Links 9/8/15

Even Millionaire Workers Like Tom Brady Need Solidarity Emptywheel

Labor Day Weekend ‘Round the Horn alicublog

@ErikLoomis’ Labor Day (with tweets) Storify

Silicon Valley’s Labor Uprising In These Times

FACT SHEET: Helping Middle-Class Families Get Ahead by Expanding Paid Sick Leave Whitehouse.gov. Will reach about 300,000 workers for federal contractors. A long way to go.

Samsung to Cut 10% of Headquarters Staff, Economic Daily Says Bloomberg

Migrant crisis

More troubles in Hungary as Austria, Germany near tipping point CNN

Hundreds force way past Hungarian police BBC News

Germany to spend extra €6bn to fund record influx of 800,000 refugees The Guardian

France, U.K. pledge to accept 44,000 migrants as Europe copes with crisis USA Today. No similar pledge from the U.S.

Can the World Find $14 a day to feed Syrian Refugees? Angry Bear

Migrants Who Survived Shipwreck Are Grateful, but Disillusioned NYTimes

Greek Island Overwhelmed by Stranded Migrants, Despair AP

Uber raises $1.2bn for Chinese unit, in round that includes Baidu Financial Times

Moldova banking scandal fuels biggest protest ever EurActiv (h/t Richard Smith)

China Exports Slide as Tepid Demand Adds to Growth Challenge Bloomberg Business

Towards a consensus on the causes of the EZ Crisis VoxEU. New ebook on the Eurozone crisis.

Guatemala Comedian Wins First Round of Presidential Vote The New York Times

Are Manned U.S. Helicopters Flying In Syria? Moon of Alabama

2016

Chants of “Run, Joe, run” as Biden marches in Labor Day parade LATimes

Hillary Clinton Proposes Making Companies Disclose Political Donations Bloomberg Politics

Google’s Hypocrisy PoliticKING with Larry King (h/t guurst). Far more interesting than you might think considering the source!

Why a Stronger Housing Sector Isn’t Boosting the U.S. Economy That Much WSJ

Big data, disparate impact, and the neoliberal mindset Mathbabe

What Black Lives Matter Is Learning From Edward Snowden BuzzFeed

‘Unbanking’ fuels financial fallout Albuquerque Journal News

How Welfare Reform Ruined Public Assistance for the Very Poor, According to Kathryn Edin and Luke Shaefer’s New Book, $2.00 a Day The Atlantic. Based on what I’ve read about this book, it could be the most important one of the year.

Antidote du jour: in honor of workers.

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See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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About David Dayen

David is a contributing writer to Salon.com. He has been writing about politics since 2004. He spent three years writing for the FireDogLake News Desk; he’s also written for The New Republic, The American Prospect, The Guardian (UK), The Huffington Post, The Washington Monthly, Alternet, Democracy Journal and Pacific Standard, as well as multiple well-trafficked progressive blogs and websites. His has been a guest on MSNBC, CNN, Aljazeera, Russia Today, NPR, Pacifica Radio and Air America Radio. He has contributed to two anthology books, one about the Wisconsin labor uprising and another on the fight against the Stop Online Piracy Act in Congress. Prior to writing about politics he worked for two decades as a television producer and editor. You can follow him on Twitter at @ddayen.

103 comments

  1. low_integer

    Re: Are Manned U.S. Helicopters Flying In Syria?

    Had a quick read through this article and the comments left by readers and came across this link: Why Murdoch Pushes for War. It is a repost of an article written by the author of that blog in 2013, and contains some interesting info. This comment and the two immediately following it are worth reading also.

    1. ambrit

      If the Syrian refugees would agree to work like slaves for next to nothing, the gulf States would take in as many as they can hold.
      I still say, settle the Syrian refugees in the West Bank.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        They have too many foreign workers as it is for their tastes. Yemen is being exterminated because the Saudis and other monarchies can’t abide any government with an element of popular standing on the peninsula or in any non-Asian Muslim state. Even if Assad or his successor’s government continues to represent Shiites and non-Sunni minorities, it’s a model others might copy especially the Shiites who live above the oil on the Arab peninsula. Or even the Wahaabiists themselves. Why do the Imans need 5000 princes? Why can’t their families take the civil service jobs of the other 10,000 Saudi princes?

        They would prefer failed states, and they don’t want anyone who may have already taken up arms against a government.

    2. abynormal

      how about Team USofA?…”One problem for the US is that post-9/11 laws make it difficult to screen asylum seekers from Muslim countries. The laws were designed to make sure terrorists don’t slip through. More than 135,000 Syrian refugees have applied for asylum. Last year, only a few dozen were allowed into the US. The Obama administration has legal ways to overcome the bureaucratic hurdles and begin granting far more temporary visas.” http://www.csmonitor.com/Commentary/the-monitors-view/2014/0114/How-US-can-help-end-Syria-s-war-accept-refugees PULEASE

      “Night was spreading slowly around the spinning Earth. It should have been full of pinpricks of light. It was not.
      There were five billion people down there. What was going to happen soon would make barbarism look like a picnic – hot, nasty, and eventually given over to the ants.”
      Neil Gaiman

      1. craazyboy

        A first obvious step would be to stop blowing the place up so much. [ie. the Neocons “Countries to Topple List” with the showcase Mission Impossible Plans to “install western Democracy* in Iraq and Libya.

        They will still blow themselves up, but maybe not as effectively without our the worlds’ arms “support”. **

        There is a major Demographics problem – ME population growth over the last 20 years was 40% which equates to 100 million brand new “residents” of the ME. Sure, we could build high rise condos on the Gaza Strip, but water, and therefore food, is becoming scarcer. The desert and semi – arid regions are not the cornucopias they once were! As far as I know, they haven’t put a stop to this practice, yet, either.

        *Western Democracy: A country that likes western oil companies.
        ** Black market dealers would have to decline oil dollar biz as well.

        1. Vatch

          Excellent point about demographics. There are acute causes of the migrant crises such as wars, and there are slow motion chronic causes, such as overpopulation. Climate change events such as drought and rising sea levels will also add to the migrant crises.

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            Global reserve currency, printing as much as we desire, and migrant crisis caused by climate change*.

            We consume and put that currency into global circulation, with factories in the rest of world, exhausting their resources, polluting their environments and burning energy/warming their lands.

            “Just print more.”

            *the other refugee cause – we spend as much as want on bombs and go on numerous imperial adventures.

            “Again, just print more.”

        1. craazyboy

          Plenty more where those came from too. If Mexico runs out, they get more from Central and S. America. Plus no one ever really runs out.

      2. gordon

        It seems pretty obvious to me: invade, bomb and totally disrupt the social and economic structure of a country and you will create refugees. So now we have hundreds of thousands of Afghans, Iraqis, Syrians and Libyans seeking asylum in Europe, and even a trickle of them seeking asylum in far-off Australia as well. It’s as simple as cause and effect, and the solution is just as simple and obvious: stop bombing, invading and disrupting. But no, we can’t see it.

        The Australian Prime Minister Abbott is about to accede to a US request to drop more bombs. The result will be more refugees. No doubt the Abbott Government will wring its hands and complain about people smugglers, determined not to recognise the simple fact that Australia is helping to create the very refugees it complains about.

        I say “helping” because of course the main culprit in the refugee-creation business is the USA. Poetic justice would, I suppose, require that the vast bulk of these unfortunate people should be sent there, not Greece or Germany or Hungary. Maybe the arrival of a million or so refugees in, say, Massachusetts would get the Americans to recognise what they have wrought.

    3. Jagger

      And how many refugees have Kuwait, UAE, Saudi Arabia, and Qatar taken? Near zero.

      You missed one. How many refugees has Israel accepted?

      1. optimader

        You missed one. How many refugees has Israel accepted?

        All the Zionist-Jews!
        Trick question, trick answer

    4. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      There will be more refugees, more than we see today.

      Many, many more.

      We all need to be involved, for no one, perhaps except a lucky few, is immune to this kind of tragedy.

        1. knowbuddhau

          That’s a step in the right direction, LI, but there’s a better way to express that sentiment.

          Saying “but for” establishes and/or reinforces an illusory separation between self and other. Owing to the fact that observer and observed are not divided, indeed, cannot be (if the self/other divide were as absolute as it’s thought to be, the universe would fall apart right there; the appearance of separation comes from our analysis, our inquisition, our language, it doesn’t actually exist), I suggest a more accurate, and empathy-evoking, revision: there *by the grace of [insert favored higher power] go I.”

          So sad that so many Americans still believe in Manifest Destiny, in our “exceptional” nature. Nixon was only expressing for the presidency a more general principle: If the US does it, it’s right and good and proper; if others suffer for it, that’s their fault for not being as favored by god (“There can be only one!”) as we are. Why should we help those whom god obviously has cursed? Our holy warriors and their holy weapons only kill, maim, or displace the accursed, donchaknow.

          See also: Israel, or for that matter, anywhere an exclusive claim on access to the divine is made.

  2. generic

    More troubles in Hungary as Austria, Germany near tipping point

    This headline is beyond silly. The situation in Austria borders on slight inconvenience. And if Orban was fit to run a stamp collector club the same would be true for Hungary.

  3. James Levy

    China’s sagging growth should highlight the question of how many “consumer” states and how many “producer” states the global economy can tolerate. China is experiencing an old-fashioned Marxian realization crisis in slow motion (government interventions on both the demand and the credit side are keeping it from totally melting down). But if every producer needs a consumer, how is the global economy going to divvy up those roles? If Economists weren’t in a self-induced ideological fog, they’d ask questions like that, and not fall back on nonsense like “the magic of the market” when the market is obviously and always fixed at the international, national, and corporate levels and is therefore never elastic enough to handle macro issues like this in the medium and long term.

    Any perusal of history shows that under Capitalism supply is NEVER the problem. Capitalism is very good at churning out the goods. Demand is always the issue–credit bubbles are simply another way of saying that demand was inadequate so the systemic response was to create credit out of whole clothe in order to paper over the demand deficit. The world system can no longer create enough credit in enough hands to buy up China’s production overshoot. Again, if Economists had any brains they’d be examining how that dangerous disparity could be closed.

    1. aet

      …”to create credit out of whole clothe”.. Is credit created in any other way but this? Are you sure you don’t mean giving credit where it ought not (in your opinion, perhaps) to be given? Is this a disguised moral judgment on your part? Is debt – giving credit – itself immoral, or is it only that debt which goes unpaid, which reveals the immorality of extending that mistaken credit, “created out of whole cloth”, in your words?

      …” create enough credit in enough hands “…’Credit’ is both notional and ideal, and essentially and only so, for ‘credit’ is itself but an idea about some person’s future, and not an object with mass, nor a quantum of energy, but rather, an agreement between minds ( some disparaging types would say “credit is merely an idea”, but those types believe in nothing at all, I think ) – In sum, I think that your way of speaking about credit concretizes what is essentially, entirely notional – credit is NEVER found in somebody’s hands, like an object with mass could be, and the metaphors you are using lead you astray: credit is an accountant’s note, a statement of belief concerning some other’s future actions, which a person may – or may not, for that person is essentially free to choose – take as a basis for taking some other action in regards to that person – typically lending money, or refusing to lend money to the person who has asked for such an action – and nothing more.

    2. abynormal

      “Oh, ants, my sisters, good old honeydew-seekers! From close up you are sticky and shiny and gristly; and your nymphs have parasitic red mites stuck to them. You are too intent upon your chewing and gathering to listen to me, but I tell you that despite my warm feelings I really do not like you, and I cannot feel sorry for you in any way because there are too many of you and you are not cute at all. You eat too much of my forests; you are a rebellious tribe, and I will destroy you; I will poison your nests with sweet-smelling traps.”
      Vollmann, You Bright and Risen Angels

      Economists should go away and grow ant farms…eating only the tiny fruit & veggies the ants produce!

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Nothing wrong with worker ants.

          It’s true.

          We have always feared becoming mindless worker-ants.

          The fact is ant societies are not top down – the queen ant does not dictate who will be solider ants or worker ants; worker ants themselves do, through allocation of care and nourishment, which of the queen ant’s eggs will be what, and how many solider ants and worker ants are needed for the nest.

          By the way, I was impressed with how ants could help with the thorny (for humans) problem of the travelling salesman.

          Of course, like humans, there was a pre-industrial age for ants. Leaf-cutter ants are actually farmers. They grow fungi in their nests with those leaves.

          1. Jay M

            ant in lower left corner to mate: “you’d think the TSA could figure out a way to speed up the line for a bunch of clones”

    3. craazyboy

      “Again, if Economists had any brains they’d be examining how that dangerous disparity could be closed.”

      It’s becoming apparent what the problem really is. The global rich just can’t consume enough to keep the rest of us more or less “employed”.

      I’m almost starting to miss GWB, at least the moment when he just mailed out $300 to everyone in the US to spend as token demand side stimulus back during the 2000-2001 recession.

      Does this mean GWB is actually smarter than our economists??? That’s a low blow. hahahaha.

  4. low_integer

    I’ve got a comment in purgatory on the Moon of Alabama article. It had a couple of links so I assume the anti-spam filter got it. Cheers.

    1. abynormal

      “Well, reading Twitter’s a lot like staring at an ant farm,” Tobey explained.
      “Except without all the productivity.”
      Gladstone, Notes from the Internet Apocalypse

      1. low_integer

        “Don’t you realize the Internet is just a way for millions of sad people to be completely alone together?”

        1. abynormal

          SHERRY TURKLE: The feeling of always being heard is great and empowering, but again, the paradox, it can take people away from really doing something, from real action.

          I call this “moments of more and lives of less.” In other words, you have these moments when you feel as though you’re doing more, and you feel empowered, but actually, you haven’t engaged with the world. So you feel great, you’ve tweeted an opinion, you feel, “I’m in the world,” but actually, joining a political group, learning something, taking some kind of action in the world, in the real world on the street in your community, would actually be a moment of more.

          BILL MOYERS: But that requires negotiation, compromise, even vulnerability.

          SHERRY TURKLE: And conversation with other people. That you can’t do it from your room, which so much of the internet allows you to do. I mean, in education and in politics, I think we want to go to a place where we’re looking to give things the complexity that they deserve.
          http://billmoyers.com/segment/sherry-turkle-on-being-alone-together/

          “Solitude gives birth to the original in us, to beauty unfamiliar and perilous – to poetry. But also, it gives birth to the opposite: to the perverse, the illicit, the absurd.” (lawd Hal, we’re doomed)
          Thomas Mann

          1. low_integer

            “How you expect to run with the wolves come night when you spend all day sparring with the puppies?”

  5. Ditto

    Re Uber

    I think tick, tick .. Boom! when I think about all the money it is receiving

    http://www.ibtimes.com/new-tech-bubble-jobs-pensions-innovation-risk-if-overvalued-unicorns-uber-airbnb-2061613

    http://www.marketwatch.com/story/sorry-uber-but-this-is-the-end-of-the-ipo-party-2015-08-27

    http://www.businessinsider.com/r-venture-capital-cash-surfers-may-see-waves-recede-in-market-turmoil-2015-8

    Especially given its at the front rather than at the back of legal troubles

    http://upstart.bizjournals.com/companies/startups/2015/09/03/class-action-lawsuit-means-long-bumpy-ride-for.html

    There is also the nagging fact that there is not a whole lot of innovations in these companies

    1. lylo

      I find it amazing how skirting regulations and running pyramid schemes fleecing greater fools has become the replacement for real innovation and productivity gains in our economy.
      What could possibly go wrong?

      1. different clue

        If 50 million suburbanites turned their 50 million houses and yards into 50 million little fortresses of survival and subsistence with 50 million super-intensive horticulture gardens in their 50 million yards . . . complete with roofwater harvesting and waterless toilet body-waste composting to feed the super-intensive horticulture gardens . . . that would be a lot of real innovation and productivity gains right there.
        Just because it wouldn’t be monetized and admitted-to by the economics profession does not mean it would be any less real.

        1. Oregoncharles

          the roofwater harvesting and composting toilets would require buying considerable stuff. Granted, a much more productive use of the money, and the stuff.

          1. different clue

            Spending money on roofwater harvesting and compost-toileting would allow for the future UNspending of even more money than what was spent on the roofwater harvesting and compost toileting to begin with. It would allow for a huge amount of bio-physiconomic growth. And all that growth would be “off the books” from monetized economic-analysis standpoints. Unless some half-bright intellectuals convince the system that subsistence production of food in the suburbs should be monetary-equivalentized, so it can be analysed. Because the next step after that would be taxing it prohibitively enough to force all those 50 million suburbanites to tear off their roofwater collecting systems and tear out their composting toilets . . . in order to force them back to buying all the food they are tax-forbidden from growing . . . so as to make them “support” the “economy”.

          1. different clue

            It is very illegal in some of the high-and-dry Western “first-in-time, first-in-right” states. So it would have to be done very stealthily out there. Not just conventionally hidden, like stealth diverters into in-basement water tanks. Because those could be discovered.

            But rather, into yard-scaled micro-earthworks designed to channel roof water runoff to various targeted areas, such as gardens. Permaculture is not the whole answer here. It would take the sort of brutal physical work which some permaculturists don’t like the thought of. For example, graded “dips” in the lawn for all the roof water to flow into and along and end up hitting a garden plat. That garden plot would have to be double-double dug and turned into wettable “topsoil” at least 4 feet deep over several years so that some of the water reaching it could be retained in it.

            Then too, in winter gather up all the snow on your yard and pack it on the garden. Or see if the following would stand up to legal challenge: Gather up all the snow and carry it by hand into the basement where it gets put into huge in-basement tanks. It wasn’t “water” when you dug it up. It was “snow” and the law clearly addresses “water”. Would that distinction fly in court?

  6. Ditto

    Re Algorithms

    There is a gap between where the public, business managers and pols think software, autumation, AI etc. is and where the tech actually is. Algorithm bias or disparate impact is only a reflection of that problem. There’s a lot of hype. A lot. We are becoming to dependent on deeply flawed systems. These systems can have value as an aide or assistant, but, to me, the tech seems no where near ready to be put in place as the key element of how decisions are made.

    1. abynormal

      “it wont be long now it wont be long
      man is making deserts of the earth
      it wont be long now
      before man will have used it up
      so that nothing but ants
      and centipedes and scorpions
      can find a living on it
      ….
      what man calls civilization
      always results in deserts
      ….
      men talk of money and industry
      of hard times and recoveries
      of finance and economics
      but the ants wait and the scorpions wait
      for while men talk they are making deserts all the time
      getting the world ready for the conquering ant
      drought and erosion and desert
      because men cannot learn
      ….
      it wont be long now it wont be long
      till earth is barren as the moon
      and sapless as a mumbled bone”
      Don Marquis, Archy Does His Part

    2. Brooklin Bridge

      Smart cookies (not speaking about the turds they leave on your machine). They’ve gone further than we think but not as far as we imagine. Still, assuming our demise or even collapse as a species doesn’t come first, automation is on track to replace large swaths of humans in the not too distant future. It is now at the edge of eliminating more work than it creates. Robots are at the cutting edge of this. But they remain incredibly energy intensive to build, to run and to maintain. But the problems robots pose are just symptoms of something far more sinister regarding the direction we, our education (or lack of it) and attitude regarding technology has taken, particularly over the last 15 years. Snuff drones sent out by order of our darling president, with no judicial review whatsoever, are an excellent example of the sinisters I mean. But it goes much further.

      Abynormal posted a terrific set of quotes on the subject (topic was the privatization of curiosity) just the other day. http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2015/09/links-9615.html#comment-2489753

      Can’t resist repeating a couple – they are that good:

      “I have a foreboding of an America in my children’s or grandchildren’s time — when the United States is a service and information economy; when nearly all the manufacturing industries have slipped away to other countries; when awesome technological powers are in the hands of a very few, and no one representing the public interest can even grasp the issues; when the people have lost the ability to set their own agendas or knowledgeably question those in authority; when, clutching our crystals and nervously consulting our horoscopes, our critical faculties in decline, unable to distinguish between what feels good and what’s true, we slide, almost without noticing, back into superstition and darkness…

      The dumbing down of American is most evident in the slow decay of substantive content in the enormously influential media, the 30 second sound bites (now down to 10 seconds or less), lowest common denominator programming, credulous presentations on pseudoscience and superstition, but especially a kind of celebration of ignorance”-Carl Sagan

      Another gem:

      “There is a cult of ignorance in the United States, and there has always been. The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that ‘my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge.” -I. Asimov

      1. different clue

        Calling it “militant stupidism” might reach more people than calling it “agnatology”. And calling its adherents “stupidites” or “militant stupidites” might reach more people than calling its adherents “agnatologists”. It might also offend more people and smoke more people out.

        “You’re quite the proud militant stupidite, aren’t you?” The person so addressed will know exACTly what you mean.

      2. subgenius

        Automation won’t replace workers – the energy requirement is way too great at a time of depleting petroleum and there is no way to build out enough nukes before the hammer drops…

    3. Oregoncharles

      “We are becoming too dependent on deeply flawed systems.”

      Yeah, that one worries me a lot. There’s been a lot on here about how hard it is to change anything because of that dependency. Seems to me we’re walking into a trap.

  7. rusti

    Maybe I’ve missed this, not living in the US, but is there a contingent of Democratic primary voters who are genuinely excited about the prospect of a Biden campaign? Would unenthusiastic Hillary voters jump ship if he’s more believable when he also says he’s piping mad about income inequality?

    If the 2016 race is a contest for who can position him/herself as the biggest outsider, that must be an uphill climb for a sitting Vice President who has been in the halls of power since before the Fall of Saigon.

    1. Brooklin Bridge

      The Democratic party machinery is consistent, just not terribly bright. The great buffoon of mediocrity is channeled (and will probably continue to be long after he has shed his earthly jesters form) as the fallback whenever any jitters surface in the party regarding their faith in rule by divine right being the central tenet of democracy.

    2. NotTimothyGeithner

      The world is full of idiots. Biden is only known as a Internet meme who was once picked by a genuinely popular Obama, not (redacted) the naysayers rally around the flag popularity he has now. Biden had some good press with his partition of Iraq which makes sense to people who have heard a few of Tom Friedman’s conclusions in “From Beirut to Jerusalem” (wow, did they guy who was dependent on tips tell you how much he loves America, Tom).

      For many Biden supporters, they would never independently plug his name into a search engine. They know him from the paint by numbers articles of Time, U.S. Today, etc, and just assume Republican attacks have a new element of truth such as Joe Biden being a “liberal” when “liberal” is the equivalent of poopy head in GOP vernacular.

    3. Vatch

      I’m sure the political cartoonists would be happy to have Biden as an official Democratic candidate. They already have Trump on the Republican side, so Biden would provide some balance.

      1. optimader

        Biden gets the hair plug and plagiarist votes. Trump, the traditional comb-over and orangutan red hair dye votes. Would be a cartoonist/satirist dream POTUS campaign race.

        1. Vatch

          Wow, plugs versus comb-over! It’s such a shame that this comedic tour de force would directly affect the lives of hundreds of millions of Americans and billions of Earthicans.

    1. abynormal

      “That’s what we are now—just ants. Only——”
      “Yes,” I said.
      “We’re eatable ants.”
      H.G. Wells, The War of the Worlds

    2. neo-realist

      Hey, who cares if people are getting killed in the inner city left and right: We got the Cubs, Hot Italian beef, deep dish pizza, Stanley Cup Champion Black Hawks, Broad Shoulders; all in “Sweet Home Chicago” where the mythology of big city greatness keeps us afloat and distracted from the problems of violence like some other cities, e.g., http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/nyc-crime/cuomo-lawyer-shot-critically-wounded-ouvert-march-article-1.2350980

      1. DJG

        neo-realist: You forget the endless squabbles about ketchup on hot dogs. Who needs a school system when there are condiments?

    1. rich

      Is It Time to Tax Harvard’s Endowment? 609 203 474 While state schools suffer and middle-class students drown in loans, elite universities are only getting richer.

      “The joke about Harvard is that it’s a hedge fund with a university attached to it,” Mark Schneider tells me. It’s a quip that, for obvious reasons, has become pretty popular in recent years. In 2014, the university’s legendary endowment, overseen by a team of in-house experts and spread across a mind-bending array of investments that range from stocks and bonds to California wine vineyards, hit $36.4 billion. “They’re just collecting tons, and tons, and tons of money,” says Schneider, a former Department of Education official who is currently a fellow at the American Institutes for Research.

      Of course, normal hedge funds have to pay taxes on their earnings. Because it’s a nonprofit, Harvard doesn’t. And since bestowing tax exemptions is the same as spending cash from the government’s perspective (budgeteers call them “tax expenditures” for a reason), that means the American public effectively subsidizes Harvard’s moneymaking engine. The same goes for Stanford (endowment: $21.4 billion), Princeton (endowment: $21 billion), Yale (endowment $23.9 billion), and the country’s other elite institutions of higher education.

      Aiding wealthy research universities that cater to largely affluent undergraduates might have been acceptable in a more flush era. But at a time when state colleges are still suffering from deep budget cuts that have driven up tuition and politicians are stretching for ways to make school more affordable for middle-class students, clawing back some of that cash to spend on needier schools is starting to sound awfully appealing.

      Which is why it might just be time to start taxing Harvard and its cohort.

      http://www.slate.com/articles/business/moneybox/2015/09/harvard_yale_stanford_endowments_is_it_time_to_tax_them.html

      1. neo-realist

        It’s time to tax them, but wouldn’t the elites argue that it would scare the donors away from the universities?

      1. Oregoncharles

        Or sperm. Not as valuable as eggs, though – I know someone who looked into it.

        Ultimately, males are expendable.

  8. Ulysses

    William Kaufman confronts the skeptics head on:

    “To dismiss these crucial inroads into mass consciousness as mere diversion, to deride his proposals as milquetoast Keynesian stopgap, betrays the old far-left allergy to the complexity and cacophony of the large stage of life, a debilitating preference for the safety and certitude of the tiny left echo chamber. Sanders’s campaign, whatever its flaws, is thrusting front and center to a mass audience a whole series of principled, critical demands and issues (many of which overlap with those raised in splendid isolation by Jill Stein and the Green Party), the realization of which would markedly advance the material well-being and future prospects of ordinary Americans: $15 an hour minimum wage; union card check to expand organizing rights; improved Medicare for all; expansion (not retrenchment) of Social Security; revamped progressive taxation to reduce income inequality; a Wall Street transaction tax; a rapid transition to renewables to combat climate change; opposition to the ecocidal, neo-fascist TPP, NAFTA, and WTO; an end to the militarization of local police forces; cracking down on hate groups; free tuition at all public universities and colleges to alleviate student debt peonage; paid family leave; and so on. If realized in the aggregate, these demands would challenge the neoliberal logic of the prevailing order.”

    This is essentially the argument of Cornel West– we can feel the delicious purity of preaching to the choir, knowing that we will never have to meet the test of actually having the power to change the status quo, or we can take the risk of actually gaining some power and see what we can make of that chance.

    http://www.counterpunch.org/2015/09/08/the-sanders-paradox-a-brief-for-bernie/

    1. Vatch

      Thank you very much for the link to this great article. I hesitate to call anything a “must-read”, since everybody has different interests, but this article comes very, very close. For many people, it really is a must-read article.

    2. neo-realist

      I’ve also thought that the pro-choice movement should be much more active in the red states where they’ve just about outlawed abortion, e.g., Kansas, Texas instead of preaching to the choir on the importance of choice in medium and big blue cities/states. It shouldn’t be all about NY and California in a large country where outside of those states there are many parts of the country where the lack of options has rendered Roe fait accompli dead. “Choice” Riders?

    3. different clue

      The concept of purer-than-thou naysayers against plausible movements in online discussions has been defined and given the name of Purity Trolls.

      In the real meat-space world there are also such people. They might be called Purity Jerks, Purity Assholes, or Purity Martyrs depending on their motivations.

  9. JTMcPhee

    Re oldest profession and tuition, nothing new there. E.g., one of my ex’s best friends at Smith College (itself a self-licking confection) paid for her education by assuming the position, and was proud of her success. Made enough to afford breast reduction surgery when those large, tangible assets were surplus and causing spinal pain and deformation.

    1. Oregoncharles

      A female former law student I know well told she knew, personally, 3 other students who paid for their degree by stripping – a bit short of actual prostitution. Her tone was completely non-judgmental.

  10. Hacker

    OK, so Google can manipulate election results (for close elections). And Fox News or CNN can’t? What is Larry King really worried about, having more competition for voter manipulation?

    Perhaps I have become deaf to this due to blatant voter fraud in prior Bush elections which went no where with the mass media when reported. The math presented in Rolling Stone at the time was rather easy to understand. I’m sure Larry King could have grasped it.

  11. financial matters

    How Welfare Reform Ruined Public Assistance for the Very Poor, According to Kathryn Edin and Luke Shaefer’s New Book, $2.00 a Day The Atlantic. Based on what I’ve read about this book, it could be the most important one of the year.

    Seems like a very balanced review by someone who has been there through these policy changes, Jared Bernstein.

    “Edin and Shaefer calculate that “1.5 million households with roughly 3 million children were surviving on cash incomes of no more than $2 per person, per day in any given month” in 2011.

    Both for political and substantive reasons, candidate Clinton made the reform of cash welfare, the receipt of which wasn’t much conditioned on work, a key plank in his platform. As Edin and Shaefer stress, this was not a wholly conservative or even centrist position.

    Progressive scholars recognized that work had to be a ladder out of poverty, and were thinking about ways to facilitate that upward climb. Notably, this view is widely held by the working-age people in Edin and Shaefer’s sample. They want decent, steady jobs, and not just because the recognize work as an economic necessity but because of the dignity they believe it will bring to their lives as people and as parents.

    To this day, this misguided notion underlies the conservative policy agenda that views anti-poverty policy as a narcotic that weans people away from the jobs awaiting them. Kill the programs, and they’ll get out of their hammocks (Rep. Paul Ryan’s term for the safety net) and get to work.

    Clearly, if America’s anti-poverty policy framework is founded on work in the paid labor market, and if that labor market doesn’t provide the necessary quantity and quality of jobs, public policy must make up the difference. If this sounds radical, consider the following: Policy makers are quite comfortable spending literally trillions of dollars to reflate credit markets when they fail, based on the notion (a sound one, I’d argue) that the economy cannot function without adequate credit flows. Well, neither can it function without enough jobs, so if the Federal Reserve is the “lender of last resort,” then the government must be “the employer of last resort.” Edin and Shaefer smartly propose to scale up a useful employment program that worked well during the Recovery Act.

    It is simply impossible to read $2 a Day and maintain such naïve thinking. What happens next is up to the American public and, given the lives to which Edin and Shaefer have introduced us, doing nothing should not be an option.”

  12. DJG

    Silicon Valley’s Uprising: It is a mystery to me how these companies can “outsource” jobs to Adecco. The IRS rules are that if someone comes into your premises every day, that person is an employee. You can’t have “contractors” who are basically staff. So the whole setup violates tax law and labor law.

    1. Ed

      In that case the IRS itself is probably violating the law. The Federal government has increasingly been using contractors who show up in the same buildings everyday as the “normal” civil service and who do pretty much the same work.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Along that line, are all those private military contractors, or at least some of them, federal employees?

  13. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Guatemalan comedian…first round of presidential vote.

    In other news,

    (Joker-) politician (can be in any country) wins the first round of comedy contest.

    “In Zen, they refer to the interconnected-ness of life.”

    1. different clue

      Well, if the Greeks still aspire to be White Western Europeans, they will eagerly close Greek airspace to Russian flights to Syria. If Greece is prepared to recognize that White Western Europe is Greece’s evil blood enemy, then Greece will go ahead and let Russia fly over Greece to reach Syria. It all follows from Ian Welsh’s advice to the Greeks. Can they torture and terrorise Europe into cancelling Greece’s debt and permitting Greece to cancel Austerity? Failing that, can they help bring poverty and chaos to the Europe which brought poverty and chaos to Greece? Red-ball greenlighting the passage of hundreds of thousands of refugees through Greece into Europe is a step in that direction.

        1. different clue

          Well, I had a lot of conceptual help to say the least from reading Ian Welsh.
          One problem with Leftists is they overweigh the importance of “economic” and “social” factors in this and that, and vastly underweigh the importance and the usefulness-sometimes of honor, revenge, spite and pure hatred.

          If the Greeks could only face up to how much the Europeans hate the Greeks and despise the Greeks, the Greeks could focus on doing whatever they can do to burn all of Europe all the way down to a Greek level. Or alternatively, get what they want out of Europe materially so Europe can avoid being burned all the way down to a Greek level.

          And Ian Welsh has made some suggestions about how to do that. He has suggested moving hundreds of thousands of refugees through Greece into Europe. He has suggested giving the Turkish and Balko-Albanian mafias total free reign and protection to set up smuggling bases and midway points throughout all the Greek Islands. He has suggested doing other things to, things which could only be tried by a people which recognizes it already faces a War of Extermination against its very physical existence.

          1. different clue

            But don’t expect Professor Varoufakis to accept any of that. He fancies himself the Club Med Playboy-cum-James Bond Professor of Economics. He will always imagine himself to be “within” Europe looking “out”.

  14. Brian

    Some Americans live on $2 a day. Feed the Syrian refugees for $14 a day. Inflation? Profit? Gratuities? Skim? Delivery? Tax?

    1. VietnamVet

      The ex-Greek finance minister op-ed is interesting. It is more than a rationalization. This at the heart of mankind’s future. Can predatory transnational institutions be transformed peacefully to end Greece’s economic depression? Greece also is in the center of the diaspora caused by the neo-conservatives push for regime change from Libya through Syria to Russia. NATO has splintered. Turkey is at war with America’s Kurdish allies. Last week, NewsHour described the Ukraine civil war as trench warfare. The Middle East’s war zone has entered Turkey, crossed the Aegean Sea and is disrupting Europe from Hungary to the Channel Tunnel. Europeanism is a dead man walking.

  15. craazyman

    I’m not sure an “ant”tidote is an antidote.

    You can’t even tell if those are girly ants or manly ants.

    It’s weird to think about what it must be like to be an ant. You can’t, because you’re a human thinking about what it must be like to be an ant, not an ant. You’re always what you are and they’re what they are, even if you pretend in your mind you’re what they are. If you take that to its logical extreme, then everything is either “you” or “not you”. And if everything is like that, then everything is both “you” and “not you” in relation to somebody. That’s kind of weird, it’s like a superposition of a quantum particle. It only condenses into reality upon observation by both the “you” and the “not you”, since if it was only observed by one or the other it would not be fully real. That’s sort of weird. Consciousness is not a singular thing, it’s a field. This is what looking at ants does to you. Thanks NC, as if I really needed this. Where do we go from here, up to a lobster or down to a cockroach?

    1. frosty zoom

      man ants got wings.

      “It only condenses into reality upon observation by both the “you” and the “not you”, since if it was only observed by one or the other it would not be fully real.”

      that’s why god invented cctv.

    2. craazyboy

      My guess is manly ants. Ants have Queen Ants, but there is only one. These guys are waiting in line. In ant-icipation….

      1. craazyman

        If it’s anything like the bar scene, a lot of those guys are waiting in line for nothing.

        That’s why God invented prostitutes.

  16. Jim Haygood

    AIPAC’s annihilation is complete:

    President Barack Obama gained 41 U.S Senate votes in favor of the Iran nuclear agreement, enough to block the Senate from passing a Republican-backed resolution to disapprove the deal.

    Senators Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut, Gary Peters of Michigan and Ron Wyden of Oregon said Tuesday they will support the deal. Thirty-eight members of the Democratic caucus previously announced their backing.

    That would leave Republicans short of the 60 votes needed to force a Senate vote, unless some members who support the Iran deal argue that the chamber should have a chance to vote on it.

    http://www.bloomberg.com/politics/articles/2015-09-08/obama-gains-41-u-s-senate-votes-to-uphold-iran-nuclear-deal

    U.S. 1, foreign lobby 0. It’s our frickin’ country.

    1. frosty zoom

      AIPAC’s annihilation is complete

      wow, that’s pretty daring talky for the intertubes, with all them list makers an’ such. anyhoo, i doubt that your statement is even close to correct. these iran shenanigans (and many other aipac twiddles) will continue for a long time.

      something’s gotta drive up the price of oil..

  17. abynormal

    from 7/15/2015 5 Holistic Health Doctors Found Dead In 4 Weeks, 5 More Go Missing – After Run-Ins with Feds http://thefreethoughtproject.com/5-holistic-heath-doctors-dead-5-missing-month-run-ins-feds/#dUqYjkpOJEZV0WDO.99

    Today: US NEWS: http://www.dw.com/en/psychedelic-drug-emergency-at-seminar-near-hamburg/a-18696121

    29 Holistic Doctors/ND’s Poisoned, Some suffering “life threatening conditions” at Conference (Criminal investigation Underway)
    http://www.healthnutnews.com/us-news-some-30-holistic-practitioners-suffer-amphetamine-poisoning-at-conference-say-they-knowingly-took-nothing/#sthash.uussu7Ok.dpuf

    1. hunkerdown

      2C-E, even beyond its touchy dose-response curve and the somatic burdens imposed by its amphetamine skeleton, is apparently a “difficult and worth-while material”, according to an entry in the late Sasha Shulgin’s PiHKAL (and a chapter in the narrative portion of the book).

      (with 25 mg) I have a picture in my living room that is a stylized German scene with a man on horseback riding through the woods, and a young girl coming out to meet him from the nearby trees. But she was not just ‘coming out.’ He was not just riding through the woods. The wind was blowing, and his horse was at full gallop, and his cape was flapping in the storm, and she was bearing down upon him at full bore. The action never ceased. I became exhausted.

      And thanks for the compliment t’other day. A pleasure to spar with ya.

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