Links New Years Day

Getting Animals Drunk for Science The Atlantic

Cells ‘feel’ their surroundings using finger-like structures Science Daily

Year of birth significantly changes impact of obesity-associated gene variant Science Daily

Why We Love the Pain of Spicy Food Online Wall Street Journal. Good for cold and flu prophylaxis, too, IMNSHO.

Oil-Bust Contagion Hits Hedge Funds, Supplier Layoffs Begin Wolf Street

Hedge Funds Surrender to Oil Rout as Bullish Bets Drop Bloomberg

On the Stupidity of Demand Deficient Stagnation Mainly Macro. The eternal question: Stupid, or evil? I don’t agree that it’s the stupid. Austerity is the preferred policy outcome for elites because it works in their interests, as they perceive and define them, and who else is going to? Start with cheaper and more “loyal” servants. And the Cossacks work for the Czar. This really isn’t hard, people.

The success of Obamanomics David Cay Johnston, Al Jazeera. Permanently higher disemployment, continued flat wages, median household income down since 2000, and faster growth in income inquality than under Bush. So what’s not to like?

Musings on 25-54 Employment-to-Population Rates and the Macroeconomy: Daily Focus Brad DeLong. An antidote to Johnston’s odd pom-pom waving.

Interview: Demystifying Modern Monetary Theory Bill Mitchell. For Senate Budget Commitee staffers….

Consumer confidence at pre-Obama highs Reuters

China December factory PMIs suggest economy cooling further, more stimulus expected Reuters

China’s Fosun to buy U.S. insurer to help finance acquisition spree Reuters

China Trade Deficit Has Cost the United States 3.2 Million Jobs Economic Populist

Study: IMF policies fueled Ebola spread The Hill

Postal Service poised to begin controversial plant closures next week WaPo. Neo-liberal slo-mo gutting of the post office continues.

Why are weapons-makers excited by TTIP? EU Observer. From the people who brought you the F35


The Year in Review: Even More Fantastical Pseudo Economics Econbrowser

How the world fell back into economic meltdown: 2014 in charts Daily Telegraph. Pavlina Tcherneva’s chart (#4) should be chart of the year.

The ten charts of 2014 FT

The Year in Charts New York Times

2014 was the year of the explainer, for better or worse Pando Daily

2014 Kinda Sucked: A Look at Our Slow Descent Into Dystopia Wired

11 bold predictions for 2015 Matt Yglesias

NYPD Soft Coup

Arrests plummet 66% with NYPD in virtual work stoppage New York Post. I’m sure the usual suspects are waiting with bated breath for an incident to stoke the usual hysteria, but we might consider a possible bright side: Maybe we need less of the sort of policing the NYPD does, and, if so, we might consider an immediate and drastic reduction in force and budget. Let’s start with the fusion centers, then the Israeli liaison, then all the militarized bits. The city of New York already has a government; it doesn’t need an entire parastate operating out of 1 Police Plaza.

The NYPD Is an Embarrassment to the City of New York Gawker

Smash the Lynch Mob Jacobin

A Democrat to Watch in 2015 Frank Bruni, New York Times. Never mind that Bruni, right on cue, uses Gina Raimondo as a vehicle for reviving Grand Bargain talk; he’s dishonest in his reporting. He writes:

Some in the party cast [Raimondo] as a pawn of the finance industry and big corporations, partly because she once worked in venture capital. She started Rhode Island’s first venture capital firm.

With “pawn of,” Bruni’s airbrushing. Sirota:

According to the Journal, some of those fees from the $7.7 billion Rhode Island pension system are paid to Point Judith, a financial firm created by Raimondo that Rhode Island invested in under the previous treasurer, Frank Caprio (D). Raimondo’s personal blind trust fund still periodically earns income from its Point Judith holdings. Raimondo’s spokesperson told IBTimes that the Treasurer has taken all “recommended steps to assure that potential conflicts of interest would be avoided during her administration.”

There’s a word for altering state policy so that you personally benefit, and Bruni should know what it is; it’s “corruption,” and never mind Raimondo used a straw blind trust. Bruni should go back to rating hash houses; if he must bring a maiden blush to the Grey Lady’s cheek, assuming such a thing, at this point, to be possible, he should at least do so deeper in the paper, and since restaurant reviews are entirely subjective, pesky facts won’t get in his way.

Vast majority of ObamaCare customers qualify for subsidies The Hill

How the Anechoic Effect Persists: The Case of the Continued Punishment of Dr Elliott Health Care Renewal. James Risen’s Pay Any Price has many examples of “the anechoic effect.”


Greece’s Syriza no longer terrifies some investors FT

Greek expulsion from the euro would demolish EMU’s contagion firewall Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, Daily Telegraph

Greece, the Troika, and the New York Times New Economic Perspectives

Saudi King Abdullah taken to hospital for tests FT

The Politics of Modi’s Vegetarianism The Disorder of Things

Imperial Collapse Watch

The Imperial Collapse Playbook Club Orlov

Round Goes the Revolving Door: Black Water Lobbyist to Run House Intel Committee Alternet

The Tragedy of the American Military James Fallows, The Atlantic

The Real Constitutional Crisis Is Hidden The Atlantic

We Need Your Help BradBlog. BradBlog is the go-to blog for e-voting and its discontents.

Instrumentational Complexity of Music Genres and Why Simplicity Sells PLOSOne

The Newtown Lawsuit and the Moral Work of Gun Control The New Yorker

The Cold Wet Mackerel of Reality The Archdruid Report

Antidote du jour:


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. dearieme

    “we found that the correlation between the best known obesity-associated gene variant and body mass index increased significantly as the year of birth of participants increased”; it must be a consequence of the reductions in pollution I suppose.

    1. rjs

      or atmospheric nuclear testing….the generation that grew up in the 50s has a slightly higher incidence of thyroid problems than subsequent or prior age groups..

  2. dearieme

    “Raimondo’s personal blind trust fund still periodically earns income from its Point Judith holdings.” If it really were a blind trust, neither she nor we would know what investments it held. This is an abuse that the Blairs used in Britain, a pretty sure indicator of foul morals.

  3. dearieme

    What on earth is the point of calling for more critical thinking about the military, and then writing “Dwight D. Eisenhower … led what may have in fact been the finest fighting force in the history of the world”? Idiocy.

    1. lyman alpha blob

      Made it about half way through that article which claims that the military needs more scrutiny and that vacuous “support our troops” gestures are not enough. Then the author plops in this bit of hagiography, encourages us to support the troops and not question what they’re doing:

      “Ours is the best-equipped fighting force in history, and it is incomparably the most expensive. By all measures, today’s professionalized military is also better trained, motivated, and disciplined than during the draft-army years. No decent person who is exposed to today’s troops can be anything but respectful of them and grateful for what they do.”

      I stopped reading at that point. I guess I’m indecent…

      1. Uahsenaa

        The whole “best-equipped fighting force” meme, for that is what it is, has also been demonstrated as false any number of times. The massive money blackhole that is the joint strike fighter, the Bradley fighting vehicle, yards full of unused tanks, an Air Force more concerned with Top Gun jockery than flying basic air patrols (a little told screw up re: 9/11)… I could go on, but the point is the mere fact the US spends so much money on its military does not mean we get anything out of it.

        1. George Hier

          The massive money blackhole that is the joint strike fighter,
          As demanded by Congress.
          the Bradley fighting vehicle,
          As demanded by Congress.
          yards full of unused tanks,
          As demanded by Congress.
          an Air Force more concerned with Top Gun jockery
          Hey, you finally got to a criticism that actually applies to the military. 1 out of 4 ain’t bad.

          1. OIFVet

            Politicians wear Class A’s too George. Remember the Crusader self-propelled howitzer program? It was the politicians in uniform that wanted that piece, what with their obsession to fight the last war.

          2. Uahsenaa

            The F35 is a mess, in part, because each service branch meant to use it wants it to do something cool rather than useful (e.g. the Navy wanting vertical takeoff and landing). Not all Congress. Moreover, it was Congress who actually got the M2 turned into something useful and not simply a platform for a few in the Pentagon to get their promotions. It was the officers responsible for the M2’s development who messed with its testing. I agree the tanks are Congress’s doing, but then again, I never said the crapification of the US military was entirely its own fault.

        2. Generalfeldmarschall von Hindenburg

          As a devotee of all things military, I hate this kind of jump boot licking crap. “…the best equipped fighting force in history.” As opposed to what? There’s zero context. Yeah, I guess the U.S. Marines of 2014 could beat the Army of Northern Virginia of 1862 in a stand up fight. They’ve got, like, automatic weapons, dude.

      2. Jim Haygood

        ‘Ours is the best-equipped fighting force in history.’

        If high-tech equipment were decisive, we’d rule the world.

        Unfortunately, our wily enemies have gone medieval on us. Cheaters!

        1. fresno dan

          ‘Ours is the best-equipped fighting force in history.’

          That’s why we won the Vietnam, Afghan, and Iraqi wars.
          Of course, I’m being facetious…..those were police actions…

          Oh – your one of those reality based people who think we LOST those police actions???


          The aide said that guys like me were “in what we call the reality-based community,” which he defined as people who “believe that solutions emerge from your judicious study of discernible reality.” … “That’s not the way the world really works anymore,” he continued. “We’re an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you’re studying that reality—judiciously, as you will—we’ll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that’s how things will sort out. We’re history’s actors…and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do.”[
          Kinda like the word “torture” – the US create a new reality for the definition of the word – the US is run only by good and just people – that’s reality.
          The US wins all its wars, all good and hard working Americans prosper, police never harm innocent people – that’s reality! The US – the indispensably exceptional nation…

      3. OIFVet

        “I guess I’m indecent”. Also, war is peace, freedom is slavery, ignorance is strength. The unceasing propaganda to require the populace to slavishly worship of the military is one of the things that really gets my blood boiling.

        1. Generalfeldmarschall von Hindenburg

          And yeah, you’re spot on. And this adoration of the military as such has a corrollary in the raising of Our Boys in Blue to another sacred and unassailable pillar of civilization.

    2. James

      Because ‘Ceptionalism. Delusions die hard.We Muricans still believe we “single handedly saved the free world,” and all the rest of that post-WWII Cold War hooey.

    3. optimader

      Which was superior? I’d say as military events go, the D-day invasion was an unsurpassed coordinated military feat.
      Had the US remained neutral, no lend/lease Act, no force and material support during WWII Europe/UK and a good part of the frmr SU would likely have quite a few more german speakers.
      Buy a clue

  4. Eclair

    It may be the effect of drinking the really bad coffee that seems endemic in the US midwest (yes, I am whiney this morning), but the Wired list of 2014 dystopian realities, while spot-on in describing the social horrors, gives a pass to the Imperial rampaging of our government, while battering Russia and Putin for, well, having competing Imperial fantasies.

    Wow, 2015 brings just grouchiness. And a resolve to grit teeth and muddle through, try to keep down blood pressure by practicing deep-breathing while reading NC’s morning news gatherings, and do more fermentation of vegetables and fruits (fermented turnips and beets are excellent). And, acquire some plans and skills for building a still. The time may come when only sips of herbal/fruit liquors will enable us to make it through the dystopian winter.

    1. dearieme

      My first experience of US coffee was nearly fifty years ago. It was so foul that I have ever after laughed whenever an American complains about anyone else’s coffee. The answer to finding good coffee is simple: go to Italy.

      1. Larry

        Good coffee is all in the eye of the beholder. I for one prefer lighter roasts that leave the brighter flavors of the coffee intact. Italians by and large go for very bold roasts. Very good coffee can now be had in most locations in America. Starbucks is nearly omnipresent and even McDonald’s and convenience stores brew decent brew these days.

        1. Yves Smith

          Aiee, I hate to tell you this, but thinking Starbucks burned roasts are good coffee illustrates what you can serve American who grew up drinking bad coffee. Better than what we used to get does not equal good.

          1. not_me

            While we’re at it, how about a denunciation of the American taste for green bananas? Yuck!

            OTOH, I can always get ripe bananas at a bargain price because of said taste.

            1. Demeter

              Green bananas..I buy green bananas for 2 reasons: my child eats them that way, and eats a lot of them, so I don’t have to go to the store as often. Green bananas are also said to be better for fighting tummy upsets than ripe ones.

              Personally, I don’t like bananas at any stage, unless cooked. And I don’t do coffee or tea.

        2. Oliver Budde

          I recently had Starbucks’ Christmas blend, but brewed via their new Clover method (which of course costs a little more), and thought it was the best-tasting cup of coffee I’ve had in years. Also, I’ve had great coffee all over Europe. Saying it’s Italy or nothing for coffee is needlessly dogmatic. As is writing off all coffee made in America because you had a single bad cup half a century ago. It’s the coffee vendor, not the country the vendor is situated in, that matters.

          1. OIFVet

            I actually do like the Starbucks Christmas blend espresso beans, definitely a very good dark roast and I get a couple of pounds to have for throughout the year. I like my local roaster Intelligentsia the best though: always something new to be discovered.

          2. dearieme

            “because you had a single bad cup half a century ago”: if only it had been a single cup – it was three months of bad cup after bad cup. It just wasn’t a strength of American cuisine.

            (Strengths included, in my view, rye bread, blueberry pie, hamburgers and hot dogs. And delicious Chinese food in SF, though I suppose nobody would have called that ‘American cuisine’ back then. I also had a good lobster on Cape Cod: not as good as the lobsters on the other side of the Atlantic, but pretty bloody good all the same.)

        3. different clue

          I read or heard somewhere that Starbucks uses and produces a very-high caffeine kind of coffee. So people who ingest enough Starbucks coffee over time really come to depend on it.

          I was visiting relatives once in Saratoga Springs, New York. I had some free time and decided to go to the local coffee-place (Uncommon Grounds) which I go to when I am there. The line out the door was so long and so non-moving that I gave up and went down the street to a Starbucks which had no line at all and lots of empty seats inside.

      2. Cynthia

        French coffee is pretty good too, but you’re absolutely right, Italian coffee has got them all beat. Which makes me wonder how Starbucks beat out all the French and Italian competitors in Seattle back when Starbucks was still regarded as a start-up. I was living in Seattle at the time when Starbucks hadn’t yet branched out beyond the west coast, which means they still had plenty of competition from coffee houses that served French or Italian coffee. Just comparing the quality and flavor of the coffee, I would have never believed that Starbucks would have gone on to become the dominant player in the coffee-house space.

        I believe this happened because Starbucks knew it had an inferior product with no intentions of making fundamental improves to it, in terms of either quality and flavor. Instead, they made up for having inferior coffee by marketing it to the max. And their massive marketing campaign was successful only because they marketed their coffee not as a mere product to drink, but as a brand to wear on your shirt sleeve, everywhere you go. It became a status symbol for coffee consumers similar to the way an Izod shirt became a status symbol for consumers of American apparel. When it comes to brand recognition, the green alligator and the green mermaid are virtually the same. Green alligator, green mermaid, same difference.

        It’s still very hard for me to believe how Starbucks could have pulled this off. I firmly believe that if you’ve got a product that’s fundamentally better than all of your competitors, you don’t need to market it to get people to buy it. If it is fundamentally better in and of itself, it will sell itself without you having to lift a finger to market it. Spending too much money to sell it goes to show that it’s not worth buying. And if you have to stoop to branding it in order to get people to buy it, then you’ve got a product that’s really, really not worth buying!

        Frankly, I’m very leery of buying anything that has been marketed to the max. It usually means it’s lousy or not worth buying. For instance, you know that ObamaCare is a lousy product because so much money had to be spent to market it. In fact, the product is so terribly lousy that it practically had to be given away, on the taxpayers’ dime of course. Yes, nearly 90 percent of ObamaCare customers getting taxpayer-funded subsidies to buy their insurance product clearly indicates to me that it’s a product not worth buying.

        1. annie

          French coffee is terrible!
          and at rest stops on the autoroutes, when you really need coffee, they only have push-button machine coffee. i live in italy and can never wait to cross the border.

        2. three eyed goddess

          Did you see their sales staff when they were just getting started?
          The ones I encountered all looked like supermodels.
          Might have helped sales, maybe.

      3. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        US green tea is even worse.

        The only green tea a sensible person should imbibe is organic whisked matcha.

        1. Vatch

          I was surprised when I learned how many brands of Matcha tea there are. Supposedly, the brighter green colored Matchas tend to be better than the olive green colored ones. I’ve only had a chance to try a very small number of Matchas. Here are a couple of web sites with Match green tea reviews. I cannot vouch for the accuracy of the reviews:

          I apologize if this seems too commercial. Since there is a great variety of brands, I’m hoping it’s okay.

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            I get mine from my friend and a fellow student at my Chado school whose family grows tea organically near Nagoya, in small cans that are best preserved in the freezer. I take some out, before using, and sieve through to prevent clumping. One can get a bamboo whisk in many Japanese supermarkets. Then I drink from tea bowls, most of them I made myself (and for my neo-Luddite friends).

            There are two types of match we drink, thick and thin matcha. The former is paste-like, while even the latter is thicker than what one gets in sushi bars.

            A ‘tea new year’ is around November of each year, when we break open the jar, and my teacher hosts a tea party (nothing neoliberal about that though), that has been sealed since picked and minimally processed in early spring. By next summer, the tea gets a little stale and when we make tea then, we put a scoop of cold water into the boiling kettle (the sound is poetically called Matsukaze – the pine wind), before placing it into the bowl for whisking.

    2. optimader

      “It may be the effect of drinking the really bad coffee that seems endemic in the US midwest ” ect
      The whining is relentless.

      Do you think the beans are grown in the Midwest? If you really like coffee the bottom line is to buy green beans you like and roast your own! It takes abt 15 minutes every 15 days or so. My present supplier, due to delivery zone I get my orders next day , couldn’t be more convenient. I buy them once every three months or so.
      Not convenient enough, buy Lavassa or Illy, preground in a can. if you don’t like either of those then:
      1.) You’ve discovered you really don’t like coffee;
      2.) you don’t you really don’t know how to make coffee.

      My first experience of US coffee was nearly fifty years ago. It was so foul that I have ever after laughed whenever an American complains about anyone else’s coffee. The answer to finding good coffee is simple: go to Italy.”

      I call BS. The notion that your opportunity for a “good” cup of coffee in the US is any different than anywhere else is asinine. I love Italy too, but that’s not a vacuous excuse to go there, because eyour probably drinking Lavassa or Illy if you buy retail cup coffee. Ironically what is VERY popular in Italy now is single serving nespresso;jsessionid=5C57A351E887C4F5BDCDFFC2AB6F8B99
      Which is pretty good, but I would (probably) never buy one. I prefer the darkest roast espresso double shot. Not right or wrong, just to my taste.

      People love to take swipes at Starbucks because they are a large successful biz. The notion that Starbucks coffee is “bad” denies that everyone has their own tastes! THEY USE EXCELLENT BEANS AND DO A DARK ROAST, PERIOD. If it’s “taste burned”, what you really mean to say is you don’t like the taste. Plenty of people do apparently. Not my personal choice of coffee, but that is irrelevant to people that like it.

      gee wiz people

          1. optimader

            It’s a treat, expensive but less so than a typical retail coffee. The peaberrys are low in caffeine

            this Brazilian Beija Flor is great as well. I always buy a few lbs ofthis and the bob-o-link

            here’s a strategy to use with lesser coffee beans
            It’s not to my taste, I prefer (espresso roast and grind) in a French press or a stovetop espresso maker but there is a legitimate basis for cold brew in chemistry relatie to minimizing acid extraction

      1. Eclair

        Optimader, I neglected to mention that we were traveling in the Midwest. Now, at home, I grind beans just before use (right now, I’m using a local roaster, Dazbog … not the best ever, but I don’t have to go chasing around the country-side to find the beans ) and use a single cup stove top espresso maker.

        And, kudos to the Swedes for producing good coffee. We travelled around there for three weeks, visiting family, and the coffee was plentiful, strong and smooth. And, they don’t know what decaf is. A side benefit, (maybe due to the high latitude?) is that no matter how many cups I drank every day – at breakfast, morning ‘fika’, lunch, afternoon ‘fika’, and after dinner, I never had any trouble sleeping. Of course, their beer is really good also. :-)

        Now I know how to ‘hi-jack’ any NC thread. Just mention coffee. Or, it may be that we’re all in holiday mode. Anyway, I’m home now, trying to eliminate the memories of all those cups of ‘jus de chausettes,’ as the French so haughtily dub American coffee.

  5. dearieme

    “The Tragedy of the American Military” seems to me to soft-pedal an issue that needs consideration. I commend to you the old British doctrine that “a standing army is a threat to liberty”.

    1. jpalm

      James Madison says it thus:
      “In time of actual war, great discretionary powers are constantly given to the Executive Magistrate. Constant apprehension of War, has the same tendency to render the head too large for the body. A standing military force, with an overgrown Executive will not long be safe companions to liberty. The means of defence against foreign danger, have been always the instruments of tyranny at home. Among the Romans it was a standing maxim to excite a war, whenever a revolt was apprehended. Throughout all Europe, the armies kept up under the pretext of defending, have enslaved the people.”

    2. Will

      A friend sent me that same link last night. It’s a pretty disturbing article for what the author leaves out.

      How do you write so much without mentioning the ‘Vietnam Syndrom’ by name? Many of the ‘problems’ the article discusses, I’ve seen contextualized as elite responses to ensure that Americans don’t ever protest war again as many did in the 60s/early 70s – military worship, end of the draft, economic and financial separation from war and military decisions, control of media messaging, and several other actions, including many so-called ‘problems’ like the mindless praising of troops at sporting events – seem to make perfect sense in this context.

      This quote sums it up: “A chickenhawk nation is more likely to keep going to war, and to keep losing, than one that wrestles with long-term questions of effectiveness.” – it seems that the elites have done everything they could to make the public not care so that they could do whatever they want with the military. I don’t remember the public ever voting in a referendum for any of these changes, or having really deeply honest conversations about them, such as Bush funding Afghanistan and Iraq with supplemental budgets rather than including them in the regular budget so their costs could be included in CBO projections, for example.

      The author also ascribes agency to people or groups that don’t really seem to have any – how many Americans voted to go to war with ISIS? Or to launch a war in Ukraine? Or escalate in Vietnam for that matter? War’s never been a public decision, it’s made by elites who then create cover stories for their decisions. Blaming Americans for misuse of the military seems kinda weird to me.

      For example, what the heck is this: “Too much complacency regarding our military, and too weak a tragic imagination about the consequences if the next engagement goes wrong, have been part of Americans’ willingness to wade into conflict after conflict, blithely assuming we would win.” Did Americans vote to invade Grenada? Or launch coups all over South and Central America? Or invade Iraq 2 or 3 times? I mean, if a poll showed that even .01% of Americans understood the politics around the various energy pipeline options in the middle east at least in part driving the violence there, or the impact on the geostrategic balance between America and Russia if America can make Syria a client state, I’d be amazed – and the author thinks the American public determines war policy? What on earth is he smoking?

      How much public discussion is there of America’s nuclear posture vis-a-vis rival nations and the costs and benefits of maintaining our current capabilities? Or discussion of ways of reducing the risk of unintentional nuclear war, say as a result of strategic attacks against Russia’s major industries, financial sector, and trade, another ‘war’ which Americans didn’t vote for?

      There’s a lot of other weirdness in the article – “Moulton told me, as did many others with Iraq-era military experience, that if more members of Congress or the business and media elite had had children in uniform, the United States would probably not have gone to war in Iraq at all.” – you mean the elites choose to risk other peoples’ lives in their wars of conquest and pillage which disproportionately benefit those same elites? Say it ain’t so! “Fortunate Son” was a great Vietnam-era song about this. This is non-representation of the elite is definitely a feature of the system, not a bug, and it ain’t gonna change absent more fundamental, systemic changes.

      Other weirdness: ” It is striking how rare accountability has been for our modern wars… George W. Bush, who, like most ex-presidents, has grown more popular the longer he’s been out of office, would perhaps be playing a more visible role in public and political life if not for the overhang of Iraq. But those two [with Hillary Clinton] are the exceptions.” Bush is a war criminal – he launched an offensive war in Iraq. Offensive war is considered in international law to be the worst war crime of all because it precipitates – it enables, even encourages – all the war crimes that follow. And yet the author considers that Bush was punished by having a less public role after office, when he ought to face a Nuremburg-style trial which would include his role in enabling torture.

      In general, the article has a lot of interesting anecdotes but seems to ignore a lot of the history that would give context to the complaints the author or the article’s subjects have.

      This is probably my favorite line: “No decent person who is exposed to today’s troops can be anything but respectful of them and grateful for what they do.” There are a lot of reasons to be very disappointed with the military, in particular for following illegal orders that often go right up to the President. The story of Bradley Manning is interesting – the event that caused him to decide to release information to the public followed an order from his commander to go arrest some ‘terrorists’. His role at the time was to assist the Iraqi gov’t in maintaining peace and order and in growing the democracy. He arrested the designated people who were peacefully protesting on a street corner and handing out literature. When he reviewed the literature later, he saw that it wasn’t ‘terrorist’- it was pointing out corruption in the Iraqi gov’t, and urging people to become more aware and vote for candidates that would better represent them. In other words, he’d been ordered to arrest as terrorists people that represented the ideal civil society, but that threatened powerful Iraqi politicians that the US military supported. Bradley also knew that, after handing these ‘terrorists’ over to the Iraqis they would be tortured, as this was very common.

      When Manning told his commander, begging him to help release these protesters, the commander told him to drop it and not tell anyone – just keep obeying orders. Manning saw that the military was lying about building democracy in Iraq – it was functionally building (or trying to) a client state with a democratic facade that used torture as one means of many of maintaining control. When he tried to release this and information about other military lies to the public, he was rewarded with a show trial and 35 years in jail. So, no – I don’t have respect for the members of the military that took part in war crimes, or aided and abetted torture, or covered up for others doing the same. They ought to see past the propaganda and become conscientious objectors until the country really is threatened, not go off to war whenever the elites decide it’s time for another pillage. And don’t get me started on contractors who make massive bank over there.

      In general, I prefer authors that acknowledge the vast disparity in power between elites and ‘the people’ – this one does not.

      1. fresno dan

        good comments.
        “including many so-called ‘problems’ like the mindless praising of troops at sporting events ”
        Pretty much part of the propaganda – every solder and cop is a hero. The US is the “indispensable nation”

        I’ve probably referenced the Goring quote a dozen times, but the first time I looked it up after reading a blog argument about “war on terrorism” – I found it to be such an eye opener.
        Göring: Why, of course, the people don’t want war. Why would some poor slob on a farm want to risk his life in a war when the best that he can get out of it is to come back to his farm in one piece? Naturally, the common people don’t want war; neither in Russia nor in England nor in America, nor for that matter in Germany. That is understood. But, after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine the policy and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy or a fascist dictatorship or a Parliament or a Communist dictatorship.
        Gilbert: There is one difference. In a democracy, the people have some say in the matter through their elected representatives, and in the United States only Congress can declare wars**.
        Göring: Oh, that is all well and good, but, voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same way in any country.

        ** but apparently the Congress doesn’t need to declare police actions…or has never met a police action it doesn’t like.

      2. lord koos

        I’m wondering by what metric is dubya considered more popular now that when he was president? Broadcast on FOX news don’t count.

      3. VietnamVet

        Today’s American Wars are simply money making schemes for insiders. The people’s armies were trashed as soon as the last generation of Elite realized that Nuclear Weapons made them obsolete. The volunteer army is too small to fight the ethnic and religious wars that are so easy to start and that last forever. All that matters is the quarterly dividend.

        Just who thinks Kremlin regime change and the incredible risk of a nuclear war are a good idea?

        Blow back is ignored. The people be damned.

      4. cnchal

        It’s a pretty disturbing article for what the author leaves out.

        Once the F35 was mentioned, it took over 2000 words to never ever get to why it is a disaster.

        The absurdly expensive components, the corruption inherent in these engineering feats was expected. Spread the money around in good jawbs making jets for the military. What could go wrong?

        It seems that the corrupt system is self limiting, because the F35 can’t turn, can’t climb and can’t run. The 50 inch fan in the fuselage kluge for the Marines version has hobbled the performance of all versions.

        The fighter jocks in charge have created a plane they would be caught dead in.

  6. wbgonne

    I commend to you the old British doctrine that “a standing army is a threat to liberty”.

    Not only an “old British doctrine” but one of the core principles of the American Founding Fathers, as demonstrated throughout the Federalist Papers.cUnfortunately, we Americans have forgotten everything worth knowing. All we seem to know is resentment and grievance. Hardly a recipe for social success. As you British say, the proof is in the pudding and 2015, in MNSHO, will be the pudding (notwithstanding Useful Idiot Yglesias’ predictions of stock market glories and Obama revivals). The house of cards can’t stand forever.

    1. Doug Terpstra

      And the pudding will surely be spotted dick, among the finest traditions of British cuisine and the culinary antecedent of our own delectable fruitcake.

      1. McKillop

        Will I be outed as a pedant?
        Here is one example of what I’ve refrained from writing as a Festivus grievance; careless turns of phrase.

        In this case, after too much seasonal engorgement I grimace and refuse to swallow the “proof is in the pudding”. From what I’ve read, and from what makes sense, “the proof of the pudding is in the eating”.

        Surprisingly, ‘pudding’ and ‘pudd’ and ‘pud’ turn into a pedant’s paradise,what with all the different meanings.
        Not that it matters, not that anything matters in such times, as some would say, but pedantic or not, I think such things do matter (at least a little bit.). And it’s what I think after reading Naked Capitalism (which my 10-year old kid teases me is poen) tat makes me thank all of you for making 2014 more interesting and informative to me.

      2. Clive

        I’d never object to anyone opting for spotted dick, but for me you can’t beat jam rolly polly. Both are though distinctly uncivilised without a helping of a good quality custard.

    2. dearieme

      “Not only an “old British doctrine” but one of the core principles of the American Founding Fathers”: well, yes; they were British.

  7. steviefinn

    Thanks for the Simon Wren – Lewis article & the ‘ April Fools ‘ piece which I hadn’t previously seen. It does strike me that the current austerity measures enforcement, particularly in the UK, is an effort to push everything back to a pre – 1945 paradigm. It also appears to me that it is based on spite as much as anything else – the main architects such as Osborne, appear to me to be just a bunch of nasty privileged cretins, who like many. need many others firmly under their feet to maintain their feelings of superiority.
    There used to be major uses for an underclass & a struggling working class slightly above them for factory fodder, cannon fodder, servants etc & maybe to a certain extent there still is, but there were huge social problems that came with this. Prostitution as a major casual source of income among working class women, mass addiction to moonshine gin etc, very high crime rates, mass incarceration & executions for often minor offences, starvation & malnutrition.
    In the middle of the 19th century the population in the UK was roughly half of the current level & to cope with the problems with the then underclass, forced emigration to the colonies was being practiced especially to Australia – which considering it was largely built on the backs of those considered as scum, didn’t turn out so bad.
    Other than the obvious reason for members of the so called elite to further fill their insatiable guts, I cannot see the sense in this. If everybody keeps competing in this race to the bottom – what use can be made of the millions who will be hanging on by their finger nails ? Are they all to be consigned to sweat shops ? & if the world becomes one huge sweatshop, who is going to buy what they produce ? if it is themselves, then it will due to subsistence wages only be cheap goods with low demand. There is no Botany bay for convicts or West Indies for indentured servants – perhaps workhouses or industrial prisons could make a comeback, as it appears that debtors prisons are doing so.
    One of the things I detested a bout Thatcher was her ‘ Victorian values ‘ mantra. Anybody with any knowledge of that time would know that for the vast majority of people life was pure misery. She meant it in regard to Victorian morality which as far as I can tell was nothing more than hypocrisy of the highest order. She would have not been any position to partake in politics or to even vote pre 1918.
    Maybe I am looking for reason where there isn’t any – all they can see is a return of what they consider to be the natural order of things where everyone knew their place, & naturally their’s is to be at the top looking down on the mass herds of the insignificant. A place where, as is their right, they can gorge themselves to their empty hearts delight – they need that trough & nothing else matters.
    I apologise for this probable pointless ramble but being the first day of a new year, with not much apparent cheer on the horizon, it seems right to me to try & figure out the prognosis of this metastasis of corruption that is spreading through our system from certain malignant tumours. I hope I am very wrong & that they all have our best interests at heart & everything will be sunshine & roses rather than nuclear type winter & thorns.
    Jesse posted this sometime ago & Lambert’s mention of Cossacks reminded me of it – A lesson that is probably never learnt:

    Tsar Nicholas II: I know what will make them happy. They’re children, and they need a Tsar! They need tradition. Not this! They’re the victims of agitators. A Duma would make them bewildered and discontented. And don’t tell me about London and Berlin. God save us from the mess they’re in!

    Count Witte: I see. So they talk, pray, march, plead, petition and what do they get? Cossacks, prison, flogging, police, spies, and now, after today, they will be shot. Is this God’s will? Are these His methods? Make war on your own people? How long do you think they’re going to stand there and let you shoot them? YOU ask ME who’s responsible? YOU ask?

    Tsar Nicholas II: The English have a parliament. Our British cousins gave their rights away. The Hapsburgs, and the Hoehenzollerns too. The Romanovs will not. What I was given, I will give my son.

    Wishing you all & others of goodwill that 2015 will become a much less rocky road that leads to a hopeful new horizon.

    1. Kurt Sperry

      “Other than the obvious reason for members of the so called elite to further fill their insatiable guts, I cannot see the sense in this. If everybody keeps competing in this race to the bottom – what use can be made of the millions who will be hanging on by their finger nails ? Are they all to be consigned to sweat shops ? & if the world becomes one huge sweatshop, who is going to buy what they produce ?”

      If you sit atop the pile, it basically matters not what is going on beneath you. And the more wretched and pitiable the pile beneath is, the more the contrast highlights how magnificent and deserving the elite atop the pile are. Misery and privation add luster and exclusivity to wealth and privilege.

  8. tongorad

    The NYPD are just being useful idiots. The goal is to further discredit and demean unions. Sorted!

    1. Cynthia

      Well, I’m generally not for privatizing any workforce, but privatizing the police force would go a long way towards reducing cronyism and police brutality. If cops knew they’d have to pay for their own legal defense, maybe they’d think twice before shooting or beating up someone. Make them pay for their own retirement, bailing out their underfunded pension plans is costing the taxpayers too much. And send them to the exchanges to purchase ObamaCare without any federal subsidies, their Cadillac plans have also been a huge drain on the taxpayer.

      1. tongorad

        There’s a name for a privatized police force: The Mafia. As for retirement and “Cadillac plans,” those are things all workers deserve and should be entitled too, yes? Going after public employee benefits has been very effective method in lowering the bar for everyone.

      2. lord koos

        As bad as many police departments are, I think the privitization of police would worse. The opportunities for corruption would be even greater with a private force.

        1. Les

          Yeah…they could be the same companies that run the P.I.C.
          They could get stock options through their employer.
          Talk about job security.

      3. Gaianne


        A mercenary police force has–at the very least–all of the problems of a mercenary army. Will they serve the public? You dream! They will serve their owners–who will be expecting to make substantial profits. Aside from said owners–assuming you can find the owners–they will be accountable to no one at all.

        If you want to enhance the reputation of the Mafia for public benevolence–through the technique of contrast–do go with a privatized police force!


  9. JohnB

    On the link to the old NC article, on Academic Choice Theory:
    This seems to branch from public-choice-theory, but I believe I have read some criticism of the accuracy of PCT before (in a book about Irish political corruption, but can’t find the part now, as it’s not in the index :/) – can anyone enlighten me on valid criticism of PCT? (doesn’t it rely in part, on some neoclassical ‘rational agents’ theories?)

    Would those criticisms not equally apply to ACT? Interesting link in any case, would be good to read more on ACT.

    1. diptherio

      That one was having a bit of fun at the expense of the PCT folks, while also making a few barbed points about economists. “Jesting in earnest,” as it were

      1. JohnB

        Ah okey – yes that went over my head alright :) (probably as I’m not yet familiar with PCT or criticism of it)

  10. JohnB

    Also – sorry to bring this up yet again – would really love to see a ‘paid-subscriber-only’ RSS feed for NC, that includes the full text of articles in the feed; I find I am reading NC a lot less these days, and can’t keep up with the site at all now, and being able to read it all within RSSOwl again would be awesome (and I’m happy to pay money for that ability).

    1. Yves Smith

      We have looked into this and we can’t provide two RSS feeds, believe it or not. Our tech people have told us it is not possible operationally.

  11. Massinissa

    “Some investors no longer terrified of Syriza”

    They probably woke up and realized Syriza is a trojan horse for financial interests, like Obama was.

    Its only a matter of time before Syriza gets into power only to continue business as usual.

    1. Les

      Wouldn’t that be a mind f*ck.
      “And nobody seems to notice….nobody seems to care, that’s what the owners count on”

    1. Jim Haygood

      From your link:

      ‘You might think, therefore, that works whose authors died in 1944 would be freely available on January 1, 2015. Sadly, no. When Congress changed the law, it applied the term extension retrospectively to existing works, and gave all in-copyright works published between 1923 and 1977 a term of 95 years. The result? None of those works will enter the public domain until 2019.’

      What’s so special about 1923? Mickey Mouse debuted. So the Disney Company wrote the law that way to protect a cartoon character, cartoon characters in Congress passed it, and a cartoon-character president named Clinton signed it.

      When legalized copyright abuse locks down our culture, infringement becomes a moral obligation. As ol’ Abbie Hoffman used to say, Steal this book!

      1. Jim Haygood

        My instant punishment for this post is a context-sensitive Disney World ad in the left column, with an idiot mouse grinning at me.

  12. Massinissa

    Will and Steviefinns comments today were phenomenal. They were better than many of the articles.

  13. Jim Haygood

    Whilst Chart #4 in the Telegraph’s 2014 economic wrap-up doubtless provoked rounds of jovial toasts at the Bankers Ball last night, a couple of others point toward future drama.

    In Chart #9 showing GDP of various European countries since 1st Jan 2008, only four of the eleven exhibited any economic growth over the seven lean years which followed. Greece, with a 26% drop in GDP over the period, is in flat-out depression.

    Chart #6, showing Planet Japan’s otherworldly QE program approaching 60% of GDP (vs. 25% in the US and Europe), can only be described as a monument to human folly. Clearly the BOJ is in the running for the coveted Gideon Gono award for excellence in central banking. Got zeros?

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Planet Japan is capable of funneling all the new yens into dollars via their export machine so Mrs. Watanabe doesn’t see a cent of it. It’s all covered in Manorial Household Economics 101.

    2. Clive

      I’m always interested when people comment about what Japan is doing wrong, it’s doing plenty wrong in terms of policy but I’d never put the QE / deficit spending right at the top of my list. What do people think it should be doing instead ?

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        ‘Liberate’ all the zombie banks and corporation in the Land of the Rising Sun, so they can go to the Amita Buddha’s western paradise of Pureland, and give ‘helicopter’ money directly to the people.

        1. Clive

          I’d definitely go along with nationalising the banks and having a good old clear out of non performing loans. But as for helicopter money, this has been tried to only a very limited success, if it was a success at all. Generally, people just saved the money. I’d probably go with monetisation of tthe debt held by the central bank.

  14. Jackrabbit

    Paul Craig Roberts: Plea for Russia+China to save the world from neocons

    “In my opinion, it took the Russians and Chinese too long to comprehend the evil that has control in Washington. Therefore, both countries risk nuclear attack prior to the full operational capability of their conjoined defense. As the Western economy is a house of cards, Russia and China could collapse the Western economy before the neoconservatives can drive the world to [nuclear] war.”

    H O P

    1. Jackrabbit

      What’s important to remember – and PCR is super cognizant of – is that SCO and BRICS are getting stronger and more determined everyday. In a few years they will be able to challenge the petro-dollar and with that, world leadership. Russia is the lynchpin of resistance to the neolibcon NWO because of their natual resources and military capability. The fight for global supremacy is happening NOW and it is deadly serious. Would neocons sacrifice a few hundred million people for the mantle of undisputed global supremacy? PCR (and many others) have no doubt that they would.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        It’s interesting to note, even on this first day of the new year, that amidst imperial collapse (great links always with the ‘Imperial Collapse Watch), the empire can print as much petrodollar money as she wills, launching economic/financial wars anywhere on the planet.

        Talk about the ability to project strength.

        All we need is for the Senate to explain that power to the Emperor.

    2. ex-PFC Chuck

      PCR has come a long way since his days as a knee-jerk supply-side econ mouthpiece and an assistant Treasury secretary during the Reagan administration.

      1. not_me

        Not far enough?

        “Just as the Federal Reserve’s agents, the bullion banks, dump massive shorts onto the bullion futures markets during periods of little activity in order to drive down the bullion price,…”

        The whining of a goldbug, ie. someone who really doesn’t understand money?

        “… China can dump the equivalent in US Treasuries of years of Quantitative Easing in a few minutes. If the Federal Reserve quickly creates dollars with which to purchase the enormous quantity of Treasuries so that the financial house of cards does not implode, …”

        Why would it explode? The US Government has no need to borrow in the first place and Chinese sales would drive UP the nominal yield of existing US sovereign debt making it more attractive to investors while new US sovereign debt could (and should) be issued at zero 0% interest, if not less (to cover risk-free storage costs).

        the Chinese can then dump the dollars that they are paid for the bonds in the currency market.

        What dollars since the US Government (including the Fed) has no need to support the price (lower the yield) of existing US sovereign debt? Since new debt can be issued at 0%?

        Whereas the Federal Reserve can print dollars with which to purchase the Treasuries, the Fed cannot print foreign currencies with which to buy the dollars. Paul Craig Roberts

        No new dollars means no need for foreign currencies to buy them with.

        1. lord koos

          Gold bug or not, you don’t need a degree in economics to see that precious metals markets are rigged, just as other markets are.

  15. Jim Haygood

    From the Census Bureau:

    ‘Six states lost population between July 1, 2013, and July 1, 2014: Illinois (9,972 or -0.08 percent), West Virginia (3,269 or -0.18 percent), Connecticut (2,664 or -0.07 percent), New Mexico (1,323 or -0.06 percent, Alaska (527 or -0.07 percent) and Vermont (293 or -0.05 percent).’

    In a country with 0.7% annual population growth, these states can be regarded as troubled. By no coincidence, all six states losing peeps are among the 29 states which impose a minimum wage higher than the federal level.

    West Virginia in particular, as it hikes its min wage by a brutal 10.3% in 2015, followed by another 9.375% in 2016, ought to bleed even faster as the little Appalachian welfare state makes itself even more uncompetitive. Even John Denver couldn’t help it now!

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Population changes due to various factors, among them, birth and death rates, migration, etc.

      It’s hard to imagine a state’s higher minimum wage has that much immediate, direct and significant impact on lowering new births.

      1. OIFVet

        I think Jim is saying that the poor corporations are not hiring in those states so the inhabitants are jumping on their wagons and beating a new trail to low-wage Texas or sumpthin’. Never mind the ginormous subsidies and tax breaks the State of Illinois and Count Rahm Emanuel’s Fief of Chicago gives the likes of Boeing and the CME, to name a couple of the worst offenders…

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Thanks for the clarification.

          Perhaps ardent parents can make up for the population decrease (if that’s important) due to net out migration what those cold-hearted lawmakers so carelessly impose by hiking the minimum wage.

    2. sleepy

      By no coincidence, all six states losing peeps are among the 29 states which impose a minimum wage higher than the federal level.

      I think coincidence would go much further in explaining it than the causation you seem to embrace.

      That 23 out of 29 states which had a higher minimum wage than the federal wage gained population seems to be an obvious flaw in your argument. I’m sure there are others.

      1. cwaltz

        Heh, I’m sure West Virginia’s standard of living has nothing to do with people migrating elsewhere. I mean who wouldn’t want to live in the second poorest state in the nation? I mean doesn’t everyone look for places where water pollution is a regular occurance when they search for where to put down roots or a place where their children have a 50/50 shot of experiencing poverty firsthand? It’s a real draw.

  16. susan the other

    Thanks for relinking to Bill Mitchell. I couldn’t get thru yesterday. Enjoy watching him. He is so calm and clear. The simplicity of MMT is a pleasure to listen to. Makes me remember when I first heard the basics (here at NC) on MMT, i thought “that can’t even be meaningful – it’s too simple.” Now I think, Why does orthodox economix make everything so convoluted? And also today’s Matt Yglesias’ stuff was hilarious. His 11 Banalities for 2015 couldn’t possibly go wrong. What’s not funny about that? Then he kindly linked me on to stuff about NAIRU (natural unemployment rate) which he all but demonstrated does not exist – except in the convolutions of vested interests. But he concluded much like an MMTer that inflation does not necessarily go up in a spiral of wages and prices if there is idle capacity in the labor force. Bill Mitchell would say it is a vote for jobs guarantees. So would i. And the whole thing made me think About Jamie Galbraith’s comment that deficits are a symptom of economic dysfunction, not a cause. Since deficits don’t guide policy under MMT, I twisted it a notch to make myself wonder if inflation is likewise a symptom of a dysfunctional economy but certainly not the cause, as deficits seem to march to the same drummer as inflation. And etc. But hey, dysfunction is our middle name.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Still on the crusade against wage inflation (so dangerous as it leads to higher prices)?

    2. LifelongLib

      My local paper reprinted an AP article about family tensions caused by siblings who are drastically different in wealth/income. I’m actually glad that my younger brother is a bit better off than I am (my ultimate fallback plan if everything someday goes south is to live in his basement), but the article did mention some poll results that suggest many Americans don’t care much about income inequality. Less than half think it’s a very big problem, only 3% think it’s America’s most important problem. 24% think it’s because some work harder than others.

      We have a long way to go…

  17. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    China’s Trade Deficit…US 3.2 million jobs.

    That’s part of the cost to sustain a global reserve currency (so the big boys can afford economic hit men on all 5 continents), launch currency attacks, buy off politicians everywhere, procure the best security toys and make other countries toy in rare earths mines.

    And the currency costs nothing to make (and make as much as the big boys want).

    Looking at the big picture, what’s a few million jobs, especially for people knowledgeable on Manorial Household Economics?

  18. cwaltz

    A week ago Yves posted an article from a study that was suggesting that a lot of cancer is caused by lifestyle choices. As per usual, this week the medical community released an article that suggests that up to 2/3 of cancer is caused by chance and that even with lifestyle choices you can get cancer based not even on genes but by the luck of the draw.

    Color me shocked- not! I wonder what viewpoint will be exposed next week. It would be much easier if they just said that the science behind cancer is complicated.

    1. lord koos

      Common sense would seem to indicate that many, if not most cancers are a result of environmental factors, not just genetics or lifestyle. If you lived downwind from Hanford in the 1950s, or next to a coal burning plant, it wouldn’t matter so much what your lifestyle or genetic makeup was, you were poisoned. And what about all the man-made compounds in our environment that have unknown effects on us, such as off-gassing from plastic products such as car interiors, carpets, toys etc just to name a few.

  19. fresno dan

    How the Anechoic Effect Persists: The Case of the Continued Punishment of Dr Elliott Health Care Renewal. James Risen’s Pay Any Price has many examples of “the anechoic effect.”

    The scope of the word “anechoic” has to be widened to reflect the modern world:
    Not finding torture
    Not finding police misconduct
    Not finding invasion of privacy by NSA
    Not finding fraud associated with big banks
    etc., etc.,
    basically, all our courts and investigatory bodies are nothing more than dispensation dispensing bodies. They make the indulgences given by the Church look like strict accountability

  20. participant-observer-observed

    Whoops! Almost forgot to share these (Western) New Year presents run today by Amy Goodman & Co:

    “In this holiday special, we feature a Democracy Now! broadcast exclusive interview with Alayne Fleischmann, the whistleblower who helped the Justice Department force JPMorgan Chase to pay one of the largest fines in U.S. history for its role in the financial crisis. She is featured in a Rolling Stone investigation by recently returned Matt Taibbi, who also joins us. Fleischmann details how she witnessed “massive criminal securities fraud” in the bank’s mortgage operations. Taibbi’s investigation is headlined, “The $9 Billion Witness: Meet the woman JPMorgan Chase paid one of the largest fines in American history to keep from talking.””

    Matt Taibbi and “The $9 Billion Witness” Who Exposed How JPMorgan Chase Helped Wreck the Economy

    Who Goes to Jail? Matt Taibbi on “The Divide: American Injustice in the Age of the Wealth Gap”

    1. participant-observer-observed

      Role of consumer capitalism in mass extinction is also very well presented in this world class documentary. I admit, it is a bit depressing to consider, but it is inspiring that these people got together to document this well, making it easy to watch and share!

      This film will be streaming online for two weeks from December 31 to January 14.

      Plot synopsis:

      If current trends continue, scientists warn that at least half of all plant and animal species on Earth will become extinct within the next few decades. “Call of Life” is the first feature-length documentary to fully investigate the growing threat posed by the rapid and massive loss of biodiversity on the planet. How will the decisions we make — or fail to make — in the next decade affect the habitability of Earth for millions of years to come?

      Economic commentary starts ~35 min

  21. MichaelC

    I’m sure the usual suspects are waiting with bated breath for an incident to stoke the usual hysteria, but we might consider a possible bright side: Maybe we need less of the sort of policing the NYPD does, and, if so, we might consider an immediate and drastic reduction in force and budget. Let’s start with the fusion centers, then the Israeli liaison, then all the militarized bits. The city of New York already has a government; it doesn’t need an entire parastate operating out of 1 Police Plaza.

    Indeed. This is the best summary I’ve read so far.
    The PBA seems to be blind to the simmering rage the mild mannered mainstream Occupiers who went into the shadows in the face of the outgunned contempt of the police to them.

    Those tens of thousands are aligned with the overt targets of police hostility. The Bloomberg/Guiliani/post 911 ‘respect’ for the police is long gone.

    De Blasio needs to wake up and realize his balls are safe from any attack by the non-1% NY voters (except those fool R’s , but this is a D city after all).

    I do hope this work stoppage exposes the waste of resources spent on the NYPD. Crime is down ’cause NYC is a different place, not because we got more policing.

    1. Les

      If Occupy would have gotten just a little more steam, we wouldn’t have the internet right now.
      Divide and conquer.
      Since the beginning of time.

  22. abynormal

    Mario Cuomo dies hours after his son Andrew was sworn-in to a second term as governor of New York state.


  23. not_me

    Lest you have to read the entire article:

    This spear-killing, predatory behavior is triggered by the bacterium’s environment. The cholera bacterium naturally lives in water, such as the sea, where it attaches onto small planktonic crustaceans. There, it feeds on the main component of their shells: a sugar polymer called chitin. When chitin is available, V. cholerae goes into an aggressive survival mode called “natural competence.” When in this mode, V. cholerae attacks neighboring bacteria with its spear — even if they are of the same species.

  24. Chris Sturr

    I don’t get the remark about “Johnston’s odd pom-pom waving”. I took his “what’s not to like?” as basically sarcastic, as the first half of the article is all about how puzzling it is that elites and Wall Street aren’t more enthusiastic about “Obamanomics”, given how good it has been for them, and the second half of the article (after the subhead “Stagnation”) is about how bad the recovery has been for everyone else. I guess maybe the objection is that he blames Republican obsctructionism vs. Obama? But it’s hardly simple pom-pom waving (as someone might have assumed from the title).

Comments are closed.