Links 11/23/14

Can you ‘hear yourself happy’? Sandals that sound different with each footstep could make you feel slimmer and more radiant Daily Mail

Volunteer snow shovelers hit Buffalo streets as flooding fears rise

Ebola outbreak can be ended in 2015: UN’s Ban Ki-moon BBC

Crude slide sparks oil-related debt fears FT

Yes, bankers lie more than the rest of us. Wall Street reforms aren’t likely to change that culture WaPo

The liquidity monster that awaits FT Alphaville

Britain may turn into Europe’s most politically unpredictable country Reuters. But this isn’t factored into asset prices.

Rail chief apologises for ‘lousy’ service FT. The real story is a threatened capital strike over regulation.

Malled: The Hollowing Out of an American Institution. ‘We Surrender’  Bloomberg


“Down Outright Murder”: A Complete Guide to the Shooting of Michael Brown by Darren Wilson The Intercept

Ferguson by the numbers: Breakdown since protests began St Louis Today

Law Prof Tells KMOX’s Mark Reardon Grand Jury Process In Ferguson Case Can’t Be Trusted CBS

St. Louis area braces for aftershock of grand jury’s decision on Ferguson shooting WaPo. No decision ’til Monday at the earliest.

Michael Brown’s dad hands out holiday turkeys USA Today

Private Military Contractors Hired to Move Guns and Gold Out of Ferguson Vice

Ferguson police Officer Darren Wilson has mastered a disappearing act since shooting WaPo

Revealed: Grenade launchers, armored personnel carriers, and a military-grade helicopter among the lethal arsenal of police force who helped patrol Ferguson Daily Mail. What could go wrong?

Obama’s Ferguson rhetoric on “who we are” Corrente

Students claiming responsibility for Phi Kappa Psi vandalism submit anonymous letter Cavalier Daily. So it will be interesting to see if the National Guard and the FBI are called in.

U-Va. president suspends fraternities until Jan. 9 in wake of rape allegations WaPo. Will that be enough?

Demonstrators clash with French police over protester death Reuters

Teeth and Bones: Mass Abduction Reveals a Decaying Mexican State Der Spiegel

Ginsburg On Rulings, Race National Law Journal


Latest Obamacare gaffe: Marketplace enrollment inflated by 400,000 McClatchy. The administration jiggering the numbers? Nobody could have predicted…

Top insurers overstated doctor networks, California regulators charge McClatchy. Another shocker.

Change in Health Care Law Would Take Aim at Consumer Inertia New York Times. Uh oh. More nudging.

California’s Managed Care Project For Poor Seniors Faces Backlash KHN. Medicare/Medicaid dual eligibles opted in to managed care face administrative chaos. “I signed up thinking they were going to help me.” Nobody could have predicted… The website — “this is not an official website” — is hilariously bad and larded with consultant-speak — Did you know you were a “stakeholder”? — but then again the CEO of Harbage Consulting, which built it, is a Democratic donor so ka-ching.

Obama sounds exactly like Bush on Immigration CNN. Ocular proof!

Grab the Rent Receipts, Duck the Scams: Activists Prep Immigrants for New Rules Bloomberg

Clinton advisers strategize without her WaPo

House intel panel debunks many Benghazi theories  AP. Republican adults putting the crazies back in the box? Or clearing the decks for impeachment?

Big Brother Is Watching You Watch

The Failed NSA Reform Bill Was a Sham Anyway Marcy Wheeler, Foreign Policy

James Risen: The Post-9/11 Homeland Security Industrial Complex Profiteers and Endless War  Truthout

Glenn Greenwald: NSA-proofing your product is good for business Boing Boing. Quoting Boing Boing because I agree with their skepticism; Greenwald’s glibertarianism is showing on this one.

Police, privacy advocates clash over cellphone tracking Baltimore Sun. Stingray.

Detekt: A New Malware Detection Tool That Can Expose Illegitimate State Surveillance EFF


U.S. to arm Iraq’s Sunni tribesmen Reuters

How The U.S. And Israel Support Al-Qaeda in South Syria Moon of Alabama

Iran nuclear talks may be extended as U.S. sees ‘big gaps’  Reuters

Class Warfare

Wal-Mart workers plan Black Friday protests for higher pay Los Angeles Times (list of stores).

Scabs, Scantrons, and Strikes at the University of Oregon Crooked Timber. Interim President Scott Coltrane talks left, walks right.

Why workers matter Stumbling and Mumbling. How the Labour Party can stop sucking and why it is unlikely to.

A Diverse Mix of Pupils, Learning Civilized Dissent New York Times. Stupid headline. This is about debate, the world’s best competitive sport and preparation for life!  “Civilized dissent,” my sweet Aunt Fanny. (Yves and I were both debaters.)

The brand of Bob Marley and the birth of Big Weed FT. The old slave men might grind slow….

Algorithms Are Great and All, But They Can Also Ruin Lives Wired

The War That Didn’t End All Wars Foreign Affairs

Measured, Unmeasured, Mismeasured, and Unjustified Pessimism: A Review Essay of Thomas Piketty’s Capital in the Twentieth Century Deirdre McCloskey, Erasmus Journal of Philosophy and Economics

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. Yves Smith

      Lambert was state ranked, which was better than I did in my state (we did well in our region to get to state finals, but we were eliminated pretty quickly). I was more successful at another form of competitive speaking called “extemporaneous speaking” or “extemp”. You’d draw three topics, choose one, and you had a half hour to prepare a maximum seven minute speech which you delivered without notes. Effectively, it was five to seven minutes since speeches that were too short weren’t rated well.

      1. ambrit

        Well do I remember ‘extemp.’ We’d have file card boxes of fact sheet type lists. All alphabetized of course. You learned to pare down information to the bare essentials so it could fit on that 3″ x 5″ card. (Nothing at all like my present ‘style’ of writing.) I was mediocre at best in debate, but my usual partner went on to become a lawyer in Florida. (Big ‘shout out’ to Scott!)
        Our speech and debate ‘coach’ was also the drama coach, which was of inestimable help in developing ‘style’ in presentation. I remember going to State one year. That was in Tallahassee, the Florida State capitol. Miami to Tallahassee is almost 500 miles. The trip took a day each way.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      I say the same thing to all beagles as what I say to my cat: You are so sexy with short(er), stocky legs.

      Only brain-washed humans prefer long, skinny legs.

      And I say to my cat, ‘stop making fun of them.’

    2. ambrit

      Since that looks like ein Veener Dog, it would be more appropriate to say, “Herr Reitmeister! Your Fokker ist kaput!”

  1. Benedict@Large

    Re: Ferguson Commission

    FergusonOctober Statement on Governor Jay Nixon’s “Ferguson Commission”:
    “Governor Nixon has … ensured the Commission’s irrelevancy by excluding a review of police practices or broader issues in the criminal justice system out of its scope.”

    Also, there are two members of the commission from Teach for America, including a co-chair. I’d say it’s pretty odds on that the commission will push for privatizing schools. In general, the commission is stacked with blue ribbon CVs, insuring they will be largely out of touch with the people from whom the commission draws its name. Curiously, though police issues are outside of the scope of the commission, four members of the commission have some affiliation with the police. I guess its to insure that police issues are as far from the commission as possible.

  2. David Lentini

    Let’s Start a New Debate Thread …

    The Times piece brought back lots of memories, but also a concern. The concern is that the debating appears only to involve fancy private schools and certain charter schools. Given the highly politicized nature of charter schools in NY, with Cuomo doing everything he can to destroy “the monopoly” of public education (his words), and the Times’s very corporatist leanings these days,I can’t help but feel this is more than a human interest piece.

    But as a former debater myself, who was fortunate enough to have had strong programs in suburban Washington, D..C., and Lexington, MA, I certainly agree with the many benefits of debating in school. Not only did I get an early introduction to learning how to learn about policy issues, do research, organize my thoughts, and speak convincingly, (essentially get an introduction to the trivium), but I also travelled to many different places for tournaments. I also credit debate with my early cynicism about economcis: After reading so many economic pieces doing research, and seeing how economists as a group couldn’t reach the most basic consensus on even the facts at issue, I knew economics was a farce.

    From what I see today, the interest in debate seems to have waned quite a bit from what it was in the ’70s. I noticed my local high schools lacks a team, and I see little interest in forming one. Sad if true.

    1. Banger

      Well, it’s not just debate which, in the competitive arena, I’m not that fond of though its better than nothing. I prefer Socratic dialogue or dialectic (discussion). That is the art we have lost. The idea with debate is that I’m 100% right and you are 100% wrong–and, strangely, debaters use logic and evidence to prove their point–but the fact of the matter is that such an endeavor is fundamentally illogical by definition and evidence. Truth can only come about by agreement not me forcing my opinion down your throat. Maybe there are things I did not take into account that you happen to know about–maybe my perception might be helped by understanding another POV and maybe we may not, in the end, agree totally but each of us will be rewarded.

      Discussions on the internet have consistently proven to be about being right and a struggle of which ego will prevail and not, necessarily the truth. People attack each other without granting the other clear points based on indisputable evidence–instead, the ignore the evidence and jump to ad hominem attacks of one kind or another. This has been almost always true in my experience on the internet since the old days of listservs and BBs.

    2. Goyo Marquez

      (Yves and I were both debaters.)

      The problem with debaters is they conflate winning a debate with arriving at the truth, so they’ll do whatever to win even if that means engaging in behaviors they know lead away from the truth. They’ll shout a person down, employ arguments they know to be logical fallacies if that will win the debate.

      1. Yves Smith

        No, that’s inaccurate. You clearly are not familiar with high school and college debate. Debate judges are VERY well attuned to logical fallacies and cheap rhetorical tricks. Debaters get big demerits for those. You lose, not win, if you try them. Shouting? No need and never done because each person has a set amount of time to speak.

        1. EconCCX

          @Yves You clearly aren’t familiar with high school and college debate. Debate judges are VERY well attuned to logical and rhetorical fallacies. Debaters get big demerits for those.

          This piece in the Atlantic describes how the norms have changed in certain precincts.

          To counter this trend, Hardy and his allies want to create a “policy only” space in which traditional standards for debate will be enforced. However, this is nearly impossible to do within the two major debate associations, CEDA and the National Debate Tournament (NDT), as they are governed by participants and have few conduct enforcement mechanisms.

          (I took a writing course in ’08 with the Binghamton debate coach quoted in support of culturally responsive competitive debate standards. Pooh.)

          1. optimader

            Yes well it seems the gentile standards of debate have been dumbed down a bit everywhere. “…And this will be shelved in my library of responses to F***ING RETARDS..

            good link btw.

          2. Lambert Strether Post author

            Yes, policy debate is what I did, and I think Yves too. Today’s debate is a pale shadow of that, considered in terms of sport, though possibly better on some other axes.

            Nevertheless, debate then and now: Terrific! Teach your kids!

        2. Goyo Marquez

          I wasn’t referring to high school debate, I didn’t realize so many of your readers were still in high school. I was referring to the present day behavior of people who used to participate in competitive debate. I thought that the quote re your and Lambert’s history as debaters made that clear. Your response is a perfect example of what I was referring to. Please assign yourself some demerits.

          1. Yves Smith

            Ahem, so who is engaging in rhetorical tricks? The thread clearly was about formal debate, as in high school and college debate. You’ve decided to change definitions either above or just now when called out.

            And as for engaging in tricks, you must be new here. Lambert and yours truly) regularly call out readers for logical fallacies (Lambert more based on classic rhetoric, yours truly on cognitive biases).

            And we don’t need to shout. This is private, hosted space, and people who are abusive or otherwise troll-like get shown the door.

            But while we are pointing out logical fallacies, you’ve just decided to attack us (ad hominem) while providing no evidence (as in that Lambert and my remarks are unreasonable by the standards of comments sections). In fact, the evidence is the reverse, since NC is widely credited as having the best comments section of all economics and finance blogs. In other words, if we get rough, it’s because the commentor asked for it.

            So your comments looks like projection.

            1. Goyo Marquez

              Well… Fwiw. I thought I was echoing what Banger said when she/he said:
              “Discussions on the internet have consistently proven to be about being right and a struggle of which ego will prevail and not, necessarily the truth. People attack each other without granting the other clear points based…”

              Perhaps he/she was referring to academic debate discussion groups. My bad!

              As for shouting down I meant rudeness, not literal shouting. Rudeness which shuts down conversation with people you disagree with or for whatever reasons don’t like. I mean the inability to keep from verbally attacking people over even minor issues. I mean the attack dog mentality which has no problem engaging in personal attacks, if that will win the day.

              As for the logical fallacies: “clearly” in your first reply, is I believe an appeal to beliefs.

              It wasn’t my intent to attack you but to point out a blind spot you may have as the result of your participation in academic debate. Please forgive me.

              I’ve been reading your blog everyday for at least five years I even contributed a little bit during this last fund raising drive. If I do not comment more it’s because quite often it turns into exactly what happened here.

              I’ll go back to keeping my mouth shut as I “clearly” have nothing to add, but thank you anyway for your hard work.

  3. john gleason

    Per Deidre McCloskey, “Or why not shame the executive-remuneration committees?” for lower CEO payouts. Yeah, right! I think the author projected him/herself in what she/he accuses Pickety. Economics does not equal science even when studied from the past.

  4. McMike

    Re bankers lie and cheat.

    Or maybe we could put a few in jail… And give criminal firms the death penalty.

    Nah. Lets just call them “hosts”.

    1. Katniss Everdeen

      I’m wondering how many of these bankers started “adulthood” in the Greek systems of UVA and other “elite” colleges and universities (U-Va. president suspends fraternities until Jan. 9 in wake of rape allegations WaPo) where gang rape was considered an acceptable requirement to gain entrance to the “club.”

      Those who did would argue, I’m sure, that mere lying and cheating demonstrates how much they have “matured.” After all, it’s just lying and cheating, not assault.

      As for “jail,” if gang rape doesn’t even get you expelled, and you can even continue to taunt and demean your victim, LYING AND CHEATING????

      C’mon, man.

      1. TheraP

        Brilliant metaphor! Gang Rape! Term the Worldwide Oligarchy “Gang Rape” – of people, nations, governments, culture. Link it to fraternities. To organized crime.

        I would love to see that go viral!

        Because it’s so true.

        1. scraping_by

          Much truth in that. My working class friends from high school saw the Greek system as an entry into the power system. It’s arguable that the academic cheating, bullying, substance abuse, snobbery, and sexual brutality is a training regimen for turning out sociopaths to serve as the servants of the powerful. The wealthy need agents to control the police and financial system.

    2. diptherio

      Exactly: the Gresham’s dynamic in the finance industry is like a plague—it needs to be contained before it spreads any further. Jail time for the ring-leaders and quarantine/mercy killing for the institutional host-body. And no one from the firm should be allowed to move to other firms until it’s been verified that they aren’t a – – holes, i.e. they haven’t been infected yet and so can be trusted to not carry the parasite to into a another host.

    3. GuyFawkesLives

      I believe we should paint the bankers in black face and deposit them in Ferguson. Maybe the po-po there would do what we all want done: murder them.

  5. Chris in Paris

    I got a mail from Amnesty plugging Detekt to “check for gov’t surveillance” on my PC. Seems a bit naive. Oh and if you’re running anything but Windows, no Detekt for you.

    1. Banger

      There is an interesting phenomenon that is emerging out of the mud of American political life and that is the gradual growth of what I call high skepticism. People who have not completely lost the ability to think clearly feel that they can recover from the intellectual devolution of our culture and begin to open their eyes. They may come to wrong or premature conclusions but they are moving away from the consensus reality manufactured by the MSM and an increasingly corrupt educational system from el-sec to postsec to postgrad to think tanks. On the so-called left and the right we see bankrupt and increasingly irrational writings and conclusions about reality.

      I wonder whether the comments sections major media outlets will allow comments like Mike Whitney presents to us–they don’t have to allow them. My comments are now no longer allowed at HuffPost (as a result of the Ukraine issue probably) but, strangely, they are allowed at the WashPost. As time passes thoughtful people will probably, over the next few years, have an effect on the attempts to stampede the public into war. So far the War Party does not feel free to go all out in a war against Russia but has managed to create conditions where a war still could occur but time is not on their side short of the last resort of another false flag attack.

      I think we should take heart in what Whitney said–most people desperately want to believe the media and the government and it will take a sustained effort on the part of all of us to keep up our critique of the power-elite.

  6. Carolinian


    Her bond with the former Nixon national security advisor, who she boasts, “checked in with me regularly” during her time as President Obama’s secretary of state, reflects the paradoxes inherent in both their tenures. She says they both share “a belief in the indispensability of continued leadership in service of a just and liberal order,” yet Kissinger is best known for expanding the war in Vietnam. In the interest of global order he pushed for continued air strikes on Laos and helped initiate a secret bombing campaign in Cambodia without congressional approval, ultimately strengthening the genocidal trajectory of the Khmer Rouge.

    All told, millions of civilians died as a result of the war in Indochina. Kissinger was feted for “ending” the conflict in Vietnam with the 1973 Nobel Peace Prize, for an agreement that in no way inhibited the North Vietnamese from overrunning the south as the last Americans scrambled to leave Saigon in 1975. Kissinger also supported the war in Iraq, and was a regular counselor/visitor at the Bush White House, too. Now, like his protégé Clinton, he says, “If I had known everything then that I know now, I probably would not have supported it.”

    Hillary may have been protesting the Vietnam War while Kissinger was escalating it, but she has long since seen force as a way to promote democratic goals, beginning with the NATO bombing of Serbia in 1994 (when, of course, it politically suited)

  7. financial matters

    The liquidity monster that awaits FT Alphaville

    Aren’t these other ways to say the same thing: The financial system is deleveraging. Not all derivatives will be able to be paid out (it will be a game of musical chairs). Equity markets can go down (liquidity can evaporate).

    But these are all pure financial markets. Liquidity can also be used to match unused labor to unused resources including things like access to basic legal services, mobilizing resources to fight climate change etc.

    1. financial matters

      “”Fed policymakers neglected to notice that Bagehot already had examined this argument and had shown that interconnectedness of debtor-creditor relationships and the associated danger of systemic failure constituted no good reason to bail out insolvent firms. Modern bailout critics take Bagehot one step further, contending that insolvent firms should be allowed to fail and go through receivership, recapitalization, and reorganization.
      Although assets will be “marked to market” and revalued to their natural equilibrium levels, nothing real will be lost. The firms’ capital and labor resources as well as their business relationships and specific information on borrowers will still be in place to be put to more effective and less risky uses by their new owners.””

  8. sleepy

    Dead malls article:

    Didn’t Tom Friedman marry the heir to the Rouse Development Corp?

    If so, I’m delighted to see it’s doing poorly.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      They can probably make more money converting those empty malls into maternity motels.

      Many motherland-rapists have to eventually flee their nests with the help of their American-citizen infants.

  9. sleepy

    In reference to the new immigration policy, the Bloomberg article mentions warnings given to immigrants to be on the lookout for scams.

    I guess I’m slow, but it never fails to amaze me how sharp the hustlers are. The ink isn’t dry on any executive order, and I have no doubt that certain organizations, probably some legal ones, are already gearing up for some sort of “one stop shopping” for a hefty fee.

    Maybe Obama needs to trot out the obamacare navigators to assist.

  10. Timmy

    The “liquidity monster that awaits”. Awaits who exactly? The FT story suggests it is the asset management industry who will be first to learn the hard lesson of the limited liquidity in fixed income markets, perhaps with a failure of a buy-side firm. Is the buy side the victim? How should we think about the shareholders of that firm’s funds in 401(k)’s and IRA’s? What about private bankers that watched concentrations rise across their systems but didn’t act to limit flows? What of the mutual fund sales organizations that are only compensated for asset growth whether or not the investment strategy or the investment target has exceeded its liquid capacity? What of the regulators that are watching the concentrations rise across firms? Is this a train with zero adult supervision? Do we really have to go off a cliff?

    1. Jess

      “The FT story suggests it is the asset management industry who will be first to learn the hard lesson of the limited liquidity in fixed income markets, perhaps with a failure of a buy-side firm.”

      As someone who is not very knowledgeable about investment vehicles and strategies but suddenly has had some economic good fortune, I am now forced to consider where to safely park the proceeds. With respect to the above comment/prediction, does anyone have any idea how this might impact doing business with firms like Franklin that buy muni bonds, or going through a firm like UBS to invest in a combination of munis, muni mutual funds, and Treasuries? (A certain UBS rep has been strongly recommended by multiple friends.)

      Realize NC is not intended as as an investment advisory forum, but appreciate any advice on trip-wires and pitfalls to avoid. (Not to mention foresight about the safety and security of the near and mid-term investment market anyway.) Thanks.

  11. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Crude slide…debt fears.

    OK. What’s next?

    Milk slide…debt fears.

    Health care slide…debt fears.

    For profit education slide…debt fears.


    I think I finally understanding those wise and valiant central bankers.

    1. Andrew Watts

      Hopefully at some point we can ignore what the central bankers are doing and are able to just accuse them of trying to perpetrate their racket. It would make things much easier.

  12. diptherio

    Just deposited a brain-dropping on my blog:

    You’re Doing it Wrong: Politics As If Democracy Mattered

    Here’s the nut:

    Imagine a political party with no national platform—a party where local rank-and-file members select candidates from among themselves, and dictate the policies those candidates will support. Imagine a political party whose candidates are transparent; one that guarantees every member an equal voice in shaping the actual policy proposals—and the votes—of their representatives. Imagine a political party whose focus is on empowering the rank-and-file members, instead of the charismatic con-artists we call politicians. Imagine a political party that runs on direct democracy, from bottom to top: open, transparent and accountable.

    That, dear friends, is what I am suggesting.
    In our party, the platforms of the local candidates will be decided by the members through face-to-face and on-line dialogue and discussion, and on-line voting. If someone has a policy proposal, they submit it for discussion, debate, and amendment; if the proposal gathers a preponderance of support from the members, it becomes a local policy position.

    Candidates are nominated by the members in their district and have the obligation to submit and vote on legislation only in line with the positions of the local party chapter, once they are elected. In office, the job of the representative is to present and explain legislation up for vote to the members, and, in cases where the proper vote is not clear from the local positions, to have the local party vote on which way the representative should cast their vote in the legislature. Our party will not only allow, but encourage real-time interaction and meaningful participation from the members in the daily work of legislating. This will give members the chance to actually effect the votes of their representatives in a meaningful and transparent way.

    The candidates in our party will be contractually obligated to represent only the preferences of their constituencies, regardless of their personal opinions or interests. Any candidate failing to do so will be recalled at the soonest possible time. In this way of doing politics, the political candidate is not the leader of the party, but merely the spokesperson for her or his constituents.

    Feedback welcome.

    1. Another Gordon

      It sounds a little bit like the UK Lib Dems, especially with respect to policy making and it simply doesn’t work – they just got under 1% in a Parliamentary by-election which is the all time record for a party that’s ever been in government. There are multiple problems including that most people just don’t know enough to contribute sensibly to policy and in any case only a tiny proportion bother to do any background reading before making up their minds, preferring to shoot from the hip. So a party which thinks it stands firmly against privilege and overbearing corporate power has managed to come out strongly in favour of TTIP/TPP because, as far as I can tell, the magic words “free trade” outweigh all other considerations. And when it comes to elections the ones who win are usually the same old stagers as were around decades ago based it appears entirely on name recognition. They have mastered the art of making a big career as small fish in a tiny puddle but they are mainly no-nothings (with some honourable exceptions).

    2. Banger

      Why not? But better is direct democracy and doing away with representatives who will be bought out and/or threatened by oligarchs every day of the week as soon as they land in Washington. There would, of course, have to be an intermediate regime to work out the kinks and set some solid ground-rules and it clearly would require a new Constitutional Convention of some kind–the old Constitution is not only obsolete but ignored by the government and the judiciary.

  13. ella

    Banking reform without stiff criminal penalties will not deter their behavior. RICO anyone, jail time and forfeiture of the fruits the crime. (as in any money made or any purchases or investments from the money made from the crime.) Cheating is really theft.

    Pet peeve: the use of the term accounting control fraud. It is far too difficult to understand. Corporate fraud, or banking fraud is a broader concept but one most of the public could understand. Accounting fraud is also easier to understand.

    1. Vatch

      Hi Ella. I think you’re right about the phrase “accounting control fraud”. It has a useful technical meaning, but it’s too jargonistic to interest the average person.

    2. Mel

      I don’t think it’s hard to explain, though. The con-men can work the con because the mark is a company they control. They are the Chief x Officers giving the orders. When the mark hands over the money, it’s because they told it to.

  14. craazyman

    holy smokes things are a mess at Mr. Jefferson’s University. Shit. That’s my alma mater. I was a frat guy. I partied hard, lived in the frat house for 2 years.

    I guarantee anybody who reads this. First of all, I don’t lie. Anybody who reads my sentences in this forum knows I’m a straight shooter. I only make stuff up if it’s a) funny or b) a metaphor for a higher reality. I’m not making this up: In 4 years of hard partying & frat life at UVa, I never ever saw anything remotely close to the behavior that Rolling Stone article describes. Never. Ever. not one time. Sure there were wild nights and wild girls and wild guys and circumstances that you might attribute to “too much alcohol” — but nothing that would be construed as “rape”. I’m not saying it didn’t happen or couldn’t have happened ever in the 4 years I was there (back when Fred Flinttsone was in college) on a campus of then 20,000 students. But I am saying that if it did happen, it was rare, very rare. I once heard some girl in another frat was sodomized with a wine bottle. That disgusted me. Most of the guys in my house had girlfriends and treated females with courtesy and dignity. I never ever heard of anything as awful as that story in Rolling Stone. It doesn’t make any sense to me that a guy who subjected his date to that type of criminal assault and battery would or could, afterward, approach her in public socially as if nothing happened and actually tell her “I had a great time”. That makes no sense at all. That’s not how human minds work, even lost children’s minds. That makes no sense at all.

    I’m not reflexively defending UVa or frats or taking sides. I have no sentimental attachment, frankly, to UVa or frats in general. At UVa They take worship of Mr. Jefferson to a sycophantic extreme, in my view (although he is pretty cool, I will say) and the fortunate sons and daughters of southern rich families don’t impress me as a genre. I have no allegiances except to consciousness, conscience, reality and truth.
    I wonder if those will be discovered before “justice” lays waste to guilty and innocent alike in a Sherman’s March across Madison Bowl. From the sounds of things, probably not. Ecce Homo
    I don’t envy the UVA administrators on this one. No more Animal House foo foo petty theater. This is serious. Also that UVa song seems to have added some verses since The Day I was there. I don’t recall those but they are pretty funny — a long as somebody has enough sanity and self control to separate imagination from reality. Sadly that borderline is sometimes as porous as the clouds.

    1. Furzy Mouse

      Hi Crazzzyman….I had the same response after reading the article yesterday….in the ’60’s, 4 yr undergrad U of Md, 1 year grad work at Cornell….none of this!! Went to plenty of parties, dorms, frat houses, football bashes, loads of booze…..etc…I found the story truly shocking…America has slouched into the land of mean, full of shock jock misogyny….

    2. Banger

      Look, back in the day was back in the day–has little relationship to reality of youth today. Remember this is the age of violent video games, ubiquitous porn (I never saw porn until I was in my mid-twenties), nasty women-hating music, and a glorification of insensitivity and boorishness as if it was almost as important as money. There are sensitive young people and I know many of them–but ask them about how most of their peers think and act.

    3. Lambert Strether Post author

      I live in a university town, and I’m familiar with party culture and alcohol, up close. I can well believe this story. I know all the old farts like me say “Things were never like this when I was young,” and my college days weren’t exactly Puritan. But I really do think it’s different these days (and not because of “kids these days” but how the stressors of college life have changed, especially the job market and debt). So the UVa story reminds me of this Dartmouth story. And the UVa story was well-sourced, was it not? Many interviews.

      “Don’t you want to be a brother?” is a powerful motivator….

      1. craazyman

        I hear ya. People can do crazy shit to each other, and to themselves (bulimia, anorexia, mutilation) for reasons that even they don’t know and can’t comprehend.

        But for stories like this one there’s a larger metanarrative that governs what people choose to believe. There’s no way we’ll ever know what happened to that young girl in that fraternity house. If the circumstances turn into a criminal trial, I have no doubt we’ll hear another side of the story that is quite different from the RS narrative. Why do people who weren’t there and don’t know anything about any of the people involved except what they read on the internet believe what they believe? That’s another angle on what by any account is unambiguously a horrible situation.

        1. Anonymous

          I am sorry craazyman. I usually enjoy your comments. Not this one. What could that young woman possibly gain by this?? I actually have male members of my family who attended UVA and even they give credibility to things I tell them from the perspective of a girl or woman when unattached – from my own and female friends’ experiences. Incidentally, in my many years of experience of not being attached to a man, I have found the following. The best thing about having a boyfriend, etc. is that most of the time guys will leave you alone. An unattached woman seems to be seen as fair game by an unfortunately large number of men.

          1. craazyman

            Her version of events may well be 100% true. I have no way of knowing or judging and I wouldn’t presume to. it sounds like she has nothing to gain. It sounds like a whistleblower’s fate.

            How do you personally decide what to believe? (It’s a rhetorical question) you weren’t there. There’s no way to know. I don’t know and don’t pretend to know.

            It seems incredible to me that the guy accused — whose freinds evidently abused her with rape, assault and battery — would approach her socially afterward and tell her he had a great time that evening and is she avoiding him. That is so weird and deranged it seems inconceivable. Her freinds who told her that why not just enjoy it cause the guys were hot, is equally insane.Maybe the culture is that crazed, where that sort of interaction is considered normal. This whole story has the logic of a nightmare. where images collide and narrative jumps from scene to scene without any discernably lucid emotional through line that distinguishes sanity and order from insanity and anarchy.

            I have no prurient interest in this situation and no desire to engage in gossip. There is no doubt this will be investigated and people will be called to testify under oath. If this horrible event stays in the news, I’m sure we’ll hear more about it.

            1. bellota

              I have absolutely no trouble believing that the accused would approach her afterward. This is what happened to me. It played a large part in what ultimately drove me to take a leave of absence and finish my degree by taking as many courses online as I could. You also seem to be unaware that there are many men who use the tactic of contacting the victim after the fact and saying things like “they had a good time” or asking if the woman “had a good time, too” as a way to later point to this as some sort of evidence or proof that what transpired was “consensual” if the woman goes on to report it. (I’m not kidding, if you happen to stumble upon some of the more disturbing parts of the internet, like PUA, MRA sites, you’ll see it for yourself.) It is also a very effective way to intimidate someone who is already very vulnerable.

              Lastly, everyone responds to trauma differently. It doesn’t always makes logical sense. And I can tell you from first-hand experience that reactions like yours, and people who scrutinize and judge how a victim behaves or responds in the aftermath do tangible damage. As others have pointed out, this all contributes to the litany of other reasons why a great number of victims do not report their assaults.

            2. ho

              i worked in bars for a while, saw and heard about some things… the “i had a nice time” move is THE totally standard post-rape move. It gives the girl the chance to repress the event, or retroactively declare it consensual, and even continue interacting with the guy socially for some time into the future.

              Happens all the time, totally standard, its just how its done.

              if you didn’t know that guys said stuff like that, then you have been lucky enough to avoid the scummy underside of things… i envy you

              1. Scylla


                I have witnessed this as well. Such behaviors have become standardized. Many rapists are serial offenders and on campus commit about 90 percent of the rapes. These guys know what they are doing.

              2. craazyman

                I hear you. I don’t disagree with you and I know that scumbags walk the earth.

                But this isn’t “date rape”. In this case, if somebody reads the accusation, it’s premeditated group physical assault and battery, imprisonment and group sexual assault. This is really really way beyond “no doesn’t really mean no and I know you want it so I’ll give it to you. See you love it don’t you. Aren’t I a man now.” (No, he’s not. But that’s a different level .)

                Maybe things have gotten this sick. That behavior like that can be rationalized as fun and games and “so what”. I guess we’ll find out if the media continues to cover this story.

                1. ho

                  i wasn’t talking about date rape. I was talking about the other thing. The premeditated horrible thing. Groups, repeating, etc. Think: bar managers and drunk naiive young girls far from home. They get hired, cause they’re cute, and systematically have something like this done to them. Every few years, some minor police attention, nothing major.

                  The girls usually just gloss it over with jokes and stuff. The ones that don’t just quit.

                  Always, “I had a great time, I can’t believe I had a shot with you, but damn, I got lucky.” or something like that.

                2. spooz

                  Rolling Stone has a followup article on the college rape culture:

                  Rape at UVA: Readers Say Jackie Wasn’t Alone


                  I have personal experience with this, where a family member was raped by a friend in college and ended up being persuaded not to prosecute him. She has had trouble with relationships since then and has had to see a therapist. To me, a large part of the problem is the culture of silence involved with in the fraternity system, where ethics can sometimes take a back seat to brotherhood.

                  1. cwaltz

                    I think it goes beyond frat houses and the sad thing is if they get away with it in college it probably improves the chance they might repeat the MO.

                    I haven’t been following the UVa story as much as I’ve totalling the number of victims Bill Cosby appears to have racked up. Sad. One woman coming forward has led to 14 other women saying that it happened to them too(and you still have a bunch of people insisting in commentary that the victims were somehow to blame.)

            3. cwaltz

              As a woman I tend to believe woman when they say they’ve been raped. Not only do they have very little to gain but essentially coming forward means that you’ll have everything from your attire, your behavior, and your personal life questioned. More often than not rather than have people justify the boys will be boys behavior with “why was she drinking?(makes me wonder if men would feel the same way if another guy raped THEM while at these parties and authorities used the excuse of drinking as a reason to justify blowing off an investigation) or “she knew the deal when she went back to his room?(again if a guy raped another guy would this type of reaction even be acceptable. I’m betting no) or my very personal favorite is the idea that because a girl has had consensual sex before that every act thereafter should be considered crossed wires rather than a guy not taking no for an answer.

              Again, this all could be avoided if boys were taught that women aren’t meant to be treated as sexual objects and as entire people. It isn’t that hard to wait to have sex until you know a person well enough to know whether or not they’d accuse you of rape. More often than not though guys figure that they should be able to “hook up” consequence free. Surprise! There are consequences to having sex with women you don’t know for guys too(you can end up being accused of rape or being financially responsible for a kid you didn’t plan on.)

            4. Lambert Strether Post author

              I think “he said/she said” is just a bit sketchy if you read the whole article. There’s a support group who say they have shared experiences. The group has administration sanction, IIRC. Indeed, if you read the article through the lens of academic politics, which I learned at the dinner table, it looks like the administrator “supporting” these young women is doing her level best to keep a lid on the whole affair.

              1. cwaltz

                Don’t you mean she said- they said?

                Was anyone expecting these guys to say “yeah we totally raped her, we’re ready to do our jail time?”

                It took me one comment in on the article linked to read someone saying saying that they doubted her because she did not get a rape kit (Can anyone say shock?) and to suppose that because drinking was going on that maybe it wasn’t rape.(because this apparent rocket scientist is OKAY with drunk girls being victimized- they’re totally asking for it.) Peachy. More boys will be boys apologia.

                1. Lambert Strether Post author

                  The phrase is in quotes because that is the cliche, and the cliche is my crude summary of craazyman’s comment, because that’s what I think it boils down to.

                  If you will reread the comment more carefully you will see that I give reasons, working from the RS evidence alone, why she’s believable.

        2. Scylla

          “There’s no way we’ll ever know what happened to that young girl in that fraternity house.”
          Seems she told the story pretty well, and it looks to me like you are already discounting her account.

          Your statements are an excellent example of how effectively rape culture has been internalized by so many people.

          Look at what a woman goes through when she reports her rape. Her entire past history and behavior is dredged up for all to study. Studies consistently show that only a fraction of rapes are reported, and only a small fraction of those result in a conviction. Funny that so many people think a woman would subject herself to such scrutiny and persecution because she “regretted” a sexual encounter, or is simply angry at some guy.
          Add to that toxic mess the financial incentive that UVA administration has to cover up these acts, and anyone can see that there are predatory people who will not only take advantage of such a situation, but teach others to do so as well.
          My partner was gang raped under very similar circumstances, and she did not report her assault either.

          People like you are part of the problem.

          1. cwaltz


            There seems to be such a sense of male entitlement when it comes to sex. Like I said, I wonder if we would be having this conversation if it was a GUY accusing other GUYS of raping him. I’m betting no. The default setting for that would be he had absolutely nothing to gain from reporting this and it must be true.

            As if somehow or another sex with a guy is a prize most of us of the female gender seek out constantly because sex with them = winning. I mean c’mon guys get over yourselves.

          2. craazyman

            why would you post a totally off-topic, wandering, ad-hominem rant as a comment?

            We’ll never know cause we weren’t there. If there is a trial and evidence presented, then we’ll have a better idea. If that happens, it’s likely the defense will mount a case that presents a narrative different from the one we read. We’ll then have two narratives to evaluate. Those are simply the facts, not my opinion.

            These observations in no way delegitimize the pain and misery of rape victims everywhere, who deserve justice and deserve the support of society in their pursuit of it.

            I don’t know why people like you feel an urge to misread and twist other peoples words and thoughts until they’re a manufactured demon you can slay with your supposed virtue. That is really not very impressive conduct on your part. It doesn’t impress me anyway, but it darkly amuses me enough to respond. that’s all.

            1. cwaltz

              A rant percipitated by your supposition that and I quote

              “doesn’t make any sense to me that a guy who subjected his date to that type of criminal assault and battery would or could, afterward, approach her in public socially as if nothing happened and actually tell her “I had a great time”. That makes no sense at all. That’s not how human minds work, even lost children’s minds. That makes no sense at all.”

              It makes absolute sense if AFTER the rape coming forward means that a victim is going to be subjected to people saying that it was somehow your fault and the guy can get ahead of the game by ACTING LIKE IT WAS A CONSENSUAL ACT and making it clear to his victim that he intends on calling it a consensual act. Duh.

            2. Scylla

              I twisted nothing. Your words are part and parcel of the problem. People like you make these assertions that we cannot know the truth because we were not there and do not know the character of the individuals involved and on and on. You think that the truth will come out in a court of law when the entire system is stacked against rape victims and almost no rape cases even make it to court and when they do, the victim is re-victimized all over again.
              Its funny how you can sit on this website and recognize the structural problems within the economy and culture that systemically keep lower socioeconomic classes down, yet you refuse to imagine that the same thing is occurring to sexual assault victims in not just the criminal justice system, but the wider culture as well. Pointing out the problematic nature of your statement, and then pointing out the fact that your attitudes are part of the cultural problem is not an ad hominem attack, it is simply the truth.

              Speaking of fallacies, your last paragraph is a strawman/ad hominem itself. There is a pretty big group of people here pointing out that your statements are very problematic, instead of doubling down, perhaps you should reflect and admit to yourself that you have something to learn, and maybe do some research.

          3. Lambert Strether Post author

            “People like you are part of the problem” Eesh. Let’s try to cross that one out mentally so the entire NC comment thread doesn’t devolve into a giant pie fight. I hear statements like that all the time, on any issue you care to name.

            1. skippy

              Agree tho’ the apologia was bad form imo, beer, pizza, and football, protestant musings will have that effect…. rage…

            2. cwaltz

              I disagree with you on that Lambert. The blanket statement made was very EXACTLY why so many woman don’t come forward. When they come forward THEY are the ones treated like their behavior is suspect like somehow they were the ones who did something wrong that caused the rape or like they have some ulterior motive for calling what happened a rape. Society essentially victimizes a victim all over again when they insinuate that the person bringing forward the accusation is at fault for what conspired or that they are lying about what happened. As it is victims are already vulnerable from having their trust violated by being forced into an act of intimacy. It’s pretty much piling on to call someone bringing forward an accusation a liar or place the blame for the act on them(or insist it couldn’t possibly have gone down as they say it transpired.). It reinforces the position that people(not just the assailer) can’t be trusted and means healing will take that much longer for a victim.

              I personally think the poster nailed it. Women don’t come forward because all a guy has to do is claim “consensual act” and then every aspect of the female in question is going to go under a microscope.

              1. Lambert Strether Post author

                If “People like you are part of the problem” grows like kudzu all over the comment section then there won’t be an NC comments section.

                “Statements like this are part of the problem” is fine.

                “People like you are part of the problem” is not fine.

                1. Scylla

                  I will respect your wishes and not make a statement like that again in the future, Lambert. I am not a very active commenter here, but I have been reading daily for many years and I think the world of you and Yves. I apologize and I would never wish to overstep my welcome.

                  Hopefully this gets to you.

        3. Lambert Strether Post author

          On the criminal trial: Again, if you read the article carefully, you will see that both UVa culture and the administrative process militate against that; at the young woman’s first interview, going to trial is presented very explicitly as one option. Now, you can say “It should be up to her,” but also everything about the campus culture pressures her not to go ahead. So, on the one hand, “We’ll never know”; on the other, a system that ensures that in a substantial number of cases, we never do know.

          As far as the putative implausibility of a rapist greeting his victim socially with “I had a great time,” that reminds me of episodes I remember from Argentina and Chile where torturers met their victims socially and expected a perfectly normal reaction.

    4. Fran

      When I attended college many years ago, I was not aware of this. However, after a couple of fraternity parties early in my freshman year, at Ivy colleges, I decided they were surely time ill spent. I was disgusted by the drunken behavior. Many years later a boyfriend confessed to me that he had participated in a gang rape in college. So, it did happen then. It seems that then, as now, people did not talk about it. I am not amazed to hear any of this. BTW, hearing about it years later left me feeling very queasy about a relationship with that man – even though apparently he felt guilty.

    5. MarcoPolo

      I grew up in a small college town, almost right on campus. Our neighbors were professors, factory workers and students. I still live just outside of town. But it’s all different. The factories are gone and the University is huge – and hopes to put on another 50% in short order. I don’t know where I saw an article on why they were in such competitive positions and had to scale up to these levels. Something about state funding having dried up. They had to sell “prestige”. Viva markets. Anyway, the block where I grew up has been bought by the University in one of those “public/private partnerships”. Where there were once 2 dozen families there will now be just short of 1000 students – on the same basic infrastructure, streets, sewers, etc. It’s out of control. Football riots. A student lost his life (not in a riot). They just closed their fraternities/sororities here too. I blamed it all on football. Maybe we’d be used to that in Manchester/United. But really, I don’t get it. I don’t know why.

      The “public/private partnership” thing is interesting though. The University buys the properties and leases them to a developer who fronts the University enough on the lease that the University has nothing out-of-pocket on the purchase. The properties go off the tax rolls (University is tax exempt). The Developer gets a 40 yr. revenue stream before the properties and improvements revert to University. So, at the end of the lease University gets both, properties and improvements. But of course, Developer doesn’t have anything out-of-pocket either. Because, borrowed money. And the banks, who I assume arrange all of that for a fee, sell it on and have no VAR. What could go wrong?

    6. optimader

      I found the concept of fraternities distasteful when I was at University and it seems my intuition continues to be fulfilled unfortunately. Pretty messed up story. Blaming this sort of ultraviolent behavior on alcohol, videos games music or for that matter some high level concern about job prospects somewhere over the collegiate horizon is a copout IMO. (File under: The Process of Violentization –Lonnie Athens)

      This is simply not the way young men that were raised in a civilized, well adjusted manner behave, Period.

  15. TarheelDem

    I found Deirdre McCloskey’s takedown of the economics profession in the first part of the paper amusingly accurate. Indeed, where is the data?

    But I stopped reading when it turned into a supply-side screed with this assertion.

    so much less so than, say, the state taking a radically larger share of national income in taxes,
    with its attendant inefficiencies, or the state encouraging the spurning of capitalist ownership in favor of “new forms of governance and shared ownership intermediate between public and private”

    What exactly is “inefficiency” and how is it that it applies to governments but not to the internal bureaucracies of government-sanctioned limited liability corporations that (1) lack internal markets (Coase) and (2) are captive properties of the management, who loot them and sometimes discard them?

    It is nice that McCloskey hammers Picketty on human capital but not so nice to see she thinks that it appears spontaneously as some individual gaming of whatever place in the system they find themselves.

    There is a form of shared ownership intermediate between public and private. It is called a chartered joint-stock company or a chartered corporation, and it has only the powers and privileges the government grants it. If this is not true, then McCloskey would be open to the repeal of all corporation law, no?

    1. Banger

      This is the problem–the idea that “economics” as it is currently defined whether coming from a “libertarian” or “left” perspective actually means anything is false–it is a false discipline. I don’t say that because some of the many great insights of economics are not valid but that it has, at this time, decided that it is separate from politics. You cannot begin to understand economics without seeing it as a political issue. There is no such thing as “market forces” there are markets which are controlled by political forces. All markets are set up on political, not economic principles. Some could be, theoretically, fairly “open” but that’s rarely the case–at some point politics plays a role whether through regulation or by systemic fraud. Thus both Pickety McCloskey are full of shit to the extent they don’t figure in how the poltical system determines the economic sub-system.

  16. Howard Beale IV

    Highly advanced backdoor trojan cased high-profile targets for years: “Backdoor Regin” bears a resemblance to Stuxnet, was developed by a wealthy nation. Ars Technica

  17. sleepy

    This isn’t really a knock on your post, but I hesitate to make comments like that about women pols, although the evil that is Hillary deserves it.

    Perhaps it’s some hypocrisy on my part, but I never had any trouble with describing Dubya as looking like he suffered from fetal alcohol syndrome.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      Yeah, I had fun mocking Republicans on their looks and personal characteristics for years, along with a lot of the left blogosphere (for some definition of “left”). So how’d that work out? Not well. And it’s not good for me, personally. And that polymorphic garbage floats round in the zeitgeist for years, witness all the Clinton hate eagerly picked up by fresh-faced young Obama supporters. It’s juvenile, and it’s a strategic #FAIL. So by all means let us continue to practice it!

  18. Banger

    I Recommend this link: “Security” In the West’s Client States in Counterpunch.

    Vltchek travels a lot and gets hassled all over. His account shows the trends and the increase in “security” around the world particularly those client and semi-client states of the USA and the corporate elites. This is where we are heading which is why I prefer no security (I can supply my own if required) to the emergent security state that will be with us throughout the world. Interestingly he contrasts these security systems with those of other countries like China where you would expect draconian measures.

    Why the security? Because the Imperial elites feel the danger I suppose.

  19. Jackrabbit

    Benghazi Whitewash

    Whether our armed forces responded appropriately is a really a secondary issue. The real issues were:

    that the facility was not well protected is now acknowledged and officials at State were admonished; and

    Abuse of power (for political gain)
    that some protestors said that they were influenced by the video after being interviewed long afterwards is laughable. How much did it cost to get THAT on the record? (probably little more than “we know where you live”)

    The administration has done everything it can to obfuscate and stymie investigation (portraying ‘Benghazi’ as a Republican witch hunt and claiming National Security concerns). Lets remember that ‘Benghazi’ only really got traction AFTER the State Dept employees came forward after Hillary’s “what difference does it make” testimony.

    Furthermore, the IRS scandal, “foaming the runway” for the banks, Obamacare lies / GruberGate, Nuland’s “F*ck the EU”, withholding info about MH-17, and much much more show that the Obama Administration is a serial abuser of power.


    Anyone with a few political brain cells knows that Hillary needs ‘Benghazi’ to go away. And the Republicans need Hillary in the race (to juice the duopoly vote). Now we get this report. Quelle surprise!

    H O P

    1. Andrew Watts

      I don’t have any problem with your list but can we add “impotence of those in power”? Honestly you’d think that they’d see something like this coming after Argo was released. Those that don’t learn from history, something. something.

    2. cwaltz

      I don’t know if you are aware but the GOP witch hunt on Benghazi yielded positively nothing. I say this as someone who has absolutely no investment in Sec. Clinton’s aspirations(won’t be voting for her if she is the nominee.)

      1. Jackrabbit

        ‘Positively nothing’ is a bit of an overstatement. What it yielded was inconclusive.

        – Americans were not told why the Ambassador was there.
        – Americans were not told why the attack occurred.
        – Several State Dept people were reprimanded for the inadequate security
        – Several State Dept people came forward to testify after Clinton’s “what difference does it make?” testimony
        – emails hint at pressure for intel agencies to change the story but there is no smoking gun

  20. jrs

    Shorter Greenwald: congress is unable to reach a decision preventing nuclear war. But they are irrelevant, you can still build a fallout shelter.

  21. PeonInChief

    It’s not surprising that the criticism of Covered California insurers is coming out now, after the November election. Prop 45 would have given our elected insurance commissioner oversight of the Covered California plans. The insurers subject to such oversight spent a great deal of money to win the No vote. Now it turns out that the “independent commission” and, for that matter, the entire staff of Covered California, does nothing but forelock-tugging for the big boys.

    1. jrs

      Yea definitely something that should have passed, but like the entire CA election (which probably is mostly legit as at least much of it is not electronic), nothing was even close. Everything won or lost on large margins. Sad that advertising money won that one. Though I still find direct democracy the worst system except for all others (including representative democracy!)

  22. bruno marr

    RE: BB on GG article.

    Umm, if ever there was a “mis-characterization” of an editorial, Boing Boing has done so. Reading Greenwald does require close attention. While GG probably isn’t the best person to delineate digital deception techniques, he’s not vouching for the efficacy of corporate attempts (feeble as they may be) to thwart NSA dragnets. He’s noting that they exist and are the current response to the issue (not the best, or last).

    And GG does not say congressional response to NSA overreach would be useless; just unlikely to be effective.

    By the way, I ran the “Detekt” software. No recognizable malware discovered. Easy process. Took less than five minutes, total. (Download and scan; I have a 300Mbps connection)

  23. Andrew Watts

    RE: Police, privacy advocates clash over cellphone tracking

    If the Stringray devices are spoofing a cell phone tower they are likely to be picking up everybody elses cell phone that is in range too. An individual warrant would not cover such a broad search that intrudes so widely into the devices of the general public. This would constitute a general warrant and those are super unconstitutional.

    In this case the defense just needs to produce enough suspicion that the police unlawfully used these devices to conduct general searches to catch their client without any kind of legal authority to do so. Which the prosecution has already done all on it’s own. Heckuva job Baltimore police! You probably just let a guilty perp walk because you couldn’t follow the law.

    Secrecy breeds such arrogance.

  24. afisher

    Disappointed that some here who make claim to numerical understanding ignore basic math to list a rant about ACA – and once again proving that smear is more than acceptable. McClatchey / reporting error.

    > 400k error.

    1. Who reported the error?
    2. How big was the error when considering the totality of the folks who participate ( whether you agree or don’t).
    3. It is fine to complain about a process – but somewhere there are grown-ups in the room who are trying to make a BFD over what could (depending on which participation rate you select) a rounding error.
    4. What is an acceptable rounding error in FED numbers?

    If you can’t manage to define those issues – do I get a refund on my support?

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      McClatchy reported the error and HHS admits it; do consider reading the link before commenting on it.

      400K is almost 6% of the claimed 7 million. You certainly have an expansive definition of rounding error.

  25. California medical care travesty

    While you’re on the subject of Health Care and California (re the two ACA McClatchy links):

    11/21/14 NBC Bay Area Investigation Prompts Call for Hospital Reform

    11/20/14 California Hospitals Make Hundreds of Errors Every Year, Public is Unaware NBC Bay Area’s Investigative Unit digs up state records on medical mistakes or “adverse events” in California hospitals.

    11/21/14 USPS Policy … Caused Critical Delays [As in the man is dead as a consequence] in Life and Death Situation Postal service rules prevent most employees from dialing 911 when they witness medical emergencies and it may have caused critical delays in a life and death situation at an Oakland postal facility [How Many thousands of postal workers have known for decades, yet couldn’t find a Major Media outlet/North Bay California DemoRat presumed to actually care U$ congressional representative who was interested before that horrid consequence?]

    If Hawk NBC Bay Area is reporting on this, one should expect it is far, far worse than they are allowed (if Comcast owned NBC wanted) to report.

    Living in the valley myself, I have first hand experience that it is. (Also a note, Santa Clara Valley Medical Center (SCVMC) is a County “Teaching” Hospital/Government entity, with attached, near century old, if not older, remnants (the rest has been discarded and built upon, like quicksand) prior Potter’s Field for those voiceless the Vicious Cali capitalism crushed in its rise to a major World Economy

    And, for all those out of staters (particularly those at least 3,000 miles away), still slobbering over Jerry Brown, without at least asking those millions of poverty ridden who are being abused even further by his technocratic transhuman governance, stick to your “own neck of the woods” when promoting those you’ve never lived under, ya’ll make my stomach turn.

  26. California medical care travesty

    And, welp:

    11/20/14 If “The Economy is Recovering” Why Is There a Surge in Homeless Children?

    In California, the nation’s most populous state 34% of households are paying more than half their annual income for rent, and while the state’s minimum wage is $8 an hour, a 2 bedroom apartment at a third of annual income would require tripling the minimum wage to $25.78 an hour. The issue then, is poverty.

    Millions of children are not suffering because their parents have suddenly become addicted, or neglectful or lazy or stupid. Their parents, many of whom are working as hard as they can, are simply not able to afford a roof over their heads. This is just capitalism. It may be a scandal, but it’s no surprise.

    This happens to be just the way that “the economy” works when it’s “back on track.” It’s time to tear up those tracks.

    California resides directly next door to Alabama and Mississippi on Child Homelessness [Corporate/Government Evil]. And, sigh, of course, it’s a: frustrating; time consuming; inaccessible to many economically forced to rely on bare bones software; highly snoop ‘cookied’ “Adobe pdf file”] , pity that those major nooz entities – Online!, and otherwise- who chose to report it, didn’t even highlight the irony. …Nope, of course they focused on Alabama and Mississippi, which of course, everyone already knew about, unlike California, which, for at least a century, has been every bit as ghastly, if not far more in the stunning hypocrisy, as those two other, Confederate Flagged, southern,$ea port hugging $TATE$ of The Union.

    1. cwaltz

      Affordable housing is a huge problem and I suspect it was masked by banks handing out loans that were larger than the borrower can afford for a long time. A minimum wage earner in my region can afford NOWHERE. You essentially need $10 an hour to afford a studio here and I’m in an area where housing is considered UNDER the national average. The current bills in Congress ought to be at the $15 the fast food folks are seeking. I suspect $10.10 isn’t going to be enough to fix the problem for families working in service sector industries.

  27. California medical travesty

    To cwaltz at comment 31.1 (sorry, was not able to use the reply directly to option):

    yep, and the consequence ends up being: can’t afford to stay in this now “boom town” one likely grew up in/lived in for decades, yet (never ever acknowledged by our proclaimed ‘saviors’) : not able to find housing elsewhere without being extorted for a whole year’s rent in advance because jobless all of a sudden; enormous economic cost of moving those items needed to live, like table chair, bed, kitchenware etcetera; and soul punishing expense of moving elsewhere while experiencing impoverishment, and not knowing anyone in the locale one ends up in, particularly when one is middle aged and already attempting to take care of elder parents and young adults who are, also, rapidly being shit on by the powers that be; all at the very same time.
    To cwaltz at comment 31.1 (sorry, was not able to use the reply directly to option):

    yep, and the consequence ends up being: can’t afford to stay in this now “boom town” one likely grew up in/lived in for decades, yet (never ever acknowledged by our proclaimed ‘saviors’) : not able to find housing elsewhere without being extorted for a whole year’s rent in advance because jobless all of a sudden; enormous economic cost of moving those items needed to live, like table chair, bed, kitchenware etcetera; and soul punishing expense of moving elsewhere while experiencing impoverishment, and not knowing anyone in the locale one ends up in, particularly when one is middle aged and already attempting to take care of elder parents and young adults who are, also, rapidly being shit on by the powers that be; all at the very same time.

  28. ginnie nyc

    Re: California’s Dual-Eligibles ‘hiccups’ – this show is coming to New York State in January! It’s been delayed about a year-and-a-half (pesky elections pushed it back again this fall). The projected networks are so narrow, especially for someplace like New York City.

    1. cwaltz

      Unsurprising. Equally unsurprising will be the GOP confusion on why they can’t get traction with the AA community(all while promoting a guy who shot an AA kid like he’s some hero to be lauded.)

      I suspect his 15 minutes won’t be long. I daresay most of the country is good with gunning down kids or that he can add much to the dialogue on race.

  29. jrs

    Has anyone seen those values dot com ads? More far right propaganda? So now there’s one advertising Henry Ford “Driven”.

    Henry Ford was anti-union, his thugs literally beat up union organizers, last car company to unionize. Henry Ford was an anti-semite writing anti-semetic books and newspapers that helped to inspire actual Nazis (not as a major first cause of Nazism or anti-semitism of course but it did it’s fair share to poison minds). Henry Ford employed slave laborers in Nazi Germany.

    Values dot com indeed. I mean in the best possible reading you can say Henry Ford was a complex man who may have had good attributes (treated workers ok for awhile but probably had to, maybe he was even “driven” like the ad) but whose evil attributes did REAL evil in the world (inspiring Nazis is hard to write off as a mere personal flaw). His politics veered toward fascist and he had enough power and influence for his politics to have a real effect on the world. is sponsored by The Foundation for a Better Life a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization founded in 2000 to promote “positive behavioral values”; Viewers are encouraged to pass on these values, with the rationale that examples of individuals living values-based lives may not change the world, but collectively they make a difference.

    Founded in 2000 with a $700 million endowment from Philip Anschutz, a member of the Evangelical Presbyterian Church (United States), the organization is headed by its president, Gary Dixon, a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church)

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