Links Thanksgiving 2014

Dog head-turning shows they do understand what you say New Scientist. Well, I don’t see how they could play poker otherwise.

Will Purr for Treats: How Cats Became Domesticated Live Science

Researchers find strategy to sloppiness of dogs’ drinking San Francisco Chronicle

more seriously worrisome releases today Warren Mosler. And then there’s the dog’s breakfast…

Oil price fall starts to weigh on banks FT

At OPEC Meeting, Saudi Arabia Stares Down Texas and North Dakota Businessweek. Handy map.

Exclusive: U.S. prosecutors to interview London FX traders – sources Reuters

HSBC, Goldman Rigged Metals’ Prices for Years, Suit Says  Bloomberg. And Standard Bank and BASF.

Dutch move 122 tons of gold out of US AP (furzy mouse)

Honda admits under-reporting serious U.S. accidents since 2003 Reuters (furzy mouse)

State Unemployment Map Goes Monochrome for October 2014 Economic Populist. Handy map of labor force participation rate by state.


Police tactics in Ferguson puzzle residents, experts USA Today

I Applaud Hillary for Visiting Ferguson and Meeting Al Sharpton. Oh Wait, That Was Rand Paul HuffPo

Officer Darren Wilson faced the fairest Grand Jury proceeding that no law requires Pando Daily

St. Louis Prosecutor Bob McCulloch Abused the Grand Jury Process The New Republic. “[G]rand juries simply aren’t equipped to adjudicate guilt or innocence.”

Cleveland video shows police shot boy within seconds Reuters. Imagine a busy Ferguson peaceful protester coming home and checking the news for the first time in days.

Who Will Save the Democratic Party From Itself? New York Times. How many light bulbs does it take to change a Democrat? One. But the Democrat has to want to be changed.

Is tourism in Haiti inherently exploitative? mathbabe


Obamacare, coming to a mall near you Politico

U.S. government says 462,125 people signed up for 2015 Obamacare plans Reuters

Obamacare visualization: Company makes interactive map showing insurance prices AP

Too rich for Medicaid but too poor for a health care subsidy? Consumer Reports. What happens if you are in a non-Medicaid state, were in the ObamaCare bracket last year, but this year have fallen beneath it, such that your income is now under the Federal Poverty Limit, and so you are eligible neither for ObamaCare (with subsidy) or Medicaid?

One strategy, which seems to be perfectly legal, is to do nothing and just allow your current coverage to auto-renew, at the same subsidy level. That’s an option for anyone who received tax credits to buy Marketplace coverage in 2014.

Seems” to be “perfectly” legal? Isn’t this the sort of critical, life-altering issue that Consumer Reports is supposed to provide authoritative advice on, as opposed to letting consumers, while purchasing an extremely expensive and opaque product, throw up their hands in despair and guess?

The Italian left should hang their heads in shame Bill Mitchell


What have we learned in the year since Ukraine’s EuroMaidan? WaPo

Summit of Failure: How the EU Lost Russia over Ukraine Der Spiegel

Fort Carson troops will deploy, ‘supporting Ukraine’ Colorado Springs Gazette

Pentagon: No arms for Ukraine’s military The Hill

Ukraine getting $11M more in non-lethal support from Canada CBC

Opportunists take advantage of east Ukraine leadership confusion Al Jazeera

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

France suspends delivery of warship to Russia Reuters

East Asian waters to be US aircraft carrier-free for a time Nikkei Asian Review

US-Japan Defense Guidelines Likely to Be Delayed The Diplomat

Xi Risks Silk Road Backlash to Remake China Center of World Bloomberg

Everything You Know About Clausewitz Is Wrong The Diplomat

After the crisis, the nation state strikes back FT

Dr. Strangelove’s Advice to U.S. and Russian Nuclear Planners Foreign Policy

The Downside of Securitizing the Ebola Virus CFR

Class Warfare

The Tech Worker Shortage Doesn’t Really Exist Businessweek. Finally somebody says this. Too bad Obama caved to Silicon Valley oligarchs price-fixing the labor market in his Executive Order on immigration, then.

Cheap energy is the new cheap labour FT

Uberdystopian: the surge-priced nightmare future Boing Boing. Because markets.

What the hell Uber? Uncool bro. Joe’s Security Blog. Losing patience with bros, but interesting exegesis of the code.

The Creepy New Wave of the Internet New York Review of Books

When People Looked Forward to Eating Airport Food City Labs

United Nations Calls for an End to Industrialized Farming Truthout

Jean Braucher, In Memoriam Credit Slips

A common brain network links development, aging, and vulnerability to disease PNAS

What If We’re Wrong About Depression? New York Times, because it’s that time of year! Here’s the original paper. Way, way cool. If correct, major paradigm shift (in the formal, Kuhnian sense of the word).

Antidote du jour (via):


See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

Happy Thanksgiving, Naked Capitalism readers!

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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. vlade

    Maybe it’s just that English is not my first language, but I never read Clausewitz as “when war starts, politics stops”. If nothing else, this would be a rather blantant denial of reality of the last few thousands years (not that being contra-reality ever stopped anyone…)

    1. Formerly T-Bear

      @ vlade

      Clausewitz stated what you wrote somewhat differently in that war was politics by other (military) means. There is another more interesting adaptation to that formula in that peace was a continuation of war by other means (maybe referring to politics).

      One of the best definitions of politics encountered: Politics is the art of persuasion, influence or control over another(‘s position). War being another way to augment political ends.

      Hope that helps …

    2. Working Class Nero

      You are not alone since pretty much no one in the world has ever read it that way because Clausewitz was abundantly clear on the subject. In fact that article was nothing short of bizarre. He talks about Basil Liddell Hart being thrown off by the translation. I found this extremely hard to believe as Liddell Hart was a brilliant thinker and so I hardly think he would be thrown off by a single mistranslated preposition in a title. Luckily I have Strategy so I found the appropriate section and in fact Liddell Hart was talking about GERMANS misunderstanding von Clausewitz due to his complicated way of arguing with thesis, antithesis, and synthesis. And it wasn’t about politics but about total war. The thesis of total war was only there only to show that it is one–impossible–end of a continuum. It was immediately followed up by the antithesis of limited war but Liddell Hart does claim some German military thinkers were too stupid to understand von Clausewitz’s point (or they only read the parts they liked).

      What’s funny about the article is in fact there is an error in translation in the famous title but it is not the word “by”

      Compare English to French:

      War Is merely the continuation of policy by other means.

      La guerre est la simple continuation de la politique par d’autres moyens

      Der Krieg ist eine bloße Fortsetzung der Politik mit anderen Mitteln

      In fact “policy” should really be “politics” in English. And so by definition politics is continuing, there is no question about this, but in addition to politics we are adding violent means as well.

      This is also totally obvious given von Clausewitz’s famous trinity of: violence (emotion), chance (luck), and politics (reason):

      1. proximity1

        RE: senses of the phrase “de la politique” —

        In French, the words “de la politique” are used to indicate either “of policy” or “of politics” as those are commonly understood and used in English. So, “War Is merely the continuation of policy by other means,” is a fully valid translation of “La guerre est la simple continuation de la politique par d’autres moyens.”
        on a completely different topic,

        Like so many others, I veiwed the videotape of Tamir Rice aired during a press conference yesterday. I could not help wondering: What was Tamir Rice up to in the half-hour before he was fatally shot by police? Could he possibly have not understood the dangers (to himself) which his behavior invited? Was he depressed? Under the influence of drugs? Did he intend to provoke the police to shoot him?

        Cleveland video shows police shot boy within seconds
        By Kim Palmer
        CLEVELAND Wed Nov 26, 2014 6:37pm EST

        1. Working Class Nero

          I agree that both are acceptable (so I should not have said error) but in this case I would prefer politics because it seems multi-lateral, implies an interaction, or even a negotiation with the enemy. Policy, to me at least, seems one-sided, inward looking, and obstinate in the sense that we are marching on blindly until our goals are met.

        2. Savonarola

          However, it is not a perfectly acceptable translation of the word “Politik.” That word has one meaning – politics. And considering that the original was German, it would make sense to see such confusion if it was being translated, telephone style, from the French to the English rather than directly from the German.

          In the German there is no ambiguity. The entire language eschews ambiguity.

      2. EmilianoZ

        The reverse is also true:

        Politics is the continuation of war by other means.

        But we can all agree that politics is too important to be left to the R&Ds.

        If you want peace at Thanksgiving, prepare for Black Friday.

    3. Formerly T-Bear

      Raymond Aron’s “Clausewitz, Philosopher of War” ISBN 0-671-62826-7 (translated by Christine Booker and Norman Stone), Touchstone Book/Simon and Schuster has a brilliant study by French historian, philosopher, sociologist and journalist who explores Clausewitz in depth and detail. Fortunate one would be to read this in the original.

    4. diptherio

      For an article that’s titled “Everything You Know…is Wrong,” I found their starting off with a fact-checking error was rather apropos:

      As Mark Twain reputedly quipped, it’s not so much what we know that gets us in trouble; it’s what we know that just ain’t so.

      Actually, that was my man Josh Billings, and the quote is “It is better to know less than to know so much that ain’t so.”

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        If you are referring to the depression link, maybe some are due to infection, but, I get depressed reading and looking at the world.

        To me, it’s (depression) still mental.

        1. cwaltz

          It’s an interesting idea but it would then mean we need to figure out why there appear to be links to conditions such as migraines and then you’d need to explain why migraines appear to have a genetic component if indeed this is an infection (is there a gene/ or genes that is particularly affected by the virus or bacteria? Are there genes that are immune?)

          It opens up a whole new can of worms since treatments right now for depression overlap with treatments for other ailments like migraines.

        2. susan the other

          Right Beef. And who’s to say the microbes do not balance out. Sometimes you’re happy; sometimes you’re depressed. And what dictates your moods? Everything from food to water to unrequited love, to personal tragedy, to deprivation to worse to better. But, just personally, I have noticed now since I hit 60 and beyond that when I take a round of antibiotics I generally feel a lot happier for a time. So that is interesting. A subchronic infection and an incompetent primary “care giver” is enough to depress anybody.

          1. MikeNY

            Dagnabit. I made a Rummy category mistake!

            We’re talking about unknown unknowns. Much more dangerous than unknown knowns.

            I shoulda known.

      2. Vatch

        Mark Twain did say something similar at the start of Chapter 12 of his book Following the Equator:

        Faith is believing what you know ain’t so.

      3. dearieme

        It’s my assumption that virtually everything in medicine is caused either by genes or germs. The tricky bit is identifying the pathogens. But the rise and fall of the rates of heart attacks, for instance, looks just like the curve for an infectious disease.

        1. different clue

          Some chemicals ( and frequencies) cause some cancers. Some nutrient defficiences cause
          some disease states. Some chemicals cause other things too. Neither genes nor germs.

    5. H. Alexander Ivey

      The posting about what Clausewitz “really meant” is more of the stay-the-course discourse in political and military(?) circles. For what’s worth, I think Clausewitz phrase is correctly translated, and it means that war is a social activity and hence is a political one (versus an individual activity like science or art).

      There have been a ton of literature written on various points of “what did Clausewitz say”. The best single thought on this discouse comes from: “Clausewitz in English: The Reception of Clausewitz in Britain and America 1815 – 1945” by Christopher Bassford, despite the end date in its title, the book, published in 1994, talks a bit about the role of Clausewitz after 1945.

      “Unfortunately, indirect transmissions [writings by the students of Clausewitz] of Clausewitz’s theory, have proved to be unreliable…It appears, however, that many of their readers [the readers of the students of Clausewitz] have been unable to derive from the resulting amalgam [the writing of the students] much sense of Clausewitz’s original argument….And that original argument is very important, not only for its own sake but because of the role that Clausewitz’s theories have come to play in the American national security community…The value of that common ground [Clausewitz’s theories and observations] lies in the very flexibility of Clausewitzian theory that many have found so frustrating: It provides a common set of concepts and intellectual tools that greatly facilitate analysis and discussion while leaving the conclusions to be reached as open as ever to creativity and to differing goals and points of view. It is probably necessary, therefore, that military leaders be schooled directly in the works of Clausewitz.”

      A good book, well written and worth the read for those interested in what Clausewitz really said.

  2. JPalmer

    I am very grateful, everyday, to be able to read nakedcapitalism. Thank you Yves and Lambert. thank you Lambert especially for the Stan Freberg piece. That recording was one of my mother’s favorites; she used to play it to her students every year back when you could get away with such things. And to think we might have had the Turkey as our national bird and the Eagle as our meal of choice on Thanksgiving.

  3. abynormal

    I am very grateful, everyday, to be able to read nakedcapitalism. HEAR HERE

    Gandhi said, “The greatness of humanity is not in being human, but in being humane.”
    …the humanity in Yves, Lambert, Crew & Commenters holds this blog in GREATNESS.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      I am thankful for NakedCapitalism, a sanctuary in this bizarre world.

      I am also thankful on this Thanksgiving Day that there are now less than 30 days to Christmas, when I will be able to make a wish, a wish that this year, I will come up with really practical New Year resolutions…like “I will live a more austere life in 2016.”

      This covers three holidays, Thanksgiving, XMas and New Year, in one post.

      It’s 3 for 1.

  4. Ed

    This is from the link to the Economic Populist article on the state unemployment map (

    “When one sees a low population to employment ratio along with a high unemployment rate, most likely this implies people are not being counted as unemployed.”

    From the context of the sentence, the blogger seems to have intended to write “when one sees a HIGH population to employment ratio a high unemployment rate.” This sloppy enough for me not to trust the analysis, which is substantively that the labor market is improving.

    The data the post shows does not trust the conclusion, because it essentially shows the same discrepancy between the U3 media covered unemployment rate and the employment to population ratio that we are used to. Its been awhile since I paid attention to, or trusted, government figures on the labor market, and John Crudele caught red handed someone at the Census Bureau (though not the BLS) making up some data a year ago, though being that Crudele is a NY Post columnist it was buried in anti-Obama stuff. Anyway labor force population ratio has stayed the same as U3 has dropped, as has become the normal pattern.

    However, the link is still worth clicking on, because it contains a state by state map of labor force participation ratios, organized into three bands. This is the first time I’ve seen this data! And the map itself is interesting. The strongest job markets relative to average are these:

    DC area
    Minnesota/ Wisconsin
    Upper Plains/ Mountain States

    Weakest job markets relative to national average:

    The South, excluding the Atlanta area (and excluding Texas, if you count Texas in the South)
    New York (not sure if this is due to the city or upstate, or both)

    (NM, VT, and NH are also outliers, but I’m mentioning them only here due to their low populations)

    And Minnesota/ Wisconsin is the only real surprise, given what I know about the national economy. Maybe New York is a surprise, but that could reflect weakness upstate, though I think the high rents in New York City have been starting to strangle local businesses to the extent of affecting the job market.

  5. b

    That Diplomat author is dumb. I have read Clausewitz several times in the original German. As “vlade” says above he never implies that politics should stop when war starts. “by other means” or “with other means” are equal expressions in that. Politics continue by means and with means of war. If the Diplomat author had that wrong he hadn’t understood Clausewitz in the first place.

    But then – the U.S. military up to today never understood what “Schwerpunkt” means and the real concept behind it. No wonder it is losing each and every war it starts.

    1. different clue

      The military didn’t start the Vietnam War. The Elected Officeholders started that.

      The military didn’t start the Afghan War or either Iraq War. The Elected Officeholders started all three. In the case of Afghanistan one could argue there was good reason. And the military did not lose those wars. The military won those wars and the Elected Officeholders . . . specifically the two Bush Administrations, very deliberately and carefully threw the victory and the peace away.

      “The military starts wars” is one of those fondly held Leftist beliefs which make me very glad I am not on the Left.

  6. SeekingJustice

    From all the black people being shot by the police on an almost daily basis I have to conclude the police are being trained to simply shoot blacks whenever and wherever they find them doing anything that could even remotely be considered “dangerous”, or if they have a medical condition that makes it difficult for them to instantly respond to police commands. The inhumanity of the police towards blacks and latinos is a cancer that is currently slow motion exploding all over this nation. This won’t end until the police are leashed, muzzled and collared, and until their murderous acts are adequately prosecuted.

    While I’m thankful this Thanksgiving for the life I have, and for wonderful places like Naked Capitalism, the whole affair is entirely colored by this disgusting monstrosity we know as the police.

    1. beene

      Making this a race issue, makes it a loosening position. Police will murder black or white, and today get away with this behavior. Make it an issue of reforming police tactics is the means of correcting the problem.

      1. Eclair

        I promised myself that I would do only ‘happy’ stuff today, but I want to rely to your comment, beene. ‘Police reform’ may have worked if we had begun decades ago, but at this point, the problems are embedded throughout our culture. We have a racist, white-settler mentality; we genocided the brown Indigenous inhabitants of this land (despite our desperate mythical cover-up of sharing turkeys and cranberry sauce with each other); we gave up black African slaves only after a bitter and bloody war; we constantly invade countries populated with ‘gooks’, ‘ragheads’, spics and ‘jungle bunnies’.

        Now impose upon that the extreme view that capital trumps life, that becoming rich is the highest form of endeavor and that poverty is your own damn fault. Our deep-seated racist attitudes have consigned a large portion of our population to poverty because of the color of their skin. As collateral damage, a large portion of the white population lives in poverty, but can safely hate the brown and black people. All of these poor people are reviled and despised because if they really really wanted to be rich they would get up off their duffs and work.

        Our police forces reflect our society, they protect the status quo. And, the status quo at this point says that poor people are expendable. If your skin is brown you are easily identifiable and there is, what, a 90% chance that you are vulnerable? You can be shot or beaten with impunity. Same goes if you are a poor white, but there is a greater chance that you will be connected to someone with real power; harder to shoot on sight. So I do not think ‘reforming’ the police is an option at this point. Our whole society needs to be ‘reformed.’ And, good luck with that.

        So, I now have broken my promise to myself to think only happy thoughts today. I will try to get back on track. Thanks to Yves and Lambert and all the commenters here at NC.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Status quo.

          First, you describe the status quo.

          Then, you are obliged to change the parts of status quo that are not working.

          Money Power and Power, in general, to the Little People!!!

        2. Carla

          “the status quo at this point says that poor people are expendable. If your skin is brown you are easily identifiable and there is, what, a 90% chance that you are vulnerable?”

          Yes. Poor people are not just expendable, but also detested and feared. In this country we detest and fear poor people because we know perfectly well what we do to them.

          Dark-skinned men are assumed at first glance to be poor and violent, making them the most detested and feared people of all.

          Just imagine being the mother of a black boy. Just I-M-A-G-I-N-E.

      2. vidimi

        sure, they will, but they target people of colour disproportionately so it’s undeniably a question of race as well. unarmed whites just aren’t slaughtered at anywhere near the same rates.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          It is reflected in our imperial adventures as well – some European nations, and mostly the rest of the Third World.

          A nice symmetry.

        2. different clue

          A whole bunch of unarmed whites were slaughtered in the Crandall Canyon mine. A whole bunch of unarmed whites were slaughtered in the Upper Big Branch mine. Let’s see if anything is really done about that.

    2. James

      I doubt they’re being “trained,” as in instructed, to do so, but I do think it’s part of a culture to view blacks and minorities as perps first and foremost. All of which descends into a vicious cycle rather quickly. But I agree, giving the cops a free pass definitely ain’t good for anyone. Although the same could be said of our illustrious imperial military (which we’ll hear countless odes of fealty to today) which carries out things much worse than the Michael Brown lynching everyday with little or no visibility or comment by the American public. In that sense, perhaps we’re just getting our just desserts for ever allowing all this GWOT nonsense to ever be perpetrated in our name in the first place.

      1. Benedict@Large

        Actually, to a point, you’re incorrect. I’ve seen training programs for police officers offered nationally as continuing education which they literally teach officers how not to feel bad about shooting people; how they are merely acting in defense of their fellow officers’ lives when they do so. Apparently it is more effective if the officer thinks he is acting on others’ behaves rather than his own, and note that this is the identical thought pattern used to train soldiers operating in combat. CATO was perhaps more than a little correct when they noted the similarity in the Ferguson response to the Fallujah response.

        1. cwaltz

          The irony being that the police are given their super special status because they are supposedly putting their lives “at risk” meanwhile the training has them shooting 12 year olds to death before they can even ferret out that the 12 year old has a toy gun so they aren’t “at risk” of getting hurt.

          It seems to me that deadly force should not be the first option a police is taught to deploy. They should be apprehending people, not killing them.

          1. hunkerdown

            It’s the Rawhide model of policing: “Don’t try to understand ’em / Just rope ’em, throw and brand ’em / Soon we’ll be livin’ high and wide”

        2. Jeremy Grimm

          Many veterans returning from our endless wars against the people in other parts of the world return damaged with horrible memories of death and killing. Some return without the damage, or at least without the same feelings of guilt and loss. Many police officers are recent veterans of our foreign wars. I surmise that either they saw no combat or they liked it. There are people who like the excitement of combat and in some sense enjoy killing. These observations collected leave me wondering, what kind of veterans man our police MRAP vehicles? Did they see combat and enjoy it? Do these police officers really need the training you described?

          1. different clue

            That theory can be tested by finding out what percent of questionable police shootings were conducted by returned veterans. The fewer that were/are, the less predictively or even descriptively useful the theory is.

      2. pretzelattack

        this probably stems from the training the military developed post ww2, when they discovered that most (iirc) of the soldiers in combat never actually fired at the enemy. and of course now the enemy are fellow americans.

        1. James Levy

          The so-called SLA Marshal Thesis–his finding after doing several thousand interviews and questionnaires of combat vets during WWII that only 10% of rifle-armed infantrymen aimed and fired at the enemy was so hotly contested for years you could hardly believe it. One historian thumped his chest at “proving” that the number was not an embarrassing, paltry 10%, but a manly 24%! For some dumb reason too many US military historians saw Marshal’s results not as an indication of the relative decency of the average WWII GI, but as a stain on their honor, and so much ink was spilled trying to refute that 10% number.

          Two side-notes: training and weaponry changed after WWII as a deliberate if unacknowledged response to Marshal–soldiers got automatic weapons because it turned out that machine-gunners fired their weapons at much higher rates than guys with M-1s or Springfields, and the emphasis shifted from aimed fire to psyching the guys up in the style anyone who saw Full Metal Jacket would recognize. My other note would be that the great Canadian military writer Gwynne Dyer pointed out that if the American infantrymen were doing what they were apparently doing, then German and Japanese grunts had to be also, or they would have gained clear fire superiority over their American counterparts in infantry scrapes, and there is little evidence they were. Seems most people everywhere if given an opportunity sitting in their foxhole to aim at and deliberately kill a fellow human being, don’t, or at least not without special training and weapons that spray a lot of bullets around and leave who gets hit to god or chance.

    3. Paul Niemi

      I agree, but let’s think what can be done. What if there were a federal law passed requiring an automatic payment, from the municipality to the next of kin, for anyone killed by the police of $2 million. If that were so, the killings would quickly cease. But then, how to prevent people from attempting suicide by police? Would that be a problem with such a law sufficient to make the law unworkable?

      1. James

        Interesting point. I’d be inclined to let the good ol’ laws of supply and demand do some price discovery first and see how it all worked out. But of course we already know how it would end. Everything would get tagged as suicide by cop.

        I think there needs to be a means to humanize the whole process. For instance, in Darren Wilson’s case, he should not only not be allowed to fade into anonymity forever, he should be bound to Michael Brown’s family and the community of Ferguson in some significant physical way from here on out. Whether or not he’s criminally liable, he’s still guilty of perpetrating a great injustice in these people’s lives, and him just walking away from it all – washing his hands, scraping his feet, etc. – scot-free is just unconscionable. It’s the ultimate F*** You to the family and community.

        1. Paul Niemi

          You have the basic idea. Our Constitution provides that no one may be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law. One man’s split-second impression about whether or not he feels threatened, even though he may wear a badge, is not due process of law necessary to deprive another man of life, without compensation at least. I realize what is going on is the interpretation of decisions by the Supreme Court by the police, but really the situation has gone too far and people know it.

  7. Banger

    Great read in Der Spiegel concerning the lead-up to the Ukranian crisis. I hope the magazine has the courage to look more closely at what happened after Maidan and the U.S. role in the crisis. The article seems to offer us some good reporting and is believable.

    The authors conclude:

    They either failed to take Russian concerns and Ukrainian warnings seriously or they ignored them altogether because they didn’t fit into their own worldview. Berlin pursued a principles-driven foreign policy that made it a virtual taboo to speak with Russia about Ukraine. “Our ambitious and consensual policy of the eastern partnership has not been followed with ambitious and consensual policy on Russia,” Füle says. “We were unable to find and agree on an appropriate engagement policy towards Russia.”

    And there was the problem. In all this account the Russian position was not taken into account despite the fact that the Russian Federation had made clear over many years that is saw the eastern expansion of the EU/NATO as threatening. Surely a pragmatist like Merkel and her Foreign Ministry did not believe that Russia was simply of no account? Why were Russian concerns ignored? Why, in the story, were European, IMF and German officials surprised that Yanukovych was balking after meeting with Putin? Did their intel services not report the meeting between Yanukovych and Putin? Did they even wonder at Yanukovych’s strange demeanor afterwards? Did they wonder why Russia started a chocolate war? And why did pragmatist Merkel insist so much on the release of Tymoshenko? While I can see it as an issue why was it “the” issue?

    The account given to us by the reporters asks more questions than it answers. Either the German government is incompetent (not knowing the gist of the Yanukovych/Putin meeting) or it was compromised by outside forces of forces within the German government. To me the pressures Yanukovych was under are glaringly obvious. Clearly, the EU was probably acting in bad faith in not involving Russia in the negotiations from early on. I would hazard to guess that this account shows the origin of the new Cold War. Der Spiegel did not look very deep their account helped me understand this crisis much better.

    1. Vatch

      I agree that the article in Der Spiegel is well worth reading. The title, “Summit of Failure: How the EU Lost Russia over Ukraine”, make be a little misleading, since it suggests that the failure was entirely due to EU mistakes. The text of the article itself makes it clear that there was a lot more happening than some EU misunderstandings. There were the problems of Yanukovych’s corruption, oppressiveness, and incompetence, and there was the problem of Putin’s imperial aggressiveness.

      The Tymoshenko incarceration is discussed, but what is not discussed is that Yanukovych arrested at least thirteen other former senior members of the Tymoshenko government (Ukraine Crisis, by Andrew Wilson, page 51). He was getting revenge against the previous administration, and this understandably concerned the EU representatives greatly. However, it was a mistake for the EU people to focus so heavily on on Yanukovych’s vindictiveness. The Spiegel article quotes Polish President Komorowski: “Never again do we want to have a common border with Russia.” The Russians aren’t the only ones who have security concerns. The Poles know just how greedy for land the Russians are, and I’m not just referring to the Soviets. In the 18th century, Poland was completely divided up among Russia, Prussia, and Austria. Austria is no threat today, and Prussia no longer exists, and its successor, Germany, is hardly militaristic.

      The Spiegel article has a lot to say, and you and I have touched on a only a small part of it. Near the end of the article, there is a summary about the mistakes by both Germany and Russia:

      In one of the most important questions facing European foreign policy, Germany had failed.

      But Putin, too, had miscalculated. That same night, thousands of demonstrators collected on the Maidan (Independence Square) in Kiev. Three months later, Yanukovych would be forced to flee the country and Putin would annex the Crimean Peninsula. Thus far, the conflict has claimed the lives of 4,000 people and eastern Ukraine remains gripped by war.

      1. Banger

        I know you believe Russia is the main culprit in this drama. Clearly Russia failed in its diplomacy–why weren’t they more pro-active in trying to negotiate with the EU? And there’s a question of whether or not Putin was clear about what his bottom line was, overall, in the Western expansion of NATO/EU.

        But I disagree that Russia has strong territorial ambitions. We are past the time when it makes sense to conquer territory–the cost of maintaining colonies is too high–look at the U.S. What Russia wants, as far as I can see, are the normal “spheres of influence” all regional powers want–everyone wants buffers between hostile powers. Russia, historically has tended to be invaded and not invade. The expansions see by the Soviet Union after WWII was sensible considering the situation at that time. Russia needed “space” after it won WWII on its front–it had been devasted far more than the Western powers and been the main factor in defeating Hitler and lost anywhere from 20 to 40 million dead. This, in part, explains the brutality of Russian soldiers in their march west and their heavy-handed approach to Eastern Europe over the next few decades.

        The United States, in contrast, came into the Cold War with not only a design to “contain” Russian power but to engage in Imperial advances of its own. Eventually culminating in the official policy of “full-spectrum dominance” or, to put it another way, to conquer/dominate the world. It is the U.S. that is the main imperial power in the world who seeks, not to incorporate countries in the U.S. but to dominate satellites in the way the USSR dominated its satellites. The comparison of USSR imperialism post the immediate post-WWII era against U.S. imperialism during that era shows more activity and aggression on the part of the U.S. than the USSR.

        I know we differ here and I don’t want to paint the Russians as saints–indeed, patriotism and national chauvinism is present in the Russia of today and many Russians see themselves as once again facing invasion–not by armies but by armies of consultants and smooth operators. Why? Because in the immediate aftermath of the dissolution of the Soviet empire Western hustlers allied with organized crime and sleazy oligarchs bled the country for several years under Yeltsin–a Putin-like figure was bound to emerge.

        Still, the mystery remains about why the EU and Germany bungled this issue–and I’m not saying they did it because the U.S. made them do it although that’s possible I suppose.

        1. proximity

          Then why adopt and defend what amounts to a “Monroe Doctrine” for all political heavy-hitters of the word? This surprises me about this otherwise unusually enlightened readership. Was Americans’ (i.e. this governments’ (past and present) ) stubborn attachment to a hemispheric hegemony–now carried to global extent, which this site has no trouble denouncing seven days a week–a good thing? On what other basis are we supposed to excuse Putin’s designs on Ukraine than some sort of good-or-bad-faith guilt over generations of U.S.-led habits of accepting the idea of the Monroe Doctrine for all the world’s big bullies rather than for Uncle Sam alone ?

          You write: “But I disagree that Russia has strong territorial ambitions.”

          The point, really, is all about Putin’s territorial ambitions or the lack of them rather than some fictive abstraction “Russia”. Try replacing “Russia” with “Putin” and see if that remark passes the sniff test. For me, it clearly doesn’t and simply cannot.

          1. OIFVet

            I suppose you find the two decades of unipolar US hegemony to be the lesser evil compared to the newly re-emergent multipolar world? The pox on all their houses, I say. Still, having a check on the expansion of the Empire is a good thing. What exactly do you propose that we do, just sit around and wax poetic about morality? This is not about morals, it is about power. And the less power is concentrated, the better. Its that simple.

            1. proximity

              RE: “I suppose you find the two decades of unipolar US hegemony to be the lesser evil compared to the newly re-emergent multipolar world?”

              Why? I oppose one and the other–just as I oppose all other versions and varieties of it–without exception. That is reason enough to oppose what Putin has long been doing–never mind what he “might” do. This is why, again, the party line here on Putin’s Russia so surprises me.


              “Still, having a check on the expansion of the Empire is a good thing. What exactly do you propose that we do, just sit around and wax poetic about morality? This is not about morals, it is about power. And the less power is concentrated, the better. Its that simple.”

              Really, no, it isn’t.

              1. OIFVet

                Oh, you “oppose”! Really? How can you possibly “oppose” when what you are really doing is swallowing the neolibcon propaganda hook, line, and sinker? Sign #1: Putin bashing. It is the hallmark of the neolibcon propaganda campaign. It works on US-ians with short historical memories (even ones living in France) because it conveniently omits where Putin began, where he ended up, and how he got there. Short refresher: Putin, a St. Petersburg native, did begin as Euro Atlanticist. It is a St. Petersburg thing. He started as someone seeking cooperation, he even floated the idea of Russia joining NATO. All he asked for, all RUSSIA asked for, was to be treated as equal. He was rebuffed on all counts even as former satellites and republics were swallowed into NATO. Unlike you, Putin and Russians know that 2+2=4. Russia was still the enemy as far as the US was concerned, and was to be dismembered and its component republics swallowed up. Its not like it is a big secret, even if it apparently managed to elude your attention: Brzezinski wrote a book about it, US doctrine is centered on destroying any potential and emergent rival so as to maintain its hegemony. Simple, unless one is blinded by Putin hatred.

                What’s more, let’s consider what Putin “has done” and what “he MIGHT do”. Putin, to the chagrin of the transnational elites, has brought back the queer concept that the national interest comes before that of the transnational elites. Such anathema, that. Criminal, indeed. So in Russia, the oligarchy serves the state, whereas in the west the “states” serve the transnational oligarchy. Another anathema, that. Fit for regime change, even. Who the f— is Putin and Russia to get in the way of the rapacious transnational elites and not let them get their grubby little hands on its natural riches? And who the hell does he think he is to challenge that most important and effective weapon of the Hegemon, the dollar as the reserve currency? Who is he to stand in the way of regime change in Syria so that our Qatari friends can profit from a gas pipeline they want to build? Who is he to oppose our plans to take over Ukraine so that we can encircle Russia and place cruise missiles a thousand kilometers from Moscow? And Crimea? How dares he foil our plans to dominate the Black Sea region and deny Russia its warm water port?

                See where this goes, Proxy? You “oppose”? No, RUSSIA OPPOSES, all you do is parrot neolibcon propaganda. And why? As Anatole Lieven charges of Hillary Clinton: “Hans Morgenthau declared is both a practical and moral duty of statesmen: through close study, to develop a capacity to put themselves in the shoes of the representatives of other countries—not in order to agree with them but to understand what is really important to them, the interests on which they will be able to compromise and those for which they will feel compelled to fight. Clinton displays not a shred of this ability in her book.” And neither do you. The preceding demonstrates what Putin and RUSSIA are doing, and what you fail to understand: they are fighting for SURVIVAL. Nothing more, nothing less. It has come down to SURVIVAL for RUSSIA, while you “oppose” the hegemony by parroting its simplistic propaganda designed for the American and Euro Simplicius Simplicissimuses.

                And good to know your mortality sees nothing wrong with concentration of power. From that I can conclude that you are also fine with the concentration of wealth, with the strong unitary executive that has resulted in the ability of the president to launch wars without Congress’ approval, that you are OK with unaccountable corporations having all the power in their relationship with you as a former citizen and present day consumer. Great. At least we are clear on that.

                1. proximity1

                  That is a load of fatuous bullshit. If you had good sense, you’d be ashamed to have written that crap. It actually insults the sort of intelligence I’d have credited most anyone with who has found his way to participating regularly at this site.

                  1. OIFVet

                    So Yves insults your high and mighty intelligence too, I take it? I duly note that that the ad hominem wasn’t preceded by any attempt to put forth a counter argument. Like explaining how NATO encirclement enhances Russia’s security, for example. Or how US meddling in Ukraine is an honest attempt to export democracy and not a naked attempt to colonize it by way of the IMF and put a naval base on the strategically vital Crimea.

  8. McMike

    Re internet of things

    If it is brought to us by people like google, apple, and facebook, it’s a fair guess that it will be used to enslave us and control/limit our options. Like, duh.

    As far as apple turning the monetization potential over to “prosumers.” Lol

    1. Antifa

      The Internet of Things is not from Apple, Google, Facebook, or Cisco, nor from the myriad companies that will make and manage the trillions of microchips required to bring the IoT about. These outfits are all just delivering the parts.

      The true driver of this already arriving atrocity is Big Data, which is not an outfit at all. Or it’s a virtual, cyber outfit. Big Data is a faceless, bloodsucking squid on the corpse of humanity, quite consciously eating it alive. Big Data is the blind desire of countless humans to drive and profit off of the needs and desires of every human. Why? “Because we can. Because we have the technology.”

      It is faceless Big Data that is driving the Internet of Things, and the IoT is not the death of capitalism. It is capitalism’s ultimate size and shape, its logical conclusion in the form of inexorably reducing human life and labor to a state of virtual slavery.

      What else are you but Owned when every possible data point about your ongoing existence is tracked and recorded, and that data drives immediate conseqences to your life? If what you eat for lunch instantly raises your health insurance premium and enrolls you in Weight Watchers and causes your employer to put you on a list of people to downsize because they don’t exercise enough, then what are you but a creature on a leash?

      And yes, even though you won’t have a job or career once the IoT gets rolling, you most definitely will have a Master, an employer, a boss, an owner. It will be whatever entity or person or computer allots you your portion of food, shelter, clothing, wages or stuff you need to stay alive. You sure as hell won’t stay alive selling your neighbors nifty things on Etsy. That way lies cannibalism in the streets . . .

      Your dilemma is that your Master doesn’t even have a name or a face. Your Owner is just the ubiquitous, blind desire of countless other human being to take full advantage of you, to make their living off of driving your desires and behavior in ways that profit them, feeding off the fulfillment of human needs and desires even as they themselves are similarly fed upon.

      That’s an exceedingly vicious circle. There’s no freedom there, no liberation into a world of creativity. The only way to get a functioning human being to accept such a controlled existence is to insert some chips into their head to make them accept their place in the matrix. Which no doubt will happen if Big Data is to satisfy its insatiable urge to probe every one of us in every way imaginable.

      Rifkin’s view that the IoT is some advanced state of human evolution is insane. Humanity has evolved exactly as every other insect and animal has — by taking raw materiel from the natural world and using it toward its own comfort and survival. A leaf-cutter ant bringing a leaf home, a chimpanzee picking fruit off a tree, and a human being pit-mining coal from the air conditioned cab of a giant excavator are all doing the same thing as far as nature is concerned. Each is using up the resources of our one planet to advance their own ends. The human is way better at it than the ant or chimp, but the deed is the deed to Mother Nature.

      All that the IoT can offer the human species is a much tighter delivery of consumer goods. Consumer goods taken from our one planet, using it up just as always to keep ourselves comfortable and alive. Except now even more comfortable and more alive than ever before! Yay!

      This isn’t progress, nor evolution, nor the Singularity, nor liberation. It’s marketing.

      1. James

        This isn’t progress, nor evolution, nor the Singularity, nor liberation. It’s marketing.
        Excellent takeaway!

      2. different clue

        Unfortunately many digital/cyber fanboys support the concept of an Internet of Things. Because So Cool! Bruce Sterling wrote several articles about how wonderful it would all be. It would take me hours to find them now, but I knooooow that I saw them at different points.

        I don’t have a smart phone. I don’t even have a dumb old cell phone. I have a copper landline phone which sits quietly in its appointed spot. Do I feel I am smart enough for me AND my phone? Am I afraid of a phone which is smarter than I am? Either way, I won’t ever get a smart phone. Or a smart house.
        Or internetted things. A very lucrative after-market cottage industry of disabling the internetty parts of internetted appliances will emerge. Also a lucrative market in used netless appliances and netless appliance repair.

  9. JTFaraday

    re: “St. Louis Prosecutor Bob McCulloch Abused the Grand Jury Process,” The New Republic. “[G]rand juries simply aren’t equipped to adjudicate guilt or innocence.”

    A specialist really needs to paint a comprehensive picture of what the justice system looks like in and around Ferguson/ St. Louis, (and it’s not just there). It really is extraordinary. I think people need to see everything all brought together in one frame.

    1. James

      I agree. From all of what I’ve seen and read so far it still resembles a mid-19th century backwater cesspool.

    2. bruno marr

      …and that is why the Pando article is wrongheaded. A Grand Jury is not destined to be “fair” in any case. The full fairness of the law is to be carried out in a regular court, with regular rules of evidence, and regular cross-examination of the evidence, in front of a jury of peers; in public not secret. I seriously doubt that Wilson would have been found innocent. And for the author to suggest that a “hung jury” is acceptable, is simply code for “rascist jurors”.

      So let’s not guess at all. Let a real trial with a real jury begin!

  10. Jim Haygood

    An Oct. 15 Washington Post/ABC poll found that the public held the Democratic Party “in worse regard than at any point in the past 30 years.” — NYT, ‘Who Will Save the D party …?’

    We’re all invited vicariously to a Noblesse Oblige Thanksgiving, where the presumptive Democratic nominee — the lovely Broom Hilda Clinton — will demonstrate her affinity for ordinary middle class folks by baking cookies whilst roasting small Syrian children over an open fire.

    When it comes to private equity … does she or doesn’t she?

  11. Jim Haygood

    The Widow K. presides over her own T-giving bash:

    It’s already a chaotic Thursday as a public transportation strike and a massive blackout hit the city of Buenos Aires this morning, sending the population into a frenzy. And it’s not even December yet.

    You probably didn’t notice because you were sleeping, but there was a public transportation strike this morning between 4 AM and 7 AM, carried out by unions in that sector who are calling for the National Government to raise the income tax floor.

    This created somewhat of a traffic chaos, since people who live on the outskirts or outside of the city had to drive their own cars or find an alternate mean of transportation to get to work.

    And while things started coming back to normal after 7, with thousands of people jumping into the subte at once to get to work on time, it all went to shit at 9 AM when suddenly “a failure in a high voltage power line” (according to the power company) left a large part of the city in complete and utter darkness. Well maybe not in darkness, but without power.


    1. Alejandro

      Back from hiatus? Mammon spiritual retreat?
      Early seeding of irrelevant distractions from the upcoming chapters in 2015?

      Relevant updates since your last tango in……


      November 10 – A US Judge ruled that Citigroup Inc. could process an $85 million interest payment by Argentina on bonds issued under Argentine laws.
      November 4 – In a letter to investors, Elliot Management says it will pursue sanctions against Argentina. Meanwhile, Judge Thomas Griesa empowers court-appointed mediator Daniel Pollack to incorporate other investors into negotiations between the two sides.
      October 29 – Billionaire Kenneth Dart asks a US court to compel Argentina to pay him nearly $600 million in outstanding bonds.
      October 27 – Another hedge fund that declined Argentina’s debt restructuring deal sues, claiming NML precedent.
      October 23 – US Judge Thomas Griesa schedules a hearing for December 2 to decide if Citigroup can process an interest payment Argentina is expected to make on bonds issued under Argentine law.
      October 6 – The IMF releases a new proposal aimed at preventing holdouts from blocking debt restructurings.
      September 29 – US Federal Judge finds Argentina in contempt of court.
      September 24 – Argentina President Christina Fernandez de Kirchner addressed the UN General Assembly, criticizing so-called “vulture funds” and thanking countries that voted to support a global bankruptcy process.

      Happy Holidays or Feliz Mammón, Amigo!

    2. skippy

      “(Reuters) – Argentina has charged HSBC with aiding more than 4,000 clients to evade taxes by stashing their money in secret Swiss bank accounts, the country’s AFIP tax authority said on Thursday.

      AFIP said it received the information on the secret accounts from France, which last week placed HSBC’s Swiss private banking arm under formal investigation for possibly aiding tax evasion.

      “We denounce the existence of an illegal platform created by three banking entities (of HSBC) that are operating in Argentina,” Ricardo Echegaray, the head of Argentina’s AFIP tax agency, told a news conference.

      “Its managers have intervened actively with the sole aim of helping Argentine citizens avoid paying their taxes.”

      HSBC Argentina rejected the charges in an emailed statement to Reuters, saying it respected Argentine law.

      “HSBC Argentina emphatically rejects (the charge) of its participation in any illicit association, including any organisation that would allow the transfer of capital in order to evade taxes,” the bank said.

      Argentina’s move comes as part of a global crackdown on undeclared funds held in offshore havens, after the global financial crisis strained government budgets and made the need to maximize tax receipts more pressing.

      Switzerland has become the world’s biggest offshore financial center thanks to strict banking secrecy laws in the Alpine country.

      Belgium last week charged HSBC Private Bank with tax fraud and money laundering. Stolen personal details of HSBC clients in Switzerland were passed on to Belgian and French authorities in 2010.

      Skippy…. Waves~~~~

  12. cnchal

    America had an opportunity to right the ship of justice, just a little bit, but lost it.

    What the “authorities” have done with the police shooting of Micheal Brown is cement the impunity that police officers have when they kill.

    Shall there be no limits to police killing? Ever?

    How long will it be, before someone coming in contact with a police officer, shoots first and claims self defense?

    It would have been far better to have an open trial and let a jury decide if the actions of the officer were justified.

    1. Banger

      Justice as an idea fading from view along with reason and courage. Unless these ideas emerge from into the population at large how do we expect our highly corrupt public institutions to reflect anything other than what we see?

    2. James

      How long will it be, before someone coming in contact with a police officer, shoots first and claims self defense?

      Indeed! That really is the logical response to all this. Not that it would get you anywhere other than a cell on death row of course.

        1. pretzelattack

          no I think they would fry (or suffocate, or hang, or shoot) the white person in this case. texas even kills white women. but if reasonable belief is the standard, man, cops scare me these days. I’ve heard them called the biggest gang in the city; not only that but they can legally murder you.

        2. Jeremy Grimm

          I was told by a criminal defense attorney I know there is an old saying in criminal law, “Even a mediocre prosecutor could get a grand jury to indict his ham sandwich.” My close examination of some criminal statutes lead me to the opinion the criminal laws in my state, and I would guess in many other states, require of prosecutors a very low burden of proof. Further the laws provide for harsh punishments, often coupled with sentencing guidelines that hamstring any attempt by the judge to mitigate punishment to fit the crime. This places tremendous power into the hands of prosecutors. A guilty defendant and even an innocent defendant with a poor defense has little choice but to cop a plea to avoid the risk of the Draconian punishments waiting at the end of a court proceeding.

          How remarkable our police seem so difficult to prosecute.

          There is no question whether police are highly discriminatory in how they enforce the laws. The law falls most heavily upon people of color. But in my opinion making what is happening to our justice system and its enforcement a matter of race takes the issue to a forum all too conveniently dividing us. I am not among the groups most heavily discriminated against right now but I feel just as threatened. I like to believe I am not alone in this feeling. Why split concern along ancient dividing lines used to fracture the bonds between us. We are all being controlled, all threatened and we will all fall subject to harsh laws their brutal enforcement and their harsh punishments.

    3. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Some think we have Big Police today.

      In fact, what we have is Too Big Police today.

      In addition, we also have

      Too Big Brother
      Too Big Government
      Too Big Business
      Too Big Ag
      Too Big Pharma

      All these exist in a new physical reality, a new material phase. Once you enter into this nirvana condition, you can’t fail…you are too big.

      The physicist who discovered this new law of physics won a Nobel too.

      He is currently working on a new project – some things in nature are too small to be noticed…maybe the little People (formal scientific name: the Too Little People), for example.

    4. Demeter

      The President ignored yet another political opportunity / “teachable moment” in his life-long, don’t-give-a-damn, community organizer / legal scholar career. I used to think he was in fear of his children’s lives, or his own; a victim of outright blackmail. Now I am convinced he really doesn’t believe in Change as anything other than a selling point. He’s got his, F*** the rest of us.

    5. bruno marr

      . . . but that trial and jury would have cost money (likely from a local account) and the Ferguson police dept. would have been on the hook for Wilson’s lawyer, as well. (Don’t think that the DA didn’t have this tangential stuff in mind; he did.)

  13. BondsOfSteel

    RE: The Tech Worker Shortage Doesn’t Really Exist

    So…. I was a dev lead at Microsoft. I know for a fact that the employees get paid the same regardless of their immigration status. Microsoft has “levels” based on skill and experience, and pay is tied to these levels. I’d be shocked if Google and Facebook were different.

    There is a shortage of “good” hires. I almost always had open positions on my team I was trying to fill. And it was hard finding qualified candidates… people who could code. The tech companies compete very hard over the top of the class at the elite computer science schools. Many of these graduates, especially ones with MS and PhDs are here on student visas.

    So why the disconnect? The tech companies really want people who can come in and less than a week start coding. IMHO, it’s more of problem where most of the lower level entry type jobs [like support, IT, and now even testing] have been outsourced and bar for new hires is so high it’s hard to find people with enough experience / skill to pass.

    Of course, this would make the anti-poaching collusion even more outrageous…

    1. Vatch

      You say that employees get paid the same regardless of their immigration status. Does Microsoft use consultants on their projects? Are H-1B and L-1 consultants paid the same as non H-1B / non L-1 consultants? Is it even possible for you to know what a consultant is paid by his consulting firm? What about Google, Facebook, and the other giant corporations that require high tech services?

      1. hunkerdown

        Oh, Microsoft, the company that made the term “perma-temp” famous in dotcom boom 1.0? One of the “nice” things about intermediation is that it allows crimes against the masses to be divided and delegated until no single actor is guilty of anything besides doing business.

      2. BondsOfSteel

        There’s not a lot of consultants at Microsoft. The culture is more of a “roll your own” don’t trust outsiders… I’m sure you’ve seen the famous cartoon of the org structure. It’s so true:

        The exception seems to be in art/design, where MSFT does hire a few graphical design companies. Not a lot of H-1Bs there.

        Microsoft does hire vendors and temps as hunkerdown pointed out. They tend to get paid more than full time employees, but without stock and bonuses. There was pressure to try and reduce usage of “orange badges”:

    2. ChrisPacific

      So why the disconnect? The tech companies really want people who can come in and less than a week start coding.

      …and there you have it.

      I have had quite a successful career in the industry and I’m at the point where the tech companies would probably be queuing up to hire me if I was available. However, back when I was a graduate looking for work, this would have ruled me out. I had a strong education in scientific and technical fields and a lot of practical coding experience and background, but I hadn’t done any courses in computer science specifically, and my knowledge of the specific technologies that were needed in the market at the time was slim to none. The company that hired me spent probably a good 2-3 months in my first year putting me through various kinds of training, plus even more time staffing me on projects in a kind of apprentice role (watch, learn and contribute whatever and whenever you can).

      These days, nobody wants to do this. They’d much rather wait for someone else to train staff, and then poach them afterwards. The problem with this model is that you end up with a workforce of mercenaries with zero emotional attachment to the company who will jump ship the moment a better offer comes along. This is then used as justification by the company for why they shouldn’t invest in training, and it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. By contrast, the relationships among employees at my old company were so strong that they endured beyond the eventual breakup of the company. There is still an informal professional network that meets socially on a regular basis, and pockets of them have ended up at half a dozen different companies and hired their old colleagues.

      Going back to H-1B workers, their real value to companies is not that they are cheaper (your comments about pay brackets agree with my own experience) but that they are so much less mobile. The process of applying for a green card through employment can take upwards of 10 years, and the candidate must stay with the same employer the whole time or risk starting over from scratch (at best) or losing their right to remain in the US (at worst). By contrast, if you tap a US citizen/resident on the shoulder and mention that they are expected to work nights and weekends for no additional pay for the foreseeable future, they can just quit and look for another job with no legal consequence or loss of immigration status. Who needs that? As a result, an H-1B worker will always be a more attractive proposition than a citizen or resident, other things being equal. The pay scales may be the same by law, but the power balance in the employment relationship is massively different. If you think tech companies can’t find (many) ways to monetize this, you’re not being imaginative enough.

      1. BondsOfSteel

        Yup… I agree about the immobility of H-1Bs and that being an asset to the companies. It’s even worse since a title change at the same company could reset their queue so they tend to stay on the same team longer than others.

        BTW, immigration status is something that’s completely ignored. These “people” on H-1Bs are your co-workers, peers, employees, managers… friends. Only your direct supervisor and HR would know you’re not a US Citizen, and they treat that as private protected info. As a manager, I’m not sure I even knew what kind of visa people had. I really didn’t care enough to ever look… I cared about code quality, deadlines, and cool features.

    3. Jeremy Grimm

      My experience with the software industry contrasts starkly with the experiences of both Bonds and Chris. I do not recall any period of apprenticeship like Chris enjoyed. As a new engineer/programmer little was expected from me and I received little training from my employers. I feel I was regarded as expendable headcount that might sink or rise as I applied myself to whatever opportunities I happened upon.

      As far as Bonds experiences, a couple of years ago I purchased one of my cars from an Indian programmer brought in by TATA to do what sounded like fairly standard Oracle Database programming. I did not work with him nor did I have any knowledge of his specific project, but neither this fellow nor his skills nor the work struck me as in any way remarkable. Admittedly he may have been exceedingly modest and might have had multiple PhDs, but I strongly doubt that. At the same time that I bought this car I had a friend with 20 years of experience with databases including Oracle and he was having difficulty locating a job permanent or direct that paid even as much as what he recalled as starting pay from a few years ago. This is an East Coast story so that perhaps things are very different on the West Coast.

      I find it hard to believe that a large batch of employees offered up into the pool of programmers available on the West Coast did not have some impact in lowering the overall pay scale for programmers. So what if both H1-B and locals get paid the same overhead rate? If Bonds believes in a market for labor, I am mystified why Bonds is not troubled by bringing in foreign workers to dilute the local forces of the marketplace that are supposed to result in the development of more local workers.

      From the standpoint of the programmer employment situation Bonds describes, I can only guess Bonds had a position as lead developer that allowed stepping off the plank leading into the boxcar of programmers as commodity, like the goat stepping to the side after leading the lambs into the boxcar. When programmers are expected to start producing code within a week, we are not talking about programmers trained in the art of programming. We are talking about a commodity – a programmer trained in the specific language and tools used on the project, and often a programmer whose research area or whose work experience supporting various research projects as cheap labor included the specific application area the programmer is brought in to work. Nice for the employers, and lead developers at Microsoft but not so pleasant for the programmers whether local or H1-B. Programming has turned into an endless stream of paradigm shifts, silver bullets and marketing fads. This month’s hot new skill is next month’s also ran. I suppose I should not grudge an army of foreign nationals their chance to make some money while the sun shines on their lucky combination of degrees and specific experiences. Their sun will set all too soon – but there will always be more H1-Bs to replace last month’s hot commodities.

      Where I am employed and expect to soon receive an offer from my employer to seek new opportunities elsewhere, the entire staff has been classified and placed into bins for easy shuffling around jobs. We each have years of experience ratings for the very specific job areas my company staffs, growing more specific by minute – specific in years of experience, customer supported, language used, version of language used, operating systems and application area. This is very convenient to the company and takes all the thought out of personnel management. If there is a near perfect fit an employee can carry on, becoming even more deeply tied to whatever bin that employee came from. There is no sense of excellence – only degree of fit. By properly designing the holes, the company can shed older employees without complication because their pegs no longer fit. It requires no great insight to realize older employees will not as a rule to be up to speed on the latest fads, religions and paradigms of software.

      As a parting shot I wonder whether anyone else is troubled by the large number of foreign graduate students in our Universities. Our schools incur a large part of their costs in supporting graduate programs, especially those that include labs. Does anyone really believe it costs a great amount to pay an adjunct professor to give humanities lectures to a class of hundreds, even thousands of undergraduates? Does an upperclassman of English Literature really cost as much to educate as a chemistry student? Obtaining cost numbers from our Universities is as easy as obtaining actuarial numbers from insurance companies. I do not believe it is a great leap to suggest we are heavily subsidizing the graduate educations of a large number of foreign nationals.

      At the same time I recall my own feelings toward school and continuing on after my bachelor’s degree. I felt I came to the University with high hopes, strong academics and a strong desire to learn. After four years and a little bit I left the University feeling cast off, unimportant, ill-educated based on my own sense of what education should be and quite generally undervalued and ignored. Every time I went to office hours to ask questions outside of what our classes covered, I was told to ask again when I was a graduate student. Graduate school seemed too expensive, too many more lost years, and too much ring kissing. Besides, I was not sure who would take me. My grades were not outstanding, hardly a surprise given how few good marks were given at my school. We were told that admissions at graduate schools took account of the low marking characteristic of my school at that time, but that hardly inspired me.

      I know it is wrong to generalize from my own experience. Regardless, I believe our Colleges and Universities discourage American born undergraduates from continuing on to graduate school, particularly in the so-called STEM areas. I also believe our Colleges and Universities tend to favor out-of-state students and foreign nationals because of the larger fees they must pay. As a final thought I wonder what sort of hell there is in India that makes the sacrifices and costs of graduate school worthwhile. I do not believe that a love of learning has much place in their motivations.

          1. ambrit

            All things being equal, I would direct your attention to the traditionalist nature of Indian culture in particular. Classes and castes are still central to most ‘society’ there. (If I’m wrong, someone from India please correct me.) Assimilating British Empire thinking with its’ emphasis on aristocracy, not only of birth, but also meritocratic “achievement,” which closely mirrored local mores, set a high worth on visibly attaining high status. Education was a primary means of cultural assimilation. Educated people worked for and with the Raj, thus acquiring status. Who’s the present day Raj? America. I suggest that the same dynamic is playing out here.

      1. ChrisPacific

        Agreed on nearly all points. I was fortunate to find a good place to start my career, as even at that time their approach to investing in their employees was relatively uncommon. In a way it seems strange, because you’d think that anybody who was interested in how to manage companies to create sustainable value in the long term would look at our model and conclude that it produced vastly better outcomes than the alternative. Unfortunately I think the lesson is that most business owners in tech aren’t all that interested in creating sustainable value in the long term.

        On your university question:

        I do not believe it is a great leap to suggest we are heavily subsidizing the graduate educations of a large number of foreign nationals.

        The answer is: yes you are, but you shouldn’t be worried about it (at least not that aspect). The strong research and graduate education sector in the US is responsible for much of its success in scientific and high tech fields (plus the military-industrial complex, but that’s another story). You don’t get to be a leader in graduate education and research without taking the best available students, regardless of background, and many of those highly-educated foreigners will go on to become Americans anyway.

        More to the point is why fewer and fewer American graduates seem to be among that number. My theory is that this is due to the systematic undermining of public education in America. Not only is it undervalued, but it’s actively attacked (inefficient, too expensive, an example of government incompetence…) so that education can be captured by the private sector and turned into a profit opportunity. A well-educated and informed electorate would also be better able to see through propaganda, recognize what their own interests really are (as opposed to the oligarchs’ vision of indentured servitude which they are told is their interest) and use their vote to promote them. That’s the last thing that the oligarchs want, and as for the consequent gradual dumbing-down of the labor force, well, that’s what H-1Bs are for. I think this is short-sighted and likely to be disastrous in the long term (quite apart from the injustice of it) but long-term thinking is out of fashion in the business community these days.

  14. MyLessThanPrimeBeef


    Man: You wanna to domesticated like dogs?

    Cat: Why?

    Man: I give you food everyday. (giggle to himself “left over’ food…the original trickle down economics)

    Cat: Everyday?

    Man: Well, only if the hunting and gathering economy is humming; there will be times you may have to catch rats.

    Cat: Do have to be guard duty like your dogs? Do I have to fend off intruders?

    Man: No, of course not. You can run off and hide yourself.

    Cat: OK, I am moving in. You can start your worshipping tomorrow.

  15. Vatch

    The article “Wake Up, Europe” by left leaning George Soros, the billionaire whom American conservatives love to hate, includes a couple of paragraphs on an event that hasn’t received enough attention in the West:

    Europe and the United States—each for its own reasons—are determined to avoid any direct military confrontation with Russia. Russia is taking advantage of their reluctance. Violating its treaty obligations, Russia has annexed Crimea and established separatist enclaves in eastern Ukraine. In August, when the recently installed government in Kiev threatened to win the low-level war in eastern Ukraine against separatist forces backed by Russia, President Putin invaded Ukraine with regular armed forces in violation of the Russian law that exempts conscripts from foreign service without their consent.

    In seventy-two hours these forces destroyed several hundred of Ukraine’s armored vehicles, a substantial portion of its fighting force. According to General Wesley Clark, former NATO Supreme Allied Commander for Europe, the Russians used multiple launch rocket systems armed with cluster munitions and thermobaric warheads (an even more inhumane weapon that ought to be outlawed) with devastating effect.* The local militia from the Ukrainian city of Dnepropetrovsk suffered the brunt of the losses because they were communicating by cell phones and could thus easily be located and targeted by the Russians. President Putin has, so far, abided by a cease-fire agreement he concluded with Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko on September 5, but Putin retains the choice to continue the cease-fire as long as he finds it advantageous or to resume a full-scale assault.

    Of course I am not advocating Western military action against Russia. But the people who write about Russia’s security concerns need to be aware that other countries also have security concerns, and that Russia has very recently been a military aggressor (as has the United States, in Iraq, for example).
    Soros also provides good summaries of many other events in Ukraine over the past year.

    1. OIFVet

      “…left leaning George Soros, the billionaire whom American conservatives love to hate…”

      Nice try Vatch. Got news for you: there also is a guy named Obama, “left-leaning,” whom conservatives love to hate too. I can’t believe you are trying to pull this crap here, of all places. Daily Kos is that away. Soros, (and Obama) are to the left of the tea party, but that does not make them “left-leaning”. They are your typical neoliberals that pass for “the left” in today’s bizzaro US. You will get no thanks from the well-informed for doing your level best to perpetuate the myth of their leftiness. Soros’ Open Society has done more than any other government or institution to disseminate the neoliberal propaganda in Eastern Europe and to provide “credibility” to its neoliberal politicians and their neoliberal policies. It is so damn tiresome to read your continued dissemination of the propaganda of the very powers that be that you claim to be against. Why? Is it ignorance, or is it some kind of Russia blinders you can’t shake off? Nobody’s perfect, nobody in position of power is clean. Putin included, of course. But the main reason for his and Russia’s villifaction and scaremongering in the West is that he has this peculiar belief that the national interests come before the interests of the transnational business and financial elites. IOW, he is advocating the polar opposite of what this notorious “lefty” Soros is advocating (and deriving hefty profits in the process, I might add). TPP, TTIP, NAFTA, CAFTA, SHAFTA: all these have been known to make an appearance in these parts on fairly regular basis, like almost daily. Its not like you managed to miss them, so what is your excuse for further crapifying the term “left-leaning” by bestowing it upon the neoliberal Soros? Oh right, anything to bash them Russkies and pretend that it is the “lefty” thing to do. Well, screw that. There is a great anti-Putin and anti-Russia argument to be made from the left (the real left, mind), but Soros is DEFINITELY not the one to make it. Not that he is even trying; that was your own freelancing to make an appeal to the readers here. By doing so you are not making the left, of which you claim to be, any favors. And that’s tiresome, counterproductive BS.

      1. hunkerdown

        Even the NYRB takes native advertising now? How much does Soros stand to personally lose if Ukraine doesn’t kiss his ring and lick his boots (in that order)?

        1. OIFVet

          Well, he has invested heavily in Ukraine to promote his agenda.

          Soros Heavily Invested in Ukraine Crisis: “A key initiative for Soros’s IRF is removing visa barriers between Ukraine and the EU while integrating Ukrainian experts within EU groups.” Read as “Cheaper Ukrainian labor to replace the notorious ‘Polish plumber’ in the drive to drive down wages in the EU. Very “lefty” of Mr. Soros…

          Twilight of the Gods: George Soros in Brussels: “Soros has never been bashful about leveraging his philanthropic/cultural activities to serve his speculative ventures as financier. And so he used the press conference to appeal to Europe to supervise a debt exchange program that would effectively bail out bond holders of Ukrainian sovereign debt, to the tune of the $19 billion falling due in the coming year, and not to accede to a Cyprus or Greek type ‘bail-in’ or ‘haircut’ for the investors that would amount to default and cut off Ukraine from international financing of its private industrial recovery.”

          George Soros’ Giant Globalist Footprint in Ukraine’s Turmoil: “The IRF website and annual reports make clear that the Soros funds are targeted at promoting Ukrainian “partnership” with, and “integration” into, the EU. Soros has provided many millions more through his other “philanthropic” spigots. However, Soros’ influence in Ukraine extends far beyond the traceable funding he provides to activist Ukrainian NGOs, academics and think tanks. Equally, if not more, important is the influence he exerts on global opinion through his massive propaganda network (including Project Syndicate and other Soros megaphones) and his direct personal contacts with presidents, prime ministers, parliamentarians, central bankers, media executives, and Wall Street titans.”

          I can keep posting links all day. The point is, Soros is anything but “left-leaning”, and perversely it is the conservative media that (unwittingly) points out that fact. Not a peep to be heard from “progressive” media on Soros’ neoliberal/globalist/corporatist agenda, no doubt because at least some of them rely on some funding from one of his numerous NGO/propaganda manufacture factories. Ukraine is just the latest front in the neoliberal expansion, hence the heavy dose of propaganda against anyone and anything that stands in the way. And to add insult to injury, purported “lefties” are happily applauding this neolibcon project and joining in the demonization of Russia and Putin. Like I said, screw that. Putin and Russia are anything but leftist, but at least they still see the national interest as the foremost motivation and can provide effective resistance to the neolibcon project, soething the purported “left” will never do.

          1. Vatch

            Yet you did not deny the Russian military invasion in August. Despite the problems with Soros (as with any billionaire), his summary of what has been happening looks pretty good.

            Happy Thanksgiving.

            1. OIFVet

              Well pardon me for being unwilling to engage in the same argument we’ve had a number of times over the past few months. At this point the opinions are formed and hardened and I have better things to do than wasting my time on arguing over it again. Like debunking your unconscionable inclusion of George Soros, a neoliberal financial criminal and propagandist, and a nazi collaborator in the 1940’s Hungary and again in 2014 Ukraine, amongst the ranks of the “left-leaning”.

              Other than that, well, Happy Thanksgiving to you as well.

            2. Jackrabbit

              OIFVet knows that anyone that is paying attention doesn’t buy those assertions. Thus, OIFVet’s info about Soros is more valuable than spending time on settled business.

              OIFVets frustration with you, Vatch is understandable. You’ve made your bias clear many times. That some self-important and self-interested oligarch talks his book does not justify your attempting to pass on transparently false info.

              H O P

              1. Vatch

                Recognizing facts isn’t the same as having a bias. Regarding facts, here’s a quote from Ukraine Crisis, by Wilson. It provides corroboration for much, if not all, that Soros said.

                In late August, Russia poured in enough men, tanks and armoured personnel carriers to support a counter-offensive, after President Poroshenko dodged Putin’s harsh terms at a meeting in Minsk. Putin could reverse the military tide, but only with what were increasingly obviously military means, although the EU, as ever, remained reluctant to call them such. The German press was actually counseling Ukraine (rather than Russia) to back off, as too radical a defeat in the Donbas might ‘provoke’ Putin. But at the end of August, NATO estimated that there were at least 1,000 regular Russian troops in Ukraine. The Committee of Soldiers’ Mothers of Russia went much higher: 10,000 to 15,000 had served in total, 7,000 to 8,000 were then in Ukraine, and 200 had died. These kinds of numbers were big enough to give many Ukrainians second thought. Russia may have already sent in sufficient forces to turn the tide, and the West had done nothing.

                1. OIFVet

                  Collaboration from Andrew Wilson, huh. Wonder where I heard that name before… Oh, right, Wilson is a fellow at the European Council on Foreign Relation. The same ECFR that was founded with Soros’ money by his Open Society foundation.

                  Seriously Vatch, I am beginning to think that you are funded by a Soros foundation too.

                  1. Vatch

                    I’ve been busy, and I haven’t had a chance to reply until now. Nobody pays me to post anything.

                    Over the past year, various people have commented on the apparent unwillingness of people who support the Russian side in the Ukrainian conflict to avoid ad hominem attacks. For some reason, several of the Russophile commenters are reluctant to base their arguments on facts and logic. There have been exceptions, of course, but not many, which is very disappointing.

                    In the past, you have told us your reasons for supporting the Russian side: you don’t want the U.S. to get involved in another war. I don’t want my country to be involved in another war, either. I think the people who perpetrated the weapons of mass destruction fraud in 2003 that was used as a justification for invading Iraq should be prosecuted as accessories to mass murder. But I don’t support the use of different falsehoods that deny Russian’s military aggression. Some people may think that covering up what Russia is doing is a Platonic “noble lie”, but there’s nothing “noble” about Platonic lies. Eventually, they come back and bite hard.

                    Instead of rejecting a book a priori, like some “reviewers” on, who will give a book 1 star or 5 stars even though they have not read it, why don’t you get the book from your public library, and read it? There are plenty of endnotes, so you can take the time to check some of the sources. If your library doesn’t have it, request it through inter-library loan. Here’s the book’s information:

                    Ukraine Crisis: What it Means for the West, by Andrew Wilson.

                    And just because a person is a member of an organization is not a reason to automatically reject what he says. There’s plenty of diversity of opinion in a group such as the European Council on Foreign Relations. For example, see:


                    1. OIFVet

                      Phew, that’s a relief! It removes monetary motivation and leaves good old anti-Russkie bias that was carefully cultivated by your “betters”, i.e., the “elites”.

                      That still does not excuse your unconscionable attempt to pass off the sociopath Soros as “left-leaning”. What’s more, your ridiculous appeal to “leftiness” exposed the weakness of your argument; rather than its merits you chose to emphasize the “orientation” of the person making it.

                      I will humour you one more time though and tell you why it is patently ridiculous propaganda. For more than two months I have avoided engaging on the topic of Russia, despite your periodic forays into non-sense, because it makes no sense to keep making the same arguments to the same people. I am far too busy these days for that. Anyway, here it goes.

                      We must begin by asking ourselves, “What is Russia’s motivation, and what are its goals?” Simplistic minds here keep parroting the line about some Russian revanchism and territorial ambitions, as if Colonialism v1.0 still existed. It does not. The past 20+ years demonstrated that Russia has far better means to control Ukraine than to occupy it: namely, it has gas and monetary leverage. Call it US-light. Outside of enormously strategically important Crimea, Russia does not need the headache of administering the territories of a basket case. But let’s suppose the Russkies were some sorts of masochists looking for the pains of traditional empire. Would they commit the measly number of troops and materiel to take over a sliver of a territory, or would they commit their overwhelming superiority to take it all? Congratulations if you answered “Take it all”. But it did not. It will not.

                      Why? Because A. It suits Russia to have a basket case that is owned by the Euro poodles; it punishes the poodles for their complicity with the Empire, and teaches them the costs of said complicity. B. To maintain the basket case as such, it has much cheaper way of doing it than committing its own military: namely, it has many thousands of Eastern Ukrainians who are Soviet veterans, are trained, are sympathetic to Russia and hostile to Kiev and the west (both the Hegemon and its poodles), and are willing to fight. All they need is materiel, and Russia has plenty of of the old Soviet stockpiles that are obsolete but long-ago paid for and perfectly suited for the needs of the Novorussians. It is what Saker calls VoenTorg: military materiel trade. Low cost and risk-free. It forces the Euros to either own it or walk away, and keeps NATO out. All that for relative pennies, and paid for in Ukrainian blood. Cynical, but effective. Its called proxy war. Look it up.

    2. gordon

      I am so very tired of Americans complaining about Russia. Remember Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya? Remember Cuba, Nicaragua, Honduras, Chile, Grenada? Only a sample, yet Americans persist in abusing and accusing Russia as though their own country was not far more violent and militaristic.

      1. Vatch

        Many of us who complain about Russia also complain about the United States. But I deny that the U.S. is more violent and militaristic; I think that Russia and the U.S. are about the same. Remember Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Korea, Afghanistan, Ethiopia? There are other countries that the Soviet Union / Russia invaded, too. And don’t forget the Soviet terror against their own people, including the genocide in Ukraine and Kazakhstan in 1932-1933.

        1. OIFVet

          Don’t forget the genocide inflicted upon Native Americans, as well as the ongoing genocide against our environment, biodiversity, and human values like empathy, caring, cooperation. All of those are threatened with extinction by the almighty Empire in the name of spreading its sociopathic ideology of corporatism, of putting power and profits before our planet and all life forms that inhabit it.

        2. gordon

          Tell black Americans about how awful “terror against their own people” is. No, don’t bother – they already know.

          I don’t know who “many of us” are. Americans both individually and as a nation generally refuse to even acknowledge their own aggressions, let alone complain about them. “Damn few of us” would be more accurate.

          As for “about the same” – let’s arrange a US withdrawal of US armed forces from Europe in exchange for Russia giving the Crimea back to Kiev. Sounds fair to me.

        3. different clue

          Confusing “Russia” with the Soviet Union is a mistake, once described as such by Solzhenitzyn
          in his book Misconceptions About Russia Endanger The West.
          The engineered faminecaust in Ukraine was not Russian. It was Marxist. As in Communist.

    3. Veri

      Not amazing that Clark would say that, given that OSCE observers in Ukraine have so far not given out the description of what Clark has alleged. A little history on Clark: He once ordered a British unit to attack a Russian airborne brigade, it had discovered, that had flown into Pristina, Kosovo. The British commander, wisely, consulted with his superiors in The British Army and did not attack. A few days later, the Russian commander traded the airport for supplies.

      And WWIII was avoided.

      Clark is a hack that was allowed to rise too far in military command and circles. He is grossly negligent and given way too much credit. Generals make plans and we show them respect; Colonels and Lt. Colonels – and senior NCOs of The US Army form the backbone of professionalism – do the heavy lifting. Generals show up, we pay them respect, and sigh a relief when they are gone.

      Above all, Clark is a politician in military uniform that serves interests – especially now – that are not aligned with the best interests of The American People; however, they are aligned with our political leaders.

      1. OIFVet

        In my experience every rank has its good people and its downright dangerously incompetent people. During my deployment the latter were a duo consisting of a major and his bootlicker SFC crony that would not have been out of place in Catch 22. Of the generals, a good one that comes to mind was Lt.Gen. Helmly, and yes, General Shinseki. They had that most rare quality amongst the politicians dressed in Class As: the ability and courage to state the truth to their civilian superiors.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      You too, as I dream of turkeys in Turkey, while sipping tea from China on my finest china teacup, and munching on imported chili dogs from Chile, remembering I was once hungry while visiting Hungary.

      1. hunkerdown

        And, after all the Russian around for dinner (imported Polish kielbasa, hold the apples), the imported Thai stick. Maybe it would be a good time to re-watch a Region 4 DVD of Brazil, or for those less inclined to reality, Madagascar from Region 5.

  16. Ignacio

    The case of a potential role of microbial infections in depression (as well as some other diseases like diabetes) and our failure to identify it relates with our anthropocentric view of everything. We use to depict humans as the most successful creatures that have come to dominate the world. We also tend to believe that the world belongs to humans, not to mention the 0.01% that believe the world belongs to them. Ask any microbiologist and she/he will tell you other stories that will relativize humans success. In fact, a significant part of our body is microbial biomass. In fact Homo sapiens, the intelligent species, can be also depicted as the stupidiest depending on where you put the focus.

    We all should learn to be less anthropocentric.

    1. cwaltz

      If we were going by sheer numbers I’d say that mammals have a long way to go to hit anywhere near the success rate of insects. I’d imagine microbes might even one up them.

  17. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    From US carriers absence in East Asia.

    ‘Budget constraints at home,…

    Now, we really have stimulate the economy. No reason not to now.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      From the same link:

      “The U.S. has 10 carriers in service, but its military campaign against the Islamic State group, launched in August, is putting additional strains on the fleet.”

      What do the Germans say about fighting on 2 fronts, much less 3, 4 or more fronts?

      1. ambrit

        That was then, this is now. “Fronts” are now called “Conflict Resolution Zones.”
        As for 10 carriers, well, I seem to remember some Pentagon war games from a few years ago where the officer playing the Iranian Revolutionary Guards “neutralized” the American carriers using small craft. Heaven forbid some really sophisticated military lets off a barrage of cruise missiles with pocket nuke warheads aimed at a carrier task force. (Like some inchoate raging Samson, with no Temple to pull down.)

      2. Eureka Springs

        So the price of training a few hundred or few thousand alQaedNusrI$I$ moderates is enough to knock out 10 carriers in service? Something doesn’t add up… except the looting.

        1. Generalfeldmarschall von Hindenburg

          These aren’t fronts or wars. Just colonial actions that keep people at home living in fear of contrived threats. And, yeah, give the USN a reason to ask for a new carrier. How about the USS John C Calhoun?

      3. cwaltz

        Fronts are quaint. We got rid of the idea of fighting a two front war when the US decided to become Our Lady of Perpetual War and figured we could be successful in our fight against a tactic employed for longer than we have existed. Someone should tell the DoD that we’re “budgeting” these days and can’t afford to give them a larger allowance than the one they already get, as it is if they can’t make do with a budget that is already so large that it is unable to be audited adequately and is larger than several countries combined then I guess they better run out and get a second job(since we’re all pretending that government budgets are exactly like household budgets for everything other than the DoD.)

    1. not_me

      Good since this dovetails with the need for land reform to provide meaningful WORK for people as opposed to mere jobs, which may or may not involve meaningful work.

      It’s amazing how coherent truth is.

        1. not_me

          A family farm would look MIGHTY good to many today. Modern farm equipment and technical know-how via the Internet should make it quite plausible even for beginners.

          Of course, who knows what independent Kulaks might get up to – somethings a Central Comittee might not like.

          Yes, the truth is consistent in that, for example, evil is self-defeating as in stealing family farms via government-subsidized credit creation turns out to have been vain with regard to the environment, food quality, and even food quantity, not to mention a degraded population of the landless poor.

          1. skippy

            Yes Beard-o, your plan does seem similar to the Russian and Chinese experiments.

            I see your back on Ellen Browns “web of debt” peddling agrarian precepts – presuppositions again.

            Seems the only no True Scotsman dilemma for you with Gary North is his gold standard Mise’s Regression Theory of Money, making him a non true libertarian, hence you stopped reading him. That leaves all the – other – stuff….

            Skippy… nice to see Ellen thinks Gary is a top bloke, birds of a feather… very scary beard-o….

  18. ChrisPacific

    That’s an unfortunate choice of title for the Ebola article. Apparently they are using ‘securitization’ to mean that it’s being treated as a matter of national security, similar to terrorism. I was having nightmares of the big banks selling Ebola derivatives.

  19. different clue

    That Democrat light bulb joke seems like a clumsy reworking of another fairly old light bulb joke.

    How many psychiatrists does it take to change a light bulb? Only one. But the light bulb has to want to change.

  20. different clue

    About “New Silk Road” . . . The ChinaGov’s longest-term goal for Europe via the New Silk Road is the same as the AmericaGov’s longest-term goal for NAFTA/MFN for China/ WTO membership/ etc. The ChinaGov’s longest term goal for Europe is to exterminate all industry in Europe and move all profitizable pieces into China or strung out along the New Silk Road like a string of maquiladoras . . . I mean pearls.
    Perhaps Europe should learn Chinese now and welcome its MexicoHaitian future.

    1. different clue

      Let me be clearer here. The AmericaGov’s longest-term goal is to exterminate all industry in America. Not in Europe. I was making an analogy here.

Comments are closed.