Links 10/24/14

The Making of a Mexico-to-Canada Wolf Corridor Agenda 21 (furzy mouse)

Guest post: The dangers of evidence-based sentencing mathbabe

Ebola. Just when the media frenzy was starting to die down, we now have a case in NYC, which has high odds of restoking the hysteria.

Craig Spencer Tests Positive For Ebola In New York City Huffington Post

Without Lucrative Market, Potential Ebola Vaccine Was Shelved for Years New York Times

Judy Faulkner and EPIC, Show us your EHR screens Health Care Renewal. More important than its less than obvious title suggests. On the Dallas Ebola screening fail and likely coverup

China’s Rising Wages and the ‘Made in USA’ Revival Business Week

Chinese home prices fall for fifth month in September, year’s gains lost Reuters. Year over year is actually down.

Chinese etiquette comes up short Bangkok Post (furzy mouse)

Europe’s economic and political future will be determined in the next few days Reuters

Europe’s Energy Supplies Are Anything But Secure American Interest

Wake Up, Europe George Soros, New York Review of Books

France, Italy Take Austerity Fight to Brussels Wall Street Journal

EU reaches deal on CO2 emissions cut Aljazeera

It is time for the ECB to purchase EIB bonds Yanis Varoufakis

Neocon Sabotage of Iran-Nuke Deal Consortiumnews (furzy mouse)

Oil rises on claims of Saudi supply cut Financial Times



Has Putin Already Won in Ukraine? Sure Looks That Way Business Week. We called that a while ago. One proof is the way Ukraine is notably absent from US headlines.

Barroso Says EU Can Give Ukraine At Most $1 Billion to Pay Bills Wall Street Journal. Note: less than what Ukraine asked for.

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

Anti-Facebook’ investors dig deep BBC (David L)

Assange: Google Is Not What It Seems Newsweek

Voters Like Democrats But Think They Are Incompetent Jon Walker, Firedoglake. Translation: Voters buy Democratic party excuses for selling out to the rich.

Democrats feel Senate is slipping away Financial Times

Incapacitating Chemical Agents: Coming Soon To Local Law Enforcement? Slashdot

Elizabeth Warren Demands An Investigation Of Mortgage Companies Mother Jones (Lisa Epstein). Long overdue, very much welcome.

Letter to Regulators Regarding Ocwen Housing Justice Foundation

The Mortgage Industry Is Strangling the Housing Market and Blaming the Government Dave Dayen, New Republic

A New Macroeconomic Strategy Jeff Sachs, Project Syndicate. Aiee, I first wrote about underinvestment in 2006. This isn’t mainly a macroeconomic problem, although more government long-term investment (which the private sector is not well set up to do) would go a long way. It’s an incentives problem.

Class Warfare

Where the Tea Party Rules Rolling Stone (Barbara B)

Uber protests take new twist: Its own drivers are mad now Christian Science Monitor

Compensation shrinks for all income groups – except the very highest David Cay Johnston, Aljazeera

Antidote du jour (Steve L):

draft horses at Barkerville BC links

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email


  1. Clive

    Clive’s unashamedly completely unscientific and entirely anecdotal list of a “Global Who’s the Rudest”:

    1) Drunk English People
    2) Chinese in general
    3) New Yorkers (agh ! Sorry Yves, MikeNY, craazyman !) in their native territory (you’re actually very nice abroad)
    4) the French
    5) rich Russians

    “Who’s the politest”:

    1) the English when abroad (at home, anything goes and it’s usually awfully bad tempered)
    2) Japanese (anywhere, at home or abroad, but watch out for the passive aggression)
    3) Germans (I think it’s a guilt thing)
    4) Americans from the West Coast (way to go, Fresno Dan, Susan the Other !)
    5) the Irish (who deserve an honourable mention for having that “resigned to being universally browbeaten” quality)

    1. BDBlue

      Bostonians make New Yorkers look positively docile. Seriously, in my experience New Yorkers just don’t care enough to hold a door open for you, but Bostonians will go out of their way to slam the door on you.

      1. cwaltz

        I hail from NY and I hold the door for the elderly, the disabled or anyone with full arms. Everyone else, I have enough faith, can figure out how to operate a door all on their own. ;)

      2. ScottW

        Having grown up in Calif., spending 10 years in Green Bay, another 10 years in Chapel Hill and landing the last 1 plus years in Somerville, I disagree that Bostonians are the rudest. To get in and out of my apt. complex I need the cooperation of other drivers. I rarely have to wait long for someone to let me in, flashing their lights or giving me an obvious hand motion. I walk and run everywhere and for the most part cars stop for me. Of course there is the local construction truck driving worker who tries and cuts me off. And the horn honking driver. But in Chapel Hill, I could have waited a day in the “southern part of heaven” for a car to stop at a crosswalk, and died of old age. Even being half-way in the crosswalk, did not guarantee safe passage.

        People in the West and South are just as rude as those in the Northeast, you just don’t see it as much, insulated in your auto. Like NY, everyone in Boston has a comment on something, but most of the time it is amusing. If I make a comment to someone in the West or South, they often look with suspicion that I am even talking to them. City folk in the East have great senses of humor and understand joking around. They are very verbal.

        But in the end, the rudest people are those that treat you rudely. And if they are from states or cultures other than your own, they typically stand out. Today, I will probably get hit by a Boston driver and will get back to you about how rude Bostonians really are.

        1. Jon

          Chapel Hill is a poor example of behavior of Southerners, considering that it’s a University town, the age distribution peaks low as a result, and many people living there aren’t from the South, much less North Carolina. I lived there for a decade and generally found people to be more polite than most other places I’ve lived in the US. But that could just as easily be because it’s a moderately-sized town, not a dense city, rather than anything to do with the origins of its citizens.

      3. diptherio

        First time riding the NYC subway, a stranger gave me an old metro card so I wouldn’t have to buy a new one. Wearing my Griz gear around has also started a couple of nice conversations. So far, NYC doesn’t make my personal rude-list.

        1. sleepy

          I’ve been approached by helpful New Yorkers many times when scratching my head at a subway map, or even looking at a map on a street corner in Manhattan.

          I have had the police called on me once here in my small Iowa town of 25,000 while standing in the middle of a residential block looking at a map.

        2. fresno dan

          I have never, not once, had a problem with NYer’s giving me subway and directions to landmarks when I go to NY, always in a very friendly, non hurried manner.
          I have found in Europe, train conductors of German, Swiss, and French background to react to request for information as if you were asking to have sex with their children…

          1. sleepy

            Decades ago, I was traveling in France on a eurailpass which was 1st class. I had been on the road for a couple of days in blue jeans and a t-shirt, and probably looked a little bit scruffy.

            But there I was in a French first class compartment with all the dressed-up French bourgeoisie. One lady was so incensed at my presence in 1st class–“don’t you know this is 1st class??!!”–i that she took my pass to the conductor to verify my position in the train’s social class system, lol.

            That would never have happened in the US, at least back then.

            After awhile, I made a point to go to 2nd class for a more hospitable experience. Sure enough folks were far nicer. It was the 30th anniversary of the liberation of Paris and once I told my seatmate that my dad had been in Paris in 1944, the wine came out!

            1. Synapsid


              In Spain in 1969 I was made to leave second class because I was traveling on a Eurailpass. I had to go to first class.

              Franco was still in power, so it may have been more than just sticking to the rules. Living in a Fascist dictatorship has its effects.

          2. susan the other

            I think New Yorkers are the best. It’s a town that really talks to each other and doesn’t get offended if you are a little too direct. I like that. The first time I visited my daughter there we went to the last game in the old Yankee Stadium and some jokers gave us fake free seats which we accepted like valley girls and then had to traipse back and buy tickets. They did it just for the fun of it. Naughty but not rude. Then I went to the rest room just in time to miss Matsui’s grand slam.

            1. susan the other

              And I loved it when people in the stadium started softly chanting “asshole” when they didn’t like the umpire’s calls.

          3. Ulysses

            This conversation reminds me of a heartwarming experience I had a couple of years ago on the SI ferry. A large family of Italian tourists were trying to puzzle out how to get somewhere on the subway in Manhattan. I gave them some modestly helpful advice (in Italian) and unleashed a torrent of grateful exclamations on how much friendlier and helpful New Yorkers were than people anywhere else! They insisted on buying me pastry and coffee at Rocco’s (Bleecker St.) and gave me their address in Salerno with an invitation to visit them anytime I went back to the bel paese. One of the more pleasant afternoons I’ve ever enjoyed in the big city.

      4. LucyLulu

        I visited NYC for 4 days for the first time last February. Based on my experience growing up and spending time as an adult in Broward and southern Palm Beach counties I expected to encounter rude and obnoxious natives. Instead I was continually surprised how polite, friendly, and helpful everyone was. I didn’t run into a single unpleasant person. I had a great time, went to Kinky Heels and a great comedy club, Central Park in the snow, and wish I could have stayed longer……. but cripes, it costs a fortune to do everything there!

      1. cwaltz

        I’m on both. I wonder if my Irish heritage cancels out my NY brashness? LOL(Not a tiny bit) I’m actually surprised that the notoriously civil South didn’t make the cut. They’d completely bless Clive’s heart for leaving them out. It’s another culture that loves them their decorum and customs. Oddly enough though I do find that many of the people here appreciate my directness and are surprised to find that they actually LIKE a liberal yankee.

        1. Clive

          The late Joan Rivers was I think an example of that — great, when it is done well — NY directness (I remember when I — along with probably all listeners — was simultaneously stunned and cheering when Joan savaged in a few sentences the lamentable “professional minority” Darcus Howe in a way which only New Yorkers can really pull off

    2. craazyman

      I’m not a New Yorker. I just live here. I’m impeccably polite, gentlemanly, culturally refined, restrained, sophisticated, erudite and well-mannered.

      Yves on the other hand is a brash and aggressive New Yorker who’ll tell you right to your face whatever’s on her mind that moment!

      1. Clive

        My theory though is that it’s nurture not nature. Spend, for example, a year or so in England and we’ll have you complaining to your dining partner that your tea hasn’t been brewed correctly… But then simultaneously telling your waiter/waitress in response to the enquiry “is everything okay for you?” that yes, it’s absolutely lovely thank you.

        1. cwaltz

          Remind me to cross England off my list of places to travel.

          I’m sure someone would tell me that this is the definition of civility, however all I can see it as is the definition of fake. If something is wrong, pretending it’s right never actually fixes the problem. Give me rude over fake every day and twice on Fridays. If I’m doing something wrong I’d rather know it than have people discuss it behind my back and snicker about my ignorance. We all have things to learn. The first step to learning though has to be acknowledging that you don’t know something. “Civility”, in this case, actually prevents that from happening.

          1. Clive

            We’re not trying to be two-faced. We’re trying to avoid giving offence. And keep a sense of proportion and humor. No-one ever died because of a bad cup of tea. Although it has been touch-and-go on occasions…

            1. craazyman

              What if I asked for Lipton Tea?


              At the pub I’d say: “Faaak, this stuff tastes like somebody’s pee. I think I’m gonna puke. Is your tap connected to the urinal or what? Don’t you guys have ice cold Bud in bottles?”

              Then I’d try to hit on any hot women. hahahah

            2. cwaltz

              It’s good that no one dies from a bad cup of tea because apparently it’d be pretty common if no one ever corrected the people who actually make the bad cup of tea.

              Yes, it’s never easy to tell someone that they did something poorly. However, if you ever want someone to graduate from poorly to adequate you have to make that leap.

              I guess I tend to think about what I’d want if I were in the situation and the truth is if I sucked I’d want to know- even if it stung for a little bit.

    3. craazyboy

      Thought it was

      1) Drunk Italians
      2) New York Italians
      3) Drunken New York Italians (but most of them are in jail – so people don’t notice as much)

      1. JohnnyGL

        You really just going to leave off NJ from that condensed list? :)

        The TV show Jersey Shore was made for a reason….

          1. Synapsid


            I once asked a friend from Brooklyn what the difference was between a Brooklyn and a New Jersey accent. This was in 1974 or 75.

            “They’re exactly the same. The people in New Jersey are the ones who could afford to get out of Brooklyn.”

            Nowadays it appears that it’s the ones with money who can afford to get into Brooklyn.

      2. cwaltz

        Craazyman don’t yous make me defend my stepdad’s heritage.

        I actually credit the guy with any normalcy I can lay claim to.

    4. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      For me, it’s not ethnicity nor race.

      I find rich people more likely to be rude.

      I also find smart people tend to be ruder than, say, low IQ people (I say this because a close family is one – not smart – and he/she and I get along great).

    5. MikeNY

      S’aright, Clive.

      I’m a mutt who spends time on both coasts. I slam the door on people and then wish them a pleasant day…

    6. Yves Smith Post author

      We New Yorkers are not rude. We are in fact very courteous, which includes making courteous use of other people’s time. As Lambert points out, when he asks a New Yorker for directions, people will stop, tell him where to go, correctly, and rush off.

      When I ask for directions in other cities, I get bad directions at least 1/3 of the time, and in some cities, it’s close to half. Now that GPS is widely used, this is an issue generally speaking only if you are on foot, but still…

      1. Clive

        Gosh, I never realised that was the thought process at work ! Crikey, that puts a whole different notion on it doesn’t it ? For a lot of English, to fail (in that situation) to mention in passing the weather, the benefits or otherwise of going to that destination, enter into a discussion about the scenic route or the direct route and maybe even the price of fish strikes us as being way too brusque. It never enters our head (generally) that you might have an appointment to get to and aren’t remotely interested in our musings. And the very idea that we might say “sorry, I’ve no idea how to get there” makes us seem hideously ignorant so we’d rather give you educated (to various degrees) of guesswork.

        On balance though, I’d prefer either to the Japanese way of dealing with that sort of incident by scurrying away with a “no English”

    7. sleepy

      I think a distinction should be made between folks who are polite and folks who are friendly. Sometimes they overlap, but not always.

      I live in the upper Midwest, northern Iowa to be exact, but born and spending all my life in the deep South.

      Folks up here are noticeably well-mannered at least in language, with a please and thank you in every other sentence. But they are not particularly warm or friendly. Sometimes I think the formalized politeness is used as a defense against human engagement.

      Doesn’t mean of course that the people aren’t nice, just a bit too reserved and non-expressive for me.

      1. Clive

        That is very well put. I couldn’t make up my mind about how to (shamefully generalising) stereotype, say “people from Louisiana” because at face-value everyone there should go straight to the top of the “polite” list.

        But outside of their interactions with close friends and family I’d be loathed to say, in all, I’d stress their “warm hearted” traits. Perhaps, being not only outside of LA but outside the U.S. too I’m missing a key fact which is that people from the South are not quick to trust and you get this superficiality which isn’t rude but you know in your instinct that it isn’t completely genuine — at least until you’ve proved you too are the real deal. And maybe that’s not a bad thing, us British are way, way too trusting and thus far too easily taken in by scams. Horses for courses I guess.

        1. sleepy

          I lived in New Orleans for close to 30 yrs, and 17 yrs. in Memphis prior to that.

          In both cities, folks at the bus stop will talk your heads off about anything under the sun, as will a fellow passenger willing to tell you his/her life story. Is that artificial because they aren’t your best friends? I never perceived it that way. I thought we just liked human contact, and were very animated about it

          For cultures that are reserved, perhaps that comes across as fake since in those cultures only close friends might act that way, and the strangers are “pretending” to be close friends.

          A joke –how do you tell an introverted Iowan from an extroverted Iowan? The extroverted Iowan stares down at your shoes when he talks to you; the introverted Iowan stares at his own shoes.

    8. curlydan

      Number 1 on my list of the rude are Philly drivers (in Philly). “The City of Brotherly Love” it ain’t.

    9. bob

      “5) the Irish (who deserve an honourable mention for having that “resigned to being universally browbeaten” quality)”

      Brit much? Why do you sick fucks enjoy watching people universally browbeaten? Oh, it’s in jest! Yes, you’re right, that’s funny.

      The queen just tweeted that the first tongue to find her asshole gets a title. Run!

  2. cwaltz

    NYers aren’t rude, they’re brutally honest. I’ll take an honest, outspoken East Coaster over some of the plastic people who would smile politely at you right before stabbing you in the back that I met while in California. At least with a New Yorker you know exactly where you stand(because they aren’t going to suffer fools gladly or quietly allow you to bulldoze them.)

    Then again I find “polite” a bit overrated. It’s been utilized as an excuse to shut down important conversations far too many times in DC. I’d prefer ideas be vetted and concepts to go toe to toe and that tends to conveniently bring on the vapors and cause the fainting couches to be pulled out.

    1. James Levy

      As someone born in Brooklyn and raised on Long Island I have a horse in this race and I can say that although I agree with you about being blunt, it never hurts to be civil. What I object to is a lack of civility. Forthright is good. Douchey is bad. The best New Yorkers can be described as honest and brusque. The implication there, don’t waste my time and I won’t waste yours, is great. But other New Yorkers use this reputation as an excuse for being nasty and threatening. Big difference.

      1. steviefinn

        I agree in regard to drunken English people, except me of course – relatives who have come over to visit me in Ireland have always been pleasantly surprised at the ability of drunken Irish people in bars to enjoy themselves & the lack of the ” You ain’t from around here ” mentality.

      2. neo-realist

        On the subject of the New York reputation for rude and nasty, I’ve had the experience in Seattle of a boss and an instructor in a class using the reputation as an excuse to vent on myself more than other people (“Well you’re a New Yorker, you’re used to it” or something to that effect). I wonder if other natives have had similar experiences?

      3. sleepy

        New Yorkers on the street are perhaps brusque, direct, and quick simply because they use walking as a form of transportation, unlike many places, and are going to work, to the store, to the bank, etc., instead of just strolling around.

        I’ve known schoolkids who have gone to NY on field trips to come back and exclaim how fast moving people are when they walk. I always then ask them how fast they move when they are running errands–“oh, 35 or 40 mph” is the answer.

  3. mike

    Pre-sentence data such as described given to judges has gone on for decades in pre-sentence investigation reports/reviews, and the judges have used them completely subjectively based on their “gut” to determine idiosyncratic sentences based on their own beliefs and prejudices. What MO does with its system actually provides more systematic and fairer information not just for judges but for those who would audit and hold accountable. It’s interesting that no one in this post, including its author, discusses the MO sentencing commission effort to use risk assessment to reduce prison assignments in sentencing, an effort that got shot down by the state DAs who prefer their own “guts” to that silly old data analysis. In fact, when you look at sentence effectiveness in terms of risk levels and later recidivism after release of offenders in the aggregate, you will find support for both alternative sentencing than prison and for less harsh sentencing for low and moderate risk offenders. IOW, you can end up making a case for less prison overall and for lower sentences when used IN THE NAME OF PUBLIC SAFETY, the last refuge of the “gut” advocates.

    The actual problem is indeed that the risk assessments should not be used for individual cases on the front end, a practice that will undermine its own credibility with the failure of “low” risk offenders showing up on the front pages of state newspapers (and, very unfortunately, politicizing assessment’s valid uses for treatment purposes as “gut” advocates begin to develop their own dueling assessments that get the harsher results they want). The proper use of the assessments for sentencing policy would be to inform policymakers about the likely impact of particular sentences for particular types of offenders, not individual ones. At the very least, opponents of our overincarceration could use the data to generate questions for our “gut” DAs and judges about why they are deciding on sentences demonstrated to produce less public safety because the recidivism rates associated with them are higher than the lower sentences forgone.

    So concern on this topic, while somewhat valid, should be better informed and less knee-jerk, and should particularly avoid citing our intellectually challenged Attorney General who manages to raise his uninformed voice on risk assessment but has nary a word to say about the federal sentencing guidelines which are the epitome of what he claims to oppose. Opponents will find themselves on the same side as the “gut” professionals [sic] who have given us our imprisonment embarrassment and will be the beneficiaries of the uninformed shutdown of the use of these assessment tools.

    1. wbgonne

      People should be punished only for what they have done, not for what they might do in the future. While I have no problem with judges educating themselves about empirical facts regarding recidivism and I recognize that incapacitation is a recognized goal of criminal sentencing, systematizing recidivism risk and using that predictive score to fashion a sentence is contrary to the individualized sentencing every defendant deserves. Over-emphasizing recidivism risk conflicts with the assumption of free will that is the core of criminal culpability in our criminal justice system.

  4. JohnL

    As an Englishman who has lived in Holland, New Jersey, and now Washington State, I agree with most of these but especially 1 and 3 from the first list, and 1 and 4 from the second. I would replace Germans with Canadians, and give Spaniards, except Madrileños, and pretty much all South Americans an honorable mention. Pretty much all South East Asians too for that matter.

    FWIW, I think all of many of these are simply reflections of cultural norms.

    1. cwaltz

      I actually lived in California from 1991 to 1999 and I’d completely disagree. Then again I was taught it was rude to speak behind someone’s back and anything that you can’t say to someone’s face probably shouldn’t be said.

      Gossip is a way of life out there.

  5. James Levy

    The Newsweek article by Assange is priceless. It is a blueprint of how American elites are formed and operate, and the staggering intellectual straightjacket in which they try to formulate policies for manhandling the world. Yet Americans refuse to see how the Power Elite are not a load of monads but a coherent group of doubly selected people (first you have to want to be a member, then you have to be chosen by a member because you make yourself oh so useful to them). C. Wright Mills is nodding from the grave.

    And only in America could a guy like Cohen be taken seriously at the very top of the power structure as an “expert” on Iran and “terrorism”–I’d bet my house he doesn’t read or speak Farsi or Arabic.

    1. Light A Candle

      The Assange article was a good, albeit very long, read.

      What struck me was that it took while for Assange to figure out how embedded Google is within the corporate NSA superstructure that is replacing diverse human cultures. And Assange is a very smart man who is predisposed (one would think) to look for global alliances and networks.

      Also interesting analysis of Cohen as a careerist. Careerism (as opposed to civic duty) is now much more prevalent in my corner of the world and not just at work but in volunteer activities too.

      1. Nathanael

        It’s an interesting article, but it’s actually a bit shallow for my tastes.

        Take it for granted that Google is trying to build an empire. So is Amazon. So is Tesla. So did Rockefeller. This is standard big-corporate behavior.

        What Assange demonstrates in the article is that MIC is obviously trying to co-opt Google. But the Military-Industrial Complex is an *extremely badly run* empire — an incompetent kleptocracy. Rather than an infrastructure-building feudal lord or emperor.

        The Google boys *should* realize that the MIC is trouble. They may have to be polite to them in order to avoid getting one of those stupid violent bombing raids, but the MIC are a bunch of blunderers and allying your empire with them is like shackling yourself to a corpse. To use the famous words used by a German military official about their alliance with Austria-Hungary (a corpse) in World War I.

        The announcment that all Android phones will ship with hard-to-break encryption on by default — this may be the sort of announcment which shows that Brin & Page know that the MIC’s insane “panopticon” policies are *bad for business*.

        The thing to watch is the feudal politics between the rising empire (Google) and the falling empire (the MIC). And I haven’t seen a good analysis of it.

        1. bob

          Did you read the story? Complete reading comprehension fail. You continue to perpetuate the myth that google is a victim. They are very active participants.

          ” is that MIC is obviously trying to co-opt Google”

          From the story-

          The Department of Homeland Security defines the Defense Industrial Base as “the worldwide industrial complex that enables research and development, as well as design, production, delivery, and maintenance of military weapons systems, subsystems, and components or parts, to meet U.S. military requirements [emphasis added].” The Defense Industrial Base provides “products and services that are essential to mobilize, deploy, and sustain military operations.”

          Does it include regular commercial services purchased by the U.S. military? No. The definition specifically excludes the purchase of regular commercial services. Whatever makes Google a “key member of the Defense Industrial Base,” it is not recruitment campaigns pushed out through Google AdWords or soldiers checking their Gmail.

          “The announcment that all Android phones will ship with hard-to-break encryption on by default”

          If you believe this, there is no hope for you. Complete fantasy. Hard to break for who? Google? Android is a giant mess as far a security goes. Feature or Bug?

          Honesty, did you even read the story, or just the headline? Ever single one of your “points” is dealt with and proven to be completely false or deliberately sold out to the SIC.

          So, the question then comes down to- useful idiot or paid hack? “google is the victim!!”

          Does general Kieth think so?

          ““General Keith…so great to see you…!” Schmidt wrote.”

        2. Propertius

          Given that much of Google’s startup funding came from the CIA, I would dispute the assertion that the MIC is trying to co-opt Google. Google has been a part of the MIC from Day One (cute little Android cartoons notwithstanding).

          1. bob

            No one can be that stupid.

            “It’s an interesting article, but it’s actually a bit shallow for my tastes.”

            He then goes on to repeat the meme that the story, complete with facts, completely destroys.

            shallow? YGBFKM He couldn’t even read the title- Google is not what it seems.

            According to Nathaniel, the depth expert, it is as it seems. He proved it in 200 words that could have come straight out of a google marketing team. With encryption!!!

    2. cnchal

      I particularly like these sections from the article.
      Three days after he visited me at Ellingham Hall, Jared Cohen flew to Ireland to direct the “Save Summit,” an event co-sponsored by Google Ideas and the Council on Foreign Relations. Gathering former inner-city gang members, right-wing militants, violent nationalists and “religious extremists” from all over the world together in one place, the event aimed to workshop technological solutions to the problem of “violent extremism.” What could go wrong?

      Cohen’s world seems to be one event like this after another: endless soirees for the cross-fertilization of influence between elites and their vassals, under the pious rubric of “civil society.” The received wisdom in advanced capitalist societies is that there still exists an organic “civil society sector” in which institutions form autonomously and come together to manifest the interests and will of citizens. The fable has it that the boundaries of this sector are respected by actors from government and the “private sector,” leaving a safe space for NGOs and nonprofits to advocate for things like human rights, free speech and accountable government.

      This sounds like a great idea. But if it was ever true, it has not been for decades. Since at least the 1970s, authentic actors like unions and churches have folded under a sustained assault by free-market statism, transforming “civil society” into a buyer’s market for political factions and corporate interests looking to exert influence at arm’s length. The last forty years have seen a huge proliferation of think tanks and political NGOs whose purpose, beneath all the verbiage, is to execute political agendas by proxy.

      It is not just obvious neocon front groups like Foreign Policy Initiative. It also includes fatuous Western NGOs like Freedom House, where naïve but well-meaning career nonprofit workers are twisted in knots by political funding streams, denouncing non-Western human rights violations while keeping local abuses firmly in their blind spots.

      The civil society conference circuit—which flies developing-world activists across the globe hundreds of times a year to bless the unholy union between “government and private stakeholders” at geopoliticized events like the “Stockholm Internet Forum”—simply could not exist if it were not blasted with millions of dollars in political funding annually.

      Google Ideas is bigger, but it follows the same game plan. Glance down the speaker lists of its annual invite-only get-togethers, such as “Crisis in a Connected World” in October 2013. Social network theorists and activists give the event a veneer of authenticity, but in truth it boasts a toxic piñata of attendees: U.S. officials, telecom magnates, security consultants, finance capitalists and foreign-policy tech vultures like Alec Ross (Cohen’s twin at the State Department).

      At the hard core are the arms contractors and career military: active U.S. Cyber Command chieftains, and even the admiral responsible for all U.S. military operations in Latin America from 2006 to 2009. Tying up the package are Jared Cohen and the chairman of Google, Eric Schmidt.

      I began to think of Schmidt as a brilliant but politically hapless Californian tech billionaire who had been exploited by the very U.S. foreign-policy types he had collected to act as translators between himself and official Washington—a West Coast–East Coast illustration of the principal-agent dilemma.

      I was wrong.

      It was also in 1999 that Schmidt joined the board of a Washington, D.C.–based group: the New America Foundation, a merger of well-connected centrist forces (in D.C. terms). The foundation and its 100 staff serve as an influence mill, using its network of approved national security, foreign policy and technology pundits to place hundreds of articles and op-eds per year.

      By 2008, Schmidt had become chairman of its board of directors. As of 2013 the New America Foundation’s principal funders (each contributing over $1 million) were listed as Eric and Wendy Schmidt, the U.S. State Department and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Secondary funders include Google, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and Radio Free Asia.

      Schmidt’s involvement in the New America Foundation places him firmly in the Washington establishment nexus. The foundation’s other board members, seven of whom also list themselves as members of the Council on Foreign Relations, include Francis Fukuyama, one of the intellectual fathers of the neoconservative movement; Rita Hauser, who served on the President’s Intelligence Advisory Board under both Bush and Obama; Jonathan Soros, the son of George Soros; Walter Russell Mead, a U.S. security strategist and editor of the American Interest; Helene Gayle, who sits on the boards of Coca-Cola, Colgate-Palmolive, the Rockefeller Foundation, the State Department’s Foreign Affairs Policy Unit, the Council on Foreign Relations, the Center for Strategic and International Studies, the White House Fellows program and Bono’s ONE Campaign; and Daniel Yergin, oil geo-strategist, former chair of the U.S. Department of Energy’s Task Force.

      That is an astounding number of boards Helene Gayle sits on. They must be smooth by now.

      Julian shines a light on the people that conspire to lead using deception as their method.

    3. bob

      A great breakdown of deep state politics in action. I’m no fan of assange, but the narrative he provided is exactly how shit gets done.

      “Schmidt arrived first, accompanied by his then partner, Lisa Shields”

      “Not only had Hillary Clinton’s people known that Eric Schmidt’s partner had visited me, but they had also elected to use her as a back channel. “

  6. Larry Headlund

    From Chinese etiquette comes up short:

    At the Louvre in Pars, there’s a sign in Chinese requesting that visitors not defecate or urinate on the museum grounds.

    I call BS on this story. Number one, I was at the Louvre (with Chinese friends) less than a month ago and saw no such sign. Second, and more telling, this is an oft repeated story on the internet and yet there is not a single image of this sign. I would guess a friend of a friend saw it.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Something got lost in translation.

      1. A museum member took out an old 19th century colonial sign from the British concession zone in Shanghai.

      2. He mis-read the ‘Dogs and Chinese Not Allowed Sign’ written in traditional Chinese script (probably in old Song dynasty script), as he could only read, and not very well at it either, simplified Chinese characters.

      And that is the result you see today.

      Either that or there was another sign, ‘Do Not Let Your Dog Urinate or Defecate’ (again in traditional script) and two signs got commingled in translation.

      In any case, my guess is it likely came from polite English (albeit 19th century English) abroad.

  7. abynormal

    ICA weapons for local police: “rely on exact dosage to prevent fatality, and that the ability to ‘deliver the right agent to the right people in the right dose without exposing the wrong people, or delivering the wrong dose’ is a near-impossible expectation.”
    (this should eliminate habitual protestors…way ta go USA)

    “[W]hile the use of non-lethal weapons such as tasers and LEDIs may not necessarily reduce the number of civilian casualties, they have been largely accepted as the humane alternative to deadly force because they make the use of force appear far less dramatic and violent than it has in the past.

    Contrast, for instance, the image of police officers beating Rodney King with billy clubs as opposed to police officers continually shocking a person with a taser. Both are severe forms of abuse. However, because the act of pushing a button is far less dramatic and visually arresting than swinging a billy club, it can come across as much more humane to the general public. This, of course, draws much less media coverage and, thus, less bad public relations for the police.”
    John W. Whitehead, A Government of Wolves: The Emerging American Police State

  8. rusti

    Some of the high-profile embarrassments include a Chinese man who carved “Ding Jinhao was here” into an ancient wall of the Egyptian ruins at Luxor in 2013, and a group of Chinese vacationers who killed…

    I spent a few weeks in Luxor myself earlier this year and it was a curious dynamic to watch the interaction of the locals and the tourists. There was obviously an extremely elaborate set of protocols among vendors, tour companies, police and businesses for determining when and where people were “fair game”. The vendors are obviously aware that elderly European-looking people (particularly English or Americans) are easy prey and would pounce on them like lions. The Russians had a much harder disposition and wouldn’t be pursued with the same fervor because they couldn’t be harassed or guilted into making a purchase, and the Chinese tourists even less so because they’d barter back with equal intensity if some trinket caught their interest.

    The monuments were (and presumably still are) relatively deserted compared to the pre-2011 crowds and it was fascinating to watch the locals transition to their increasingly Chinese tourist base.

  9. ohmyheck

    Unnamed NC Commenter gets hat tip from Mike Whitney in his latest article:

    Quote: ““Frankly, we are so far off the economic rails, the locomotive is stuck in a swamp and the trailing cars are piling up around it.” Anonymous, Comments line, Naked Capitalism”

    Title -“Happy Black Thursday – Do Tumbling Buybacks Signal Another Market Crash?”


    Cool Beans!

    1. cwaltz

      Ouch. Looks like NY isn’t fairing much better than Texas on how to deal with the virus. It’s overly hopeful for our esteemed medical community to hope Ebola will grade us on a curve and turn tail from the states simply because we enunciate “best medical system” and “better prepared” over and over.

    2. craazyboy

      Nah. You can do that because Ebola is not very contagious. See?

      Besides, who would go rummaging around in a trash can? It’s not like a trash can is like a NYC restaurant or something.

      Besides, the cops just stopped by the apartment to clean the toilet. Lots of people wear gloves when cleaning toilets. It’s just good practice, generally.

      1. cwaltz

        I’m sitting here wondering how amazingly bad this could get if some homeless person decides to rifle through that trash can not knowing that it potentially exposed them to Ebola? Or how likely it is that our capitalistic health care system would accurately diagnose a poor person who doesn’t articulate that he traveled to an area where Ebola has been a problem?

        1. craazyboy

          Or maybe we should be amazed that a doctor took his own temperature twice a day for the last couple weeks, everything was fine, and got surprised a couple days ago with a fever after meandering around NYC for a while. I’m sure it surprised his girlfriend!

          1. craazyboy

            There is probably a potential follow up news story with the doctor’s girlfriend, but with our crappy press corps, we may never see it. Probably will have to wait for a National Enquirer editor to make something up – say, doctors get discounts on birth control pills and he wasn’t even wearing a condom while bonking his significant other!!

            ‘Course even then, it’ll probably get buried way back on page 3, behind the alien abduction stories and Michael Jackson getting another post mortem plastic surgery procedure.

        2. fresno dan

          and don’t worry about rats getting in the garbage…..uh, cause:
          1. there are no rats in NY
          2. there are no rats in NY garbage
          3. the NY rats are patriotic, and stay out of ebola infected garbage….
          4. We fed sheep to cows and that caused a big problem. So far, we are not feeding ebola infected corpses to rats, although they may be fed to chickens.
          Anyway, highly unlikely to cross the species barrier….

          or maybe not!

          1. craazyboy

            Also too, rats are nothing like fruit bats.

            Besides, ve haf Dachshunds und zes dogs are result of our leaders breeding program to hunt und destroy vermin verever vermin may be!

  10. Dino Reno

    On Has Putin already Won.
    Lionizing Putin for winning makes sense only if you think the West’s Ukraine policy was more than an ill-conceived shot in the dark. The U.S State Department decided that Ukraine would be a nice starting place to make Putin pay for being Putin. All they needed to do, so they thought, was over throw the government, sit back and watch merriment ensue with the final destination being Putin’s ouster for some hand-picked Oligarch from the West. What could go wrong besides everything when no promised support was forthcoming for the newly radicalized Kiev?
    Now Soros et al are all bemoaning the fact that nobody from the West was willing to fight and die for Ukraine. Duh?
    Do they even know what year this is?

    1. James

      Better title might have asked, “Has the US/the West Already Lost Ukraine?” Although that would of course been a rhetorical question. “With enemies like these,” Putin defiantly declares, “who needs allies anyway?”

    2. susan the other

      Soros writes like he knows what he is saying, but he confused me when he started blaming Russia and Putin for aggression when he himself (Soros) has been funneling money to the Ukrainian radicals for some time. Then he lamented the IMF was not putting up enough money to get Ukraine back on track economically and thus they wouldn’t be able to join the EU. Then he blamed the EU for being useless in the whole incident. I get the feeling that Soros had big plans for Ukraine that fell apart for lack of execution – but not by Soros.

  11. rich

    Special Report: Why Madrid’s poor fear Goldman Sachs and Blackstone

    (Reuters) – Last year Madrid’s city and regional governments sold almost 5,000 rent-controlled flats to private equity investors including Goldman Sachs and Blackstone.

    At the time, the tenants were told their rental conditions would remain the same.

    But as old contracts expire, dozens of people have received demands for higher rent, been told their rents will increase dramatically, been threatened with eviction or moved out to escape the insecurity. Thousands of Spain’s poor now depend for their homes on the generosity of private equity.
    Jamila Bouzelmat is one of them.

    The mother of six lives in a four-bedroom flat on the outskirts of the Spanish capital that was bought jointly by Goldman and a Spanish firm. The 44-year-old said that until March her family paid 58 euros ($73) a month in rent out of her husband’s 500-euro unemployment benefit. In April, her bank statement shows, her new landlords suddenly took 436 euros from her bank account.

    She discovered the payment when she tried to pay an electricity bill.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      $73 a month for a four-bedroom apartment, around the capital of Spain?

      Goldman probably figures they can spend roughly 1/3 of their pay (or benefit, in this case, which works to be around (1/3) x 500 euros or $210/month) on housing, like many Americans.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Maybe they did, or, highly likely they did (what else do you expect, right?)…

          I was basing it on 58/500, thinking it was less than 1/3.

  12. Banger

    Interesting article in BW “Has Putin Already Won in Ukraine? Sure Looks That Way.” It seems that BW seems interested in bringing up something the rest of the propaganda organs have banished from their pages. Maybe biz-oriented rags can be more honest. Essentially, the article says that Putin outsmarted the West etc. and kept asking asking what aggressive action Putin would take next. This is comical. Putin merely reacted to naked aggression on the part of U.S. operatives within Ukraine–manipulating the Maidan movement. In fact, Putin did well but so did the U.S. The big loser is Europe and why the half-wit “leaders” of Europe slavishly follow the contradictory and Byzantine policies of Washington I can’t begin to fathom–their stupidity seems astonishing.

    If you looked at Ukranian politics and the way the country was divided and run by oligarchs how the hell do you come up with an idea that Europe could help institute reforms in that country particularly by installing a regime that had neo-Nazis as a key component of the government who scared the crap out of Eastern Ukrainians? How could there be any result other than bloodshed and disaster? Putin made sensible moves to protect his country by seizing the Crimea, as he should have and aiding the Russian population in the East. The difference between Putin and the Europeans is that his moves made sense and their “moves” if you want to even call them that made no sense at all. It only made sense for U.S. operatives who used the crisis to create a crisis atmosphere to shore up the National Security State’s contention that we live in a “dangerous world.” In fact, the world is not dangerous at all by historical standards other than the attempt to make is so by the organized crime families in Washington DC and elsewhere. We live in an increasingly peaceful world while the media attempts to portray the opposite fact.

    To you Europeans who read this–please, explain to me why the Europeans so slavishly follow Washington in security matters? Haven’t they figured out what a cesspool of intrigue and deception that town is with its constantly shifting policy depending on which faction holds sway? Don’t they realize that U.S. financial policies directly caused the crash of 2008 for which Europe seems to be suffering the most? Does the citizenry there have a clue? Are they even more lame-minded than the U.S. public? Or do they just go weak-kneed in the face of Big Daddy just because.

    1. munanomaniac

      as for my “link-whoring”: (sorry astrology is still a homeless child – not without selfinflicted reasons – )

      Readers of the “Saker” are aware: anythink could happen in the next days … in Novorossia.
      In moments like this, the heavenly constellations might be questioned, as call of the “Cinderella” of recognition”

      Yours to “America”, you apprentice of british of being exceptional since over 300 years

    2. munanomaniac


      It seems to me, that it’s not easy for an american, to fathom, what Amerca has meant for a post WWII-Child past 1945.
      The “Amerika-Haus” in Hamburg was for me, as an adolescent, the place, where my mind found pictures and stories that referred to a wide natural and civilisational beauty.
      There was no political will other than civilisation, that we percieved from “America” on us, in opposite to the communistic approach.
      There has been implemented a lot of american blood in our veins, and that has emerged as a complete american “atlanticist” identity in our “elite”. They completely cannot think out of the box, extreme example: The Greens: “more strain on russia!”
      The miracle ist the amount of germans, who critisize the hell out of (into?) mainstream media. Germany
      therefore has never been so similar to it’s assignment: to be a bridge between east and west – except by the elite.
      This is the tense in the public affairs with uncertain exit. But at the end of the day one side will be the emerging and one side be in decay.

      1. Banger

        Good points–but why would the leadership class be taken in? Surely they understand that the U.S. is not that interested in the welfare of Europe.

        1. sleepy

          Perhaps because the elites of Europe perceive their interests as similar (not identical however) to the elites of the US, and that similar policies on both continents benefit the financial, corporate, and business sectors?

    3. steviefinn

      If you have the time & or the inclination you might find some answers here. It’s a sub-titled 1hr 20 mins video featuring Putin’s leading economic advisers. They outline the economic measures that Russia should take in order to beat the sanctions & amongst other things, stop the offshore leakage of taxes – they also hint at political problems that might stall these measures.
      It gave me an experience of being outside looking in as they basically assert that Europe is too tied up within the petrodollar system which they cannot entangle themselves out of. Whereas although it would be difficult for Russia & will take time, they can do it. They also say that those running the financial system in the West know that it is broken & America is basically trying to save what is left by looting everybody else.
      As for the ordinary people of Europe I would imagine that they are as clueless as their counterparts in the US, but that is gradually changing, although unfortunately to some degree right wing wingnuts are benefitting most from this.

    4. James Levy

      Banger, I think it is a combination of 1) cognitive capture, 2) blackmail, 3) payoffs, and 4) fear that without the US fear machine European elites will no longer be able to keep their own people in line. Europeans are also afraid in a way Americans are not–afraid of their past and afraid of their future. They have no bullet-proof exceptionalism to mentally fall back on. They have Dresden and Auschwitz and the Fall of France in 1940. A new book by a Yale historian named Tooze points out that Hitler was really concerned much more with America than has been previously pointed out–that lebensraum was his answer to American gigantism. I can tell you from my own research that for Neville Chamberlain, too, America was a huge part of his Appeasement policy. He saw clearly that the only winner of a new World War would be America (and maybe communist Russia). The old Great Power multipolar system could only hold up, and Britain retain her place in the world, if war was averted. Even if Britain won (which he absolutely believed they would; he was not a defeatist vis-à-vis Germany) she would lose, because American would swoop in and pick up all the pieces. But the “Churchill Myth” of Anglo-American “partnership” won the day. Chamberlain’s skepticism was forgotten or reviled (and fear of American dominance vilified as crypto-fascism or Stalinist), and post-war elites threw in their lot, for better or worse (now most definitely for worse) as hirelings of Uncle Sam.

      1. Banger

        Thanks James–I knew very little of what Chamberlain thought because he’s been demonized as an “appeaser” but it helps me understand Hitler’s confusion as to why Britain was so hostile to Germany–he probably thought German hegemony would benefit the UK.

        1. James Levy

          Hitler believed that if the British Empire fell, it would benefit only the Americans and the Japanese (good guess on his part). What he could not understand was that no British government had ever been reconciled to a continental hegemon, and his own duplicity would set off alarm bells that would make him an unacceptable partner for the British people and most of their elite. The German Empire from say 1872-1898 was in Britain’s interest, and they had no problem with it until the Kaiser initiated his weltpolitik in such a ham-fisted manner. In the 1880s and 1890s the Royal Navy was pretty sure it would face the French and Russians on one side (with the Americans ready and waiting to jump in if Britain looked like she was in trouble) with Britain and Germany on the other. If World War I had broken out in 1898, that would have been the likely matchup.

      2. VietnamVet

        The Western supported Ukraine Coup is a real wakeup call. This was a flat ass grab for resources with the intent to destabilize Russia. Yet, those responsible are shocked that Russia fought back.

        This is beyond stupidity or denial. I think that when the Bankers avoided jail after the 2008 Crash, the “get out of jail” card let loose their inner neo-feudal desire to do absolutely anything that they wanted. There is gas to be fracked in Ukraine. More money to be exploited. It never entered their consciousness that invading neo-Nazis and ethnic cleansing would evoke Russians to defend their homeland.

        For more wealth for a very few and expanding their domain, the Overlords are risking a nuclear war between Russia and NATO. “Kill them all, God will know His own” is the basic intent.

    5. steviefinn


      If you can spend 1hr & 20 minutes watching this video it might help to explain things. It features 3 top Putin economic advisers – it gave me the impression of me being on the outside looking in. They talk about how Russia should protect itself from financial warfare – sanctions etc, & how to stop the leakage of tax revenues offshore. It appears that their central bank needs to be reformed & that they are still suffering from the Neoliberal policies & privatisations from the 90’s.
      In terms of Europe they believe that the US has them by the balls due to the former’s reliance on the petrodollar system, from which it would be almost impossible for them to extricate themselves. They also state that the West’s financial system is terminally broke & that this is known by those in charge & is leading to US efforts to loot the rest of the planet with the trade agreements being a big part of this effort. They also believe that TTIP will de-industialise Europe & in my opinion they are being ably assisted by a European elite, particularly the un-elected Brussels grandees.
      Perhaps it’s just me. but when they talk about the difficult measures they need to take in order to extricate themselves from the petrodollar system – they seem to be planning in a common sense sort of way which contrasts favourably with the members of our current Western economist priesthood.They also hint that internal political problems could prevent a successful conclusion to the fulfillment of their ideas.

  13. not_me

    re Voters Like Democrats But Think They Are Incompetent Jon Walker, Firedoglake. Translation: Voters buy Democratic party excuses for selling out to the rich. [bold added]

    So what Democrat since Andrew Jackson has seriously taken on the banks? And even Jackson did it so crudely as to cause a major Depression. FDR? No, he saved banking with government deposit insurance. JFK? Maybe but his US Silver Certificates betray an ignorance of how fiat really works.

    The only President I know who really took on the banks INTELLIGENTLY was Lincoln with his Greenbacks and he was a Republican!

    Democrats had better wise up and realize that they are not nearly so smart as they imagine, not when it comes to snakes like bankers.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      A. Non-monetary solutions: Glass-Steagall or something like it, and the government enforcing laws/regulations and prosecuting frauds.

      B. No-new-money solution: Take from military and use it for social spending

      C. New money monetary solution: ‘Generalized Psuedo*-Jubilee’ or Money Creation Via the People Spending it Into Existence…i.e. every time when you create new money, have a pseudo-jubilee. This is not a one time event.

      * Psuedo, because it has really nothing to do with debt-jubilee. Let Goldman and the rich work out their own 100-1 leverage debts. The term ‘pseudo jubilee’ is used here for the mechanism for getting money to the people, so labor too can be capital. Why can’t labor be capital?

      1. Vatch

        A minority of the House of Representatives is on record supporting a restoration of the Glass Steagall protections. I suspect that some of them really oppose such a law, but since they know it won’t pass, it was safe for them to co-sponsor the bill. Co-sponsors of HR 129:

        13 Representatives also co-sponsored the similar HR 4711. They’re all probably on the list of HR 129 co-sponsors, but I’m not really sure. Here is the pitifully small list of co-sponsors of the Senate’s S1282 (nobody co-sponsored Sen. Tom Harkin’s S 985):

        Here’s the press release in which the Green Party calls for the restoration of the Glass Steagall Act’s protections:

    2. Nathanael

      FDR declared the “bank holiday” — at the end of it, when the banks reopened, *only 2/3 of them reopened*. The other 1/3 were closed permanently.

      FDR then taxed the hell out of the bank executives. Yay 90% income tax rates!

      Don’t underestimate what FDR did. He was a good guy. Yes, he was saving the elite from themselves; but those who refused to be saved, he destroyed.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        We are told we can’t tax bank executives…no taxation without inflation.

        And by inflation, they mean your and my wage inflation, not asset bubble inflation or bonus inflation.

        So, taxing the rich to give to the poor is technically or theoretically (perhaps dogmatically) wrong, and as there is no wage inflation, but only wage deflation amidst asset inflation (the latter is not a concern), taxation, at this time, is the dangerous to our health.

        1. craazyboy

          “Give Me Liberty or a Country Club Fed Prison For Six Months!” doesn’t even work any more. :(

          Then we let bank executives be in charge of “destroying money”. Something certainly has gone amok.

      2. not_me

        Taking on the bankers is NOT the same as taking on the banks. What FDR did was save the banking system from itself while scape-goating mere people.

        Who the heck cares about the elites when it’s the money system itself that corrupts generation after generation yet nearly everyone thinks it’s just a few bad apples that need to be pruned or new laws to regulate an inherently crooked system or let’s turn government into bankers.

        You’d think mere boredom would cause us to repent of such folly but if the Great Depression, WWII and the Cold War could not cure us then just what else will it take? A Pandemic to cull the stupids and/or remove the righteous from further aggravation?

        1. Yves Smith Post author

          Lehman partners made more as soldiers in WWII than they did at Lehman. That tells you how well Roosevelt’s reforms worked. He hit the industry in its wallet.

        2. skippy

          The government can properly regulate it – or – it just goes further into the shadows system, completely unregulated, oops, its basically unregulated in broad daylight now.

          Skippy… smaller government, defunding, deregulation, freer markets, self regulating industry, endemic political corruption, completely uneducated population, monetize every thing is sight… so the question begs… under what umbrella did all this occur…

          1. not_me

            smaller government, defunding, deregulation, freer markets, self regulating industry, skippy

            It’s absurd for government to grant a license* to steal to the banks for the benefit of the so-called creditworthy (which ALWAYS includes the rich) at the expense of the poor and other non so-called creditworthy with no regulation of said theft.

            But it’s also absurd to think one can regulate that theft. Just how much use of the public’s credit for private profit is acceptable? The correct answer is NONE.

            Stripping away the gains of public credit creation for private profit, as Yves suggests, is not sufficient either because regardless of profits, some are still favored over others wrt to new purchasing power creation, being more so-called creditworthy, part of which included being white until not that long ago.

            The solution is to strip away government privileges for private credit creation which should greatly reduce the injustice wrt who gets credit and who doesn’t since even if the poor can’t get private credit they might still charge a hefty interest rate to purely private banks for their savings. After that, stripping away excessive profits from the now purely private banks could be considered too as an anti-usury measure, should society decide that we are not just a collection of individuals or groups competing to legally loot each other, though something might be said in favor of such competition IF it is done honestly and not to an extreme.

            Of course, we need an economic re-leveling too since prior gains via unjust credit creation should NOT be allowed to stand nor just gains for that matter if they involve excessively concentrated ownership of essentials such as agricultural land, water rights, etc.

            *eg. government deposit insurance instead of a Postal Savings Service for the risk-free storage and transactions with fiat, a fiat lender of last resort, borrowing by the monetary sovereign, etc.

            1. skippy

              The real theft started around the mid 70s and had nothing to do with banks, it was the free market ideologues, which were funded by the wealth class, to attack all labor organization and wages. But yeah the infection has traveled all the way though the entire sociopolitical system.

              All this rubbish about banks [as a payment system and not the people] is utter rubbish and a last resort at finding a scape goat to hang all the failed free market policy’s on. The best bit is now their trying to harden money so all the looting can be realized in some physical form aka the Chicago plan.

              Now all the rabid fundamentalist are all hiding out at the Mercatus Center, George Mason University.

              Influence on Congress (2000-2006)

              According to the Center for Public Integrity, Mercatus holds seminars for congressional staff on topics related to its political agenda and an annual retreat for congressional chiefs of staff, spending “at least $227,000 on more than 400 trips for lawmakers and their staff from 2000 through mid-2005.” [20]
              Opposition to Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (2014)

              Hester Peirce, a Senior Research Fellow at the Mercatus Center, has testified against the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, claiming that its “lack of accountability, the opacity of the Bureau’s decision-making processes,” and its power to control its own budget and data collection required “fundamental reforms.”[21]
              Google Funds Legal Conference While Under Investigation (2014)

              The Washington Post reported that while Google was being investigated for antitrust violations, the company funded conferences at George Mason University, where the Mercatus Center is hosted, at which “leading technology and legal experts forcefully rejected the need for the government to take action against Google” in front of an audience that included FTC officials, members of Congress, and Justice Department officials.[22] Google has donated to conservative organizations including the Mercatus Center to support research on weakening copyright and patent laws.[23]

              The Mercatus Center, part of George Mason University, is one of the best-funded think tanks in the United States. It is listed as “sister organization” to the Institute for Humane Studies. Mercatus describes its mission as “to generate knowledge and understanding of the institutions that affect the freedom to prosper, and to find sustainable solutions that overcome the barriers preventing individuals from living free, prosperous, and peaceful lives.”[1]

              The Mercatus Center was founded and is funded by the Koch Family Foundations. According to financial records, the Koch family has contributed more than thirty million dollars to George Mason, much of which has gone to the Mercatus Center, a nonprofit organization. Democratic strategist Rob Stein described the Mercatus Center as “ground zero for deregulation policy in Washington.”

              The Mercatus Center has engaged in campaigns involving deregulation, especially environmental deregulation. According to The Guardian in 2010, it “now fills the role once played by the economics department at Chicago University as the originator of extreme neoliberal ideas.”[2] During the George W. Bush administration’s campaign to reduce government regulation, the Wall Street Journal reported, “14 of the 23 rules the White House chose for its “hit list” to eliminate or modify were Mercatus entries — a record that flabbergasted Washington lobbying heavyweights.”[3]

              The Wall Street Journal has called the Mercatus Center “the most important think tank you’ve never heard of.”[4]


              Pro tip.. its not the institutions or the people, its the wonky ideology concocted by a bunch of spin artist hired by wealthy special interest groups.

              Skippy… the absurdly funny bit is… Radicals for Capitalism came out in 07 to triumphant acclaim… BOOM… uhhh its all the Banks fault, Credit, good profit seeking people were FORCED to do criminal acts… ummm maybe it was demonic pigs whilst we at it….

              1. not_me

                [a bit at a time]:

                to attack all labor organization and wages. skippy

                Are labor organizations and working for someone else for wages your idea of justice for a population that has been unjustly stripped of family farms and family businesses or who, or their ancestors, worked from the start as either chatel or wage and debt slaves? Doing jobs a machine might soon be able to do? Or being paid to waste their time in some JG make-work program where they will be disciplined to be low cost wage and debt slaves for their oppressors? If so, you’ve conceded defeat from the start.

                The solution is to eliminate whatever has led to unjust wealth concentration, which certainly includes the banking cartel, and to redistribute assets so that when robots are doing almost work then ALL of us, eventually including the entire world, will benefit.

                1. skippy

                  You might want to ask the indigenous about being stripped of rights and lands if choose to couch you argument in that manner.

                  Stabilizing society and preparing for the future is not make work programs, tho cleaning up after the free market lunacy, sadly – is – what some must do…. as responsibility calls for it… as they can not be trusted.

                  Skippy… low ethical standers is the basic problem with your stripe.

  14. cripes

    The threat level meter is really cranking up lately.
    U-Kraine, ISIS, Canadien Terrierists, A,E,I,O,U-bola, stock market rumblings and bubbles primed to pop…
    Honestly, I don’t know how anyone can think straight with all these dangers bobbing around their heads. Time to pay the bills…
    Washingtons blog has a good piece on bio-bungling weapons engineering all around the world, courtesy of you-know-who. But Obama’s gonna “temporarily halt all new funding for experiments that seek to study certain infectious agents by making them more dangerous.” HaHa.
    So we’re OK.

  15. Banger

    Really interesting article on the CNN site–first because the issues involved are actually central to our culture. First there is the description by a Marine about the darker side of life in the military and we need to discuss this briefly. The U.S. military, our police forces, and security outfits of one kind or another are solidly based on a regressive mentality shorn of the codes of honor that kept up some restraint within the system. Now people in the security area pride themselves on their reptilian and transgressive nature as if that was a sign of strength. All this while regular society has become more tolerant and gentle over the years. Also, the mission of these soldiers is to just “fight” by following stupid orders in “wars” that have no strategy and questionable tactics that have as their goal not resolving political questions but in enriching contractors–at some level these men and women know this.

    But we kind of know this–what we don’t realize and I hope one day will understand is that the healing power of psychedelics is and always has been real and ignored by the assholes who have run our drug policies since Mr. Anslinger back in the day–which is that drug laws are used to suppress not just cultural minorities but the fact there is a deeper life beyond making money and living out manufactured fantisies engineered to make you stupid and compliant to authority. I see how psychedelics have been misused by youth who don’t understand the power of these drugs and use them “recreationally” in ways that expose them to all kinds of things they have no capacity to understand. Contrast that with the Ayuhausca ceremonies conducted by real healers and the promising experiments with LSD that were brutally suppressed by our government in the 60s as part of a war against raising consciousness that continues to this day. The therapies described in the CNN article should be available to all of us and not just for PTSD but depression and other mental illnesses.

    1. Nathanael

      Thanks for the link.

      I suspect your description (in general) of the cultural problem in the military and paramilitaries is correct, but I would *need more evidence*. There are other possibilities for what the psychology of the average person in the military or police actually is. And I think it matters a lot.

      1. Banger

        I don’t think most military situations are so bad–though in recent years I’ve heard it’s worse. The general trend is to demean “feeling” and compassion and praise “toughness” (stupidity). The came is true of the cop mentality. All that has been there in the past it just seems more destructive today.

        As for evidence–well maybe we need some studies–I’m sure the military has some already which may or may not be available. But the general trend of people I’ve seen in that community over the years is troubling.

        1. Ulysses

          One thing that’s very troubling is the recent changes in training exercises designed to help the military, and militarized police, get over their remaining cultural aversion to shooting unarmed civilians.

        2. skippy

          NC unpacked the military shooter problem yonks ago. Having attended to that wee problem, single digit accurate w/ intent trigger puller per 100ish, they have now to contend with a new problem, endemic psychological dysfunction.

          Success as viewed from an efficiency standpoint, means its has been exported to the paramilitary’s, all the way down to, mom post dropping off the kids at school cappa at the gun range twice a week hens gathering.

          Skippy… there was a Ranger officer with a psychology degree that started studying video game violence after he departed service. Did some public awareness gigs and the next thing I saw, he was back in the service with an upgrade.

        3. MikeNY

          The functional job description of our armed services for as long as I can remember has been to blow (foreign) human beings up. To kill them.

          Then we wonder why ‘broken’ people enlist, and why ‘broken’ people return.

          Well, I don’t wonder.

  16. bruno marr

    The fact that many low income Americans can’t afford to take sick days and health plans generally have high deductibles, which discourage individuals from getting treated until they are sure they are really sick, isn’t a great program design if you want to reduce the spread of infectious diseases.

    What is even worse is the homeless population. I live in what is known to tourists as the “American Riveria”. Which is, in fact, a highly stratified community of service workers, office workers, and well-to-do (in a picturesque setting). On Wednesday’s the local NGO’s put on a free food event for the homeless. Hundreds attend! Yet, no one thinks to do a subtle health screening to anticipate communicable disease in a population with NO health care.

    Imagine the results of multi-resistant tuberculosis getting a start here and then trying to track tourists that travel to and from here all over the world.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      The self-employed and the homeless (a good point) are often left out in any discussion about infectious diseases.

    2. craazyman

      America needs a 10-bagger!

      The problem is if everybody got the 10-bagger at once, nothing would change. Unless there was a flood of immigrants who could work for cheap and do all sorts of things.

      Not everybody can get rich together all at once since somebody has to be willing to work. Then when you sit around on your butt not working and you go to meetings and drink white wine at business dinners, you can call it “productivity” — but all it really is, is the leverage you have over a person with less money than you. Why is that called productivity? Nobody ever talks about that. It’s too complicated.

        1. susan the other

          I’ve been wanting to talk about “productivity” for a long time. When Lapavitsas (sp?) said financialism had become the new capitalism it made good sense but then he lost me when he talked about “productivity” in the context that the new capitalism was profit without productivity. To me productivity itself, even if legitimate streamlining of a business, is counterproductive – like pollution. It eventually catches up to the actual profits of the business, not by being expensive, but by reducing them because it kills demand. And etc. A bunch of cake jobs with good pay for every last one of us would be more productive. We are easily as dumb as the EU.

      1. Ulysses

        This pithy and insightful Craazyman comment is great! The elites in this post-modern world have in fact managed to convince millions that rich people with MBAs and law degrees hanging around with each other, conspiring to screw over the rest of us, is “work” that deserves mega-millions in compensation. Meanwhile toiling away diligently actually making things or providing useful services is “just unskilled labor” that barely deserves any pay at all!

  17. Jermster

    My two cents on the Chinese; Yes they are a bit rough around the edges but give them a little time. Some of the perceived Chinese bad behaviors are strcitly cultural and have origins in the the country’s recent communist past, like line-cutting or personal space issues. Most errant Chinese behavior abroad is what you would expect from any suddenly affluent, noveau riche hillbilly from any country. When I am in China I grin and do my best to bear it. Abroad it wears terribly thin. With affluence comes responsibility. If you have the time and cash to travel to the four corners of the earth and buy the latest electronic gizmos you certainly have the means to do a google search for “local etiquette” and attempt to learn the meaning of ‘when in Rome’. Chinese certainly aren’t the only ascendant asians abroad with this problem, but the the fact that there are 1.4 billon of them and very few speak English (or any other western language) makes them very noticeable.

    1. mookie

      Chinese does indeed have its own very common idiomatic equivalent of “When in Rome…”: 入乡随俗. The role of the tourist, however, is relatively new to many mainland Chinese, so give it some time. In a few years their manners will probably have surpassed those of the average Australian, German, or USian tourist. (not far to go)

      The top link about wolves is seriously godawful and I doubt it was read before being passed along from Furzy Mouse. If you read to the end you will see that it tacitly advocates the extinction of wolves because any resurgence in their numbers represents a possible inconvenience to humans.

  18. kimsarah

    Not many commercials these days urging people to save. Of course there is no incentive to save with our ZIRP policy, unless people would rather earn nothing than lose everything in the stock market.
    But boy are we told to spend, spend, spend, as our buying power gets further squeezed and personal debt skyrockets.
    Reminds me of the daytime commercials telling folks to eat to their heart’s content, followed by commercials telling us how to lose weight.
    The perfect consumer would eat their way to obesity, go on one fad diet after the other, eat again to obesity, spend their way to bankruptcy, then die of a heart attack in the poor house.

Comments are closed.