2:00PM Water Cooler 12/15/14

By Lambert Strether of Corrente


When host NPR Steve Inskeep pressed her, Warren repeated three times that she wasn’t running, then grew exasperated: “I am not running for president. Do you want me to put an exclamation point at the end?” [CNN]. Except that’s not a Sherman statement. Transcript [WaPo].

Jebbie releases 250,000 emails, loses 15 pounds [CNN]. Take that, Chris Christie! And that!

Schumer “bets” Hillary Clinton will run, praises Warren as “constructive” [Daily News].

48% of Democratic voters support Clinton, but 48% of Democratic voters also want a primary contest [Asbury Park Press].

Second O’Mally aide bails [Bloomberg].

Clinton in presser at Data 2x, an initiative between the Clinton Foundation, United Nations Foundation and Bloomberg Philanthropies (!): Advocates need “an evidence-based case for investing in women and girls” [USA Today]. I’ve heard Clinton say “evidenced-based” before, and didn’t think much of it. I’m sure it focus groups well, however.

Clinton’s support in Iowa today is double 2008’s [FiveThirtyEight].


Regulatory riders on a piece of must-pass budget legislation will be a common subject of debate over the next two years [The Hill]. For example:

Justice blocked from medical marijuana dispensary prosecutions under Federal law that conform to state law [Slate].


Federal judge rules cops can no longer use tear gas on protesters without declaring an illegal assembly [MSNBC].

“Witness 40: Exposing A Fraud In Ferguson” [The Smoking Gun]. Check out the handwriting…

Dorian Johnson’s account consistent across two interviews [CNN]. Now that McCulloch has released the material he “inadvertently” suppressed.

“As a result of his actions, he is gone” [Guardian]. Ugly interrogation.


“Mexico’s Graveyard”: Long-form backgrounder with photos on the city of Iguala in Guererro State near Ayotzinapa, where the 43 students disappeared [Mashable]. Detail shows much, much deeper roots than marches, protests.

Federal police implicated in Ayotzinapa attack, says study carried out with the support of Berkeley’s Investigative Reporting Program [Revolution News]. So not just the locals.

NPR interviews (self-identified) survivor of attack that killed the 43 [NPR].

21-year-old Mexican student disrupts Malala Yousafzai’s Nobel Peace Prize ceremony to show solidarity with the 43 missing students [CNN].

Serious clashes between federal police and protesters organizing a concert to honor the 43 missing college student in Guerrero [Voxxi].

“Today, with these crystal-clear examples of political and criminal collusion at hand, the three layers of government (federal, state and municipal) are being accused all at once of corruptive betrayal” [Seattle Times]. Oh, Mexico.

Sydney Hostage Situation

Police commandos storm Lindt Café after 16-hour armed siege [Guardian], unconfirmed reports of two dead [USA Today].

Australians tell Muslims #illridewithyou [ABC]. The suspect, Haron Monis, a self-proclaimed shiek, used Muslim iconography [ABC].

Uber charges $100 surge price to people fleeing armed hostage crisis in Sidney [Mashable]. They backed off, but that’s how the algorithm works, isn’t it?

Was this really the time and place for selfies? [Independent].

Meanwhile, five dead in Philly shooting spree [USA Today]. This story stays local, of course, since shootings in today’s America are a non-story, and of course no waronterra hook.

Torture Report

One (1) person was imprisoned over CIA torture [Independent]. A whistleblower, of course! John Kiriakou.

Torture pays off with million dollar home [The Intercept].

Hong Kong

Police clear Causeway, last protest site [Wall Street Journal].

Democracy activist Benny Tai warns peaceful protest could be replaced by riots [Hong Wrong].

Big Brother Is Watching You Watch

Data mining in higher education via student ID cards [Minding the Campus]. Administrators love it!

Spain’s Xnet movement, inspired by 15-M indignados and fights graft using Tor dropbox and journalistic protection [Sidney Morning Herald].

Stats Watch

Industrial production, November 2014: Up 1.3%. “[T]he output of every major industry group increased or remained unchanged” [Bloomberg].

Housing Market Index, December 2014: “6th reading in row that the index is above breakeven 50” [Bloomberg].

Deflation Watch

U.S. bond investors writing off inflation for years, maybe decades [Bloomberg].

Squillionaire David Koch: “I’m very worried that if the budget is not balanced that inflation could occur and the economy of our country could suffer terribly” [Political Wire]. Stupid or evil?

China, Poland, Sweden, Poland, the ECB

Class Warfare

Shift workers more likely to suffer from poor health [Independent].

“[T]here is no empirical evidence that the private sector is intrinsically more efficient” [Business School of the University of Greenwich, UK (PDF)]. But wait! Because markets!

BlackRock managing director at has been banned from the industry for life by U.K. regulators for dodging fares on his commute [CNN]. There’ll always be an England….

News of the Wired

  • Life hack on tagging and indexing your paper notebook [Social Media Week]. Neato!
  • In the absence of strict moderation, we’d be much better off without comment sections [Guardian].
  • The rise of the Y-Axis-Zero fundamentalists [Justin Fox].
  • In the UK: “Migrants tend to be highly-skilled on average, contribute substantially to the economy, and do not compete with natives for social housing” [London School of Economics].
  • How a 20-year-old Mexican immigrant co-founded the largest drone manufacturer in America while waiting for his green card [Robotic Trends (RTO)].
  • The number of stateless people worldwide likely exceeds 15 million [Reuters].
  • “Inside The Collapse Of The New Yorker’s Inside The Collapse Of The New Republic” [Wonkette]. Fractal snark!
  • Socialize Uber! [The Nation]
  • “Since the 1970s” [N+1]. “On or about ____ 197_, human character changed…”
  • Mars Rover Curiosity findings findings suggest that lakes and rivers existed in many locations all over Mars, over tens of millions of years [CNET].
  • The magnetic field along the galactic plane [European Space Agency]:


* * *

Readers, feel free to contact me with (a) links, and even better (b) sources I should curate regularly, and (c) to find out how to send me images of plants. Vegetables are fine! Fungi are deemed to be honorary plants! See the previous Water Cooler (with plant) here. And here’s today’s plant (JJ):

Android August 2014 136

Brooklyn, NY.

Talk amongst yourselves!

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
This entry was posted in Guest Post, Water Cooler on by .

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. Clive

    Re: BlackRock managing director at has been banned from the industry for life…

    Which begs the question, why would a high net worth (perhaps ultra high net worth) individual perpetrate nickel and dime fare evasion ? I think he saved ten or twenty quid a day, tops. My notion, based on I will admit nothing more than personal observation, is that mental illness is overly represented in the very wealthy. Whether that is cause or effect, though, I’m not sure. But there seems to have been some element of compulsive behaviour there.

    1. dearieme

      “BlackRock managing director at has been banned from the industry for life by U.K. regulators for dodging fares on his commute [CNN]. ” That’s roughly how they got Capone too, wasn’t it? Lesser charges.

    2. Kurt Sperry

      I, and others I’m sure, view wealth accumulation as simply a sub-type of the hoarding pathology. It can be a small but essentially harmless idiosyncrasy or a life consuming and dangerous psychosis that produces real victims–and in the bigs, lotsa dead people.

    3. Sam Kanu

      why would a high net worth (perhaps ultra high net worth) individual perpetrate nickel and dime fare evasion

      Because – as social studies show – the most common trait across the wealthy is not work ethic or intellectual superiority but rather an intense and unending desire to accumulate money for its own sake. Or in plain english, greed. On a pathological level.

      Most ironic that the private equity sector is where he works, as they have been a driver behind the sick reduction of public services into mere vehicles for private monopolies that rip off the public. I guess he didnt like the taste of his own medicine.

  2. Sam Adams

    “This meeting is declared an illegal gathering.” – Fixed –
    Get out the gas canisters boys, let’s go gas some hippies!
    Sometimes I wonder if te Courts really get it.

    1. Athena1

      Yeah, I was watching the Ferguson and STL livestreams, and the police already have robo-announcements of “UNLAWFUL ASSEMBLY” blasting right before deploying the teargas. I think it might actually be a built in part of the LRAD audio sequence, too.

    2. fresno dan

      Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances

      You know, its makes me wonder what the process is (rule of law) with regard to determining that a gathering for demonstration is illegal (OH, Cop says its illegal – well, that clears that up).
      I would think the onus would be on the government to PROVE that there is real danger before so blithely disemboweling an enumerated constitutional right – but such are the times we live in….

  3. ChuckO

    I find it exasperating to read over and over again that torture doesn’t work. I am unalterably opposed to torture. I think that it is ethically and morally repugnant, and I don’t condone it under any conditions. However, there is a dimension on which it just might be effective, and that is as psychological warfare. That could well be one reason why governments don’t eschew it. If one’s political opponents fear that they might be tortured, it just might lead some of them to refrain from acting against one. Speaking for myself, if I knew that by taking certain actions in opposition to the government I would be arrested and savagely beaten, I would think long and hard before deciding whether or not to take such actions.

    1. Athena1

      When they say it doesn’t work, they’re specifically referring to “intelligence gathered during”. But yeah, I’m sure it’s highly effective as a deterrent. Terrorism is popular for a reason.

    2. James Levy

      Interesting point, but if the people we were supposedly dealing with were prepared to ride a plane into a building and go up in flames, what makes you think they’d be scared of torture? Torture didn’t seem to scare early Christians, or French Resistance fighters, or lots of other people who thought that the game was worth the candle. I’ll confess that I, a 49 year old middle class white guy, am scared shitless of being tortured. But unlike supposed al Qaeda operatives, I am not much of a threat to my government, certainly not enough to risk the disillusionment and hostility of so many by using torture. It’s an open question, but I think the point was to “send a message” that laws and customs that were ostensibly on the books were out the window. I think this was meant to impress and intimidate other governments (“you are with us or you are with the terrorists”) rather than have any demonstrable effect on actual terrorists.

    3. DJG

      The purpose of torture is torture. Torture is often dressed up as information gathering or some kind of pre-trial arrest, but that is the sort of crap purveyed by people like Cheney (these recent interviews sure bring to mind Eichmann in Jerusalem and Arendt’s descriptions of what she considered Eichemann’s buffoonery). Torture delegitimizes the government, because the police are so thoroughly corrupted. (Hmmm. Why is Obama so silent?) Yes, torture makes lives gray and ruins civilizations. Imagine what it must have been like to be in Buenos Aires during the dirty war when it was well known that people were being dragged out of their houses and never heard from again. Which makes the Mother of the Plaza de Mayo so remarkable.

    4. James

      That’s not really torture though, is it? More like harassment or just good old fashioned punishment for punishment’s sake. Unarguably effective though, in the short term at least. I recall a rather “exuberant” incident in my youth ending with an officer of the law applying a nightstick to the underside of my jaw every time I opened my mouth to protest, just as he promised he would, followed by a rather jarring stop and go ride to the holding pen with my hands handcuffed behind my back and me bouncing repeatedly face first off the floor. Most definitely had the desired effect. I believe they referred to it as “officer’s discretion,” or some such at the time. But I probably had it coming in that particular case. On the plus side, a week or so later I had a good beer story to tell!

    5. bob

      Torture does work. Anyone who claims otherwise is completely off the reservation. It’s illegal and immoral, but it works.

      But, to make it policy is another matter. To detail policy, and put this much effort and TIME into it completely defeats the “ticking bomb” argument that apologists constantly run to. What are you left with then?

      “However, there is a dimension on which it just might be effective, and that is as psychological warfare.”

      That’s it. On this scale, it all about getting torture and terror confused with each other. They’re using torture for the purpose of terror.

      Shock Doctrine by Naomi Klein does a very good job of looking at and breaking down these issues. It’s toxic, and it’s done with purpose.

        1. bob

          An appeal to authority? That’s a cliff dive off the moral low ground.

          How about I start cutting fingers off one by one and you tell me to stop when its ‘working’. Truth!

          1. jgordon

            Hey, you start cutting off my fingers I’ll tell you anything you want to hear ASAP. Anything at all. That’s why it doesn’t “work” to get information, although that is a pretty useful method of manufacturing false information in a plausible-sounding wayI suppose.

    6. Larry B.

      I think this is correct, at least when the torture is used by government against its own citizens. William Cavanaugh argues in “Torture and Eucharist”, based on the Chilean experience under Pinochet, that torture serves a purpose within society much like the eucharist does within a church. It provides a source of socialization, but it’s socialization is to fragment and atomize society, making everyone suspicious of everyone else. Torture is the liturgy that holds regimes together, by destroying unity among the people, an anti-eucharist, if you will.

  4. Propertius

    More efficient at what?

    The private sector seems astoundingly efficient at transferring public wealth into (a few) private hands, doesn’t it?

    1. DJG

      The private sector can be very good at taking wheelbarrows filled with money and throwing the money out the window.

  5. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    In the absence of strict moderation, we’d be better off without comment sections (Guardian).

    To me, internet commenting is a lot like driving* – be defensive, and avoid arguing with other drivers.

    Hopefully, your insurance will be cheaper.

    * Speaking of driving, I saw a Hummer Sunday for the first time in a long time. Welcome to $50/barrel of oil age. “I vill be back!”

    1. DJG

      The comment sections at many sites are like the id, spewing and mewling. In a way, it is gratifying to see so much hate out roiling and boiling. At least, it isn’t hard to figure to where it is coming from–which is why the recent mega-outbursts of racism haven’t been much of surprise to me. So moderation is necessary, and ironically, posting with pseudonyms is even a bit of a problem.

      1. Glenn Condell

        I’m conflicted on this. The dickhead quotient on say ZeroHedge means I never bother (almost as bad as YouTube where everyone seems to be a sleep-deprived 5 year old), but here and other well moderated sites offer comments that very often complement and build on the post, and even point to other unforeseen vistas of understanding.

        But I am wary of a trend toward no commenting. In my town there are two major dailies. During the Gaza massacre I could not get a letter published in either letters section, both of them run by Zionist Jews. The impression you would get from browsing them at the time was that we were generally sympathetic to Israel, but my admittedly non-scientific survey of friends and family and colleagues, many of them at the opposite end of the political spectrum to me, was that their reactions were within an order of magnitude of my own outrage.

        Who reads the letters I guess. But the other thing that bothers me is the way stories either allow comments or not. Anything – celebrity gossip, health stuff, local personality clashes etc – that doesn’t impinge on any sensitive areas for TPTB and/or powerful interests will give you the opportunity to vent, but potentially sharp-edged stories on banking skulduggery, foreign ownership, Israel, war on terra… most often end without the little box.

        Who curates these choices, and what is the reasoning? I wouldn’t mind so much if some indication of why or why not were available, but in its absence suspicion is natural.

        I wrote to one of them to ask whether they would consider allowing online readers the option of reading ALL correspondence submitted. That way it would be clear to readers who were interested enough to find out, how many people responded on particular issues and how the ratios of opinion stacked up. And, importantly, whether the editing process had been biased. This might seem to offer a wide avenue for astroturf but both papers had a fairly strong no-pseudonyms, all-your-details stance for submissions. I didn’t get a reply.

        In the absence of a less easily bought and manipulated political system; without a more direct, issues-based democracy; lacking a trustworthy major media… even the best blogs and the most widely mused social media can’t provide the coverage, the critical mass required to accurately gauge the temper of the populace. As ugly and messy and bewildering as commenting can be, I would be concerned if it became something only practised at the margins. Full disclosure is harder work but less prone to manipulation.

        Who would benefit most from a further concentration of voices?

        1. hunkerdown

          I won’t have time to code up this idea anytime soon, but someone should steal it:

          BYO Disqus on any page on the Internet, anywhere.

          This is the reason consumers will simply never have net neutrality as long as the powers that be continue to be: the Internet is for consuming, not producing, and a $100 server in one’s living room makes it very much harder to silence subversive viewpoints or spy on people.

    2. NOTaREALmerican

      Sites which are designed to “preach to the choir” would definitely be better off with moderation, to keep the non-true-believers out. They just take up space and people with right authoritarian or left authoritarian brain configurations can’t comprehend what the other side is saying anyway, so there’s absolutely no point in having cross pollination.

      What I found enjoyable (for about 2 years) was trying to drive the anti-jew racists away from one particular un-moderated financial site (I have “Argument OCD” specifically arguing with people with “Religious/Political OCD”; nothing is more fun than a perpetual un-winnable argument). But, generally, it’s pointless and un-moderated comments become worthless if the racists (another OCD, in my opinion) find the site.

    3. ambrit

      One of the joys of bouts of insomnia is when you run across something like this:
      Simply put, the editors of “theweek” claim that social media are now part of the news media! A craazyman ten bagger. You get to co-opt social media, lay off the moderators, and assume a moral superiority you don’t deserve!
      There is a lot more wrong with this framing of the “problem,” but I don’t feel up to the job. See what the ‘folks’ at 4chan have to say about it, if you’re interested. /sarc/

  6. Jim Haygood

    James Carville wanted to be reincarnated as the bond market. Venezuela’s Nick Maduro? He’s never heard of it:

    Venezuelan bonds dropped to a 16-year low as President Nicolas Maduro said he has no plans to curb fuel subsidies while not ruling out the possibility of default.

    The government’s benchmark bonds due in 2027 fell 8.5 percent to 37.74 cents on the dollar, the lowest on a closing basis since 1998. Swaps contracts protecting bond investors from non-payment imply a 97 percent chance of default in the next 12 months, according to CMA data.

    Maduro said in televised speeches over the weekend that he saw no need to cut the government subsidies that leave gasoline selling for 6 cents a gallon, and that he will keep a 6.3 bolivar-per-dollar fixed exchange rate for priority imports.


    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Hopefully, soon, they can sell gas at 6 cents a gallon without it requiring any subsidies.

        1. ambrit

          Sorry Jim, but according to the EIA, average production of gasoline from a 42 gallon barrel of crude is 19 gallons, plus other stuff. So, on a just gasoline basis, that means $1.14 a barrel for crude! Super harsh!
          Got firewood has its’ own set of regulatory and environmental hurdles. Just ask the deceased denizens of the Lost Civilization of Mohenjo Daro. (A popular theory is that the population there outstripped their wood fuel supply and deforested the surrounding hills leading to ecological degradation.)

  7. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Martian rivers and lakes millions of years ago?

    Perhaps we can engineer Mars from a penal colony to a 5-star resort in no time.

    1. ambrit

      Penal colonies often were the support infrastructure for Elite communities.
      Just as here in the good old U.S.of A., gated communities of the Elites down the road from engated prison populations.

  8. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    That’s a beautiful picture of the world we live in…until one day, maybe we can advance scientifically enough to tap into it , to alter it.

    1. ambrit

      I’m assuming that was sarcasm madam.
      We have the science. What we lack is the wisdom to utilize the science responsibly.

  9. Ben Johannson

    Koch believes the nonsense he’s peddling: terror of inflation and womens’ naughty bits goes hand-in-hand with Old Order conservatism.

    1. Athena1

      Yes, but….
      You would think he at least believes his financial advisers, who surely don’t subscribe to Austrian voodoo? Perhaps they just humor him, tho…

        1. Athena1

          My default is to assume ignorance over malevolence, but when it comes to the gazillionaire oligarchs, it’s hard for me to forget this:


          Reagan thinks it is impossible to persuade Congress that expenditures must be reduced unless one creates deficits so large that absolutely everyone becomes convinced that no more money can be spent.”

          Thus, the economist said, Reagan “hopes to persuade Congress of the necessity of spending reductions by means of an immense deficit.

          It seems more probable than not (to me) that Koch is “in the loop”.

  10. Jim Haygood

    UN showdown over a half century of occupation:

    The Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas, is pushing for a vote in the United Nations security council – as early as Wednesday – on a resolution calling for a deadline to end the 47-year-long Israeli occupation.

    The move comes as Israel’s prime minister vowed to reject any attempt to set a deadline for the establishment of a Palestinian state based on 1967 borders or a timeline for ending the occupation.

    Netanyahu’s comments came as he flew to Rome for a meeting with the US secretary of state, John Kerry, to discuss Palestinian moves at the UN. Kerry will later meet with Arab foreign ministers and Erekat in London.

    A vote attracting majority support on the security council – even one attracting a US veto – would be seen by Palestinians as exposing the fact that the US “is not an honest broker” in the peace process, opening the way to pressure for an international conference on the issue.



    U.S. not an honest broker? What ever gave them that impression? /sarc

      1. Brooklin Bridge

        Absolutely. After all, our government is morally broker than most other governments and that alone makes us exceptional.

  11. Glenn Condell

    Lindt cafe drama questions.

    If the gunman did demand to speak to the PM on live radio, is there a chance that no-one would have died had Abbott acceded?

    Why was such an obvious danger to the public allowed bail?

    Who did the shooting and how did it start?

    1. vidimi

      the greatest tragedy of having an islamist hold people up, from the perspective of the five eyes, would be if no one was killed and nobody paniced and overreacted. so when the swat team burst in guns blazing, it would have been most unfortunate if they hand’t killed anyone.

      1. hunkerdown

        Muslim, please.

        Worse, yet, it would have been tragedy to let such a person actually speak in the media. The designated enemy is not allowed to speak, lest he throw the case.

    1. Jim Haygood

      Aby, this reminds me of of Sep. 1992, when George Soros broke the Bank of England. B of E raised its policy rate from 10% to 12% to 15% to defend pound sterling … then they gave up and devalued.

      Hiking the Russian policy rate so drastically to defend the currency won’t work either. But it will crunch the Russian economy hard, likely producing some high-profile bankruptcies within days.

      In 1998, last time Russia was in dire straits, the Greenspan Fed slashed U.S. rates. What will Mr. Yellen do, when we’re already stuck on zero??

      1. abynormal

        it may force our hand…can you imagine the dark pool trades tonight :-/
        counterparties showing up all over the globe…125 in the shade

    2. John Merryman

      Keep in mind inflation didn’t recede until 1982, by which time the deficit had reached 200 billion, which was real money in those days. so what is the difference between the Fed selling debt it is holding, to draw down the money supply and the Treasury issuing fresh debt, other than that what the treasury borrows will get spent in ways those loaning it would have never dreamed.
      By the Fed’s own logic, a surplus of money is in the hand of those with a surplus of wealth.
      And by the Treasuries logic, the only way to really get it circulating is to borrow it on the public dime and spend it wherever. Koch is right, eventually even the public can’t afford to borrow anymore, it will have to be taxed.

      1. Greenbacker

        ‘debt’ is only what the creditors charge as high usury. get rid of the usury, so does the debt die.

  12. steelhead

    “Was this really the time and place for selfies? [Independent].”

    Absolutely not. The individuals who did this are narcissistic losers…

  13. Carolinian

    Re Elizabeth Warren. I’ve recently been re-viewing the old BBC I, Claudius. When Caligula is assassinated, the Praetorian Guard drag Claudius out from behind a curtain and force him to become emperor so they won’t be put out of a job. He turns out to be a just and sane ruler.

    The moral being that the only person who should be emperor (or President) is the person who doesn’t want to be. Warren is quite likely sincere when she says that she doesn’t want to be President. Therefore she must be President! Interestingly the early seekers of the office, such as Jefferson and Adams, would refuse to campaign and pretend they didn’t want the job. It was just a pose but they at least recognized that wanting to have all the power was not an admirable trait.

    1. John Merryman

      One way to look at it is as a function of perspective. The sort of people who are best at getting the job are those most focused. OCD. The sort of people who would be best as being able to see the big picture are ADD. The ones who naturally sense all the side issues.

  14. LeitrimNYC

    Lambert, on the use of evidence based, it’s a very common term in the NGO/overseas aid world. Most programs funded by the US, UN, EU, foundations are not evidence based, as in no one has a good idea if the intervention works or not. So while big data over promises and as everyone on here knows has quite the dark side, in the humanitarian/development context, more information and more evidence as to what works is badly needed.

    1. jgordon

      “Evidence based” is itself a loaded concept since the goals, aims and priorities of those enacted said evidence based programs may be (often unknowingly) malignant and detrimental to life in general. For example modernizing programs aimed at bringing the light of industrialization and education to “poor” people who were formerly living sustainable lifestyles in harmony with nature. “Evidence based” often appears to me to be just a rationalization justifying violence, domination, and ego/cultural-centrism.

      1. Athena1

        I believe the term comes from Archie Cochrane’s “evidence based medicine” movement, which was certainly an improvement over faith/opinion/anecdote based medicine.

        The usefulness of evidence depends on the quality of the evidence and the specificity of the hypothesis being tested. The evidence can always be misleading or even intentionally rigged by asking the wrong question, or evaluating the wrong endpoint(s).

Comments are closed.