Links 2/22/14

Parrot Rats Out Owner At DUI Checkpoint Jonathan Turley (Chuck L)

Rise of the me first mothers: Changing nappies in restaurants. Brazenly promoting their little darlings. CATHERINE OSTLER identifies an infuriating new breed of parent Daily Mail

Wounded Knee, 1890 – 1973 in photos Denver Post (Deontos)

Mystery of the medieval murder: Forensic tests on 900-year-old skeleton reveals he was stabbed in the back with a dagger Daily Mail

Google’s etiquette guide for Glass wearers Google. Lambert: “Aside from the nauseating corpspeak (“as the Explorer Community grows, so does their collective wisdom”) this, under “Don’ts”: ‘[Don’t] Be creepy or rude (aka, a “Glasshole”)’. They had to say it?!?!?!”

The Math That Predicted the Revolutions Sweeping the Globe Right Now Motherboard (martha r)

Protests in Thailand: Stagnant revolution Economist

Queen and Prince Charles using power of veto over new laws, Whitehall documents reveal Telegraph

How Washington Is Playing Venezuela Like a Fiddle Reader Supported News (RR)

Ukraine president office ‘unguarded’ BBC

Broke, Bruised And Battered Ilargi

Big Brother is Watching You Watch


NSA Official Warned About Threat 17 Years Before Snowden Bloomberg

New Zealand appeals court reverses ruling that Megaupload warrants were illegal ars technica (Deontos)

It’s time to break up the NSA Bruce Schneier, CNN

Fed Fest. I’m reading the Sept. 16, 2008 FOMC transcript and some of it is mind-boggling, like discussing that money market funds will break the buck if AIG fails but that their 4Q growth forecasts of ~1% growth still look good (we now know it fell IIRC 8.9%) and that they expect housing to stabilize in early 2009. But I’m only part way through, too many competing demands this week :-(

Transcripts detail Fed’s struggles amid 2008 financial crisis Los Angeles Times

Records Show Fed’s Missteps in Fiscal Crisis New York Times

Fed minutes: plastic surgery demand hit by crisis Financial Times

Federal Reserve Transcripts Show Fretting About Inflation As Economy Collapsed Huffington Post

G-20 Blame Game Under Way as Lew Pushes Emerging Markets to Act Bloomberg. So Lew is running interference for the Fed. But isn’t the Fed supposed to be independent? Silly me.

An Aggressive Fed Finds Critics on Wall Street New York Times

The politics of Obamacare delays Politico

Over Easy: Tiny Aereo’s Fight With Big Broadcasters msmolly, Firedoglake (Chuck L). I have no interest in watching TV, but this fight is enough to make me want to subscribe.

UAW Asks Labor Board to Weigh New Vote at Tennessee VW Plant Wall Street Journal. This is getting interesting.

South Carolina governor says Ford, GM, Chrysler union jobs not welcome in state Detroit Free Press

Walmart denies wage hike reports Guardian

Cop kills 17 year old who opened the door with a Wii controller in his hand Susie Madrak

Bondholders hit in Detroit restructuring Financial Times

North Dakota tops the list of happiest U.S. states, with West Virginia at the bottom Daily Mail

How to Restore the Good Name Of Government Corrente

Social Identity Markers are NOT a proxy for left wing social policies Ian Welsh (Carol B)

Half of US Farm Land Being Eyed by Private Equity IPS (Nikki)

US equities: more buyers than sellers Andrew Smithers, Financial Times (Scott)

Gold demand down 15% globally Guardian

The Music of a People Who Are Rising To The Light Liberty and Owain

Jenn’s Words: “Living in poverty is like being punched in the face over and over and over on a daily basis.“ PoorasFolk (Susie Madrak)

Secret Plans and Clever Tricks: How Information About Public Contracting Is Hidden From the Public Truthout

The Logic of Public Services Counterpunch (Carol B)

Antidote du jour (Chuck L):


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  1. wendy

    Re: “me first ‘mothers'” – these monster-parents (not just mothers) seem to be found more in more affluent areas. Many death scooters are barreling down NYC streets at innocent knees at this very moment. But there was no need for the disappointingly misogynistic framing. Co-parenting is pretty hot in these times. Let the monster-dads take the fall, too.

    1. scott

      There was a time when parents would take their baby to the restroom to change a diaper, unlike the couple at the NEXT FRIGGIN TABLE at a nice restaurant my wife and I were visiting a few weeks ago. Nothing like baby poop to stimulate one’s appetite (mixes well with Campari, I hear).

      Needless to say we left and told the hostess why, but nothing will change.

      1. Chris

        Agreed in full. We have had similar experiences. The problem was the parents letting their little darlings run around the restaurant and “visit” other tables. White tablecloth-high end service hundred dollar tab place too, not a feeding station like McDonald’s.

        After several loops of our table by a couple of screaming giggling kids, the charm wears off. Tried to trip one of the brats without being seen but my reflexes are too slow, ended up kicking my date in the shins.

        The solution? I called the manager over and asked him in a voice loud enough for the parents to hear
        “Are you going to kick them out?”
        “Of course not!”
        “Fine, here’s a buck for the setup and the bread, give our entrees to your staff” and I held the chair for my lady friend and we went elsewhere.

      2. diptherio

        You could have told the couple that you worked at the city Health Dept. and that they were violating code and needed to leave the dining area immediately or face hefty fines. People like that are probably dumb enough to believe it…

        1. Lambert Strether

          The only way to stop this will be for people to call it out personally, exactly like calling out obnoxious cell phone people.

          Ulimately, we got some level of social shame into the system, and quiet cars.

      3. BondsOfSteel

        Wow! I just assumed that was a too polite UK or fake internet thing.

        I’m surprised someone in the US didn’t mock the parents. I would have given a “GRRRROSE!” or a “Dude… that is NASSSSSTY!” comment before leaving.

  2. Hugh

    The New York Times is dishing revisionist history. Missteps? How about massive, colossal failures. The couple of articles that I saw they had in the paper do mention the discrepancies between intervening for Bear Stearns and AIG with the failure to do so with Lehman. But we were pointing this out six years ago.

    Lets remember that Bernanke, the Fed and company never saw the housing bubble. They never saw the recession coming that began in December 2007 either. I remember pointing out in late summer of 2007 the likelihood of recession. Bernanke never used the year between the housing bust in August of 2007 to the meltdown in September of 2008 to intervene in markets in a sustained fashion to head off the meltdown. Rather he thought everything was basically solid and would sort itself out with the Fed doing only limited, ad hoc interventions as it did with Bear Stearns. That is he dithered. And yes, there were others who even more divorced from reality than he was worrying about inflation in what was shaping up to be one of the largest deflationary episodes in the nation’s history. I remember too during the spring and summer of 2008 with others on the web including Ian Welsh doing the equivalent of sitting around eating popcorn and guessing which was the next shoe to fall and how many cards could be taken from the house of cards before it all fell over. So it wasn’t like no one saw the meltdown coming. I will say that I don’t think any of us knew just how thoroughly and brazenly corrupt the whole mortgage sector was from origination through each and every step to the synthetic CDS and CDO squared way out the other financialized end. But if we on the outside could see the system was in a cascading failure heading toward an existential splat, how is it that Bernanke et al with all their resources didn’t see this months and even years out, say from 2006 onward for the really toxic stuff and 2004 for the mortgage fraud components? How is it they were supposedly completely unaware of what was happening in what came to be known as shadow banking, a financial sector substantially bigger than the Fed itself?

    What irked me about the stories in the Times was that there was never a mention of Goldman Sachs. Treasury Secretary Paulson had, of course, been its chairman and CEO. Nothing was said of his antipathy toward Lehman. You have to understand the timeline. Fannie and Freddie had gone into conservatorship the week before. On the weekend of the 13th and 14th of September, Paulson, Bernanke, and Geithner were all vastly exceeding the Fed’s authority in the bailout of AIG. And the AIG bailout was also a backdoor bailout of Goldman with Lloyd Blankfein being the only banker allowed in on the sessions. Merrill Lynch was being merged with Bank of America. With the AIG bailout Goldman it was assumed could continue as an independent investment bank along with Morgan Stanley. And Lehman was thrown to the dogs. Every argument (size of bailout, authority to conduct a bailout, etc.) as to why supposedly Lehman could not be saved was contradicted by the treatment of AIG. So they let Lehman go splat and everything went to hell. Both Goldman and Morgan Stanley got a bailout (Goldman’s second within a week) by Bernanke allowing them the fictional status of bank holding companies and so able to access the Fed’s discount window. In the months that followed pretty much any company with a financial arm, domestic or foreign, got access to the Fed’s programs. The result was a criminal and corrupt banking sector was not put through bankruptcy, resolved, cleansed, and put back in operation but rather Bernanke wrote them a blank check no questions asked, no reforms required even for show. The too big to fail became even bigger and more dangerous.

    This is the context in which the Fed minutes need to be seen. It is a context of kleptocracy where when the sh*t hit the fan, Bernanke and the Fed went all in to save the crooks and left the rest of us to go hang. It is one of those watershed moments where the facades drop. The Fed is not a central bank. It is a private banking cartel. And when push came to shove it protected its own, the very crooks who sent the economy and the banking system over the cliff in the first place. “Monetary policy” is just an empty phrase, a figleaf as if the Fed was engaged in or had some public service in mind, instead of the single and sole purpose of protecting, whatever the cost to the rest of us, the banks which compose and run it.

    1. YankeeFrank

      Yep. Of course the Times will never honestly appraise any of this. Times propaganda is extremely effective in that those who rely on the Times for information believe they are being informed while those of us who know the deeper story see that not only is their perspective off, but they leave off entire parts of stories altogether, lying by omission. Just like we’ll read about Ukraine and Venezuela and yet we’ll never learn how the US government is fomenting and aiding the unrest and instability in those nations in favor of the neoliberal cartels.

    2. Doug Terpstra

      Excellent autopsy of casino capitalism / rigged market cannibalism.

      The “FED” would be more aptly named The Criminal Reserve given that its sole self-appointed mandate is to enable Wall Street’s looting. Dean Baker has a short piece on the “scary ignorance” of the “Fed”, but like you, I’m just not sure ignorance really explains it. Baker sounds a bit skeptical as well, but he usually gives people the benefit of doubt. So he doesn’t call out men like Krugman or Obama as deceivers.

      And now, here we go again: nothing has been repaired, no one of consequence was held accountable, all the same people are even more firmly in charge, another super-bubble is hissing, and we’re hearing all the same assurances that every thing is fine.

    3. financial matters

      It also showed what we are capable of if it is just used for the right purposes.

      “When asked where he got all that money that the Fed was using to purchase assets, Chairman Bernanke correctly answered that the Fed created it. It did not come from taxpayers. If the Fed can spend by “keystroke” to buy financial assets, why can we not find a way for government to spend in the public interest by “keystroke”?

      The challenge now is to convince ourselves that money created by government could be used—judiciously—to finance long-term public projects, like infrastructure and high-speed rail. What about Hyman Minsky’s proposal to use government as employer of last resort? Imagine if highest-priority projects were financed with the new money created by the cooperation between the Treasury and the Federal Reserve—breaking in a single stroke the logjam in Washington created by the belief that Uncle Sam has “run out of money” as President Obama wrongly believes.”


      Would definitely be nice to see a change of direction.

      “As the new leader at the Fed, now the nation’s leading bank regulator, the skepticism Ms. Yellen displayed toward Wall Street that is revealed in the transcripts is likely to prove particularly important. Early in 2008, she pointed to a paper by the economist Raghuram Rajan, now the head of India’s central bank, about the danger of the structure of Wall Street bonuses.
      “It seems to me that we have had an awful lot of booms and busts in which this type of incentive played a role,” she said.

      Timothy F. Geithner, the president of the New York Fed at the time, pushed back against Ms. Yellen and the idea that overhauling bonuses was necessary. After the election of Barack Obama in November, Mr. Geithner rose to become secretary of the Treasury, and few changes were made to rules about bonuses.

      Ms. Yellen might intend to approach the issue differently. Back in 2008 she said that proposals to alter bonuses “were not popular,” presumably referring to financial circles.

      That didn’t scare her off.

      “I think this is worth some thought,” she said.”

  3. PeterP

    The article about monster mothers is funny. Only childless people would excited about stuff like this. Children are part of humanity and society, they belong everywhere. Do we need a second civil rights movement so that children can enter restaurants? Pathetic.

    1. alex morfesis

      bratty kids are great…real easy to handle, as long as you know how to administer the vulcan nerve pinch….here little kiddy kiddy kiddy…

    2. kareninca

      Elderly people also often need to wear diapers. Is it also cool for them to change their diapers at restaurant tables?

      Many people have colostomy bags, due to illness. Except in an emergency, does having a social expectation that they will deal with the contents of their bag in the restroom, deny their status as members of humanity?

      Complaining about the use of restaurant tables for diaper changing, is complaining about people doing something inconsiderate and unsanitary. It is not about children per se.

    3. Lambert Strether

      Did you read the whole article?

      If so, did you read the part about the banker mom letting her kid pee on the floor and then forcing the waitress to clean it up?

      You’re not excited about that? I would be. This is bizarrely entitled behavior. What next?

    4. J Sterling

      I’m a part of humanity and society, I belong everywhere too. Do I get to shit in the dining room? No, they have separate rooms for that.

  4. JeffC

    Re “US equities: more buyers than sellers” in the FT.

    The graph shows the US public being net sellers of equities, to what cumulatively amounts to a vast dollar figure, since 1957 (excepting one short, minor net-buying spree).

    Why didn’t they run out of shares to sell long ago? Are we supposed to believe that the public is and always has been massively net short? Or is it more likely that either the data are fatally flawed or the explanation is?

  5. Joshua Klaus, Chickenhawk J.G.

    Owain, Owain, Owain. “A jury trial would surely vindicate the valid torturer”

    In an actual independent court, in which CIA does not censor the proceedings in real time or summarily replace non-compliant judges, the judge would instruct jurors that nothing justifies torture. Perhaps he would read them the Convention Against Torture and the domestic legislation derived from it by binding customary and conventional international law. The judge would drum the simple law into their heads: nothing justifies torture. The jury would convict the torturer and he would go to prison, telling himself that he did the right thing and saved some lives.

    But our rough tough torture cowards don’t want that. After other people bring them in and tie them up so the rough tough timmies can beat em up in safety, they don’t want to take their medicine, like Ollie North or G. Gordon Liddy, criminals with balls. Investigate, as required by universal-jurisdiction law, and they’re all waah! waah! tantrum! till they scare the newb empty-suit president away. Prosecute, as required by law, and they’re going to interpose the dumbest, poorest human shields they can find: Graner, England.

    But give Joshua Klaus a helpless child and a place to hide, and he’s going to molest that child and molest him and molest him until the child can’t suffer any more. Joshua Klaus is John Wayne Gacy without the clown suit.

    Torturers are not just enemies of all mankind by law. Torturers are cowards.

  6. Jim Haygood

    Arsonists volunteer for the fire brigade:

    In 2010, Democrats ignored the slew of attacks on the health care law only to lose more than 60 seats – and their majority – in the House and six seats in the Senate. Now they’re switching strategies, casting themselves as crusaders out to repair a broken law.

    They call the law “imperfect” and “flawed.” They air television ads that highlight the need to “fix Obamacare.” They criticize President Barack Obama for the “disastrous” rollout of the website,, and for breaking a promise to Americans that they could keep their health insurance if they liked it.


    Tough game to play, when the narcissistic Obama (ex officio head of their party) put his unmistakable name on the law. Better rebrand it as Romneycare:

    ‘Romneycare is the peoples’ enemy. Romneycare has ALWAYS been our enemy.’

  7. Andrew Watts

    RE: NSA Official Warned About Threat 17 Years Before Snowden

    The analyst originally wrote the report in 1991. The NSA Cryptologic Quarterly article was published in ’96. That really makes it twenty-three years ago. It’s a common mistake.

    Why does this all sound so familiar?

  8. Klassy

    Google Glass. Uncanny! — “Goodness gracious do those things see into my soul?!” That is exactly what I said the when I saw Google Glass.
    Then I retreated to my fainting couch and dove into my well worn leather bound editon of Ivanhoe.

  9. fresno dan
    I would change it to simply the overselling/overpromising of all medications.

    After 14 months, the groups treated with medication alone and medication plus behaviour therapy showed greater improvements in core ADHD symptoms than the other two groups. For academic achievement, only the group receiving medication and behaviour therapy combined outperformed the group receiving regular care2. By three years in, the four groups had become indistinguishable on every measure3. Treatment conferred no lasting benefit in terms of grades, test scores or social adjustment. Eight years later, it was the same story4. “Nothing we did could tease out and say there’s a long-term effect,” says Swanson, who was one of the lead investigators on the MTA.

    It reminds me very much of the fact that despite all the salutary affects of statins, the evidence of their affect on increasing life expectancy is tenuous and marginal. Very difficult to cure any health problem with a pill.

    1. McMike

      Much of our interventionist, take-a-pill-and-it-goes-away paradigm is breaking down to reveal the myths, false premises, wishful thinking, bad science, and greed…. but vaccines, on the other hand, are an unalloyed miracle! In every case. Always. Without question.

      [Sorry, couldn’t resist.]

      1. JohnL

        How many people do you know who had polio? Smallpox? And why do you suppose that is?

        I’m no fan of the way – mostly US – big pharma has turned a common gift to mankind into a money spinner. But there’s some babies in that bathwater.

        Try to educate yourself in some critical thinking skills instead of pounding the table with “all vaccines bad”.

        1. McMike

          Speaking of critical thinking… point out where I said “all vaccines bad.”

          I believe that the drug firms are pathological, the regulators are inept, the public health officials elitist and overzealous, the industry pumping a lot of myths and propaganda, the doctors arrogant and incurious, the testing and research system corrupt, the incentives perverse, the public health premise faulty and insulting, and many of the vaccine proponents projecting heavily in outrage at people who refuse to comply with authorities and seem to operate from a blind fear of disease and loathing of their own bodies. But nowhere did I say all vaccines are bad.

          That is critical thinking pal, analyzing a system and concluding that most people are sheep who do what they are told without thinking, and who would rather not hear about where the gangplank goes.

          So, you know, piss off.

          As far as educating yourself, I don’t suppose you realize that back when polio was a scourge, much of the nation had not heard about washing their hands after pooping.

        2. kareninca

          JohnL, McMike didn’t say that “all vaccines are bad.” He was making fun of people who say that “all vaccines are always good.” There is a very big difference between the two claims. You misread his post.

            1. J Sterling

              McMike is doing the two-step of terrific triviality: “say something ambiguous between so strong it’s absurd, and so weak it’s absurd even to mention it. Hop from foot to foot as necessary.”

              He starts out insinuating that vaccines are “myths, false premises, wishful thinking, bad science, and greed”, but then insists he didn’t saaaaay exactly that, like your annoying kid sister who “wasn’t touching you” in the car, not really, she was just poking her finger in your face. But he still won’t say what he means to say. “Vaccines are bad” is so strong it’s absurd. Ask the smallpox virus about that, a disease that used to flay your skin off so you died in screaming agony; now it’s only not extinct because it’s preserved in two labs. Ask the polio virus, it’s still around, crippling kids, but only just. Ask the flu virus, so sneaky it changes the locks every year, but we don’t get the Spanish Flu epidemic any more, that killed more than the First World War.

              So McMike hops to the other foot, the one that’s so trivial it’s a waste of everyone’s time to even read it. Medicine isn’t perfect and hasn’t solved every problem in the world yet. Yeah? How about them bears, still shitting in woods?

              1. McMike

                No, you are projecting and putting words in my mouth.

                I am saying that the vaccine system is too important to be left in the hands of the FDA and the drug companies. And it is out of control.

                In this sense, it is exactly like the financial system. The people on these boards critique the financial system as rotten to the core and out of control, and they don’t have to put up with non sequitur BS accusing them of opposing all forms of commerce.

              2. McMike

                And you and your ilk can’t seem to get away from scare mongering. Ooh, polio and smallpox are terrible, therefore all measures are appropriate and scrutiny is treason.

                Sounds exactly like our modern fascists selling their endless war on terror.

    2. Yves Smith Post author

      Statins are another one of my pet issues (like mammograms).

      They mess with your liver. Tell me that 30 years of that is a good idea.

      Aside from the potential for long-term side effects, you have the mundane issue that cholesterol is something our body makes for tissue repair. Moreover, LDL cholesterol (the kind the doctors get upset about) fights infections. In women, higher cholesterol levels (total cholesterol of 270) correlates with the longest lifespan (lowest all factor mortality rate). As one reader put it, if you lower your LDL, you lower your odds of dying of heart disease but more than proportionately increase your odds of dying of MRSA.

        1. Yves Smith Post author

          Mammograms have long been known to be a poor diagnostic: poor at identifying the fast-moving growth that are deadly, good at identifying slow-moving growths that women will die with rather than from. A manual exam from someone who feels a lot of boobs is a better diagnostic (which means it’s better to go to clinics that focus on breast diagnosis so you can be assured of getting an experienced practitioner). For instance, with mammograms, it’s not uncommon in studies and real life for radiologists to give different diagnoses on the same film. Hence the high rate of false positive and lots of unnecessary interventions.

          If you must have imaging, moreover, thermal imaging is MUCH better at catching the fast-moving growth early. But radiologists have an installed base of mammogram equipment.

          And per above, that article proves the point. The politics go completely the other way. Radiologists don’t want to give up an income stream. The medical industrial complex loses if they are forced to admit that a test (which costs money) does not better than a manual exam (which MDs don’t charge for, it’s wrapped into the cost of a physical). The author clearly does not read medical research (I see no comments on research methods or the statistical analysis in the paper) and can’t offer his own commentary. All he does is quote the establishment fighting to preserve their incomes.

  10. rich

    Full Show: The Deep State Hiding in Plain Sight February 21, 2014

    Mike Lofgren, a former GOP congressional staff member with the powerful House and Senate Budget Committees, joins Bill to talk about what he calls the Deep State, a hybrid of corporate America and the national security state, which is “out of control” and “unconstrained.” In it, Lofgren says, elected and unelected figures collude to protect and serve powerful vested interests. “It is … the red thread that runs through the history of the last three decades. It is how we had deregulation, financialization of the economy, the Wall Street bust, the erosion or our civil liberties and perpetual war,” Lofgren tells Bill.

    Lofgren says the Deep State’s heart lies in Washington, DC, but its tentacles reach out to Wall Street, which Lofgren describes as “the ultimate backstop to the whole operation,” Silicon Valley and over 400,000 contractors, private citizens who have top-secret security clearances. Like any other bureaucracy, it’s groupthink that drives the Deep State.

    1. Chitownrdh

      Today’s must watch! Lofgren does a great job of connecting the dots. The deep state is indeed out of control…. red or blue doesn’t matter we all MUST join together to fight this behemoth. We need more insiders to speak up, although the bigger the deep state becomes, the less chance insiders will speak up because they are afraid.

    2. JTFaraday

      I don’t think the interview reveals very much. The essay is a little more forthcoming.

      It is interesting that Lofgren seems to believe that the Teahadists have become a pain in the “deep state’s” @ss, essentially by interrupting the ready flow of cash. OTOH, at the beginning of the essay he asserts that government money flows to the deep state no matter what. So, I don’t know if that is Lofgren’s theory about how the Teahadists could hobble the deep state or if they have actually had some deterring effect.

      In any case, the historical Lord Keynesian and contemporary continuing “progressive” obsession with keeping the money flowing through the government in the name of “the economy” is almost certainly helping feed the “deep” corporatist state to which said progressives profess to be opposed. This strikes me as compromising and counterproductive.

      A more nuanced position on “government spending” must emerge from what’s left of the real left.

  11. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Math that predicted the revolutions now.

    Psychohistory. Robots.


    But a lot of human commenters here probably saw these revolutions (and more) coming too.

  12. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Gold demand down 15% globally.

    Like a lot of stuff, gold is neither exceptionally good nor exceptionally bad.

    Too much is not good but you don’t want to throw it away either (that’s when the 0.01% say to you, well, just donate it to me then).

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Keeping some gold is your way of resisting the dragon.

      Yes, you have to fight the beast, but nothing comes easy in life.

      It has AT LEAST one good use – you can use it to lure the dragon.

      Do not throw it away.

  13. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    How to restore the good name of government?

    By strengthening the 4th branch – the little people.

    The first order of business would be Money Creation by The little People spending it into existence (Congress already authorized to do so; if idoubted, put it explicitly in the Constitution)..

    Simultaneously, GDP Sharing should be put into the Constitution, the calculation and distribution of GDP can all be done in a one-robot office of a vastly downsized executive branch. This way, you take the GDP squabble out of politics.

  14. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Cop kills 17 year old.

    A universal private and public ban on guns would be a minimum place to start.

    Cops, with batons, other equally lethal non-gun measures and anti-measures, and numerical superiority (via surveillance, informants and mobility) can still be intimating to a lot people, many of them non-criminals but peaceful protestors.

    As partial solutions can sometimes be worse than no solutions at all, it befits the security state propaganda to call for or play to only private sector gun ban.

  15. craazyman

    I don’t know if anybody else gets the banner ad for Underwear for Smart Guys. There’s a hipster looking dude with a tight butt flaunting a slightly picturesque pair of hip hugging boxer briefs. Either you need to buy the underwear if you’re a smart guy, or you need to wear it if you want to be. I use the word pictuersque not ’cause of the guy’s butt — that’ s for you ladies — but because of the quality of light moving across the ripples in the fabric. Artists used to study drapery with tremendous focus. They would distinguish their styles by the way they handled the passages of light across a folded sleeve holding cards on a table with a window high and to the right. Maybe an arm would be raised, and the light would caress the arm and the folds in the shirt would undulate like waves on a sea, pulling just perfectly to show the stretch of the shoulder. That’s not easy to pull off unless you really know how to read reality. So I did notice the folds in the underwear and the way the photographer lit them and how and why. Or I thought about it. Somehow the underwear did look kind of smart, and so, sort of, did the guy. But I didn’t buy. I won’t buy. I’m not going to fall for that kind of cheap trick. If I want the real thing, I’ll go to the museum wearing my undewear for blockheads. I buy it at Target in 3 packs under flourescent lights where it looks shiny and unappealing in plastic wrap, in disheveled piles on a display table. But if you put it on with a window high and to the right and you stand there, just so, it will almost look like it does on the internet — as long as you have a buff butt. That’s where it really makes a difference. This must have something to do with money and ecomolmics if you just connect the dots, but right now I’m too lazy so like the ad, it’ll just have to be imnplied.

  16. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Half of US farmland eyed by private equity.

    It reminds one of the roaming bands of Goths in the dying days of the Roman Empire.

    First, raiding corporations, then the housing/rental market, and now agriculture – hordes of money-hoarding orcs.

    And you ask yourself, where is the source of this destructive force? How does our hero save mankind? What journey will he/she have to take? Where is our epic-poet to tell us the fable?

    1. McMike

      Why should someone want to save mankind?

      I’m sorta getting attracted to the idea of an ark. Does anyone have a cubit-stick I can borrow?

        1. diptherio

          If “man” were more kind, maybe you’d have a stronger argument. Given the state of things, though, your reason just sounds like selfishness. Think of all the other animals and how happy they’ll be once us destructive primates are gone. One species’ tragedy is another species’ niche opening up…

          1. NotSoSure

            Agreed, I am not arguing for the destruction of mankind, but saying that mankind automatically deserves to be saved is bogus too. What have we done to deserve it.

            There’s going to be an Ark someday when this planet is probably close to unhabitable. People will build rockets and take their chance somewhere else.

            1. McMike

              Based on the bulk of Hollywood output, it looks like the odds of landing on a dystopian barren lord-of-the-flies-style-government planet with either slave-holding apes or carnivorous monsters that can communicate telepathically outstrips the odds of landing on a planet full of hot green space chicks to seduce by about 20 to 1.

              Besides, by 2050, Earth will be the new Mars.

              We’d have better luck getting a time machine and going back to teach John Hinckley Jr how to shoot.

              1. NotSoSure

                I subscribe more to the Dan Simmons vision i.e. a bunch of human and advanced A.I. personalities conspired together to drop a black hole in the center of Earth, thus forcing human beings to expand throughout the galaxy, partly to satisfy the A.I.’s nefarious purposes e.g. to build the Ultimate Intelligence (the God of Machines).

                I think my friend who works at Google may have seen the prototype of such plans.

                1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

                  Ultimately, mankind may will destroy itself, deserving no saving, but surely there are legends to to told about how we were saved from these hordes of hoarding horny horses, or some other more exact alliteration.

              2. JerseyJeffersonian

                Well, Bush the First was VP, and putatively rather deeply enmeshed in the Deep State, so I don’t think that any significant change would have resulted had he become President at that time. In fact, as Ronnie Raygun declined further as his early stage Alzheimer’s progressed, George H. W. Bush was likely increasingly off the leash. His fingerprints were on Iran-Contra, unsurprisingly given his past work as head of The Company.

    2. rich

      SEC Ponders Break for Private Equity Over Broker Rules

      The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission is considering granting private-equity firms a reprieve after they collected billions of dollars in deal fees without being registered to do so, according to a person with knowledge of the matter.

      The SEC staff is weighing a special exemption for private-equity firms to continue collecting deal fees in the future, said the person, who asked not to be named because the deliberations aren’t public. An exemption would mean the agency is unlikely to pursue enforcement action over past deals, the person said. A final decision hasn’t been made and the agency could still require the firms to register or seek sanctions for past deals.

      The exemption would counter the stance of an SEC official, who signaled in a speech last year that transaction fees the private-equity industry had been taking for decades may have been improper because the firms weren’t registered as broker-dealers, a requirement under securities laws.

      “I imagine that right after that speech there was reasonable blowback” from the private-equity industry, said James Cox, a professor at Duke University School of Law in Durham, North Carolina. “Regulation now usually embodies what the industry is willing to accept.”

      ‘Powerful and Successful Lobby’

      keep believing….

  17. optimader

    “Accurate perceptions are associated with mild depression, not clinical depression. ”
    So are plenty inaccurate perceptions. IMO, what has served me well at least w/ decision making is a non-emotionally driven product of critical thinking. Obvious limits of course, File Under: V. van Gogh choices of color. Not all good decision making outcomes are void of distorted reality.

    GW Bush, who I speculate is a mildly depressed closet alcoholic with brain damage, probably made some of his singularly worst decisions through a lens of Negativism with the classic distorted thought processes described below. (What works for oil painting doesn’t necessarily translate to foreign policy).

    —-> “Depressed people commonly develop distortions in their thought processes that produce an overall negative mental/emotional spin, and thereby reinforce the effects of depressive illness. Examples of these distorted thought processes include overgeneralization ”

    Depression and Negativity
    Depressed people commonly develop distortions in their thought processes that produce an overall negative mental/emotional spin, and thereby reinforce the effects of depressive illness. Examples of these distorted thought processes include overgeneralization (a tendency to apply thoughts about one situation to most or all other situations), selective abstraction (a tendency to pick out the negative details of a situation), labeling (a tendency to base opinions of oneself or others on minimal information), fortune telling (a tendency to view the future in blanket negative terms) and all-or-nothing thinking (a tendency to view situations in pro or con terms that have no middle ground). To make things worse, many of the negative thoughts found in people affected by depression are relatively reflexive or automatic, and therefore don’t pass through the brain’s built-in pathways for logic or reasoning.

    Depressive Realism
    Despite the presence of significant distortions in their everyday processing of thoughts and emotions, depressed people generally view certain facts and situations more accurately than their non-depressed peers. This unusually accurate perception is known as depressive realism. In the first decade of the 2000s, at least two research teams conducted studies designed to increase scientific understanding of this unique frame of mind. Paradoxically, these researchers concluded that depressed people tend to view certain aspects of their surrounding reality more accurately because they disregard some of the information normally considered by non-depressed people. In limited circumstances, this narrowing of the information pool apparently gives people affected by depression the ability to focus more clearly on a situation’s relevant details.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      I suggest you read the source paper rather than the sanitized summaries of it. It has been cited over 6000 times. It’s a foundational paper and hints strongly that the mental health profession has a fundamental problem with its definition of what constitutes mental health, give the level of delusion in the sort of people it likes classifying as healthy.

  18. Eureka Springs

    Could someone in the know define the term “emerging markets” por favor? When I read articles such as illargi’s which many articles quoted within call even Russia an emerging market…. I have to ask.

    I’m guessing the definition goes something like this: Nations which are ripe for more looting. Cue the banks, the spooks and the rest of MIC.. and their lackeys…. especially propaganda…err media.

    1. McMike

      Not quite. The US is clearly mature, but obviously ripe for plucking.

      More like:
      emerging = can still be bribed at the local level
      mature = needs to be bribed at the federal level.

      1. bob

        Developed- $ Bribes end up in corporate cofffers.
        Emerging- Some of the local currency bribes end up in the hands of people who need it.

    1. Wendy

      Wow, thanks for posting this. This “for thee but not for me” hypocrisy doesn’t pass the red-face test, to my mind. Part of why I’m not CEO material, surely.

  19. optimader

    RE:Parrot Rats Out Owner At DUI Checkpoint Jonathan Turley (Chuck L)
    “Police at first believed the parrot’s voice to be that of a passenger…”

    Wasn’t the Parrot a passenger, or was he just flying along side w/ the car??

    1. Working Class Nero

      The men who faced snipers with dinky sheet metal shields, biker helmets, and baseball bats in Kiev are hardcore nationalists. These are most certainly not Occupy Wall Street hippie-types. So I wouldn’t be looking for any gay marriage amendments coming out of Ukraine any time soon since the type of men that can overthrow a government are not often going to be to the liking of soft westerners. Their leaders are already talking about resisting “totalitarian liberalism” which in the West would be called “cultural Marxism”.

      The parallels to Syria are striking. The ideoligical similarities between the Ukrainian nationalists and the Russian imperialists they are fighting perfectly mirror the struggle in Syria of twin Islamists, with Al Qaida Sunni insurgents fighting Iranian-backed Shiite Hezbollah fighters supporting the Syrian government. The US/EU is happy to support anyone who fights on their side so the fact that both the Ukrainian nationalists and the Al Qaida fanatics in Syria are anathema to American policy makers is of little concern. During the peace talks the plan is to strip power from the people who actually fought and won the war and to give it to liberal political forces acceptable to the US/EU.

      In fact the US may have provoked the action a bit in Ukraine as a bargaining chip in the struggle in Syria. The idea being if the Russians back out of Syria the US would turn off the insurgency spigot in Ukraine. But it is clear the bravery of the fighters in Kiev prove they are much more then American lackeys; hired help do not expose themselves to sniper fire the way these glorified soccer hooligans did in Independence Square. No, these guys were fighting for blood and soil, their own blood and soil.

      But the US/EU may have bitten off a bit more than they can chew in Ukraine. Nationalists are not stupid, they know how the game of power is played and they will keep the upper hand up to the point where there is a threat of a Russian invasion, in which case moderates will be put forward to appeal to NATO. And behind the scenes there are many nascent nationalist movements in Europe that are extremely unhappy with the EU who will be inspired by this nationalist victory in Kiev.

      1. Jerome Armstrong

        There’s a western communal aspect to euromaiden that has no likeness whatsoever to the Syrian insurgencies. The best outcome, imo, is for western Ukraine to form an anarchist/socialist government that’s part of the EU, or, perhaps even better, going it solo ala Iceland. West Ukraine hasn’t had shit for centuries, and the ports don’t mean near as much as long as they have open access to the West in Europe.

        1. Massinissa

          Yes, because the west Ukraine right wingers can totally make a socialist government.

          Pie in the sky much? That wont happen.

          1. Jerome Armstrong

            Fitting them into a political spectrum seems a mistake. That’s a common RT tactic, to label them all as right-wingers. It’s not at all like that on the ground, as you can see from the reports from college students in English there.

            I dunno if they can or can’t pull this off, but I’m glad they are trying.

      2. Murky

        Working Class Nero wrote:

        “The men who faced snipers with dinky sheet metal shields, biker helmets, and baseball bats in Kiev are hardcore nationalists.”

        Complete nonsense. The Ukrainian uprising did not issue from a narrow group of hard-core nationalists. There was nothing secretive or conspiratorial. No unified political program. The only thing that unified Ukrainians was getting rid of Yanukovych. It was a grass-roots uprising from the broadest cross section of Ukrainian society. Grandmothers, old men, priests, business men, medical volunteers, cooks, and every other class of person are participating in this nation-wide event. Try clicking that link I pasted above. Look at the faces in the crowd at Maidan Square. Even though it’s 3 AM there right now, you’ll see many more middle-aged and elderly people than rebellious youth. The common goal was not nation building. They already have a nation. The goal was to fight and rid themselves of an extraordinarily corrupt regime. How long can a society tolerate rigged elections? Compromised civil liberties? Theft of public property? Living under a mafia run state? These people fought for freedom, not for nation building.

        If you don’t believe my words, listen to someone with undisputed expertise. Here is a video released just today from one of the top scholars in Ukrainian Studies, Taras Kuzio.

        1. John Jones

          Just to continue from the other links post.
          Do you favor the E.U because it is the lesser of two evils?
          Or do you think it gives a country an economic advantage?

        2. Working Class Nero

          Sorry, trying not to be too pedantic, but calling it Maidan Square is like translating Place de la Concorde as “Place Square”. “Maidan” means square. It is often referred to simply as “The Maidan”

          In any case while a larger segment of the Ukrainian population may be demonstrating in Independence Square and middle class college professors expounding their theories, when push came to shove and the EU brokered a peace deal it was the hard men of Right Sector who kept fighting, broke through police ranks while taking heavy causalities and ultimately caused the Russian-backed President to flee. Attention: the Russians are master chess players and this may be a temporary strategic withdrawal. There is no way the Russians will give up all of Ukraine, although a partition into West and East Ukraine is possible.

          From the NYT:

          If Independence Square has become a crucible to test physical courage, many of the men who passed that test say they could not have done so without the undying enthusiasm of people like her.

          Of course, not everyone considers them heroes. Within their ranks are fighters who tried to immolate the police with petroleum bombs, and some groups of protesters have been sustained and driven by dark, nationalistic ideologies from Ukraine’s past. But many, if not most, people in Kiev wholeheartedly support the men.

          The adulation is palpable and only grew this week. “We want to cheer them up, and we want to support them,” Ms. Iaschuk explained. “They smile, and they say thank you for the tea, and sometimes ask for our telephone numbers. And we say, ‘No, boys, only after you bring us victory.’ ”

          Her friend Galyna Kolodkevych, 26, a professor of Ukrainian literature at a college in Kiev, said she wanted to marry one of the men as soon as possible. Her future husband, she said, should belong “only to the Right Sector,” a coalition of hard-line street groups that have played a prominent role in the fighting.

          And here is a video stating Right Sector’s policy demands, after playing a leading role in the events at Independence Square. They seem to have European-level aspirations, leave the door open to joining international organizations, and Miley Cyrus shouldn’t for the foreseeable future schedule any concerts there. On the other hand they will certainly opt to play the role of the opposition in any future government.

  20. JGordon

    “Half of US Farm Land Being Eyed by Private Equity”

    Good; I’m forseeing a surge in demand for urban permaculture designs focused on providing sustainable nutrition. The sooner the financial system destroys the “Green Revolution” the better. It’s like watching two scorpions fight each other. In that contest, the only winners will be those watching. From a safe distance.

    1. McMike

      The feds and states are busy making local/small scale agriculture difficult or illegal. The latest farm bill does nothing to slow down the Big Ag stranglehold. And fed monetary and tax policy, obviously, continues to favor the taxpayer financed accumulation of assets by the elite.

    2. Jack Parsons

      It’s the land soon to be without water. The giant midwest acquifers (Ogalala) are drying out and not being replenished. Snarfing up this land and flogging it to pension funds will be another… drum roll… “pump and dump” by private equity.

    3. Lambert Strether

      Something like that. Pessimism of the intelligence. Optimism of the will. Of course Big Ag and its minions will do everything in its power to stop that, but permaculture isn’t the one falling apart; it’s them. The soil is pretty smart….

  21. Jess

    From the AP story headlined on HuffPo:
    “It is also a stark reversal for Russian President Vladimir Putin’s dream of recreating as much as possible of the Soviet Union in a new Eurasian Union, in which Moscow had counted on Yanukovich to deliver Ukraine as a central member.”

    Gee. just the other day someone here on NC listed the desire of everyday Ukrainians to avoid being part of this reconstituted Soviet Union as a prime motive for the originally peaceful protests that have now resulted in the legislature removing Yanukovych from office, setting new elections for May, and releasing opposition leader Yulia Tymoschenko from prison. Who was it that made that comment. Oh, wait, it was me. Imagine that.

    Of course, the CIA and the other field operatives of the global elite will try to hijack this revolution, influence the elections, etc. But knowing the toughness of the Ukrainians my first inclination is to say, “Good luck with that.” I predict they will no more successful than Putin was.

    1. John Jones

      But why would the they have to influence the elections. Is there a party that is not conservative and that is against Yanukovych that has a chance of winning?

  22. coboarts

    “Cop kills 17 year old who opened the door with a Wii controller in his hand ”

    The more they become uparmored, the more their souls cringe in fear. They’re peeing their pants – and people are getting shot. This is the wall of black/blue that will guard the tower of insanity. Good luck, fools.

  23. rich

    The Shadow Lobbying Complex: How Corporations Are Hiding Vast Influence Peddling Efforts

    A new exposé in The Nation magazine reveals that much of the lobbying money spent on shaping policy in Washington is going unreported. For the third straight year, the official amount spent by lobbyists has declined, and the number of registered lobbyists is the lowest it’s been in more than a decade. But these numbers are misleading, says reporter Lee Fang, author of the “The Shadow Lobbying Complex: On paper, influence peddling has declined. In reality, it has gone underground.”

    AMY GOODMAN: But a new cover story in The Nation magazine reveals how these numbers are misleading. It’s headlined “The Shadow Lobbying Complex: On Paper, Influence Peddling Has Declined. In Reality, It Has Gone Underground.”

    TPP mentioned.

  24. bob

    The queen has power? Who knew? Most everyone. The gov of the UK, as well as that of it’s ‘former’ colonies, including Canada and Australia, serve at the pleasure of the queen, under her royal option at power. HMS? her majesties service. It’s her army, navy and airforce too.

  25. Chauncey Gardiner

    Thank you for the article and photos of Wounded Knee from the Denver Post.
    Thinking Oglala College. I believe Sheldon Jackson College, with which I am more familiar, had to shut down a few years ago for financial reasons.

    1. optimader
      Sidney Has No Horses is a Medicine Man, carpenter, hunter . . . Chief. This documentary explores the suffering of the Sun Dance and the struggle to live an indigenous religion in the corporate-age.

      Synopsis: Sidney Has No Horse
      Sidney Has No Horse is an Oglala Lakota Medicine Man from a world-renowned spiritual lineage. He commands a powerful, authentic presence and yet maintains the angst and dark humor from a lifetime in the poorest, most violent community in our nation. This documentary is an exploration of that lineage and the powerful at times terrifying ceremonies that maintain his connection to his ancestors, traditions, and the Great Mystery…….

  26. foppe

    In unrelated news, people may want to consider watching True Detective; it’s easily one of the best TV shows I’ve come across.

    1. optimader

      Check these out Foppe, all great detective mysteries, always enjoy them when I have a apportunity
      Copenhagen, 1949. Denmark is still suffering from shortages and shady commercial transactions of the occupation, but the country is also preparing to enter the more orderly 1950s. It is an age of scheming and fraud, lawlessness and corruption. Bjarne Madsen is an idealistic young journalist desperate to provide his readers with some hard evidence of the corruption that is ongoing. After receiving a tip-off about organized crime on a big scale, Bjarne sees an opportunity for his ambitions to unravel the threads of an extensive criminal spider’s web become reality. Directed by Ole Christian Madsen, 2000. In Danish with English subtitles.


      Paris, 1761. Brilliant young Parisian police commissioner Nicolas Le Floch works under Monsieur de Sartine, the Royal Lieutenant General of Police. Louis XV’s kingdom is plagued by conspiracies and murders. With the help of his faithful subordinate Bourdeau, Nicolas solves mysterious disappearances and sorts out awkward scandals. From seedy taverns to the muffled hallways of Versailles, from brothels to the Châtelet prisons, he tracks and stakes out suspects, questions witnesses, gathers evidence, foils traps, and unveils plotters. Nicolas Le Floch plunges viewers into the mysteries of 18th Century Paris, a world teeming with crime, debauchery and theft. 2008-2013. In French with English subtitles.

      Murder, betrayal, office politics, temptation… it’s all in a day’s work for Detective Salvo Montalbano. With intuition and a cadre of police officers, Montalbano solves crimes in the fictional small city of Vigata. This work brings him across the paths of unforgettable characters who could only come from Sicily. He also wages a personal war with his own demons, which fight against his professional ideals and personal commitment to beautiful long-distance girlfriend, Livia. Yet there’s always time to indulge a long-standing flirtation with his ultimate temptress, Italian cuisine.

      1. Kurt Sperry

        Big thumbs up for mention of the RAI Montalbano series, witty, smart and a pretty good whodunnit as well. Plus, it’s a great bridge into the Sicilian language/dialect for italophones.

  27. JGordon

    “Jenn’s Words: “Living in poverty is like being punched in the face over and over and over on a daily basis.”

    This is probably the most important things I’ve read in a few weeks and consequently, I accidentally devoted too much verbiage to it today even though I am very busy and I have other things I should have been doing. Oh well. But when I think of feeding people (a major challenge faced by Jenn, according to her post–getting food for her family) I go off on weird tangents like this. Also rather than this stuff just being my obnoxious, if insightful, opinion, many of you will find some (however unpalatable) tips for getting free food here (which I do myself), and a few desperate people out there may appreciate that. So….

    First, something immediately useful for Jenn: she should find contacts for people in her local permaculture community (a vigorous internet search will turn them up) and see about getting a list of those who have too-productive fruit trees/berry bushes in their yard (which would be most that are competently managed). Such a list is maintained for my area, and I have no reason to not believe that other permaculture communities won’t have a similar setup. Getting all-you-can-eat healthy fruits (depending on season and location–I live in Florida so that’s pretty much year round for me) seems to me to be a lot healthier and cheaper than scraping up a few dollars now and again for meager, unhealthy, industrially packaged “food” rations.

    On that note, it’s also not a bad idea to stop if you see a nice fruit tree (this part may require research and study, since there may be literally dozens of species of fruiting plants that are well-suited for any particular area–one reference book I have on hand lists at least fifty that can be grown in my immediate area for example–many of which are) in someone’s yard, walk up to the house, tell the owner how much you love her magnificent tree, and ask if you and your family could try some of the delicious-looking fruits on it. Anyway, most people are going to let you take as much fruit as you can carry, even “cold knocking” And you may be able to make the arrangement permanent. You owe it to your family to give it a try.

    An addendum to that, speaking of the list, many fruits on it may be unrecognizable, but you shouldn’t ignore them. Lychee, paw-paw, atemoya, longan, sapote, guanabana, carambola, to name a few, are all delicious and nutritious fruits that I’ve never in my life seen on store shelves (well maybe carambola once or twice) but that grow abundantly in people’s yards around where I live. And there are literally hundreds of other underused fruit and vegetable species unknown to typical Americans, but known to us who practice the dark art of permaculture (we do this, for one, because our selected species may better fit ecological niches than more commonly known plants. Also, a lot of them look really cool–i.e. jackfruit). So don’t deprive yourself of experiencing them simply because you don’t know what they are. I guarantee you that they’ll be better and better for you than eating McNuggets, and cheaper.

    Second, you should find out if any permaculture design classes are being given anywhere in your area, and ask them for help growing things (this is also a good way to get at that list I mentioned above)–as part of every design course, students are required to find a project to work on, and your helping with your plight could be one of those projects.

    Alternatively, you could get a list of previous projects where fruits and vegetables (often somewhat unusual, as stated before) are already growing and available to be taken. People will almost always happily give you food that they’ve been growing–and permaculturists in particular are genetically inclined to give and share whatever we can (that is, ecologically responsible)–being one of our core ethical principles. So asking for stuff from us is kind of like doing us a favor. Although you might get roped into some scheme or another of ours as recompense…

    But anyway on to my obnoxiously subversive political comment:

    Jenn should stop listening to the clueless and complacent idiots who are still hanging on to their precarious (though they imagine otherwise) perch in the rarefied heights of the economic strata and come hangout closer to the ground with the rest of us. To assist with a move in that direction, I’ve decided to jot down a few of my thoughts.

    Jenn is a great candidate for occupying the trailer home next to mine that was recently vacated–and when she does, I’ll be sure to offer my growing knowledge of perennial vegetables, fruits, and general sustainability practices to get her yard productive and to get her started on being self sufficient. We could go out scavenging together, looking for free materials to exploit. With the kids even! There’s so much free stuff just laying around out there, waiting for someone to pick it up. You never notice it until you get the trained-eye, and being around fellow poor people is a great way to develop it. Staying around the highfalutin bourgeois is not a good way to develop the skill set required for being poor, which is a large part of Jenn’s problems near as I can tell.

    In regard to that, Jenn will benefit greatly from upgrading her social network. People around me will sure not look down on her for being poor, since hell, most of us are (market economy-speaking) as poor or more poor than she is already. She and her kids will find many true friends among us who understand her situation perfectly well and who will not condescend to her about it. Any of those myriad complaints she has lodged against her ignorant and self-righteous (former) friends simply will not apply to us. Been there, done that so to speak. We can sit back and look forward together as her former friends lose their own “good” jobs (more like chains really) and place in the economy and end up in the same situation we’re in. And with a bit of luck, we’ll have a place ready where they’ll be welcome.

    As for advice, I will not tell her what she should do. But I’ll briefly mention what I’ve been doing: Dmitry Orlov pointed me in this direction as something I read on one of his blog posts a while ago and I’ve been working to follow through on that ever since. To summarize: every spare bit of income I get, I use to reduce future economic expenditures. Other examples, I recently bought some amorphous solar panels in preparation for cutting off electricity to my place completely (though I’m going to have to wait on that a bit since the trees I’ve planted haven’t shaded me out yet), starting productive fruit trees for my tiny yard (I have managed to fit eleven fruit trees in so far, including grapefruit, jackfruit, pomelo, guava, feijoa, mango, tangerine, mandarin, lime, papaya, and fig, which if I got my design right should turn out to be fairly productive–though my yard does have some unusual features I took advantage of).

    Finally, for various reasons I expect that most or all of you who are feeling bad for Jenn right now (if read her post) to be in positions like hers relatively soonish. In all likelihood at some point in the future you will experience the same economic hopelessness and despair that Jenn is facing now, especially those of you who will be formerly prosperous. Being able to survive that psychological fall will determine who gets to live in the future—and who doesn’t. But after the initial shock things will get better, if we all don’t die of radiation poisoning. So remember, there is reason to remain positive no matter what happens. That is my message of hope.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      I love fruit trees. I have pomegranate, apple, tangerine and peach. I share with friends and family and they give me lemons, kumquats and persimmons.

      I should look into papaya and if possible jabuticaba.

      1. Optimader

        “I love fruit trees. I have pomegranate, apple, tangerine and peach. I share with friends and family and they give me lemons, kumquats and persimmons.”

        You’re rich Beef

    2. squasha

      your vision of a building a sustainable network is inspiring, I would only take issue with one point, although granted this may amount to pinhead-angel counting…the prediction of future selection based on adapting the survival techniques you advance. Should the dominoes tumble and a near-extinction event ensue, isn’t it in reality rather difficult to construct a model of potential survivors? Why does Sam bacteria survive the antibiotic flood that claims Susie bacteria’s life? Why did this weed live to scatter more seeds when that weed withered under the herbicidal shower? Many of us are descendants of Black Plague survivors, what wind did those peasants have at their backs? Could be particular tenacity, or outstanding resourcefulness, even perhaps a splash of ruthlessness…but it seems to me we ought to thank dumb luck now & then, even as it leaves us with nothing for which we can congratulate ourselves.

    3. Andrea

      Always devastated when I read posts like “Jenn’s words.”

      The picture of poverty in a rich country is horrendous. I always admire the compassion, friendliness, and giving spirit of individual Americans.

      When there are no economic, political, Gvmental, or even just ‘major’ community oriented (beyond food banks etc.) efforts made, and no window open to future actions, this is what you get.

      No individual help or advice can really be effective. In fact, Jenn complains of the advice. It is beside the point, or condescending, and even tires out those who give it, causes her to lose friends, etc.

      The model of society as composed of individuals who strive for their own well-being (plus close family) in neo-liberal or ‘capitalistic’ landscape is not adjusted to the greater good though individual decency may play a role. Such societies are not resilient, tough, or strong, can’t deal with shocks, strife, sharp economic downturn, etc. (see Orlov.)

      Mind you, exceptions are possible: Countries (or large collectives) that have a Plan B. The US has no plan B (or only frightening ones, speculatively) and it hides behind the fact that social aid is already huge in the country (one may argue about this, and state it is nevertheless insufficient, and cutting food stamps is crazy – note I’d be the last to argue for aid cuts) but neither the aid (or lack of) or the arguments around it do anything to address the deeper problems.

      There lies Jenn’s problem. She may be fed for a few months with donations, or individually saved by a miraculous job offer. But her neighbor might not be.

      Ok, open doors! I know.

      An interesting ex. of media visibility and treatment of a ‘poor’ person who made ‘good’ from England. This from the Guardian:

      See how ‘fitted’ : young woman, mother, cook, wonderfully good-looking, no crime, hard worker, regular working class background, extremely popular blogger. One exception amongst several millions, and still the Daily Mail loathes her.

      1. J Sterling

        I’m glad they’re hating, it’s better than when they co-opt the working-class folks made good, and use them to scold the rest of us (“they made it, what’s your excuse?”)

        No excuses are necessary–working class people so rarely make it to the next level of the game because they’re playing it on the hardest setting.

      2. JTFaraday

        I think there is tremendous hostility in the Anglo-American sphere to anyone who doesn’t work 9 to 5 (or 7 or 8 or whatever it is now)– and that hostility flows from people of all descriptions, in “all walks of life” as some like to say– unless that person is, and declares themselves to be, “involuntarily underemployed.”

        If someone is, and declares themselves to be, “involuntarily underemployed” then they potentially form part of a political constituency for those who wish to pro-actively enforce the 9-5 labor standard, in whatever way they think fit.

        In Britain, the conservatives seem to have chosen, and managed to legislatively enforce, the work fare at below minimum or market rate model, thereby producing cheap forced labor benefiting corporations. Thus, the hostility to people who manage to elude the government sanctioned corporate exploitation that was set up just for them, like this woman.

        The only other people who escape unscathed are those who have made a solid living as business entrepreneurs. If you’re struggling to figure things out for yourself in some other model, then you’re ripe for ridicule and re-education, by right and left both.

        Obviously, this generalization doesn’t include everyone or this woman wouldn’t have an audience. Nevertheless, we really ought to ask ourselves why is there such widespread hostility to people who seek personal autonomy in the face of Shit Deals?

        And we should ask ourselves this because I think down the road we’re going to find ourselves where Britain is today. At least, that would be the plan.

    4. JTFaraday

      “There’s so much free stuff just laying around out there, waiting for someone to pick it up. ”

      Well, let me tell you. The best place to move if you want to pick up free stuff is some nouveau riche neighborhood with a lot McMansions. One of my brothers furnished practically his entire overly large house on the stuff people in his (high turnover) neighborhood didn’t want want any more.

      And it’s nice stuff! He has one of those huge iron table sets out on his back deck. $6 or $7k, easy. And this is just my personal favorite item.

      Seriously, free sh*t doesn’t come to poor people at that rate. He could sell the damn thing if he wanted to.

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