Links 12/8/14

Dear patient readers,

I have not forgotten you but I am VERY behind schedule. Please check back at 8 AM.

Mystery of Bulgaria’s green cat finally explained Independent

Proud Camden owner cancels major company’s Christmas party over ‘homophobic’ email Standard (Chuck L). Wish they’d outed the major auto company.

The march of artificial intelligence is a long way off Financial Times (David L)

Unbundling Google users from Europe Bruegel

A promising compound can quickly eliminate malaria parasites Examiner (martha r)

ER doctor discusses role in Ebola patient’s initial misdiagnosis Dallas Morning News

Japan recession worse than feared Financial Times

Australian tech listing boom raises red flags Sydney Morning Herald (EM)

China’s equity frenzy: putting easing on hold? FTAlphaville. Scott: “Of course, soaring stock markets in recessionary economies is the way of the world these days.”

Why Beijing’s Troubles Could Get a Lot Worse Barrons (Scott)

Hong Kong’s Leader Expects Tough Fight in Clearing Protests Bloomberg

Poland counts the cost of losing millions of its workers Reuters (martha r)

Bank of England: half a million housebuyers face mortgage arrears Guardian (furzy mouse)

British workers suffer biggest real-wage fall of major G20 countries Guardian (martha r)

Tories seek to avert rift with Church of England in wake of food bank report Guardian

Jen Marlowe: No Exit in Gaza, Broken Lives and Broken Homes TomDispatch


Protests erupt over British decision to open military base in Bahrain Telegraph

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

Military-Style Technology Finds Way Into School District Safety Measures New York Times

Release of Six Detainees After Twelve Years Highlights the Historic Evil of Guantánamo Glenn Greenwald, Intercept

Obama’s Net Neutrality Bid Divides Civil Rights Groups New York Times

The Police in America are Becoming Illegitimate Matt Taibbi (Pat)

POLICE BRUTALITY @ UC Berkeley Student March 12/6/14 YouTube

Jamaica sees success in curbing killings by police Associated Press

New York mayor Bill de Blasio refuses to endorse Eric Garner grand jury decision Guardian (furzy mouse)

Berkeley Witnesses a Police Riot Daily Kos

The Fiery Underground Oil Pit Eating L.A. Daily Beast

Being a cop showed me just how racist and violent the police are. There’s only one fix. Washington Post (YankeeFrank)

U.A.B.’s Decision to Eliminate Football Is One Others Have Faced New York Times. In Alabama, this is seismic.

BIS sounds alarm over resurgent dollar Financial Times

Saudis Cut Oil Prices Again In Bid To Maintain Market Share OilPrice

Banks Urge Clients to Take Cash Elsewhere Wall Street Journal

Class Warfare

Prada plunges as HK protests, leather goods weigh sales Bloomberg

Displaced IT workers are being silenced Computerworld (martha r)

Hunting Task Wabbits Caleb Garling (martha r). A must read.

Capitalism’s Gravediggers Jacobin (Chuck L)

Revealed thirty years on … the secret role that America’s Henry Kissinger played in the Bhopal tragedy Herald Scotland (martha r)

Antidote du jour:

dog cat links

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. Ziontrain

    di Blasio himself has not taken on his own police departments police of way over the top aggresiveness, that is straight out of a plantation overseer’s manual.

    Let’s go back to the base of this incident. First of all if the guy broke up a fight i.e. helping keep the peace, why was police “rewarding” him with harassment?

    Second, there is no suggestion that he was selling cigarettes at the time of the incident. So how did any of this came up? Other than that apparently police knew him from before and felt he was worth bothering?

    Third, even if the police felt he had sold cigarettes (a non-violent, financial matter) why is this an offence that requires immediate arrest? That’s a ludicrous idea in a society that is overflowing in violent incidents that the police supposedly do not have capacity to respond to.

    Could they not have simply sent a summons to his home? They knew him very well, according to their own account…

    The entire incident was a classic case of police inflaming a non-aggressive situation, for no good reason, other than to demonstrate their 100% power of brutality over non just Eric Garner but the local people there. In their calculus even a minor issue MUST be hit with maximum force.

    Never mind how many serious crimes were being committed around NYC during the time of this incident, a small time cigarette seller – who clearly was a peacemaker himself – MUST be brutally corralled in the most public and violent way possible?

    This is the fundamental problem here – police completely out of control and acting like overseers on a plantation.

    1. Banger

      But the police are not “out of control” they are doing what their masters have hired them to do, i.e., be thugs to put down a captive population. Our communities need policing but not gangs of hoodlums beating up citizens.

      1. dearieme

        The mayor should resign. They are his policemen, policing in accord with his policies; he should accept responsibility.

              1. ambrit

                Robin? That cute young boy who runs around in those divine tight shorts? That meet up is going to result in more bending than fending.
                Kissy, kissy!

      2. Gaianne


        Thank you for this.

        The topic came up tonight in a conversation among friends (It wasn’t me that raised it!), but, sadly, people just don’t want to know. The cluelessness of the left is certainly cause for dismay.


    2. Benedict@Large

      In my area of the woods, we refer to this as “rousting”, and it goes on all of the time. All a person needs is a single arrest (the cops’ favorite is “open container”), and from then on, a person is hassled with bullshit charges every time they see a cop. Usually it’s an overnight in county jail, and an appearance in court with “time served” as the result. Then it’s walk home (however many miles), and if you’re lucky, you won’t get rousted again on the way. (Yes, this happens.)

      And by the way, there’s no “broken windows” policy here. This is just cops running up their arrest numbers with “good, clean busts” (meaning, busting poor people who can’t fight back), part of getting their next promotion. It’s all a game, and if you make friends with the cops, they’ll even admit it while you’re “in transport” (cop lingo someone in the squad car on their way to jail).

    1. dearieme

      It would have been even better if he’d troubled to teach himself what a by-product was.

      Still, the idea of LA vanishing in a Sodom and Gomorrah cataclysm is very entertaining.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        It will be tar, heated by global warming, plus a tsunami from across the Pacific, a slip on the San Andrea’s fault, polluted air from China and radiation from Japan in the finale.

        1. ambrit

          This sounds suspiciously like the plot of “Godzilla Versus the Smog Monster.”
          Kaiju to the rescue!

      2. Clive

        Los Angeles wanted to “twin town” itself with Sodom and Gomorrah, but the Sodom and Gomorrah city council refused because it thought that the connotations of being twinned with LA might make its reputation seem too sleazy.

  2. Antifa

    “Comply or die” is not any kind of civilian policing. It is a military doctrine wedded to the immediate use of overwhelming force if compliance is not instantaneous and complete.

    As in the surrender of an enemy soldier. He drops his weapon and gets his hands up, and becomes instantly subject to a body search and being stripped of any personal possessions deemed worthwhile to the victors. He’s a non-person with no rights except to obey or face immediate death. And he is taken to a place where he gets three hots and a cot for the duration.

    But there’s no middle ground. If that prisoner steps out of line anywhere along the path to captivity, or attempts to escape captivity, he gets dead right quick. This military doctrine has no place whatsoever in civilian policing, other than police returning — returning — lethal force in kind. This sickening idea of police shooting because they feared for ther lives is a wide open license to kill, and it won’t be acceptable to the populace.

    A simple law would remove this doctrine from America’s civilian police: any officer who kills a civilian for a non-lethal offense has no further role in policing our streets. They turn in their gun, are assigned to desk work or jail duty while they put in their twenty years, and then they retire. They crossed the line, by accident or misfortune, but there is no crossing that line. If the crime the person is being arrested for does not warrant the death penalty, and they don’t actively attack the police, then you can’t kill them and walk away scot free. Your option is to get real good with the taser, the mace, the baton, and your fists, or shoot only to wound because if you kill a civilian your career is over then and there. No exceptions.

    Under this arrangement, our wacko commando police, who see all civilians as thugs who owe them instant obedience on pain of death, would not even show up for the Academy test. We’d weed out the ones who join only to have their way with civilians, for starters, and we would have police on the street who once again seek to defuse situations before they empty their Glock as their first response.

    1. myshkin

      The clear connection between a nation awash in guns, (nearly one for every citizen, courts and states that encourage gun ownership, open carry laws and the bizarre idea that guns make us safer) and cops who pre-emptively shoot suspects is being ignored. This is obvious cause and effect, blatantly so and obviously being ignored. Rational observers and gun control advocates should be strongly making this point while it is in the public eye along with the ones mentioned; endemic racism, growing economic inequality, a failed tow tiered justice system and militarized police forces.

      1. ambrit

        Yes, as far as it goes, but try taking the guns away from the police as well as the public. Then the demons of narcissism and sadism will make themselves known.

        1. myshkin

          As far as what goes? I haven’t seen one opine or story, nary a stray sentence within a story, about these recent shootings connected to the issue of the proliferation of guns in America and for that matter American culture.

          There’s a whole sub genre of stylish Dances with Guns movies, within the multi-faceted, violent, action genre. Guys and now gals, (we are after all, if nothing else, gender equal as far as gun dancin’ goes) prancing down alleys and hallways in black T’s and tight pants, long coats elegantly draped, guns raised in the two handed pro grip, in formation or alone, searching left and right, for a target…it kind of makes you hot doesn’t it? It was a career move for Tarantino and Rodriguez, where would they be without the genre to parody and fawn over. I’ve been waiting for the ballet, but no choreographer has thought to exploit the marvelous possibilities.

          By the way I think it safe to say there’s a snake loose in the garden, a worm in the apple, the cops are not putting down their guns first and the American fantasy of citizen militias rising up and out gunning wall street, the army and the police is just that, a fantasy. If and when the revolution comes, when the smoke clears there are going to be a lot of dead citizens and probably not much changed.

          1. ambrit

            “Billy the Kid” by Aaron Copeland perhaps. Or all of those Westerns Hollywood used to churn out?
            I’ll agree about the correlation between density of guns and violent deaths. I view it as a chicken or egg question. We are “Killer Apes” after all, notwithstanding all that cooperation going on back at the ranch.

            1. myshkin

              I too thought of Billy the Kid. Just looked up the choreographer, Eugene Loring, son of a saloon keeper, from Milwaukee, child of the Great Depression, exodus to NYC, George Balanchine, ABT. Quite a story, though I doubt the gun play is high caliber enough for today’s audiences. Perhaps someone could update it.

              Killer rock apes indeed. If we had only taken after our good cousins the bonobos instead of the chimps.

              1. ambrit

                “Killer rock apes indeed.” Good image there. I was influenced early by Clarke and Kubricks’ “Dawn of Man” sequence at the beginning of “2001.” I must admit that cooperation is the reason humans have society at all. The top predators in the “wild” tend to be solitary beasts, if lions, bears, etc. are any guide. Wolves now, perhaps they’ll be the next sentient species after we are gone. They do co-operate.
                Mayhaps the Neanderthal were Homo Saps bonobo cousins, and we absorbed them.
                Another choreographed mortal contest would be the Jets and Sharks rumble from “West Side Story.” (Since they are supposed to be Puertoriquenos, shouldn’t it be ‘Los Tiburones?’ Ah, well, the glory of assimilation!)

      2. Sam Kanu

        Well put – the nation is crazy. Guns, guns, guns. All of which begets more guns and more shooting.

        These days we are even having the cops shoot little black kids who end up hold the toy guns (!!) that we sell them after marketing shooting and violence to them on TV all day and all night.

      3. Sam Kanu

        Well put – the nation is crazy. Guns, guns, guns. All of which begets more guns and more shooting.

        Plus now these days we are even having the cops shoot little black kids who end up hold the toy guns (!!) that we sell them after marketing shooting and violence to them on TV all day and all night.

      4. Clive

        I followed a perfectly nice chap on Twitter and via his blog (he worked in a field I am interested in), he was nothing but a fine, upstanding member of the community and had nothing at all which wouldn’t have made me like him should I have met him in person and got to know him and his family properly. But then one day, as an aside, he made an off-the-cuff tweet about how he was, with his wife and three children (two of whom are very young, certainly not far into K12 at most) on some kind of shooting field trip. They live in TX.

        Now, I consider myself pretty sophisticated and cosmopolitan and I am (or at least, I tell myself that I am) about as tolerant and welcoming of cultures other than my own as the day is long. But this shocked me, not just on superficial “oh, that’s unusual, we don’t do that round here” basis but on a deep, profound “I find this behaviour completely wrong and troubling” level.

        I discussed it with people in my own social group including people with children of their own. They too, especially when they saw the accompanying picture of extremely young children holding firearms and shooting at real, live (or soon to be dead) creatures unsettling in the extreme. The men weren’t too perturbed about the idea of fathers and their sons doing some kind of hunting trip (many do fish regularly on the rivers near here which are famous for their fine fishing potential), but women typically were of the opinion that mothers exposing girls to this kind of recreational activity was borderline (perhaps over the borderline) child abuse. So there was a gender bias in the reactions I observed, but also a universal questioning of the suitability of mixing children and guns. And violence too, albeit in a controlled fashion.

        I had to stop reading the person I’ve mentioned here’s blog and unfollow his Twitter. That’s a step I’ve never taken before. But I simply couldn’t continue to think of him in the same way and that coloured everything else he had to say.

        Sitting aloof over here where I have never seen a gun let alone handled one and no-one I know has either, I can’t help but think to myself “now I know why there are all those police shootings”. It’s not that racial issues aren’t a problem in the U.S. But I don’t think racial issues are especially worse in your country than anywhere else — I do appreciate though that we can argue about the degree of this factor’s influence.

        But there is absolutely no question in my mind that guns are your primary problem. With no solution in sight because, certainty for significant proportion of the population and this obviously rises to an overwhelming majority in some cultures such as Texas, it’s all just so ordinary.

        1. Yves Smith Post author

          My father was a hunter, but curiously never taught my two brothers to shoot or hunt. But independent of that, one of the places we lived (Escanaba, Michigan) is in a rural area and deer hunting is a major activity.

          Even with considerable local enthusiasm for hunting, when I was a kid, it would have been considered irresponsible to have a child handle anything more serious than a BB gun prior to the age of 14. And the hunters I’ve met are very serious about gun safety. Having kids shoot guns is the antithesis of that attitude.

  3. Banger

    Re: The Police in America Are Becoming Illegitimate

    It isn’t only the police. It is the entire system. The mentality within the brutality of the American police is systemic, at least in large urban areas (much more varied in smaller localities). Police appear to be trained to be brutal and unfeeling and whatever you call the sort of policing they are doing it ends up seeming a lot like a military occupation and community, under those conditions, can only flourish as a new Resistance movement.

    I favor some aspects of broken windows policing but it has to be done in a wise and compassionate way or the only thing you do is increase pain and resentment. There have to be sticks but also carrots and that is what NYC Police Officers from the Mayor’s office on down have refused to do. The carrots would be community empowerment and that begs a deeper discussion of who should be in charge of the streets–the community or the Occupying Army. Those that rule NYC and other cities can’t discount their impoverished population and schedule them for a slow migration from the street to a jail cell–it’s stupid and expensive there are better ways of dealing with poverty than punishing them. Even just putting them in concentration camps might be better because, in fact, that is what the ruling elites seem to desire–so just build the guard towers and get it over with.

    Taibbi also points out the stupid notion that crime has “dropped” in NYC because the worst, most violent, most vicious criminal elements thrive and reproduce in that city–and it is for them that NYC seems to want to exist. This tendency to have separate legal systems for different social classes and racial categories is where we are right now as we slog through this harsh winter of cynicism into our neo-feudal future.

    1. Cynthia

      An even more important point that Matt Taibbi made in his article is that extra judicial killing by police is typical of a crony capitalist, aka fascist system. This also applies to civil forfeiture, a practice typical to third world nations, where the police are often referred to as thieves in uniforms. This is what the US has become: a third-world, crony capitalist, fascist state.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Civil forfeiture, that and all the disappeared money from successful legal cases where the People were named as the plaintiff.

    2. Jackrabbit

      It’s great that people like Bill Black and Matt Taibbi are ‘connecting the dots’ – but they don’t go far enough. Awareness of the larger issues is more likely to generate real change than making these deaths into a black issue. #BlackLivesMatter – yes, but what that phrase calls for is simply that police stop unnecessary killing. A movement for real change has to be a) more inclusive and b) target fundamental issues. Harsh policing affects everyone that is poor in our system of economic apartheid where the poor are guilty until proven innocent.

      The two major parties – funded by and working on behalf of, TPTB – benefit by channeling anger into identity politics. Instead of a real movement for change, Sharpton and the Democratic Party give us Kumbaya Kayfabe.


      How can anyone question the legitimacy of the police without mentioning the il-legitimacy of the money-based political system? BILLIONS of dollars of campaign contributions and a pay-to-play democracy have disenfranchised the rest of us and allowed powerful ‘special interests’ (like neocons) to twist government policy to match their agenda.

      The real solution (to a myriad of current problems) is to restore democracy via tax reform and campaign finance reform.

      H O P

      1. L.M. Dorsey

        “Restore”? Hrm.
        Either democracy once existed in this country (this is not my view) but failed — maybe even tends to fail, like an unstable isotope — into oligarchy. Or democracy has never existed in this country except as an election slogan to flatter the proles (getting warmer), and there’s a danger that those who have no knowledge of how it works in practice will (in fact, can only) fetishize it and its practice (and so become the next generation of useful idiots to be manipulated by the next generation of populist politicians). Horns of a dilemma.
        If this were the 18th or 19th century, I might gather up the family and buy a ticket to the new world. But it didn’t work then, and it sure will not work now. Beginning to suspect, tho, that this will not end well for most of us.

        1. Jackrabbit

          I think it tends to fail (isotope – good analogy). As Milan Kundera said: “The struggle of man against power is the struggle of memory against forgetting.” There have to be strong safeguards and a vigilant public. Propaganda, promises, easy credit, etc. lulled people to let down their guard. And identity politics and a selfish culture (“greed is good”) drove us apart.

          Democracy has never been perfect. We’ve had corruption and discrimination to some degree. But what we have today seems qualitatively different than what we had 30 years ago. Oligarchs and corporations have a tighter grip on power in what has been termed “Inverted Totalitarianism”.

          Sadly, no one addressed my main point: that reform is defeated by channeling discontent into identity politics.

          1. Jess

            …what we have today seems qualitatively different than what we had 30 years ago.

            Exactly. And your comment about democracy never being perfect is also spot on. Although in retrospect America in its first 125 years was strongly oriented toward the ownership class, there was a period of about fifty years from the mid-twenties to the mid-seventies when concepts of democracy — political and economic fairness — flourished and much progress was made along those lines.

          2. L.M. Dorsey

            To my mind, identity politics is inevitable in a world where “individuals” are presumed to be the only thing that is “really real”. To imagine that we can address this presumption by simply forbidding an electoral technique is, at least to my mind, to confuse the symptom with that which underlies it. Reganism — to give the presumption its name — will not be undone by fiat or appeals to “common sense”. Reaganism is the new common sense.

            1. Jackrabbit

              I don’t believe that individual isolation is inevitable. It is a con. People come together when they see that it is in there best interest to do so. Also, studies have shown that in human history cooperation has been more the norm than competition.

              Our own Diptherio has written often of the growing coop movement. And Lambert has described how communities have been successful on specific issues in Maine.

              People tend to rally around ‘identity’-focused issues rather than issues like corruption and taxes. There seems to be a growing awareness of how it is all interrelated, though.

              1. L.M. Dorsey

                But see? You yourself are imagining people as being essentially isolated individuals that have to “come together” (from where?) to address “common interests”. And when those interests are met, do what? simply drift apart?

                I would say that it is just this radical individualism is what needs to be thought about. I don’t think you can simply accept it and imagine that it can be effortlessly re-purposed to fulfill communitarian ideals.

      2. hunkerdown

        Restore democracy? If “#TheTruthMatters” as you put it, why are you lying about the form of government for the past 200-odd years? Bolting a beauty pageant on the side of a REPUBLIC does not allasudden make it a democracy — only an aristocrat or wannabe would debase the language so casually. Giving any currency to this “polite conceit” only cements in place that “democracy” means you get to pick your masters, full stop, and frankly, that’s pathetic and infantilizing. Please, stop it.

        1. Jackrabbit

          See my reply to L.M> Dorsey.

          I find your comment unecessarily harsh.

          1) You took #The TruthMatters out of context. I wrote that as an example of a more inclusive movement that address a fundamental issue (MSM propaganda), not as a broad statement.

          2) I’m not “lying about the form of government we’ve had”. RESTORE was clearly a poor word choice, but the intent is to roll-back the system that allows special interests to have a vice-grip on power.

          3) You have nothing to say about my MAIN point: that channeling discontent into identity politics defeats reform.

          1. Jackrabbit

            Well, TheTruthMatters is also a broad statement that I believe in (but I used it as I explained above). As I said, “restore” was a poor choice of words, not a clever lie.

            What do you think the aim of protest and reform should be? How realistic is it to seek ‘perfect democracy’?

          2. hunkerdown

            As for your main point, I have nothing to say about that point because I agree with it and had nothing to add to that much.

            But what is a call to “restore” “democracy” but an appeal to a manufactured identity with no grounds in reality and no evidence in history? The phenomenon Gilens and Page documented isn’t particularly new; in fact, it’s exactly what most of the Founders wanted and it’s exactly what we’ve got: an oligarchy that can veto and ignore the citizenry at will. To misrepresent that as “democracy” is very much the same gaslighting that bent the lay term “liberal” to describe little more than a more sophisticated set of vampires, as if gentility mattered to anyone still participating in reality.

            I’m not asking for perfection. I’m simply asking for rectification: that the terms describe the actual, present dynamics of the system rather than its superficial affirmations. Which means that the term “democracy” is properly only applicable to political systems insofar as bureaucrats and figureheads cannot overrule citizens’ duly enacted will, which pointedly does not include the USA at the Federal level, and includes very few of its States.

            Since you asked, I believe the aim of protest in relation to democracy should be to demand it in the first place. If we must have representative government (purely token though it may be), they need to wake up every morning knowing that their constituency might be voting *that very day* to pull their remit. Unfortunately, the Constitution, being written as a charter for a nation of slaves, is designed to perpetuate an oligarchy at any expense to its citizens. For that reason, meaningful democratic reform, which necessarily serves to strengthen the order independently of its content, is not going to happen because authority doesn’t bend that way. Even in the event it did, it would be subject to continuous challenge and eventual rollback by anyone with the wherewithal and desire to do so.

            It comes down to that the Constitution, by design, does not promote conviviality and is not fit for the purpose of protecting citizens from abuses and usurpations (only oligarchs, funny how that works). For that reason, and for reasons related to the horoscopic principle, the only way out is to start over.

        2. ewmayer


          Please stop with the “Republic, not democracy” nonsense – a cursory reading of any halfway-decent primer on political systems (e.g. Wikipedia) makes quite plain that a Republic in the form of a representative government is simply one of multiple forms of democracy (bold mine):

          A republic is a form of government in which power resides in the people,[1] and the government is ruled by elected leaders run according to law (from Latin: res publica), rather than inherited or appointed (such as through inheritance or divine mandate). In modern times the definition of a republic is also commonly limited to a government which excludes a monarch.[1][2] Currently, 135 of the world’s 206 sovereign states use the word “republic” as part of their official names.

          Republics became more common in the Western world starting in the early 19th century, eventually displacing absolute monarchy as the most common form of government. In modern republics the executive is legitimized both by a constitution and by popular suffrage. Montesquieu included both democracies, where all the people have a share in rule, and aristocracies or oligarchies, where only some of the people rule, as republican forms of government.[3]

          So a republic need not be a democracy – the needed ingredient for that is representative government. From the page on Democracy:

          Several variants of democracy exist, but there are two basic forms, both of which concern how the whole body of all eligible citizens executes its will. One form of democracy is direct democracy, in which all eligible citizens have direct and active participation in the political decision making. In most modern democracies, the whole body of eligible citizens remain the sovereign power but political power is exercised indirectly through elected representatives; this is called a representative democracy or democratic republic.

          Jeebus, this is 6th-grade civics stuff.

          Note that the above describes the US as constituted — I agree with those who argue that our current system (in the way it operates, not what its elites profess) is very, very far from any such thing, more resembling a tyrannical (both at home and abroad, but most nakedly abroad) kleptocratic oligarchy.

          1. bob

            Bad 6th grade civics.

            Republic denotes ‘ownership’ of the country, the people.

            Democracy denotes it’s management. As has been noted numerous times here, too much democracy was a big problem for the US early on. Hence, “representative democracy”

            The UK clams to be “democratic” while still having a queen, who owns it all.

      3. steviefinn

        It all kind of reminds me of the period prior to the 1981 Brixton riots in London, which according to Lord Scarman’s report – the police use of ‘ Stop & Search ‘ over a prolonged period built up resentment that finally exploded, after a black youth died from a stab wound in a fight with other youths, followed by the rumour that the police, who had apprehended him – let him die.

        It was called ‘ Sus ‘ , short for being ‘ picked up on suspicion ‘of whatever the cops conjured up.

        The street poet Linton Kwesi Johnson composed this song in response to police brutality in 1985 – I never imagined at the time it would still be relevant 29 years later :

            1. Optimader

              “You don’t get paid for designing posters or doing the clothes”, he said in an interview published by Bassist Magazine on October 1990, “you get paid for doing the songs.”
              — Paul Simonon
              First song he wrote for The Clash, we’ll cut him a little slack, his wordsmithing improved

                1. optimader

                  Well, they were products of their environment & times like all of us..
                  In the end its all about scale..

                  The Clash – Ivan Meets G.I. Joe

                  So you’re on the floor, at Fifty Four
                  Think you can last – at the Palace
                  Does your body go to the to and fro?
                  But tonight’s the night – or didn’t you know
                  That Ivan meets G.I. Joe

                  He tried his tricks- that Ruskie bear
                  The United Nations said it’s all fair
                  He did the radiation – the chemical plague
                  But he could not win – with a Cossack spin

                  The Vostok Bomb – the Stalin strike
                  He tried every move – he tried to hitch hike
                  He drilled a hole – like a Russian star
                  He made every move in his repertoire

                  When Ivan meet G.I. Joe

                  Now it was G.I. Joe’s turn to blow
                  He turned it on – cool and slow
                  He tried a payphone call to the Pentagon
                  A radar scan – a leviathan

                  He wiped the Earth – clean as a plate
                  What does it take to make a Ruskie break?
                  But the crowd are bored and off they go
                  Over the road to watch China blow!

                  “of course it’s about the US and the USSR finally facing off, however, the metaphor is that they are two guys at studio 54 in 70s NYC, using every trick in the book to win the big dance-off as the crowd observes. the spectators, ultimately bored with all the devastation, leave to watch china! (was this yet another example of the prescient, damn-near psychic foresight of the only band that still matters, predicting the inevitable rise of china, a fact the rest of us only began to observe in recent years?) “

    3. Jim

      Banger stated “…whatever you call this sort of policing they are doing it ends up seeming a lot like a military occupation…”

      Again, the issue of policing could become an issue where the left could offer a more sophisticated and accurate analysis of what is happening and consequently create a foundation for mass mobilization across the political spectrum(against our militarized police force) if it could just have the courage to take off its ideological blinders.

      It certainly can be argued that the history of US policing exemplifies the process of US State formation–primarily as seen through a shift from localized law enforcement largely mired in patronage(in the late 19th century) to a more modern, centralized administration by the mid-1930s.

      In addition, and this is where the Left could shine, in particular, with a presentation of specific case studies which link a flow of insights, personnel and practices form our imperial adventures abroad to our own domestic police forces and our modern domestic techniques of policing repression.

      Is it any wonder that contemporary policing feels like a form of military occupation–it is–and many of the lessons for this type of policing come from our misguided adventures abroad over the past 100 years.

    4. cnchal

      Police appear to be trained to be brutal and unfeeling . .

      Police officers pulling out their guns and shooting at people is viewed as normal behavior, after years of conditioning. In the movie “It’s a Wonderful Life”, a cop pulls his gun and fires two shots at someone for running away. Now, the police empty multiple magazines of bullets into citizens.

      Most cops are not stone cold killers. The other day an NC rabbit hole led to an article by Serpico where he described the NYPD shooting of an innocent citizen in an elevator. Over 40 shots were fired but only a few hit the victim. A blind shooter could do better. Most of the officers deliberately missed. The killer cops are the ones whose bullets hit the victim, and I wonder if forensics ever determined which cop fired which bullet?

      . . and whatever you call the sort of policing they are doing. . .

      Community field executioner.

  4. upstater

    Yesterday Jane Dough told us about Private Equity involvement in nursing homes…

    Today Reuters has an article about PE’s voracious appetite for Drug and Alcohol rehab facilities. Margins are 25% and “With the prices for rehab businesses climbing as demand outstrips supply for such assets, investors are keen to snap up more clinics so they can lower costs per patient and keep profit margins healthy.”:

    Obamacare helps private equity get its rehab clinic fix:

    1. Ivy

      Having inspected numerous nursing homes, assisted living centers, rehab facilities and similar people warehouses around the country, I shudder to think how the treatment of human beings will suffer as the PE model is afflicted on them.
      Rent seeking off human suffering is evil.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Someone added that to a comment of mine yesterday…every educational.

        Sadly, the more you know about old age and being ill, the less secure you feel.

        “I wanna stay young and healthy forever!!!!!!!’ – a dream affordable only to billionaires.

      2. flora

        Dear Ivy,

        We in the PE industry seek to maximize our investors’ profits and overall financial returns. We are committed to finding and exploiting profit maximization where ever opportunity presents. We cannot shrink from our fiduciary duty to our shareholders. This is all to the good. If you will think for a moment I’m sure you will agree.
        It is unfortunate that our game changing investment strategies may occasionally cause others some slight inconvenience, but our firm’s only business consideration is the wealth of our shareholders.
        Sending Ms. Dough investment materials during this holiday season meant they arrived at the same time she is receiving calls to remember those less fortunate: the poor, the sick, the infirm. And there’s that annoying television ad with a bell ringer standing amid scenes of human misery. At this time of year, with these other appeals, Ms. Dough may have thought for a moment of the misfortunes of others and perhaps toyed with the idea of something called “a community” , and possibly – although this is going too far – to consider there are things more important than wealth. I have no idea what those might be but people mention it from time to time. All this is to say that I sent the investment materials to Ms. Dough when she was not quite herself.
        If you are interested in harvesting profits from patient care facilities I would be happy to send to materials for your consideration.

        Yours truly,
        Dave Smith, CEO
        Buyout Investments PE
        cc: Tapeworm, Wormwood

  5. Jim Haygood

    ‘The Conservative party is seeking to avert one of its biggest rifts with the Church of England for decades as an all-party report on food banks warns that Britain is stalked by hunger.’

    There is of course a Third Way, as exemplified by Britain’s most prominent holy man, the Right Rev Tony Blair.

    Simply convert to Catholicism, then stand by as an impartial observer while the state church and the party in power bash each other to bits.

    1. hunkerdown

      They are doing their job — enforcing the authority structure of a crony capitalist republic. You are aware that the polite fiction of an impartial press is a relatively new invention and largely bereft of substance?

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Sad this happens even in the People’s Republic of Berkeley.

        Having spent way too many years there, I believe that is also a fiction.

  6. Jim Haygood

    Excerpts from an open letter to Barack Obama from Uruguayan president José Mujica, who just accepted a half dozen Guantánamo prisoners. Mujica never acuses Obama directly, but his final paragraph is clearly aimed at Americans and our renowned Drone Laureate:

    Uruguay was a world leader in the creation of international instruments for peace. Based on the best moments of our past, we have offered our hospitality to human beings suffering an atrocious kidnapping in Guantánamo. The inescapable reason is humanitarian.

    To these lands have come, since our independence and even before, people and sometimes large groups seeking refuge: from international wars, civil wars, tyranny, religious and racial persecution, poverty and extreme misery, far away or very close by.

    We are part of the world’s assaulted and wounded. We belong to the vast majority of humanity.

    Because of this, we follow the path of the famous Parable, placing ourselves in the scene because we suffer in the flesh, from the pain of injury more than from the altruism of the Samaritan.

    We must neither forget nor lose this perspective in looking at the harsh realities, unfortunately as numerous as they are cruel, now knocking loudly on the door of millions of consciences.


    ‘Millions of consciences’– who, US? Too bad the USA is now a tyranny imprisoning people in its offshore Gulag without charges, while Uruguay — a military dictatorship as late as 1985 — now upholds the human rights that the US has chucked into the gutter.

    Uruguayans learned their lesson the hard way, while Americans labor under the delusion that their global military dominance somehow ‘protects’ them.

  7. Clive

    The silence of the organised religions about the legal, moral and spiritual failings in finance, economics and neoliberalism has been deafening. At least up ’til now. So both the Church of Rome and the Church of England get a mild round of applause from me for — not before time — starting to wade in on this one (although the latter doth definitely speak with forked tongue after its doubling down on hedge funds and private equity investments).

    What we get very little coverage of here on this side of the pond (not least because it is so widely derided and not taken as anything other than a bit of a joke and merely mentioning it is to invite a loud guffaw) is the “religious right” or “evangelical church” reaction in the U.S. I’ve been looking, but I can’t find anything one way or the other. It’s a bizarre anechoic phenomena at work if these institutions are making similar noises to condemn unethical actions by the FIRE sector. Which makes me think they are not. In which case, are they just selling modern day indulgences to the largest donors ? Reader education for me most welcome.

    1. L.M. Dorsey

      I do not disagree, but, too, there is this document (just a year old), in which Francis spooks the horses. Though one might well suspect it of being and exericse in misdirection and PR (after all the Vatican has schooled us all in cynicism for, well, centuries and centuries), still, Papa Francisco does have his moments:

      The great danger in today’s world, pervaded as it is by consumerism, is the desolation and anguish born of a complacent yet covetous heart, the feverish pursuit of frivolous pleasures, and a blunted conscience. Whenever our interior life becomes caught up in its own interests and concerns, there is no longer room for others, no place for the poor.


      Just as the commandment “Thou shalt not kill” sets a clear limit in order to safeguard the value of human life, today we also have to say “thou shalt not” to an economy of exclusion and inequality. Such an economy kills. How can it be that it is not a news item when an elderly homeless person dies of exposure, but it is news when the stock market loses two points?


    2. Banger

      Evangelicals in America don’t really take up moral issues as a whole–the movement is, taken as a whole, a kind of fradulent neo-religion. There is no thought-out ethical framework in the American Church. For example, if you are “saved” that is enough–you need not live a moral life–you can contemplate a moral life but you need not live one–being saved is enough–you never lose it. In Catholicism your sins are forgiven after the priest absolves you in Confession–in the American Church you only need to devote your life to Jesus (they prefer the first name to the last name of “Christ”) and you are set for eternity. That doesn’t mean that they don’t preach personal virtue but it is a much more minor and mainly practical issue. They believe that the husband rules the family and life should be centered around religious life etc. but you can stray even from that. The worst thing is not “believing” in their vague, contradictory, and bizarre theology. Mind you, there are many excellent pastors who are truly humble and spiritual but even they get twisted by the contortions they must perform–like believing the earth is 6500 years old etc. I know one pastor who really is trying to make life better for the members of his mega-church but since Americans don’t believe in reason it gets really confusing. They have some great musicians there though.

      1. Andrew Watts

        “Evangelicals in America don’t really take up moral issues as a whole–the movement is, taken as a whole, a kind of fradulent neo-religion.” *snip*

        Haven’t you heard of the Social Gospel? The evangelical movement swings between the left and the right wing in this country. A growing majority of youth among their number are reliable left wingers. This is going to change the political landscape in the coming years. “Red” state, hehe!

        One of the old pillars of the American Socialist Party was the non-Marxist left-wing evangelical movement, Christian socialists if you will. As well as the Christian realism of Reinhold Niebuhr. Finally there was this man called Martin Luther King Jr. Only a certain type of individual thought he was a fraud.

      2. James Levy

        As a lapsed Catholic with 12 years of parochial school under my belt, I have to say that you are NOT absolved from sin because the priest says so. You are absolved from sin by admitting your sin, being penitent, doing your penance, and working diligently not commit that same sin again. I know this sounds pettifogging, but Protestants think that it is simply a matter of having the priest give you the wave-off, and it is not. I may today be an atheist, but I respect the Catholic notion of sin and redemption, which is a whole lot more sophisticated and honorable than the “washed in the blood of the Lamb” Protestant version where believing trumps doing. If Gore Vidal was wrong when he said monotheism was the worst idea humans ever came up with, then the real winner might be Justification by Faith.

      3. L.M. Dorsey

        And the “personal virtue” of the American evangelism bears an uncanny resemblance to that of the entrepreneureal citizen hero mythologized by Franklin and Emerson and Horatio Alger.

        But once you’re saved (rich), what then? Start a foundation? Money bomb your nightmares? Doesn’t sound like anybody really thought this thing out. (Let’s just tell the king to take a hike, fill the Ohio Valley with slave labor, and live like lords, what could go wrong?)

        1. William C

          I may be completely wrong but am under the impression that peace has broken out between the Catholics and Lutherans on justification by faith. If I understood correctly, the line is that justification by faith is not the same as salvation, so you can be justified but still not saved. More is required for salvation than just faith. Please correct me, those who are more expert in these matters, if I have got this wrong.

          A shame if true as it will have taken almost five hundred years- and a lot of deaths – to realise that they were in agreement all along.

  8. anonymous123

    Re: the Berkeley protest links, things got VERY crazy here last night. The protests started off peacefully on Saturday night, but the huge swarms of police were getting very confrontational. That contrasted to Sunday night when the groups of vandals absolutely trashed downtown Berkeley (trash and broken glass is everywhere, many fires in the middle of the streets) and the cops were not doing anything or even present in appreciable numbers. I found it unsettling that the police didn’t intervene when there was actual rioting on Sunday night, but that they were more than happy to bully and thrown tear gas at the mostly peaceful protesters (who were also mostly students) on Saturday night.

    1. Banger

      Maybe the cops want an “excuse” to get violent. The National Security State depends on fear and disorder. Back in my day we had agents provocateurs who tried to get people to do violent things–sometimes it worked very well.

      1. hunkerdown

        Do you really think they think they need one anymore? Going by their conduct lately, I think they have some sense of impunity, or at least know who they work for. I suspect that, as in Odessa, the vandals are just there to keep the fence-sitters in line.

      2. Jim

        With the centralization of policing power in the US it is probably quite likely that recent tactical and strategic decisions on how best to handle the recent wave of protests over police killings–are being made at the highest levels of the National Security State.

        It may also be increasingly likely that the domestic areas where protests erupt are being viewed
        not as communities but a domestic battlefields with much experimentation in effective strategy and tactics.

  9. Jay M

    Well, I was working on getting the Macarthur Grant a few years ago, did all the lobbying but felt I was lacking. A lightbulb went off in my head, and before you know it I had a rabbit who was a post doc fellow in math from the best school for $15/hour. He looked a little hungry, so I gave him a bologna sandwich and wouldn’t you know it, the Reimann Hypothesis was solved in time to give the packet to my FedEx man that afternoon, and as the saying goes, the check was in the mail, pronto.
    In order to get the Econ Nobel the starving Econ Phd’s were too expensive, but I found a rabbit Linguist fellow that was expert in pre-Colombian English Creole who could create an impossible to understand equation with the best of them. Anyway, the board didn’t know linguistics from economics and I sent them a case of schnapps to seal the deal.
    I was going to go for the Nobel Peace, but I couldn’t find any starving, hypocritical neoliberal shills to help out. They all seemed to have a six figure income. Go figure.

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