Links 8/11/13

ScienceShot: Spider Sex Depends on a Third Set of Legs Science 

Cory Booker’s Silicon Valley cash Ryun Chittun, CJR

Criminal, Victim or Just Stupid?? Cassandra Does Tokyo. Bruno Iksil.

Thousands of Marylanders are losing homes in second wave of foreclosures WaPo. Shadow inventory.

Suddenly, a ray of hope for the Post Dan Froomkin, CJR

Bezos/Washington Post The Big Picture. “Paywalls are for pussies.”

Hidden Billionaire Cohen Hauls Fortune in Unmarked Trucks Bloomberg

The origins of the Forbes 400 Marginal Revolution

The Problem with 401(k) Plans Baseline Scenario

Look Who’s Locking Horns Over Retirement Accounts Jason Zweig, Online WSJ

What Paul Krugman is getting wrong… Angry Bear. Lower labor share.

U.S. Companies Thrive as Workers Fall Behind Floyd Norris, Times

Fast Food Wage War: Thousands of Protests Coming This Year, Says Movement Leader Yahoo Finance. SEIU.

In rural Maine, rise of the machines pushes out migrant pickers Reuters

Read the small print: Credit card user sets his own limit – then sues bank for closing account Independent

New Air Force class wears ‘My Little Pony’ patch – but insist they’re not ‘bronies’ Daily Mail

Obama Presser

Remarks by the President in a Press Conference White House. Top quote: “Q Can you understand, though, why some people might not trust what you’re saying right now about wanting to — THE PRESIDENT: No, I can’t” (hat tip, MontanaMaven).

5 takeaways from Barack Obama’s press conference Politico

President Obama’s Surprise Revelation of Sealed Benghazi Indictment ABC

Obama describes Putin as ‘like a bored kid’ Reuters.Stay gold, Ponyboy! Stay gold!

The N.S.A.’s Dirty Dishes: Obama’s Press Conference New Yorker

Big Brother Is Watching Watch

NSA loophole allows warrantless search for US citizens’ emails and phone calls Guardian. Section 702.

What It Means To Be An NSA ‘Target’ Gizmodo Australia

NSA memo says the agency monitors 1.6 percent of all internet traffic The Verge

Jennifer Hoelzer’s Insider’s View Of The Administration’s Response To NSA Surveillance Leaks TechDirt (KS). Wyden staffer.

The Snowden effect The Economist

There is no terrorist threat: The feds want you to think there is, compliant media goes along Salon

Yemenis call U.S. drone strikes an overreaction to al Qaida threat McClatchy. During Ramadan, too. Nice timing.

Indian-built Arihant nuclear submarine activated BBC

We fear what we’re told to fear, not what we should fear. Like Fukushima Fabius Maximus. Fukushima roundup.

Exclusive: China to let banks sell off loans in prelude to possible bailout Reuters

The changing debate over China’s economy Michael Pettis

Why I changed my mind on weed Sanjay Gupta, CNN

Everything you know about drugs is wrong Salon

Study finds online ratings easily overinflated Boston Globe

Towards a radical new theory of Anglo-American slavery, and vindication of free markets Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, Telegraph

World of Craft ~ On Greed Systems High Arka

Renewables: A rising power FT

Why a mathematician will be talking to a theologian Magic, Maths and Money. Too many typos, but thought-provoking.

Antidote du jour:


Bonus antidote: Dutch farmer builds water slide for pigs. Make up your own jokes!

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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. newshound

    regarding”bezos-wapo-big picture” article:
    I have been trying to read news in MSM newspapers of almost all major newspapers of world.
    Sorry to say but wapo,NYT,LAT sell stale liberal govt propaganda. It is becoming more and more evident in last few years.Not that Fox news is any better.Open any issue from last 30 yrs and open today’s NYT…you will observe nothing much has changed while their readers already see through their hypocrisy
    Some UK newspapers are still good…German newspapers are too sanitized for my taste…
    Indian newspapers are worst of the lot…almost every newspapers is now a tabloid with scant attention to real events..Most of indian newspapers directly copy news from western newspapers and paste in suitable page.there is no news only propaganda by neo liberals,communists,congress party apparatchiks,feminists and other ideologues …
    Sadly only one pakistani newspaper carries out somewhat real journalism:the dawn…although it wont last more than 10 yrs now…

    1. Walter Map

      Sorry to say but wapo,NYT,LAT sell stale liberal govt propaganda.

      Oh, I get it. You’re using the word ‘liberal’ as a euphemism, meaning ‘neoconservative’.

      Either that or you’re just being sarcastic. Maybe both.

      1. from Mexico

        It is difficult to know what one means when they use the word “liberal.” But if when newshound uses the word liberal he is referring to liberal in its 18th-century sense, which has experienced a rebirth over the past 40 years in an even more virulent mutation called neoliberalism, then I am in complete agreement with him.

        1. Walter Map

          There is nothing ‘liberal’ about neoconservatism, which has apparently been rebranded as ‘neoliberalism’, evidently a propaganda technique designed to discredit ‘liberalism’ by attempting to equate it with corporate imperialism.

          Using this definition, you’ll next be trying to convince us that the Dubya administration was somehow ‘liberal’.

          1. from Mexico

            “Liberalism triumphed on the principle that the best government is that which governs least” (Jacques Barzun, From Dawn to Decadence). So if we use the word “liberal” in its original 18th- and 19th-century sense, then the deregulation of the financial sector would certainly be liberal: the more deregulation the better.

            So in this sense you are right, the Clinton administration was most assuredly more liberal than Dubya:

            Major banks and financial service firms regularly lobbied for deregulation in the United States since the 1970s. The bulk of the deregulation was performed under the Bill Clinton administration, sandwiched between the two Bush administrations of George H.W. Bush (1988-1992) and George W. Bush (2000-2008). However, the two Bush administrations were far from inactive in the deregulation sphere.

            Read more:

            1. Walter Map

              “Liberalism triumphed on the principle that the best government is that which governs least”

              Now you’re attempting to equate liberalism with deregulation, which enables economic predators, which is hardly a ‘liberal’ policy goal. And yet, your definition can only mean that the Kochs and Goldman Squid are somehow “liberals”, and not radical right-wing corporatists at all.

              “Liberals” placed effective constraining regulations on the financial industry in the 1930s, which rather flatly contradicts the bizarre premiss that deregulation is somehow “liberal”. I’ll thank you not to pretend they were conservatives.

              Some of your definitions could use a lot of work, maybe even a complete overhaul. Replacement even.

              1. from Mexico

                Walter Map says:

                “Liberals” placed effective constraining regulations on the financial industry in the 1930s…

                That is true, but only after “liberalism” went through what Barzun calls “the Great Switch”:

                Liberalism triumphed on the principle that the best governmnet is that which governs least; now for all the western nations political wisdom has recast this ideal of liberty into liberality. The shift has thrown the vocabulary into disorder. In the United States, where Liberals are people who favor regulation, entitlements, and every kind of protection, the Republican party, who call themselves Conservatives, campaign for less government like the old Liberals reared on Adam Smith, they oppose as many social programs as they dare.

                Here’s how Reinhold Niebuhr explains the Great Switch:

                The early Jeffersonians sought to keep political power weak, discouraging both the growth of federal power in relation to the states and confining political control over economic life to the States. They feared that such power would be compounded with the economic power of the privileged and used against the less favored. Subsequently the wielders of great economic power adopted the Jeffersonian maxim that the best possible government is the least possible government. The American democracy, as every other healthy democracy, had learned to use the more equal distribution of political power, inherent in universal sufferage, as leverage against the tendency toward concentration of power in economic life. Culminating in the “New Deal,” national governments, based upon an alliance of farmers, workers and middle classes, have used the power of the state to establish minimal standards of “welfare” in housing, social security, health services, etc. Naturally, the higher income groups benefitted less from these minimal standards of justice, and paid a proportionately higher cost for them than the propoentnts of the measures of a “welfare state.” The former, therefore, used the ideology of Jeffersonianism to counter these tendencies; while the classes in society which Jefferson’s original interest in equality discarded his ideology because they were less certain than he that complete freedom in economic relations would inevitably make for equality.

                –REINHOLD NIEBUHR, The Irony of American History

                And here is liberalism described from a Latin American perspective, which never experienced the “healthy democracy” which Niebuhr speaks of, and thus never experienced liberalism’s Great Switch:

                It is worth recalling that the prefix neo is particularly well suited to this doctrine [neoliberalism], which already had its change in Latin America during the last century. Throughtout the nineteenth century, Latin America followed the precepts of laissez-faire and the magic of the market, and its nations implemented policies geared toward exporting raw materials while importing capital and manufactured goods. Powrful economic elites emerged from Mexico to Argentina. The hope was that the wealth accumulated at the top would sooner or later find its way down to the bottom. This did not happen. It has never happened. Instead, the welath generated at the working base found its way up to the top and stayed there.

                –CARLOS FUENTES, A New Time for Mexico

                1. Walter Map

                  That is true, but only after “liberalism” went through what Barzun calls “the Great Switch”

                  In which case they’re no longer ‘liberals’ as you have defined them. As you say, they’ve made ‘the Great Switch’ into something else.

                  Yours is an example of a logical fallacy called Definitional Retreat.

                  A definitional retreat takes place when someone changes the meaning of the words in order to deal with an objection raised against the original wording. By changing the meaning, he turns it into a different statement … The fallacy in a definitional retreat lies in its surreptitious substitution of one concept for another, under the guise of explaining what the words really mean. The support advanced for the one position might not apply to its substitute.

                  Try again.

                    1. allcoppedout

                      Very admirable Walter – almost a Lorentz transformation! In UK history our Liberals were the Whigs – vastly more evil than the (also evil) Tory opposition. The Liberals collapsed in our politics with the arrival of Labour and universal suffrage and became a sort of nice lot demanding sexual equality and associating themselves with human rights. In coalition-power with the Tories they are indistinguishable.

                      Yes we have neo-conservatism, not neo-liberalism (but how different was a Whig to a Tory?) Genetics and epigenetics have even transformed Darwinism to ‘neo’. Times, knowledge and language change. Imagine abolishing slavery now – we would presumably compensate slaves not slave owners as the British did around 1830 and send the owners to jail, not indenture the ex-slaves to them. What has transformed here, when we bail out banks, rather than give assets to the people and start again?

                      We have had these ‘transformations’ in physics from mechanical Newton to geometric Einstein – deeper analysis doubts there were any, even if I can only explain how a lead-acid battery produces so much power with relativity.

                      It’s true Mexico plays some old records I happen to like and we need some jolt from the cosiness. Are there any more points in our game for shooting neo-conservatives rather than neo-liberals? I suspect the bounty is the same.

                      When we have not shifted most people to recognise the Undead control of our lives, I’m not much bothered with defining terms. Churchill as both Liberal and Conservative and I , don’t see any transformation in the man who ordered troops to fire on striking miners as one, and his lunatic and racist desires to maintain the British Empire as another.

  2. Butch in Waukegan

    From the article There is no terrorist threat: The feds want you to think there is, compliant media goes along:

    The Cold War was a dread, if we ever get around to looking at it squarely. And we are at it again, the nation that seems to know itself only by way of a constant enemy.

    This reminded me of a statement by a liberal talk show host, on liberal Wisconsin Public Radio, I heard on the day after bin Laden was killed. An accurate paraphrase: Coming up next hour we’ll discuss, with the death of bin Laden, who we should fear next.

    1. diptherio

      Unfortunately, the author still holds to the view that Obama is well-intentioned. He will “always respect the man I take him to be,” as he puts it near the end of the article. Despite that, the main point is valid and bears repeating: there is no terrorist threat.

      I thought it was a little funny that the embassy closures were (supposedly) based on sig-int that the administration claimed would no longer be effective due to Snowden’s disclosures of NSA methods. It would be more amusing if the stakes weren’t quite so high…

  3. Jim Haygood

    ‘Yemenis call U.S. drone strikes an overreaction.’

    Don’t the MSM just kill you?

    If this headline writer had been around in WW II, he might have led with ‘Auschwitz inmates call camp conditions substandard’

    Euphemism, comrades. It’s how we all get along.

    1. optimader

      “…In our time, political speech and writing are largely the defense of the indefensible. Things like the continuance of British rule in India, the Russian purges and deportations, the dropping of the atom bombs on Japan, can indeed be defended, but only by arguments which are too brutal for most people to face, and which do not square with the professed aims of the political parties. Thus political language has to consist largely of euphemism, question-begging and sheer cloudy vagueness. Defenseless villages are bombarded from the air, the inhabitants driven out into the countryside, the cattle machine-gunned, the huts set on fire with incendiary bullets: this is called pacification. Millions of peasants are robbed of their farms and sent trudging along the roads with no more than they can carry: this is called transfer of population or rectification of frontiers. People are imprisoned for years without trial, or shot in the back of the neck or sent to die of scurvy in Arctic lumber camps: this is called elimination of unreliable elements. Such phraseology is needed if one wants to name things without calling up mental pictures of them. Consider for instance some comfortable English professor defending Russian totalitarianism. He cannot say outright, “I believe in killing off your opponents when you can get good results by doing so.” Probably, therefore, he will say something like this:

      “While freely conceding that the Soviet regime exhibits certain features which the humanitarian may be inclined to deplore, we must, I think, agree that a certain curtailment of the right to political opposition is an unavoidable concomitant of transitional periods, and that the rigors which the Russian people have been called upon to undergo have been amply justified in the sphere of concrete achievement.”

      The inflated style itself is a kind of euphemism. A mass of Latin words falls upon the facts like soft snow, blurring the outline and covering up all the details. The great enemy of clear language is insincerity. When there is a gap between one’s real and one’s declared aims, one turns as it were instinctively to long words and exhausted idioms, like a cuttlefish spurting out ink. In our age there is no such thing as “keeping out of politics.” All issues are political issues, and politics itself is a mass of lies, evasions, folly, hatred, and schizophrenia. When the general atmosphere is bad, language must suffer. I should expect to find — this is a guess which I have not sufficient knowledge to verify — that the German, Russian and Italian languages have all deteriorated in the last ten or fifteen years, as a result of dictatorship.

      But if thought corrupts language, language can also corrupt thought. A bad usage can spread by tradition and imitation even among people who should and do know better. The debased language that I have been discussing is in some ways very convenient. Phrases like a not unjustifiable assumption, leaves much to be desired, would serve no good purpose, a consideration which we should do well to bear in mind, are a continuous temptation, a packet of aspirins always at one’s elbow…”

  4. diptherio

    Jennifer Hoelzer’s piece in Techdirt is excellent and should be spread far and wide. The question I have, however, is when some insider is going to man-up (or woman-up, as the case may be) and LEAK THE FUCKING LEGAL ARGUMENT ALREADY?!?

    Can a few more people show a little courage please?

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      Yes, that’s what parliamentary immunity is for. Article I, Section 6:

      They shall in all Cases, except Treason, Felony and Breach of the Peace, be privileged from Arrest during their Attendance at the Session of their respective Houses, and in going to and returning from the same; and for any Speech or Debate in either House, they shall not be questioned in any other Place.

      So, Wyden should blow the gaff on the Senate floor. Easy for me to say, but I think he’d get a lot of support if he did.

      1. Bruno Marr

        Well, since the document in question is closely held (Wyden doesn’t have a copy), he would have to memorize it (not likely). And it’s Top Secret, therefore a felony to reveal.

        So much for free and unfettered speech.

      2. YankeeFrank

        “They shall in all Cases, except Treason, Felony and Breach of the Peace…”

        In this day of near-infinite government “creativity” with language, such that torture is not torture, spying is not spying, whistleblowing is treason, etc., anyone releasing this information would be best advised to pull a Snowden after doing so.

  5. from Mexico

    @ Top quote: “Q Can you understand, though, why some people might not trust what you’re saying right now about wanting to — THE PRESIDENT: No, I can’t”

    In “Lying in Politics,” Hannah Arendt ponders the question as to why some politicians develop this quasi-religious faith in propaganda which causes them to lose touch with reality:

    [T]he psychological premise of human manipulability has become one of the chief wares that are sold on the market of common and learned opinion. But such doctrines do not change the way people form opinions or prevent them from acting according to their own lights.


    [The champions of the Vietnam War] believed that politics is but a variety of public relations, and they were taken in by all the bizzare psychological premises underlying this belief.


    What these problem-solvers have in common with down-to-earth liars is the attempt to get rid of facts and the confidence that his should be possible because of the inherent contingency of facts.

    The truth of the matter is that this can never be done by either theory or opinion manipulation — as though a fact is safely removed from the world if only enough people believe in its nonexistence.


    It may be natural for elected officeholders — who owe so much, or believe they owe so much, to their campagin managers — to think that manipulation is the ruler of the people’s minds and hence the true ruler of the world…

    What is surprising is the eagerness of those scores of “intellectuals” who offered their enthusiastic help in this imaginary enterprise, perhaps because they were fascinated by the sheer size of the mental exercises it seemed to demand. Again, it may be only natural for problem-solvers, trained in translating all factual contents into the language of numbers and percentages, where they can be calculated, to remain unaware of the untold misery that their “solutions” — pacification and relocation programs, defoliation, napalm, and antipersonnel bullets held in store for a “friend” who needed to be “saved” and for an “enemy” who had neither the will nor the power to be one before we attacked him. But since they dealt with the people’s minds, it remains astonishing that apparently none of them sensed the “world” might get rather frightened of American friendship and commitment when the “lengths to which the U.S. will go to fulfill” them were “shown” and contemplated. No reality and no common sense could penetrate the minds of the problem-solvers, who indefatigably prepared their scenarios for “relevant audiences” in order to change their states of mind.

    1. psychohistorian

      I want us to find a way to laugh these people out of control of our world.

      The reason the plutocrats are paying these folks so much is because they have to go against any trace of social conscience they may have… genocide pays extremely well.

    2. Walter Map

      Hannah Arendt ponders the question as to why some politicians develop this quasi-religious faith in propaganda

      What’s so mysterious about perpetuating lies out of simple self-interest? Isn’t that why people lie? Isn’t that why governments lie?

      Didn’t Goebbels provide a sufficient explanation a long time ago? I’m sure it’s rather famous:

      If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it. The lie can be maintained only for such time as the State can shield the people from the political, economic and/or military consequences of the lie. It thus becomes vitally important for the State to use all of its powers to repress dissent, for the truth is the mortal enemy of the lie, and thus by extension, the truth becomes the greatest enemy of the State.

      Honestly, Hitler even wrote it down for her:

      To win the sympathy of the masses, you must tell them the crudest and most stupid lies.

      Of course they’re going to lie. The truth does not serve their purposes. Lies do. It’s not that complicated.

      Any time you get stuck with concepts like these it’s probably because you’re overthinking the problem.

        1. Walter Map

          Which can’t be located on any map, which is why liars don’t go there and the rest of us get stuck with them.

            1. Jumbo

              No, the religeous guy is doing all he allows himself to do from within a straight-jacket of self-imposed homilies masquerading as divine wisdom.

              1. skippy

                The answer always proceeds the question and the answer is an article of faith… handed down from above… by the Chosen: Chosen people, people who believe they have been
                chosen by a higher power to do a certain thing…

                skippy…. this is applicable across a wide spectrum of human organization ~ Barf…

                1. F. Beard

                  I’m not sure I am chosen nor do I judge that others might not be. But I do love the Lord because He’s been good to me, better than I could have imagined, and because of His words in the Bible.

                  But life is long enough for you to read the entire Bible, skippy, and know it well enough that you could do a better job of defending the Lord than I do. Then you might discover you’re making a big mistake, as I think, many Progressives are.

                  Meanwhile, the ignorant religious Right is held captive by your enemies.

                  1. B. Fear'd

                    Old ‘Hove here:

                    “Niggas is crazy baby, don’t forget what me and Timbaland told you (in Matthew 10:14 and elsewhere).
                    Get that dirt off your sandals…

                    Go on…brush your sandals off.”

                    Anyway, we all live in the Matrix anyway. You don’t “free your mind.” That’s impossible. All you can do is the best you can with the little seams and tears which you happen to notice in your little corner of culturally-constructed hell.

                    Thus sayeth the Lord of Lyrics.

                    1. Lambert Strether Post author

                      Dear B.F.: Making fun of people’s handles is deprecated; if the practice spread, it would make the comments section unlivble. There are plenty of other ways to make your points with humor.

                  2. skippy

                    All society’s are built upon foundation myths, which are shaped by the physical environment, of the day, and any unknowns are are filled in ex nihilo.

                    The rub comes in when measurable observation that refutes ex nihilo opines – is – declared religious heresy – yet – when more esoteric cult interests are challenged, the inherent abstruse metaphysical structure is utilized to rationalize “any damn out come”… it *wishes*.

                    41,000 in house divisions on metaphysical opinion in Christianity alone, so much for cohesiveness, physical or meta. That observation alone is indicative of faulty – corrupt programming base code… eh.

                    As I’ve stated in the past. The world has been shaped by the evolution of P.I.E., which was shaped by the 3 waves of our ancestors out of continental Africa and their interaction with the changing physical environment.

                    These Foundation Myths are built one upon another and in the rare cases where myths that have zero prior relationship meet, one will always attempt either consume the other, incorporate it, or destroy.

                    Skippy… it is my considered observation that humanity is at the end stages of the currant Foundational Myth i.e. Free Market Fundamentalism and yes its a religion, an extenuation of older Myths.

                    PS. Beardo you should really expand your knowledge base, intent aside, humanity did not just POP into existence and receive running 2nd person commentary inside our heads, until the written word manual (constantly revised – its worse that a Bechtel project) was gifted piece by piece.

                2. psychohistorian

                  Unfortunately, that faith thingy is part of the currently “operational” narrative.

                  Just look up how many times recently the US House of “Representatives” voted to reaffirm the 1950’s change of the American motto from E Pluribus Unum to In Gawd We Trust.

                  I have lost my faith in Inheritance as a social construct because I have seen it do more evil than good in our world.

                  1. Beef-eared

                    And what did Matthew have to say about “knowing them by their fruits”? And so, by theirs, the Christian church has lost any claim to a higher ground or calling. Pretty interesting to thing about from that perspective, i.e., one which takes those bible ideas seriously. So, yes, the Christians have perhaps spoiled our inheritance. But this is not to say it might not be retrieved. Good luck with that!

      1. from Mexico

        Walter Map said:

        What’s so mysterious about perpetuating lies out of simple self-interest? Isn’t that why people lie? Isn’t that why governments lie?


        Of course they’re going to lie. The truth does not serve their purposes. Lies do. It’s not that complicated.

        Any time you get stuck with concepts like these it’s probably because you’re overthinking the problem.

        There pops up that self-interest maxim, or “the myth of self-interest,” once again.

        To this highly simplistic and reductionist notion we may recall what Walter Lippman said, which distills a great deal of what has come to light recently regarding the self-interest maxim: “To every human problem,” he said, “there is a solution that is simple, neat, and wrong.”

        1. Walter Map

          People and governments lie out of self-interest. You say this is wrong, but strangely enough are unable to say why it’s wrong.

          I’d be happy to discredit your competing theory for you, but you don’t actually seem to have one.

          1. from Mexico

            This is a repost from another thread, but rebuts the self-interest axiom, plus explains why it is important to do that:

            Michael Hudson says:

            Commons: Publicly held land and other economic infrastructure in the public domain, such as water, land, radio airwaves, forests and air, and natural monopolies such as transportation, power and telephone service, to be organized in society’s overall long-term self-interest rather than monopolized by private-sector rentiers. The idea of an inherent “tragedy of the commons” resulting from overuse often is cited as the reason why this policy cannot work over time. However, that ideological position does not reflect historical reality. The commons traditionally have been treated with a view toward long-term preservation of social integrity and balance.

            I would like to take this one step further, to point out the relationship between the commons and the self-interest axiom. The self-interest axiom is the principle ideological weapon in the arsenal of the tragedy-of-the-commons proselytizers. These neoclassicists or neoliberals want to privatize everything, with the goal of plundering the commons.

            If one accepts the self-interest axiom, or what Peter Turchin calls “the myth of self-interest,” then realizing the commons is impossible. Understanding the relationship between the self-interest axiom and the tragedy of the commons is thus necessary to understand why necoclassical economists and neoliberals are so hellbent on proselytizing the one true faith: the myth of self-interest. “In a society of rational agents, everybody will defect, with the end result that collective action will always fail,” Turchin writes in War and Peace and War. “The economist Mancur Olson called this the ‘collective-action problem’.” Here’s the logic: if collective action, which is necessary to achieve the commons, is fated to failure because of the nature of man, then striving towards the commons is futile.

            Dan M. Kahan in “The Logic of Reciprocity: Trust, Collective Action, and Law” elaborates:

            The Logic of Collective Action has for decades supplied the logic of public policy analysis. In this pioneering application of public choice theory, Mancur Olson elegantly punctured the premise — shared by a diverse variety of political theories — that individuals can be expected to act consistently with the interest of the groups to which they belong. Absent externally imposed incentives, wealth-maximizing individuals, he argued, will rarely find it in their interest to contribute to goods that benefit the group as a whole, but rather will “free ride” on the contributions that other group members make. As a result, too few individuals will contribute sufficiently, and the well-being of the group will suffer.


            The main — indeed, only — selling point of the conventional theory of collective action is its asserted behavioral realism. Individuals, it tells us, are inherently self-seeking. Accordingly, we can’t count on them voluntarily to subordinate their material interests to the good of society…

            But, as Kahan goes on to conclude:

            It turns out, however, that the conventional theory isn’t right. Individuals in collective action settings might not behave like saints, but they don’t behave like fiends either… Whatever truth there is in the conventional theory is an artifact of the common acceptance of that theory’s bleak assumptions.

            So we should now reject them. To replace the conventional theory of collective action, we should construct a new and more appealing one founded on our nature as reciprocators. The logic of reciprocity not only reflects a more realistic understanding of individual emotional and moral commitments. It makes the hope that citizens will be morally and emotionally committed to contribute to the common good more realistic.


            1. Walter Map

              You’re relying on a redefinition of ‘liberalism’ which pretends that it is something that it is not, in fact, very much the opposite of established definitions.

              Dubya and Reagan aren’t going to turn into ‘liberals’ no matter how many disaffected socialists you quote.

              If your intent is to amuse, show us some real contortions and pretend Ralph Nader is a conservative.

            2. Walter Map

              This is a repost from another thread, but rebuts the self-interest axiom

              Your repost doesn’t rebut my observation that people and governments lie out of self-interest. It doesn’t address it at all.

              My guess is that if you meet an attractive woman you’re going to lie to get into her pants out of your own self-interest, and not for what one might call purely altruistic reasons.

            3. Lambert Strether Post author

              The in some ways reprehensible Rebecca Solnit has a really good book, Paradise in Hell, but and so the only part I remember is her recounting of the San Francisco earthquake, where there were an incredible number of self-organized mutual assistance programs set up in the aftermath of the disaster. Then the military came in, put paid to all that, and ended up burning the city down.

              Reminding me of Shock Doctrine, since a giant earthquake followed by a conflagration is definitely a shock, but asking: Why is it that the elites are able to manipulate shocks in such a way that self-organized mutual assistance does not happen? (Assuming it does not.) It may be that the reason is TINA, and that the axiom of self-interest (which might need a more tendentious name) is at the root of TINA. Sheerly speculative, of course.

              1. charles sereno

                If you’re going to lead with “The in some ways reprehensible Rebecca Solnit,” I think you owe the readers some explanation of your concern, especially as she is not the subject of the comment. Just saying.

                  1. charles sereno

                    Helpful of you to provide the link, and fair of the critical author to provide the link to Solnit’s piece. I read hers when it came out, as well as Donnelly’s criticism in CounterPunch. Personally, I was disappointed with Solnit’s tone but nowhere near wanting to throw her under the bus. Reader’s with time should read both accounts. They are well-spoken and, of course, “thought provoking.” PS I feel a little down, like the baby elephant, if you just change mama’s leg into a tree trunk.

              2. allcoppedout

                Self-interest is biological as is altruism. If we strip our ignorance by looking at some actual science, we might construct a theory to deal with it. To some extent, biology seems ahead of our intellectual pretensions and developing us as an ‘immature species’ through ‘self-domestication’.

                We enter argument to win – a sad matter. What we need is to use it to produce the best ideas and action. Simples, except for the ‘return of desire’ or whatever we call it. Even writing about the return of desire becomes a sinecure in a niche (Zizek), as the archive of leftish and rightist stuff proves over and again. We still have a vile, upper class set of ignobles in control.

                There are a number of ‘argumentative theories’ that take biology into account. All of us have noticed main media ‘argument’ is no such thing – but I see few who have turned to a more scientifically informed form. Work I would have loved to have done as a biochemist 40 years ago is now being done post-doc because costs have plummeted – and there is a great deal we could do now in social policy and action if we could bite the bullet on what argument actually is and could be made to be.

                1. Whistling in the Dark

                  “Self-interest is biological as is altruism. If we strip our ignorance by looking at some actual science, we might construct a theory to deal with it.”

                  But first, science has to get there, of course. So, let’s say sociobiology succeeds in answering some of these questions. Good. Now what? So, isn’t it a descriptive exercise–this thing called science? So, it describes the human animal to us (to the extent that it is successful in its endeavor). So, now we now how best to construct a natural and world-wide exhibit for him?

                  So, what if we are finally able to ‘scrute the inscrutable will of our genes? Then what? Do we go along with that?
                  At some point, the social and living human has to ask the question which is not settled by the subject of study of the evolutionary psychologist (though, I’m not saying its useless), the latter being the past. And so, we obtain a perfect description of our forebears’ fossils whence their foibles. Science nails down the static thing. But then, we have to keep living, don’t we? So we derive from what is and what was, what “ought.” But what does that make us if not a slave in search of a master? I, for one, welcome our deoxyribonucleic overlords!

                  Here’s a pet theory: The human animal is uniquely distinguished by various physical traits, which taken together help in its identification. However, one which is perhaps unique in the animal kingdom and which also provides a general insight or narrative scaffold over which one can mount a more general inquiry into its greater nature is this: its unique ability of self-deception. Ah! Not just deception, which is common enough among so-called higher life forms. But genuine self-deception. How is this paradox achieved mechanically? Well, the left hand must be prevented from knowing what the right hand is doing, somehow, no? And how does it do it? Well, we have what we say to others, but first and more often to ourselves. This is the self-deception phase. But to what end? What’s the point of this marvelous trick? And, what, if the self keeps the self in the dark, when does the self come in to seize the prize which awaits this patient game? Ah! But what in all of the name of science is really the purpose of conscious direction and awareness, anyway? It was all a misdirection! So, things turned out badly? So, karma wins again? A mere parapraxis.

                  Hypothesis: Your conscious mind is just a wild and desperate PR campaign that treads in the wake of a ravening reptilian brain. See Freud, cuz he knows more about than I, I’m sure.

                  Altruism you say? Yeah, could be. Some animals do it. Where are we on the continuum which ends with social insects–say, can we find a fitting foil? Clearly, humans are not so rigid in their behaviors. All social coperation would have to be engineered in real time! Some communication is key. And does language fit the bill? Does it enrich our social cohesion and sense of belonging? Hmm. Well, if not, there are other ways humans can communicate, too.

                  But where does altruism, sacrificing oneself for the greater good and all, stop and where does open tribal warfare begin? Don’t chimps provide just a good an example of group cooperation as do our arcadian ancestors, the bonobos? So, which are we? A bad ol’ face-rippin’ chimp or their free-loving, more highly-evolved-cleary-just-ask-anyone cousin? Or, gosh darn, are we just our own little quandary?

                  You know, our genes found use of fashioning the cells of the body into a tube into which the products of the labors of other organisms’ redox reactions–or whatever–can be ingested and co-opted. What then is the use of the thing laid out on top there, associated with which is this enigmatic phenomenon which even the more articulate of minds has only been able to call “what’s it like”-ness. What is the evolutionary point of this reduplication of the world in a this fashion? Why aren’t we automatons, you see? After all the marvelous computation and control mechanisms are accounted for, what then regarding the apparent (illusion of?) apprehender, the apparation. Well, nevermind him. Let’s get back to the genes. Let’s get better aquainted with what they would have us do. You see, we somehow forgot if we were chimps or bonobos or what? We are slaves in search of Linnaeus. Please tell use who we are! Nevermind what we might like to be. I want to be a pony. Just waiting for science to catch up to that one. (Last one is joke.)

                  1. Whistling in the Dark

                    And just to be careful: I am not asking at the end, there, what the point of the brain is, since poetically, at least, I hope you will grant–for the sake of aetsthetic purity, if notthing else–that it is to better earn those appropriate products of other organisms’ redoc reactions–er, to find more of these things and to place them within the digestive tube astride which the executive command and control center sits and is also, paradoxaically (no?) slave too. Oh, and increasing differential reproductive success and all that sexy, smoot jazz, too.

              3. ex-PFC Chuck

                OK, acronym ignorance here. TINA is new to me and a few stabs on the Goog and Urban Dictionary have been no help. Everything comes up related to Tina Turner. So?

                1. Lambert Strether Post author

                  There Is No Alternative, coined by Maggie Thatcher of blessed memory. TINA to neo-liberalism, the Washington Consensus, whatever’s inside the Overton Window, etc.

          2. Whistling in the Dark

            Allow me?

            Grant: The elites and government are acting out of self-interest.
            Grant: We are talking about this now because we believe there is a problem in this neck-of-the-woods.
            Question: Is it a problem because their self-interests are contrary to ours (the many, say)? Or, is what they are doing simply immoral in some sense of the word?
            In the first case, well, what we do is stop them, by force if necessary, right? Then, how are things decided during the dictatorship (of the proletariat)? We do some sort of utilitarian calculus?
            In the second case… well, if we have granted that self-interest is what “is,” what describes the world and the guiding intelligence of its human agents, then our complaint supposes–to extent that it is rational, and what’s the alternative??–that there is some mechanism for moving from this “is” to some “ought.” But how in the world would anyone transcend this notion of self-interest, which, so it appears, is posited to exist virtually everywhere.
            So, the second case doesn’t seem very logically tenable, and the first seems… seems what? Bleak? Well, there we go again with our rebellion.
            Just what is this–novel to me!–notion of “self-interest” as the touchstone for some supposed sociology of man (and to what use?) getting at? What does anyone do with this prescript? How is it supposed to guide my actions?
            I think we can all agree–since we are on this dissenting site–that there is some sort of problem in the world. Welll, just what does the slogan “self-interest” do for us? Or “liberalism”? What are we supposed to do with these words? No one can eat them, but maybe thoughts are the grease of the wheels which turn the cogs which nudge the ratchet which bends the knife which spreads the butter of life all over my daily bread. So, I choose the jam marked “liberalism” and the jelly marked “self-interest” and does the rest of my day go? How bout my century? How bout my millenium? My infinity?

    3. JImbo

      An even better quote from teh O( emphasis mine):

      if you are outside of the intelligence community, if you are the ordinary person and you start seeing a bunch of headlines saying, U.S.-Big Brother looking down on you, collecting telephone records, et cetera, well, understandably, people would be concerned. I would be, too, if I wasn’t inside the government.

      It’s Frank Zappa time…he and his handlers are showing us the brick wall at the back of the theater. They’ve stopped pretending. It’s as if they want us to know, so they can really crack down.

      For sheer arrogant nastiness, Obama is Cheney to the infinite power. Cheney merely told one Senator to go fuck himself. Obama just delivered that message to all 300 million of us.

    1. diptherio

      As per a recent extended interview on Joe Rogan’s podcast, Martin’s view of 9/11 is that the official story is not reliable, but she doesn’t claim to know “what really happened,” and declined to speculate, even for a receptive audience.

      I think most of us here can agree that whatever the truth is, the official story is unlikely to be coterminous with it.

  6. diptherio

    I have to say, Barry Ritholtz has probably the best ‘author photo’ of all time. Every time I see it I can just tell, that man is a visionary

  7. F. Beard

    Re What Paul Krugman is getting wrong… Angry Bear. Lower labor share.

    Once again that word “share”.

    Money can be issued as either Liabilities (debt) or shares in Equity (common stock).

    So, why does our government subsidize the former method and punish the latter?

      1. F. Beard

        You nailed it. Freedom to steal so long as one can return the stolen goods on time plus some interest.

        “The few who understand the system will either be so interested in its profits or be so dependent upon its favours that there will be no opposition from that class, while on the other hand, the great body of people, mentally incapable of comprehending the tremendous advantage that capital derives from the system, will bear its burdens without complaint, and perhaps without even suspecting that the system is inimical to their interests.” The Rothschild brothers of London writing to associates in New York, 1863. from

        But the system is actually worse. Our only choices are sit by and be pure victims of it or join the looting ourselves (if we can; redlined black people had no such option) in hopes of at least breaking even. It’s a desperately wicked system formerly known as “the rat race”, if I recall properly.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Freedom was when, as soon as the horse was tamed, people escaped from agriculture and civilization.

          They became herders and nomads.

      1. F. Beard

        Due to heavy government privilege, the Liabilities of the banking system as a whole are almost entirely virtual while the Liabilities of the population are very real indeed.

        The banks charge us for the dubious privilege of stealing from each other (unless we are redlined black people, in which case we only get to be stolen from).

    1. Walter Map

      Once again that word “share”.

      Which does not necessarily contradict your thesis, as it could refer to either a ‘share’ of liabilities or a ‘share’ of equity. Either way, for people who work for a living, the ‘share’ is increasingly inequitable.

      So, why does our government subsidize the former method and punish the latter?

      Because the government has been corrupted to side with the wealthy and powerful against the general population.

      Maybe that was a rhetorical question.

      1. F. Beard

        The answer is because we let them. The population has been duped into making an inherently crooked system more stable so that it can cause even more damage.

  8. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Indian built Airphant ‘nucular’ submarines – do their missiles only kill humans but not cows?

    I ask because capitalist missiles kill people but not income generating properties, I believe.

    1. F. Beard

      It’s been said that democracies don’t go to war with democracies. If true, then the PTB are committing suicide by making our societies more fascist because now war can “reach out and touch” the PTB too.

      That stolen purchasing power has financed a lot of guilty, paranoid, deadly ingenuity, don’t you know?

  9. charles sereno

    Re: Why a mathematician will be talking to a theologian
    This article was indeed “thought-provoking.” I’m almost at a loss for words to express my dismay for this style of discourse. Not for its contextually accurate history of warring ideas. But for its smug subtext: Arguing how many angels on a pin is the new fun thing.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      One day, they will find a dishwasher talking to a janitor interesting as well, when everyone is a college graduate and somebody still has to clean the men’s room…this is, of course, before the entire world is replaced by robots, including the president, thus relieving mankind of the puzzle, if the President is 1,000 as efficient as the mayor of Santa Ana, California, why isn’t the president paid 1,000 times more? Why don’t they bring some free market capitalism into the public employee sector?

    2. from Mexico

      @ charles sereno

      I think the lady doth protest too much.

      Just how, pray tell, does posing the following questions about the wobbly and unsure foundation upon which science is built fall under the category of “arguing how many angels on a pin”?

      The question that occurred to me, was there an ethical interpretation of contemporary financial mathematics. I have concluded that there is…

      [T]oday it is unorthodox to think there is an ethical basis to a key mathematical theory, which was something as a surprise to me…

      These ideas remained a bit of a stew until I returned to Pragmatism through Hilary Putnam. Putnam argues that ethics can be “objective” and incorporated into “science”, it is a “false dichotomy” to separate the two…

      I think the starting point is the Pragmatic idea that ethics in science should be explicit, not implicit as at the moment…

      I regard the significant problems facing science are about an uncertain future… [S]ince the reordering of global politics at about the same time as the collapse of Bretton-Woods, science has looked less capable to actually solve problems in the face of uncertainty…

      I think the “certainties” of Realist and Empiricist approaches will have to be abandoned, and a more inclusive approach based on Pragmatic principles will emerge. In particular there will be an acknowledgement of the contingency of knowledge and so an emphasis on risk management in the process of achieving objectives, rather than identifying the ideal objective. Putnam notes that Pragmatism emphasises that ends need to be flexible, not just the means to an end…

      One issue is being conscious of the weaknesses of a particular methodology, and being prepared to abandon it or to not engage in an activity that is “uncertain”. Because knowledge is contingent these decisions are fundamentally ethical…

      I don’t know the answer to this question, but I do think it requires the participation of all of society to arrive at a consensus, not just scientists.

      Or maybe this is the part that you find so offensive, the theological origins of science:

      Early in my exploration of the origins of probability I chanced (literally) on Joel Kaye’s argument that western science originates in the scholastic analysis of the ethics of markets. The figure of Pierre Jean Olivi stands out, for me, in this narrative. As a Spiritual Franciscan, arguing for the limited use of resources, he might today be described as a “Red-Green” socialist environmentalist, yet he was positive towards contemporary commerce and instrumental in the early development of probability. Also, one of the key differences between the Franciscans and Dominicans was that while the Dominicans might regard the universe as a machine designed by God, who left it to run according to immutable laws of nature, the Franciscans argued that God could interfere with nature (through miracles) and that nature was not immutable, and this feature needed to be incorporated into science.

      1. charles sereno

        Lazy me. Not by choice, I have a limited attention span and I tend to focus on a final summary/conclusion or, in this case, an opening topic sentence, yours to wit —
        “Just how, pray tell, does posing the following questions about the wobbly and unsure foundation upon which science is built fall under the category of “arguing how many angels on a pin”?”
        “the wobbly and unsure foundation upon which science is built” — Did I get that right?! Yesterday we had this exchange —
        • charles sereno says:

        And BTW, your anti-science (Rousseauian?) bias sometimes shows itself.

        Ah yes, the old “if you disagree with my ‘science,’ then you must be ‘anti-science’.”
        Please explain what your ‘science’ consists of. After that I’d be delighted to engage in a conversation about Scholastic Franciscan and Dominican turf battles (bloods vs crips [joke]) although it might probably bore NC readers. Where’s Jake Chase when you need him?

        1. from Mexico

          I liked a great deal of what Tim Johnson had to say about the crisis science now finds itself in. Science will have to find a way to deal with ethics and uncertainty if it is not to become even more gravely compromised than what it already is.

          In Kant’s words, scientific knowledge is

          an island, enclosed by nature itself within unalterable limits. It is the land of truth – enchanting name! – surrounded by a wide and stormy ocean, the native home of illusion, where many a fog bank and many a swiftly melting iceberg give the deceptive appearance of farther shores, deluding the adventurous seafarer ever anew with empty hopes, and engaging him in enterprises which he can never abandon and yet is unable to carry to completion.

          Kant’s successors, however, “were not satisfied with Kant’s orderly island of truth and set sail on Kant’s stormy seas in search of their true being.” (Michael Allen Gillespie, Nihilism Before Nietzsche). The “new brand of philosophers – Fichte, Schelling, Hegel – would scarcely have pleased Kant. Liberated by Kant from the old school of dogmatism and its sterile exercises, encouraged by him to indulge in speculative thinking, they actually took their cue from Descartes, went hunting for certainty, blurred once again the distinguishing line between thought and knowledge, and believed in all earnest that the results of their speculations possessed the same kind of validity as the results of cognitive processes” (Hannah Arendt, The Life of the Mind).

          Which brings us to the current dilemma and sad state the science of economics finds itself confronted with, which Johnson certainly doesn’t shy away from,

          the fact that Economics, no less than other social and historical sciences, however much they use what appear to be morally and spiritually sanitized formulas and complex econometric models, bear within them values in a subtle mix with facts, moral presumptions in a complex blend with argument, matters of faith interwoven with matters of analysis. In fact, ethical, religious, and specifically theological assumptions are not foreign to economic life or economic thought, but pervade them.

          –MAX L. STACKHOUSE, Economics as Religion

          1. Walter Map

            I liked a great deal of what Tim Johnson had to say about the crisis science now finds itself in.

            You can only claim science is in ‘crisis’ by redefining science to be something it is not.

            The politicization of science, like the science of economics, is a problem of politics, not science. If anything, the ‘problem’ with science, as with any tool, is that people are motivated to corrupt it for dishonest purposes. Science itself has no such ‘crisis’.

          2. charles sereno

            “Science will have to find a way to deal with ethics and uncertainty if it is not to become even more gravely compromised than what it already is.” (from Mexico)
            This statement is so at odds with the ordinary, dictionary definition of science that we need to get on the same island for a useful discussion. Could we start with your definition of science before we deal with its presently grave condition?

            1. charles sereno

              PS: I forgot to stick in this from your earlier comment —
              “…the wobbly and unsure foundation upon which science is built…” (I don’t think context necessary)

          3. Calgacus

            Kant’s successors, however, “were not satisfied with Kant’s orderly island of truth and set sail on Kant’s stormy seas in search of their true being.”

            No, starting with Fichte, the first MMTer :-), they realized that humans always were on the stormy sea searching for their true being, by means of their true being. The idea that the island of truth can ever be seen as wholly “orderly”, and could ever be outside anyone’s true being was the illusion. Kant was a great thinker. But so were his 3 great successors, and the like of the four have not been seen since, in philosophy at least.

            (Michael Allen Gillespie, Nihilism Before Nietzsche). The “new brand of philosophers – Fichte, Schelling, Hegel – would scarcely have pleased Kant. As I’ve said before, Gillespie is either uninformed or strangely confusing by using a “would have” for something that actually happened. Kant lived long enough to first welcome Fichte (the anonymous book that made Fichte’s name was first thought to be Kant’s) & then to later criticize Fichte’s departures from Kant’s thought. But the later Idealists (& Marx) absorbed and went beyond Kant, while much of “modern” “philosophy” has remained mired in Kant’s worst ideas – things-in-themselves (which the later Idealists and their descendants (Marxists & other followers of Hegel) realized was just a word for “nothing”). Kant’s “can’t” turned into modern anomie incessantly, soporifically, pseudo-skeptically, languidly sitting on its ass bemoaning the impossibility of Knowledge, that us poor humans couldn’t know frigging capital T Truth (“…As if there were any other kind!” (Hegel)) E.g., Kant, through Hoffding, reappeared in Bohr’s Copenhagen interpretation of quantum mechanics, a tranquilizing pillow for generations of physicists justifying “shut up and calculate!”

            believed in all earnest that the results of their speculations possessed the same kind of validity as the results of cognitive processes Well, I believe this in all earnest too. The results of my speculations – or anybody else’s – are cognitive processes -so they are “just as” valid as whatever cognitive processes that anybody else thinks jest must be better. Them German guys made some damn good, rigorous speculations. Sure, the GIs made boo-boos and said strange and incoherent and incomprehensible things. So does everybody, all day long. We cannot all be craazyman. But they were on the right road in a way that most later “philosophy” was not, and there is much still to learn from all of them.

            From this and an earlier quote you gave from Arendt, which IIRC ascribed beliefs to them completely opposite to their actual ones, she & Gillespie seem bad guides to the thought of the later German Idealists. There are plenty good enough interpreters to start with now.

            On Johnson’s interesting blog and paper, yes – a great deal of interesting material. But of course economics and finance rest on morality and ethics. F Beard realizes this very well and informs all of us here when we might forget. A monetary system, a financial system is “nothing but” (Mitchell-Innes) a purely immaterial system of credit, of morality, of shoulds & oughts and trust. MMT in a nutshell. This fact is just a fact, and not a reason for

            Crises in science? Well, my favorite understanding is conveyed by a newspaper clipping I saw on a (quite big-shot) mathematician’s door once – maybe it was quoting him – comparing big-shot scientists or mathematicians to – a dog who has a bone in his mouth and is trying to enter a door which is ajar, but not enough to let the head and the horizontal bone through. Scientific, philosophical problems are how to tilt our head so we can get the bone through. Lots of bones out there, and for the biggest and tastiest it takes a lot of tries, a few centuries or millennia, to sneak em through. That’s what a crisis is I guess. A big bone of contention.

      2. craazyman

        faaaaak none of it made any sense with its rolling torrents of million-dollar words until the last sentence and then BOOOM! That’s all you really need to know. The ultraviolet catastrophe of modern ontological onanism.

        Here’s a joke I made up once:

        A materialist husband came home to see his spiritualist wife sobbing on the sofa. “Honey Honey what’s the matter?” She took one look at him in total resignation and broke down into more sobs. “Oh darling, never mind.”

        They’d never let me do standup with that stuff. bowhahahah

      3. F. Beard

        The probabilistic nature of our reality allows God to act without leaving proof-positive evidence of His existence.

        As for those who insist that God prove Himself to them, the short answer is “Seek and ye shall find.”

        1. Walter Map

          The probabilistic nature of our reality allows God to act without leaving proof-positive evidence of His existence.

          I’d say it’s remarkable how much the invisible resembles the non-existent.

        2. craazyman

          so true Beard. Jesus lost His patience with the disciples, they were such blockheads about wanting proofs and signs. The signs and proof are everywhere but people can’t see them. Every once in a while the heavens take pity and toss an angel into the mix, like that story making the rounds about the priest who appeared out of nowhere, saved that girl in Missouri then disappeared. I bet he’ll never be seen again. That would make it too easy, it’s better to just confuse people and make them think. The site editor didn’t see fit to publish it as a link. :) If it were easy, they wouldn’t call it heaven would they? LOL

            1. Whistling in the Dark

              I don’t think I get that. “heaven is getting to heaven” Will it wreck it to explain it a hair?

                1. charles sereno

                  Thanks. It comes from Catherine of Siena, a remarkable lady who had a bunch of gallants chasing after her (to hear her words). She wasn’t afraid to speak truth to power, sorry, powers (there was more than one Poop, sorry, Pope then). The equivalent tabloids of the time made much of the fact that she was either the 23rd or 24th child of her mother. (It’s not established if she or her twin sister was born first.) Her letters are awesome. If from Mexico sees this, let him note she was a Dominican right up there with Francis of Assisi.

      4. allcoppedout

        One might start here (not that you’d have to Mexico):
        The notion that science was value-free was just a line we peddled so as not be be shown the instruments of torture. That you can’t get an ought from an is is bolloxs as soon as you think about global warming (or tree removal on high ground above where people live below) and our inter-connectedness.

        1. from Mexico

          Where the rubber hits the road when it comes to science, and where science is in greatest crisis, is without a doubt in the fields of economics and climate science.

          I do not agree with Johnson’s assertion that “Similarly the climate change debate is more explicitly divided into climate change advocates and sceptics, which can again be seen as representing Realists and Empiricists respectively.” In the great divide that exists within the scientific community between Realists and Empiricists, I just don’t see how the article he linked places AGW sceptics in the Empiricist camp and climate change advocates into the Realist camp. Here’s the article:

          What Jonathan Haidt says in this paper strikes at the heart of both the Realist and Empiricist camps, and shows why science finds itself so deeply mired in crisis:

          Our brains, like other animal brains, are constantly trying to fine tune and speed up the central decision of all action: approach or avoid. You can’t understand the river of fMRI studies on neuroeconomics and decision making without embracing this principle. We have affectively-valenced intuitive reactions to almost everything…

          Studies of everyday reasoning show that we usually use reason to search for evidence to support our initial judgment, which was made in milliseconds. But I do agree with Josh Greene that sometimes we can use controlled processes such as reasoning to override our initial intuitions. I just think this happens rarely…

          Thanks for the link to the lecture by Jonathan Haidt. I had not seen that.

    3. ChrisPacific

      Agreed regarding the style, although in the author’s defense a lot of this is standard convention in the mathematical community. Take this for example:

      When I read Anders Hald’s history it struck me that the canonical origins of mathematical probability, in the Pascal-Fermat solution to the Problem of Points was formally equivalent to the Cox-Ross-Rubenstein model…

      Mathematicians really do make conversation like this. It’s why they don’t get invited to many dinner parties.

      I’m not sure whether theoretical science (how does the universe work?) has an ethical dimension, but applied science (what can we do with our new knowledge?) definitely does. Ask anybody who worked on the Manhattan Project. In economics it shows up most clearly in the role of regulation (at what point, if any, does unfettered self-interest start producing bad outcomes?) and in the definition of success criteria (what is a bad outcome anyway?) So for example when you have people talking about how the economy has recovered even though the labor participation rate hasn’t improved, that’s an ethical statement. (Not one I would agree with personally, but still).

      1. allcoppedout

        Fred Soddy was racked by having helped unleash the energy of the atom and leaving this in the hands of the clowns who ran our politics and economies, especially letting private banks ‘make’ money.
        All science has an ethical dimension such as why you are looking or able to look rather than being out in the fields with everyone else scraping a living.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Ganesha there will grow up to lose one tusk, thus learning a lesson in humility.

      If you see one with both tusks, more often than not, it’s fake.

  10. BondsOfSteel

    “Q Can you understand, though, why some people might not trust what you’re saying right now about wanting to — THE PRESIDENT: No, I can’t”

    Hmm. This says it all.

    Either the President really can’t understand why _some_ people might not trust him, or he’s lying. Either way, his answer is a reason for _all_ people not to trust him.

    1. Walter Map

      Either the President really can’t understand why _some_ people might not trust him, or he’s lying

      In other words, incompetent or dishonest, and either way unfit for office.

      Obama isn’t an idiot, and therefore must be lying. It’s in his self-interest to do so because the truth does not serve his purposes.

      The Stupid Defense is a very common evasion technique: when cornered, feign cluelessness. Ignorance really is a valid excuse for most people, even if it’s a rather transparent lie. Dubya was able to use it to great advantage because his utter personal vacuity was his whole schtick.

  11. Andrew Watts

    Mark Ames brutal criticism of Edward Snowden [Link is unlocked for the next 32 hours]

    I’ve already gone on the record stating that I thought Snowden was working with Russian intelligence early on. Unlike Ames, I have a little more sympathy for Snowden. When you’re being hunted by your own government while staying in a foreign country, alone and in the dark, it is a genuinely scary position to be in. Eventually you have to trust somebody and pick a side. That decision was made for him the moment he allied himself with Wikileaks and jumped on a plane out of Hong Kong.

    Mark has a unique viewpoint on the situation given his experience in Russia. His perspective is how Snowden is going to damage the anti-Putin opposition in Russia. This makes his observations regarding Snowden a cut above the rest. No matter how much it doesn’t square with your personal view of the Snowden affair.

    (The whole ‘I’m pro-anger’ comment was hilarious.)

      1. davidgmills

        Glad you think so. The author of the article is a clown. Got his feelings hurt. Woopie.

        I think Snowden is stuck there and the US deserves whatever backlash or loss of intel that happens from Snowden’s decision to seek sanctuary there. Snowden was naive. So what? I am sure there were other better places to go than Russia. Maybe he will get to Venezuela somehow.

          1. charles sereno

            Yeah, he’s “whatever else,” way too scary to be a clown. I have no idea what the motivation for him doing a job on Snowden or, similarly, Doug Valentine on Ellsberg is. Whatever else, it’s not reporting. If someone ever makes a spy film about Edwin P Wilson (RIP), Mark’s a dead ringer for him and he’d be perfect for the part.

            1. bob

              “doing a job”?

              His motivation is pointing out that Snowden ran into the arms of the former head of the KGB, and current head of the security state know as Russia.

              Is there a better “end game” analogy out there? Start off as a spook, end up as King.

              Snowden went right past security state and into the protection of the king, for use as the king wishes.

                1. bob

                  “Our” team vs “their” team.

                  No thanks, especially since we’re picking pimps. Snowden is now Putin’s bitch. Behave and Snowden gets tricked out on cushy PR jobs — coke and candy. All he has to do is suck a few PR dicks now and then.

                  Talk back and he gets a bitch slapped into a crate and shipped back to Obummer, who, I am sure would claim that this “…represents a new spirit of cooperation..” between our pimp overlords. Putin then gets praise inside the US for “doing the right thing.”

                  Binary logic only works inside computers. The real world is much more complicated and political.

        1. Calgacus

          I agree. Ames’s articles make no sense. Ames says nothing at all in that article, and in the free parts of other ones that I searched for something. It is not that Snowden supporters can’t bear to hear any criticism, Ames just hasn’t made any. The idea that Snowden lied to him by accepting the only non-suicidal alternative he had is ludicrous. Everyone has a right to life and freedom. People who have jeopardized their own for good purpose even more than the rest of us.
          If the Russian opposition is demoralized by Snowden coming to Russia – then it is not much of an opposition. Nothing good could have been expected of it in any case then. It is amazing that some “radicals” or “oppositions” can use stupid, bewildering logic to get their poor widdle feelings hurt, to be demoralized by events that might even encourage people with their feet more solidly on the ground.

          Chomsky somewhere (essay in his Radical Priorities collection, IIRC) criticizes the sort of “radical” who would have had Karl Marx burn down the British Library to oppose British Imperialism, rather than studying in it. Apt here?

              1. bob

                ““The idea that Snowden lied to him by accepting the only non-suicidal alternative he had is ludicrous””

                Please, Mr. Shakespeare, teach me imbecilic pentameter.

                1. Calgacus

                  bob: Are you saying anything? If so, I cannot understand it. Not unpleased by your repetitions of my words, though.

                  1. bob

                    “Ames says nothing at all in that article”

                    but then goes on to not-say-

                    “The idea that Snowden lied to him by accepting the only non-suicidal alternative he had is ludicrous.”

                    That’s just pulling the first little thread in that hairball of a PR non-statement.

                    “Not unpleased by your repetitions of my words, though.”

                    Believe it or not, I guessed that. Pundit school?

                    1. Calgacus

                      Bob – by “nothing at all” I meant nothing that anyone rational would consider worth saying, would consider a sane criticism. Yes, I contradicted myself by mentioning a “something” that Ames said. By calling it “ludicrous” I was saying it was in fact, a “nothing”. And that I thought that anybody who could seriously consider themselves lied to by Snowden, or that Snowden should have considered hurting the poor widdle feelings of Ames or a Russian limp noodle “opposition” – the total of his “criticism”, is not playing with a full deck. Your defense of these positions, inane namecalling, derision of Snowden, and characterization of the common sense positions of the majority “PR” elicits similar amusement. I don’t think your “PR” is succeeding here.

    1. chase and run

      If you’re being chased down a blind alley that is becoming more blind by the minute you hide anywhere you can. A sewer looks like a haven, and if it keeps you out of the clutches of the US gov for a while, it is. Let’s see where it is a year from now, when the temp asylum has expired. I make no predictions, I don’t know where any of these people are from or where they wanna go. Poor frightened bloated America, that’s all I can verify from within this absurd nation.

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        “Let’s see where it is a year from now, when the temp asylum has expired.” That’s pretty much where I am. Meanwhile, he seems to be off the front page, and Obama crawfishing and equivocating — oh, I’m sorry, I meant “taking a thoughtful and nuanced policy position” — on surveillance at his presser is on the front pages. So, the conversation we all wanted, yes?

        1. chase and run

          I’m grateful to you and Yves and NC others for keeping Snowden and the varieties of defense dept/corp tech spying on the front pages. The above techdirt link is very good, but it does make me wonder about the nearly infinite timidity of politicians. The stories interpreting language of Wash. DC are useful, too. I don’t know how to read those guys, (their language is impenetrable) but I’m glad you and others do. Again, with gratitude.

      2. sit and wait

        Not to put anybody on the defensive or anything, but a lot of us here had recently emerged from latency when Robert Redford was abducting and restraining Faye Dunaway in 3 days of the condor. I do not judge. I try not to project. But is it possible that the perspective of this cohort might be colored by the sort of extraordinarily persistent sexual fetishes that might naturally have resulted? For whatever reason, one feels that we are not wholly objective about Snowden. Sad to say, Snowden’s situation is kind of boring and lacking in prurient interest.

        A routine legal process is proceeding. Everybody knows the drill, and everybody is on board except for the US government, which can’t do anything about it. The tragically-bearded Richard Falk has a rare fit of pique about it here,

      3. bob

        “If you’re being chased down a blind alley”

        This is where the story starts now. The beginning, as He has written, G3– blessed be him forever.

        Question- Why did you decide to punch a crooked cop in the face on a street where your only escape route was a dead end blind alley with a sewer?

        The timing and geography were the choice of snowden.

        Follow on- If the cop was as bad as you say he was, and there is TONS of evidence that he is an asshole, why not stand trial against your accuser?

        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          Well, I’m not standing in Snowden’s shoes. So I’m a little reluctant to recommend to him that he become the second Bradley Manning, especially when you don’t give a clear reason why he should. From where I sit, Snowden’s moved from one continental, imperial, sclerotic security state to another. Granted, we don’t have dash cams, and they use a funny alphabet, but last I checked we weren’t at war with Russia, and Snowden can go where he likes. Why does that stick in your craw?

          1. bob

            Snowden can’t go where he wants. He can’t go where he wants in the US, at all. He can’t go where he wants from Russia, where he is a temp, serving as a subject or PR puppet “at the pleasure of the king”.

            Gilded cages are still cages.

        2. skippy

          @bob some people have been heard to say… man on man love in jail is “situational”.

          skippy… should he live 20 years a book maybe forthcoming, but, in my experience, only death bed confessions have any sort of gravitas.

          PS. as noted else where… a this speed of events… does it matter(???). Bracing for impact and enjoying the simple things, at the same time, is quite the party trick… eh.

          1. bob

            I’m waiting for the US nat sec state to come out and accuse Snowden, G3, Russia and all of the other foreign newspapers of using selective release of the info to influence the upcoming elections.

            Perfect spin- “we can’t let these secrets out, it could influence elections!”

            1. skippy

              “we can’t let these secrets out, it could influence elections!” – bob

              Indubitably bob “”. Frack the peoples basic intrinsic needs, hay it only took billions of years to organize in order to sustain life as we know it (tens of thousands of years).

              skippy… have we devolved into a game show, “Statu Quo” Survivor – lingua stilus insula???

    2. Synopticist

      I can’t see what Snowden was supposed to do really. Once Morales’ plane got forced down, he and everyone else could see the gloves were off.

      The only chance he has of living anything approaching a normal life (at least for the time being) is by staying in Russia. Even in Ecuador or Bolivia he’d be in constant, well-founded fear of a CIA snatch squad.

      1. psychohistorian

        Lets get real here.

        The only way Snowden stands a chance of living is if his releases of NSA and related spy interworkings “bring down” the current US government in a way that removes the plutocrats and their puppets from control.

        As the year progresses and that does or doesn’t happen, Snowden will face evolving choices…….given the pace of “change” these days, it is possible that Snowden will be the least of the worries of the plutocrats a year from now.

      2. Yves Smith

        Late to this, but I’m still of the view his decision to leave HK was ill advised.

        HK didn’t even have the section of the code drafted to deal with a case like his. HK Is British-style bureaucracy, would not make that up on the fly. He’d have at least 3 years in HK and maybe as long as 10, with appeals, and that’s assuming he lost in the end. No way would/could the US dare render him from HK, and even the professional Mafia their don’t do political hits (hardly any murders in HK and they are mainly between estranged lovers, once in while a business dispute).

        Worse was Snowden might have had to spend a night or two in jail and then be released on bail.

        1. skippy

          HMS is still quite active in these parts and when certain acts are committed…. well… history is replete with examples.

          skippy… bewared the demure ones… they giveth and taketh like a true Creator.

  12. susan the other

    About all the hyper analysis about China: The one thorny fact about China that continues to stick in my ravaged brain is on China’s demographics. Like the entire West and Japan, and probably(?) most of the BRICS to varying degrees, China has an aging population currently of @ 500 billion people over the age of 60. For one thing, if you translated this into a DTI ratio the world would definitely be maxed-out on this one statistic alone. My conclusion is that debt is no longer significant as an indication of prudence or the ability to service debt itself. Duh. Debt is now completely irrational.

  13. chicagogal

    Loving the credit card flap in Russia! How exactly does the bank think their acceptance of the contract changes constitutes fraud?

  14. fresno dan

    There is no terrorist threat: The feds want you to think there is, compliant media goes along Salon

    “After a week of ghost stories about an imminent but vaporous plot on the part of an al-Qaida “affiliate” — this is the big new word — it is hard to decide which is more disheartening: 1) The White House’s blithe if clumsy deployment of factoids, 2) the supine complicity of the media (and this, frankly, is my choice), or 3) the willingness of honorable liberals and capital-D Democrats to go along with the show simply because Obama is maestro and one stays with Obama no matter what he does.”

    Seems to me 3 is the most plausible choice. I think Salon can’t face the truth that as far as the financial/military/security state goes, there is no difference between republican and democrat.

  15. tongorad

    Shines a spotlight on Gore, for all those who believe that he would have been better than W:

    Counterpunch: The Origins of the Neoliberal War on the Poor

    “For the Clinton/Gore administration welfare reform and expansion of the police state were not only means to trump the Republicans; they were also essential to economic policy. Intense competition for jobs at the lowest rungs would depress wages, pit poor and working-class people against each other and, where workfare recipients displace municipal workers, weaken labor unions. The spectre and reality of incarceration would have the traditional effect of suppressing the dangerous classes, at a time when the wage gap between the rich and the poor grew wider than at any time in recent history.”

  16. Antifa

    It is indefensible to use the words “Fukushima” and “cleanup” in the same sentence. It’s immoral to suggest that cleanup of Fukushima is possible when it’s not. It only puts off discussing the reality of what we’ve unleashed upon our planet.

    It would be defensible if anyone had any idea about how to approach or cover over a melted down mass of nuclear fuel that has escaped containment and entered the bare earth. But what metal or material can survive exposure to a runaway reactor core without itself melting on the spot? With what can it be buried when anything you dump on it, in any quantity, melts into it?

    It would be defensible if anyone knew how to remove even one nuclear fuel rod from the leaky hanging pools perched high in the shattered reactor buildings. But the rods are already too hot, too tangled, too bent and jumbled to even go near. All that is possible is to pour water on them, watch it leak out as fast as it goes in, and pray for no earthquakes in Japan for the next thousand years. When Japan has well over a thousand earthquakes every year.

    What Fukushima is going to become cannot be avoided by anything we do.

    Those enormous pools of nuclear fuel rods — many times the amount of fuel that was in the melted down reactors — are all going to fall down with the next big earthquake. The fuel rods will instantly burn their cladding off with exposure to air, then meltdown into an enormous nuclear puddle, a huge molten mass that will consume all the buildings and all the cores that have already melted down. It will merge into a huge, white hot core sitting just below ground level, spewing radioactive particles in all directions for hundreds of years.

    All the talk in the press about radioactive water and steam escaping and propping up sinking reactor buildings and diverting groundwater and building ice walls and filling steel tanks with radioactive runoff makes it sound like the course of events at Fukushima Daichi can be influenced in some way by all this busy-ness. It can’t.

    What’s coming cannot be avoided by any means we can muster.

    The complete meltdown of the entire Fukushima facility will release a great deal of plutonium, a heavy particle with a half-life of 80 million years, a substance inimical to all life on this planet.

    There is no cleanup.

    1. psychohistorian

      Thank you for saying this even if it is talking about our potential extinction.

      I would rather face our problems than pretend they don’t exist.

  17. DolleyMadison

    Thought ya’ll might appreciate:

    But what was even better than the cartoon was the Bofa response via a Letter to the Editor from Charles Bowman, who was head of Global Compliance when the majority of the raping and pillaging occurred:
    Editorial cartoon depicted
    Bank of America unfairly

    The writer is president of Bank of America’s N.C. and Charlotte markets.

    Your Aug. 8 editorial cartoon accepts unproven and false allegations as fact. It is also unfair to the thousands of hard-working Bank of America employees who call Charlotte home.

    Our record of support for this community belies your unfair portrayal of us as Snow White’s wicked witch. Last year, we extended nearly $230 million in new credit to N.C. small businesses, and our charitable foundation gave almost $12 million to local nonprofit organizations.

    Our more than 15,000 local employees pledged $3.5 million to United Way and volunteered more than 190,000 hours on a wide range of critical issues.

    At the heart of the recent allegations and your unfortunate cartoon is the contention that we failed to provide adequate information to large financial institutions who were active participants in the mortgage securities markets. We believe these claims are without merit.

    Charles F. Bowman

    1. DolleyMadison

      You can see he rolls out the three smackdowns TPTB in Charlotte always use to defend their Hometown Hero:

      1. Bofa employs lots of people in Charlotte (implied threat of layoffs)
      2. Bofa gives lots to charity (implied threat of withdrawing local aid)
      3. The investors/homeowners knew what they were doing/duped us/forced us to lend/are lying/etc.

      The thing is, Bowman is actually a nice guy…he and all of Charlotte, New York, D.C. et al are so brainwashed/paid off I see no hope of justice ever being done…

      1. scraping_by

        “The thing is, Bowman is actually a nice guy…”

        Please, dear, don’t conflate ‘cordial’ with ‘nice’. A cordial affect can cover the most heinous crimes and callous attitudes. Thousands of layoffs, millions of foreclosures, hundreds of thousands of forgeries, corruption of hundreds of elected officials, and he never turns a hair.

        I’m not saying he’s necessarily a wife-beater, a child-raper, or a dog-kicker. It’s not out of the questions, but we have no reason to say one way or the other.

        An elitist ideologue needn’t scream every word and froth at the mouth. Some get by with not giving a rat’s back end.

      2. scrapin_by

        Though I also agree with your analysis of the PR offensive.

        Would that others think through what they hear…

    2. Joe

      Thanks for that Dolley. It’s good to see one of the corporate tools getting pissy in public. It means that things are starting to get to them.

      When he outlined BOA’s record of giving he forgot to include the numerous settlements that his organization has paid out to various and sundry regulatory agencies. I can only hope that his corporation will continue to give until it hurts.

      Also, some one should ‘splain to Chuck that lending money for profit is not a charitable act.

    3. anon y'mouse

      “Our more than 15,000 local employees pledged $3.5 million to United Way and volunteered more than 190,000 hours on a wide range of critical issues.”

      translation: it is only by our good graces that these peasants have any money at all to give to charity. they have little choice to do so and/or volunteer, as we build that into our brainwashing for “how to be a good servant of your-majesty” and earn credit/status in our internal social system for their moral behavior.

      then we get to take credit for their freely given time AND their donations and cast ourselves as “community minded” corp. with-a-heart.

      1. bob

        Is that “donation” money held in accounts at BoA?

        So, BoA is a beneficiary of the carry?

        I’ve always wondered about the back office clearing on these “donations”. With a normal non-bank employer they could easily steal a few days of carry. With a bank, it’s essentially infinite. United way, helping Banks grow their balance sheets– one “donation” at a time.

    1. psychohistorian

      But what about…

      Warren Drugs
      Warren Poverty
      Warren Abortion
      Warren Ignorance

      Maybe it would be easier if we told people they could not name their kids Warren, problem solved and so much less killing.

  18. Hugh

    Re the debate on science, science helps us understand our world, but it is always our world, that is a world seen through our values, a world defined by our chosen relations to it. This does not negate the scientific method. It simply precedes it in the intellectual hierarchy.

    As a practical matter, science as currently practised is in crisis. Much of science is funded through grants, and those who decide on whose research gets funded have a vested interest in the status quo, and in research that does not challenge their own. Of course, this goes far beyond the grant writing process to the make-up of university departments, who gets published, and standing in professional organizations.

    One of the great myths about science is that it is objective. As just pointed out, to what the scientific method is applied is, not can be, an intensely political process. But that method can itself be manipulated. We see this all the time with corporately funded drug studies and climate change denialism, to mention two examples. The scientific method is a human enterprise and depends on who does it and how they do it. I do not include economics here because it is not a science. As currently practised, it is propaganda in the service of kleptocracy, a part of the class war.

    It is easy for us to lose sight of how contingent the scientific is and how quickly it can metamorphose into the merely scientifical.

    I would close with the observation that physics the queen of the sciences has been in crisis for a generation. I am not sure it has ever come to terms with either quantum theory or general relativity. It certainly has failed to reconcile the two. And it has drifted off into the profoundly unscientific, as viewed from the scientific method, deadend of string theory.

    1. charles sereno

      A short note with hope that the debate will continue. The 2 queens of the sciences (math and physics) have never got in a catfight. They’re totally complementary and interdependent. The objectivity of science is not a myth if one is talking about its method, thank god. Its method can not be manipulated. On the other hand, its funding, etc, and its interpretation is regularly manipulated by ruling elites to confuse the proles and further their own interests. “Science” was not in crisis when the Church convicted Galileo, anymore than it is today.

  19. spooz

    Although Gutpa is honest about how the restrictions on medicinal cannabis research enable ignorance (or special interests) to determine the scheduling of a relatively harmless and potentially beneficial weed (which can be grown by its users for little cost and which, consequentially, may interfere with profits), I am disappointed with his silence on the potentially harmful effects that psychopharmaceuticals may have on children’s developing brains; the widespread use of these drugs despite the lack of long term research on the efficacy of their role as the preferred treatment strategy for an ever increasing menu of “disorders” should not be tolerated.

    The illegality of weed allows the police state to snag innocent citizens into the web of our two tiered justice system, where they are forced to pay for legal fees, drug testing and intervention from their shrinking paychecks. Avoiding a record, which follows them forever as a scarlet letter and permits legal discrimination, is both expensive and time consuming. Some of them become victims of a sort of PTSD, where the prolonged litigation along with overwhelming cost, a confrontational atmosphere, and dissatisfaction with outcome become too much to bear.

    I agree with his quote, here, but it does not go nearly far enough.

    “Much in the same way I wouldn’t let my own children drink alcohol, I wouldn’t permit marijuana until they are adults. If they are adamant about trying marijuana, I will urge them to wait until they’re in their mid-20s when their brains are fully developed.”

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