Links 9/11/15

Sperm Whales’ Language Reveals Hints of Culture National Geographic

The DOJ Is Finally Conceding It Prosecutes Corporate Crime All Wrong Bloomberg and  Companies Must Find Fraudsters to Duck Penalties, U.S. Says Bloomberg

New U.S. prosecution policy is recipe for corporate conflict: lawyers Reuters. My goodness!

KPMG offshore ‘sham’ deceived tax authorities, CRA alleges CBC

Won’t somebody please think of the tax havens? FT Alphaville

Citi shared central bank info with clients – ex trader Reuters

IPO Parade Continues Without Many Tech Companies WSJ

Leveraged Bubbles (PDF) NBER. “We demonstrate that what makes some bubbles more dangerous than others is credit.”

When rates rise FT. A roundup; and the FT places its bets.

Fed Liftoff Has Futures and Economists at Odds for Next Week  Bloomberg

Remarks by European Commission President Juncker on the State of the Union CFR

Berlin fights Brussels integration push FT

Greece to lift capital controls for those who bring money back to banks Keep Talking Greece

Greek crisis prompts a rethink on food waste Ekathimerini

The Non-Existence of Norway Slavoj Žižek, LRB. On the European refugee crisis.

4 reasons why Jeremy Corbyn could still lose the Labour leadership election Independent

Why Catalonia’s bid for independence is Europe’s next headache Telegraph

Australia’s crawling Internet speed signifies wider fiscal failure Bill Mitchell. The post also notes Warren Mosler’s upcoming visit to Spain.

G20 Finance Ministers focus on private financing of infrastructure Triple Crisis

Emerging-Market Currencies: Things Look to Get Worse WSJ

As Boom Fades, Brazil Asks How Economic Sizzle Turned to Fizzle NYT


Guest Contribution: “Misinterpreting Chinese Government Intervention in Financial Markets” Econbrowser

Li says China to open currency market to central banks WaPo

Why Capital Is Fleeing China: The Crushing Costs of Systemic Corruption Econintersect

Understanding China’s Eurasian Pivot The Diplomat

KEI TPP Briefing Note: Conflicts with US legal norms and TPP provisions on IP remedies for infringement Knowledge Ecology International


Foreign Invasion Force In Yemen Grows Moon of Alabama

Facing Islamic State, Pentagon to send infantrymen and surgical teams to Sinai WaPo. What could go wrong?

Democrats Hand Victory to Obama on Iran Nuclear Deal NYT

U.S. government blocks release of new CIA torture details Reuters

Regents pick least-qualified candidate to lead University of Iowa Bleeding Heartland. C’mon, let’s be fair. The new Regent is certainly qualified to pillage the university; see under Cooper Union, among others, where the same sort of infestation took place. And U. Iowa faculty senate rebukes regents over new president AP.

Tavenner Revolves from Botching PPACA to Heading AHIP  PEU Report

How a U.S. Visa-for-Cash Plan Funds Luxury Apartment Buildings WSJ

Class Warfare

Worker voice critical in US growth agenda Larry Summers (!), FT. “Strengthening collective worker voice has to be an important component of any realistic American inclusive growth agenda.” 

America’s Oligarch Problem: How the Super-Rich Threaten US Democracy Der Spiegel

Growing economic segregation among school districts and schools Brookings

New York governor pushes for $15 statewide minimum wage Reuters

The Douglass Option Jacobin

The Bully’s Pulpit David Graeber, The Baffler. “Usually, when we try to imagine the primordial scene of domination, we see some kind of Hegelian master-slave dialectic… We should imagine instead a three-way relation of aggressor, victim, and witness.”

Elon Musk reveals plan to drop thermonuclear weapons on Mars to prepare planet for humans Independent (CL). Lunatic squillionaires like Musk are why the Galactic Overlords quarantined Earth.

Baby’s Cells Can Manipulate Mom’s Body for Decades Smithsonian (Furzy Mouse)

Lockpickers 3-D Print TSA Master Luggage Keys From Leaked Photos Wired (guurst). Tweet: “OMG, it’s actually working!!!”

Economists vs. Economics Dani Rodrik, Project Syndicate

Retrotopia: A Cab Ride in Toledo The Archdruid Report

Antidote du jour:

sleepy link

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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About Lambert Strether

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


  1. jgordon

    I think it’s great that you’ve finally linked to something that Charles Hugh Smith wrote, he originally posted it on his site here:

    But I was more interested in the Elon Musk article. The resource curse for nations is often mentioned in economics literature, but I think more to the point the entire human species has been cursed with an overabundance of resources–and now that those resources are running out we’re screwed. When confronted with this fact people usually say something inane like “they’ll think of something”. But what they‘ll think of is dropping nuclear bombs on Mars. Which isn’t actually going to ameliorate any of the existential predicaments we’re now facing much at all.

    1. craazyboy

      For someone who has been promoted as smarter than almost everyone else, Elon sure doesn’t sound that smart. But maybe it’s innovation? Innovation is that special voila! that separates the few from the rest of us.

        1. Praedor

          There was a lot of that in the early years for peaceful uses of atomic bombs. Large scale excavation was at the top of the list. There are only two legit peacful uses for nuke weapons today: 1) Interplanetary/Interstellar propulsion – Orion or Daedalus class nuke engines. The tech was proven in the 60s and 70s such that it could be done and would actually work. You could get a VERY LARGE spacecraft carrying robot probes or even humans to Alpha Centauri or Barnard’s Star in a few generations. Travel to the outer solar system would be child’s play. Original designs for Orions had them taking off from the surface of the earth on fast cycling nuclear detonations. This idea was quickly dropped, however, due to radiation/fallout issues and the propulsion system was then seen to be restricted to space use only (that and the test ban treaty).

          2) For deflecting some types of dangerous asteroids. This is related to the Orion or Daedalus class propulsion system in that you are using nukes to impart thrust upon a solid asteroid. Could be used to deflect a large asteroid that was on course to strike Earth or used to move a resource-rich asteroid into a more convenient orbit/location for extraction.

        2. ambrit

          My Dad, who was the engineer’s man on the jobsite for sugar mill construction back in the Go-Go’s, used to laugh at the scheme to use atomics to create a series of interconnected lakes along the Andes to “open up” the resources of South America. “They won’t need lights at night. The water itself will glow. Fools.”
          Then there was the scheme to use atomics to do the original version of “fracking.”
          We live not too far away from the site of the only (admitted to,) atomic tests East of the Mississippi River. Known as the Salmon Tests, they occurred in 1964. Drive on down to Baxterville along Hwy 11 and turn off to Tatum Salt Dome Road. The monitoring sites are still reporting measurable elevated amounts of Tritium in the run off creek. Fifty years later and still going. This a half mile down in a salt dome. Surface explosions? Hah! Fukushima? Hah! Godzilla? Hmmm…

      1. winstonsmith

        You’re a couple of buzzwords behind (probably to your credit). Innovation was last decade, disruption was last year, and thermonuking is this month.

      2. Bill Door

        Don’t forget — corporate innovation is the process that gave us tailfins on the ’57 Dodge. Somebody got a lot of money for coming up with that.

      3. optimader

        Well people are certainly talking about Elon Musk / SpaceX which may have been the underlying motivation of his comment.

        In defense of his brainstorming

        1.) No definition of time frame: fast way- slow way are relative terms. Is he speculating about months/years/decades/centuries for a habitable result?

        2.) With no or little atmosphere, it may be the case that much of the radiation would cast off into space, so the issue of progressive contamination would require further due diligence.

        3.) First fundamental issue, Mars has no magnetic field, hence the solar wind will blow away the atmosphere, no sure how the basic physics of that can be suspended?

        4.) Second fundamental issue is one of technology. How would the many reqd nukes, possibly all that are currently in existence, be delivered?
        Presumably (inexpensive) launch technology that has as a 100% reliability to not contaminate our own biosphere if it fails will be a fundamental design basis. That launch/containment technology has not been developed/demonstrated (inertial railgun kinda thing?) and is presumably a technology leap that eclipses anything SpaceX has on the drawing board

        5.) If the technology required in 4.) become available, it would presumably be a solution for all the radioactive waste we’ve thus created, consequently solving a major contamination legacy here on Planet Earth.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Maybe it works out at the end for the rich guys.

          All I know is refugees can walk all the way to Germany, but not Mars.

      4. dk

        Maybe Musk is hitting his wall, overloading and locking up, and starting to make more panic-driven (and ill-considered) decisions. It just means he’s human (and could use a break to clear his head, something our business culture generally likes to think is unnecessary).

        All it took was five seconds of silence. Elon Musk, the chief executive of Tesla Motors, was asked during a conference call whether his electric car company would move into ride-sharing services, turning it into a potential challenger for taxi app Uber.

        Mr Musk, one of the world’s great PR men, paused. Then he refused to answer.

        The tactical swerve was a new trick for the techno-utopian, known for enthralling the media and investors with his explosive talk of disrupting entire industries and his market-moving tweets.

        “Have you ever heard Elon Musk punt on a strategic question before?” says Adam Jonas, the Morgan Stanley analyst who posed the question.

    2. Praedor

      These rich loons that think we are going to colonize Mars (by “we” I mean the rich or crazy libertarians) always fail to account for one BIG thing. The ONLY thing: Mars has no magnetic field of any note. That’s really all you need to consider. You could pump all kinds of water-bearing asteroids or comets into Mars to thicken the atmosphere with greenhouse water and to create lakes and oceans, you could thaw out all the frozen CO2 locked up in the soil and at the poles to get that greenhouse gas into the atmosphere, and it will still lack a magnetic field.

      Why does that matter? No magnetic field, no living on the surface no matter how warm and wet you make it. You will be pelted with unfiltered solar and cosmic rays. You WILL die young, get cancers up the ying-yang. There’s no way to give Mars a magnetic field so there’s no way to EVER live on the surface no matter how much terraforming you do. You have to look forward to a life lived under rock, in tunnels, in caves, with only short jaunts to the surface before hustling back into the rock after you’ve reached your “safe” dose of radiation.

      Morons. Mars will never be, CAN never be, a little Earth.

      1. Alex morfesis

        Hush…quiet…who will go to mars…the squillionaires…they’ll think it’s the new Everest…fastest way to rid the planet of the mungerites…Hush…as Mr panos says…we be playing a trick…Hush…they are rich…they don’t need an atmosphere…they can use Zink…Hush…

        1. C. Walsh

          The line about “people like you and I could hop in a SpaceX craft” was LOL worthy.
          Perhaps as indentured servants for the uppercrust.

          1. cwaltz

            Woohoo! I wonder if they’ll name the shuttle the Mayflower(and if the plan will be to make things more and more miserable for us here on planet Earth?) The more things change the more they stay the same.

        2. Praedor

          Ah damn! Sorry.

          Uh, you know, now that I reconsider it, I was wrong wrong wrong. Mars will be a true paradise! Like Tahiti worldwide (but without the annoying poors, except for doormen and women, waitstaff, janitors, etc).

          1. Jay M

            My only concern is if Musk is pronouncing it correctly. If he knows that it is a thermonucular bomb, I’m all in.

    3. Ed

      The “resource curse” globally was simply that Malthus was correct. After the massive increase in the world’s food supply due to the green revolution, which was prompted by a desire to make sure famines never happened again, there was a massive increase in the world’s population, by over four billion people, to match. This is just what Malthus predicted. But the green revolution depends on fossil fuels, which are finite, and can make the Earth uninhabitable by humans if too much are burned off.

      “They will think of something” is usually meant to be a perpetual motion machine, will probably wind up being some way to cut the world population of humans in at least half quickly.

      I didn’t know about Mars’ lack of a magnetic field making terraforming projects impossible. But even at that, its only a third of another Earth, so the increased resource capacity of the addition of Mars would be wiped out by another two decades’ population increase.

      Its also really difficult to get humans safely past the radiation trapped by Earth’s magnetic belt, and has only been recorded to have been done with the Apollo missions. Even getting a manned exploratory mission to Mars won’t happen before climate change really hits hard.

      1. craazyboy

        It’s 2 or 3 months to Mars, I believe, so rad exposure is much longer term. Plus you’ll need an ocean cruise size spaceship to carry and protect the crew from rad exposure, even assuming only the 1400 American billionaire squillionaires are going (shafting the rest of the world’s squillionaires). So they need the orbital space dock first to build the solar cruiser in orbit. But then all materials and proles to build the thing (H1Bs to save some money) still need to be launched into orbit, and I’ve heard things didn’t get off to that great of a start with the Libertarian I, orbital launch vehicle, or whatever it’s name was.

        1. ambrit

          Check out Mars Direct:
          Radiation shielding is easy once you realize that you will need water for your trip, even with water recycling and purification. Water is the best radiation shield for its’ cost. The real problem will be low gravities’ adverse effect upon the human body. Daily, intense exercise will be needed to maintain bone mass among other things while in transit.
          As far as species survival and economic health are concerned, the Lagrange Point colony proposals are much more feasible. Industry in space is possible. All it will take is the political will. (Laughs maniacally.)

          1. craazyboy

            So we need to sink a duel hull ocean liner first, before launching it into outer space? I’m thinking in the Great Lakes – but better check with Elon.

            Yes, the Puppeteers did Lagrange Points in Ringworld, so oligarchs should be able to do it on our solar system.

      2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Is the strategy of less consumption/population stabilization ‘too little to late,’ that the only realistic choice (for the billionaires, never open to you and me) is for the rich to isolate themselves in their well protected island-fortresses, here on the planet, with the best defense and surveillance their money can buy, given outer-space or space is not a viable option, technologically at the present?

          1. ambrit

            I would have suggested “Logan’s Run.”
            Really, my favourite film version of dystopia is “Dark Star.” I can definitely see Musk in that crew.

          2. Skippy

            “Liquid Sky” where aliens are extracting the endorphins produced by the brain when an orgasm occurs.

            Skippy…. Margaret’s [Anne Carlisle] WASP Dystopia Soliloquy is apropos…

          3. lord koos

            My favorite dystopian film, and by far the most believable, (but it has nothing to do with outer space) is “Children of Men” with Clive Owen, Michael Caine, Julianne Moore & Chiwetel Ejiofor. Fantastic movie, and terrifyingly real.

            1. ambrit

              I’ve been reflecting on all of our mentionings of “dystopian futures,” and come to the conclusion that we live in a “Dystopian Present.” So, what is next; the “Spartacists” or the “Stoics?”

        1. different clue

          Perhaps the surviving remnants of the non-rich majority will find a way to fling bubonic-plague rats and corpses over the wall into the richistani fortresses. Perhaps we will find a way to release ebola fruit-bats into their living quarters. It deserves to be done. “It’s a good thing”. as Martha Stewart would say.

          I hope smart non-richistanis are working on the problem just in case it becomes non-theoretical.

    4. diptherio

      I’m just waiting for Elon to suggest we blow up the moon (doing it during a full moon, of course, to make sure we get it all). We totally need to dump all the rest of our money into space!

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Blowing up the moon would set a precedent for blowing up Earth, though a mad man or all of us together in madness can do the latter quite well any time.

    5. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Hawking said something like, humans deserved another chance after Earth, in space (in the documentary, Surviving Progress).

      To some, that means, more money for their projects.

      Here, sadly, most experts in human history, not knowing much about physics, believe it will mean that we humans get another chance to pollute and destroy another planet, and will likely succeed.

      1. Bev

        Humans deserve another chance here on earth too. Don’t give up.
        Why no mention of 9/11 and the towers today? Informing people gives us another chance. Don’t give up.
        Architects and Engineers for 9/11 Truth

        NYC World Premiere, Friday, September 11th:
        Firefighters, Architects & Engineers Expose the Myths of 9/11

        Dear friends,

        I am pleased to inform you that on Friday, September 11, 2015, Architects & Engineers for 9/11 Truth, together with Firefighters for 9/11 Truth, will be premiering another indispensable piece in our collection of educational materials: Firefighters, Architects & Engineers: Expose the Myths of 9/11. I invite you to watch the two-minute trailer here.

        This 90-minute film features a landmark joint presentation by Erik Lawyer, the founder of Firefighters for 9/11 Truth, and me. Together we dismantle two dozen myths that comprise the official account of the WTC destruction. We also expose the failure of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) to comply with the requirements of NFPA 921, the national guideline for fire and explosion investigations.

        We hope this information-packed video will quickly become a go-to educational tool — particularly for outreach to firefighters and fire protection professionals all over the country.

        Join Erik and Me for the World Premiere

        The world premiere of Firefighters, Architects & Engineers will be held at 7:00 PM on Friday, September 11, 2015, in the West Park Presbyterian Church, located at 165 West 86th Street in New York City’s Upper West Side. Come join Erik, me, and hundreds of others for the premiere of this powerful, incisive film. Also, please join me for a pre-screening of the film in Hartford, CT, on September 9th!

        Contact for more information on these events.

        C-span Interview: Architects and Engineers for 9/11 Truth

        Richard Gage talked about his group, Architects and Engineers for 9/11 Truth, which claimed that the World Trade Center was brought down by explosive demolition on September 11, 2001. The group was founded in 2006 and said its mission was to “expose the official lies and cover-up surrounding the events of September 11, 2001 in a way that inspires the people to overcome denial and understand the truth.”

        Why Would Seahawks Coach Pete Carroll Question 9/11?
        Posted on February 1, 2015 by Kevin Ryan

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          You’re right.

          We make the last stand here.

          If we can’t take care of this home, we are not worthy of another…given we are the ones responsible.

            1. Vatch

              If a person’s message has multiple links, or a few key words that might suggest some types of controversy, it goes into the moderation queue. Your message has lots of links!

      2. Bev

        Humans deserve another chance here on earth too. Don’t give up.
        Why no mention of 9/11 and the towers today? Informing people gives us another chance. Don’t give up.
        Architects and Engineers for 9/11 Truth

        NYC World Premiere, Friday, September 11th:
        Firefighters, Architects & Engineers Expose the Myths of 9/11

        Dear friends,

        I am pleased to inform you that on Friday, September 11, 2015, Architects & Engineers for 9/11 Truth, together with Firefighters for 9/11 Truth, will be premiering another indispensable piece in our collection of educational materials: Firefighters, Architects & Engineers: Expose the Myths of 9/11. I invite you to watch the two-minute trailer here.

        This 90-minute film features a landmark joint presentation by Erik Lawyer, the founder of Firefighters for 9/11 Truth, and me. Together we dismantle two dozen myths that comprise the official account of the WTC destruction. We also expose the failure of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) to comply with the requirements of NFPA 921, the national guideline for fire and explosion investigations.

        We hope this information-packed video will quickly become a go-to educational tool — particularly for outreach to firefighters and fire protection professionals all over the country.

        Join Erik and Me for the World Premiere

        The world premiere of Firefighters, Architects & Engineers will be held at 7:00 PM on Friday, September 11, 2015, in the West Park Presbyterian Church, located at 165 West 86th Street in New York City’s Upper West Side. Come join Erik, me, and hundreds of others for the premiere of this powerful, incisive film. Also, please join me for a pre-screening of the film in Hartford, CT, on September 9th!

        Contact for more information on these events.

        C-span Interview: Architects and Engineers for 9/11 Truth

        Richard Gage talked about his group, Architects and Engineers for 9/11 Truth, which claimed that the World Trade Center was brought down by explosive demolition on September 11, 2001. The group was founded in 2006 and said its mission was to “expose the official lies and cover-up surrounding the events of September 11, 2001 in a way that inspires the people to overcome denial and understand the truth.”

        1. Bill Frank

          As with other issues, too many people refuse to look at evidence that raises serious doubt about the “official” version of events. To do so takes them to a place that is too scary. Sometimes the truth can be very difficult to confront especially when that truth destroys a lifelong belief about our nation.

          1. tim s

            Too true. It’s difficult even for those accustomed to trying to dig for the truth.

            Thanks for the links Bev, and yes, it’s too bad that there were no related links on this anniversary. NC, for whatever reasons, does not dig too deeply when it comes to “deep state” issues. NC will poke around the holes, but will not jump in. It is very good on other issues though, and they are usually related on some level.

      1. ambrit

        They’re not too difficult to make. Purifying and concentrating the fissile materials is the bottleneck. Any half way decent industrialized country can do it. The Transnational corporations are now big enough to stand in for small nations, and get the job done. Privatized nukes, the apotheosis of Neo Liberalism.

        1. cyclist

          You may know that The Progressive magazine got in a bit of trouble in 1979 for publishing Howard Morland’s article on how to build an atomic bomb. The anti-nuke movement was keen to show that much of the secrecy surrounding nuclear issues was intended to keep the information away from the public: adversaries would have no trouble gleaning the needed plans. In fact one accurate source was a Encyclopedia Britannica article authored by Edward Teller, IIRC. The government moved to retroactively classify some of this stuff.

          The materials were always the issue. Aside from the fissile materials, there are certain strategic alloys that are required and it is said the intelligence agencies closely follow the movement of these materials around the world. Presumably the ‘aluminum centrifuge tubes’ which were sought by Saddam Hussein were well known to be useless for that purpose by those in the know.

  2. craazyboy

    “New U.S. prosecution policy is recipe for corporate conflict: lawyers Reuters”

    hahaha. There goes gubmint screwing up the lawyer biz and trying to turn it into a bunch adversarial relationships!

    I forget, did Murdoch buy Reuters?

    1. TheCatSaid

      Black panther? If so, they are carnivores and eat anything that moves if the size can be handled (antelopes, gazelles, goats, monkeys, occasionally birds, reptiles, frogs, etc) and less frequently eggs, grass or fruit.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Whatever that is, the message is clear: In Praise of Sloth or Idleness.

        “Leave your looting till tomorrow. Let’s play or better yet, take a nap.”

      2. neo-realist

        I tended to see the Black Panther as an endangered species due to assassination, imprisonment, and government harassment.

  3. Praedor

    There’s a very easy fix for disparity in rich vs poor school districts…you collect the taxes for education and disburse them to each district based on the number of students only, so on a per capita basis, rather than rich district gets primo rich school, poor district gets shit school.

    No difference in schools should be evidence. The education money gets pooled and disbursed per capita.

    There, fixed. Suck it 1% scum.

    1. craazyboy

      They did do that when they decided Orange County property taxes should go to City of LA schools.

      We didn’t think that was that great of an idea. Maybe Beverly Hills, Bel Air, West LA, LA County beach towns, and West San Fernando Valley property taxes would have been more appropriate targets. Or just make it a Federal income tax (progressive) thing. (re-thinking the Ronnie starve the beast thing)

    2. curlydan

      agree with Jim and craazyboy. That formula has been tried in many states, and it does make the rich mad (a mild benefit), but doesn’t give much help to the poor school districts.

      Parents and community are huge factors in education, and efforts and money to equalize or help people there are greatly wanting.

      1. craazyboy

        As usual, the “rich” got missed somehow and the middle/upper middle class got the bill. (Ok, OC has Newport Beach, but that’s a drop in the bucket compared to the rich enclaves in LA County)

        But is was democratic. In the state legislature in Sacramento, population 8 million LA County carried the vote over population 3 million OC!

    3. Bridget

      Known as “Robin Hood”, the system you describe has been the method for disbursing education funding in Texas for decades. Works great for redistributing money. Improving educational outcomes, not so much.

    4. jrs

      To improve school outcomes money needs to be redistributed to poor people not poor schools. School spending is not the answer even to problem of unequal schools, a more equal society is.

      1. Steven D.

        Providing people with jobs is the best thing we could to improve schools.

        Bad schools don’t lead to poverty. Poverty leads to bad schools.

  4. Eric Patton

    Here’s the thing about the U of Iowa, and academics generally. The professoriat didn’t care when corporate America was f*king the working class.

    But now that the chickens are coming home to roost, they’re unhappy. Hello? You’re *educated* people right? How did you not know they’d be coming for YOU eventually, too?

    Side note: Watched Jeremy Corbyn on YouTube a couple days ago. Damn, he kicks ass. I love that guy.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      ‘….for You eventually, too?’

      That’s what I think of when I see all those refugees trying to get to Germany and other countries – hey, they could have been any of us, here.

      So, I wonder what they need to make the journey – a few thousand US dollars, after selling their cars and other possessions, Euros, Syrian sovereign money or gold bars?

      Had they stayed in Syria, they would have needed a gun. But for going to another safe country, they could use gold.

      People rightly say you need something to protect your farm and your food sources from marauding city dwellers, when the system melts down, but if you have to seek shelter in another nation, I think gold helps.

    2. different clue

      It is analogous to how the Yuppietariat supported Free Trade against factory-working people. Now the Yuppietarians find themselves job-threatened by the Free Trade in H1-B visa holders. Serves them right now for what they supported then.

      Also, Heartlanders warned the Pacific Coastals about the long term effects to themselves of Free Trade. But the Pacific Coastals saw a chance to make a fortune from their country’s misfortune, so they all supported Bill Clinton’s MFN for China. So now the Pacific Coastals are getting the China blow-over air pollution and the Chinese mercury in Pacific seafood which the Pacific Coastals helped create, and which they therefore richly and absolutely deserve today.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Decades after NAFTA, Mexico has been totally penetrated by foreign banks (which have benefited more than yuppies and Coastals) today.

      2. jrs

        Most of those yuppies probably weren’t even of voting age then (especially if they are young urban professionals), but even if they aren’t all that young. Those able to vote for Bill Clinton much less mature enough to vote wisely and those left to compete with H1Bs in a corporate America that age discriminates for all such jobs, may not overlap all that much.

    3. Cat's paw

      Well, I don’t disagree generally with General (Eric) Patton’s statement. Academics, despite spouting a fair amount of Marxist, lefty, social equality rhetoric, especially in the social sciences and humanities, are mostly bourgeois in affiliation and outlook. So, you know, what’d you expect? However, one also has to consider who academics are and what they do. The cloistered, somewhat insular nature of university life leads academics to being relatively clueless in dealing with immediate and close-to-hand politics–outside of the usual intra-departmental knife fights.

      Having said that, and that I’m completely uninformed as to the dynamics at U of Iowa, the continued corporatization of the academy is nothing to crow about. It is genuinely depressing to see universities being turned into sites of tertiary resource extraction schemes for buffoons, incompetents, and half-wits.

      Two fronts where the “Professoriat” could and should have made a stand long ago was on the rapidly increasing use and abuse of adjuncts and runaway tuition inflation. But, going to Patton’s point, though these dynamics were lamentable, any professor would readily acknowledge, it was not really affecting the professors directly. So why worry too much. However within the past few years the effects are beginning to redound to the professors themselves. Hopefully they’ll find the backbone (and the time–despite talking points to the contrary very many professors are overcommitted and overworked) to fight the generalized stupefaction of the academy. At least people at Iowa are calling out this horseshit.

    4. Cat's paw

      I forgot to include the money quote from the second link on the U of Iowa fiasco.

      “The board unanimously thought Bruce Harreld’s experience in transitioning other large enterprises through change, and his vision for reinvesting in the core mission of teaching and research, would ultimately provide the leadership needed,” Rastetter said. “We are disappointed that some of those stakeholders have decided to embrace the status quo of the past over opportunities for the future and focus their efforts on resistance to change instead of working together to make the University of Iowa even greater.”

      The blatant stupidity of these statements speaks for itself.

  5. Bottom Gun

    Can you imagine what things would be like if USG had taken the approach to Osama that they took to the recent spate of financial terrorism?

    – OBL sets up Super PAC, “Islamic Extremists for Democracy” (IED for short). Donations flow to mainstream politicians across Washington.
    – Obama nominates Bowe Bergdahl as Secretary of Defense, citing his experience in the Afghanistan war
    – Before joint session of Congress, Obama announces creation of “Terrorism Working Group” led by corporate lawyers, none of whom know how to disassemble and clean a rifle, much less aim it correctly; and none of whom speak a word of Dari, Pashto, or Arabic.
    – When pressed on lack of progress, Administration officials say that hunting terrorists is “complex” and that the terrorists themselves are “tough to track down.” The budget for SEAL Team Six is slashed and they are reassigned to ceremonial drill duty for foreign dignitary visits.
    – Secretary of Defense Bergdahl resigns and goes to Covington & Burling, which has been saving a corner office for him. He brings in a lot of lucrative business from Middle Eastern nonprofits lobbying in Washington
    – Soon after the statute of limitations on hijacking and mass murder runs out, the Defense Department announces a new “get tough on terrorism” policy
    – Osama Bin Laden lives in the largest house in the poshest neighborhood in Karachi, and sleeps like a baby every night

    1. tim s

      I hope the financial terrorists are

      sleep[ing] like a baby every night

      , that is by waking up every hour, $hitting all over themselves, and crying for their mommies to comfort them

  6. rich

    The Role of Central Banks in Global Austerity
    Timothy A. Canova
    Indiana Journal of Global Legal Studies
    Vol. 22, No. 2 (Summer 2015), pp. 665-695
    Published by: Indiana University Press
    Stable URL:
    Page Count: 31
    The literature on austerity, by scholars and policymakers alike, has largely downplayed the important role of central banks in designing and implementing global austerity both before and since the 2008 financial crisis.

    This article considers how and why the world’s leading central banks display an inherent bias toward austerity. As central banks have become increasingly influenced and even captured by large private banks and financial institutions, they have pursued policy agendas that favor those same private interests.

    The structure of the U.S. Federal Reserve suggests a central bank that has been captured by design and is rife with inherent conflicts of interest in its governance, regulatory, and monetary policy functions.

    These conflicts are often overlooked because of the myth of central bank independence, which has rested on truncated empirical studies and flawed readings of economic history.

    Yet, the myth has legitimized the Federal Reserve’s policy agenda—particularly beginning in the 1980s when Alan Greenspan became chair of the Federal Reserve—when deregulation, liberalization, and privatization came to serve the private interests of Wall Street banks while creating a boomand-bust bubble economy.

    The austerity bias of central banks was also revealed in both the academic work and monetary policy approach of Ben Bernanke, who succeeded Greenspan as Federal Reserve chairman just ahead of the 2008 financial collapse. Not only was the Federal Reserve’s response to crisis a reflection of the domination of Wall Street interests, it also revealed a complete misreading of the lessons from the Great Depression by Bernanke and other mainstream economists.

    The result has been a flawed “trickle-down” response to the financial crisis, as the Federal Reserve and other leading central banks have provided massive subsidies to financial institutions and markets while relegating other sectors of the economy and society to the pains of austerity. A more balanced economic approach will require reform of central bank governance to include representatives of a wider range of social interests in monetary policymaking.

    What say Madam Yellen? It is a brothel, right?

    1. susan the other

      Steve Keen also accuses Bernanke of misunderstanding the Great Depression. Haven’t read the analysis yet but I bet it has everything to do with the destructiveness of private debt, pushed of course by private banksters.

  7. petal

    Interesting article:”Kilton Public Library server was the first in the country to be operated by a public library under the Library Freedom Project — until the Tor server was shut off in August. The server had operated for about a month until Lebanon police brought the issue to the city.”

  8. RabidGandhi

    Re: Dems give Obama Iran Deal Victory: I know I’m going against some considerably respectable solid grain here, but I have been taken aback by the lack of debate from the left on the deal.

    On its surface it seems like a terrible deal for Iran. While the sanctions are indubitably brutal, the DNC neo-cons are gladly lining up behind the deal because they know

    1) they won’t be able to invade Iran right away

    2) the deal will weaken Iranian sovereignty and defences to the point where a future invasion will be that much easier

    3) the wording of the deal is so loose that it will give the US carte blanche to invent an excuse to attack or punish Iran even more brutally (Iraq flashback)

    4) even if an invasion never materialises, it gives the US better access to the Iranian upper class/business elements who could undermine the Islamic Revolution from within.

    Commentators I truly respect on the issue (eg, Vijay Prashad, Gareth Porter, Tariq Ali…) have all endorsed the deal as a way to mitigate Washington’s longstanding war on the Iranian people, but I have seen very little debate from such sources as to why there is significant pushback in the Majlis and elsewhere in Iran, and practically no discussion of items 1-4 above. And the fact that Washington is so eager for the deal should at least give us pause.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      I think you are equating this deal as similar to the the deal with Gaddafi. Moscow and Beijing are involved in the deal and major proponents of Iranian economic integration, and they both recognized after the U.S. dismissed the no-fault zone as an inconvenience in Libya is a deranged child power. During the hullabaloo in Syria over the use of an over century old gas attack, the Chinese and Russians sent troops to Syria. Russia is providing weapons to Iran they had previously refused.

      This is about European companies. They want in to Iran, and given U.S. behavior, anyone doing business with the U.S. will be as popular as Yeltsin lackeys in Russia.

      As far as eagerness, Washington doesn’t want to be embarrassed over Europe ending Iran sanctions, and two, Obama desperately wants something for his monstrosity in Hyde Park or else it’s just a Tomb in what was once a public park. Plus, all the issues are on our end.

      1. RabidGandhi

        So if I understand your point, the deal is good for Iran because:

        1. Russia and China, who already deal with Iran, don’t want to be harassed by the US anymore for doing so.

        2. It will help European companies do business in Iran (with all the blessings FDI brings?)

        3. The powers in Washington have no ulterior motive, all they care about is Obama’s legacy.

        Your points are insightful, but I still don’t see any arguments justifying Iran rolling over supine to sign this deal.

        Lastly, all the issues are not “on the US end”:

        “I think maybe the drama in my country will be bigger than that in yours,” [Iranian Parliament Speaker Ali] Larijani told reporters in New York”

        1. cwaltz

          Iran wants the deal because it wants the sanctions to end. It’s economy has taken a hit by being economically isolated.

          When sanctions took affect they went from a nation with over 20 trading partners to 6. They also had assets frozen that become available again. Then there’s the fact that with sanctions lifted investors will now be able to sink money into Iranian business. The value of the rial plummeted and as a result Iran has struggled with massive inflation(NPR put it at around 40%. I’m sure being unable to export, and having global clearinghouses decline to take part in any of your financial transactions had some play in that.)

          I suspect these are all good reasons for Iran to deal(and make it a decent deal not just for us but for them.)

          1. RabidGandhi

            I agree. The sanctions are brutal and evil. But my question is whether the evil of the deal outweighs the evil of the sanctions. Maybe it does, but I have not read any discussion about it, even from otherwise excellent analysts on the left.

            All of the articles I have read basically look only at the US side: Have we punished Iran enough? Will this weaken our ability to attack them more? Can we trust the Iranians? Etc etc.

            As noted above, there is significant debate on the Iranian side, yet I haven’t seen any of those issues raised in the Western press, even in places like Counterpunch, the Nation, Democracy Now, Zmag or even here.

            1. cwaltz

              I always find it interesting that we worry about trusting the Iranians. It feels like a mad case of projection since essentially we(along with the Brits) are the ones who tried to manipulate their democracy to our advantage with the Shah.

              If I were the Iranians I wouldn’t trust us as far as I could throw us.

              That being said I don’t think they have much of a choice since their economy has struggled as a result of being economically isolated. Their best bet is going to be to go with the treaty that was globally negotiated(which lacks the teeth that many in DC wanted) and hope for the best for now.

        1. cwaltz

          Between the Israelis, Saudis and our own self interest, it’s hard to gauge how much of the problem with Assad’s leadership is for the plurality of Syrians.

        2. susan the other

          An article in ZH today on Iranian troops supporting the Russians in Syria reposted from gave a long discussion on how the whole ME war and chaos started and why and it all makes good sense to me. They even dedicated two sentences to dear old Georgie Soros who is in on the whole thing to steal the Caspian and cut Russia out. We shall see.

          1. cwaltz

            Can you link?

            I really don’t want to sift through the “the sky is falling buy gold” or their wrong headed policy positions(I briefly sifted through their Walmart vendor story and noted that they seem to think vendors are powerless despite the fact that it wasn’t but a few years ago that Walmart lost a good portion of their customer base when it deleted brand names from their shelves, but hey why not ignore facts when you have an ideology to protect) on the domestic front.

    2. different clue

      Perhaps someone in these threads or posts could offer a link to the entire text of the Iran Agreement so the readers here can read it in its entirety for themselves?

    1. Massinissa

      They should try and do a study to see if people put in retirement homes with Alzheimers patients are more likely to get alzheimers independently of genetics.

      1. ambrit

        OOOH! Good idea for a pretty simple study. Anecdotally, most of the people I’ve known who were ‘warehoused’ died quickly. Where the cause and effect lie, I’m still trying to figure out.

  9. Jim Haygood

    Joe Biden’s response to 9/11 — martial law:

    Months before the Oklahoma City bombing took place, Biden introduced another bill called the Omnibus Counterterrorism Act of 1995. It previewed the 2001 Patriot Act by allowing secret evidence to be used in prosecutions, expanding the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act and wiretap laws, creating a new federal crime of “terrorism” that could be invoked based on political beliefs, permitting the U.S. military to be used in civilian law enforcement, and allowing permanent detection of non-U.S. citizens without judicial review.

    Biden himself draws parallels between his 1995 bill and its 2001 cousin. “I drafted a terrorism bill after the Oklahoma City bombing. And the bill John Ashcroft sent up was my bill,” he said when the Patriot Act was being debated. The New Republic described him as “the Democratic Party’s de facto spokesman on the war against terrorism.”

    Biden’s chronology is not accurate: the bombing took place in April 1995 and his bill had been introduced in February 1995. But it’s true that Biden’s proposal probably helped to lay the groundwork for the Bush administration’s Patriot Act.

    CNET goes on to list an entire legislative parade of horribles that Biden has sponsored during his unbroken record of service to corporate America.

    Interesting timing on OKC — Biden introduces his proto-Patriot Act in February, then a deadly bombing occurs in April. Thank goodness the malefactors didn’t burn the Reichstag.

  10. diptherio

    Re: DOJ finally deciding to maybe pursue criminal bankers

    The rhetoric here is still confused. “Companies must turn over fraudsters,” etc. Companies do not make decisions–people do. What DOJ is saying is that employees must turn in their bosses–or executives must turn themselves in–to “duck penalties.” But why would an employee of a criminal banking enterprise risk turning in his boss and wouldn’t such action basically guarantee a person that they would never work in the industry again? And as for ducking penalties, again: companies don’t care about penalties because companies are abstract entities with no nervous system of their own–it’s people (some people) who care about those penalties–but those people aren’t generally in a position to do anything about it.

    How hard is it, really, to maintain a mental distinction between abstract entities and the actually-existing persons who control them? Pretty tough, apparently, as Bloomberg (and many others) still can’t seem to wrap their tiny heads around the issue.

  11. Uahsenaa

    Re: UI President hire

    Now that the faculty senate have produced their sternly worded letter expressing deep disappointment, I expect rather little to come of this. The only institution that has ever engaged in real pushback against the administration is the grad student union, and they are threatened on all sides from 1) a hostile admin that will do anything not to pay a decent wage and benefits and from 2) largely complacent tenured faculty who stand quiet on the sidelines while their own students are fighting for what they need.

    The thing that people often don’t realize about uni admin is that large, across the board budget cuts don’t happen without the acquiescence of individual departments and their respective stakeholders. A uni president can’t declare from on high what and where to cut (though the regents can reduce the total amount of money), it is up to the faculty and administrators in individual programs (managers, directors, chairs, etc.) and whatever governing bodies they have in place (executive committees, budget committees) to do the actual hack and slash work. The non-contingent faculty have real power to rebel or, at least, push back. They never exercise this power, and so remain ever complicit in the very institutional changes they claim to deplore.

    I never see faculty occupy regents meetings, or send out press releases, or negotiate aggressively (all of which the grad student union do–and win). No, the spirit of collegiality they prize so heavily will be their doom.

  12. Brindle


    I just stopped in on “Google News” to see which candidates they had articles on. Hillary had two, Biden one and Trump one. I went to NYT—on the front page there was a Biden piece, went to their Politics section and there were three Hillary, two Biden, two Trump.
    Sanders had a goose egg for both sites.
    Pretty obvious that despite Sanders leading in polls in Iowa and NH that he is being marginalized by corporate media. They are doing their best to make him disappear.

    1. rich

      Will Irwin captured this duality vividly. “Publicly, the controlled newspaper assumes to exercise its ancient office of tribune of the people. Privately, it serves wealth. Publicly, that it may keep its subscribers, it pretends to favor progress; privately that it may guard its owners sources of revenue and social position, it suppresses and denatures the news which would assist that process. The system is dishonest to its marrow.”*

      1. RabidGandhi

        This is the second shout-out here to Sinclair’s Brass Check in as many days, and well deserved. Should be required reading on high school reading lists.

  13. BondsOfSteel

    RE: New U.S. prosecution policy is recipe for corporate conflict: lawyers

    What’s so amazing about this article is the assumption that the prosecuting of crime will just result in more lawyers. I guess Wall Street is so criminal that it’s unthinkable to just not break the law.

  14. Oregoncharles

    “Sperm Whales’ Language Reveals Hints of Culture”

    It’s been obvious for a long time now that the large-brained whales and dolphins have some sort of language – but there’s been remarkably little progress in deciphering it, OR in teaching them human language. Trainers communicate with dolphins pretty successfully, but not in language. Trying to “train” orcas seems like a bad idea – one killed a trainer, obviously intentionally, a few years ago.

    If you think about it, whale intelligence has to be deeply different from ours, and their communications may be on very different subjects. Much of human thought and communication is about manipulating the world; the kind of stuff we talk about here is not only about manipulating the world, but many degrees of abstraction from, say, tool use. Whales can’t manipulate; tossing a ball around (or a trainer, in the worst case) is about the limit, and not something they do in nature. So their language is going to be very different in its premises and probably in the way it works. The “dialects” described in this article may be little more than markers – “in” or “out” of a particular clan.

    Sperm whales are essentially solitary hunters (usually at great depths, so we can’t be sure WHAT they do); it’s strange that they even have language, though they have massive brains.

    There’s something to be said for having mysteries in the world. But if someone could crack this one, we could get a glimpse of true alien intelligence, right here on Earth.

    1. susan the other

      I read stuff ages ago about how whale language evolves with dropped words and new words every year, as noticed back then (maybe 80s and 90s) when they communicated w each other as they migrated. Evolution is one of the hallmarks of human language too, altho we keep our root words forever. Somehow the meaning changes as the words describe new action. Your view that they cannot manipulate their environment is interesting because what else makes a language “evolve”? Must wonder if these changes represent the whales adapting to the environment. Or stg.

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Today, we look for human characteristics in Nature.

      The other approach is to drop our human world’s abstract ideas, ideas like ‘culture,’ and ‘language,’ and immerse ourselves in Nature (be like other life forms), and see the human world from their perspectives without language or the ‘culture’ baggage, instead of fitting round-peg Nature into our square hole existence.

      Then, we can also find out more about what we and the rest of Nature have in common.

  15. Oregoncharles

    “The DOJ Is Finally Conceding It Prosecutes Corporate Crime All Wrong ”

    Funny how they’d do that AFTER the statute of limitations has run out on most of the crimes that led to the financial collapse, and when the Obama administration is deep into lame duck status. If they undertake large, complicated prosecutions now, they won’t be completed before the next administration takes over – and on the pattern of recent history, that will be a Republican administration. (I know, hard to imagine right now, but that’s the pattern – and I think they cheat to make it happen.) Even a Clinton admin. would be questionable as a Wall St. enforcer.

    1. Ulysses

      “Even a Clinton admin. would be questionable as a Wall St. enforcer.”

      That line made me laugh so hard that I started to cry. A second Clinton administration would unquestionably be the staunchest defender of Wall St.’s power since, well, the first Clinton administration!

  16. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    US visa-for-cash…luxury apartment buildings.

    We discriminate against the native poor in the country.

    And we also discriminate against the poor in the rest of world, when we prefer new immigrants with cash.

    Do we give preference to foreign wise men/women? Well, if they are wise, they would stay to help in their home countries.

    I’ve always wondered why the wise men came to save Americans, especially those in Hollywood and Ojai, setting up temples in Los Angeles, San Francisco and elsewhere, but few went to, say, Papua New Guinea.

    Perhaps we are much more wicked here?

    Still, a few gurus in Congo or Burkina Faso would be nice.

  17. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Catalan independence.

    Will it be more or less difficult for them to introduce a new currency than, say, Greece?

    1. Oregoncharles

      They probably expect to continue with the Euro – Catalonia is the most prosperous part of Spain.

      Scotland would have a bigger problem. They would definitely have to get off the pound. Might go for the Euro, if allowed, but they’d be a marginal country – except for the oil, it’s a poor country.

  18. M.

    At least I’m not the only one who thinks, “Hmm, when all the oligarchs start talking about ‘workers rights,’ you know the unions are complete victims of regulatory capture.”

    He also touches upon one of the biggest golden silences in the propaganda system I’ve seen lately: mental health. (I wonder if it’s because it’s the source of so much of “I” profits in FIRE?)

    But has anyone else noticed just how much the mental health system’s PR has been expanding while the justice system’s been shrinking? Am I the only one who went to EDGAR, pulled a few 10Ks, and noticed that CCA/GEO/et al. started buying up interests in the mental health hospitalization field around when Bush started becoming unpopular in 2004?

    Maybe it’s because a smoked a bit too much tonight, but I think Tyler is onto something. A lot of people, on both the left and right, are right: since the 1960s, America has quelled problems caused by poverty with jail. So if we reduce jails, but don’t ACTUALLY reduce oligarch’s wealth, we’re going to have to deal with social unrest caused by poverty and inequality some other way. And let’s face it: a $15/hr. minimum wage is NOT going to help with inequality OR poverty.

    So what better system exists to pick up the slack than the mental health system? It’s ideal! It’s just like the American justice system, only more racist, sexist, and victim-blamey toward the poor. (The big plus is that there’s an easier get-out-of-jail-free card for the rich.)

    Seriously, though, it really is ideal for quelling social unrest. First, it’s already privitized. Moreover, the profit margins are higher than in the private prison system. Why charge for a room when you can charge local governments for a room AS WELL AS (dangerous) meds? Second, there’s no telling when they’ll get out — if ever. Criminals are given a timeline; with involuntary commitment, you get out when the physician says so.

    Finally — and most terrifyingly — only two people are needed to get any third person involuntarily institutionalized in most major American jurisdictions. This makes it’s a HR person’s wet dream. What better way to permanently marginalize irritating mouthbreathers — or potential whistleblowers? If they ever get out, the scarlet letter prevents them from getting another job, getting journalists to take them seriously as sources, etc. It’s perfect for totalitarian corporations because you don’t even have to bother setting someone up for a crime; after all, psychiatrists do all the heavy lifting for you. After all, they’re trained to think everyone’s sick.

    However, if you’re poor, the criminal justice system does give you one or two substantive rights, namely, the right to know what you’re accused of and when you are getting out. However, these rights do not exist in the American mental health system, which arguably makes that system more terrifying. In the U.S., you literally do not have a right to your real records, nor do you have a right to a release date — all “for your own benefit.” How very Soviet of us.

    Finally, since I’ve seen PR coming from both left and right sites, I strongly suspect that it’s something both sides’ oligarchs have substantial financial interests in. If my hunch is right, a site that’s still more or less independent might find it worthwhile poking around in this area.

    1. Skippy

      M. per your link and its author Richard Ebeling via the

      Richard M. Ebeling (/ˈɛbəlɪŋ/; born January 30, 1950) is an American libertarian author, and was president of the Foundation for Economic Education (FEE) from 2003 to 2008.

      The FEE is generally regarded as “the first libertarian think-tank” as Reason’s Brian Doherty calls it in his book “Radicals For Capitalism: A Freewheeling History of the Modern Libertarian Movement” (2007). As the Buchanan Committee discovered, the Foundation for Economic Education was the best-funded conservative lobbying outfit ever known up to that time, sponsored by a Who’s Who of US industry in 1946.

      A partial list of FEE’s original donors in its first four years includes: The Big Three auto makers GM, Chrysler and Ford; top oil majors including Gulf Oil, Standard Oil, and Sun Oil; major steel producers US Steel, National Steel, Republic Steel; major retailers including Montgomery Ward, Marshall Field and Sears; chemicals majors Monsanto and DuPont; and other Fortune 500 corporations including General Electric, Merrill Lynch, Eli Lilly, BF Goodrich, ConEd, and more.

      The FEE was set up by a longtime US Chamber of Commerce executive named Leonard Read, together with Donaldson Brown, a director in the National Association of Manufacturers lobby group and board member at DuPont and General Motors.

      That is how libertarianism started: As an arm of big business lobbying.

      Before bringing back Milton Friedman into the picture, this needs to be repeated again: “Libertarianism” was a project of the corporate lobby world, launched as a big business “ideology” in 1946 by The US Chamber of Commerce and the National Association of Manufacturers. The FEE’s board included the future founder of the John Birch Society, Robert Welch; the most powerful figure in the Mormon church at that time, J Reuben Clark, a frothing racist and anti-Semite after whom BYU named its law school; and United Fruit director Herb Cornuelle.

      The purpose of the FEE — and libertarianism, as it was originally created — was to supplement big business lobbying with a pseudo-intellectual, pseudo-economics rationale to back up its policy and legislative attacks on labor and government regulations.

      This background is important in the Milton Friedman story because Friedman is a founder of libertarianism, and because the corrupt lobbying deal he was busted playing a part in was arranged through the Foundation for Economic Education.

      False, whitewashed history is as much a part of the Milton Friedman mythology as it is the libertarian movement’s own airbrushed history about its origins; the 1950 Buchanan Committee hearings expose both as creations of big business lobby groups whose purpose is to deceive and defraud the public and legislators in order to advance the cause of corporate America.

      The story starts like this: In 1946, Herbert Nelson was the chief lobbyist and executive vice president for the National Association of Real Estate Boards, and one of the highest paid lobbyists in the nation. Mr. Nelson’s real estate constituency was unhappy with rent control laws that Truman kept in effect after the war ended. Nelson and his real estate lobby led what investigators discovered was the most formidable and best-funded opposition to President Truman in the post-war years, amassing some $5,000,000 for their lobby efforts—that’s $5mln in 1946 dollars, or roughly $60 million in 2012 dollars.

      So Herbert Nelson contracted out the PR services of the Foundation for Economic Education to concoct propaganda designed to shore up the National Real Estate lobby’s legislative drive — and the propagandists who took on the job were Milton Friedman and his U Chicago cohort, George Stigler.

      To understand the sort of person Herbert Nelson was, here is a letter he wrote in 1949 that Congressional investigators discovered and recorded:

      “I do not believe in democracy. I think it stinks. I don’t think anybody except direct taxpayers should be allowed to vote. I don’t believe women should be allowed to vote at all. Ever since they started, our public affairs have been in a worse mess than ever.”

      It’s an old libertarian mantra, libertarianism versus democracy, libertarianism versus women’s suffrage; a position most recently repeated by billionaire libertarian Peter Thiel —Ron Paul’s main campaign funder.

      So in 1946, this same Herbert Nelson turned to the Foundation for Economic Education to manufacture some propaganda to help the National Association of Real Estate Boards fight rent control laws. Nelson knew that the founder of the first libertarian think-tank agreed with him on many key points. Such as their contempt and disdain for the American public.

      Leonard Read, the legendary (among libertarians) founder/head of the FEE, argued that the public should not be allowed to know which corporations donated to his libertarian front-group because, he argued, the public could not be trusted to make “sound judgments” with disclosed information:

      “The public reporting would present a single fact—the amount of a contributor’s donation—to casual readers, persons having only a cursory interest in the matter at issue, persons who would not and perhaps could not possess all the facts.

      These folks of the so-called public thus receive only oversimplifications or half-truths from which only erroneous conclusions are almost certain to be drawn. If there is a public interest in the rightness or wrongness of corporate or personal donations to charitable, religious or education institutions, and I am not at all ready to concede that there is, then that interest should be guarded by some such agency as the Bureau of Internal Revenue, an agency that is in a position to obtain all the facts, not by Mr. John Public who lacks relevant information for the forming of sound judgments…Public reporting of a half-truth is indeed a significant provocation.”

      So in May 1946, Herbert Nelson of the Real Estate lobby, looking for backup in his drive to abolish federal rent control laws, contacted libertarian founder Leonard Read of the FEE with an order for a PR pamphlet “with some such title as ‘The Case against Federal Real Estate Control’,” according to Schriftgiesser’s book The Lobbyists. – snip

      Skippy…. propaganda – ????? – your soaking in it.

          1. abynormal

            You are The informative poster embedded in my heart mate!

            …i always wondered why school boards and city councils are full of real estate mongers, posing as lawyers or educators.

      1. Rhondda

        Skippy, I thank you. I have saved your post so that when pesky libertarians give me the hooha I can batter them with quotes.

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