasch saw the decoy as race, and it’s indeed a decoy alive and well. Look at the global statements from the Trayvon Martin case, the accusations, the attacks on groups not involved. Though Lasch saw it more as working class Democrats worried about crime, the wedge is driven but it obviously needs to be tended constantly. Thus, each race conflict story is succeeded by another.

    Lasch saw the liberal academic substitution of social science and psychology for religion, he didn’t see a popular reaction by the religious against it might be useful for smokescreening the theft of public assets and private fortunes. Politics is generally about money, and one forgets that at peril.

    The three great decoys of the MSM are race, war, and sex. The antiabortion crusade, which has devolved to making abortion impossible since it can’t make it illegal, is a direct imposition on people’s sex lives. Syria and the WOT flare up and down as needed. And we’re going to hear about a squalid little street crime for months to come.

    Nice of the nice people to notice.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      I would just settle for a president not from Yale or Harvard.

      Nothing against them…really, trust me. It’s just that we can use change once in a while.

  15. Hugh

    Given that American media is all propaganda all the time, I am not sure what if any the government’s repeal of the ban on its propagandizing the American public directly will have. I see this rather as our kleptocratic class simply dispensing with what has become a superfluous fiction.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      When we do something often enough, it becomes second nature.

      And thus, every day and every night, people robotically keep their brains clean by washing them with sham poo.

    2. Susan the other

      Good point. Similarly the market is all rigged all the time, so why are the marketeers howling? The fact that justice is also all rigged all the time is so profound that we have to acknowledge we have lost our country.

  16. Hugh

    I heard a report that the DOJ was looking at the Trayvon Martin case. It is possible that Zimmerman could face federal charges of violating Martin’s civil rights.

  17. fresno dan

    The hummingbird who can’t keep his beak out: Rivals fight over water dish… but despite his sword-like nose he still doesn’t win

    So length isn’t the most important attribute…what a relief, I’ve been saying that for years…

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Fighting hummingbirds.

      That explains why, for the Aztecs, their god of war was Huitzilopochtli, or Left-handed Hummingbird (or Hummingbird on the Left Side).

      1. ambrit

        Dear MLTPB;
        Yes, and yes. Sit on the back porch one twilight, when all good hummingbirds are stoking up for a snug nights sleep, and watch the bickering and fighting. As for the beak issue; it’s well attested that hummingbird sub species evolve to match with particular food sources. Something like human brain development, or lack thereof.

  18. Susan the other

    Just a comment on Archdruid. Where are the hard questions? Well here are some: Why don’t we do Mao one better? Let’s get real. The difference between Materialism and Realism is the difference between inflation and deflation. Funny quip but true. Maybe we have all this nutty hubris because we keep self-medicating emotionally. We could do any number of rational things. Like combine stock yards with their vast amounts of manure with stock markets with their astronomical need for energy for HFTs. Stacked up. Because methane can be put to good use in the basement if you capture it, right. If it goes off into the ether, well then its pretty toxic. Likewise we could employ the unemployed, give them board and room and medical, for living in the basement stories of high rises and warming the buildings with their own metabolic heat and gasses. Probably vegans would be best. And this also might be a good use of prisoners – generating energy by methane capture. And if everything ever seemed lost (or beyond lost) we could always do something totally rational like outlaw cars. Make them illegal. Driving one will get you 5 to 10 in the basement of a high rise.

    1. Glenn Condell

      Lots of things we could do, but we won’t. That is Greer’s whole schtick, and I generally agree with it, but wished I didn’t.

      It’s cheerful pessimism, but still pessimism.

  19. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    That explains why cats behave the way they do – human world is indeed like that to them…completely nonsensical.

  20. Herman Sniffles

    “Swedish proffesor nominates Snowden for Nobel Peace Prize.”

    Heck, Obama should just send him his!

    1. ambrit

      Hey there! The Oster has been trying to get Elusive Ed to the White House for some sort of ‘official’ ceremony for a while now. The Administration is so worried about Eds’ health that they ‘convinced’ some ‘friendly’ european countries to force a foreign head of states aircraft to land for an all point ‘safety inspection!’ All this because they thought Ed was on the foreign maintained, (and you know just how sloppy those Costa Rican mechanics are,) aircraft. No sir, you can’t convince me that this government doesn’t care about Eds’ welfare.

    1. diane

      In other, Post Racism!!!!!! Nooz:

      07/14/13 Lawmakers begin floating potential replacements for Secretary of Homeland Security post

      Leading contenders for the job being vacated by Janet Napolitano appeared to be retired Coast Guard Commandant Adm. Thad Allen, New York Police Commissioner Ray Kelly and former New York Police Commissioner and former Los Angeles Chief of Police William Bratton, according to Texas Rep. Mike McCaul.

      Oh, and ‘Dearest,’ Post Humanitarian, Class, Gender, and Age Isms!!!!!!, Janet?

      07/13/13 UC President Napolitano and the “Securitized” University

      1. diane

        jus’ helpin out …. with today’s “Links,” the above news was clearly threatening to ‘stale’..just like the travesty against the Voting Rights Act has totally disappeared.

  21. Andrew Watts

    RE: Greenwald: Snowden docs contain NSA ‘blueprint’

    Putin: “The world keeps handing me pearls……”

    I know Greenwald is trying to help Snowden, but he really needs to shut the fuck up. It isn’t hard to imagine that the Russians want to know how much valuable intel Snowden has. If Greenwald keeps shooting his mouth off I reckon Snowden would be safer in American hands.

    The NSA was the only US intelligence (…) agency the Soviets had trouble infiltrating.

    1. scraping_by

      Nice of you to protect us from ourselves.

      The personality focus of the official response is backfiring, and further attempts to revive the Cold War will only keep the official losing streak going.

      The issue remains a government using eavesdropping against its people, and the question of how extensive and intrusive is part of the story.

      As this administration goes after those who provide information (as opposed to speculation: it’s not just the same old thing) they amplify people’s change of perception.

      The definition of ‘patriot’ is more and more one who opposes Obama and the police state instead of one who blindly agrees and obeys. And every attempt to blame the messengers just drives home how true and how necessary that redefinition really is.

      1. Andrew Watts

        “The issue remains a government using eavesdropping against its people, and the question of how extensive and intrusive is part of the story.”

        Correct. Which is why talking about all the damaging information that Snowden has in his possession while he’s under Putin’s thumb is only increasing the likelihood that his physical safety will be at risk from the Russians at some point.

        You seem to think that Snowden only faces threats from the US government. How much is his information worth? How far will Putin be willing to go to receive it?

        The rest of your response is garbage. Pontificate to somebody else.

  22. Charles LeSeau

    Interesting and very nice to see something by Brendel here. When I was a kid he was one of my heroes because I was started on piano playing through a helpless boyhood Beethoven phase and Brendel has always been one of the heavyweights of Beethoven in post 1950s recording.

    I liked his essays and agree with most of it, though the bulk is stuff that I think no one in the piano world has much disagreed with, and Brendel – true to form – clearly shows his classicist leanings throughout. His tips on voicing are very important and good, and one of my enormous pet peeves with even professionals I’ve heard time and time again. The pianist is a miniature orchestra, a somewhat monochrome one, but it is the only single instrument that can do bass, chord, and melody effectively all at once. Playing all architectural parts at the same volume is absurd and common. I thoroughly agree with what he says about Bach on piano and about some of the best-forgotten dogma about pedal, which as an art in itself is simply necessary for piano to be effective in almost everything but purely contrapuntal music (where it can still be used effectively!). The old warhorse piano teacher ideal of the pedal-less legato is important in certain passage work – mostly scalar passages, percussive ones, and anything played entirely down in the bass where pedal would muddy things up – but an enormous part of the post-Romantic literature simply needs it to function, often because unpedaled legato is physically impossible due to the distances covered, e.g. Chopin’s Etude Op 10 #1 simply cannot be played legato without pedal.

    He says a few arguable things, like “In contrast, the most important piano composers—apart from Chopin—have not been piano specialists; they enriched music in its entirety.” He’s forgetting Scriabin here a bit – or maybe overestimating Scriabin’s or underestimating Chopin’s musical content contribution.

    I would also argue against his description of Liszt as “Musical source of Franck and Scriabin, Debussy and Ravel, Messiaen and Ligeti.” Curiously, he leaves Wagner out of this Liszt list. Ravel was probably the most neo-Lisztian of the bunch with his Jeux d’eau and Gaspard de la Nuit; Debussy has been seen by most scholars as more of a descendant of Chopin (pieces like Feux d’artiface or L’isle Joyeuse notwithstanding); and Scriabin too was more of a neo-Chopinist in his earlier works, and as far as I can tell pretty much writing his own page during his mystical period. Perhaps Brendel was mostly referring to pianistic technique and opportunities for piano color here, where it’s true that Liszt opened quite a few of the biggest doors. The Messaien and Ligeti stuff I don’t even know how to explain as Lisztian, since both are so very very modern in both language and architecture. Then again, Liszt was a neglected genius in opening up 20th century sounds, including I believe the first use of both cluster chords and tone rows (and there’s an argument that he preceded Wagner with the Tristan bit, but I’ve seen that one argued fiercely both ways). I don’t know, but I’m going to open up some of my Ligeti etudes today and read through them and try to find it today, I think.

    Anyway, thanks for the wonderful read, NC!

    1. hpschd

      I really appreciate Brendel’s technique with Mozart. He gets a lot of colour and never pounds on the keyboard.

      I build early keyboard instruments and most appreciate late 18th century music on pianos of that period. Brendel has the ability of capuring the essence of those instruments (e.g. a Stein fortepiano) on a modern concert grand. A truly marvelous performance.

      I met him decades ago. He is a true intellectual, but does not over-think his interpretations. The music flows out of a great soul.

      1. Charles LeSeau

        I agree. He plays Mozart and all classical form repertoire masterfully and with deepest understanding. I have a box set of Brendel playing Schubert’s piano music that I like very very much.

        My tendencies are mostly in the Romantic and early 20th century repertoire these days though as both player and listener, so I’m not listening to Brendel quite as much as I used to. I personally am trying to learn Ravel’s catalogue right now (minus the two concerti). And in recording I have a real ear for the old 1920s and 30s artists – Josef Hofmann, Ignaz Friedman, Vladimir de Pachmann, Emil von Sauer, Rachmaninoff, Rosenthal, sometimes Artur Schnabel with Beethoven, etc.

        Respect_++ for your craft. It’s been a fantasy of mine for a long time to build a piano or harpsichord. Do you have a website for your instruments?

        1. Glenn Condell

          Me too – Hofmann, Rach, Cortot and Lhevinne. I have had this thing for the Schumann Etudes Symphoniques and wanted to hear everyone of any note, Cortot and Lhevinne come up trumps for me.

          I must admit to finding more shade than light in a lot of Brendel’s playing, which is to my untrained ear a bit bass heavy.

          1. Charles LeSeau

            You have good taste. :)

            Cortot is an enormous favorite of mine, a true individual on the instrument. The Cortot 6-disc Chopin set (EMI, I believe) would be one of my desert island sets – very red blooded and in-the-moment playing, occasional clams thoroughly reduced to insignificance. I am a great fan of Cortot’s student, Samson Francois too, in the Ravel/Debussy stuff – another great individualist with a very unique and unusual approach to material that all too often sounds very similar from pianist to pianist. Cortot must have been quite a teacher. I have an old copy of his edition of the Chopin Etudes in sheet, and each one is prefaced with 3 to 4 pages of discussion about things to pay attention to, problems to solve, different exercises for the exercises, etc.

            Lhevinne (& his wife) also a favorite. I’ll have to look out for the Schumann. I don’t have it.

  23. ep3

    yves, i want to pass along something. on saturday i received a text msg from verizon (my cell service) that my contact address had changed. If I had not done this, call their customer service. I called in. Apparently someone got my phone number and the last 4 of my SS# and was calling to charge accessories to my account and ship them elsewhere. While on the phone with verizon, this mystery person was on with another customer service rep changing things as I was trying to correct them. Even when verizon put a secret password on my account, this hacker was able to change that.
    After 45 minutes on the phone with verizon, the customer service rep assured me they had blocked the changes.
    I post this so that other ppl may know.
    What bothers me, besides that verizon had no solutions to this, is that our gov’t doesn’t take this as a crime to be investigated. I am left on my own to protect my identity.

    1. Yves Smith

      Hate to tell you, but I’ve refused to get a cell phone that requires me to give out my SSN (won’t bore you as to how I’ve managed to escape that). I’ve even refused to see doctors that required a SSN as an identifier (my insurer does not use my SSN, and I literally could not get an MRI from the group my orthopedist recommended, even when I offered to use cash or a credit card). The law creating the SSN actually prohibits using it as an identifier! So much for the law.

      The only people who get my SSN are banks, banking services, and brokerages. You cannot avoid it with them because they are part of the IRS reporting structure. I simply don’t give it to anyone under any circumstances otherwise. That’s also a reason I take all income through a corporation. They get my corporate tax ID # to report their remittances to me, not my SSN.

      But yes, this is a helpful notice. and sorry you had such trouble.

      1. ep3

        Thanks Yves. I was more putting that out there as a warning. And, I doubt verizon would publicize how their systems get hacked and ppl’s information can be changed and stolen so easy.

  24. Walter Map

    It’s perfectly characteristic of Southern states in the U.S.: a white man is tried for murder, and his black victim is convicted and sentenced to death.

    There was never any reason to believe Trayvon Martin could get a fair trial anywhere in the South, especially since he was executed in advance.

    1. diane

      The standard line, about those Southern States, gets a bit tired when there’s not any proof that Trayvon could have gotten a fair trial, AFTER DEATH, anywhere in the UZ, actually. Oscar Grant was shot in the back while cuffed and on his stomach, in “Sunny Pwogessive California,” and look at the outcome of that trial. “Liberal California,” especially Orange County, “Imperial” Valley, and Silicon [Fake] Valley, are as racist as the day is long, for just one example.

      Not saying Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, Florida, the Carolinas, etcetera aren’t nasty racist as the day is long, just saying those states have become a convenient means to escape discussing the more subtle, but equally deadly, racism that exists in every $tate of the Union™.

      It’s pretty clear that many of those on the libewal blawwwwgs, who are clearly attempting to justify the verdict, would be loath to term themselves as “Southerners.” Does that really mean they are not actually as racist (and they are certainly considered more classist, by anyone’s measure) as those they conveniently point fingers to whenever the general subject arises?

  25. allcoppedout

    That gets it right Map. I didn’t notice any facts in the evidence.
    On our distraction from social issues and the coming theft of the land beneath out feet, I’d offer the absence of a real Plan B on after the next collapse of the banks as evidence they are planning something else. The banks are, of course, dead and will be resurrected as Undead to bleed us dry.

  26. NSA cockroaches

    US government privacy rape will figure prominently in this government’s pending disgrace in the most public forum in the world. The HRC’s preeminent independent legal experts are going to carve this regime up like a turkey, in calm and dulcet tones, and everybody in the world can watch the video stream. The US government will go all out to keep the subject population unaware but the outside world will be watching very closely.

    Mobilizing shame. It dismantled the Warsaw Pact, and it will dismantle the NATO bloc.

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