Links 12/29/14

Miracle survival of Alaskan man who spent three days in sub-zero wilderness after his snowmobile sank and he had to fight off a WOLVERINE with a stick Daily Mail. Yay!

Putting bedbugs to bed forever Science Daily

U.S. Bond Sentiment Worst Since Disastrous ’09 as Fed Shifts Bloomberg

The Arithmetic Ahead of Monday’s Final Greek Presidential Ballot Greek Reporter

Greek Parliament vote could bring back euro crisis as elections loom WaPo. “[T]he far-left Syriza Party.” Sure, if you think Elizabeth Warren — or Obama — is on the left. By Greek standards, Syriza isn’t far left at all.

Tanker market benefits from oil rout FT

Oil Rebounds as Libyan Conflict Offers Relief From Glut Bloomberg

Christmas returns hit new high FT. UK.

That Debt From 1720? Britain’s Payment Is Coming New York Times

Top managers’ pay reveals weak link to value FT. Shocker!

NYPD Soft Coup

Armed forces should not interfere in politcs Ian Welsh

N.Y.P.D. Officers Earn Disrespect – Except One Of Them Moon of Alabama

‘It’s going to go on for a while longer’: Police commissioner on the rift between NYPD and de Blasio as he hits out at ‘inappropriate’ decision by officers to turn their backs on mayor at cop funeral Daily Mail

Black Injustice Tipping Point

Ferguson officer placed on unpaid leave after calling Michael Brown memorial ‘a pile of trash’  Yahoo News. Oopsie.

8 ways to support protests against the criminal punishment system, if you can’t get out on the street Waging Nonviolence. “[B]e a person who calls the precinct and the local powers-that-be to demand that protesters be released without charges.” IRRC, Serbian grandmothers did this very effectively.

Taking the Initiative Back For the Movement After the Brinsley Killings Black Agenda Report

Charles Koch’s views on criminal justice system just may surprise you McClatchy

Christie and Cuomo spike broadly approved Port reform Capital New York

Independent and third-party politicians could ease gridlock The Hill

‘A Terrible Idea’: The Full Failure of E-Voting, E-Counting, ‘Open Source’ and Internet Voting [VIDEO] BradBlog

Big Brother Is Watching You Watch

Prying Eyes: Inside the NSA’s War on Internet Security Der Spiegel

The Mysterious Case of Prisoner 212 The Intercept

Ursula Le Guin’s Viral Video: “We Will Need Writers Who Can Remember Freedom” Bill Moyers (Ulysses).

Lockdown drills and our illusions of order Lakeland Local


Hoe onderzocht RTL Nieuws de nieuwe MH17-foto’s? rtlnieuws (optimader). Google translation.

Crunch time: As sanctions bite, Putin ally gets into apples Reuters

Oil Plunge Pushes Russia ADRs to Worst Year Since 2008 Bloomberg

Mexico crisis engulfs major institutions but hits the left hardest Los Angeles Times

Obama Welcomes End Of The Longest War In American History AP. Looking forward to the victory parade! Wait, what?

Doubts as giant China project’s water reaches capital Japan Times

A Holiday Primer on Salami Slicing The Diplomat

Class Warfare

Sources of Real Wage Stagnation Brookings Institute. The new normal. Obama did a great job on this, with a huge assist from the career “progressives.” Combine with the other new normal, permanently higher disemployment, and that Presidential Library’s gonna be raking in the dough!

Sprinting Over the Dirt, With a Robot on the Hump New York Times

On Ending a Health Care Fallacy Letting the Data Speak

Restored Forests Breathe Life Into Efforts Against Climate Change New York Times

The Meaning of “Culture” The New Yorker

Tony Gwynn New York Times

The Interview Makes $15M Working From the Computer With One Weird Trick Gawker

Smart Pipe Adult Swim (YouTube)

Antidote du jour (Robert Doisneau):


See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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About Lambert Strether

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


  1. kj1313

    Thanks for linking the retrospective for Tony Gwynn. I am a Yankee fan but he was my favorite player to watch growing up. Best pure hitter in the game.

  2. dearieme

    The piece on Koch was interesting: I hope it was the journalist, rather than the subject, who used the stupid cliche “paid their debt to society”.

    1. flora

      Context counts.
      Wichita, Kansas is home to aircraft manufacturing (a huge workforce employer) and oil & gas companies. For the past several years the aircraft industry in Wichita has been in a terrible slump. If Kansas has been in recession, Wichita has been in depression. The Kochs have donated millions of dollars to Wichita parks, libraries, hospitals, schools, organizations, etc. They’ve become philanthropists in Wichita. So it’s not surprising to see the Wichita Eagle, Wichita’s home town newspaper, report the positive side of the Kochs.
      (It’s also not surprising the Kochs think there are “too many laws”.)

      1. tongorad

        Depicting the whims of billionaires to fund parks, libraries, etc as a “positive?” Now that’s journalism.

      2. beene

        The Kochs are also donating and involved in correcting the get tough laws that have tripled the number of citizens sent to prison since Reagan.

    2. TulsaTime

      The Koch’s are total whack jobs, they hide their pathology in plain sight. They don’t think the government should be able to tell them or anyone else what they can’t do in making money. They soft peddle that toxic libertarian nonsense with their claims to ‘everyday concerns’, but they are WAY out of touch with the society the rest of the country built.

    3. Pepsi

      The thing that made Koch so upset was the EPA bringing them to court for dumping massive amounts of benzene. They did this, they didn’t dispute this fact.

      They are fucking scum and all they want is to increase their own personal wealth and power.

    4. davidgmills

      Giving seven figures to the American Criminal Defense Bar. That would be like me giving them a nickel.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      The fact that politics is a 11 dimensional chess game means nothing less than a 12th political party will do.

  3. dearieme

    “Obama says … U.S. troops and diplomats have helped Afghans … move toward democracy.” Robespierre said that people seldom welcomed armed missionaries. If even that odious man could see that truth, why can’t Presidents of the USA?

    1. I.G.I.

      Robespierre was by all accounts a remarkable man while the recent Presidents of USA are demagogic sock-puppets. Therefore it is only logical that the insights of the former might be not easily accessible to the later.

    2. James

      US Presidents and Muricans in general see only one thing: we are Ceptional and the world should be just like us!

  4. c1ue

    It is ironic that “Letting the Data Speak” uses 2 variables to purportedly disprove that US healthcare is qualitatively similar to OECD (ex US) countries who have national health care.
    From my view, the issue isn’t necessarily the average amount of health care spending – but rather the distribution. Does anyone believe that the distribution of health care spending in the US is anything similar to that of OECD (ex US) nations? It would be interesting to see just how health care outcomes vary in the US based on health care spending buckets rather than income; clearly the 2 are not the same though likely there is some correlation.

    1. Jef

      Exactly c1ue – the article concludes that the only truth to the myth is that America “spends more” on health care which is undisputed. What is not addressed is the fact that that expense makes health care not easily accessible or flat out UNAVAILABLE to millions which in my book translates to “…have worse outcomes”.

      I believe that the myth he sets out to end is the wrong one. The myth to challenge is the myth that single payer/national healthcare or whatever you want to call it can’t provide the same level of quality as Private healthcare dominated by the insurance middle men syphoning off huge profit.

      1. Ivy


        One aspect of the healthcare discussion that I’d like to see addressed in further detail involves the non-monetary cost to patients. For example, there can be an inordinate and frustrating amount of time spent chasing down forms, pre-approvals, appointments, reimbursements, error corrections, appeals and the like.

        Some systems are better than others in externalizing such costs, effectively enlisting the patient as non-compensated labor. That element of patient care and satisfaction may not be adequately addressed in surveys, or may fall into a general overall disgust with the process.

        Other systems are more integrated, so that patients spend more time being well and less time being frustrated.

        1. TheraP

          Along those lines, we probably need a new category of psychological stress disorder due to InsuranceCare Derangement! Both providers and patents would qualify!

          1. lindaj

            Dr. Stephen Bezruchka from the Univ of Wash. went to the lions’ den (PNHP) and said that inequality and the stress it causes (as opposed to lack of health care) is what kills people in this country.

            I love PNHP and was an avid Single Payer activist until I saw the writing on the wall (written by Dembots who had formerly professed their undying devotion to single payer) and watched the institution of Obamacrap, under which my unemployed husband will be soon penalized.

            Anyway, Bezruchka is an amazing resource for those of us who want to really level the playing field.

        2. fresno dan

          Not to mention all the health care that you get that costs a lot and kills you anyway

          I was gonna send this to my cardiologist, but I couldn’t find an article on how well smart as*ed commenters who sent articles besmirching the field of cardiology to their cardiologists survive, so I though discretion was the better part of valor.

          Seriously, if incentives matter….than why are we surprised about over treatment?

        3. bruno marr

          …Ivy is spot on! The administrative costs of dealing with the US health care system is enormous. And doctors, clinics, hospitals are unhelpful. Try contacting an out-sourced billing agency to resolve a dispute; phone-jail from Hell is likely. A recent conversation I had with a doctor (nuclear medicine) resolved around why I didn’t see him for follow-up treatment: I found someone better (after your billing agency wouldn’t respond to my numerous phone calls to resolve incorrect billing). The billing dispute? $147. Doctor payment for PET scan? $1000. Bad customer service can have real consequence.

      2. c1ue

        Very true.
        I’d also note that one of the primary reasons for medical costs being so high in the US – from what I’ve read and seen – is the lack of unified purchasing across the health care spectrum.
        Sure, insurance complications are a factor here, but the real problem is that purchasing of supplies, technology, whatever in the United States is this crazy patchwork quilt of small providers. This in turn gives great scope to the generally large supplies to exploit asymmetric information to maximize profits.
        This is really pathetic because there are places like Japan which have boards of physicians charged with studying and recommending (but not setting) prices for various medical services. Social Security supposedly has this, but equally obviously – it doesn’t work well especially once private health insurance comes into play.

    2. James

      Exercise more joyfully, eat less and eat better (natural, unprocessed foods, without added sugar) likewise, find a job that you love without regard to pay, seek pleasant and spiritually enriching company, honestly empathize with the entire world around you, and the world we will be yours, no matter your circumstances. And above all else, continually SIMPLIFY your life at every turn! Eliminate the distractions, and you will eventually find what is true and lasting. On our death beds we all know this to be true. So why not get to work on it now?

    3. Greg L

      The equation has 3 independent variables, but the dependent variable (the result of 81.6 years) is almost entirely due to the constant term (83.54 years). The equation really provides no useful information for policy discussions.

  5. Yonatan

    Hoe onderzocht RTL Nieuws de nieuwe MH17-foto’s?

    Yawn, yet more NATO bs.

    Google Earth shows the field absolutely unmarked 20 July, 3 days after MH17 was shot down. A later Google Earth image of the same area dated 1 August shows the field with the burnt area. The ‘burning’ occurred at least 3 days after the crash. The Ukrainian forces were shelling the crash area after the event to try to stop or delay the investigation. This shelling is the most likely cause of the observed changes.

    1. voxhumana

      This is part and parcel with the Ilargi piece in yesterday’s links naming 2014 as the year of propaganda writ large

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        As long as we have ‘fashion,’ we know propaganda and brainwashing are working.

        ‘What is fashionable this year and what will be in 2015?’ – all the test subjects are dying to know.

    2. Vatch

      Could you please provide a link or links? I don’t want to get into a flame war, I just want to try to find the truth. I did a Google search with these parameters:

      “google earth” “launch site” “mh17” OR “mh-17”

      Among the 1470 results these are near the top:

      In the first link, the scorch marks are very regular, so it is unlikely that they would have been caused by shelling. But I’m a novice at analyzing this sort of thing, so I would like other people’s opinions.

    3. Cliff

      Google Earth does not provide real time satellite imagery. Their images of my area are updated approximately once per year, typically using data purchased from SPOT or other similar providers. If you want real time overhead imagery, the NRO ( is the world’s premier provider — but they don’t like to share.

  6. Jim Haygood

    Becoming a literary lion is harder than it used to be:

    Amazon usually gives self-published writers 70 percent of what a book earns, which means a novel selling for $4.99 yields $3.50. This is much more than traditional publishers pay. But Kindle Unlimited is less generous, paying a fluctuating amount. In July, the fee for a digital “borrow” was $1.80. It fell to $1.33 in October

    “In the old days, you had to type the story on actual paper,” said Michael Henderson, a former lawyer now living in Venice, Italy. “Make your changes and retype it, or hire someone to do it. It was a herculean effort to get a 400-page manuscript ready. Now any monkey with a computer can do it in hours. Shazam, everyone is a writer.

    Mr. Henderson’s “Self-Portrait of a Dying Man” came out at the beginning of the month on Amazon. It has sold exactly zero copies.

    Well, there go those fond opiate dreams of being feted as the next F. Scott Fitzgerald.

    ‘Bill and Hillary were careless people …’ my MS. began. But now it ain’t gonna make me no money.

    *sigh* Might as well go back to selling dope …

  7. TheraP

    “Armed forces should not interfere in politics.” Agreed! But I’ d like to see an end to the bootlicking of these armed forces (both military and paramilitary) by politicians.

    This country has made an idol of the flag and a religion of patriotism. Complete with dogmas of our invincibility in wars, our Exceptionalism, our might makes right, and so on. We have our saints, the so-called heroes waging endless wars abroad and suppressing our own citizens here at home.

    I’m tired of seeing politicians genuflecting to the military and the police. We have become militarized society, worshipping the agents of oppression and economic exploitation. They’re in league together. Along with crony capitalism. The system is rotten to the core.

    1. Jim Haygood

      It works in the opposite direction as well — a ‘yes man’ military which dutifully echoes what politicians tell it to.

      Exhibit A being Gen. Colin Powell’s phony ‘Saddam’s WMDs’ testimony to the UN in Feb. 2003. It had to be true, cuz he read it the New York Times!

      Military honor is not about lying for your commander in chief.

      1. TheraP

        Don’t forget that the torture program was (by then) busy rustling up false information to feed to Powell, convincing him via “intelligence” that his own suspicions were unfounded.

        I do recall at the time wondering what bushco used to get Powell to do an about face, just in time for UN testimony.

        System – rotten to the core!

        The biggest problem with the military, in my view, is the fact of an all volunteer force. Were it a citizen army via conscription, there might be more soldiers questioning orders. The standing professional force of so-called Warriors induces a war mentality, a lust for war. Inability to question the use of force as a means of coercion.

        Force promotes resistance. It’s a crazy type of foreign policy. And a crazy type of domestic policy. It’s an insane society we live in. And the writer in one of the links above is correct: we need writers (and, I would add readers) capable of remembering our true values, capable of reminding us how far we’ve strayed.

        1. Jim Haygood

          Was talking to a bright young neighbor who just graduated one of the military academies and entered service as an officer. He obtained a technical degree. I asked him what he wants to specialize in.

          ‘Oh, whatever they assign me to,’ he replied agreeably. I was dumbfounded. Complete deference to authority, already inculcated.

          ‘Here, L***, let me introduce to your new boss, Lynndie England. She needs some help with this wiring …’

            1. cwaltz

              Technically, so far from what I can tell, the only thing he’s been asked to do is study hard. You might want to wait until he actually gets asked to do something horrible before assuming and pillorying him for being unwilling or unable to question authority.

              A lot of people join the military because they don’t feel drawn to something in particular and the military helps provide, in addition to battery aptitudes, direction. For the record, the military trained me to care for people. It sent me overseas where I saw third world living conditions. It paid for me to become a nationally registered EMT and liscenced me in the state of Washington to be a pharmacy technician. So like most things in life, military training is not entirely all horrid (in my case I’d argue that the military was more functional for me than my dysfunctional upbringing) nor does it always lead you to not question things(I think on more than a few occasions I’ve played the contrarian here to demonstrate that.) I will agree though that a lot it is going to depend on the leadership and the individuals responsible for mentorship. I wanted to succeed and I had fairly good leadership while in who gave me the opportunities to do so. I also learned that if you do want to question things you wisely pick your battles. A good work ethic and demonstrating that you know that sometimes you have to be a team player can sometimes give you a longer leash when it came to that sort of stuff. It’s a fairly political environment which can be hard to navigate however, it isn’t impossible to maintain individuality while being a team player.

              1. James

                Agreed. My circumstances pretty much mirror yours. Although my time in service was much longer and began much earlier (1978-2003), and I was not in the end committed to my career choice (aircraft maintenance), I found my time in the military altogether more predictable, and thus rewarding than anything I’ve experienced since, in spite of “achieving” multiple college degrees and certificates since.

                But of course it’s much more than that. The military had a degree of practicality then – You there! You seem to have your shit together. Go forth and make shit happen! – that I have NEVER seen in my corporate adventures since. Perhaps the military has degenerated to the same point since, I don’t know. But I DO know there’s a better way to get things done, and the US military first showed me how to do it.

          1. cwaltz

            Lynndie England was a PFC, I daresay she was the boss of anyone. Her orders came from higher up.

            For the record, as an officer if your friend has too many problems with what he is being asked to do he can resign his comission. He’s got more tools at his disposal to question authority then an enlisted person does.

            1. TheraP

              No resignation allowed, though, until the new graduate has fulfilled the terms they owe in service, following their 4 years at the service academy.

              1. cwaltz

                Does it mention in the fine print what the punishment would be?

                My guess is you’d be required to pay back the money the government spent on your education. In some cases that might be better than having to live with doing something you consider morally repugnant.

                1. James

                  I believe you can resign your commission and serve your time as an enlisted person at the lower pay. I’m sure there would also be informal punishments of some kind as well at the very least. But no young officer of a right mind would ever think of resigning their commission. Becoming a commissioned military officer is akin to joining a gang. Once you take that blood oath, you’re in it for life.

                2. trinity river

                  West Point said their scholarships to the academy were worth $100,000/yr in 1991. I don’t know what that amount would be now, but suspect that it would take a very brave young person to choose to drop out of the required service and pay that bill. My information comes from one of my son’s classmates during his senior year in high school.

          2. ambrit

            On a slightly tangential note; an earlier thread mentioning Phil Dicks’ “Do Androids Dream…” later filmed as “Bladerunner”; the replicants are described as troops of one sort or another. Leon is an artillery loader, Pris a ‘comfort girl’, etc. The idea of military indoctrination can go quite far.

        2. cwaltz

          The biggest problem with the military today is it’s leadership, which by the way happens to be civilian.

          The military is set up to be adversarial to questioning the mission for a reason missions based on consensus of hundreds would take forever. As long as you have the people at the top ordering people at the bottom to do things for the right reasons (ie defense not exploitation) then that paradigm works. The problem is the people at the top are not doing things for the right reasons invading countries to install leadership for your own (and the 1%ers) financial benefit should never be a reason to risk the lives of those at the bottom.

          1. TheraP

            I can’t disagree with your points, especially given that it’s the civilians who decided on the all volunteer military. And it’s the civilians who come up with nonsense like waging war on an abstract noun.

            But, at the same time the officer class is really all too ready to “follow orders” too much of the time (see Jim’s comment above.) To follow orders leads to promotions. To question them is often a dead-end career move. General Teguba is one prime example. And who was it who questioned the size of the proposed Iraq invasion force? He’s another, who paid dearly in terms of his career, for questioning a plan.

          2. OIFVet

            Respectfully, uniformed military leadership is not really all that great these days. As usual, the fish rots from the head, so from civilians on down there is a fair amount of rot. As you said in another comment above, the military is a very political environment, and no one is more political than general officers. The Army likes to claim that promotions are merit-based, but that is misleading, to put it nicely. Many with stars on their shoulder boards rise through hitching their wagon to the right superior, which often entails being a yes-man besides carrying their patron’s briefcase. Which brings me to the field grades that are adjutants to the generals, from which position they have the perfect opportunity to observe and learn how the game is played. Thus the game of politics perpetuates itself, those full bird colonels want to get the plump assignments at the staff colleges and at the Pentagon so that they eventually can get a star too. . And I won’t claim that company grades are that much better, many of my fellow ROTC cadets had no business being future officers, and many of the company grades I served under could not give a decent mission brief, thus leaving the first and second lieutenants with the added burden of interpreting the commander’s intent and then briefing their NCOs. Which can lead to obvious problems in case the mission goes bad, after all the shite rolls downhill in the military as in any place else.

            The NCO corps are the backbone of the military, of course, ad thankfully the situation with the senior NCO corps is far better. While the occasional bad NCO candidate can end up getting through the PLDC and get that E-5, most of those will then get weeded out in the SSG and SFC boards. And thank goodness for that.

            1. James

              As a career USAF NCO (E7, aircraft maintenance, retired 2003), I’m glad to hear it. For myself, although I worked for a handful of real douchebags, most of the officers I worked for were decent people caught up in a completely corrupted system. I myself, like many who serve today I’m sure, was just an average NCO of modest means who all too late realized that I had cast my lot with an existentially evil enterprise. In the end, that’s what serving empire feels like for most of us little people, and if the truth were to be actually told, is the story that should be conveyed before all the NFL and college football tributes during this holiday season.

              1. OIFVet

                My situation got bad during my deployment from 2003-2005. My company commander was both ambitious and incompetent, a dangerous combination. He broke our company, literally. The IG had to come in and deal with the aftermath. Some of his yes-men took the fall for him, but he escaped intact. He had impressed battalion by doing the things that broke the company, you see. Me, I earned reputation for not being a “team player” for his “team” because I did my job as I had been taught to do it. I was made to understand that I was undesirable, and decided to take the hint. By then my body was beginning to break down so I took a medical discharge with permanent disability when we returned stateside. I was too demoralized and disillusioned to go on. Like you said, some of us little people realize too late what the nature of the “team” we signed up with really is.

                1. James

                  Utmost respect to you grunts. You’re the heart and soul of any military. I did three years in the 25th Infantry from ’77-’80 before dropping out to “exercise my mind” in the USAF for the rest of my career. Different times altogether. We were soft and incompetent to the max.

                  The political aspects of the military seem comedic while you’re in… until you get out. And then you see the larger comedy for what it really is. Cowardly, legacy, rich, frat boy pols who inherit the right to move pawns on a board to ensure that their heirs have the right to do the same, and nothing more.

                  And then it finally dawns on you what the word democracy really means: The right to choose between Patrician brand A and Patrician brand B – essentially Harvard vs. Yale.

                  Army, Navy, and Air Force? Nice try, but you need to go overseas and winnow your ranks first before we consider who’s actually worthy.

                2. cwaltz

                  My spouse had a similar experience. He had a Bible thumping CO who decided it was his mission to make my spouse’s life hell. When he first got there he actually told my spouse that I had no business being in the military. I belonged at home taking care of our kids. I did eventually leave but I bet that schmuck regretted ever saying that because I essentially was able to bypass chain of command and help my spouse with an Article 138. He lost his command after my spouse managed to win because after an e4 kicked his backside all of a sudden everyone was hollering about how unfair he was. He later ran a ship aground. Now, he’s a civilian contractor with SAIC and on the government gravy train. The officer screw ups always seem to land on their feet unlike their enlisted counterparts.

            2. CRLaRue

              Weeded out! When Ron Reagan directed the US Navy to deploy a 1000 ships
              there where many that should have been, weeded out, but ended up as Chiefs.
              The ships taken out of reserve fleets where rust buckets with obsolete gear!
              Together it made for a deadly combination!

  8. Bill the Psychologist

    TheraP: “I’m tired of seeing politicians genuflecting to the military and the police. We have become militarized society, worshipping the agents of oppression and economic exploitation. They’re in league together. Along with crony capitalism. The system is rotten to the core.”

    Ditto, Amen…….you saved me a post.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      And instead of taking money from the military and the police, the Senate democrats are taking the easy way out – just more money, presumably to the military as well, because if we are taking money away from them, we don’t need new money for a while.

  9. McMike

    Rahm shows which side he is on, when Wall Street rips off the taxpayers. One would think (hope, wish) that their mayor – the mayor of Chicago for god sake – would fight tooth and nail for justice and reimbursement when out of state con men rip off the public school system with fraudulent investment schemes. But not Rahm; like Obama as well, all they seem useful for is taking accountability for massive criminality off the table.

    Chicago Tribune: Some have recouped millions from risky type of debt that plagues CPS.

  10. McMike

    re: electronic voting and the lowering expectations of security for voting.

    Along with the normalization of torture and the implementation of the surveillance/security state with its omnipresent all-seeing eye and militarized security forces, this is the perhaps the biggest accomplishment of the inverted totalitarian system, of the, yes, deep state.

    Citizens, and the Dems, gave up their voting system without a peep. Aided and abetted, of course, by right winger idiots who actively cheered the destruction of voting in response to Fox Pavlovian dog whistles, just as they cheered the creation of the torture state, the surveillance state, the secrecy state, and the out of control fascist gestapo goon force.

    I have been watching this voting train wreck unfold since 2000. Just as I watched the police state grow since the Seattle WTO protests and drug wars in the 1990s. In both cases, the right howled for these developments. In both cases, the official left yawned. In both cases, the “center” of “everyday” Americans looked at me with confusion, disinterest, or irritation if I tried to talk about it.

    But of all these, the voting abdication beggars my understanding. The American people truly can’t be roused to give a f**k about anything that actually matters. The GOP took the keys to the voting system, and we said, hrmm, oh sure, whatever, have a blast. Try and bring it back by midnight.

    It’s just like the freaking Grinch stuffing our national Christmas tree up the chimney, and assuring Cindy Lou dumb**s that he’s taking it up to his shop to fix it, because the lights won’t light on one side. This particular slithery Grinch a perfect metaphor for the bottomless anti-democratic (small d) evil of Dick Cheney, himself the perfect icon for this incredibly dark period of American regression.

    Go back to bed America, the GOP will bring you back the roast beast tomorrow.

    1. TheraP

      There was actually a great deal of ire coming from the left re the voting slight of hand. But dissenting voices of citizens were shouted down and branded as crackpots. The very surveillance system was used to manipulate voting machines and/or voting tabulations. The disappearance of votes. The padding of tabulations. The lack of a paper trail.

      And at the same time the squeezing of the middle class and the poor so that they barely have time and money for subsistence activities. Oh, and let’s not forget the evisceration of education.

      Nevertheless, kudos on synthesizing so many wrongs into one comment! (And maybe you were really criticizing politicians of the left? Not citizens? Remind me… How many truly leftist politicians were there actually? Far too few. It’ a circle that leads back to voting.)

  11. Jim Haygood

    Dr. Hussman crawls in off his ledge to pen a final, impassioned apologia pro vida sua. It includes this astounding remark:

    ‘Our present methods would have encouraged an unhedged, leveraged investment stance through about 62% of history (including over 20% of recent cycle – though at no time in the past 3 years).

    ‘Recent cycle’ means 69 months since March 2009, during which stock prices have tripled. His methods would have deigned to participate in only 14 months of it, near the beginning, and not at all in the 32% gain of 2013.

    Dr. H is an expert on valuation. His old columns present as thorough a treatment of valuation as you would get in a postgraduate finance course. But his obsession with fighting the market because he disagrees with its prices is an exorbitantly costly fetish. And this is the third time he’s done it: he fought Bubble I and Bubble II all the way up, also.

    Caveat vendor, so to speak.

    1. fresno dan

      I enjoy Hussman quite a bit, but you can’t reduce the passions and irrationality of the market to mathematical equations – of course, you can graph them after the fact, and than get in your time machine and go back in time and make immense profits….but the only problem is, getting the time machine calibrated. 100% of not just stocks on the NYSE or the Nasdaq, but the S&P 500 did not exist in the Paleozoic….

    2. ambrit

      Uh, a question from the cheap seats here.
      If the good doctor fought Bubbles I & II all the way up, did he capitulate just before Crashes I & II as well? If so, then this capitulation signals Crash III is nigh. (Am I making sense?)

      1. Jim Haygood

        No, he did not capitulate. He is quite consistent in refusing to buy stocks when he considers their valuations too high.

        Problem is that on his measures, stocks have been overvalued for all but a few months of the last 20 years. That’s a long time to sit on the sidelines, shaking your fist at the foolishness of humanity.

        And he’s not capitulating now either. He keeps saying ‘if internals improve.’ But they never do, to his satisfaction.

        1. ambrit

          Ah ha! I was wondering. When I played the market, (in between mammoth hunts,) I always checked the PE ratio first. Then the industry news. Now I can sympathize with craazyman. Stocks have cut loose from reality, oh, for about the past twenty years or so. I’m not a hard core gambler, so I stick to risks I can sleep with.

  12. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Doubts..Giant China’s Project…

    The giant Great Wall Project ended Shihuangdi’s Qin Empire shortly after he died.

    Another giant China’s project, the Grand Canal contributed to the end the Sui Dynasty.

    The super-silk-highway between Xanadu and Poland ended as abruptly as the rise of the Mongols.

    Thus, the Confucians said no to big public projects and told the sailors to scuttle all the Treasure Boats. That contrasts with the zombie-manufacturing ‘communists’ in Beijing today.

    1. ambrit

      However, it can be argued that the ‘Round Eye’ Treasure boats of a hundred years later led to the Empire of Trade of Europe. That scuttling looks to have been short sighted.

  13. susan the other

    An antidote to all the lies is oddly pleasant. Only one cat in 7 has white boots and there is no cat consensus among them on which way to go. The catherd is woman in her 50s wearing a long quilted coat. It is late fall or early spring. She seems to be coaxing 5 cats to come across the street and across the streetcar tracks. They are undecided. The tracks run down the middle of a cobblestone road. She is walking down the center of the tracks on a slight angle to her left. Behind this foreground there is a streetcar platform with a little roof edging the cobblestones. Old trees line the road closely and are also very close to the buildings as well. Under one tree is a child’s wagon. But it is hard to tell if this is a neighborhood of people or businesses. One some buildings there are painted signs and others have placed their lawn furniture in their front yards. The streetcar tracks recede straight to the horizon line which is also a crossroad. On the other side there is a white car parked in an open garage. So the streetcar must make a choice, left or right? If you look carefully you can see what appears to be a traffic sign with two destinations, each with a white arrow pointing the streetcar and all the traffic to the right. But there is no traffic.

    1. fresno dan

      “no cat consensus”….hmmmm, an analogy to present times?
      btw, I don’t see the white boots, they seem all black to me.

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      It looks to me like some kind of POW exchange, at the border checkpoint of the cats’ equivalent of cold-war Berlin.

      It’s an antidote to today’s one-empire world.

    1. flora

      Good link. interesting correlation. with the trade agreements enabling labor arbitrage the amount of “excess” labor is even greater.

    2. flora

      Good link. thanks. interesting correlation. with trade agreements enabling labor arbitrage there is even more “excess” labor.

  14. Benedict@Large

    The only thing that “far-left” Syriza has said is that they won’t run a primary surplus anymore. They’ve even explicitly ruled out deficits. And this makes them far left? Hell, it doesn’t even make them left.

    What a waste of years of political organizing. Give it three years, and no one will even remember Syriza.

    1. Massinissa

      I agree Syriza is certainly not on the left, but I think Syriza is going to be around for about a decade before it peters out, but I would love to be wrong.

    2. ambrit

      Oh, I don’t know about that. Both Mussolini and Hitler started out in Socialist, in name if not spirit, organizations. It is a very short jump from Far Right to Far Left. Both are run like cults and rely on “true believers” to get things done.

  15. Greg L

    On Ending a Health Care Fallacy Letting the Data Speak

    I’m interested in the health care issue and so I went to that link. I am at a loss as to why that article is linked to. As I state in the comments to the article, there no there there.

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