Links 10/27/14

Professor suspended from top university for giving off ‘negative vibes’ Telegraph. Lambert: “Privatizers hated him. He used sarcasm and irony!”

Off-grid German village banks on wind, sun, pig manure France 24 (furzy mouse)

Materials Trick Might Help Move Computers Beyond Silicon MIT Technology Review (David L)

This Scientist Is Using Open Sourced Software Techniques To Turn Bugs Into Patent-Free Drugs TechCrunch (David L)


I’m a Hazmat-Trained Hospital Worker: Here’s What No One Is Telling You About Ebola Huffington Post

Angry at Christie, quarantined nurse plans to sue government over illegal detention Reuters. As Lambert points out, we should be treating the health care professionals, particularly the ones who volunteer to go to Africa, like heros, and instead we do this.

Fight erupts over US states’ Ebola orders Financial Times

Cuomo backs down on NY Ebola orders Financial Times

Fears that Ebola crisis will set back malaria fight BBC

US ambassador hits out at countries failing to help west Africa Guardian

Stock markets threatened by collapse in Chinese consumer demand Telegraph

Harvard Study: Here’s Why The Chinese Economy Can’t Defy The Odds Forever Business Insider (David L)

Troubles in China rattle western banks Business Spectator

Stress Tests..or Not

Italian Banks Are the Weakest Performers in E.C.B. Review New York Times

Europe’s Good-Enough Bank Stress Tests Wall Street Journal. Conventional wisdom watch.

Europe’s Banks Are Still a Threat Bloomberg. An editorial.

Another Unbelievable Stress-Free Test; Whitewash Math and Deferred Tax Assets Michael Shedlock

‘Everything possible’ to be done to protect the eurozone BBC. All the stories about ruptures are leading to public displays of staged affection.

Rousseff Says Ready for Great Changes After Tight Brazil Victory Bloomberg. Mr. Market is not happy.

Global turbulence triggers flight from EM Financial Times


Ukraine crisis: Pro-Western blocs ‘win Ukraine poll’ BBC

Imperial Collapse Watch

Thank You for Your Valor, Thank You for Your Service, Thank You, Thank You, Thank you…, Still on the Thank-You Tour-of-Duty Circuit Thirteen Years Later TomDispatch

Trillions in Global Cash Await Call to Fix Crumbling U.S. Bloomberg. Li: “Planted argument for toll roads cuz US govt just can’t fix infrastructure.”

Thomas Frank: Paul Krugman’s sloppy, wet kiss Salon (GP)

Jeb Bush ‘moving forward’ on 2016 presidential run, says son Guardian (Li)

New Jersey e-vote experiment after Sandy declared a disaster Aljazeera (Chuck L)

Is economic growth permanently lower? Financial Times (Li)

Corporate America starts to spend again Financial Times (David L)

Whither Markets?

Federal Reserve To Take Away The Punch Bowl Reuters versus…

The Fed Rate Hike May Be a Mirage Wall Street Journal

Are low oil prices here to stay? CNBC versus….

Fall in oil prices will prove temporary Financial Times

Class Warfare

States With The Widest Gap Between Rich And Poor 24/7 Wall Street

Why income inequality is America’s biggest (and most difficult) problem Salon

Many police officers earn poverty wages, forced to take second jobs to cover basic costs NBC

Why “shareholder value” and humanity are on a collision course David Seaton, Firedoglake

Confessions of a white Oxbridge male Financial Times (Li). “”Like the communist rulers in 1989, we white Oxbridge males cannot defend our dominance with arguments.”

Antidote du jour. By popular demand, another moth photo from Kevin H, this of a rosy maple moth:

Rosy Maple Moth

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. Robert Callaghan

    China has used 6.6 gigatons of cement in the last 3 years
    compared to 4.5 gigatons the USA has used in 100 years.
    China’s banks created $24 trillion in debt since 2001.
    China’s banks created $15 trillion in debt in just the last 5 years.
    It took all U.S. commercial banks 100 years to create $15 trillion in debt.
    It took the whole U.S. economy 100 years to grow to $15 trillion annual GDP.
    China has created the biggest financial bubble in human history.
    This may be the big one and last one.

    1. makedoanmend

      The first year I tried to plant a full acre of veg I didn’t finish. The second year I finished. The third year I finished in 2/3 the time. The forth year I adjusted for many variables and only spent 1/2 the time planting as I did in the second year.

      I don’t dispute that China over egged the pudding by large amounts. However the growth model of capital is well defined and China has a very long history, and an internally well documented history, of how to successfully create wealth and growth. There many other factors than just plain growth stats at work internally and externally in relation to Chinese economic patterns. The West’s obsession with finding Chinese weaknesses are mostly self serving to cover up the anaemic growth and warped distribution patterns that have manifested themselves over the last 40 years in our own economies.

      The Chinese may have vast problems manifesting themselves. Do we have any less and possibly more dangerous than the Chinese problems?

      1. beene

        The differences in China debt are twofold: creating infrastructure and jobs. USA just creates speculation and debt serving mostly.

        1. MikeNY

          Whachoo talkin’ bout?

          We create ‘tweets’ and ‘likes’. If that ain’t a value-add, I don’t know the meaning of the phrase!

      2. cnchal

        The Chinese may have vast problems manifesting themselves

        The pollution and poisoning of China will take centuries to clean up, and will be a cross to bear for the non elite. The elite are trying to get out as fast as they can with as much as possible.

        Building cities that can house millions, and no one living there is not creating wealth. Those places are built with materials that rot in a few year. Chinese drywall is a good definition of crapify, and no doubt the interior walls are turning black with mold. It was a complete waste of resources and labor.

        From the article there are a few more revelations.

        Nestle, the worlds largest food company, recently reported falling sales for the first nine months of the year and also warned of “challenging” Chinese trading conditions. The fear of China going backwards is now becoming a reality, as the Chinese consumer is not picking up from where capital investment left off.

        If the Chinese consume as much as first worlders, it would be like a swarm of locusts descending on the world and eating everything, with a crapified planet left behind. Because globalization.
        Undershooting global growth targets wouldn’t usually be a problem but stock markets around the world are priced to perfection after more than five years of extraordinary monetary policy. Last week the S&P 500 rallied by more than 3.7pc to 1,957, and has now nearly erased October’s sharp losses. According to the Shiller price earnings valuation for US markets they are 54pc overvalued.

        The US markets cheered signs that the Federal Reserve and the European Central Bank could act in concert to pump more money into the system after the October selloff spooked investors. The Vix, the so-called “fear index” that measures market volatility, has fallen back to more normal levels in a sign investors believe everything is ok. The Vix spiked to two year highs in mid-October as growth fears gripped markets

        This ties in with yesterdays Der Spiegel article.

        In Europe, however, this process has dragged on for years, under pressure from the financial lobby. The condition of the industry is now so dismal that experts are using metaphors from the world of horror films to describe it. “Zombie banks” are those that are being kept alive artificially with government bailouts and, like the zombies in Hollywood films, are wreaking havoc throughout Europe. They are too sick to lend money to the real economy but healthy enough to speculate with financial investments. Many banks today, says Bonn economist Martin Hellwig, can only “survive in the market by speculating.”

        What distinguishes the current situation from the wild years before the financial crisis is that speculators were once driven by greed but have since turned into speculators motivated by need.

        To support a rotten criminal wealth extraction scam. Because banks.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          The elites are getting out.

          They fan out as tourist-immigrants. In California, maternity motels are doing great, I understand.

          We are probably accelerating their collapse over there by cooperating (we need their money and the jobs they will create) with this 0.01% Chinese refugees.

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            As for the saying that, it doesn’t matter if it’s a polluting cat or a non-polluting cat, as long as it catches money – that saying is not a correct translation.

      3. Eeyores enigma

        makedoanmend – Wrt your analogy, It is not so much the amount of time it takes, its the inputs…its ALWAYS about the inputs…for China it is about the inputs.

        The first year I tried to plant a full acre of veg I didn’t need much inputs. The second year I needed to add inputs. The third year I needed a lot of inputs. The forth year I added large amounts of inputs and let some land go fallow and only produced 1/2 the amount of produce as I did in the second year.

        Everyone always leaves out the cost, source, and efforts of inputs when talking about economics as if they are inconsequential.

        China is toast.

        1. makedoanmend

          Didja ever hear about non-industrial agriculture and horticulture? The Chinese perfected methods of self sustaining their agriculture a long, long time ago; balancing inputs against outputs. So it may be all about inputs, but there are different ways of managing inputs.

          Whether or not the current generation of Chinese have forgotten all that their civilisation has taught them it up for debate. However, a civilisation that’s been around in one form or another for a couple of thousand years is doing pretty good. Far beyone the ‘toast’ thingy you posit.

          If I were betting person, I’d give the Chinese, however badly their current stint with capital may turn out, to be odds on favourite to outlast the US empire as it’s currently configured.

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            The belief over there, traditionally, is repeating cycles of toast-and-nontoast.

            It is not wrong to say they will be toast (as they surely will be), to be followed by non-toast.

          2. Eeyores enigma

            Makedoo- I know all about Historical Chinese agriculture. When it was closest to sustainable, which it has never been by the way, It was only possible because they used “night soil” or as we call it humanure. This was brought in at the same rate that their agricultural production was brought out. No free lunch..not even a $h1t sandwich. Even with that input they still relied heavily on leaving land fallow and bringing in seaweed and other inputs.

            I have around 5 acres but if I add up all my beds it might be just a little over an acre I farm. The rest is for livestock and inputs. I still need to bring in large amounts of inputs every month and I am not pushing it very hard at all.

            Yes we could engineer, China could engineer a sustainable food system but only for about a fifth of the current population.

            1. makedoandmend

              Many claims. Many statements without proffer of evidence.

              I suppose we’ll just have to wait and see. Interesting times and all that.

              Logically, we’re all toast – eventually. Ain’t saying much about the in between bits – that sort of statement.

              One must wonder, however, about the insistence of dire and dread that attends those outside the empire.

              Is it us inside the matrix of the empire who have a special totem of observation? Or are we projecting our fears about ourselves onto the barbarians in the hope that we can deflect our failures onto them?

    2. Paul Tioxon

      China was the poorest nation, the poorest area in the world in 1949. Poorer than Africa. In 2014, the result of all of that debt is that China is the largest economy in the world and they actually built something tangible other than commercial paper to roll over and over and over again and again and again using housing stock that was built a long time ago as collateral. Refinancing over and over and over the same housing stock, mostly built before 2000 as the real estate collateral is not even remotely comparable to actually building a modern nation that transferred at least a 1/2 billion people from rural agricultural production to large urban cities of 10 million or more complete with all of the trimmings of electricity and indoor plumbing. I would not call that a bubble. But then, I don’t have a Nobel Prize in economics or much anything else.

      1. Paul Niemi

        Regarding China problems, I see the barns full of Chinese-made goods here are closing stores and laying off people. Since April, I’ve said they have to be selling their stuff at a loss, but they can do it because of state-directed lending and a pegged exchange rate. Now my concern is the dollar short. Since 2008, Chinese companies have borrowed at least a trillion in dollars from foreign banks and investors. Those loans have to be repaid in dollars, and everyone assumes no shortage because supposedly they have a reserve of $1.8 trillion out of $4 trillion in foreign exchange. Except the Chinese banks have quietly been conducting lifeboat operations, converting funds to dollars for the wealthy and connected to purchase houses and other assets overseas. So the suspicion they won’t have the dollars to repay the loans exists, and the dollar is appreciating in value with the end of QE. As a historical note, all the countries that have experienced hyperinflation had large debts denominated in foreign currencies and trouble getting the foreign exchange to repay the loans. So scenarios involving repudiation of foreign debts, sudden devaluation of the Renminbi, and domestic inflation come into play. The Chinese government has pursued economic development by using exports to obtain foreign hard currency, then leveraging that 20x to create bank assets in renminbi and jobs through directed lending and spending. We’ll see how it works out.

        1. fresno dan

          Economists also too easily enjoy the pleasure of moralizing. It should be very easy, to take yet another example, to understand why China has the highest savings rate in the world. Most economists don’t. Instead they refer knowingly to Chinese household frugality, based on Confucian values, even though Chinese household savings are pretty normal and the increase in household savings is a very small part of the total increase in savings (probably because in the US total savings are importantly a function of household savings, so everyone assumes this must be true everywhere).

          China’s extraordinarily high savings rate is almost wholly explained by the transfer mechanisms that subsidized rapid growth over the past two decades, leaving Chinese households with the lowest share of GDP in the world, and perhaps the lowest ever recorded for a large economy. Arithmetic, not to mention historical precedents, can easily explain why these transfers, which during this century amounted to as much as 5-8 percent of GDP annually, would drive down the household consumption share of GDP by driving down the household income share, and of course high savings are simply the obverse of low consumption.
          I actually see (of course, I may be blind) some fundamental similarities between the US and China. Both societies run by elites with no concern for the masses (whether a “dictatorship of the proletariat” or a “capitalistic free market” it is uncanny how far removed the reality is from the ideology….). Both like to look at aggregate economic numbers that nominally make everything look hunky dory but hide a lot of distress.

          1. Paul Niemi

            I saved that link for reading later. I really like what you have said. The high savings rate may reflect worry about not having enough to eat, expectation of holding the bag for another government boondoggle, not having much available to buy, expecting no social security, having no job security, or experience living through hard times. Perhaps anyone who survived the “Great Leap Forward,” and the “Cultural Revolution,” would be a frugal saver.

        2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          They would like to lessen their foreign hard currency dependency by establishing bilateral trade settlements with their trade partners.

          That’s way, they can have money for economic development by just by printing Renminbi.

          Right now, only the imperial hegemon can print freely; everyone else has to earn foreign reserves and adjust monetary policies involuntarily, according to the situation.

      2. cnchal

        Right on cue we have this.
        HONG KONG—When Chinese property developer Agile Property Holdings Ltd. said this month that its chairman was taken into custody by authorities, the disclosure was a shock to Western banks that lent the company money.

        Foreign lenders in China have been stung by a string of suspected fraud cases and problem loans in the country as Beijing investigates company executives and seizes assets in a crackdown on corruption.

        Agile Property has a large debt payment due in December and has been scrambling to raise funds. It is in discussions with bankers at HSBC Holdings PLC and its unit Hang Seng Bank Ltd. , and Standard Chartered PLC for an extension of the US$475 million loan.

        The company cancelled plans at the start of the month to raise 2.75 billion Hong Kong dollars (US$355 million) through a rights issue. A few days later, the company said it would try again, this time with the fundraising backed by the controlling family, meaning they would have to buy any shares not bought by investors.

        When news came that the chairman was taken into custody, it was a shock to banks such as BNP Paribas , HSBC and Standard Chartered that had agreed to underwrite the original offering, and who have also lent the company money.

        “It was a surprise to all the banks. We didn’t know,” said one executive at a Western bank with direct knowledge of the matter.

        Why are these guys all paid the big bucks?

        Half a dozen Western lenders are also locked in legal battles over exposures of around US$1 billion linked to a suspected fraud at Qingdao port.


        The spate of suspected fraud cases and growing fears that loans won’t be repaid has raised questions about the effectiveness of scrutiny applied by banks to borrowers.

        “In China, nothing is what it appears to be,” said Violet Ho, senior managing director, Greater China at Kroll, the investigative consulting firm.

        Western banks have been lending to Chinese borrowers in huge volumes, often via their Hong Kong based subsidiaries.


    3. Vatch

      “China has used 6.6 gigatons of cement in the last 3 years”

      Cement production generates carbon dioxide gas. Calcium carbonate from limestone is heated in the presence of oxygen to produce calcium oxide and carbon dioxide. In addition, the heat is generated by burning fossil fuels, so that also generates the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide. More information:

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Always worrisome when we talk about stimulating the ‘economy’ with infrastructure projects, if they are cement-heavy projects.

    4. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Accounting identity

      Total debt = Total savings.

      Think of the $24 trillion debt as $24 trillion savings for banksters.

      It’s a reminder that private sector savings = public sector debt (in the absence of foreigners)

    5. Dragon Spawn

      The biggest bubble in human history is the petroleum bubble you are currently inhabiting.

      It is impossible for most to see.

  2. abynormal

    “the American people have also now been truly exposed to another disease entirely: the excruciating truth about our health care system’s dysfunction — and the prognosis doesn’t look good.”

    there’s a new sunshine law come ta town…its called Ebola

  3. abynormal

    cool sherbert moth Kevin…
    It landed —
    a forward oblique
    with dotted line antennae
    pinned back
    listening for a signal
    swallow- tail -ed physique, so
    I wrote a -round it and




    and a small white silhouette
    of slender moth
    within words
    that had no other meaning

    1. susan the other

      what a great poem. thanx. those colors are amazing – not just the moth but the soft green lichen.

  4. not_me

    re: I’m a Hazmat-Trained Hospital Worker: Here’s What No One Is Telling You About Ebola:

    My 2 cents:

    1) The suits should be under positive pressure with filtered, COOLED air. This will greatly increase the safety and wearing time; 1/2 hour max is ridiculous. Also, it should make leak testing easy.

    2) Patient rooms should be under slight negative pressure so that aerosols are sucked in and not allowed to drift out with the air sucked from the room being decontaminated.

    1. craazyboy

      3) Somebody should tell the West Africans to please stop projectile vomiting and projectile shitting on each other. There are 10,000 infected since the beginning of the year, and somebody needs to tell them to stop doing that!

      4) Try “buzz marketing” for implementing 3). Ebola outbreaks have been going on since 1976, but the word seemingly hasn’t got around yet. Word of mouth communication of information can work wonders!

      Hard to believe, I know, but sometimes you got to tell people every little thing. Play the odds right, and we’ll have this thing knocked up in a jiffy! Big kisses all!!!

        1. cwaltz

          How sad is it that what it took to get a vaccine was the potential of people in a rich, developed nation getting it to do something about it?

          We need a better system for dealing with health care. For profit is definitely not working on this front.

          1. not_me

            It’s not so much profits as profit taking that is the problem. The banks have us in a mad rat race where profit is a NECESSITY so they can be paid their usury. Then don’t borrow from the banks someone might respond. That might work during the bust but during booms when the government-subsidized banks are lending new purchasing power into existence, the rule is borrow or be left behind by those who do borrow. Companies during the busts might also be excessively concerned with profits to pay down debt.

            Let’s not throw out the baby with the bathwater, profits are good, profit taking isn’t. The banker-induced rat race REQUIRES growth so companies can’t mess around with less or non-profitable lines of research such as a vaccine for Ebola.

  5. fresno dan
    Per comments yesterday or the day before about preventing people exiting countries
    “Couture-Rouleau was identified as a “high-risk traveller” by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, and was prevented from leaving the country for fear that he would join up with foreign fighters abroad. Zehaf-Bibeau had applied for a passport and talked about travelling to Saudi Arabia; R.C.M.P. officials suggested that difficulty in renewing his passport may have played a role in the shooting.* Zehaf-Bibeau is, according to Hegghammer, “one of several examples of what I’ve called the ‘obstruction effect’—the tendency for some candidate foreign fighters to attack at home when they are prevented from leaving.” He cited the Holsworthy Barracks plot, in a suburb of Sydney, as one such example.”
    Too be clear, I don’t think everybody in ISIS is mentally ill, so there is a little bit of the danger of painting our adversaries as mentally ill (the article is about home grown terrorists and mental illness). And wars and violence are usually perpetrated by the young, and not too reflective. Indeed, the term terrorist obscures the fact of the “war” we are in. Either there are ideological differences (Clausewitz – war is politics by different means) or it is just criminality. Seems to me too many are involved to be just criminals.
    We portray ourselves too much as a victim (they hate us for our freedoms) and refuse to deal with the reality of our alliances and polices over there. Some may be good, and some may be bad, but if we act as if anybody who disagrees with us is insane….well, we’re gonna be awfully lonely in the lunatic asylum.

    1. Inverness

      There have been serious questions about the mental health of the Ottawa/Quebec shooters, and Radio Canada (Catherine Perrin’s show Médium Large) had a very interesting interview with a French Canadian mother of a young man in Calgary who converted to Islam and and ended up killed in Syria fighting for ISIS. It was clear that this 22-year old could have benefited from some mental health intervention, but access to psychiatrists is not always easy in a health-care system which has long waiting lists and, furthermore, men are generally not encouraged to talk about their feelings in society. Instead, sometimes they turn violent.

      There is a deep malaise in Western societies in general, and for PM Harper, it’s far easier to sound militaristic to justify Canada’s involvement abroad rather than address some deep existentialist crises that face youth today. Instead of expanding surveillance (which proved ineffective in preventing the Ottawa murder, hello), it could be time to talk about improving access to mental health, education, and employment so you don’t have lost young people desperately seeking an identity and a cause. But why would Harper want to do that? So much easier to spread fear and blame the ISIS boogie men.

  6. fresno dan

    Professor suspended from top university for giving off ‘negative vibes’ Telegraph. Lambert: “Privatizers hated him. He used sarcasm and irony!”

    Its well known amongst the couth and refined that sarcasm is the last refuge of depraved puppy killers.
    As for irony, the scientific literate are well acquainted with the irrefutable scientific studies that prove the ironic have itsy bitsy penises. Even ironic women….
    That is why I never ever use irony or sarcasm. And neither should you!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    1. dearieme

      Nowt to do with “privatizers”, though. It’s to do with leftist public sector bureaucrats trying to justify their follies using the cant of managerialism.

      1. ambrit

        I know I’m teasing the Bear here but, isn’t the use of “leftist” and “bureaucrat” together an oxymoron?

      2. hunkerdown

        You’re actually going to believe New Democrats when they tell you what’s leftist when any proper leftist worth their salt would sooner see them entombed in some of that Chinese concrete?

        Managerialism is merely a polite form of right-wing authoritarianism.

    2. Inverness

      Straight from the article on the sarcastic professor:
      “Thomas Docherty was banned from the University of Warwick in January for allegedly giving off “negative vibes” and undermining the authority of the former head of his department. ” How dare he!

      Could the U.K, a place I always found pretty tolerant of irony, be becoming more literal-minded and agressively positive like the U.S.A? In American work culture, you must respect, or even revere, those in authority. As the U.K. becomes more austere, and their universities more privatized and expensive, so, perhaps is the work culture. What makes it even sadder is that a university should be the ideal place for personal eccentricities, not workspeak.

      1. jrs

        If the Brits can’t even be negative, we’re in trouble. I always find it preferable to American positivity.

      2. Brooklin Bridge

        ‘You are to be in all things regulated and governed,’ said the gentleman, ‘by fact. We hope to have, before long, a board of fact, composed of commissioners of fact, who will force the people to be a people of fact, and of nothing but fact. You must discard the word Fancy altogether. You have nothing to do with it. You are not to have, in any object of use of ornament, what would be a contradiction in fact. You don’t walk upon flowers in fact; you cannot be allowed to walk upon flowers in carpets. You don’t find that foreign birds and butterflies come and perch upon your crockery. You never meet with quadrupeds going up and down walls; you must not have quadrupeds represented upon walls. You must use,’ said the gentleman, ‘for all these purposes, combinations and modifications (in primary colours) of mathematical figures which are susceptible of proof and demonstration. This is the new discovery. This is fact. This is taste.’

        -Charles Dickens, Hard Times

    3. proximity1

      “No ‘negative vibes,’ please–we’re British.”
      British Defence minister, Michael Fallon also smacked down for giving off negative vibes—

      [Guardian news report] “Michael Fallon withdraws ‘careless’ immigration remark : Defence secretary says he used words he would not usually use when saying Britain is being ‘swamped’ by immigrants”

      “The defence secretary said on television and radio that he had been careless and had used words he would not usually use when defending David Cameron’s plans for a renegotiation with the EU over the freedom of movement of workers.”

      He oughta have taken note of the poor professor’s plight.

    4. craazyboy

      University posts help wanted ad in Forbes magazine.

      Wanted: Pompous Asshole – Credentialed and experienced in spewing projectile hubris and misinformation upon naïve college students and occasionally the general public via the newscast channels. Must be able to lie about penis size, as well fake research grant studies on this subject. Pay negotiable [we don’t try that hard], commission, bonus, real health insurance, 3 months paid vacation, tenure or BYO, or DIY, and you still get paid if and when you officially retire. Assistant profesers provided. We are a sabbatical enabled employer. NFL, GED, INC approved.

    5. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      It’s not that we shouldn’t be overly reliance on irony and sarcasm, but the problem is that the other side, the dark side, can also employ these devices, and then, it becomes more a techniques debate than a substance debate.

      1. Inverness

        But it’s about control, isn’t it? Management doesn’t want any pesky personality ticks to get in the way of their domination over “their staff.” Monitoring people for individual quirks like possible sarcasm, sighs, shoulder shrugs, irony…where does it end? Isn’t that essentially a totalitarian management scheme, to eliminate even the possibility that somebody might disagree with the big boss?

        Eliminate all dissent, or even the suggestion that somebody might dissent. Scary stuff.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Eliminating dissent is more visible and less sophisticated than out-ironic-ing, out-sarcastic-ing the dissenters.

          Third-world dictators and empire-wannabees employ the former only to ridicule themselves. Great empires with great propaganda ministries are more refined than that.

  7. OIFVet

    Thomas Frank: “Obviously, Obama has been victim No. 1 of the resurgent right.” Really? This Obama as a victim meme is infuriating on so many levels.

    1. Banger

      Obama was used by his handlers as a way to stifle the resurgent left–that died stillborn when Obama formed his cabinet and staff. That allowed the right to rise again even more rigorously without opposition form the left who, to this day, have a soft spot for Obama as Krugman’s “self-betrayal” indicates.

      1. OIFVet

        I don’t believe that he was used, per se. I rather believe that Obama was always what he is, an ambitious neoliberal whose genius is in using aspirational language devoid of much specifics in order to become a mirror in which the left could see whatever it wanted to see. In effect Obama used the left, while never having been a part of it. I think that Adolph Reed had the true measure of Obama back in 1996: “In Chicago, for instance, we’ve gotten a foretaste of the new breed of foundation-hatched black communitarian voices; one of them, a smooth Harvard lawyer with impeccable do-good credentials and vacuous-to-repressive neoliberal politics, has won a state senate seat on a base mainly in the liberal foundation and development worlds. His fundamentally bootstrap line was softened by a patina of the rhetoric of authentic community, talk about meeting in kitchens, small-scale solutions to social problems, and the predictable elevation of process over program — the point where identity politics converges with old-fashioned middle-class reform in favoring form over substance. I suspect that his ilk is the wave of the future in U.S. black politics, as in Haiti and wherever else the International Monetary Fund has sway. So far the black activist response hasn’t been up to the challenge. We have to do better.”

        1. Banger

          He could not possibly have gone from State Senator to POTUS without help. Guys put him in his position as Keynote speaker at the 2004 convention and they helped engineer the worshipful reactions of the controlled media. He was certainly a hustler–but you don’t hustle to the top without the Washington fixers and made-men if you have no real power base. He may have established networks in Chicago but he was RECRUITED as a way to stifle the left, in my view–and it worked. Just as 9/11 worked to put a bullet into the old Republic, Obama was created to put a bullet into the the green shoots that came up after the disaster of Bush.

            1. OIFVet

              Section 8 slumlords sure did invest well. Nice changes to the website BTW, now I need to figure out how to use them.

            2. optimader

              If that is the Fitch speech, yes he pretty well made an accurate assessment. But no one gets elected without support, so that is pretty much a distinction without a difference. Support does not equal Handlers. More like Support equals an investment by Special Interests.

              1. Glenn Condell

                ‘Support does not equal Handlers. More like Support equals an investment by Special Interests’

                Might that be a distinction without a difference too?

          1. sleepy

            My perception of Obama is that he has no core beliefs at all other than himself.

            He is an empty suit who goes along to get along, a proponent of the status-quo without being interested enough or caring enough to evaluate the status-quo critically. It’s an easy position for him, no muss no fuss, as he rides along as front man for neoliberalism. Why make waves when his future and his family’s future is assured?

            None of which should imply that he is not an active agent.

        2. optimader

          ” don’t believe that he was used, per se. I rather believe that Obama was always what he is, an ambitious neoliberal whose genius is in using aspirational language devoid of much specifics in order to become a mirror in which the left could see whatever it wanted to see”

          The only quibble I have w/ this assessment is that I would change “much” to “any”. That’s why I refer to BHO as the state of the art Political Rorschach Test.

          Ideologues from the left and right both perceive their own illusion, as well the CT crowd see him as a puppet of a cabal of never defined “handlers”.

          BHO is nothing if not consistent and IMO there is ZERO evidence his actions are coerced by anyone, other than perhaps his wife and MinL. BHO has a free will and has chosen his path.

          Referring to him a “genius” is an overstatement of a somewhat threadbare label. BHO was a reasonably persistent guy who happened to be a the right place in time — Being a half black guy allowed the average American to heroically stick there toe in the racial POTUS water w/ out too much angst, He had an adequately sellable CV for the political arena, (never having been forced to do much that is undeniably offensive in political terms, he had a pretty clean sheet) and he could speak w/o saying “annnd…uuuh , um”, which most people I assume found recently refreshing. Combine all of this w/ being a skilled Platitude Generator, (incidentally I believe most anyone of average intelligence can train themselves to speak in this manner, corporate management is loaded w/ this skill) and you have a guy that satisfied all the faces of the Political Rubik cube at a point in American history.

          1. OIFVet

            Well, mission accomplished by BO: looks like the Dems will lose the governorship of Illinois. Though, that’s probably more of Rahm’s doing on behalf of his patron Rauner. It will be sold as a great embarrassment for Obama, what with all the trips he, Michelle, and the Bidens have taken to shore up Quinn, but I think Obama will get over this heartbreak easily…

          2. Glenn Condell

            My PM Tony Abbott has a free will and has chosen his path too. He has freely chosen never to do anything that would upset the US and/or the financial markets. He’s not the Lone Ranger.

            You don’t have to be kept in line by ‘handlers’ if you have chosen freely, but the result looks exactly the same either way – good for the few and rotten for the many.

            ‘there is ZERO evidence his actions are coerced by anyone’

            Well, there wouldn’t be. Even if there was there wouldn’t be, he naturally being part of the elite cohort the NSA either doesn’t listen to never exposes. But again, if he’s on board the result is the same, so in the end the provenance of his signature weakness is irrelevant, at least for those on the receiving end.

            ‘Combine all of this w/ being a skilled Platitude Generator’

            Inspiring oratory is almost a prereq now, as are wealthy and powerful backers, though a Dubya can get away with ‘folksy charm’ instead, so long as you have a toothless captured MSM.

            They have all just seemed like pets lately – you could never imagine any circumstance under which you could refer to Roosevelt (x2) or Truman or Eisenhower or Kennedy that way; each possessing a sense of independent personal power. Each one has examples of their standing up to powerful interests – corporate/financial, military, Israel. Imagine Obama doing that… hard isn’t it? As for the Big Dog… !!!

            Plausible but pliable, inspiring but empty… one day we may have a robot (or O-bot) for that…

        3. OIFVet

          Hi Banger, of course Obama had help, and I agree that his task was to destroy or at least discredit “the left”. I was just quibbling over the phrase “Obama was used”. It implies that he was/is helpless, that he was coerced or fooled somehow. I know this is not how you meant it but it is how it comes off, at least to me.

        4. GuyFawkesLives

          I’m commenting on your last line:
          “So far the black activist response hasn’t been up to the challenge. We have to do better.”

          I asked an educated black man why there has been no outrage by the black community over the largest loss of black wealth in America while the first black President resides in office. He told me, “Heck, they shot MLK and Malcolm X.” I told him than put a white man like me out in front. We just need the populace in the streets over this outrage. He seemed to want his house, his paycheck and his comfort over any outrage for his fellow black man losing everything.

          We are a nation of TV watchers and beer drinkers……whose outrage cannot be stirred without many thinking they don’t want to lose the comfort that they have acquired, albeit loosely.

      1. EmilianoZ

        That’s exactly why Obama was chosen. No self-respecting liberal of any consequence can bring himself/herself to attack Obama directly, because, you know, that’s not cool.

    2. Brindle

      Frank is an excellent example of the liberal who wants to believe, who wants Obama to be this figure of beneficence—Frank falls for basic cult of personality stuff.
      What is staring them in the face cannot be mentioned—that Obama is essentially what we used to call a centrist republican, although he is arguably worse than that.
      …..” What’s more, I still hold Obama in high esteem, and sometimes I think he could yet make it into the pantheon,….
      …..”If we want to believe that Obama has been a consequential and a great president”

      This is also a describes Obama:

      …..”It is obviously true, as Krugman knows well, that many of our Republican brethren are today living in a land of ideological make-believe, where they imagine treason in high places and dream about conquest by secretive, malevolent foreigners.”

    3. EmilianoZ

      I stopped reading when I reached that point. I knew the article was just a waste of time. Obama did just what he set out to do. His ambition was never to be a great president. His ambition was always a house on the Vineyard, tending to roses, chatting genteelly with some bona fide patrician neighbor.

  8. dearieme

    “we should be treating the health care professionals, particularly the ones who volunteer to go to Africa, like heroes”: yeah, but like heroes who are potential disease vectors. The same should be true of the troops who will return from West Africa. Ebola pays no heed to sentimentality.

    1. Juneau

      I have to say it is a dramatic contrast, the attitudes of the Dallas HCW on quarantine in the 60 Minutes episode last night, and the rage from the nurse quarantined in NJ. All of these nurses are heroic and worthy of enormous respect and consideration. The people who assessed Ms. Hickox at the airport were clearly out of line. Still, the Dallas staff seem much more understanding of the need for quarantine. Just so you know also, much of the responsibility of MSF in Africa is quarantining suspected cases. She clearly understands the need for this. The nurse quarantined in NJ is a CDC employee.
      “Hickox, who has worked as an Epidemic Intelligence Service Fellow for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention since July 2012, also studied at Johns Hopkins University.”
      I realize this is not a popular view and my apologies in advance if I am in error, but I am confused by her attitude about the usefulness of quarantine since she, or at least MSF, has been imposing same said restrictions on others for many weeks in Africa

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Perhaps a 21 day quarantine is easier to swallow if we think of it as a 3-week Zen-meditation* retreat from this floating world…

        *But you can still tweet and go on social media.

        1. cwaltz

          I do think that we should allow them to draw unemployment while quarantined. That would eradicte the argument that not being allowed to work is detrimental to their financial well being. There needs to be a medium ground that allows for safety and doesn’t bankrupt people for trying to do the right thing and trying to help with a dangerous disease.

      2. Gerard Pierce

        Probably the reason she was upset was (I assume) the restrictions she imposed were based on actual evidence. It appears that they threw her into quarantine without a valid temperature reading or any other evidence she was actually ill.. There is a natural problem when people who do not know what they are doing are given power over those who do know what they are doing. It also sounds as though she was not very well treated by those who assumed power over her.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          I think my problem with myself is that if that had happened to me, I would have thought it as standard operating procedure and accepted meekly.

          I hate myself for having been trained so well.

  9. fresno dan

    Thomas Frank: Paul Krugman’s sloppy, wet kiss Salon (GP)
    “And, as my friend Bill Black wrote in his response to the Krugman article, “by discrediting the banks and bankers” through means of prosecuting a few of them, “the administration would have enormously increased the political space for real reforms on executive compensation,” meaning bonuses, a factor responsible both for the epidemic of fraud that brought on the financial crisis and the supersonic acceleration in upper-bracket income.”
    The problem with our constitutional scholar is that he is actively undermining the rule of law and diminishing the protections of the constitution. Nobody made him do this. I really don’t think I exaggerate when I say Obama followed Bush the younger more closely than Bush the senior followed Reagan.

    1. Banger

      Not only that—if Obama and Democratic politicians were something resembling what they claim to be such an action (prosecuting upper-class criminals) would have gained them much popularity and they would have been guaranteed to have maintained the House in 2010. This is obvious. But the fact is that the fixers who are actually the rulers today (Obama function is largely ceremonial or has been–this may be changing) have dominated power in Washington as much or more than they did during the Bush years.

      1. TedWa

        Agree, and if he had prosecuted Bush and Cheney he would have had the Republicans on the run for years. Instead he let them slide, is now complicit in their crimes (according to the Geneva Convention) and has allowed the Republicans to bully their positions against any reform. I can’t remember anyone that had so many things going for him that blew every chance for change. I guess we mis-heard him when he said he was bringing “hope and change”, when what he really was saying was he was bringing “hoax and chains”.

    2. James Levy

      Tom Frank is simply either stuck positioning himself inside the acceptable political/journalistic marketplace or is glad to do so if it means a nice house for himself, his wife, and his kids in Georgetown. He can’t be the man who wrote “The God that Sucks” and “What’s the Matter with Kansas” and not know that Obama is a neoliberal fraud. He can’t. But it’s his rice bowl, and I guess he doesn’t want to go back to living in a loft in a dodgy section of Chicago like he did in his Baffler days. Unlike many, though, yes, I can blame him for writing things he can’t believe in order to stay gainfully employed. He was doing OK and would have continued to do OK. I hope he thinks the parties and the dinner invites are worth it.

      1. Doug Terpstra

        We have a winner! This is a logical analysis of Frank and Obama. Both clearly know better. Their too-eloquent critique of a fundamentally rigged, corrupt system is a self-indictment. And I don’t buy the lawyerly vagueness in Obama’s fig leaf. He was specific enough about Gitmo, NAFTA, Palestine and settlements, Wall Street “fat cats”, accountability for torture, diplomacy over war, transparency in govt, immigration, and other pledges that his reversals and outright crimes, even beyond those of Bush, expose him as an epic fraud. Frank certainly knows the score and how to score. He appears to be just another sellout.

        1. Glenn Condell

          ‘We have a winner! This is a logical analysis of Frank and Obama. Both clearly know better. ‘

          Krugman too? Hasn’t he been talked about the last few Dem admins as a possible Treasury Sec or Fed head, or something?

      2. jrs

        Maybe political commentators really ought to marry someone with a steady stable good paying job, so they don’t have to compromise so much.

        1. Roland

          But the biggest bloody fool in the entire bourgeois commentariat is Tom Friedman, and he married money!

  10. MikeNY

    Re Jeb Bush for ’45’.

    Why don’t we just exhume some dead Washington and some dead Adams, and have the corpses contest the election? That would feel more fresh.

    1. Banger

      I don’t think this Imperial situation has anything to do with the world of Washington and Adams–not that these guys were saints but we had a Constitutional Republic back then which managed to hold for over two centuries–but that is over and we had better get used to that.

    2. Clive

      That’d be great. I’d even become a U.S. citizen to get a go at that one. Can I vote for Warren G. Harding ?

        1. Ulysses


          I promised my friend Ernie a free pitcher of Red, at Rudy’s, if he could come up with a catchy slogan for our campaign. After a full 7 seconds of careful rumination this is what he produced: “We know voting for a dead guy sounds a bit daft; do the right thing anyway, vote for Taft!” Whaddya think? Maybe a bit too highbrow for today’s voters?

          1. MikeNY

            I love it! Here’s mine:

            The dynastic sword is in — up to the haft.
            Democracy’s dead folks. So vote for Bill Taft!

            1. cwaltz

              Personally I think Andrew Jackson is more viable. We can totally flout the fact that we had our first balanced budget during his presidency. The deficit hawks would love them some Andy.

          2. hunkerdown

            Too long for today’s voters, unless you set it to some appropriately effete music. Maybe the lounge revival will prove useful here.

            “‘Keep Cool with Coolidge!’ – Excellent! Shows you’ve lost your mind due to insane working conditions.” – from an old old MAD piece on better chants for strikers

            1. MikeNY

              Vote Bush for incompetence; Clinton for graft.
              There’s one who can’t f#%k you, and that’s big Bill Taft!

      1. optimader

        William Henry Harrison, A Man for Our Times and a model for the future POTUSs.

        “Tippecanoe and Tyler Too”,

    3. neo-realist

      Maybe Jeb has been assured by some PTB that the “math” will be put in place in key electoral states to assure victory.

  11. Benedict@Large

    Many police officers earn poverty wages, forced to take second jobs to cover basic costs – NBC

    This shouldn’t be a story about bad police wages. It should is a story about cities who either don’t have an adequate tax base or who are unwilling to tax to fund services. These cities no doubt pay their municipal workers and teachers inadequately also, By casting this as a story about police wages, NBC is implying that police wages should not be bound by the same constraints that limit the wages of other workers.

    (Note also that police wages in Ferguson are ABOVE the regional average.)

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Unfortunately, no municipal worker is an island.

      All around the cities, private sector workers and self-employed are going without much retirement security, but with high deductible health care insurance policies, with jobs disappearing, outsourced or mini-sized.

      We have to focus away from one step solution like taxing for funding, unless we are talking about taxing the 0.01% and not collaterally damaging the 99.99%.

      The two step solution is first, we restore the middle class and two, get more revenues from the same or lower rates, but from a restored middle class having more money to contribute to the public sector workers.

      Still, I think the quick way is to tax the 0.01% right now, forget about money destruction from taxation.

  12. Eeyores enigma

    German village off grid; At least they injected some reality into the story;

    “The biggest irony has been that the energy shift, intended to slow climate change, has driven up carbon emissions for the past two years.

    The problem lies in the fickle nature of renewables. When the sun doesn’t shine and the wind doesn’t blow, conventional power is needed to fill the gap — ideally with relatively clean and flexible gas plants.

    However, utilities — which have taken a beating as a glut of renewables has slashed wholesale power prices — have shuttered some under-utilised gas plants and filled the gap with cheaper and dirtier coal.”

    However they still left out some of the most important parts. Raising hogs is very energy intensive. I know because I partner with a porcine propagator as he likes to be called. The feed is by necessity very complex and the diverse grain and legume inputs are some of the most energy intensive. Most people think that what comes out of the backside of a hog is free or even a burden. 100% of it needs to be used for composting and amending the soils that produce these inputs. Hog waste that has been rendered for methane is still good for compost but then you still need to bring in nitrogen (made from methane) from another source so there is not a net gain. There is no free lunch, not even a pig shit one.

    Also forestry waste has been proven time and again as not sustainable. Sustainable forest products production has no waste. It uses any waste to generate energy and heat for its own operation and is only able to generate a percentage of those energy requirements…nothing left over what so ever. I repeat there is no free lunch nor free chips with that lunch.

    jef j

    1. Banger

      We can all find plenty of arguments for TINA as long as costs are radically distorted. Point is that we have the technology today, particularly in the IT field to re-engineer our power-grid and the way we get energy. One way to start is to invest in a major R & D effort not dominated by big corporations but by a refereed competition of inventors and thinkers with a jury not selected by big corporations. Let’s see if any of those thousands of well-thought-out schemes can work instead of insisting forever and ever on the TINA idea. TINA works because the market is run by the big energy producers and oligarchs who recognize if they can control energy they can control us.

      As for hog farming–depends on how real costs are handled–in some areas of the world hogs (in parts of Asia) work out pretty well without being forced into the feed-lot like conditions that are prevalent in the USA. At any rate there are means to harness the gas from the run-off now.

      Those extra costs, btw, you tout are the product of a skewed market and not inherent in self-sustaining systems. If we wanted we could transition fairly quickly but would have to change some basic political arrangements which, after all, are what we are talking about here. The economics of power generating is mainly political.

      1. Eeyores enigma

        Great argument for “magic can happen” there Bang. What ever gets you through the night.

      2. optimader

        “we have the technology today, … One way to start is to invest in a major R & D effort”
        –Self contradictory.

        “but by a refereed competition of inventors and thinkers with a jury not selected by big corporations”
        –Huh? refereed by who? Who’s going to build it?

        The consequence of German alt energy growth that was “radically distorted” with Feed-in tariffs
        Ultimately the best approach would be to remove all subsidies but they are buried like ticks in the conventional energy sector. unwinding these could be more challenging than what IMO is the most fundamental unresolved technological hurdle for intermittent energy sources ( solar/wind): Storage. Solar/Wind solutions can all be fantastically efficient and low cost/kW ,but because of the issue of “intermittency” ( night time /no wind) a baseload of conventional powerplants need to be installed to fulfill demand.
        Intermittent energy sources are only good for a max contribution of something less than 20% of power demand as I recall, until there is a practical storage solution. This means that the conventional power gen infrastructure has to be installed, but a the same time the economics of operation are undermined by legislated feed-in tariffs.

        “As for hog farming… work out pretty well without being forced into the feed-lot like conditions that are prevalent in the USA”

        “…The drastic impacts of industrial livestock farming in the U.S. stem from producing 9.8 billion food animals on the same land mass as China with a fraction of China’s human population. China’s total food animal numbers far surpass 10 billion given that pigs alone constitute nearly 800 million.

        In February of 2010, the Chinese government released results of the first national pollution census. The most startling finding of this nearly three-year, 737 million RMB ($10 million USD) investigation was that agriculture today is a bigger source of pollution in China than industry.

        Researchers found that farming was responsible for 44 percent of chemical oxygen demand (the main measure of organic compounds in water), 67 percent of phosphorus discharges, and 57 percent of nitrogen discharges into bodies of water.
        Manure from industrial livestock farms is the most important source of this pollution—in 2008 China’s livestock produced 4.8 billion tons of waste. As the livestock industry grows, so too will the amount and problems of manure.

        Land, water and resource limitations are other important factors that Chinese officials are trying to navigate, and that emerge as social and environmental problems. By most counts, China is land-and-water scarce in relation to the country’s 1.3 billion people. Industrial livestock production (including feed) intensifies this high-population- limited-resource problem. From 2000 to 2006, water tables in the North China Plain fell by 61 percent as intensive agriculture shifted to fragile Northeastern stretches of the country. This problem will only be exacerbated as the model Chinese policymakers believe is optimal for livestock production—the CAFO model—encroaches even further. Globally, it takes 576 gallons(2180 liters) of water to produce one pound (0.45 kg) of pork (compared to 1,799 gallons for one pound of beef).117 In 2014, China is slated to produce nearly 55 million tons of pork alone. These figures raise fundamental questions about China’s ecological limits and the tradeoffs involved for China’s food security and its appetite for meat.

        The Shuanghui-Smithfield deal from an environmental perspective is therefore also “a trade of water for waste.”…

        1. Banger

          Just a little quibble–R & D is needed for applying and refining the technology–we have great technology but little ability to apply it.

          1. optimader

            I’ll give you that consistency on the D side of R&D. There is actually quite a bit of R&D being performed in the US actually. Storage technology is the Holy Grail.

            1. different clue

              When the wind or sun is driving the production of electricurrent, use some to electrolize water and store the hydrogen. When the wind or sun shuts down for a while, burn the hydrogen to generate electricurrent.

    2. heresy101

      For some time now it seemed like you were a Koch troll, but looking up your name (a pessimistic, gloomy, depressed, anhedonic, old grey stuffed donkey) explains why your take on energy is so negative. Renewable energy (wind, solar, biomass, small hydro, geothermal) is and will be a major factor in electricity generation in the next 30 years until thorium reactors become ubiquitous.

      Energy from pig and cow manure through anaerobic digestion generates many megawatthours today and many more in the future. I’ve been to a number of dairies that generate electricity for their own use and the excess is sold to the utility. We are looking at contracts for biogas from dairies or municipal green waste that is injected into the gas pipeline and renewable gas can be taken out anywhere (ie biogas REC if you will). If this biogas is run through a Warsila or Kwwasaki engine (7.5 MW and 50% electrical efficiency), one can do spin (100% power in 10 minutes) an match the intermittency of wind and solar.

      Just repeating that renewables are bad over and over doesn’t make them so. CA will soon have 33% renewables and probably 50% by 2030. Prices are dropping and will continue to drop but much more investment needs to be made in biogas and geothermal to provide more baseload generation.

      Natural gas is cheap generation (but not a lot cheaper than some wind and solar PPA’s). Whether fracking will last more than a decade is debatable because of the rapid decline of the wells, but sun, wind, and pig and cow poop will be with us forever.

  13. barrisj

    Re: “Thank you for your valor”…etc. Brilliantly stated by the Iraq Invasion War vet and writer Rory Fanning, on the continuing – and very cringeworthy – public shows of “gratitude” for serving and returning military veterans of US militarism abroad. With the exception of a self-selected few who join the military with actual expectations of seeing combat, the overwhelming bulk of the US population has absolutely no stake in what goes on abroad during America’s non-stop military adventurisms but feeled compelled to “show gratitude” for “their” “warrior-heros”. Such exhibitions of “patriotism” are rife at professional athletic events, as each home stadium tries to outdo the others in seeing how huge an American flag can be stretched across a playing field. And the usual trotting out of military colour guards as all join in and sing “The Star-Spangled Banner” to kick off professional games. Indeed, the Pentagon plays a major role in co-ordinating the appearances and orchestrating the display of men and women in uniform in order to satisfy this need to say “thank you”. Cheap and easy to do, and maintains a nice, feel-good patriotic fetishism as an extra bonus. Excellent bit of writing by Fanning.

  14. NOTaREALmerican

    Re: Professor suspended from top university for giving off ‘negative vibes’ Telegraph. Lambert: “Privatizers hated him. He used sarcasm and irony!”

    Remember: it’s important to wear more than the required flare.

  15. Oregoncharles

    My comment on the Thomas Frank article when it first appeared – and my thoughts on Frank, lately:

    ” Hank Paulson’s bank bailouts and Obama’s unfortunate-but-bipartisan embrace of same.”

    The essence, and a good example of how destructive mealy-mouthed writing can be. Obama’s embrace of the bailouts wasn’t “unfortunate-but-bipartisan;” it was enthusiastic, vigorous, and deeply corrupt. It was motivated by the huge amounts of money he received from Wall St. during that campaign, and by the further huge amounts he expects to receive after he leaves office, exactly as Slick Willy Clinton does.

    Maybe it’s because he’s on Salon, or maybe because he still hopes to be heard by knee-jerk Democrats, or both, but Frank here betrays his whole point by misrepresenting a huge betrayal that should have tipped off all of us to Obama’s real nature – and like the FISA vote, it happened BEFORE the election. People like Frank who voted for him in great expectation actually don’t have much excuse; they knew, because he told them. By his actions, the kind of message that really counts.

    Furthermore, I know, because I read Harper’s Magazine, that Frank endorsed voting for Obama in 2012, as well, AFTER making a devastating case against him. I wish Mr. Frank had a lot more spine. He’s a near-miss, but ultimately a lesson in what’s wrong with our politics and our country.

    Krugman, on the other hand, is merely a fan-boy carried away by election-year campaignitis. He doesn’t have any excuse, either, since he’s clearly quite intelligent – but far more conservative than he likes to think.

    IOW: a gutless wonder.

  16. Howard Beale IV

    Silicon Valley tech firm paid workers $1.21 an hour: CNBC

    “The company, Electronics for Imaging, flew eight employees from India to its headquarters in Fremont, Cali. where they worked 120-hour weeks helping install new computers, according to a report from NBC Bay Area.

    The workers were paid in their normal hourly wage in Indian rupees, which equals a little more than one dollar per hour, according to the report.”

    The scary thing-they ALMOST got away with it.

  17. JTFaraday

    re: “Thomas Frank: Paul Krugman’s sloppy, wet kiss Salon”

    Ugh. Just the headline alone… One can only imagine what lies beneath.

  18. cripes

    Krugman was always a marginal left, status-quo promoting econ-herder. I picture him running around in circles barking at any stray ideas beyond markets-groaf-democrat-good-istan. But i read him from time to time for signs of shifting permissible criticism.
    But after that loathsome, phony, embarrassing hand-job he performed, i’m almost willing to belive he’s just positioning himself for paid invites to DNC-sanctioned events where Obama and Clinto(s) might appear.

    And Obama never gave a crap about krugman, wh was ignored for his economic advice.

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