Links 7/29/13

Grassland butterflies in rapid decline in Europe Guardian

Pooping Canada geese may have spread GM wheat seeds Ottawa Citizen

400,000 Foreclosure Settlement Checks Sent To Wrong Address HuffPo

Expirations Loom on Up to $1B in Foreclosure Review Checks eCredit Daily

George Zimmerman’s Acquittal: Four Blunt Observations Businessweek

Obama Supports the Racial Surveillance That Killed Trayvon Black Agenda Report


Abandoned brick barricades of Cairo: Eerie quiet descends in parts of capital after clashes left 120 dead and pushed Egypt to brink of civil war Daily Mail

Eyewitness in Egypt: ‘Most were shot in the face – only one in the back’ Independent

Egypt crisis: ‘we didn’t have space in the fridges for all the bodies’ Guardian

Supporters of Egypt’s ousted president march in defiance of army Reuters

Altered Images: Egypt’s disinformation war BBC

Saudi prince defects from royal family: Report Hurriyet Daily News

Big Brother is Watching Watch

How America’s Top Tech Companies Created the Surveillance State National Journal

NSA – Access It All Moon of Alabama

They Know Much More Than You Think New York Review of Books

With NSA revelations, Sen. Ron Wyden’s vague warnings about privacy finally become clear WaPo

Firms linked to new hacking scandal could exceed 300 Daily Telegraph. That’s the UK. It can’t happen here.

Hillbilly Tracking of Low Earth Orbit Satellites Travis Goodspeed’s Blog (PD)

Dronestagram is the first social network for flying robot photography The Verge

Zero Tolerance Policies Put Students In The Hands Of Bad Cops TechDirt

80 Percent Of U.S. Adults Face Near-Poverty, Unemployment: Survey AP (CR). That’s not a bug. It’s a feature.

President Obama’s Big, Frothy Hint Quantitative Ease by Carola Binder. Obama’s remarks “relatively unconcerned with unemployment.” No. High disemployment is policy.

Spitzer’s Remarks on Wall Street Upset Bloomberg CNY News. Awww!

Hedge funds gripped by crisis of performance FT

Woman awarded over $18 million in dispute over credit report errors with Equifax Daily Mail. Equifax is handling income verification for ObamaCare. What could go wrong?

Treat health care as a social need, not a commodity Journal News. Medicare’s 48th Birthday was is Tuesday. Will there be an Obama speech in commemoration?

Greece’s Unemployed Young: A Great Depression Steals the Nation’s Future Businessweek

China plans government debt audit FT

Drought scarcity and shortage Aguanomics. Handy map.

MRSA: Farming up trouble Nature

Why is the White House aiding and abetting lawbreaking by coal plants? Facing South

50 shades of gray: A research story Statistical Modeling, Causal Inference, and Social Science

Psychology and the Prevention of War Trauma: An Article Rejected by American Psychologist  Project Censored

Can We See Our Hypocrisy to Animals? Nicholas Kristof, Times

Tackling Pinker’s defense of evolutionary psychology PZ Myers

From Mexico, Global Lessons for Forest Governance Solutions. Watershed governance, soil governance….

Antidote du jour (furzy mouse):


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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. XO

    RE: Drought scarcity and shortage:

    Seems to be primarily in the Bible Belt, with a few outliers.

    Maybe I’ll have to reconsider my atheism.

    1. F. Beard

      As in taking a belt to the Bible Belt?

      The Lord did use droughts to correct the ancient Hebrews and also locusts and the Philistines and the Assyrians and the Babylonians and the Greeks and the Romans.

      I probably left out a 1/2 dozen or more.

      For whom the Lord loves He reproves, even as a father corrects the son in whom he delights. Proverbs 3:12

  2. diptherio

    Re: NSA Spying

    Here’s a great response to anyone who still thinks that “if you’re not doing anything wrong, you don’t have anything to worry about.”

    Domestic Spying Victim: Virginia Cody

    Office of Homeland Security spying on anti-fracking activists on behalf of gas companies. This is what neo-fascism looks like.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      We are all precious, all golden (in fact, we are gold).

      Every one of us is worthy of being spied upon – you can trust them on that.

  3. petridish

    RE: Expiring Foreclosure Review Checks

    “The OCC is reminding recipients that checks — the first wave was mailed April 12 — carry a 90-day expiration date to prevent fraud.”

    TO PREVENT FRAUD. Certainly wouldn’t want those whose houses were ILLEGALLY foreclosed on to be DEFRAUDED of their $300 “settlement.”

    It’ll be interesting to see what new hoops will need to be jumped through to get a replacement check, if it’s possible at all.

  4. Ms G

    Small point on the Government Surveillance Scandals and the cooperation of “private” corporations such as Google, Verizon, et al.

    There has been remarkably little comment in the midst of Snowden’s revelations regarding the NSA programs noting that similar phenomena are occurring in the “private” sector. Specifically, the short-lived-media reporting on how Bloomberg LP has been spying on its clients through the Bloomberg Terminals (Little PRISMS?).

    It was odd, to say the least, to hear that Mayor Bloomberg — being such a fan of the Surveillance State (he said to NY’ers that drones and cameras everywhere were just part of the new reality so “just get used to it”) — was “dismayed” to hear that his company was doing this. (Though I suppose one difference is that his “paycheck” is impacted by his own company doing the spying and is possibly (through his “blind” trusts) much enriched by NSA spying).)

  5. from Mexico

    @ “Obama Supports the Racial Surveillance That Killed Trayvon”

    Someone in the comments section of this article posted a portion of an article by James Kuntstler, who obviously believes the desired state of black folks should be permanent Stockholm Syndrome. One of the responses to Kunstler masterfully articulated that which I alluded to yesterday: “The only people who could buy into Zimmerman’s nonsensical exculpatory statement are racist bigots.” Here’s an excerpt:

    About the case itself, TM was 5-11 and 158 lbs while GZ, at the time, was 5-7 and 204. So TN was taller than GZ but significantly lighter than him. Also GZ was training in MMA and was 28 years old at the time. This absurd notion that he was a creampuff being beaten by a “gansta thug” is idiocy.

    More importantly and stunningly he ignores everything before and after that part of the killing. Namely, that GZ followed TM, who ran or “skipped” (heh) away from him, first by car then on foot before GZ, in his own words, confronted him and that TM’s first reaction to GZ was to ask him a simple and reasonable question – “why are you following me”? Yeah, that was a real gangsta, gangsta, move y’all! Also, afterwards that GZ continually lied about almost everything about the event (punched in the face 25-30 times!!!, “you’re going to die tonight”, “you got me” and on and on and on) should have alerted a supposedly astute observer like Kunstler to what actually happened.

    That anybody would believe a minor who was minding his own business, talking on the phone to a girlfriend on the way home from doing a minor errand who ran away from an armed adult stranger who persued him by car and then on foot suddenly turned into “Black Dynamite”, all while still on the phone with the girlfriend!, and beat the armed adult almost to death is ridiculous. That’s not even including the armed adult’s documented history of violence, bad behavior like, for example, assualting a cop, DV, hurting a woman while a bouncer, racially bullying a coworker, molesting his cousin, and amazingly, while in jail awaiting trial!!!!!, conducting a scheme to perpetrate a fraud on the court and the tax payers of the state of Fla.

    That Kunstler ignored all that, or is ignorant of it, is telling.


    The Rev. Martin Luther King really hit the nail on the head when it comes to folks like Kunstler when in his Letter from Birmingham City Jail he wrote:

    I have almost reached the regrettable conclusion that the Negro’s great stumbling block in the stride toward freedom is not the White Citizen’s Counciler or the Ku Klux Klanner, but the white moderate who is more devoted to “order” than to justice; who prefers a negative peace which is the absence of tension to a positive peace which is the presence of justice… Lukewarm acceptance is much more bewildering than outright rejection.

    I had hoped that the white moderate would understand that law and order exist for the purpose of establishing justice, and that when they fail to do this they become dangerously structured dams that block the flow of social progress.

    1. diptherio

      What was most astounding to me in the BAR article, was Obama’s claim that criminal law enforcement is not “traditionally” done by the Feds. What?!? Has anyone informed the FBI? Is he trying to do the Jedi mind trick on us or what?

      Beginning his performance with “Once the jury’s spoken, that’s how our system works,” and an endorsement of the propriety of the trial, Obama half-mumbled 2,100 words designed to indicate that he is aware of “a history of racial disparities in the application of our criminal laws, everything from the death penalty to enforcement of our drug laws” – and then almost immediately washed his hands of the matter with the caveat: “The criminal code and law enforcement is traditionally done at the state and local levels, not at the federal levels.”

      I spent my morning blanting about it (that’s blog-ranting, btw) here:

      Obama Denies Knowledge of Federal Law

      1. Massinissa

        That Obama expects us to believe that he, a constitutional law professor, has no understanding of the law, is embarassing.

        He really does think we are all gullible idiots. He thinks he can say whatever and everyone will still love him.

        The sad part is? He is mostly correct.

        1. Gmarks

          Sad that we’re stupid… or Sad that people still love him… because they DO NOT still love him.

          My daughters worked for the O campaign and put a finger down their throats each time he shows his face on the tube. THEY HATE HIM.

          He’s Bush in black face…. worse than Bush because we all knew Bush was a monster, a stupid monster at that.

          O represented himself as a reformer… had he filled the justice department with BLack Panthers to find out who shorted airline stock in the days before the 9/11 “surprise” – I would have cheered.

          But NO – Obomney is and was a phony… a lawn jockey for Wall St and the war machine… so NO

          Don’t tell me people still love him… they don’t. They just hate Republicans more.

          and that makes O a worse monster… he cheated us.

          1. from Mexico

            It is unfortunate that the black community, and this can be said of every non-dominant community, always had its share of Barak Obama’s and Eric Holders.

            In his Letter from Birmingham City Jail, the Rev. Martin Luther King spoke of “a few Negroes in the middle class who, because of a degree of academic and economic security, and because at points they profit by segregation, have unconsciously become insensitive to the problems of the masses.”

            This was putting it mildly. As James Melvin Washington elaborates in A Testament of Hope:

            Conservative [white] evangelical preachers boldly announced that communism and liberalism threatened American economic and social well-being in the period after World War II. One of them, Jerry Falwell, declared, in the middle of King’s civil rights campaign in Selma, Alabama, that “I must personally say that I do question the sincerity and non-violent intentions of some civil rights leaders such as Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr….” Falwell had a black counterpart in the Reverend Dr. Joseph Harrison of Jackson, president of the National Baptist Convention, U.S.A…. Conservative black preachers usually had little trouble getting either an audience or support. Progressive black preachers had to work harder to get their white compatriots to move from discussion to action.

            Malcolm X didn’t mince words and was a lot more combative than King. Didn’t he call folks like Obama and Holder “house n-ggers”?

      2. Jim Haygood

        Obama’s claim is of course ridiculous. However, some of us still remember when the Fifth Amendment remained in effect: ‘nor shall any person be subject for the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb.’

        Federal courts have resorted to the subterfuge of claiming that differing federal and state statutes represent different offenses. The upshot is that, uniquely in the world, Americans can be tried twice for the same conduct, under two overlapping criminal codes.

        In an equally matched adversary proceeding, the defendant has a fifty-fifty chance at acquittal. In two trials, a defendant’s chance at acquittal drops to one in four.

        Recognizing the vast resources of the government, the framers of the constitution carved out some privileges for defendants such as the prohibition on double jeopardy, at the price of knowing that some guilty defendants would escape justice.

        With the Fifth Amendment a dead letter now, the feds can take a second crack at defendants acquitted in state court. While justice may be served in some specific instances by a second trial, another result is that the U.S. Gulag bulges with the world’s highest imprisonment rate.

        1. diptherio

          Good point, I hadn’t thought about double jeopardy. Of course, Obama didn’t mention anything about that, just that the Feds don’t do law enforcement, that’s what got my goat.

      3. from Mexico

        @ diptherio

        I think the discussion of the law in the article Walter Map linked is far superior than in the link you provided:

        Many (mistakenly) believe that a federal criminal prosecution of George Zimmerman is only viable if the U.S. prosecutors can prove that Zimmerman killed Martin “because” Trayvon was of the African-American race. One prong of 18 USC §245 (§245(b)(2)(B)) outlaws harming “because of race” those who avail themselves of state-provided amenities….

        However this “because of race” facet is not an element of 18 USC § 245 (b)(1)(B). That section of the U.S. code proscribes private individuals (or government personnel) from (in sum) harming any person “because he is participating in or enjoying any benefit…privilege…facility, or activity provided…by the United States.” (Emphasis added.)

        The case law is clear that this prong does not require the prosecution to prove the defendant had any racial animus towards the victim. In US v. Pimental, 979 F. 2d 282, 283-284 (2nd Cir. 1992) Circuit Judge Friedman stated:

        Nothing in this [statutory] language even suggests, let alone requires, that there must be a discriminatory motive for interference with the victim’s federal rights. The provision covers “[w]hoever” willfully and forcefully injures “any person” because that person has been participating in any federally protected or administered activity — here … an informant in a counterfeiting investigation. There is no reference to any discriminatory motive in this provision.

        1. davidgmills

          My problem with the situation is that if Zimmerman convinced the state jury that he acted in self defense when accused of a homicide and the state jury believed that defense, should a second jury then get to decide in a federal case be that he didn’t act self defense in violating Martin’s rights. It seems to me that violation of one’s civil rights is a lesser includible offense to homicide.

          It seems to me that double jeopardy would require both state and federal crimes to be decided by the same jury. We do this very thing in the civil courts all the time. If a case involves both a federal claim and a state claim, the same judge and jury hears both claims. If one of the claims is not brought when it can be brought, it is waived.

          I really don’t like this system of being charged with separate state and federal crimes when the evidence is going to be the same in both.

      4. Ms G

        With this one, BHO clearly doesn’t even feel he has to fake it anymore. It’s as though he’s just uttering preposterous things for the heck of it Because He Can (and he’s already guaranteed a seat in the Bentley to Richy-Richy Land).

        It is nonetheless appalling that he made this statement. I wonder if Holder or MJ White have the balls to “May I Have A Word, Sir” their boss.

      5. davidgmills

        As a lawyer, and I am one, I have to explain Obama’s legal thinking on this. Lawyers commonly make this very statement, as dumb as it may sound intitially. What we really mean when we say it is that most criminal actions are brought by the state prosecutors and a far fewer number are brought by the federal prosecutors. Our state prisons house the vast majority of our inmates.

    2. Walter Map

      Zimmerman was only on trial in a strictly legal sense. It was really Martin who was on trial. He was duly convicted of being black, a crime for which he obviously had no defense, and retroactively sentenced to execution.

      In racist Amerika, Zimmerman was guilty of little more than hunting black people without a proper permit, normally constituting possession of a badge issued by a law enforcement agency.

      Zimmerman can still be tried for murder, but since Obama is a political coward and an utter phony you can expect the administration has ordered the USDOJ not to pursue it.

      1. diptherio

        Well, it’s good to see that I’m not the only one who had the thought of prosecuting under civil rights law. As we all know though, ain’t gonna happen.

      1. Jim Haygood

        ‘Window dressing’? More likely what they would back is retroactive immunity and legalization of everything that’s being done.

        We’ve already seen that movie in 2006/7, when telecoms were retroactively indemnified for illegal wiretapping under Bush’s orders.

        Of course, as usual, Congress will have to pass the 2,000-page bill first, so we can find out what’s in it.

        Free microchips for all, maybe! With a Bluetooth link to your Obamaphone. Enjoy.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      This is a likely fact – when we (everyone in the world) are all college educated, we still need janitors and garbage men (and women).

      1. Fran

        My son just graduated cum laude and is looking to get into graduate school but he wants to work a bit in the health care industry to save some money and gain experience. He’s filled out about 20 or so applications for jobs in hospital transport or as an assistant in PT (clean equipment, maintain records, etc.) So far, no responses. If you know of any full-time janitor jobs that are available, let me know, as I’m sure he’d apply. In some parts of this country, there simply are no jobs. Even the Target stores in my area have no openings.

  6. direction

    Great science links today. Thanks for Travis Goodspeed’s report on the Southern Appalachian Space Agency and Myer’s smackdown of evo psych.

    1. mookie

      I also enjoyed the Myers post, but wouldn’t quite classify it as a smackdown. Ev Psych is easy to caricature and it’s important to listen to both sides if you’re going to listen to one. Here’s a good blog that often addresses these questions from the other side of the divide:

      As an aside, I quite enjoyed Pinker’s The Blank Slate, but that’s mostly due to having spent entirely too much time in the company of bullying critical theory jocks, making Pinker’s polemic a bit cathartic for me.

      1. Tim Mason

        Pinker and Myers deserve each other. For a quieter but deadlier critique of Pinker, see this : and this : . Ferguson is not one to jump up and down waving his arms about, but he spends time with the evidence.

        Some ten years ago, I attempted to offer my own account of How It All Began –

          1. mookie

            yes, very funny, quite well done. I particularly liked: “We have always rather liked the Acquatic Ape scenario, but felt that it lacked in proper foundations – that is to say a convincing retroprojection of the American way of life onto the habits of proto-humans.” Bravo.

  7. petridish

    RE: MRSA and the Factory Farm

    Amid all the imagery of piglets with “snotty noses” and infected “outie” piglet belly buttons the reader could be forgiven for missing this:

    “The European Union began phasing out antibiotics for growth promotion in the late 1990s.”

    In other words, antibiotics are not ONLY used to keep the cute little piggies healthy, but to fatten them up faster. Not having to feed and house them as long translates into bigger and more quickly realized profits. Surprise!

    Biologists and clinicians have long been aware of the connection between overuse of antibiotics and the emergence of resistant bacterial strains.

    “Preemptive” antibiotic use is necessitated on factory farms due to several conditions and corporate imperatives. In addition to speed (from farm to table,) the filth and crowding in which the animals live is conducive to the development and quick spread of infection with possible financially catastrophic loss of the entire herd. Their industrially determined diet (mostly GMO corn, GMO corn products and chemicals including drugs) may not promote adequate development and function of their immune system, rendering them more susceptible to opportunistic infection. In many cases, the time an animal can remain on this “unnatural” diet is limited.

    Most people understand the basics of safe handling of raw meat products. The presence of bacteria on shopping carts and packages of uncooked meat should come as no surprise. Hand washing, clean kitchen surfaces and thorough cooking can eliminate the bulk of these bacterial threats.

    The biggest problem with excessive antibiotic use in food is what happens to the chemicals once they are ingested by the animal and that animal is subsequently ingested by a human.

    1. Susan the other

      The surprise was that meat labelled antibiotic free had little or no MRSA. Surprising because it is implied that MRSA disappears fast once antibiotics are curtailed. You’d think it would have higher survivability, since it goes all over the place in all of our noses. The antibiotic free meat did have more Staph A however. So another conclusion might be that Staph A keeps MRSA in check. If farmers want to fatten up the piglets, they can give them aspirin. I’d rather see lean piglets and clean farms.

  8. Brin

    Medicare’s 48th birthday is tueday, july 30th.
    Will be interesting to see if the WH makes even a comment—unlikely unless it’s tied to Obamacare.

  9. Bill Frank

    Re: They Know Much More Than You Think. Sen Church’s comment at the end of the article is required reading. If we have not already crossed the “bridge,” we certaintly are very close to it and as he warns, once we cross it, “resistance” will be impossible. Have a nice day.

    1. anon y'mouse

      from the article: “Of course the US is not a totalitarian society, and no equivalent of Big Brother runs it, as the widespread reporting of Snowden’s information shows.”

      really? is that what Snowden’s info shows? it looked totally the opposite to me.

      these two assumptions are faulty. the question is, why did the author put them in there? why reassure the audience in an article like this?

  10. patrick

    re:the police-the drug war is mostly to blame. To most cops everyone is a ‘suspect’-therefore the sadist cop thrives. Youtube the term ‘police brutality’ and it seems there is an endless selection of over reacting cops. Who in the world is attracted to a job that has become an outlet for violent weirdos? What kind of human being assaults a handcuffed or otherwise subdued person? What kind of person ignores this kind of behavior by their own colleagues? Why does a supposedly ‘mature’ adult let themselves be so intimidated by a child no less? We should demand higher standards for our “peace officers” and create better ways of keeping these nuts off our civil police forces. Ex-military should not be allowed on these forces unless they are tactical squad members who have a mentality to want to “take their man alive” so to speak instead of constantly reminding everyone how they “risk their lives everyday”. Who forced or even asked these violent individuals to be police in the first place? Fire fighter and several other professions are much more dangerous actually. Planting drugs and guns, testilying with the help of judges and prosecutors, it goes on and on…..

  11. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Our hypocrisy to animals.

    And cruelty to vegetables, in not hypocrisy as well.

    1. Saddam Smith

      I became vegan recently, having been convinced that, because I care about animals and do not need to eat any meat and dairy, I should not. So I eat vegetables, fruits and nuts.

      Everything dies, and life implies killing other things to stay alive. This is inescapable. But fruit, nuts and vegetables do not experience their own being (I don’t mean mirror-test self-awareness), do not suffer (as far as I know) anywhere near as keenly as animals (if at all), so eating them causes far less harm in that sense than breeding animals to kill them for their flesh, not to mention the conditions animals are kept in. There is a significant difference between killing an animal you have bred to eat – and performed that process as ‘economically’ as possible – and eating a carrot or apple or walnut.

      I have also read that the planet can comfortably and healthily provide for far more people if meat and dairy were not components of our diet. In short, I know of no arguments against veganism that are not based on habit and simple taste preference.

      Speciesism sounds silly today, as racism and sexism once did. But this is changing. Empathy does not extend only to fellow humans, it knows no bounds. Treating as much of existence as we can with repesct and dignity is surely part of civilised life. Treating as much of existence as possible as commodities is surely unsustainable and unempathic, uncaring.

  12. Beach Comb

    One has to wonder if the “we-lied-when-we-said-we-were-giving you-a-loan-and-we-took-your-house-so-here’s-a-small-check-for-your-troubles” isn’t designed to push people over the edge, or as Chris Hedges submits today: “the mounting abuse of the poor is fueling an inchoate rage that will eventually lead to civil unrest”

  13. charles sereno

    Re: Tackling Pinker
    Who’s this EZ Myers thinking to stand up to S Pinker? Don Quixote with a helmet and shoulder pads? Money or fame, by itself, doesn’t make Steve tick. It’s in his (oops) genes!

  14. Susan the other

    There is dissension in the ranks of the Saudi princes? One just defected to Teheran claiming the House of Saud are a bunch of hypocrites. So what else is new? But it is actually a big story because Islam is alive and well all across the Middle East, and fighting mad. And at the same time the official Saudis are complaining that US shale will harm their profits? Curious. I just read in an OilPrice link that the Saudis said US shale didn’t amount to a drop in a bucket. So the defection of the prince sounds concocted. The purpose of this basically anti-US rhetoric is probably to forestall any serious unrest in Saudi Arabia. I kinda don’t buy it.

    1. ohmyheck

      I have to wonder if this prince never saw the movie “Syriana”? Note to prince— it did not end well for you.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Maybe this prince is trying to divert our attention from the Saudi princess who failed to show up at her human trafficking hearing in Orange County, California.

  15. Susan the other

    Also, about those filthy polluting coal fired utilities going unchecked in the South. It’s about time the South got angry about the environmental devastation. I can almost smell it from here. One of these days we are going to have to ask ourselves the really hard question: What are we willing to give up? Air conditioning; cars; neon signs; Las Vegas; cheap goods from wherever; big industrial hospitals; etc. It would be easier to make a list of the things we want to keep.

    1. ScottS

      Say what you will about Vegas, but it’s power comes from hydro-electric, which seems fairly green compared to most power sources.

      1. charger01

        I call horse poo. Three seconds on the NV Energy website (for-profit utility serving Vegas) says that in 2011, over 50% of the power was generated by coal or natural gas fired turbines. They use the euphemism of “Much of the purchased power consisted of lower-cost hydroelectric power from the Pacific Northwest.” for the remainder, but that’s not a guarentee. King coal still lives out West too.

  16. charles sereno

    A modest suggestion:
    I hope NC will post up immediately (attn Lambert) on Judge Denise’s verdict tomorrow on Bradley Manning in order to get spontaneous comments beyond the usual obituaries.

    1. charles sereno

      Compare how times have changed:
      Back then; Pierre Cochon vs Jeanne d’Arc
      Now; Denise Lind vs Bradley Manning
      Wow! Who says history repeats itself?

    2. F. Beard

      I wonder what the Manning saga has done for recruitment?

      Who the heck would join such a sadistic, vindictive organization?

      1. optimader

        1. Small-town fodder that don’t know better;
        2. Urban fodder that done know better;
        3. Those with no perceived economic alternative;
        4. The well intentioned naïve person that considers themselves Patriot (which can also be any of the above);
        5. Losers that want to be part of a legally sanctioned gang;

        6. And don’t underestimate the attraction to the sadistic, vindictive part of the population that want to get in on the action.

  17. Lambert Strether Post author

    I wish to commend the forest governance article to readers’ attention. From some knowledge of landfill issues here, it has seemed to me that the mismatch between jurisdictional boundaries and ecological boundaries (e.g., watersheds) causes a lot of problems, at least for people who need public drinking water and uncontaminated soil. I’m sure the same applies to e.g. fracking, or other supply chain-driven processes, like oil transport.

    Hence if we were considering a new political economy of nested, overlapping co-operatives, “shed” governance might be a way to approach jurisdictional issues. Another way of thinking about this, however, is that if corporations can be persons, why not rivers or forests?

    Just a brainwave, and people way more expert than I am in this stuff will and should shoot down this comment, and/or draw different conclusions from the article.

    1. charles sereno

      From one even less expert than you, “co-ops” says it all in 6 characters! Rivers and forests, what’s more beautiful? Flowers? OK. A lot more, too. Let’s get going.

  18. rich

    Want to retire with plenty of savings? Consider running for office.

    Members of Congress receive retirement benefits that are far more generous than those earned by the average worker, according to a recent Bankrate analysis.

    Not only do congressional representatives and senators earn the guarantee of a monthly pension check — a benefit that has become increasingly rare for most U.S. workers — they also receive Social Security payments and can opt to pay into the federal Thrift Savings Plan, a 401(k) style-plan with fees that are far lower than most retirement plans.

    As a result, longtime members of Congress can easily retire with six-figure annual incomes for life.

    “If you can get elected to Congress and stay there, you can retire pretty well,” said Chris Kahn, a Bankrate analyst, who conducted the research.

    Related: Are you worried your public or private pension will be cut? Share your story

    Few workers enjoy such generous benefits. While most public workers still receive pension benefits, payments for retired state, county and city workers average around $26,000 a year, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      We have to elect people who are more representative of us.

      If the candidate is not a plumber, how can he/she represent plumbers?

  19. ScottS

    Re: Big Brother is Watching Watch

    Are terrorists really phoning each other saying “Hey, let’s bomb the White House tomorrow. BTW, this is Al-Qaeda”? Isn’t it obvious that all the NSA spying has nothing to do with terrorism? It’s only useful for blackmailing politicians who don’t play ball with whatever nefarious agenda the inner party members have, which never seems to be anything but venial money-grubbing and power-tripping. Who is still defending this nonsense?

  20. ScottS

    Re: President Obama’s Big, Frothy Hint Quantitative Ease

    And what I’m looking for is somebody who understands the Fed has a dual mandate, that that’s not just lip service; that it is very important to keep inflation in check, to keep our dollar sound, and to ensure stability in the markets.

    The lady doth protest too much. He must be constantly accused of paying nothing but lip service if he’s firing these preemptive strikes. But from whom is he so accused?

  21. ScottS

    Dentist who used copyright to silence her patients is on the run Ars Technica

    A lawsuit regarding a dentist and her ticked-off patient was meant to be a test of a controversial copyright contract created by a company called Medical Justice. Just a day after the lawsuit was filed, though, Medical Justice backed down, saying it was “retiring” that contract.

    Now, more than a year after the lawsuit was filed, the case against Dr. Stacy Makhnevich seems to have turned into a case about a fugitive dentist. Makhnevich is nowhere to be found, won’t defend the lawsuit, and her lawyers have asked to withdraw from the case.

  22. ChrisPacific

    From the Spitzer/Bloomberg link:

    The mayor says Wall Street provides the city’s tax base. He says that pays firefighters and police officers, and provides crucial services.

    And Wall Street corruption pays its elected officials!

  23. Ms G

    Bloomberg belongs to the inner circle of the rabid Kleptocrats. His line that “WS provides the city’s tax base” is the coinage he uses to conceal the real slogan: “WS cannot survive without the billions of tax dollars shoveled its way by NYC taxpayers either in cash, subsidies, underwriting deals, custodian deals, etc. etc. etc.”

    He has run the city of New York for 12 years as an ATM for banks, insurance companies, real estate companies and a dizzying array of corrupt IT vendors, to the tune of billions of tax payer dollars. All in exchange for: looting.

    No elected official better personifies the tinpot tyrant who uses the public purse to enrich himself and his cronies — billionaire or not — than Michael Bloomberg. He is the Uber Shill for powerful corrupt kleptocrats aggressively looting everything bit of value created by working people and tax payers that he can get his hands on.

    So yes, of course he has to parrot his tired little line — circular “reasoning” at its finest — about WS “providing the city’s tax base.” It’s the only fig leaf that can possibly suggest — falsely, of course — that there’s some greater good justifying Wall Street’s destructive effect on New York and everything else it touches.

    Note that when OWS first occupied Zuccotti Park, Bloomberg even had the temerity of publicly announcing that OWS was “hurting the secretaries who are making $45,000” [working for the banks]. Dude was desperate. But boy, did he have his own army ready to go to silence and disappear all those slackers protesting against him and his class.

    Rant over. I’ll let you know how I *really* feel some other time.
    :) :)

  24. rich

    Pennsylvania judges stashed profits from Cash for Kids scandal in Jupiter

    Pennsylvania Judges Mark Ciavarella Jr., 63, and Michael T. Conahan, 61, are both serving hard time.

    The two men sent children and teenagers to privately run jails in exchange for a steady stream of cash from the jails’ builder and co-owner.

    More than $1 million was funneled to a Florida company controlled by the judges’ wives, according to a 48-count federal indictment.

    think hard…..

    1. AbyNormal
      To figure out who really controls the private prison companies requires a different route of analysis than simply pointing at the large institutional investors (like vanguard & blackrock).

      Those interested in tracing ownership to actual persons who own large stakes in prison companies, and who exercise control over these companies, should browse the Securities and Exchange Commission filings for both CCA and GEO.

      These documents will include filings of the company’s directors and executives who own considerable stock, and who by definition call the shots. They will also mention actual concentrated outside owners who exercise some control over the policies of the companies through proxy.

      While some studies have demonstrated that private prisons may save governments money, other studies have found just the opposite. A study by the U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics found no such cost-savings when it compared public and private prisons. This is in part because simple numbers don’t tell the whole story. For instance, privately run prisons can refuse to accept certain expensive prisoners, and they regularly do. This has the effect of artificially deflating the costs associated with running a private jail.

  25. AbyNormal

    More than 100 teens were rescued in a nationwide sex trafficking sting, the FBI announced over the weekend. Some 150 alleged pimps were arrested and will face criminal charges including human trafficking.

    The three-day “Operation Cross-Country” took place in 70 U.S. cities. It was the FBI’s largest action to date focusing on the recovery of children between 13 and 17 involved in sex trafficking and exploitation, according to NBC News.

    aby here…and how in the present economic system, will these kids earn a safe honest living…and where will their wages allow them to thrive?
    any country that can’t protect their most vulnerable is the most vulnerable.

  26. Chauncey Gardiner

    Regarding your observation that “High disemployment is policy” following your link to: “President Obama’s Big, Frothy Hint Quantitative Ease”, by Carola Binder — Totally agree, but it’s just an opinion I have developed as a result of observing policy over the past two decades.

    My question is: “Why is this the policy?”

    The article suggests one possible reason: Maintain “Bucky” as the global reserve currency. I am sure there are others.

  27. ChrisPacific

    The article on Greece does a good job of painting a picture of what it’s like to be young and unemployed there, but it is completely sold on the idea that Greece brought all its problems on itself. The role of currency union, austerity and the broader Eurozone context is never mentioned. There are signs of it if you read between the lines:

    “I admit there are structural problems in Greece,” says Theodoros Ampatzoglou, governor of the Greek Manpower Employment Organization, the government agency in charge of tackling unemployment. “But the basic problem isn’t matching labor supply and labor demand. The problem is that there’s very little demand.”

    but clearly the author has not made any effort to examine or question the ‘official’ narrative. That’s unfortunate as it mars what is otherwise a good piece.

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