Links 8/26/14

Rare Blue Lobster Caught in Maine by 14-Year-Old Girl and Her Father

The 1,300 Bird Species Facing Extinction Signal Threats to Human Health National Geographic

Abrasive Organic Herbicide Method Blasts Weeds To Death Popular Science

How serious is California drought? Check out these before and after pictures, taken only three years apart Imgur

How the Golden State’s 1 percenters are avoiding the drought Politico Magazine

Expert calls for nuke plant closure AP


Michael Brown Funeral Filled With Cries For Justice Huffington Post

Michael Brown Spent Last Weeks Grappling With Problems and Promise NYT. Contained enough ridiculousness that the Public Editor administered a quick rebuke: An Ill-Chosen Phrase, ‘No Angel,’ Brings a Storm of Protest

Another (Much Higher) Count Of Police Homicides 538

Darren Wilson’s fund raises more money than his victim Dazed

College Students Walkout Of Class In Memory Of Michael Brown (PHOTOS) Huffington Post

As Peace Talks Approach, Rebels Humiliate Prisoners in Ukraine NYT

Ukraine president dissolves parliament, sets Oct. 26 election LA Times

Liberia: Doctor Given Experimental Ebola Drug Dies AP

Egypt and United Arab Emirates Said to Have Secretly Carried Out Libya Airstrikes NYT


U.S. says airstrikes on Syria are not imminent McClatchy. Followed by…

Obama Approves Surveillance Flights Over Syria NYT

The strange role of rappers in the Islamic State’s jihad Washington Post

Retirees’ Social Security garnished for student loans CNN Money

NLRB: Jimmy John’s Can’t Fire Workers for Icky Sick-Leave Protest Businessweek

Amazon at odds with Germany over strong union tradition Seattle Times

MBS Settlements–Following the Money Adam Levitin, Credit Slips. Investors get next to nothing for investor abuse. Private litigation system appears broken.

Banks Want Lehman to Increase RMBS Reserves WSJ

Italy loses enthusiasm for privatisations Financial Times

Hedge Funds File U.K. Suit Against BNY Mellon on Argentine Debt WSJ

Merger Plan Raises Tax-Inversion Issue WSJ

Tax Dodge Used by Bain Escapes Scrutiny on Inversions Bloomberg

ICREACH: How the NSA Built Its Own Secret Google The Intercept. See also Marcy Wheeler.

Why Are Harvard Grads Still Flocking to Wall Street? Amy J. Binder, The Washington Monthly. Long read of the day.

Antidote du jour:


See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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About David Dayen

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


  1. Clive

    Re: SoCal’s water shortage (from the linked article

    “Pat Nesbitt—CEO of Windsor Capital, majority owner of Embassy Suites—who has long sought to convince local officials that his polo field, which is part of his 20 acre estate is entitled to a discounted agricultural water rate…”

    There’s definitely a “let them drink Chardonnay” type joke in there, if that is what the 1% think is supposed to be agricultural water use. I’m pretty credulous, but sometimes even I am just stunned by the elite mind-set.

    1. wbgonne

      When people get thirsty they get desperate. And desperate people are dangerous. Oprah and the rest of the UltraRich are playing with fire.

    2. optimader

      According to Encyclopædia Britannica, polo was first played in Persia (Iran) at dates given from the 6th century BC to the 1st century AD.[4]
      A Persian miniature from the poem Guy-o Chawgân (“the Ball and the Polo-mallet”) during Safavid dynasty of Persia, which shows Persian courtiers on horseback playing a game of polo, 1546 AD
      FWIW, Doesn’t look like grass to me

    3. gordon

      From the linked piece: “The Montecito Water District, which is particularly discreet about its patrons, admits it will rake in close to $4 million in fines this year”.

      Surely this just represents organised bribery of the water authorities by the rich. You can call it a “fine” if you want, but what is happening is that rich people get all the water they want and poor people get shut-off notices.

        1. different clue

          But not municipal golf greens, mind you; or even merely upper-middleclass golf greens.
          Only the very upper classiest golf greens can afford this sort of bribery and only they rate this sort of discretion.

    4. pretzelattack

      oh, and Detroit is starting to shut peoples’ water off again. I was reading comments on this at the guardian, supposedly a liberal site, and most of the commentators were taking the line that the poor were just trying to sponge off taxpayers with their silly demands for water. jesus.

    5. Danny

      The Politico piece seems a poor hack job to me. Its whole purpose seems intended to blast past decisions over taxes and water imports with cries about the one percent as the celebrity gossip-fluff to get readers.

      The author makes a number of inaccurate statements along with others that have mythical properties. California has deserts, yes, but the state isn’t mostly desert. For example, Los Angeles doesn’t technically qualify as one despite its reputation. A more appropriate term is “Mediterranean.” ;-) My point here is that nomenclature matters. Two things the author neglects to mention in her rant is that two-thirds of the state’s water falls north of Sacramento while most of its use occurs south of Sacramento. This is where the best agricultural land is found as well as more amenable living space (assuming a/c and water, of course). This matters because that’s the general cause of our water problems (even for farmers griping about delta smelt).The second is that the state water project cut supplies for everyone, not just Santa Barbara. The imgur link shows pictures of Lake Oroville, which is the biggest reservoir for the state water project. The issue there is not just that the reservoirs are low on water, but that the state water project has fairly junior water rights. In many cases, it has the most junior rights. We have five different sets of water laws that apply in California where the lowest on the totem pole gets the scraps. During lean times like these the water project gets nothing. There’s a lot more that can be said but I’m commenting a phone

      1. Danny

        To clarify my second point, I meant to say that all the other state water project customers still have to pay for infrastructure intended carry water from the state water project. Her complaint makes it seem her community was mislead in voting for the project under the guise that water would be there in the worst drought. Seems an unreasonable assumption given the worst case scenario, especially where little water is available to begin with.
        The author missed an excellent opportunity for real analysis and to ask tough questions, such as “at what point will the water district turn off water to customers using unreasonable amounts of water?” “How close is the community to running out of water should have another bad drought year? Another five years?” “Is this issue i unique to Montecito?”

        1. Clive

          Yes, a bit of a hack job — especially when it went on to espouse that the “solution” to the county’s problems was a desalination plant. Which would produce all the required water but is hideously energy intensive. And while the waster of water resources on residential trophy estate maintenance is a good headline, when you delved into the article a bit more, the real villain of the peace was agricultural demand. It would seem an entire economy is based on growing the wrong things in the wrong places.

    1. Leeskyblue

      If you use Windows, right click COPY on the Daily Antidote.
      You don’t have to actually copy the image — just bring up the screen and the file name.
      NC usually IDs its more unusual fauna in the file name.

  2. Swedish Lex

    If we accept the 1450/year number of police homicides in the US, U.S. citizens are 44 times more likely to be shot dead by police than their Swedish peers.

      1. ChrisNotts

        Presumably you also have to adjust for population to get the Swedish number. The actual number for Sweden should be, based on recent population figures :

        1450 / 44 x (9.5 / 313.9) = 1 person / year

          1. Clive

            Doh ! My mistake for not paying attention. Here’s what I should have linked to. From

            Table 2.2 Fatalities by type of death and financial year, 2004/05 to 2012/13
            Fatalities Category:
            Fatal shootings

            2004/05: 3
            2005/06: 5
            2006/07: 1
            2007/08: 5
            2008/09: 3
            2009/10: 2
            2010/11: 2
            2011/12: 2
            2012/13: 0

            You have to multiply by about 6 to get an equivalent US figure based on population size. But any number multiplied by zero is still zero (for 2012/13). And I wouldn’t say that England and Wales are especially non-violent societies. I’d always imagine Sweden to be more peaceful. Nor would I say that in England the police forces are that impressive in how they police. But one can’t argue with how they manage to avoid shooting dead the population.

            1. Christopher Dale Rogers


              Where my family live in South Wales, unless its a serious crime, you can actually forget the police. A few years ago bandits tried to steal the ATM from our local Co-oP store – I rang the police line and instructed then an actual crime was taking place – the response time was over an hour, and yet the nearest police stations are two miles and three miles away. As for gun crime, one incident in my lifetime close to where we reside, it was shotgun related. Newport and Cardiff see a lot more action, but whilst the valley communities are tough, gun related crime is very low – you really need to go to London, Manchester or one of our larger cities for that.

              1. Clive

                Oh yes, I agree. They are pretty hopeless at actually solving crimes unless it is on their list of “priority measures”. Most forces seem to have been taken over by the management consultants long ago.

                But it still doesn’t alter the fact that they don’t on a regular basis go around shooting unarmed citizens.

            2. JEHR

              In Canada, number of people shot by police:
              2014-5 (so far)
              To be approximately equivalent to the population in the US, you would have to multiply these numbers by 10. I could not find a list of US killings by police and Wikipedia had a list removed. (,_September_2014 )
              The trend seems to be going up in Canada. ( ) I wonder if Canadian police forces are becoming militarized.

            3. MtnLife

              Police in Vermont rarely shoot anyone, those few they do usually live (we avg less than 1 fatality per year), and this is a state with no regulation on gun ownership or concealed carry other than not being a felon, having been dishonorably discharged, or being under 16 and not having your parents permission to do so. I’m not sure whether it stems from low crime (very low local on local property/personal crimes that aren’t emotionally driven, 2nd + homes different story), not having many police officers, response times being abysmal outside of wealthy preferential areas (I suppose nearly an hour of response time to “shots fired” lets the adrenaline levels drop), better training, or a different sense of community. The last part I’d like to note that while the state is, for the most part, racially homogenous, there is little racial tension in the areas that aren’t. They could work on mental health response as the mentally ill definitely take the top of the shoot list but with the rise in heroin and out of state dealers (the sole death this year was a heroin dealer who wouldn’t take his hand out from behind his back) they may have competition.

              1. Johann Sebastian Schminson

                Vermont looks like the sole claimant to being the land of the sane and intelligent, when compared to the other 49 states.

                Bernie Sanders, alone, would seem to indicate at least a 50 point IQ advantage over the Bible Belt states.

                I guess winter leaves Vermonters little else to do, other than to study and practice rationality.

                1. MtnLife

                  Also the home of Jim Jeffords, who just died, the Republican who turned Independent in 2001.

                  Found this article Historian: Vermont’s early legal system was scratched together while browsing earlier and it really gives a good picture of the commonsense mindset up here.

                  90 percent of our first constitution is taken from Pennsylvania, except three important changes in which we are unique in the history of the world:

                  “One is we abolish slavery, two, we establish freehold rights for anyone to vote whether you own property or not, and thirdly we guarantee that the taking of private property for public purposes should be compensated in money,” he said. “Now, these are ideas that have been around, but we’re the first state — the first nation, if you want (note: VT was its own republic before joining the US) — to treat it that way, that has the ability to articulate and then guarantee in the constitution.

                  “And our constitution starts with a bill of rights. … In the U.S. Constitution there are amendments that create the Bill of Rights,” Gillies said. “We put it right up front, and we established some basic principles on how we’re going to work.”

                  The first court in March 1778 had five members, none of them lawyers: “We don’t really like lawyers,” Gillies said.

                  1. Johann Sebastian Schminson

                    Thanks, MtnLife. It’s always good to add info to the database.

                    Been looking at farm land in Canada (until our bust and their bubble, sent their prices skyrocketing). Maybe we’ll start looking in Vermont.

                    I’m really getting sick of the butt-naked, unbridled stupidity of the Old Dominion.

  3. abynormal

    silly me…i don’t see where student loans come near these legal withholding’s:
    “But there are circumstances when the federal government is permitted to garnish your benefits. For instance, Social Security can withhold money:
    To enforce child support or alimony obligations.
    To enforce a valid garnishment for court-ordered victim restitution.
    To collect unpaid federal taxes.”

  4. abynormal

    it ain’t a part till the counter-party shows up!…blow the roof off all your houses of the holy
    “Bank of New York’s “actions have been designed consistently to protect its own interests without reference to the interests” of the bondholders, the suit alleges. The plaintiffs include Knighthead Master Fund LP, RGY International LLC, which is a unit of Perry Capital, as well as Kyle Bass’s Hayman Capital Master Fund LP and George Soros’s Quantum Partners LP,”

    there must be a mistake in that plaintiff list…where’s our very own JIM boohoo HAYGOOD

  5. Ben Johannson

    Re: Why are Harvard Grads Still Flocking to Wall Street?

    Because that’s where career services directs everyone to go. Ivy League graduates are only given two or three options in this regard because the extraordinary premium (whether deserved or not) commanded by their credentials leads most employers to ignore their applications.

    1. amateur socialist

      The extraordinary premium they need to… pay for that credential! Which is owed to… Hey look over there!

      Another self licking ice cream cone?

    2. Ulysses

      Good point. What I found most depressing about this piece is the author’s attempt to find a silver lining:

      “The experience of Teach for America proves that with the right structure, people who might otherwise wind up at Goldman or Bain can be persuaded to try their hand at careers where they can at least attempt to remedy the country’s biggest problems.”

      The author is probably not aware that the “big problem” the TFA program has been designed to remedy is the continued existence of public school teaching as a profession that is unionized, and more secure than the jobs available to most Americans in the precariat. Well meaning kids with only 5 weeks of training from Harvard, Brown, etc. are being brought in as cheap temporary labor to help the privatizers bust the teachers’ unions. Fortunately, some TFA alums with a conscience are beginning to speak out about how they’re being used as union-busters, and encouraging students from their schools to consider going through the traditional certification process if they really want to teach. I heard a powerful presentation on this issue in Providence a couple of years back given to some Brownies.

      1. nycTerrierist

        “The author is probably not aware that the “big problem” the TFA program has been designed to remedy is the continued existence of public school teaching as a profession that is unionized, and more secure than the jobs available to most Americans in the precariat. Well meaning kids with only 5 weeks of training from Harvard, Brown, etc. are being brought in as cheap temporary labor to help the privatizers bust the teachers’ unions.”

        Thank you. Well put, indeed.

      2. wbgonne

        I caught that too. The touted alternative to Wall Street greed is privatizing public education. Great.

        Despite the article’s handwringing, the answer is obvious: Ivy grads go to Wall Street for the same reason people rob banks. (Of course, now the banks are the robbers but the principle remains.) The young elite will stop going for the Wall Street money when either: 1) the money runs out (not likely); or 2) greed is scorned (possible but hardly inevitable).

        1. different clue

          Blogger Riverdaughter at the blog The Confluence first used the word “precariat” several years ago. She may have invented it herself or she may have gotten it from some French material on the engineered mass-destabilizing of heretofore-stable formerly-middle-class work.

    3. Ed

      As an Ivy League grad, I found this to be very much the case. You could get jobs in consulting or investment banking, in fact that was pretty much who recruited on campus. Or you could go to law school. But try to get a job in any other industry and you were tagged as “overqualified” by human resources. I graduated twenty years ago, and I gather that if anything the situation has gotten worse.

      The “Yale or jail” insistence on a number of (generally right wing) blogs really puzzles me. Ivy League schooling is basically a trap from the career perspective. That said, getting into a career has been getting increasingly difficult no matter what you do.

      1. Gerard Pierce

        This is enlightening. I had been under the impression that Harvard and Ivy League alumni worked very hard to create job opportunities for other graduates of their alma mater.

        My evidence for this is anecdotal. Someone had showed me a single letter to the director of a newly created government oil shale organization. The writer suggested that his new position as director gave him a great opportunity to hire other Harvard graduates.

        It didn’t bother me all that much at the time. I simply assumed it was one of the ways the world works and I do suspect that there are industries and occupations where graduation from the right Ivy League school is a necessity for an entry-level job.

        The thought that the old boy network might be necessary for survival is surprising and educational.

        1. MikeNY

          “I had been under the impression that Harvard and Ivy League alumni worked very hard to create job opportunities for other graduates of their alma mater.”

          I think this is true. There was that controversy a while ago about how Princeton in particular, and the Ivies in general, were essentially wealth and privilege perpetuation mechanisms. There is a lot of truth in that, and the Ivies DO work very hard to keep the alums happy and cohesive, and favoring their own. Even I saw it (and benefited from it) as a first generation, drag-wearing, philosophy-reading, pot-smoking, impoverished homo.

    4. Banger

      My take away from the article is that the universities are creating a “game” atmosphere where “winners” get the best jobs, that is, they set it up as a college sport. For anyone who knows young people who go or have gone to elite schools, usually, their entire lives have been made up of competitions so it’s easy to turn them to the dark side. Professors, which Bender appears to absolve are complicit, I believe, for not offering their efforts to teach critical thinking skills–from the statements of the students they seem incredibly naive. The crimes of the Wall Street oligarchs are as obvious and serious as any major war–all students should be reading, at minimum, Yves book or any of a number of other books on the subject–that they can get to their Junior or Senior year at Harvard or Stanford without understanding the 2008 financial crisis is shameful.

      1. impermanence

        You can not really expect a young person [with their entire life in front of themselves] to understand the significance of what has happened over the past forty-plus years, especially when they are being told that that they are being groomed to carry on in the glorious tradition of so and so institution.

        People do what they do because they truly want to believe that they can make a difference AND live the good life. Unfortunately, this is available to very few, and at rare times.

    1. Kurt Sperry

      Monetary policy seems to be the independence movement’s dirty little secret. The whole thing is rendered pretty frivolous if the end point doesn’t explicitly include a sovereign currency. Implementation can conceivably be delayed, but it must be addressed.

      1. paul

        The only way it can be addressed is throurh independence.
        The ballot people are being offered is:
        “Should Scotland be an independent country?”
        I’m voting yes.
        The details can be sorted out after.
        When they are tearing up other countries by force they have few qualms:

        Gordon Brown has welcomed Kosovo into the international fold despite concerns from other EU powers.

        The Prime Minister announced that Britain would be officially recognising the new state in a bid to “close the chapter” following the fraught break-up of Yugoslavia.

        “Kosovo has been and is the last unresolved issue,” he said. “We are recognising Kosovo as an independent sovereign state.”

        Mr Brown was speaking in Downing Street after a meeting of EU foreign ministers in Brussels failed to agree joint recognition of Kosovo’s new unilaterally-declared status.

        UK foreign secretary David Miliband made clear that London had no hesitation delivering official recognition to Kosovo. France, Denmark and Sweden also made clear they would endorse its new status, while Germany is expected to do the same soon.

        However, Spain, Romania, Slovakia, Cyprus and Greece have expressed fears that recognition for Kosovo would trigger separatist groups in each of their countries to demand the same.

        Mr Brown said Britain was “satisfied” that there were safeguards in place to protect the new country’s Serbian communities. He stressed that UK forces would be on hand to monitor the situation.

        “We will do what we can to help ensure stability and ensure the development of Kosovo as a country,” he added.

        Mr Miliband insisted the EU countries had delivered a “strong” statement, despite the fact that only a handful formally announced that they would recognise Kosovo’s independence.

        “I think that is a very strong position on which to build. I believe other countries will follow in due course,” he said.

        Apart from Scotland, I suppose.

    1. abynormal

      an interesting link of nation comparisons for all sorts of categories

      more than ever We Need Information…i’d say the need is greater than food, healthcare & shelter but we are there.

      “In a time in which Communist regimes have been rightfully discredited and yet alternatives to neoliberal capitalist societies are unwisely dismissed, I defend the fundamental claim of Marxist theory: there must be countervailing forces that defend people’s needs against the brutality of profit driven capitalism.” Cornel West

      1. trish

        “Communist regimes have been rightfully discredited.”

        The huge amount of damage that murderous thugs like Stalin did to the word communism and the subsequent highly successful misuse and abuse of it by more subtly or indirectly murderous ones since…a tragedy. And to associate that with Marx…

        re cornell west…can you imagine if he had the platform that those in power have, white and black (with MSM voice) ??? the attacks he’s sustained from so-called liberals when he had the temerity to call out obama…

    2. Worker-Owner

      To a Koch, anything even slightly anti-(private)-monopolist is Marxist. Public monopolies and competition be damned.

      1. zapster

        “To a Koch, anything even slightly anti-looting and extortion is Marxist.”
        Fixed it for ya. :-)

    3. ambrit

      Yes, Red baiting does still work. The Koch team just updated the referents to more modern ones. As in: “Miley shows off her Pink parts again!”, or “Zebra-in-Chief golfs with Hackers!”, or “RT an assault on American values!” Gird your loins, hold your nose, and saunter down Popular Culture Lane, a byway of the Internet Highway, and see just how much organic fertilizer is spread over Americas fields of play.
      As attributed to Barnum: “There’s a sucker born every minute.”

  6. diptherio

    What’s the biggest threat to your health? Pollution? Lack of exercise? Poor eating habits? What about hierarchy?

    Health and Hierarchy ~GEO

    We now know with certainty that rigid hierarchies are bad for the health of everyone in them – except those at the very top. But there’s good news too: according to the World Health Organization, cooperative values and cooperative action are the prescription for combatting these negative effects.

    Working for the man isn’t just a bummer, it’s literally a health hazard.

    1. Steve H.

      “I’m the head of my team, people look up to me, and you come out of that deciding you are on top of the hierarchy that matters to you.” – Sapolsky

      Worth repeating.

      1. abynormal

        repeat this from the top of any hierarchy: “We’re beings towards death, we’re featherless two-legged linguistically conscious creatures born between urine and feces whose bodies will one day be the culinary delight of terrestrial worms. That’s us.”
        (im in a Cornel West mood today’)

        1. ambrit

          I hope we will soon be reading “Consumers in the hands of angry Job Creators.” That and “On Economic Prophecy” would go far to Awakening us.
          Yours in Keynes,

      2. diptherio

        I’m not sure what point you’re trying to make here. The problem with hierarchy from a physiological perspective is when the hierarchy is rigid, i.e. those at the bottom have little or no agency, it creates constant stress among low-ranking members. The results range from decreased immune function to putting on weight in the abdomen instead of other areas of the body; hypertension, depression, etc.

        Without the full context of Sapolsky’s quote, I have to guess at what he’s getting at. Maybe that being part of a hierarchy that matters to you personally, and one in which you have some agency, is an antidote to being stuck in low-ranking positions in other hierarchies. Sapolsky is, of course, the head of his lab hierarchy, but he’s probably much lower in the rank order for the University as a whole. I would also guess that the hierarchy Sapolsky heads is rather compressed and fluid.

        I couldn’t resist the alliterative title, but the it’s not quite the case the hierarchy per se is the health problem. Hierarchies seem to naturally form in human groups. It’s how rigid the hierarchy is, how stratified the society, whether those on top of the hierarchy are there because of superior experience or skill, or whether ranking is arbitrary, that determines how detrimental to the health of low-ranking individuals a particular hierarchical structure is.

        Even co-ops have hierarchy, it’s just that cooperative hierarchies give everyone a voice in their design and function, which turns the hierarchy from a system of control into a system of empowerment. There’s a lot of meaty material in this research that I didn’t have time to go into in depth in this brief introduction. For the sake of putting the basic ideas across, I had to simplify somewhat. Hopefully I’ll have the time to flesh this out in the coming weeks.

        1. Banger

          There are natural hierarchies but we have rarely seen them. Our society is based on coercive hierarchies that are baed on the principle of domination/submission not natural abilities. Leaders in certain situations emerge because that is their gift–when they do they are able to empower other members of the team to do their thing–this doesn’t always work smoothly because of the cultural malaise we all share but, once we understand that aspect of the problem, we can find work-a rounds.

          1. diptherio

            I think we see natural hierarchy all the time, only on micro-scales. Occupy was a good example. Despite the overall anarchistic vibe, some of us got made into “leaders” simply because we’re the “leader type” and people recognize it. There was definitely hierarchy in our camp, but it was super “soft” and those of us “at the top” were concerned with getting as many others involved as possible, not in securing our place in the pecking-order.

            Same thing on stage rigging crews. There is a hierarchy, but it’s based on skills and mutual respect. I was a low man on the totem pole when I was doing stage work, but it wasn’t damaging because those above respected those below and gave them as much autonomy as possible, and worked to train us newbies so that we too could move up the ranks. No one had to sit us down and say, “do what this guy says.” We did what that guy told us to do because he obviously knew what he was doing and he was cool as hell. That’s what I refer to as “natural hierarchy” or “empowering hierarchy.” Sadly, not a common form in the business world.

            1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

              We can all be leaders and we have to encourage all to believe that each one of us can be a leader.

              Something like the rotating presidency at the many international organizations works for me.

              “You are in charge this time. Maybe you don’t have the technical know-how, but these guys/gals are your assistants and can help you with translating your visions into policies.”

              1. Banger

                I don’t agree some people just are not leaders–they have other skills that a natural leader would immediately understand. At times we need real diversity in leadership at other times, particularly at a time of crisis we need someone who is not wetting their pants to take charge. I, for example, am good in a major crisis but useless as a manager or executive to lead an institution long-term.

                1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

                  But enough leadership-capable people so that it shouldn’t be just one person, but a group of rotating leaders, comprising of, if we believe we all (more or less, with exceptions, of course) have the ability to be what we want to be, most of us.

            2. MtnLife

              Sorry, repeated a lot of what you said dip – didn’t refresh browser and composed while doing a number of chores.

          2. MtnLife

            The best natural hierarchies that I’ve seen emerge are what I refer to as situational meritocracies. These have been instances where environmental or goal related items get dealt with through delegation/relegation of the leadership position to the most capable member based upon a high level of mutual respect in the group. There’s a group of craftsmen in the area who all used to work for the big guys in the area and have all gone out on our own. When the group of us get to work together there is a very natural flow where everyone seamlessly differs to the more knowledgeable person with no ego issues. It’s not that we aren’t all capable in a wide range of areas but that one person is slightly better than the rest. This also happens a lot in wilderness situations and emergencies – someone always has their head screwed on a little straighter than everyone else and most people recognize that.
            I agree our society is based on coercion and domination. It’s learned early.
            ***Slight tangent here, I apologize – it does relate the hierarchies (early childhood structural formation) and this is JUST an observation, NOT any sort of endorsement or condoning*** There’s a connection to this and that whole uproar over the use of “bossy”. There’s a reason bossy is sexist but not for the nondescript reasons given at the time. Bossy is more of a exclusionary glass ceiling word than denigrating and it goes back to the playground. As children have their differences and start to sort out the social pecking order you will hear the inevitable phrase “You’re not the boss of me!”. At which point, if it is two boys, there will be a tussle and one will learn that the other actually IS the boss of him or that he ISN’T the boss of the others and should learn to play nicely/get along. The boy then transforms in A) the alpha male or B) the bully (not that there’s much difference) but is clearly out of the “bossy” zone. Girls, on the other hand, are socially protected and pressured/expected to be physically non-confrontational. This leads to unresolved girl-boy confrontations where the girl learns she can verbally/mentally/emotionally assault the boy but he cannot respond as he would to another boy without serious repercussions and thus the girl gets labelled bossy with the only hope for “promotion” to bully being the taboo physical altercation (girl-girl interactions wind up with the “bitch” label, very rarely “bully”). These interactions only get codified entering puberty as men lavish their attention towards the good looking and socially climbing women (giving them body image issues, promoting backstabbing bitchiness, and downplaying intelligence) and women lavish their attentions on the Neander-men (legitimizing/promoting their use of violence, legitimizing/promoting disrespectful behavior towards women, and undermining the development of “good guys” by punishing them for being respectful). I think we need a lot more guidance in different avenues for conflict resolution when we are young (which would help create healthier hierarchies in adulthood) because I think the scene that plays out (rewarding men for violence and women for social cruelty) is a solid foundation for future domestic violence (and civil disturbances?). Men need to find other ways to resolve disputes besides threats and physical violence, women need to understand that their mouths can be just as abusive, especially against those with mental health concerns (which tend to fall more heavily on men). Otherwise a relationship will become an individual representation of Ferguson, South Central LA after the Rodney King verdict, or anywhere one side can repeatedly cause grievances with no method of redress until the whole place explodes (because that’s all they know how to do).

            1. diptherio

              Great comment!

              I take it you work in the construction trades. My work-buddy and I were just commiserating the other day about doing big jobs for contractors with lots of subs and so lots of interacting hierarchies and lots of really poor communication as a result. It’s about the worst possible situation in which to actually do quality work, but as I pointed out, for most of the people on the job, it’s just a racket. Do some work, get paid, get out. It’s the blue-collar version of IBGYBG and it’s highly dysfunctional.

              We’ve sworn never to work for a general contractor again–it’s just not worth it. We’ve talked about setting up a co-op, as well, if we weren’t both trying desperately to get out of manual labor.

              As for the gender stuff–that all sounds highly familiar (says the beta…)

              1. MtnLife

                Yeah, I run my own custom woodworking (mainly) business but really custom anything home and yard related (have a stone/wood outdoor shower area coming up). The other guys and I have discussed a co-op but we’re just waiting for the right project to come along to make it worth the effort. I actually meant to come back full circle with the gender thing as well (one of those downsides of fragmented composition while busy with other work). The big contractors in our area are almost all run by alphas and tend to perform poorly due to reasons you mentioned and I’d add in high employee turnover due to people not wanting to work for assholes devoid of respect for others not like themselves. Amongst the people whom the situational meritocracy works best there isn’t a single alpha which goes back to the childhood example I mentioned in the other post where you either learned you had to work with/respect others or you learned to dominate them.

        2. trish

          “It’s how rigid the hierarchy is, how stratified the society, whether those on top of the hierarchy are there because of superior experience or skill, or whether ranking is arbitrary, that determines how detrimental to the health of low-ranking individuals a particular hierarchical structure is.” well-put. how stratified society…add rigid?

          “Sapolsky’s quote, I have to guess at what he’s getting at. Maybe that being part of a hierarchy that matters to you personally, and one in which you have some agency, is an antidote to being stuck in low-ranking positions in other hierarchies”…the mindset that’s been cultivated, if you have yours… the success of the big fish in small pond pecking order sort of stuff? A voice for everyone supposedly but only on a small scale, not for the big stuff, and for those at the very bottom it’s just complete illusion of voice?
          this is all new to me, a bit of a dwarf in these conversations.

          1. abynormal

            the reason i chose the West quote…humility within hierarchy levels is necessary and needs to be a mandatory practice, including at personal levels. unless low morale generating less production is the valued return.

    2. trish

      and obviously pollution, poor eating habits, etc (stress?), fall under the umbrella of hierarchy. Total health hazard for all of us organisms on this planet.
      combating with cooperation may be the prescription but how with the top’s boot on our collective neck. too many seem to be unaware it’s there, adjusted to the discomfort, brainwashed to see it as the way …

      1. diptherio

        We lead by example. Get involved in cooperative enterprise/action in your area. If there isn’t any, start some. People (and this is going to sound cynical, but whatever, it’s true) by and large live on a monkey-see-monkey-do principal. Modeling is incredibly important. Unfortunately for us, we aren’t presented with a lot of good models for cooperative action here in the US (although there are plenty, they just aren’t presented to us), so it’s up to those of us with a little bit of vision to provide that modeling.

        It’s like the guy who saved some stranger from off the subway tracks in NYC not long ago. Man collapses off the platform, people just stand and look–until one person takes action. Suddenly there are other people helping too. That’s how it works with us domesticated primates. If Angelina Jolie were to join a Food Co-op or start an actor-owned production company for the health benefits cooperation provides, co-ops would be everywhere, immediately.

        1. trish

          ” large live on a monkey-see-monkey-do principal.” I like that. I abhor hypocrisy, see it all around re the environment. I self-examine (address whatever possible, check tendencies toward complacency & convenience-driven behavior/hypocrisy, constantly try to improve), educate in small ways, politely confront where possible, protest that I can manage. small ways all, within my means.

    3. Banger

      There we are–yet another potential arrow in the quiver of the left to use. Many years ago I suggested that the left could galvanize around a few general issues and one of them was the right’s increasing appeal to un-reason and solidly anti-scientific points of views–then Al Gore wrote a book about it. The left’s response was to snicker and laugh at the silliness of the right but it did not make a clear case that voting for the right was voting against reason itself–as a way to frame issues it was perfect but the left still focuses on individual issues and not the underlying problem. We face the death of Western Civilization because we appear to be abandoning the best parts of our tradition starting with relying on reason to help us navigate the world and create a convivial society. I think there are still enough people around who could be rallied by appealing to reason if we can present a coherent argument for its usefulness and virtue. The fruits of reason undergird everything in our civilization and abandoning it now rather than taking it to the next level is a tragic mistake.

      It is clear to anyone who has studied psychology and kept up with advances in neuroscience that human beings are “hard-wired” to connect to their fellow humans–we are social animals not “individuals” as many believe. Being unique an an individual, rather than strictly conformist, is a virtue that benefits rather than harms society because it makes us each develop our unique abilities. We now have the tools to educate people to develop their unique abilities. The industrial classroom is an anti-reason and anti-scientific abomination that should be immediately abandoned. It may have fit with the narrow low-level of knowledge of a century ago but is a technology that is hopelessly outdated like trying to use punch cards on a laptop computer.

      Now, here is my point, hierarchy as it developed in the Industrial Age is anti-scientific and absurd in part because it is enforced through coercion not love (the principle of connection) just as school uses grades and coercion to “teach” even though those methods don’t work as we can see from the massive flight from reason we see in our culture. Today rather than the whip we use “the economy” to coerce people to do the bidding of the oligarchs. That conceptual framework has no basis in reason as “economics” as many of us here have often commented on has no basis in reason because economics is politics by another name and I enforces a clearly destructive and coercive authoritarian political regime–but because it is traditional we turn off our Eason and accept it and then while our Eason is turned off we accept the massive tissue of lies that is the mainstream Narrative.

      Authoritarianism is illogical and anti-scientific yet the population is hungering for it. There is this incredible nostalgia for the pre-modern period (before 1648). Not that there weren’t things there that shouldn’t be brought back–every culture in history had some virtues but we left that period for good reason! Authoritarianism is obviously unhealthy because it involves stressing people out to produce cortisol ands other substances that, we are discovering, cause at least 80% of all illness. If you favor authoritarian solutions to problems from medicine (clearly authoritarian at this time) to foreign policy the results will continue to be poor.

      1. different clue

        Man is a Pack Animal like the wolf basically. Civilization is about getting a pack animal to live like the social insects.

  7. trish

    Re: Why are Harvard Grads Still Flocking to Wall Street?
    Why wouldn’t they be??? Did I miss something…real regulation, real punishment for fraud, can’t make a quick million anymore doing nothing but shifting money around, teachers, scientists, and others performing more meaningful roles in society paid more now, etc???

    admittedly haven’t read the piece yet, just an initial reaction…

    1. Carolinian

      It says they do it for status reasons….less about the money. Hard to justify Ivy League sheepskin without full Master of the Universe end result.

      Perhaps one big diff between our current Wall Street wild ride and the Great Depression is that back then the financial class was widely derided, lampooned in pop culture. The change undoubtedly has to do with concentration of news media in financial capitals but also a country that is much more bourgeois in its orientation. Hard to imagine a modern Copland writing a modern Fanfare for the Common Man. These days the creative class has a lower opinion of the proles.

  8. Jim Haygood

    From the NYT:

    GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip — Since Saturday, [Israel] has toppled or destroyed five towers and shopping complexes in an apparent new tactic aimed at increasing pressure on Hamas.

    The objects of the latest strikes contain apartments inhabited almost exclusively by middle-class Gazans, who up until now have been largely spared the considerable dislocation that has affected tens of thousands of other residents in densely populated neighborhoods of the coastal strip, like Shijaiyah.

    That has raised the possibility that the Israeli military is trying to use better-off Gazans, like professionals and Palestinian authority employees, to put pressure on Hamas to end the fighting on Israel’s terms.


    The final sentence is the very definition of terrorism, which is being carried out with U.S. F-16s and munitions, much as America supplied the Cat D-9 bulldozer Israel used to crush Rachel Corrie.

    Toppling high rise buildings brings to mind the destruction of the World Trade Center in New York. Hey, you don’t think … naw, couldn’t be!

    1. Banger

      The interesting thing is that it never occurs to the mainstream to describe these tactics as terrorist because there is absolutely no ambiguity that it is just that by any conceivable definition of the tactic. Israel and the USG (which has used those tactics in all its wars including WWII) are clearly terrorist entities and there is simply no counter argument. Now, apologists will say that these states are “reacting” to threats and that terror tactics work (many Israelies, to their credit, are quite open about that unlike their US counterparts) but that’s a different argument. I would say that those tactics, like torture, can work–but is the result really beneficial? I say it is not.

    2. Carolinian


      Apparently, the draft said that the blockade would be greatly relaxed, if not officially ended. Talks about the building of a port and airport were to start within a month…….The Israeli delegation was called home without signing. The exasperated Egyptian mediators got another 24 hour extension of the ceasefire. It was to expire at midnight on Tuesday, but everybody on both sides expected it to be extended again and again. And then it happened.

      At about 16.00 hours, three rockets were fired at Beersheba and fell into open spaces. No warning sirens. Curiously enough, Hamas denied having launched them, and no other Palestinian organization took responsibility. This was strange. After every previous launching from Gaza, some Palestinian organization has always proudly claimed credit.

      As usual, Israeli airplanes promptly started to retaliate and bombed buildings in the Gaza Strip. As usual, rockets rained down on Israel. (I heard the interceptions in Tel Aviv).

      Business usual? Not quite.

      First it became known that an hour before the rockets came in, the Israeli population near Gaza was warned by the army to prepare their shelters and “safe spaces”.

      The gist is that Netanyahu has started a war that he doesn’t know how to stop in a way that will satisfy his bloodthirsty public and rival politicians. Uri Avnery has talked about this many times before: “the peace threat.” So sounds like the only option is escalation.

      1. different clue

        The only way Israel’s counter-Netanyahu counter-public will become effective is if they develop the same bloodthirst that Netanyahu’s public already has . . . . and direct it againts Netanyahu’s public and its leaders. That would mean Civil War. Until the “Lesser Israel 2-State Solutionists” are ready and able to launch, wage and win a Civil War against the “Greater Israel 1-State Solutionists” the
        Greater Israel One Staters will keep Israel on its current path until it becomes so unsustainable as to become unsustained . . . one way or another.

    3. curlydan

      “Middle-class Gazans”–such a frequent phrase in all these articles that it must have been well-placed. How would you like to be middle-class in a open air jail? Hey, at least I’m middle-class in this hellhole, getting either attacked or slowly starved daily. So I’m going to ask my leaders to lighten up a little because I kind of like my position.

      As in most cases, the people who could get out (the wealthy or middle-class) likely left long ago.

      1. MikeNY

        Exactly. It looks to me like the half of Gaza is now rubble. And what kind of economic prospects can there be for kid? Dismal, I’d bet. Then Israel wonders why Gaza breeds terrorists.

  9. Ignim Brites

    That the Emirates and Egypt are conducting airstrikes in Libiya illustrates how superfluous a US military presence in the Middle East really is. Will progressives be able to find a candidate who will argue for the dismantling of CENTCOM and complete withdrawal from the region?

    1. Johann Sebastian Schminson

      They already have one, in Sanders.

      Will they nominate him? The magic 8-ball says, “NO.”

  10. abynormal

    Warren Buffett is helping to finance Burger King Worldwide Inc. (BKW)’s planned takeover of Tim Hortons Inc., according to people familiar with the matter, backing a buyer that would move its headquarters to Canada where corporate taxes are lower.

    Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Inc. (BRK/A) would invest about $3 billion for a preferred stake, said one of the people, who asked not to be identified because there wasn’t a public announcement. Tim Hortons had a market value of about $10 billion after the stock rallied yesterday on the announcement of talks with the Miami-based hamburger chain. Bloomberg’d

    “It takes 20 years to build a reputation and 5 minutes to ruin it. If you think about that you will do things differently.” ~Buffett (you don’t say)

    1. MLS

      Old Uncle Warren has ruined his reputation many times over by this point. He’s the cronyiest of the crony capitalists, despite the genteel demeanor portrayed by the media.

      Pay attention (as always) to what he does, not what he says.

    2. Johann Sebastian Schminson

      If you’ve ever been to a McDonald’s in Canada, their logo has a maple leaf in the middle of the Golden Arches logo. (aside: You can get a fairly good McLobster roll at McDonald’s in Nova Scotia, for $6CDN).

      I wonder if that will happen with a Canadian-owned Burger King or Tim Horton’s. If so, I wonder if each country will sport its own flag incorporated into the logos within their borders, or if the maple leaf will adorn all of their stores (I hesitate to use the word “restaurant” when it comes to the likes of Burger King).

      If I’m not mistaken, TH was once (and maybe still is), owned by Wendy’s.

      BTW: aby: sent antidotes to NC.

    3. MikeNY

      Diabetes, childhood obesity, heart disease and tax evasion in one package: an extremely compelling business model for Warren!

  11. diptherio

    Re: Ukraine

    Attacking civilians and collective punishment are war crimes. Shaming the soldiers who knowingly attacked civilians and engaged in collective punishment actions is also a war crime.

    Doesn’t it seem like, maybe, not all war crimes are created equal? Hey NYT, what about the Ukrainian air forces’ repeated bombing of apartment complexes? Maybe that should get the headline instead of the fact the Donbass Home Guard have shown incredible restraint in not just offing their prisoners (which, after watching a lot of behind-the-lines footage from E. Ukraine, I think I would have a very hard time not doing).

    1. Banger

      War is a crime. Anyway I don’t believe there is such a thing as a war crime–the Geneva Conventions are systematically ignored particularly by the USA. It’s nonsense–there is simply war and part of war is info war.

    2. Ned Ludd

      If a parent had their child killed by Ukrainian shelling, or a child is left orphaned, shaming a POW and calling them a “fascist” may be a war crime, but this crime should be understood and reported within the context of the broader situation.

      Martin Luther King, Jr. was asked about Stokely Carmichael and H. Rap Brown on The Mike Douglas Show. He placed crime committed by the oppressed within a larger context.

      Well, naturally I have philosophical disagreements with both Mr. Carmichael and Mr. Brown… I know them very well. We worked together in the movement a good deal. And I’m sure they would disagree with me on a number of things…

      But in answer the questions about them, I always go beyond them, because I think they are products of the problem, rather than causes of the problem. And I always have to figure the fact that it’s very easy to take our visions from the causal basis, from the root of the problem, and see the consequence out here, and begin to major on that. Neither Rap Brown nor Stokely Carmichael crated slavery, they did not create slums, they did not create unemployment or underemployment, they did not create segregated quality-less schools, and they didn’t start a war in Vietnam. These things were started by other forces in our society. It was Victor Hugo who said once, “Where there is darkness, crimes will be committed. The guilty one is not merely he who commits the crime, but he who caused the darkness.”

      The NAF did not attack Kiev. They are not shelling hospitals, playgrounds, apartment buildings, and power plants in Western Ukraine. They did not overthrow a government to install a right-wing regime that includes fascists.

      When accusing the NAF of crimes, Western journalists should also consider the forces of the West who “caused the darkness”, by supporting ethnic cleansing and indiscriminate killing of civilians in eastern Ukraine.

    3. Carolinian

      Just your by the numbers propaganda piece from the NYT. It’s all about framing, and selective information.

        1. Ned Ludd

          Thanks for the link. As Robert Parry points out, the effect of this selective outrage is to “justify more killing of ethnic Russians.” He also recalls that degrading U.S. treatment of POW’s “was accepted by the U.S. press as just fine”.

          Iraqi POWs were paraded before U.S. cameras as “proof” that Iraqi resistance was crumbling. Some of the scenes showed Iraqi POWs forced at gunpoint to kneel down with their hands behind their heads as they were patted down by U.S. soldiers. Yet neither U.S. officials nor U.S. reporters covering the war for the major news networks observed how those scenes might be a violation of international law.

          Nor did the U.S. media see fit to remind viewers how President George W. Bush had stripped prisoners of war captured in Afghanistan of their rights under the Geneva Conventions. Bush ordered hundreds of captives from Afghanistan to be put in tiny outdoor cages at Camp X-Ray in Guantanamo Bay.

          The prisoners were shaved bald and forced to kneel down with their eyes, ears and mouths covered to deprive them of their senses. The shackled prisoners were filmed being carried on stretchers to interrogation sessions. Their humiliation was broadcast for all the world to see but the treatment was accepted by the U.S. press as just fine.

    4. Ned Ludd

      ‘They were praying’: Kiev forces’ shelling kills 3 worshipers as churches burn

      In Saturday’s attack, also on a St. John Kronstadt Church, this time in the city of Kirovskoye, in the Donetsk Region, the church was totally destroyed during an all-night vigil, Gorlovsky and the Orthodox Diocese said on its website. The shell hit the roof of the building, which crashed onto worshipers.

      “People were praying. Three of them were killed. We lost our loved ones,” a local woman told RT. […]

      “There are 60 people in our shelter,” a local woman told RT’s Paul Slier. “We are trying to feed everyone. The conditions are terrible. There is no water, we’ve been waiting for it for a long time.”

      Some of the people have nowhere to go, as their relatives have been killed.

      “I’m all by myself. My son was killed,” a sobbing old woman told RT… “We were on the ground and the missiles were flying in every direction. We thought this is the end” […]

      Kiev’s military operation in eastern Ukraine began in April after people in the Donetsk and Lugansk Regions refused to recognize the new coup-imposed authorities and demanded federalization of the country.

      According to UN figures, over 2,000 people have so far been killed and over 5,000 wounded in the fighting.

      1. Johann Sebastian Schminson

        I’m sure there were and will be Mosques where we (me and my fellow Americans), caused the same type of misery, under the same conditions.

        This shit is causing calluses on my soul.

    5. Johann Sebastian Schminson

      When is a war crime not a war crime? When “our side” does it (and “our side” applies to any side).

      1. Ned Ludd

        If someone murders a family, spray-painting “MURDERER” on the killer’s house, while they sit in prison, would also be a crime.

        You could criticize such vandalism while still making a distinction between the two crimes.

        1. Johann Sebastian Schminson

          When the family of the murdered, murders the family of the murderer, there ain’t much diff.

          1. Ned Ludd

            I agree. However, in the case of Ukraine, one side is bombing cities. The other side is capturing people who belong to the military launching the bombs and publicly shaming them.

        2. Johann Sebastian Schminson

          For example: When the Japanese waterboarded our POWs in WWII, it was a heinous crime against humanity, and people got very severe punishments for doing it. When we do it, it’s out of extreme necessity, and completely justified.

    6. zapster

      When asked by a reporter why they paraded the prisoners, Alexander V. Zakharchenko, Chairman of The Council of Ministers of The Donetsk National Republic, had this to say:

      “Kyiv said that they will march in Donetsk on the 24th. So they did. Poroshenko didn’t lie; they were here on the 24th with their hardware.”

      It also showed that they were not ill-clothed, unhealthy or abused in any way, which is another myth being spread by Kiev, with multitudes of others. In the same interview, Mr. Zakharchenko mentions seeing bodies dropped from helicopters into lakes by the Ukrainians. Atrocities committed by the Banderas are horrendous, numerous and unreported by the NYT or any other western media.
      Perhaps some consideration should be given to those who did nothing wrong. Those “prisoners” traveled across the country to attack them in their own homes, for no better reason than they happen to have shale gas under them that the west wants.
      He explains:

      “We are the hardworking people. While others were jumping on the Maidan for 300 grivnas, our people were down in the mine, mining coal, melting metal and sowing crops.”

      And he asks:

      “What have we done? What is our guilt? The fact that we have shale gas, for which you want to erase entire Slavyansk from the face of the earth?”


      Frankly, it’s Kiev who humiliates them by lying to them, conscripting men off the streets and sending them to war with inadequate supplies and little training. They are far luckier being paraded by the DNR.

  12. Now for something completely different

    Sickest thing about this is that it’s an officially sanctioned leak. Seeing how Marc Grossman and Doug Feith peddled this know-how to everybody and his brother, the cognizant authorities reportedly said What the hell, everyone who wants a nuke already knows this stuff. Not unrelated is the upcoming 2015 NPT review, which will consider what to do now that US officials ripped the treaty to shreds. The US and Israel are already using these weapons and the way it’s going, they’ll soon be incorporated into ordinary commercial arms trade.

  13. David in NYC

    Re: MBS Settlements–Following the Money
    Blame the Private Securities Litigation Act of 1995, passed over Clinton’s veto, as a major reason why investors got shafted. It’s impossible for private investors to access the information they need to bring a suit, whereas the government is not hindered in this respect.

    Because of a 3 year statute of limitations, and private investors cannot piggyback off of the information uncovered by the government.

    A simple rule of thumb: For every dollar the GSEs recovered in the FHFA suits, private investors, who suffered from the same fraud, should recover $15 – $20. The GSEs only bought the most snr. AAA tranches, which were about 30% of total capitalization. So if GSEs recover 10% of the their investments, the subordinate 70%, which lost all principal should recover a lot more.,

  14. rich

    Former FDA head says biotech business model ‘is basically falling apart’

    A former head of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration who will help lead a discussion at Tufts University today says that the agency is holding back, rather than encouraging, the creation of groundbreaking new drugs.

    Andrew von Eschenbach, commissioner of the FDA for more than two years until January 2009, said in an interview Friday that as a result of FDA demands, drug trials have become too large and expensive. He said the FDA has become too “risk-averse” at a time when scientists in the pharmaceutical industry are moving forward like never before.

    “The business model is basically falling apart at a time when the scientific possibilities are unbelievable,” he said.

    1. cnchal

      From the link

      In two years, Rupert Murdoch’s original newspaper empire has gone from earning $A285 million to $A24 million. It’s a 92 per cent drop in the two years, after seeing sales fall an eye-popping half a billion dollars since 2012

      $A24 million. Not even enough for the caviar on his yacht. Let’s hope for -A$24 million next year.

  15. diptherio

    On abrasive herbicides.

    Sounds cool, but for the record, Lambsquarter is probably one of the most nutrient dense, hardy greens that grows on our planet. There is a reason the Blackfoot tribe stored the seeds (take note anyone who still thinks that pre-Columbian Native Americans were “hunter-gatherers”):

    It is reported to be one of the twelve most successful colonizing species and one of the five most widely distributed plants in the world. Thriving on all types of soil and at many pH levels, lambsquarters attains its greatest size on fertile, heavy soils but can also survive on coal-pit heaps. It is one of the last weeds to be killed by frost, and its presence is one of the best indicators of good soil.


    [R]ecent archaeological studies show that the seeds were stored and used by the American Blackfoot Indians during the sixteenth century, before European trade had come to the New World.

    The genus name, Chenopodium, derives from the goose-foot shape of the leaf of many species, and the species name, album, refers to the mealy white sheen of the leaves. Lambsquarters is also known commonly as white goosefoot, mealweed, fat hen, pigweed, frost-blite, and baconweed.

    More than likely, the seeds of common lambsquarters were harvested and stored for human consumption in prehistoric times. Many members of the goosefoot family are edible vegetables, and their seeds may be dried and ground to make flour. The plant is eaten readily by livestock when it is young, but it becomes woody and unpalatable with age.

    We shouldn’t be testing out herbicides on this stuff, we should be harvesting and eating it, as it doesn’t require either herbicides or pesticides to thrive…even on a coal-pit heap.

    1. Jake Mudrosti

      You make an interesting point about value of standard crops vs. ‘weeds’. Worth mentioning: which even today is relied upon in European villages, for medicinal tea and poultices. It insists on growing everywhere ‘like a weed’, which (human nature being what it is) seems to explain the lack of general awareness/interest.

      Another issue: lots of computer processing & supporting tech are required for ‘self-driving cars’, but this technology has been on the Pentagon wish-list for decades — so we see huge effort & funding & PR devoted to it. In contrast, automated image-recognition of common weeds is a comparatively easy task, solved decades ago even on slow computers with limited neural-network models. Clearly, the fact that weeding is still handled with chemicals or indiscriminately-aimed air blasts shows its low priority vs. the projects on the Pentagon wish list.

    2. Skeptic

      Eye of the Beholder Time:
      Science grows like a weed every year. Kary Mullis

      A weed is a plant where a human doesn’t want one.

      On of my favorite plants is the despised dandelion. In the Burbs, its presence on lawns indicates there might be Human Intelligence inside the house.

  16. Jim Haygood

    From S&P, whose Case-Shiller home price index was released today:

    ‘As of June 2014, average home prices across the United States are back to their levels posted in the spring of 2005.’


    With the S&P 500 over 2000, Shiller’s 10-year P/E ratio at 26.29 (in the 93rd percentile of data since 1881), and U.S. house prices back to Spring 2005 levels (they peaked in June 2006), J-Yelzebub sees no bubbles.

    As your local professional Realtor(TM) surely would advise you, ‘Buy now, before prices go up!’ [Needless to say, this is not investment advice.]

    1. Johann Sebastian Schminson

      I wonder how the government will separate the individual single house owners from the corporate multi-house owners when housing deflation reasserts itself.

      Can’t bail out meat people, now can we? It just wouldn’t be fair to the non-meat “people” (my friend . . .).

  17. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Tax dodge by Bain… scrutiny inversions.

    Merger plan…tax inversion issue.


    If California merges with Nevada, does it mean current Californians can look forward to zero state income tax, or those in Nevada can look forward to being taxed like Californians?

    1. Johann Sebastian Schminson

      With casino gambling becoming ubiquitous, that would have to be a shotgun wedding — with the gun pointed squarely at CA.

      BTW: Is this an intellectual exercise, or has someone actually proposed it?

    1. grayslady

      Possibly. On the other hand, Wilson is alive and Brown is dead. Brown was not an income-producing member of his family, from what I can tell, so, in the case of Brown, the fund is more for sympathy contributions. Those funds never tend to generate as much cash as when the fund represents a contribution to a family’s lost income or for legal defense, hospital costs, or some other real and pressing financial need. Just my observation.

      1. Johann Sebastian Schminson

        Strange how selective this phenomena is, then. I don’t recall anyone looking out for the non-security state, non-white families of those on the wrong side of the law anywhere else.

        If there were any correlation, George Zimmerman would have to have had at least 30 kids, or so, and a damned good job at stake.

        At a very minimum Occam’s razor says this is racism.

        1. pretzelattack

          yeah, particularly with Zimmerman, it was a feelgood gesture of solidarity with a fellow racist. imo.

    2. Banger

      Or is it racism? Racism seems to be increasingly more overt, particularly in the red states. My wife, who grew up in a small town in the South without being racist, is dealing Facebook posts from people she grew up with that are blatantly racist and, at the same time, “Christian.”

        1. ambrit

          As Father Sarducci explained; “His first drivers license photo. But it didn’t have the beard.”

      1. wbgonne

        The pro-Wilson support is racist and it is appalling. Donating money to a policeman who shot and killed an unarmed citizen? Disgusting. Whenever I think we’ve hit bottom I’m surprised again. Perhaps worst of all, this racism undermines the class struggle by returning us to the gutter where the white underclass battles the black underclass while, meanwhile, the plutocrats chortle and count their money.

        1. Johann Sebastian Schminson

          Racist, appalling, and proud of it.

          Strange what passes for virtues, nowadays.

      2. Johann Sebastian Schminson

        Holding two opposing ideas as being equally true.

        That is EXACTLY how a rational mind understands that the majority (or at least the vocal and in-control bare minority), of Bible-belt “Christians” are, to a person, as crazy as a shit-house mouse.

      3. JTFaraday

        “The instant Wilson was fingered as the shooter of Brown, the money train rolled into high gear complete with rallies, counter demonstrations, badge-signing parties, and pitches to Americans to flash blue lights on their front porches backing Wilson. The Wilson tout was a virtual carbon copy of the campaign two years ago to rally round Trayvon Martin killer, George Zimmerman… The Zimmerman funders were unabashed in cheering him on. They railed that he, not Martin, was the victim of public and media bias and deserved all the support he could get. The sentiment is no different for Wilson from his legion of cheerleaders.”

        Ferguson business owner sends racists packing:

  18. OIFVet

    ‘Defence Ministry: Bulgaria Subject To Russian Information War’:

    “The strategic report, presented by Shalamanov at a news conference, was drafted by the ministry in the past several weeks and will be presented by Bulgaria’s President Rosen Plevneliev and caretaker Defence Minister Velizar Shalamonv at the NATO summit in Wales on September 4 and 5”.

    Left unsaid in the news report is that the report and its recommendations will also be presented and then adopted by the Bulgarian version of the NSC, thus becoming official government policy which binds the next government to be named after the early elections to follow the courses of action outlined in the report by the caretaker government which no one voted for. As a reminder, following the early elections last year, the new government was immediately subjected to demonstrations and anti-government media campaigns, most launched from Western-funded NGOs. The result was paralysis of the government, but it managed to survive. Enter Senators McCain, Murphy, and Johnson in early-June visit to Bulgaria, following which South Stream was stopped, and the government further discredited. Throw in a bank panic and the elected government was left with little choice but to resign in late July. And now we have the caretaker, unelected government charting long-term policies that, frankly, have very high associated costs and dangers and are thus hardly in the Bulgarian national interests. But they sure do provide a “coalition of the willing” to be presented as a “unified” and “concerned” allies of the US. Textbook.

    1. JerseyJeffersonian


      Thank you for your detailed breakouts of the pressures exerted on specific client states and the resulting behaviors that one then sees. It is highly enlightening to mull these accounts, and use them to increase our understanding of their geopolitical realities. Life under the NeoLiberal/NeoConservative hammer, if you will.

  19. barrisj

    Remarkable piece caught by Jesse at Cafe Americain…yet more evidence – if more is really needed – that US equity markets are so stacked against small retail investor – and even many institutional investors – and rigged for the big trading houses using flash-trading techniques and proprietary trades based on essentially insider-information, extracting profits from the former investor classes to enrich the latter.

    Are U.S. Markets Liquid and Deep or Rigged and Broken?

    Every time a Wall Street honcho is hauled before Congress to explain the latest fleecing of the unsophisticated investor, he can be counted on to punctuate his testimony with this: “the U.S. markets are the deepest, widest, most liquid markets in the world.” Or words to that effect.

    There are now two gripping questions before Congressional investigators, the FBI, the Justice Department and the New York State Attorney General’s office as they look at High Frequency Trading operations in U.S. markets:

    Can markets give the appearance of liquidity while simultaneously being rigged?

    How much “liquidity” is being created because the current market structure offers a slam-dunk opportunity for High Frequency Traders to loot the unsophisticated with impunity, thus drawing a steady flow of big money to the looting enterprise?

    This, naturally, leads to two final questions: will market liquidity be negatively impacted, and by how much, if the incentive to steal without penalty is removed; has it come down to America having to accept a less liquid market or a market filled with thieves running a wealth transfer system in broad daylight?
    The core of the debate centers around the fact that the SEC which oversees stock exchanges has allowed both the New York Stock Exchange and Nasdaq to create a bifurcated market. The unsophisticated investor is given trading data on which to base trading decisions on a slow data feed called the Securities Information Processor or SIP. The SIP is not only slow in getting the data to the technology-challenged investor, but it has limited data. For the rich and powerful on Wall Street who can afford massive fees, there is another data feed offered by the exchanges called the Direct Feed. The Direct Feed data, which has far more useful information, arrives in the hands of High Frequency Traders and Wall Street’s proprietary traders ahead of the arrival of the SIP data.

    This allows the Direct Feed users to buy a stock on the cheap and sell the stock back to the SIP user at a higher price.

    And how the SEC can actually justifiy selling this “service” to Wall Street insiders in the face of what seems to be prima facie collusion and conspiracy to defraud is blatantly against the regulator’s charter, surely. “Transparencyy”, “liquidity”, useless buzzwords to obfuscate a rotting, rigged casino game. “SIP” = “SAP”

  20. Jim Haygood

    Following its July 30th debt default, the slide in Argentina’s peso has turned into a rout, as the dólar informal blew through 14 today to close at 14.20 pesos offered.

    Will it stop at 15, or just keep on going? As our MMT friends tell us, ‘it is impossible to ever run out of pesos.’ And that’s exactly the problem …

    1. Johann Sebastian Schminson

      But the USD is exceptional, like everything else American.

      It is a huge problem (not of quantity or value, but of distribution).

  21. ewmayer

    Bottle shock: Napa Valley quake shatters prized wine collections | Reuters

    Watching the footage on multiple Bay Area newscasts last night, I was dismayed to see the utter lack of even the most rudimentary earthquake proofing in the damaged wine storage areas they showed – tall and often Jenga-tower-narrow stacks of barrels with nothing but unconnected metal spacer racks to secure them, and wine-bottle racks with nothing to keep the bottles from just sliding right out if shaken or tilted.

    1. Johann Sebastian Schminson

      Maybe the wineries should keep their wine in the same kinds of safe places that we store our nuclear waste.

      oops . . .

      . . . never mind.

    2. ambrit

      That’s curious because California has the best earthquake building codes around. Liquid storage spaces should be a separate sub heading. Retail spaces are definitely included in stricter codes. Perhaps most of these buildings were restored old structures from when massive masonry ruled construction. Those piles of brick are notoriously susceptible to quake damage.
      Joined with the drought, I’d suspect that prices of California wines are going to spike.

      1. Johann Sebastian Schminson

        Bulgarian and Romanian wines are equal in quality, at a fraction of the cost. Plus, they have ancient varietals not exploited by the west (probably due to their place behind the Iron Curtain for much of the latter half of the 20th century).

        On their road to empire, the Romans took with them some very good, but currently very obscure, wine grapes, to some far-flung backwaters of Europe.

        1. Johann Sebastian Schminson

          Sorry for the weird construction of that last sentence. An edit button would be handy.

          Nonetheless, as they say in the old neighborhood: But’cha’ seetahmsayin’.

        2. OIFVet

          I don’t know about the Romanian wines, but unfortunately the best Bulgarian wines rarely make it to the US. They end up on the domestic market or in EU, Turkey, or Russia. Still, a lot of what does make it is quite decent.

          1. Johann Sebastian Schminson

            True about the Bulgarian wines. They were easer to get back in the days of the USSR (sold under the label ‘Trakia’ back then).

            Struck up a conversation with a Romanian immigrant (a real blue collar, salt-of-the-earth guy — looked like a house painter, judging by what he was wearing), in the wine section of the local Wegmans. He insisted that we try the wines of his native land. At $6 – $8 bucks a bottle, what was to lose? A couple of good reds, and a couple of good whites.

            I’ve had worse (but still very good), at 10X the cost.

            Never trust a label. You never know what’s in a bottle of wine, until you uncork/uncap it.

            Rule of thumb: Ancient varieties tend to be pretty good, as people have kept making them for millennia.

  22. Montecito

    Reply to trish’s sub sub comment 8.1.1, re the Montecito Water piece, the comment specific reply button is not working for me:

    Same here [trish], re link conjuring up thoughts of Gore, and thanks for the link. This was revoltingly priceless (as much as was Oprah being lauded for trucking in tankers of water to save her lawn):

    Kalee Kreider, a spokesperson for the Gores, did not dispute the Center’s figures, taken as they were from public records. But she pointed out that both Al and Tipper Gore work out of their home and she argued that “the bottom line is that every family has a different carbon footprint. And what Vice President Gore has asked is for families to calculate that footprint and take steps to reduce and offset it.”

    But back to the original subject of Montecito, California: upon a search, it doesn’t appear the Gore Montecito Estate has been sold; yet, I see no mention of Gore as a Poprah neighbor in the Politico piece, nor did I see mention of him in the Daily Mail Montecito piece I saw last night. Would love to momentarily be a fly on that Gore Montecito Estate Lawn and its municipal water records.

  23. optimader

    “I was dismayed to see the utter lack of even the most rudimentary earthquake proofing in the damaged wine storage areas they showed ”

    Appalling, that should be considered criminal negligence.

  24. barrisj

    Jason Ditz on the case, here on the blog:

    US, British Special Forces on the Ground in Iraq Trying to Find ISIS Leaders
    Not Much Known About ISIS Leadership

    US and British special forces are on the ground in Iraq, according to new reports, with an eye particularly on identifying the so-called Jihadi John who beheaded James Foley.

    British Ambassador to the US Sir Peter Westmacott claimed the nations are “close” to identifying the man, believed to be a British citizen, and there has been considerable speculation that he is Abdel-Majed Abdel Bary, though this is not confirmed.

    The most interesting part of this operation is that, including the unidentified Jihadi John, the US and Britain haven’t really conclusively identified many ISIS leaders, and don’t really have much understanding of how the group works.

    Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the “caliph” of ISIS, is the leader. Beyond that, it’s anyone’s guess. The speculation seems to be coming primarily out of the various ISIS recruitment videos, with the assumption that anyone who makes a lot of appearances is probably a “leader.”

    This guessing about the leadership makes the US plans to start assassinating ISIS leaders in airstrikes dicey, at best, and seems likely to lead to a lot of claims of “top leaders” killed who were at best tangentially linked to the organization.

    “Not Much Known About ISIS Leadership”. Well, let’s not let ignorance get in the way of drones, “targeted assassinations”, Tomahawk missiles, etc., when in the service of “protecting American lives”. Besides, there are almost 60,000 JSOC personnel just itching to do some serious killing, so, go for it, chaps!

  25. CaitlinO

    Thanks for selecting the beautiful corocoro as today’s antidote. When I lived in Venezuela, I used to spend weekends with friends at a national wildlife refuge that consisted of coral keys and mangroves. The place was filled with amazing birds like pelicans and frigates but we especially liked watching for corocoros who, sensibly enough, were very shy and only seemed to fly at sunrise and sunset.

  26. ewmayer

    Update on the Napa valley quake: The timing was fortuitous in 2 ways: early a.m. so few people killed/injured by falling debris (and wine casks), and secondly in the between-vintages aspect of this time of year:

    Despite damage on the premises, the timing of the quake helped Trefethen and other wineries escape major production setbacks because it struck after the 2013 vintage had been bottled and sent off for delivery but before most of the grapes were ready to be picked.

    Hall said 2014 “is going to be a pretty spectacular vintage for the whole valley.”

    No quake-related fatalities were reported, although more than 200 people suffered mostly minor injuries. A child who suffered multiple fractures after a fireplace fell on him was among three people seriously hurt, local battalion Fire Chief John Callahan said on Sunday.

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