Links 11/16/14

Satirist Onion Inc. Said to Hire Adviser for Sale  Bloomberg. N-o-o-o-o-o-o-o!!!!!!

Philly Jesus Taken Away From Center City’s LOVE Park in Handcuffs NBC

Tracey Spicer: why I’m weaning myself off extreme grooming Daily Life

The banks: how am I here again? | Channel 4 News Paul Mason, YouTube. Mason is economics editor for UK’s Channel 4 News.

Credit markets play a risky dating game FT

As TPP Trade Talks Miss Third Deadline, Opponents Claim Momentum Truthout

Report Funded by Big Business Explains to Small Businesses What’s Best for Them Eyes on Trade. TTIP

BRICS countries should raise their voice in global economic governance: Chinese president  Xinhua

Italy’s Grillo takes anti-euro campaign to Brussels BBC. Hopes to gather 4 million signatures for referendum in spring.

Field of weeds: Could agriculture crisis crop up from herbicide resistance? NPR

Study: Global warming worsening watery dead zones Las Vegas Sun

The man who made data play ball FT


The coming clash over immigration is reflective of past conflicts WaPo

William J. Clinton Presidential History Project University of Virginia Miller Center. Let the oppo begin!

Newly released interviews detail highs, lows of Clinton White House CNN

Podesta: ‘I’ll Do Whatever’ Hillary Clinton Asks If She Runs Bloomberg

Elizabeth Warren to oppose Antonio Weiss as Treasury undersecretary Politico

Death by Deadline, Part One Marshall Project

Ferguson shooting: Myths vs. facts USA Today

From Boston to LA, police prepare for protests in Ferguson case Boston Globe

Environment: South Dakota Native Americans describe House vote on Keystone XL pipeline as an ‘act of war’ Summit County Citizens Voice

Beijing bans student leaders from taking trip to mainland to press for democracy South China Morning Post


Footage of Syrian boy ‘braving sniper fire’ to rescue girl was faked by Norwegian filmmakers Independent

Bashar al-Assad and the Devil’s Bargain Foreign Policy

The war on ISIS already has a winner: The defense industry Fortune

Big Brother Is Watching You Watch

How leading Tor developers and advocates tried to smear me after I reported their US Government ties Pando Daily. Mechanical typewriters. Cloth ribbons. It’s the only way.

81% of Tor users can be de-anonymised by analysing router information, research indicates The Stack

More Federal Agencies Are Using Undercover Operations New York Times

Would You Protect Nazi Torturers And Their Superiors? Another Word For It

Class Warfare

Back to 1917 – the wealth distribution in the US Bill Mitchell

Forget the 1% Economist. “It is the 0.01% who are really getting ahead in America.”

Health Benefits Fight at Harvard Inside Higher Ed

How A Disgraced College Chain Trapped Its Students In Poverty Buzzfeed

(Fiscally) Bleeding Kansas Econbrowser. Obviously, they haven’t cut taxes enough.

Repeat After Me: The Quantity of Labor Demanded is Not Always Equal to the Quantity Supplied Roger Farmer’s Economic Window

Inside Peter Thiel’s mind Vox

Breivik & Co London Review of Books

Dark Age America: The Hoard of the Nibelungs The Archdruid Report

The Path to Power WSJ. 150th anniversary of Sherman’s march through Georgia.

Antidote du jour:


See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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About Lambert Strether

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


  1. dearieme

    “the Clinton Project has produced an oral history”: hats off for a wonderful joke. Or was it just a tin-eared remark by someone with slow wits?

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        Ya know, if whenever we put up a link or post on the Clintons, we have to pile through juvenile sex jokes that were stale when the Republicans propagated them in 1998, maybe we should just stop doing that.

        Daily Kos is over there; plenty of political coverage to be had!

        1. ambrit

          Have you ever heard an adult sex joke? I don’t seem to recall one. Juvenile sex humour is as old as, well, the Human race, which, most of us can agree, has barely made it into puberty.
          By the way, Bill Clinton is a natural for sexual humour, because he is sexual, overtly so. (We can agree to argue the merits of that some other time, ok?)
          More interestingly, in the long ago, polite society agreed to not air the dirty laundry of their political opponents. Jack Kennedy was a notorious womanizer, but that was kept out of the limelight. Indeed, many male politicians have strong sex drives. (I do not know enough about the private lives of female American politicians to form an informed opinion about them in this regard.) Perhaps it’s a part of the personality type that gravitates to politics in the first place. Anyway, what changed around Bill Clintons’ terms to change the dynamic? Was it the GOP impeachment attempt? A coarsening of public standards? All I do know is that it was only the second time in the nations’ history that a Chief Executive had been impeached. The first was Andrew Johnson, and he was the victim of a bitter post Civil War power struggle. Clinton? Why him? I’m still wondering about that event. It signifies something major happening in American politics, but what?

        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          Sure. I mean, when are jokes about women who don’t conform to Haygood’s expectations for The Eternal Feminine ever not funny?

          There are many, many reasons to think Hillary Clinton should not be President. Recycled tropes from Republican strategic hate management campaign that started in 1992 are not among them.

  2. dearieme

    Harvard: commenters at Marginal Revolution had lots of fun with “What I don’t have time to do is find $1,500 in my back pocket”, attributed to Alison F. Johnson, a professor of history.

    1. bmeisen

      regarding med school profs defending changes:
      my belief had been that educators were aware that the American way of health was ruinous – there is no rational defense of the system: it is massively inefficient and corrupt. thoughtful people with responsiblitiy for training future medical professionals were frustrated by the entrenched interests and by a general inability to reform. But they knew the system was a failure, had surrendered and sought to do the best they could within it. This and recent stories convince me that the people with responsibility for training future American medical professionals are largely ignorant, that it is in their interests to be ignorant and to devote themselves to convincing their students that their ignorance is wisdom.

  3. LeitrimNYC

    On the story about herbicide resistance, I can’t see it being much of a problem if these weeds overwhelm the industrial/petrochemical agriculture system that produced them in the first place. Do we really need endless fields of pesticide and fertilizer soaked GMO corn and soybeans? These products aren’t fit for human consumption anyway, if we can’t profitably grow them any longer, better for us in the aggregate.

    1. McMike

      Hoping for the collapse of industrial excess is tricky business.

      The pain of adjustment will invariably fall disproportionately on the poor and powerless, because that’s how it works. Even if it is for all our own good in the long run, a massive sudden shift in ag practices would be cataclysmic. Alas, the industrial system seems intent on finding out.

      1. jgordon

        Your statement about collapse falling on the poor and powerless is not strictly true. As Dmitry Orlov and the The Archdruid have spent a great deal of time elaborating on recently, a sufficiently advanced stage of collapse tends to have a much more lethal consequences to the elites, which makes sense since they’re best developed skills are of being parasites, and parasites without a host don’t do well. Poor people on the contrary often develop skills and social connections that allow them to survive without a great deal of societal support. I would hazard to guess that for the poorest people today in America, a completely collapse of society would not seem drastically different from how their lives are today.

        1. McMike

          Yes, I’ve read some of those guys. That may be true as far as how far they have to fall, collapse of personal networks, and lack of marketable skills, leading to greater psychological costs in particular.

          Nevertheless, I have a hard time imaging how a rapid loss of food, power, and/or transport would be anything short of a full on bloodbath in the suburbs and urban areas. On that I am with Kunstler I suppose. To the extent that the wealthy have stockpiled hard assets, food, useful land and tangible businesses, and can afford to buy security, they will have a softer landing.

          It’s the people in steerage that eat it when the luxury liner hits an iceberg.

          1. Romancing the Loan

            If you’d read the Archdruid, you’d know he doesn’t predict any sort of “rapid loss of food, power, and/or transport” just gradually increasing crappiness in infrastructure, and a gradual increase in food prices (and according increase in backyard gardens). Sort of like what we’re seeing now, and have been seeing for some time.

            Besides, if the wealthy ever do retreat into their little stockpiled fiefdoms, they’ll quickly discover that making sure your security stays bought gets harder and harder. After all, you’re no longer really contributing anything to the party…

            1. McMike

              All comes down to the expected entropy gradient, don’t it? Where you are on the scale between Kunstlerian and Druidian…

              1. Generalfeldmarschall von Hindenburg

                This is something I’m very curious about, as I’d like to see these archonic monsters get their comeuppance. How many of the Italian nobility of, say, the 14th century were derived from the old senatorial class that dragged Rome into terminal degeneracy? Did the Visigoths have the good sense to cull the herd?

      2. different clue

        Acres USA ( and other sources) have spent years now writing about commercial farmers growing weed-free crops without using herbicides, insect-free crops without using pesticides or GMOs, etc.
        They also write articles about how others may do the same. They also sell books on many aspects of the subject.

        And of course the backyard home gardener can easily grow food without weeds or insects by investing the hand labor and the infoknowledge-based management.

        1. Paul Tioxon

          ACRES USA!! The Bible of Ecology Food Cooperatives, INC. Let’s hear it for parity and Eco-Agriculture! More simple, tried and true solutions just laying around, ignored. Go there people, and learn!

    2. Milquetoast Honey

      The “superweed” problem should have been obvious to anyone with a minimal scientific education (except the scientists at Monsanto apparently). This is basic natural selection. An example is the cartels/farmers in Columbia and that region already demonstrated the inefficiency of applying massive amounts of the same herbicide by selecting coca plants that showed resistance to the sprayings by the DEA. So now most of the coca plants are technically round-up ready, and the DEA’s herbicide sprayings actually benefit the coca farmers by killing all the other weeds.

      Dow’s Enlist Duo mentioned in piece is a combo of glyphosate and 2,4-D, newly approved by the EPA for use in six states to combat the “superweed” problem. 2,4-D is Agent Orange, so everything old is new again. As we all know, Agent Orange never had any issues in the past.

    3. trish

      “can’t see it being much of a problem if these weeds overwhelm the industrial/petrochemical agriculture system that produced them in the first place.” overwhelmed? not likely. Just more, better, stronger herbicides, probably approved more easily as “safe.” Same with pesticides when the same inevitable resistance develops.

      And of course, all environmental and health costs socialized.

    4. VietnamVet

      This is the website to try to point out the obvious which is never mentioned.

      Industrial farming is driven directly by costs, debt and profit. Bankers provide the money to plant the next year crops. Lowering the costs of the inputs increases the profits after harvest. Herbicides lower the costs spent on men and fuel to weed the fields and increases the yield in a weed free field. You can blame the farmer and/or the banker but the system demands a profit which is based on the selling price of the crop and ignores the long term costs of industrial farming such as weed resistance or environmental degradation or even if it is the best use of the land.

      Like everything in our new “neo-liberal” world how does society financialize the hidden costs of the capitalistic system without collapsing the system we live in? I am too old; I do believe in taxing and regulating the 0.01% for the benefit of society as a whole. Maybe America will work again like it did for the short period after WWII; otherwise, a collapse is inevitable either from peak oil, climate change, revolt, overpopulation, sovereign debt, or the forever war turning incandescent.

  4. Bridget

    Ferguson shooting: Myths vs. facts

    Myth: Officer Wilson did not know Brown was a suspect in a strong-arm robbery that happened moments before the shooting.

    Fact: Statements made by Police Chief Tom Jackson, (including the inconvenient parts doggedly overlooked by pot-stirring USA Today reporters… ), statements which have been bolstered by recently released audio of radio calls made by Wilson,…

    indicate that Darren Wilson was likely well aware that Brown was a suspect in a strong-arm robbery that happened moments before the shooting.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      Here’s what the story says:

      Sources have told the Post-Dispatch that Wilson has told authorities that before the radio call he had stopped to tell Brown and his friend, Dorian Johnson, 22, to quit walking down the middle of the street. They kept walking, and he then realized that Brown matched the description of the suspect in the stealing call.

      So, when you write “statements which have been bolstered by recently released audio of radio calls made by Wilson,” I take that to mean that the tapes support Wilson’s version. In fact, “sources” do. From the Police Department, perhaps?

      1. Bridget

        I did not say that the tapes are conclusive or that Wilson for a fact knew of the strong arm robbery at the time of the shooting. Hence the use of the terms “likely” and “bolster”. But yes, the call for backup at 12:02 supports the narrative put forth by the Police Chief and the sources. At the very least, it is enough call into question the intentions of “reporters” who studiously avoid the counter evidence in favor of publishing as unquestionable myth that Wilson did know of the strong arm robbery at the time of the shooting. Ferguson could well go up I’m flames over this sort of thing.

        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          I think when you factor the sourcing in, both the “likely” and the “bolstering” take a substantial hit. Can we agree that if our mutual desire is to avoid having cities go up in flames, a really useful procedure would be for cops not to whack people, and then leave their bodies in the street for hours?

    2. Milquetoast Honey

      Fact: The Ferguson police left Mike Brown’s body lying in the sweltering August sun for over four hours, uncovered.

      Have you ever read Antigone? Do you not understand that disrespecting the dead, regardless of their minor crimes, is a disgusting and venal practice. Do you not understand the message being sent to the people of Ferguson by these thugs called cops? Justice is something much greater than the temporary laws of man, and Darren Wilson et al., are definitely not agents for justice.

      You seek to justify the thug Wilson’s behavior as reasonable while disregarding the broader context of why his behavior was one piece in a seemingly endless litany of injustice, abuse, and violence meted out daily on the residents of Ferguson by Wilson and his thug buddies in the so-called Ferguson Police Department.

      The thug-cops have been stirring the pot for years, a few articles are going to be adding anymore fuel to a fire that has been stoked and raging by the mis-application of justice by thug-cops who have no problem calling the people of Ferguson “f***ing animals.” So please try to think about the bigger picture rather than trying to defend obvious psychopaths just because they belong to your tribe.

      1. Bridget

        If you care to dig a bit deeper, you will find time stamped videos on youtube that demonstrate that your “fact” is also a myth.

        I haven’t defended Wilson. I don’t know what happened and neither do you. And neither of is ever will if the press continues to report myths as facts.

      2. FrY10cK`

        Agree. A white PD does not leave the body of an unarmed 18-year-old they’ve just killed in the street of a poverty-stricken, over-policed city for four hours unless they’re trying to send a message. This happens over and over and over and some U.S. residents are still in denial.

        I’m hoping Bill Keller will redeem himself after the shenanigans he pulled as Executive editor of the NYT in 2004. His new endeavor focuses on the criminal justice system:

  5. trish

    re Would You Protect Nazi Torturers And Their Superiors?

    “An enlightened citizenry is indispensable for the proper functioning of a republic. Self-government is not possible unless the citizens are educated sufficiently to enable them to exercise oversight….The most effectual means of preventing [the perversion of power into tyranny are] to illuminate, as far as practicable, the minds of the people at large, and more especially to give them knowledge of those facts ”

    hmmm. how might we have a more enlightened citizenry?” Education? An effective press committed to getting those facts out?

    But what do we currently have? Continued attacks on and erosion of public education at the primary/secondary level. Ditto for higher ed, along with increasingly prohibitive costs making it less and less available to all but the relatively wealthy.
    Because both are huge sources of profiteering by the corporate elite. directly (and indirectly by fostering ignorance).

    And our watchdog press? We know all about that. Facts neglected or “facts” approved by the corporate masters, oft unquestioned,…led along by the nose fanning fears of terror! of black people! of anyone sufficient for distraction.
    Along with the ratcheting up of circuses, infotainment. Keep ’em stupid & compliant & happy enough. Nicely dispensed from oversight.

    The corporate powers are invested in keeping the the republic malfunctioning.

    1. ambrit

      To that I would add, how about the said villains “enablers?”
      I direct your attention to “IBM and the Holocaust” by Edwin Black. Details the ‘intimate’ connections between IBM and the Reich, especially concerning the Final Solution. (IBM headquarters in New York had access to the nuts and bolts information about the Extermination Camps from the beginning.)

    2. gordon

      Re: Nazi torturers (link to Another Word For It).

      First, I warmly support the release of all secret information on Govt. activities. Suppression of information is profoundly anti-democratic. That includes information of all sorts, from torture to tax breaks.

      Second, Another Word For It’s reference to the American Revolutionary War reminds us that separatists always welcome assistance from foreign States (in that case, France).

      Third, are the US generals who oppose torture the same ones who bombed civilians from Vietnam to Afghanistan to Iraq to Yemen?

      Fourth, if torture and illegal imprisonment are torture and illegal imprisonment then, yes, the Americans who do it are as bad as the Nazis who did it.

  6. Banger

    James Traub’s FP piece on Syria is interesting. He describes how those using conflict resolution techniques have come up with a way of ratcheting down the Syrian Civil War. Traub is a hack but not all hacks are the same. He provides us with a scenario which is secret and was passed down to David Ignatius who represents a key Washington faction within the National Security State. The fact this story came out and this is happening is a “play” in the internal struggles inside Washington. We find out that the WH is split about peace with Assad with (if I read between the lines correctly) the balance still on the side of War–this faction still believes that they can “train” a force to fight ISIS and Assad (hahahahahaha). Since hacks aren’t allowed to think very much no one seems to wonder why, with all the billions spent on “training” pro-U.S. forces, these fighters are so bad? Answer is very simple–it’s a fraud, a con–or the training is so bad that it makes fighters worse than they otherwise would be. Doesn’t anyone ever ask why American-trained fighters fare so badly? Doesn’t anyone wonder why every force the U.S. trains is corrupt, cruel and cowardly? But Traub cannot ask those questions and expect to be published in FP or any other mainstream outlet.

    Anyway, Traub ends his piece with hating on Assad and is it moral to make peace with such a monster. Obviously hacks must believe all propaganda just like they did in the Soviet press. Nevertheless the point here is that some part of the “realist” faction are getting traction in Washington–this is a good sign.

    1. Jackrabbit

      I find it somewhat humorous how you tack from DEEP STATE goblins and the hopelessness of Oligarchy (so hopeless that you implore us to work with oligarchs that might do a little good as they extract their pound of flesh) to the hopefulness of a realist comeback.

      Why are you so invested in our believing that the realists have a chance to prevail?

      As I have noted in many replies to you, it is misleading to tout the “debate” between realists and neocons/neolibcons without noting that the neocons/neolibcons are very much in control.

      Its much the same with TTIP, climate change, money in politics, TBTF, and inequality. Despite all the all the good points made by critics, TPTB only give lip service to change. They want us to feel that democracy works to thereby legitimize the government and its policies. But if I made a point of noted every little ‘win’ by those opposed to these policies (hey look you nay-sayers, inequality got a mention on MSM!!) then I would expect that NCs would question my motives for doing so.


      I also find it strange that you never mention neocons/neolibcons as a group (unless prodded). You talk of Washington ‘factions’ vying for power and DEEP machinations but don’t care to mention the most powerful FP political group. Also, you have gushed about neocon’s early propaganda which claimed a desire to give Americans purpose (barf). AND when prominent neocons get criticized here, you can’t resist backhanded compliments like: despite being distasteful, so-and-so is a true believer.

      H O P

      1. Banger

        There are many differences within categories and many categories. There are competitions, feuds, turf wars, sexual jealousy, double agents, stooges, religious fanatics, idealists, do-gooders, martinets, little dictators, bag-men, fixers, PR whores, muscle, prostitutes (male and female), con artists, big and small money guys, thieves, and comedians–this is an imperial court with dozens of conspiracies and plots all, often, cancelling themselves out–none of this is reported in the MSM and little is reported in the alternative press either. There is no center to this cacophony of power. And yes, the right-wing intellectual class (the neocons) do tell themselves that they’re giving our country a higher purpose and the neoliberals who are blending with the neocons (Clinton) tell themselves equally fantastic stories. Americans like to fool themselves and as Norman Mailer pointed out long ago–Americans always maintain that they are “doing the right thing.” That’s why those earnest talking heads are so convincing on TV–they actually believe the garbage they are spewing, mostly and that’s why they are so convincing like many salesemen/women and preachers–when they’re giving their spiel they believe that’s why they rake in the dough.

        1. Jackrabbit

          Well you haven’t really answered my question. You’ve only dug deeper.

          Despite the cacophony/complexity/confusion, neocons/neolibcons have been remarkable successful. Yet you ignore THAT and tout minor realist ‘gains’ in a faux ‘debate’ (faux because neocons still determine policy outcomes – tempered somewhat by realist complaints).


          PS this segue is classic Banger: “. . . right-wing intellectual class (the neocons) do tell themselves that they’re giving our country a higher purpose . . . Americans like to fool themselves . . . earnest talking heads are so convincing on TV . . .”

          > “right wing” = neocons? (reminds me of how you use “left” when you attack progressives)

          > blaming the victim (“Americans”) of neocon propaganda while portraying neocons as having a (righteous) “higher purpose” – ‘higher’ by whose standards?

          > we end up with a rant against ‘talking heads on TV.

          1. Banger

            There’s no real question to ask. Yes, a number of people have been successful in pulling the wool over our eyes and running their little cons. So what? The country as a whole has suffered and there are enough well-meaning folks to keep things relatively stable as well as really powerful people who try to arrange deals to keep things from exploding in every direction at once.

            You seem to believe that there is some all-knowing central authority running the show. I say that it is a complex networked emergent network that makes it appear as if it had a mind as often happens if you’ve ever played around with artificial life forms and dug into chaos and complexity.

            1. skippy

              Banger for all your talk about intricate webs of competing forces, with a few do-gooders spinning plates, whilst the power nexus grinds out purposeful civic minded contingency plans, to keep the lid on it all… you could just desist with the artful impressionistic water color screen back drop painting and get straight to the point…

              The corporatist agenda proceeds apace and when their done, they will throw a big party for everyone, all will belly laugh at why we were so worried about it all, and usher in a new wonderful societal epoch… huzza!!!

            2. Jackrabbit

              You excuse them. You admire their goals to some degree. You artfully dodge questions about your thinking about them.

              It think its fair to say that you ARE a neocon.

              As a libertarian, you naturally accept that power be exercised by the group (or individual) that is strong enough to exercise it. “Good” or “Bad” are irrelevant to you as power trumps moral considerations. Might makes right. This naturally informs your loathing of moral-minded progressives.

              Its just good to know where you stand since you are such a big presence here at NC.

              1. Jim

                I’ve been commenting on this blog for over 7 years and there have historically been a small number of individuals who try to police what they consider to be “unorthodox” or “dangerous” (from their point of view) perspectives.

                Is that what you are up to Jackrabbit?

                1. Jackrabbit

                  I asked Banger about the opinions he holds. I didn’t say he couldn’t hold them or express them.

                  This is not an MSM broadcast medium where we just accept what is dished out by the media gods.

                  I think you should let Banger respond instead of trying to shut down the conversation.

                2. Jackrabbit

                  Banger would not answer my question of why he seems so invested in our believing that ‘realists’ have a chance to gain power and his dodging is very suspiciously like the word games played by neocons and neolibs. He has also made oligarchy-friendly statements in the past (as I noted above). The combination of ‘fear the power’ and ‘hope for the best’ that Banger drums out day after day is strange for a critic of the ‘system’.

                  I don’t really care if Banger is a neocon or neolibcon. I just think that he should be upfront about it instead of attempting to manipulate NC readers on the sly.

                  How does he manipulate? Well, despite numerous cogent objections, Banger harps on the following themes over and over and over again:

                  1) the ‘chaos’ of US foreign policy driven by Govt/MIC greed & incompetence (strawmaning via ‘usual suspects’);

                  2) the power of the Deep State (‘cloaking’ via fearful misdirection);

                  3) playing up small, mostly inconsequential media gains of anti-neocon ‘Realists’ (‘spotlighting’ via hopeful misdirection).

                  Whatever you may think of each of the above, the combined effect is to shield the neocons. And this is CONFIRMED by Banger’s strange behavior/wordplay with regard to neocons.

                  Oh sure, Banger has interesting things to say about other things (which I often agree with – like climate change). But the above seem to be his central ‘message’ as he returns to them again and again.

                  1. Jackrabbit

                    These should probably just be called scape-goating, fearmongering, and misdirection. And for completeness, here are the reasons against (points that I and others have made repeatedly):

                    1) Countries and others pursue their interests. What seems like “chaos” to us is often a lack of info and historical perspective. It is a truism that MIC wants more business (like any commercial enterprise) but they also never seem to lack for business. And MIC is one of several groups that neocons have drawn support from, playing on their concerns after the end of the Cold War.

                    2) While an interesting subject, an undue focus on the ‘Deep State’ is self-defeating as there is no direct mechanism change it. Furthermore, Neocons/neolibcons are themselves more ‘Deep State’ than political group as they operate behind the scenes. Talking in terms of ‘Deep State’ masks the fact that neocons/neolibs are the most powerful FP ‘faction’ by far.

                    3) Neocons/neolibcons are in virtually all positions of any real power and the predominate group at major Universities and think-tanks.

        2. neo-realist

          Maybe some of those earnest talking heads don’t believe what they’re spewing, but are required by their paymasters to recite the propaganda with great vigor lest they lose those fat paychecks to younger and prettier teleprompter readers.

    2. Andrew Watts

      It’s isn’t like they have much of a choice anymore. Everything from the report that alleges that a tactical alliance between Al-Nusra with Islamic State was forged in Syria combined with the declaration of war on the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia by IS has outpaced any current plan that Washington appears to have for dealing with the situation.

  7. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Students in poverty.

    Colleges these days…2 majors only

    Major: Greed
    Minor: Compassion
    (After you have impressed the huddled massed with how you smartly and intellectually accumulated your billions, with your brain, you can show off your charitable side, your heart).


    You can major in poverty.

    Here you practice the highest Socratic ideal – you talk the talk and walk the walk. You not only study poverty, you live it.

    Like the Templar Knight said: “Choose Wisely*”

    * sarcasm (remember we have to converse energy – even misdirected anger energy due to undetected sarcasm).

  8. McMike

    Re grooming.

    I’m not challenging the meta point here about gender bias in beauty expectations, but I do think the article and overall meme tends to overlook that men are expected to groom too (we scrape our face 200+ mornings per year), and that men in the broadcast and entertainment industries are certainly expected to obsess about grooming (tan/wax/dye/pluck/tuck) quite a bit themselves. Complaining about the unfairness of it all as a broadcaster is a little bit like a professional football player complaining about age discrimination when he gets waived for his creaky knees and slowing 40 yard dash.

    And of course it is not as if society doesn’t place different expectations on men disproportionately (i.e. stoic breadwinner).

    That said, it has often become a bizarre simulacra wherein some women pursue this ritual until the point that they’ve made themselves into theater clowns, layered in pancakes of makeup and their faces permanently suspended in unnatural expressions from surgery and botox. Aside the effect through a camera, does anyone really find that preferable in person?

    I am unusual here perhaps, I have a proven habit of commenting how a woman looks extra nice on certain days, only to be told by the embarrassed recipient that she didn’t have time to do her hair or makeup that day. It seems that I prefer natural to made up; not wild to be sure, but much closer to natural please.

    I do a bit to make myself less old and ugly too. But we all need to draw our lines at swimming upstream.

    I am happy for the author that she found a way to break free. As a sometimes stay at home dad, I understand what it is like to swim upstream against social currents.

    But complaining about gender unfairness tends to miss the point. Our culture is full of biases and expectations, and not driven by a male dominated plot to make it great to be a man and suck to be a woman.

    1. Eclair

      McMike, I do agree with your point that both males and females in our culture are hemmed in by gender expectations. And it seems to be getting worse, not better. Little girls’ clothing sections in Target give off such a pink glow that you have to squint. And, little boys are expected to be happy wearing brown, tan and rotten-leaf green. And these color selections spill over into emotional and activity expectations.

      But woe unto the little boy who wants to paint his nails or wear a skirt (pink or camo) or let his hair grow really really long or hang out with the girls. Social ridicule from his peer group and adults make his life miserable. Little girls who want to wear pants and carry a toy gun are tolerated. As long as they don’t get too uppity. Now, why is this? My thoughts? It’s because we live in a male-dominated society, or, to be more accurate, a society that is dominated by the ‘idea of maleness.’

      The social opprobrium heaped on a boy who wants to look or act ‘feminine’ is another version of the scorn heaped upon white colonial imperialists if they ‘went native.’ If you are a member of the dominant group, you don’t become a ‘traitor’ to that group by taking on the manners or customs or dress of the oppressed group. Unless it is in a socially sanctioned, openly flamboyant way, such as the Harvard Hasty Pudding drag show, or football fans painting their faces and wearing feathers in their hair.

      Patriarchy, the hierarchical system with a male father-figure, he-who-must-be-obeyed, at the top, and the rest of us in varying poses of submission underneath, hurts men and women alike. But, if you are ‘male’ in this system, your chances of becoming a top-dog in your group are greatly enhanced.

      1. craazyman

        Real men wear pink ties and pink shirts. I see them on the streets of New Yawk, powering down the avenue in a self-confident masculine heterosexual strut. It’s not faking. These guys are serious dudes. When I wear my pink tie people move to the side and admire me as I walk by. You can do stuff like this when you have charisma. People feel it even when they just glance in your general direction.

        but don’t evah wear a pink tie AND your pink shirt or your a girlie-man and some construction worker will haul off and punch you out while yer waiting to cross a street. bwaaaaaaaaak!

        PS — honest to God on a Sunday I’m not lying. If I could i’d post a pic of my pink tie. I got it at Century 21 for $19.95! You’d never know I didn’t pay $150 for it from Barney’s. it’s that good. It’s amazing, how good it is.

        1. craazyboy

          I just found out recently that “Pink” shirts aren’t necessarily pink shirts.

          BTW: What’s a “tie”? Is it like a zipper?

        2. optimader

          “When I wear my pink tie people move to the side and admire me …but don’t evah wear a pink tie AND your pink shirt”
          Wow. you jogged my memory that guys still wear ties, you have my sympathy. But make the best of it with…

          SKU#PS188 Men’s New Pink Satin Dress Shirt Tie Combo Shirts $59
          … and you could OWN the sidewalk Craazyman, just schedule a little extra detour time if you have to keep walking at intersections.

          Heres a nice pair of Corfam brown and white Brogues to finish the ensemble

          1. craazyman

            you wear those shoes when you have a lot full of used cars to sell by Thursday. They connote a festive sense of mutual opportunity and trust in the power of optimism.

            They need shoes like tthat in France right now. Where’s that cat? They can’t find it witih helicopters and 50 guys with high velocity ammo. You bring a guy in with those shoe sand that cat will turn up in 10 minutes! On a leash inside a panel van driven by an assistant with heavy mascara, nice tits and hip boots. How’d he do that? That’s the power of shoes like that.

            Whhere is that cat? Where was that black cat they saw n Italy a few year ago? That was a link too. Where are all those animals that crawl aroud and freak people out? How come they never turn up? It seems like something is going on that’s a little hard to explain. hahahahahah

        3. ambrit

          I used to have a nice pink silk tie my wife found for me at a thrift shop. I found out ‘through the grape vine’ that I was on the layoff list after the main part of a commercial project was done, so I wore the tie to work on layoff day. (It’s almost always a Friday.) There I am with my steel toe boots, heavy work clothes, hard hat, and tie. The plumbing foreman comes up to me and asks what I’m doing. I tell him. He falls out laughing. An hour later, a henchman for the general sidles up to me and tells me, the general will guarantee me a full days pay if I left work right then. Most fun I’ve had on a job in years, and a free day too!
          Yes, you can dress for success!

        4. McMike

          A couple different times when I was younger, I allowed a girlfriend to “dress me.” Pink was inevitably involved. (That was the 80’s by the way).

          The breast cancer campaign regarding real men wear pink has been interesting. Pro football players, and even the local rodeo pick up men proudly in pink. Not sure what cultural significance to apply to that though. Not like they would do that any other time or place. (Well, some of the snappier football players maybe).

    2. optimader

      You got past the dropping two bills a week on cosmetic products? Short of being the victim of some tragic disfigurement, how is that even possible?
      News Flash to Tracy: going “cold turkey” doesn’t mean one has to look like one cut their hair w/ a steakknife and then slept in the van. But I think most compulsive people need to swing dramatically when shedding a perceived central element of their lifestyle

      1. McMike

        Good point. When it comes to addiction, the term cold turkey has a very literal origin.

        As I said above, aging gracefully without raging against the coming night does not necessarily preclude occasional acts of grooming, such as trimming one’s ear hairs or taming the Garrison Keillor eyebrows once in a while. (A hypothetical example that comes from a friend I assure you)

    3. OIFVet

      200+ mornings per year? Try adding 200+ afternoons per year for those of us who get 5 o’clock shadows by noon.

        1. OIFVet

          The SO wouldn’t like it. Besides, two a day was my reality during my military service. No beards allowed you know, and given my sensitive skin I had wicked razor burn (so add money for soothing creams). Now that I am self-employed I can manage grooming based on my meetings and travel. I find that the release from societal and employer expectations for facial hair and wardrobe has increased my productivity quite a bit.

          1. optimader

            “The SO wouldn’t like it.”
            They eventually acquiesce, best to set disappointing precedents early in a relationship..
            “Besides, two a day was my reality during my military service.”
            reason #1,243 why the MILSERV wouldn’t have worked out for me. Maybe I would have been the first GermanIrish Sikh? A turban might be kinda dapper out in the desert.

            1. OIFVet

              “…best to set disappointing precedents early in a relationship…”

              No way dude! I love her dearly. What can I say, I am whipped, trained, and thoroughly housebroken these days. I am not ashamed of to admit it. It’s “Yes, dear!”, salute, and about face to go comply. Must be the remnants of my military training to respect and obey the orders of my superiors. Which she is, definitely. In the military rank superiority rarely belonged to superior beings. She is that though: far smarter, far better looking, and far better human being. Risk that? Not gonna happen.

          2. McMike

            Yeah, self employed. Tend to let it run wild and just weed-whack it with a trimmer periodically.

            Then I go out of the house and look in a mirror. There’s a homeless guy staring back at me.

    4. McMike

      Ok, Start an interesting dialog, then… I wrote two or three replies that disappeared into the ether. No time to recreate. Sorry.

    5. Lambert Strether Post author

      To me, the point was not so much beauty expectations, but the tax on women’s time.

      If you think about it, humankind managed to reproduce quite successfully in the days before showers, deodorants, Brazilian wax, mascara, etc. For some reason.

      1. Yves Smith

        Don’t get me started on clothes.

        Men wear uniforms. It’s called a suit. Yes, you have some variables, like pin stripes. single or double breasted, vents or no, what color shirt and tie to wear with said suit, etc.

        Women have far more degrees of freedom. That’s actually bad because for a woman to wear the same outfit 2x in a week would be considered (in the US, anyhow) a statement that she was not adequately groomed (unless she is in a profession where she can make a statement by wearing the exact same clothes every day, which means she could have 2 or 3 copies of her uniform and get them cleaned regularly), while a man starting out in his career can have only 2-3 suits and pretty much no one would notice.

        And for women to get the same quality of tailoring and fabrics as men do (and men DO notice the quality of tailoring, it’s one of their status markers, so women are in lines of work where status signaling is important, like finance or most service professions, like the law, have to care, because it’s even more incumbent on women than men to signal that they understand the game), it costs 50% to 100% more. This when women make on average 77% of what men make, and there is plenty of evidence that women in the same job function are often paid less than men. So the cosmetics and hair (women’s coiffure is hugely more expensive then men’s) are insult on top of injury.

        1. McMike

          Oh boy, do I long for the simplicity of 3 suits, 5 shirt (2 colors), and 5 ties. Now I got office casual slacks and shoes and shirts coming out my wazoo.

          Meanwhile, alas, the suit industry has been thoroughly crapified. Sure, men’s stuff is inexpensive, but, wow, such garbage. Oh Brooks Bros and Jos Banks, wherefore art thou? Et tu Mr Lauren?

          Can’t speak to the higher end. As the salary goes north of $100k, my sympathy tends to tail off. I am sure that it’s a “man’s game” up there. No doubt.

          Would this be a bad time to mention that I find women in suits very, um, compelling. Wonder what that’s all about? I sure do miss that part of being in the suit culture.

          1. Lambert Strether Post author

            The crapification of men’s wear is really, really true. We have a Macy’s in the mall, which is by repute a decent store, and I can’t imagine even going into the fitting room.

            See John Berger. We are being made to wear ill-fitting clothes for a reason.

            Adding, no tax on my time. In and out of the shower and dressed in the time it takes the coffee water to boil.

        2. craazyman

          I guarantee you 99% of men wouldn’t notice if a woman wore the same thing 5 days a week.

          Why? Because they’re too busy checking out her tits and butt & thinking about what she must look like naked in a bed to think about what she’s wearing. Sorry, i’m just being honest.

          Straight guys anyway. They couldn’t give a sh*t. No need to waste all that money on guys ladies. I guarantee you, they won’t ever notice or care. Unless it’s not on you. hahahahaah

      2. McMike

        Yes, she emphasized the time, and cost. The cultural expectations and personal habit was subtext.

        As to reproduction. As I said above, my level of attraction tends to be inverse to level of make up and hair spray. There’s exceptions of course.

      1. cwaltz

        Probably about the same as the number of males that view women as trophies or decide to date or marry based on a female’s appearance. The universe loves itself some parity. If your shallow expect the universe to find you someone to match.

    6. Propertius

      we scrape our face 200+ mornings per year),

      Not since my eighteenth birthday – which was rather a long time ago. If you were supposed to walk around with a naked face, you’d have been born female. ;-)

  9. Eureka Springs

    Nevertheless the point here is that some part of the “realist” faction are getting traction in Washington–this is a good sign.

    I don’t see it. All options considered are egregious levels of hubris and ongoing perpetuation of chaos and death. These neoliberalcon madmen and women are and have always been pouring gasoline on the fire which they started. Negotiating the vapor rate is still madness. What is realistic in your view? As I always ask and you never answer at points like this… who and what are these realists? Seems like you could name a couple from time to time. My realist view says we prosecute our war criminals. We stop funding and arming anyone/everyone, including, perhaps especially our spooks. That a heart-eating mercenary or soldier is not a moderate. Nor are any of our objectives, spoken or unspoken (pipelinestan control with a petro dollar writ large). Creating thousands more murderers for years to come is not praise-worthy traction.

    Satellite images shed light, or lack thereof, on the impact of the Syrian conflict.

    1. McMike

      Besides, the term “Realist” in politics is often merely code for Very Serious People and austerians and the like. The lowered expectations are inevitably in favor of the elite and status quo.

      This is going to hurt me more than it hurts you. Yeah, right.

  10. Banger

    WhoWhatWhy has a story on the secret government here. The important part is that the article reports that the Boston Globe seems to have a favorable review of the a book by an establishment figure well-footnoted called National Security and Double Government. The Globe article is here. Perhaps, based on this limited hangout we can begin to deconstruct the National Security State aka “Deep State” and begin a discussion about the actual political situation in this society and not the sham Orwellian version favored by the MSM and, sadly, most of the left. One can dream.

    1. susan the other

      That’s good because if it showed up in the BG it will go mainstream and even the MSM will have to deal w it.

      1. Banger

        Perhaps yes–but perhaps no–depends on a number of things. Usually these stories don’t get traction. A few years ago the WaPost did a big expose of the intel agencies–again limited hang out but dangerous info nonetheless–it went nowhere. No one else took it up and the issue was treated, as it is now, as if it didn’t exist.

    2. Jim

      The Glennon book was initially an article in the Harvard National Security Journal( Vol. 5) which I believe Cryptome highlighted about 6-8 months ago.

      In my opinion that article/now book is a perfect place to begin a serous discussion of the National Security apparatus. The footnotes in themselves are very insightful. For example the beginning portion of footnote 173 in the original journal article states “Three scholars have captured the network’s fluidity in describing the President’s national security team as consisting of “barons and “courtiers” I.M Drestle, Leslie Gelb and Anthony Lake Our own Worst Enemy: The Unmaking of U.S. foreign Policy Members of the NSC staff describe the national security bureaucracy as populated by “tribes” representing different organizational interests, policy views and personal loyalities One of these tribes is the NSC staff itself which has emerged as largely independent of the president’s use of the NSC staff itself as a decislonal body. National security policy thus materializes from a shifting series of feedback loops among the tribes and their members…”

      These type of comments, by NSC insiders, seem to support many of Bangers more colorful observations about networks possibly connected to the nastier portions of the State.

      It seems necessary to take an analysis by someone like Glennon and then begin to link the network honchos Glennon mentions to the probably more shadowy and obscure mafia like operations highlighted over the years by people like Peter Dale Scott.


        1. Jim

          Sorry, don’t have a link, just a citation from Glennon. Bob Woodward “Obama’s War (2010) with no specific page numbers.

          1. Lambert Strether Post author

            Thanks. I think we need more precise formulations than “network,” let alone “deep” (vs., I presume, “shallow”). Tribes? Clans? Dynasties? Flexnets? Teams and Leagues?

  11. rich

    PEU Barons Right to Carried Interest

    What if private equity underwriters gathered to document their concerns to public officials? A similar gathering of the powerful and influential occurred in 1215 and it produced the Magna Carta:

    Magna Carta was written by a group of 13th-century barons to protect their rights and property against a tyrannical king. It is concerned with many practical matters and specific grievances relevant to the feudal system under which they lived. The interests of the common man were hardly apparent in the minds of the men who brokered the agreement.

    The document stated:

    Common pleas are not to follow our court but are to be held in a certain fixed place.

    Today’s Greed-a-Carta would say something like:

    Only the common are to pay publicly stated rates of taxes. Members of the PEU court are to have access to preferred taxation rates known as carried interest.

    King John signed the Magna Carta to quell a rebellion. PEU Robber Barons have no need to rebel, given they sponsor and control the system. However, the common person may be at their wits end from Congress’ catering to the greed and leverage boys for well over a decade.

  12. Katniss Everdeen

    RE: How A Disgraced College Chain Trapped Its Students In Poverty Buzzfeed

    Unspeakably shameful.

    “But the lawsuits, investigations, and even the Department of Education’s forced shutdown are unlikely to result in any real change for the vast majority of Everest’s current and former students. One of the deep ironies of Corinthian’s collapse is that there are, experts say, effectively too many victims for there to be any reasonable way to compensate them, or to actually shut down the dozens of Everest campuses. It would cost the government billions to forgive the outstanding debt of former students, and any attempt to shut down Corinthian’s schools would displace 70,000 current ones.”

    “Deep ‘ironies’.” Gee, ya think? Too many past victims to compensate, and what would the 70,000 current victims do if we ended THEIR victimization before it was allowed to run its course????

    There’s NOTHING we can do!!!

    Of course maybe if they dressed up like Iraqis or “Yazidis” we could find a blank check or two and a couple of decades to bang away at the problem.

  13. Light a Candle

    The Pando article on the US Government funding of Tor was a great read. Fascinating to see the refusal of well known progressives to engage on the factual issues.

    Is Tor secure? It’s confusing, given Snowden’s successful use of Tor. Maybe Tor is compromised by government but Tor users (like Snowden) were overlooked because of government’s ineptitude or the dark web is just too big for government to monitor?

    Here is a Nov 7, 2014 article from Wired on the “completely surprising” take down of 27 dark sites. Wtf? no consideration given to the fact that Tor could be compromised by its funders?!

    IBT has a much more even-handed article on Tor from July 2014.

    And there is this interesting Nov 12 snippet from a blog—use Tor with VPN.

    I suppose all the real discussion about Tor is happening privately!

    1. Andrew Watts

      Edward Snowden was ultimately successful because American counterintelligence is incompetent. They always have been going back to the second World War at least. James Angleton is merely the poster boy for that mess. That said anybody who follows in Snowden’s footsteps will likely be caught. They’re incompetent not completely f—ing retarded.

      1. bob

        As an NSA sysadmin, snowden could also check to see if he was leaving a trail.

        How many other tor users have that ability? aside for the spooks….

  14. Andrew Watts

    RE: How leading Tor developers and advocates tried to smear me after I reported their US Government ties

    As much as I appreciated Levine’s investigative work I understand why those articles on TOR didn’t go over well. Those people freaking out the most are quite a cauldron of naivety with a lot of their identity/ego invested in their work. They’re a bunch of misguided idealists.

    RE: 81% of Tor users can be de-anonymised by analysing router information, research indicates

    “It’s much easier to compromise the router/server than it is to decrypt the volume of information the NSA and Google is getting their hands on.”

    The professor needs to make a few alterations to his hardware to operate effectively in a live environoment. A significant amount of TOR users are slightly more sophisticated techies than the average users so they’re likely to have custom set-ups. Which also means they’re not likely to be running default settings on their hardware.

    The NSA probably spent tens of millions of dollars or more on their FOXACID setup when the real cost of de-anoning TOR users is in the thousands. What a racket! Good thing Congress is filled with a bunch of ignorant motherf—ers huh?!

    1. Yves Smith

      Huh? Tor has been pitched as a browser for the masses. I can name people who use Tor who think they are secure and I can pretty much guarantee they haven’t changed the defaults.

      1. Andrew Watts

        By significant amount I mean an overall minority of total Tor users. Nor am I talking about the default configuration of the browser I’m talking about their computer hardware. An example of this would be the people who manually change their MAC address and do so on a routine basis for whatever reason.

  15. Brooklin Bridge

    I suppose all the real discussion about Tor is happening privately!

    As I understood it, the article on TOR raised mostly the legitimate issue that TOR is partly funded by the Department of Defense and other gov. agencies. This is a valid concern and the author should hardly have come under attack for it, but it doesn’t prove or even suggest that TOR is therefore automatically used to expose everyone to scrutiny all the time. Moreover, Snowden used TOR in a particular way (sparingly) and in conjunction with other programs and hardware that further increased his chances of remaining anonymous. And, a big AND, he had intimate knowledge of how and when compromising TOR and other methods of intrusion were likely to be used.

    Basically, you can not use the internet or any off the shelf computer AND have any guarantee of privacy. TOR or no TOR. Every branch of the government is too corrupt and corporations and finance are too rapacious. If you’re not monitored, you’re likely recorded for subsequent inspection or for sale in some form or other as data. However, if you have lots of money/resources, or lots of technical expertise or lots of both, you increase your chances considerably, particularly from commercial or non government entities. But there are no guarantees unless you also have control -directly or indirectly- over the appropriate agencies. I suspect the level of intrusion increases every year, as the capacity for storage and processing increases and as the mania -commercial and governmental- to know everything about everyone gets worse and worse.

    This unhealthy scrutiny and exploitative intrusion will cause great harm for society needs space and privacy just as it needs food and shelter. It will speed up collapse just as the impoverishment of people and of the environment does.

    1. bruno marr

      Yes! And to add another rock to the pile: Autocad now tracks the users of its CAD software through the MAC address on user’s computers. There is no restraint on what governments, corporations, NSA will do with your data. You get on the Internet and you’re as naked as the Emperor!

  16. different clue

    As suggested, the way to correspond without digital surveillance is to use a typewriter or pen/paper and send the letter by landmail or by courier. A digital version of this which would at least make surveillance more difficult than putting all your keyboard bussiness on the web for all spies to read would be for millions of corresponders to have millions of stand-alone computers and type out their millions of letters on millions of individual disks or drives or thumbdrives or whatever other pocketable-carryable digital storage devices may exist. And then send those devices around by landmail or by courier or carrier pigeon or well-trained seemingly-stray dog or whatever. ” An internet of people”.

    1. bob

      Note on landmail or USPS- Post 911 all mail is now photographed. The outside of the envelope is copied and saved, along with info on where it was picked up.

      No official announcement on this ‘change’, picked up by people who watch court cases.

      “internet of people”- sneakernet still the quickest way to move large amounts of data, securely.

      1. Yves Smith

        Put your return address on the back. They copy the only front. Or make the sent and return address the same, which is what some of my service providers have on all their envelopes.

        All sorts of fancy printers (like the company that tries to get me to buy customized Christmas cards) print return addresses on the back flap.

        1. bob

          I don’t think it’s that easy, but don’t know for a fact. I assume they photo the whole envelope and all sides of a package, but have no proof.

          And I know you are talking about commercial printers, but home and business computer printers all leave tell tale signs of what machine they were printed on. Those signs/watermarks survive duplication/copying.

          1. psychohistorian

            The photos are part of a identification process that are reportedly discarded when the process is completed successfully. I can’t remember where I read recently the head of the USPS talking about this.

            I think it would be more accurate to note that they at least build an electronic “to” address and probably keep data on each piece/parcel for ??? time frame.

  17. Marianne Jones

    Regarding the Harvard health insurance problem, I’ve never encountered a larger confabulation over health expenses. Harvard has no end of demand (students desiring admission) and therefore no need to reduce their internal costs. I’m sure some multi-billionaire with an idiot child would be more than happy to “donate” to the school to ensure their idiot child’s entrance and cover the so-called increased health care cost for school staff. What it really comes down to is craven greed in school management who would rather such donation windfalls justify their ever increasing salaries and performance bonuses.

  18. susan the other

    I didn’t plan to get to the bottom of the comments without finding one on Archdruid’s essay on abstract value. To die for. Please someone submit his name for the next Nobel Prize. I usu. don’t read him because he is always long. But today it was a page-turner. And fits in well with Hoexter’s post on Naomi Klein’s misunderstanding of money.

  19. Howard Beale IV

    AT&T Pouts, Freezes Mostly Bogus ‘Fiber To The Press Release’ Deployments In Net Neutrality Bluff: TechDirt

    A choice comment:

    AT&T just proved the need for Net Neutrality

    AT&T is basically saying that if they can’t charge money to unfairly prioritize traffic that is already paid for, then they won’t build out their network.

    AT&T here is a free clue. You are supposed to build out your network and then charge what it costs to operate, plus a profit. That is also what everyone else is supposed to do. To compete in the market you can:
    1. have better service than competitors by having a better network
    2. have lower prices than competitors by reducing either or both the ‘cost to operate’ part or the ‘profit’ part
    3. have better customer service than competitors by not using barely conscious drones to answer customer calls

    If you can’t out compete your competitors doing exactly this, then you don’t deserve to be in business.

  20. Kim Kaufman

    This link was sent via Mark Crispin Miller’s listserve (News From the Underground) with this comment: “[MCM] Laura Poitras says that Google/Apple/Facebook will protect us from the NSA! (So who’s she working for?) Same question holds for Edward Snowden, therefore, and Glenn Greenwald…”

    Et Tu, Poitras?


  21. psychohistorian

    I think the temperature in the kitchen is rising rapidly. Read the latest from Moon of Alabama where he lists the latest barrage of “Western” propaganda about isolating Putin. He then goes on to state:

    “Those leaders who did not “isolate” Putin by grandstanding in front of the media were from Argentina, Brazil, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Mexico, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Republic of Korea and Turkey. Many of the leaders of those countries had one on one talks with Putin. Merkel alone had a three hour talk with Putin. Did that make him feel lonely?

    Fact is Putin is about as isolated as the Pope.

    Fact is also that those “world leaders” who “isolated” Putin represent a minority of people, military and economic power of the world. As Putin himself correctly pointed out before the G-20 meeting:
    Incidentally, the combined GDP of the BRICS countries calculated using purchasing power parity is already bigger than that of the so-called G7 countries. As far as I know, the BRICS countries have more than $37 trillion calculated using purchasing power parity, while the G7 has $34.5 trillion. And this upwards trend is in favour of the BRICS, not vice versa.

    Now all this silly isolation talk would be funny if the people in power would recognize it for the bullshit it is. Unfortunately a lot of stupid people in Washington DC, politicians as well as media folks, believe in their own propaganda bullshit and therefore tend to miscalculate in their assessments of global policies. This is dangerous as it often has bloody consequences.”

    At what point is this escalation of pressure going to bring the global pot of “politics” to a boil? It is looking like much sooner, rather than later, IMO. I think that whatever “results” come out of this process will also effect the US dollar as Reserve Currency. I laugh at the current Yahoo/Finance article heading “U.S. dollar will ‘get a lot stronger than anyone can imagine'”

    I hope the world’s leaders and global plutocrats love their children and don’t take us into nuclear winter.

  22. proximity1

    From last Sunday’s (Nov. 16th) Observer newspaper / leading story on page 1 :

    [Headline] “Revealed: how coalition has helped rich by hitting poor
    “Study shows gains for wealthier half of population, delivering a blow to George Osborne’s claims on fairness”
    [ Reader Comments: 28467 ]

    by Daniel Boffey, policy editor
    The Observer [Sunday]/ [Saturday] The Guardian] 15 November 2014 21.30 GMT
    [link: ]

    ‘A landmark study of the coalition’s tax and welfare policies six months before the general election reveals how money has been transferred from the poorest to the better off, apparently refuting the chancellor of the exchequer’s claims that the country has been “all in it together”.

    ‘According to independent research to be published on Monday and seen by the Observer, George Osborne has been engaged in a significant transfer of income from the least well-off half of the population to the more affluent in the past four years. Those with the lowest incomes have been hit hardest.’

    This report [ Were we really all in it together? The distributional effects of the UK Coalition government’s tax-benefit policy changes – Institute for Social and Economic Research (ISER) ] of a study by Paola De Agostini, John Hills, and Holly Sutherland,
    [ link: ]
    prominently featured on page 1 of last Sunday’s Observer newspaper, got no mention at all during the BBC’s Sunday morning program–not even during its own regular Sunday review of the day’s papers–The Observer paper was passed over without mention in favor of reports about trivial fluff including the return to duty of a member of the [Buckingham] palace guard previously suspended for having been seen and videotaped in a moment of freestyle footwork which had more to do with improvisational dance than with routine guard duty. That, the editors of the dependably insipid BBC news department, merited the viewers’ attention while the above-mentioned economic study, a direct refutation of standard government propaganda on the proper sharing of the burdens of the current economic slump in Britain, wasn’t worth mentioning. Since then, I’ve not seen or heard one word of mention of this report on any news or contemporary affairs program of the BBC.

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