Links 6/10/15

Wild drunk: Chimpanzees drink alcohol with leafy tools BBC News

Dog on the mend after protecting blind owner lohud

U.S. air traffic control system to mimic Canada’s system, A4A says Reuters (EM)

Jack Ma thinks World War III will be a good thing CNBC

For Europe’s NATO allies, attack on one isn’t attack on all Politico

Belgium Commemorates Waterloo With a Coin, and France Is Not Pleased New York Times

Osborne to Formalize Budget Surplus Goal in Mansion House Speech Bloomberg

Turkey becomes first domino for emerging market debtors as politics split country Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, Telegraph


Greek Proposal on Bailout Standoff Not Acceptable, European Officials Say Wall Streeet Journal

‘Paperology’ continues, but mood darkens in Greece talks Financial Times

Dijsselbloem: Deal with Greece not at hand yet, rejects debt write-off Keep Talking Greece


Over in Greece, pharmacists have gone on strike. Guardian. In the liveblog, you need to scroll down:

Up and down the country pharmacies have brought down their shutters in a mass display of defiance over the industry being liberalized.

Pharmacists are enraged, that five years into the crisis, supermarkets will now be allowed to sell medications, a move that creditors say is long overdue and will boost competitiveness but which industry figures insist will undermine business.

The modern Greek tragedy Jeremy Bulow, Kenneth Rogoff , VoxEU

New Greek Budget Plan Falls Short of Last Week’s Pledge Bloomberg

One really crucial date in the Greek battlefield unbalanced evolution

Greeks chose poverty, let them have their way Financial Times. An indicator of Euro elites circling the wagons.


Logistics 101: Where Does ISIS Get Its Guns? New Eastern Outlook (Gabriel)

U.S. Embracing a New Approach on Battling ISIS in Iraq New York Times

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

The FBI’s Own Surveillance Air Force Atlantic (Chuck L)

Obama lawyers asked secret court to ignore public court’s decision on spying Guardian (Chuck L)

Cyber-Espionage Case Reveals the Shabby State of Online Security MIT Technology Review< (furzy mouse)/blockquote>


U.S. justices reject Maine challenge to Medicaid funding Reuters (EM)

Trade Traitors

Parliament postpones EU-U.S. trade vote Politico

In Germany, Grass-Roots Opposition to a European-U.S. Trade Deal New York Times

Here’s how much corporations paid US senators to fast-track the TPP bill Guardian (Chuck L)

The Noble Post-White House Career Path of Obama’s Core Team Intercept

Remember When Jeb Bush Proposed Public Shamings for Unmarried Moms? Gawker (Chuck L)

Federal Louisiana judge orders release of ‘Angola Three’ inmate Reuters. EM: “More than 40 years in solitary … but hey, at least he ‘wasn’t tortured.'”

‘Wizards of Wall Street’ Helpless on Drought, Jerry Brown Says Bloomberg

The Retirement Risk We All Share Greg Smith, TIME. This is the Greg Smith who quit Goldman and did what amounted to an exit interview via a New York Times op-ed.

CalSTRS Finalizes Divestment from Firearms Manufacturers CalSTRS

Class Warfare

Austerity Isn’t Irrational: In Greece and elsewhere, austerity is nothing more than capitalists imposing their class interests Jacobin

The New World Order—A Faustian Bargain International Man (Chuck L). The early parts are simplistic, but it works its way to making some good observations.

Growth, what growth? Thatcherism fails to produce the goods Guardian

Aspirational parents condemn their children to a desperate, joyless life George Monbiot Guardian. Today’s must read

Antidote du jour (Ron A):

lab in ocean links

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. Jim Haygood

    From Politico’s push poll (article linked above):

    The poll, from the Pew Research Center, found that in France, Germany and Italy, majorities opposed military force if “Russia got into a serious military conflict with one of its neighboring countries that is our NATO ally.”

    The Pew survey looked at public opinion in Ukraine, Russia and eight NATO countries.

    Ukraine is not a member of NATO. It is not an ‘ally.’ Polls like this one are designed to blur the lines, so that military intervention won’t meet with too much resistance.

    NATO’s prototype for intervention in non-member countries was set by Bill Clinton’s lethal bombing (using NATO assets) in the former Yugoslavia. Our euro-puppets thought that was a great idea.

    Later, when NATO intervened in Afghanistan (another non-NATO member), Europeans lost their taste for the steady drip-drip-drip of battle deaths and gradually withdrew.

    NATO is an out-of-control force for global destabilization, now that it no longer respects the limits set by its purely defensive treaty. But Europe likes the defense subsidy … even if NATO’s warmongering leads to a 21st century European war.

    1. timbers

      O-bomb-er is working on turning those poll results into more favorable ones for war with Russia with his insane lie-packed comments at G7 slamming the “new Soviet Empire” and other nonsense dutifully reported unchallenged by the western media.

      But the media of course will not do as Putin suggested – look at a map of U.S.military bases around the world, and compare that to one of Russian bases.

    2. Armchair Revolutionary

      Your statement: “Polls like this one are designed to blur the lines, so that military intervention won’t meet with too much resistance” is exactly correct. One thing I find is that often people do not see how published polls are used to lie and influence people; not to inform.

      I came across two articles that demonstrate this very well (One linked from NC). These both are lying in the exact same manner in support of TPP. The first is titled “Majority of Americans back new trade deals: Reuters/Ipsos poll.” The second: “Poll: More Americans See Trade Pacts as Beneficial to U.S. Economy (NBC/WSJ)”.

      From the second: “37 percent of Americans now say that free trade with foreign countries has helped the United States, while 31 percent disagree.” I fully believe the accuracy of that statement. So what is the lie? It is used to support fast track of the TPP. These polls either did not ask or did not publish results specifically about support for fast track. The company that did the NBC/WSJ poll did ask that question on a previous poll and found more than two to one against fast track. In other words, they purposefully omitted the most relevant information; since it would counter their public relations goal.

      What is also interesting is that these polls were conducted in the same manner by different news organizations and pollsters. This should tell you that multiple polls by different organizations does not make the information any more reliable. In fact, it can be less reliable.

      The articles:
      The older poll by Hart Reasearch:

      1. Brooklin Bridge

        “37 percent of Americans now say that free trade with foreign countries has helped the United States[…]”

        Never mind Fast Track, that poll “opinion” is still far from an endorsement of TPP or its evil siblings which have little or nothing to do with “free trade” and everything to do with corporate hegemony over nation states.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Perhaps the Oracle at Delphi has moved east and is now doing business at the Pacific end of the Silk Road.

      “If you make war on your enemy, you will destroy a mighty empire.”

      1. Disturbed Voter

        Economic conflict, particularly over existential issues, tend to escalate into military engagements. War is the continuation of politics, and politics is the continuation of elite resource extraction.

  2. ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®©

    Further trade traitors from Dean Baker:

    WSJ Joins the TPP Stumble

    Oooooooooh, Ms. Delauro is a protectionist opposed to free trade! Well what is the WSJ when it supports a trade deal that will effectively impose tariffs of 10,000 percent on prescription drugs and other items that will be covered by the stronger and longer patent and copyright protection in the TPP? These forms of protectionims (sorry folks, they are protectionism even if the folks in the drug, software and entertainment industry like them) will both slow economic growth and cost lives.

    It is entirely plausible that the increase in trade barriers due to stronger and longer patent and copyright protection will more than offset the modest reduction in barriers in the TPP. In other words, the free trade angels would be opposed to this sucker.


  3. Carolinian

    Tubes Gordon also writes about this

    In the United States, the study notes, support for NATO remains fairly strong. Americans and Canadians, it says, were the only nationalities surveyed in which more than half of those polled believed that their country should take military action if Russia attacked a NATO ally. Forty-six percent of Americans believe that the United States should provide arms to the Ukrainian government, though Republicans are more likely than Democrats to support such a move.

    High fives all around at the NYT foreign desk. Sadly it sounds like some of those Europeans aren’t being properly brainwashed on the topic. Time for another airliner shootdown?

    1. vidimi

      north americans feel the safety that only an ocean’s worth of physical separation can afford

      1. mundanomaniac

        “north americans feel the safety that only an ocean’s worth of physical separation can afford”
        … if they can forget about the Yellowstone caldera.

        The natural americans use to celebrate with the gods for example
        next Sunday after this weeks approach of Sun and Mars to the living place of fire.

    2. OIFVet

      ‘Obama zombies’: Americans sign prankster’s petition to nuke Russia. Aside from the stupid title of the video, it’s genuinely scary that that there are Americans who think that a “preemptive nuclear strike” on Russia is a great idea. I wish Dice would say how many people he approached for this and how many of them signed the “petition”; unfortunately he is more interested in coming up with stupid video titles. I have no love lost for Obama and Obots but I am pretty sure that many of this San Diego “patriots” likely voted for the Mittster and McCain.

      1. Carolinian

        Shades of Curtis LeMay who wanted to nuke Russia and get it over with back in the 1950s. Later Nixon apparently seriously considered dropping nukes on Vietnam and there’s plenty of loose talk from certain quarters about nuking Iran.

        While many among the commentariat are obsessed with AGW and population issues, they may be focusing on the less urgent threat. Truth is it’s amazing that we made it out of the Cold War in one piece.

        1. Disturbed Voter

          Yes, the end result of the Cold War was a miracle save. Both sides got to the 5 yard line, and never scored. Patton wanted to nuke Russia too … or do we need to go back to De Tocqueville?

          How many miracle saves will we get? We certainly don’t earn them via our virtue and probity.

  4. Gabriel

    The Rogoff-and-some-other-guy piece has to be read to be believed.

    Whereas the EU has actually been a net provider of funds to Greece since the beginning of the crisis, this is not to say that its motivation has been entirely charitable. Greece has been able to combine the threat of default (which would create an unknown and potentially massive risk for the EU), a promised commitment to economic reforms that would put it on the road to self-sufficiency, and its ‘too small to fail’ status to gain extraordinary financial support. Over time, the risks of ‘Grexit’ – Greece leaving the euro – while still unknown, appear to have lessened for most observers. At the same time, the Greeks have recently elected a party seemingly intent on rolling back some of the country’s hard-won economic reforms, negotiations have become harder. Nevertheless it seems unlikely that in any deal Greece would be asked to pay back as much cash as it receives in net subsidies from the EU, at least for a long time to come.1

    The tragedy for Greece is that it borrowed heavily in the good times of the early 2000s, even though it already had a high debt to GDP ratio and could have used its fast growth rate as an opportunity to reduce the burden of its debt, not to increase it. Instead, like many countries, its governments borrowed what they could, and the combination of the Great Contraction and the revelation of massive accounting fraud shut the door on private lending. Relative to other countries that have found themselves in debt crises, Greece was able to lever its position in Europe into a two extraordinarily massive (by any measure) bailout programmes meant to provide the country with funds while it reformed its economy and its government budget. But as a member of the EU, Greece could not devalue its currency and reform has been enormously difficult politically. And while in some ways Greece has gotten a good deal, its bargaining partners have of course been focused on their own welfare and political problems. The mistrust of the Greek government, by its European bargaining partners but also crucially by its own citizens, has made a turnaround slower and even more painful than in other Eurozone countries.

    Merits the kind of thorough raking I don’t have time for right now, but I’ll note Rogoff continues to be squirrelly with what he calls debt.

    PS. A grad student who went to the most recent AES conference said that Carmen Reinhart presented on a paper on defaults that, in his words, continues the “poor, patient, suffering creditors” line. I imagine this will be bundled with the

    theory of sovereign debt contracts, and how the Greece case might be illuminating, in a separate companion piece more narrowly directed at researchers

    Rogoff and the other guy tease in the opening section.

    1. DanB

      This Rogoff piece should be read in light of the linked Jacobin article on why austerity is not a mistake. In my view, the world is reaching the physical limits to economic growth, so the only way the 1% can continue to “grow” is by cannibalizing greater swaths of the 99%.

      1. JTMcPhee

        That cannibalizing is just exactly what cancers do. It’s like watching my 5′ 7,” vigorous former champion field hockey mother start her confrontation with ovarian cancer at a fighting weight of 167 pounds, and when the cancer finally was “succeessful” and “won” by invading every compartment and tissue of her body and she died, the autopsy report said she weighed 48 pounds — basically the weight of her skeleton, her heart, and a wasted layer of skin and lots of new arteries that her body, prompted by the tumors, grew to feed all the nutrients and the breakdown bits of her body fat and then all those graceful muscles direct to the demanding carcinoma.

        No satisfaction, of course, that the cancer dells died too…

    2. Yves Smith Post author

      Yes, this is a piece meant to give ammo to the hardliners. Rogoff after all was the co-author of the famed study with the multiple spreadsheet errors that served as the main justification for austerity. He never recanted.

  5. NCSland

    Good typology by Int. Man. The Dulles brothers, founding fathers of our current regime, took care of intra-elite conflict resolution at the outset in 1949. In the Western Bloc, CIA mediates (or arbitrates) oligarchic disputes. In the 70s CIA made the decision to diffuse its power in interagency task forces, widespread billets, proprietaries, and cutouts, so now it’s less observable but no less autocratic.

    Very true that it’s coming to a head:

    The state is diverting all available resources from protection to repression. But the linchpin is impunity. CIA will stop at nothing to enforce its decisions, and they’ve worked hard to make sure nothing can stop them. Reform dreams will go nowhere unless they include accession to the Rome Statute and domestic enactment of A/RES/3074 (XXVIII). What that puts in place is a binding commitment to prosecute or extradite state criminals, backed up by independent, that is, foreign, courts. We will have to face the fundamental problem that we live under a criminal state.

    1. sam s smith

      Its time to get rid of the CIA. Nothing but collossal failures out of that organization.

      Besides, don’t we have 30 other intelligence organizations?

      1. craazyboy

        I think the official count is 16, but that wouldn’t include the secret ones, of course.

    2. neo-realist

      This diversion of resources to repression on the part of the state appears to indicate that it perceives that the next financial crash (or near future ones) will devastate such a broad swath of the public, with further cuts to the safety net buffer, that many more people will agitate and cause disturbances against the state.

    3. Disturbed Voter

      Your eyes are open! Actually the US has been a criminal state since 1776 … King George III wasn’t wrong about that. But then it takes a criminal state (British Empire) to recognize another one.

  6. fresnoberg dan

    Wielding subpoenas demanding information on anonymous commenters, the government is harassing a respected journalism site that dissents from its policies. The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York claims these comments could constitute violent threats, even though they’re clearly hyperbolic political rhetoric.

    Well, if we start looking into all the people ranting and raving on the innertubes, we’re gonna have a lotta work to do…
    Anyway, out of an abundance of caution, I have decided to conceal my identity by cleverly changing my moniker to another nom de plume that will prevent the authorities from ever, ever, ever determining the connection between this post and my previous posts…

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Probably the best defense is to claim insanity.

        The wisest posters are craazyman and craazyboy.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Maybe a lot of work for humans.

      Piece of cake for robots.

      “Let those robots eat brioche.”

    2. abynormal

      “In charge of the San Francisco eavesdropping and codebreaking operation was Lieutenant Colonel Frank B. Rowlett, the protégé of William F. Friedman. Rowlett was relieved when the conference finally ended, and he considered it a great success. “Pressure of work due to the San Francisco Conference has at last abated,” he wrote, “and the 24-hour day has been shortened. The feeling in the Branch is that the success of the Conference may owe a great deal to its contribution.”

      The San Francisco Conference served as an important demonstration of the usefulness of peacetime signals intelligence. Impressive was not just the volume of messages intercepted but also the wide range of countries whose secrets could be read.”
      James Bamford, Body of Secrets: Anatomy of the Ultra-Secret National Security Agency from the Cold War Through the Dawn of a New Century

      maybe-baby, drop the fresno :o)

    3. Andrew Watts

      @fresnoberg dan

      Oh, it’s far too late for that. Since the late ’90s the US intelligence community has relied a lot on open source material. Particularly when it comes to economic/finance matters. Assuming they’re aware of Yves’ high quality work, and that’s a sucker’s bet imo, they’ve already seen us mock and insult them. Speaking of which all this came about after the CIA got busted by some European country for stealing material that turned out to be acquirable through open source collection.

      Maybe they don’t read the comments section…?

  7. Ian

    The Canadian Senate just passed Bill-C51. Any advice on how to protect oneself? As a someone who donates regularly to this site and posts and reads the material here on Social Media network regularly, what level of risk comes with it, and how do I protect myself?

    1. JEHR

      As a Canadian, I think we need to get rid of our PM. I would put my name on a recall list today if that would help. I think Canadians cooked their own goose when they let Harper loose. I fear for the future if he gets re-elected in the fall because he will get rid of most of our social programs; he will de-fund our health care until it dies; he will lead us into whatever war happens to come up; he will make all public institutions into private/public partnerships; he will make the whole of Alberta into Tar Sands; he will destroy the environment on land, sea and air; he will make free trade deals with 196 countries so that all our food and finished goods will come from abroad; he will destroy utterly all our civil liberties; he will make all news a form of propaganda; he will replace all science research with evangelical fervour; in short we will be in our very own Dark Age with a war-mongering history that we can’t even read because all the libraries will be closed. Sometimes I think he is mentally disturbed. If he isn’t, then I am.

      1. vidimi

        it’s not just the PM and his party that’s the problem but the loyal opposition as well. dynastic twits like trudeau need to be sent packing along with his entire sell-out party as well.

        1. hunkerdown

          There’s an old joke to the effect that the Democratic Party policy of today is the Republican Party policy of 12 years ago. So Canadian policy is just US policy with a seven year lag? Hmm, who’s going to upset His Turn Trudeau?

    2. Ottawan

      Answer: Find a way to toss the parties and replace ’em with people with brains and hearts?

  8. timbers


    Read some text of Obama’s speeches at G7, skimming through a few paragraphs, over at Russia Insider.

    Obama is insane. Reading line after line of lies and nonsense. Reminded me of the old Soviet saying “The difference between American reporters and Russian reporters is we don’t believe our propaganda. You actually believer yours.”

    One could easily cut-paste “Iraq” vs “Russia” and “WMD” vs “Russian aggression” and it could have be 2003 and GWB.

    This combined with TPP vote approaching has me feeling depressed about the state of human kind at the moment.

  9. ProNewerDeal

    Yves &/or commenters,

    Any status update on the Grand Ripoff to slash SS/MC? Is it safe to assume the Grand Ripoff is dead, at least until the Nov 2016 “Lame Duck” session?

    1. craazyboy

      I’m hoping the “3rd Rail of Politics” is still the “3rd Rail of Politics”. However, the fine fellows Lindsey Graham and Christi are making it a key, if not only, policy issue in their campaigns.

      Not that medical cost is a problem – just Medicare. Which is why we need longer patent protections for Big Pharma in the TPP. See? There must be a plan for all this. But it’s probably a secret. Other than “Gubmint keep your hands off my $100,000 Hep C drug pricing.” This is a free country.

      Well, there is sorta a plan – these folks are dusting off the fine & fair Catfood Commission report. It does have ideas for increasing funding as a way to close the gap. Like increase the gas tax. The clever folks recognize we have a demographics problem where the retired vs. worker ratio got too high, so if we drive bigger SUVs we can ratio up revenues. It’s all matter of balance in life.

      1. JTMcPhee

        Let’s not forget the “plan,”, to strip $700 million out of Medicare to “pay for” the New, Improved! version of the Trade Adjustment Assistance Program carried forward from NAFTAthink Days, takikng money from medical care to “retrain” displaced and dispossessed “workers” but as with the last iteration, basically a shoddy, slimy wealth transfer to “privatized programs” that don’t do squat to even do the evil thing that they are peddled as doing, softening the blow of “outsourcing” of work and consequent trashing of communities…

        Can I get a job generating fraudulent euphemisms and acronyms for the use of our lords and masters? Free Trade Agreement? Trade Adjustment Assistance? Toxic Assets Relief? Home Affordable Modification Program? Department of Homeland Security? Operation Iraqi Liberation Freedom? There’s these, all contractor-professional,, and then there’s the ones that are in actual use by the skeptical sardonic Troops:

        1. craazyboy

          I’d put the chances much higher getting a Euphemist Professional position than a job from an outsourced government re-training program. Employers know already the gubmint just won’t do it right.

  10. Garrett Pace

    US “new strategy for battling ISIS in Iraq”.

    Conducting operations in Iraq is the least new thing the US could possibly do.

    1. sam s smith

      ISIS is probably running out of new guns and ammo. Time to provide more to the Iraqi ‘Army’.

  11. TedWa

    RE: The FBI’s Own Surveillance Air Force Atlantic
    Well, now I finally know why that low flying plane was circling this area flying in circles for over an hour. I called the local airport and asked if they received any calls besides mine about a pilot possibly in trouble and they said no, which had to be BS. Why are we soooo interesting to our government? Every 3 letter acronym is spying on us with our own money. I’m getting ready to stop paying taxes. But maybe that’s what they want…
    Bernie 2016!!

      1. hunkerdown

        Pennsyltucky is a special kind of corrupt. The Sudra and the Brahmin and everyone else know the game.

  12. JEHR

    I really dislike false titles like “Jack Ma thinks World War III will be a good thing.” Total waste of time.

    1. Vatch

      Fortunately, it’s not a New York Times article, so we don’t waste one of our limited free articles for the month.

    1. JTMcPhee

      Hey, it’s apparently working for that new vitality in the world that we call ISIS/Daesh…

  13. Brindle

    Love the antidote. It wasn’t until later on in adulthood till I realized the magic that dogs can share with their human partner/family. Dogs allow us to have a window into another world that is as rich and varied as our own.

  14. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Aspirant parents…children, joyless life.

    Are these parents really part of the elites? Not too elite, if their children are to grow up, only to, ‘hopefully, if they are so fortunate,’ begin their working lives with a nine-week marriage to their desks?

    And if they are truly part of the elites, can we not say that they would be better off given Guarantee Basic Income, so they can, for the first time, have, uh, play time? Instead of this relentless pursuit of work, work and more work (to manufacture more financial time bombs)?

    “Here, take your monthly guarantee income and get out of that basement. Go play in the sun. No more tinkering with weapons of financial destruction.”

    1. Anon

      The saddest thing, I think, is that this will continue to happen – this endless pursuit of climbing up the rungs of the ladder without being told that ‘yeah, you die on the rung you were born on’ (most of the time). Maybe someone could step up and tell the truth, even if people don’t want to hear it. At least the guy who left for the family function should be proud – he won’t have to experience the hell of sleeping on office carpet.

      1. hunkerdown

        Jefferson had some things to say about pious peoples and tyranny. Personally, I blame St. Augustine for all of it.

        1. vidimi

          the world doesn’t revolve around christianity. asian parents (indian, chinese, etc) are some of the most notorious at driving their kids to “success”. western parents are relatively pretty chill.

    2. Aldous

      Goldman makes it so Saturdays are off for their junior bankers. JPMorgan Chase offers one “protected weekend” each month for its younger employees. Lower-level employees at Bank of America Merrill Lynch are required to take four weekend days off each month.

      The generosity of some of these elite establishments is more than anyone could ever ask for. Oliver Twist comes to mind, “Please sir, can I have some more”? *end snark*

  15. Kurt Sperry

    Did anyone else note in the story “Belgium Commemorates Waterloo With a Coin, and France Is Not Pleased“, that EZ countries can mint their own Euro denominated coins (provided they are in an “irregular denomination”) that aren’t legal tender outside the issuing country? Maybe Greece can issue Euro denominated currency in this way to pay pensions and expenses!

  16. abynormal

    NYPD: Black male recruits make up only 6.86% of the 2015 police academy class. At the end of civil rights movement in 1970 it was 7.3%
    Commissioner William Bratton is blunt about probable causes. “We have a significant population gap among African American males because so many of them have spent time in jail and, as such, we can’t hire them,” he said in a 20 May interview. Because many black men have been convicted of a felony, they are automatically disqualified.
    ‘The emerging plan is to address many puzzle pieces separately: studying the exam design (that all non-white groups fare worse on, over all), tutoring applicants, mentoring them through the process, helping appeal background hiccups and cutting in half the four years the process can take. In addition, candidates from poorer backgrounds often can’t afford to appeal against a negative psychological assessment, which can cost $3,000.

    Corruption, embezzlement, fraud, these are all characteristics which exist everywhere. It is regrettably the way human nature functions, whether we like it or not. What successful economies do is keep it to a minimum. No one has ever eliminated any of that stuff.
    Alan Greenspan / oops, p’d myself

    1. hunkerdown

      Successful economies don’t keep corruption to a minimum, necessarily, so much as ensure the fruits are distributed down.

  17. rich

    Another Tale from the Oligarch Recovery – How a $1,500 Sofa Costs $4,150 When You’re Poor
    By the next day, the Abbotts had a remade living room, two companion pieces, both of the same blended material, 17 percent leather. The love seat and sofa retailed, together, for about $1,500. Abbott would pay for hers over two years, though she still had paying the option to pay monthly or weekly. The total price if paid weekly: $4,158.

    “I’ve never seen a customer base or an economy like this,” Gazzo said in a telephone interview from the company’s headquarters in Tampa.

    – From the Washington Post article: Rental America: Why the Poor Pay $4,150 for a $1,500 Sofa

    When you bail out financial criminals and predators, you get a criminal and predatory economy. If there’s one clear lesson from the 2008 crisis and its aftermath, that should be it.

    1. vidimi

      added to my boycott* list: companies that inidividually price gouge

      *unfortunately, boycott will have to exclude air and rail monopolies though i’ll do my best to restrict their use

  18. Ignacio

    Yes, the “must read” is a must read. One of the worst symptoms of the competitive disease that makes much more harm than diabetes.

  19. JTMcPhee

    RE the FBI’s own Air Force — nothing new, of course, but in all those Dark Budgets, every agency has got to have all the types of toys, right?

    “(Civil Air Patrol members) make last minute adjustments to an Enviropod prior to an aerial photographic mission. The Enviropod is a self-contained two camera system developed for Air Force us in Vietnam that now has many varied peacetime uses. The 145-pound device is attached to the fuselage of a CAP corporate owned aircraft [a Cessna 182, for which the pod is type-certified] For several months members of North Carolina’s Raleigh Wake Composite Squadron have participated in a pilot project in cooperation with the Environmental Protection Agency to collect photographic data for the Air Force and several other governmental agencies.” Nice picture to go with the text, all at page 11. Interesting that there is not much coming up via search engines on the “Enviropod..”

    Slightly ashamed to say that as an EPA enforcement attorney in the early ’80s, I was involved in ‘collecting photographic data’ including researching and writing up “legal justifications” for that surveillance, providing “Constitutional Cover” for it. My excuse was that we earnest tree-hugging regulators were trying to catch the sh_ts of Dow and Monsanto intentionally violating their permits and concealing their activities, with a goal of putting some corporate officers in jail…

    Then there’s this:

    Cessna is proud to announce the new
    Enforcer, giving you the advantage of an
    aerial perspective in law enforcement.

    The Cessna Enforcer program provides our law enforcement customers the ability
    to customize their new Cessna 172, 182, and 206 aircraft with the mission equip¬ment they need for aerial surveillance and discrete communication. An Enforcer equipped Cessna is a low cost, multimis¬sion aircraft that provides the force multiple public agencies require in today’s challenging budget environment.

    Helicopters have a loud, distinct noise signature that attracts attention no matter
    which altitude they operate. A fixed wing Cessna aircraft is a more discrete observa¬tion platform that attracts little attention. It offers much greater time on station and quicker “dash” times than a helicopter.
    An Enforcer equipped Cessna aircraft is a flexible ISR solution that delivers greater
    range, endurance, and mission payload than a comparable class helicopter all at
    a fraction of the cost.

    What a wonderful species we are… consciousness fades into the bitstream flood…

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