Links 6/12/14

Low sperm count? Time to put down the sausage Discover Magazine

First atlas of Inuit Arctic trails launched ScienceDaily

Cantor Resigns Leadership Post in Effort to Smooth House Transition NYT

Elizabeth Warren student loan bill stalls POLITICO. As expected, though I got it wrong, Warren actually got three Republicans to vote for it (Collins, Murkowski and Corker).

World Bank Cuts Global Growth Forecast After ‘Bumpy’ 2014 Start Bloomberg

Lew Warns of Permanent Economic Slowdown WSJ

Tweetdeck users hit by coding attack BBC

Iraq is Burning:

US Foreign Policy in a NUTshell Emptywheel

Isis militants kidnap Turkish diplomats after seizing consulate in Mosul The Guardian

Iraq crisis: al-Qaeda forces seize Mosul and Tikrit – as it happened The Telegraph

Iraq Militants, Pushing South, Aim at Capital NYT. 70 miles north of Baghdad.

Iraq Asked U.S. for Airstrikes on Militants, Officials Say NYT

How to Pull Iraq Back From the Abyss Kenneth M. Pollack, WSJ. Darn it, I had Michael O’Hanlon in the “who will be the first to endorse bombing Iraq” pool, not Ken Pollack!

Former ECB Official Orphanides Points The Finger for Euro Woes At Politicians, Mainly German David Wessel, WSJ

IMF raises alarm about global housing bubble FT. “This is true for instance for Australia, Belgium, Canada, Norway and Sweden.”

Living in an airing cupboard is no joke but the housing crisis forced me to do it The Guardian

Condo Towers Rise From Boston to L.A. in U.S. Rebound Bloomberg

Race, Jobs, and Gentrification Pacific Standard

Why Renters Are Ending Up in the Suburbs CityLab

NY Regulator Pushes BNP to Remove Adviser WSJ

US business lobby voices fears over BNP FT

U.S. using JPMorgan penalty to speed cases against other banks Reuters. DoJ collected the JPM penalty on behalf of other agencies, but they can use 3% of the proceeds themselves. Depending on whether the FHFA settlement, which was already done without their involvement, counts, this affords them a $117 million or $234 million kitty. Not huge, but could make it look like there’s an investigation going on.

Why HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan got a big hug from the president WaPo. Some impressive dissembling about the mortgage settlement in this one.

Class Warfare

Uber sign-ups ‘increase 850%’ as black cab drivers stage London taxi protest The Independent

Revealed: Asian slave labour producing prawns for supermarkets in US, UK The Guardian. Sold at Walmart, Carrefour, Costco and Tesco. IOW everywhere.

In Detroit, Trouble Starts Before Birth Bloomberg

San Francisco Voters Will Weigh In On A $15 Minimum Wage Think Progress

EU to Probe Tax Affairs of Apple, Starbucks WSJ

Why that ruling against teacher tenure won’t help your schoolchildren Los Angeles Times

Temple probing funding of two professors’ research Philly Inquirer

The White Right’s Impunity Black Agenda Report

Molly Crabapple on the Dissident Fetish: Empires Love Their Dissidents Vanity Fair

Antidote du jour:


See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.


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About David Dayen

David is a contributing writer to He has been writing about politics since 2004. He spent three years writing for the FireDogLake News Desk; he’s also written for The New Republic, The American Prospect, The Guardian (UK), The Huffington Post, The Washington Monthly, Alternet, Democracy Journal and Pacific Standard, as well as multiple well-trafficked progressive blogs and websites. His has been a guest on MSNBC, CNN, Aljazeera, Russia Today, NPR, Pacifica Radio and Air America Radio. He has contributed to two anthology books, one about the Wisconsin labor uprising and another on the fight against the Stop Online Piracy Act in Congress. Prior to writing about politics he worked for two decades as a television producer and editor. You can follow him on Twitter at @ddayen.


  1. Ned Ludd

    Moon of Alabama sums up the situation in Iraq (emphasis added):

    Iraq will need further support to push ISIS back. We may soon see some rather weird coalitions growing against it: Iraqi Kurds allied with Shia Iraqi Arabs and the more secular Iraqi Sunni tribes; the U.S. air force riding shotgun for the Iraqi military in coordination with special forces from the Iranian Revolutionary Guard.

    Without its bases in east Syria ISIS would be incapable to achieve such gains. This spillover of the Syrian conflict should be an alarm signal even Washington can not deny.

    1. dearieme

      I am struck that at an American blog that I much enjoy, several of the bloggers are wilfully blind on the subject of Iraq; they still try to justify W’s attack on the country, and still don’t understand that the outcome is a defeat of, and humiliation for, the USA. Some things are beyond the scope of rational persuasion.

      1. Ned Ludd

        I was focused on the part I emphasized – U.S. destabilization of Syria destabilized the region. Consequently, my intent was to demonstrate the folly of U.S. intervention, not to recommend it. That said, their full post does support U.S. intervention (see the text in bold), something I missed on the first read.

        The Syrian government troops will be needed to tear ISIS down. The U.S. must now turn away from the insurgents in Syria and support the Syrian government troops in their fight against the common enemy. Unless that happens the ISIS problem will only fester and threaten more states in the Middle East including Jordan and Turkey.

        Contra the post, I believe that any intervention by the U.S. government will advance the interests of U.S. imperialism, and hence all interventions by the U.S. government should be opposed.

        1. cwaltz

          In my mind, we ought to just quit trying to “help” other countries determine their leadership……we just aren’t that good at it and even our attempts at “helping” so that the region acts in our interests have backfired greatly in the last couple of decades. We’re at a point where we should get over ourselves and work on putting our own country back together.

          1. LucyLulu

            Reading your post reminds me how dealing with nations isn’t always different than dealing with individuals. How often does one person try to impose their values and standards in an attempt to influence somebody who is unwilling to change? How often are they successful? How often do repeated failures lead to insight that their strategy isn’t working and never has?

            Assertion of the claims above is not intended as an admission or denial of any wrongdoing on the part of the author….

            1. hunkerdown

              Does it make a bit more sense if you imagine it as Protestant evangelism with the serial numbers ground off? I think that might be the root of American hustling culture, and if the kids knew where it came from, especially among the atheist evangelicals, they might be persuaded that salesing your friends is super-uncool.

              On the other hand, since the angels in this pantheon are usually invisible hands with feathery wings and their saints their knowledge-industry lords and masters, maybe not.

            2. cwaltz

              I grew up in the household of an addict. One of the first things you learn is that the only person you can control is yourself. Attempting to control others is an exercise in futility.

              So yeah, I don’t believe in spending a whole lot of time or effort in convincing others that they need to be more like me.

          2. McMike

            Actually, our efforts at controlling other countries has been hugely successful, monumentally successful. For over half a century.

            You are only focusing on the notable exceptions, which, even in their failures, still had forms of success of their own.

            The crux, of course, lies in defining success, and in what you are willing to do to achieve it. Money, democracy, morals, and the blood of poor brown people has been no object.

            1. Ned Ludd

              I agree. Nothing has backfired. Constant war and turmoil is by design. Lockheed Martin, Boeing, Northrop Grumman, and many other U.S. and European companies – not to mention foreign policy think tanks and human rights activists – prosper and benefit from unending violence.

              1. McMike

                Exactly, and the freedom of US companies to exploit and exterminate has gone unabated and rarely opposed across the globe. Aside Russia and China (and its controlees), the only nation NOT on the page for any appreciable amount of time is Cuba.

                THAT is a massive historically unparalleled success for US pathological corporations and crony profiteers.

              2. Doug Terpstra

                There you go — eternal conflict and perpetual war for the merchants of death. Mission accomplished! It is a mistake to think the imperial elite are well-intentioned but incompetent. Consider the Obama phenomenon, a brilliant, sophisticated bait-and-switch across the board.

                Empire is a racket run by the criminally insane. As the Marine Corps slogan goes, “Killing is my business, and business is good!” It’s our primary growth industry.

      2. LucyLulu

        Short a major shift away from its self-imposed role as policemen of the world, Americans better hold on tight. Increasing political and military upheaval, in particular in warm equatorial nations, will be seen. Droughts, floods, and other severe weather from climate change will cause food and drinking water shortages to become more common. Syria experienced a drought that drove farmers off their land, and angry at their government’s refusal to help its people. Last year Syria’s grain shortfall was 5 tons. This year it’s predicted to be 7 tons. Iraq, Yemen, Somalia, Turkey, and Jordan have been hit hardest by long term and serious droughts, the same countries (sans Jordan) that have been the focus of political unrest.

        The lack of food and water can make people behave in downright unsociable ways. The 0.01% have made preparations to bug out at a moment’s notice when the mobs hit the streets and start the hangings in courthouse squares. Law, with Judeo-Islamic origins, centuries-old tradition in Western countries, will be re-established. (Yikes, not Sharia law, that’s for uncivilized barbarians!!! TRIVIA: Muslims were the first major culture to give women legal status, with rights of inheritance and to own property when societies were largely patriarchal and inheritance of a family’s wealth followed the rules of primogenature.)

        1. hunkerdown

          There Is No Alternative to the Western Whig narrative. Self-promotion is the whole of the law.

    2. Synapsid

      I keep wondering if Iraq’s Kurds would want to try to help the (Shiite) Iraqi government against the ISIS. At least the insurgents are Sunni, as are the Kurds. This may be an opportunity for the Kurds to increase their autonomy, as they have their own oil and a functioning pipeline, through Turkey, for exporting it; Iraq’s northern export pipeline has been out of operation for weeks because of insurgent attacks.

      Eventually the Kurds and the ISIS are going to have to deal with one another, though, and that could be a battle to watch.

  2. Skeptic

    Iraq Debac

    Sure sounds a lot like the North Vietnamese marching into South Vietnam after the US had spent years spending on, building and training an Army to defend the South. PLUS ÇA CHANGE….

    Of course, look at all that US GDP increase and the fattened wallets of the 1%. See General Smedley Butler, WAR IS A RACKET.

      1. sd

        At over $1 billion, that would also happen to be one of the most expensive US Embassies in the world.

        1. Banger

          U.S. officials, always immune from any responsibility have no problem leaving pallets of hundred dollar bills, arms, and half-built construction projects in the country they conquer for anyone to take. Their job is done when their cronies take the money out of the Treasury and put in their pockets so that they can later pay-off same officials. Iraq was a war conducted strictly for profit–there was no strategy, no interest in building a country just furious work pretending to do so. How did the officials get away with all of this? The mainstream media, with a few exceptions, refused to report on the massive, massive, massive, massive corruption of the Iraq War in particular but also extending to the Afghan War.

          We have to grasp that this government is an occupying force on the North American continent and, in my view, lacks all moral legitimacy and a case can be made that it lacks legal legitimacy as well.

      2. McMike

        One nice thing about using so many contractor mercs…. no need to bother evacuating them.

        1. tyaresun

          Or VA hospitals for aftercare, the mercs will just blend into the civilian population on return.

        2. Yonatan

          ISIS has apparently looted a bank and gained about $400 million. Perhaps they can hire the mercs to do their fighting for them?

          1. James Levy

            The Shiite militias will stand and fight, even if the Iraq army collapses, so this will not be another South Vietnam. There is enough hatred for the Sunni extremists among the Shiites to turn this into a protracted bloodbath. Question is: will the US rush in to save Maliki, or Iran?

    1. craazyman

      Just Thinking

      doesn’t this entire spectacle condense into a mental image of a zombie screaming into pitch black darkness. not a scream of mind or soul or thought or the residue of a horrified contemplation or even the conclusion of logically deduced argument proceeding from postulate through cause and effect to final epiphany but the scream of sightless mindless inanimate matter not knowing even what a scream is, or what horror is or what anything is, simply pouring through itself some force of nature which it cannot know, see or even feel, other than through the reflexive transmission and embodiment of it in the manner of electricity running through a wire.

        1. craazyman

          Cautiously, cautiously–that’s my principle. We must be cautious yet. The district is closed to us for a time. Deplorable! Upon the whole, the trade will suffer. I don’t deny there is
          a remarkable quantity of ivory–mostly fossil. We must save it, at all events–but look how precarious the position is–and why? Because the method is unsound.’
          ‘Do you,’ said I, looking at the shore, ‘call it “unsound method”?’
          ‘Without doubt,’ he exclaimed, hotly. ‘Don’t you?’ . . .
          ‘No method at all,’ I murmured after a while.
          ‘Exactly,’ he exulted. ‘I anticipated this. Shows a complete want of judgment. It is my duty to point it out in the proper quarter.’

          -J. Conrad, Heart of Darkness

      1. Banger

        Wow, impressive and poetic! At some point we have to start howling at the Moon. This stuff is getting too weird even for some of us ex-acid freaks.

        1. Gerard Pierce

          As Hunter Thompson said: “When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro”. It’s too bad that it got too weird even for the good Dr.”

    2. fresno dan

      absolutely right.
      I guess humans have an unquenchable desire to perfect things that drives them to get involved in situations that are just NOT amenable to improvement.
      After the dismal outcomes of not just Afghanistan, but Iraq (count ’em, not one, but two quagmires…) we wanted to get involved in Libya and Syria. And with empirical, irrefutable evidence of zero improvement…
      One can only logically conclude that the country is composed of a majority of masochists…

  3. arby

    One observes that the article on the JP Morgan penalty omits reference to the colossal cost of the crimes to millions of people committed by this organization and further omits mention of the benefits accruing to its top management and shareholders as a result of the criminal activity. Without context, it is the kind of article that falls within propaganda.

    1. McMike

      This is the number one flaw in MSM economic reporting – one of Dean Bakers major complaints – consistent, persistent, almost willful refusal to provide any context whatsoever for the allegedly Big Numbers it reports.

      1. Banger

        Not just context which was always the case but facts. The media today lies about nearly everything except sports scores.

          1. McMike

            As you should. Even the election numbers reported are flawed. (Especially the election numbers are flawed…)

  4. Ulysses

    Molly Crabapple is a wonderful artist and human being! From the essay linked above:

    “Any regime, no matter how repressive, will gladly fête its enemy’s critics—while homegrown versions of those critics occupy concrete cells. Cooing over foreign dissidents allows establishment hacks to pose like sexy rebels—while simultaneously affirming that their own system is the best.”

    Her criticism of U.S. MSM complicity in crushing dissidents like Barrett Brown is spot on!!

    1. Banger

      I didn’t read the article but saw the headline. Pussy Riot is a product of NDE NGOs and, according to many Russians do not represent the attitudes of Russian dissidents. The mainstream media in the U.S. are 100% propagandists–you must read them or listen to them the way you would have read the USSR media back in the day–which, btw, I did which is why I find the trends in the U.S. particularly disgusting–same methods only less well-written.

  5. diptherio

    Re: Temple Economists on the Private Prison Payroll

    First off, both of these guys look like complete slime-balls. I’m not usually one to judge by looks, but as my old Econ advisor used to say about Steve Forbes, “sometimes a person’s soul is so rotten that it shows through in their face.”

    And I couldn’t help being reminded of the Gipper a bit when I read this:

    The professors said the news release on their research identified the funding source.

    As for the op-eds, Hakim said at first that the newspapers must have chosen not to include it.

    But he and Blackstone later said they weren’t sure they had provided the information.

    “We believe we did,” Hakim said. “It’s not that important.”

    My heart and my best intentions tell me that we disclosed our obvious conflict of interest, but the facts and the evidence tell me we did not.

    And anyone who thinks we need competition in prisons is in the running for worst-person-of-the-year award.

    The professors concluded that private prisons save money while performing as well as or better than government-operated prisons and generate much-needed competition. [?!?!]

    1. McMike

      Sure, you gotta compete for those guaranteed head count contracts.

      There are a lot of other sleazebags lining up at the state house with their hands out too.

    2. LucyLulu

      Why wouldn’t private prisons be more profitable and efficient? The laws of arithmetic mandate that if costs are reduced by cutting staff and services, and revenues subsidized with guarantees of payment at full occupancy rates, more money is available to claim as profits.

      What would happen if we similarly privatized our armed forces? They would reduce outlay by eliminating such things as retirement pensions, tuition reimbursement, lifetime medical care, and cutting wages. Would young people still sign up? Sadly, probably so, due to lack of a better option than risking their lives in exchange for food, water, and corporate-issued clothing. Hey, they get to carry a gun, and a big, fully automatic one at that. After all, how many jobs offer THAT benefit? Stupid wretches should be grateful for any crumbs thrown their way. /s

      1. McMike

        Alas, military outcomes are something the powers that be still want to control. Which is why the critical jobs are still not privatized.

        On the other hand, they could care less what happens to prisoners, or students.

          1. McMike

            They have privatized off non-critical pieces, and also pieces where a legal firewall was useful.

            But warfighting is still too important to cart off entirely to the private sector to crapify.

  6. Jim Haygood

    ‘In the US, house prices are rising fast but not overvalued, coming in at 13.4 per cent below their long-run average relative to incomes, and 2.6 per cent above their long-run average relative to rents, according to the IMF’s numbers.’ — FT

    Oh, really? The latest Case/Shiller report showed the U.S. 10-city average back to mid-2004 levels. That was just two years before Bubble II burst in 2006.

    One blogger reports that ‘In the nine months since the second U.S. housing bubble began to inflate in July 2012, the median sale price of new homes in the United States has increased at an average rate of well over $22 for each $1 increase in median household income. The only period of time in modern American history that had a similar rate of price escalation was the original inflation phase of the first U.S. housing bubble.’

    Draghi’s below-zero rate cut last week was the P.O.R. (Point of Recognition) for Bubble III. Like an elephant with red toenails, it can no longer hide in the strawberry patch unnoticed. Meanwhile, the Federal Reserve’s psychonauts are greeting last month’s new high in U.S. employment with a celebratory round of acid-laced absinthe and Colorado cannabis cookies.

    Are we flying yet?

    1. fresno dan

      nice analysis
      Yeah FT, let’s include the bubble overvaluations in our analysis that makes all following bubble not look so bad…

  7. abynormal

    It’s madness, folly … if society, the intelligent layperson, understood what was going on, they would say ‘What the F are you doing?’
    – Pasteur Institute virologist Simon Wain-Hobson

    Scientists condemn ‘crazy, dangerous’ creation of deadly airborne flu virus
    Researchers say recreation of Spanish flu strain highlights risk of pandemic, but critics say work puts global population at risk
    “Marc Lipsitch, professor of epidemiology at Harvard School of Public Health, said: “I am worried that this signals a growing trend to make transmissible novel viruses willy-nilly, without strong public health rationale. This is a risky activity, even in the safest labs. Scientists should not take such risks without strong evidence that the work could save lives, which this paper does not provide,” he added.

    In an article published last month, Lipsitch argued that experiments like Kawaoka’s could unleash a catastrophic pandemic if a virus escaped or was intentionally released from a high-security laboratory.”
    ~NOW add a ‘Misplacement’ to the Mixture~

    Texas Biolab Loses Deadly Guanarito Virus 3/2013
    ” The Galveston National Laboratory lost one of five vials containing a deadly Venezuelan virus, according to the University of Texas Medical Branch, which owns the $174 million facility designed with the strictest security measures to hold the deadliest viruses in the country.

    Like Ebola, the missing Guanarito virus causes hemorrhagic fever, an illness named for “bleeding under the skin, in internal organs or from body orifices like the mouth, eyes, or ears,” according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

    “This is clearly an incident that is very discomforting and embarrassing to the University of Texas Medical Center and their national biosecurity lab that they have there,” said Dr. William Schaffner, chairman of preventive medicine at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, Tenn. “You can be sure there are a lot of sweating people down the chain at that institution.”

    MEDICINE, n. A stone flung down the Bowery to kill a dog in Broadway. Devils Dic.


      I wonder how long it will take to militarize these viruses and target them such that they only infect specific nationalities or races or classes or income levels……Darpa has to be interested in this research…purely for defensive purposes only of course.

      1. hunkerdown

        If you’re seeing civilians developing mechanisms to take control over others for giggles, DARPA either has done it years ago already, or is funding the present initiative.

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      We needn’t worry too much about sweating people.

      We should worry about orifice bleeding people.

      As a reminder, accidents happen all the time in science. They want to think it’s all end happily…oh, look, that’s why we discovered nylon, son.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        I think this reads better: They want you to think it will all end happily…oh, look, that’s how we discovered nylon, son.

        1. hunkerdown

          There’s nylon, and I think BPA-packed polycarbonate too, but the discovery of the psychedelic effects of LSD owes much to poor lab technique.

  8. Ron

    Why Renters Are Ending Up in the Suburbs: The new suburb rental population is the families that had there homes foreclosed or short sales.

    1. Trinity River

      Cities are now copying Bloomberg’s strategy in NYC. Tear down the apartments and build more expensive condominiums so as to chase the lower income people to the suburbs. Make sure there are still bus stops to bring these workers back in. The article didn’t seem to understand this.

  9. fresno dan

    If you keep voting for incumbents, you will keep getting the policies the incumbents support (and remember what they say they support and what they really support bear no correlation – its all Goldman Sachs morning, noon, and night)

    I would say the democrats need a tea party of their own

    Would this result in even more gridlock? Well, things can always get worse. But people ignore how much the parties agree with one another when it comes to:
    bank bailouts
    not prosecuting bank crimes
    surveillance state
    war, drones, etc.
    general corruption

    Sure, politics, like professional wrestling, makes a big show over the fights – like same sex marriage – but just as the wrestlers follow a script, the politicians get their script from the banksters.
    I say we would have a better chance of prosecuting bankers with more far left and right representatives than the current crop.

    1. montanamaven

      We need a labor tea party too. I’ve been away from this blog for a few days. Has there been a discussion about the New York Working Families Party (WFP) endorsement of Cuomo? Sounds like the WFP is another doorway into the Roach Motel called the Democratic Party. John Halle has a piece that Counterpunch picked up. I link directly to his site as comments are always valuable.

    2. RanDomino

      “I would say the democrats need a tea party of their own”
      That was tried around 2006. The result was Democratic control of Congress, BHO, and the annihilation of the progressive wing of the party.

        1. Banger

          I don’t remember any leaders but I do remember, at the time, that the revulsion against the Iraq War was high in the DP and that Bush, as a result of the elections, threw out the many neocons something Obama has been unable to do. All this was crushed by the fake left candidate Wall Street put up in 08.

        2. fresno dan

          Yeah, I’m not following who/what was the democratic equivalent of the tea party – maybe MoveOn? I find it hard to give credence that MoveOn did more to harm progressives than standard democratic establishment types.
          As far as in 2006/2008 Obama seemed, rhetorically at least, to be against the war and terrorism/world war forever mentality. He had an actual vote against the war, when voting against the war took some modicum of principal and entailed some risk (unlike some who weighed the political cost against future runs for the presidency….we won’t mention any names).
          To me, the whole point of the “activist” group is to start getting some consequences to the actual policies politicians take. Unfortunately, most voters at best use party designators to say republicans stand for less government, and democrats protect civil liberties.
          If you are in the world of reality, you know both of the above propositions are laughable.

          Is it so outrageous to start saying that there should be some modicum of relationship between a party’s rhetoric and its actions? As well as the fact that even though neither party wants to bring up bank bail outs, lack of prosecution, to a lot of people that issue needs to be joined.

          One can’t have accountability if people who voted for an unpopular war can fudge the record and say that before they were for the war they were for being against the war…or against being for it, or whatever. Or people who say they are against inequality, who were married to people who had people like Rubin, Summers, and Geithner working for them. Activists ask the question: Did those people give good advice? Would you appoint people like them again?

          1. katiebird

            As far as in 2006/2008 Obama seemed, rhetorically at least, to be against the war and terrorism/world war forever mentality. He had an actual vote against the war, when voting against the war took some modicum of principal and entailed some risk (unlike some who weighed the political cost against future runs for the presidency….we won’t mention any names).

            What vote is that?

          2. heresy101

            Dan, you are right about many points in common between the left and right. There may be a possibility to bring them together in the next 6 months and really shock the 1% (not like the Koch’s upstaging the Bushs in Virginia).

            California citizen’s have had their right to vote ripped out of the CA Constitution by the politicians of both parties in Sacramento. There will be no Green, Peace and Freedom, Socialist, American Independent, or any parties other than the Damocrats and Repugnants on the ballot in November.

            A campaign to write in two candidates of the left and right in November could possibly succeed and at least raise the issue of Mayor Daley politics taking over CA. Since Ellen Brown got 60,000 votes for Treasurer she would be a good choice except that the right with its gold fetish may not support a CA bank. There must be one person on the right that is rational, a la Ron Paul (not Rand Paul), that the left could support. If the left and right wrote in both candidates, there is a slim chance that they could win, but at the very least issues of staying out of wars, ending the Federal Reserve give away to banksters, investing in US infrastructure, taking the money out of politics and opening up elections to all, environmentalism (except the global warming meme), keeping jobs in this country, preventing corporations from tax avoidance, etc would be raised among the American public in a non MSM way.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        I have been to a few chakai’s myself…though I have not been to a chaji yet.

      2. fresno dan

        Yeah, I think we’re going through a shift.
        I read both left and right blogs, and though there is a lot of “team” thinking, in point of fact there are a lot of “civil liberty” types on the right, as well as anti involvement in any more foreign adventures, as well as capitalism does NOT mean that the rich never have to take a loss.
        And a lot of labels don’t mean anything anyway. Is not prosecuting banks the “responsible” (or liberal or conservative) thing to do? What does it mean that BOTH a democratic and republican administration thought this – I would say it means that our current parties are both irredeemably corrupt. I would say undermining the notion that this is a nation of laws and not men does more to damage the idea of the sanctity of contracts and the rule of law and of representative government than any possible harm by not following our own ideals.

        1. fresno dan

          “The Tea Party’s assault on establishment Republicans has been good for Democrats. It would be good too – for everyone, except Blue Dogs and the Democratic establishment — if Democrats had a tea party of their own.”
          True, a number of Tea Party candidates lost seats that undoubtedly would have been held by a conventional republican nominee. That’s fine with me

          “Like the evangelicals and Catholic conservatives Republicans have been courting for decades, Tea Partiers are “useful idiots,” serving the interests of those at the top of the economic pyramid. But they are not entirely under their masters’ control. Because they feel threatened by social dislocation and economic turbulence, they have grown angry in ways that put them at odds with the leadership of the GOP, the party their masters favor most.

          The prognosis: the Tea Party is likely to peak soon, if it hasn’t already; and, by scaring away “independents” and motivating otherwise unenthused Democrats to vote against them, they are likely to help Democrats on November 2. However, they are also dragging the political scene rightward*.”

          *Uh, I don’t follow how losing republican seats makes things go right. I would imagine the democrat that takes a seat from a tea party candidate would not be more “conservative” than the establishment republican that would have held the seat – the democrat is still going to vote on the vast majority of issues with the democratic caucus. Sure, it makes the democratic party slightly more conservative, but it makes the congress slightly more democratic and THEORETICALLY more liberal (*see the problem with equating the parties with left or right – republicans losing makes the world go right???? So if the democrats lose….the congress becomes more liberal?)

          “That is precisely what rank and file Tea Partiers want. Their aim is to make the ambient culture more congenial for people like themselves*. For that, it is not necessary that Republicans regain control of Congress, though Tea Partiers would doubtless welcome Republican victories. The important thing for them is to realize their objectives, and they are already succeeding just by nipping at the Republican establishment’s heels.”

          *Which is exactly my point. I am not concerned with democrats winning. I want issues like non prosecution of banks, the surveillance state, and the war state to be the issues that are AFFECTED. By the way, is that left??? I would say prosecution of banks is a law and order issue, and typically “isolationism” has been equated with conservatism and republicans….oh well, call it what you will.

          “A Democratic equivalent of the Tea Party would have a very different aim — to staunch the rightward drift that has afflicted the Democratic Party continuously, its Obamamiacal moment excepted, since the Clinton era. This is hardly a radical vision, though the party has declined morally and intellectually to a point where restoring decency and bringing the United States into the mid-twentieth century now almost seems extremist.

          Since both Democrats and Republicans feed from the same trough, it is hardly surprising that on issues of consequence to those who call the shots, their policies are essentially the same — though Democrats tend to be kinder and gentler and less transparently abject. On “cultural” matters of no consequence to the duopoly’s paymasters, there are more significant disagreements. These comparatively slight differences can have major consequences. This is why even “moderate” Republicans, the few that are left, are generally worse than their rivals.”


          “True to the wishes of the political entrepreneurs who brought the movement into being, the Tea Party has generally steered away from divisive “social” issues, though there is little doubt where most Tea Partiers stand. A Democratic Tea Party would do well to follow their lead by focusing on issues on which there is a broad consensus among people who still have the sense they were born with. There are many such issues around: bringing Bush era war criminals to justice, stopping on-going and future wars, taking real action on impending environmental catastrophes and, above all, holding Wall Street moguls and other corporate malefactors to account.

          This wouldn’t be enough to bring about the “change” erstwhile Obamamaniacs thought they voted for; that would require a real social movement. But a Democratic Tea Party, focused on electoral outcomes, would encourage the conditions for such a movement to develop even if, in the face of the learned pusillanimity of Democratic voters, it registered few electoral successes. It would drag the party onto a more leftward course.

          I would venture that a more “audacious” Democratic Party would do better electorally than the one we have. But even if I’m wrong about that, it is clear that a Democratic Tea Party wouldn’t help Republicans to nearly the extent that the actual Tea Party will help Democrats. In any case, as even benighted Tea Partiers understand, there are more important matters at stake than who wins elections or even who runs Congress. The point is to affect policy and to transform the political culture.”

          I agree with his analysis.

          1. LucyLulu

            For a relatively brief period of time, there was a Coffee Party that represented the left’s version of the Tea Party. If not mistaken, it fizzled into non-existence due to lack of sufficient interest. The problem isn’t as much the lack of “real” progressives but the lack of progressives who are energized enough about what they believe to actively participate in effecting change. I can easily locate a Tea Party with regular meetings and volunteer slots ready to be filled. Outside perhaps the Moral Monday group that protests in Raleigh and often pulls people based on single topics, e.g. voter rights, vs a general subscription to progressive policies, and from cities from across the state, I have no idea where one would find a meeting of a group that’s the progressive counterpart of the Tea Party (as opposed to MoveOn, let’s say).

            1. Ron

              The Democratic Party reflects the majority views since the 60’s and gotten its agenda passed either by the Supreme ct or Congress as a result it does not have a large disaffected group within its ranks like the Republican Party which has courted various groups such as the religious right, Southern block etc that have strong bias views regarding the social upheaval in the 60’s and want the country to return to its prior 60’s social values.

              Also the Tea Party is a wing of the Republican Party unlike Peace and Freedom or the Green Party which offers a different point of view from the current traditional Democratic Party and wants to cut ties and create there own national agenda which makes it more difficult to generate a strong national voting block that would allow either new party to take over Congress or the President.

            2. Banger

              The left is a much smaller than the right both in numbers and money and you can’t really ignore that fact. Moreover converts for the left are not going to come form the elites nor the professional class that services them–so what’s left? That’s what many people here refuse to face, or so it seems to me. Until you start engaging those that might be open to what we have to say–but that’s not been happening or is likely to happen. We need to sneer at or make fun of some bad guys and that seems to be enough for the majority of so-called progressives. I’ve seen this coming over the years–this whole stance is a dead end but few want to budge.

              1. hunkerdown

                Maybe they’re not playing to the same ends. Maybe they’re playing for the thrill and the score and the team spirit and the glory of their flag. Which, unfortunately, does not make them any more useful to those who would seek favorable policy outcomes than street thugs in a professional volunteer army. A change in mindset seems to be required. They need to make the decision to put away childish things, or perhaps, maybe the end of Manichean retail politics will come when every town’s community center offers free-at-the-point-of-use laser tag.

  10. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Lew warns of permanent economic slowdown.

    Nothing to worry about here.

    No warning necessary, if, this is the key, we more fairly distribute that ‘slowdown GDP.’

  11. savedbyirony

    This isn’t exactly about economic class warfare, but it is about the “the war against females”, and i thought this reply to the Op-Ed piece by Bradford Wilcox and Robin Wilson in Tues. Washington Post supposedly talking about how to end violence against females was quite good, especially since B. Wilcox will be addressing the U.S. catholic Bishops today in New Orleans at their annual meeting.

    1. 10leggedshadow

      War on females? It’s a war on women. Stop calling women females. Female is an adjective
      Your use of the word female indicates that you are part of the problem.

      1. savedbyirony

        No, actually i won’t use the word “women” anymore to refer to adult females because that word is being co-opted to refer to virtually anyone, and thus to have no consistant meaning between people what-so-ever, in what passes for “gender studies” these days. I mean specifically the war on the class of human beings who are biologically female, and much of that war revolves around specifically undermining them thru their unique biology, especially as it pertains to issues of reproduction.

  12. fresno dan

    US Foreign Policy in a NUTshell Emptywheel

    To really understand US foreign policy, you need to see the great Woody Allen movie “Bananas”
    In it, Woody is a paratrooper (long story – see the movie) going to the aid of a South American country. Woody can’t remember if he is suppose to fight FOR the government, or AGAINST the government, so he asks a grizzled sergeant next to himself. The sergeant replies, “As there have been so many problems with who me support, half of us will be fighting FOR the government, and half will be fighting AGAINST the government.

    Remember, we were for Saddam before we were against him…

    Now, is this a grandiose plan instituted by the CIA and State dept to disrupt the middle east to assure a continued supply of cheap oil? Of course not – that would be paranoid and attribute planning, intelligence, and foresight that the US government just does not have.
    HOWEVER, it is a government funded Keynesian economic stimulus plan instituted by Goldman Sachs minions to assure that sufficient bombs are used up (bombs don’t dig holes, but making bombs to make holes is equivalent) to assure that war manufacturing material firm futures that Goldman holds will increase in value. Rather simple and straightforward….

  13. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Time to put down that sausage?

    I would also recommend avoiding putting cellphone in your pants pocket.

    1. hunkerdown

      Depends on what you’re going for, doesn’t it? As for me, I’m not willing to put a quarter of a million dollars and 18 years of my life toward the “3% groaf” project.

  14. Jim Haygood

    Saigon deja vu:

    WASHINGTON (AP) — Officials say three planeloads of Americans are being evacuated from a major Iraqi air base in Sunni territory north of Baghdad to escape potential threats from a fast-moving insurgency.;_ylt=AwrBEiQp75lTcwgAAOrQtDMD

    “You can kill ten of our men for every one we kill of yours. But even at those odds, you will lose and we will win.”
    ― Hồ Chí Minh

  15. Robert Dudek

    Good news for progressives in just concluded Ontario provincial elections. Right winger Tim Hudak, running on a ridiculous neo-liberal austerity platform was destroyed by the centrist Liberal party, despite recent scandals which plagued the previous leader. The new leader, an openly gay woman, Kathleen Wynne, won a parliamentary majority and is expected to introduce the most progressive budget in decades.

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