Links 12/21/13

Dogs recognise their owners’ faces – but prefer looking at other dogs Independent (YY)

Third-Quarter Growth in U.S. Revised Higher on Services Bloomberg

US growth of 4.1% validates Fed move FT

Obama: 2014 Can Be Breakthrough Year for America ABC

The Incredible, Shrinking Presidency of Barack Obama Counterpunch (CB)

Wall Street Unlocks Profits From Distress With Rental Revolution Bloomberg

Jamie Dimon’s perp walk: Why it could be this year’s Christmas miracle  David Dayen, Salon

Volcker Rule Report Card:  Occupy the SEC (OSEC) Gives the Volcker Rule a Grade of “C-” [PDF] Occupy the SEC. “Notably, they failed to properly define the scope of ‘covered funds’ ….”

Subprime Mortgage Loan Servicer Ocwen Agrees to $2.2 Billion Settlement Times. No admission of wrongdoing imposed by CPFB. Ohio readers: Any thoughts on CPFB’s Cordray? Because maybe Senator Warren should ask him about this.

How did reputed mob figure land major city contract in Philly? Philadelphia Inquirer (PT). Repairing police vehicles. Seems reasonable….


Woman sues over vaginal, anal exams in El Paso drug search El Paso Times. And then the hospital billed her $5,000!

Supreme Court strikes down Canada’s prostitution laws Globe and Mail. Also, file “Cartagena” under “Bad Apples.”

The 40-Year Slump American Prospect

ObamaCare Launch

The Obamacare Slippery Slope––What’s Your “Hardship?” Health Care Policy and Marketplace Review

The sign-up challenge for Obamacare Trudy Lieberman, Rural Health News (BC).  “When people find out about the nuts and bolts, they are going to be pissed.”

A real Obamacare fix: Let thirtysomethings sign up for Medicare LA Times. No. Just lower eligibility to age zero. Done.

93 percent of hospital executives think Obamacare will make health care better Ezra Klein, WaPo. Sign me up!

This is the ad every Democrat should be scared of in 2014 WaPo

“Fear and concern” keeping MSNBC hosts quiet in union dispute, AFL-CIO suggests Salon

Women’s rights sold out again: McAuliffe’s betrayal Salon. Just like De Blasi hiring Bratton; the Democrat betrayal took what, 48 hours?

Big Brother Is Watching You Watch

Judge Leon to NSA: “No. It’s not legal.” And Obama doesn’t care about us. Marcy Wheeler interviewed. Corrente. I like the spoken Marcy Wheeler.

N.S.A. Spied on Allies, Aid Groups and Businesses Times. That’s “, Businesses.” Let’s make sure Businesses gets due attention, mkay?

Exclusive: Secret contract tied NSA and security industry pioneer Reuters. NSA $10 million contract with RSA, not much to build a back door in the world’s encryption standard.

An NSA Coworker Remembers The Real Edward Snowden: ‘A Genius Among Geniuses’ Forbes

White House NSA Panel Member: Edward Snowden’s Leaks Still ‘Treasonous’ ABC

Fury and frustration over Target data breach AP (CB). “Inside job”?

PSA: Your Phone Logs Everywhere You Go. Here’s How to Turn It Off LifeHacker

Tim Draper Wants To Split California Into Pieces And Turn Silicon Valley Into Its Own State Tech Crunch

China reveals Rmb300bn cash injection to calm lenders FT

Sinking Land Brings Calls for Pumping Alternative Times. Two words: “Invade Canada.”

A Solar Boom So Successful, It’s Been Halted Scientific American

Australia: Sydney court prosecutes gas firm for forest crime Asian Correspondent

Cows’ Role in Global Warming Seen Overlooked in Climate Talks Bloomberg

The high cost of cheap chicken Consumer Reports

Beer Domesticated Man Nautilus

Sree Uthradom Thirunal Marthanda Varma – obituary Telegraph (RS)

Idoru Crooked Timber

9/11 Families ‘Ecstatic’ They Can Finally Sue Saudi Arabia ABC. It will be interesting to see the Saudi defense…. 

Bunches of Guys LRB. Al Quaeda.

The 1914 Christmas armistice: a triumph for common humanity FT

Antidote du jour:


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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. bob

    Terry McAuliffe is a scumbag. He was the bag man for Bill Clinton. His brother, pardon, ONX1 is at the zenith of the new dem strategy to out southern the GOP-

    A 92 million dollar, tax payer financed and subsidized trailer park. Built on a former auto parts factory that had over 4,000 high paid jobs. Oh, and no one will even be able to live in the trailers– they’re for shipping.

    1. Katniss Everdeen

      And whom did McAuliffe bring in at the end to barnstorm for him? HILLARY CLINTON.

      A cautionary tale for any woman who thinks that electing HER is going to get them anything but more of the same old shit.

      1. bob

        I think “they” buried bill’s cigar in upstate. Hillary had to run for senate and eat sausage all over upstate in order to hide her search for the evidence. Her appointment to Sec State was proof that the cigar is back in the box.

        There was a local rumor that King Andy had found it, but Rupert threatened to put Sandy’s show in a prime time spot. The King knew he was beat. But, to add to the conspiracy, this was also the time period when Benghazi happened. Coincidence?

  2. DakotabornKansan

    “The elephant is the largest of them all, and in intelligence approaches the nearest to man. It understands the language of its country, it obeys commands, and it remembers all the duties which it has been taught. It is sensible alike of the pleasures of love and glory.” – Pliny the Elder (AD 23 – AD 79)

    African forest elephants are being poached out of existence. A staggering 62 percent of all forest elephants have been killed for their ivory over the past decade:

    “The analysis confirms what conservationists have feared: the rapid trend towards extinction – potentially within the next decade – of the forest elephant,” says Dr. Samantha Strindberg of the Wildlife Conservation Society.

    “A rain forest without elephants is a barren place. They bring it to life, they create the trails and keep open the forest clearings other animals use; they disperse the seeds of many of the rainforest trees – elephants are forest gardeners at a vast scale. Their calls reverberate through the trees reminding us of the grandeur of primeval nature. If we do not turn the situation around quickly the future of elephants in Africa is doomed.” – Lee White CBE, head of Gabon’s National Parks Service

    Imagine that our grandchildren may never be able to see an elephant except in a picture book.

      1. ambrit

        Dear sto;
        I remember reading about the Kenyan anti poaching rangers several years ago. They were said to have a no prisoners approach to poachers caught within the National Parks. The problem is, with the human population burgeoning as it is worldwide, any market based social system is going to treat anything that can’t shoot back as an exploitable resource. When a culture of corruption takes over…

  3. bob

    “PSA: Your Phone Logs Everywhere You Go. Here’s How to Turn It Off LifeHacker”
    Step 1- place phone on the ground
    Step 2- find a large rock
    Step 3- interface the rock with the phone
    Step 4- repeat until ….

      1. bob

        Seeing as it was a life hacker link, I figured I’d keep it simple.
        I’ve already registered for the next, even easier phase. We’ll send you the rock!
        The pet rock, disrupted and brought up to date with cutting edge, open source tech and smooth, design friendly lines…

    1. McMike

      Don’t forget to stay out of your car, and don’t carry or any credit cards. Or retail consumer goods. Or a driver’s license (soon, I imagine).

  4. Ulysses

    Marcy Wheeler from the interview linked above: “And AT&T – you know, AT&T is the most surveillance friendly of any of the companies we know and probably is the most surveillance friendly of anyone not, you know, not, not using it as a central business model, and even they were challenged by shareholders the other day about not disclosing the risks associated with being this deeply in bed with the national security state. And so I think, you know, that is one piece of leverage that is more likely to work for better and for worse than actual citizen engagement, because the president just doesn’t care about us.”

    Bingo! Actual citizen engagement has no impact because only the corporate interests are even considered in Washington D.C. It is disheartening to realize this, but it does point out how we can sometimes play corporate interests off against each other and actually make some modest gains for real people.

    Ordinary people across the political spectrum are starting to wise up to the fact that we are no longer even close to having representative government. Opinion polls show Congress struggling to break out of the single digits in approval ratings. When 9 out of 10 Americans feel their interests are being ignored, can anyone still claim our system rests on the “consent” of the governed? This “consent” is like someone who “consents” to walk the plank, rather than suffer a more painful and messy end being clubbed to death by drunken pirates on board ship.

    1. mk

      As an AT&T customer, I am often asked to buy one of their “bundled” packages for internet, tv, phone, etc.

      I always let them know that I will never buy their bundled package unless they stop handing over info to NSA and/or if they support single payer healthcare for all Americans. Then I’ll let them know that I don’t appreciate AT&T getting between me and my elected representatives.

      I wish all AT&T customers would do something similar…

      What if there were an app for that?

    2. Andrew Watts

      The presidency is practically a political non-factor concerning issues like the national security state. Whether he is sympathetic or not is beside the point. Obama wasn’t able to call off Udall/Wyden in the past and he’ll now be forced to accept many of the recommended reforms. Which does include measures that serve the interests of ordinary people.

      The problem is too many liberals/progressives and democratic party tribalists anointed Obama their political messiah and declared ‘mission accomplished’ when he was elected. Now that he has proven himself incapable of fulfilling those expectations they are wallowing in self-pity and passive nihilism. This naive and complacent attitude will not serve us well in the future.

      “Hillary ’16!”

  5. AbyNormal

    KARACHI: Traders and millers are sceptical about future imports of wheat in view of its rising prices on the world markets.
    Traders have already suspended wheat imports for almost one month since prices crossed over $300 per tonne. Only those shipments, whose commitments were made earlier, are arriving.

    “The country may need to imports 400,000-500,000 tonnes to avert a wheat crisis before the new crop finds way in March next year. However, high wheat price in world markets are not allowing millers and traders to import more wheat,” the miller said.

    A new report of Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) on Thursday suggested that Pakistan’s wheat imports are set to increase considerably and reach about 950,000 tonnes during 2013-14 marketing year up to April next year due to insufficient 2013 wheat production for a second consecutive year.

    The ‘Global Information and Early Warning System’ on food and agriculture, which monitors food security situation of FAO member countries, says that the wheat imports will be necessitated reflecting the insufficient 2013 wheat production for a second consecutive year.

    …and here we’ve been told Monsanto will feed the world

    “What you are seeing is not just a consolidation of seed companies, it’s really a consolidation of the entire food chain” – Robert Fraley, co-president of Monsanto’s agricultural sector 1996, in the Farm Journal. Quoted in: Flint J. (1998) Agricultural industry giants moving towards genetic monopolism. Telepolis, Heise.

    “‘It’s important for countries around the world to adopt a uniform standard’ of acceptable levels of contamination” – Biotechnology Industry Association’s Lisa Dry [4]

  6. judabomber

    The American Prospect piece was interesting…
    The author manages to drop lines in there about China’s WTO accession in 2000, NAFTA and German competitiveness.

    Too bad the politicians in the U.S. have been captured by corporations, which in fact are American companies only in name. The allegiance they used to share with American workers disappeared many years ago, while the standard of living for the average american worker continues to decline.

    I still think as the largeest current account deficit country in the world, the U.S. holds the cards
    if only the political will were there for an industrial policy.

  7. McMike

    Re chicken ick.

    The article gets wrapped around the organic/not-organic question, which misses the point entirely when talking about contamination.

    The organic distinction is about healthfulness and toxicity, which the article sort of drifts into without acknowledging the topic shift. Chicken contamination, on the other hand, is about processing/handling – which is done by a small handful of massive firms. The chickens, organic or not, all go down the same packing line.

    It is useful to point out that organic chicken goes down the same line, and so is subject to the same exposures, but the article does not come out and say so. (Because the article does not really make a distinction between factory processing and factory farming)

    As we learned from the killer peanut recall of a few years ago, sometimes there is just one or two facilities processing every single bit of a commodity for the entire nation. Peanuts, as we learned, are everywhere: from bargain ice cream to organic snack bars, and they all went through the same facility.

    USDA regulations (and the usual economic factors) heavily favor concentrated chicken processing over small/local facilities.

    It is in fact quite interesting: we’ve come full circle. It used to be that large national brands arose to establish reputations for safety and consistent quality, amidst an unregulated and hit-or-miss local/regional producer system. The national brands were marketed as predictable and dependable. Now we’ve come full circle: and the major brands have become obsessive cost cutters, serial corner-cutters, and full-on sociopathic negligent/willful killers/sickeners of their customers. So now, smaller producers are filling the void for accountable ethical production.

    One thing I did learn: organic chickens can be treated with antibiotics in the egg.

    1. Katniss Everdeen

      “The chickens, organic or not, all go down the same packing line.”

      Not for long. There will soon be an alternate “packing line”–in CHINA.

      No inspections. No labels. It actually sounds like a pretty good strategy. When the chicken shit hits the fan, it can all be blamed on China. It’s the LAW, after all.

      By the way, you can get high quality protein from nuts with a bonus of good, healthy fat thrown in. I’m working on a recipe for “nut mcnuggets.”

      1. McMike

        Alas, life without smoked chicken salad and BBQ brined chicken thighs is one barely worth living.

        Luckily, I have some local/regional options.

        Yeah, given China’s track record on killing pets, babies, and putting lead in everything, it’s really quite remarkable that we haven’t declared war on them. Instead we are handing over our food production.

        I comfort myself imaging what a twenty-second century history lesson about our era will be like. I imagine the shocked gasps of disbelief as pathological horror after horror is described. It’ll be like learning about Mayan torture.sacrifice rituals.

        1. McMike

          Thinking about this more, I realize that our generation will be surreal to future generations. (At least I hope so).

          Future generations will be unable to connect with these semi-human low-expectation drones led by sociopaths and surrounded by a wake of overt and symptomatic violence and suffering, like learning about the Nazi civilians during the Holocaust… an entire nation went insane.

          Hopefully, this story will be hard for them to process or connect with.

      2. AbyNormal

        “In September, the USDA ended the U.S. ban on processed chicken imports from China and approved four Chinese chicken processing plants for sale back to the U.S. market. The four plants are only allowed to process birds raised and slaughtered in the U.S., Canada or Chile. The USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) issued the audit report on the Friday before Labor Day weekend. The report notes that USDA inspectors will not be required on the four sites to verify that only “approved” chicken is being processed. Additionally, because the chicken is being processed, a USDA “country of original” label will not be required on the food products.

        China has been home to a number of serious food safety concerns. In March, thousands of dead pigs were found floating in a river in China that supplies drinking water. The incident occurred after a large crackdown on people selling diseased pigs. In April, the World Health Organization announced that avian influenza (also known as bird flu) had been identified in a number of people in China. Travelers and Americans living in China were advised not to touch birds or pigs and to avoid live bird or poultry markets. In May, sixty-three people in China were arrested for buying and selling rat, fox and mink flesh and selling it as mutton for $1.6 million. Also since 2007, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has logged over 2,000 complaints about dogs becoming sick or having died from chicken-jerky dog treats made in China.”

        “All the mega corporations on the planet make their obscene profits off the labor and suffering of others, with complete disregard for the effects on the workers, environment, and future generations. As with the banking sector, they play games with the lives of millions, hysterically reject any kind of government intervention when the profits are rolling in, but are quick to pass the bill for the cleanup and the far-reaching consequences of these avoidable tragedies to the public when things go wrong. We have a straightforward proposal: **if they want public money, we want public control. It’s that simple**.”
        Michael Hureaux-Perez

        Qingdao 9-Alliance Group, Ltd
        Zhucheng Waimao Co., Ltd.
        Weifang Legang Food Co., Ltd
        Zhong AO Holdings Co., Ltd
        “All four establishments were investigated based on provisions of both U.S. and Chinese food-safety law. China first requested U.S. inspection in 2004, and while it was added to the U.S. list of countries for which export of processed poultry was allowed in 2006, restrictions were imposed because China was not free of highly pathogenic Avian flu and exotic Newcastle Disease.”

        1. Katniss Everdeen

          Simply remarkable. “Do nothing” legislators manage to do THIS.

          There must be some sort of a plan. I just wish I knew what it was.

          1. AbyNormal

            “Why would the USDA agree to this? Well, the answer is two-fold. First, despite efforts to increase productivity and decrease pay in American food lines, animal processing is still an expensive, labor-intensive activity. And labor is a heck of a lot cheaper in China.

            Second, as Politico recently noted, there is a bit of tit-for-tat happening. In 2003, after a cow in Washington State was diagnosed with mad cow disease, China closed its borders to American beef. In the 10 years since then, Chinese beef consumption has gone through the roof. Right now, that demand is largely fulfilled by Uruguay and Australia, but U.S. farmers want in. In return for America’s agreement on importing Chinese chicken, China may agree to open its markets to U.S. beef.”

            “There are poisons that blind you, and poisons that open your eyes.”
            August Strindberg

              1. AbyNormal

                im also concerned with beef raised around fracking areas

                “Earlier this year, Michelle Bamberger, an Ithaca, New York, veterinarian, and Robert Oswald, a professor of molecular medicine at Cornell’s College of Veterinary Medicine, published the first and only peer-reviewed report to suggest a link between fracking and illness in food animals.

                The authors compiled 24 case studies of farmers in six shale-gas states whose livestock experienced neurological, reproductive, and acute gastrointestinal problems after being exposed—either accidentally or incidentally—to fracking chemicals in the water or air. The article, published in New Solutions: A Journal of Environmental and Occupational Health Policy, describes how scores of animals died over the course of several years.

                The death toll is insignificant when measured against the nation’s livestock population (some 97 million beef cattle go to market each year), but environmental advocates believe these animals constitute an early warning.

                Exposed livestock “are making their way into the food system, and it’s very worrisome to us,” Bamberger says. “They live in areas that have tested positive for air, water, and soil contamination. Some of these chemicals could appear in milk and meat products made from these animals.”

    2. Klassy!

      As one would expect from Consumer Reports, nowhere in tallying up the high cost is any mention of the absolutely deplorable conditions for workers in processing plants.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      A new technology usually does not emerge ex nihilo.

      We are not gods, after all.

      There are usually money motives behind it…or power motives.

      With every new technology, we must be curious about its original sin – Is Big Money its daddy? Is it Big Military? Big Government? Where is that irresponsible father refusing to come forth? We must doubt, or otherwise we won’t be….something like that.

    2. craazyman

      The linked article is reasonably balanced. People with solar roofs who feed the grid and take power from it — that is, who aren’t off-grid entirely — benefit from the transmission & distribution lines and grid operating infrastructure. That’s a lot of capital investment and the issue is how to price it so people without solar roofs don’t get unfairly stiffed (beyond the public good aspect of clean power) subsidizing those who have them. You can’t price it at zero. Utility rate-making is always contentious, but there’s a need to assess system costs accurately and treat everyone fairly.

  8. Andrew Watts

    RE: White House NSA Panel Member: Edward Snowden’s Leaks Still ‘Treasonous’

    Richard Clarke was never going to be very sympathetic with regards to Snowden’s situation. This story still illustrates the importance of having DNI James Clapper to kick around.

    The nominal head and definitely not the brains of US intelligence was given 24 hours notice to prepare an acceptable answer to Senator Wyden’s question. Clapper lied anyway. Sen. Wyden probably thought that he was letting Clapper off the hook by giving his office advance notice. Unbeknownst to him it did not matter. Wyden just doesn’t know or respect American intelligence like some of his constituents do.

    On the other hand, Snowden was forced into his present situation by desperation and coercion with the threat of bodily harm hanging over his head. If the federal government had a prior record of treating whistler-blowers with any amount of decency or open-mindedness this predicament could have been easily avoided.

    RE: An NSA Coworker Remembers The Real Edward Snowden: ‘A Genius Among Geniuses’

    “He (Snowden) also frequently reported security vulnerabilities in NSA software. Many of the bugs were never patched.”

    I would laugh about this but it’s really not funny. This is the Christmas present that keeps on giving. “Paging American counter-intelligence. Edward Snowden on line 1.”

  9. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    How does your dog know your face is your face and not your, say, tail?

    That alone implies knowledge about geometry, kinetics, reasoning, some Star Wars like intuitive Force, and intelligence, among many other things….and of course, affirms that Life is a Continuum, and we don’t necessarily occupy one of the ends.

  10. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    The 40 year slump.

    I wonder if the author has heard of the Rip Van Winkle Economic Cycle?

    Of course, a Chinese version predates that. What a surprise! The Story of Ranka, told in the 3rd century.

  11. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Just lower the eligibility age to zero.

    Sometimes, perhaps often, the solution is so simple that we can’t see it, except kids, maybe.

    GDP sharing anyone?

    Nah, we intelligent adults must have something more complex, more sophisticated.

  12. barrisj

    For those readers who sense that US drone strikes throughout the Middle East and Afghanistan are particularly lethal toward wedding parties – usually caravans of cars and/or trucks moving between towns or villages, here is a summary – courtesy of TomDIspatch – of “surgical strikes” gone wrong…or perhaps “signature strikes” gone right:

    Washington’s wedding album from hell
    The US launches drone strikes against groups or individuals whose behavior simply fits a “suspect” category: young men of military age carrying weapons, for instance (in areas where carrying a weapon may be the norm no matter who you are).

    The headline – “Bride and Boom!” – was spectacular, if you think killing people in distant lands is a blast and a half. Of course, you have to imagine that smirk line in giant black letters with a monstrous exclamation point covering most of the bottom third of the front page of the Murdoch-owned New York Post. The reference was to a caravan of vehicles on its way to or from a wedding in Yemen that was eviscerated, evidently by a US drone via one of those “surgical” strikes of which Washington is so proud. As one report put it, “Scorched vehicles and body parts were left scattered on the road.”
    Soltis can, however, be forgiven his ignorance. In this country, no one bothers to count up wedding parties wiped out by US air power. If they did, Soltis would have known that the accurate line, given the history of US war-making since December 2001 when the first party of Afghan wedding revelers was wiped out (only two women surviving), would have been: “A US drone… took out a likely target.”

    After all, by the count of TomDispatch, this is at least the eighth wedding party reported wiped out, totally or in part, since the Afghan War began and it extends the extermination of wedding celebrants from the air to a third country – six destroyed in Afghanistan, one in Iraq, and now the first in Yemen. And in all those years, reporters covering these “incidents” never seem to notice that similar events had occurred previously. Sometimes whole wedding parties were slaughtered, sometimes just the bride or groom’s parties were hit. Estimated total dead from the eight incidents:<b. almost 300 Afghans, Iraqis, and Yemenis. And keep in mind that, in these years, weddings haven’t been the only rites hit. US air power has struck gatherings ranging from funerals to a baby-naming ceremony.
    In this same spirit, the US drone campaigns are said to launch what in drone-speak are called “signature strikes” – that is, strikes not against identified individuals, but against “a pre-identified ‘signature’ of behavior that the US links to militant activity.” In other words, the US launches drone strikes against groups or individuals whose behavior simply fits a “suspect” category: young men of military age carrying weapons, for instance (in areas where carrying a weapon may be the norm no matter who you are). In a more general sense, however, the obliterated wedding party may be the true signature strike of the post 9/11 era of American war-making, the strike that should, but never will, remind Americans that the war on terror was and remains, for others in distant lands, a war of terror, a fearsome creation to which we are conveniently blind.

    And, of course you won’t hear anything from the Liar-in-Chief, who personally authorises all this carnage, as any information regarding such strikes invariably is suppressed due to “national security issues”. Hope he’s enjoying hols in Hawaii, and that he won’t be too troubled over these latest drone deaths to spoil his Christmas

    1. Klassy!

      Oh, here I just thought the response to these deaths had been muted, even by drone strike coverage standards, but it’s worse than that. What a tacky, tacky headline.

      Honestly, when I first read of the 14 people in a wedding party killed, I wondered if the administration’s response would be to offer Yemenis tips on how to conduct a safe wedding party. We’ll give you the “tools to succeed”.

  13. fresno dan
    Lidegaard’s central insight is that human solidarity in crisis depended on the prior consolidation of a decent politics, on the creation of a shared political imagination. Some Danes did harbor anti-Semitic feelings, but even they understood the Jews to be members of a political community, and so any attack on them was an attack on the Danish nation as such.
    The nation in question was imagined in civic terms rather than ethnic terms. What mattered was a shared commitment to democracy and law, not a common race or religion.

  14. craazyboy

    “Beer Domesticated Man”

    Oh-Oh. Bad news for MMTers…
    It was even used as currency—in Egypt, the pyramid workers were paid in beer.

    But sure, why bother hunter-gathering when you can just marry a good sturdy plow-woman and sit back on the couch and drink beer?

  15. susan the other

    Where’s Hugh? Those links with glowing headlines about our revived economy and falling rate of unemployment and how the Fed was right to taper, etc. Gotta be a bunch of lies. Somebody?

  16. AbyNormal

    late last night i posted on the prison world…Yves post often on the subject and i think it needs to continue. states are revenue strapped and im seeing this party is just getting started.

    Boston University / Master of Criminal Justicse
    info graph:
    “During the last 2 decades, state spending on prisons grew by 127%, SIX times the rate spent on higher education.”

    Federal Prison System (BOP)
    FY 2013 Budget Request At A Glance
    FY 2012 Enacted:
    $6,641 million (41,310 positions; 19,756
    correctional officers)
    Current Services Adjustments:
    +$254.7 million
    Program Changes:
    +$23.4 million
    FY 2013 Budget
    $6,919 million (42,164 positions; 20,162
    correctional officers)
    Change From FY 2012 Enacted:
    +$278.1 million (+4.2%) (+854 positions; +406
    correctional officers)

    30 Years Later, Private Prisons Have a Future to Secure

    The Future of Debtor Prisons Has Begun In Ohio (privatization just found its loop hole)

    “I shall never forget how I was roused one night by the groans of a fellow prisoner, who threw himself about in his sleep, obviously having a horrible nightmare. Since I had always been especially sorry for people who suffered from fearful dreams or deliria, I wanted to wake the poor man. Suddenly I drew back the hand which was ready to shake him, frightened at the thing I was about to do. At that moment I became intensely conscious of the fact that no dream, no matter how horrible, could be as bad as the reality of the camp which surrounded us, and to which I was about to recall him.”
    Viktor E. Frankl, Man’s Search for Meaning

    thanksgiving my neighbor (63yrs old) was arrested in our parking lot during a finder-binder…she wasn’t driving but the officer asked for everyones license. they found where she had 2 outstanding tickets…1 for no tag and another for speeding…they locked her up till the following wed. a few of us offered to pay her 1200.00 bond but she said absolutely NOT…money is needed in other places and they won’t keep her for such a small ‘thing’. the issue with this woman is she has cancer and they refused her any of her meds…they gave her sleeping pills to sleep thru the ordeal…of course she fell on the way to the bathroom and is now in real pain. GA just hired more state troopers and are handing out tickets like i’ve never seen before…most tickets start around 200.00 these days.
    i’ve gotten everyone out of jail (including my dog in the late 80′s) but i’ve never heard the doors slam on me…yet. when i was talking to my neighbor about it she made the comment…’you won’t survive it, your too helpful and they’ll eat you alive’. i was talking to my sister about it and she agreed with my neighbor and described how id have to pickout the badest of the group and go batsh!tcrazy on them…they’re correct…id be fu*ked. (plus ive probably read all their books in the library…if they got one anymore).

    “I am convinced that imprisonment is a way of pretending to solve the problem of crime. It does nothing for the victims of crime, but perpetuates the idea of retribution, thus maintaining the endless cycle of violence in our culture. It is a cruel and useless substitute for the elimination of those conditions–poverty, unemployment, homelessness, desperation, racism, greed–which are at the root of most punished crime. The crimes of the rich and powerful go mostly unpunished.

    It must surely be a tribute to the resilience of the human spirit that even a small number of those men and women in the hell of the prison system survive it and hold on to their humanity.” Howard Zinn

    1. kareninca

      Thank you for posting about your neighbor, even though it will depress me all day. This is what upsets me most of all about where the country is headed or indeed where it is: a police state. This is why people have to find where they agree, and stop constantly bashing one another about things they disagree about. We will never all agree about gun control or abortion or religion or MMT or many other things, but we have to work together on things where we do agree, like that locking up people like you neighbor is completely evil and sick.

  17. financial matters

    I certainly hope Janet Yellen brings more to the table than Larry Summers would have. In this talk it looks like he’s trying to speak as confusingly as Greenspan as he also makes clear how little he has learned from the crisis. He talks about education and medicine as being ‘government’ problems and not mentioning the huge rent seeking activity behind these activities as we indebt our students and bankrupt those with medical needs. Medicare for all and public education could actually take these problems out of the private sector to the improvement of our labor pool.

    Economic Possibilities for Our Children
    The 2013 Martin Feldstein Lecture

    “”As a society, we are going to need to come to grips over the next couple of decades with what has been called Moynihan’s Corollary to Baumol’s Law.””

    “”Whether the expansion of those sectors as a share of the economy necessitates a growing share of the public sector in the economy, or whether the share of healthcare and education that takes place in the public sector should decline will be a matter of great public debate. As a country, and not without controversy, we do not seem to be moving toward a smaller public role in healthcare. Nor do other countries in the world. But that will, perhaps, change over time.””

  18. Bruno Marr

    Greenwald-Omidyar Roundtable

    This is more coffee table than roundtable. It’s Fox News in reverse; use innuendo, anonymous sourcing, personal musing, and fantasy to create an alternate Universe.

    Folks, it is okay to be skeptical about the GG-Omidyar collaboration. I am. But GG has been true to his word regarding the NSA revelations. They have continued without his constant presence. In fact, more MSM is involved in delivering revelations than before. Today Reuters, of all folks, has joined in the publication of the NSA documents.

    The reality before you is that GG/Poitras have shown great courage, to this point. Innuendo and unsupported musings about them should be seen in that light.

    1. bob

      “Other targets from 2008 to 2011 included foreign energy companies and aid organizations, said Britain’s Guardian and the New York Times, citing secret documents from former U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) contractor Snowden.”

      The Reuters, of all places, story you referred to. Sourced back to the Guardian and the NYT. Nothing new. GG already got paid by them.

      “But GG has been true to his word regarding the NSA revelations.”

      Which word? Folks…

      “They have continued without his constant presence. In fact, more MSM is involved in delivering revelations than before.”

      But none have run without GG getting paid. Not one bit of info has come out of the “snowden docs” without GG picking it out himself. He owns them, and continues to pimp them out.

      1. hunkerdown

        The “autocrat Greenwald” line smells inorganic to me. Who’s seeding this, with whose money and to whose benefit?

        1. bob

          Inorganic? WTF does that mean? GG and LP are the only two people, outside of the NSA, that have the full set of doc. If you wish to call that autocratic, go ahead. I prefer to use the words “info pimp”. Pimping his cashe around. He doesn’t seem to have a problem with what he wants to get out getting out, as long as he gets paid.
          All the money seems to be flowing toward GG and his new partners(?) at First Look media. The 250 million was the “pledge”, but 50 million was just announced to start the new PR venture.
          Is there any story about the snowden docs that you can find that doesn’t trace back to GG?

  19. jfleni

    Re: Six Californias

    It’s an interesting and maybe worthy idea, which Californians can carefully ponder, and is totally up to them.

    It’s a good idea for other places too: Three Floridas (North, Central and South) for example, could be the means to get rid of DogPatch Tallahassee, and free up this large beautiful State from its idiotic fixation on Mickey-Money Ville and racist rednecks and Republicans, as well as some of the dumbest and most repulsive politicians in the USA.

    1. ambrit

      Dear j;
      Having grown up in Hialeah and the Beach, I can in all honesty say that Florida south of the Dade Broward line can be combined with Cuba after Fidel goes to meet St.s Marx and Engels in the empyrean blue. The Mouse Kingdom already is the closest thing America has to an independent Duchy, (just look up the terms of the agreement between the Disney Company and the State of Florida from 1959 or 60.)
      Texas has the statutory right to split up into five smaller states. It’s in the Tyler Texas Treaty and still law today.
      America itself can easily be split up into smaller self sustaining nations.
      Why, H—, even our present POTUS displays signs of being more than one person!
      (Speaking of whom, perhaps Santa will bring him a nice shiny conscience this Christmas!) One can ever hope.

      1. ambrit

        Dear self;
        Texas entered the Union by way of an Ordinance of Annexation that followed the Tyler Texas fracas. Texas became a state by Joint Resolution of Congress, not a formal treaty! Who says this modern bunch of Pettifoggers are breaking new ground?
        (“The Law is what we say it is, no more and no less.”) Sound familiar?

  20. Foy

    Here’s another phase of Skynet cyborgs taking over the world….When you next receive a telemarketing call with a warm, soft, well rounded, familiar home grown accent that you’ve come to know and love, there’s a reasonable chance the call (questions, responses, answers) is computer generated from the usual spot ie low wage region in Asia somewhere, with the agent clicking pre-recorded response buttons on a screen to respond to your comments and questions. And it all sounds so real….

    “Basically, the agent is just the driver but the system has its own life. The agents work as ears and hands of the system. “. “I can promise you that 99 percent of people do not know that the agent just shifted from pre-record to a live voice and back again”

    The whole idea feels creepy (my first reaction) but what’s interesting is that they say outbound sales centre staff turnover in call centres that use the technology has fallen from 400% to 140% (fast food levels) and the agents are a lot less stressed (now only McDonald’s level stressed!)

    Still, I’m going to be mighty upset with myself if I fall for the charms of Samantha the call centre robot.

  21. Jess

    With all due respect, concerning Medicare for All, from my experience being on Medicare, that would not be the solution. Medicare pays 80% of covered costs, leaving the patient to pay the remaining 20%. If you have a $40,000 procedure, that leaves the patient with $8,000 to pay. Even if you have a Medicare Advantage plan, they don’t pay the entire balance and like the ACA, Medicare Advantage plans have all the cost-cutting and cost-shifting features such as narrow networks and uncovered drugs, not to mention the deductibles and co-pays and the Part D gap. For example, due to increases in my Medicare Advantge monthly premium for 2014, even after the SS COLA my monthly SS payment will be $30 per month LESS than this year. My co-pays also went up.

    Another aspect of Medicare is the need to enroll in supplemental Advantage programs like Vision Care. I never bothered to do so because I always figured that a pair of new glasses every couple of years was less than the annual premium. Then this year my exam for new glasses discovered glaucoma, but the eye drops prescribed by my optalmalogist are not covered by Part D.

    The public option has been discredited as a ploy to divert attention from single payer. Let’s not allow Medicare for All to function as a similar diversion.

  22. Walter Map

    “It’s like he’s trying to reduce 300 million Americans to grinding third world poverty in his short eight-year term. Is that the goal?”

    Well, duh.

    1. Walter Map

      “Everything has gotten worse under Obama. Everything. And, not once, in his five years as president, has this gifted and charismatic leader ever lifted a finger to help the millions of people who supported him, who believed in him, and who voted him into office.”

      Obama: “Suckers.”

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