Links 9/1/13

Extraordinary lobster fishing as specimens are hauled up two-toned and blue Grind TV

San Diego’s Pandas Are So Much Better at Sex Than D.C.’s Atlantic Cities (MS)

Scary Thought on Labor Day Weekend: Obama’s Economic Team Think They Are Doing a Good Job CEPR. Well, for their owners, they are.

Freedom From Jobs Counterpunch

Longshore union pulls out of national AFL-CIO, citing attacks at Northwest grain terminals The Oregonian

Income Gap Grows Wider (and Faster) Times

Wall Street’s Rental Bet Brings Quandary Housing Poor Bloomberg

San Bernardino Becomes 3rd California City to Get Bankruptcy Protection Governing (MS)

Dr. King Was A Man, “The Dreamer” Is A Zombie Black Agenda Report

Raise the Crime Rate n+1

Poll: Eliot Spitzer way ahead of Scott Stringer Politico (but and however).

Why Wall Street Wants Larry Summers (and Why the Rest of Us Should Not) Laurence Kotlikoff and Jeffrey Sachs, Yahoo Finance

Why We Still Have College Adminstrations That Are Soft on Rape Mike the Mad Biologist (this, probably).

Pope Francis names fellow ascetic as Vatican secretary of state Guardian

At the Limits of the Market: Why Capitalism Won’t Solve Climate Change, Part 1 DeSmogBlog. Part 2.


Operation B*llsack, Part 2 Susie Madrak

At the Last Minute, Obama Alone Made Call to Seek Congressional Approval Online WSJ. The phone call before the Rose Garden statement was to Hollande.


Obama risks embarrassing loss in Congress McClatchy

Senate to vote on Syria resolution no later than week of September 9: Reid Reuters

Text of the AUMF Politico. No sunset clause?

Above My Pay Grade Eschaton

The Troodos Conundrum Craig Murray

Israeli intelligence ‘intercepted Syrian regime talk about chemical attack’ Guardian. Obama actually bought into Mossad’s intel? Eesh.

Syria: Obama’s Climb-down – Congress Vote On All Out War Moon of Alabama. A called shot.

The Syrian Impasse Immanuel Wallerstein (PT). So far, a called shot.

Obama’s Eden Moment Political Violence @ a Glance. Anthony Eden.

The Syria vote brings to an end decades of delusion FT

France wins Saudi defence deal: Report Al Ahram (MS). Alrighty then.

Libya Is Getting Better and Better for Teenage Arms Dealers Vice (MS)

Big Brother Is Watching You Watch

CHART: Syria Tensions Have Knocked The NSA Spying Scandal Completely Off The Radar Business Insider

NSA intimidation expanding surveillance state: Column Bruce Schneier, USA Today

Snowden Document: NSA Spied On Al Jazeera Communications Der Speigel

Snowden leaks: NSA conducted 231 offensive cyber-ops in 2011, hailed as ‘active defense’ RT

The NSA hacks other countries by buying millions of dollars’ worth of computer vulnerabilities WaPo

Facebook strips away a bit more of your privacy – but won’t say why The Register. Your selfie in ads!

Suez Canal Authority says attack attempted on container ship Reuters

US wants Philippines bases for 20 years Bangkok Post

The porn map of America: New Yorkers search for ‘college’ while those in the South favor ‘hot moms’ and ‘fat gals’ Daily Mail

Loneliness Is Deadly Slate

Selling Lies: Alibi Agencies Help Create Double Lives Der Speigel. I smell business model!

Antidote du jour:


Print Friendly, PDF & Email
This entry was posted in Guest Post on by .

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. Ned Ludd

    AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka, in an interview with Susan Page, the Washington Bureau Chief of USA Today:

    Susan Page: You have a magnificient view of the White House.

    Richard Trumka: Best in the city.

    Page: President Obama was elected and re-elected to the White House with a lot of help from organized labor. Has his presidency been good for organized labor?

    Trumka: I think his presidency’s good for the country. Has he done everything that we would like to see done? No. Have we agreed with everything he’s done? No. Do I think he has a good heart and the interests of workers in this country at heart? I do.

    Not surprisingly, Obama will be a keynote speaker at the AFL-CIO 2013 National Convention in Los Angeles. The AFL-CIO announcement promotes “12 key quotes from [Obama] that highlight his commitment to working families”.

    Trumka’s compensation package is $344,850. No wonder he provides political cover for Obama while the AFL-CIO undermines more militant unions. The status quo has made Trumka a wealthy man; anything too disruptive might threaten his status and his paycheck.

    1. jo6pac

      I’m a former member of the Oakland Longshoremen & Warehouse Men best union ever. I glad to see Oregon Longshoreman drop the bloated afl-cio as you point out.

  2. Jim Haygood

    From the BKK Post article:

    The United States wants to use Philippine bases for extended periods of up to 20 years, a Manila official said Saturday as the two sides are in talks on a wider US military footprint in Asia.

    The United States once held Clark Air Base and Subic Naval Base, both near Manila, but was forced to hand them back in 1992 amid growing anti-US sentiment and a rental dispute. A new accord in 1999 allowed troops to return to the Philippines for joint military exercises every year.

    Let’s rewind the videotape to 1991, as recounted by the Times-Titanic:

    Money was not an issue in the impasse. Washington has pledged economic, military and housing assistance instead of paying yearly rent for American bases. In the [1991] fiscal year that ended in September, the Philippines received $408 million in connection with the bases.

    In the Philippine Senate, the move to eject United States forces seemed less a debate over the bases’ value than a demonstration of sovereignty and national pride. The Philippines was essentially an American colony from 1898, when George Dewey sailed into Manila Bay to defeat the Spanish fleet, until 1946, when it became an independent republic.

    About 20,000 Filipino workers are employed there, and the honky-tonk bars of Olongapo and Subic, the two cities that border the installation, are legendary among generations of sailors whose ships have pulled in to Subic’s docks.

    Twenty years later, presumably the insolvent yanqui state is talkin’ billions of freshly-printed greenbacks to expand its permanent war footing.

    That legions of LBFMs (Filipina bar girls) are supported by America’s Hessian-mercenary troops seems entirely appropriate, as both parties have completely sold out their principles.

    Fortunately we still have our occupied European colonies!

    1. sd

      Each year, the US pays 4x in rent for bases for the military in Philippines than it budgets for the arts for all 50 of the united states combined.

      1. Jim Haygood

        Well, they’re funding the live-action remake of Sun Tzu’s The Art of War.

        Vuela la sangre batida de fresa
        Salsa boloñesa, syrup de frambuesa
        Una cascada de arte contemporaneo
        Color rojo vivo, sale por el cráneo

        Except we’re on the losing side, thanks to C-in-C Obugger, who’s about as qualified to command as I am to perform brain surgery on the kitchen table.

        Meanwhile, our Hessian troops are getting uneasy:

        1. afisher

          Doesn’t the vote by Congress in June, 21013 that they voted for: HR 1960, section 1251 say that Congress has already taken a stance on the Syrian regime and action plan? and they approve of action….or is the “just ask for supplemental funds” a little to vague?

        2. afisher

          Doesn’t the vote by Congress in June, 2013 that they voted for: HR 1960, section 1251 say that Congress has already taken a stance on the Syrian regime and action plan? and they approve of action….or is the “just ask for supplemental funds” a little to vague?

    1. diptherio

      As someone who recently had their car totaled by a 19 year old with a limited understanding of traffic laws, my first thought was “thank goddess nobody died” followed quickly by “I hope that boulder has liability insurance…”

  3. ambrit

    The Porn Hub figures are hilarious. Yes, I live in the most porn obsessed state: Mississippi. But, and it’s a big but, the difference in duration of viewing between the longest lasting porn viewers, (my friends and neighbors,) and those paragons of virtue Up North, is only two minutes! (Hmm, something about sins of omission comes to mind.)
    The other takeaway here is the sheer commerciality of the porn industry. For heavens sake, (or not,) they do tracking functions and all that! It used to be called “The Oldest Profession.” Now it’s just another commodity. How sad.

    1. AbyNormal

      “For the first time in history, children are growing up whose earliest sexual imprinting derives not from a living human being, or fantasies of their own; since the 1960s pornographic upsurge, the sexuality of children has begun to be shaped in response to cues that are no longer human. Nothing comparable has ever happened in the history of our species; it dislodges Freud. Today’s children and young men and women have sexual identities that spiral around paper and celluloid phantoms: from Playboy to music videos to the blank females torsos in women’s magazines, features obscured and eyes extinguished, they are being imprinted with a sexuality that is mass-produced, deliberately dehumanizing and inhuman.” Naomi Wolf


      Religion is probably, after sex, the second oldest resource which human beings have available to them for blowing their mind. Susan Sontag (considering the American upswing in Puritanism id say Sontag tapped into a dark truth…the race is on)

      1. Tony Baloney

        What was the printing press really invented for? Printing religious tracts paid the bills and the after hours runs were what it ws all about.

    2. lambert strether

      Mainers have sophisticated tastes: “Compilation.” Which makes sense when you think about it, since stuff like aggregation, and categorization, and indexing really gets me off.

      1. ambrit

        Let’s not even get into Papal Indexing. Given his, (why always a him, hmmm,) pivotal role in Christianity, we could consider him the Omphalos Vaticanus. (Contemplating the navel just got more interesting.)

  4. Crazy Horse

    Obama, you are a genius. You finally figured out that completely ignoring the Constitution, international opinion, the support of any possible allies, and the overwhelming majority of the American public might get you impeached. In spite of how well scripted your false flag attack was.

    After all, your contract only calls for you to suspend the rule of law for financial crimes and enrich banksters, not become Emperor.

    1. Ned Ludd

      The genius is getting liberals to heap praise on Obama for giving lip service to the Constitution.

      So, thanks and praise to President Obama for going through the appropriate legal process before launching any military attack. It’s now up to Congress. Which must tell him “no.”

      Obama deserves praise – for his empty gesture. But the fault for war, apparently, will lie with Congress, for giving him what he wants. “Everyone is responsible for Obama but Obama.

        1. ambrit

          The Secretary of State mentions casually that a sitting President plans to subvert the Constitution. No one mentions impeachment. H—, they shot Kennedy for opposing a war.
          Come on folks! It’s time to start planning for the Biden Administration!

          1. ambrit

            Blast! I can’t find it now, but I used to have a home made “Re Elect President Gore” sign I put in the rear window of my truck back in ’04. That most certainly stirred up trouble for me. It was worth every moment of grief though.

      1. Malmo

        Alan Grayson was on MSNBC and CNN earlier today. He put all the neocons, neoliberals and establishment talking heads to shame. Alex Witt was beside herself given Grayson’s hardline that there is absolutely no justification for US military involvement in Syria. He really is the most sane voice in Congress.

        Grayson for President.

    2. Crazy Horse

      Impeachment: A Television sit-com that plays endlessly until the ratings finally fall to a point below the Fed funds rate for TBTF banks.

      Grounds for impeachment: Seeking out nubile young flesh as a consequence of having been married to the Hillary witch.

      Actions to which impeachment does not apply: Suspension of the Constitution, Lying to Congress, Mass murder, Torture of political prisoners, International war crimes, Unilateral unprovoked attack upon nations and people that pose no threat to the US, Facilitating trillion dollar theft and wealth transfers to political supporters—–.

  5. ex-PFC Chuck

    Bruce Schneier’s Op Ed in USA Today is today’s must-read.

    So far, we just have an extreme moral act in the face of government pressure. It’s what happened next that is the most chilling. The government threatened him with arrest, arguing that shutting down this e-mail service was a violation of the order.

    There it is. If you run a business, and the FBI or NSA want to turn it into a mass surveillance tool, they believe they can do so, solely on their own initiative. They can force you to modify your system. They can do it all in secret and then force your business to keep that secret. Once they do that, you no longer control that part of your business. You can’t shut it down. You can’t terminate part of your service. In a very real sense, it is not your business anymore. It is an arm of the vast U.S. surveillance apparatus, and if your interest conflicts with theirs then they win. Your business has been commandeered.

  6. Ned Ludd

    Poitras and Greenwald used TrueCrypt, and the government now claims to have “reconstructed” 75 documents. First, there is no way to partially decrypt a TrueCrypt volume, any more than you can retrieve part of a safe’s contents by opening part of the door. Either the door is open or shut.

    Here is one possible scenario. The journalists may have created a TrueCrypt volume and then given the password to Miranda. When Miranda was stopped by authorities and forced to turn over his passwords, he turned over this password. Within this volume, the journalists stored copies of documents that they have already written about and which everybody already knows about.

    To the outer volume, (before creating the hidden volume within it) you should copy some sensitive-looking files that you actually do NOT want to hide. These files will be there for anyone who would force you to hand over the password. You will reveal only the password for the outer volume, not for the hidden one. Files that really are sensitive will be stored on the hidden volume.

    The data that Poitras was sending to Greenwald was stored in a hidden volume. Miranda cannot give authorities the password; he doesn’t even know it exists. There is also no way for the authorities to know whether there is a hidden volume. They cannot force Miranda to turn over the password to something that might not exist; they have no way of knowing whether it does exist. It is like asking for coordinates of buried treasure.

    1. Ned Ludd

      In a comment at The Guardian, Greenwald says “I’d be willing to bet those 75 they claimed they access have absolutely nothing to do with NSA.” Since the intent of storing documents in the outer volume is to engage in a bit of misdirection, storing personal information there (that any security-conscious traveler would encrypt in case their drive was stolen) would be just as effective and would not open you up to any legal liability (e.g. violating the Official Secrets Act).

  7. rich

    LLCs Offer Secrecy To Foreign Criminal Groups That Want To Launder Money Through Miami Real Estate

    South Florida Business Journal:

    Alvaro Lopez Tardon needed to launder tens of millions of dollars in proceeds from selling thousands of kilograms of cocaine trafficked from South America to Europe, so he turned to Miami condos, federal authorities say.

    Lopez Tardon, the alleged leader of the Los Miami drug gang from Spain, is facing a trial in Miami on charges of laundering $26.4 million in drug money into real and personal property here. Among the items were 14 condo units bought from 2001 through 2006. All but two were purchased directly from developers – including four units in The Mark on Brickell and seven units in One Miami – all affiliates of The Related Group. []
    Most were held in limited liability companies (LLCs), including a penthouse unit at South Beach’s Continuum, where Lopez Tardon resided.

    There’s nothing intrinsically wrong with LLCs, which are common in real estate, but a Business Journal investigation has found they create an easy way to launder money. A typical scenario: Ill-gotten cash is put in a foreign bank, an LLC is formed to buy property and the money is supplied in a cashier’s check or wired in for a cash closing.

    The Miami Association of Realtors says lawyers and title agents – not developers – are the ones that are supposed to ensure sources of funds are legitimate.

    Some experts, however, worry that cash deals in general are creating a new condo bubble.

    I doubt it’s only drug money being laundered….

    1. susan the other

      I doubt it too. It’s LLCs for Mexican nationals with their own crooked “bank” transferring the drug money, but its MERS for our TBTFs – just a paper shuffle and a keyboard transfer. Right. No titles to even worry about. Drugs. Arms. Nuclear waste. Any and all contraband, no problemo.

  8. craazyboy

    Yo, craazyman

    Re:University of Magnolia

    Back in my college days they told us about how fractional reserve banking works, using fiat currency and a central bank, in my econ 101 book. That was a long time ago, and the textbook was probably 10 years old then. But if I hunted around enough, I could probably find a 80 year old textbook that covers it, so I don’t really think of this stuff as being current events which would require a higher NFL GED degree in Contemporary Analysis. It was stuff 19 year old freshmen did, then we went to the strip club to drink Budweiser and watch our coeds work their way thru college. Wasn’t that undergrad stuff at UofM too???

    Granted, it was the simplified version – doing it the way where there was a chance it might work. We found out later that even tho the system made it easy for the central bank to keeps tabs on reserve requirements, the S&L Crisis demonstrated that “capital ratios” are the important part! At that time the banker joke going around was if you see an ad in the paper for the free toaster, the FDIC will be shutting them down next week. HAHA. Bankers were a source of humor even back then!

    I asked Miss Mobius and her twin sister Esha Print what they think about all this fractional reserve banking stuff. Miss Mobius usually just “talks shop”, which is pretty good actually, but you wouldn’t want to get in a serious sports conversation with her ’cause she thinks Tom Brady is the pitcher for the New England Patriots. But Esha piped up and said “Money doesn’t kill people – People do!”. Pretty smart observation, I think.

    Then Miss Mobius remembered a shadow banker coming into the club at lunch one day. She always tries to make small talk with the customers and said “What did you do all morning, Big Boy???” He said he does repos all day, everyday. Miss Mobius was a bit taken back and said “So you are the prick that stole my car?” He said, no, no this is something different. It’s how we steal banks. Then she said the a-hole, after tipping her a buck, pulled out a c-note and lit it on fire to lite his cigar. His buddy, probably another shadow banker (but she wasn’t sure about that) pulled out a piece of paper that said Treasury Bond – $1000 par value, lit it on fire and lit his cigar! So Miss Mobius thinks there IS something to all this stuff we hear nowadays about “destroying money” and refuses to do lap dances anymore for a-holes that do that. She says if they have to do that, they can do it in an incinerator somewhere else.

    Anyway, just wondering.

    1. ambrit

      Hey craazyboy;
      It’s the “University of Magonia.”
      Check Magonia out. Quite a popular place during the Middle Ages. (Oh, and Jacques Vallees “Passport to Magonia” is a good read about UFO phenomena. Sort of Jung meets Tsiolkovsky.)

      1. craazyboy

        yeah, ok. I didn’t go to liberal arts school. hadda learn that stuff on my own time. still haven’t got to all of it. just getting started on french philosophy, but don’t know if I’ll take it seriously or not.

        1. ambrit

          No slight intended chum. I never finished University. Most of my so called ‘erudition’ is self administered. Besides, you’re doing fine the way you are. Don’t just ‘think outside the box.’ Think outside the Universe the box lives in!

          1. craazyboy

            I know. You gave me the opportunity to sound miffed, so I miffed. My real secret is I just read lots of fiction writers whom wasted a lot of time learning the sum total of human existence, and then condense it down into fun stories I can read. It’s much easier and more fun too. I can think of at least 5 novels where Magonia exists.

            1. ambrit

              I’m beginning to think Magonia exists somewhere “inside the Beltway.” There’s so much magical thinking going on there.

              1. craazyman

                Vallee was/is a giant. I don’t know how in hell he did it all, the astrophysics, information theory, folklore and writing. It’s all I can do to get through a fcukkcing week of work and then lay around.

                I guess you have to start off with a focused ambition, you can’t just wander drunk, lost, delirious, dreaming and enthralled. Speaking of French philosophy, it all reminds me of the last stanzas of Rimbaud’s “Drunken Boat”.

                “I have seen swarming fields of stars! and islands
                whose delirious skies are open to wanderers: —
                Do you sleep? are you exiled in those endless nights,
                Oh million golden birds, Life Force of the future?

                But, truly, I have hurt too much! Dawns are heartbreaking.
                Every moon is atrocious and every sun bitter:
                desire has swollen me with an intoxicating torpor.
                Just let my keel split! Just let me sink to the bottom!

                If there is one water in Europe I want, it’s the black
                cold pool where into the fragrant twilight
                a child squatting full of sadness launches
                a boat as fragile as a butterfly in May.

                I can no more, bathed in your listless waves,
                sail in the wakes of the haulers of cottons;
                nor feel the pride of the flags and pennants;
                nor endure the sight of the horrible eyes of prison hulks.”

                -Arthur Rimbaud, The Drunken Boat

                This is the point, when you vomit up all false truth and all indoctrination and all the delusion of the mad scientists of knowledge, all the formal jails of the mind, all the sedentary domiciles of amnesia — and you want the living sun! when you’re the child launching your boat into the black pool because the river is a dead dream of sewage and brackish filth. That’s when you go to the University of Magonia, But it doesn’t always work! hahahahahah

                  1. ambrit

                    I may not believe it, but I do want to hear it; so I can form an independent opinion. That’s exactly what the elites fear; independence of thought.
                    Happy Wage Slave Day!

                    1. craazyboy

                      Dad is a HUMUMGOLOPULUS of higher thinking that none of us could ever hope to reach!!!!! Mom was SIX FEET AWAY when he conceived me!!!!!!

  9. scraping_by

    RE: Israeli intelligence”

    “Obama actually bought into Mossad’s intel? Eesh”

    One of the consistent defenses of the indefensible Obama performance has always been he’d too stupid to know he’s screwing up. And indeed, academic presents aside, he’s not the sharpest tool in the shed.

    However, taking known liars at their word is beyond credible stupidity. It’s in the realm of convenient stupidity, a realm of unreality generation that fogs up the debate and leaves the way open for any action, no matter how criminal. While going along with hasbara can be profitable, just as choosing wealthy clients can be a good business move, it’s by definition against the rest of us. It’s a minority viewpoint for a reason.

    Granted, one of the few legalism Barry’s kept is the notion of absolute advocacy, where whatever supports your client is true and whatever contradicts is false. This is the basis for a lawyer’s work of claiming up is down and North is South. But this is not a courtroom, it’s the real world, and reality rules apply.

    What we have here is counterfeit stupidity. It’s not the innocence of the mark, it’s the feigned innocence of the shill.

    1. Ned Ludd

      Exactly. Obama is not a philosopher seeking the truth. He is a politician seeking a payout when he leaves office. When he has to choose between the truth and profitable lies, he will choose the profitable lies.

      In fact, all he sees is “profit…”; he doesn’t care if what follows is truth or lies.

  10. susan the other

    David Ravensberger. DeSmog. Capitalism cannot solve climate change. Because capitalism is limited by its need for profitability. Up until now that profit has been extracted from the environment and labor. The answer to the capitalist dilemma is to commodify everything, create a market, and make money going up and coming down. And now, in this new world of awesome risk, the traders have refined derivatives into a virtual global monetary system. It is estimated there are derivatives totalling at least 1.2 Quadrillion afloat in the market. The total current value of all possible risk. So not only are capitalists tied down by their need to be profitable, they are paralyzed by their fear of bankruptcy. They can never solve the environmental problems they have created. We have created.

    So let’s do this: let’s make money risk based, not debt based. Debt is meaningless in a world without growth, but risk is always there. It would be more stable than gold, right? Get rid of debt thinking altogether. Just create enough money to go around to satisfy the fear of risk – 1.2 quadrillion in risk based credit. At some point it will become obvious that when risk is neutralized, even capitalists will settle in and begin to solve the real problems. No need to extract money from the environment, or from the poorest people any more. We should name this new money the Derivative.

  11. Eureka Springs

    Draft AUMF: A window large enough for an Iraqi or Afghani sized invasion. After all a Libya sized invasion required no AUMF at all.

    How about an entirely different resolution insisting US, Saudi, Qatar, Turk, Israeli’s all quit funding terrorist militia invaders? Quit supplying them with weapons, ammo, training, money for at least one complete year… and miraculously we would see virtually all of this madness stop.

  12. allcoppedout

    Autochthonous – good grief! From the freedom from jobs post. Why hark back to Jefferson for an explanation of jobs not bringing freedom in the 21st century?

  13. RanDomino

    “Contrary to popular opinion, then, people don’t actually need jobs; we work jobs in order to acquire money. And money’s another thing we don’t in truth need – we need those things that this socioeconomic system only provides in exchange for money: food, housing, clothing, etc. Jobs are but a middleman – a means to acquire resources, not an end.”


    1. optimader

      “Contrary to popular opinion, then, people don’t actually need jobs; we work jobs in order to acquire money. And money’s another thing we don’t in truth need – we need those things that this socioeconomic system only provides in exchange for money: food, housing, clothing, etc. Jobs are but a middleman – a means to acquire resources, not an end.”


      we work jobs in order to acquire money;
      in exchange for money: food, housing, clothing;
      QED we need jobs.

      “Jobs are area means to acquire resources, not an end.”
      Any simplistic reduction has it’s exception. They (jobs) can be both, go to your local Art Museum.

      Riffing off Amrit’s mention a couple days ago of his vision of a clock striking Thirteen O’clock:

    2. petridish

      “And money’s another thing we don’t in truth need…”

      Use of the royal “we” is presumptuous and notoriously difficult to defend as in, “Who is this WE, white man?” or “Who’s WE, you and that mouse in your pocket?”

      Please speak for yourself, Mr. Sperber. Ill-considered and injudicious use of “we” used to be fightin’ words on 170th Street.

      1. ambrit

        Is this 170th Street anywhere close to ‘K’ Street? A little cultural diffusion might be in order.

        1. petridish

          Nowhere near K Street. Located in the heart of “flyover” country, where fight has been replaced with blight, when it’s been replaced at all.

          But for some of us, oops ME, the spirit lives on. For awhile.

          1. ambrit

            Keep that spirit alive chum! You’re not alone.
            As some French wag once opined; Sartre shouldn’t have killed himself. He should have killed that emasculating b—- he was married to.
            Happy Wage Slave Day!

    3. jrs

      There’s another level to this as well, how many things do we need ONLY because of the socioeconomic system?

      Yea we need food and water, santiation, minimal protection against the elements, and a doctor when sick, socioeconomic system or not. And hey not being nudist many of us *want* other things like clothes and then we want things like books etc..

      But things we need ONLY because of the socioeconomic system: (way overpriced housing costs, paying not for healthcare when you need it but chronically as insurance, gas for commuting for jobs we could do from home etc..).

      So breakdown of the basic expenditures of life:
      – Basic Needs
      – Wants
      – Expenses Imposed by the Socioeconomic system

      I bet the 3rd category might be your single biggest.

    1. optimader

      Good one Beard.. exactly

      Here’s one for you:
      “There are only two things wrong with money: too much or too little.”
      ― Charles Bukowski, The Captain is Out to Lunch and the Sailors Have Taken Over the Ship

  14. annie

    the n+1 piece on moving crime off the streets and into prisons and on rape in prisons is heartbreaking. “whole class of people being dehumanized.”

  15. optimader
    Compared To What

    I was Listening to Swiss Movement last night while puttering. Les McCann –One of the Giants

    “…The President, he’s got his war
    Folks don’t know just what it’s for
    Nobody gives us rhyme or reason
    Have one doubt, they call it treason
    We’re chicken-feathers, all without one nut. God damn it!…”

    True then, true now, just more refined execution

    Compared To What
    I love the lie and lie the love
    A-Hangin’ on, with push and shove
    Possession is the motivation
    that is hangin’ up the God-damn nation
    Looks like we always end up in a rut (everybody now!)
    Tryin’ to make it real — compared to what? C’mon baby!

    Slaughterhouse is killin’ hogs
    Twisted children killin’ frogs
    Poor dumb rednecks rollin’ logs
    Tired old lady kissin’ dogs
    I hate the human love of that stinking mutt (I can’t use it!)
    Try to make it real — compared to what? C’mon baby now!

    The President, he’s got his war
    Folks don’t know just what it’s for
    Nobody gives us rhyme or reason
    Have one doubt, they call it treason
    We’re chicken-feathers, all without one nut. God damn it!
    Tryin’ to make it real — compared to what? (Sock it to me)

    Church on Sunday, sleep and nod
    Tryin’ to duck the wrath of God
    Preacher’s fillin’ us with fright
    They all tryin’ to teach us what they think is right
    They really got to be some kind of nut (I can’t use it!)
    Tryin’ to make it real — compared to what?

    Where’s that bee and where’s that honey?
    Where’s my God and where’s my money?
    Unreal values, crass distortion
    Unwed mothers need abortion
    Kind of brings to mind ol’ young King Tut (He did it now)
    Tried to make it real — compared to what?!

    Yes indeed Mr. McCann..

    “..There is the moral of all human tales;”
    “Tis but the same rehearsal of the past,
    First Freedom, and then Glory — when that fails,
    Wealth, vice, corruption, — barbarism at last.
    And History, with all her volumes vast,
    Hath but one page, — ’tis better written here,
    Where gorgeous Tyranny hath thus amass’d
    All treasures, all delights, that eye or ear,
    Heart, soul could seek, tongue ask — Away with words! draw near..”
    L Byron

  16. rich

    Caterpillar plan illustrates risk of variable pay plans

    (Reuters) – Caterpillar Inc (CAT.N) has put workers on notice that its short-term incentive plan, the centerpiece of a performance-based, profit-sharing program, will make its smallest payout since the recession when the payments go out next March.

    Like a lot of companies, the world’s largest maker of mining and construction equipment has adopted what is known as a “pay-at-risk” compensation system, which ties a percentage of nearly every non-union employee’s income to Caterpillar’s financial performance.

    In updates to the plan’s roughly 60,000 participants, and in quarterly disclosures to investors, Caterpillar said it expects outlays related to the program to be down as much as 40 percent from last year, reflecting sharply reduced payments to employees.

    As U.S. workers pause this weekend to mark Labor Day, more of them than ever before are being required to participate in these alternative pay systems. The plans enable companies to have their labor costs more closely track the ups and downs of business cycles – but they also expose employees to those fluctuations.

    “Where I think we stand on Labor Day in 2013 is that workers are bearing more risks in their employment relationship than they have at any time in the last quarter century,” said Donald Lewin, a compensation and reward expert at the UCLA Anderson School of Management.

    Executive pay, meanwhile, has jumped by double-digits year after year, rising faster than average salaries, managerial pay or corporate earnings, according to Standard & Poor’s annual compensation survey. The key driver? Performance-based compensation.

    “Cynics say that variable pay is just a thinly disguised way to get executives more money,” said Kerry Chou, a senior practice leader with WorldatWork, a non-profit trade association for compensation professionals.

    The “pay-at-risk” plan at Caterpillar, like similar incentive programs at thousands of other U.S. companies, accounts for between 8 percent and 64 percent of an employee’s annual compensation, depending upon pay grade.

    Yet the payouts can rollercoaster in ways that seem unrelated to the company’s actual performance, and create uncertainty around what employees actually get paid for the work they do.

    happy or (sappy) labor day?

    Something or someone very lame, or so sweet that it makes you want to puke.

    1. Joe

      Caterpillar is building a new plant, here in Athens, Ga. The local rubes and the state government have coughed up 30 million dollars in cash to bribe them to come here, are giving them free land, tax discounts and paying the local technical school to train their workers for them.

      All of this largesse is being larded on a company that is making all time record profits and has a proven record of off shoring jobs to break their previously unionized workforce.

      In return for all this taxpayer gravy, Caterpillar will supply 300 jobs, the majority of which will pay the measly sum of $12 per hour.

      Concurrently, the state of Georgia, is cutting budgets for education and laying off teachers.

      Every day, I hate this country more.

    2. ChrisPacific

      I despise variable pay schemes as applied to the rank and file. For the vast majority of lower and middle class workers, ‘participating in the prosperity of their employers’ (which implies participation in their lack of prosperity, if it comes to that) ranks very far below security and predictability of income as a priority. Simply put, the risk profile of a typical low to middle income worker is completely different from that of the company that employs them. Furthermore, as the article illustrates, these schemes can be very easily gamed by management to control the outcome. Since they can be based on internal budget targets rather than official financial reporting, employers have even more latitude than they do with share earnings (and everybody knows how many tricks companies get up to with those).

      Unless they already work in a commission based role like sales, workers generally hate these schemes. Those that have other options available will very often leave rather than accept them – I worked at one company that fell apart for this reason, losing all their most skilled employees after management insisted on implementing variable pay over their strong objections. Those who stay are typically the ones that don’t have any other choice – at which point it simply becomes another way of screwing over workers. From the company’s point of view, it’s effectively a way of hedging against cyclical risk, except that they don’t have to pay anything for the hedge (in the sense that they don’t give up any EV) and the other party to the transaction has no choice in the matter.

      Interesting that the article specified that this is happening to non-union workers. Sounds like the unions are doing their job. Maybe this kind of thing will help people to recognize their function in society once again.

  17. JohnDT

    Obama actually bought into Mossad’s intel???
    1. Mossad is NOT doing any signals intelligence. Credible criticism would include accurate details+facts, just as you would distinguish between the CIA and NSA, or the SEC and FINRA and be asked to provide evidence to your arguments.
    2. Blaming Israel is misleading, since it actually thought and said on record that going into Iraq was a bad idea, was and is against US engineering of civil strife in the Mid East (‘the Arba Spring’), and has tried to avoid any official stance re the Syrian beyond chemical weapon proliferation.
    3. Whether you like or dislike US and Israeli security apparatuses, no conspiracy theories can change longstanding cooperation, both good and horrendous.

    1. Yonatan

      Mossad were on the trail of Atta and co in the US. What a shame they didn’t share their information with the US? The US security services might have been able to prevent 9/11 (e.g. by having armed marshals on the flights). But then following the Lavon Affair and the attempted sinking of the USS Liberty, I am not surprised the Israelis kept quiet about it.

      1. Glenn Condell

        The phenomenon of the impossibly aggressive Israeli nationalist biting the hand that feeds and protects him would be vastly amusing if it wasnt so depressing and dangerous. Swift or the Waugh of Decline and Fall would have had great fun with them, Netanyahu providing the one-note martinet template. Woody Allen did have a crazy Dan Pipes/Dave Horowitz brother in law in one of his fillums, can’t recall which.

        Why don’t we just remove US protection and while we’re at it the annual 3 billion, leave it a month and then see who the cowards are, eh?

  18. allcoppedout

    On desmog it seems obvious capitalism can’t work until fossil fuels are no longer cheaper than alternatives – even then it might not work because fossil fuels are low-tech and easy to use, so there might just be more developing world uptake.

    Even obvious partial solutions like energy efficiency in developed countries would only redistribute the problem to more use in undeveloped nations – one guesses real foreign policy is beggar-thy-neighbour on this.

    The more green and efficient we get, the more of the muck is available for others to burn, probably in a market of declining prices.

    Capitalism as we have had it can’t help with this problem and our engagement with it as planet public follows the tragedy of the Commons model. Scientists tell us the clock is ticking.

    We have labour capacity and resources to move to renewables now – one guesses the problem is the old one of returns and risk that a tokamak system finally comes in with cheap fusion. It’s time we had a modular plan one what to do where that includes the financing and budget control world-wide. Why we pour money into banks that have already proved themselves useless at anything other than protecting vast fortunes capitalism was supposed to destroy and are not prepared to take sensible steps on energy is surely not down to reason.

  19. Jess

    Susie Madrack is awesome. Doesn’t she have the best masthead illustration? God, I love it. Makes me LOL every time.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      And “Operation B*llsack” is highly worthy of propagation! That’s what snark was like in 2003, before legacy party operatives infested everything and sucked all the fun out with their tiny chitinous mandibles.

  20. Skeptic

    Selling Lies: Alibi Agencies Help Create Double Lives Der Speigel. I smell business model!

    It probably goes far beyond this.

    With the Massive Crime Wave underway, those criminals now have lots of resting Loot with which to do research. After all, one should reinvest some of the profits back into the criminal business.

    Therefore, a number of them probably already have staff or consultants researching what new crimes to commit. For instance, a search of the Federal Courts would reveal which are the least or never prosecuted crimes. Or what are the best States in which to commit crimes? What is the best way to preserve deniability? Lots of new crime tools to create.

    Think Obumma for a moment. He wasn’t educated as a constitutional lawyer; he was educated to be an unconstitutional lawyer, that is one who would break the Constitution, not preserve it. So, lots of smaller fry like Obumma out there, educated in the law and how to break it better than ever. Find those cracks in the Rule Of Law and monetize them.

    Just another aspect of our Massive Crime Wave which goes unanalyzed and unmentioned. Criminologists, for whatever reason, are way behind the Crime Curve.

  21. skippy

    Global food security is threatened by the emergence and spread of crop pests and pathogens. Spread is facilitated primarily by human transportation, but there is increasing concern that climate change allows establishment in hitherto unsuitable regions. However, interactions between climate change, crops and pests are complex, and the extent to which crop pests and pathogens have altered their latitudinal ranges in response to global warming is largely unknown. Here, we demonstrate an average poleward shift of 2.7±0.8 km yr−1 since 1960, in observations of hundreds of pests and pathogens, but with significant variation in trends among taxonomic groups. Observational bias, where developed countries at high latitudes detect pests earlier than developing countries at low latitudes, would result in an apparent shift towards the Equator. The observed positive latitudinal trends in many taxa support the hypothesis of global warming-driven pest movement.

  22. jrs

    Was thinking about the surveillence state and how much ECONOMIC INEFFICIENCY AND WASTE it produces.

    So because the government is spying on everything we all need to buy VPN for instance (if we’re trying to practice “safe data”). This is pure waste if it’s something we would not do if not for a paranoid government. Now an individual may or may not do this but obviously when businesses take actions to protect themselves against the surveillence state (and unless they are the big guys whom the state props up they should take all measures necessary) it represents economic waste for them too. It’s pure TRANSACTION COSTS. Of course most businesses of any size already practice some information security, but it seems to me the level to which they have to take this knowing what we know now has increased.

    Then there’s all the learning cost to learn “safe data”. Fine use encryption and all, but the degree to which this is being made necessary by a crazy government is again a transaction cost.

    I resent it frankly. I hate the government for doing this, which changes nothing of course.

    If we don’t do all this then if we’re a business of course we actually are utter fools, and if we’re just an individual then we aren’t opposing the police state enough some would say. But the average person spends enough time just fighting to survive in frankly an economic system aligned against human survival. Then come home and have to think about fighting the surveilence state. Yep, I hate my government for doing this.

Comments are closed.