Links 10/2/15

‘No Way To Prevent This,’ Says Only Nation Where This Regularly Happens Onion (David L)

Adorable Moustached Kingfisher Photographed for First Time Audubon. This would normally be an antidote picture, but the story is an anti-antidote. As Dr. Kevin points out: “Mustached Kingfisher is seen for the first time in decades, then is euthanized for study.”

Santee Sioux Tribe to Launch First-in-the-Nation Pot Resort in South Dakota Ben Swann (furzy mouse)

Asteroid impact, volcanism were one-two punch for dinosaurs Science News

Living Blue Planet Report: Species, habitat, and human well-being World Wildlife Foundation (furzy mouse)

Oxford Junior Dictionary’s replacement of ‘natural’ words with 21st-century terms sparks outcry Guardian

Amazon To Prohibit The Sale Of Apple TV, Google Chromecast Consumerist

Gigabytes of user data from hack of Patreon donations site dumped online ars technica

Theoretical “auto-brothel” attack on mechanics’ computers could infect millions of cars BoingBoing (resilc)

War Nerd Wednesday podcast Pando. Recommended by Gabriel U.

Naked capitalism Economist (Oregoncharles). On porn on the web.

El-Erian: Emerging markets are ‘completely unhinged’ CNBC

Robb mulls back door TPP sell-out MacroBusiness. Gives a sense of how the deal is going pear-shaped.

Scandal-hit Malaysia investment fund files accounts late Financial Times

Malaysia Stumbles Toward Financial Crisis Asia Sentinel


Chinese county hit by another mail bomb blast as police step up hunt for mastermind South China Morning Post

PBOC Deputy Governor Says China Should Adopt Tobin Tax Bloomberg

Who put Mark Carney in charge of our climate policy? Telegraph

The unspun Jeremy Corbyn Le Monde Diplomatique (Sid S)


Obama, Putin: Checkmate Pepe Escobar, Counterpunch. Chuck L flags this bit: “A review of UN speeches by both Putin and Obama is almost painful to watch. Putin acted like a serious global statesman. Obama acted like a poseur flunking a screen test.”

SHORT AND SHARP: Which groups did the Russians target in Syria? Sic Semper Tyrannis (Chuck L)

The Massively Terrible Plan to Give Israel the Massive Ordnance Penetrator Foreign Policy

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

Experian reports data breach; more than 15M T-Mobile customers affected CNBC

Government Set to Default Weeks Earlier Than Forecast New York Times

Lowering Medicare Part D Prices Barry Ritholtz, Bloomberg. Pat: “Of all of the many poor domestic tax decisions that came out of the Bush Administration, the massive corporate giveaway that is Medicaid Part D was one of the most offensive.”

Dem economists attack Elizabeth Warren over Brookings firing The Hill.

About time think tank “resesarch” and the people behind it got some scrutiny. I met Litan at a Kauffman Foundation conference. The fact that the libertarian, regulation-hostile Kauffman Foundation had him as their head of research says all you need to know about his political views. He was and I assume remains a hard core deficit hawk. And assertion that donations don’t influence research results, especially in DC, is patently false. Sure, you might get away with producing a product that was not what your patrons wanted…all of once, and that once would likely mark the end of your career in the line of producing “research”. Look at how funding has been widely reported to taint outcomes in medical research (where you actually can test to see if you can reproduce the results) or closer to home, the report that Fredrick Mishkin issued praising Iceland and its banking system less than a year before they collapsed…..which was paid for by the Iceland Chamber of Commerce. In other words, Warren has the temerity to start attacking a long-standing, lucrative form of fraud. As we wrote in 2011:

…the economics discipline continues to tolerate special-interest-group- favoring PR masquerading as research.

In real academic disciplines, investigators and professors who serve big corporate funders have their output viewed with appropriate skepticism, and if they do so often enough, their reputation takes a permanent hit. Scientists who went into the employ of tobacco companies could anticipate they’d never leave that backwater. Even the great unwashed public knows that drug company funded research isn’t what it is cracked up to be.

But in the never-never realm of reality denial within the Beltway, as long as you can get a PhD or better to grace the latest offering from the Ministry of Truth, it gives useful cover to Congresscritters and other message amplifiers who will spout whatever big donor nonsense they are being asked to endorse this week.


Edward Snowden says Hillary Clinton ‘ridiculous’ to think emails were secure Guardian

Clinton Finally Catches a Break on Benghazi — from the Mis-speaker of the House Fiscal Times (furzy mouse)

Clinton a Continuation of Obama on Energy OilPrice

Not a Single HP Employee Reported Donating to Carly Fiorina’s Campaign Gawker (resilc)

HP Employees Would Like Carly Fiorina To Get Their Company Name Out Of Her Mouth Dealbreaker

Was Pope Francis Actually Swindled into Meeting Kim Davis? Charles Pearce, Esquire (Chuck L). You gotta love it: “….noted civic layabout Kim Davis.”

Everyone Counts raises funds to push internet voting into the mainstream San Diego Union-Tribune (furzy mouse). A new way to disenfranchise voters. In 2013, nearly 25% of American homes had no Internet connection. And yes, the Census Department did ask about “handheld computers,” meaning cell phones.

Bring Back the Good Old Paper Ballot WhoWhatWhy (furzy mouse)

Armed anti-Muslim activists planning 20 rallies at mosques and community centers across the US Raw Story (furzy mouse)

Black Injustice Tipping Point

Artist Murdered While Painting Mural for Peace Gawker (resilc)

The Whites Are Coming! The Whites Are Coming!: Gentrification Surging in U.S. Cities Glen Ford

Voter ID and driver’s license office closures black-out Alabama’s Black Belt

Class Warfare

The Bipartisan Push To Unwind Mass Incarceration Has A Terribly Long Way To Go Huffington Post

Understanding Mass Incarceration and Bringing It Down: An Interview With James Kilgore Truthout

Big Tech’s monopoly power as a threat to democracy Mark Ames, Pando

Antidote du jour (by Nonta):

pelican links

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email


  1. Leo

    God, I miss the old What a shame that Ames, Brecher and Levine have gone over to the dark side. Pando is dogshit. Dogshit behind a paywall.

    1. different clue

      I have read that just lately the “war nerd” has been written by John Dolan. And some of the recent “war nerd” articles seem different in hard-to-define ways than older articles written by Gary Brecher the War Nerd. Am I right to think that? Was “Gary Brecher” ever a real person or a portable personna under which various people have written right from the start?

    1. sam s smith

      Putin is very careful in making sure that his people are kept fed(not including the brie and parmasan shortgages).

  2. cwaltz

    The part that bothers me the most about the pope story is that a gay catholic group actually approached and asked for an audience. They were denied.

    It didn’t help the same day I read a story about a 5 year old being denied entrance to a private school because she had 2 moms. The school insisted that the family could not attend because they weren’t leading a “Christ like lifestyle.” Uh church folk, neither are you. Jesus hung out with sinners all the time. His life’s work was salvation and making sure everyone knew that His Father loved them no matter what. Sure am glad you’re cherrypicking though so He knows who the right ones are and ignoring the whole entire grace concept which essentially says we don’t have to be perfect to be loved perfectly by God.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      Francis doesn’t make the schedule. The bureaucracy around him does. It’s likely Francis knew jack about Kim Davis beyond what a puppet of John Paul II and Ratzinger told him. The North American Catholic Church isn’t the church of Fulton Sheen and Father Drinan, the nuns who more or less built the American Catholic Church are treated like enemies by the bishops now. JPJ II and the rat paid special attention to the new world bishops. They didn’t want any lesser Romeros. During the height of the abuse scandal, the Richmond diocese opened churches under the leadership of long time Bishop Walter Sullivan who visited Rome when the Pope came to the Americas. When he retired, what did the Vatican do? They sent their priest abuse fixer to be the new bishop to clean up a diocese run by a guy who said, “Martin Luther was right.” His first order of business was to pull a priest out of a parish because he fired the lay women who were actually running the diocese because Sullivan spent much of his time filling in for priests in parishes, prisons, schools, hospitals, and so forth.

      The focus has been on Francis, but he’s just one guy operating in a world where the Bishops and Cardinals were appointed with little local political interference. Even if Francis walked on water, the Catholic Church is still a mess because there is no longer a pool for potential leadership short of promoting New World Jesuits until the mess has been cleaned.

      1. MikeNY

        I certainly hope he was ‘swindled’. It does appear that the Vatican is downplaying the visit fairly hard. It seemed completely incongruous with a ‘change in tone’.

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          I suppose my view is that Francis is less relevant than the leadership mass of the RCC. Francis might agree or disagree with Davis. It’s largely irrelevant without committed reform to the body of Bishops.

          Judging from the more recent news, I suspect the North American bishops played Francis on a personal level.

          1. MikeNY

            I take your point on the bishops, etc. I understand that there is much more to the institution than the man ‘at the top’.

            1. juliania

              This controversial meeting has by and large been misunderstood. I do not see any reason to suppose the pope was unaware of the situation. He, like all of us, meets people all the time who have different beliefs from his own about fundamental issues, and in this case the woman he met had the same belief in the sanctity of marriage, a belief I share with them both as an Orthodox Christian.

              Arguments have been made about upholding the law – but if the law is perceived as an unjust law – say for example one that gives rich people the right to say that money is speech – we would commend someone for taking a public stand against such a law, given the opportunity. Even if that person was in a position that required him or her to go along with the law – wouldn’t we encourage that stand? I would.

              Yet here, people are insisting on compliance, or as an alternative, to resign the post. That indeed would be commendable, but who would then notice? If one has the courage of their convictions, it is creditable to take a stand on their behalf.

              There was a play, and then a movie, a while back – “A Man For All Seasons.” Thomas More took a stand, and he died for it. Most people have thought that was a significant play, a good one. I am sure the pope was thinking of such an example when he encouraged Ms. Davis to follow her conscience. There’s another aspect of our common humanity he prizes. He might indeed say the very same thing to a gay person. Who can judge? Not I, not he – that’s what we believe.

              There’s an Orthodox prayer, possibly also for Catholics: “O Christ, the true Light, which illumens and sanctifies all men who come into the world . . .” All men, all of mankind.

              1. MikeNY

                “Unjust law” you say. Cui malo?

                No one can give a credible answer to that question. No one is forcing a straight person to get married to a gay person. No one is outlawing marriage between heterosexuals. The only ‘right’ that is being infringed is the right to carry one’s own personal bigotry into public office.

                1. juliania

                  Cui malo, indeed. I am not a lawyer, but I do think there are unjust laws perpetrated by judicial bodies whose interests are not the interests of the community at large. This country is ruled by such at present.

                  It is not a matter of rights, but rather a matter of conviction. The state deals in rights; the individual beliefs. Sometimes, as in this instance, the two come head to head, or rather, face to face. To me, it’s a classic confrontation that doesn’t need negative rhetoric about either set of values.

                  Who is harmed when an individual voices his or her beliefs and goes to jail for doing so? The rest of us pay attention; we assess the situation. There might be aspects of the confrontation we have overlooked. That is what taking a stand and setting an example should mean.

                  I’ll merely conclude by saying, Mike, that your final phrases don’t do justice to the actual situation. (There’s that word again.)

                  1. Yves Smith Post author

                    I’m sorry, public officials do not have the right to pick and choose. Davis swore an oath of office, and she may have sworn it on the Bible. If she doesn’t like marrying gays, she should quit. This is not difficult and I fail to understand how anyone can defend her actions.

                    1. The Heretic

                      Gandhi would be proud of anyone who lived according to conscience without resorting to violence. An unjust law shall not be upheld, but shall be resisted.

                      Some say that gay marriage is settled via legal laws; some say this is issue of morality and may not be legislated into legitimacy. ‘Quo vadis?’

                      The state can solve this dilemna easily, send another bureaucrat to issue the license. Let Kim Davis keep her job.
                      The pureveyors of gay marriage are mollified. The christians do not feel they are under attack from the left-wing state. Then we can focus on the real problems caused by rapacious globalization; the Beast that threatens us all.

    2. Jm

      why Kim Davis would want to meet with the pope – doesn’t her religion (Oneness Pentacostal from googling her) basically deny most of what the Catholic Church believes? I know that a lot of the fundamentalist churches view the pope as the anti-Christ. I do see the manipulation/publicity value in the “meeting” but it seems like a violation of her religious principles.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        Prior to Martin Luther, John Calvins and reformers popped up throughout Europe. Since they were usually driven by a response to local corruption, they dissolved in favor of Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox bureaucracy as the problem was addressed. Yes, there were charismatic leaders, but the followers were open to listening because of corruption or hypocrisy. The printing press and establishment of independent secular type governments reduced the need for a Catholic Church, so non-RCC style outfits lasted.

        The Catholic Church is more of a cartoon super villain (when children arent involved) than the real villain it once was several hundred years ago to pentecostals. What Protestant practitioner has to deal with the RCC? Our own Constitutional protections were largely directed at the Anglican church. What is the difference between the Pope and any other religious practitioner especially if the real reasons for being anti-Catholic no longer exist? Let’s be honest, Kim Davis isn’t throwing away her cloak and following Christ. She still wants to be paid for bigotry. I don’t think her religious positions are thought out. Like many people, religion is a stand in for a tribal identity, and tribalists hate the unknown other.

        Take Democratic Congressman Bob Brady and his views on the Pope’s backwash. He didn’t learn that in catechism. He just made it up because his tribe’s leader touched him.

        1. cwaltz

          I don’t get the impression Kim is an overly sophisticated person. I suspect what she believes is what she’s been told to believe by her church leader. I also suspect she believes him/her because they told her that her sins were forgiven and Kim wants to believe that to be true. If they are wrong about one thing then heck they may be wrong about another? In her mind questioning becomes a slippery slope. One of the things I hate about church doctrine is that questioning it is frowned upon and no one seems to admit the men that administer and those that created doctrine are and were fallible just like the rest of us.

          1. juliania

            But they do admit that, cwaltz, and this pope in particular does so. I read that he asked her to pray for him, and I recall that he asked the same of Stephen Colbert. This is a very sweet and humble man.

            1. cwaltz

              I’ve not seen that to be the case. The largest challenge that same sex couples face is that pervasive church doctrine teaches that gay is wrong and I’ve yet to hear any church leader say that it’s entirely possible they’ve gotten it wrong, instead the default is “the Bible says.”

              It isn’t my place to judge this pope. I don’t know him, I only know of him. I recognize it isn’t entirely his fault that the Catholic Church is the way it is and wish him nothing but luck in any effort he may take to reform it. As they say during services, “may peace be with him.”

      2. Leo

        The Holy father did a deal to postpone the execution of a very likely innocent man (and a guilty woman).

      3. MartyH

        Kim Davis “wanted” to meet the Pope because her publicists and handlers wanted to buy her the “credibility” in the religious press. She appears to understand that the path of Calvinist Glory ($$$$$) is through the Christian “Pity-Trail.”

    3. Massinissa

      I have a feeling that the same private school would allow children of kleptocrats in. Or for that matter, wouldn’t they take the children of more obvious crimes like murder in? Its not like the child can help it if his/her dad killed somebody.

      1. cwaltz

        The reality is church isn’t supposed to be for “perfect” people. It’s supposed to be a place where we celebrate that Someone loves us and has offered us grace despite our imperfections. It’s supposed to be a refuge where we are welcomed simply because God loves us.

        One of my favorite songs (Casting Crowns Who am I) articulates grace pretty well

        Not because of who I am
        But because of what You’ve done.
        Not because of what I’ve done
        But because of who You are.

        Grace has very little to do with what you do or did, It’s about what God did (created a New covenant through the life and sacrifice of his son.) The church’s job is to try help you be the best person you can be to be worthy of that sacrifice. You don’t “earn” salvation though, and don’t need to fear if you fall short of perfect. Salvation was already freely given.

        The Church is being treated like it’s some sort of country club with No gays allowed signs. That’s counter to how Christ taught while here(where indeed not only would He hug the child of a murderer but He’d embrace the murderer himself even though his ACTIONS were a sin. He did a horrible thing but God still loves him anyway because God’s love is perfect even when we’re not.) *shakes head because most churches just makes me sad for humanity these days*

        1. anon de plume

          I’ve read the entire Bible and grace certainly exists and is necessary but “faith without works is dead” and “I never knew you, depart from Me you workers of iniquity” and “Let everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord Jesus Christ cease from sin” is also operative.

          So yes, the Lord will save anyone who wishes to be saved but we are to be saved FROM sin not in order TO sin. And we are to acknowledge our sin, not deny it.

          That said, many churches certainly over emphasize consensual sexual sin so they can ignore weightier matters such as justice and mercy much as the Pharisees did in the time of Jesus.

          And who knows how much sexual sin is a symptom of gross social justice as exists today? Certainly some, if studies of overcrowded rats are relevant.

          1. Optimader

            If i really like my sin is there some wiggle room on the rules, or is admitting that like doubling down?
            Just curious

            1. anon de plume

              You can read, can’t you? It ain’t just the Gideons that make the Bible a best seller, one might suspect?

              1. anon de plume

                Not to be harsh but attempting to summarize the Bible defeats the purpose of it – which is a one-on-one communication between you and your Maker.

          2. todde

            He that believes.and is baptized shall be saved…

            Odd that there are so many ways to be saved in the bible. You’d think He would of been unequivocal about that.

          3. cwaltz

            So yes, the Lord will save anyone who wishes to be saved but we are to be saved FROM sin not in order TO sin. And we are to acknowledge our sin, not deny it.

            I’m pretty sure I said we go to church to try and be encouraged to be the best person you can be and worthy of the sacrifice. Where in the world did you get that I said we go there so we can sin?

            Are you absolutely certain homosexuality is a sin? Can you say with certainty that the God who during the Old testament was comfortable with a guy having multiple wives hasn’t decided to change things up in the past 1500 or so odd years? My heart, the heart that God made, says that love(not lust mind you) is never wrong or sinful.

            During this life I’ve been guilty of many things but I will say this I’m not overwhelmingly a prideful person. I don’t have all the answers and I’m the first to admit it and when I do err I tend to err on the side of love. 1st John- 7 Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God. 8 He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.

            It’s too bad the church strayed from verses like those because they speak to me, fire and brimstone just doesn’t.

  3. LeitrimNYC

    Just FYI, there’s a stray letter in the link to the Black Agenda Report article, there’s an “a” before http.

      1. Oregoncharles

        We get plenty frrom NC. We don’t expect perfection; that’s why people are wiling if not eager to help with the niggling details.

  4. allan

    Can 100 economists be wrong? Well, as a matter of fact …

    Health Policy Experts’ Statement about Excise Tax on High-Cost Plans

    The Cadillac tax will help curtail the growth of private health insurance premiums by encouraging employers to limit the costs of plans to the tax-free amount. The excise tax will discourage the provision of insurance that covers such a large proportion of health care spending that consumers have little incentive to insist on cost-effective care and providers have little incentive to provide it. As employers redesign health insurance plans to hold costs within the tax-free amount, cash wages or other fringe benefits will increase.

    1. cwaltz

      Brought to you by the same people who told us that free trade meant consumers would benefit from cheaper labor(instead of businesses.) Those Nike shoes were only going to cost you a dollar before they didn’t and cost you the same $30 as when it was made here. Whoops!

    2. Praedor

      What is REALLY does is provide ever worse insurance to the non-rich. My own employer supplied healthcare policy has gone from a very good AFFORDABLE co-pay setup (free to see specialists as needed rather than going through a primary care gatekeeper of an HMO) to a deductible-health savings account setup where I pay out of pocket TWICE. A huge deductible ($3000) PLUS tapping into my health savings account (comes out of pocket) to cover costs. I now have to ration my healthcare, decide what very real health issue is MORE important, deal with that, ignore the other because of out-of-pocket costs. Obamacare SUCKS. The cadillac tax guarantees that everyone who works for a living will be saddled with something like what I now have. Thank you Obama.

      1. JTMcPhee

        ” I now have to ration my healthcare, decide what very real health issue is MORE important, deal with that, ignore the other because of out-of-pocket costs…. The cadillac tax guarantees that everyone who works for a living will be saddled with something like what I now have.”


      2. fresno dan

        Gee, I WISH I was only paying twice….I have to pay for the adjustments to the charges, and than there are adjustments to the adjustments, and than there are adjustments to the adjustments of the adjustments’s adjustments…..which has nothing to do with the adjustment FEES, which are not adjustments but FEES….

        Of course, what irks me most about this nonsense is that there is some kind of market involved. TRY and find out what the price you will be charged for a procedure is. Many places will not serve you UNLESS you have insurance – you can’t pay with cash even if your able and willing.

        1. Praedor

          I’m flabbergasted sometimes when I get an extra bill AFTER having met my deductible, like there’s a co-pay ON TOP OF the deductible. Infuriating.

      3. cwaltz

        Apparently I can look forward to being billed for outpatient surgery every time a hospital puts a catheter in me after paying my copay. Sure wish I could have planned passing clots of blood the size of my fists better.

    3. Benedict@Large

      … consumers have little incentive to insist on cost-effective care …

      This is just such a crock of crap. It takes full time college-educated people to figure out how a medical claim fits against the insurance policy, and consumers are supposed to manage the cost of their care? Hell, I doubt your doctor could even tell you what he/she charges for some individual service. And hospital bills? Even the hospitals can’t explain them. What it looks like to me (and I do have experience with this) is that the hospital knows generally what its total bill has to look like for some mix of services, and the line-item pricing is just jockeyed around to make that bottom line come out.

      And the consumer, often in a stress situation of illness, is supposed to manage all of this? That’s just crap they’re slinging to try to make you feel responsible for the crapped up pricing system that out-of-control for-profit healthcare produces.

      1. Gio Bruno

        Now, that’s an accurate assessment of the situation! BTDT,

        Your personal medical insurance plan is only the beginning of the learning process. Believe me, the hospital will charge (and overcharge) you for any and all services (needed or not). They won’t care if a physician providing service is in or out-of-network (very important to your financial well-being), they won’t listen to your pleas for clarity and rational discussion, they will make you sicker than you’ve ever been!

        Medical care and medical insurance in the US is an enduring nightmare.

      2. nihil obstetg

        The rate of errors and overcharges in bills is outrageous (8 out of 10 hospital bills contain errors?) “Managing” the rats’ nest of policies, bills, procedures, et al. is complicated by the fact that the bill is probably wrong anyway.

    4. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      My deductible is at least twice that (and going up next year, I believe), and has been for more years than I can remember.

      Is that average, below average or better than average?

    5. m

      Working at the hospital, it is a very rare patient that demands/goes overbroad on services. Surgery patients that are in obvious pain refuse meds cause they think the price is jacked up.
      Besides didn’t Gruber state that this was to eliminate that nontaxable portion of income or something. He clearly states the real reason in one of those videos.

  5. RabidGandhi

    As much as I disagree with her politically, I find it abhorrent the way the left is piling on Kim Davis for her decision not to do her job, and now the latest: Charles Pearce calling her a “layabout” and taunting her for having 3 marriages. This is exactly the kind of attacks that we typically see from the right against others who stand up for their conscience (eg, Snowden, Ellsberg, Manning…).

    Isn’t it at least squirm worthy that the same canards trotted out against Davis “well she took an oath to do her job” “its just a publicity stunt from an egomaniac” etc., are the same ones that we just saw dusted off to attack Snowden and Manning? By repeating them now, all we are doing is giving ammo to the right to attack the next person who acts on her conscious for a true progressive cause.

    For example: let’s switch this around. Let’s say instead of Davis it was a clerk who refused to issue a gun permit or who refused to file papers for a Wall Street bank to evade prosecution. Would we be outraged at the press for calling said clerk a thrice-divorced civic layabout who broke an oath to god?

    Total double standard.

    1. Ditto

      1. Just bc an act superficially looks the same does not mean it must be defended. We don’t need to be tolerant of intolerance. That’s an immature, non complex view of the world abc a trap. By using superficial observation about tactics, you are engaged in false equivalences when the facts are considered in total

      2. Her tactics are not what is evil about what she is doing. It’s her aim- which is the denial of human rights- that’s evil. By your logic. denial of human rights so long as it fits under the banner of protest would be protected action. We don’t need to be tolerant of intolerance.

      3. There are work arounds that allow others in her office to allow licenses. So what she wants goes beyond individual protest. It is the right using the superficial shell of protest and victim hood to deny others the right to make their own moral choices, although they clam to be about “freedom” in forcing their version of Christisnity on us.

      4, we don’t live in a theicracy and nor do we want to live in one.

      5. Her life choices matters to the claim that this is religion ( which itself is a bad argument ) instead of animus. If she were serious about the religion she would deny licenses to other sinners such as those who want to marry a second time. If you take her behavior out of the context of her arguments then it makes little sense. You remind me of those people who used to argue that one should not out anti gay pols who are gay. You leave context in favor of some simple construction of morality that frankly can be dismantled by examining the balance of issues involved

      There are more reasons Your argumrnts are why progressives lose.

      1. RabidGandhi

        1. By using superficial observation about tactics, you are engaged in false equivalences when the facts are considered in total.

        This is why I said I do not agree with her politics. The question is not whether or not she is right about marriage, but whether the tactic is valid. So you think protests are only valid if they are in favour of a position you support (“considering the facts in total”)?

        2. We don’t need to be tolerant of intolerance.

        Yes we do.

        3. There are work arounds that allow others in her office to allow licenses. So what she wants goes beyond individual protest. It is the right using the superficial shell of protest and victim hood to deny others the right to make their own moral choices

        So when the (otherwise awful) PJ Crowley resigned over the treatment of Chelsea Manning, it was a “superficial shell of protest and victim hood” because there are other people who can do his job?

        4, we don’t live in a theicracy and nor do we want to live in one.

        A theocracy is when the leaders decide which beliefs are acceptable and which ones are not. Your “we do not need to be tolerant of intolerance” fits that description to a tee.

        5. Her life choices matters to the claim that this is religion… instead of animus.

        Same argument as was rolled out against Snowden: “if he really cares about freedom why did he go to China”, and the same reason why the gov’t wanted Ellsberg’s shrink’s records: invalidate the action by switching the debate from the policy realm to the personal realm.

        Your argumrnts are why progressives lose.

        Because we won’t sink to the right’s level?

        1. Ditto

          1. Yes, I think tactics are only as good or bad as what their impact are on actual people’s lives. I want to know the harm being caused. I’m not intestrd in faux liberalism where it’s not a factor. Your arguments are the worst kind of latte liberalism: principles without context, complexity of life or meaning. harm of what she’s advocating matters. She is not harmed in letting others grant the licenses in her office. Nor are christians. From a substantive pov your argument leads to harming gay people and the view points of those in her office who disagree with her.

          2. I’m a lawyer. You really don’t want to go there with me by mangling case law, which is what you are doing. There is no case law that requires that we enforce the view points of bigots in governmrnt acton.

          3. At this point you are just engaged in sophistry.

          4. she is the govetnment enacting Her belief systems. More sophistry by you.

          5. More sophistry

          At the end of the day, I’m not going to go back and foryh wit you by arguing ovet your lack of reasoning skills

      2. Jim Haygood

        If only ‘tolerance’ were an objective standard. The Supreme Court’s decision in Obergefell v. Hodges was tolerant of gay marriage, but intolerant of Amendment X which gave it no legal foundation for intervening.

        Intolerance of people for their sexual orientation is a bad thing. But a central gov takeover which mandates ‘one size fits all’ rules on a culturally diverse country is an example of what might be styled ‘progressive intolerance.’ Frog-marching the rubes into enlightenment don’t work all that well.

          1. hunkerdown

            You mean whatever the aristocrats are selling as “human rights” today? The notion of natural rights is self-soothing religious nonsense. We have exactly the rights we insist upon, no more or less. To say otherwise seems to me an appeal to authority.

            Anyway the 10th is garbage. What it really says is that anything Congress wants that hasn’t been nailed fown in 1789 is fair game.

            1. frosty

              No, I don’t, but thank you for rending that particular veil. Not all arguments for rights depend on metaphysical appeals.

        1. Ditto

          Nonsensical babble

          The court determines the limits of the law

          You both say they should enforce one part but then ignote they were enforcing another part of the constitution

          The oary you mention does not even mean what you claim

          It’s not an excuse to ignore other areas of con law

          1. different clue

            The Amish have a word for the sin of “humble pride” . . . being proud of how humble one is.

            I mentioned something before about purity jerks, purity assholes and purity martyrs. There are quite a few of them in the self-styled “liberal” community, advising others not to become “as bad as” something or other.

            1. Ditto

              Most of this is typical latte liberals blathering about fairness in a way that loses all meaning regarding facts and parties actually being harmed.

              They aren’t willing to deal with the real world of trade offs and complex decisions of folks who actually must live in a society rather than a high school debate club.

              It normally descends into sophistry where factual analysis either does not matter or is so distorted as to become absurd sophistry. In this case, the protester and Christian are left completely unharmed here since she is not required to provide the licenses herself but her harm to gay couples and the public good are ignored over debates about tactics.

              It’s the typical middle class civility game in which what’s important is the form rather than the substance.

      3. jrs

        I disagree with most of these points, I actually agree to a certain extent with RabidGhandi. However I agree on #3 and think it’s critical:

        3. There are work arounds that allow others in her office to allow licenses. So what she wants goes beyond individual protest. It is the right using the superficial shell of protest and victim hood to deny others the right to make their own moral choices, although they clam to be about “freedom” in forcing their version of Christisnity on us.

        Bosses should NOT Have more rights to freedom of conscience than employees. This is right-wing nonsense. Yes fine she exercises her conscience, I have little trouble with this even though I don’t agree with her positions, but to impose her conscience on her employees who may have consciences of their own and think that issuing gay marriages licenses is their moral duty just because she is their boss is WRONG, WRONG, WRONG. Either everyone has freedom of conscience or noone does, but don’t base it on workplace hierarchy garbage.

        1. hunkerdown

          The workplace is the most refined model of society that would make life so much better if we all just bowed to it, like we have for all but the past 200 years. Didn’t you get the memo from the neoliberal consensus?

    2. NotTimothyGeithner

      Davis is not only in violation of her job, she’s a hypocrite, demanding praise for hypocrisy. You might have noticed the “holier than thou” types often have moral failings.

      1. RabidGandhi

        Hypocrites like Davis should be called out on their hypocrisy. They should not be shamed with epithets like “civic layabout” (a classic rightwing dogwhistle).

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          How do you call out the hypocrisy if you don’t point out their sins according to the moral code a person like Davis is hiding behind?

          1. RabidGandhi

            As I see it, the error is making this about the person (Davis) instead of the issues, and Snowden has specifically said this was his biggest fear.

            Should someone be fired and jailed for refusing to take an action against her conscious? What should be done with someone, like say Thomas Drake, who refuses to implement a policy the government has decided it does not want to change, and then violates his labour contract by divulging materials to the press?

            These are the pertinent questions that we should be asking, not how consistent Ms Davis is in her beliefs, no matter how hypocritical. If the left wants to make this an issue just about Davis, by diverting the question to the personal realm, we have lost the battle.

            And just one more counter-example: what if Davis was actually upright and thoroughly consistent in her beliefs and actions? Would that change everything and make her action acceptable?

            1. JTMcPhee

              Maybe if “we” could just formulate a test that aims at stuff like “preserving the planet” and “reducing pain” and “encouraging connections that foster civility and comity”? A test to judge “our” own actions and motions as well as those who wield power over “us”? Not a “test” that measures whether “we” in our little groupings or as individuals will get richer or gain more pleasure or clout…

              Bearing in mind that the exercise of power by the cancerous few with or without the accession of the obtuse many produces “outcomes,” the output from “our” political economy (“our” largely in the sense that “we” live and die by the shifting of the levers of power “we” really don’t have even a finger on) is a set of motions of greater or lesser force that resolve to a particular direction, which as I see it is mostly down into a figurative self-dug hole 6′ by 4′ by 6′ deep…

            2. Observer

              Apples to oranges. I think we need to be careful not confuse policy with law. Drake was a whistleblower. Davis is not. Her job description is upholding, not interpreting, a law. She is not attempting to shine light into dark policy corners for the greater good; she is attempting to impose her religious beliefs on others by using her position as a bully pulpit in order to draw attention to herself and her ideas. Her actions purposely directly effect others by denying them their lawful license, therefore going beyond simple conscientious objection. She invites what she gets.

            3. hunkerdown

              The error here is making this about the person OR the issues, rather than about the abuse of office. Putative liberals really just want to be the ones corruptly oppressing and exploiting. That’s why they only slap-fight with putative conservatives.

            4. different clue

              Didn’t Saul Alinsky advise personalising an “issue” when a person presents themself as the perfect screaming example of that issue? Degrade, attrit, and defeat the person who is visibly advancing the “issue” and one can begin to take apart and tear down the “issue”.

        2. Yves Smith Post author

          Oh come on. Davis choose to make herself a national controversy by trying to hold on to her job while disobeying the law, and AFTER she took an oath of office to uphold the law, you are now going to get precious about her being described aptly? What Pearce wrote was mild compared to what she deserves to be called. And she’s so wrapped up in her self-righteous ego trip that it’s not as if any negative media comments would penetrate.

          You act if her precious feelers bear on this matter. They don’t.

      2. hunkerdown

        This isn’t hypocrisy. This is duplicity. Moral language is useful for selling a product to the ignorant, and frankly are only fit to be laughed at by those who don’t buy into granfalloons. Technical language is useful for understanding the situation as an organizational matter and laying charges of wrongdoing where they ought to lay.

        “Hypocrite” is the whine of people who don’t understand that compartmentalization is a necessary evil to getting through the day with one’s personal self intact. Why not come right out and call it “corrupt”, unless all you’re really bitter about is that someone’s corrupt who’s not on your payroll?

    3. sleepy

      While I agree that her past marital status isn’t relevant, I wouldn’t be as dismissive of her “oath to do her job”, She is the offical of the commonwealth of Kentucky who is charged with issuing state licenses. The Supreme Court has stated that states must issue those licenses to gay couples. She is free to resign her position and advocate for whatever political or social policies she wants, but she is not free to violate what is effective Kentucky law. I mean, that’s what government employees are required to do–enforce state law, and in this case that means non-discrimination.

      As far as I know, Snowden never worked for any government, and was under no oath to act as a state advocate.

      Manning as a govt employee did violate his oath, and was effectively fired, and sent to prison for decades. I won;t get into the debate as to whether he was a whistleblower or covered under some Nuremburg theory.

      Clerks at gun stores don’t work for the state. If the gun store won’t issue gun permits and sell guns, that’s its private decision. It just sits there on the block and functions as a museum–free to be an anti-gun, gun store.

      There is a big, big difference between private actors and public actors. While Kentucky is obligated under law to issue the licenses, no priest, minister, or rabbi is under any obligation to actually marry the couple. That’s the difference.

      1. Praedor

        SHE made her marital status relevant. Just as one’s sexual orientation becomes salient if they attack others for their sexual orientation, PARTICULARLY if they have the same one they attack. A self-hating gay attacking gay rights makes his/her sexual orientation completely relevant. A moralistic christian throwing stones puts a RELEVANT spotlight on her own glass house.

      2. MikeNY

        +1 and very well said

        “Following her conscience” is all about denying rights to others that she already has. What’s next for her, interracial marriages?

      3. RabidGandhi

        Should a civil servant in 1858 who refused to enforce the Dred Scott Decision be fired? Jailed? Called a “civic layabout”?

        And btw, when I mentioned a clerk refusing to issue a gun permit I meant a govt clerk (not sure how the process works; sorry about the confusion)

        1. Gareth

          Godwin’s law II: “As an online discussion of gay marriage grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Dred Scott approaches 1”

        2. Praedor

          That Dred Scott refusnik civil servant should have been fired. That is part of the cost of “standing on principle”. The law at the time, court-supported, was what it was. Refusing to carry out the law can be laudible but it is a fireable offense.

          Clerks don’t issue gun permits. I got mine from the police department. Same as Dred Scott, if the law is clear (and/or court orders are clear) then a functionary of the government/courts must obey. If they wish to protest on principle, good for them. They’re fired but they stood up. That’s how it works.

      4. The Heretic

        That is a very good point, you have there. We should all be allowed to live according to our conscience as long as we do no violence to others; and if she is stoping her employees from acting in accordance to a law that is acceptable to their conscience, that is unacceptable for them, as it is unacceptable for her.

        Btw…. Whether he took an oath or not, thank God for people like Manning, he does democracy a great service in exposing the lies of our leaders. We should not allow her to wallow in jail.

        Btw… This is the transgender person who is worthy to be celebrated in media, not that pampered kardashian tag-along Caitlin.

    4. Praedor

      You don’t get to be a devout Muslim, take a job as a bartender, and then for religious reasons refuse to serve alcohol. You don’t get to go into political office with clearly spelled out duties and responsibilities and then refuse to carry out those duties and responsibilities (or pick and choose among them). A government job is NOT a valid place to impose your morality upon others. A soldier who becomes a conscientious objector is not entitled to remain a soldier. They get the boot because they are no longer willing/able to carry out the valid duties of their position.

      You cannot, in any circumstance, pass moral judgements upon others and expect your own hypocritical moral lapses to remain verboten. You MAKE them relevant and a valid target by wielding your morality club against others.

      Snowden didn’t take an oath of office. He was an employee of a government contractor. A civie. Manning took an oath of office. HUGE difference. They both did a good thing, a service to the People, but the expected consequences are, of necessity, different (both should receive pardons, natch).

      1. JTMcPhee

        In my war and WW II and Korea, for what it’s worth, a lot of actual (as opposed to “lifestyle inconvenience”) conscientious objectors did some pretty valorous duty as corpsmen, chaplain’s assistants, stuff like that.

        Not sure how that stacks up against the Viral Big Deal Tesla Coil wound around the otherwise insignificant and personally annoying persona of Kim Davis. (Is she related to Jefferson Davis, by any chance?)

      2. sleepy

        Actually, a private bar is free to allow a Muslim to serve only tea and cokes if for whatever reason it decides to do that.

        The Kentucky clerk is not free as the representative of the state to deny what the law requires.

        Conscientious objectors–I’m sure you’re right, that after enlisting, the soldier who subsequently becomes a CO gets dismissed, but if IIRC during the draft COs were drafted all the time and given non-combat jobs such as medic.

        1. Praedor

          My muslim as bartender was intended to indicate said muslim took a job KNOWING that the primary duty of the job was to serve and mix alcoholic beverages, then protests the requirement to serve and mix alcoholic beverages. This person gets fired, they are not entitled to have the job redefined for their beliefs.

          1. RabidGandhi

            So what should be done with the (many) conscientious objectors like Jeremy Hintzman, who joined knowing what US soldiers do, but later had a conversion that helped them see the wars as evil? Discharge? Jail? Exile? Perhaps the same policy should apply across the board.

            Furthermore, your analogy doesn’t hold up too well in Davis’ case, because US policy has long been to discriminate against non-heterosexuals; it was the policy that changed overnight, not Davis. I.e., the Muslim works at a lemonade stand that suddenly wants to start selling whiskey too (and we can all agree that whiskey is a good in and of itself).

            1. Praedor

              Discharge. Possible fine or jail depending on the situation. For instance, the “convenience” conscientious objectors. Those who join the ROTC, take advantage of the education assistance, perhaps even getting a full scholarship (like I got) who then, when it comes time to put rubber on road and SERVE in combat, has an attack of conscious (in this case cowardice because they KNEW what the military was about, what it meant, what could happen, went ahead with the intent of milking it for education funding, never expecting or intending to actually DO military stuff) should then be required to pay back the government in full for their falsely acquired education plus any costs the military accrued training you. I was a (combat) flyer. The military paid for my university education (public university) and spent hundreds of thousands of dollars training me, equipping me, providing medical care, etc. That is owed back if you suddenly and “conveniently” develop into Gandhi when faced with actually having to fight. Defrauding the government could even be charged.

            2. Praedor

              Also…policy change is irrelevant. Gay policy in the military changed virtually overnight. One day it was a discharging offense to be gay. Then one day it became a “keep it quiet and private and no harm, no foul”. Then just recently it suddenly changed to “no big deal”. Same with women in various combat positions. One day they couldn’t (for a LONG time), then suddenly, it’s OK. Are those with personal difficulty with those decisions to be given a break? Some slack? NO. The law is the law, the regs are the regs, the orders are the orders. Obey them, show no disrespect, or you WILL see UCMJ sanction, including general discharge (you’re toast), dishonorable discharge (you’re REALLY fucked), maybe some time in Leavenworth followed by discharge (depending on nature of your “personal problem”).

              I don’t give a flying crap about Davis’ religious or personal feelings or beliefs. I don’t care about ANYONE’S beliefs or feelings. You do your damn job as required by law, as ORDERED BY THE COURTS, or you lose your job or go to jail. Call it a “conscientious objection” if you want but suck up the consequences.

            3. todde

              What should be done with people who can’t do their job because.of.their beliefs?

              They should be fired or resign.

              People that ignore court orders should be held in contempt of court.

              And the same standard was held across the board. When gay marriage advocates were issuing marriage licenses before the Supreme Court ruling they were taken to court and ordered to cease issuing the marriage licenses.

              If they didn’t they would.have been in contempt of court and fined or jailed.

              As I never tire of telling people, the most powerful person you will meet in your life is a judge in his courtroom.

              1. todde

                So when you actually compare apples to apples, you see that both for.and anti gay marriage proponents were treated the same.

                They were taken to court to have the laws and/or court rulings enforced.

       called a layabout, I can agree but it seems to be borderline concern trolling considering the issue at hand.

          2. jrs

            It’s not going to be so clear cut in the real world though. Say one keeps the Sabbath for one’s religion. Increasingly that makes one very near unemployable in a world of 24/7 availability. It’s problematic. Economic survival has eaten up near the entire of life at this point.

          3. optimader

            A sidebar on the notion of the muslim bartender/liquor, not that I take any issue of the hypothetical:


            Chicago has roughly 3,000 Muslim-owned liquor stores.

            The little liquor store owned by the muslim arab or the paki is ubiquitous in Chicago.

            The thing is, most muslims/arabs I’ve met in this country just want to get along in life peacefully with their family, own a house, have a cash business and have late model MBenz prominently displayed.

            That opportunity to take a crack at an improved life and have something to loose is the major distinguishing factor I see between Muslims in the US and Muslims in other western countries where they are more segregated into a class echelon of barely being tolerated.

            As beaten up as the concept of mortgage debt can be here, it may well be the real solution to peace in the middle east.
            People kept in abject poverty with absolutely nothing to loose are a volatile societal component.

    5. jrs

      Well quitting your job which she should do while bad in this ever more brutal economic system is not equivalent to the time being done by Manning. So while I absolutely reject statements like civil disobedience involves paying the price (that’s the same BS talking points they use against Snowden – that he should come back and face espionage charges, torture or whatever else the criminal injustice system has in store), as those statement are only and always and ever the statements of those preaching obedience and who can not stand that anyone should practice principled resistance. I think if she can’t do her job she should like the rest of us who fail at a job: be fired. Although since that’s not applicable, maybe just quit.

    6. cwaltz

      I disagree with death threats of any kind to her but as far as “piling on her for her decision not to do her job” I think it is well within the realm of reason to point out her hypocritical and inconsistent behavior(which includes her own three marriages by the way, using Biblical law she would have been forced to remain married to her first spouse). If you are going to say your view against same sex marriage is because you believe in a Biblical marriage you don’t get to say the people who are straight but divorced are IRRELEVANT and their sins are between them and God. That’s certainly NOT what the Bible says on the topic. This is the position she espoused when asked why she did not question those that are heterosexual seeking marriage about their behavior. I’m tired of “Christians” cherry picking the Bible to pick on people. It’s inconsistent with Christ’s teachings.

      Kim Davis may indeed not be a horrible person(and I would never ever in a million years SHE was unworthy of God’s love) but her actions and her behavior ARE horrible. Her belief set and how she articulates and applies it are INCONSISTENT. If I’m going to argue that I’m doing something because of my convictions then by darn it those convictions better be consistent(that certainly has been how objection based on conscience has worked before. Military objectors don’t get to necessarily stay in when they object on a religious basis. The military isn’t required to give them special snowflake status and pay them while asking others to do their job for them.)For the record I believe It’s wrong to say one group of sinners can have redemption in the eyes of God(hey I can divorce numerous times and God forgives me) but others are unworthy of salvation and that God in His mercy can’t forgive them as well. I don’t have all the answers when it comes to how God addresses gay(since I’m not gay and He has not particularly enlightened me on the topic by burning any Bushes or whatnot) but I do know what the Bible says about judgment and mercy and how if you don’t apply one while doing the other than you can expect the same treatment. Quite frankly, Kim Davis is reaping what she has sown. She’s being judged and people are using the same level of “mercy” that she has.

    7. micky9finger

      Yes you are free to voice your opinion. But civil disobedience means you go to jail and quit your job that you can’t do.

  6. Ed

    On the link about paper ballots, paper ballots can be counted in public. Nothing else. can. That is really the only thing you need to know about the subject.

    1. Brindle

      Ballots counted in public and also no technological expertise required.
      Ran across this link from a few years ago:

      “Hand-counting paper ballots is recognized as the gold standard in state laws across the country,” Ellen Theisen of the non-partisan election watchdog organization told me. “Why settle for anything less?”

      Theisen’s thoughts echoed Lehto’s interpretation of the findings of the High Court in Germany. “By letting software count our votes,” she said, “we give software control over our government.”

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        “Hand-counting paper ballots is recognized as the gold standard in state laws across the country,” Ellen Theisen of the non-partisan election watchdog organization told me. “Why settle for anything less?”

        Here, in this case, the gold standard is desirable. Our mental Maginot line has no defense against that idea’s incursions from many unexpected directions.

        1. say_what?

          Ha, ha! I was going to say something but decided not to.

          Yep, we are bunch of gold-worshiping fools it seems, as a society that is.

          Moses had a solution to gold-idolatry, he ground up the Golden Calf and made the Hebrews drink it. Maybe Ron Paul can lead an expedition to find the latrines they used afterward?

    2. Benedict@Large


      And that junk about internet voting? Start with the fact that the internet was designed to be an insecure network. And it still is.

      So what is internet voting about? My guess is that the plutocrats, for all their hacking of our voting system, still don’t have that one, last-ditch kill switch to flip just in case, say, Bernie Sanders outpaces the GOP contender 3-to-1. For all their hacks, they probably couldn’t overcome that today, and they want to. Even at the risk of riots in the streets.

    3. hunkerdown

      False. Blockchain votes can be counted and verified in public in minutes as well, without needing to be trusted to not tamper with the evidence.

  7. Ignacio

    About voting via internet. The main problem is not just that many don’t have internet access. The main problem is that “voting”, that has become a fairly trivial charade, at least required a little planification before the day arrived if you wanted to deposit your ballot. Internet voting would trivialize the voting act even further and this will not precisely strengthen democracy

    1. Ignacio

      Voting options:

      OPTION 1: a candidate that will further cut taxes paid by the rich & powerful
      OPTION 2: a candidate that will extend the tax cuts that OPTION1s’ predecessor already had implemented.

        1. say_what?

          If the ability of the banks to create money was limited by, say, making them 100% private with 100% voluntary depositors then yes, the need* to tax at the Federal level would be greatly reduced.

          *to control price inflation

          1. Benedict@Large

            Banks don’t create money. (Yeah, I know what they told you, but it’s garbage.) If banks created money, they wouldn’t need to accept deposits, and if they did, they certainly wouldn’t need to insure that money with the FDIC. And that stuff about banks going broke? Well now how the hell would that happen if a bank could just print its way out of its problems?

            The only reason they sling this crap about banks creating money is to make you think the TBTF banks are indispensable, and must be bailed out when they screw up.

            1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

              Isn’t it that anyone can create money? Getting it accepted is the issue. I think a lot of people will accept banks’ created money, with a proper advertising campaign.

            2. say_what?

              Bank credit spends just like fiat and can drive up prices just the same so what’s the point of your comment? Do you deny that bank credit can create price inflation? As well as price deflation as it is repaid? As well as transfer interest from the poor to the rich?

            3. say_what?

              “If banks created money, they wouldn’t need to accept deposits, “

              The Fed can create fiat and yes the banks don’t need depositors so long as they can borrow from or sell to the Fed.

              You were saying?

            4. micky9finger

              No. By “banks create money” does not mean they can print money. Only the government can do that. Actually the banks are creating money for the government. They lend to qualified borrowers; that loan goes into the borrowers’ account which can then be spent like real money.
              The money they loan does not depend on deposits. The US gives them the reserves- at the present time literally since the interest rate is near zero.
              See Bill Mitchell for archives of MMT discussions on the loanable funds myth.

        2. susan the other

          Acc’d to Mosler and Kelton: If price inflation becomes a problem because there is too much money in circulation then raising taxes is a way to soak up the excess money. But price inflation should not happen in a balanced economy because production matches demand. MMT offers the rules of a balanced system, but unfortunately Congress decides how to manipulate it. I honestly think we’d be better off without Congress.

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            If there is too much money in circulation, less government military spending is also an option, instead of more taxes.

            1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

              If you prick us, do we not bleed?

              If you tax us, do we, who are not super rich, no suffer?

              1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

                How many divisions of accountants does the Money Pope have?

                Here, the super rich can afford to evade many, if not all, taxes.

                When the government spends money into existence, it’s top down (government land leases, lands for oil exploration, broadcast spectrum auctions, bidding for defense contracts, dam/highway projects, etc – you disrupt an auction, you go to jail).

                When the government wants to destroy money, it’s from the bottom up (unless you have divisions of accountants.)

                “Got it!!!”

                1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

                  Sorry, I forgot to mention the panzer divisions of tax attorneys.

                  They will never forgive me for the oversight of ignoring their importance to the super rich in avoiding inflation-fighting patriotic taxes.

                  1. todde

                    That is the.pronlem with mmt.

           pass a tax.increase with high inflation.

                    Reagan did it with the increase in SS taxes after the fed broke inflation so it can be done, but Good Luck.

      1. Alejandro

        OPTION 4: a candidate who will spend where needed and tax where exceeded, decided by “democracy”…”fiscal policy giveth and fiscal policy taketh” despite any claims of “free markets”…

  8. Chris in Paris

    Amazing that Amazon believe they can brazenly violate competition law. Uber is a pioneer in so many ways.

  9. say_what?

    “Uh church folk, neither are you. ”

    True dat. In 2014, the Alabama Baptist State Convention recommended that payday lenders be limited to 36% APR (admittedly this is a huge improvement over the Alabama State limit of 456%) yet in Nehemiah 5 an interest rate of 1% a month which is 12.68% APR is condemned. So the ABSC is recommending an interest rate limit which is 2.83 times what the Bible condemns (actually the poor are to be charged 0%)!

    Still, I suppose this constitutes progress and from an unlikely source ostensibly.

    1. alex morfesis

      most usury laws are still in place across the country. The Volker national banking act (aka raise interests to 20% while fed chair) did not change that other than the notion, which was new, that OCC regulated institutions could ignore usury…it was sold as a short term issue…and then…well…someone forgot to shut the refrigerator door and now that interest rates are BELOW the rates they were historically…oh well…


      1. say_what?

        Usury in the Bible is ANY positive interest rate but not to worry since money can also be created as shares in equity and avoid a host of problems associated with usury.

        But with government-subsidized private credit creation why should those with equity share when they can legally steal instead?

          1. skippy

            In a nutter shell….

            “The true nutters though, they refuse to leave. Because their “service” isn’t to us, it’s to their ideology, themselves and settling with their enemies. Things that makes any skeric of talent irrelevant – the focus ain’t on a better country.”

            Skippy…. I the term pathological comes to mind…

              1. skippy

                Abbreviated aussie colloquialism – it’s spelled: skerrick “Australian. a small piece or quantity; a bit

            1. say_what?

              ad ho·mi·nem
              ˌad ˈhämənəm/
              adverb & adjective
              (of an argument or reaction) directed against a person rather than the position they are maintaining.
              “vicious ad hominem attacks”
              relating to or associated with a particular person.
              “the office was created ad hominem for Fenton”
              from Google search

              Your arguments are largely irrelevant and reveal your own pathology, imo.

              1. skippy

                Being ridiculed is normative for those that have been concisely shown in error, yet ludicrously stick to their talking points.

                Skippy…. BTW ad hominem is only applicable when an argument is not fleshed out e.g. you’re an ass hat vs pointing out groundless intractable rigidity dressed up as feel good humanitarian service.

  10. abynormal

    re: Alabama blacks out black voters…jest of the comments: Getting this ID is NOT that difficult if it is important to someone! Stop making up these problems!

    bama reality:
    In the US, the first English meaning given to Alabama appeared in a newspaper article of unknown authorship in the Jackson Republican in 1872. The writer ascribed the meaning “here we rest” to it.
    Choctaw (farmers) words alba amo, which means “clearing brush.”(wiseGeek)

    H. Zinn’s/a people’s history chapter 7: “The white men do not scalp the head; but they do worse-they poison the heart.. . . Farewell, my nation! . .. Farewell to Black Hawk. ”

    “The removal of the Indians was explained by Lewis Cass-Secretary of War, governor of the Michigan territory, minister to France, presidential candidate:

    A principle of progressive improvement seems almost inherent in human nature. . .. We are all striving in the career of life to acquire riches of honor, or power, or some other object, whose possession is to realize the day dreams of our imaginations; and the aggregate of these efforts constitutes the advance of society. But there is little of this in the constitution of our savages.”

    A Creek man more than a hundred years old, named Speckled Snake, reacted to Andrew Jackson’s policy of removal:

    “Brothers! I have listened to a great many talks from our great father. But they always began and ended in this-“Get a little further; you are too near me.”

    repeat/rhyme tomato/tomahto

  11. Jim Haygood

    Comrades, the employment situation has developed not necessarily to our advantage: 142,000 jobs added in this report; a revised-lower 136,000 jobs in last month’s.

    Stocks naturally are down. Bond yields are down even more: the 10-year Treasury yield has plunged 6 percent to 1.93%.

    Even as Jeffrey Lacker of the Richmond Fed fantasizes about hiking overnight rates, the market has delivered a massive rate cut in longer-term bond yields.

    Market to Fed: y’all are delusional.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        The Leader is about to become even more ruthless in prosecuting the War on the Assetless.

      2. susan the other

        One of the things that was completely overlooked in Janet’s U Mass speech was her point that when economies become entrenched in deflation (we really should call this a depression imo) sometimes it takes several years at “negative” interest rates to turn it around. She explained that negative rates are the negative of the inflation rate and explained that when inflation is as low as it is (she even admitted that inflation was zero) then it is “impossible” to lower the interest rate any further. I’ve been wondering what the cap is on raising interest rates – when is it impossible to raise rates? When inflation gets so high that interest rates create inflation? Isn’t that at any given point?

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          More interesting is what she meant by inflation.

          When asset inflation is no inflation, the War on the Assetless marches on.

          The guy with $1 billion portfolio will see it become $2 billion so the rates can stay low that someone will finally find a min. wage job.

          The tortoise will never catch up the hare this way.

          The gap will just get wider.

          We have to find another way to help ourselves.

        2. MikeNY

          I’m not sure what you’re asking exactly, but, given the “zero bound”, yes, the Fed believes it is impossible to lower rates. And given their models, they believe this is still insufficient to “boost” the economy. I don’t think there is any theoretical cap on how high rates can go… their is only absurdity…!

          And I agree with Beef’s post entirely.

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            I was shocked to discover the secret of how America’s richest man became twice or thrice the America’s richest man.

            He has outdone himself, with the help of his QE friends and ZIRP buddies.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Lowering rates has not improved employment for that last many years.

      Raising them will not change anything, but actually will be good for savers…maybe even allow them to survive by buying something, you know, contributing to the economy.
      In the meantime, we can do a lot to help the jobless – we can eliminate free trade, protect American software programmers, single payer health care, etc.

      But I doubt they will do that.

      Facing such a weak report, they will just print more global reserve money.

      And time to buy more gold…and maybe get back into emerging markets.

  12. Praedor

    As usual, the standard response to a mass shooting is to blame guns (on one side) or blame crazy (on other side). Guns and crazy have ALWAYS been widely available in US. Only recently, over the last 20+ years have mass shootings become “a thing”. Everyone studiously refuses to actually ask why with any intention of finding the answer. Everyone jumps to easy, simplistic “answers” that in no way address the root cause. As usual, there are calls to ban this gun, ban that gun, and/or to improve the mental health system in the US, neither of which does jack shit about the root cause.

    The root cause is NOT video games. It is NOT availability of guns. It is not TV. It is not the internet. It is not the Tea Party, it is not racism (both also mere symptoms). The root cause is in American society. The main difference between the US and all other countries isn’t just because guns are easily available here vs there. They have ALWAYS been easily available. As a kid in the 70s I remember seeing advertisements for (GASP!) assault weapons for sale even then. I was particularly taken with the H&Ks or FALs back then, wanting one of those (I now have a FAL). Why no epidemic of mass shootings then? Why not BEFORE then when the weapons were just as available? Crazy isn’t something that has only happened over the last few decades. Only now, at this time in American history are mass shootings happening and no, not ALL of them are carried out by outright crazy people. Disturbed, yes, some stark raving nuts. What is it that makes the American system TODAY so fertile for mass shootings?

    The powers that be WANT us to focus on guns. They WANT us to demand simple controls or regulations or bans on this or that. They WANT us to simply blame crazy. The fact is, this issue, as well as the Tea Party, new racism, new sexism, are all SYMPTOMS. Not a one of them is the root cause. So…over the last 20-30 years something has changed in American society that makes fertile ground for such acting out? The powers that be do NOT want us to really ask that question and REALLY seek the answer. It is the very core of the American social system that is the root cause. It is 30 years of “greed is good”, “I got mine so fuck you”, “every man for himself”, “job creators and useless eaters”, the commoditization and denegration of labor, the subsequent very real loss of socio-economic stability, the purposeful gutting of the social contract, the ripping away of retirement security, the demonization of the poor and weak, the push to eliminate every social safety net and demonization of all who use them (the elderly on Social Security and Medicare). In short, neoliberalism. The single organizing principle to US social and economic policy these last 30 years has torn the social fabric. It has intentionally pitted lower classes against their own members as they are forced to scramble for a dwindling piece of the shrinking pie. No. We mustn’t look at THIS. Mustn’t re-examine THIS. We must stick to script and stick bandaids on the scratch while ignoring the raging gangrene at the core of our national body. Bandaids like more gun control, bandaids like TALKING about improving mental healthcare, bandaids like blaming our social rhetoric. Stick to treating surface scratches but ignore the gangrene underneath.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      The availability of semi-automatic weapons are an issue. They provide an opportunity to expand the victim count.

      I do agree with you. Congressman Peter King, IRA associate, is lamenting the loss of John Boehner to the crazies in the GOP. This is a man who advocates state violence in lieu of diplomacy on a routine basis. Our politicians routinely advocate violence as an instrument of state craft. Society is reflecting the leadership.

      I do wonder how many of these people would have been institutionalized forty years ago from previous events.

      1. ambrit

        Even if they had been institutionalized, Ronnie “Alzheimers” Reagan would have put them back on the street when he began the dismantling of the Public Health System.

        1. jrs

          Institutionalization protect society, then again so does imprisonment (and in fact it should be about the only reason for imprisonment, but you still have to actually be charged with something). It’s not always so good for the patients themselves (one flew over the cukoos nest and all that).

          1. ambrit

            Having had some interaction with the homeless of our city over the past few years, I can attest to the horrific conditions the more damaged endure. Living in a tent or sleeping rough with no security of food or personal safety are the essence of barbarism. Many of the previously institutionalized were put there to protect them from the evil aspects of our society. This is the face of Neoliberal Law #2.
            The prisons have taken the place of the mental institutions. Why? Because a prison is much cheaper to run, and has a larger profit margin. The institutions had to at the least give the illusion of treatment; more doctors, nurses, orderlies, etc. These more highly trained persons cost more than grunt work prison guards to hire and support. Have no doubts about the facts. Mentally unstable people will eventually break some law. With the proliferation of chargeable offences, this probability has grown along with the burden of the laws. Bedlam is not just a state of being. It was once the name of a notorious mental institution in London. I can with straight face use the word to describe America and the West today.

      2. Praedor

        The point is still valid. Semi-auto weapons have been available forever. Assault rifles have been available forever. Only NOW, TODAY have they been used in mass shootings. Only NOW is there a confluence of “crazy” and firearms to create what we see today. It is NOT just because they are available. It’s not like they weren’t available before. They were. That’s my point. Their use in mass shootings is a symptom. A symptom of something else that’s going on.

        The nutcase GOP Teabaggers are a symptom. There has always been a small smattering of similar nutters. They are also not the CAUSE of mass shootings or the new vocal racism. They are a reaction. An inevitable reaction to the form of modern American society and its very real consequences on the lives of citizens. The US of today (building up pressure and temperature for the last 30 years) is a pressure cooker very close to blowing. Mass shootings are a symptom of this, NOT simply because guns are available.

        1. MikeNY

          I agree that the the militaristic, social darwinist culture of America is a big part of the problem. I also agree that we have a crisis in our treatment (or lack of treatment) of the mentally ill. This goes beyond mass killings, however. Take a look inside our prisons, or on the streets of any West Coast city, and you see the scale of the problem.

          1. jrs

            I’m unconvinced most of the homeless on the streets of a west coast city are even mentally ill. Some clearly are, many seem perfectly normal, which is even more alarming, perfectly normal people are falling into homeless.

            1. Praedor

              And more and more people are feeling the economic uncertainty and real fear that they could literally go that way too. Family and all. At any time they could be layed off with nothing to show. No income, no healthcare, lose their home, suddenly go hungry. From “middle class” to destitute at the stroke of a rich CEOs pen to increase shareholder value by upping “productivity” by making the remaining slaves do the extra work at the same or lower pay.

              This sort of situation cannot hold. It cannot lead to a peaceful society. It will breed all kinds of disorder, including mass shootings as the marginal get further marginalized and the MSM diverts their focus from the REAL culprits to the selected target (Mexicans, blacks, women, Muslims, whatever will stick).

            2. MikeNY

              I volunteer at St Anthony’s in SF, and we see about 2500 people a day come through for lunch. I’ve spoken about the subject with staff there, and heard estimates that a large majority, perhaps 75%, have either mental health problems, substance abuse problems, or both. I believe that the boundary between the two is somewhat porous, as those with mental health problems often ‘self-medicate’. I don’t have a precise # for how many people have ‘exclusively’ mental health problems, but I do not believe the number is at all negligible. Simple observation tells me that. But I will try to get better data if I can.

              All of which is not to discount homelessness driven by economic circumstances, esp. in SF. However, I do believe mental illness is a big problem here on the streets.

        2. Katniss Everdeen

          Interesting bit from today’s link on the Oxford Junior Dictionary’s replacement of ‘natural’ words with 21st-century terms:

          “There is a shocking, proven connection between the decline in natural play and the decline in children’s wellbeing,” they write, pointing to research which found that a generation ago, 40% of children regularly played in natural areas, compared to 10% today, with a further 40% never playing outdoors. “Obesity, anti-social behaviour, friendlessness and fear are the known consequences,” they say.

          Sounds an awful lot like the description of these “shooters” offered as “explanation;” and inevitably accompanied by bewilderment at what possibly could have caused such deadly alienation.

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            If every child tree in the forest is friendless, how does one grow a tree to have a lot of friend trees?

            1. ambrit

              Well MLTPB, the essence of alienation is a weak concept of self, eh? Before having friend trees, let your child tree learn to value him or her self first.

      3. Massinissa

        Are you sure its not the leadership that reflects the society?

        America has been gun crazy since the second amendment was created. Arnt the Republicans a reflection of that?

        1. ambrit

          I would say that a lot of the gun nuttery in America is a hold over from earlier times when a gun, usually a rifle, was needed to survive on the frontier.
          From its’ very beginnings, the Republican Party has stood for private centralization and oligarchy. The best way found to splinter and neutralize the labour movements in America was to promote the myth of the “Rugged Individualist.” Divide and Conquer, a time tested strategy.

    2. optimader

      The root cause is NOT video games. It is NOT availability of guns. It is not TV. It is not the internet. It is not the Tea Party, it is not racism (both also mere symptoms). The root cause is in American society em>

      More specifically, it’s a toxic form of “family values”
      3. It confirms that violent people are created by violent surroundings. I am not talking about the phony proxy violence of movies and video games, so easily scapegoated by the ignorant — but by spousal battery, child abuse, gang warfare, all the social conditions that we’ve only made minimal inroads against in the past century despite our increasing enlightenment about them. We keep getting distracted by nonsense like lurid comic books or TV, and ignore that violent people create more violent people by inculcating them in violence firsthand. You cannot take an ordinary person and give them a book and make them into a killer, and I am tired of people drafting laws and acting as if this ridiculous canard had a shred of truth to it.

      August 3, 2014 at 11:19 pm
      Why They Kill: The Discoveries of a Maverick Criminologist Paperback ‘

      Richard Rhodes, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Making of the Atomic Bomb, brings his inimitable vision, exhaustive research, and mesmerizing prose to this timely book that dissects violence and offers new solutions to the age old problem of why people kill….
      …After a decade of interviewing several hundred violent convicts–men and women of varied background and ethnicity, he discovered “violentization,” the four-stage process by which almost any human being can evolve into someone who will assault, rape, or murder another human being. Why They Kill is a riveting biography of Athens and a judicious critique of his seminal work, as well as an unflinching investigation into the history of violence.

    3. Chris in Paris

      Years back, Alexander Cockburn used to make very similar arguments. He also had a data based argument showing increased civil gun violence in proportion to the amount of violence committed by the state in support of its foreign policy.

      1. Katniss Everdeen

        “…….. increased civil gun violence in proportion to the amount of violence committed by the state in support of its foreign policy.”

        That’s certainly what I’d be thinking. Does anyone really believe that the chickens of perpetual foreign murder and mayhem would never come home to roost?

        1. JTMcPhee

          As a full-blood curmudgeon, might I offer that it is the entire system of human behaviors, starting with the unfortunate genetic heritage we are stuck with (and tinkering with that is only going to make it worse) and not just our local Rulers’ participation in the Great Game and the “Trade” thingy via direct and “other” means) and including our collective willingness to eat each others’ flesh after using up all the other extractables, that there is all this ‘gun violence’ — abetted by the easy manufacture and widespread distribution of all those effing guns, and yes, I have my little foolish and futile arsenal too, for all the many reasons adduced and attributed by gun lovers and gun haters), that is the reason, the inevitable reason, for all the violence of which “multiple-shooting events” are just one small set of examples that bother us only because “we” can see ourselves so easily being the impact point for one or many of those rapidly discharged rounds… THIS, , is who and what we are, the endpoint of all that’s gone before.

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            “…genetic heritage….”

            We celebrate those paleolithic painted hands in caves all over the world.

            It says ‘I’ or ‘we,’ and represents the awaking of humanity, the first step towards ‘civilization.’

            There is another way to look at it – the separation of ‘we’ and the rest of Nature.

            Is it something for us to regret over or to brag about?

            Are you a proud human or a self-hating Homo Sapiens Sapiens?

      2. Carolinian

        Cockburn, if I recall correctly, was opposed to gun control. Certainly there’s no question that it’s not just about the guns. When a society endorses violence the results you see.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          I am no professional chef, and will never be one, but when I am in the kitchen, with a knife on my hand, life slows down for me.

          I am more deliberate, more careful with my movements, because I know how dangerous a knife can be. But I am also more peaceful inside because of my sole focus on the task at hand. This paradoxical emotional state is intriguing, even though I know I am committing violence – yes, even just chopping vegetables (yes, yes, they are living beings too, you murderous vegetarians, with your kitchens that are really just death camps*) is a violent act.

          *Sorry for that outburst.

          1. subgenius

            Don’t forget the industrial psychology ward prison farm model, – each inmate confined to a position along regimented homogeneous rows, tortured with chemicals and then executed by a machine.

            Free the Flora!

              1. cwaltz

                Hey there! Three please. When my third informed me he was going to become a vegetarian I asked him what exactly had against fruits and vegetables? I then informed him that the reality was that in order to live he needed to eat a living thing. Just because it doesn’t have a cute little face to empathize with doesn’t mean it’s less alive. The key is to respect all forms of life. The only way to get around eating a living thing is to eat McDonalds and Twinkies which we all know couldn’t possibly come from anything not made in a lab and clearly do not resemble anything made by nature(Heehee I kid, I kid.)

    4. Bridget

      One of the young men who took down the terrorist on the French train, Alex Skarlatos, was enrolled at the Umpqua Community College. I very much doubt that this is a coincidence.

      1. truthaddict

        This one is easy.
        The US is a very sick society and in terminal decline. Bad things are going to happen. Whether; MK Ultra, false flag, guns, mental health, Reagan, economy, video games, complete fabrication or any combination thereof is to blame doesn’t matter.
        Stop rubber necking, stop reacting, stop forgetting what is important. Turn off your television and free your mind.

        1. Bridget

          I would favor ceasing to refer to these perpetrators as “shooters” or “gunmen” or “killers”, and instead refer to them as “impotent little wuss” or “douchebag”. The manifestos and facebook pages these loathsome creatures leave behind make it clear that they desire notoriety above all. We shouldn’t give it to them.

          Instead, focus on the heroes and good samaritans, like Chris Mintz. (military training again)

    5. jrs

      Amen. I guess what makes me particularly sick is too see Obama is angry about this (presumably angry about shootings going on because of lack of gun control or whatever). Ok Obama but how can you preside over such a brutal social system as you have that contributes to all this? You know such a hateful brutal social system contributes, not JUST guns (whatever one’s opinion on guns), you know it, so your anger is just more nonsense. I can not stand Obama!!!!

      I think there might be something to the SSRI and other psyche meds hypothesis but I’m not particularly confident about that (and yes I know they do some people some good, that’s not relevant to whether or not they trip other people up). How widely are they prescribed in the U.S. compared to elsewhere?

    6. Masonboro

      “Guns and crazy have ALWAYS been widely available in US.”

      Guess that depends on your definition of always. I was a teenager in the 1950’s South and the only gun I was ever aware of was a double barrel shotgun my best friends Father used with a dog named King to hunt birds in the Fall. Guns were just not an issue in my lower working class neighborhood. North Carolina also had excellent public mental health facilities (Dorothea Dix in Raleigh for example) which have been closed. The 1950’s were pre-civil rights and that could be one explanation for the cultural change. Protection from “those people” you understand.

      Bottom line is: gun issues have changed dramatically in my lifetime.


      1. Masonboro

        Make that “lower middle class”. My Father was a unionized railroad worker for the old Seaboard railroad.

    7. Ulysses

      “So…over the last 20-30 years something has changed in American society that makes fertile ground for such acting out? The powers that be do NOT want us to really ask that question and REALLY seek the answer. It is the very core of the American social system that is the root cause. It is 30 years of “greed is good”, “I got mine so fuck you”, “every man for himself”, “job creators and useless eaters”, the commoditization and denegration of labor, the subsequent very real loss of socio-economic stability, the purposeful gutting of the social contract, the ripping away of retirement security, the demonization of the poor and weak, the push to eliminate every social safety net and demonization of all who use them (the elderly on Social Security and Medicare). In short, neoliberalism. The single organizing principle to US social and economic policy these last 30 years has torn the social fabric. It has intentionally pitted lower classes against their own members as they are forced to scramble for a dwindling piece of the shrinking pie.”

      Very well said! In my own lifetime I have seen this deliberate destruction of all humane values by the neoliberal elites– leaving only the worship of raw economic and military power. Just look at how psychopathic hoarders and cowardly snipers, drone operators, etc. are lionized in the media!

    8. alex morfesis

      If I told you the problem is computer screens you wouldn’t believe me so I wont tell you…the human mind adjusts to the environment it is presented with. 125 years ago, the average human in one Lifetime, maybe read, in total, a sunday New York Times…total…the human condition has adjusted faster than historically plausible…most adjust, others don’t…there are folks who can not go to sleep without the sound of a tv in the background…as to the effect visuals have on an individual…start with a tv…one nite turn off the sound and the lights in the room, then turn your back to the screen and watch how much your eyes have to adjust to the brightness and contrast bounced at your visual input mechanisms…now imagine that moving 100 times faster. Computer screens create the illusion of static visuals, but the brain attempts to move fast enough in some to attempt to over ride the illusion…that is also my pet theory on autism…I was border line what would today be called autistic(never diagnosed) as a child and had a tendency to zone out as described today…fathers response was to describe how I would leave my head behind if it was not attached to my shoulder…anyway…that is my useless two cents at the 3 penny opera…

  13. optimader

    We were doing this ~30 yrs ago w/ a strings of Christmas tree lights. at night makes for cool long exposure shots
    Patrick is an award-winning Light Painting photographer with over 20 years of experience. First prize winner at the Nikon photo contest in Japan, Patrick has done Light Painting photography for various fashion and rock magazines,

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      The other day, if i remember correctly, a coal mining company in Manchuria or the part of China that used to be called that, announced it would cut 100,000 workers.

      More recently, it was reported the China was trying to built her own home-made aircraft carrier. Perhaps an MMT Chinese government can stimulate her economy with a massive (when it is not massive over there) aircraft carrier infrastructure project. That would help with their steel over supply problem and unemployment situation.

      1. susan the other

        Global warming remediation comes at a bad time for China. Exponential growth made China the darling of coal mining and neoliberalism until the whole thing got dangerous to life on earth. So now China has a bigger debt problem than we do – actually a credit bubble problem. It would have hit critical mass even without global warming to slow it down. So what does it matter that they shut down coal mines? At least one third of China’s corporations cannot pay the interest on their loans. Much like our commodities and fracking industries. Big dirty industries. And LeGarde said in an interview on CNBC yesterday that all this junk and unpayable debt has to be brought under control so that it does not blowback “on the sovereign.” So that private banking practices that are out of control and spewing credit in all directions don’t bring down governments? Obviously we need regulation of the credit industry. But even more, the sovereign should not borrow to fund itself, ever. Nor tax itself to bail out the idiot banksters. Unfortunately the private banksters and their fellow-travelling militarists are the heart and soul of neoliberalism and the IMF. Then also too, how do we control militarism? Is LaGarde a heretic? Or a neoliberal who doesn’t understand how neoliberal capitalism works?

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Big dirty industries.

          Everything humans (and animals or plants) do involves more energy input than output, because friction.

          Perhaps, doing something new that’s more energy efficient to replace some old thing that is less energy efficient is what people are proposing. But it’s never as good as not doing anything (new or old) at all.

          Thus, less consumption, and reason not to get excited about ‘stimulus (MMT or no MMT) projects.’

  14. Jef

    “A review of UN speeches by both Putin and Obama is almost painful to watch. Putin acted like a serious global statesman. Obama acted like a poseur flunking a screen test.”

    See this is the beauty of our system. They put a puppet up in front of us and make us believe that he/she is steering the Country when in fact it is a small group of wealthy powerful people who make all the decisions and write the script. That way when things look bad all they have to do is let the strings go slack a bit, make the puppet stumble/mumble and everyone points to the puppet and says “look at that incapable person…they are messing everything up…we need to get a new/better person up there to make everything better”.

    And we fall for it every time.

  15. fresno dan

    Dem economists attack Elizabeth Warren over Brookings firing The Hill.

    Along those lines:

    “We learned via the Washington Post blog Daily 202 that a non-resident Brookings scholar, Robert Litan, failed to comply with a rule the think tank has “prohibiting those who are generally not paid by the institution from associating their congressional testimony with the think tank.”

    In other words, from acting in their own self-interest instead of in the interest of the firm they are ostensibly performing research for.

    Senator Elizabeth Warren, the former Harvard Law School professor, is in favor of the fiduciary standard. She noted the violation of Brookings rules, calling its report “highly compensated and editorially compromised work on behalf of an industry player seeking a specific conclusion.” The researcher was fired by Brookings.

    The study had a single sponsor, the Capital Group, which also manages $1.4 trillion through its subsidiary American Funds. They also oppose the Department of Labor’s rules.
    There is a lot of money involved. How much? As an example, let’s consider the lowly 12b-1 fee. It is a marketing fee paid to various agents to use their mutual funds. To grossly oversimplify this, think of it as a similar fee that food companies pay supermarkets for prime shelf space. Mutual fund companies pay brokers to carry these funds on their platforms.

    To show you just how warped this corner of the industry is, 12b-1 fees can be as much as 0.25 percent of assets, and somehow “still call itself a no-load, or no-commission, fund” according to a Wall Street Journal discussion of fees; they are allowed to be as high as 1 percent.

    That adds up. Morningstar crunched the numbers, and determined that for “the industry overall, the figure is from $12 billion to $15 billion. To give that some context, the total annual U.S. box-office receipts for domestic film sales are less than that at $10 billion; the National Basketball Associations total revenues – ticket sales, television broadcast rights, clothing, licensing deals, merchandise, etc., are only $7 billion.” This little fee that you probably did not know about is bigger than the NBA, bigger than Hollywood.

    And that’s just one small fee. The total of all fees involved likely exceeds $100 billion. With all that money at stake, the industry threw a lot of firepower to protect its fees and fight the changes. It hired lobbyists, paid think tanks for position papers, wrote op-eds and hired a bunch of flunkies to promote its views on social media.”

    1. susan the other

      I’ve always thought that once you destroy trust, when everyone stops believing your self serving research or whatever, then it is already too late. Trust never returns. It is a fatal blow to the system. Why not just prevent conflict of interest altogether? By preventing profiteering. Passing a fiduciary standard could be just as much bullshit as bogus research.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Can we apply that Uber just-in-time taxicab software to money, so we have just-in-time money for those in need?

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      I have no doubt there are U.S. citizens on the ground in Syria, possibly soldiers. Widows and mothers might not be happy to hear about husband’s and sons dying in Syria especially after the American people voiced opposition to intervention in Syria and Ukraine. If there are official Americans on the ground in Syria, plenty of people know and could face accountability in a new administration.

      1. JTMcPhee

        Accountability? Maybe in a Sanders admin. It’s too effing big. Look where all the money goes…

      2. Massinissa

        When did we get accountability from the Bush years?

        Oh right. Never.

        Why would the Obama regime be any different in post-regime accountability than the Bush regime?

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      The smartest economist.

      Everything is about being smart.

      One day, there will be just one giant machine, or one humongous robot, that can grow all the food we need, make all the cars and manufacture all the underwear, and everything else. It will be owned by the smartest man ever lived and its inventor. What will happen to the rest of us – well, that’s another question for another day. Today, we struggle, one at a time, with reductio ad absurdum.

      And if we don’t have such a machine today, it’s because none of us is that smart.

      And a lot of people are going to be depressed, but being smart is very important to them.

  16. Jess

    Regarding the latest school shooting: Lots of good comments above, but for me it is simpler: this is the beginning of the dystopian future portrayed in so many books and movies. Dystopia doesn’t just happen overnight. (Even a zombie apocalypse takes time to spread across the land.) Dystopia is the end result of a process that starts with cuts that damage the physical and mental health of the populace. Declines in education, mental health care, and most importantly, jobs. When society ceases to offer realistic hope and instead says, in effect, “You screwed no matter what.” some people will go off the deep end and lash out to take others with them on their way down.

  17. JTMcPhee

    Hey, the “trade” war, as Lambert reminds us, is still going on, covertly, and because the structure and outcomes are so familiar or obscure, resistance may be futile…

    For some reason I was reading “Consumer Reports,” that devil’s advocate, and came across this little article: The magazine headline was “The Consumer Rights (sic) You’re Giving Away,” to dangle the hook, here’s the online version —

    As a former attorney I was interested in the “penetration” of the forced-arbitration market into what used to be judicially-mediated disputes where at least the myth of “all parties are equal before the law” was put out there. As with the “Investor State Dispute” thingie that is apparently about to be settled like yet another yoke around our dumb, startled, disbelieving necks, mandatory arbitration of “consumer disputes” is another sucker’s game:

    Last year a firestorm erupted after General Mills, the maker of Bisquick, Cheerios, and other food brands, changed the legal terms on its website, requiring that all disputes related to the purchase or use of any of its products be resolved through mandatory arbitration. Legal experts and consumers were outraged that by downloading coupons or entering a company-sponsored sweepstakes or contest they could be waiving the right to sue. General Mills ended the practice days later, writing on its blog, “We’ve listened—and we’re changing our legal terms back.”

    Sound outrageous? You probably do business with many firms that tuck forced arbitration clauses into their terms and conditions. They are in hundreds of millions of consumer contracts, according to the National Association of Consumer Advocates. Amazon, Groupon, Netflix, and Verizon are among the companies whose contracts have the clauses. They’re in the fine print of terms for car loans and leases, credit cards, checking accounts, insurance, investing accounts, student loans, and even certain employment and nursing home agreements; you can be legally bound to forced arbitration by signing a contract or clicking “I agree” on a website. Once you do, if you eventually have a complaint against one of those companies, you will be obligated to take your dispute to an arbitration firm.

    Businesses Have the Edge

    Usually, if you are bound by a mandatory arbitration clause, the company picks the arbitrator, who is not required to have a legal background (although many do) and, unlike a judge, doesn’t have to consider legal precedent. The decision is usually private, so other consumers in the same position won’t know about the case. And there’s little basis on which the decision can be appealed, says Daniel Blinn, a consumer law attorney with the Consumer Law Group in Rocky Hill, Conn.

    Arbitration clauses often restrict you from pursuing any type of litigation outside of the arbitration, including a class-action lawsuit, where a group of similarly harmed individuals can sue a company. In class actions (as well as in certain other types of litigation) lawyers generally work for a portion of eventual winnings, so participants have no out-of-pocket costs, and the company does not get to pick the judge the way it gets to pick an arbitrator.

    A series of Supreme Court decisions have backed mandatory arbitration. For example, in a 2013 ruling, the court found that a company can use its arbitration agreement to stop class-action suits, even if the dispute involves a violation of federal antitrust laws. “The system is rigged against the consumer,” says Paul Bland, executive director of the consumer-rights law firm Public Justice. “The purpose is to say that even if companies break state truth-in-advertising laws, or debt collection laws, or lemon laws, there is nothing consumers can do but arbitrate.”

    There’s a little more in the article, but as with the rest of the seamless web of corruption and arbitrary “commercial” power like the “trade agreements” the corporate sh_ts are slowly squeezing around us revenue-generating mopes, one wonders if, whether, how, the rest of us might rebel and resist. Contacting one’s rented legislators is a measure still allowed to us, for the time being at least, as a nice blow-off valve for the head of steam that ought to be pushing the needle past the red already. Or maybe humans are just set up by nature to be a plague species, like locusts, eating everything in sight until they starve, and of course we are assured by many academics that “hierarchy is the natural order,” a claim that sure seems to be borne out by experience…

  18. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Data breach – 15M T-Mobile customers.

    Add to that Target customers, government workers, that marriage people dating site, etc., is there any non-true Luddite who is not at risk?

    I regret I am only a neo-Luddite, and not a true Luddite.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Why are you on the internet, you, you, neo-Luddite!!!

      Thus, you accuse.

      Sorry, it’s true I have compromised myself.

      That’s why I am not a true Luddite.

  19. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    First-in-the-nation pot resort.

    For native Americans, there are two medicinal herbs – tobacco and marijuana.

    Maybe we can legalize public tobacco use, with a doctor’s prescription.

  20. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Hmmm…25% of American homes had no internet connection/hand held computers.

    “How do we better track them?”

  21. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    “Mustached Kingfisher is seen for the first time in decades, then is euthanized for study.”


    Do they do that to the last speaker of a language?

    As I have written before, ‘to study something or someone’ or ‘studying’ is an act of aggression.

    Do you want to be ‘studied?’ Exposed of your weaknesses?

    Why do you want to study someone or something then?

    Do unto others…

  22. Oregoncharles

    “Bring Back the Good Old Paper Ballot”

    Again, I’ll testify for the excellence of vote-by-mail. Not only does it define a ballot as a piece fo paper marked by the voter, it encourages thoughtful voting, especially combined with the Voter’s Pamphlet.

    Granted, there are potential abuses of any system, and at least one has turned up already, so vigilance is called for regardless. But it’s a good system, that produced at least some improvement in turnout.

Comments are closed.