Links 9/9/15

Hackers Can Trick Driverless Cars With A Handheld Laser Popular Science

Homeopathy conference ends in chaos after delegates take hallucinogenic drug The Independent

Iran deal: Obama secures 41 votes in support of nuclear agreement Politico. Actually ended up with 42 by the end of the day as Cantwell said yes.

Judge OKs prosecution of former Guatemalan president on fraud charges LATimes

World Bank warns Fed to delay rate rise Financial Times

Migrant crisis

Hungarian bishop says pope is wrong about refugees Washington Post

Hungarian Video Journalist Caught On Camera Tripping And Kicking Refugees Is Fired BuzzFeed

The U.S. Isn’t Doing Much to Resettle Syrian Refugees. That Probably Won’t Change. National Journal

Your high cable bill, explained Vox. Not “explained” in this explainer is the fact that there’s a cable company monopoly in America, and that this affects prices. Or that, you know, Comcast is a major investor in Vox.

Riskier mortgage bonds are back — but don’t call them subprime Financial Times

Liar Loans Redux: They’re Back and Sneaking Into AAA Rated Bonds Bloomberg. The literal alibi on these was “there are only a few of them.”

What happens when the government limits payday lending Washington Post

In hurry-up ruling, SEC declares in-house judges are constitutional Alison Frankel, Reuters

United Airlines Ousts Chief Over Corruption Investigation NYTimes

2016

Hillary Clinton Apologizes For Using Private Email While Serving As Secretary Of State Huffington Post. This was demanded by the Gang of 500.

You Know What This Presidential Race Needs? John McAfee Wired

Warren: Trump Discusses ‘Important Things’ Like Taxing The Wealthy TPM

Donald Trump Was Open To Nationalizing The Banks In 2009 Huffington Post. The more interesting quote was this one, about Obama: “I do agree with what they’re doing with the banks.”

My Tax Overhaul to Unleash 4% Growth Jeb Bush, WSJ. Standard-issue tax cut for the wealthy stuff. Though he does close the carried interest loophole. However, he cut the top tax rate so much that the hedge fund manager’s “increase” would go from 23.4 percent to 28.

On the trail with Zoltan Istvan, the only presidential candidate promising eternal life Vox

Chicago’s Fiscal Problems Dog Rahm Emanuel’s 2nd Term as Mayor NYTimes. Couldn’t happen to a nicer guy.

John Boehner’s future as speaker in doubt Politico

Mary Landrieu’s leftover cash will aid former colleagues Shreveport Times. She works for a DC lobby shop and she’s openly saying she’ll give her campaign money to whoever “can continue to be in a position to help Louisiana.” Um, that’s a bribe.

Chosen by Mississippi Democrats, Shy Trucker Is at a Crossroad NY Times

Class Warfare

Soaring student loan debt poses risk to nation’s future economic growth LATimes

Bath & Body Works to End On-Call Scheduling WSJ

The Rise of $2-a-Day Poverty and What to Do About It Demos

Restaurant of the Future? Service With an Impersonal Touch NYTimes. I see where the Grey Lady is going with this, but Europe has had vending machines for full meals for years. Meanwhile, amid this constant fearmongering about automation, food service workers as a percentage of the overall workforce is at an all-time high.

Freddie Gray family in $6.4m payout BBC

Jury awards $5.5 million to family of Euclid man killed by Cleveland cop Cleveland.com

If You Don’t Click on This Story, I Don’t Get Paid The Awl

Brooklyn Bar Menu Generator This is genius.

Antidote du jour:

opossum2

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.

81 comments

  1. ewmayer

    o Re: Homeopathetic medicine conference – Well, that certainly qualifies as ‘alternative medication’…

    Broadcaster NDR described the 29 men and women “staggering around, rolling in a meadow, talking gibberish and suffering severe cramps”.

    Wait – that was the macroeconomics & fiscal policy conference taking place at the same time in a different part of the same venue. Sorry!

    o Re. “If You Don’t Click on This Story, I Don’t Get Paid | The Awl” – In that case I hope you didn’t quit your day job.

    1. jgordon

      My first experience with psychedelics was entirely accidental. I was a sraight-laced typical hardheaded INTJ till then (mysterious mushrooms on a pizza from an ENFP roommate).

      Anyway a couple hours into that trip I had a great insight about society that has stuck with me and colored my vision ever since. The power s that be do not simply want to micromanage our lives. No, iif it

    2. jgordon

      Gd my phone.

      Any continuing,

      It wouldn’t be so bad if the powers that be only wanted to micromanage our lives. But they also want to micromanage our very perception and conception of reality. They freak out and comically over react to anything that threatens their control. I had to laugh seeing that they sent out the ambulances for this. Their bizarre and stupid over reaction probably disturbed the accidental users than the substance itself did.

      1. jgordon

        I really hate trying to visit NC when I’m on my phone. The tiny keyboard always ruins my typing. First time it made me accidentally hit post though!

      2. ambrit

        Similar experience here, except that I was “cubed” by some less than enlightened ‘fellow travelers.’ After that, I was very careful about my exposure to perception influencing substances. H—, even beer falls into that category.
        As for the ‘goals’ of TPTB, I’ve become convinced that, with a very few focused exceptions, TPTB are as clueless as the rest of us. Bernays as an example; he was related to Freud and I’ve read he used Uncle Sigs’ methods to ‘win friends and influence people.’ What were his goals? Was he an ideologue or an opportunist? How far ahead did he plan? How far ahead do the TPTB plan ahead today?
        As the old saying goes: “If they knew what they were doing, they’d be dangerous.”

        1. different clue

          Look where we were social-class-distribution-wise at the end of the Eisenhower Administration. Look where we are now. Can you say the social overclass governators don’t know what they are doing? Can you say we have not faced rising danger?

        2. John Merryman

          The problem is that when it is all spinning into the vortex, those smaller minded and more sociopathically focused naturally fit further down the hole and it creates the impression they know where they are going.

        3. hidflect

          For me the real danger is their capacity to benchmark and thus, year by year, understand “people” more and more to the point where they can snatch control of our freewill almost from birth. A normal human, on the other hand, has to start from zero every time and is so is massively behind in being able to counteract any external, societal force.

    3. abynormal

      compassionate PR: “In a statement, it said none of its representatives took hallucinogens during the “incident” in Handeloh.

      “The organisers of this obscure conference are unknown to us and such events will not be tolerated by our Association,” a spokesperson said.”

      The patients, aged between 24 and 56, were found suffering from delusions, breathing problems, racing hearts and cramps, with some in a serious condition, Deutsche Welle reported.
      Torsten Passie, a member of the German government’s expert commission for narcotics, told NDR: “It must have been a multiple overdose. That does not support the view that the people concerned took the hallucinogen knowingly.”

      “Some do not learn you to earn you, they learn you to burn you.”
      Justin K. McFarlane Beau

      1. ambrit

        Off the top of my head, I’d think this might be Atropine overdose.
        I follow the advice of Terence: “Moderation in all things.”

        1. abynormal

          Hunker & i touched this yesterday:

          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

          Reply ↓

          hunkerdown
          September 8, 2015 at 7:36 pm

          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. (i once witnessed myself grow a beard…hunks pic woulda done me in’)

          1. ambrit

            I must admit to feeling a bit superannuated by this.
            2C-E is an amphetamine, is it. My amphetamine experiences were in the Days of Yore when they were targeted at cram sessions before tests. We would get them from a female student we knew who used “weight loss” issues to obtain a prescription for ‘speed.’ She never used the drugs, only saved them up for final exam time, and made a pretty penny in the process.
            We used to agree that “Speed Kills” was an accurate statement. I’ve known several people over the years who destroyed themselves using this drug. That’s one big reason why I oppose the prescribing of amphetamines so widely for ‘problem children’ in the schools. ADHD is probably one of the most widely abused diagnosis today. The School system abolished corporal punishment and replaced it with pharmaceutical punishment. This is progress?

            1. hunkerdown

              I think some yuk-yuk spiked the punch bowl maliciously. 2C-E dosed carelessly is no recreation, even by German standards.

              Remember the “designer drugs” scare of the 1980s, in which cooks would systematically substitute certain positions of their scheduled street drugs, methylate this or that, play with the ethylamine chain, maybe try a bromo instead of a hydroxy in the 4-position, partly in order that the substances were no longer scheduled? 2C-E is a product of that trend, and actually isn’t an amphetamine, but a phenethylamine (like tyramine aka 4-hydroxy-PEA, mescaline aka 3,4,5-trimethoxy-PEA, and others.) My mistake.

              Point being, by substituting parts of the molecule in a controlled fashion, the activities of these substances can be modified, and relationships elucidated. For instance, 2C-B, which differs from 2C-E by replacing the 4-ethyl with 4-bromo, infuses a primal, erotic flavor into imagery and thought with a couple of mg, an order smaller effective dosage than 2C-E. MDA, 3,4-methylenedioxy-PEA, is known for visual distortions, and MDMA, 3-4-MD-alpha-methyl-PEA, is known for moderating neuroses and enhancing sensation. As a rule, all PEAs or amphetamines, in high enough doses, will cause tachycardia, hypertension, convulsions, dehydration, etc.

              If I could find my copy of PiHKAL right now, I’d see if the 2C-E chapter was the dark night of the soul, or the unusually vivid sci-fi dream.

              1. ambrit

                Better lives through science. Now we can argue over the definition of better. We’ve come a way since Hofmann took his first unexpected ‘trip’ in 1943.
                Hofmann did work for Sandoz in exploring and synthesizing psychoactives.
                The first ‘tripper’ lived to be 102 years old.

          2. Oregoncharles

            Reminiscent of the rash of “suicides” among junior bankers a while back. Nothing came of that, as I remember.

            Still, most likely a plague of coincidences.

            1. different clue

              Carefully never looked into, of course.

              “Don’t worry. Dr. Killum and I have performed hundreds of successful suicides.”

      2. optimader

        The patients, aged between 24 and 56, were found suffering from delusions, breathing problems, racing hearts and cramps, with some in a serious condition, Deutsche Welle reported.

        Sounds like me at the end of the day when I was a corporate project manager..

  2. financial matters

    Jacobin has an article on how Brazils recent attempts to limit inequality have come under pressure, “Austerity reaches Brazil”

    https://www.jacobinmag.com/2015/09/brazil-pt-austerity-dilma-rousseff-petrobas-real/

    Fernando Rugitsky discusses how it can be difficult to fight corporate power when it comes to things like wages and employment.
    ——–

    Christian Parenti highlights the problems of not dealing with inequality in Brazil. He notes the ‘surreal inequality of luxury condos overlooked by impoverished slums that defines Rio’s social landscape. The police were giving me an airborne tour of this strange geography and explaining how they manage it with violence’ These slums are largely produced by lack of government power to provide social services and land reform and enact steps such as water storage infrastructure projects.

    This paragraph from his ‘Tropic of Chaos’ shows how damaging these neoliberal/shock doctrine polices (deregulation, privatization and cutbacks of social services) can be.

    “Academic analyses of Rio’s gangs often note the absence or failure of state institutions. Others, most notably Enrique Desmond Arias, argue that the criminal structures in the favelas bring together gangsters, police, community leaders, and mainstream politicians in a matrix of mutually beneficial relations. Such an arraignment, essentially the criminalization of the local state, has evolved out of the crisis of neoliberalism. To the extent that Arias is correct, criminality in the favelas become a matter less of state withdrawal and more of societal rot – a whole society infected by the gangrene of sub-rosa economics, corruption and violence.”

    ————-

    This comes back to one of Fernando Rugitsky’s points for a program to be successful.

    “For the Left, the lesson of Rousseff’s first term should be clear: a progressive government cannot carry out policies against the interests of capital without challenging the social basis of its domination.

    The implementation of a program that can actually transform Brazilian society presupposes the opening up of the Brazilian state, so that popular mobilization can have leverage against the pressures of the ruling interests. A technocratic left that disregards the centrality of social struggles beyond the bureaucratic disputes within the finance ministry will not go far.

    The impetus to reverse the turn to austerity can only come from the streets. One can only hope that, after a decade of demobilization, the Left can rise to the occasion.”

    1. unorthodoxmarxist

      Yes. Clearly in an era where the ruling class doesn’t need social democratic policies to keep the working class quiescent, the transactional politics of the 1945-80 period is impossible. The choice is really socialism or barbarism, revolution or nothing at this point.

    2. John Merryman

      It’s not so much that society must be equalized, but that the economic medium of the monetary system needs to be understood as public utility for the whole of society. Much as the brain needs more blood than the feet, it is only in very measured amounts and doesn’t serve the interests of the brain for the feet to rot away from lack of circulation.
      Money is not property. The individual doesn’t hold the copyright, nor are they responsible for maintaining its value.
      The long term benefit will be to pull the plug on the very concept of banks as a form of business, rather than a public utility. That they should be used for rent extraction would be like storing fat in the heart and arteries. The consequence is clogged arteries, poor circulation to the extremities and high blood pressure to compensate. Which is pretty much what we have, as the financial sector drains all profits, while the central bank compensates with lower interest rates and yet the rest of the economy continues to seize up, as little wealth makes it out to the workers and consumers.
      The government needs to tax excess money out of the system, not just borrow it out. Then people will have to store value in other forms, such as healthy societies and environments.

      1. hidflect

        I’m so glad to see this idea still has proponents. Years ago I watched a video claiming that if banking was made a public utility, the revenues could be used to completely offset income tax which is an onerous and disincentivising fee on one’s labours.

      2. susan the other

        never thought of it that way, but trickle down is the equivalent of of hight blood pressure; killer point

    1. Oregoncharles

      It’s remarkably well groomed; probably captive. I’ve seen a lot of possums, but never a cute one.

  3. scott

    I remember nearly-automated Yoshinoya restaurants in Japan 15 years ago. By semi-automated I mean that there is one cook running the place except for the busiest time, when there may be two. You pay for your food at the machine up front and sit down wherever you want. Not only that, you can stuff yourself with healty food for $5.
    I really don’t see how using a human to take down orders and handle money adds much value. The Japanese realized this 20 years ago.

    1. samhill

      I really don’t see how using a human to take down orders and handle money adds much value. The Japanese realized this 20 years ago.

      This is probably why the $15/hr wage for fast food workers is gaining traction. I doubt corporate boards, politicians, consumers of crap food, saw the light, more likely the fast food industry is curtailing efforts and resources fighting it. They have a robotized way out. If for 30 years you paid your workers wages that forced them on food stamps, it means you don’t value workers, if you don’t value workers you welcome robots. As for the eaters of crap food what’s more perfect than a droid with a bow tie that says, “Hello, my name is Jimmy how can I help you today?”

      1. ambrit

        The next step is to cut Food Stamps in the interests of “forcing the lazy bums to take the wages offered.” Take what’s on offer, no matter how low. Another factor is the cost of using robots versus ‘wetware’ humans. I can see situations where humans are cheaper than robots. Until someone perfects an inexpensive anthropomorphic robot, Humans will be used widely.
        As Henry Ford suggested when he raised wages on his auto assembly lines, you need a public that is able to purchase your products for your business to exist at all.

        1. lylo

          At this point, if you have a job, it is SOLELY because you are cheaper than a robot especially long term, given that we are pretty close to Jetson’s level automation so anything is possible for a price. Clearly, you are the cheapest choice.*
          Most people in this country have a job that consists of asking what you want, then handing it to you. That machine has been out my whole life, and is accurately noted as such. Teaching can and should be done online, and most secretarial work is just a joke. My husband is a tech: most of that could easily be done by scripts for software and robots (you know, the kind already employed at Toyota) for hardware. Good thing that the robots needed would have to be pretty fancy.
          THAT is what is truly saving us, by the way: cheap and non-standardized Chinese parts making the full automation of repair and recycling (the only “industrial” sector we have much of) pretty much unsustainable for that type of business, as they have to be agile for a downturn. Kind of ironic, in a sad way. (Also some really crazy protectionism, like for light trucks. Basically cannot import those for a profit; only reason they are made here.)
          *An insight I had as I once was a temp for Loreal taking shampoo out of boxes from China to put in other boxes that I know for a fact just get thrown away as few stores bother with manufacturer’s displays. I still don’t understand that job, except perhaps the poverty wages plus some kind of write off or scam apparently made it a wash for them somehow…

          1. John Merryman

            Being in the horse racing industry, a friend once told a story by his father, visiting tracks on the Philippines after the War. He asked a trainer why they had two grooms leading the horses. He commented that when the horse stepped on their feet, they would let go. So the father asked why they didn’t just get them shoes and the reply was that it was cheaper just to have two grooms.

            He didn’t ask about the health care.

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      I really don’t see how using a human to take down orders and handle money adds much value.

      As a human customer, I will take my own order and swipe the credit card myself, all for half what it will cost the robot to do.

      1. Brian

        None of this restaurant talk is new. Since no one has mentioned it, try looking up “Automat” on Wiki. It is a restaurant where all the kitchen staff is behind the scenes making food and putting it in on display for someone to pay and grab it. It was also called a cafeteria. “Cliftons” may help your search on that one. It ended up being a “salad bar”

      2. cwaltz

        I always think that it is funny that people think that taking your money and taking your order is all a fast food “server” does. Are you going to stock and clean the beverage counter(which by the way is already self service), pull the fries up out of hot oil after you order them and clean the rest rooms and lobby too? I can assure you that a server does more than take your order and your money.

    3. hunkerdown

      The value of using a human is the human interaction, of course. In what context is hikikomori supposed to be a feature, other than one which presumes that the only human activity of consequence is inserting 500¥ coins into an automat and receiving beef bowls, and that there is no society, only people?!

  4. frosty zoom

    does a human, and not machine, playing the music add much value?
    does a human, and not machine, nursing the sick add much value?
    does a human, and not machine, writing about economics add much value?
    does a human, and not machine, growing your food add much value?

    value, i guess, is in the soul of the beholder.

    [in response to “scott”]

    1. mk

      teach your children well
      to develop and value their labor
      that it’s all they have

      set a fair or better price for your production
      take care of you and yours
      happy labor day a few days late

  5. Sam Adams

    Re: Comcast
    Hardly surprising they’d start the PR machine on Vox. They’ve started using data caps in selected markets to protect their cable division from its existential threat, streaming. Of course the FCC announced they may think about possibly maybe regulating Comcast’s use of data caps and throttling.

  6. rfdawn

    “Hackers Can Trick Driverless Cars With A Handheld Laser
    Potentially forcing the car to slow down, stop, or swerve”

    Handheld laser pointed at human driver has much the same effect.

    1. Jagger

      What happens if you put a log across the road? I guess it would give the passenger something to do if there is a passenger. Same with a flat tire.

  7. Pavel

    Anyone else think it rather typical of Hillary (of the famous 3 AM phone call and “Hard Choices” autobiography) to wait until Obama had his 41 locked in votes to come out vocally in favour of the Iran Nuke Treaty?

    1. ambrit

      I’m actually surprised to see her ‘defying’ AIPAC. This is beginning to smell fishy. I look for there to be a False Flag event designed to derail this treaty. (A dirty bomb used against ISIS in Syria maybe.)

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        AIPAC is like the NRA. Their bark is worse than their bite. They go to politicians and show stats that say 99% of their endorsements result In re-election without the context of incumbent advantage and candidates in trouble often are excluded from their endorsement process. Hillary’s biggest weakness is the crowd that was under 18 in 1996. This groups views on Israel are radically different, and they didn’t vote for Bill. Politically, it’s a losing situation.

        Despite Arafat stirring up trouble on behalf of the Saudis who wanted 43 in charge, self identified Jews overwhelmingly voted for Gore. AIPAC/Israel are like the national debt. No voter really cares.

        1. ambrit

          I get your point, but this exists in an arena where, all too often, appearance becomes reality. Look how long it took to derail the Indochina Adventure.
          Comparing AIPAC with the NRA is inspired. Both front for major arms manufacturers and carry out the policies of extremist factions.
          As far as the under 18 in 1996 cohort is concerned, the percentage of said cohort that is actually politically engaged is the key. If they don’t like Bills’ Legacy, yet do not support alternatives, of what good are they, politically speaking?
          The key here is the distinction between votes and influence. History is full of examples of energetic minorities imposing their wills on supine majorities.

          1. Praedor

            The problem with Bill’s legacy is that it’s pushed repeatedly (particularly by the Dems) as a good period, a boom time, conveniently ignoring the damage done by “welfare reform”, bubble blowing and debt as the backbone of that “boom”. Bill’s era was a lie, a facade, that is sold as a beautiful building to the masses. Do they fall for it?

            If so, then Hillary’s in, or Biden’s in. If not, it’s Sanders, O’Malley, or (gulp) Trump or Carson.

            Bill = Obama = Biden = Hillary = DLC = Rahm Emmanuel = lies = Wall St = big banks = big corporations.

            1. different clue

              Bill is very plausibly and correctly blameable for NAFTA and WTO and MFN for China. Keep raising those three things over and over and over again and perhaps support for the Bill legacy can be degraded and attrited over time.

            2. John Merryman

              Heck, the repubs wave around Reagan like he should be on Mt Rushmore.

              When the wave crests, expect foam and bubbles.

              And the wave pretty much crested when we had the choice between Carter telling the country to put on a sweater and suck it up, or Reagan saying to put it on the credit card. Voodoo economics, in the immortal words of his running mate.

              1. Oregoncharles

                Too bad Carter was such a terrible President. Great ex-President, though, about the only one in living history.

                1. John Merryman

                  Truth is. Answers are what people pay to hear. There is much more profit in giving answers than telling truths.

          2. NotTimothyGeithner

            The other part of their strategy is Israel and gun control aren’t every day issues. On Saturday, I’ll be at Notre Dame/UVA scheduling disaster in Charlottesville. At any point will I discuss Israel with people I know? No. Will the economy, schools (obviously it will, I went to UVA), or transit come up? Yes. Guns might because of the shooting of the news crew, but short of a breaking news story, Israel and guns issues won’t come up unless we will do up at a certain person’s house.

            Gun control and Israel are not pressing concerns in everyday discourse, and the NRA and AIPAC’s strategy is to delay until the 90%/silent majority/enough to not make one side as relevant as the other go back to usual concerns. Even school shootings work this way because most of the peers of the victims can’t vote. Even concerned parents look at the issue as outsiders. Bottle necking kids at metal detectors doesn’t protect them from a Columbine style attack, but it appease parents who aren’t thinking because they don’t go to school anymore.

            The 1996* issue is relevant because the 25 year old women who didn’t vote for Hillary are 33 now. Has Hillary done something to move them or recruit the 17 year olds who likely share the opinions of the 18 year old women who didn’t vote for Hillary? On the other end, Hillary did extremely well with Democratic seniors and boomers who are now dead (hyperbole) or seniors essentially. In my opinion, Bill voters are attached to Hillary because she can justify their support for Bill, at best a centrist President who led the Democratic Party to minority status and made Democrats justify a powerful boss preying on an intern, by 1996 this is what Democrats voted for and their resulting behavior was atrocious, “hey, it’s just a bj between two ‘consenting’ adults except one is President and one was an intern.” Hillary can absolve this sin. Voters who didn’t vote for Bill do the have this hanging around their neck. They aren’t emotionally invested in the Clinton Presidency, and I do think they are supporting alternatives whether through direct action or co-ops. Sanders hasn’t been the talk of the town for three years unlike Obama, so I would hold off on judgement about supporting alternatives.

          3. different clue

            Well then, the appearance of a defeat for AIPAC on this issue may lead to the perception of a weakening of AIPAC on this issue and other issues. That could lead to the reality of weary defeatists becoming hopeful possibilists again, and working to defeat AIPAC on other issues.
            The reality of being challenged may lead to the further appearance of being furtherly challengeable. That could lead to the reality of further defeats, leading to the perception of enhanced defeatibility, leading to the further-percieved and augmented reality of yet more defeats.

            Rome wasn’t burned in a day.

            Perhaps countervailing minorities could arise and self organize to wage brain war and conduct brainwar operations against AIPAC on particular fronts here and there, now and again. Perhaps they could even give themselves AIPAC-similar names to show that AIPAC’s side of the street is getting crowded.
            J Street could change its name to ALIPAC, for American Lesser Israel Public Affairs Committee. A group supporting a Free State of Palestine could arise and call itself APalPAC, for American Palestine Public Affairs Committee. A blunt-the-tip-of-the-spearpoint group specifically designed to use AIPAC methods to protect AIPAC’s targets could arise calling itself ACAPAC for American Counter AIPAC Public Affairs Committee. Brainwar is an ongoing thing and can be creatively waged and fought.

    2. MikeNY

      I think Hillary’s “hard choices” refer to how many, and which, polls she must read before announcing what she’ll have for breakfast.

        1. susan the other

          Hillary has made herself ridiculous. Just shut your eyes and listen to her old-man voice. Right. She’s gonna save the American way of life. Whatever. She’s just another whore.

          1. Lambert Strether

            A few comments:

            1) I deprecate the use of the word “whore” to describe elite actors, especially politicians. It’s insulting to whores.

            2) I would avoid the sexual similes entirely; I don’t think they map to political relationships — for example, flex nets and factions and parties — all that accurately. (Also, there was a big fetish for this stuff back in the 2003-2006 left blogosphere, partly for shock value, partly to epater the family value Christianist conservatives. It didn’t work out well, did it?)

            3) In general, I think one can ring the changes on “transactional” and “corrupt” and “ka-ching,” and that’s the level the discourse should stay at, partly to keep the concepts crisp, and partly because

            4) This is a family blog.

            1. different clue

              I hope this cautionary advice is extended to the area of using a bigger fancier word where a smaller word would do better. For example, people who would need “agnatology” defined can understand “stupidism” quite well. If one wants to reach an audience made up of people who those they consider to be smart-mouth know-it-alls, one uses non smart-mouth know-it-some language. I would suggest that using words like “agnatology” has the same effect on many people as laughing at the pronunciation “nukular” has on those same people. For example . . . .

  8. abynormal

    Warren Buffett must’ve picked up some major military contract $hare$:

    “You want everybody educated to their potential. You want people to reach their potential. That still won’t work for some people in a highly developed market system.

    I mean if this were a sports-based system, you could give me a PhD in football, and I could practice eight hours a day, and I might be able to carry the water from, not onto the field, but from the locker room to the bench. There’s just some people don’t fit well into a highly skilled market-based economy.

    They’re perfectly decent citizens. We’ll send them off to Afghanistan, but they are not going to command a big price.”
    Bloomberg TV

    “There’s class warfare, all right, but it’s my class, the rich class, that’s making war, and we’re winning.” Warren Honest Buffett

    “Why are you not smarter? It’s only the rich who can’t afford to be smart. They’re compromised. They got locked years ago into privilege. They have to protect their belongings. No one is meaner than the rich. Trust me.” The English Patient

    1. susan the other

      I think we should round up all the rich fat cats; give them exoskeletons and bazookas and send them off to fight all our wars for the next century. They owe us that.

  9. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Automation.

    Meanwhile, amid this constant fearmongering about automation, food service workers as a percentage of the overall workforce is at an all-time high.

    Why are robots working for the other side, instead of working for workers??

    Why shouldn’t the robot replacing a worker belong to the worker (or replacing two workers belong to both workers, etc)?

    Then, we can let robots have all the jobs, including running the country; we humans can then play all day, commune with Nature and pursue our artistic dreams.

    “I’m ready to play in the yard. My job can be easily done by a robot. Please, hurry up, get a robot who will support me over here ASAP.”

    1. Praedor

      I’m fine with robots galore. More and more robots that don’t need healthcare, pay, overtime, sick leave, etc. The people they displace are then free to enjoy the true benefits such hyper-automation is SUPPOSED to have always brought: more leisure, time to follow one’s dreams, play, etc. With automation MUST come Guaranteed Income (living income) regardless of work or work history. Money to use to pay for food, shelter, education (to learn to follow whatever your dream is), travel, etc.

      The robotic future was ALWAYS sold as idyllic, leaving people to no longer need to do drudgery, etc. Time for make it so regardless of what the 0.1% want. Instead of creating masses of desperate serfs, as they want, create masses of free, happy, unencumbered, people who don’t need to be beholden to the “masters of the universe”.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        The way it is now, workers should be against technology. It’s insane not to be a Luddite, or a Neo-Luddite.

        The way it should be – technology of the people, by the people and for the people.

    2. cwaltz

      At the end of the day robots are just a tool. They sometimes redefine a job but quite often do not eliminate it. It’s also interesting to note that multifunction robots are often cost prohibitive. That means the guy who scoops the fries and gets your drink still has a job even if you ring in your own order and pay with a card at a machine.

      I’m like you I welcome our robot overlords. I’d much rather read instead of spending my day scrubbing laundry by hand or cooking over a campfire after my husband spends the day hunting and picking crops.

    3. Kurt Sperry

      Management is probably more amenable to automation than most manual labor jobs, isn’t it? No expensive mechanical robots that require frequent service by trained technicians, just bytes floating almost frictionlessly around inside microchips. You can replace entire high rent high rises full of high salaried employees with an algorithm and a data center in a basement.

  10. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Soaring student loan debt.

    I wonder if there is a positive correlation (necessarily cause-effect) between the amount of a student loan and how cooperating a working serf that student will be in the future.

  11. financial matters

    There is a recent article on how recent attempts in Brazil to limit inequality have come under pressure,

    Austerity reaches Brazil

    Fernando Rugitsky discusses how it can be difficult to fight corporate power when it comes to things like wages and employment.
    ——–

    Christian Parenti highlights the problems of not dealing with inequality in Brazil. He notes the ‘surreal inequality of luxury condos overlooked by impoverished slums that defines Rio’s social landscape. The police were giving me an airborne tour of this strange geography and explaining how they manage it with violence’ These slums are largely produced by lack of government power to provide social services and land reform and enact steps such as water storage infrastructure projects.

    This paragraph from his ‘Tropic of Chaos’ shows how damaging these neoliberal/shock doctrine polices (deregulation, privatization and cutbacks of social services) can be.

    “Academic analyses of Rio’s gangs often note the absence or failure of state institutions. Others, most notably Enrique Desmond Arias, argue that the criminal structures in the favelas bring together gangsters, police, community leaders, and mainstream politicians in a matrix of mutually beneficial relations. Such an arraignment, essentially the criminalization of the local state, has evolved out of the crisis of neoliberalism. To the extent that Arias is correct, criminality in the favelas become a matter less of state withdrawal and more of societal rot – a whole society infected by the gangrene of sub-rosa economics, corruption and violence.”

    ————-

    This comes back to one of Fernando Rugitsky’s points for a program to be successful.

    “For the Left, the lesson of Rousseff’s first term should be clear: a progressive government cannot carry out policies against the interests of capital without challenging the social basis of its domination.

    The implementation of a program that can actually transform Brazilian society presupposes the opening up of the Brazilian state, so that popular mobilization can have leverage against the pressures of the ruling interests. A technocratic left that disregards the centrality of social struggles beyond the bureaucratic disputes within the finance ministry will not go far.

    The impetus to reverse the turn to austerity can only come from the streets. One can only hope that, after a decade of demobilization, the Left can rise to the occasion.”

  12. rich

    The City’s stranglehold makes Britain look like an oh-so-civilised mafia state George Monbiot George
    The City’s stranglehold makes Britain look like an oh-so-civilised mafia state

    MonbiotBe reasonable in response to the unreasonable: this is what voters in the Labour election are told. Accommodate, moderate, triangulate, for the alternative is to isolate yourself from reality.

    You might be inclined to agree. If so, please take a look at the reality to which you must submit. To an extent unknown since before the first world war, economic relations in this country are becoming set in stone. It is not just that the very rich no longer fall while the very poor no longer rise. It’s that the system itself is protected from risk. Through bailouts, quantitative easing and delays in interest-rate rises, speculative investment has been so well cushioned that – as the Guardian economics editor, Larry Elliott, puts it – financial markets are “one of the last bastions of socialism left on Earth”.

    http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/sep/08/britain-civilised-mafia-state?

  13. Jim Haygood

    What is conspicuously absent from Politico’s article on the endangered speakership of John Boehner? His urgent issues this fall are cited as Planned Parenthood funding; the federal debt ceiling; a potential government shutdown; and highway spending.

    Oh, right: the Iran nuclear agreement. With 42 senators giving Obama a cloture-proof blocking minority, half a year of Republican noise about voting down the agreement has gone down the memory hole, as if it never happened. But the fact remains that Boehner’s brassy invitation last March for Netanyahu to subvert the president’s foreign policy from the dais of the House was an epic blunder, for which heads must roll.

    Indeed, after his sacking as Speaker, a serious case can be made that Boehner should be indicted:

    Inviting the Israeli prime minister [was] an express — and entirely novel — breach of the Constitution.

    Secretary of State Thomas Jefferson was first to reprimand a foreign dignitary for appealing to Congress over the head of the executive. When Edmond-Charles Genet, who represented the revolutionary government of France, sought congressional support in 1793 for a policy opposed by President Washington, Jefferson brought him up short.

    The president, Jefferson wrote, “must be left to judge for himself what matters his duty . . . may require him to propose to the deliberations of Congress.” Or, as Washington said on another occasion, the Constitution designated him the “sole channel of official intercourse” with foreign nations.

    http://blogs.reuters.com/great-debate/2015/03/01/netanyahu-invite-is-a-symptom-of-boehners-grudge-match-against-the-u-s-constitution/

    Having sold out his country, Boehner is unfit not only for the speakership, but for any public office.

  14. Lambert Strether

    Readers, the Financial Times (FT) has taken down its paywall for the day, and I encourage you go poke around. For one thing, it’s just an interesting website with excellent writing; the language is not stodgy or bureaucratic or bloated with think tank talking points, and the analysis is crisp and in many ways superior to anything on this side of the Atlantic). For another, if you want to watch an unashamed elite talking to itself, as it gets on with the business of running our world, this is a great venue. Of course, it it is what it is, and its pink character starts with the color of its paper/background… And ends there!

  15. Oregoncharles

    A cute opossum? Where’d you find THAT?

    And more seriously: Warren: Trump Discusses ‘Important Things’ Like Taxing The Wealthy TPM

    Yes, on taxes and health care he’s well to the left of the Democrats, evidently except for Warren. So why is he so popular with Republicans? Well, those are “populist” positions. Unfortunately, apparently so is suddenly reducing the workforce by about 11 million (in truth, of course, no one knows) – which would solve our unemployment problem overnight, if it weren’t so disruptive, as well as heartless. And of course, that is not a policy the plutocrats usually favor. (Including Trump, who owns hotels and casinos.)

  16. prostratedragon

    Quote from a 1951 movie:

    “When I was a girl we had homeopathic doctors. I wonder whatever happened to them.”

    Cause for Alarm!, available at the Archive.

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