Link 8/22/14

Praying Mantises Can Catch And Eat Hummingbirds IFLScience. Lambert warns that this is an anti-antidote.

Natural gas to gasoline for $1/gallon SFGate (Tom H)

Ebola crisis: This is why ‘75%’ of victims are women Times of India (Tim F)

Prabowo goes home empty-handed after a dramatic day in Indonesia Asian Correspondent

Europe Fears Banks Lack Cash Cushion New York Times

Shale gas in Argentina: Dead-cow bounce Economist

Frustrated Judge Scolds Argentina but Does Not Hold It in Contempt New York Times

Argentina and Elliott – was it really a bond play? FT Alphaville. Michael C and yours truly are surprised to see the writer treat this as a new phenomenon. But it is a good, detailed treatment nevertheless.


Kiev in U-turn over claim that ‘Russian tanks, artillery and 1,200 fighters’ had been deployed in Eastern Ukraine as evidence fails to materialise Daily Mail

As Ukraine Presses Military Offensive, The Facts Are Fuzzy NPR

Ukraine Suffers Heavy Losses in Counterattack by Pro-Russia Rebels Wall Street Journal


Islamic State: British fighters make up a quarter of foreign jihadists Independent (Nikki)

The Insane Terrorist Group We Armed and Supported Now “Poses Greater Threat” Against Us “Than 9/11″ George Washington

Imperial Collapse Watch

America in Decay Foreign Affairs (Richard A)

A temporary turn of 180 degrees by the neocon hawks failed evolution

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

Staying safe on public Wi-Fi CNET (furzy mouse)

Hulk: Eliciting Malicious Behavior in Browser Extensions USENIX

Many Chrome browser extensions do sneaky things InfoWorld. More proof that Google avoidance is always a good idea.


Obamacare acting as drag on employment and lifting prices, survey suggests MarketWatch

White House Going With ‘Security By Obscurity’ As Excuse For Refusing To Release Security Details Techdirt (MJL)

Microsoft Leaves ALEC: Horsetrading & The Price to Pay anotherquestion, Firedoglake (Rick V)

New Bill Would Ban Fracking Waste in New York City EcoWatch

U.S. Probe Examines GM Lawyers Wall Street Journal


Video of Kajieme Powell’s Killing Differs from Police Description of Incident Vanity Fair (Swedish Lex)

St. Louis Police Killed Kajieme Powell Because They Were Following Insane Rules New Republic (Swedish Lex)

The Killing of Kajieme Powell and How It Divides Americans Atlantic. If you’ve ever taken real self defense courses (and hint, effective self defense courses aren’t defensive, they teach you you need to inflict major trauma on the other person first), you find out that a knife is actually one of the least threatening weapons an assailant can use against you, plus most assailants don’t use them in the manner that will reliably do major damage (using them to puncture as opposed to slash). Bludgeons and of course guns are much more dangerous. So look at the video again and consider whether the response was warranted, say, if Powell was carrying a short metal pipe.

Ferguson PD Confirms Officer Wilson Shot at Brown as He Ran Away Daily Kos

Why Do Police In Suburban St. Louis Have More Powerful Weapons Than Marines In Afghanistan? Techdirt (MJL)

“Government’s Arsenal to Destroy Revolutionaries”: Political Imprisonment Persists TruthOut

LA Police Officer Threatens, “If You Don’t Want to Get Hurt, Don’t Challenge Me,” in LA Times Op-Ed TruthOut

Militarized cops’ scary new toys: The ugly next frontier in “crowd control” Salon (Nikki)


What Does the Fed Have to do with Social Security? Plenty Dean Baker, CounterPunch (Nikki)

Central Bankers Wrestle With Easy Money Wall Street Journal

Developing Nations Anxiously Watch Fed at Jackson Hole Foreign Policy

No need for banks in an era of intellectual capital Financial Times (David L). Be sure to read the comments.

Bank of America Adds a Mortgage Settlement to Its Collection Matt Levine, Bloomberg. Interesting in that Levine does an very valuable service in tallying up the settlements, but rather than do the usual “ooh, look at all that money! How unfair” instead treats the result as normalizing settlements, which he contends is not a hot idea. This is why, as we’ve said repeatedly, real investigations are necessary so you know the extent of bad conduct and can devise the right sort of punishment. Not know ing the scope of what happened is almost guaranteed to lead to a piecemeal approach.

Some homeowners could get hit with a whopping tax bill if they accept help through Bank of America’s settlement  Washington Post

The Agent-Based Method Rajiv Sethi

Home and Jobs Data Suggests Momentum Reuters

Why inflation remains best way to avoid stagnation Financial Times (David L)

Polanyi’s Paradox and the Shape of Employment Growth Business Insider (David L)

Class Warfare

At Burning Man, the Tech Elite One-Up One Another New York Times. Lambert: “Oligarchs behaving badly.”

The Philippines’ booming economy is causing a maid drain in Hong Kong and Singapore. Quartz

This Economy Is Ruined For Everyone Wolf Richter

One Paragraph Cuts Through The Hype Of Robots Taking Your Job Business Insider (David L)

How the Largest Worker Owned Co-op in the US Lifts People Out of Poverty TruthOut (Nikki L)

Antidote du jour (Lance N):

Monkeys Grooming A Capybara

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. abynormal

    “there is enough treachery, hatred violence absurdity in the average
    human being to supply any given army on any given day

    and the best at murder are those who preach against it
    and the best at hate are those who preach love
    and the best at war finally are those who preach peace

    those who preach god, need god
    those who preach peace do not have peace
    those who preach peace do not have love
    beware the preachers
    beware the knowers
    beware those who are always reading books
    beware those who either detest poverty
    or are proud of it
    beware those quick to praise
    for they need praise in return
    beware those who are quick to censor
    they are afraid of what they do not know
    beware those who seek constant crowds for
    they are nothing alone
    beware the average man the average woman
    beware their love, their love is average
    seeks average

    but there is genius in their hatred
    there is enough genius in their hatred to kill you
    to kill anybody
    not wanting solitude
    not understanding solitude
    they will attempt to destroy anything
    that differs from their own
    not being able to create art
    they will not understand art
    they will consider their failure as creators
    only as a failure of the world
    not being able to love fully
    they will believe your love incomplete
    and then they will hate you
    and their hatred will be perfect

    like a shining diamond
    like a knife
    like a mountain
    like a tiger
    like hemlock

    their finest art”

    1. diptherio

      The great irony is that the “normals” (i.e pink-boys (and girls), food-tubes, mediocretins) need us freaks and weirdos to make their lives interesting, to provide some color and life to their drab existences. They hate us, but they need us…and that need, never rising to the level of consciousness, makes their hate even more intense.

      Consider, even the most conservative small town gets pants-wettingly excited when the Circus comes to town. They’ll all trot out and dutifully lay down their greenbacks to ogle the bearded-lady, but let them see a man in a dress in any other situation and they’ll find it reprehensible.

      1. ambrit

        I’m not so sure about that. I feel we aren’t in a Ray Bradbury “Something Wicked This Way Comes” world. That was why I loved, and still do love, Bradburys writing. He constructed an alluring “perfect Summer” world you could feel happy living in. Some of my friends as a kid were not so fantastically minded. They went to Shellback Sunday School on Sunday morning when I was mowing the lawn or playing with the dog.

        1. diptherio

          That’s my Church of the Subgenius rant against the Normals. As a Subgenius I firmly believe that the world is controlled by a Conspiracy of Normals who seek to steal the Slack of the Subgenii. Also there’s Sex Goddesses and Elder Gods.

          But it’s true, we are a wrathful, spiteful religion…but we only hate those who truly deserve it!

    2. susan the other

      Bukowski was run out of Germany. He left to save himself (I think). And this poem reflects the delusion of the 3rd Reich nazis. A crazier tribe never got together to rape and pillage the world. However, there are subtler means of rape and pillage, many of them part of established, sacrosanct ways of doing business; like debt that cannot be repaid or profit on debt that destroys communities. The Nazis had a poor understanding of their enemy.

      1. rur42

        Naw, not run out of Germany….ya could look it up: “The family settled in South Central Los Angeles in 1930, the city where Charles Bukowski’s father and grandfather had previously worked and lived.”

  2. Jim Haygood

    Red alert, comrades:

    ‘The Islamic State militant group poses an “imminent threat” to the U.S. and may take years to defeat, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said.’


    Quite right. And if we don’t man up in southeast Asia, the Communists will take over Saigon.

    Oh, wait … they already did! And Vietnamese GDP growth averaged 6.8 percent annually over the past 20 years. Hagel’s dying military empire hasn’t a hope in hell of delivering that magnitude of living standards improvement to its sinking middle class. Twerp …

    1. Johann Sebastian Schminson

      Yes — years of low-velocity, low-grade meat grinding, and unprecedented profits.

    2. fresno dan

      You know, because they have intercontinental ballistic missiles, nuclear powered submarines, 5 or 6 carrier based task forces, etcetera…..
      WHA!!!??? They don’t have any of that?
      Sooooo……they’re going to go buy tickets on some airline, fly into NYC, than go to a mall and start cutting off heads. Yeah, we had better go over there, cause there is just NO WAY we could thwart their plan at the border…

      1. Tom W Harris

        What is this “border” of which you speak?

        If we policed our borders, how could we fulfill the Prime Directive of Cheap Labor Uber Alles?

    3. TarheelDem

      Ain’t that a shame? And just when we were about to have military expenditures beginning to be cut because of the withdrawal from Afghanistan whenever the bilateral security agreement that keeps us there forever is signed.

      Memo to US people: get ready to pony up some more for weapons.

      When the only legitimate purpose for government is national security and law enforcement, guess what jobs you get: military and police. Marial law here and abroad. Thanks libertarians.

      1. Jim Haygood

        Yeah, they’ve been running this freak show for so long. About time we elected some centrist Democrats and Republicans for a change. /sarc

      2. Lord Koos

        More money (your money) needed, as the present Pentagon budget is insufficient to defeat a few thousand guys with pickup trucks and automatic weapons.

    4. Benedict@Large

      Just call it “The Long Road to Iran”.
      Let’s face it, the Necons won’t be happy until they blow up Iran, and no lie is too preposterous to try in order to effect that end.

      1. ambrit

        Wait. Could it be that the Ukraine situation is just a ‘cunning plan’ to get Iran by the back door?

    5. different clue

      Colonel Pat Lang at Sic Semper Tyrannis and his commenters agree that ISIS is a dangerous threat requiring
      effective termination. Stranger still, Sheikh Nasrallah of Hezbollah also considers the ISIS group to be dangerous. You can read his translated speech on this and other subjects at Vineyard of the Saker.
      Can Pat Lang AND Sheikh Nasrallah BOTH be wrong!?

  3. dearieme

    If everyone who believes that US policemen should routinely behave in a gentler, kinder way were to join the police forces, then the job would be done.

    I don’t mean by that that gentler, kinder behaviour isn’t desirable, just that “Put your money where your mouth is” would be a perfectly rational challenge.

    1. Ulysses

      Even in the (in my opinion justly) maligned NYPD there are some wonderful, caring people. I know some such in Brooklyn, Queens, and Staten Island. Yet all of them feel like they are swimming against the tide of an overwhelmingly ugly, authoritarian mindset that dominates the institution they would like to improve.

      This advice of yours has some merit, but it is a lot like arguing that if only all of us good people ran for Congress and got elected we could fix everything. Just dig under the seat cushions for the money you need to run against an opponent financed by the Koch brothers!! There are systemic obstacles that hinder even the best-intentioned reformists from bringing sweeping changes from within a system that is designed to perpetuate oppression.

      1. optimader

        “…but it is a lot like arguing that if only all of us good people ran for Congress and got elected we could fix everything..”
        Not comparable, unless it’s a 7figure entrance barrier to be elected to your police dept? Dearieme is absolutely correct, act local. Don’t like police behaviour, change them from the inside out because that’s the only way it will happen.

      2. Tom Allen

        The idea that putting good people in an inherently evil system will improve the system, not ruin the people, is not new, nor does it work. See for example the Stanford Prison Experiment.

        1. optimader

          “The idea that putting good people in an inherently evil system..”
          is law enforcement inherently an evil system?

          1. pepe

            In a “banality of evil” way:

            whether evil is radical or simply a function of thoughtlessness, a tendency of ordinary people to obey orders and conform to mass opinion without a critical evaluation of the consequences of their actions and inaction

            1. optimader

              “a tendency of ordinary people to obey orders and conform to mass opinion without a critical evaluation of the consequences of their actions and inaction”

              absolutely. Peoples tend to accommodate circumstance which is a terrible lack of discipline.

              OTOH, In the middle age Europe, people surrendered the right to settle scores by clubbing their neighbors interpersonally/interclan to State adjudication and clubbing.. Comparatively violence death has gone down dramatically since the Middle Ages..

              Not to say we don’t have dysfunctional Police departments that want to preemptively do the clubbing, and the equipping them w/ trappings of military isnt breathtakingly wrong because it tacitly encourages them to do just that.

              The point is State supplied policing is something one buys into in a society. Quite frankly I have NO interest in having ANY contact with the Police, By the same token, I don’t want to have to club my neighbors if they decide they want to eat my cow and live in my house.

              1. Pepe

                Futhermore, at least where I live, if your neighbors killed and ate my cow, the police response would be: “that’s a civil matter; there’s nothing we can do” even though a crime has been committed. And it would still be incumbent on me, at great expense, to sue my neighbor.

                1. optimader

                  No, I think that could constitute theft, grand theft depending on the value of the cow. depending on where you live the statutory value varies, in MA it is as little as $250.00 to constitute a felony. . In IL it is $3,300.00

                2. ambrit

                  Howdy pardner! You could just call Clive Bundy and have him send over a posse to string them rustlers up!

          2. James Levy

            It is right now. Everyone in positions of authority to push you forward or squash you like a bug has bought into the us versus them, stay safe out there and if a black guy scares you shoot first and ask questions later mentality. It would be like saying, go out and get a job for an oil company and fight global warming from the inside! It’s an inherently stupid idea. Bureaucracies control who gets in, who gets pushed to the top, and who gets shunted aside or chased out. If I join the NYPD and open my mouth I get sent to Coventry by my fellow officers, given the worst assignments, and my promotion opportunities are thwarted. After a couple of years of this, if I have any brains at all I quit, because I’m not convincing anyone around me of anything other than that I am a rat and a troublemaker and one of “them.” Such systems can only be overhauled from the outside by firing the top brass and brining in people from outside to clean house. Then, and only then, can you start recruiting a different kind of police officer.

          3. cnchal

            is law enforcement inherently an evil system?

            No. What is wrong with justice. Isn’t justice what we want, and when we don’t get it, all hell breaks loose.

            I read a letter to the editor from a police officer regarding whether or not policing is a dangerous occupation compared to say logger and fisherman, and the point was made that the tree or fish wasn’t about to attack the logger or fisherman, and that dealing with unpredictable situations the police find themselves in, is dangerous and can be deadly to the officer.

            A short while later, three police officers from the RCMP were shot and killed in one rampage. About ten or so years previous, four RCMP police officers were shot and killed in one rampage.

            There are crazy people the police have to deal with every day. I’m sure that eventually alters the perception the police officers have, where everyone they come in contact with is seen as a potential crazy person until determined otherwise. It would be unnatural if that didn’t happen.

            Like nearly all things near and dear to the system, the system of justice and policing can be corrupted, and become ever more evil as corruption deepens.

            It depends on where you are, and who you are, and that in itself is an indictment that the system of justice has been badly corrupted.

              1. cnchal

                A “kinder, gentler machine gun hand” not affected by emotion, and programed to only shoot three bullets instead of emptying gun clips in one emotional orgasmic rush.

                What a mess.

                To look like dangerous clowns riding around in cartoonish military trucks, must be embarrassing to any self respecting police officer. It is as uncool as you can get,

                1. ambrit

                  The problem is, people have different ideas of what “Cool” is. I know several people who think that looking like a para-military ‘clown’ is the sine qua non of macho cool. The psychology of it is fascinating. (Understanding the psychology of it is how elites manipulate others.)

                  1. cnchal

                    I have seen these things and they are fugly. The cops look like clowns. The things are absurd, perhaps even for a battlefield. Gas guzzling maintenance hogs that cost money to stand still. Stupidity amplified.

                    Never mind the fear and loathing instilled in a population that pay taxes to their oppressors, for their oppression, because at that point the police will be seen as the problem instead of solution

                    That’s where the para military people that you know come in. Why are they into that stuff? They don’t want to be the cops. They want to protect themselves in case of all hell breaking loose.

                    1. ambrit

                      I get where you’re coming from. However, the nagging question in the back of my mind is, is ‘prepping’ going to do the trick all by itself, or do people have to band together to accomplish anything?
                      I suspect the latter. Then you enter the fun house mirror world of in group dynamics. From my interactions with cultists and millennials over the years, (anyone here remember EST?) I observed intolerance for behaviour outside the particular rules of the in group to be a defining characteristic. That is the polar opposite of what I believe most of us here would desire in a society. At the least, any society any of us live in.
                      Logically developed, such a society would become tribal in nature. Which is a shame because one of the great advances bought about by ‘modern’ civilization is the expansion of ‘citizenship’ to include varied and diverse social sub groups.
                      Just as surely as “No One Expects the Spanish Inquisition”, and there were other inquisitions over the centuries, burning witches and other out groups at the stake of social ‘cohesion’ will follow.

          4. different clue

            Not necessarily inherently. But apparently many police departments have been evilized in recent times.
            A rotten barrel spoils the apples.

        2. jrs

          It depends on if doing evil becomes a CONDITION of KEEPING your job. If not then good people don’t just all become corruptable, if yes some still won’t, but it is the instituational pressure.

    2. McMike

      I’m too busy joining the military to make that organization less sociopathic, then off to the Vatican for the same. Then I have to run for political office to reform that institution.

      I’d love to join the police to put my money where my mouth is, but my dance card is full.

      1. optimader

        The first is a form of nonnegotiable servitude, the second is a closed club appointment and the third has the barriers of a seven figure gate fee and election by constituency. So unless your naïve enough to pursue the first, you’ll have plenty of whitespace on the card.

          1. Jess

            It should be noted that this decision involved the city of New London, CT, infamous for the Kelo case where the Supreme Court ruled that the city could use eminent domain to condemn private property that it wanted to give to another private party for a redevelopment project. That worked out really well:
            1. The people who fought the case had to move. Their houses and other structures were bulldozed at a cost to the city of $78 mil.
            2. The key anchor tenant decided instead to move across the river to Groton.
            3. The developer never got financing, so the project was never built.
            4. Since 2011 the project area has been used a trash dump for debris from Hurricane Irene.
            However, the news is not all bad. The little pink family home of Susette Kelo, lead plaintiff in the suit, was relocated and is now occupied by another family. And there is a monument with a memorial plaque on the site where her house used to stand.
            Way to go, New London! (With an assist from the scum on the U.S. Supreme Court.)

          2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            Maybe more IQ will help, but I definitely hope they recruit more compassionate or understanding, and wiser, cadets.

            1. optimader

              I would prefer average intelligence with a lot of common sense. That’s the combo that makes the world go around.

          3. cnchal

            The linked article was from the year 2000

            The “official” reason cited in the article has nothing to do with what is being alluded to.

            It was a financial decision, based on the idea that he would become bored and leave after getting expensive training.

            The courts mention it might be “unwise” to use that criteria but that it had a certain logic and wasn’t discrimination to exclude him.

            I think the unofficial reason is here.

            Jordan, a 49-year-old college graduate

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Still, there are many other choices to fill the card and one can’t be a gentler, kinder cop/building inspector/banker/car salesman/teacher/economics columnist/pension fund trustee/tree logger/fracker, etc simultaneously.

          1. ambrit

            Dear MLTPB;
            My Dad tried to be a ‘kinder gentler’ building inspector in South Florida and got run off the job as a result. Something about trying not to let a big power in the community flout the law. He refused to ‘tear up’ the citations. The ‘Power’ got the City Council to ‘tear up’ the tickets over Dads head. Dads days were numbered from that point on.

      1. Janie

        I can. A couple of flat tires. Relatively minor damagdamage from drunk drive. Checking on a relative who hadn’t been seen for a few days.

        1. Johann Sebastian Schminson

          You call bullshit on my observation? I call bullshit AND ignorance on your comment. How the F would you know my experience?

          1. cnchal

            You call bullshit on my observation?

            Well, if you put it that way, we should note that “observation” has been equated to “I really can’t recall”.

            Words. What they mean depends on who’s talking.

            We both know the MSM dredges up these hero police stories with regularity, and just by living and observing, one realizes that you cannot avoid those stories. Somehow, somewhere the story gets told, in your presence, and for a few moments it draws your attention, even if the memory banks see no reason to keep it.

            I get that you might be an anti fan of the police, but to insinuate that the police never ever help anyone is bullshit.

      2. OIFVet

        I can recall helping a cop. Chicago’s Blizzard of 2010. She was driving one of those 2WD SUVs that make absolutely no sense for police work but sure do burn a lot of taxpayer money. She got stock in front of my house and couldn’t get out. The problem is, the harder she tried the closer she drifted to my car. Finally I went and asked her if she would allow me to drive her crappy SUV cruiser out. She did, and I did. I thought cops went through some sort of driving course…

        1. optimader

          I’ve actually met some pretty nice ones in Chicago, particularly the women. If your not an idiot, I find they actually enjoy a little civilized interaction when their charged w/ mind-numbingly boring jobs like holding down a sidewalk corner and I’m waiting to cross a street. I suspect they still suffer the machismo BS w/ their peers.
          Chicago Police, for the most part just want to get along through their shift and not get shot. They see a world of bad shit, and I’m sure it takes the enthusiasm down a notch. it’s the crewcut dingdong suburban cops I don’t want ANY contact with.

    3. Bunk McNulty

      If everyone who believe that US bankers should routinely behave in a gentler, kinder way were to join J.P. Morgan Chase, then the job would be done.

    4. Propertius

      If everyone who believes that US policemen should routinely behave in a gentler, kinder way were to join the police forces, then the job would be done.

      At the very least it would let Creationists see natural selection at work.

  4. MikeNY

    Re: ISIS, the Middle East, Israel:

    Violence begets more violence. Quelle surprise.

    The only solution to America’s problems in the Middle East is to get the f*%k out of it.

    Yes, I realize that the Sun will probably come up in the west before our elites have the wisdom to do this. Powerful people profit from the insane status quo.

  5. Ulysses

    Here’s a comment from “Brian” on the reader comment posted by Wolf Richter on his blog and linked above:

    “If you make $15 an hour, it’s because you are worth $15 an hour. And if you are only worth $15 an hour but have $70k in student loan debt, that’s a problem you caused. It’s not an economy issue, it’s a you issue. Create your own value.”

    I don’t think I have ever seen a more perfect illustration of the neo-liberal mindset than Brian’s remark. What do y’all think?

    1. Katniss Everdeen

      If you LEND $70K to a person who’s only “worth” $15 an hour, “that’s a problem you caused. It’s not an ‘economy’ issue, it’s a you issue.” YOU do not DESERVE to be paid back.

      “Create your own value.” And when you have none, purchase a “law” that says when YOU f*ck up, someone else must be held responsible.

      1. MtnLife

        I’m going to laugh when someone gets the bright idea to ask for a refund/exchange. “Uhm, yeah, I just spent 4 yrs and $100k on your product and it doesn’t seem to work. No, it hasn’t gotten me a job in my field and I’m making less money than everyone who didn’t go to college. I’d like to return my diploma and get my money back. Or maybe exchange it for a different one. What else do you have available?

          1. McMike

            It would actually be great theater. Get a bunch of disgruntled unemployed grads with piles of debt to stage a return on the university steps.

            1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

              Another demand: They need to recall their faulty diplomas/certifications.

              If the degree says the conferee will work to better the world but he/she is actually design financial weapons, that’s a faulty diploma that needs to be recalled.

              1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

                I say this in order to protect their brand names.

                “Made in Yabridge”

                “Made in Oxvard”

        1. Katniss Everdeen

          And the onus for insuring the satisfactory resolution of that transaction rests squarely on the party with the most expertise, knowledge and power to that transaction, i.e. the LENDER.

          1. Johann Sebastian Schminson

            The lender(s) who already got bailed-out by the indebted.

            That’s an interesting feature of ‘Capitalism”, and unavailable to anyone else.

      2. Paul Niemi

        After 2008, I watched the parking lots of the local community colleges fill up. I would say that if offered a job, any of those would have quit school and gone to work immediately. It wasn’t a training problem; it was lack of jobs in general. Going to school on credit has been a venue for the government to sustain the unemployed, along with unemployment insurance and food stamps and disability claims. So I don’t hold the student fully responsible for a (70k) student loan debt, when the student needed to live and the incentives were built in. Student loans and student aid are minimally sufficient for living expenses. As such, if I were in Congress, I would be preparing legislation to forgive one trillion dollars of student loan debt. Congress left hundreds of thousands of people with no better alternative than to go school and run up debts after the last bubble burst, there being no coherent cash welfare system to fall back on. Congress is on the hook for this debt because Congress is ultimately responsible for the conditions of the economy brought about by the legislation they have passed. We are all familiar with this record. They are doing nothing but hand-wringing and finger-pointing to deflect this responsibility.

        1. nycTerrierist

          Good points.

          If the job market weren’t terrible, people wouldn’t consider
          indebting themselves to go back to school. And since the jobs aren’t there when they emerge credentialed (note I didn’t say educated….), school has become no more than a way of buying time. At ruinous and unsustainable rates.

      3. fresno dan

        Katniss Everdeen
        August 22, 2014 at 8:45 am

        Give corrupt bankers and financiers money, money, money
        When they totally f*ck up, give them much, much more money. The losses are put on the public ledger….
        Keep doing this till those stupid lazy poor people start working harder

    2. Klassy

      That is pretty good, but I think I can make it even more perfect.
      “If you make $15 an hour, it’s because you are worth $15 an hour. And if you are only worth $15 an hour but have $70k in student loan debt, that’s a problem you caused. It’s not an economy issue, it’s a you issue. Create your own value.” it is up to you to build and cultivate your brand. Winners don’t whine. They find their passion.

      1. Brindle

        ….”Winners don’t whine.”…..they just go to the Burning Man Festival and work as a sherpa for Elon Musk or Mark Zuckerberg:

        —“Your food, your drugs, your costumes are all handled for you, so all you have to do is show up,” Mr. Hanson said. “In the camp where I was working, there were about 30 Sherpas for 12 attendees.”—-

        —“At Burning Man”—NYT

      2. Ulysses

        You’re right, the additional sentences make up the full, soul-crushing package! I imagine Brian as a guy who manages to sells life insurance, mutual-funds, annuities, etc. to wealthy people by appealing to the tax advantages said products offer. He subtly helps them understand that they are “helping society too” by preventing any of their hard-stolen money from going to the outrageously generous U.S. social safety net. You know, the “welfare” that our crypto-Muslim socialist Preznit keeps trying to stuff down the over-fed mouths of lazy moochers– that don’t share the same capacity for skimming the surplus value of other’s hard work, slave-owning, and genocide against the natives that built the well-deserved fortunes of his clients’ forebears.

        Of course, if he lives among people who root for “Team D” and not “Team R,” he probably skips the crypto-Muslim socialist thing and points out how our overly generous welfare system prevents minorities from lifting themselves up by their own bootstraps, “cultivating their brand” like our Dear Leader did at an expensive private school in Hawaii, and other non-elitist places like Columbia and Harvard.

    3. windsock

      I read his comments too, about how people need to add value to themselves. He might as well just say: “Go on, be a whore.”

      1. optimader

        Have Yves and Lambert added value to themselves?
        It’s one of my daily objectives!
        go get ’em Tiger.

    4. diptherio

      “If you make $15 an hour, it’s because you are worth $15 an hour”

      The idiocy of statements such as this are astounding. Of course, they’ve been repeated so many times by economists over the years that many people just assume it’s true. The reality is that each of us is embedded in a complex society, each dependent on other people and institutions/systems for our very survival. The amount of wealth that we are able to capture within this system is the outcome of many factors…most of which the individual has little or no control over. These include things like your family’s social standing and the overall economic conditions present at the time, not to mention policy decisions made on high.

      To see how asinine it is to assume that you’re worth what you make, consider the out-sized remuneration packages of our corporate managers. Does anyone really believe that a Fortune 500 CEO is actually creating hundreds of times more wealth than the average American? And now we know, thanks to new research, that pay and performance for CEOs are negatively correlated–the more they make, the worse they do.

      As my econ advisor once told me: imagine that you did your exact same job in Nigeria or Laos; how much would you be making there? The difference between the salary you would make in a third-world country and the salary you make in the US (or wherever) is the amount you are getting paid simply due to your good fortune in being born here and not there. As this thought experiment makes clear, most of the money we make is not due to our “value,” but rather returns to being lucky.

      1. optimader

        “As my econ advisor once told me: imagine that you did your exact same job in Nigeria or Laos; how much would you be making there? ”
        that would depend entirely on the job wouldn’t it?
        I could find you a skilled job in Nigeria that will meet or exceed US compensation for the same job.

        Are 500 CEO salaries, 500 drug addled athletes salaries or 500 sparsely talented popsingers salaries relevant or are they outliers?

        Should someone contemplate career prospects before digging a deep student loan debt?

        1. diptherio

          “I could find you a skilled job in Nigeria that will meet or exceed US compensation for the same job.”

          Please name said job–I can’t think of one. And make it a job that also exists in the US, not “warlord” or something like that…Also, email phishing scams don’t count.

            1. diptherio

              Sweet, you just showed that my point is more nuanced than I thought. If your a chemy, being born in Nigeria might be a good thing. But those Nigerian chemies aren’t earning their income any more than I’m earning mine. A large part of what determines our respective wages is the result of things largely outside our control–like where we live (sure, some people can choose that, but lots can’t). And that’s just one aspect.

              Another thing that occurs to me is that Brian’s statement is entirely tautological. He defines the worth of something as what someone is willing to pay for it, and then claims that what someone pays for a thing is evidence of it’s worth–that is, he assumes at the beginning what he claims to prove at the end. All he has done is provide his personal definition of worth, which tells us more about him than about anyone else.

              It’s easy to see the flaw in the logic–the amount of expendable income that someone has determines the value of the thing that someone is trying to sell him. If the purchaser has a lot of money, the price paid is high, but not because the value of the item (or security, say) is high, but because the buyer (sucker) has a lot of money. Price doesn’t equal value unless you define value as price.

              1. optimader

                I was merely addressing the shallowness of your “econ advisors” claim. If you’re metric is financial, you can take a world class skill set pretty much world wide, and its not limited to being a chemy, nor is i limited to Nigeria for that matter.
                In fact, if you are prepared to live in Nigeria, you can enjoy aspects of lifestyle that cannot be similarly fulfilled in the US (as Beefy alludes) for the same salary. OTOH, Nigeria IN GENERAL is no where near as easy a place to live as is the US., believe me.

                So far as your concern about comparative salary/lifestyle inequality of the two janitors, you’ll have better luck reanimating Solomon than you will have solving all the perceived inequalities of life on this Planet.

                IMO best focus on maximizing you’re own potential and using your resources to improve that which give you satisfaction locally.

                1. James Levy

                  You’re ignoring the fact that these “skill sets” are arbitrarily set by capitalists who then set the wages. They are not based on any objective contribution people make to society, nor do they take account of the fact that by definition most people do not have “world class skill sets”, yet turning them into the reserve army of the unemployed or giving them wages that don’t pay the bills seems to be just hunky-dory with you. Yu also ignore Adam Smith’s quite demonstrably true observation that were wages are low standards of living are low, and that wages are most definitely NOT uniform across countries (or why would so many technical and academic experts move to the USA?). Or are you telling me that professors make the same salaries in the US, England, Uganda, and Sri Lanka, because I can tell you that they most assuredly do not. Your whole “people are worth what the Holy Market tells us they are worth” is sick, twisted, and ethically stunted nonsense.

                  1. optimader

                    “Or are you telling me that professors make the same salaries in the US, England, Uganda, and Sri Lanka, ”
                    Why should they?

                  2. optimader

                    “people are worth what the Holy Market tells us they are worth”
                    You offer that as a quotation. You may now point out where I said that.
                    What you may quote me on is that jobs are worth what the market establishes. I never equated people worth to a wage.

              2. optimader

                “Can you fly into Nigeria now?”
                No, my feathers are moulting

                “The American businessman was at the pier of a small coastal Mexican village when a small boat with just one fisherman docked. Inside the small boat were several large yellow-fin tuna. The American complimented the Mexican on the quality of his fish and asked how long it took to catch them. The Mexican replied only a little while. The American then asked why didn’t he stay out longer and catch more fish? The Mexican said he had enough to support his family’s immediate needs. The American then asked, but what do you do with the rest of your time?

                The Mexican fisherman said, “I sleep late, fish a little, play with my children, take siesta with my wife, Maria, stroll into the village each evening where I sip wine and play guitar with my amigos, I have a full and busy life, senor.”

                The American scoffed, “I am a Harvard MBA and could help you. You should spend more time fishing and with the proceeds buy a bigger boat with the proceeds from the bigger boat you could buy several boats, eventually you would have a fleet of fishing boats. Instead of selling your catch to a middleman you would sell directly to the processor, eventually opening your own cannery. You would control the product, processing and distribution. You would need to leave this small coastal fishing village and move to Mexico City, then LA and eventually NYC where you will run your expanding enterprise.” The Mexican fisherman asked, “But senor, how long will this all take?” To which the American replied, “15-20 years.”

                “But what then, senor?”

                The American laughed and said that’s the best part. When the time is right you would announce an IPO and sell your company stock to the public and become very rich, you would make millions.

                “Millions, senor? Then what?”

                The American said, “Then you would retire. Move to a small coastal fishing village where you would sleep late, fish a little, play with your kids, take siesta with your wife, stroll to the village in the evenings where you could sip wine and play your guitar with your amigos.

        2. TarheelDem

          Contemplating prospects at the beginning of a course of study that lasts as much as 8 or 10 years does not help. The market for positions in that field can go south in that period of time or so many people enter the field with the same calculus you have that it oversupplies the field. And once in the middle of studies, you’re stuck. If you bail you have a sunk cost and no prospects; at that point you change fields and potentially lengthens the delay to recouping your education costs.

          The problem is not one of going out and creating value. I know lots of people who create substantial amounts of value to the infrastructure and to individual requirements; they are called volunteers. The problem is monetizing the value that you create. That depends on: (1) a client or customer or employer with financial resources and the power to negotiate from a position of equal market power, or (2) a person with resources willing to finance a start-up capitalized beyond your personal finances until it brings in sustainable returns, which just allows you time to deal with item 1,

          Employees in secure positions or self-made entrepreneurs who make these flip statements forget their moments of dumb luck and the resources they had before they even began. Those two factors are available only to a small group of people at any time. And they tend to be talent capable of selling refrigerators to Eskimos, selling snake oil, or relaxing their ethical standards sufficiently to walk the gray area of fraud. Not every one has or wants to have those skills.

          1. optimader

            there are professions/crafts with a low center of gravity stability that don’t go out of fashion: nursing, certain engineering disiplines, pharmacists, chefs, metal fabricators, tool designers… all come to mind

        3. Carla

          Sure. And that means that unless you’re really well connected, don’t incur debt for a “higher education.” Just start your life right out with a minimum wage job, and plan to stay there. Of course, if you have really good connections, you probably don’t need a student loan, anyway. Problem solved.

          1. Carla

            My comment was in response to optimader’s question: “Should someone contemplate career prospects before digging a deep student loan debt?”

          2. optimader

            1.) Jr College, knock core curriculum;
            Reasonable DD on picking a major that has a prospect for employment
            2.) State University
            3.) Live at home and work part time jobs as is possible. (Yea I know, very boring)
            Not everyone can live at w/ the folks, but on the other hand school housing is probably cheaper than a conventional apartment anyway.
            The important bit is to pick a career path that present s prospect for employment.

            This convincing yourself of predestiny to failure unless you have a “connection” is BS and it will succeed if you take that toxic attitude.
            There are jobs, you just have to have the sense to prepare yourself to be employable.

            1. MtnLife

              I fail to see the solution to where the number of job openings equals the number of unemployed in this equation that would allow getting an education to “fix everything”. A large portion of the unemployed are not uneducated/unskilled yet we continue to let H1Bs into the country because they are cheaper. Also, have you been made aware recently of skyrocketing college costs (even at state and community colleges) and the stagnating or falling pay scale? Or forgotten about that whole mandated consumerism thing revolving around health care? Maybe if you are lucky enough to live with parents (covering shelter and most food, healthcare if lucky) and happen to have a college in your town you could possibly pull that off. But with trying to pay rent anywhere, transportation, insurance, plus college on the $15k/yr you pull in off those part time jobs just is not going to happen.

              There are jobs, you just have to have the sense to prepare yourself to be employable.

              Like preparing to accept less than a living wage? Preparing to work off-the-clock to keep your big box store’s costs low and profits high in order to remain employed? Prepared to commit financial fraud? Prepared to abuse and harass your fellow citizens? Prepared to break the law to spy on your fellow citizens?

              1. optimader

                “But with trying to pay rent anywhere, transportation, insurance, plus college on the $15k/yr you pull in off those part time jobs just is not going to happen.”
                If your not living with family rent/trans/insurance are the additional costs of life you bear. Graduating with $50 to $70k debt sucks but is manageable if it captures a job that rationalizes it. I am not a career councilor but I will point out a common lament I hear both from vendors and clients is an inability to hire appropriate skilled trades people and professionals. In neither case are these companies looking to hire H1Bs, they infact are specifically looking for US citizen.

                BTW I do recognize a big bifurcation occurring between skilled and unskilled or semiskilled. many of the latter category jobs are gone and probably gone forever. So , come up with an alternative job solution for the steno dept typist, clerk and screw machine operators, I surely don’t have one. All I suggest is be savvy about getting a relevant education.

                1. MtnLife

                  They are even bringing in H1Bs to do unskilled labor where there is often plenty of local labor (or at least American willing to travel) despite owners claims to the contrary. Go to any major ski resort this winter and see how many different countries you spot on name tags running the lifts or take a spin out to Cedar Point (or any major themepark) this summer and do the same thing. There are people out there willing to do ANY job to put food on the table yet they can’t hit the button to send a roller coaster on its way because they didn’t “prepare” by being cheap, young, sexy, and having a foreign accent? Or how about when other unskilled labor gets too “expensive” so you start importing illegals like Tyson did for their chicken processing plants? Or construction companies who pull the orange building supply box store parking lot illegal day-hire? Larger companies, especially tech ones, love foreigners since their stay here is directly tied to employment so the employees are willing to take a lot more abuse and work for cheaper to have their shot at the “American Dream”. The whole proper training meme is crap for multiple reasons. One, very few people come out of college job ready and companies don’t feel they should have to train anyone to do anything anymore. So one can’t get a job without experience but can’t get experience without a job. Second, using hyperbole to illustrate the point, there is always some hot, trending career and let’s say just over 50% of all incoming freshmen chose that major. Ordinarily the job would pay enough to cover the cost of college but since there will be a close to a million new “qualified” applicants (with no other job prospects) who will be willing to work for whatever they can get to eat and suddenly that whole field is shot. Is it their fault they were all savvy? Last, even if you magically took our unemployed and had them trained instantly to fit the needs of business we would still have a ton of unemployed people – what are they going to do? Train harder? Granted, we don’t need a ton of PhDs specializing in 7th century feminist art done on goatskin using pastels, but otherwise it’s just musical chairs offered as a solution.

                  1. optimader

                    “Go to any major ski resort this winter and see how many different countries you spot on name tags running the lifts…”
                    Personally, when I see them I think it’s fantastic young people have an opportunity to come here and work seasonal jobs at ski resorts (and our national parks for that matter). plenty of American kids as well. I talk to them all the time, and to the person they seem trilled to have the opportunity. Frankly, just last week I was lamenting to a friend that I wasn’t aware of these jobs when I was a kid.

                    “…because they didn’t “prepare” by being cheap, young, sexy, and having a foreign accent?…”
                    You are putting your prejudice on that

                    “…Or how about when other unskilled labor gets too “expensive” so you start importing illegals like Tyson did for their chicken processing plants?…”
                    What is you solution, export the chicken processing and so Tyson take that value added activity external to US taxation, or centrally plan the cost of that job so the price of chicken goes up and fewer poor people can afford that source of protein?

                    I have seen the swing of the pendulum w/ what has become inappropriate offshoring of higher skill tech jobs or importing professionals that then blow up in large client companies because the jobs are not getting done correctly. So doing code? maybe that continues to be a choice. Jobs with creative content, say process and instrument design? There is a reason the Chinese, Indians, ME and Africa still want western professionals on the job

      2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        As my econ advisor once told me: imagine that you did your exact same job in Nigeria or Laos; how much would you be making there? The difference between the salary you would make in a third-world country and the salary you make in the US (or wherever) is the amount you are getting paid simply due to your good fortune in being born here and not there…


        I have asked the question myself.

        I think it’s a misfortune (or could be a misfortune) to work here:

        1. Net, after taxes, the nominal difference is smaller
        2. Depending on how events unfold, all that deductions may not come back to the US worker, now or in retirement later, but to imperial adventures
        3. More expensive to live here, so the salary would have to be adjusted for that
        4. In Laos, your family takes care of you in old age. Here, you have the extra expense of saving for, if you can afford to have the spare change, for retirement.
        5. The future (and likely now) health cost of eating industrialized food here (in order to work and earn the ‘nominally’ bigger pay check here) versus traditional meals in Laos.
        6. One doesn’t just live here to earn money. One is impacted by the (gun, drug) culture here. Risk premium is warranted for a worker to live in a more dangerous place, like here, than say, Shangri La, or other 3rd world countries like Nepal. You get a bigger pay check, but not necessarily a better deal.

        One does not know until the end.

        It’s possible to say, hey, I made the right choice to live my whole in Costa Rica, instead of America. I had a happy live.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          But if you

          1. can get your education cheaply in your native country
          2. work and get paid (even at 50% of what they pay American natives) here with a work visa
          3. take advantage of your native culture’s habit of healthy diet (not the Standard American Diet of fat and carbohydrate), minimize your health expense while here in America
          4. hopefully you come not from a culture of excessive consumption and you don’t have too many materialistic Jones for your American neighbors and American friends, you can save and let the money compound itself.
          5. After a few decades, go home with the pension vested in imperial currency, to enjoy your native culture that, hopefully, values family connection, sharing, respect for nature.

          That would be a pretty good deal.

          And the empire will thank you for your contribution to her ‘economy.’

      3. Katniss Everdeen

        Not sure what point your “econ adviser” was trying to make. “How much” could you have made if you did your “exact same” job in Weimar Germany”? Or Zimbabwe, if you want to do Africa?

        1. diptherio

          The point is similar to the POTUS’ “you didn’t build that.”

          The simple point is that your salary depends largely on factors that you do not control, like say the state of the economy or whether you are working in a rich or a poor nation. Therefore, people who claim that they “deserve” their income because they have “earned every penny,” really don’t understand economics. Much of everyone’s income is the result of what are, essentially, economic rents (or the lack thereof).

          A janitor in my hometown might make $8/hr. He could do the same job in Nepal and make $1 per day. The difference in remuneration between the two has nothing to do with how hard or efficiently they work. In that sense, neither one’s wage can be said to be a reflection of some objective value or worth.

          1. diptherio

            uh…garbled the example a little but you get the idea, right? Two janitors, alike in dignity, but on opposite sides of the world. One gets more than the other, though they both work equally hard.

          2. Carla

            “The simple point is that your salary depends largely on factors that you do not control, like say the state of the economy or whether you are working in a rich or a poor nation.”

            Or which parents (and grandparents) you carefully selected prior to your birth.

    5. Johann Sebastian Schminson

      Brian might make oodles of money, but as a human, he’s not worth a dead housefly.

    6. Benedict@Large

      What happened to the concept of not loaning to those who cannot pay. Because if that’s gone out of the window, there’s no risk, and there therefore should be no reward. The interest rate should then be only what is needed to pay for managing the loan.

      Brain is just one more in a long line of apologists for bankers who want to get rich doing nothing.

      1. cnchal

        What happened to the concept of not loaning to those who cannot pay.

        When it comes to students, not loaning the money for an education would financially collapse the university system.

        When I read Brian’s comment earlier, my thought was “asshole”. What is that saying? Knows the price of everything, and the value of nothing.

        1. Carla

          The corrupt, financialized “higher” education system needs to fail. The sooner, the better; that means the faster we can replace it with an actual university education to prepare people for professional fields and vocational training to prepare people for skilled trades and other essential career paths. Banks can be entirely run by computers that are programmed not to rob customers nor taxpayers.

    7. jrs

      I think it contains a grain of truth and that’s why anyone might buy it. The grain is: in *SOME* situations it is possible to make more money by improving one skills etc..

      as for the rest:
      – terms like worth equivocate market “value” (a strictly economic concept which might be ok if limited to an economic concept) with human worth. I can’t claim it’s explicitly stated but it’s such a loaded term.

      – Noone causes having an economic value (no I’m not using his loaded terms) of say $15 an hour ALL BY THEMSELVES in a vacuum. Even if we think decisions they make contribute to their situation many other factors EQUALLY contribute,. Such as if say most jobs have been outsourced then wages are going to be lower than if jobs were not outsourced, if massive H1Bs are imiported then wages are going to be less than if H1Bs were not imported.

      – In the same vein even if we agree that if the $15 an hour worker made different decisions their situation would be different. The fallacy of composition. This economy does not have enough good jobs for everyone, so someone else would be in that $15 an hour workers position.

      – The student loan debt being a problem they caused. But they did not cause all their cultural etc. influences. If the decision was made to take out 70k even if they knew better and they did it anyway then sure blame them. But it’s often the BEST, MOST RATIONAL decision people KNOW HOW to make at the time. Which does not mean it’s a good decision. But what would a good decision require? Predicting the future economy? A hot field today might not be in 4 years. And even one could to some degree it would require a pretty sophisticated economic and social analysis. Have people been taught the critical thinking skills to enable that in their k-12 education? How to rationally evaluate employment markets etc. Generally NO! And why?. Because it would see through the whole propaganda game I suspect. If one could think critically about that then the whole social structure wouldn’t survive pretty soon.

    8. Banger

      The argument is demonstrably false because it is circular. If the only legitimate measurement of value is money then the money you make must be your value–thus sheer BS. The argument should be whether or not money accurately measures value even economic value–this is a much more interesting subject.

    9. jrs

      Really though that Wolf Richer blog is it parody? We used to be able to buy pools and houses (plural) easily now not so much. We can’t buy a beach house that we would use strictly for vacations only and not even rent out (tell that to the homeless). We can’t take international vacations every 2 years. We have to keep our cars for awhile. We can afford a blowout wedding. Golf memberships at the country club are down….

    10. ambrit

      I replied on that thread that the problem was elite manipulation of the economy for the elites benefit at the expense of the workers. I was not alone in that assessment. I’m suspecting that “Brian” was trying to convince himself too. The ‘rugged individualist’ idea only works when either the economy is vigourously expanding or one is lucky. Who ever extolls the virtues of the “Rugged Individualist Loser?”

    11. different clue

      It’s also Libertarian. Its also Rugged Individualist which is a very traditional mindset in America.
      Perhaps we need a new political term of identification: neoliberaltarian.

  6. nobody

    Ferguson Riots and Bundy Ranch Showdown — Signs of an Approaching Breaking Point

    If you don’t immediately see the connection between the armed showdown that took place in Nevada this past year, and the riots taking place right now in Ferguson Missouri, look closer. The demographic makeup of the crowds are obviously very different and the lines of support and demonization have largely split along the fault line of left vs right, however both evens illustrate just how close the American public is to such a breaking point, and both events demonstrate that law enforcement’s reliance on brute force in such situations has the effect of throwing gasoline on a fire.

    Goes well with Chris Hedges, America is a Tinderbox, previously discussed here.

      1. nobody

        How they do it in China.

        According to reports, it began when the police were seen beating a woman in public. Crowds formed and demanded that the officers stop beating her. But the officers continued.

        A man who tried to film the incident was struck repeatedly by officers, so much that he began vomiting blood. According to reports, the man died on the way to the hospital.

        The officers, who were part of an elite law enforcement unit called Chengguan, were called “government thugs” and other names as they were stoned and beaten to death while trying to find shelter in their van, according to reports. The officers were found dead, the van was smashed to pieces, and troops were called to disperse the rebellious crowd.

        The truck that the troops were driving was also flipped over and riot police flooded the streets…

        1. James Levy

          Heartening in one regard, but guess what: the authorities won in the end and at least one innocent man was killed. The braver the resistance the higher the casualties, and in the final analysis unless the army steps in to overthrow the people giving the cops the orders the cops will always win.

          1. Benedict@Large

            Your analysis omits the concept of “skin”. Police kill and will keep killing because they believe they have no skin in the game. If the officer who killed Brown or the two who killed Powell had in mind that the crowd might kill then for those actions, their guns never would have been drawn. In that case, the idea of either the cops or the people “winning” has no play.

          2. vidimi

            i disagree. innocents die regardless. two dead already in ferguson. but you can bet the cops will be better behaved in that chinese village in the future.

            i don’t endorse violence but a complete lack of accountability is worse.

            1. James Levy

              If you could bet that way then you’d bet that the Israelis and Palestinians, after trading death for death (actually, probably ten deaths for one death, but that’s another story) for so many decades would be “better behaved” since both most certainly have a “skin in the game”, but they don’t. It’s nice to dream that the cops will act better, but little I’ve seen of human behavior shows me that authority figures react that way–they usually pile on the violence and terror, the way the US does in international relations when it is challenged or thwarted. America hasn’t become “better behaved” because people have stood up to us; in fact, I think you could argue the contrary.

              1. vidimi

                the palestinian-israeli death toll is closer to 60:1 but that’s a terrible analogy. israel has a very clear, if unstated, policy of ethnic cleansing and they will create an excuse to exterminate if one is not there.

              2. different clue

                Actually the Palestinians and Israelis took the step you accuse them of not learning to take. That’s what the Oslo negotiations were. That’s what Rabin ran on and got RE-elected on by an electoral maJORity of israeli voters. That’s what Likud and elements of the security services worked to nullify by engineering Rabin’s assassination using their plausibly deniable Oswald figure. I’ve left links to an article about this before, on Rigorous Intuition 2.0, called The Violent Bear It Away.

    1. fresno dan

      “Another characteristic that these two events both share is the way supporters began flowing in from all over the country, some clearly itching for a fight. In both cases this phenomenon was highly destabilizing. The reaction to the Bundy ranch showdown was arguably more dangerous due to the fact that many of these supporters arrived on the scene with locked and loaded rifles, and began taking up tactical positions in preparation for a shootout. The Bureau of Land Management was obviously unprepared for this scenario and quickly backed down, but imagine what would have happened if those armed protesters had instead come face to face with a fully militarized police response like what we saw in Ferguson? It’s no exaggeration to say that a scenario like that could easily set off a civil war.”

      Whatever one thinks of the two situations, one thing appears to have happened – having a bunch of people with guns made the authorities act with more discretion.
      Now, I think if the government had wanted to clear the Bundy ranch, this could have done it in short order. How many of those men would keep firing as an armored vehicle approaches that can easily kill them with impunity – not very many.
      But the interesting point is that the political consequences would be earth shaking. Remember Ruby Ridge – a man who was breaking a law (although I may not fully agree that he was entrapped, I would acknowledge that the people who make that point of entrapment do have some point).

      One of American cities primary constituencies are blacks, but it is amazing to me how little real power they have with regard to any police oversight. The police can stop young black men with no justification whatsoever, and with total impunity for police illegal behavior that is video recorded. There is no effective action at firing the police chief or getting a new prosecutor.

      On the other hand, if people from the Bundy range had been killed and/or arrested, I think very clearly republicans would be united in a small government jeremiad and would be screaming about the militarization of Federal regulatory agencies. There would be real consequences for the people in charge who made those decisions. Any body fired or demoted for Ferguson??? Do you really think anything other than a small vacation happens to the cop who pointed weapons at protestors?

      Its all a matter of who the police get to oppress.

      1. lambert strether

        Here are three differences between the Bundy and Ferguson cases before we get to your consumer fetish objects of choice, gunz:

        1) Bundy-istas were white

        2) Bundy-isras were of the right

        and critically

        3) Bubdy was an owner.

        IOW, the Bubdy-istas weren’t privileged because they carried guns; The carried guns because they were privileged.

        Ammosexuals, bless their hearts…

  7. Ulysses

    Thanks for the link! I found this paragraph particularly thought-provoking:

    “Given these kinds of events one may be tempted to view the militarization of the police as a defensive policy, however when facing a people that are ready to snap, it is in fact a self fulfilling prophesy. Treating the civilian population as an enemy invites war, and sooner or later the invitation will be accepted. In a country like the United States where the civilian population is armed to the teeth, this is no joke.”

    No joke indeed.

  8. russell1200

    Per the comments on the link about the killing: Where do you take a course that says a knife is non-threatening? And slashing is more dangerous than puncture? Oddly enough, the slash versus stab debate goes back to at least the Napoleonic Wars (when it mattered more) with the stab winning hands down. Even with a sword that can cut an arm off, there is a tendency to flail around and not close. In addition, it is generally easier (granted at considerable cost) to block the arcing sweep of the slash, then the stab.

    Knives are considered extreme threats. Once the assailant gets within 20 feet, the closing time is very short, and once the combatants are grappling, the advantage of the handgun over the knife is considerably reduced.

    That being said, the “suicide by cop” theory looks very relevant, and the cops are full of cr_p in their telling of the story. It is very reasonable to say that cops were scared by a guy who was acting a little crazy, and shot him when he kept approaching them. You take that risk too many times as a police officer, and you are eventually going to get yourself in trouble. I agree with the person who took the video and the link, who questions why they didn’t use a tazer. I wouldn’t be stunned to find out that the cops had been told to use the tazers less (each shot costs about $500) as the cop-tazer issue has become controversial itself.

    But the response after the shooting was thuggish and guaranteed to get everyone stirred up.

    1. Johann Sebastian Schminson

      All of that is true, as long as the cops back is up against an actual wall, and he can’t keep a safe distance between himself, and the person wielding the knife.

      You will notice that the police tend to stay well back in a hostage/mass shooting situation.

      Shooting isn’t the last option, it has become the ONLY option.

      1. subgenius

        Don’t underestimate a blade. Ever.

        If the wielder knows their shit and you are inside 25 feet you are in a very bad place.

        Very few “self defense” classes are any good. In order to get good you need both good training and a lot of practice. Real, hard practice. Not what you experience in most classes.

        1. Johann Sebastian Schminson

          My comment shows nothing but respect for “the blade.”

          As a wayward, street-living teen, I got into a struggle over control of a Buck knife (mine). The other dude was a much older (as in his 30s), biker type, who tried, and did, to take it off my belt, flick it open, and threaten me with it.

          That dude went to the hospital with a puncture wound through his biceps, and into his chest. He’s lucky he lived, as I certainly would have killed him, had I the skill.

          If I can maintain 25 feet, even if it means running, I will.

          I don’t NEED to kill anyone. Neither should the police, in these instances.

        2. bob

          ” you are inside 25 feet you are in a very bad place”

          Get out of that place then. Back the fuck up.

          The 25 foot rule is survivalist porn. It has no bearing at all on one guy getting shot 9 times by two officers standing behind a police car.


          1. bob

            It’s just more stand your ground BS. If a guy is charging you with a knife, MOVE. If he’s moving that quickly, he can’t turn very well. His weakness is your strength.

            “but this is a rule!!” made up by some asshole in his backyard who’s looking for an excuse to shoot someone, and not be blamed for it.

            What if the guy is charging 2 people? With 2 knives? is it now a 50 foot rule?

    2. subgenius

      Stab vs slash is a false debate. It depends on the type of blade and the method of use and target area of the body. There is a lot of armchair expertise and none of it counts.

      1. Johann Sebastian Schminson

        There is no such thing as a knife-fighting “expert.” Only lucky survivors. If a person gets into more than one knife fight in their entire life, they have deep, deep issues.

        1. ambrit

          Too true. I remember beating myself to H— and back trying to master nun chuks. I never did manage it.
          I think Uncle Fester from the Addams Family has it right; “I’ll shoot them in the back!”

    3. bob

      “You take that risk too many times as a police officer, and you are eventually going to get yourself in trouble.”


      “911, I’d like to report no trouble.”

      What if a 15 year old girl is walking crazy down the street and yelling “rape me”? Would the cops be correct in bending her over the car? “she asked for it”

    4. lambert strether

      Please don’t distort what Yves writes. She said “least” threatening, not “non” threatening. As to the location if the course, are you saying she didn’t really take it? That it was a bad course? If so, cite your alternative authority.

  9. McMike

    I found the Foreign Affairs “decay” piece somewhat incoherent, veering between substantive points and unsubstantiated assertions, then I saw that it was written by Fukuyama…

    1. Paper Mac

      Opened it, saw “Fukuyama” in the tab title, closed. No point in wasting one’s time with foolishness.

    2. Johann Sebastian Schminson

      Doesn’t Fukuyama understand that there is no longer any point in writing anything other than fiction? Everyone knows that history ended more than a decade ago.

    3. bobh

      The Fukuyama essay, while wordy, made good points. In a better world than ours, it could be the text for a high school civics class on what went wrong. The post-ideological perspective of disillusioned Reaganites allows them to discuss the current mess with detachment. David Stockman is doing the same thing.

      1. McMike

        It was an essay that wanted to be useful, had brief flashes of articulate insight even, but ultimately could not break free of the lazy and disingenuous habits of thought common to his ilk.

    4. Gaianne


      So: Fukuyama has no idea how shallow he is. He never figured out that “the end of history” was merely the right non-thought at the right time.

      Thereby becoming a perfect example of the adage: “Those who don’t know don’t know they don’t know–and think they are smart.”


  10. Carolinian

    Obie now watch this drive gets a tut tutting in the Times.

    Presidents learn to wall off their feelings and compartmentalize their lives. They deal in death one moment and seek mental and physical relief the next. To make coldhearted decisions in the best interest of the country and manage the burdens of perhaps the most stressful job on the planet, current and former White House officials said, a president must guard against becoming consumed by the emotions of the situations they confront. And few presidents have been known more for cool, emotional detachment than Mr. Obama.

    Yet the juxtaposition of his indignant denunciation of terrorists and his outing on the greens this week underscored the unintended consequences of such a remove. If Mr. Obama hoped to show America’s enemies that they cannot hijack his schedule, he also showed many of his friends in America that he disdains the politics of appearance. He long ago stopped worrying about what critics say, according to aides, and after the outcry over Wednesday’s game, he defied the critics by golfing again on Thursday, his eighth outing in 11 days on the island.

    See it’s not that he doesn’t care, he’s just “walling off his feelings.”

    Meanwhile the yellow press is somewhat less empathetic toward the Prez.

        1. James Levy

          Ike, to his credit, never envisioned his role as president as having his nose in every pie. To him, the job description of president was out of the 19th century. He was there to act like a fire extinguisher–you only break the glass and use it in an emergency. When something only the president could do needed doing, Ike did it. Otherwise, his instinct was to be passive. I believe this attitude had and has much to recommend it.

          1. Johann Sebastian Schminson

            What about when the Congress is passive, other than to obstruct government? Can the President act, or will he be sued?

    1. jrs

      Walling off his feeling in dealing with death that he causes in many cases of course (that kill list), but he’s a psychopath or anything, not at all.

  11. Jim Haygood

    From the FT Alphaville article on Argentina:

    ‘With hindsight, Argentina was the perfect collaborator to have the CDS trigger: the Lock Law, tirades against holdouts, and contempt for court rulings on the way to its final refusal to settle, guaranteed that a failure to pay event materialised. For all the Kirchner government rage against speculators, in what would be a delicious paradox, it may have made the vultures rich by triggering the CDS.’

    And the salsa beat goes on. In response to yesterday’s court hearing, in which the judge refused NML’s motion to hold Argentina in contempt, Reuters reports that ‘Argentine Cabinet Chief Jorge Capitanich said U.S. District Judge Thomas Griesa’s choice of words were “unfortunate, incorrect and even, I would say, imperialist expressions”.’ Well, thanks a lot, yer honor!

    As the Peronist trash talk gets turned up to 11, the peso sinks like a stone, with the dólar informal leaping 2.95% yesterday to 13.95 pesos offered. I thought the dólar blue (as it’s called in BsAs) would go to 15 pesos from last week’s 13. But I didn’t expect it to get halfway there this week.

    Meanwhile, the widow in black has her own critics at home [from La Nación]:

    “I would wish, at least, that in the last year of her administration, the president would donate part of her fortune to everyone who has been impoverished in recent years,” said, provocatively, José “Pepe” Nun, who was Secretary of Culture under [late ex-president] Néstor Kirchner, and has harshly questioned for years the management of Cristina Kirchner.

    According to her latest filing, the personal property declared by the president amounts to 48.2 million pesos, an estate that grew by 20 percent in a year, a change attributed to the valuation of her hotels in the South [Patagonia].

  12. McMike

    Re Google avoidance: validation!

    I often feel like I am the only person left on the planet who does not have my entire personal and business correspondence, file storage, file sharing, and document versioning processes placed in the hands of Google.

    1. ambrit

      You are not alone. I also avoid them like the plague they are. I have even tried to argue my wife out of her Gmail account. (Is there a Gmail spot that is, er, more appealing, to women?)

    1. lulu

      Did I read somewhere that those A-10 Warthog jets that are being phased out of the military will be distributed to various states’ National Guard units for crowd control with the remainder being sold off to private security organizations and contractors (like the one mentioned above or Academi/XE nee Blackwater)? Much better than all those helicopters that have been dispersed to so many local police departments. Naw, couldn’t be…

      1. ambrit

        Hello! Ever been up close next to one of those ‘Warthogs?’ They’re big! I’ll bet the maintenance bill alone for one of them would bankrupt the average size town government.
        (I have yet to see one painted with the “Wonder Warthog” character. That would be too cool to contemplate. Too subversive as well!)

        1. MtnLife

          What about one pass at the gun range? I can’t even fathom what 30mm rounds go for, much less 1,350 of them.

          1. ambrit

            Yeah. And, with a hose of 30MM shells, ‘crowd control’ becomes ‘crowd slaughter.’
            Sounds too much like Napoleons’ “Whiff of grapeshot” to me.

    1. NotSoSure

      My guess is that within five years, there will be a coup and a new guy from the army will step up. It’s basically Soeharto V2.

    1. down2long

      Truly, Brian. It would be the wrong impression methinks. It really is a wonderful snap, worthy of the cover of a trade slick of “Gulliver’s Travels.” I think it made my brain tingle. I’m still smiling.

  13. Jeff N

    Yes – the “insane rules” article is a HUGE point I’ve been waiting forever for someone to make.

    the current protocol: Everyone = cops, legally-armed individuals, etc., are to “shoot to kill” if they feel their lives are in danger.

    This is more important for *everyone* to know, understand, and reconsider; than silly lib-vs-conserv issues like ALEC or stand-your-ground laws…

    1. vidimi

      when america invaded iraq in 2003, one of my main arguments for why the idea of a pre-emptive strike was an insane idea was an analogy at an individual level: you’d never get away with killing someone on the street because they MIGHT have a weapon which they MIGHT use against you. the very idea was preposterous. but now, with stand your ground, the chickens have come to roost and the pre-emptive strike mentality has come to its inevitable conclusion. the united states, and by extension the world it influences, is becoming more and more dystopic every day.

  14. barrisj

    Re: the killing of Kajieme Powell and “reasonable force” – a timely article by AP reporter Eileen Sullivan points to a SCOTUS decision in 1989, Graham v Connor, which has up to now established the standards for police use of force. What is remarkable about Sullivan’s piece is the description of the facts of the case, and how “reasonableness” is such an elusive prescriptive requirement for police conduct in situations when violence is used to “take down” a “suspect”.

    Supreme Court case to shape Ferguson investigation

    To most civilians, an 18-year-old unarmed man may not appear to pose a deadly threat. But a police officer’s perspective is different. And that is how an officer should be judged, Chief Justice William Rehnquist wrote in the 1989 use-of-force Supreme Court opinion.
    It started with a bottle of orange juice 30 years ago.

    The national legal standards that govern when police officers are justified in using force against people trace their lineage to a 1984 case from Charlotte, N.C. In that case, a diabetic man’s erratic behavior during a trip to a convenience store for juice to bring up his low blood sugar led to a confrontation with officers that left him with injuries from head to foot.

    Dethorne Graham’s subsequent lawsuit against police for his injuries led to a 1989 Supreme Court decision that has become the prism for evaluating how police use force. As soon as Ferguson, Mo., police Officer Darren Wilson shot Michael Brown on Aug. 9, the Graham v. Connor case became the foundational test for whether Wilson’s response was appropriate or criminal.
    In Graham’s case, his behavior as he was experiencing low blood sugar looked similar to that of a belligerent drunk.

    On Nov. 12, 1984, Graham, 39, felt the onset of an insulin reaction and asked a friend to drive him to buy orange juice that would increase his blood sugar, Connette said. According to the Supreme Court, Graham rushed into the store and grabbed the orange juice but saw the line was too long, so he put the juice down and ran back to the car.

    Charlotte police Officer M.S. Connor thought this was suspicious and followed him. When Connor stopped Graham’s friend’s car, Graham explained he was having a sugar reaction. But Connor didn’t believe him.

    As Connor was following up with the store to see whether anything had happened, Graham left the car, ran around it twice, sat down and passed out for a short time. Other police officers arrived, and Graham was rolled over and handcuffed. The officers lifted Graham from behind and placed him face down on the car.

    When Graham asked the officers to check his pocket for something he carried that identified him as a diabetic, one of the officers told him to “shut up” and shoved his face against the hood of the car.

    Then four officers grabbed Graham and threw him headfirst into the police car.

    Once police confirmed no crime had been committed inside the convenience store, they dropped Graham off at his home and left him in the yard, Connette said.

    Graham ended up with a broken foot, cuts on his wrists, a bruised forehead and an injured shoulder.

    Graham, who died in 2000, lost in his first jury trial and appealed to the Supreme Court, which set out the standards used toda
    y. He then had a new trial, which he also lost.
    The Graham decision found that an officer’s use of force should be considered on the facts of each case. Officers are to weigh the seriousness of the crime, whether the suspect poses a threat to the safety of police or others and whether the suspect is trying to resist arrest.

    “Officers are to weigh the seriousness of the crime, whether the suspect poses a threat to the safety of police or others and whether the suspect is trying to resist arrest.”
    Now, reading the actual account of the police’s conduct toward someone in diabetic shock, and passed out, “a threat to the safety of police or others…” doesn’t quite match up, does it? How about “seriousness of the crime”? Well, no crime was committed, only “suspicious behaviour”, which is about anything that a copper can believe about anybody. And, of course, was “the suspect trying to resist arrest”? Only if one believes that asking the cops to find his diabetic card before further hassling him constitutes “resisting arrest”! It goes back to the article I posted a few days ago about police and “the cult of compliance”: “do what I say or I’ll drop you” sort of thing. Agreed that Graham v Connor was adjudicated by the cop/prosecutor-friendly Rehnquist Court, but, for God’s sake, “reasonable” police officer:???

    1. fresno dan

      Simply outrageous. But it shows that the fancy legal words are just balm to hide gross injustice and oppression.
      “When Graham asked the officers to check his pocket for something he carried that identified him as a diabetic, one of the officers told him to “shut up” and shoved his face against the hood of the car.”

      In California, when your in prison and they are beating you, because there are cameras everywhere, all the guards shout is “stop resisting” – apparently, this works even when the inmate is lying on the ground unconscious…..
      What you have to understand is that the authorities are reasonable, and if you don’t believe that, you are a terrorist….

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Stop resisting.


        Don’t challenge.

        You see and hear these words in newspaper and on TV. Everyone sees them. Maybe any of the messages is to the guy they show on TV. And it may just be about cops and some guy wielding a knife. But you carry the messages in your mind. They sink in, infiltrating your unconscious. And that’s how it works.

        Stop resisting. Obey. Don’t challenge.

        ‘That is how it works in politics.’

        ‘This is how money works.’

        Stop resisting. Obey. Don’t challenge.

        1. ambrit

          If I didn’t know better, I’d suspect that the Powers were trying to instruct us in basic Zen.
          After all, that whack on your head is supposed to wake you up. Oh, I guess it doesn’t work that way if you’re unconscious, or dead.

    2. curlydan

      I was disappointed the article didn’t really delve to far into the Rehnquist opinion that led to the standards. But the article certainly ended with a disturbing quote: ” ‘What a police officer, what she perceives at the moment of application of force, may seem very different in the hard light of the following Monday morning,’ said Ken Wallentine, a recently retired police chief and former law professor in Utah. ‘And there’s the rub.’ ”

      So the standard is what the police officer perceives at the moment? Sorry, but that’s just too flimsy. We’re supposed to defer to the policeman’s perception over what we can see with our own eyes or through the eyes of witnesses or the community? Police are under too much stress and could always rely on an “it’s what I perceived” argument.

      1. Synopticist

        Yeah, that’s shocking. Not a standard that would apply to anyone else of course. Only cops.

        1. MtnLife

          Don’t want the public to go all crazy and start “perceiving” a corrupt police department as a “threat”. I’m sure it would impinge upon their ability to act with complete disregard for others.

  15. Carolinian

    Russian aid convoy now inside Ukraine. From Reuters via Pat Lang’s place:

    Earlier, Kiev said Russia had launched a direct invasion of its territory by sending the convoy into eastern Ukraine, where pro-Russian rebels are fighting government forces. “We call upon all international partners to unite in decisively condemning Russia’s illegal and aggressive actions,” the ministry said in a statement. “In order to avoid provocations we gave all the necessary commands for the safe passage of the convoy … We consider this another flagrant violation by Russia of the main principles of international law.”

    Passive/aggressive enough for ya? Lang’s TTG adds;

    I wonder if the Russians planned this all along. Roll the aid convoy across the border and into Lugansk just in time for the Ukrainian Independence Day celebration. This is a real turd in the punchbowl for Kiev, especially since they’ve been reporting for days that their troops have Lugansk totally surrounded and half taken. Andrew Roth, a reporter for the NYT Moscow Bureau was in Krasnodon and saw the convoy turn onto smaller country roads on their way to Lugansk. That’s why the trucks are only half full. Fully laden semis are not appropriate for country roads.

      1. trish

        Obama administration today re Iraq : “‘We’re not going to be restricted by borders,’ said Ben Rhodes, President Barack Obama’s deputy national security adviser.”

        In February warning Putin to stay out of his own backyard after US-engineered coup: “Any violation of Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity would be deeply destabilizing,”

        and today: “”We very much condemn the violation — flagrant violation — of Ukraine’s sovereignty that we saw today with the movement of this Russian convoy into [our] Ukraine,” said Ben Rhodes, deputy national security adviser to President Barack Obama.”

        yet another example of our sovereignty vs everyone elses.

        1. Ned Ludd

          • Dropping Bombs = humanitarian intervention
          • Delivering Food = military aggression

          Yet allowing the trucks to disperse across the Luhansk region without any Ukrainian controls in effect allows Russia to force a cease-fire in Kiev’s fight against pro-Russian separatists.

          The Ukrainian government is upset that Russia’s humanitarian aid interferes with Kiev’s goal to kill and starve people.

      1. Howard Beale IV

        AMS was the flight’s origination point. I would imagine there’s some ICAO protocol for handling of FDR/CVR’s when a plane crashes, but where/who enforces that? Got me…

  16. down2long

    I got pulled over by LAPD for a misfiring turn indicator light. (I drive very carefully because after my BK judge screwed me for the banks, I became a fugitive after my cracked windshield fixit ticket went to warrant, then a suspended license then another fixit for a burned out brake-light. For two years I simply could not bear to face our “justice” system.I thought, “I’m paying massive fines for a cracked windshield I got fixed- but at the time could barely afford because of my massive legal bills – and Jamie Dimon is taking my paid up building. And yet, I am the bad guy?. [In ALaska, where I grew up, almost everyone has a cracked windshield.] It was mindboggling and utterly disgusting)

    Anyhow, two ays ago I pulled over, and absentmindedly almost got out of the car. The cop started yelling at me, “Don’t get out of your vehicle.” I was so stunned! His tone was as if I had pulled a gun on him. After the stich was resolved that in fact my turn indicator light worked, and had been working (?) and he let me go, he admonished me again, “Don’t ever get out of your vehicle, Never” I thought, yeah right, so I could be like those old latino newspaper delivery ladies, wrong make and model of truck, you guts shot up thinking they were Christopher Dorner (African American, Bald, 200+ pounds) or that skinny white surfer dude cops also thought was Dorner.

    I used to sit on the board of Rampart Police. What I came away with was the arrogance of the police, their unbelievable sense of entitlement, and their disdain for the rest of us. Except for MOST women cops. They get it. The difference between women and male cops was astounding. We would all be much better off with all women police forces. Even in the field they are much more effective. They strategize, they plan, they cooperate, they LISTEN.. For the most part,. the male cops are just cowboys, reacting. Discouaging. After losing my paid off building with that crooked BK judge Sanda Kaufman not raising a finger, I resigned my seat on the Board. I will not tinker with the machinery of oppression in this country. And speaking from experience, it is very difficult to change a corrupt culture from within. I tried for four years. One time the bank sent out a thug to break down the door on a different rental property I lost to Wells. The banks was accepting rent, yet their (incidentally black) thug was trying to break in with a crowbow through the French door, while the tenant was clearly visible. The tenant called me. The cops kept taking the banks side. I explained to them that you cannot break into a rental property, 24 hour notice, blah, blah. They kept saying, “But they’re the owners” I tried to illustrate for the cop that if a black man came to his house with a crowbar and tried to break in, HE, the cop, would shoot him dead. Couldn’t get throught. TThere had been other runins at the property with cops (like the time when I still lived there and the bank changed all the locks and nailed all the windows shut, and I had to break in to my own house. I went to file a police report on breaking and entering and illegal trespass, and they refused to take a report, seeing nothing out of the ordiniary with this behavior.) Later I told the captain that we needed to set up a seminar for his force on tenant/property rights. He dismissed it out of hand. Asshole. He did get arrested for drunk driving, and lost his post. Small justice.

    I was a a pretty big donor at Rampart, plus I brought in member and helped with lunches, equipment for the force, etc. but I made it clear I wanted my money to go to community outreach programs. They cops wanted the money to go for their “runs” in the desert, parties, etc. I made some enemies by saying I was not there just to blindly support cops. My intent was to facilitate a dialogue between the community and the cops. A couple of my friends had seen this disconnect earlier and stopped doinating. Always late to the party, it took
    me a while longer .

    When the cops say do not challenge my authority, you really must think of the Cartman video where he plays a six year old cop on a tricycle yelling “Do not Challlenge Mah Authoriitay” [Youtube]} and whaling on people’s shins with his billy club. Seriously, that is their mindset. That’s why they love car chases. Just like being a kid, bigger cars, much more jeopardy for the rest of us.

  17. diptherio

    RE: Ferguson
    Economic Harassment and the Ferguson Crisis ~LA Times op-ed

    According to the group’s recent report on the municipal court system in St. Louis County, the Ferguson court is a “chronic offender” in legal and economic harassment of its residents. There’s not much of a secret why: the municipality collects some $2.6 million a year in fines and court fees, typically from small-scale infractions like traffic violations. This is the second-largest source of income for that small, fiscally-strapped municipality.

    1. Klassy

      One more reason why I believe some of the most egregious wealth transfer is at the state and local level.

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Fiscally strapped.

      They will need fed financial help in getting their police militarized.

      Again, there is money…only misused.

    3. cnchal

      There’s not much of a secret why: the municipality collects some $2.6 million a year in fines and court fees

      The corruption of justice. The police are encouraged to look for easy targets to shake down, with bogus law enforcement as the method.

      Why? The municipality, or state government, which is run by politicians, has promised more than they can deliver, economic conditions have changed where the taxes collected don’t cover expenses, so this viscous cycle of policing for profit get’s started.

      One of the keys to Ferguson’s dilemma is that the police officers are not part of the community.

      Police force management seems to want their officers to come from somewhere else rather than be a local. That goes for policing in general. The OPP and RCMP do not let officers work where they grew up.

      Police management is afraid of corruption by the officer.

      Words. What they mean depends on who’s talking.

      In southwestern Ontario, there are two areas side by side, roughly the same geographic size and population with one difference. One area was patrolled by the OPP and the other area had it’s own police force of locally born officers.

      The area patrolled by the local born police force issued roughly half the number of speeding tickets per resident than the OPP patrolled roads.

      It is hard to look someone in the eye and hand them a several hundred dollar ticket, and the screaming insurance rates that go with it, when you played marbles with them in the schoolyard, unless they really deserve it.

      That’s what police management thinks corruption is. The officer won’t follow orders and be a prick.

  18. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Natural Gas to Gasoline for $1

    Now, they have to, or rather, want to, frack harder.

  19. vidimi

    Re:Kiev in U-turn over claim that ‘Russian tanks, artillery and 1,200 fighters’ had been deployed in Eastern Ukraine as evidence fails to materialise

    this is a big development. most of us here suspected that kiev was making up these claims but to have them exposed naked as this is important and will go a long way to discredit them. most interestingly, look at which comments are getting rated up and which are getting rated up. putin-hating comments are getting trashed while anti-kiev comments are getting mad props. this on one of the UK’s most right-wing sources.

  20. fresno dan

    Ferguson PD Confirms Officer Wilson Shot at Brown as He Ran Away Daily Kos

    “As Charles Johnson at LGF says, this is a “big admission”. Although the autopsy suggests none of these shots struck Michael Brown, it explains why more than one eyewitness described his having been shot in the back. Several eyewitnesses said that after these shots were fired, Brown turned around with his hands in the air.”
    Who was Clinton’s press secretary – not the woman, the man….”releasing information slowly….”

  21. Jess

    In his article about the Fed and Soc Sec, Dean Baker writes:

    “According to the most recent projections from the Social Security trustees, average hourly compensation in thirty years will be more than 60 percent higher (after adjusting for inflation) than it is today.”

    Say what? Am I mistaken/misinformed/stupid, or hasn’t it been shown that after adjusting for inflation/buying power, real wages of everyone except the top 5% or so of earners have remained stagnant since the early 70’s?

    If I’m wrong, can somebody explain? And if I’m correct, why would Baker and the SS trustees bank on such a change in the economic balance toward workers?

    1. Brooklin Bridge

      I’m also puzzled about raising interest rates. A frequent argument for higher rates is that low interest rates hurt those who depend on pensions which in turn rely on investments that pay out (or don’t pay out) by interest, but then as Baker argues, high interest rates make for lower tax revenues which hurts SS inputs. I’m missing something. Seems you are damned if you do and damned if you don’t.

    2. fresno dan

      Something I have often wondered myself.
      But of course, in the wonderful hedonic world of the FED, everything just gets better and better. Why, just the other day the chief of police of Ferguson was saying they all lived in racial harmony (and a yellow submarine)

  22. rich

    More Than A Thousand Stood Under Heat & Sun For Free Food In Miami

    Farm Share partnered up with Commissioner Francis Suarez for the massive food giveaway in a neighborhood in need.

    “We are a city of tales; the ‘haves’ and ‘have nots.’ The city is growing tremendously but we also have a very poor city. The need is far greater than the supply that we have,” said Suarez.

    In the parking lot tents were set up and dozens of volunteers were on hand to help the residents fill their boxes with vegetables, chicken, juice and gift card to Winn Dixie.

    Many of those lined up were elderly. One man was so overcome by heat, he had to be treated and transported.Others tried cooling themselves off with paper fans that were given out and their own umbrellas.

    For all the others who managed to tough it out they said it’s something they had to do.

    “Did you ever think you would be doing this,” asked CBS4’s Marybel Rodríguez to Julio Exposito who was waiting in line. “Not in my wildest dreams” said Exposito.

    Damien Cabrera who was also standing in line, showed what he had received.

    “So far I have vegetables, juices, chicken and a gift card,” said Cabrera.

    Those who were able to get food, will be taking it to a home where a box full of food makes a huge difference.

    “If it wasn’t for this would you have food in your refrigerator,” asked Rodriguez.

    “No, not right now,” said Payne.

    The distribution was on a first come first serve basis. By 11:15 a.m. the food had run out.

    For those who were still in line Commissioner Suarez spoke with them promising another giveaway soon.

    Yes, life is tough at the monetary cavalcade in Jackson Hole!


  23. denise

    Link to a story at DailyKos, which basically adds no information to the story it links to at LittleGreenFootfalls, which basically adds no information to the story it links to at the New York Times.

    This is not helpful.

  24. The Infamous Oregon Lawhobbit

    No offense meant to the site’s owners and contributors, but as someone who’s taken and taught many self defense classes over the decades, if you are unable to describe and discuss the background behind what is known in the industry as “The Tueller Drill,” then you really have zero credibility to be critiquing the strategy and tactics of dealing with knife-armed assailants.

    And let me add a side order of Justice Holmes: “Detached Reflection Cannot Be Demanded in the Presence of an Uplifted Knife” ~ Brown v. United States (1921)

    Which is not to say that the shooting was correct or incorrect. Simply that uninformed opinions are not particularly useful in a debate. ;-)

    1. Johann Sebastian Schminson

      “Presence of an uplifted knife”

      How far away is the person wielding the knife? Do you teach people NOT to retreat to a safe distance, if they can, or do you counsel them to stand their ground, and use your techniques?

      Policing does not require “detached reflection,” I requires training in the MANY ways a person can interact with someone with a mental problem and a knife.

      What do you teach people to do when they have a gun to their temple?

  25. MtnLife

    Bringing up the Tueller Drill is somewhat disingenuous here as that refers to drawing and firing a round on target. The police had their guns drawn already. The part about speed of closure doesn’t change but they were already aimed and he was walking forward, not charging. Second, they put themselves within that zone. That drill is designed to react to being surprised not to give yourself a justification for shooting to kill because you were facing a justifiable threat of mostly your own making. Beyond the Tueller Drill

    1. fresno dan

      They had a – oh, I don’t know what you would call it – member only posting site for cops in Montgomery County MD. Somebody eventually started revealing the stuff posted…..and it makes the Klan look like B’nai Brith and the Nazis look like the NAACP.
      The police union fought tooth and nail…..not to keep the identities of the posters secret, but to allow the site to continue as is!!!!!
      Now, these are public officials with guns stating that the best policy is to shoot first and ask questions later.
      Montgomery county MD, heavily democratic, and supposedly liberal…… But again, we are getting the police we want…

  26. Jackrabbit

    Was Kajieme another Greenspan victim?

    He was 25 years old. Why is he stealing 2 cans of soda and a doughnut? He would’ve been 18 or 19 in 2008 when the bottom fell out of the economy. We’ve heard that young people have suffered in this post-GRC economy as they are unable to find a good job / start a career. We need to learn more about who he was and what brought him to this confrontation.

    H O P

  27. fresno dan

    “You don’t get $321 in fines and fees and 3 warrants per household from an about-average crime rate. You get numbers like this from bullshit arrests for jaywalking and constant “low level harassment involving traffic stops, court appearances, high fines, and the threat of jail for failure to pay.”

    If you have money, for example, you can easily get a speeding ticket converted to a non-moving violation. But if you don’t have money it’s often the start of a downward spiral that is hard to pull out of:

    For a simple speeding ticket, an attorney is paid $50-$100,
    the municipality is paid $150-$200 in fines and court costs, and the
    defendant avoids points on his or her license as well as a possible
    increase in insurance costs. For simple cases, neither the attorney nor
    the defendant must appear in court.

    However, if you do not have the ability to hire an attorney or pay
    fines, you do not get the benefit of the amendment, you are assessed
    points, your license risks suspension and you still owe the municipality
    money you cannot afford….If you cannot pay the amount in full, you must appear in court on that night to explain why. If you miss court, a warrant will likely be issued for your arrest.
    People who are arrested on a warrant for failure to appear in court
    to pay the fines frequently sit in jail for an extended period. None of the
    municipalities has court on a daily basis and some courts meet only
    once per month. If you are arrested on a warrant in one of these
    jurisdictions and are unable to pay the bond, you may spend as much as
    three weeks in jail waiting to see a judge.”

    I’m just a cynic, but it is very difficult for me to believe that the poor are getting f*cked by accident.

    1. gordon

      “For a simple speeding ticket, an attorney is paid $50-$100,
      the municipality is paid $150-$200 in fines and court costs, and the
      defendant avoids points on his or her license as well as a possible
      increase in insurance costs. For simple cases, neither the attorney nor the defendant must appear in court”.

      That just sounds like organised bribery, like the recent B of A pay-up, only on a smaller scale.

  28. gordon

    People who read the Truthout link (“Government’s Arsenal to Destroy Revolutionaries”: Political Imprisonment Persists) might then wander over to Crooked Timber, where there is a recent discussion of the necessity for resistance, either as well as or instead of voting, as a way of bringing about change: “Most of the great political reforms of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries have been accompa­nied by massive episodes of civil disobedience, riot, lawbreak­ing, the disruption of public order, and, at the limit, civil war. Such tumult not only accompanied dramatic political changes but was often absolutely instrumental in bringing them about”.

    It’s also fun to discover the extreme reluctance of most of the commenters on the long comments thread to admit the truth of that assertion.

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