Links 5/1/15

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Meet the guy trying to turn emoji into a legitimate, usable language Washington Post. What is wrong with English (or Spanish, or Chinese)? I am leery of possible Newspeaks.

Overlooked evidence – global warming may proceed faster than expected Guardian

In A Bid To Put An End To The Fossil Fuel Crisis, Audi Has Made Diesel Only From Air And Water ViralSpell (David L)

As sensors shrink, watch as ‘wearables’ disappear Reuters. Bear in mind that if you took this trend at face value, Google Glass would have been a huge hit.

Internet trolls: Proactive policing Economist. Notice it only takes five comments to get to 80% accuracy. Overpersistence (which in our experience goes along with dishonest argumentation) is a big tell.

Who’s Crazy Now? American Psychological Association Supported Torture “At Every Critical Juncture” George Washington

A frosty peace beckons for the US and China Financial Times

Self-Propelled Artillery Market Looks to the East Forecast International (Bob H)

Silicon Valley braced for EU scrutiny Financial Times

The Traumatic Restructuring Of Austria’s Cooperative Banking System Frances Coppola, Forbes. Richard Smith: “Quite liking Frances’s coverage of this stuff, especially the way she never rules out the possibility that things are still worse than they appear to be.”

Happiness and Freedom: East German Version Ian Welsh (Chuck L). A must read. Carol B flagged the same article and noted: “America’s becoming very like the jokes we americans used to make about the Soviet Union.”


Pain Versus Gain: Argentina, Greece, and Paul Volcker Dean Baker. The big caveat I have, as both economists and some readers in Greece have pointed out, Greece does not have an export mix that will benefit much from currency depreciation.

Friday lay day – the hopelessness of the Greek situation Bill Mitchell

Default without Grexit: Are they all pre-planned eventually? failed evolution. Would


U.S. to Escort Ships in Strait Where Iran Seized Cargo Carrier Wall Street Journal. This is major, and not a good sign.

U.S. Pays Off Hostage Takers Daily Beast (furzy mouse)

Some thoughts on the state of things in the ME. Sic Semper Tyrannis (Chuck L)

Why Are We Losing in the Middle East? Too Much STEM, Not Enough Humanities Huffington Post (Carol B)

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

House committee approves bill to end NSA phone records program PC World

Germany Is Accused of Helping NSA Spy on European Allies New York Times

Airbus sues over alleged German spying Financial Times


Bro of H Clinton Top Aide Lobbied for Qatar-Exxon Owned LNG Export Terminal Steve Horn

Open thread for night owls: A condensed look at what Bernie Sanders thinks on some issues Daily Kos


Experts: You Can’t Break Your Own Spine Like Freddie Gray Daily Beast (furzy mouse). It is beyond comprehension that the police have tried running this excuse.

Other Prisoner in Van with Freddie Gray Denies Police Account Gawker

Media’s Baltimore ‘Teen Purge’ Narrative is Falling Apart Alternet


Rumsfeld: Looting is transition to freedom UPI. Noing; “Statement from 2003.”

Ratios and the rational Corrente. On O’Malley’s cooked Baltimore crime stats

There is a name for this Steve Waldman. Today’s must read. I’m a big believer in altruistic punishment, and Waldman is correct to point out that it is not always high minded looking or pretty or clean.

Black Injustice Tipping Point

Father of black Detroit youth shot by ICE agent: “They brought my son down the stairs and executed him in my face” Eclectablog (furzy mouse)

Chicago Police Swarm DePaul Law School During Event on Acquitted Chicago Officer Who Killed Rekia Boyd
Kevin Gosztola, Firedoglake (Carol B)

AT&T just confirmed they fired president for racist texts Daily Kos (furzy mouse)

California’s Fire Season Is Shaping Up to Be a “Disaster” Mother Jones

Mr. Market Has a Sad

Nasdaq plunges 1.5%; Dow slides triple digits, clings to gains for 2015 CNBC (furzy mouse)

Energy earnings run dry in Americas Financial Times

Why G.E. Ditched Finance New Yorker (furzy mouse)

Big Banks Use Loophole to Avoid Ban Wall Street Journal (Adrien). A generic headline, but the ban is the automatic SEC ban on certain product sales as part of an enforcement action.

Class Warfare

When Will Apple Stop Screwing the US Economy? Moneyball Economics (Bob H)

Former Swiss Banker: Wealthy Above Law NBC

Antidote du jour. Godfree: “Caught in suburban Chiang Mai, Thailand. Handsome devil!”

ox links

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. William C

    The default without Grexit article is interesting.

    The idea of an EU (rather than Greek government) recapitalisation of the Greek banks was one which had occurred to me in the bath (as it does). Presumably the Greeks would lose their banking system (become German owned?) but it would relieve the Greek government of the need to find any euros or start printing drachma.

    Time will tell.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Looks like the 10th scene of the Zen ox-herding story (the water buffalo being the mind, having been tamed by the ox-herd) is coming home to the noisy market place where everything has returned again amongst the ordinary, everyday life and one can zazen with that noise (being re-engaged with the world), and not just at the mountaintop (in solitude).

      1. diptherio

        I was sitting in Kali Baba’s kuti in Nepal a number of years ago with a couple of visiting Indian sadhus. One was (I’m guessing) in his early fifties, the other, a sadhu-in-training, in his early twenties. The older one (the teacher) was congratulating Kali Baba on having found such a peaceful place to settle, far from the noise and pollution of Kathmandu, and with a great view of the Himalayas. The younger monk responded, “If your heart is pure, all places are the same.”

        “What are you, crazy?!?” his teacher exploded, “how is this like Kathmandu?!? All the honking and noise and people and cars and motorbikes? We were just there yesterday, and you’re telling me this isn’t better?” (I’ve freely translated the conversation to give the flavor of the exchange)

        Kali Baba and I both found the exchange hilarious. I think they’re both right, in their ways, myself being a Discordian (among other things) and holding firmly to the Discordian mantra that:

        All statements are true in some sense, false in some sense, meaningless in some sense, true and false in some sense, true and meaningless in some sense, false and meaningless in some sense, and true and false and meaningless in some sense. And if you repeat this mantra 666 times, you will obtain supreme enlightenment…in some sense.

        Here’s a picture of the young guy in that story. Couldn’t find a pic of his teacher. And here’s me and Kali Baba laying the foundation stone for the school that I expect to find in ruins when I return this summer :-/

        1. ewmayer

          Thanks for the great anecdote, diptherio — I find great wisdom in the youngster’s observation. I’ve heard the following English-language saying that seems to convey the same view: “Wherever you go, there you are.”

          1. JoeK

            “Wherever you go, there you are.”

            And its corollary: “Wherever you are, there you go.”

    2. quixote

      Not a water buffalo. (They have horns that lie “flat” on their heads and kind of curl up.) The picture shows what is variously called Thai wild cattle or indigenous cattle. It’s a domesticated version that’s very close to the original wild species, which is native to Indonesia. Not sure if that got up into SE Asia? Probably did.

      The wild species that cows are descended from are huge animals and far from placid. The near-wild domesticated version is also probably pretty rambunctious. So, to extend the Zen metaphor, the little oxherd is an Olympic-class mind-leader :D.

  2. Jeff

    Greece does not have an export mix that will benefit much from currency depreciation.

    One of the major industries in Greece is tourism, I believe. This seems like it would similar to export in some ways. If it’s cheaper to come visit Greece, people from the Eurozone will be more likely to go to Greece on holiday and exchange Euros for the local currency. I might be missing something in equating the two, though.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      Tourism to Greece collapsed as a result of the bust, and it has to have gotten worse thanks to the crisis. My mother goes on cruises, so she gets all the tour promos, particularly the last-minute bargains which reflect undersold cruises. Since 2012, they’ve basically been giving away cruises that involve Greece or the Greek islands. Tourists do not want to visit an economy in crisis. I think the cruise lines have managed to redo their routes so as to have far fewer Greek tours/ports of call (there are always some history enthusiasts who won’t be put off by a destination not looking pleasant).

    2. Calgacus

      No, you are right, Jeff. As Mark Weisbrot notes, the closest comparison to Greece’s current situation is Argentina, which successfully went it alone and defaulted in 2002 against universal prophecies of doom. The main difference is that Greece has more actual exports and export potential than Argentina. But the lion’s share of the recovery of Greece after a Grexit, as in Argentina, would come from tending its own garden, from domestic production and employment. As usual, things as obvious as ones own nose are ignored.

      But in any case, to obtain necessary imports – Greece has not one but two hyper-competitive, world-class, fx earning sectors – See Merijn Knibbe’s The 10% of GDP Greek *surplus* on its services trade balance “15% of the global fleet of merchant vessels is owned by Greek companies” Good luck to trying to seriously restrict trade to such a country after it exits the Euro suicide pact!

      As Frances Coppola comments there, the problem is that Greece’s hefty international-trade-in-services surplus was more than offset by even heftier goods deficits. It is not that Greece has nothing to sell abroad – a more serious problem – but merely that it was buying too much abroad. Having one’s own currency is an effective, capital control in itself that automatically prevents this.

      A striking illustration of this is that under the tutelage of the Almighty Euro Greece became a net importer of olive oil from Germany. Clearly something was rancid in the state of Euromark!

  3. Steve H.

    Ratios and the rational

    Subtitle: The Administrative Methodology of Cui Malo.

    “But could it be true that no ratio can account for externalities?” This is exactly what Odum was trying to do in his book ‘Environmental Accounting.’ The implicit facts of ratio are not the problem, it’s the gaming of the definitions. Thus does asset inflation become ‘productivity.’

    If the externalities (the ‘bads’) cannot be fully accounted for, neither can them ‘goods.’ There are non-zero-sum games. The deepest externality I can figure is the production of entropy, which is not conserved, and so theoretically infinite. But while we can not account for the infinite pinball deflections of entropy, the measurement of the production of ‘goods’ through emergence has never been sufficiently accounted for.

    One way emergence occurs is through ‘excluded volume’ (or ‘depletion force’). This is where more entropy is produced by pushing macromolecules together. It is a problem when it causes paint to clump, but is also the precursor to life itself, which I’ma gonna call a ‘good’ while acknowledging I’m biased on the subject.

    Another linked article, ‘There is a name for this,’ explicitly outlines this aspect in the social context: “Changes in expected payoffs change the equilibria that ultimately prevail, in ways which may be beneficial for some groups or for “society as a whole”, however you define the welfare of that entity. Of course, there are no guarantees. Changes in expected payoffs can alter equilibria in undesirable directions as well.”

  4. Furzy Mouse

    Kevin Moore, the man who filmed Freddie Gray’s brutal arrest, has himself been arrested following “harassment and intimidation” from Baltimore police.

    Moore was arrested at gunpoint last night along with two other members of Cop Watch, a community dedicated to filming and documenting police work.

    His video of Gray’s arrest was shot shortly before the man suffered spinal injuries while in police custody that led to his death.

    Posted by We Copwatch on Thursday, April 30, 2015
    Moore claims that despite having co-operated with two detectives in the Baltimore Police Department’s Office of Internal Oversight and given them the video, police posted his photo and told the public that he was “wanted for questioning”, asking people to identify him.

    “What is so important that you have to plaster my picture over the Internet? I’ve already spoken,” Moore said, suggesting that they posted it simply to harass him.

    At the time of writing it seems Moore has been released but his colleagues, Chad Jackson and Tony White, have not, with Cop Watch asking for help from lawyers.

    …….On another note…the beautiful water buffalo appears to be an albino!

    1. fresno dan

      I remember years ago how the phrase “sunlight is the best disinfectant” was the most overused phrase.
      I’m sorry, but it strikes me that it isn’t that people can’t figure out what is going on (really! somebody can sever their own spine???) – it is that they don’t care what is going on.
      Maybe I will be wrong – but if I could bet, I would bet no cop gets convicted of any serious crime.

      1. fresno dan

        Well, I am happy to report I was wrong – CNN is just reporting that Cops have been indicted for homicide in the Gray death. Long overdue and way short of all the times is should have happened, but maybe, the public is enforcing some accountability…

  5. abynormal

    “The name for the month of ‘May’ has been believed to derive from ‘Maia’, who was revered as the Roman ‘Goddess of Springtime, of Growth and Increase’, and the mother of ‘Mercury’, the winged messenger of the Gods. Yet this is disputed as before these deities featured in mythology the name ‘Maius’ or ‘Magius’, taken from the root ‘Mag’, meaning the ‘Growing month’ or ‘Shooting month’ was used.”
    May Mystical World Wide Web

    better yet…”May is a pious fraud of the almanac.”
    James R. Lowell

  6. Demeter

    News from the Scientific World: New Element Discovered

    Victoria University of Wellington researchers have discovered the heaviest element yet known to science. The new element, Governmentium (symbol=Gv), has one neutron, 25 assistant neutrons, 88 deputy neutrons and 198 assistant deputy neutrons, giving it an atomic mass of 312.

    These 312 particles are held together by forces called morons, which are surrounded by vast quantities of lepton-like particles called pillocks. Since Governmentium has no electrons, it is inert. However, it can be detected, because it impedes every reaction with which it comes into contact.

    A tiny amount of Governmentium can cause a reaction that would normally take less than a second, to take from 4 days to 4 years to complete. Governmentium has a normal half-life of 1 to 3 years (in NZ). It does not decay, but instead undergoes a re-organisation in which a portion of the assistant neutrons and deputy neutrons exchange places.

    In fact, Governmentium’s mass will actually increase over time, since each reorganisation will cause more morons to become neutrons, forming isodopes.

    This characteristic of moron promotion leads some scientists to believe that Governmentium is formed whenever morons reach a critical concentration. This hypothetical quantity is referred to as a critical morass. When catalysed with money, Governmentium becomes Administratium (symbol=Ad), an element that radiates just as much energy as Governmentium, since it has half as many pillocks but twice as many morons.

    1. Steve H.

      It should be noted that Persephonium can protect against the effects of Governmentium, in the same way as Lead can provide a shield against Plutonium. Persephonium is not produced in stars, however. It is generated through a slow reaction of skin oils with soils and water, and is more effectively formed with a seeding process.

  7. Torsten

    re: emoji

    In a former life, when I taught linguistics, every few years an amusing freshman would come along, proud to have invented his or her own language. It was usually some pidgin English written in Roman orthography, purportedly easier to learn than English or Spanish or . . . .

    Years later, I found myself working for a large internet company that was being taken over by the UI department. “Most people can’t read” was their mantra. I suspect Mr. Benenson is working for that same department.

    There is, of course, an element of truth in that mantra. Sampling the content and comments here on NC, it’s easy to overestimate the literacy of the general public. Learning to read takes a long time. I’m still learning, like most of us here. We had the good fortune to learn to read well early and land jobs that required us to continue to learn to read. As we are seeing, most of the rest of the electorate hates reading teachers and teachers unions. Their preferred mode of writing is a tweet, an emoji and a pic. Otherwise they are passive consumers of TV and Rush Limbaugh.

    Benenson is taking a different tack from my old students. He is trying to re-invent the Chinese language, but we know how that experiment turns out. What is wrong with Chinese? It is relatively easy to build a small written vocabulary for cavemen, but in later times it has been exceptionally laborious to build a professional written vocabulary in Chinese. For the Chinese 0.01% this has been a feature, not a bug. It will be interesting to see if, when, and how text-to-speech changes the Chinese langscape.

    1. Marianne Jones

      I agree about emoji usage evolving to appear analogous to Chinese hanzi usage. Back in the day, Emoji keyboard used to be a part of the Japanese keyboard set. “Emoji” is a Japanese way to shorten longer imported foreign words, plus a portmanteau of “emotion” and “kanji”, or “Emotion Characters”. Indeed the reason the iPhone even had the Emoji keyboard was that it was needed because Japanese phones had emojis I think even back in the 1990’s, and this feature was needed in the Japan market in order to compete with the arguably superior Japanese mobile phones.

      Although written Japanese / Chinese have adapted to the computer era, I don’t think Emoji can be retrofitted to paper and pen. I can type a red angry frustrated face, but I can’t write it on paper unless I have a red pen. Even then the time it would take to write the symbol negates the benefits of its brevity.

  8. Timmy

    One note on the bank waiver loophole issue. Inexplicably, the WSJ article does not recount the controversy of how the ban was addressed in the Bank of America mortgage settlement. The waiver in question was a major sticking point in those negotiations and the compromise was to require BofA to place an independent consultant in the hedge fund business development and sales area with access to all files and records. From experience, those files are filled with edgy practices, particularly related to the Wall Street tendency to give plum spots in investment offerings to important investment banking clients or the way in which due diligence is conducted on those offerings. If enforcement actions arise out of this consultant review, watch for greater interest to enact the ban in future negotiations.

  9. DanB

    Re: Ian Welsh’s commentary on the Der Spiegel article about former citizens East Germany -now citizens of a united Germany for the past 24 years- longing for the dictatorship of East Germany:
    I’m now finishing a book focused on the intelligentsia of East Germany’s collective identity at the end of the GDR as the unification of Germany unfolded. The initial interviews were done in 1990-91. I did follow up interviews in the summer of 2014 with 1/4 of the original 100 I interviewed. In sum, they viewed the unification as a takeover or colonization by the West Germans, because that’s how capitalism works. Also, not one of the 25 I reinterviewed in 2014 said capitalism was a better system. They remain in their hearts “former citizens of East Germany now residing in the Bundesrepublik Deutschland” who have adapted to the capitalist system out of economic necessity. In my view, the West Germans continue to stigmatize East Germans as feral children deformed by socialist authoritarianism. Further, the West Germans, not the East Germans, are the source of “Ostalgia” due to their haughty and at times discriminatory treatment of East Germans. As the Der Spiegel article reveals about its author, most West Germans cannot recognize their colonial mentality, and this prevents them from acknowledging 1) East Germans as their peers and 2) owning up to their colonization of East Germany in 1990.
    Finally, East Germans did not in 1990 nor do they now “long” for the dictatorship of the GDR. They would never go back to that system. They do, hoverer, miss the solidarity and spirit of community they shared with each other, sentiments typical West Germans find incomprehensible or childish. They also are keenly aware of the depredations of neoliberalism.

    1. Jackrabbit

      This highlights the extent to which our minds have been colonized (a theme here at NC).

      Outsiders (like leftist intellectuals & humanitarians, East Germans, others) can see the problems of neoliberalism better than those who, unthinking, have been ‘colonized’.


      Take our latest in-depth Greece discussions. There were several comments that essentially ak: What else can/could Greece do?. This show the extent to which the notion of class action and solidarity has been erased from our minds. In response to one of these (“just exactly what was Syriza … supposed to do?), I wrote:

      1) Not become part of the farce (“partnering” with the “institutions”?)

      2) Not restrict options or accept bogus restrictions that restrict room to maneuver

      – “No Grexit” was unilateral disarmament (explain ‘Grexit’ and prepare for a referendum)
      – allowing for withholding of bailout funds was arming the other side

      3) Go populist instead of technocratic

      – reach out to the left across Europe: put neoliberalism ‘on trial’
      – highlight the plight of their people, instead of just talking economic numbers
      – demagoguery is not populism: build solidarity instead of resorting to divisiveness (e.g. WWII reparations that could not be negotiated in time to help.)

      4) Show that they are serious about reform

      – make an example of some tax cheats and corrupt officials
      – provide detailed plans to the Troika

      5) Don’t gratuitously antagonize the other side (especially when holding the weaker hand)

      Note: I would add that #5 (gratituously antagonizing the other side) is again demogoguery not populism.


      When you look at these points, you see that measures that would have been more class oriented have been avoided. And therein lies my suspicions of Syriza. The approach that this “Radical Left” Party and Yanis, the self-proclaimed marxist and media darling took was actually very establishment friendly as it has resulted in a weakened position that makes them more dependent on the EZ.

      The two commonly raised excuses for Syriza are easily refuted:

      1) that they have been in office for only a short time

      This is BS. They had time to prepare before taking office.

      2) that they have no mandate for a Grexit

      There is no mandate for war either, but the leadership of countries sometimes feel that it is necessary. If only as a bargaining ploy, they could’ve kept ‘Grexit’ as an option. In addition, not preparing the population for the possibility of a forced Grexit, they have signalled their total submission as even a default is thereby unthinkable.

      H O P

      1. Jackrabbit

        Well I guess demagoguery is a form of populism but it is the hollow populism of “Yes We Can” and “USA! USA! USA!”.

        Syriza did not listen to warnings about their negotiating strategy, replacing genuine populism (working on behalf of the average Greek) with demagogery. Yanis’ “I welcome their hate” comment is a good example. It plays on Greek sympathies while providing cover for a doomed negotiating strategy. It also gives the lie to Syriza’s euro-centric strategy. If Yanis truly wanted to save Europe from itself he would’ve responded with something to the effect that: “EZ Finance Ministers are failing Europe.”

        At a time that ‘failure is not an option’, Syriza chose a course that was unlikely to succeed and engaged crass political measures to quell criticism (renaming the Troika to “the Institutions”, demagoguery of WWII reparations, etc.)

    2. Yves Smith Post author

      A funny related issue: a middle aged Romanian woman at my hair salon (she has a French accent because she spent years in France before coming to the US) had a Trabant as her first car. She LOVED her Trabant and still speaks of it fondly, including the fact that it was hugely underpowered (when going skiing, she’d often have to have her passengers get out and walk while she drove it up steep inclines). It would also run on petroleum-based floor cleaners when she forgot to buy enough gas.

    3. OIFVet

      Kinda agrees with my own observations. One minor correction though: IMO communist nostalgia in East Germany and the former Warsaw Pact is not longing for the gone dictatorships but for the economic security they provided.

      Yes, we lacked the thousands of utterly disposable consumer crap that the American consumers (descendants of real humans, I imagine) buy on credit in order to fuel the insatiable elite need for groaf, but we in Eastern Europe had that which made our well-being secure: food, job guarantee, healthcare, pensions, and shelter.

      There is something to be said about security as driver of happiness, and the difference between today and communism is stark: people have access to the disposable consumer crap but are not all that happy these days. Bulgaria leads Europe year after year in the misery index and is ranked 135th in the world. That’s not what I remember growing up. People are so unhappy in spite of their “freedum and democracy” that they stopped having children (which is largely the case in Eastern Europe as a whole). Yet the local elites, compradors of the global elites, continue to dish out more of the same. “The punishment will continue until morale improves” is hardly an Eastern European phenomenon, but people there remember the better days of the past…

  10. roadrider

    Re: Ratios and the rational

    O’Malley has played a similar three-card monte game with the MD economy. He claims great things about it, particularly with respect to jobs gained back from the recession but 1) the jobs “gained” back are not necessarily of the same quality of the ones lost and have not necessarily gone back to the ones who lost them 2) the jobs are still overly dependent on federal government contracts and overly concentrated in the MIC/surveillance state sectors 3) the experience of many Marylanders runs counter to the official pronouncements of economic health which is why a Republican real estate hack (Larry Hogan) was able to handily defeat O’Malley’s hand-picked successor (former Lt. Governor Anthony Brown); this was mainly due to low turnout in heavily populated Democratic counties that were unenthusiastic about 4-8 more years of continuity with O’Malley’s leadership

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Does it take more (fossil fuel) energy to produce the stuff than the energy released when it is burned?

      Or more likely a spiral here: It takes more energy (produced by burning the stuff produced in the previous iteration at 70% efficiency) to produce (more of the same) stuff (so it can be burned) than the energy released when it is burned.

      So, in the end, it seems to (and I can be wrong here) you have 49% efficiency (0.70 x 0.70).

      1. Ruud J.

        It does matter if you have energy which you lose because you cannot store it for a long enough period or have difficulty to transport it over long distances.

    2. thump

      I wondered about the EROI here, too. Probably more efficient to have solar charging of an electric vehicle.

    3. Ed S.

      But I think that the point of the exercise was to use renewable energy (from a wind turbine) to create the fuel. Additionally, although we think of diesel for trucks, cars, etc — don’t forget that Jet-A is very similar in composition to diesel. There are rechargeable electric cars with acceptable range today — but not rechargeable airplanes (OK — I know there’s a solar powered plane but it’s hardly practical).

      Finally, the biggest impediment to widespread use of renewables is what to do when they’re not available (night, no wind, etc).

      Audi’s process seems pretty awesome to me.

  11. JTMcPhee

    No links on the “Bernie Bounce” this morning? An offering:

    “The American political process is broken.”

    Well, no, it isn’t. The present system that manages creation of the legitimacy factor, that “Well, we or those other people voted for it/him/her, so they and we I guess deserve what we get and have to live with it until we can win that next election” passivity, that thing that, among other dampers and depressors, keeps ordinary people from running off into revolution, is working really well. Working, in fact, just the way that the Few intend it to, the Few that have organized, starting centuries ago, and located the seams in the public’s defense, and configured the settings of the levers of power to keep everything flowing, all the wealth from stuff that us mopes dig or pump out of the earth, or grow from the soil, or make from all that material that our work creates, flowing ever faster upward and inward.

    And there really are reasons, for the skeptical, to frown at the enthusiasm for “Bernie! Bernie!” of the same disorganized, and hence weak, people that lined up behind Obama in 2008 Hoping that he would Change things.

    Bernie is squarely in the AIPAC/Israel-can-do-no-wrong-or-if-it-does-we-have-to-cover-for-it camp. Please note that Israel is neither an underdog nor a democracy, they have some 300 or more nuclear weapons, they (like the US) attack their neighbors with impunity, apartheid is a big part of their social structure, they ignore agreements they sign and UN blandishments that escape the automatic US veto in the Security Counsel, it rates very high on national corruption indexes and like our own kleptocracy, has great image managers hiding the reality behind the apparentcy. Many of them refer to America as “Uncle Sucker,” using the Yiddish “freier” that denotes a total mope, easy to take advantage of, and they drive huge elements of US foreign policy and domestic behaviors. Tail wags dog, vigorously.

    Juan Cole sees the reality of Bernie, in the context of Cole’s career of study of the Mideast. His bland title for yesterday’s post is “The Middle East Policy of President Bernie Sanders,” Lots of links and reasons why maybe Bernie is not “our guy.” One comment from there:

    Bill Bodden 2015.04.30 12:31
    Sanders is a mixed bag. His is one of the few voices to speak some sanity and advocate economic justice, but like almost all politicians in DC he is compromised. Consider this article:

    “The Problem With Bernie: Sen. Sanders Joins the Race: A Campaign of Capitulation?” by RON JACOBS – link to [Which article has lots of documented examples of the reality behind the image our hopes are erecting in front of Bernie.]

    But there is a greater problem. Assuming that he is totally sincere when he calls for economic justice and other progressive issues and would fight for them, in the inconceivable event he were to be elected president he would be a lame duck before the end of January 2017. Not only would the GOP and the mainstream media gang up on him, but so too would the oligarchs and their cohorts in the Democratic Party who are beholden to Wall Street and the M-I complex. Just like what happened to Jimmy Carter.

    And of course even since the Carter episode, the PTB are a lot better organized, even better funded, and ever more on message and on track with what most people posting here recognize is a dead-end insanity, which sadly will cost us ordinary people, not them, more dearly than we can even imagine.

    And would Bernie be able, even with the stalwart and implacable Elizabeth Warren to team up with, be willing, let alone able, to even bring back an updated Glass-Steagall? Let alone spool down the Forever War?

    Least Bad Among Really Bad Options, in what is just “democracy theater” anyway. Until enough ordinary people can see clearly enough past the FOXFog to ORGANIZE behind a few potent necessities, bearing in mind that very few of us will do that until the personal pain gets really severe, hopelessness builds that terrible strength that anomie gives us, the strength to do stuff like lift police cars off the children they’ve run over, and some actual leaders that embody the message and the necessities for species survival (not just “return of the middle consumer class”), who manage to avoid the hit squads. E.G., the Reverend Martin Luther King.

    Most of the people posting here seem to have a well developed sense of outrage, and some awareness of what I, at least, would consider Right and Wrong. But until “we” know and can articulate, simply, what “we” want, some common principles that don’t involve arch little features that can be twisted to personal advantage yet again, and are willing to stand up and confront and also do that stagecraft and behind-the-scenes organizing and management that persuades and attracts a whole lot of others who are living in Plato’s Cave, dazzled by shadows and fears and flashing objects and slick speeches and images that push the buttons most of them don’t even know the have as part of their cognition and behavior sets, “we” have the millstones and yokes, and nooses waiting to be tightened, around “our” ineffectual necks.

    1. Ed

      Sanders has run elections in Vermont running as an independent/ Progressive against both Democratic and Republican candidates, including his first election to Congress. I can sort of understand the point of his presidential run since he is in his 70s, so if he wants the platform of a national campaign he has to do this now or not do this at all. But given that his chances of actually being elected president are nil, and given how “compromised” the Democratic Party is, I think running in the general election as an independent is a better strategy. Yes, you now have ballot access issues, but then you get to keep the campaign going until November.

      The Democrats have had Sanders like candidates in their primaries before -remember Kucinich?- and they always sink out of sight. Ron Paul had relatively more success taking his libertarian act into the Republican presidential primaries.

      1. hemeantwell

        Yes, you now have ballot access issues, but then you get to keep the campaign going until November.

        And beyond. I’m recalling post mortems of Jesse Jackson’s 1988 campaign that stressed his failure to encourage the Rainbow Coalition to persist beyond November. Obviously it’s not just a matter of what Sanders does. The people who are brought together to support him need to be clear among themselves about building sustainable networks, and also trying to link up with segments of the Dems and Rs that may succumb to partinost for the election but have interests that would be better served by another political grouping.

    2. cwaltz

      Everyone is going to be a mixed bag. Why? People aren’t perfect. Part of the problem with our political process in my opinion is too many people seem to fail to take that into account. They seem to think that once they elect so and so that their part in the process is done. They seem to think they’ve elected someone to do ALL the heavy lifting and that they shouldn’t question “their guy” on anything or disagree with him or her on anything(I doubt that I’ll find ANY candidate I agree with 100%.) The pushing is DONE.

      Personally, it’s really early in the process for me to know whether or not I’ll vote for Bernie however, if I do so I won’t do it because I think he’s some sort of hero for me to pin all my hopes and dreams on. It’ll be with the idea that he might make things marginally better with my(and others help.) Anyway, at the very least, having him as part of the debate will hopefully pull the debate a little left for a change. There might actually be a conversation about single payer or money in politics and how it’s corrupted our system and win, lose or draw FOR BERNIE, the conversation about how much money influences our government decisions being mainstream is a positive step and a win for those that think the system is tilted towards moneyed interests.

      Here’s to hoping that the left doesn’t completely “shoot the messenger” before he gets out the gate because they believe that candidates are supposed to be paragons instead of people who we should actively engage when we disagree with them.

      Disclosure: I HATE our foreign policy. It is heavy on hypocrisy. It sees everything through the lens of “what will we gain?” It, in my opinion, is short sighted and tends to ignore long term costs.

    3. Oregoncharles

      Although it’s more than a little ironic and rather sad, I’m grateful that Bernie is running as a Democrat and therefore will not be in the November election (because he hasn’t a snowball’s chance in hell), so he won’t be splitting the left-wing vote, as he would have if he ran as an independent, which is what he’s been, sort of.

      This might even have been his intention.

  12. Jackrabbit

    Media’s Baltimore ‘Teen Purge’ Narrative is Falling Apart -Alternet

    The ‘purge’ was not the only anonymous scare-mongering. There was also the report that Cripes and Bloods were uniting (“ceasefire”) so as to confront/attack police. If this had been true, it seems likely that there would’ve been shots fired at police in Baltimore and/or other cities over the course of the last few days. AFAIK, there has not been any such attacks attributable to a Cripes & Bloods anti-police alliance. If there had been, I think it would be plastered all over the news.

    There’s a lot of strangeness around the funeral and riots that has been noted by the NC commentators and others (link).

    H O P

  13. Jay

    In RE: STEM vs Humanities–

    “. . . by the balance of experience it was found that the astronomer, looking to the stars, might fall into a ditch, that the inquiring philosopher might be blind in himself, and the mathematician might draw forth a straight line with a crooked heart; then lo! did proof, the overruler of opinions, make manifest, that all these are but serving sciences, which, as they have each a private end in themselves, so yet are they all directed to the highest end of the mistress knowledge, by the Greeks called architektonikē, which stands, as I think, in the knowledge of a man’s self, in the ethic and politic consideration, with the end of well-doing, and not of well-knowing only . . .” –Sir Philip Sidney, The Defense of Poesy, 1583

    1. Antifa

      Gee, I searched for a stock symbol for Poesy on the Nasdaq and the Dow, and can’t find one. It sounds like a really great idea — how does one invest in this outfit?

  14. Jef

    In an attempt to solve the expensive FF problem Audi has come up with an even more expensive fuel.

    I find it very disconcerting that all so called “new technologies” simply state that the vast amount of additional electricity all of these new thingies require will come from “renewable sources”. So in addition to adding to energy generation at the rate of new demand (which is not happening) “renewables” will also grow fast enough so that we don’t burn coal and all of this new energy generation, infrastructure, along with all the new gadgets will be mfg without using ever more FFs.

    Well I guess if an economist says it can happen then it can right?

  15. rjs

    re: U.S. Navy Starts to Accompany Ships in Strait Where Iran Seized Cargo Carrier

    let’s not forget we started this latest tit for tat when our Navy interdicted Iranian shipments to Yemen

    1. Yonatan

      The company owning the ship the Iranians seized owed money to Iranian port authorities for unpaid fees. The ship was sezied, after a court order granted it, as collateral for a bond to cover the unpaid fees.

  16. b

    “U.S. to Escort Ships in Strait Where Iran Seized Cargo Carrier Wall Street Journal. – This is major, and not a good sign. ”

    It is a minor joke. The U.S. is trying to soothe the Saudis so that it can finish the Iran deal.

    Last week we had the “Iran convoy to Yemen” which never existed. On Iranian frigate was sailing to relief the pirate watch into the Gulf of Aden. Iran has continuous pirate patrols in the Gulf since 2008. A bunch of Iranian trader ships were doing their usual business. The U.S. constructed that as a “convoy to Yemen” to then activate a carrier to then say the convoy is gone. A big nothing.

    Now the navy says it will watch over “U.S. flagged ships” in the Gulf. How many of those, besides military vessels, are around that area? Approximately zero. So its again nothing. Just Pentagon PR.

    1. JTMcPhee

      “Wag The Dog,” Gulf of Tonkin, goddam and blast these bottomless f___ers. Says this idiot who enlisted in 1966 to Keep The Commies From Taking Over…

    2. Yves Smith Post author

      Oh, sorry to be taken in! I thought they were escorting all oil ships. I missed the flagging issue. Yes, I thought all ships were flagged in terrible jurisdiction to escape taxes and legal liability.

      1. sam s smith

        Liberia seems to be the country of choice for most shipping companies.

        The only US flagged ships you see are the ones that carry cargo between US ports.

      2. Antifa

        As all over the world, most ships passing through the Strait are flagged from Panama, a maritime colossus with its own canal and plenty of coffee, cane sugar, and bananas besides. Their ‘flag of convenience’ merchant fleet handles every commodity the modern world desires. Panamanian ships are especially welcome in the ports of the Middle East, where the local potentates have all grown exceedingly fond of Panamanian powdered sugar, which is so highly prized that it’s usually packed deep inside crates of freshly ground coffee. For safekeeping.

    3. Ed S.

      The article mentioned “one or two” ships out of 77; at another point mentioned “100 US flagged merchant ships worldwide” – mostly associated with the US Government. So basically there are NO US flagged merchant ships (nor have there been for a long time). If Maersk is having problems with Iran, let them call the Liberian Navy for protection.

      I don’t know who the un-named source who made the following comment is, but I was struck by it’s arrogance and contempt (bold added):

      Out of an abundance of caution, because of the unpredictability of our Iranian friends , we’re now positioned so that, should the Iranians decide that they’re going to be stupid , we’re ready to respond

  17. Larry Headlund

    Why Are We Losing in the Middle East? Too Much STEM, Not Enough Humanities The article even gives a specific example:

    The 9/11 attack occurred at a time when American confidence had never been higher in the superiority of our economy, our polity and our technologically-advanced military. …In the aftermath, our national response was and remains heavily STEM-centered….The response of the George W. Bush administration to the trauma of 9/11 was the declaration of a “Global War on Terror” (GWOT). By calling it a war, he turned criminals worthy of policing into warriors worthy of the full might of the American military. A background in religious history might have alerted a presidential speechwriter that such language would play perfectly into enemy recruitment propaganda, awakening in al Qaeda ears echoes of Saladin liberating Jerusalem from the Crusaders.

    And who were those GWB speechwriters?
    David Frum Bachelor and Master of Arts in History. Micheal Gresson Wheaton College, Marc Theissen BA Vassar and Naval War College.

    Not a STEM degree in sight.

    1. diptherio

      I’ll just point out that provoking Muslims was probably what they were intending. It’s great for arms sales, donchaknow? So the problem isn’t a lack of humanities, but a lack of non-evil people applying their knowledge of the humanities…imho

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        I would add: Judge not by the degrees in humanities people carry on the backs, but by the degrees of humanity they display in their deeds.

        It’s EZ to acquire intellect, but wisdom requires a different path.

      2. hunkerdown

        Great piece from Steven Randy Waldman. I love his Third Way answer to the rhetorical traps laid with such an air of concern by the ruling class, and I feel we should all be giving it more often.

  18. cwaltz

    Personally, I get ticked off for the same reasons you do. Not all families are capable of providing support and quite frankly the new model being sold by our too cheap to pay for safety nets oligarchs is to have kids leech their parents for schooling, housing downpayment, medical costs and then whine about the fact those parents weren’t prepared for retirement. Even middle class people only have so much in terms of resources between the increases in costs to education, housing, medical and the expectation that you’ll be paying those things for your children well into their 20s it’s no wonder that people are so ill prepared for their retirement in their 60s.

    1. cwaltz

      Hmmmmmm this was supposed to be in the insurance in extended families thread. oops.

  19. Lambert Strether

    On the “teen purge” story; on no evidence in particular, I’m entertaining the hypothesis that the “teen purge” leak came from — and/or was instigated by — a police intelligence operation embedded in the Baltimore high schools. I mean, they would, wouldn’t they?

    1. Romancing the Loan

      Sure, but I doubt the rumors were purposefully/calculatedly started or spread by police – I bet both the Crips/Bloods rumor and the Purge rumor came straight out of the paranoid right-wing imaginations of individual police working in or near the high schools that were spread to their relatives and friends and from there immediately swallowed whole by the media. Police talking amongst themselves can often sound just as out there as preppers.

  20. Jill


    What this article describes is more of the police state. It is talking about prior restraint of speech. I speak as a woman who has received threats and been ganged up on viciously on a website. It is scary and I hated it. I will explain how I wish the website had handled that but I want to get to the issue of prior restraint of free speech.

    In 2007 and after the election of Obama, people on the left who gave cogent arguments against Obama’s policies were regularly purged from “left-wing” websites. We were literally erased from the discourse. This was not because anyone was swearing or making threats. It was because we were left wing critics of a powerful person. That erasure from the public discourse kept other people from understanding that there were principled, well reasoned, well documented reasons for opposing Obama’s policies and his election to the presidency. We were wiped from existence. From that experience, I learned one more of the tactics the govt. will use to silence its critics (see Cass Sunstein).

    The abuse of women on the internet is frightening. Rape and murder (often described in great detail) are put out swiftly and surely against women writers. So how should threats and bullying be dealt with? I think every site should have clear guides for commenting. Threats should be taken down immediately. They can be turned over to authorities if necessary. People who cannot follow the guidelines should be blocked from the site. The starting point though, must be clear guidelines. These guidelines might even include things like–“Should you question Obama from a left wing perspective, we will remove your posts.” That way, everyone who comes to a site will understand that they will not be hearing from certain people. The boundaries of thought allowed on a site are delineated in an open, honest manner.

    As an example, I remember that Karl Denninger did not allow questions about 9/11. I feel this was a terrible mistake on his part but if you went to his site, you knew that you would not be allowed to hear or consider certain evidence, no matter how credible it was. That was much preferable to having people post credible evidence questioning what happened on 9/11 and just having that evidence erased.

    Is swearing always a sign of a troll? No. Some of us swear. That does not mean we would swear at another poster. It does mean we might swear in describing a situation of social injustice. Free speech is precious and necessary for social justice.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      With all due respect, the flaw in your logic is that that websites are private, hosted space. The publishers have no “free speech” obligations. I have and can again simply refuse to allow any comments at all.

      NC is the equivalent of my private salon. If you do the rhetorical equivalent of piss in my potted plants, throw your drink in my face or simply go on about subjects that may seem harmless but are way off topic relative to the focus of this site (like commentary on cricket matches, or a discussion of what handbags are in fashion now), I’ll almost certainly ban you for violating house rules. And our standards are somewhat higher than getting rid of obvious trolls; we also moderate or ban people who engage in dishonest or bogus argumentation (like refusing to acknowledge that their point was rebutted with evidence and continuing engaging in broken-record variants of what they said before) because we value high quality, cogent discourse. Lambert and I spend a huge amount of time moderating and participating in the comments sections. Some readers may not like our decisions, but they are based on a combined over two decades of comment management, and the widely-recognized of the NC comments section says we are doing a decent job.

      I regard Barry Ritholtz’s comment policies as Web standard. Take note of his point re excessive persistence (as in trying to dominate the conversation) and his platypus rule:

      One of the things I try to do with the site is maintain a high level of discourse between myself and the readers. As the traffic to the site has ramped up, we have attracted more political wankers, trolls, asshats than is conducive to intelligent conversation…..

      Trolls and Asshats: This may be a free country, but The Big Picture is my personal fiefdom. I rule over all as benevolent dictator. I will ban anyone whom I choose from posting comments — usually, for a damned good reason, but on rare occasions, for the exact same reason God created the platypus: because I feel like it.

      I encourage a broad range of perspectives, philosophies, market positions, sexual orientations. Dissent is good. I want to see a debate of views, a battle in the market place of ideas ala Thomas Jefferson. You can post on nearly anything, so long as it is at least tangentially related to the topic at hand.

      On occasion, I will “unpublish” a comment if I feel it is too impolite, harsh, ad hominem, inappropriate, or off-topic. Off-topic posts have been rising, and I have taken to unpublishing them en masse. Publish too many comments on a given post (3 or 4 relevant comments out of 30 are fine, 10 out of 30 is excessive). It takes me ~10 seconds to un-publish 10 comments. If you find yourself publishing way too many comments, consider this: This humble blog is my forum for expressing my ideas. Get your own damned blog.

      1. Oregoncharles

        From experience, and on the subject of effective moderation (1st of all: NC’s is excellent; most useful comments section I see):
        My wife and I were among those banned from Common Dreams for criticizing Obama during the election – I assume that’s one of the incidents Jill is referencing. While within the owner’s prerogatives, this kind of thing leads to lasting ill-will and a bad reputation (which, you note, is still pursuing CD years later) – and no one’s accusing Lambert and Yves of it. For an avowedly political site, it defeats the avowed purpose. Ironically, left-wing anti-Democrats came to completely dominate the comments there, in defiance of the site’s own orientation.

        The other site where I regularly post comments is Salon. As I’ve noted before, I don’t consider it a friendly site – I think it’s controlled by Democrats. The comments are interesting precisely because there’s an ongoing debate between 3rd-party and Democrat partisans. That debate ended long ago on CD, and takes a completely different tone here on NC – I realize I’m one of the more partisan voices here.

        Salon’s comments are moderated but much more loosely than here. They’re sometimes vitriolic or personal – let’s call it passionate. I admit I’ve participated, when I felt provoked. But the biggest difference is in what you call “persistence”: the site allows long threads of essentially personal bickering, back-and-forth. I usually just skip over those, or drop in a suggestion not to feed the trolls (there are some, though relatively mild). At best, they’re boring. They certainly aren’t enlightening. But political debate lends itself to this kind of thing – the reason it isn’t advised at the dinner table. A lot of it really isn’t rational.

        The comments here are much more technical (when they aren’t humorous. Hey, where’s “craazyman” and “boy”? On vacation, I hope.). I’m often out of my league, except for a few topics. And certainly more enlightening – but I think that ultimately reflects the site’s own material more than the moderation.

        Yves and Lambert, thank you very much for inviting us into your on-line homes. You set an excellent table.

  21. Christer Kamb

    Greece Tourism-expansion in case of a Grexit and the return of a devalued Drachma would be significant. Still Greece have expanded it´s export-revenues during the euro-years but I think these facts are more of a result from a new generation of travelling young people, the Millennials, benefitting from a european deregulated airtraffic. Older people and european families are also travelling more than ever. Travelling on credit is also regular in todays deregulated banking economy.

    Greece lost a significant marketshare to Turkey(lira) when joined the euro. The euro revalued from 0,8 to 1,60(against the dollar) from start to 2010. I don´t think the convenience of unnecessary currency-exchange for tourism within the EU has changed incitaments very much. Just look att Turkey were employment in the tourism-industry during 1990-2010 expanded 219%( and the number of arrivals grew 404%. Turkey was on the 6th place worldwide 2011. Greece no 17(once no 1). Turkey´s arrivals were the double compared to Greece(

    If we look at the exchange-rate against the dollar Turkey devalued the Lira from 0,0224 to 1,5787(today 2,7) in a straight line from 1995 to 2010!!). That is seventy-times in fifteen years or on average 4,7-times (370 %) per year(!) against the dollar. As said the dollar lost half of it´s value against the euro same period which means you have to double above figures to realize the lost competitiveness for Greece(under euro) against Turkey regarding american tourists. Of cource these figures shows that Turkey made the biggest advantages by themselves but the doubling of the euro(against dollar) was significant. And probably a greek drachma during the same period had fallen as were the norm before euro-membership. But most important. A european tourist with euro would at least reduced her average costs by 50% visiting a Greece with drachma

    Conclusion: Tourism is one of the biggest export-businesses in Greece and it´s a reality that they lost relative and absolute ground because of the euro. But on the other hand the austerity have made it cheaper to visit Greece but not necessary a better experiance.

    ps! I disagree with the conclusions made in in enclosed report that the euro itself had a more positive impact for tourism in Greece than staying with drachma. They use a mathematical model to prove their conclusions.

  22. AdamK

    When society puts defending property before defending people you know it is sick.

    1. JTMcPhee

      Go re-check the language of the original Constitution. Off to a pretty sick start. Ask a Native American or a recently imported African slave. Or even a white female of the time.

  23. Oregoncharles

    “Altruistic Punishment” – today the prosecutor charged all six thugs. Riots work.
    Now I have to go give Ron Wyden unholy Hell. More altruistic punishment (OK, in this case it’s sort of fun.)

  24. XRayD

    “The task we’ve got ahead of us now is an awkward one … It’s untidy. And freedom’s untidy. And free people are free to make mistakes and commit crimes and do bad things. They’re also free to live their lives and do wonderful things. And that’s what’s going to happen here,” Rumsfeld said.

    “And for suddenly the biggest problem in the world to be looting is really notable.”

    WHO could have ever imagined that Rumsfeld was sending a message to Wall Street and Big Banks!

  25. Antifa

    While it is instructive to learn of the precise palace intrigues of the Saudi royals, such is the state of palace intrigue over there that whomever grabs the throne may find they’ve only grabbed a tiger by the tail. There is still the task of holding on to power through all the “interesting times” coming right up. All this swapping in and out of Crown Princes has only unsettled the Kingdom.

    A problem for monarchies throughout history is that when the king changes, the common folk start thinking about how easily kings can change — just like that. “His Most Gracious Royal Majesty can trip on the garden path and break his bloomin’ neck, he can, like any common sod. Like he’s mortal, like you and me. So changing kings isn’t really a big deal at all, innit? We can do it any time we like, eh?”

    Perhaps that’s why the idea of a divine right to rule always got so much press.

    Anyway, the real tiger the Saudis have grabbed is the Houthis in Yemen. Destroying Yemen’s infrastructure — and especially destroying their food stocks to guarantee famine — now that’s grabbing the whole other end of a tiger. The bitey end. If the House of Saud wants Yemen to ever again be a safe colonial state on their border, they will have to pay for everything they’ve destroyed and then some, or else pay someone like the Americans to neuter Yemen for them.

    The House of Saud wishes to rule for as long as the oil lasts. Then they wish to be elsewhere, in close company with the incredible profits that oil has provided them. It’s hard to imagine all those billionaires wanting to stick around to rule a nation that produces the finest dates in the world, and not much else. Saudi Arabia has relied on a huge system of reservoir dams and desalinazation plants in recent decades to provide water for agriculture, all paid for with abundant oil money. They like to tell how they are self sufficient in all their staple foods now, but when the oil is gone all that infrastructure will decay, and there’ll not be money enough in wheat, dates, milk, and eggs to rebuild it.

    If the Saudis invite war upon themselves, as they have done lately, infrastructure can decay very quickly, indeed.

    1. JTMcPhee

      I wonder if the Israelites might find some wisdom by considering parallels between the situation their Likudnik leaders are piling up for them, and what’s shakin’ in Saudiland. Running Jerusalem may end up as precarious as running Mecca.

  26. Bart Fargo

    The Baltimore riot wasn’t an example of altruistic punishment for the simple reason that the rioters were not a third-party unaffected by the actions of the offenders (the Baltimore establishment) against the victims (minorities and the poor). Instead the rioters were themselves the victims of legal and economic oppression, not detached observers who somehow had no stake in the class warfare that is being fought in every corner of America today. Second, for punishment to be altruistic the third-party has to both sacrifice something and gain nothing from punishing the violator. The rioters certainly sacrificed their neighborhoods and even themselves (in 200+ cases), yet they also conceivably stood to benefit from dishing out public punishment by variously drawing attention to their cause, or by exacting revenge against hated police and private property, or even by running off with armfuls of looted goods. As enticing as it is to discuss the riot non-judgmentally using evolutionary theory, altruistic punishment by definition just doesn’t fit here. MLK’s equally non-judgmental “a riot is the language of the unheard” certainly does, since the riot took place after a weekend of massive yet peaceful protests in Baltimore that were ignored by the national media in favor of extensively covering the White House Correspondents’ Association Dinner, aka Turd Prom.

    1. Jackrabbit

      Riots seem to me to be collective vengeance that some (e.g. MLK) would see as a sort of divine retribution.

      Interestingly, two-faced neoliberal elitists, to whom markets are divine, don’t view a riot as a market signal but a market breakdown (because it interrupts normal commerce).

      H O P

  27. words

    I’m hoping the following does not qualify as a duplicate (targeted as a spam bot), since it never appeared to have successfully posted into moderation, let alone assumed “spam bottery.”:

    Dear Jill (comment 23, above), couldn’t agree more:

    What this article describes is more of the police state.

    and I’m betting there are many whohave maybe even donated to this site, and would like to be still be able to post comments here, who feel exactly the same, but don’t care to do deal with the response you received.

    (dear Yves/Susan, you cant be the NEW ONLINE free press – Though, a private website -at the same time, and quoting from the likes of Capitalist Barry Ritholtz :

    Trolls and Asshats: This may be a free country, but The Big Picture is my personal fiefdom.

    (Many have the impression you and Lambert were against fiefdoms? Oh , oopsie? ….)

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