Links 9/28/14

Lambert here: Because I’m doing two cross-posts tonight, you get an extra helping of links, offer good for this one time only.

More brain than brawn Hindu Business Line. Elephants!

Mantis shrimps can see cancer, and scientists have now created a camera that does the same Science Alert. And the squillionaires keep whining that they’ve got nowhere to invest their money.

Wall Street Gets a Case of the Jitters WSJ

Health Deformer’s PEU Targets Hospice PEU Report (rich). Nancy DeParle turns up, like the bad penny she is, in Private Equity.

Using smart chips Carlyle Group tracked LP movements at annual meeting Reuters. One can only wonder in what capacity partners are said to be limited.

Wall Street meets its match in people power FT. People vote with their feet for index funds. But note (says Yves) special pleading for Henry Kravis.

Reports: Regulators deferred to Goldman Sachs USA Today. “Culture” narrative now congealing into conventional wisdom.

Why Holder Quit Politico

Why Didn’t Eric Holder Go After the Bankers? John Cassidy, New Yorker. A pathetic and flaccid column that shows how liberals earned their bad name. Astonishingly, or not, Cassidy was a financial commentator for the BBC, and a business editor, before joining the now sadly diminished New Yorker.

The Magic Number That Could End the Ebola Epidemic Bloomberg

Interview with Ebola Discoverer Peter Piot: ‘It Is What People Call a Perfect Storm’ Der Speigel. Note the role of hospitals in the initial spread, back when the virus was discovered. The fears of the locals that medical personnel are spreading the virus are not, then, irrational, but based on history.

For Many New Medicaid Enrollees, Care Is Hard to Find, Report Says New York Times. Well, how else could you decrease spending?

Big Brother Is Watching You Watch

Apple Wiretap Disbelief Cryptome. Apple: “Apple has no way to decrypt iMessage and FaceTime data when it is in transit between devices.” “And why do we believe them?”

More Chicago Flights Canceled; Suspect Was Told Of Hawaii Transfer NPR

Tory crisis as Mark Reckless defects to UKIP and Brooks Newmark resigns Telegraph

Catalonia defies Spanish government and makes independence vote official The Journal

Hong Kong

Occupy Hong Kong Protest Kicks Off Early After Clashes Bloomberg

Hong Kong Occupy Central protesters issue demands BBC

HK Occupy Central activists issue manual for democracy sit-in Asian Correspondent

Francis Fukuyama’s ‘Political Order and Political Decay’ FT

Henry Kissinger’s World Order: The outer edge of what is possible Independent. The butcher of Cambodia’s looking pretty good these days (cf. Screwtape Proposes a Toast).

The US Government and “Afghan Man.” republished 9/27/2014 Sic Semper Tyrannis. Sounds like we are as badly served by credentialled Poli Sci dudes as by credentialled Econ dudes.

Across the Durand Line LRB. The Great Game.


Ukraine Backs Off From EU-Backed Russia Gas Deal Business Insider 

Russia Slams US, EU for Backing Ukraine ‘Coup’  VOA

At the U.N. General Assembly, Obama Zaps Russia’s Sneak Invasion of Ukraine Newsweek

Rosneft Says Exxon Arctic Well Strikes Oil Bloomberg (abynormal). Anybody ever read Frank Herbert’s Under Pressure? It’s a fun book about submarines.


A “Responsibility To Protect” Mercenaries? Moon of Alabama

Politics not bombs is the key to beating Isis FT

Lines blur for US troops in fight against ISIS The Hill

Arab woman pilot who is poster girl for Gulf states’ blitz on ISIS is ‘disowned by her family’ for bombing ‘Sunni heroes of Iraq and the Levant’ Daily Mail 

Iran Nuclear Deal Possible With Political Will, Ryabkov Says Bloomberg

Thinking about Hannah Arendt and Adolph Eichmann on Erev Rosh Hashanah Corey Robin, Crooked Timber

As murders and disappearances mount, Canadian women ask: ‘Am I next?’ Guardian

Benzodiazepine use and risk of Alzheimer’s disease: case-control study BMJ. “Benzodiazepine use is associated with an increased risk of Alzheimer’s disease.”

No Game Today Roger Angell, New Yorker. I threw up a little in my mouth after reading Cassidy, so here’s a palate cleanser.

How Stoical Was Seneca? NYRB

Fighting to Honor a Father’s Last Wish: To Die at Home New York Times. Horrifying. Incidentally, if you think this doesn’t apply to you, think again. “Stick a tube in the helpless body, extract rent” is a business model for bodies of all ages.

Antidote du jour, an “extinct” cat-sized chinchilla found alive at Machu Picchu (via):


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. D. Mathews

    I saw the Hong Kong protests building when I was in China last month. However, one item which caught my eye on the news was the alleged rising animosity of people in Hong Kong toward wealthy Chinese mainlanders that are apparently establishing themselves there in increasing numbers. I tried to search for news on that item outside China, but didn’t find much.

  2. Ulysses

    From the NYRB piece linked above:
    “For Tacitus, another of the corrupting effects of Roman autocracy was on the meaning of words and deeds. (In this respect, his Annales are an unsettling precursor of Orwell’s 1984.) In his cynical analysis of the imperial court, nobody meant what they said or said what they meant. In fact, survival depended on dissembling and on concealing true feelings, on acting rather than being; hence, in part, his stress on Nero’s ambitions on the stage.

    This was a world embedded in doublethink and doublespeak. Nero entertained his mother lavishly, gave kisses, and said fond farewells on the very evening he planned to kill her.”

    The kayfabe hijinks that pass for our own political culture these days needs to be understood in these terms. TPTB want to keep those of us in the cheap seats distracted long enough that we won’t wander out of the theater– and pay too much attention to their looting outside. Yet we are now at the stage where only determined self-hypnosis can keep us unaware that they have begun to dismantle the theater, selling off the props, seats, and curtains for a few quick bucks.

    I suppose when the walls and roof are all gone, and people are still standing foolishly in the rain, some people might shake themselves awake and finally realize just how completely abandoned they are.

    1. Ned Ludd

      Anti Social Media last week looked at liberal writer Sarah Kendzior and her performative liberal politics. The following paragraph could easily be written about Seneca’s relationship to Stoic virtue and the performative politics of Rome during the Principate – “acting rather than being”:

      I have come, however, to see Kendzior’s adept use of this discourse as little more than “mirroring;” a fraudulent co-optation of language insidiously employed only to insinuate herself within dissident communities. This is all the more dangerous because it obscures her very dangerous, reactionary politics.

      Today, on the left, we see the “aping of leftist aesthetics to push a decidedly neoliberal and oppressive agenda”. A decade ago, Daily Kos and other liberal blogs brought anti-war liberals back into the Democratic fold. Today, counter-cultural artists and writers adopt the language of rebellion while peddling imperialism and marginalizing people whose politics goes beyond hand-wringing.

      Sarah Kendzior, who openly bashed communists in Ferguson, worked for Freedom House, an organization that “took up the struggle against the… great twentieth century totalitarian threat, Communism” and is widely considered “a flak producing machine”, “an infamous CIA/State Department outfit” and “nothing but a façade for the special services of the United States.”

      Every opportunist follows a different path, depending on their skills and the opportunities given to them. Mary Beard wonders pointlessly about Seneca’s hypocrisy. When dealing with confidence men, the entire performance is a con. “People’s actions tell us everything we need to know. Why this is so confusing is a mystery.”

    2. DJG

      “They make a desert and call it peace.” Tacitus, quoting a vanquished Celtic leader. It is the sentence that I have retained from Tacitus, and that sentence alone is worth reading his work.

  3. wbgonne

    “Reports: Regulators deferred to Goldman Sachs USA Today. “Culture” narrative now congealing into conventional wisdom.”

    If “culture” excuses criminality then there are a lot of people doing 40 years in prison for slinging dope on the street who should home instead.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Cultural problems call for cultural responses.

      Time for our own Cultural Revolution…big enough to encompass changing the criminal justice system???

      ‘Eradicate the culture of greed, corruption and apathy!!!’

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        When you transform a country’s culture, you transform its politics.

        When you transform its politics, you transform its economy.

  4. Swedish Lex

    The right to die at home.
    A friend’s mother was discharged from hospital before the week end. Her cancer is terminal and the hospital can not do anything more for her. She is at home, with her family, and, I suppose, with all the drugs she needs or wishes for to make her last days and hours less painful. In France, I should add.

    1. Katniss Everdeen

      I used to be very angry that, three years ago, the lives of both of my parents ended within months of each other with a barrage of expensive “medical” interventions that their aged bodies were not strong enough to “survive.” Neither suffered from dementia, but repeated unnecessary surgeries and massive amounts of drugs took their toll on their “health.”

      Now, remarkably, I consider the outcome “lucky,” for both them and me. Lucky. How twisted.

      Lucky for them that they did not “live” long enough to suffer the indignities and abuse of long-term “care” as American for-profit “medicine” defines it, and lucky for me that I did not have to watch their suffering and be powerless to prevent or alleviate it.

      I have just finished reading “Knocking on Heaven’s Door,” by Katy Butler. It is a contemplative treatment of this issue in the context of her own family’s struggle, and I would highly recommend reading it BEFORE this becomes an issue in your own life. Knowledge, in this regard, is most definitely power.

      The magnitude of this crisis is too great to be left to obnoxious, self-aggrandizing bloviators like Zeke Emmanuel, or vacuous political hucksters like Sarah Palin, with her inane “death panel” screeds. More and more REAL people with REAL lives are being devastated by this, the BEST “healthcare” system on the planet.

      Ultimately all “healthcare” is unsuccessful–everybody dies eventually. More and more lately, though, having “the best” means it doesn’t happen anywhere near soon enough.

      1. JEHR

        I have reached the age where I worry about my demise almost every day. My health is good but on the decrease, naturally. I am very annoyed at the continuous reference to how much “old” people take from the health care system and the constant harping on the demographics that will put a strain on the health care system. That kind of talk neglects to point out that not all elderly people are sick and that some parts of the country rely on our taxes to pay the bills as much as they rely on others’ taxes.

        I am not looking forward to the remaining years because of the horror stories about the end of life for the elderly. Sometimes I even think about how I would personally make sure to escape situations like the one described in the article.

        1. GuyFawkesLives

          I have a pact with a very dear friend 10 years younger than I. She is to administer *something* should I ever end in dementia (my Mom is experiencing this now and we did not talk about what she wished before her fast decline.)

          I will not live when my brain is not cannot register the visage of my loved ones.

          I wish you a fast and peaceful exit.

          1. Jagger

            You should not ask someone else if you are in fear of something like dementia. You will have time to make decisions and take action. My fear is something like a stroke which can disable you instantly and all decisions are out of your hands. You can live a long time after a disabling stroke. That would be hell and I know someone, relative in law, in that very situation now. Has been in that situation for a number of years now. Then a mercy killing would be a true mercy but at great risk in this society.

        2. Katniss Everdeen


          Why don’t you check out Katy Butler’s book. It provides a reasoned, calm perspective that is very difficult to find in these days of insane, high-pressure “healthcare” profiteering. Plus it is well-resourced for further study should her ideas pique your interest.

          Ms. Butler is a Buddhist and her approach is quite different from the frenetic christian crusade in which we have all been perpetually steeped here in the West.

          DJG’s link below gives you a brief taste of what she has to say.

          I think you’ll be impressed. I know I was.

        3. different clue

          Well, you could tell such complainers that you spent your entire pre-old life putting INto the healthcare system and you are only now taking back just only that which you put in to begin with.

  5. wbgonne

    “Why Didn’t Eric Holder Go After the Bankers? John Cassidy, New Yorker. A pathetic and flaccid column that shows how liberals earned their bad name. Astonishingly, or not, Cassidy was a financial commentator for the BBC, and a business editor, before joining the now sadly diminished New Yorker.”

    Yes, largely a navel-gazing handwringer with the added dimension that it was just so hard to convict those wascally banksters with their armies of white-shoe lawyers. Hey, Dude! Those are the guys who MUST be prosecuted. If DOJ loses it loses. At least you make the banksters miserable and then you can go back to Congress with actual evidence that laws must be changed.

    Why can’t they just say it: Holder didn’t prosecute the banksters because he didn’t want to prosecute the banksters and a primary reason was that Holder’s boss saw the banksters as one of the pillars of the economic recovery, such as it is. Can’t anyone in The DC Bubble be honest about anything anymore?

    1. trish

      I read the first line and I was like, is Cassidy this F*cking stupid??? or is it just willful ignorance? or is he so enmeshed in his concept of himself doing astute political commentary that he can’t see beyond it?
      And if they keep re-hashing their Oh, alas, why’s re the whole Obama administration over and over does it just keep the obvious answer at bay where they don’t have to think about it?

      and re “sadly diminished New Yorker.” The one exception, Jane Meyer?

      1. wbgonne

        Thinking more about this, it seems probable that honest thought is simply incompatible with DC’s “reality.” One must suspend disbelief and accept the governing myths or else you don’t get invited to Georgetown cocktail parties (or the equivalent). Real profiles in courage, these journalists.

        1. GuyFawkesLives

          Oh, gag. Who would want to tip a few with the Georgetown whores? I’d rather take a hot poker to the eye.

      2. diptherio

        From the article:

        Five years later, we are still waiting. Why? Clearly, Holder and his colleagues were reluctant to embark on another case they might lose.

        Clearly, the appropriate response from our chief law enforcer to losing one case is to never ever bring any others. Remember how when, after OJ got off, LA stopped enforcing it’s laws against murder because clearly the DA didn’t want to lose any more cases…oh wait, that would be f#@%ing ridiculous!

        1. wbgonne

          Yes, as if the AG is a line prosecutor whose career turns on his batting average. Total BS. These are policy choices, not matters of legal insufficiency. OTOH, Holder’s careerism indeed impacted those policy choices, as IfTheThunderDontGetYa notes below.

      3. Banger

        All mainstream media outlets are political. All of them represent some powerful faction. Anyone who starts coloring outside the lines will have no career. Those lines change with time depending on the political balance of power.

      4. Kim Kaufman

        I cancelled my subscription to NYer in 2009 after puff pieces on Larry Summers, Arne Duncan, Timothy Geither, et al, made me gag. Then David Remnick, the editor, came out with a book on Obama. Access! Jane Mayer, yes, but what has she done lately? Very quiet under Obama. And what happened to Sy Hersh? I thought he was going to come out with a book on Bush years after 2008 based on inside information he had been collecting but I don’t recall seeing anything. His last piece that I’m aware of was not in NYer. Remnick did a nice piece on a scandal at the Bolshoi ballet in 2013 that I luckily saw at my gym. As a long-time recreational ballet dancer, I enjoyed it. Otherwise, along with The NY Times and others like it, it is simply trying to maintain a corrupt and worn-out status quo, imo.

    2. MikeNY

      Well said. Cassidy’s warmed-over neoliberal economic orthodoxy is as exciting to listen to as the hum of the refrigerator. And as enlightening.

      TNY sent me a ‘welcome back’ offer of $25 / year this week, after I let my subscription lapse a few years ago… fugeddabout it. It’s a waste of my time. It’s become an organ of the establishment.

        1. different clue

          Just look for the pressure button-switch that the closing door pushes in as it closes. Push it in by hand to spoof the fridge light into thinking the button-switch was pushed in by the fridge door closing. The light will go off.
          But one might say . . . that only reveals a possible mechanism. Perhaps the light is not spoofed. Perhaps it knows very well the difference between your finger and the door. Perhaps putting a video-camera inside the fridge set to run and starting it running with the door open and then closing the door on it would gather videographic evidence of what really goes on behind closed fridge doors.

    3. ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®©

      Cassidy saves his minor scolding for the end:

      If the doctrine of too big to jail endures, it will blight Holder’s legacy. Not only is it morally indefensible, it doesn’t make sense, as the Attorney General and his colleagues have implicitly acknowledged. In cases involving tax evasion and the violation of economic sanctions, the Justice Department this year has brought criminal cases against two overseas banks that operate in the United States: Credit Suisse and BNP Paribas. And, no, you didn’t miss anything dramatic. The two banks didn’t collapse, and the economic recovery wasn’t aborted.

      If the government can bring criminal charges against Credit Suisse and BNP Paribas for violating American laws, why can’t it mete out the same treatment to JPMorgan and Bank of America, or to some of their employees? Perhaps Holder will address that question in his memoirs.

      Frankly, if you want to tell a story about Holder, Breuer, and the banks, and you don’t mention the Wall Street defense firm (Covington and Burling) from which they both came and to which Breuer has already returned, you’re covering up for them.

      1. wbgonne

        Yes, I saw that. And that moment of questioning is when an honest writer one might suggest what you just did. Instead, Cassidy makes a lame attempt at humor and wrings his hands. Pathetic.

          1. wbgonne

            I’m sure that Black Agenda piece will be seen as something from Mars at Plumline. Which explains why I haven’t been there in years. Good to know you’re still fighting the good fight. In the end, that’s all we can do.

      2. GuyFawkesLives

        Holder’s legacy can only be surpassed by Jenny Durkan (who is a former US Attorney now being contemplated for Holder’s job.) This woman presided over the Western District when the criminal collapse of WaMu occurred. When she decided not to indict Killinger with criminal charges, the press release came out on a Friday and the Seattle Times reported it with a three paragraph article buried in the innards of it’s pathetic rag.

        So, they intend on replacing one quivering bowl of jello with another flavor.

        WaMu, the biggest criminal bank failure in U.S. history….and the criminal who drove the bank over the cliff? He resides in a gargantuan fortress behind massive manned gates with a splendid view of the Puget Sound with a backdrop of the Olympic mountains……when he should be getting gang-raped in Attica.

    4. Brindle

      Here Holder, in 2004, is not talking about Banksters but Chiquita executives who funded Death Squads in Colombia responsible for killing up 4,000 peasants.
      He was the lead attorney for Chiquita. f

      —- At the time, Holder said he was concerned that company leaders who disclosed the corporation’s illegal activity to prosecutors were facing the possibility of prosecution.

      “If what you want to encourage is voluntary self-disclosure, what message does this send to other companies?” asked Holder, deputy attorney general in the Clinton administration. “Here’s a company that voluntarily self-discloses in a national security context, where the company gets treated pretty harshly, [and] then on top of that, you go after individuals who made a really painful decision.”—-

      1. trish

        I hadn’t seen this counterpunch. wow. someone above referred to holder as a “quivering bowl of jello” but that’s like calling obama spineless. Holder is just a corrupt neoliberal hack.

    5. Vatch

      “Holder didn’t prosecute the banksters because he didn’t want to prosecute the banksters and a primary reason was that Holder’s boss saw the banksters as one of the pillars of the economic recovery, such as it is”

      That’s only part of the truth. The banksters also donated millions to Obama’s campaign in 2008, and again in 2012. Some of them were clients of Holder’s before he became Attorney General, and will likely be clients again after Holder is no longer in government “service”. The banksters are also likely donors to an Obama presidential library, and they will provide lucrative speaking and consulting fees for any ex-president who treats them well.

      Offending the banksters could have serious repercussions for obsequious public “servants” such as Holder and Obama.

      1. wbgonne

        I agree. In a sense I was being unduly charitable. And when I said the banksters were part of the Obama economic recovery plan I was also too delicate: the pillars of the recovery were: 1) fossil fuels — frack them, drill for them, export them, burn them; and 2) give Wall Street boatloads of free money. So way back when Candiate Obama mocked Candidate McCain by taunting, well, you GOP folks crashed the car into a ditch and we’re not going to give you the keys again, what he really meant was the Democrats were going to tow the car out of the ditch and put in on the same road to nowhere only with turbo-fuel and a blind driver.

  6. wbgonne


    I love it!

    (And we all should because it looks like we’re there forever. Syraqistan = The fifty-first state, or a military proving ground, or an Islamic terrorist recruitment center?)

      1. abynormal

        thx 4 great links today n yesterday…burnt finger today & cant type 2 well
        (not an excuse i know’)

        turmeric is good to have around as seasons chg…great for colds/flus

      2. Vatch

        A significant sentence from this article:

        “Co-supplementation with 20 mg of piperine (extracted from black pepper) significantly increase the bioavailablity of curcumin [an important component of turmeric] by 2000%.

        This has been mentioned before here at NC, but it doesn’t hurt to have a reminder. Alzheimer’s is a terrible disease, and if there’s a way to reduce the risk of it, we need to know about it.

    1. wbgonne

      I have read that ginger may have similar qualities. I believe the plants are in the same family. Plus I really like ginger.

    2. Yves Smith

      Alluded to in the thread, but turmeric is not very bioavailable. Seems to do best if you cook with it, but I don’t have time to make curries. I’ve been taking turmeric pills for years (it’s also got research re its cancer prevention properties) but no idea whether my dosage is adequate. And yes I take curcurmin too.

      1. Skippy

        Cold pressed or blended drinks with turmeric et al, cuts out huge amounts of prep- cooking time, energy expenditure, cold on a hot day or blended hot on a cold day, you can be as creative as your palate allows… blah blah blab…

        skippy… fresh delicious soup out of a blender… its just so ridiculous!

  7. trish

    Health Deformer’s PEU Targets Hospice

    “I thought there was a small corner of the world unreachable by these people.” it’s starting to look like there isn’t. these sub-human predators for whom other human beings outside their worlds don’t exist except as sources of profit loot the poor (and manufacture more poor, more prey for the future), the poorest of the poor (ie microfinance), children (ie charter schools, for-profit colleges that target low-income), prison inmates, the dying….

    Zero in to mine for profit and leave the human detritus about like slag. And the biggest problem is that the looters like DeParle are our government.

    1. wbgonne

      You know, if people were the least bit honest this neoliberal fetish for privatization would be called graft. At the highest levels of government, we have eliminated political corruption by defining it out of existence. The government official takes a million dollars from a company he is ostensibly regulating, then lets that company’s lawyers write the regulations, then allows the company to select the regulators to enforce the regulations . . . and it’s all good. In the past, we would have called that bribery and graft, now it’s freedom.

      1. cnchal

        You forgot one thing.

        The government official also gets a sweetheart job at $millions per year from the regulated company.

        It is graft and bribery, and it is all good, because we can’t stop them.

          1. trish

            not bribery perhaps anymore because as wbgonne said we’re defining these things out of existence. at least for these people. It’s rather more like they’re all members of one big club or organisation and they move about to different departments. with huge pay raises.

  8. optimader

    RE: Why Holder Quit Politico
    “Holder—described by associates as President Obama’s “heat shield” on race and civil rights’
    shielding him from who?

    “The keenly legacy-conscious Holder has never been in better standing”

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      This is a family blog… More seriously, I think using sexual acts as metaphors for political acts creates bad category errors, so I gave up the practice (though granted, I can resist everything except temptation). And I, along with the foul-mouthed bloggers of the left, used that metaphor a lot in 2003-2006, amazed and enraged at the conservatives’ bizarre hypocrisies in these matters. But I think that fire burned itself out without this kind of help.

      1. optimader

        “I think using sexual acts as metaphors for political acts creates bad category errors”

        100% agreement on that, I never use sex acts as metaphors either. I defer to your decorum, but in this case I was being quite literal. I’ll restate channeling a British buddy: “this article is a FANTASTIC piece of rhetoric”.

  9. wbgonne

    “The keenly legacy-conscious Holder has never been in better standing”

    For the people Holder (and Obama) care about, that is almost certainly true. As Obama told the banksters immediately after his 07 election: I’m the only thing standing between you and the pitchforks. And defend the banksters they did: enduring and then crushing the Occupy Movement, suffering through the Tea Party, Frankenstein-like, ruining Obama’s dream of slashing social security, wrecking Obama’s presidency before it left the starting-gate. Nobody can say Holder and Obama didn’t go all out defending the banksters (well, the banksters will say it but that’s just their greed-addled MOTU mentality warp). Holder’s standing has never been higher and I’m sure Covington will reap huge benefits for years.

    1. susan the other

      I’m so sick and disgusted with Holder I’m not even glad to see him go. I’m just sick and disgusted. But Holder has proven one thing pretty clearly: Capitalism and fraud and juicing profits imploded big time; the banksters all failed; they pointed out that if they went down the Western world would go down; the “government” responded with what can now be considered a replacement system for the banks – i.e. their undoing by exposing how irrelevant they really are to the economy – in fact they are just a distribution mechanism for money whereby most of it goes to the already filthy rich. So then: I’d like to thank Eric for his selfless and unflinching service to this country. Who else could have been such a consummate cement-ass as to do absolutely nothing whatsoever about the banks?

      1. optimader

        “Capitalism and fraud and juicing profits imploded big time; the banksters all failed; they pointed out that if they went down the Western world would go down”

        What they engaged in was not so much Capitalism. I’m am less and less convinced there was a genuine concern about the “western world going down”, some much as a negotiated quid pro quo for the can just be kicked down the road through the statute of limitations sunset.

  10. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Hannah Arendt…and today’s Banality of Greed…’stick a tube in the helpless body and extract rent.’

    Were there no good Germans to stop the totalitarian system? How many? One? A few? Should Germans have just kept their heads down to protect their own families?

    Are there no good doctors to stop the greedy health care system? A few? Maybe they don’t know…

    Are there no good teachers and professors to stop the greedy education system? A few? Should teachers keep their heads down?

    Maybe the parallels are just not there…we can’t compare them, or perhaps I am not drawing enough parallels???

    1. ambrit

      Dear MLTPB;
      Part of that question is answered by the extract from one of Arendt’s letters cached behind the hyperlink “not even the Jews” at the end of the linked article. Arendt was a serious scholar, and took such questions seriously. The extract is enlightening.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        A parallel issue, from reading that hyperlink, to the ‘cooperation of the Jewish functionaries during the “Final Solution,” in this our Age of the Banality of Greed, this economic Holocaust, would be the cooperation of some of the 99.99% during this current economic expansion where the share of the growth of the 99% is actually negative.

        Who is ‘cooperating’ with our economic persecutors?

        1. nony mouse

          all of us who are engaged in the economy, even if we don’t want to be aiding and abetting a corrupt system. that’s the problem!

        2. ambrit

          The collaborators are essentially the enablers. Think of all the salarymen, bank clerks, payday loan vendors, corporation functionaries below the C-suite level. They all feel they are providing a ‘vital’ service. Esprit de corps is a real function of any dynamic human endevour. Until things get so bad, as in when those ‘Jewish functionaries’ finally had to admit to themselves that they too were cattle for the slaughter, as in when the loan officers at the banks start to lose their own homes to fraud and looting, nothing meaningful will change. Upholders of the status quo will always be findable to defend that status quo. As Arendt understood, at the moment of horrified understanding, ones fate is already sealed. All that was left for those functionaries, and our modern ones too, is the Hero’s fate.

          1. ambrit

            One of my all time favourite Milton quotes; “Ask for this great deliverer now, and find him Eyeless in Gaza, at the mill with slaves.”
            Sampson pulled down the Temple of the Philistines. By splitting the pillars, he bought down the entire edifice. How far do we want to go? How far will we need to go? This indecision is killing each and every one of us. I wish I knew the best answer.

    2. Eureka Springs

      R2p for mercenaries.
      Self-tracking among even the Carlyle squillionaires while mingling amongst themselves. All while their phones do far more than any id tag, but that’s likely profitable for them.
      Nary a major criminal act prosecuted anywhere.
      Bribe based political system remains firmly in place.
      Pervasive lies among systemic self hypnosis.

      Just in a casual observation of one days links.

      Finding an exception to the parallels is the hard part.

    3. KFritz

      Perhaps 10 years ago, at a meeting of San Francisco’s Commonwealth Slub broadcast to the public, Dr. Andrew Weil was asked for an encapsulated plan to reform the US health care system. He replied to the effect that it needed to collapse under its own weight before anything substantive could be done. Nothing that’s happened since has convinced me otherwise. Most Americans, no matter how ill-served, still think it’s the greatest on earth. Much luck to the rest of us who take the trouble to inform ourselves.

  11. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Fukuyama and the end of history.

    Is the also the end of -isms?

    If you are against all isms, if you don’t believe in isms, then you’re into anti-ism.

    If you’re only half-hearted into anti-ism, then you are semi-anti-ism, not to be confused with anti-Semitism, just as anti-Semitics are not to be confused with anti-semantics.

          1. ambrit

            Gadzooks. Thou’rt the common stator about whom all revolve. Dost give pause though to be a groundling in this playhouse.

  12. Brindle

    So Chris Hayes has been gushing about Beyonce at the Global Citizens Festival in NYC. All MSNBC liberal love Beyonce. I guess I’m Beyonce neutral.
    Here is a list of some sponsors of the festival. I’m sure they do a lot of good, but philanthropy from corporations is not the answer. I guess I’m skeptical.

  13. McMike

    Re Holder, no obvious replacement.

    Surely theres a hedge fund general counsel or Goldman lobbyist available.

  14. susan the other

    Just an observation about the word ‘aboriginal’. Re the post on 1200 native aboriginal women in Canada being serially murdered over the last 20 years and no real breakthrough in the cases. Question: Do they refer to native French women as aboriginal French women? How ’bout English women? Native Indian women; Chinese? WTF?

    1. Synapsid


      At least in Australia, Canada, and the US, “aboriginal” refers to the people who were there first, “first” meaning before Europeans showed up.

      “Ab origine” is Latin.

    2. ambrit

      About the only “aboriginal” people in Europe I can think of would be the Basques. Even then, we’re all supposed to have trekked out of Africa sometime long in the past. Then there is Professor Quatermass’ discovery that we were genetic experiments done on earthly hominids by the Martians.
      See, “Ten Million Years to Earth”:
      It’s the original six part BBC version. Over three hours long but good fun for the Geeksquad. Done when sci fi had the leisure to wrestle with ideas and not just big bangs.

    3. optimader

      I was born in North America therefore by definition I am a native American, but my great grandparents are from Europe therefore I am not aboriginal.

  15. st33ve

    Hmmm. I just read the Cassidy piece and it really wasn’t anything like what Lambert’s comments led me to expect (assuming somebody doesn’t stop after the third or fourth paragraph). Cassidy ends up concluding that, absent some explanation he doesn’t know about, Holder’s inactions were pretty much inexcusable.

    What am I missing?

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      Here’s Cassidy’s conclusion:

      If the government can bring criminal charges against Credit Suisse and BNP Paribas for violating American laws, why can’t it mete out the same treatment to JPMorgan and Bank of America, or to some of their employees? Perhaps Holder will address that question in his memoirs.

      Cassidy’s article was exactly what I said it was: Pathetic and flaccid.

      1. st33ve

        I’d be very surprised if the intent of that last sentence is anything like what you’re apparently (in good faith, Lambert? really?) suggesting. And it certainly does nothing significant to undercut Cassidy’s main conclusions about the *wrongness* of Holder’s failures to prosecute the banksters.

        I’m sorry that you didn’t feel that a correction (and apology to Cassidy) were in order. It was pretty clear to me that you hadn’t read his article carefully, and it’s pretty clear to me that you’re just making excuses for not admitting your error now. The first part was excusable. We all make mistakes. The second part doesn’t speak very well for you.

        Thanks for listening.

        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          I read the entire piece quite carefully, and that’s why I concluded it was the steaming load it was. I quoted the last sentence because it was the best illustration of the flaccid and pathetic nature of the piece. In fact, if somebody passes this comment on to an editor at the New Yorker, that will make me happy; there is no reason whatever for me to apologize to Cassidy, who is moreover well paid to produce pieces like this.

          Very sad. I read the New Yorker most of my life until recently; and so did my parents; my mother used New Yorker covers for wall art when my parents couldn’t afford real pictures as a young couple. So there are very few people sadder than me at the New Yorker’s sad decline.

          Thanks for implying I’m feeding readers carelessly read links.

          NOTE Boy, I wish I had your telepathic facilities. I could make a ton of money in the market.

  16. susan the other

    And just a thank you to Lambert for the leading link to Blink -Hindu Times on “More Brain than Brawn” About the amazing creature we commonly refer to as the Elephant. And Elephant Culture. And the Indian philosophy of living with nature to create a shared conservation wherein humans are but one more animal. It would certainly enrich us all.

  17. Brindle

    Who’s your favorite billionaire?
    Some guy from the Brookings Institution serves up some billionaire love.
    Why this article?….. Why this article now?

    —Billionaires can be fascinating — and not just because of the fortunes they amass…..They love to disrupt the status quo; many of them already are pioneering new approaches to charity.—

  18. Suck the parrot's egg

    When the Clinton administration needed an Uncle Remus to explain why the forensically-tested facts of King Family v. Jowers didn’t really, exactly, totally prove that the US government whacked MLK, they went to Holder. When the Bush administration needed an Uncle Remus to explain why NYPD cops should get off after making swiss cheese of Amadou Diallo, they went to Holder. When the Obama administration needed an Uncle Remus to whine about how extrajudicial killing upsets the killer cops, they went to Holder. Holder’s complicity in macro-scale fraud and theft is the least of it. Holder is the modern equivalent of an Oyo slaver selling black human livestock to the Oportos.

  19. fresnodan
    “The court filings connect the dots on the deal with some new material and some old. Starr’s lawyers deposed all the decision makers in the bailout, including Ben S. Bernanke, the former chairman of the Federal Reserve; Timothy F. Geithner, then president of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York; and Henry M. Paulson Jr., the Treasury secretary at the time.

    The United States government persuaded the court to keep these depositions confidential”
    Its not military plans or technology. So six years later, what exactly is so in necessity of being kept hidden (in the most transparent administration in history???).

    “In spite of this punishment, A.I.G. repaid the loan in January 2011. I am not arguing that A.I.G. was an innocent in the economic debacle of 2008. But unlike its trading partners, it neither created garbage mortgage securities nor peddled them to unsuspecting investors. Its error — a whopper for sure — was not recognizing that it was the patsy at the poker table when it insured those troubled securities. Which brings us back to Judge Wheeler’s question: Why did the government do what it did in the A.I.G. deal?”
    When you pick winners and losers, any decision can be second guessed. But when the government decides, despite the plethora of evidence of illegality, not to prosecute even a miniscule fraction of the possible miscreant bankers, well, you bring the contempt of the citizens upon yourself….

  20. abynormal

    Why Is the USDA Buying Submachine Guns?

    “What we have seen happen, with the FDA especially, is they have come onto small farms, raw milk producers, and raided the heck out of them with armed agents present,” says Liz Reitzig, co-founder of the Farm Food Freedom Coalition. “Do we really want to have our federal regulatory agencies bring submachine guns onto these family farms with children?”

    Utah Congressman Chris Stewart is the sponsor of the bill on the FTCLDF petition. “At its heart it comes down to this: To myself, and for a lot of Americans, there is great concern over regulator agencies with heavy handed capabilities,” Rep. Stewart told Modern Farmer.

    His bill, H.R. 4934, hopes “to prohibit certain federal agencies from using or purchasing certain firearms, and for other purposes.” When asked about the USDA’s plan for submachine guns, he said, “I can’t envision a scenario where what they are doing would require that.”

    Another concern is simply accountability. The request for submachine guns from the USDA doesn’t say how many guns — asking them seems like a non-starter. “They have been very unhelpful in trying to find out any information about this,” said Rep. Stewart. “We couldn’t get answers — it doesn’t seem right to me.”

    However, he also cautioned: “We have never argued that federal regulators don’t need to protect themselves.” But if USDA investigations were perceived to be potentially violent he suggested, “They should do what the rest of us do, call the local sheriff.”

    is MONSANTO preparing for war?

    1. trish

      wow. but why am I shocked. and it’s not just monsanto. corporate agriculture & their abettors in their govt have been going after those who threaten their economic interests via ag gag laws, labeling anyone attempting to expose their inhumane and criminal practices at factory farms a “terrorist,” . etc.

      I remember not long ago I was still able to buy fresh milk at the college/farm school near me through a couple students I knew but because it was no longer “allowed” as it once had been iit always felt a bit like a drug deal. ridiculous.

  21. Synopticist

    The whole ebola thing has been karma-forced upon us by our obsession with zombie movies. If only we hadn’t netflicked those zombie apocalypse films, none of this would be happening.

    Let this be a lesson for those going on about the Planet of the apes franchise. Careful, or we’ll end up extinct.

  22. proximity1

    Apparently we read the same articles in the weekend FT. In an extremely rare exception I got a copy off the newsstand to read the articles on Bill Gross and the break-up with Pimco.

    The books section was pretty disappointing except for Nigel Dodd’s “The Social Life of Money.”

    F. Fukuyama; Origins of Political Order (as if that were a “thing”) If he weren’t so successful as a failure, I’d almost feel sorry for Francis Fukuyama, a man in search of a reality which can be shoe-horned into his theories. The reviewer, David Runciman, did a poor job of thinking clearly about the book’s strengths and weaknesses but, despite his efforts to praise Fukuyama’s work, the weaknesses come through.

    Karen Armstrong’s “Fields of Blood” considers the history of religion and violence as a part of that history. The place and role of religion in society (esp. for the Judeo-Christian “West”–from which springs whatever meaning that term has as a bequest of the Roman civilization) has changed a great deal but human violence runs throughout human history, with all the changes which religion’s place has seen. Not a lot of original insight in what the reviewer reveals of the book.

    In David Gardner’s article, “Politics, Not Bombs, is the Key to Beating ISIL” we learn that détente among Sunnis and Shia is essential to the effective defeat of groups like ISIL. If so, that’s unfortunate because there’s apparently little prospect of such a détente and the real problem is that, from a (that word again) “Western” point of view, there is simply no apparent “solution” to the catastrophes which are plauging the Near and Middle East. Neither politics nor bombs, separately or together, will work, and nor will “doing nothing.”

    The world has had its second Great Depression but no New Deal has followed it–not even a fake New Deal. Instead, we have to imagine what might have happened in the wake of the 1929 crash if there’d been no Roosevelt and no New Deal, because that is, in a “kind of, sort of” way, what we have. No political response even slightly adequate to the challenge. Instead, this appears to be how an World War Three–different in character from the Great War (1914-1918) and the War of 1939-1945— may emerge and spread until all regions and major power-interest blocs are involved militarily.

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