Links 12/23/14

Why Scrooge is an anti-capitalist hero, bravely resisting the commercialisation of Christmas New Statesman (Chuck L)

Argentine court grants ‘non-human rights’ to orangutan Digital Journal

A Complete Primer for All the Species of Cats io9 (Lance N)

Barber woke from coma speaking fluent French and thinking he was Matthew McConaughey Telegraph (Chuck L)

IS MORAL OFFSETTING™ RIGHT FOR YOU? 3Quarks Daily (martha r)

Do Not Listen to the Crazy Man Telling You to Quit Your Job Gawker (JTFaraday)

Amazon ‘suppresses’ book with too many hyphens Guardian (martha r)

Beer For Creativity: ‘The Problem Solver’ Comes With Scale To Measure When You’re At Your ‘Creative Peak’ Medical Daily. Chuck L: “So you’re at your most creative just before you’re too drunk to legally drive (0.08 in most states).”

New non-invasive method can detect Alzheimer’s disease early PsyPost (martha r)

Children are cleaning up a devastating oil spill in Bangladesh—with their bare hands Quartz. Martha r: “Horrific – hard to read.”

Nicaragua’s canal: Digging for truth Economist

Chinese Banks Hemorrhaging Deposits, 1st Quarterly Drop Since 1999; Banks Offer iPhones, Even Cars for Large Deposits Michael Shedlock

Sony Gaslighting

These experts still don’t buy the FBI claim that North Korea hacked Sony Los Angeles Times (martha r)

Social Services scraps funding for homeless and housing groups Sydney Morning Herald (martha r)

The US probably isn’t behind North Korea’s internet problems Verge

Greek parliament fails to elect president Financial Times. This is major.

Greek Drama Draws Market Scrutiny as ECB Impact Weighed Bloomberg

Berlin hails Russia security talks move Financial Times


Did Manning Help Avert War in Iran? Consortiumnews (Chuck L)

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

Why cellular tracking device is so secret UTSanDiego. Good work by California’s First Amendment Coalition.

CIA unlikely to punish staff over Senate computer search: NYT Reuters. EM: “The word “missteps” is the tell that the fix was in on this one.”

CIA Torture Report

Outsourced Terror Slate

CIA Gets Away with Torture Under the Rubric of the War on Terror Real News. Patrick Cockburn speaks.


Obama Administration to Investigate Insurers for Bias Against Costly Conditions New York Times. Notice the discussion at the end about insurers posting inaccurate information about who is in their network. Pray tell, why is that not advertising fraud?

Republicans weigh big changes at U.S. budget referee agency Reuters (EM). Ugh.

Anti-intellectualism is taking over the US Guardian (Chuck L)

Campaigns Are Expensive & They’re Using Their Money Wrong Stamp Stampede (martha r)

NYPD Soft Coup

A Weimar-y Vibe Corey Robin. Martha r: “Points out how truly scary is the De Blasio, Bratton, etc. submitting to political bullying by the police establishment. OK, Bratton IS the police establishment.”

De Blasio’s nightmare Politico

Fired cop says she tried to stop another from choking suspect IndyChannel (martha r)

NYC asks federal court to approve mass arrests of protesters Masoninblue, Firedoglake

The upcoming petrodollar bifurcation risk? FTAlphaville

Coordination, Efficiency, and the Coase Theorem Rajiv Sethi

Do safer banks mean less economic growth? Mark Thoma

Colorado AG charges two more foreclosure law firms with fraud Housing Wire

Mortgage Servicer Privity with Borrowers Adam Levitin, Credit Slips. Important for those on the mortgage/foreclosure fraud beat.

The Greater Abomination: Washington’s Lies About TARP’s “Success” Are Worse Than The Original Bailouts David Stockman, Wolf Street

Class Warfare

Mortgage tax deductions and gentrification Cathy O’Neil

Innovations or Hucksterism? Three Little-Known Infrastructure Privatization Problems TruthOut

How One Indigenous Woman Took On a Multinational Mining Corporation… And Won Common Dreams

Antidote du jour. Divad says: “Here attached are two nefarious catalysts, ‘social climber’ and ‘gray day’ who transformed from feral kittens to managing domestic affairs for a lurking Naked Capitalism fan.”

catalysts links

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email


  1. scott

    If the police want to “build trust and respect” they ought to tone back the civil forfeiture business. Many thousands of mostly minorities have had their life savings taken away when they happened to have cash in the car during a dubious traffic stop.
    It has caused me to avoid even asking police for directions or even having a conversation with them because they could notice an expired inspection sticker or broken taillight and instantly anything valuable in your car is guilty of a crime.
    Highway patrol or “highwaymen”?

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      There are times, when I feel like going out to make my small contribution to the economy but the thought of our finest highwaymen and women sends back to my cave.

      We need ‘non-profit’ local governments and non-profit public servants.

  2. Steve

    De Blasio is being ineffectual in the face of bullying by the police union, which probably has the support of most of the rank and file. Among them Bratton is about as popular as Al Sharpton.

  3. Christian


    When an immoral system (capitalism) is “too big to fail” we get articles like this that poke fun at people who point out the injustice of a system based on greed. It should feel like a ton of pressure and we should be more aware because we are living in a completely immoral world. Capitalism teases us to sacrifice our morals and compassion for creature comforts and base desires. Only a sociopath would not feel guilt over what we put people through to have iphones and “superfoods”.

    Ignore your morals at your own risk. The Tao sets things straight in the end.

  4. p78
    ‘The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies’ Thorin did not understand capitalism

    It says that Thorin should be starting a Bank of Erebor and live ever happy from usury. I’m not well versed in Tolkien and the WWI – which he presumably evoked -, but isn’t the argument just the other way round? That the extreme inequality due to the unhinged accumulation of wealth results inevitably in a war between the 5 armies (/ revolution/ redistribution)?

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      At the highest, ‘enlightened’ level, it’s cooperation (as in Shanghai Cooperation Organization, etc).

      For those who need ‘incentive’ to work, at that level, it’s competition.

      Only when something is terrible wrong, perhaps with attempted hegemony, will you see 5 armies in times of wealth inequality.

  5. Jeremy Grimm

    As much as I am bothered by the government’s routine use of torture, its cost, waste, stupidity and most of all its inhumanity, the issues raised in another video of Patrick Cockburn, accessible from the real news link above, bothers me as much and more. The video “Why did the CIA really use Extreme Torture?” with Patrick Cockburn [2nd video in right margin of “Full Episode”] suggests the motive for CIA torture was a desire to implicate Iraq in the 9-11 attack and justify Bush’s invasion of Iraq. I recall another link from a few days ago indicating the utility of torture in creating testimony to support the government’s claims about Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction (WMDs).

      1. James

        Likewise Jeremy and Jef, using the phrase “connecting all the dots” alone will likely get you flagged. Unfortunately, having connected the dots, one can’t simply disconnect them again. Not without “extreme measures” anyway.

  6. McMike

    re beer & creativity.

    Back when I used to play a lot of billiards, I had what I called the “buzz window.” My game got better as I drank, and eventually entered a magical trance-like state where I (almost literally) could not miss, even though I was already clearly intoxicated.

    I was not even particularly talented technically. I didn’t grow up with a table in my basement. I didn’t practice for hours (I didn’t practice at all), or develop jumps and compound english. I just entered a stage where the geometry became visible to me. In hindsight, I realize that the pockets actually looked large to me in this mode. Used to drive my opponents nuts; I couldn’t even remember if I was stripes or solids, but I was still mopping the floor with them.

    Then I took one sip too many and the window promptly slammed shut.

    As I have gotten older, the buzz window has gotten (a lot) smaller, in all facets of drinking pursuits.

    But I can still improve anyone’s game with three simple rules. And take them from reluctant beginner hack to competent-enough amateur in three minutes.

    1. fresno dan

      I know the death, breadth, and profundity of my commentary increases exponentially after 5 or 6 shots. Of course, I never start drinking until noon….GMT

      1. fresno dan

        “Across the street from me is another place where drinking is new. Many of the freshmen who wheeled their things across Broadway and into the Columbia dorms just a few months ago brought some experience of drinking with them—but probably not in the volume or freedom that started for them this fall. Universities’ engagement with these things is mostly limited to fear of 18-year-olds drinking themselves into the hospital. But fear blinds: How to be intoxicated—not just with alcohol, but with politics, religion, sex, or any of the other kinds of drunkenness that are part of being young—is as much a practice to be learned as any other skill taught in the curriculum, and yet it’s one that’s almost always taught by accident.”
        There you go – the secret is practice!!!
        I’m still not expert, so obviously more practice is in order.

    2. James

      I think it simply enhances your strengths and (greatly) magnifies your weaknesses. In my case, drinking seems to greatly enhance my linguistic creativity for a short time, while it immediately(!) devastates my short term memory and mathematical abilities, which I was never strong at in the first place. And yes, with age, any supposed advantages begin to vanish as well.

      In the end, I think the question of alcoholism simply comes down to whether drinking reliably takes you where you want to go or not. Does it allow you a “pleasant release” from the day to day nightmare of incessant rationalism to which we’re all subjected, or does it instead gradually turn into a false paradise that you want to pull up roots and relocate to forever? That last part is of course insidious, as is alcoholism, as is addiction in general.

    3. dude

      I get you, McMike. When I play a gig (yes, one can be both a drummer and a musician – shocker, I know), I prefer to drink draft Guinness. I start with a couple before the show and continue at the rate of about a pint an hour, slowing towards the latter two sets. Because it’s not high-alcohol (4.3% ABV), it keeps me in a really good zone of slight inebriation, where my instincts work well and I don’t overthink what I’m trying to play while not interfering with the physical coordination required.

      Of course, it would be nice to have a mild bake on as well, but the current job situation precludes that. However, after almost 30 years of playing, my “window” really hasn’t changed much. YMMV, obviously.

  7. Banger

    In regards to the “anti-intellectualism” article (worth a read) I have the following thoughts:

    Anti-intellectualism is deeply embedded in America’s national psyche. While income disparity is honored to some degree, intellectual disparity is looked on with suspicion. Elites with wealth are honored but intellectual elites are reviled on principle. This is why, in the media, erudition is of no consequence, rather “exerts” are selected for their ability to confidently state some version of the national mythology to be, in effect, priests rather than intellectuals–or I should say, priests quoting Holy Scripture (the Media Narrative aka, the Washington Consensus etc.) for political and economic jockeying. Socially, erudition is a matter of embarrassment in this country.

    The fact that various school systems are banning Ray Bradbury, Isabel Allende, James Baldwin, Henry Thoreau and William Shakespeare is troubling indeed and the courts are upholding the right of school systems to ban these great works–I’m sure they could find good reason to ban everything except the Bible and, in fact, it may come to that. This along with many other reasons makes me think the days of public education are numbered.

    While prejudice against intellectuals has always been a key feature of American society, there has been a strong intellectual culture in the U.S. nonetheless and, even among those who don’t like intellectuals, a kind of appreciation for common sense and logic about practical affairs. The striking fact of contemporary society is that we are moving away from even common sense, traditional American pragmatism and simple logic and reason into a society that features fantasy, escape and denial. Reason itself is increasingly absent from any discussion in the media or in private life–we state our prejudices and our tribal identity and there is no room for dialogue with some exceptions of course. It is this that alarms me the most–suspicion of intellectuals is not a bad thing–we ought to be skeptical of skeptics so to speak–but the drift away from reason and pragmatism is heading us towards disaster.

    1. TimR

      I get shut down quickly at social gatherings if I try to make connections from the conversation to the Big Picture. At a recent Xmas gathering, something started me off on Huxley and genetic engineering of people into classes– Alphas, Betas, etc. That did not last long. Yeah, I don’t get invited to many parties. What most want to talk about is what George Trout (In the Context of No-Context) called the Intimate Sphere of their private lives. They enjoy gossip about the Grid of 350 million too, but nothing very analytical. Preferably punchy sound-bites or witticisms. And don’t try to meditatively develop a topic, as a group… The subject will change 50 times before you get your next sentence out.

      1. OIFVet

        I hear you, my invitations to parties have noticeably declined since I lost my ability to withhold the truth in “polite” company. People don’t like to hear uncomfortable truths with their Costco cheeses and New Zealand syrahs. And woo to the the socially unaware who dare to say something bad about Obama at a Lakefront Liberal party, they get looked at as though they just farted.

      2. this is worker speaking

        Tim R – ++1 !
        As a service for those who may not be familiar with the late George RS Trow (d. 12/1/06) (Sorry , Mr Vidal: a cite from Wikipedia follows)
        “He is best known for his long essay on television and its effect on American culture, “Within the Context of No Context,” first published in the November 17, 1980 issue of The New Yorker, and later published as a book. This was one of the few times that the magazine devoted its central section to one piece of writing.” The essay was instructive / a warning for many of us who had voted some 13 days earlier. A companion essay later appeared in the New Yorker 17 years later: Collapsing Dominant, in which Mr Trow shares the secret to success in the United States of America: bowels and horoscopes — imparted to him by a successful executive who had learned it decades earlier from “ a shrew old bastard from up state New York.”

        A quote from the first paragraph of Within the Context of No Context: “What was it now that was built so big? Only the market place itself. Could there be wonder in that? The size of the con?”

      3. Mark P.

        George W. Trow, Jr, for heaven’s sake.

        I’m glad when anybody anywhere still recalls that all those decades ago Trow diagnosed what was ahead, so he didn’t live and die entirely in vain. But his name was not Trout.

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      I don’t know if Ivy League schools are ‘intellectual,’ but if they take the most ambitious, and yes, talented, though my belief is that each of us is talented in some way, but perhaps not in all areas we humans venture into, and graduate them into ambitious, and again, yes, talented adults, that, in itself, proves nothing.

      Now, if those schools can take F-students and turn them into productive, thinking and feeling adults, now, that’s the mark of a great institution.

      Then, we can have intellect and compassionate, not in isolated pockets of the society, but everywhere.

      Let us empty our ‘great’ universities into the lowest echelons of the nation, instead of them sucking in some select lucky ones.

      Now, that’s the kind of intellectualism I can get into.

    3. James

      Don’t take this wrong old boy, but having been subjected to many of your excessively long-winded and lugubrious posts these past months, perhaps we should be glad the young are rejecting the academy in favor of something entirely new? Cause I don’t know about you, and granted I’m an old codger just like you are, but if I hear one more long-winded diatribe about the vicissitudes of US neo-liberal vs neo-conservative hegemony I think I’m gonna puke! I hear ya with regard to the use of reason; unfortunately I don’t see a lot of reason being used on either side of the fence these days. And in such circumstances, history tells us something more basic takes over. What we’re seeing everyday now, in fact. And whether that “should be” or not, I think we’d be wise to simply accept it for what it is.

      1. this is worker speaking

        Banger — the history is different this time : /
        “History became the history of demographics, the history of no-history.”
        George RS Trow : ” In the Context of No Context” New Yorker, 17 March 1980

    4. Gaianne


      Very worrying. Also expected.

      I believe you are right: Yes it will get worse, and public education is fated to disappear.

      The time to think about what education without schools should be is now.


  8. Katniss Everdeen

    RE: Obama Administration to Investigate Insurers for Bias Against Costly Conditions New York Times

    “The administration also issued new rules requiring insurers to improve the accuracy of publications listing their doctors and hospitals. Consumers have found that these directories are full of errors and often include doctors who are not affiliated with the insurers’ health plans.

    So, I wonder what the old “rules” were. Do you think the details of covered services and deductibles have to be “accurate” or can they just write anything down?

    1. fresno dan

      I am somewhat concerned about the number of specialist witchdoctors in my insurers’ listed providers. There was no certification from the College of accredited sorcery and necromancy of this individual’s training and graduation from a valid, recognized school of shamans. And of course, getting an appointment takes months!
      Sure, the prescription to dance naked under a full moon while a coven of witches rubbed essence of bat oil on me, while chanting “arise” seemed superficially to help my impotence, but the insurance only covers the witchdoctor examination in full, but the deductible for witches is really, really high, and makes it difficult to get treated as often as necessary and defacto imposes a lifetime cap on treatment for my condition.
      Not to mention the fact that the world seems to be running out of bats…

  9. generic

    From the FT Greece piece:
    Greece has already lost access to borrowing on international capital markets.

    and this:
    Greek 10-year bonds moved fractionally higher after the result but remain below 10 per cent.

    Does this make sense? No one wants to lend, but holding the debt is OK?

    1. ohmyheck

      Is this the case?
      “Brennan’s (CIA) agents inside Saudi Aramco convinced the firm’s management and the Saudi Oil Ministry to begin fracking operations to stimulate production in Saudi Arabia’s oldest oil fields.
      By pumping salt water into older wells, some at a depth of 3 to 6 thousand feet, an inordinate amount of pressure was built up. The CIA’s oil industry implants knew what would occur when the fracking operations began.
      Due to the dangerously high water pressure, the Saudis were forced continuously pump oil until the pressure became equalized. That process is continuing. If the Saudis ceased pumping oil, they would permanently lose the wells to salt water contamination. ”
      Best to read the original, which goes further in depth:
      It definitely comes off as CT, but hey, these days it seems that sabotage and blackmail are the motivating factor behind plenty of horrendously destructive actions taken by TPTB, so who knows?

      1. Doug Terpstra

        A conspiracy is two or more people planning something in secret. Do you suppose people in our government (NSA, CIA, DHS) or corporate leaders are capable of that? Nah, most world events are mere coincidences, I’m sure.

        1. ohmyheck

          Truth is, I am a huge Conspiracy Theorist. Never met a CT I didn’t like. But it is not de rigeur here, and I, like Fresno Dan, TimR , OilVet, and “this is worker speaking”, I am getting pretty tired of being treated like a social reject by Some People. Those are the ones who are quietly anti-intellectual, and become very threatened by people like me, who are simply interested in knowing what is truly going on. I don’t even have to open my mouth. They simply know I know, and that is enough to set off the alarms.

          Oh, and I have noticed that there are not nearly as many Christmas lights up this year. So far, the merry-merry-ho-ho-ho vibe is sorely lacking in many of those I have encountered. Such a pity, now, when we need it most….

  10. Jim Haygood

    Maff from journos, comrades. It don’t add up:

    If the blue chip barometer DJIA closes above 18,000, the rise from 17,000, which was first seen on a closing basis on July 3, will have taken just 120 sessions. That would make it the fifth fastest 1,000-point rise in the Dow’s history.

    A 5.88% gain from Dow 17,000 to 18,000 is being compared to previous larger percentage gains of up to 100% (from 1,000 to 2,000).

    Differing percentage gains have no validity for comparison. But if you’re a frayed-collar stock tout at MarketHype, you gotta work with the material you’ve got.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      That’s why we need math.
      On the other hand, the mis-use (take that Amazon) of math is why we have moral offsets.

      “You see, this eye equals that eye and this arm equals that arm, thus an eye for an eye. And by dividing the infinite value of your lifespan of 90 years (first order approximation here), we get a number of, voila, $7/hr…more or less.”

    2. susan the other

      Rajiv Sethi. Coordination, Efficiency and the Coase Theorem. A discussion on the essence of derivatives. Nobody commented so I choose you to talk to, JH. Stock market gains are becoming ever more trivial. And now I’m having a flashback to the bit on entropy… why shouldn’t finance be an example? Financial entropy as an organizing principle. I think I love it. It’s just that to make it universal is a drag because all that “coordinating” makes us weary. But it trumps efficiency of markets. That might be because efficiency is so haphazard In order to emerge as efficient you must come from a haphazard beginning. Ha. What’s not to love about an economy that evolves into pure efficiency. Taking the gambling out of gambling is the name of the game. Like organizing the disorganization of the universe. Nevermind. I just had one too many drinks.

  11. fresno dan

    “Perhaps the greatest effect on America has been on our national character. We have become a nation shaped by wars, internal distrust, wide surveillance, and militarized police. We watch the adventures of our stylish security police (NCIS, NCIS-LA, NCIS-New Orleans) — who treat laws as mild suggestions, and regard judges and juries as irritating formalities. We don’t just embrace torture as a useful tool (best done with a minimum of supervision or records), but applaud stories about torture at theaters. I’m not the only one to worry about our increasingly evident bloodlust.
    Movies today almost always feature dissimilar characters, usually men, who become buddies when fighting for a cause. When distant future generations see Hollywood’s version of our time, they might see the Bush – Obama team. Obama had Bush’s back, as he continued, expanded, and deepened Bush’s economic and military policies.

    This was obvious in his first year, as David Swanson explained at TomDispatch in “Bush’s Third Term? You’re Living It“. It was more obvious in 2012, as explained by Jeremy Lott at the American Spectator in “Bush’s Third Term“. And in the 14 thousand other such links on Google. He reauthorized the Patriot Act and other key Bush-era WOT legislation. He granted immunity to crooked bankers and Bush-era senior lawbreakers. He fought to defend the extraordinary (often illegal) activities of the CIA and NSA.

    Obama expanded Bush’s innovations. He not only expanded government secrecy, but pursued whistle blowers using the almost dormant Espionage Act of 1917. He proudly and openly expanded our assassination programs to include American citizens. He surged our troops in Afghanistan, delaying our inevitable defeat, and helped wreck Libya (no grrl-power after America arrives to help). He expanded our use of flying robot killing machines (e.g., see the numbers in Yemen). Etc, etc.

    Obama’s fans — such as as Jonathan Chait and Paul Krugman — dream of seeing him on Mount Rushmore. But junior buddies never get top billing.”

    1. Jim Haygood

      Now he is passively going along with the Nuland-Kagan neocon project to remake the bankrupt Ukraine into a costly, ungovernable US-NATO satellite:

      Ukraine’s parliament backed a proposal to cancel the country’s non-aligned status, a decision that Russia denounced as a dangerous step toward seeking membership of NATO.

      The bill will help Ukraine as it seeks to achieve “all criteria of membership” for the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin told parliament.

      After this all ends in tears Obama will be obliged to claim (as the emperor of Japan did after the war) that he was just a ceremonial figurehead, lacking the power to stop the military lads from going a bit overboard in their youthful enthusiasm.

      Let’s all recite the passive-voice refrain: ‘Mistakes were made.’

      1. ambrit

        “We’ll meet again,
        Don’t know where, don’t know when,
        But I know we’ll meet again, some sunny day!”
        If Ukraine joins NATO, will Russia still renounce the use of Theatre nuclear weapons?
        Better yet, will the East Ukraine ‘insurgency’ develop “legs” and spread, as in into Kiev? All of our involvements in civil wars this last century have ended badly. (Coups don’t count.)
        I’ve played “Destruction of Army Group Centre” too many times to underestimate Mother Russia.

    2. Ed

      “Fabius Maximus” is a frustrating blogger because he comes so close to getting things right, and then blows it and gets them badly wrong.

      Its true that the Obama administration has usually (there have been exceptions) taken the same policy approach as the Bush administration. But the Bush administration repeated the policies of the Clinton administration even more closely.

      There has been remarkable continuity in the policies of the last three presidents, all two termers. If you didn’t know anything about American politics except the policies followed by the administrations and the length of tenure of the respective presidents, you would think that all three of the last presidents were term limited single eight year term presidents from the same party, who picked their successors in an elaborate bargaining process with various party barons.

        1. ambrit

          Given the atomization of our society, is it any wonder? A well rounded person has always been an elusive goal. Until recently though, it was at least an honoured goal. If only Bill had inhaled when he had the chance.

  12. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    “…we have become a nation of…”

    We pale in comparison with earlier Americans, say, from 100 years ago, for example.

    Perhaps we are more ‘intellectual,’ but they busted trusts, What have we done to compete with that success? I question we have more courage or more physically able to chase down fraudsters, until we do. We relate the world through our bias for intellect and it seems to me, we have regressed on everything non-intellect. Maybe we blame it on too many bad movies, poor diet or the triumph of propaganda.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      And we betray our own tunnel vision when we cast about to create something resemble humans, the first quality and only quality (beside being to speak and move about a little, awkwardly) is artificial intelligence. We don’t see competition, under such a free market, with other people offering artificial love robots or artificial kindness robots. We rob ourselves of what we have by reducing ourselves to one simple, and often quite unreliable, quality.

  13. Paul Niemi

    So according to Mish people in China are withdrawing their savings from banks, because they are in a frenzy to play the new stock markets. Meanwhile, Chinese consumption of refined copper has now exceeded one million tons/month, even as the price per pound is down from $3.25 to $2.86 and looks like it is teetering lower. Look around and see refiners switching operations to copper production now, in response to lower prices for other metals especially iron. Prediction: copper is going to $1.25, and the Chinese stock market frenzy reminds me of the U.S., in the summer of 1929.

  14. d**p

    Lemme get this straight. When the NYC mayor crawls for gang-banging brownshirt cops, that’s a coup, a collapse of civil authority. But yesterday we read that when the President crawls for criminal CIA knuckle-draggers, (e.g. reversing himself on torture under explicit threat of revolt) that’s… different! (At the federal level, we are told, the goons work for the executive.) Yeah, right. What we see here are precisely analogous power relations at different levels of government. The same pattern holds because the same people are in charge.

    Blunden’s assertion that CIA works for the president ignores the fact that CIA has infiltrated the EOP to the point where the executive branch is CIA, for all purposes they care about. CIA has, not incidentally, spread out to the major population centers under COG provisions. The big reeking turd in this punch bowl is CIA’s program of domestic coercive interference. What they did in Egypt, Guatemala, and scores of other countries, they’re doing it here.

    1. Banger

      And have been doing in a blatantly obvious way at least since 1963. But it’s more complicated than “the CIA” its a number of forces associated with the Agency including private interests, criminal gangs, mercenaries and international operatives of all kinds plus a solid number of corporate people who like to navigate on the edge of criminality.

  15. fresno dan

    A Weimar-y Vibe Corey Robin. Martha r: “Points out how truly scary is the De Blasio, Bratton, etc. submitting to political bullying by the police establishment. OK, Bratton IS the police establishment.”

    My cynical antennae are waving wildly about at the phrase “submitting to political bullying” – it gets to be the same as Obama blaming everything on the republicans, when he (Obama) is doing exactly what he wants to do anyway….

  16. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Scrooge’s problem.

    To me, his problem is not enough carrot, as any manipulator knows, most of the time, rapport is better than torture, carrot is better than stick and good cop is more popular than bad cop.

    Those over at Chaos In Action (spread chaos everywhere, he who manages better – relatively speaking – comes out winner) know all about the various forms of carrot – pop music, modern art, comedy shows, etc. It’s way easier to get people to think the way you want by having fun and making what they don’t want you to think laughable.

  17. Carolinian

    The great James Wolcott on Rogen-gate*

    I saw comparisons on the Internet to Jerry Lewis’s The Day the Clown Cried, loose talk about how The Interview would share that unreleased concentration-camp drama’s cult status as one of the Great Unseens, but it’s a squeaky comparison; The Day the Clown Cried was never shown to reviewers before being stashed in a vault, with Harry Shearer being one of the few civilians to lay horrified eyes on it, while The Interview was shown to critics (Joe Morgenstern of the Wall Street Journal dashed it against the rocks in his review), advertised on television even after it had been pulled, its contents fully known. Should it see light of day, I still intend to avoid it. I don’t harbor any curiosity about it, find Seth Rogen only fitfully funny (Franco, forget it), and am unable and unwilling to consider North Korea a rich source of mirth. It’s a cheap punching bag because it is so far away, so isolated, so cartoon-ish buffoonish in its propaganda, and the suffering of its people is mostly hidden from our eyes, as the Gulag Archipelago was for so many years. I was happy to see I wasn’t alone in my aversion. In a much-needed, impassioned piece at The Atlantic [**] by Adrian Hong, he articulates much better than I could why North Korea isn’t funny.

    * In need of a sobriquet.


    1. gordon

      So screening “The Interview” is important for freedom of speech? What a pity all the books listed as banned in the Anti-Intellectualism article aren’t. Obviously freedom of speech is now just an empty slogan.

  18. Jim Haygood

    Buenos Aires-based economist Bianca Fernet unleashes a mighty rant in an article titled ‘Bloody Hell: Argentina’s Import Restrictions Cause Tampon Shortage’:

    Ever heard the old cliché, “happy wife, happy life”?

    As one of the sole business ladies in the fields in which I work, I hear this expression frequently when colleagues or clients find themselves doing something they find ridiculous to satisfy the seemingly baffling and incomprehensible desires of their wives and/or girlfriends. And try as I may, I cannot seem to get it through their dense male skulls that she doesn’t only want you to take her to the new restaurant she can’t shut up about – she wants you to want to take her there and not have to ask/nag/beg for weeks first.

    In order for our species to continue, women’s bodies serve as more than just shiny silicon-engorged playthings for Tinelli to trot around at the beginning of an episode of ShowMatch. They also make babies, and in order to do so they menstruate once a month. Periods. Gross, right? I know. Women should be rounded up and shot, but a clean shot through the head so they don’t bleed everywhere.

    Germán Daniele, president of the Cordoba College of Pharmacists, confirmed that since August there have been supply shortages of tampons. To add insult to injury, these supply shortages have also nixed the variety of sizes we picky women love so much, and the only tampons available are the biggest ones.

    1. hunkerdown

      “Cristina’s protectionist brand of Peronism may be protecting Argentina from foreign vultures, but by cutting off access to any brand of tampons it is not protecting female comfort or clothing.”

      If this whiny self-entitled bourgeois aristocrat wants to see a “fun” economic collapse, she ought to move to the USA. There’s no question she could land a job writing for Cracked within minutes of landing, and Argentina will be out of her preening misery.

  19. flora

    re: Fired cop says she tried to stop another from choking suspect.
    The cop who was choking people, including other cops, was out of control. Police should be subject to steroid doping tests.

    re: David Stockman article on financial repression. Spot on.

  20. Lambert Strether

    Readers, we think Google bumps us down for use of the word “tr0ll.” There were an inordinate number of comments held up in moderation this morning, and I think the use of the T-word might have had something to do with that. So please be very sparing in your use of it.

    1. Banger

      I think there is a good living for people that can psych out what Google does, what Google wants, and what Google is. That organization is fascinating.

    2. hunkerdown

      Ha! Good to know. Looks like I’ll spend my afternoon salting MSM comment sites liberally with it, in the interest of scuttling some humbug in preparation for Boxing Day…

  21. participant-observer-observed

    In the dialectic of Wall St-DOJ bankster non-regulation, this piece can perhaps inspire us to keep an eye on Beijing & Chinese Eco-cowboys to see if Confucian sensibilities and racial memories of mass starvation (or Buddhist ethics) might inspire constraints we can use as a comparative reference:

    “By Jake Spring

    BEIJING, Dec 23 (Reuters) – New players in China’s shadow banking sector are growing rapidly despite attempts to clamp down on opaque lending, taking advantage of a regulatory anomaly to prosper but also raising the risks of a build-up of debt in the slowing economy.

    Authorities have sought to rein in the riskiest elements of less-regulated lending after a series of defaults, including a 4 billion yuan ($640 million) credit product backed by Evergrowing Bank in September, because of the danger such debts could pose to the health of the world’s second-largest economy.

    And a government measure created in 2011 to capture shadow banking, total social financing (TSF), shows some success, with shadow banking contracting in the second half of 2014 to roughly 21.9 trillion yuan ($3.5 trillion), according to a Reuters’ analysis of central bank data.”

  22. bob

    “Do Not Listen to the Crazy Man Telling You to Quit Your Job Gawker”

    There are lots of Jounalists who don’t do journalism. Locally, we have-

    “David M. Rubin, former dean of the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications”

    Newhouse school. His only journalism was as the editor of a classical music publication. Now he’s retired from the newhouse non-profit educational arm and works for, owned by Syracuse Media group, who are wholly owned by advance publications, who are in turn wholly owned by newhouse LLC.

    See how that works? They don’t even claim it’s a journalism school anymore, too many grads going into PR for that to be true. 3 to 1 in favor of PR after graduation.

    1. ambrit

      Mayhaps it would be in our interests to differentiate between ‘Journalism’ and ‘Messaging.’ Truth in advertising and all that.

      1. bob

        I’m not very good at nuance, no future in journalism. I’d call them whores, but even that is too kind. It’s also mean to the whores, who actually have to make a living.

        1. ambrit

          “..editor of a classical music publication.” You aren’t referring to ‘Clef Notes’ are you? That would fit the P.R. association since that would make him a “Pitch-man” wouldn’t it. As for your analogy being insulting to hard working whores everywhere; there’s always H.R.
          That infernal chain of title for Newhouse, that’s called an arms length arrangement, otherwise known as a ‘Circle Jerk.’
          Happy Holidays!

  23. participant-observer-observed

    “JPMorgan Chase hack due to missing 2-factor authentication on one server
    No zero-day exploits required, just a stolen username and password.

    by Peter Bright – Dec 23 2014, 10:45am PST

    JPMorgan Chase was among five banks that were reported to have been hacked earlier this year, and details have emerged on how the hack took place.

    When news first broke in August, it was believed that a zero-day Web server exploit was used to break into the bank’s network. Now, however, The New York Times is reporting that the entry point was much more mundane: a JPMorgan employee had their credentials stolen.

    . . . It’s unclear why one server was left without two factor authentication enabled, though NYT notes that JPMorgan’s network is a complex agglomeration of numerous legacy systems that have accumulated over the years as the bank has bought and merged with other banks. This makes managing and securing the network more difficult than it might otherwise be.”

Comments are closed.