Links 8/3/14

Readers, Naked Capitalism needs somebody skilled in the art of transcription; we hope to have an interesting interview soon. If you are that somebody, please contact yves AT nakedcapitalism DOT com. Thank you!

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The incredible shrinking dinosaur Australian Geographic. “[A] sustained process of miniaturisation over 50 million years in the lineage that led to birds caused a 12-fold reduction in size.”

Despite sharp selloff, too early to worry about a correction Reuters

Pension consultation is a boom industry in the making FT

Who Really Bought a Car in July? Bloomberg

State of emergency declared in Lucas County after toxins found in Toledo water Toledo Blade

Fracking Is Making California’s Drought Worse, Say Activists DeSmogBlog

Obama Summons Africa to Washington to Talk Trade (and How to Cut Out China) Black Agenda Report

Adam Curtis: “We don’t read newspapers because the journalism is so boring”  New Statesman (RS)

Student starts global class action against Facebook Reuters

Hire Al-Qaeda Programmers Another Word For It

What The Heck Is Wrong with Big Tech? Wolf Street

YC Hackathon: Addressing Founder Depression YCombinator and Founders On Depression Techcrunch. Startup culture.


Administration wins another challenge to the ACA Health Reform Talk. This one on the “origination clause.”

Health care subsidies issue rushed to Court (FURTHER UPDATE) SCOTUSblog

Narrow Networking The Health Care Blog

Why Are Dope-Addicted, Disgraced Doctors Running Our Drug Trials? Medium

The Origins of Antimalarial-Drug Resistance NEJM

Big Brother Is Watching You Watch

Forcing the CIA to admit some ugly truths Reuters

Britain ‘attempts to censor’ US report on torture sites Guardian

But Brennan Didn’t F*ck His Biographer!  emptywheel. Who could forget the tragic fall of David Petraeus? I mean, besides everybody.

FBI used flawed hair-testing method to convict thousands of people for serious crimes in the 1980s and ’90s – including some on death row Daily Mail


Obama, Putin Discuss Ukraine, Missile Treaty AP

Ukraine crisis: New fighting hampers MH17 crash probe BBC

Ukraine’s Own Worst Enemy Foreign Affairs


‘Kidnapped’ Israeli soldier actually was killed in action, military says McClatchy. “The army did not say in its statement how the soldier was killed.”

Netanyahu warns the US: Do not ‘ever second guess me again’ on Hamas Daily Mail. So we’ll just stop writing the checks, then?

Paying for Israel’s wars Monkey Cage

Netanyahu Says Gaza Redeployment Planned to Reduce Friction Bloomberg

Netanyahoo Is Giving Up Moon of Alabama

Hamas claims its prize and deepens its isolation Haaretz

Even more rockets and wilder speculation The Yorkshire Ranter. Interesting speculation on urban warfare in Gaza.

Hamas’s Chances LRB. Must read.

The hasbara manual… Stop Me Before I Vote Again. Yes, an actual manual, a 116-page PDF file.

Why being human matters, for the people of Gaza and the world Waging Nonviolence

“She’s so pale”: The good and bad of national exposure Native Appropriations

Mediterranean Containerization Current Anthropology

Class Warfare

Capitalism Whack-A-Mole Matt Bruenig

Capitalism and Slavery: An Interview with Greg Grandin Jacobin. Must, must read.

Antidote du jour. Not a Fed joke, I swear!


See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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About Lambert Strether

Readers, I have had a correspondent characterize my views as realistic cynical. Let me briefly explain them. I believe in universal programs that provide concrete material benefits, especially to the working class. Medicare for All is the prime example, but tuition-free college and a Post Office Bank also fall under this heading. So do a Jobs Guarantee and a Debt Jubilee. Clearly, neither liberal Democrats nor conservative Republicans can deliver on such programs, because the two are different flavors of neoliberalism (“Because markets”). I don’t much care about the “ism” that delivers the benefits, although whichever one does have to put common humanity first, as opposed to markets. Could be a second FDR saving capitalism, democratic socialism leashing and collaring it, or communism razing it. I don’t much care, as long as the benefits are delivered. To me, the key issue — and this is why Medicare for All is always first with me — is the tens of thousands of excess “deaths from despair,” as described by the Case-Deaton study, and other recent studies. That enormous body count makes Medicare for All, at the very least, a moral and strategic imperative. And that level of suffering and organic damage makes the concerns of identity politics — even the worthy fight to help the refugees Bush, Obama, and Clinton’s wars created — bright shiny objects by comparison. Hence my frustration with the news flow — currently in my view the swirling intersection of two, separate Shock Doctrine campaigns, one by the Administration, and the other by out-of-power liberals and their allies in the State and in the press — a news flow that constantly forces me to focus on matters that I regard as of secondary importance to the excess deaths. What kind of political economy is it that halts or even reverses the increases in life expectancy that civilized societies have achieved? I am also very hopeful that the continuing destruction of both party establishments will open the space for voices supporting programs similar to those I have listed; let’s call such voices “the left.” Volatility creates opportunity, especially if the Democrat establishment, which puts markets first and opposes all such programs, isn’t allowed to get back into the saddle. Eyes on the prize! I love the tactical level, and secretly love even the horse race, since I’ve been blogging about it daily for fourteen years, but everything I write has this perspective at the back of it.


      1. frosty zoom

        we have to be careful how we tapir or else the market could experience unforeseen odd-toed ungulations.

        we’d better stop the puns or lambert’s gonna be yellen at us.

        1. fresno dan

          frosty zoom
          August 3, 2014 at 1:13 pm

          excellent Punditry
          Yellen at you….inspired

  1. abynormal

    and i thought it was mostly drought behind Corn futures spiral…When China Spurns GMO Corn Imports, American Farmers Lose Billions
    “The crackdown began in November 2013. China began rejecting shiploads of corn when officials detected traces of the new gene. By February of this year, U.S. exports of corn to China had practically ceased.

    At the time, some American grain exporters said that there was little to worry about. The Chinese move, they said, probably was intended to slow down imports temporarily in order to make sure that China’s farmers got a decent price for their own corn harvest. As evidence, they pointed to the fact that China continued to accept imports of DDGS, which also contain traces of the unapproved gene. The U.S. sent $1.6 billion worth of DDGS to China last year.”

    1. trish

      “‘Farmers are going to be farmers,” he says, and sell their grain through the usual channels.”

      agribusiness is going to be agribusiness… can’t stand the use of “farmers” in these cases. petty, perhaps…anyway, thanks for link. more corporate ag wars…

      1. abynormal

        “Protectionism is the ally of Isolationism and Isolationism is the Dracula of American Foreign Policy” William G. Hyland (“With the ending of the Cold War, Hyland advocated a period of American disengagement with world affairs.” dang, he’d have been jobless)

        1. Johann Sebastian Schminson

          Disengagement with world affairs — at least, a temporary disengagement — might do us good. Then again, we’d effectively be locked in a room with ourselves. I don’t think we could take it.

  2. trish

    re Adam Curtis: “We don’t read newspapers because the journalism is so boring”

    interesting piece. couple comments:

    He uses CDOs as an example of boring, ‘unstoryfiable.’ As an example, Matt taibi did some really good investigative journalism on these, the banks, etc in Rolling Stone.
    There are lots of good writer/journalists out there doing superb pieces on “boring” but important stuff, “mak[ing] sense of [the world],” one just need look beyond the infotainment in the MSM (in fact, the demise of good journalism in the MSM has a bit to do with catering to declining attention spans, the need to be entertained, ie news-from-comedy-shows, titillated, and the draw to trivial stuff, catering to growing self-absorption).

    and re the “failure of the left to engage with what happened after 2008.” well, I think anyone that has been following this since the Obama-hope-and-changey wash and what “left” means and has become over the past 50 years or so, and the growing global corporate stranglehold, etc, understands the failure of the “left” and the left…

    this guy needs to read more.

    I haven’t seen this Curtis’s documentaries. I want to. sound good.

    1. Paul Niemi

      I used to like to read Matt Taibi. Then he got a better paying job for First Look Media. This company is described as a startup. It has been more than nine months, and the thing is, First Look Media has not started up. Maybe it never will. Messages on the website say they are still designing and getting organized. No startup time is given. Like it takes more than nine months to get a blog up and running? So, I’ll ask the question: Is Matt Taibi being paid to do nothing, working for First Look Media? Is that the whole point, providing a venue for paying muckrakers to stop muckraking and keep quiet? I did a search and he seems to be doing something with Jesse Ventura about a book, but that couldn’t be anything but harmless, so the question remains.

      1. trish

        I admit disappointment when Taibbi went to first look. lots of legitimate questions, criticism of First Look…Pierre…look at greenwald. My respect for him has dropped sharply…

        1. Paul Niemi

          I remember the United Auto Workers union had a room where workers went to to sit, when they were being paid not to work. Maybe First Look Media has one of those, or perhaps it’s like “The Redheaded League” and MT is getting paid to arrive and copy out the entire Encyclopedia Britannica in long hand, while the banksters are digging a tunnel to rob the vault next door. I would hate to think Matt Taibi has become merely a kept man, and not to suggest there is anything wrong with that, according to contemporary sensibilities, but people do use terms for that. His photos are not really typical of the boy toy type.

          1. Carolinian

            More “it would be irresponsible not to speculate.” Why the close concern over Taibbi’s career? If it helps, Greenwald has said Taibbi’s online mag, now including Jonathan Schwarz (yay), will start soon.

      2. trinity river

        Yes, I enjoyed Taibbi too. Yet I didn’t like his last book, “Griftopia”. I don’t think his writing style works as well in long form. I agree that now he is being paid very well not to write. Pierre Omidyar’s goals may be at cross purposes to those we had hoped Taibbi would pursue.

  3. Foppe

    Re: “Capitalism and Slavery: An Interview with Greg Grandin Jacobin. Must, must read”

    This fits pretty well with Graeber’s argument in Debt (specifically ch. 7)…

    1. toldjaso

      Please note titles and dates of copyright/publication in bound books below:
      “Capitalism & Slavery” by Eric Williams (1944) with a New Introduction by Colin A. Palmer (1944, 1994, The University of North Carolina Press, All rights reserved, Chapel Hill & London);
      “FRUITS OF MERCHANT CAPITAL: Slavery and Bourgeois Property in the Rise and Expansion of Capitalism” by Elizabeth Fox-Genovese and Eugene D. Genovese (1983, Oxford University Press; Oxford, New York, Toronto, Melbourne).

  4. Screwball

    RE: Lucas county/Toledo water emergency

    I live about 50 minutes/miles from downtown Toledo and less than that from the lake and the water intake. The TV coverage of this over the last two days have been quite amusing. The lines of people lining up for water is quite impressive (they claim this is affecting 4 to 5 hundred thousand people). So far, no significant trouble or problems with people. That is quite impressive.

    The weather has been pretty nice (not hot and humid, but will get worse according to the weather reports) which has helped, but if this continues to be an issue, the weather will make things more tense.

    I can’t help but wonder, given the lines, and people’s behavior in general, and potential delay’s, how this may play out as time drags on. No word given as of yet on samples tested by the EPA, but the results keep getting pushed back. At what point do the natives start getting restless?

    I can’t help thinking while watching the lines what this would be like if it were not just an isolated area and a water problem, but a nationwide problem with lack of food/water. It makes me really appreciate the old saying about welfare and food stamps as “anti-roit control devices.”

    When people can’t get food and/or water….

    Also, the Toledo mayor went off script last night and went on an environmental rant and cited fertilizer run off (this is a very heavy agricultural area) as one of the problems. I don’t expect Monsanto, Cargill, and ADM to like that too much. He might make be on AM talk radio Monday if he isn’t careful.

    1. Jill

      I live in Toledo. Yes, the mayor did go off script by stating the obvious. Even newscasts are going over the causes of the algae bloom with agricultural runoff leading the pack, storm water dumping from Detroit, and lawn chemical use being mentioned as major contributors.

      There has only been good news to report concerning how people are reacting. People are very much helping each other out.

      I am concerned that it is taking so long to get back the test results. I don’t understand the reasons why that is happening. Of course I am worried about this long term. In that regard I was encouraged that the mayor and the newscasts are pointing out what causes the problem in the first place. It isn’t the first time this has stopped the water from being potable. The water had been tasting very bad for a while and many people I know have gotten strange rashes and illness since early July.

      I am hoping this will lead to a reevaluation of how we keep using poisons in so many parts of our lives. We don’t need to use them.

      1. Screwball

        Good luck Jill. I have been pleasantly surprised how civil it has been. I worked in Toledo for years so I’m not surprised – good for them. My biggest fear is this isn’t going to go away nearly as quickly as everyone hopes it does. A perfect storm that has been building for a long time.

        I also hope it doesn’t get politicized in the media. We have half a million citizens without drinking water, the last thing the city needs is to become the latest epicenter for the political hate machines.

        1. Jill

          Thank you Screwball!

          Here’s the update since I got home. You certainly are correct that this isn’t going away and we are not getting accurate information. People have remained really kind and helpful. At this time there is not much bottled water left but there are places where people can get their own containers filled.

          “During a US EPA conference call this afternoon Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur complained that the Ohio EPA is withholding water test results taken from Toledo’s water system.

          And she urged the USEPA pressure the Ohio EPA to provide those results.

          During the conference call it was also revealed the next test batch won’t be finished until late tonight..possibly as late as 11pm.

          The Ohio EPA did not take part in the call.

          The US EPA also says it has validated Toledo’s Friday night test result at almost three parts per billion..The World Health Organization standard is 1 part per billion.

          The conference call also revealed that Toledo’s water plant has changed Chlorine levels in the plant.

          It’s all a part of gaining consistency in the city’s testing of water samples.

          We’re tracking these breaking developments and will have the latest for you as we learn it.”

          1. Jill

            Later from toledonewsnow: “Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur (Ohio-9) this evening called upon the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) to release immediately all water sample findings pertinent to the Toledo emergency.

            Following a 30-minute conference call that her office arranged with Region 5 Administrator Susan Hedman earlier this evening, Congresswoman Kaptur urged the agency to increase general public understanding about the Toledo crisis by making the results available to the public.

            “The public has a right to know,” she said to Administrator Hedman.

            USEPA stated that although it is performing the tests on samples from the Toledo plant and distribution facilities, the Ohio EPA in fact has “the lead” in the investigation. Administrator Hedman said the agency would make an effort to get clearance from the state EPA.

            “Whether it’s the state EPA or the federal EPA makes no difference. The public deserves transparency,” Kaptur said.

            Other state, local and federal officials were on the conference call, though notably not the Ohio EPA.”

            Congresswoman Kaptur also noted that although the USEPA has the most sophisticated analytical capability and ability to interpret information, the agency has not been present at any meeting or any media opportunity during the entire crisis.”

      2. craazyboy

        You should get a gravity water filter

        These get used in third world counties and are capable of turning the most unpotable water into potable water. The best known brand is the Berkley, but if you search around a bit you can find others that are up to $100 cheaper. The main thing that’s important is the ceramic filter. Berkley just buys and private labels their filter. Other places use the AquaCera filter which is the filter mfg brand name and is functionally good or better than the Berkley.

        Plus, even if your water is “good”, these make it taste great by removing the chlorine, but leaves in most of the minerals you want in water. Much better than reverse osmosis, which removes most of the minerals – an important source of dietary minerals and also are what makes water “taste good”.

        1. hunkerdown

          Just put small quantities of gypsum and baking soda in RO water and you’ve done exactly what commercial water processors do.

        2. Glenn Condell

          I recall seeing years ago a device which basically consisted of a beam of light (UV, infrared?) which when water passed under it neutralised all bacteria. So simple, I thought we’ll be hearing about this… never heard of it since.

          1. steverino

            UV treatment systems are not at all unheard of. I have one in my basement since wells in my neck of the woods have a good chance of testing positive for coliform bacteria.

      3. participant-observer-observed

        “and lawn chemical use”

        …. yeah, that Monsanto Round-up might not make for good drinking water even in parts per million!

    2. toldjaso

      Is Nestle (North American bottled water empire based in Greenwich CT) making a killing? “Poland Spring”? We may presume that all bottled water dispensed to muppets still comes in plastic bottles, making the killing a twofer for the Lords of Private Resources benefitting from the closed system supply chain? (DarkRootsBrusselsEU). Don’t forget the predictive programming in the film “The Graduate” from “plastics, plastics!” and predatory “Cougars” as Dustin Hoffman’s character reads his doom.

  5. RWood

    Re: natives restless, this condition, not bringing much I can see to current discovery:
    Lab Director: Expect radiation spikes coming from US nuclear facility — Gov’t pays for more air monitors to see impact on populated areas — DOE warns of ‘ignitability’ of 368 containers at site; “Significant fire risk” — Top Official: Material at WIPP “just disintegrated… got very hot, very quickly” (VIDEO)

  6. trish

    Re: “Capitalism and Slavery: An Interview with Greg Grandin Jacobin

    great piece. must reread after a too-quick perusal. but, few thoughts, however dwarfish and limited…

    “Capitalism is, among other things, a massive process of ego formation, the creation of modern selves, the illusion of individual autonomy, the cultivation of distinction and preference, the idea that individuals had their own moral conscience, based on individual reason and virtue.”
    (and add the whole warped “concept of freedom.” )
    these ideas “generalized”… [to] more and more people, … to imagine themselves as autonomous and integral beings, with inherent rights and self-interests not subject to the jurisdiction of others. ”

    How far this has generalized! Been internalized, by so many…way beyond the wealthy white men benefiting. An insidious cultural evolution (of course purposefully cultivated, maintained) to a fiercely limited way of thinking – a rigid box- for most people, who cannot get outside this to imagine anything else, to see the capitalist system objectively, all its horrors, flaws, manipulations, deceits etc.

    the slave system was indeed a huge crime against humanity. (and “also a crime in a technical sense.”) Capitalism is (both) as well. “persistence of the entanglement” indeed. A slave system, if not the same horror as The Slave System, continues today.

    Grandin’s book a must-read, I think.

    1. craazyman


      I don’t know. I thought it was flamboyant, speciously sparkling mind-porn more than cogent analysis. Academics have a way of assembling word salads that hit thought-porn buttons and make people stare and gape, but there’s nothing there.

      The sea captain dude from New England Melville describes was a nut-job. Another Ahab. The Ahabic mind is not the universal mind, but its flamboyant insanity arrests attention and occupies a mind space far larger than its presence. And “capitalism” is a word not a reality. Reality is multi-dimensional and complicated, depicting it successfully can’t be done through a superficial gloss of clichés.

      1. trish

        wow, maybe I get off on mind-porn.

        I thought it – the parts I quoted, some others- befitting what I see today…

        “Bwaaaaaaaakkkkk!!!!” back to you, crazyman! (somehow sounds feeble coming from me…)

        1. craazyman

          It’s the Talking Parrot, Bird Brane, the bird who “knows”

          You also know. You do. But you have to let yourself hear your own thoughts. You can just channel these things and they make sense but if you read abut them, it just confuses things. Capitalism is a slogan, a word. The reality is not at all the same as the word. Think of all the misery in places that don’t have capitalism, and then if capitalism is tended to well, think of all the fun you can have! If you, for example, hit a 10-bagger and get rich quick and then lay around doing nothing except surfing Youtube and partying like a wild man (or in your case, wild woman) on your sailboat in the sun and sea? What’s not to like?

          As for slavery. Well, it was everywhere, where there was capitalism and where there wasn’t not. And in the U.S., northern Capitalism is what killed it. The machine isn’t the same as the operating system. The body isn’t the same as the mind. The mind can change and the body does another thing.

          1. FederalismForever

            @craazyman. “As for slavery . . . . in the U.S., northern Capitalism is what killed it.” Exactly! The North had a viable economic alternative to slavery, which proved to be a much more reliable motivation for ending it (as opposed to, say, appeals to moral sentiments). Whereas, when we look to other countries that had tried, but failed, to abolish slavery (e.g., Liberia, Jamaica, Russia (serfdom)) those attempts failed because there was no viable economic alternative – there was no alternative system available to generate the same (or better) economic results that did not rely on slave labor. Capitalism’s crucial role in helping to abolish slavery is sorely unappreciated by people like Grandin.

            1. Carolinian

              The North also played a big role in the slave system, never forget. The trans Atlantic slave trade was run out of New England and places like Harvard and Brown were founded with slave runner money. The financing for the Southerners to buy their slave capital was often arranged in New York.

              The difference, of course, is that the Northern economy wasn’t only about slavery as it was in the agricultural South. The Southerners claimed their plantation system would be impossible without slavery and thus rationalized the immoral institution (with some help with religion…the Southern Baptists) by turning it into Melville’s “necessity.” Just like the uber capitalists of today they saw the continuation of their lifestyle as a matter of self-preservation, being unable to imagine any other. They also literally lived in fear of slave rebellions. There were a few such as Nat Turner and Denmark Vesey.

              But I mostly agree with craazyman…the article is more of an academic thought experiment.

              1. Lambert Strether Post author

                Yes, the sausage-making between Northern and Southern interests during the fight to write and ratify the Constitution was not pretty. “Southern slaves on Yankee bottoms” was IIRC the slogan, the bottoms being the hulls of Yankee shipping interests; see Dark Bargain.

                Personally, I don’t see anything wrong with scholarship, which is why the use of the word “academic” as a pejorative has always puzzled me; after all, the NC commentariat is the last place I’d look for reflexive anti-intellectualism. That said, if you want practical application today:

                1) Slavery in Thailand contaminates the global supply chain for food; and slavery in Qatar is building the World Cup stadium there. And a SE Asian female diaspora of nurses and maidservants is also often forced into slave-like conditions. (In all three cases, debt often plays a key role.)

                2) Periodically, we hear of post-capitalist social relations like “neo-feudalism.” Are we to be so very confident that current social arrangements involving “human rental” (i.e., wage labor and salaries) will never devolve into “human sale” (i.e., chattel slavery?) If not, it behooves us to study these matters. (We don’t actually have to read the book, of course; only an article…)

                1. FederalismForever

                  @Lambert Strether. Spot-on re your three “practical applications” of slavery today. Recreational dr&gs might furnish another such “practical application.” Many who put great effort into researching the origins and environmental impact of the “organic free-range chicken” they eat put nary a thought into the origins of the weed they smoke or the coke they snort.

                2. Pepsi Girl

                  I’m with you all the way, Lambert.

                  Craazyman seems to be using his silly phrase ‘mind porn’ to bury the article because it contradicts his favored theory that capitalism beat slavery. Silly. It was a good piece, Jacobin is great.

              2. FederalismForever

                @Carolinian. Point taken, but I would caution against getting carried away with Northern complicity in the slave trade. The fact is, there simply is no comparison between the North and the South on this issue. Nor is there any reasonable doubt that slavery in America would have ended decades sooner if it hadn’t been for the Slaver Power South.

                Prior to the Revolution, anti-slavery sentiment had been brewing in the North for many decades. All the way back in 1712, Pennsylvania had adopted measures to end the slave trade, and Massachusetts had made similar attempts in 1771 and 1774. But Great Britain repeatedly rejected every colonial restriction on the slave trade – from punitive taxes to attempts to ban it outright. Queen Anne owned lots of stock in the Royal African Colony, and repeatedly instructed the colonial governors of New York and New Jersey to suppress efforts to restrict the slave trade. (For more on this, see chapter 1 of former Vice President Henry Wilson’s epic “Rise and Fall of the Slave Power in America.”)

                Northern anger and frustration at being forced to participate in the slave trade is reflected in the last paragraph of the Declaration, which angrily denounces the King’s being “Determined to keep open [the slave trade] [and] suppressing every legislative attempt to prohibit or restrain this execrable commerce . . . ” (Don’t forget the Declaration was the product of a drafting committee that included four Northerners who did not own slaves, in addition to the slave-owner Jefferson. These Northerners, like John Adams, were genuinely outraged at being forced to continue in the slave trade.) During the Revolutionary Era, 7 of the 13 colonies enacted legislation to end slavery (in many cases, only gradually). Northern participation in the trans-atlantic slave trade would come to an end after President Monroe’s Anti-Slave Trade Acts in 1819 and 1820.

                To be sure, Northern industry was still thoroughly enmeshed with slave labor up until the civil war, and many northerners indirectly benefitted and profited from it. If anything, this makes their willingness to fight to (at first) prevent slavery from spreading, and then (eventually) to abolish it entirely, all the more impressive. Moreover, let us not forget that at least the last two years of the Civil War – after Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation made it clear that abolition was a primary war aim – involved two groups of the same race fighting each other to free millions of people of another race. Has this ever happened before?

                1. Carolinian

                  “Don’t forget the Declaration was the product of a drafting committee that included four Northerners who did not own slaves, in addition to the slave-owner Jefferson”

                  Not to be picky but even Franklin owned slaves at one point so make that three Northerners.

                  And I’m not suggesting some kind of moral equivalency. I’m just underlining the point, which you also made, that the peculiar institution was very much an American institution. Those New England slave traders made tremendous sums of money before the trade was banned. And while it lasted the trade in slaves was surely just as horrific, if not more so, than the subsequent ownership. Also despite the abolition sentiment there was a great deal of ambivalence–including by Lincoln himself–about what to do with the slaves once freed. For the North the conflict was more of a regional power struggle–the balance of power between two very diferent economic systems. Ironically the more soothing “War Between the States” stance adopted by the lost cause remnant more properly applies to the view of the North on going to war. For the southern aristocrats it was always about slavery above all else. One might explore the peculiar “fetish power” reasons for this. For starters I recommend the movie Mandingo (just kidding, but not really).

                  1. Lambert Strether Post author

                    I have always had the picture in my mind of North and South meeting in Philadelphia. So, in one room, you could have a slove-owner, a non-slaveowner…. and a slave, if the slave-owner brought any of his “servants” with him. #awkward.

                    As for the Southern aristocrats, try the Genoveses, The Mind of the Master Class. You can find all the “slavery as a positive good” theorizing you want there. Ugly stuff.

            2. craazyman

              so true so true. can you imagine paying $20,000 or $30,000 per year to get “taught” this stuff in a university? Oh man. For $30,000 you could buy an option that goes up 10 times and make it $300,000. If you do that 3 times, you can buy your own university and teach classes like “Ridiculousness or Cultural Analysis: It’s Your Mind and Your Choice!” AND “Bloviations 302: Advanced Studies in Cranial Chaos, with readings from modern and classical masters of the genre”. haha. How about “Insanity 403: Why are the world’s thought leaders mostly psychotics? We’ll think deep thoughts and penetrate dimensions of reasoning that will frighten your soul. ” hahaha. Ah, now that would be an education.

              Money liberates the mind! Thank goodness for the 10-baggers or you’d have to be somebody’s mind-slave to survive.

              1. ambrit

                Then there are those of us who don’t score the ten baggers. All we have to fall back on are congenial neighbours and spam cans of .223. or 5.56×45 NATO.

              2. craazyboy

                Looks like the typical Lib Arts curriculum. Major in Cranial Chaos, with a minor in either Ridiculousness or Bloviations.

                Then go to law school for three years after you realize you need a job.

                Then if you can’t handle your big law firm job, you can run for Congress or even President!

                Then we wonder why things seem so messed up.

                  1. MikeNY

                    Me next. And put on the Laurie Anderson, pls.

                    Liberal Arts is being phased out everywhere, in favor of ‘productive’ disciplines like Office Cube Dynamics, and Byte Management.

                  2. craazyboy

                    Sorta kidding. I do believe it’s useful in the correct dosages. Plus sometimes it can be fun and interesting too, which we shouldn’t undervalue. Tho I wouldn’t pay $100K to do something I can do myself ok for free.

                    Then there is the coed issue. I always went for the art majors, but for homework questions the engineering coeds were ok.

                    And I just found out here recently that we lost the War of 1812, so what they teach seems to matter a lot too.

                    1. craazyboy

                      Actually, my comment wasn’t a book review. I leave those to craazyman. I just did an admittedly cartoonish projection from craazies 30k/year education comment connecting the dots to lawyers, and possibly even Obama himself. Tho I left that final step to the reader himself.

                      I just skimmed the quotes from the book so I think it has something to do with slavery and capitalism. I wouldn’t attempt a book review of that because usually I get confused about the definition of capitalism, when did the author think it came about in history, and where is the “control” economy where everything worked right.

                      Slavery is easy. That started 9 months after Adam bit into the apple.

                      I do think history is interesting, but being older and lazy, I found the way I like learning about it is reading historical novels. A good author did all the heavy lifting and boiled it down with color, story and plot. Neil Stephenson’s The Baroque Cycle series is a favorite. Ken Follet’s Pillars of the Earth and World Without End are really good if you are curious about life in the 13th and 14th century.

                      As far as I can tell, capitalism has been around since at least the 13th century, probably longer, depending how you define the people that have the money. Calling Ceasar a capitalist would devolve the whole term into meaninglessness, but later on the Church was a source of capital investment along with wealthy traders. Some people identify the Templars as being the first entity that began to function somewhat similar to a bank.

                      In the above fictional novels, slavery didn’t play a big role, but did exist somewhere. There were lots of serfs of course.

                      Nothing else very conclusive to say. Just rambling.

                  3. craazyman

                    It’s hard to tell who’s worse — the liberal arts majors, the MBAs or the academics. The only ones who come out of this with credibility in tact are the librarians.. But I guess even they are enablers who don’t take a moral stand. What fraction of a library is complete nonsense? It’s gotta be at least 70%. So where does that leave us? I suspect on the verge of the Rapture. But hopefully not for a while yet because there’s still fun to be had if we can just get rich quick. The Rapture would be a real bummer, if it happened right after the 10-bagger worked like winning a lottery.

                    If only everybody was independently wealthy and didn’t have to work then the nonsense ratio would probably go down below 50% because they could speak their mind for truth and not for money, but it would never go to zero because people are a little wacky and there”s nothing we can do about that.

                  1. craazyman

                    You can protest and deny it, but nobody will believe you! Nobody is responsible for my own ignorance, that I know.

                    . . . that’s enough fun for one thread. It’s getting giddy.

          2. Lambert Strether Post author

            “As for slavery. … [N]orthern Capitalism is what killed it.” Sure, as a historical matter, of course it did — having started with it! — which is why (as I’ve said here and there several times) it makes sense to think of the Revolution as a civil war between English-speaking peoples, and the civil war as the real revolution, since it overthrew and destroyed an entire political economy. (The capital invested by Southern Capitalism in slaves was, IIRC, close to or equal to the amount invested in Northern industry; it was an immense amount.)

            But “capital uses slavery for primitive accumulation and then destroys it,” as the moral argument I take you to be making, seems uncomfortable close (I hate this trope but I’ll deploy it this time) to “Sure I raped her, but then I married her, so it’s all good and we’re even.”

            I don’t know what to make of the analogy of a political economy to an operating system, or either to the body and the mind. They seem about as likely to be accurate as “father of his country” or “government is like a household.” Useful for display purposes only.

            1. FederalismForever

              @Lambert Strether. Taking your last point first, I’m less confused by the analogy of a political economy to a human body or operating system than I am by your use of “capital” as though it is a sentient being, with thoughts, desires and intentions – e.g., capital’s intention to “use slavery for primitive accumulation only to destroy it.”

              In your first paragraph, it’s unclear to me why, having started with slavery, it is obvious (“of course”!) that the North ended it. Why does starting with slavery entail ending it? Slavery or serfdom has been a mainstay of every major economic system throughout history.

              I completely agree with your point that the Civil War was the “real revolution” – the “new birth of freedom” Lincoln spoke about has real meaning.

              You might be interested in a book by Richard Franklin Bensel called “Yankee Leviathan: the Origin of Central State Authority in America, 1859-1877.” (It’s “academic”!) Bensel tends to overuse a Marxist/materialist approach (always a mistake when it comes to analyzing a society as hyper-religious as 19th century America, or an individual like Lincoln who strongly believed he was guided by Providence), but his fundamental point is very much in line with your point that the Civil War replaced one political economy with another.

            2. craazyman

              I’d see it more as a completion of the revolution, not that that’s an original thought. The revolution really was a revolution. It overturned a tribal society organized around racial identity and a King and Queen, and replaced it with a society formed around ideas of consciousness. That’s pretty revolutionary.

              IF anybody wasn’t to punish themselves they can read Gibbon’s essay in Declien & Fall on why democracy is doomed to fail and hereditary monarcy is the only civilized way to run a country. IT’s a big difference!

              Then the Civil War completed it. I’d see these two historical peeriods more on a continuum than as separate categories of events.

      2. Lambert Strether Post author

        I’m not sure the discussion on this book exemplifies the critical thinking for which the NC commentariat is generally known. For example:

        Enslaved peoples multiplied the fetish power of capital at least fivefold: they were labor, they were commodities, they were capital, collateral, and investment, they were consumers (since in many parts of South America, they were paid wages), and, in some areas, they were money, the standard on which the value of other goods was determined. They were also items of conspicuous consumption.

        All that seems plausible, perhaps even uncontroversial, to me. Are these claims wrong? They’re hardly “academic,” eh? And hardly a “superficial gloss of cliches.”

        As far as the (clever!) trope that the book is pr0n, if it is, then Corey Robin has the same taste I do. Here’s his review in Crooked Timber:

        I’ve mentioned Greg Grandin’s book Empire of Necessity on this blog before. It’s basically the true story—and more!—behind Melville’s Benito Cereno, which if you haven’t read, you should read right away. And then read Greg’s book. In any event, Alex Gourevitch has a wonderful interview with Greg up today at Jacobin. It’s got all sorts of gems in it, but I thought readers here would be especially interested in this:

        Scholars have long examined the ways in which slavery underwrites capitalism. I thought this story, though, allowed attention to slavery’s role in shaping not so much the social or financial dimensions of capitalism but its psychic and imaginative ones.

        You may disagree with the thesis — or even dismiss it because it’s uncomfortable. That doesn’t make it pr0n, for pity’s sake.

        1. Foppe

          Yeah, I’m also quite interested in those imaginative aspects; Graeber’s essay bundle Possibilities also contains a few interesting essays that touch on this topic; those in part 1 most directly; as does his book Toward an Anthropoligical Theory of Value. Wrt the Southern economy: Walter Johnson’s book River of Dark Dreams is one I still have to read (I understand he used David Harvey’s work to develop his analysis, which seems to me a very good thing).

      3. Tim Mason

        Grandin’s book, although it takes its theme from Melville, does not deal with fictional characters. The main protagonists are the people who were involved in the incident that Melville used for his story, but they are put in their historical and social contexts. Grandin follows their traces not because they are typical – although in some ways they are – but because they take him on a long and highly enlightening voyage through the realities of the slave trade. And he is very interested in the slaves themselves; the story that he tells of the men and women who were present on the slaver when the mutiny occurred is a gripping one, and needs to be better known.

        As for the implication of the North in slavery, I’d strongly suggest that anyone who wants to argue about it should read what Grandin has to say, and perhaps also turn to Robin Blackburn’s ‘The American Crucible.’ Modern slavery was arguably integral to the development of what we now call capitalism, although it may, in some sense, have outgrown it – at least in the heartlands.

    2. Benedict@Large

      The key to understanding anything is to understand its origins. With capitalism in its many instances, I’ve yet to find one of them that was not preceded by a period of primitive accumulation (aka accumulation by dispossession). People may settle for capitalism once it has been instituted, but they never move voluntarily into it. For capitalism to come into existence anywhere, it must first take away the local means of support, and it will always do this with some form of theft. Grandin shows us one form of this.

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        Yep. And when the primitive accumulation is the purchase and sale of human beings, that makes matters even more interesting. I’ve always felt that Madison and the other framers had such a profound understanding of tyranny and human nature not because of King George, far away on the other side of the Atlantic, but from matters much closer to home. In the big house, in fact.

    3. toldjaso

      Please let’s restore the language when still possible. Not every researcher has substituted “purposefully” when “purposely” is what is meant. The corruption of language for dilution of meaning “stock” has accompanied the dilution of economic “stock” – and this we now know was done “on purpose” or “purposely” as the regnant deadenders have “created their own reality”.

        1. trish

          enjoyed this piece. new site for me. thanks.

          re “‘Alle Menschen werden Brueder’ [ All men shall become brothers], At least for me, is more than moving. It is the solution.”

          I would prefer, “Alle Menschen werden kamerad” (Kameradin?) In any language. something. Just both genders (rather, all) parity within nation and language.

    4. Jim

      What may have also been internalized by so many is the assumption that “capitalism is…a massive process of ego formation, the creation of modern selves, the illusion of individual autonomy, the cultivation of distinction and preference, the idea that individuals have their own moral conscience…”

      But what if the supposed link between capitalism and individualism, taken for granted by Marxists, most neo-Marxists and neo-liberals is largely an accident of history and not a universal law?

      What if by the start of the 20th century the chief feature of capitalism–sustained economic growth–was securely established in countries where moral cultures varied enormously (for example, Japan) and which have shown no tendency to converge toward anglo-american individualism since that time?

      What if the supposed triumph of capitalism based on individualistic values is a myth?

      What if economic growth is of benefit primarily to nations, not individuals?

      What if the spread of capitalism from England to France and Germany and then to Japan and the US cannot be simply explained by an increase in the rationality of individuals?

      What if the spirit of capitalism flows from nationalism, viewed as form of social consciousness that creates national identity–and is a by-product of the collective rivalry inherent in nationalism?

      What if nationalism, not individualism, represent the foundation of our modern moral order of society?

      What if nationalism, viewed as a way of constructing the cognitive and moral organization of society, not individualism, is responsible for the spirit of capitalism?

      1. Massinissa

        Many questions you have, but you dont give us the answers, and im not interested in answering them.

    5. nony mouse

      I often say to myself that Capitalism is the ideological construct necessary to make the slaves fall in love with their own chains.

      or i heard someone say it somewhere.

  7. Jim Haygood

    ‘A strike near the entrance of a United Nations school sheltering displaced people [in Rafah] killed 10 people and wounded 35 others. Witnesses said those killed or hurt were waiting in line for food supplies when an [Israeli] missile hit.’NYT today

    Surely the US Holocaust Memorial Museum — a federal agency which receives over $50 million a year in federal funding — will be adding a new wing to feature the Palestinian Nakba. Right?

    *sound of crickets chirping*

    Who is the Palestinian Anne Frank?

    1. Carolinian

      Not to slight the horrors of the Holocaust, but why is that museum even there? Shouldn’t it be in Berlin? I realize there are some who blame America for not taking in more Jewish refugees or even blame us for the whole thing (not bombing the death camps). Still it seems a stretch to suggest this country is somehow responsible. Should the Washington Mall have other museums dedicated to European history?

      1. Jim Haygood

        No clue why a museum detailing atrocities committed by Europeans against other Europeans in Europe should be a lavishly-funded U.S. government project.

        Probably intended to initiate the de facto repeal of Amendment I: ‘Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion.’

      2. ambrit

        Catherine Anne Porters “Ship of Fools” would be a good start.
        Also check out how the Wall Street crowd ‘kick started’ the NASDAP with funding in the Twenties. Something to do with stopping those godessless Commies. “It Can’t Happen Here” by Sinclair Lewis is good too. Considering that whitey killed off most of the Natives, American History pretty much is an extension of European History.

        1. Andrew Watts

          “Something to do with stopping those godessless Commies.”

          Yeah, but did you know that communists can drink salt water? Or maybe that’s penguins. I think I need to go to the doctor.

          1. ambrit

            The salt water is to dilute the vodka comrade! It is the tears of the Workers in Paradise!

        2. hunkerdown

          It Can’t Happen Here was about stopping Godful commies so godless capitalists could win the day.

          1. ambrit

            Curses! I confused Sinclair Lewis with Upton Sinclair again! I guess I don’t know my Babbitt from a hole in the ground.

            1. hunkerdown

              I think I’m confused about what you confused. ICHH was the attempt to smear Huey Long as some sort of theocrat in the mold of Father Coughlin, in order to sabotage the former’s Presidential ambitions. Hippie-punching in that mold seems to have never stopped.

              And speaking of bourgeois social justice, what a quote from Sam Smith to see in my feed this morning!:

              What if we were to start with the unhappy truth that humans have always had a hard time dealing with other peoples, and that much ethnic and sexual antagonism stems not from hate so much as from cultural narcissism? Then our repertoire of solutions might tilt more towards education and mediation and away from being self-righteous multi-cultural missionaries converting yahoos in the wilds of the soul. We could turn towards something more akin to what Andrew Young once described as a sense of “no fault justice.” We might begin to consider seriously Martin Luther King’s admonition to his colleagues that among their dreams should be that someday their enemies would be their friends.

              1. ambrit

                Sorry. (I say that a lot.)
                Sinclair Lewis wrote It Can’t Happen Here, of course.
                Upton Sinclair, besides his writings ran for Governor of California in 1934 on the End Poverty In California program, but as a Democrat. EPIC was Socialism with an American Face. Many of its’ ideas were taken up by Roosevelt on the national stage. EPIC was defeated by a massive propaganda campaign, done with the backing of the Hollywood Aristocracy, that smeared anything even vaguely socialist. I would guess that the history of the EPIC campaign proved that any elite will tend towards conservatism over time.
                Huey Long has always gotten a bad rap. He instituted something close to socialism in Louisiana through the taxation of the oil and gas interests to benefit the common people of the state. He was threatening to take his successful program national. Entrenched elites can’t have a successful competing program allowed, can they?

        1. ambrit

          No you’re not. The End Times grapevine says that LePage is having talks with Alward in Moncton about cooperation on “immigration” issues. That’s all right. The Appalachians are the Deep Souths Festung.

        1. MtnLife

          Then there’s these guys. Second Vermont Republic Based off the historical principle that Vermont was it’s own country before joining the US. Take that, Texas!

          The Second Vermont Republic is a nonviolent citizens’ network and think tank committed to: (1) the peaceful breakup of meganations such as the United States, Russia, and China; (2) the self-determination of breakaway states such as Quebec, Scotland, and Vermont; and (3) a strategic alliance with other small, democratic, nonviolent, affluent, socially responsible, cooperative, egalitarian, sustainable, ecofriendly nations such as Austria, Finland, Sweden, and Switzerland which share a high degree of environmental integrity and a strong sense of community.

          1. Christopher Dale Rogers

            Can we add my small “country” to this list, namely, Wales, which was the Norman’s third colony after Normandy itself, then England.

  8. TedWa

    What the heck is wrong with big tech? Ever since the banks got bailed as being too big to fail, and put above the law – that’s created a rush among companies to also be too big to fail. That should have been obvious.

  9. Jim Haygood

    When your president’s a lawyer, every tool looks like a lawsuit:

    The Argentine government is preparing a lawsuit to challenge its contract with Bank of New York Mellon (BoNY), the entity that manages payments on Argentina’s sovereign bonds under New York law. This could change the place of payment to Luxembourg, Tokyo or London.

    The country would seek to argue that the bank did not comply with effecting payment of interest service to holders of discount bonds, after the country deposited 539 million dollars to cover the payment, according to the newspaper Tiempo Argentino.

    Meanwhile, BoNY has been arguing that it complied with the order of the District Judge Thomas Griesa to temporarily block payment until Argentina achieved an agreement with the vulture funds.

    This strategy is in addition to the two already made known last week: to file a complaint against the vultures before the International Court of The Hague; and an ongoing investigation of the National Securities Commission to determine whether the measures adopted by Griesa were taken for the purpose of benefitting the country’s creditors.


    Kinda like US Republicans suing Obama. Ain’t gonna work, but makes for good theater.

    Send lawyers, guns and money!

    1. Alejandro

      “When your president’s a lawyer, every tool looks like a lawsuit”

      One can also say that when a vulture is a lawyer, the only tools ARE lawsuits.

      Pandora’s Box gets bulkier by the minute. A new legal concept has been dubbed “Grie-fault”, in honor of the District Judge Thomas Griesa. Some optimists, using the “look forward not backward” glasses, see vultures increasingly on the other side of the docket. Others, preferring the “look backward first” glasses (telescope), see forensic audits as the only way to clarify legitimacy. The more skeptical see this as a preamble of the future of “mediation” if the so-called “trade” agreements are ever ratified.

      1. Jim Haygood

        As the widow K. boasted, ‘life goes on.’ This scene is kind of like watching the sheriff’s auction of your foreclosed house:

        Argentina’s failure to pay interest will trigger $1 billion of credit-default swaps, the International Swaps & Derivatives Association’s determinations committee ruled. Argentina is the first nation to trigger the insurance since Greece restructured its debt in 2012.

        Following the credit event ruling, the trades will be settled at an auction, ISDA said in a statement.

        The process sets a value for the defaulted bonds and then creators of the contracts pay buyers face value in exchange for the underlying securities or the cash equivalent determined at the auction administered by Markit Group Ltd. and Creditex Group.

        1. Alejandro

          Heads he wins biggest, tails he wins just big…no mention of the eventual pain of the real losers (here and there). Like I’ve said before this really isn’t about Cristina K..

        2. ambrit

          Mr. Haygood;
          This looks to be a ‘canary in the coalmine’ moment. Forget about Argentinas’ previous default; this default and CDS ‘auction’ will tell the tale about how all that other ultra-leveraged financial paper ends up. We have been waiting for “reality” to put its’ two cents in for how long now? Dick Cheney may have said that “We create our own reality,” but that was politics. This is real world, on the ground trade. You can ignore the real world for just so long, then bam!
          By the way, that last line about the “creators of the contracts” paying buyers face value in exchange for the underlying securities is straight forward enough. But, “or the cash equivalent determined at the auction?” Does that mean there will be yet another layer of ‘suckers’/investors who buy the distressed paper in hopes of forcing payment somewhere down the line? Ye Goddesses! Is there really “one born every minute?”

  10. Carolinian

    Good Frank Rich review of Perlstein’s The Invisible Bridge.

    Potential jacket blurb:

    It says much about Perlstein’s gifts as a historian that he persuasively portrays this sulky, slender interlude between the fall of Nixon and the rise of Reagan (as his subtitle has it) not just as a true bottom of our history but also as a Rosetta stone for reading America and its politics today.

    1. fresno dan

      Judging by the excerpts, it looks to be revealing and insightful.

      One of Perlstein’s enduring themes is that when it comes to the steady ascent of the conservative movement, contemporaneous journalists and Democratic and Republican elites alike are the last to figure out what is going on. He’s a connoisseur of wrong calls, many of them premature obituaries for the right, from now all-but-forgotten opinion titans of the day (Reston, Kraft, Alsop, Sidey, Evans and Novak). “Before the Storm” ended with Arthur Schlesinger Jr.’s triumphalist judgment that the lopsided 1964 election results presaged Democratic victories for the foreseeable future. At the conclusion of “The Invisible Bridge” — which closes with Ford’s narrow Pyrrhic victory over the Reagan insurgency at the 1976 Kansas City convention — Perlstein turns to The New York Times for the epitaph. “At 65 years of age,” it said, Reagan was “too old to consider seriously another run at the presidency.”
      “True to form, Perlstein doesn’t condescend to this conservative icon but seeks to understand him. He does as good a job as anyone at working through the psychological and intellectual puzzles attending a charismatic public figure whose own family often found the private man opaque. The key to Reagan’s political success, in Perlstein’s telling, was that he recognized what many Republicans did not — that Americans craved “a liturgy of absolution” and “an almost official cult of optimism” postulating “the belief that America could do no wrong” or “that if America did it, it was by definition not wrong.” That’s why Reagan stubbornly insisted on minimizing the crimes of Watergate even though polls suggested he might be punished for it and even after most of his ideological soul mates jumped ship. That’s why Reagan never stopped insisting that we came home from our humiliating defeat in Vietnam “as winners.” He propped up such illusions by ignoring facts or inventing them. But the will of his listeners to believe — and his gift for making them feel good in his presence — conquered all”

    1. Andrew Watts

      Good promotion of the old George Kennan interview too. I don’t think people realize how screwed America was well before the election of Bush the Younger. To his ever lasting credit Kennan did. He still had a lot of influence in Washington during the Bush the Elder administration. It must’ve been a generational thing.

      1. peteybee

        thanks : )

        Although the screwage of America is self inflicted, and could be stopped if there was actual public concern, which there really isn’t in any kind of even remotely focused way.

        The other thing I try to promote is Instant Runoff Voting (look it up on wiki!)

  11. nony mouse

    on FBI using flawed tools–when called to question for jury duty, I was asked which forensic tests I considered the most unreliable. I said hair analysis, and the lawyers looked at me like my own hair was on fire (only one of the reasons I didn’t ‘get the job’, the other being, as I had stated on my questionnaire and which they did not catch, that I do not believe in the Death Penalty under any circumstances). it’s nice to be proven correct, ultimately.

    I believe that is not the only problem with the FBI labs over the years.

    1. Johann Sebastian Schminson

      Law enforcement still uses the polygraph. Polygraphs are about as reliable as phrenology.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      Good catch. From the story:

      Although the State Department said it had been involved in facilitating the evacuations from Liberia, Emory said Samaritan’s Purse was paying for the transportation and care of the workers. Dr. Ribner said that Emory officials had communicated with state and county regulators about the patients, but that the air ambulance service, the Phoenix Air Group, had been responsible for securing the necessary clearances to bring the two to the United States.

      So, a public private partnership….

  12. N Leger

    Fascinating JSTOR article, thanks for having posted it. My understanding is that the sea captains were also brokers of the commodities they carried. The Chian amphora stamps mentioned have been dug up as far north as Russia, from broken, discarded wine jugs.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      On the JSTOR anthropology journal, I there was a ton of good stuff there, but I picked that one because containers sounded IT-ish. It’s easy to see why people like Graeber came out of such an exciting field.

      1. Tim Mason

        HAU is an on-line open access anthropology journal with which Graeber is associated. You’ll find several of his articles there, plus a host of other good things.

        A full list of on-line open access anthro journals is here

  13. nony mouse

    adam Curtis: the left are not doing their jobs redirecting anger at the ‘right’ targets. I have seen this written here on this blog, and elsewhere.

    the problem is this: the other guys (the money guys) have built the stadium, created the rules, set the time and date for the match. not only this, but they have legitimized all of the above with the audience. how to overcome these obstacles?

    if it’s not Curtis’ job, then whose is it? minor politicians, struggling to raise campaign cash? I like Curtis, and we appear to agree on much (especially that culture has entered a dead zone, probably for the last 10 or even 20 years), but if it’s not his job to make ideas accessible, then whose is it? especially ideas that he might favor. he’s got a big platform and a good following. and, as mentioned above, obviously he was not really reading Taibbi (whom I also miss).

  14. toldjaso

    Re Ebola path:
    Please see map in piece linked below. Observe flight path from Africa direct to S. Carolina is old Anglo-Dutch-Portuguese slave route into the New World “thirteen” — “13” colonies by the *Southern Jurisdiction*.

    Recall that the first pandemic from Africa to U.S. in modern times was “AIDS” — Africa>Haiti>U.S., which pandemic was indeed darkly “purposeful” on many fronts. (See DarkRootsBrusselsEU re profiteering cartel).

  15. scraping_by

    RE: Brennan

    The Emptywheel article’s got the transcript of Obama’s casual admission of state-sponsored terror. Which brings to mind the story’s not about Brennan, but Obama.

    Barry’s been on a charm offensive lately. NPR and the other MSM outlets have been publicizing him sharing pizza with women, buying fast food, playing pool with the young, even doing the theatre of turning down a hit on a joint. Just one of the guys, in other words. The folksy language is just more ‘regular guy’ smokescreen.

    The language of ‘tortured some folks’ is, first off, dismissive. Causing agony and death on helpless individuals is no small thing, not just an minor episode. Second, it implies it was isolated, distant act, the victims somebody else instead of one of us. Most people can’t get their heads around ‘them today, me tomorrow’ as one of the general rules of the world. And then it puts it in the past. Even in the unlikely event the dark prisons are closed, with no admission torture is inhuman, counterproductive, and just plain wrong the best can be hoped for is temporary pause, and it’s still a possible fate for anyone in the future.

    Obama’s words would be, in another context, the set-up of a ghastly joke. Satire doesn’t work anymore.

    1. sd

      And then there’s the Osama bin Laden snuff film. I get that as the POTUS he felt he needed to see it through. But he didn’t need to share the image of watching the operation with the rest of us. It was that choice – sharing the image of watching it happen – that I found deeply disturbing. “Look at me, I can kill people I don’t like.”

      1. Cynthia

        Obama loves to kill people. Although all presidents commit mass murder as a matter of their duty to their masters, none of the previous ones to my knowledge personally selected targets for assassination, and none of them to my knowledge deliberately selected a 16-year-old boy for assassination.

        And why? Because he should have had a more responsible father.

        Obama kills children with drones and jokes about killing children with drones. But millions of Americans support him, just as millions of Americans support this psychopathy in Ukraine and the Middle East.

        What an evil, sociopathic society, we have become, ruled by the worst people in the world.

        1. optimader

          BHO? Seemingly a posterchild.
          Psychopathy is traditionally defined as a personality disorder characterized by enduring antisocial behavior, diminished empathy and remorse, and disinhibited or bold behavior

          Why They Kill: The Discoveries of a Maverick Criminologist Paperback ‘

          Richard Rhodes, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Making of the Atomic Bomb, brings his inimitable vision, exhaustive research, and mesmerizing prose to this timely book that dissects violence and offers new solutions to the age old problem of why people kill….
          …After a decade of interviewing several hundred violent convicts–men and women of varied background and ethnicity, he discovered “violentization,” the four-stage process by which almost any human being can evolve into someone who will assault, rape, or murder another human being. Why They Kill is a riveting biography of Athens and a judicious critique of his seminal work, as well as an unflinching investigation into the history of violence.

    2. toldjaso

      “Satire doesn’t work anymore.” No? Recall: “We came, we conquered, he died. Ha-ha-ha-ha.” Or is it farce?

  16. sd

    OT I really hate Onswipe. Just getting it out there because surely re are other reads who hate it too. I get really frustrated trying to read Ritholtz blog so I’ve pretty much stopped reading. I keep hoping he’ll do away with it.

      1. sd

        Thank you! That was helpful. I was finally able to get to the desktop version and stay there. But it doesn’t seem to be sticky beyond the session. Will continue exploring.

  17. toldjaso

    Lambert, save the day your way. Two words come to mind: Claw Back.
    The gains of the BIS Banksters are ill-gotten. Notice Board list w/ preponderance from Frankfort-am-Main. Place this puzzle piece with the others today in a golden NC People’s frame.
    ZH piece with comments to guest column today 8/032014 12:52: “BIS Banksters Brazen Backroom Betrayal”
    by Tim Knight from Slope of Hope.

  18. vidimi

    i stopped reading that must-read LRB article on Israel-Gaza after the first sentence: “The current war in Gaza was not one Israel or Hamas sought.”

    how can anyone claim that israel didn’t seek this war when every action it took was specifically made to justify it?

    1. lambert strether

      Well, er. What I liked was that it at least named the players in the region — including Turkey and Qatar, for example. Can’t tell the players without a scorecard! So I filtered out the thesis.

    2. curlydan

      it was pretty nuanced once you got past the first paragraph. Really dealt with Hamas’s struggles and why it was forced into a partnership the Fatah. Would be an excellent article to send to those with the pre-programmed “Hamas…Hamas BAD” state of mind.

  19. rich

    PEU Bayh to Cover for CIA

    Ex-Senator Evan Bayh will head an inquiry into CIA disciplinary action or reforms needed as a result of the CIA spying on members of Congress. Note that Bayh is already a member of the CIA advisory board. Insiders, the kind that don’t criticize one another, get these kind of appointments.

    Compliant elected leaders make hay in retirement. Evan Bayh is a Senior Advisor to Apollo Global Management, a private equity underwriter (PEU).

    As partner with law/lobbying firm McGuire Woods, Bayh provides strategic advice to the firms largest clients, one of which is Apollo Group, the monster for-profit educator part owned by Apollo Global Management.

    Bayh sits on five corporate boards, Berry Plastics, Fifth Third Bank, McGraw-Hill Education, Marathon Petroleum, and RLJ Lodging Trust. RLJ is Blue team backer Robert L. Johnson, founder of BET and Carlyle Group joint venture partner.

    Bayh served on the Senate’s Select Committee on Intelligence from 2001 to 2010. When he was appointed to the CIA Advisory Board is unclear. A search of the CIA’s website produced no hits on “Evan Bayh.”

    This is the kind of horse hockey that causes citizens to view our leaders as fools. We’re the fools if we buy their fictions and cover-up. Ex-Senator Evan Bayh will give us a story and it will be one listened to on the inside. At least Larry Summers will find it a scintillating tale.

    Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. had a dream. Summers and Bayh had a choice. Their dreams were to raise themselves up by protecting their ilk. The rest be damned.

  20. russell1200

    Piece on small dinosaurs is odd. And the video seems to be intentionally misleading.

    The ancestral dinosaurs were not huge. And there is no indication that the clad that derived from Paraves that became the birds were some sort of T-Rex sized giants. But the way they set up the cladogram would lead many at first glance, with birds up at the top right, would have the birds deriving from the big guys. That isn’t how cladograms work, but I suspect that many don’t know that.

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