Links 9/8/14

California Blue Whales Rebound Science 2.0

Water’s Edge Reuters (davidl). The crisis of rising sea levels.

Offer highlights tuna plight Stuff (RS). Because dodgy Chinese shell companies and sustainable fisheries always go together.

Apple Said to Negotiate Deep Payments Discounts from Big Banks Bank Innovation

Member of Fifa’s financial watchdog arrested on money-laundering charge Guardian

Finally, Wall Street gets put on trial: We can still hold the 0.1 percent responsible for tanking the economy Thomas Frank, Salon. This is an awesome explainer of the “control fraud” case where Bill Black testified for the defense. Nice to see the Obot blogs all over this. Oh, wait….

Economists hail birth of ‘Draghinomics’ FT

A Prominent Financial Columnist Is Calling For Radical Reforms To The Global Economy Business Insider

Japan Economy Contracts More Than Initial Estimate on Tax Reuters

Bold reform is the only answer to secular stagnation Lawrence Summers, FT. “To achieve growth of even 2 per cent over the next decade, active support for demand will be necessary but not sufficient.” Just as with Kissinger. Something’s gone horribly wrong when Larry Summers seems to make sense.

The Exaggerated Death of Inflation Kenneth Rogoff, Project Syndicate. I see Lindsay Lohan Chris Brown Ken Rogoff is out of rehab.

Big Brother Is Watching You Watch

Stop and seize WaPo. Police used private intelligence network in quest for cash on nation’s highways.

Huge Urban Shield law enforcement trade show rolls into Bay Area San Francisco Chronicle (joe6pac). Ka-ching!

Urban Shield 2014 [PDF] Alamada County Sheriff’s Office (Surplus Davy Crocketts). Must read. Wankery of an impressively high order. Your tax dollars at work!

Polls Show Path Of Least Resistance To GOP Majority Nate Silver, FiveThirtyEight


Not So Easy Rider — New Ukraine Poll Reveals Collapse Of War Party, Voters Drop Pro-Nato Candidates Oleg Lyashko, Arseny Yatseniuk, Yulia Timoshenko, And Oleg Tyagnibok John Helmer

Why not kill them all? LRB

Twitter and the Arab Spring Another Word For It


Obama to set out plan to go on offensive against Islamic State Reuters

Top 5 Signs the US is de facto allied with Iran versus ISIL Juan Cole

Robert Kagan: America’s Dangerous Aversion to Conflict WSJ

Meet The Press – September 7, 2014 The Bobblespeak Translations. Obama. Must read.

Leading From Within Thomas Friedman, New York Times. To regain its moral authority, the US must become a petrostate. Plus ça change 

Antidote du jour:


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. gonzomarx

    re: Urban Shield this reminds me of a Hunter Thompson, Raoul Duke satire on the police chief magazine but it’s not satire any more

    oh and nice beaver!

    1. jrs

      The ka-ching isn’t even subtle. The webpage about Urban Shield (the promotional page) linked here yesterday mentioned “boon to local businesses” incongruiously right in the middle of talking about preparing police for this or that horrible emergency etc.. It was like: preparing for a chemical or biological weapon attack, training for radioactive wapons (Fukishima?), the implicit training for totalitarianism, oh and yea also a boon to local businesses. Um …

  2. Nick

    Re: Urban Shield 2014

    “Patriotic Brotherhood of the Bay Area members escape…Vow additional attacks in Bay Area” (25/28)


      1. Carolinian

        Beavers are just seeking revenge for the millions of beavers turned into hats in the 19th century.

        1. Peter Pan

          Hey, isn’t that the beaver that makes an appearance during the introduction of the TV show “Masters of Sex”?

  3. Ditto

    Senate Poll data

    I tend to trust Wang more right now on polling than Silver bc the later has started to add in the ” special sauce” of punditry about what they believe the fundamentals are rather than simply looking at the polling data alone as Real Clear Politics, Wang and I believe Electoral Map does. My issues with adding additional weighting beyond the polling data are 1. The assumptions could be wrong and 2. Most polls already contain the assumptions about fundamentals.

    Most of the polls are razor thin close. So there are a lot of behind the scenes factor that will matter that other than looking at polling data makes knowing likely outcomes hard. For example, despite claims about enthusiasm , the Democrats right now are more organized:

    1. Oregoncharles

      Has anyone said whether Oregon is in play? It’s a blue state, so I think Merkley is being treated as a shoo-in, but it’s not a good year for Democrats and the Pacific Green Party just tossed a spanner in the works, name of Christina Lugo – our candidate. We usually pick up about 2% statewide, so if it gets that close, there could be a surprise. This was primarily because of his vote to endorse Israel’s massacre in Gaza.

      I haven’t seen any polls yet – should look. His initial election was a squeaker, determined by the Libertarian and Constitution Party “spoilers’. (Funny how Dems don’t complain about them). I think the Constitution Party has dropped off the ballot, though.

  4. Ignim Brites

    Contrast the news of violence from Ukraine’s agony with the peacefulness of the Scottish seccession movement and the intellectual case against seccessionism collapses. Granted that the involvement of a foreign power makes the Ukraine case somewhat different. If Mexico began agitating for the secession of southern California, New Yorkers might be disturbed, if only because it would diminish slightly the power of the national Democratic Party. But hey democracy is as people do.

        1. McMike

          I was joking.

          If you talk about gas though, its closer, and of course pipelines…

          I do think one diff b/n the two issues is certainly petropolotics. So i stand behind the joke. If you find yourself wrapped up in global petropolitics, you can kiss your arse goodbye

      1. sd

        If tiny Iceland can have its own currency, Scotland should be able to manage as well.
        plus, now the Queen should pay property taxes on Balmoral. :)

        1. lolcar

          Except the “YES” camp have suggested that they want to keep the pound. Though I’m not sure that’s its Scotland that would turn into Greece in that particular currency union as Krugman suggests. With its oil Scotland would likely have a sizable current account surplus with the rest of the world. It’s England, that’s has the massive deficit in tradeable goods. I don’t know if there are any figures kept on the intra-UK balance of payments between Scotland and England but perhaps it will be the English going cap in hand to the Scottish for loans.

          1. paul

            More accurately, the SNP leadership have suggested they want to keep the pound. The yes campaign has a much broader range of opinions and is at some arms length from the scottish government.
            However the only question on the ballot is:

            Should Scotland be an independent country?
            Nothing about what shape that country will take.

      2. trish

        and Krugman, the “conscience of a liberal.” from a (rather clumsily condensed) column by Owen Jones in the Guardian yesterday:

        “The yes surge is not being driven by blood-and-soil nationalism…celtic nostalgia or the resurrection of a Braveheart spirit…it is a defiant protest at a bankrupt order built by Margaret Thatcher and then preserved and entrenched by New Labour…

        most Brits voted against Thatcherism, but the Scots – like the northern English – voted more passionately against, and yet suffered some of the worst consequences…middle-income skilled jobs were stripped from the economy, often in favour of service sector jobs with lower pay, fewer rights and less security. The mass sell-off of council housing – never replaced – left many working class communities bereft of affordable homes for their children. The slashing of taxes on the rich in favour of indirect taxes, the crippling of trade unions, mass privatisation and the relentless promotion of the City, all ensured that inequality levels exploded…

        …New Labour’s surrender to the underlying assumptions of the Thatcherite crusade gave the independence movement its greatest opportunity.

        …they illegally invaded Iraq with Conservative support…they punished aspiration by introducing tuition fees, saddled public services with long-term debt through the colossal rip-off…began privatising our NHS… allowed the living standards of millions of working people to begin falling years before the crash, even as the coffers of corporate Britain prospered like never before. They failed to solve an ever-worsening housing crisis, leaving 5 million languishing on council housing waiting lists. They cut taxes on corporate Britain while indulging in entirely destructive gimmicks….

        Many Scots look at the Britain built by this political elite, they don’t like it and they want out.

        To most Scots, living under a Tory-led government seems absurd, like being forced to live under a hostile foreign occupying force. Why do we have to scrabble around for spare cash to counteract cartoonishly unjust policies …

        …the common traditions shared by Scottish, English and Welsh people as they confronted, fought and defeated the powerful…

        1. tongorad

          I’m not Scottish, nor do I have any dog in that fight, but after reading your post I’m ready to storm the barricades.

          This says it all, it seems to me, for all working people everywhere nowadays:
          “To most Scots, living under a Tory-led government seems absurd, like being forced to live under a hostile foreign occupying force. Why do we have to scrabble around for spare cash to counteract cartoonishly unjust policies …”

          In America, Dems and Rebups are most certainly 2 sides to the same Tory (neoliberal) coin.
          Best of luck to them Scots

    1. Massinissa

      The difference is noone paid for a coup in Scotland the way the US paid 5 billion for a coup in Ukraine.

      The seccesionary movement in the donbass is a reaction to a violent foreign sponsored coup.

      Scotland secession is of no concern to the united states. If it did concern itl, the united states would find some way to make it more violent.

      1. Peter Pan

        Um, isn’t there a trident submarine base in Scotland? And aren’t those trident submarines armed with ballistic missiles that have thermonuclear warheads? So the USA should be unconcerned? Will Scotland automatically be part of NATO? Too many questions; not enough answers.

        1. Christopher Dale Rogers


          A most apt name I must say, regrettably for the USA Scotland via the act of Union with England in 1707 was an equal – that is to say the legislatives of each country were accorded equal weight, just a shame the English forgot this and started treating Scotland like a colony, rather than an equal – the result is the independence referendum we are now witnessing, one where up to 85% of those eligible to vote will do so, which is quite unprecedented in the UK, with GE turnouts being in the mid 60s to low 70s at best.

          You also seem to believe that the nuclear submarine facilities in Scotland are somehow associated with the USA, well the UK’s nuclear deterrent itself certainly is not independent, but the ship yards in Scotland are actually independent and on Scottish soil, Scotland being one of the oldest European nation states in existence, so its up to the Scots what they want on their soil and not the USA or anyone else for that matter.

          As for any treaties and obligations singled by the UK, these are only valid if Scotland remains a constituent part of the UK, without the Scots constituency there can be no UK, unless the Scots express this as so themselves.

          Essentially, the Unionist forces had thought they’d outfoxed the Scots nationalists by giving the Scots electorate only two options, essentially “out” or “in”, hence no thought was given by the Unionists as what would occur if Scotland exercised its legitimate right to exit the Union, such was their hubris. Its not the Scots who will have issues after the break-up of the UK, but rather the English imperialists who will have huge legal issues to contend with, starting with both the UN seat on the Security Council and the EU.

          Being an ardent anti-Unionist, my heart is with the Scots and be damned what the English or USA thinks – none of their bloody business I’m afraid.

        2. Oregoncharles

          Latest word is that Scotland will not automatically be in either the EU or NATO – though it’s really in the interest of both organizations to keep them in. It’s not in Scotland’s interest to remain in Nato, but staying in the EU (without the Euro) probably is.
          Interestingly, the EU has been saying that they can’t be members without their own central bank. Interesting requirement – it’s really so they can join the Euro, also not in their interest.

          As someone who identifies with their Scottish heritage (despite a Cornish last name), I’m romantically thrilled at the thought of Scottish independence; seeing the Tories get their comeuppance is a bonus. I’m not even trying to be objective about whether Scotland would benefit – but there’s definitely a case for it.

    2. Phil

      Where have you been chump, for the last 2000 years, Ever hear of William Wallace, or Edward Ist? Yes, England has always liked and treated the Scots Sooo nice! Dumb Ass! With your three year memory! Definitely A product of the American Educational system! Peaceful my ass!

      1. Massinissa

        He was talking about the SECESSION ITSELFl, not the events preceding it or the prior relationship between england and scotland. The actual modern secession movement is only a few years oldl, and its about modern economic problemsl, not centuries old rivalries.

        1. Christopher Dale Rogers


          The Scottish Nationalist Party has its roots in the early part of the twentieth century, just as the Labour Party does and nationalist sentiment has been growing since the 1960s. Had the Labour Party in Scotland been a truly independent constituency of the UK Labour Party, you may be surprised to learn that a number of prominent Socialists and Labour Party members actually supported Devolution / separation in the 70s. They were exiled from the Labour Party, which in Scotland is as much a rightwing force as the Tories in the English shires – take it from me a Welshman, many parts of the Welsh Conservative Party are more to the left that the governing Welsh Labour Party, particularly when it comes to support for Federalism, its now Labour which should have the mantle of the Labour and Unionist Party, rather than the Conservatives, who would sell their own granny if it mean’t another coin in their well endowed pockets.

          1. Carolinian

            I’ve been watching a BBC series on Scotland and it said there was already one vote on separation 30 years ago. However while a majority voted in favor, it needed a plurality of eligible voters and failed. The show also said many Scots were desperate to get away from Thatcher who took an austerity knife to Scottish social programs.

            Interestingly the show also said that many “Highland traditions” like the kilt costume were pure inventions by Walter Scott who was trying to impress his friend King George IV on a visit. Over here Mark Twain famously blamed the entire Civil War on Walter Scott as the Southern planters, avid readers of Scott’s Ivanhoe and others, were living in a dreamworld of chivalric ideas, unable to grasp the reality of taking on the industrial North.

            Who says “stories” don’t make history?

    3. William C

      Expect matters to get less cordial if Scotland does vote for independence, though. The Yes campaign is saying that Scotland will get almost all the revenue from North Sea Oil and, if denied a currency union (as is probable), will refuse to accept any liabilities under the UK National debt. Once the English (who have paid very little attention to what is going on, assuming the Scots would never leave) wake up to this, I expect them to see the independence movement as a proposed divorce where one party proposes to take the prize assets and leave the other with the debts. When/if that view forms, I expect the English to say that the Scots must not be allowed to leave on such a basis – a sort of ‘you cannot leave the party at the restaurant having eaten the food if you are not prepared to share the bill’ argument. The debate could get very nasty quite quickly.

      I do not expect violence but if the rest of the UK decide that they cannot agree terms for Scotland’s departure, what happens then?

      1. Christopher Dale Rogers

        @William C,

        The Scottish electorate has been lied too extensively by both Labour and Conservative governments as to the extent of recoverable oil reserves in Scottish territorial waters since the early 1970s. Please acquaint yourself with the first Scottish Devolution referendum in 1978, which the Unionists won on that occasion – and that was under a Labour Government.

        Its a well known fact that Mrs Thatcher squandered Scotland’s and the UK’s oil inheritance by the expediency of allowing US and overseas multi-nationals to drill in the North Sea, as well as spending huge sums on unemployment payouts to subsidise her desire to change the UK from a manufacturing-centred economy, to one based on extractive services, much to the benefit of the City of London. He religious zeal in selling Britain out mean’t that both oil and gas reserves, which in the 70’s many thought would last generations, actually were extracted at such a pace that “peak extraction” was reached by no later than the year 2000 – its been downhill ever since, but we hear little of how much recoverable oil now rests under the Atlantic ocean or Irish sea – which its now believed is extensive and technologically feasible to extract with deep drilling techniques. Which is besides the point, because in the 70s Scotland was a leading global technological force in renewables, specifically wave, tidal and wave energy generation. Mrs Thatcher removed most funding with her drastic cuts of 1980 and 1981, which many still remember.

        And, even without oil, Scotland is an economically viable state, particularly given its universities are amongst the oldest in the World and the fact that it has traded with much of Europe for more than 2000 years, i.e., pre-Roman times. In a nutshell, best not to fall for all the “Unionist” propaganda and scaremongering, for in a nutshell, the Scots electorate is more engaged and educated in civics that its American counterparts.

        1. William C

          Christopher D R

          I am happily familiar with the March 1979 referendum, as I was involved in UK public life at the time. The result was a major reason for the fall of the Labour government.

          I would not disagree with anything else you say.

          My point was simply that, if people are largely pleasantly surprised at the way in which the debate is currently being conducted (though not all are), I think that is because the unpleasantnesses have yet to come. The English have been asleep as to what is going on in Scotland. They are only now waking up ( I write as a member of the Scottish diaspora).

          Among those who are unhappy with the way the referendum is being conducted are soldiers in Scottish regiments in barracks in England who are not allowed the vote. I know some of them. They risk their lives for their country but are allowed no say in its destiny. Hardly fair!

          1. Christopher D. Rogers

            @William C,

            Thank you for correcting me on the date of the first “Devolution” vote in Scotland and Wales – which curiously is stuck in my mind as the final quarter of 1978. Being a little too young to get involved in that one, I do remember my parents voting no, as they did with the “Devolution” vote under Blair. Not too sure how they’d vote now should Scotland leave the “Union”. But the thought of Conservative led rUK governments post referendum will certainly boast the independence movement in Wales, which as with the Scots has suffered greatly since Westminster embraced neoliberal economic prescriptions following the ascent of Thatcher.

            As I actually have skin in the game, I’m in favour of the dissolution of the Union and a new constitutional settlement based on State equality for the Celtic fringe nations. Further, and as you have mentioned Scots Regiments, let us not forget the two illegal wars in Afghanistan and Iraq that Blair took the UK into, which has resulted in significant loss of life for our armed forces and huge loss of life in those two nations blighted by US interference. It should be a matter for the Scots to determine if they wish to follow US imperial adventures and not Westminster, the same should apply to Wales.

            As for who’s allowed to vote, yes it seems unfair that many a UK Passport holder of direct Scots descent cannot vote in this referendum. However, most have left Scotland voluntarily and don’t seem keen to return in any great number. The vote, not being based on ethnicity or extreme nationalist traits is actually quite positive, particularly given the large number of non-Scots who will vote “yes” to full independence. And as many have pointed out correctly, its a great shame the Ukraine could not follow the judicial path, as the Scots have done.

            1. Oregoncharles

              The UK, like Canada and Czechoslovakia before it, is making the only sensible response to a separatist movement: hold a vote, and be prepared to kiss them goodbye.
              Ukraine didn’t do that, like Russia with Chechnya, and now there’s hell to pay.

  5. Brindle

    re: “Finally, Wall St…..” salon Thomas Frank

    An excellent piece. Although Frank is somewhat soft in holding Obama administration to account, he does close with…..

    —. Taken as a whole, the crisis and its aftermath have given the lie to the president’s oft-repeated faith in meritocracy. The people see what’s happened and they get it: there is no meritocracy without accountability. What we’ve got instead is a society dominated by thieves.—

    1. JEHR

      I am so pleased that Black got the chance to explain what accounting control fraud is in a court room–and prevail besides. Oh, if only this situation would occur and recur again until all the mortgage servicing companies are put out of business in which case we could then begin prosecuting the banks that accepted all the mortgages achieved through accounting control fraud. One victory–thousands to go!

    2. just me

      I think we should be thanking the judge Lawrence Karlton, as well as the jury, as well as Bill Black, as well as the defense team:

      According to experts, it is the first time in such a trial that a court has allowed the defense to present evidence that lenders ignored gaping holes and blatant lies in loan applications during the years leading up to the economic meltdown. […] In this trial, U.S. District Judge Lawrence K. Karlton, over the government’s strenuous objection, allowed testimony meant to show that the lenders in the two transactions at issue – Aegis Wholesale Corp. and Greenpoint Mortgage Funding – didn’t care whether information on the applications was true or false.


      Maybe lawyers all over the country will soon be reminding juries that a borrower’s alleged misstatements can’t have been “material” to a lender if the lender was a control fraud dealing in liar’s loans. Maybe one day the courts of this land will acknowledge what the public has known for years: That the fraud that wrecked the world actually happened in the offices of the shadow banks and the Wall Street investment firms.

      It all depends, says Toni White, one of the defense attorneys in Sacramento, on “if the judge lets it in.”

      “This is what happens when defendants get a fair trial,” she continues. “Where are the CEO’s? Why aren’t they here?”

      Thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you.

      1. just me

        Also want to h/t Harry Shearer, who reported this story (the first I heard of it) in his August 24 episode of Le Show (, along with other foreclosure news. First item refers to David Dayen’s story in The Guardian on the BofA settlement ( ):

        Ladies and gentlemen, The New F Bomb, foreclosure. We learned this week, thanks to Eric Holder, that the administration has concluded a deal. That’s what you do when you commit big-time crimes, you make a deal with the Justice Department, this time with Bank of America for 16.65 billion dollars, much of it, supposedly 7 billion, devoted to helping homeowners still in trouble with their mortgages. There are predictions on some of the finance blogs, by the way, that the foreclosure machine is expected to speed up again soon. It’s been in remission somewhat due to the fact that they’ve been told to clean up their paperwork. You know about this, chain of title problems. Anyway, the Bank of America settlement was trumpeted this week by Eric Holder. We have already, though, some evidence, a previous such settlement with another miscreant — hey! how come guys who rob liquor stores don’t get to make settlements? — a settlement in which JP Morgan Chase was supposed to deliver 4 billion dollars in relief to homeowners through reducing interest rates or principal on mortages to help people avoid foreclosure. JP Morgan Chase has three years to make good on the relief. An initial report from Joseph Smith, who’s overseeing JP Morgan’s consumer relief obligation, reported in the Guardian, shows the bank’s money is not flying out that fast. As of March 31st this year, five months after the settlement, JP Morgan only claimed modifications on 100 loans for a grand total of 6 million dollars in credited relief, a little under 1% of the total it has promised in its settlement. Even though the settlement provides a bonus credit for relief delivered during the first year, JP Morgan has decided that’s one bonus they’re passing on, apparently. Community housing activists question whether the relief will ever materialize. One group even filed a Freedom of Information Act request last month asking the Justice Department about how the settlement is being implemented. By the way, JP Morgan and its competitors like Bank of America don’t even have to give relief directly to homeowners to earn their way out of the penalties, they can just sign more loans. Banks can get credit for making new mortgages available to borrowers in hard-hit areas or in disaster zones to first-time low-to-moderate-income buyers or to borrowers who lost their homes to foreclosures. Oh, sure. They’d love to have a new mortgage. Since banking loans is the business model, the basic business model, for most banks, interesting that this is considered a penalty for misconduct. Banks get a flat $10,000 in credit for each loan made. Congratulations! You’ve committed fraud.

        Also, news of The New F Bomb, in an unprecedented trial which ended this week, four people charged with mortgage fraud were acquitted by a jury in Sacramento federal court. Defense attorneys had argued the real culprits were not the mortgage borrowers, the homeowners, but the so-called (as they were depicted in the case) victim lenders. According to experts — this is in the Sacramento Bee — it’s the first time in such a trial that a court has allowed the defense to present evidence that the lenders ignored gaping holes and blatant lies on loan applications — so-called liar’s loans — during the years leading up to the economic meltdown. “The big banks and other lenders made as many loans based on patently false information as they could, packaged them as securities and passed them up the chain to Wall Street’s investment and management bankers, who peddled them to an unsuspecting public,” said defense lawyer Tim Pori after the verdict. No bank executives, he noted, have been prosecuted. The U.S. Attorney in the case said, “Criminal trials are inherently uncertain endeavors. We respect the criminal trial process.” An acquittal in Sacramento federal court is rare regardless of the charges. With respect to mortgage fraud, it is virtually unheard of. The U.S. Attorney’s office described the Central Valley as Ground Zero for mortgage fraud, noted that it has been a national pacesetter in pursuing the perpetrators — i.e., the borrowers. You know, the people who made it a business model to give so-called “liar’s loans,” or NINA loans, No Income No Assets. Those are terms in the industry. “This is the first time that the overwhelming fraud at the banks has been discussed in a criminal courtroom by the person with the greatest expertise on the issue, William Black,” said the defense lawyer. You’ve heard William Black on this program. He was a key expert witness for the defense. Prosecutors have refused to criminally prosecute the bankers responsible for the mortgage crisis that decimated our economy. The jurors heard shocking testimony from Black that the regular people who got loans they were unable to pay back did not defraud the banks; the bankers commit the fraud while the prosecutors look the other way and prosecute the wrong people. Or allow them to settle — “Hey, let’s just settle.”

        News of The New F Bomb, ladies and gentlemen, a copyrighted feature of this broadcast.

  6. abynormal

    Stop n Seize: Only a sixth of the seizures were legally challenged, in part because of the costs of legal action against the government. But in 41 percent of cases — 4,455 — where there was a challenge, the government agreed to return money. The appeals process took more than a year in 40 percent of those cases and often required owners of the cash to ***sign agreements not to sue police over the seizures***.

    and we moan How police gain collective Power

    “Power attracts the corruptible. Suspect any who seek it.” Frank Herbert

    1. Banger

      This story should have been the “must read” for the day. It is extraordinarily important–not just because it is an outstanding story and very important to understand but that the WaPost allowed this to be investigated and published. Shows me that there are forces in Washington that may be honest.

      The fact is that this stuff has been going on for a long time and largely unreported. There have been a couple of scandals here and there but the issue has been ignored by the media since an important part of the official Narrative is that police may be a little brutal at times but they are honest working-class stiffs etc. This sort of thing is a consequence of the American obsession with security–yes the oligarchs use fear and manufacture fear and threats whenever they can in order to have more control but it is cowardice and ignorance on the part of the public that allows this to go on. Fear is NOT a virtue but a vice–it is a negative emotion that has tangible physical and emotional results and should be avoided at all costs. Prudence, however, is a virtue and that is what we should be. We should never encourage our friends to be fearful.

      The point of the article is that, if we allow our obsession with security and our worship of cops and uniforms and violence those that have the ability to use force will do so to steal from us and intimidate us to do whatever they want us to do. This is all already happening as has been happening for quite a long time but is now happening on a mass industrial level. This is yet another reason I am opposed to State-ism.

    2. Brindle

      In the mid-late 90’s I traveled by car, on the Interstates, from the western states to the midwest a few times. On several of those trips I was pulled over for no apparent reason.
      Once in rural Illinois the police (Highway Patrol I think) claimed I had not turned on my headlights as it was getting near dusk (bull***t). Another instance in Kansas they cops claimed I had not turned on my turn signal long enough before changing lanes. In both instances the cops told me they were not going to give me a ticket but they wanted to search my car.

      I had nothing to hide and in the Illinois incident I politely said “no”. This started a 10-15 minute period of the cops saying I must be hiding something because why would I refuse. They threatened to bring the K-9 unit and generally tried to wear me down. Finally they gave up and let drive on.
      There are always cops who are scanning for out of state plates and other profiles, then they go after that vehicle and often pull it over with a fabricated reason.

      1. ambrit

        At one point I worked at a shop on the edge of the “ghetto.” I was a white boy driving a beat up pickup truck through the ‘hood’ early in the morning to get to work. After a while, I would just get out of the truck, (you don’t know how much that bugs the cops, it’s a sign of independence,) and ask, “Shall I assume the position?” It took a good two months of being stopped at least once a week to get the local cops to accept that I wasn’t there to ‘score’ drugs. (Even after I showed one of the officers a check stub from the company I was working for, which company they all knew about, he still made me empty my pockets and patted me down. Probably a face saving gesture.)
        Profiling is a common thing. When it rises to the level of denying people their freedom…

    3. McMike

      Aside the oppressive pigs angle, the important subtext is that if you make public services try and pay for themselves directly, bad things tend to happen

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        It seems to be much more profitable searching cars for drugs.

        It makes you wonder if they shouldn’t just focus on their ‘core area of competency’ and get out of the traffic light camera business.

        That’s just basic Business 101 from Harvard.

        And with spiking pensions, they should be set for a long time, even if they had been driven into exile from the fat city of Bell (CA).

    4. Jim Haygood

      ‘There is no question that state and federal forfeiture programs have crippled powerful drug-trafficking organizations.’WaPo

      That must be why it’s impossible to find cannabis anymore, and heroin overdoses are only a distant memory. /sarc

      If you carry cash in America, the horrifying reality is that you are in more danger from law enforcement — those who are supposed to ‘protect’ you — than from freelancers with guns.

      The Drug War has turned our government into menacing plunderers, who are in de facto collusion with the traffickers. Smash the narco state!

      1. Banger

        Well, they have to say that, of course in order to get it published like back in the day when married couples on TV weren’t allowed to share a bed.

        Having said that, drug laws did help crush certain drug gangs and networks–but these were mainly rivals to more favored drug gangs who had government protection. The perennial truth for U.S. Drug enforcement both on the national and local level is corruption–if law-enforcement weren’t as corrupt as they are drugs would not be so easily available.

    5. Oregoncharles

      Important note: this doesn’t happen in Oregon; it’s illegal as a result of an initiative vote a number of years ago.
      I recommend it highly. Either initiative, or if you don’t have it, a focussed effort to pressure the state legislature. Cop theft is possible because of bad laws.

    1. Massinissa

      I wish we had that ‘dangerous aversion’ 50 years ago so there had been no Vietnam war. Or hell, just 15 years ago for Iraq and Afghanistan.

    2. Banger

      Well, don’t laugh too much. Kagan’s views are widely shared within gov’t. The neocon line is that the U.S. should be an active and overt imperial state imposing its military will over the world much like Rome. It has been the constant dream of the West, which the neocons assert, to create a “New Rome.” Neocons see themselves as the leading edge of Western Civilization and believe that our current society is degenerating because it does not embrace martial virtues of the old Roman state. Their belief is that the U.S. must assert their military might or not only lose its own dynamism and virtue but condemn the world to a rather dark future. The neocons and their “liberal” acolytes have been able to create a global empire, sort of, through mostly covert means–they simply want it to be out in the open and overt.

        1. James Levy

          Kagan is a big part of the reason people like me can’t get a job–it feeds the impression most historians have that military historians are war-mongering assholes. Any objective or reasoned comparison of the number of US overt and covert military actions, versus those of any, perhaps all, nation-state since 1950 (a not inconsiderable 64 years) demonstrates conclusively that the US is THE confrontation power on Earth. Kagan has to be so willfully blind or incredibly stupid to write this drivel that Yale should fire him for incompetence. Instead, they’ll award him an endowed chair.

            1. James Levy

              I really don’t know how to respond to that, but if you look me up at amazon, on Worldcat, or Historical Abstracts you can find some of my stuff. Rattling off my CV seems tacky and self-aggrandizing.

        2. Banger

          The Roman Empire, lasted for over four centuries in the west and, in the east, for over a thousand years, in reduced circumstances at the end. The neocons will take that gladly.

          1. Paul Niemi

            It lasted to modern times in the Ottoman Caliphate, so ISIL is the descendent. There was an article in HuffPuff about that. At least the mentality of ancient Rome was passed on, it said.

            1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

              I was not sure how ISIL could be considered as descending from the Byzantine empire.

              When Mehmed breached the walls of Constantinople for the first time in over 1,000 years, the last remaining few Romans perished at what was later to be renamed Hagia Sophia.

              Then I looked up the Wiki article, Fall of Constantinople, and apparently, Mehmend disputed with the Russians about who was the Third Rome.

              We know who is the Fourth Rome.

            2. John Jones

              I take it the article was not written by a historian or not one of any worth. The Russians others in the west and the Ottomans all claimed East and Western Rome but as far as I know none were legitimate heirs after each one fell as Banger said.

      1. neo-realist

        The combination of a volunteer military, special forces, and drones make the depravity easier to carry out in the present age.

        Too difficult to be active and imposing with conscripts.

        1. ambrit

          Unless those conscripts possess revolutionary fervor. Look at what Napoleon did with the Citizen Levies of revolutionary France.

          1. steviefinn

            The Romans through Hadrian defined their borders in order to not extend themselves, & to make best use of their resources The Romans also knew when to stop, as with Scotland which being more trouble than it was worth, led to retreating behind Hadrian’s wall. They were also not invincible as Crassus ( Olivier in Spartacus ) a billionaire oligarch found out when he was governor of Syria. The Parthians ( roughly modern day Iran ) defeated his legions & as legend would have it, killed him by forcing him to drink molten gold – the reasoning being because he was so greedy for it.
            The Romans who instigated war actually led the armies – they were not fat slobs like Kagan who sent other people to do it for them – they had real skin in the game.

            1. steviefinn

              I wonder how long the slaughter on the Somme would have lasted, if on that first day General Haig had led his troops over the top.

    1. Benedict@Large

      Every now and then, I become convinced I’ve gone crazy. Then NC points me to an article by Tom Friedman, and I think, at least someone else got there before me.

        1. Jagger

          Hehe…I may have to borrow that phrase,”Oberwankenfurher”, from time to time, if you don’t mind.

          1. ewmayer

            Indeed a nice coinage, but let’s get the spelling right, complete with the needed Umlaut: Oberwankenführer.

            (BTW, “wanken” is the German for “tottering”. Make of that coincidence what you will.)

            1. ambrit

              Thanks for that information. I always thought that “wanker” was English slang. Now it has a German analogue. The two meanings do sort of complement each other. As for Amt VI, well, lets just say that after reading Schellenbergers memoirs, it very much fits.
              Sorry, I have a crappy Anglo keyboard without any neat accents or umlauts.

              1. ewmayer

                Like you I have a standard Umlaut-less English keyboard, so since I correspond semi-regularly with relatives and friends in German-speaking parts of Europe, at the top of the little handy-markups-containing text file I use to compose posts to various online forums, I have this string of the most common German markups:


                Interestingly, my editor (BBEdit for Mac) properly capitalizes the first 3 when I apply ctrl-U (convert-to-uppercase), and renders the scharfes S like so:


                I also have a more extensive file of HTML-markups for various languages, and math and other symbols, as a wider-ranging aid in composition. So if for example I want to write Þórr (“Thor”) in the proper Icelandic or talk basic math (e.g. x → ∞), I’m good, though whenever possible I usually take the lazier “ascii only” route, e.g. ‘Oberwankenfu”hrer’ and ‘x –> oo’.

              2. ambrit

                Thank you to both. I’m going to have to be a pest and buttonhole the son-in-law who writes code for a living. He works in Louisiana for a company based in Oslo and therefore should be well versed in that of which you all speak. (Part of his job is to go over to Norway once a year for two weeks and participate in annual “bringing up to speed” educational forums. This company even goes so far as to set up lodging for their ‘out of towners’ with local families so that the auslanders can get a taste of local culture. American oligarchs take note; this Norwegian company is high value return for investment, even though they treat their employees well.)

    2. Lambert Strether Post author

      Because the Moustache of Understanding has an unfiltered brain drip fed by a tube running from a catchment basin placed directly beneath the elite hive mind.

      Did you see YouTube at Plus ca change? It’s like they’re thinking “Oh, ten years on. Should be OK to run that play again, yo.”

      1. wbgonne

        That’s true. Friedman is the Village Voice, so to speak. I read the article. Friedman suggests that the U.S. do two things: 1) become a petro-state; and 2) enact a carbon tax. The first has already occurred and the second won’t. Hey! One out of two ain’t bad. If you’re a hitter in baseball it’s awesome. So bottom line: The United States is — and should be, nay, MUST be — a petro-state. And what was that other thing we were going to do? Nevermind: Beyonce and Miley and the Kardashians got their pictures taken. Consider this as a public service announcement from the Department of Disinformation from the New Saudi Arabia.

        1. ambrit

          I know I’m a day late and a dollar short, but; Friedman isn’t the Village Voice, he’s Screw Magazine.

  7. Massinissa

    I really like the Waters Edge article. Theres going to be more parts to this investigation but I dont normally read Reuters. Will the other parts be added to NC when they come out?

  8. ex-PFC Chuck

    Re: America’s Dangerous Aversion to Conflict
    The Kagan family is living testimony to the notion that no one should be in a position of influence or decision regarding national security affairs whose own blood relatives, especially spawn, are not also at that time serving at the pointy end of the spear.

    1. christopher Dale Rogers

      I second that, unless you actually have “blood-skin” in the game, you should not be allowed within a million miles of any policymaking period.

      I doubt Mr. Tony Blair would have been so keen on taking the UK to war as an American poodle if his own spoiled brats were in the military and liable to be put on the frontline – no cushy number 18 miles from the front for them.

      At least the offspring of the present UK Royal family have actually served their country in the military and had frontline experience with the rest of their comrades in arms. Compare this with Ms. Clinton, Blair, Bush Junior, Rumsfeld et. al. Cowards the lot of them and ingrained warmongers, as long that is that they themselves and their families do not have to suffer the physical and mental horrors of war.

  9. jonboinAR

    Re: Antidote du jour: I was fishing nearby, by myself, for trout, on what’s known as a “tailwater”. Probably the constant presence of fishermen minding their own business had made it unwary, but a beaver cruised all around me, about 50 ft away, for about 20 minutes. It went up on the bank, chewed on sticks, went back in the water, swam up and down. It was really really neat.

    1. JEHR

      I had a similar experience while painting in the woods near a stream. A beaver went out of its way to come over and see what I was doing. He came as close as possible to me while remaining in the water, looked me up and down, and satisfied, swam away. I have the pictures too.

  10. sd

    Saw a billboard yesterday. Photo of a bride with the caption, “Make her dreams come true,” and then in large letters, CASH OUT
    Sniff sniff, is that a fresh collapse I smell?

  11. Banger

    There seems to be remarkably little interest in the upcoming midterm elections this year. Few stories in the mainstream, nary a mention at NC–what is going on? Could it be that people are beginning to grasp that elections really don’t matter that much when it comes to power? Could it be that even the media is beginning to believe in Gore Vidal’s famous maxim:

    There is only one party in the United States, the Property Party … and it has two right wings: Republican and Democrat.

    This is even more true today than when Vidal said it. While Vidal was a wit, to be sure, he was not an intellectual lightweight that simply was trying to be clever. Vidal was an astute observer of life around him, and he knew politics very well and was one of our better modern historians and one of the finest essayists of his time.

    At any rate, will the 65.1% chance Nate Silver gives for a RP domination of the Senate hold up? It likely will–but will it make a difference? Does it really matter?

    1. Benedict@Large

      It’s pretty clear that a lot of NC folks don’t believe elections matter very much anymore. Count me as one of them.

    2. Massinissa

      Im going to vote lesser evil, because third parties are only on the ballot in presidential races around here for some reason.

      And I dont even believe in lesser evilism

      1. jrs

        3rd parties are only on the ballot for Presidential races in California as well and it has exactly one, and only one reason: open primaries. Which leaves the top two contendors the only two on the general ballot. While thisis often a Dem and Rep and is sometimes two Dems, it is never 3rd parties.

      2. Oregoncharles

        In Oregon, the Pacific Green Party is offering 2 statewide candidates, 2 House of Representative candidates, 3 State Leg., and some local races.
        No open primary, though – at least not yet. It’s on the ballot this year, but not favored to pass. Especially by us.

    3. ex-PFC Chuck

      They’re not even political parties. They’re legal stenography guilds that every two years participate in a bull shit slinging contest to see which one gets the lead role in the copying into law the desires of their paymasters.

  12. dcblogger

    Peta Credlin emails revealed at ICAC

    Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s chief of staff, Peta Credlin, has been revealed as the mystery Liberal Party figure involved in an email exchange Liberal Party lawyers sought to have suppressed by the Independent Commission Against Corruption.

    In the emails, dated March 1, 2011, Ms Credlin proposes to use question time to showcase claims by Brickworks chief executive Lindsay Partridge, after Liberal NSW fundraiser Paul Nicolaou described Mr Partridge to her as “a very good supporter of the party”.

    The emails show Mr Abbott’s office working with Mr Partridge and Brickworks for Mr Abbott’s campaign against the carbon tax, at a time when senior federal Liberals would have been aware Brickworks, a prohibited donor, had channelled funds to the NSW Liberals through the Free Enterprise Foundation.

  13. Ed

    “Polls Show Path Of Least Resistance To GOP Majority Nate Silver, FiveThirtyEight”

    Silver’s argument is that the Republicans can win enough races to gain a majority (51+) of the US Senators, not counting the two Senators in the “nominally independent but caucasus with the Democrats” category, by just winning six races where deep Red (voted for Romney by sizable margins) states elected Democratic Senators last cycle. Three are retiring and of the three incumbents, two are consistently behind in the polls. The Republicans are defending in only one state that voted for Obama, and for whatever reason the incumbent there is not in trouble.

    The Republicans this election don’t have the “nominate obviously crazy or unsuitable candidates in winneable seats” problem that cost them the Senate the last two elections, so this could well be there year. The practice of putting only a third of the Senate seats up for election, which itself is fairly strange, combined with wave elections, means that the terrain will markedly favor/ disfavor the two parties in particular years. People knew all of this going into the election

    In the last presidential election, the Democratic candidate won by 4% of the popular vote and carried 26 states out of 50. In 2000, the Democratic presidential candidate won the popular vote by about half a percentage point, and carried 20 states out of 50. With the current political lineup, if all the states voted for the Senate the same way they vote for the presidency, in a tie between the two parties the Republicans should have small Senate majority. They have a natural advantage of 2-4 seats. This was wiped out in the part by a tradition in northern sparesly populated Plains states of electing Democratic Senators and voting for Republican presidential candidates, but this tradition is ending. Note that any electoral system based on districts each electing one member of the legislature will always have a bias favoring one party and disfavoring the other.

    My point being that Silver isn’t saying anything new. Actually, deep Red Kansas might well elect a Senator in the “nomnally independent but caucasuses with the Democrats” category, since this is the only way they can get a Senator who actually lives in Kansas, but the voters there will never elect a nominal Democrat. I think the odds of either party controlling the Senate after January are really a coin flip, since though the terrain favors the Republicans, they really have to win every race in a deep Red state to get their fix, or they can lose or or two of the Red state races and pull off an upset in Blue state, but right now they only have a realistic chance with Iowa and somewhat more distant chances on Colorado and Michigan.

    A Republican Senate does change the dynamic, since keeping control of the Senate enabled the Congressional side of the Democrats to not have to rely on Obama to block Republican initiatives, Republican control of both houses makes triangulation much easier.

  14. Gretchen Axelson

    Lambert, have you been turned? It looks like you included Friedman ironically but the Robert Kagan WSJ piece and the sickening BI piece glorifying Martin Wolf and his kooky talking points are straight out of the Bilderberg Confernce. Yves would have skewered them mercilessly. What gives?

    1. Yves Smith

      Wolf has been sucking up to Bernanke on the savings glut hypothesis forever. The savings glut hypothesis was decisively debunked in a critically important 2010 BIS paper by Borio and Disyatat.The inclusion of the BI piece may be my fault. I sent it around saying how awful Wolf’s book sounded.

      1. Gretchen Axelson

        Sorry about overreacting in comments. Of course, Lambert presents this well-chosen propaganda for us to chew up, and I appreciate it. I am so grateful for the tireless work Y and L have put into teaching me how to analyze the media and determine when I am being lied to. I guess I am so afraid NC will be co-opted. Mother Jones’ journalism has been just awful lately and I used to trust them.

      2. spooz

        At the risk of drawing out those commenters who I usually “skip” reading, I am sad to see this dismissal of the Martin Wolf’s book as “kooky”. As a fan of The Chicago Plan, I am used the disrespect it gets among most economists, but am glad to see it get considered at all, especially by an influential economist like Wolf.

        Joseph Stiglitz’s criticism that Wolf doesn’t go far enough in the book, being “insufficiently critical of the “savings glut” hypothesis advanced by former Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke”, seems like high praise in comparison to the trashing it gets with the MMT crowd. I will probably read it, but considering Wolf’s history of being a globalist, I’m sure my vision of how it should work is more radical than his. I keep adding to the good ideas I hear that could be incorporated into such a plan. A Mish post from today discusses how banking could work if fractional reserve lending were to end:

  15. rich

    Would History Have Judged Us Harshly If We Hadn’t Invaded Iraq in 2003?

    Samuelson apparently wants the money for the military to come at least in part from spending on seniors, commenting at the end: “Democrats who will cut almost anything except retirement spending.”

    The cuts to retirement spending that Samuelson wants are problematic. Social Security taxes are designated for Social Security. Samuelson might not have a problem taxing people for Social Security and then using the money for the military, but the public might have a problem with that idea, as would the people who depend on their votes.

    There are substantial potential savings in Medicare, but this is because the United States pays more than twice as much per person for its health care as other wealthy countries. However getting savings would require cutting the incomes of doctors, drug companies, and medical equipment suppliers. These are all very powerful lobbies which Congress is reluctant to challenge. While Samuelson implies that the issue is seniors getting benefits that are too generous, the cost issue to the government is that we pay too much for the same benefits that people get in all wealthy countries.

    1. Johann Sebastian Schminson

      “Democrats who will cut almost anything except retirement spending.”

      As with their Republican counterparts, the absolute last thing they’ll cut is the umbilical cord between the banks/corporate behemoths and the Treasury.

    2. ambrit

      What about cuts to military pensions? Say, put a cap of 150% of the Poverty Level, H—, let’s be generous and put it at 200%, on military pensions and we’d save billions. Do you know how much a senior officer gets in pension benefits?

      1. optimader
        “…In 2007, Congress passed a Pentagon-sponsored proposal that boosted retirement benefits for three- and four-star admirals and generals, allowing them to make more in retirement than they did on active duty. The Pentagon had requested the change in 2003 to help retain senior officers as the military was fighting wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and wanted to entice officers to remain on active duty.

        “..That means a four-star officer retiring with 40 years of experience would receive a pension of $237,144, according to the Pentagon. Base pay for active-duty top officers is $181,501, according to Navy Lt. Cmdr. Nate Christensen, a Pentagon spokesman. Housing and other allowances can boost their compensation an additional third..” … /
        “…To understand exactly how COLAs drive up pensions, consider the pension of Illinois’ most expensive annuitant: Dr. Leslie Heffez. Dr. Heffez, an oral surgeon and professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago and a member of the State Universities Retirement System, retired in 2012 at age 56 with a final pensionable salary of $746,023 and a starting pension of $503,817. In Illinois, all state-level retirees receive a COLA that increases their pensions by a compounding 3 percent each year. For example, Dr. Heffez received a pension of $503,817 during his first year of retirement in 2012, but received $518,932 in 2013. Dr. Heffez’s $15,115 pension increase is because of the 3 percent COLA. In 2014, Dr. Heffez’s $518,932 pension will rise by another 3 percent, or $15,568, to $534,499. His pension will continue to grow like this every year for the rest of his life. Dr. Heffez has done nothing wrong – he is merely operating within a generous state government contract. But within just 15 years of retiring, Illinois’ pension system will allow Dr. Heffez’s annual pension to exceed what he earned his last year on the job. And by the time Dr. Heffez reaches age 80 – the average life expectancy of a 56-year-old male – his annual pension will exceed $1 million. -“

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          The way to manage one’s finance is seek safety as one gets older, meaning more bonds in one’s portfolio.

          Now, a prudent senior, like our educated doctor here, is not expected to pay 1/3 in salary for mortgage at 56 or what not.

          I don’t know the medical insurance situation here, but maybe with a bridge provision until Medicare eligibility, how much is really needed in retirement?

          No house payment.

          No Medical insurance payment.

          No support for kids (or not likely)

          So, how much is really needed to live comfortably in retirement?

          Pension should be tied to that, and not how much money you last made.

          I mean, you are in bonds, and not ‘aggressive growth’ mode, and so, how much are you going to contribute to ‘risky but rewarding’ ideas (this is according to our current personal investing paradigm).

          What are you going to with $1 million a year at age 80?

          Remember, art is about living a creative life, not collecting paintings to be hung on the wall.

          So, how much is piano lesson per hour, if you realize you don’t need a collection of Stradivariouses to be ‘creative?’

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            Yoga classes, art classes – one has to stay active in retirement – they don’t cost $1 million a year.

          2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            With a good health care system for all seniors, those ‘above-aveage-household-income’ pensions should decrease, not increase, with age.

            Let that money go to other seniors, instead of rich seniors, who will still have plenty left.

          3. optimader

            Seems to me any COLA should be chained to the same “inflation rate” that everyone on SS lives with. I still don’t understand why government employees should have any better guaranteed retirement plan than anyone else?
            A $500k annual pension is like having a virtual $10MM earning 5% y-on-y. Show me where to get that?
            As well these retirement models are scammed by boosting the last *n years of income so that the pension deal rolls over at a higher annual rate in perpetuity.

            “What are you going to with $1 million a year at age 80?”
            Buy organs from some 20yo living in the favela?

    3. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      The never failing trick is to hijack nobly-intended endeavors for private gains.

      So, to get more incomes for doctors, all they have to do is to point to those helpless seniors…never mind the we-are-paying-too-much-for-the-same-benefits.

      And to get more money for drones, all they have to do is to claim we need more ‘government spending’ to stimulate the economy.

      How can you say no, when the moral high ground has been secured?

  16. barrisj

    Rather intriguing article posted on the Jacobin website on viewing the so-called “militarisation of the police” from the perspective of “empire”, and how techniques learned and employed overseas during divers occupations and/or “police actions” by the US military have been brought back to the homeland for maintenance of Heimatschutz, including police “intelligence” units, infiltration of targeted groups, crowd control, ID checks, the lot.

    Policing Empire
    The call to demilitarize police overlooks the longstanding link between policing and empire.

    For now, a modicum of peace, if not justice, has returned to the streets of Ferguson, Missouri. National Guard troops have withdrawn, and cops have returned their Kevlar vests, semi-automatic rifles, and landmine-resistant trucks to storage.

    On the ground, activists are continuing to mobilize against police violence. Internationally, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and Amnesty International have spoken out against the police shooting of Michael Brown, as well as the aggressive response to protests. In Washington, calls for investigations into the police militarization may finally occasion action. Even within the ranks of the police, some have begun to question whether the kind of martial technologies deployed in Ferguson, designed for warzones, provoke more than keep the peace.

    Yet we should be skeptical of calls for police reform, particularly when accompanied by cries that this (militarization) should not happen here. A close look at the history of US policing reveals that the line between foreign and domestic has long been blurry. Shipping home tactics and technologies from overseas theaters of imperial engagement has been a typical mode of police reform in the United States. When policing on American streets comes into crisis, law-enforcement leaders look overseas for answers. What transpired in Ferguson is itself a manifestation of reform.

    From the Philippines to Guatemala to Afghanistan, the history of US empire is the history of policing experts teaching indigenous cops how to patrol and investigate like Americans. As a journalist observed in the late 1950s, “Americans in Viet-Nam very sincerely believe that in transplanting their institutions, they will immunize South Viet-Nam against Communist propaganda.” But the flow is not one-way: these institutions also return home transformed.

    The author cogently argues that federal government policy during the Nixon/LBJ era – remember “crime in the streets”…? – pushed police departments into the quasi-military organisations that we see today. The Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets Act of 1968 gave rise to the Law Enforcement and Assistance Administration, which was the vehicle for “police reform” modeled after tactics used by US-trained foreign police forces. Even the Agency for International Development was brought into the mix, using its Office of Public Safety division to organise the training of police chiefs in this new mode of domestic policing.
    Marvelous quote from an OPS bureaucrat in this regard:
    Regardless of what color policemen are, the suits they wear, what they call themselves, they are all the same. They are the same for the simple reason that a policeman exists in society as a behavior control mechanism. The basic principles of what is done, how it is done, and why it is done are the same.

    And there you have it.

  17. diptherio

    Start-Up Tools and Challenges for Food Co-ops ~GEO

    It’s a bit of a long-winded conversation, but Ben Sandel of the CDS Consulting Co-op has a lot of experience to draw on. He is, however, of the opinion that member-owned food co-ops can only work in areas with middle/upper-middle household incomes. Myself and lots of others disagree with that contention, but Ben has plenty of other useful information.

    1. optimader

      I read another article concerning this maybe about a month ago in the vein of why is she favored w/ speaking engagements?
      My impression was that the GS450 (or greater) is a bit of a slush fund. MOre transparent would be a flat hourly rate for an aircraft. The letter Proposal doesn’t say that she will actually utilize a GS450 (what does or greater actually mean?), just that Clinton’s flunkies will use it as a basis for mumbo-jumboing transpo cost (paid in advance), even is she goes slumming in a Citation 10. (which Ironically is a better biz jet in a lot of ways.)

      As well none of the horrific BS that come out her lunch-hole can be recorded by anyone other than her people –and I believe it is the case no (potentially fatal) video, just transcript and she owns the document (transcript).

      The context of the article I read was why oh why is she contracted for speaking engagements (at Universities) in the first place? Well apparently (amazingly to me) it pays a decent multiple. PEOPLE WILL PAY MONEY to listen to her BS –or maybe they just want to see how she eats? I really cant fathom it.

      BTW, shouldn’t she refer to herself as Former Secretary Clinton in a letter shilling for grifter money?

      IN any case, who says prostitution is illegal? To be fair it is not just Hillary monetizing her public “service”.

      1. Skippy

        LOOL… they went for the ride w/ a bar and bling…. shezzz… with 19MM in savings they could have had West Coast customs pimp that ride out hard… or was it screen size 14-inch (36 cm) liquid crystal display screens arranged in a landscape format???

        Skippy… half the fuel costs… duh.

  18. Peter Pan

    Dear Nate Silver of 538:

    No one gives a rat’s ass about the midterm elections in the USA. Please concentrate your focus on the upcoming elections in Ukraine (October) and Moldova (November) since those elections are more likely to decide whether or not we have another large war in Europe.

    Thank you.

  19. susan the other

    I can’t square what larry summers just wrote in FT about demand with his previous push for bubbles. If it takes “decades” to create the demand we need for an equitable economy, presumably by stoking bubbles, why don’t we just flick in supply and demand all together? What the hell good is it?

  20. Skippy

    On the Scottish thingy… Two banks which have ginormous GDP contributions and EU rules about where HQ is in relationship to activity’s.

  21. Oregoncharles

    “Thomas Frank, Salon. This is an awesome explainer of the “control fraud” case where Bill Black testified for the defense. Nice to see the Obot blogs all over this. Oh, wait….”
    Salon IS an Obot site, except for a couple of authors – Frank, for one, and their movie critic (of all people), Andrew o’Hehir, for another. I’m always glad to see them there, but I think they’re tokens.

      1. Oregoncharles

        Another token – most of their staff people are in-the-bag Democrats. Worth reading, though.

        I go there a lot because there’s actually a debate, unlike Common Dreams, where anti-Dems control the comments – or for that matter, nc, which has a very different focus (and much thanks for your work, Yves.)

        1. Oregoncharles

          Darn – by “worth reading,” I meant Stoller, not the Dembots. Most of them I avoid reading. And they attract the worst of the commenters, pure rah-team stuff.

Comments are closed.