Links 9/13/13

The 2013 Ig Nobel Prize Winners and Watch the Ig Nobel Prizes Slate

Early schooling damaging children’s wellbeing, say experts Guardian

Vatican: Celibacy in Catholic Church open for discussion Yahoo (Lambert)

6 Reasons (+2) to NOT Send Your Daughter to College Fix the Family (Chuck L). Vatican becomes more progressive as fundamentalists reveal put their misogyny on display.

Verizon’s diabolical plan to turn the Web into pay-per-view Industry Standard

Chinese dream turns nightmare for thermal coal MacroBusiness

Bailout Nr. Five?: Euro Zone Eyes Slovenia’s Troubled Banks Der Spiegel. A little slower in coming than some expected….

Pakistan, India renew border fight Washington Post


Syria crisis: Geneva talks on chemical weapons enter second day BBC

Listing Demands, Assad Uses Crisis to His Advantage New York Times

Obama’s Humiliating Defeat Glen Ford

Putin lures Obama towards engagement Asia Times (Balaji)


Chafee: Disarm Syria with diplomacy USA Today

Elite Syrian Unit Scatters Chemical Arms Stockpile Wall Street Journal. Note the Journal has had some previous fast and loose reporting, so look for independent confirmation from other outlets.

Syrian Rebels Slit Throat of Christian Man Who Refused To Convert To Islam, Taunt Fiance, “Jesus Didn’t Come To Save Him” George Washington

Big Brother is Watching You Watch:

NSA panel ‘did not discuss changes’ Guardian

NSA’s Corruption of Cryptography and Its Methods of Coercion Marcy Wheeler

WSJ/NBC News Poll: Republicans Gain Favor on Key Issues Wall Street Journal. Obama’s Syria warmongering is a major contributor.

Boehner Seeking Democrats’ Help on Fiscal Talks New York Times

The Rise of the New New Left Peter Beinart, Daily Beast (Marshall). Some interesting stuff in there, but prolix, and my hard-core social science buddies say generational analyses tend to be too simple and don’t hold up when tested. Plus there’s a lack of attentiveness to the real drivers, which is the money behind the pols (in Clinton’s case, Wall Street).

The RWNJs Held a Rally and Nobody Showed Up Daily Kos (furzy mouse)

Trayvon Martin’s Medical Examiner: Prosecution Threw the Case Alternet. If this charge holds up, it’s explosive. Not just “throwing the case” but “suppressing and misrepresenting evidence.”

The President Lied To Me – Affordable Care Act Edition Kid Dynamite

Why Do We Spend Billions on the National Security State While We Let Detroit Go Bankrupt? Alternet

Overruling the Judicial Amendments – What Is To Be Done? TruthOut. Some ideas as to how to restore labor rights.

Companies Raise Bonuses With Earnings Goals, Exploit Taxpayers Bloomberg

John Cornyn, Leading GOP Senator, Would Oppose Larry Summers Nomination HUffington Post. This is getting interesting.

Lehman Brothers collapse, five years on: ‘We had almost no control’ Guardian

Insane financial system lives post-Lehman Gillian Tett, Financial Times

Housing inventory expands as market shifts Housing Wire

Wells Fargo Said to Be Selling Mortgage Servicing Rights Bloomberg (Lisa Epstein)

The Folks Who Sell Your Corn Flakes are Acting Like Goldman Sachs—and That Should Worry You New Republic

Antidote du jour:

amusing_animal_world (10)

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    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      1. The business of America is business.

      2. So, we are either a partnership or a corporation. Certainly not a sole proprietorship.

      3. Furthermore, this nation of business is a democratic partnership/corporation. Not a dictatorship or plutocratic partnership/corporation. Look up the Constitution.

      4. Therefore, it is only logical that one person has one share in this nation that is a corporation/partnership.

      5. That means, each gets an equal share in the company’s money – i.e. corporate profit sharing or GDP sharing.

  1. David Lentini

    About the “New” New Left

    While I agree that generational arguments in political science have many weaknesses, I think this one may well have some legs. As this ‘blog has point out many times, the affects of two generations of neo-classcial economics are crushing the futures of those born in the 1990s who are now starting to graduate from college. Of course, the real issue is the shift in economic and political philosophy to laissez-faire; but since the Baby Boomers and their parents had the good fortune to get the most out this disaster, or have the benefit of better Social Security and other public benefits, they’re better off. Thus, we have social and economic strata that correleate with the generations.

      1. diptherio

        I graduated in ’04 and all of my professors (with one exception) were advocates of the “neo-classical synthesis,” i.e. bastardized Keynesianism or, more accurately, neo-classical economics with a little Keynes thrown in as distraction.

        I don’t think today’s standard econ education should be labled any kind of Keynesianism as, imo, that does a disservice to John Maynard, who actually made sense a good bit of the time.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          I don’t know if it was by design or not, but with Keynes’ idea, the question ‘where did the money go’ was similarly not asked.

          Instead of that asking that question, as we should as the same question today, we borrowed…sorry, I mean to say, the 0.01% were able to park their loot with the US government in the form of debt.

          Thus, it is claimed, FDR saved capitalism…because that question ‘where did the money go’ was avoided, as progressive income tax is not the same as wealth tax, this is to say, even though the revenue act of 1935, with its progressive income tax, was called ‘wealth tax,’ it did nothing about past stolen loot (where did the money go?)

    1. Alexa

      “. . . but since the Baby Boomers and their parents had the good fortune to get the most out this disaster, or have the benefit of better Social Security and other public benefits, they’re better off.”

      It is a common misperception that “Boomers” retirements will equal their parents.

      Mostly this is untrue. (With the exception of the top wage earners, perhaps.)

      And this is partly due to cuts and/or changes in the Social Security and Medicare programs since the retirement of my (and other Boomers’) parents.

      The main reason, though, for the disparity is the huge drop in the numbers of retirees (in the Boomer generation) who will have the benefit of having a “defined benefit plan.”

      [We’re fortunate to have them, due to “public employee pensions.” But these plans have all but disappeared for workers in private industry.]

      Also, I’ve seen figures that indicate that approximately half of Americans have NO type of pension plan (aside from Social Security).

      So, while I’d agree that some Boomers will enjoy relatively decent (and economically stable) retirements, I always have to (amiably) disagree with the notion that most Boomer retirees will be on parity with the retirements of “The Greatest Generation.”

      BTW, this doesn’t even take into account the huge drop in wages that most “working class” Americans have experienced over the past thirty plus years–including some college grads. [And many workers are not even covered by ANY type of retirement plan, including a 401K.]

      The “retirement problem” is one that Americans of all ages should insist be front in center in the 2016 Presidential Election.

      I, for one, will continue to “harp on” this topic. I can only hope that more of the progressive community will begin to take more seriously the fact that as a nation we have a MAJOR crisis looming for every generation, if very major steps aren’t taken “to shore up”–not cut back–our social insurance programs.

      It is very disturbing to me that many progressives appear to be in agreement with corporatist Dems and Repubs, that we must start dismantling the Social Safety Net.

      I can only hope that this will change. ;-)

    2. Bernard

      Baby Boomers are getting screwed just like the rest of the population, i.e. Gen X, Millenials, etc.

      whoever has been saying that is quite misinformed. the theft that has occured since St. Reagan was anointed has effectively reached all generations. some more than others, but Boomers are part of those “ripped off” by all the shenanigans the Republicans and the quisling Democrats/Clinton onward.

      such misperceptions about Boomers is part of the general scam being “done.”

      1. Alexa

        It’s worse than that . . .

        From Wikipedia:

        On January 17, 2012, he was named acting director of the Office of Management and Budget and assumed office on January 27, 2012, his second turn as acting director, a position he held until April 24, 2013.

        In 2009, President Obama appointed him to the new position of United States Chief Performance Officer and was Zients was confirmed by the Senate to be Deputy Director for Management of the Office of Management and Budget in the federal government of the United States.[1]

        Zients left the Office of Managment in Budget in April 2013.

        . . .[Zients] is Obama’s ambassador liaison with the CEOs on thePresident’s Jobs Council.

        One CEO thought he was a Republican. Others have said they want him to run their companies one day.” . . . [12]

  2. Massinissa

    I started face-desking on that “6 reasons to NOT send your daughter to college” when number 3 was:

    “She will not learn to be a wife or mother”


    1. anon y'mouse

      might as well say “she will learn that those who utilize birth control methods in order to better secure their economic futures are not evil harbingers of satan.”

    2. Linden

      Do they teach men at college how to be husbands and fathers? I never noticed that while I was there. I must have been distracted by all that slutty, slutty sex I was having.

      1. Procopius

        My mother got her degree in Home Economics. I don’t think they taught her to be a wife and mother. I think she and Dad worked out together how she should be a wife, and I’m pretty sure her mother (a real gorgon) taught her how to be a mother. Certainly she never felt fulfilled by doing housework, and she didn’t particularly like cooking, so wasn’t very good at it. Her nutrition courses did help her cope with the food rationing during World War II (by the way, the Department of Agriculture used to put out some really good useful booklets — I think they stopped doing that under Reagan), and she knew how to serve appropriate servings so none of us got fat. I’m still grateful that she trained me so well not to eat between meals and eat candy only rarely.

  3. Skeptic

    Trayvon Martin’s Medical Examiner: Prosecution Threw the Case

    From that article:

    “Dr. Shiping Bao, the Volusia County medical examiner who was in charge of handling slain-teenager Trayvon Martin’s body in February 2012, has come out and claimed that the prosecution team was biased against the African-American teenager, and intentionally lost the case.”

    “…intentionally lost the case.” This happens all the time. The State, if forced to, will go through a public dog and pony show of a prosecution and take a dive on it, like a burned out boxer.

    In any civil or criminal case, there are numerous inflection points where the Judge, the defense or the prosecution can do this and not be detected. Loads of them. Anyone getting involved in litigation should understand this. Ignore it at your peril. It ain’t TV, folks: it’s the real, corrupt, nasty legal world.

    1. Richard Kline

      This allegation of prosecutorial malfeasance fits with the handicaping I read immediately after the trial verdict. The performance was bad and not in the way of simple incompetence. The way the case was set up looked suspicious too, e.g. _not_ getting a change of venue (should have been an essential), and the governor hand-picking the prosecution with someone looking muck playing a large sandbag. A conviction ‘would have looked bad for Florida,’ while an acquital is just another dead black man, “Nothing to see here.”

      It’s hard to believe that the prosecution didn’t get a manslaughter charge, but if you look at how the trial was run it seems like the prosecution as running from their best options and failed to use opportunities handed to them. “It was the gun law,” was the excuse out of their mouths ready to go with the cameras running afterward: the prosecution seemed to back the case into a corner where only the gun law would have weight.

      1. Richard Kline

        Wait, WHAT? Trayvon was shot _in the back_? Maybe I missed that somewhere, but this is the first time I ever heard that. Martin was shot in the back and the prosecution did not even enter that evidence into the trial? He was shot in the back, and the prosecution couldn’t get manslaughter?? This stinks incredibly—but of course with Zimmerman acquitted double jeopardy means there’s no way to get him now.

        To me, we’re looking at a worse outrage now than the crime against Trayvon Martin itself, if that is possible in speaking of a cold-blooded murder. The cover-up _does_ look worse than the crime. *Yecchhh*

        1. Walter Map

          The medical examiner found he was shot in the chest:

          Martin’s memory would be best served by sticking to the facts, and the fact is, the failure to convict Zimmerman was not only a perversion of justice, it also allows him to remain a clear and present danger to society:

          George Zimmerman’s police chief has expressed concern that Zimmerman might be a “ticking time bomb” who could turn into a mass shooter.

          Appalling. Simply appalling.

          1. Richard Kline

            Well the med ex is saying now, per the link, that Martin was shot _in the back_. The distinction is anything but trivial, particularly when that med ex is suing alleging that his report was tampered with and his disagreements suppressed to the point of his being fired. And Wikipedia isn’t a source, it’s a reference (god love ’em, I give ’em money, but still).

            No, the issue is very much not settled. Time to get a deposition under oath on that issue. I’d love to see the trial verdict overturned if so.

    2. from Mexico

      It was clarion to me during and after the trial that the police, the prosecution and the judge were all working for George Zimmerman. There was no way Trayvon Martin was going to get justice out of this Kangaroo court.

      Gov. Scott said: “You want a trial? We’ll give you a trial.” And all the rest is history.

      1. Richard Kline

        I couldn’t bring myself to follow the trial in detail, but I’m glad someone did. Looks worse by the hour. And yeah, the state was working _for the defense_ to put the dead guy on trial. “Committed suicide, it’s obvious.” By coming to Florida, evidently . . . .

    3. Roger Bigod

      There are multiple pdf files with the autopsy report on the internet. These describe a single entrance wound on the front of the chest and no exit wound. Hmmmmmm.

  4. Walter Map

    I’m starting a new list:

    Reasons to avoid religious bigots

    1) You’ll be the target of a lot of sexism.

    2) You could miss out on a college education.

    There are millions of religious bigots in the U.S. alone, so there are millions of more reasons.

    1. petridish

      Should be reasons to avoid RELIGION.

      A racket based on FAITH which is belief WITHOUT PROOF is inconsistent with cognitive capability.

      1. Walter Map

        I don’t care if people have a religion if it keeps them out of trouble, but they should do it privately and wash their hands afterward.

        Wait for it . . .

        1. petridish

          OK, Walter Map, my mother says I can’t play with you any more. She says you’re an “occasion of sin” whatever that means. She says when my father gets home he’s going to wash my mouth out with soap so it’s clean when he smites me.

          Smites me??? That sounds pretty bad.

            1. ambrit

              Dear Antifa;
              Do not take your poor cat to church! It will never forgive you. My tatterdemalion experience has taught me that the term “smites” is a theological word meaning the “laying on of hands.”
              Unless you’re into “Christian Dominationalism,” leave it alone, else your cat wont be the only one in your household with ‘stripes.’

              1. Antifa

                Well that’s right out, then. And these vet shampoos haven’t worked. It says here she can be washed in the blood of the lamb, but the lamb’s not gonna like that, and it’ll be hell explaining it to the children!

              2. Joe

                Hey, my tastes are rather catholic. I wants me some of that Christian Dominationalism. Does that come in leather?

              3. petridish

                Held off as long as I could. Finally had to look it up.

                Heady stuff, courtesy of Wikipedia, but I think they’re really right this time:

                “Tatterdemalion is a fictional character and supervillain in the Marvel Comics universe, who wore gloves either coated with or secreting a chemical agent which dissolved any material composed of paper, such as dollar bills. His appearance (and, indeed, his name, which roughly means “ragged tramp”) suggested that he was homeless, and he was apparently insane, which presumably explains why he would want to destroy currency.

                “The Tatterdemalion wears specially designed gloves coated with a solvent which dissolves paper and fabrics, which allows him to destroy currency. He wears several layers of clothing, coated with a special greasy chemical that makes him slippery and difficult to hold on to; underneath his clothes is a layer of Kevlar. His cloak contains chloroform gas capsules, so that when thrown over a victim it renders the victim unconscious. He wears a long scarf, which is tipped with lead weights, as a weapon. His equipment was supplied by the Committee. Due to his lack of proper hygiene habits, the Tatterdemlion emits a harsh offensive odor at all times. He is an expert tap dancer, and a highly proficient bottle-cap collector. The Tatterdemalion is mentally disturbed.”

      2. diptherio

        Petri, I think you’re throwing the baby out with the bathwater. Lots of people are members of one religion or another (the majority of the planet, I believe), and only a minority of those (from what I can tell) are crazy fundamentalists. Most have beliefs that you or I might find bizarre or laughable, but they don’t go around trying to enforce them on everyone else or the world at large. Some do, and they tend to get the lion’s share of media coverage, but most don’t.

        Dr. King and Gandhi both had strong religious convictions which not only informed their activism but also gave them the strength and courage to engage in it in the first place. Belittling the religious in general terms shows disrespect not only for the Westboro Baptist Church (who deserve it), but also for people like Oscar Romero.

        If you happen to be concerned with solidarity, being anti-religious is just an unhelpful as being a fundamentalist bigot. In fact, it’s a strangely similar position (“if you don’t agree with me you’re wrong”) You don’t have to share their beliefs, just refrain from putting them down en mass.

        The specific abuses of institutions and individuals should be called out at every opportunity, but lumping all the “religious” together as one monolithic group is just as insulting (and as illogical) as lumping all men or all Italians, or any other group, together. This is a quintessential Fallacy of Composition.

        1. Antifa

          There is a way to “un-lump” all religionists. It’s a concept from the Hindu Upanishads. A keen bit of insight, actually.

          People are either inwardly or outwardly wired.

          That’s it. Some people find through spiritual and religious practices inner peace, states of calm and meditation and contemplation that bring them more meaning and joy and rewards than anything this world has to offer. They are inward people. Have nothing to prove or accomplish outwardly. Don’t care at all for outward displays of what they’ve found within themselves. It’s private. After all, how can you share something you can’t even put into words yourself?

          Outwardly wired people seek peace of mind and meaning in life and every other spiritual goal through outward action. Build churches and temples to please God, convert all the infidels to increase His Glory, capture the Seven Mountains of modern society to bring about the Second Coming, stop all abortions to avoid His anger, deny gay marriage to please Him, kill all the infidels, convert the whole world to their religion — all spiritual seeking is done through outward actions and displays. Such people find it perfectly natural to band together and act as political organizations in order to glorify God. Outward actions and accomplishments is the measure of their holiness.

          This simple concept cuts through all religious differences. Militant fundies are found in every religion, and so are quiet, profoundly spiritual people.

          1. diptherio

            I think Bob Altemeyer would use the word “authoritarians” to describe what you call outwardly wired people. It’s true that in our society they tend to be fundamentalist Christians, but in the Soviet Union they were invariably Atheist Communists.

            The teachings of the particular sect of Hindus that I’m involved with consists of two parts: 1) a personally meaningful daily spiritual or contemplative practice; and 2) engaging in social work. Generally, the second part of the tradition (seva), which is outwardly directed, is seen as the result of the first, inward practice. However, inward and outward aspects of spirituality are seen as equally important.

            For what good is outward action if it stems from a conflicted and unhappy spirit? And what good is a contented spirit if it finds no expression in the world? As the Christians would say, don’t hide your lamp under a bushel. In traditional Hinduism, after a man has seen his grandchildren he may become a religious renunciate and retire to a forest retreat to work on himself. When the process of inward realization is complete, however, the renunciate returns to society so that what he has learned may be of use to others.

            What I have seen of Western versions of Buddhism and Hinduism is that they are almost exclusively focused inwardly. The practitioner meditates or recites mantram or does asanas with the sole intention of finding contentment within the world as it is. This contentment, however, all too often merely allows one to ignore and/or downplay the material sufferings of others. This is a kind of false enlightenment, novocaine for the soul.

            The point of spiritual practice is not to insulate oneself from the suffering of others, or from one’s own suffering, but rather to provide a perspective from which suffering ceases to be overwhelming and from which it can be productively addressed. This involves, first and foremost, a reigning-in of emotional reactions and the elimination of fear (imho). When our well-intentioned outward actions are driven by one or both of these things, we are likely to end up doing more harm than good (as with your examples of Christian fundies doing what they think is right).

            It’s a lifetime pursuit, no doubt, but one worth pursuing, whichever methodology one employs, whether it be religious or secular. To paraphrase Thomas Merton, there are many paths to the top of the mountain, and many sign posts pointing the way. The point is to get to the top of the mountain, by whichever route, not to mill around in the valley arguing over which trail, which sign is the “right” one.

            ओं शान्ति

        2. petridish


          All kidding aside, I appreciate and respect your reasoned response. The absence of vitriol, which usually accompanies discussions such as these, is laudable.

          I will not comment on the degree to which the religious beliefs of King or Gandhi influenced or informed their strength and courage. I simply do not and cannot know.

          What I do know is this. This United States of America was founded on principles of British COMMON LAW. “Do all that you promise to do,” the foundation of contract law, and “Do not encroach on another’s person or property,” the foundation of human rights. This country was conceived of as a SECULAR or areligious country, providing both freedom OF religion and freedom FROM religion.

          These fundamental principles have been steadily, albeit stealthily, violated. “In God we trust,” “one nation under God,” “Judeo-Christian principles” have been added to the lexicon, or invoked, in cynical ploys to marshal powerful religious resources to specific political objectives, nothing more.

          Religious influences must EARN respect. Deference is not due them by virtue of their claim to a connection with God. “Solidarity” is commonality, not an edict issued by those with the biggest megaphone or those with the most paying “believers.” That the preponderance of the population claims a religion notwithstanding.

          My peculiar opinions of religious fervor are not germane here. “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion….” is quite clear. That is the directive under which THIS country was founded.

          1. diptherio

            Agreed, 100%. My view is that power-mongers will use anything at their disposal (ideology, religion, institutions, governments) to carry out their nefarious plans. Religion gets used for cover plenty, but it’s not where the “evil” originates, so far as I can tell.

            I think Gandhi once said, “anyone who thinks you can separate politics from religion understands neither religion or politics.” I think that’s true. The unfortunate thing is that in our country the political religious folks won’t shut-up about gay marriage and abortion, but they utter nary a peep about “loving your enemy” or “turning the other cheek.” Actually, many do but they don’t get much in the way of face-time on the teevee. They also don’t tend to spend much on lobbying…so much the worse for us.

          2. Paul Boisvert

            I’ve always felt if you can’t beat em, join em:

            “I have faith that there is no God. My faith is pure and unalterable. Bible, schmible; no book full of fancy words and clever rhetoric is going to shake my utter faith in the nonexistence of God. By my faith alone shall I be saved from the sterile, rational logic requiring a First Cause. My staunch, unwavering faith defends me from elitist sophism like the Ontological Argument and the Argument from Design. I once was blind, but now, by the amazing grace of faith, I see no God.

            O Ye of little faith!”

            This tends to keep the discussion mercifully short… :)

      3. Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition

        Guy’s right. Look, if you’re devoutly catholic, your daughter will wind up going to Notre Dame or Georgetown or one of their even less selective imitators, where she will get frotted and pawed by fat-fingered Tony Scalia wannabes from the Opus Dei junior flagellator cadets. One of them will eventually infect your gene pool with their dumb hairy chromosomes. You’ll be scared to eradicate the unclean spawn with a quick D&C. Don’t chance it.

        1. Bridget

          Actually, they will be having lots of babies. You, probably not so much. Your gene pool will not be infected, it will be engulfed.

      4. craazyman

        youze all won’t be conversing so blithely when you’re crackling and popping on the eternal barbeque.

        there won’t be an internet at that location. nor will there be AC. That’s ‘air conditioning’ for the thick of head.

        repent your vainglory, while you can.


        1. skippy

          It is yet to be determined if this is – actually – Hell.

          skippy… psychotically oblivious or aware and scared too death…

    2. real

      somehow modern liberalism is not much different from religionists…I hate religinists too
      But modern liberals are opposite side of coin…
      Reasons to avoid liberal bigots
      1) You’ll be the target of a lot of sexism:if you are heterosexual male,then liberals hate you even more…research feminists
      2) You could miss out on a college education:missing BA in liberal arts might be blessing than curse…
      If the degree is going to be science,engg,law or medicine it is worth otherwise college is waste of time
      3)Modern liberal progressive liberalism is a religion…it is also called secular humanism and it is enforced by courts,cops,media,parliaments in every country
      4)Liberals are most hate mongering of all groups i met..i can converse with radical muslims but not with liberals..they are fanatics

    3. diptherio

      The crazy thing to me about the article was the economic aspect. The writers of the column seem to be in denial of economic reality, assuming that any good Catholic male will necessarily be able to find a job that will not only provide the essentials for him, his wife and children, but also allow him to afford life insurance to boot. Many families are two-income of necessity, not choice, but this is not a reality “fix the family” wants to acknowledge.

      Despite all the craziness, I did find myself agreeing (pretty much) with a few of the sentiments. This, for instance, struck me as basically true:

      The…world has twisted this so that a job (career) appears elevated, and homemaking is denigrated. This is the evil work of Satan [i.e. capitalism] and devastating to families.

      I had to adjust the wording a little to be able to agree with it, but I do think this is important. Raising children and homemaking do not seem to be well respected, whereas toiling away at a job is. And convincing everyone, regardless of gender, that being a paid laborer is the only respectable way to live is, quite obviously, a boon for capitalist employers.

      Of course, I see no problem with the MALE staying home with the kiddos (becoming a house-husband being one of my lifelong dreams).

      1. Bridget

        Staying home with the kiddos is to be discouraged. Those who stay home with the kiddos are not paying social security and Medicare taxes, and thus are selfishly withholding the benefits of their labor from those who couldn’t be bothered to bear and raise children but now require the support of those who did.

  5. rich

    A new digital ecology is evolving, and humans are being left behind

    Automated financial bots trading at nanosecond speeds are too fast for humans to compete, making the stock market an unfair place for the public to keep their money and retirement accounts

    Incomprehensible computer behaviors have evolved out of high-frequency stock trading, and humans aren’t sure why. Eventually, it could start affecting high-tech warfare, too. We spoke with a researcher at University of Miami who thinks humans will be outpaced by a new “machine ecology.”

    For all intents and purposes, this genesis of this new world began in 2006 with the introduction of legislation which made high frequency stock trading a viable option. This form of rapid-fire trading involves algorithms, or bots, that can make decisions on the order of milliseconds (ms). By contrast, it takes a human at least one full second to both recognize and react to potential danger. Consequently, humans are progressively being left out of the trading loop.

    And indeed, it’s a realm that’s rapidly expanding. For example, a new dedicated transatlantic cable is being built between US and UK traders that could boost transaction speed by another 5 ms. In addition, the new purpose-built chip iX-eCute is being launched which can prepare trades in an astounding 740 nanoseconds.
    Virtual predators and prey

    The problem, however, is that this new digital environment features agents that are not only making decisions faster than we can comprehend, they are also making decisions in a way that defies traditional theories of finance. In other words, it has taken on the form of a machine ecology — one that includes virtual predators and prey.

    1. Walter Map

      The evolution of technology means that the pasttime of killing off humanity could soon be automated. The machines could finish up the job faster than you could say “Tralfamadore”.

      How many Terminators does it take to screw in a light bulb?

    2. Saddam Smith

      Technology has been affecting the way in which humans are needed by the economy for centuries. We are now at the stage where our presence in production is barely needed. In a ‘rational’ system that embraced automation, dumped consumerism and transcended perpetual economic growth, we would be freed to establish a new paradigm which redirects human ingenuity away from the mindless pursuit of paper (or digital) profits that have less and less utility as the system breaks itself to pieces, and towards one which has human and environmental concern built in as a first principle.

      Sadly, we probably need to first establish the new paradigm before any of this can begin. And there’s no time for that. We’ve got an unsustainable system to sustain, and that takes shitloads of effort.

      So, because this change isn’t going to happen anytime soon, the rabid frenzy technology is initiating will cause enormous and increasing environmental and human suffering for decades to come.

      1. Antifa

        Our species currently has a billionaire problem, which is a hoarding of wealth problem. For all their fascinating ecology of technology, these ultra-fast trading algorithms only serve to concentrate fiat and physical wealth in fewer hands. Governments have been co-opted worldwide to serve this end as well. Everything is tuned up better every year to concentrate wealth ever more.

        Leaving more and more humans with less.

        The “will to power” is innate in these algorithms because they ARE predatory, they ARE seeking to come out ahead on every trade. Ultimately, there will be no “free range Luddites” allowed to grow organic gardens in the wilds of British Columbia or even the Congo because even they represent wealth that can be claimed. The wealth suckers will come for every last opportunity to own and exploit. How can they not — they know no limit to profits. Their fair share of wealth is “All Of It!”

        The countless humans with less every day will only take less every day to a point. Then they will take this world apart.

        If a supercomputer runs the world economy someday, its First Law will have to be agreed upon as, “Every human prospers.” Anything less will lead straight to Skynet.

        1. Saddam Smith

          Exacly, Antifa. The trick is working out what to do with the money system, because the money system drives the economy. Working out how to achieve sufficient consensus and momentum to properly address the money system is bound up in the process of changing the paradigm which generates things like money systems. Kind of a chicken-and-egg thing, co-evolution if you like. It ain’t gonna be eassy, but the good stuff never is, and this is epochal.

        1. Saddam Smith

          Thank you Dr. U-Dont-Say.

          I rate that book highly, have read the 1999 version twice (boy did it open my mind) but did not know there was a 2013 update. I shall buy it forthwith!

    3. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      They ridicule you as a Luddite for not adopting new technology.

      Then they say the poor must be given access to technology as well.

      Some might think that as a sneaky, sorry, smart way to increase their corporate revenue and personal bonuses.

      In fact, the goal might be to put everyone under surveillance.

      ‘Everyone must have a computer!’

      It is too late to save those of us who are already ensnared, but let this be a warning to the remaining free Luddites.

  6. petridish

    RE: Kid Dynamite “My President Lied to Me”

    And the light FINALLY comes on.

    Better late than never, I guess.

    1. skippy

      Kid dynamite thinks its the Government screwing him???

      Baahahaha… the industry wrote it!

      Freemarket ream job and he squeals as its not his wining hand… so typical…

      skippy… where is this light you speak of petridish…

      1. ex-PFC Chuck

        But it was the Democratic Obama administration and Congress that made the choice to get in bed with the health insurance industry and let one of their people direct the writing of Obamacare Legislation.

        1. skippy

          Sorry Chuck, are you insinuating that when someone is hired to do a job and payed for it in advance, that they break that contract?

          skippy… especially when its all about national security!

  7. XO

    Reading the links and comments here at NC, on a daily basis, proves that there is sanity in the world. However, that sanity is powerless and ineffectual in the face of the insanity that has co-opetd and corrupted our social order.

    Honesty, intellect, and a clear view of the world and what is wrong with it are useless to a person being forced to dig his or her own grave.

    Most folks view themselves as bystanders. Little do they realize that they are not witnesses to the abuse of others — they are in line to be put forth as participants in the event.

    “Drop the hot dog and the beer, Bubba, and pick up that shovel. You’re up.”

    And the crowd watches in fascination.

    1. petridish

      This is so absolutely and amazingly true.

      So many in the group formerly known as the “middle class” have convinced themselves that, for various reasons, others DESERVE what has happened to them. They shouldn’t have bought a house they couldn’t afford or they should have gotten a better education. But not to worry, I have done everything right, I have played by the rules and so I will be spared.

      How they can fail to realize that their turn WILL COME is beyond me.

      1. diptherio

        When their turn comes they blame themselves or bad luck or heartless boss. It seems like it’s easier for many people to question their own value than it is for them to question the value of the State and the Status Quo.

      2. Massinissa

        Whats happening to the middle class reminds me of Martin Niemollers famous poem famous poem ‘First they came…” First they (Nazis) came for the Communists, Jews, etc, until they came for him. Before then he tragically did not think it was his problem.

        The middle class is in denial if they think they can weather the coming storm by ‘doing things right’, whatever THAT means.

        Not that I care all too much: The middle class is a historical aberration caused by government intervention anyway. They make it harder for the proletariat to rise up against their exploitation by the bourgeoisie.

      3. anon y'mouse

        sounds like psychological defense mechanisms to me, all running amok in our society.

        rationalization, projection, repression. trying to avoid one’s guilt and complicity from within a system that is morally objectionable because it continues to allow one’s own survival.

        and let’s face it, however aware we are about what’s going on, we are all complicit in it. how many of our goods come at the cost of either the environment, or our fellow human’s wellbeing?

      4. Walter Map

        Americans make crappy martyrs. Instead of going gently into that good night they tend to take it out on others.

        Americans are the sons of Calvin. John Calvin preached that the pursuit of wealth and the preservation of property is a Christian duty. He taught that the temptations of the flesh demand a discipline as strict as that of the military profession. “He created an ideal type of man theretofore unknown to both religion and society, who was neither a humanist nor an ascetic, but a businessman living in the fear of God.” (1)

        Two centuries later, this new type of man came under the influence of John Wesley. (2) “We exhort all Christians to amass as much wealth as they can, and to preserve as much as they can; in other words, to enrich themselves.” For President Madison, “The American political system was founded on the natural inequality of men.” Correlatively, the moral philosophy of the United States is based on success.

        At the end of the Eighteenth Century a Frenchman, the Chevalier de Beaujour, wrote on his return from North America, “The American loses no opportunity to acquire wealth. Gain is the subject of all his conversations, and the motive for all his actions. Thus, there is perhaps no civilized nation in the world where there is less generosity in the sentiments, less elevation of soul and of mind, less of those pleasant and glittering illusions that constitute the charm or the consolation of life. Here, everything is weighed, calculated and sacrificed to self-interest.”

        Another Frenchman, the Baron de Montlezun, added, “In this country, more than any other, esteem is based on wealth. Talent is trampled underfoot. How much is this man worth? they ask. Not much? He is despised. One hundred thousand crowns? The knees flex, the incense burns, and the once-bankrupt merchant is revered like a god.”

        The British went even farther than the French. “They are escaped convicts. His Majesty is fortunate to be rid of such rabble. Their true God is power.” (3)

        In an introduction to a series of articles by historian Andrew Sinclair, the Sunday Times wrote in 1967, “In the five centuries since Columbus discovered the New World, savagery has been part of American life. There has been the violence of conquest and resistance, the violence of racial difference, the violence of civil war, the violence of bandits and gangsters, the violence of lynch law, all set against the violence of the wilderness and the city.”

        1. AbyNormal

          INFIDEL, n. In New York, one who does not believe in the Christian religion; in Constantinople, one who does. (See GIAOUR.) A kind of scoundrel imperfectly reverent of, and niggardly contributory to, divines, ecclesiastics, popes, parsons, canons, monks, mollahs, voodoos, presbyters, hierophants, prelates, obeah-men, abbes, nuns, missionaries, exhorters, deacons, friars, hadjis, high-priests, muezzins, brahmins, medicine-men, confessors, eminences, elders, primates, prebendaries, pilgrims, prophets, imaums, beneficiaries, clerks, vicars-choral, archbishops, bishops, abbots, priors, preachers, padres, abbotesses, caloyers, palmers, curates, patriarchs, bonezs, santons, beadsmen, canonesses, residentiaries, diocesans, deans, subdeans, rural deans, abdals, charm-sellers, archdeacons, hierarchs, class-leaders, incumbents, capitulars, sheiks, talapoins, postulants, scribes, gooroos, precentors, beadles, fakeers, sextons, reverences, revivalists, cenobites, perpetual curates, chaplains, mudjoes, readers, novices, vicars, pastors, rabbis, ulemas, lamas, sacristans, vergers, dervises, lectors, church wardens, cardinals, prioresses, suffragans, acolytes, rectors, cures, sophis, mutifs and pumpums.

    1. Bill the Psychologist

      John Cleese is without a doubt one of the funniest people in our world today, thanks for that link.

      I still have an old VHS set of Faulty Towers, and if you don’t have it, I can tell you it’s funny every time you watch.

      Prunella Scales plays his wife, and she also played in another funny Brit series, Mapp & Lucia, though Cleese was not in this, it’s still very funny.

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      I believe a lot of us could be as funny or nearly as funny as Cleese if we were not so overworked by our overseers.

      The talent is innate within all of us. Some can let it shine through in spite of everything. Others can only do it free of debt slavery.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Here it goes (even though I may be persecuted for saying this): We just have to believe in ourselves.

        1. ambrit

          Dear MLTPB;
          Quite a quandary you propose. Believe in ourselves when the goal is to extinguish the ego. (I fail on both counts.)

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            We believe in ourselves that we can extinguish the ego.

            That is to say, one relies not on the Buddha, but oneself to eliminate one’s ego.

            Perhaps it takes a small ego to destroy a big ego.

            This is my rational explanation of a local phenomenon. It does not deny that the larger reality itself is irrational.

    3. JEHR

      RE: Cleese joke:

      The Canadian government has no threat level to raise except “Built that Damn pipeline, or else!” The next escalation level is “Eh?”

  8. rich

    Google Jet Fleet Loses a Pentagon Fuel Perk
    Questions Raised about Founders Use for Non-Government Flights

    Google Inc. GOOG -0.35% founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin may have to dig
    deeper to operate their fleet of private jets, after the U.S. Department of Defense ended a little-known arrangement that for years allowed the tech billionaires to travel on sharply discounted jet fuel bought from the Pentagon.

    The agreement between the Google founders and the government, which started in 2007, ended Aug. 31 after officials at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration—which sponsored the arrangement—opted not to renew it, according to a Pentagon spokeswoman.

    The move followed discussions earlier this year between the Pentagon and NASA over whether the Google founders may have exceeded contract terms by using fuel for non-government flights, according to a letter from a Pentagon official released by Sen. Charles Grassley.

    It’s more than the money, no??

  9. petridish

    “The move followed discussions earlier this year between the Pentagon and NASA over whether the Google founders may have exceeded contract terms by using fuel for NON-GOVERNMENT flights….” (Emphasis mine.)

    So the founders make so many “GOVERNMENT” (i.e. not non-government) flights that they needed a Pentagon contract to cover them?

    Please, tell us more.

  10. real

    on the article The Rise of the New New Left
    this is very lame article.There is not much difference between repubs n democrats at this point…both parties borrowed from each other and ended up being similar…
    and what is this “new left” bullxxxx?
    The new politicians are children of democratic party elites,essentially rich kids with influential family backing them..THIS IS NOT NEW LEFT..THIS IS NEW NEO DEMOCRATIC FEUDALISM..
    Every social issue dems started with have been won completely..There are millions of pages of laws,regulations,court case judgements to save oppressed classes/genders.The social changes they wanted have been achieved…
    The new breed of dems seem very vicious to me,just like wahabi salafis in saudi arabia ..
    My guess is democratic party will start losing its influence but won’t vanish among young voetrs

    1. Massinissa

      “My guess is democratic party will start losing its influence but won’t vanish among young voters”

      And where will the influence go? The Republican party? The very DESIGN of the two party system makes formation of a third party tantamount to impossible. And the Republican party is more insane and just as corrupt as the Democrats.

      Youre right, the Republicans and Democrats are virtually indistinguishable at this point for anyone paying attention, but there pretty much cannot be third party pushback, so we are fucking stuck with these two useless right-of-center parties.

    2. Massinissa

      “My guess is democratic party will start losing its influence but won’t vanish among young voters”

      And where will the influence go? The Republican party? The very DESIGN of the two party system makes formation of a third party tantamount to impossible. And the Republican party is more insane and just as corrupt as the Democrats.

      Youre right, the Republicans and Democrats are virtually indistinguishable at this point for anyone paying attention, but there pretty much cannot be third party pushback, so we are stuck with these two useless right-of-center parties.

      1. Kurt Sperry

        I actually think marketing/selling a third party today would be pretty easily done given people’s quantifiable discontent with the political status quo and the striking dissonances between government policy and voter preferences. An aggressive/expensive marketing campaign could I’m sure hammer on these dissonances to good effect.

        The biggest impediment to a party crashing third party is simply people’s failure to imagine one into quasi-spontaneous existence. The Republican Party is demographically ripe for a push off the edge from the left. And the job is in all likelihood only going to get easier.

      2. BondsOfSteel

        You know… every time I keep thinking that the parties are the same, some Republican opens his mouth and reminds me it’s not true.

        It’s almost always some crazy thing about rape/pregnancy, women, climate change, gays/homophobia, immigration, or guns.

        I’ve learned never underestimate the ability of the Republican party to find and embrace trolls.

        1. jrs

          All that proves is they are different in one they say and the Obama himself proves that they will *say* different things. It’s what they DO that matters though.

        2. AbyNormal

          The Warriors (cult movie) is not lively enough to be cheap fun or thoughtful enough to be serious”.[11] Yurick expressed his disappointment and speculated that it scared some people because “it appeals to the fear of a demonic uprising by lumpen youth”, appealing to many teenagers because it “hits a series of collective fantasies”.[4] President Ronald Reagan was a fan of the film, even calling the film’s lead actor, Michael Beck, to tell him he had screened it at Camp David and enjoyed it.[6]

          …i always got the feeling Nancy said No to More than just drugs :-/

      3. skippy

        It should not be forgotten that the Democratic Party pushed for the Spanish civil war and the Philippine – American War. Hell what party did Hearst belong to what offices did he occupy… eh… Hillary a vessel of his ghost?

        skippy… Pulitzer Prize – Outstanding in your field thingy – retch~

  11. Eric W

    Just wanted to point out that your ads are really screwing up your page-loading. It was so bad I timed it twice, and held up the page load for 42 seconds on two different pages. Might be worth checking into.

  12. Antifa

    “Why Do We Spend Billions on the National Security State While We Let Detroit Go Bankrupt?”

    Because the wealth of our nation is now held by a very few, and they have arranged free movement of capital around the world to chase maximum profits. They arranged this through bribing our government to pass NAFTA and CAFTA and soon the TPP.

    Our government, meanwhile, is keen to grow our overseas hegemony through economic and military domination of other nations, hence our spending as much on weapons as the next 50 nations combined.

    In a word, empire. We no longer have a nation here, we have an empire, and empire gets first dibs on all funds, all rations, all efforts.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      More and more people are asking where did the money go.

      And then, maybe more and more people might consider the possibility that we have enough money in the system already.

      The next question after that is this – is all this talk about government being able to print as much money as it desires an intentional plot to distract people from asking ‘where did all the money go?’ or ‘don’t we have enough money already?’

      1. anon y'mouse

        I don’t think it is necessarily a plot. the realization that what we already HAVE operating in MMT informs the critique.

        as in “why do we always have money for bombs & bailouts, and none for starving kids and medicine for grannies?”

        gee, that couldn’t be because the money spigot is turned in a certain direction, could it?

        MMT is just the beginning.

        ‘course, sometimes I think this site itself is a honeypot for the dissatisfied. paranoia!

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Didn’t Oliver Wendell Holmes say ‘It’s not how fast you turn the spigot, but what direction?’

          With the way the spigot is positioned, the 0.01% always favor turning it on.

  13. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    White House taking exception to Putin’s taking exception to an exceptionally weird speech.

    Well, everyone’s exceptional, it seems.

    This is my red line –

    No one should call us Shamerica. The proper name is America.

    I will not take any exception to that.

    I don’t care if Fidel thinks Shamerica means in Spanish ‘plenty of shame.’

  14. diptherio

    Amy Goodman has an interview with Robert Reich and Chilean economist Manfred Max-Neef, who wrote Outside Looking In: Experiences in Barefoot Economics, on the need for an economic crimes tribunal.

    “This economy can go on no longer because it has become absolutely criminal…This economic model is killing more people than all the armies of the world put together.”

    Max-Neef’s bit starts at 50:40

  15. anon y'mouse

    yes, we can’t allow children, who are naturally little learning sponges, to learn anything that isn’t on the scheduled program or on their own time.

    we must mold them immediately. before their parents and society has a chance to screw them up by allowing them to acquire empathy and moral sentiments towards others in their communtiy, rather than technocratically useful knowledge.

    also, the earlier they learn that “some of us are brighter (faster, whatever) than others” the better.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      The truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.

      The solution, the whole solution and nothing but the solution.

      A partial solution can be worse than no solution…sometimes.

      The minimum wage issue is a partial solution.

      GDP sharing is less partial (we need a wealth tax as well, as Hugh would say).

  16. Alexa

    Problem with Reich is that he would (and does) undermine his own arguments by supporting corporatist Dems. ;-)

    But, at least he has said on his blog that the Democratic Party should not support an infrastructure bill that would lead to the privatization of our interstate systems and major roadways–making them “toll roads.” [Or at least he did, several years ago.]

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Let the taxpayers fund those shining, new infrastructure projects so they can be sold cheaply, sorry, privatized to billionaires borrowing at zero percent from the Fed.

  17. JEHR

    Re: The Folks Who Sell You Cornflakes…

    What a world we live in! –Where banks can own commodities, manipulate their prices and speculate on them to make tons of profit! –A world where commodity traders can act like banks or hedge funds, do insider trading and speculate and manipulate their own products to make tons of profit! Every marketing institution is beginning to like like a crooked bank and the World is All Finance!

    Is our goose cooked yet?

  18. Kurt Sperry

    Actually the script was hanging on my reply, then one of the quantserve pixels was very slow loading all delaying the page rendering. A lot of times pages will hang on background scripts that prevent the browser from rendering the page until they do their handshakes. The page data transferring from the NC server (stuff we want) doesn’t appear to be the bottleneck.

  19. rich

    Dying Dad Pleads for Unapproved Cancer Drug

    When he learned about the anti-PD-1 drugs and their ability to treat melanoma, he got excited. Studies of Merck’s version of the drug found that 38 percent of participants in a clinical trial for patients with melanoma saw tumors shrink. Of those who took the highest doses of the drug, 52 percent experienced tumor shrinkage.

    Dr. Jedd Wolchok, an oncologist who has not met or treated Auden but has corresponded with him through email, told that immune cells typically don’t attack cancer in a meaningful way because of a kind of natural brake function called PD-1. But the new anti-PD-1 drugs cancel out that brake and allow the immune cells to attack the cancer.

    Although there are currently no anti-PD-1 drugs in “compassionate use” trials — trials for individuals who don’t qualify for clinical trials but still want the drug — Wolchok said there was chance the drug could offer Auden long-term benefits.

    the medical cartel says no, I say help him out.

  20. barrisj

    Shortly after Colo. voters lined up behind a NRA-aponsored recall targeting two state lawmakers for voting YES on a modest “gun-control” bill, the heavens burst open and parts of Colo. inundated with record rainfall. Karma?

    1. charles sereno

      Celibacy in the Catholic Church: If (big if) the church instituted celibacy to prevent the clergy from passing wealth and privilege to their offspring, maybe it was at least well-intentioned. Now, if we required all CEO’s to be celibate, perhaps that would lessen the inequality problem. Minimally, it would put a slight burden on all their bastard children. It worked in the Dark Ages.

  21. LucyLulu

    From a week ago, my most sincere apologies if it was posted already.

    USAF is having recruiting problems due to lack of interest, and a shortage of drone pilots may limit the number of missions. Gee shucks, ya mean playing Call of Duty with live victims isn’t any fun???

    For aircraft enthusiasts (and with love to my favorite British southern gentleman), looks like a pretty cool site.

    1. Obama greets his Scheveningen roomie, Bosco Ntaganda

      Wonderful. The worst threat to the war machine in the 60s and 70s was the pervasive cultural distaste for the traditional militaristic miasma. The work of discrediting the death merchants proceeds on another front: Pakistan has called drone attacks not just murder but aggression, and now they’re taking it to the UN.

  22. Chauncey Gardiner

    Thank you for the link to the Guardian article about this week’s fifth anniversary of Lehman’s bankruptcy. I was struck by a related article by Sheila Bair in today’s Fortune (h/t Lee Adler of the Wall Street Examiner blog):

    … “I told myself I wasn’t going to do a “Lehman” column given the media frenzy over this month’s five-year anniversary of that institution’s bankruptcy. But in researching a new book I am writing for young adults about the 2008 financial crisis, I have been uncomfortably reminded of the hardship so many families encountered because of the crisis, particularly their kids.

    Their plight has been largely forgotten in the power politics that have overcome financial reform. It’s all about winners and losers, with regulators and reform advocates pitted against a powerful industry lobbying machine, oiled by political money and the grease of revolving door jobs. The objective of protecting the public from another recession brought on by an unstable financial sector seems lost in the Washington shuffle.”

    Sheila Bair previously headed the FDIC. [See: ]

    Economists at the Dallas Fed today also published an analysis of the total cost to the U.S. economy of the 2007-09 financial collapse. They stated the cost likely exceeded one year’s GDP for the nation. [See: ]

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