Links 9/30/13

Is This How Our Ancestors Sounded? Linguist Recreates Proto-Indo-European Language (AUDIO) HuffPo

Meatless in Munich: Oktoberfest Introduces Vegan Food Options Der Spiegel

Cinnabon President Kat Cole: Hustling the Gut Bomb Businessweek

Why Judges Are Scowling at Banks Gretchen Morgenson, Times

Fed Too Familiar With Lost Labor Seeking New Message for Policy Bloomberg. Stupid banksters didn’t figure workers would say “Take your labor market and shove it,” or shameless deflecting?

The JP Morgan apologists of CNBC Felix Salmon, Reuters

Mad, Mad, Mad World of At-Will Work — Teachers Thrown Under the Bus, Parents Facing a Decade in Jail for Speaking Out Dissident Voice.

Charter School Gravy Train Runs Express To Fat City Forbes. Asset stripping.

Conflict of interest claims persist in Maine’s Nestle water case Al Jazeera. “Sun slated to appear in East.” Asset stripping.

Talks on Private Air-Traffic Control Turn Serious in U.S. Bloomberg. Asset stripping.

Rubber plate blocking radioactive wastewater NHK World (optimader)

Shutdown Follies

What’s next in the shutdown showdown AP. Timing.

House votes to delay Obamacare, raising government shutdown threat RT

As the clock ticks toward a government shutdown, who’s driving the debate? Christian Science Monitor

Government Heads Toward Shutdown Online WSJ

On verge of a government shutdown, all is quiet on Sunday at the Capitol WaPo

DC takes day off from budget, works overtime on blame McClatchy

Government shutdown: Harry Reid spearheads Democratic strategy Politico

Bill Clinton urges Obama to stand firm, not negotiate on debt limit The Hill

PLATY MAKE HULK WANT TO SMASH Eschaton (coin archives; timeline).

How The White House Should Bring Back The Platinum Coin: Secretly Business Insider

Holiday-Party Cheer Driven by CEO Confidence: EcoPulse Bloomberg

CLO issuance hits highest level since before financial crisis FT

Catastrophe models give insurers insight into disasters FT

Insurance crews help protect well-heeled from wildfires Reuters. Oh, which insurance company? AIG.

Number of Americans relocating across the country nears record low in slump following recession Daily Mail. I think a “slump following recession” is called a “depression.”

Big Brother Is Watching Watch

Glenn Greenwald Working On New NSA Revelations AP (GW). No duh, but get this: “… the National Security Agency’s role in what one called a ‘U.S. assassination’ ….” Because freedom!

Zegart joins scholars at NSA for rare briefing on spy agency’s woes Center for International Security and Cooperation, Stanford. As opposed to a well-done briefing, I imagine (critique).

Time to tame the NSA behemoth trampling our rights Yochai Benkler, Guardian (BR). Missed this. “[I]n pursuit of its bureaucratic mission to obtain signals intelligence in a pervasively networked world, the NSA has mounted a systematic campaign against the foundations of American power: constitutional checks and balances, technological leadership, and market entrepreneurship. The NSA scandal is no longer about privacy, or a particular violation of constitutional or legislative obligations. The American body politic is suffering a severe case of auto-immune disease: our defense system is attacking other critical systems of our body.”

Your Smartphone Spies On What You Type I Programmer (CL)

Sovereign wealth funds: transparently inadequate FT

Kenya government faces questions over siege Al Jazeera

Mail Fakes Nairobi Pictures Moon of Alabama

Middle East

Syria govt ‘ready to go to Geneva for dialogue, not to hand over power to anyone’ – Syrian FM RT

These are “moderate” Syrian rebels Angry Arab News Service

French were ‘hours’ from military strikes on Syria before phone call from Obama Independent. So “Hollande” is French for “poodle”

Children and Guns: The Hidden Toll Times. Another victory for gun advocates to own.

Gladwell Tells Us Stuff Only Dummies Don’t Know: Books Bloomberg

Design Lessons From iOS 7 HBR. Nut graf: “This iteration of iOS is easily the most intricately tied to the iPhone hardware. Its connections to the sensors of the device allow it to behave according to the laws of physics, making it feel of this world, as opposed to drawing on simple visual metaphors.”

Steve Albini’s 20-year-old letter pitching to produce Nirvana’s ‘In Utero’ appears online New Musical Express

Frog’s Knickers LBR

Antidote du jour (via):


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About Lambert Strether

Readers, I have had a correspondent characterize my views as realistic cynical. Let me briefly explain them. I believe in universal programs that provide concrete material benefits, especially to the working class. Medicare for All is the prime example, but tuition-free college and a Post Office Bank also fall under this heading. So do a Jobs Guarantee and a Debt Jubilee. Clearly, neither liberal Democrats nor conservative Republicans can deliver on such programs, because the two are different flavors of neoliberalism (“Because markets”). I don’t much care about the “ism” that delivers the benefits, although whichever one does have to put common humanity first, as opposed to markets. Could be a second FDR saving capitalism, democratic socialism leashing and collaring it, or communism razing it. I don’t much care, as long as the benefits are delivered. To me, the key issue — and this is why Medicare for All is always first with me — is the tens of thousands of excess “deaths from despair,” as described by the Case-Deaton study, and other recent studies. That enormous body count makes Medicare for All, at the very least, a moral and strategic imperative. And that level of suffering and organic damage makes the concerns of identity politics — even the worthy fight to help the refugees Bush, Obama, and Clinton’s wars created — bright shiny objects by comparison. Hence my frustration with the news flow — currently in my view the swirling intersection of two, separate Shock Doctrine campaigns, one by the Administration, and the other by out-of-power liberals and their allies in the State and in the press — a news flow that constantly forces me to focus on matters that I regard as of secondary importance to the excess deaths. What kind of political economy is it that halts or even reverses the increases in life expectancy that civilized societies have achieved? I am also very hopeful that the continuing destruction of both party establishments will open the space for voices supporting programs similar to those I have listed; let’s call such voices “the left.” Volatility creates opportunity, especially if the Democrat establishment, which puts markets first and opposes all such programs, isn’t allowed to get back into the saddle. Eyes on the prize! I love the tactical level, and secretly love even the horse race, since I’ve been blogging about it daily for fourteen years, but everything I write has this perspective at the back of it.


      1. optimader

        The horror..
        I’m lucky to even get all the letters when pecking on an iphone, let alone order them correctly.

  1. skippy

    Amends for the Dbl posting of comment, but its quite apropos to the ongoing observations and currant debate, methinks.

    Monday 30 September 2013

    The Reserve Bank of Australia is meant to maintain stability in the nation’s financial sector. It is supposed to be above reproach in its behaviour. But is it?

    Why did bank-appointed officials and employees break sanctions in Iraq and cosy up to Saddam Hussein through a “front man”? Why did a former Deputy Governor and other directors hand-picked by the Reserve Bank to safeguard its subsidiary companies from corruption, end up — over a decade — overseeing some of the most corruption-prone business practices possible? Why did they allow millions of dollars to be wired to third parties in foreign countries, including an arms dealer, in order to win banknote contracts in deals police now allege involved bribery and corruption?

    Next week on Four Corners two whistleblowers-turned star police witnesses from RBA companies, Note Printing Australia and Securency, reveal for the first time how they discovered bribes were allegedly being paid… and how the most senior figures in Australia’s worst corporate corruption scandal got away with allegedly egregious governance failures.

    “That someone can get away with it so blatantly, a board, and a chairman… you know it, it’s not right.” Whistleblower

    For the past four years the Governor of the Reserve Bank, Glenn Stevens, has maintained that neither he nor officials knew about the alleged payments before 2009. We find out exactly who knew what and when.

    Until now the Federal Police and the corporate watchdog, the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC), have been unwilling to investigate board members of the Reserve Bank companies, despite evidence that some of them allegedly failed in their duties, allowing corruption to flourish.

    “This is the worst corruption scandal in our history, not because of the amount of money that’s been involved, but because the most respected institutions of our country have failed to discharge their responsibilities to the public.” Dr David Chaikin, University of Sydney Business School

    skippy… this is how the game is played… been there done that thingy… from top to bottom. It is – our – culture, a culture that has possibly peaked in the quasi benefit some romanticize.

    1. Glenn Condell

      This is the same Reserve Bank that has closed its ears to Steve Keen for years and is full of people who believe ‘no-one could have seen the crisis coming’ Pretty hard to see anything coming when you’re tending to a giant rort.

      Here is the other Aust story that struck me last week:

      Corruption at the centre of money, and an uniformed and ill-educated electorate. Remind you of anywhere?

      1. skippy

        Its becoming a money equals intellectual capacity cult and from your day job, you would know the testing criteria vs assembly line for profit degree mill problem.

        skippy… the wife and others are abhorred by it all, watching the results manifest out in the public sphere.

        1. Glenn Condell

          ‘from your day job, you would know the testing criteria vs assembly line for profit degree mill problem’

          yeah, but teaching has been relegated to the back seat by research, headlines and heroes as fund attractants, the degree mill just the back room bread and butter, and that too tailored to ‘the market’. We’re a neo-liberal power node now, in academic garb.

          ‘the wife and others are abhorred by it all, watching the results manifest out in the public sphere’

          Express worry or dismay though and you’re either a snob or a doomer, or both.

  2. Jim Haygood

    On the day before its grand premiere, one is shocked … SHOCKED … to learn that the Obamacare exchanges are opening with crippled functionality:

    Oregon’s new health insurance exchange … is not even allowing people to sign up for health coverage online without assistance at first; they will have to go through an insurance agent or a community group until at least mid-October.

    Last week, the District of Columbia’s exchange announced that it would not immediately be able to determine online whether people qualify for Medicaid, which about half the states are expanding under the law, or for a federal subsidy to help cover the cost of private coverage. In Colorado, for the first month, people who want to know if they are eligible for a subsidy will have to call a customer service line.

    In Nevada, home to a large Hispanic population, a Spanish-language version of the exchange Web site will not be ready until mid-November. And in Maryland, small businesses will not be able to buy insurance for their employees through the state exchange until January.

    The federal government, which will operate all or part of the exchanges in more than 30 states, is having readiness problems of its own. In one example, the Obama administration said on Thursday that small businesses would not be able to buy coverage online through federally run exchanges until November.

    Kennedy put mankind on the moon; Obamacare mooned mankind.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Mooning is a local offense.

      One should report it to the local police. Congress can’t impeach anyone over that.

      1. anon y'mouse

        mooning might not be any offense in Portland.

        I believe they determined that you have the right to be nude in public, as long as you’re not intending to arouse/be aroused by it.

        how they determine that, I have no idea and perhaps desire to remain ignorant.

  3. AbyNormal

    re, Children & Guns: The Hidden Toll
    “There are no accidents,” Ms. Sandoval said. “There are simply irresponsible, stubborn, cowardly adults unwilling to stand up against the gun lobby and those who support it.”

    today we lockup parents when their kids ditch school

    one late night i sat an listened to a child’s story of shooting his best friend…he was 47 at the time of the tell but he looks all of 75. he left out no detail explaining the unfortunate circumstance his father placed him in. he was 11 and alone cleaning rifles from the mornings hunt at the family kitchen table…his father warned him they better be right when he returned. his best friend came thru the kitchen door without knocking because he never knocked…scared the boy so bad he jerked and only remembered the sound and the smell. the body of his slight best friend was almost cut in two. the boy-man was not right in the head…he was tolerated by others but no real friends. his social and verbal skills were that of a child…until he told his story and spoke more fluently than most college grads. mental health was never suggested or offered by family, educators or protect & serve professionals.

    …it never happened.

  4. Mreg

    Re: Is This How Our Ancestors Sounded? – I can’t figure out what the “news” is. Linguists have been aware of the Proto-Indo-European for around three centuries now, and I’m sure people have recorded themselves speaking some reconstruction of it (there are several) in the past.

      1. Mreg

        I find this link to be fairly accurate:

        The disagreements regarding PIE are about specific sounds (“phones”) that the language used rather than grammar. For example, the number of laryngeals present in PIE as well as the identities of the specific phones is still debated.

        I was making a terminological inexactitude when I said there were “several” – the debates around these subtle details means that there in fact many reconstructions, but for the most part they differ in only a sound or two.

        1. Glenn Condell

          I have almost finished The Horse, the Wheel and Language by David W. Anthony, which incorporates the linguistics into an archaeological reconstruction of the origin and spread of PIE. Utterly fascinating stuff.

          The domestication of the horse, the subsequent development of riding, bit technology and eventually cart and chariot construction gave PIE speakers the capacity to expand, and their language, being the vehicle of the dominant group, eventually displaced native tongues as it moved outward. Separate movements over centuries gave birth to Indic, Iranian, Greek, Italic, Celtic, Germanic, Baltic, Slav etc.

          It’s especially fascinating in the context of the Robert Graves/Maria Gimbutas theory of mounted patriarchal warrior herders violently displacing Old Europe’s matriarchal farmers, theory given some mythic support in ancient stories like Medea. Kernel of truth there, but Anthony emphasises that evidence of takeover is generally scantier than examples of gradual influence, probably via client-patron relationships and plain old trade.

          The worship of a male sky-God, thanksgiving for sons and cattle and the centrality of the horse link the offshoots from PIE, quite apart from the linguistic cognates.

          Interesting factoids: variety in the female line of domesticated horses is endless, whereas the male line seems to have issued from very few animals, perhaps only one. Horses were probably domesticated because neither cattle nor sheep could survive frost/ice/snow without feed; horses instinctively break ice to both feed and water, therefore a band of tethered horses was a labour-free supply of meat in cold winters. Someone eventually managed to break one in, and soon pastures were many times the size they had been.

          This led to a need for rituals to formalise visiting rights between herding groups – praise poetry, sacrifice and feasting. The words host and guest both derive from PIE ‘ghost’ which denoted this reciprocal practice.

          Anthony settles on the Pontic-Caspian steppes as the PIE homeland, but I saw a news item the other day which said that mathematical analysis suggests Anatolia is the birthplace. I dunno, but I could happily spend the rest of my days trying to find out.

          1. skippy

            “I dunno, but I could happily spend the rest of my days trying to find out.” – Glenn

            That and a spot of fishing w/ocean play, is all myself would require for contentment.

            1. Glenn Condell

              A few jugs of mead too.

              That was another factoid – the invention of booze, which became part of the ceremonies, may well have had a galvanising effect on language/culture spread. You can imagine those without experience of it literally lapping it up. Apparently the PIE word for it is a cognate of cannabis, which Anthony says may have been one of the primary trade items between the steppes and the settled southern city states.

              The erratic behaviour of Homer’s heroes becomes a little more understandable if they were indulging in brews and bucket bongs.

    1. sleepy

      I guess this was the first recording to “go viral”, so it gets that stamp of widespread interest.

      In any case, to my unsophisticated, non-linguist ears, it sounds a lot like Old English/Anglo-Saxon.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        It sounds more like coming from a self-hating man.

        He says (from the text in the link), paraphrasing of course, ‘even sheep know to flee from me, the master, from fear,’ as he drives his horse forward.

        Like a lot of human mental problems, such as the genetic mutation to worship and make idol images of literally everything around him (or her) and even abstract concepts like power and brute force, this one appears to go a long way back as well.

        1. sleepy

          I was referring to the sound of the spoken PIE word, not its content which, as spoken in PIE, has no meaning at all to me until translated into English.

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            And you’re right. It does sound a bit like Old English/Anglo-Saxon, though the delivery is very composed, not at all like something a guy from a barbaric tribe (per the Romans, not me) would sound.

      2. Antifa

        I, of course, immediately had to play it backwards, and it plainly says at one point, “The party of the second part, hereafter referred to as Kra…”

        So now we know where legalese came from.

    2. Hugh

      I used to live near a guy named Zgusta who was an expert on laryngeals in Hittite. When he died, someone wrote a eulogy to him in one reconstructed form of proto Indo-European. I always thought proto Indo-European was an impossible language, the garbage can of the assembled traits of all the Indo-European languages, essentially the vowel system of Homeric Greek and the consonantal system of Vedic Hindu with seven or eight cases from various declension systems with multiple declensions plus genders, and an ungodly complex verbal system of moods, voices, and tenses, oh yeah, and laryngeals thrown in somewhere just for fun. I suppose the syntax was verb final but with such a heavily inflected language, word order was essentially free unless constrained by prosodic constraints like Wackernagel’s law or devices like fronting.

      As I said, taken all together, an impossible language so complicated it would have taken its speakers a week to come up with and/or decipher an utterance.

      1. Antifa

        You aren’t the first to think so. Around 2500 years ago, in northern India, a scholar of language named Panini took the mess of Ancient Sanskrit and made it over into an orderly language with consistent tenses, grammar, the works.

        Classic Sanskrit is so orderly, in fact, that it is often seriously considered as a candidate for a universal computer language, one that would be useful for humans and computers to actually have normal conversations.

        Try talking to Siri in plain English some time, and you’ll see the need.

        She tried to steer me into a tree again just the other day when I tried to explain the simple concept of “your other left.” Unbelievable.

  5. Klassy!

    Someone needs to tell Maria Bartiromo to tone it down a bit. She’s in danger of losing her plutocrat fluffing license. She needs to get with Andrew Ross Sorkin stat. He’ll show her how it’s done.

    1. Antifa

      Yes. Obama want the Grand Bargain. He wants to be remembered as the President who finally undid the creeping socialism of FDR and his nanny state.

      That’s his Precious, and he wants it, yesss.

  6. real

    on emergence of new left
    my comment was deleted

    so let me clear some points regarding current situation of communists in India

    Since the commies started gaining influence in two states:west bengal ,kerala govt,their policies have driven off investments …most of the literate bengalis and keralites now work in foreign countries or relocate within countries

    The left have been able to push some 200 labor laws in parliament,every one of them was passed.It created a situation where an industrialist could fire CEO but not his errant worker…The laws are still the same and they are still being enforced with vengeance but industries have found a way to skirt most of those laws..they shifted production to china,US and hire only 10% workers in permanent position

    The gender bias and divorce laws…feminist commis have reduced a husband in terrible situation in family courts…there were some 500000 men,women jailed under false complaints..i know most of western women will hate this but men must have human rights…

    The last straw for commies came when commie comrades killed 1000 protesting villagers in nandigram and disposed of their bodies in neighboring canals..some 100 were killed in direct police firing ordered by comminist politburo in west bengal…after this incident,commies lost hold over their power and now they exist as figurhead in delhi..

    I wonder why staunch commies never answer to these questions i ask

    1. Massinissa

      I have to agree with linda. Links please.

      500,000 men and women jailed on false complaints? Show a link or else I aint believing that.

      And uh, secondly, why do we care about communists in India again? I fail to see how this is at all relevant to, uh, anything.

  7. real

    BTW lambert,
    The guys like jayanti ghosh are portion of elite communists which are bred in thousands every year in communist university like JNU…
    Can you name any other country except cuba,N.Korea which pays professors to spew out disastrous theories?
    The job of these establishment communist intellectuals is to take govt salary and advocate communist theory,which has failed everywhere in world…
    These intellectuals are so staunch communists that there children usually study and settle in West.
    Somehow the communist intellectuals have forgotten their ideology has lost the luster…USSR is gone and china is no longer communist

    1. Hugh

      “Can you name any other country except cuba, N.Korea which pays professors to spew out disastrous theories?”

      The US, maybe for instance, as in the economics, political science, and education departments of American universities, as well as many of their law schools.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Apparently, sumo wrestling has always been very big among global leaders ever since Genghis Khan.

      In the Mayan version, the winner is sacrificed to Tlaloc.

  8. PaulHarveyOswald

    Well, I be jiggered. Steve Albini on NC? Nice reach Mr. Strether. Color me impressed. Nirvana’s aight, but I’m more of a Big Black fan.

  9. ScottS

    Re: Why Judges Are Scowling at Banks Gretchen Morgenson, Times

    “Maybe the judges are tired of the diet of baloney sandwiches the banks have been feeding them,” said April Charney

    Well done, April!

    1. Skeptic

      Well, I guess the 1% have finally met their match: a scowling Judge. Wow, that’s enough to really put you off your Michelin Feed and the enjoyment of your Loot. Must be a lot of 1%ers feeling down about Life after being scowled at. Cruel and unusual indeedy.

      Me, I guess I’m just different as I prefer a KICK ASS PROSECUTOR to a Scowling Judge any and every day. If there are any sightings of one anywhere in the US, please post.

      1. ScottS

        No kick-ass prosecutors in sight. I only see a keyboard jockey armed with withering sarcasm that will definitely make monocles drop into glasses of Dom.

  10. optimader

    The significance of the fukushima tank “mat” post (other than acid reflux it gives me) is that this is soooo tragically basic.
    I puzzle on why the Nihon government has yet to assemble the Pros from Dover team from the leading domestic corporations and institutions to IF NOTHING ELSE oversee the remediation effort at a level just to lower the occurrence of this very basic kind of IDIOCY.
    Tell me that in Japan there aren’t independent process piping/tankfarm experts that might have suggested:
    1.)Skip the rubber mat, use rubber feet on the ladder;
    2.) if you insist on putting debris ( rubber mat) in the vessel, putting a domed screen over the drain?

    Very basic stuff.

    Now, consider the “ALF” filtering system performance. I wonder how its performance will be affected by their discovery that the radiation intensity is ~~18 TIMES higher than design? “Gosh, when we turned the meter on it pegged at 18!, so.. that means the level is 18!, right??”

    I think you can seal in an envelope for later disclosure that the “filtered” water will be dumped post-haste into the ocean to “regretfully discover” gee, we incorrectly measured the contamination of all that water we dumped! We thought it was zero but the meter was never plugged in” 8o(

  11. rich

    The Sparks of Rebellion
    By Chris Hedges
    Zeese said this mass resistance must work on two tracks. It must attempt to stop the machine while at the same time building alternative structures of economic democracy and participatory democratic institutions. It is vital, he said, to sever ourselves from the corporate economy. Money, he said, has to be raised for grass-roots movements since most foundations that give grants are linked to the Democratic Party. Radical student and environmental groups especially need funds to build national networks, as does the public banking initiative. This initiative is essential to the movement. It will never find support among legislative bodies, for public banks would free people from the tyranny of commercial banks and Wall Street.

    The most important dilemma facing us is not ideological. It is logistical. The security and surveillance state has made its highest priority the breaking of any infrastructure that might spark widespread revolt. The state knows the tinder is there. It knows that the continued unraveling of the economy and the effects of climate change make popular unrest inevitable. It knows that as underemployment and unemployment doom at least a quarter of the U.S. population, perhaps more, to perpetual poverty, and as unemployment benefits are scaled back, as schools close, as the middle class withers away, as pension funds are looted by hedge fund thieves, and as the government continues to let the fossil fuel industry ravage the planet, the future will increasingly be one of open conflict. This battle against the corporate state, right now, is primarily about infrastructure. We need an infrastructure to build revolt. The corporate state is determined to deny us one.

    The corporate state, unnerved by the Occupy movement, has moved to close any public space to movements that might reignite encampments. For example, New York City police arrested members of Veterans for Peace on Oct. 7, 2012, when they stayed beyond the 10 p.m. official closing time at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. The police, who in some cases apologized to the veterans as they handcuffed them, were open about the motive of authorities: Officers told those being taken to jail they should blame the Occupy movement for the arrests.

    The state has, at the same time, heavily infiltrated movements in order to discredit, isolate and push out their most competent leaders. It has used its vast surveillance capacities to monitor all forms of electronic communications, as well as personal relationships between activists, giving the state the ability to paralyze planned actions before they can begin. It has mounted a public relations campaign to demonize anyone who resists, branding environmental activists as “ecoterrorists,” charging activists under draconian terrorism laws, hunting down whistle-blowers such as Chelsea Manning, Julian Assange and Edward Snowden who shine a light on the inner secrets of power and condemning them as traitors and threats to national security. The state has attempted—and in this effort some in the Black Bloc proved unwittingly useful—to paint the movement as violent and directionless.

    Occupy articulated the concerns of the majority of citizens. Most of the citizenry detests Wall Street and big banks. It does not want more wars. It needs jobs. It is disgusted with the subservience of elected officials to corporate power.

    1. anon y'mouse

      not accusing any particular person and I don’t know the situation well enough to even think about pointing a finger, but reading between the lines this is exactly what happened to A. Schwartz.

      I just hope that he did not kill himself FROM the realization that, like the actor playing the Stasi agent in “The Lives of Others” (who later passed away, sadly), nearly everyone around him was spying for Tha Man.

  12. rich

    Why I Am Cancelling My Documentary on Hillary Clinton

    CNN and I decided to publicly confirm the film project to clear the air. Immediately afterwards, the chairman of the Republican National Committee announced that the Republicans would boycott CNN with regard to the Republican presidential primary debates in 2016. Shortly afterwards, the entire RNC voted to endorse this position. This did not surprise me. What did surprise me was that, quietly and privately, prominent Democrats made it known both to CNN and to me that they weren’t delighted with the film, either.

    In June, I attended a dinner for Bill Clinton, which was educational. Clinton spoke passionately about his foundation, about African wildlife, inequality, childhood obesity, and much else with enormous factual command, emotion, and rhetorical power. But he and I also spoke privately. I asked him about the financial crisis. He paused and then became even more soulful, thoughtful, passionate, and articulate. And then he proceeded to tell me the most amazing lies I’ve heard in quite a while.

    For example, Mr. Clinton sorrowfully lamented his inability to stop the Commodity Futures Modernization Act, which banned all regulation of private (OTC) derivatives trading, and thereby greatly worsened the crisis. Mr. Clinton said that he and Larry Summers had argued with Alan Greenspan, but couldn’t budge him, and then Congress passed the law by a veto-proof supermajority, tying his hands. Well, actually, the reason that the law passed by that overwhelming margin was because of the Clinton Administration’s strong advocacy, including Congressional testimony by Larry Summers and harsh public and private attacks on advocates of regulation by Summers and Robert Rubin.

    Wow, I thought, this guy is a really good actor.

    And I also saw one reason why Hillary Clinton might not be thrilled about my movie. I discovered others. In Arkansas, she joined the boards of Walmart and Tyson Foods. One of the largest donors to the Bill, Hillary, and Chelsea Clinton Foundation is the government of Saudi Arabia. The Clintons’ personal net worth now probably exceeds $200 million, and while earned legally, both the money’s sources and the Clintons’ public statements indicate a strong aversion to rocking boats or making powerful enemies.

  13. DolleyMadison

    You cannot make this sh*t up: “Prior to joining Ally in 2009, Mackey served as CFO for the Corporate Investments, Corporate Treasury and Private Equity divisions at Bank of America. Earlier in his tenure at Bank of America, he held a variety of roles within the company, including serving as managing director within the Global Structured Products Group.” So the ENGINEER of the crisis is not only NOT being prosecuted by the government, but will now head the agency that will RESCUE his former employers from their avarice and criminality…

  14. jrs

    Gladwell – David and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits and the Art of Battling Giants

    Yea why do I have a feeling that Gladwell is not the guy to be writing a book like that. Because if you actually want to battle power structures, uh Gladwell … yea …

  15. participant-observer-observed

    FYI: Majority Report with Sam Seder 9/30/2013:

    Matt Taibbi: Looting the Pension Funds

    On today’s show Matt Taibbi (@mtaibbi) joins us in studio! to talk about his new piece Looting the Pension Funds (

    Also read David Sirota’s piece on the pension scam

    Today’s Majority Report YouTube Livestream:

  16. danny

    Monday, the US District Court for the Mariana Islands certified a class action and approved a settlement in a case pitting pensioners against the territorial for severely underfunding its pension fund.

    In July 2012, the Fund had been the first state-level pension agency in the US to file for bankruptcy protection in federal court, in an attempt to slow its draw down and force the local government to fully fund the pension system. Its attempt was denied because, like states, territories can’t seek bankruptcy protection, and neither can it’s agencies.

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