Links 10/29/15

Cassini Seeks Insights to Life in Plumes of Enceladus, Saturn’s Icy Moon NYT. Spectacular video.

The military lost control of a giant, unmanned surveillance blimp WaPo. And NORAD-tracked rogue blimp down after causing blackouts The Gazette. @BaltimoreBlimp: “They will never catch me! I am free! I am free! I am free at last!”

U.S. Court Rules Whistleblowers Can Sue Board Members  WSJ

We’ve finally agreed: Techpocalypse is coming. Two questions remain: When and who? Pando

Carlyle-Owned Hedge-Fund Firm Hands Investors a Big IOU WSJ

Goldman fined over theft of NY Fed data FT

Is the Fed Drawing Comfort From the Wrong Indicators? WSJ

And Now Trucking Is Suddenly Slowing Down Wolf Street. Before the holidays?!

DuPont reveals in talks over ag sector deals Agrimoney

Inside the Secretive World of Tax-Avoidance Experts The Atlantic (RS)

Home is where the tax haven is…  Private Eye


The Military Escalation in Iraq and Syria Editorial, NYT. “Frustrated by the resilience of the Islamic State terrorist organization, the Obama administration is taking steps to expand a military campaign that remains untethered to any coherent strategy.”

New U.S. Combat Mission in Iraq Is Not New Bloomberg. Film at 11.

New allies in northern Syria don’t seem to share U.S. goals McClatchy

Some more talks about talks on Syria Asia Times

Too Weak, Too Strong LRB. On the state of the Syrian war.

Syria Is a Clusterf*ck, and It’s About to Get Worse for the U.S. Esquire

The flawed prescription for peace in Syria: More war Middle East Eye

The U.S. Is Still Stonewalling an Independent Review of Why It Bombed a Hospital Foreign Policy in Focus

Portugal faces a political crisis, but it’s the same one facing governments everywhere WaPo

Poland Stands Up for National Sovereignty in Europe American Conservative (Re Silc).


China to Start Big Reveal of Xi’s Plan to Keep Economy Humming Bloomberg

The Chinese government made a music video about economic policy and it’s magic Daily Dot

Has China Discovered a Better Political System Than Democracy? The Atlantic (Re Silc).

US plans further patrols near islands built by China Nikkei Asian Review

Indonesians take fight against haze into their own hands Channel News Asia (Furzy Mouse)


Hillary Clinton on Colbert: Next time, we let the banks fail WaPo.

Hillary Clinton Doesn’t Want To Get Rid Of The Death Penalty Think Progress. It’s hard to see how she could do anything else.

Bernie Sanders is in big trouble: You don’t have to be a neoliberal shill to see the cold, hard facts  Salon (OregonCharles). If the game is rigged, change the rules.

The Sanders Brain Trust’s Plan to Beat Hillary Clinton Bloomberg

Unelectable and Unafraid Jacobin

End of Days for Republican establishment FT. We’ll see. 376 days is a long time in politics.

House GOP nominates Ryan for speaker Politico

Boehner’s Budget Deal Caps Extraordinary Execution Of An Exit Strategy NPR. When you read a sentence that includes the words “the sacred entitlement programs such as Medicare and Social Security,” you know that there’s nothing left or even liberal about NPR at all.

“Boehnerland” Lobbyists Win Right to Bombard Student Borrowers With Robocalls The Intercept

Big Brother Is Watching You Watch

FBI Agents Accused Of Torturing U.S. Citizen Abroad Can’t Be Sued HuffPo. Well, it’s not like there are any more black sites, right?

How 4 Federal Lawyers Paved the Way to Kill Osama bin Laden NYT

Asterix to team up with Assange-like character in new comic France 24. The character “Confoundtheirpolitix” was almost called “Wikilix.”

Class Warfare

Top 100 CEO Retirement Savings Equals 41% of U.S. Families Bloomberg

Why the economic recovery doesn’t feel like one Business Insider

Gates Undercover Save Maine Schools. Astroturf operation by the Gates Foundation.

SXSW turns tail and runs… [Rejoice SXSW Organizers Weren’t Civil Rights Organizers] Another Word For It. A call for the Troll Police.

Indifference is a power Aeon. On Stoicism.

Caution: Copy-Pasting URLs from Google Search can Leak Previous Searches Medium

Facebook, Twitter and the death of the link Fortune

Antidote du jour:


A gecko (camouflaged).

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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About Lambert Strether

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


    1. abynormal

      incoming Eagleman:
      “Because vision appears so effortless, we are like fish challenged to understand water.”

      “Instead of reality being passively recorded by the brain, it is actively constructed by it.”

      “Our reality depends on what our biology is up to.”

      “Interestingly, schizophrenics can tickle themselves because of a problem with their timing that does not allow their motor actions and resulting sensations to be correctly sequenced.” HA!

      “Brains are like representative democracies. They are built of multiple, overlapping experts who weigh in and compete over different choices. As Walt Whitman correctly surmised, we are large and we harbor multitudes within us. And those multitudes are locked in chronic battle.
      There is an ongoing conversation among the different factions in your brain, each competing to control the single output channel of your behavior. As a result, you can accomplish the strange feats of arguing with yourself, cursing at yourself, and cajoling yourself to do something – feats that modern computers simply do not do.”

      “Imagine for a moment that we are nothing but the product of billions of years of molecules coming together and ratcheting up through natural selection, that we are composed only of highways of fluids and chemicals sliding along roadways within billions of dancing cells, that trillions of synaptic conversations hum in parallel, that this vast egglike fabric of micron-thin circuitry runs algorithms undreamt of in modern science, and that these neural programs give rise to our decision making, loves, desires, fears, and aspirations. To me, that understanding would be a numinous experience, better than anything ever proposed in anyone’s holy text.”
      David Eagleman, Incognito: The Secret Lives of the Brain

        1. abynormal

          AMAZING (like you): “The McMaster group began to look for answers in mice. In a 2011 study, the team transplanted gut microbiota between different strains of mice and showed that behavioural traits specific to one strain transmitted along with the microbiota. Bercik says, for example, that “relatively shy” mice would exhibit more exploratory behaviour when carrying the microbiota of more-adventurous mice. “I think it is surprising. The microbiota is really driving the behavioural phenotype of host. There’s a marked difference,” Bercik says. Unpublished research suggests that taking faecal bacteria from humans with both IBS and anxiety and transplanting it into mice induces anxiety-like behaviour, whereas transplanting bacteria from healthy control humans does not.”

          here’s where nail biting starts: “Scientists and funders are looking for clarity. Over the past two years, the US National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) in Bethesda, Maryland, has funded seven pilot studies with up to US$1 million each to examine what it calls the ‘microbiome–gut–brain axis’ (Knickmeyer’s research is one of these studies). This year, the US Office of Naval Research in Arlington, Virginia, agreed to pump around US$14.5 million over the next 6–7 years into work examining the gut’s role in cognitive function and stress responses. And the European Union has put €9 million (US$10.1 million) towards a five-year project called MyNewGut, two main objectives of which target brain development and disorders.”
          …’investors’ will demand a large fast-track return

    2. Vatch

      Amazing. I couldn’t see it, so I checked images dot google dot com, and searched for

      camouflaged gecko

      This image and one that was probably photographed slightly before or after it were in the list of images, and in that other image I was able to see the gecko’s leg a little more clearly. A Satanic Leaf-tailed Gecko, also known as Uroplatus phantasticus.

      1. fresno dan

        I’m still thinking its a leaf camouflaged as a gecko…..hey, there are lots of bugs that would eat a leaf but would be terrified of a gecko

    3. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      It’s fantastic and one notes that there are few straight lines and few right angles.

      Straight – not devious.
      Right ( from right side, right angle) – not wrong

      Yet, here not being straight (associated with deviousness, being tricky, dishonest) and not being right (here, think ‘wrong’) makes it all the more beautiful.

      When the leaves are about to leave, they leave all the human moral code behind.

        1. IsabelPS

          No, Coppola said the same thing as far as I understood. And other British eurosceptics too.

          What I meant to say with my ironic comment is that this is the last thing that the Portuguese PS wants to hear said out loud. They are at pains to tell everybody that they will not go against their core beliefs (pro-euro and all that jazz). Just as the other 2 left parties are at pains to do the same… with opposing core beliefs.

          1. Oregoncharles

            Looks like Portugal is shaping up for a 6-month caretaker government and an extremely heated presidential election. How is the president chosen, anyway?

            That said, there is a solution to the contradiction: A new left-wing government announces, per Socialist position, that they’re seeking major reforms to the Euro – and abandoning austerity, now. AT THE SAME TIME, because they know Portugal doesn’t have the leverage to force reforms, they openly begin the 3-year (we’re assured) process to return to their own currency – per the other parties’ positions – contingent on the Eurozone response. In the nature of the coalition, that reflects their voter mandate, as it would not have reflected Syriza’s.

            Unfortunately, I don’t know what the Eurozone or the ECB would or could do to them just for talking about it or beginning preparations, so I don’t know how much trouble I’m wishing on the country. But this would be a reasonable negotiating position, and would leave time for elections in a few large countries to line up support.

            1. IsabelPS

              The president is chosen by direct, universal suffrage. If nobody has the majority on a fist round, there is a second round where the most most voted wins. At the moment there are some 16 or so candidates, of which a strong one on the right and a bunch on the left: PCP presented one, BE presented another and PS as such doesn’t back anyone because there are 3 in their sphere of influence! In general, the people seem to dislike putting all their eggs in one basket and most of the time they vote for President of one party and for parliament of the “opposite” party (the situation of the last 4 years years, where both the President and the PM belonged to the same party, is a bit of an exception).

              I don’t know about a caretaker government. It is a very long stretch until elections are possible. Everybody expects the current gov (basically, the old one) that just took charge a couple of hours ago, to last only until the Nov 9 or 10, but there is always the possibility that the 3 left parties don’t agree on the same motion of rejection (the PCP is still defending its breathing space). There is also the possibility of a gov appointed by the Prez (he can do that, it has done before, but they tend to be short lived): that could provide a way out for the people inside the PS that want to evict Costa. And, of course, there is the possibility of Costa being appointed PM, which is the most likely alternative, I think (I, personally, think that it won’t last long, either). So there might very well be a succession of govs until the next elections in may or june.

              I am afraid that the reforms of the euro will have to wait, as far as Portugal is concerned…

  1. abynormal

    re: Trucking slowing down..”Cummins announced its earnings debacle on Tuesday – revenues down 5.5%, earnings down 10%. It plans to axe 3.7% of its workforce, or about 2,000 folks. It would whittle down its manufacturing capacity and might have to take more aggressive measures, it said. It lowered its outlook further and expects “challenging conditions to persist for some time.”

    no wear n tear when shipping AIR…also known as Dead Heads

    1. Carla

      Odd. I drove 77 south (a notoriously heavy truck route) from NE Ohio to NC at the end of September, and just made the same drive a couple of days ago, and was struck by how much lighter the truck traffic was this week. If it’s noticeable to the casual driver, that’s really something.

      1. abynormal

        back around 2010 people in CA were noticing so. to no and some eastern rail lines halting.
        lately im finding rail movement numbers askew due to oil movement…me smells strong opportunity for coverup.

      2. Jim Haygood

        ‘was struck by how much lighter the truck traffic was this week’ — Carla

        Used to notice the same thing, when I walked my dog along a CSX freight line.

        Since we amateur Sinologists are so good at monitoring Chinese rail traffic, electrical and steel consumption, one might think that real-time traffic counts for U.S. rail and interstate highway systems would exist. These in turn could be plugged into GDP nowcasts, such as the Atlanta Fed’s.

        But no — casual Googling turns up nothing of the sort: mainly state and local traffic counts, and annual summaries which aren’t timely or fine-grained enough to winkle out monthly trends.

        My guess is that real-time traffic counts do exist, but probably are treated as national security secrets, given that our overlords are runnin’ scared.

        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          The rogue blimp was said to be able to track cars; that would be one way of creating “real-time traffic counts.” But there are only two such blimps.

          Concretely, what traffic counters or proxies for traffic counts — like toll collections — can you suggest?

      3. andyb

        All global shipping indices are down, way down; the key canary for the existence of a world wide recession; soon to be a Depression unlike any other.

    2. MikeNY

      Rest assured, Mrs Magoo will find more reasons to continue with ZIRP and stocks will climb to new highs.

        1. MikeNY

          It’s true.

          I can’t bear to listen to their pseudo-scientific plutocrat poodle ideological claptrap anymore. That’s one thing Rand Paul gets right.

    3. Oregoncharles

      Cummins; ouch. I have deep family connections with them, grew up in their headquarters town (Columbus, IN). Sold my stock a long time ago, but that news is going to hurt in Columbus.

      That said, Cummins has been through this before, because it’s in an inherently cyclic business.

      I’m wondering about the timeline; if these transport numbers indeed prefigure a big recession, wouldn’t it come down in the midst of the election next year? Shades of 2008!

  2. Clive

    Re: Indifference is a power Aeon. On Stoicism.

    I do wonder more and more how come Stoicism effectively lost traction as a belief system and, if anything, Gnosticism (or modifications of mainstream religions which have ended up influenced by Gnostic ideas) is in the ascendency. It always seemed to me it should have been the other way around. Another of Life’s Great Mysteries !

    1. skippy

      From an anthropological purview religion has always been the fundamental base of power… the ability to shape reality ex nihilio….

      Skippy… even then the transformation from animalism to celestialism to humanism is a curious path…

    2. Uahsenaa

      Short answer: Stoicism demanded/demands constant self-reflection, the ability to examine your thoughts and actions in order to improve your fortitude against the world. Modern capitalist society is predicated upon acquiescence to the status quo, not a cultivated resistance to it.

      1. skippy

        Quibble… those that controlled the grain silos in antiquity were the status quo and the rights to that distinction were religious [life and death arbitrators] in nature, which at the end of the day were heraldic.

        Skippy… memes echo…

        1. Uahsenaa

          This is why short answers are always bad ones.

          Self-reflection in this case is not necessarily a form of empowerment in the way we might now think, but rather a dire accounting of what does and does not matter in life, and likewise what you can and cannot exert any control over. Seneca’s example of the gladiatorial games springs to mind, how the violence of the spectacle itself is equal to the violence you do to yourself in seeing it. In recognizing the barbarity on display, he also points to the barbarity that allows such a thing to exist in the first place, how our own unwillingness to recognize and thereby abolish the cruelty in ourselves causes it to spread into the world as complicity with broader systems of cruelty, exploitation, and what have you, which we might otherwise pass over as the way things are.

          Recall, Epictetus was a slave, and so Stoicism is, in many ways, a philosophy born from oppression, not, as with Seneca, from the aloof reserve of a leisured class, even though in Rome, that’s who took it up. Now, I think a perfectly valid criticism would lie in how Stoicism not exactly a program of change for social justice in the world, in large part because, as a philosophy, it regards the world as already too far gone. The best you can do is survive it.

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            It’s interesting to read about the backgrounds of these people and the ironies.

            For someone condemned to a life of slaving away in a salt mine, for example, perhaps death couldn’t come sooner. But a prince would be shocked to see old age and suffering, and be grieved to contemplate that he might one day give up this sweet life of his. And from out of such fears, fear of old age, fear of death, a new insight. Ironic that it (the insight for non-attachment to the delights of the world) did not come from someone from the lowest caste, suffering unbearable pain, yearning for euthanasia.

          2. Ulysses

            From the Aeon piece:

            “indifference really is a power, selectively applied, and living in such a way is not only eminently possible, with a conscious adoption of certain attitudes, but facilitates a freer, more expansive, more adventurous mode of living. Joy and grief are still there, along with all the other emotions, but they are tempered – and, in their temperance, they are less tyrannical.”

            Your point– that stoics may often grimly endure and survive an unjust world, rather than seek to improve it– is valid.

            Yet I see, in my own daughter’s adventurous approach to life, another possibility. She has no illusions that the world is fair, or that life is easy. She is a courageous, fighting stoic who battles against injustice, and spurns bourgeois convention– with no selfish concern for what may happen to her as a consequence of her bold actions. She is indifferent to what the toxic, greed-sickened people all around her think!

            At the same time, she is not indifferent to the sufferings of others. She makes heroic efforts to help, without huge expectations of success. This affords her some pleasant surprises, but spares her intense feelings of disappointment.

          3. skippy

            My observation was based on –

            “Modern capitalist society is predicated upon acquiescence to the status quo, not a cultivated resistance to it.”

            – and not so much the philosophical optics by which one observes i.e. the term “capitalist society” all such nomenclature is just a branding exercise as systems in real time happen to be multivariate and in constant flux, watch out for that first step when falling into the narrative… its a doozie… e.g. capitalism is not a monolith nor socialism – communism except in a vacuum.

            To riff on Toynbee – one could reasonably argue that aggregators of influence subcontract out the narrative to the ‘creative class’ which contents 90+ is nothing more than cognitive suspension of belief and only 10- the actual mental anchoring by which to reference key architectural points.

            It seems the pursuit is becoming tepid…

            “In 2010, Professor Hawking declared that scientists rather than philosophers “have become the bearers of the torch of discovery in our quest for knowledge”.

            Philosophers argued their case at a debate held at the British Academy in London this week. According to Tim Crane, Knightbridge professor of philosophy at the University of Cambridge, Professor Hawking himself proved that philosophy is unavoidable, since he put forward a lot of philosophical views. Unfortunately, these amounted to “bad philosophy, because he is unaware of it as a discipline and a practice with a history,” Professor Crane said.

            Greg Radick, professor of the history and philosophy of science at the University of Leeds, put the case for cross-fertilisation between science and philosophy.

            Three of the most powerful scientific thinkers – Charles Darwin, Albert Einstein and Noam Chomsky – were also notably “philosophically literate”, he said. Lesser scientists could easily become “too dogmatic”, as their “teachers shut down access to foundational questions”, Professor Radick told the event, held on 15 February.

            Philosophical debate, on the other hand, he continued, ran the risk of nit-picking “scholasticism” if it wasn’t “enlivened by contact with the natural sciences”.

            “If you’re pro-reason,” said Rebecca Goldstein Newberger, a research associate at Harvard University who is currently a visiting professor of philosophy at the New College of the Humanities in London, “you need all the resources you can get.” Recent outbreaks of “philosophy jeering” such as Hawking’s were ill-informed, incoherent and irresponsible – faced with today’s extremes of irrationality”, she added.

            Also speaking at the event, “What Is the Point of Philosophy?” organised by the Ax:son Johnson Foundation on 16 February, was Claire Fox, director of the Institute of Ideas. She urged philosophers to address the malaise of current educational thinking where “knowledge itself is being gutted of depth and complex ideas reduced to soundbites”.

            The notion of “learning outcomes”, she added, was completely “antithetical to the open-ended pursuit of truth”.

            Stephen Law, senior lecturer in philosophy at Heythrop College, put the case for philosophy’s role in “raising autonomous critical thinkers”.

            He asked whether, since “I have an unavoidable responsibility to make my own moral judgement, a responsibility I can’t hand over to some supposed expert… shouldn’t our education system both confront us with that responsibility, and also ensure we have the intellectual and emotional maturity we’ll need to discharge it properly?”

            If recent decades had seen “great moral advances in our attitudes towards women, gay people and other races”, this was “largely as a result of our being prepared to question received moral opinion and to think things through in just the way philosophy requires of us”, he continued.

            Yet despite the many benefits of philosophy, Professor Crane argued that “academic philosophy is in crisis” and no longer really hospitable to “the idea of challenging everything”, not least because the need to be published in a few top journals “encourages incredible conformism around a very narrow range of ideas”.

            Professor Newberger took a similar line, reflecting that she had “only managed to maintain my enthusiasm for philosophy by staying away from philosophers”. ”


            Skippy… to engage in more “short answers are always bad ones” regardless of nomenclature the trinity [social template] has always been the base foundation to civilization…. regardless of branding memes….

    3. DJG

      Short answer: Christianity. Christianity had to wipe out the stoics, who were mere deists. The Epicureans, who have much to teach us, have been maligned for centuries, in part for their adherence to the atomic theory and to a kind of agnosticism. And Herakleitos? Now where did the books of Herakleitos disappear to?

      1. skippy

        Err what…. (ataraxia) and freedom from fear, as well as absence of bodily pain (aponia) is the driving methodology to what end – ???? – death – ?????

        1. Vatch

          Ataraxia (tranquillity), in Pyrrhonist (Skepticist) and Epicurean usage is closely akin to Buddhist nirvana (nibbana). In addition to ataraxia, I think the Stoics sometimes used the word apatheia for a similar (or perhaps identical) concept.

          There are some recent books linking Greek Pyrrhonism to Buddhism:

          Greek Buddha: Pyrrho’s Encounter with Early Buddhism in Central Asia, by Christopher Beckwith.

          Pyrrhonism: How the Ancient Greeks Reinvented Buddhism, by Adrian Kuzminski.

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef


            I also suspect a link between bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara, associated with mercy and compassion, going from being a male to a female, some time in the first millennium AD, to Mary, the mother of Jesus

            There was an idea-superhighway with traffic going both ways, I think.

          2. DJG

            Thanks. I’d add Lucretius and On the Nature of Things, the most poetic description of Epicurean ideas. Epicurus thought that people were motivated by pleasure, which is somewhat different from Buddhism–although nirvana, the end of striving, is a kind of pleasure by replacing useless desire with an all-enveloping one. Epicurus is skeptical of the agency of the gods, much like Buddhism. These are benevolent ideas. Add in the lack of an idea of salvation, and you can see why Christianity had to get rid of these ideas.

            1. Vatch

              Epicurus thought that people were motivated by pleasure

              Yes, although (as you undoubtedly know), he and Lucretius valued a higher sort of pleasure, and not the “eat, drink, and be merry” hedonistic caricature. The modern concept of an “epicure” is quite different from their philosophical view.

          3. skippy

            As of this week I was conversing with someone whom previously held strong Libertarian market beliefs [AET sort], being Anglo, tho now working in Asia [Finance], seemingly had a transitional moment due to events wrt the GFC.

            He is currently seeking reformation in Neo Confucianism yet at the same time is beholden to some quasi Bushido something… ????

            Skippy… philosophical consumerism for a 100 bucks Bob….

  3. nippersdad

    Re Salon Sanders article: I think the author missed the fundamental point. Sanders has been running an explicitly anti-establishment campaign. Were he to be endorsed by the Party this early it would be more of a problem for Sanders’ political viability than the author cares to acknowledge. Everyone in his camp has always known that the numbers are going to have to be too big to fudge using superdelegates, so this is really kind of a nothingburger in the sense that it proclaims what has been obvious since the inception of the his campaign.

    The real problem lies with the Party. If they are seen to be rigging the game (see debate schedule) then they will be explicitly confirming everything that he has been running on, which only empowers his campaign further. I don’t really see that as spin and the author seems to have gotten things backward; the Democratic Party is in big trouble, and doubling down will only make it worse for them.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      “The real problem lies with the Party.” Ding ding ding ding. And the apparatchiks are standing on an ever-shrinking circle of ground. And they won’t actually recognize it ’til it crumbles beneath their feet. “We’re still standing, aren’t we?”

      Anyhow, Salon. The home for rebel Democratic apparatchiks, where using a word like [anatomical reference] gives you “street cred.” The infighting to seize Joan Walsh’s very nearly gold crown must be tremendous right now.

      1. nippersdad

        Joan initiated a very quick landslide within the commentariat over there when she started to run back to back virtually orgasmic propaganda pieces for the DNCC. I doubt you could find many readers there who take her seriously anymore (hence her leaving?), and some of her lieutenants appear to be going the same way. Amanda Marcotte must have her next position already lined up. Pretty bad when your commenters openly discuss what a stooge you are to the degree that were they to censor such views they would have virtually no comments section at all.

        The seas appear to be rising quickly at their little atoll, and the usual song and dance engaged in by the witch doctors do not appear to be holding back the waves this time.

        1. Left in Wisconsin

          Hence her showing up now at The Nation. Soon enough we will see the Nation cover story on HRC’s conversion to progressivism. For real.

    2. Christopher Fay

      Yes, as the author at Sic Semper Tyrannis site has mentioned, millions hate Clinton. What sort of decision is that to make running a person like Clinton universally (not enough) hated? If she is elected, she will never be their president. And she will never be mine.

      1. Synoia

        Millions hate Clinton? She does not care.

        If elected:

        Clinton’s got the foreman’s job at last
        The working class can kiss her ass…

        1. cwaltz

          The key words, of course, are if elected.

          It isn’t like the Democrats haven’t already seen what happens when they throw a dinner party and no one shows.

          If they want their party to be the plutocrats already holding offices in the Democratic party though, so be it. Who are we to not allow them to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory and potentially cause the collapse of their little oligarchy as more and more recognize a rigging when they see it.

          Wouldn’t want to give Pelosi the vapors.

        2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          She does not care.

          Indifference is a power.

          Sometimes for the worse – “That girl, she doesn’t even know I exist,” sighs our Romeo.

      2. James Levy

        Wrong, wrong, wrong. I heard that bullshit from reactionaries back in the Clinton era. If someone wins the presidency, they are YOUR president. This is not a Chinese menu. You go in and someone gets chosen. Period. I might have hated Dubya’s guts, but the House of Representatives agreed that he was the President when they opened the Electoral College ballots and no one said “no” or contested the results. From that point on he was President-elect until sworn in. To say “he’s not my president” is to open this country to the worst kind of anarchy and lawlessness. And don’t tell me about the lawlessness that already exists–that’s the bad part of this society, and those lawless elites are an evil, not a good.

        1. nippersdad

          Somehow saying “my lawless elitist President” doesn’t really sound overly functional in everyday conversation. If you didn’t vote for the guy, he may technically be “your” President but he was still someone else’s choice. That is not really indicative of incipient political anarchy, just common sense.

          And I think it is the Senate that confirms or denies.

        2. Oregoncharles

          @ James Levy: But do they have the “favor of heaven” – that is, legitimacy?

          The Republicans discovered the impact of illegitimacy in ’06 and’08; the Democrats discovered it in the last few by-elections. It was Bill Clinton’s main problem throughout, because he was a minority president throughout.

          If we’re talking about a nomination, the price comes due in the general election: you lose. And in this case, if Hillary’s nomination is seen as illegitimate, the party blows up, shedding millions of people. Since they’re already down around 25% of the electorate, that would be catastrophic.

          1. cwaltz

            Why whatever do you mean?

            You mean even though the Democratic superdelegates in the Senate and the House can’t pull off an election all on their own. Say it ain’t so.

            The superdelegates might want to rethink their strategy of telling the little people to eff off, they’ve decided who is best for us.

          2. James Levy

            If you win the election and people whine about your legitimacy because they lost and don’t like the person who won, you might as well kiss democracy goodbye. For any democracy to work, the minority have to bend to the decision of the majority. the alternatives are anarchy or civil war (and the anarchy will look a lot like a civil war, only neighbor against neighbor rather than section against section).

            1. cwaltz

              I’m going to be soooooo upset if they send me a sternly worded letter telling me I hate democracy because I didn’t give their super special weighted opinion(which is what a superdelegate is) the merit it deserves.

              For the record, I think you are confused on what a majority is and isn’t. It isn’t the Democratic party leadership rigging delegate allocation(which they’ve done)to pull your preferred candidate across the line. It isn’t supporting a third party candidate because you’ve decided the candidate the base decides they want is not “electable” in your esteemed oligarch opinion(which they’ve also done.) Superdelegates on the whole are pretty gosh darn undemocratic for that matter since it makes those already elected into super voters.

              If the minority have to bend to the will of the majority there should not be a single superdelegate vote cast yet since the MAJORITY of us have yet to weigh in on who WE want to represent us.

              Perhaps you should chastise the Democratic Party headquarters?

        3. Darthbobber

          I’m genuinely curious as to whether there’s any upper limit to your willingness to apply this reasoning. Because it really seems like a path towards accepting that as long as certain forms are observed nothing else matters. For example, what level of the injection of massive doses of money into the process, or what level of the ostensibly “non-partisan” gatekeepers of the news putting their thumb on the scale is sufficient to eventually call into question the legitimacy of the process?
          Or are you approaching this from the Hobbesian view that any rule is better than a breakdown of rule?

          I think its a bit of a pearl-clutching reaction to equate the rhetorical “not my president” with an actual descent into lawlessness. After all, people have been saying this to some extent about this, that and the other president for most of my adult lifetime. But the rule of law is hardly impaired until people start doing a lot more than talking.

          I would think the “worst kind of chaos and anarchy” is encouraged as an ever angrier populace begins to dimly perceive the “law” as a bought-and-paid-for sham, and the lawgivers as another.

      1. nippersdad

        I have already laid in a supply of popcorn! You know, I really used to like her in spite of her tendency toward being a Republican. I thought that she took Gingriches slings and arrows well.

        In hindsight, I guess I just disliked Gingrich more. Everything is relative, I guess. :)

        1. cwaltz

          I still “like” her. I just don’t think she’ll be a particularly good President anymore though. She’s a status quo choice when we need someone who will challenge conventional wisdom on everything from domestic austerity to how we handle foreign policy.

    3. Oregoncharles

      I recommended the article primarily for its implicit acknowledgement of just how anti-democratic the party really is.

      The big counterweight to his point is that actually using the superdelegates would blow up the party, driving out millions of people (and hugely benefitting the Greens, incidentally). This is regardless of Bernie’s personal reaction – though he might see that as voiding his promise to support the nominee. As he should. Another factor is that, as many have pointed out, endorsements don’t really matter much. So what he’s really talking about is the secret levers of party control.

      1. cwaltz

        Anyone paying attention since at least Ned Lamont has been aware of how the Democratic Party “leaders” have been rigging the game.

        It’s been my argument for years on why Democratic reform is improbable.

        The funny thing is the corporate Democrats scream third parties are bad to their base all the while using third parties to solidify their own agenda. Sadly, some of the left side of the are not bright enough to see they are being just as used as the GOP knuckleheads who reflexively vote GOP because – communism.

    4. Jeff W

      I think the author missed the fundamental point. Sanders has been running an explicitly anti-establishment campaign.

      I agree. It’s a bit like saying “The anti-corruption candidate? He can’t win—he’s not corrupt.”

      That might, in fact, be true but that doesn’t particularly make me want to support any candidate who can win.

      These stories don’t occur in some sort of political vacuum. It’s not like the Sanders’ campaign can’t read this Salon story and take some affirmative steps. Heck, simply emailing a link to potential Democratic primary voters without comment would probably get a lot of them to vote for Sanders. Take that, superdelegates!

      And then there’s that weird “hold-their-feet-to-the-fire” trope that I never get: “Voters and activists will need to find ways to hold her [Clinton] and her party accountable on those positions if she wins the election.” So voters—whose votes we are told throughout the article don’t really count—are supposed to ‘find ways’ to hold the person in office and his or her party accountable after that person is elected? How exactly is that supposed to work?

        1. cwaltz

          Well it’s all a matter of perspective. After all, the health care industry was very, very effective in making Obama do things like forget his support for a public option.

            1. LifelongLib

              FDR’s “make me do it” really only applies if the president actually wants to do “it” but needs political cover. Otherwise it’s just a sneer.

          1. different clue

            Big Insura didn’t “make” Obama do it. He did it eagerly as part of auditioning for the money he hopes to get from them after leaving office.

      1. Darthbobber

        The article really does no more than say that various things we expected to be the case from the beginning, and that will be the case for any insurgent campaign, still apply. I doubt very much that Sanders or anybody associated with him started with a strategy that assumed senatorial endorsements for Sanders or locking up superdelegates. The fact that these things are going where they were expected to go doesn’t really count as being “in trouble”.

        Which doesn’t mean he’s presently storming on the path to victory yet, either. A good many things would still need to be accomplished for that to be a realistic prospect. But if the things the article cites are, in and of themselves, insurmountable problems, the message would be “don’t even try. Its futile.”
        (Which may actually be the intended message)

  4. fresno dan

    From the article, there is a comment that I think is very good.
    But what is so distressing (other than our system refusing to prosecute the police for simple assault), is how the school systems, police, and the whole shebang lack understanding of experienced teachers and administrators, which is not being shared throughout the system.

    I would submit that the system defends itself in all cases. If there had been no cell phone cameras, would the teacher and administrator present have demanded action??? It doesn’t appear that they would have….- -if the police behave the way the school administrators want them to, should we be surprised that this happens??? How much is due to them being evil and how much due to incompetence I leave for everyone to determine for themselves – – and that is as big, if not bigger problem, than how that one police officer acted.

    johnny sunshine TH_Whitfield • 10 hours ago
    Over on the Atlantic, a teacher, mizseadub, has answered this, brilliantly. I’m gonna repost in full, because this needs to be the answer to that:

    I’m a teacher and I’ve been in this exact same scenario. This situation has escalated into a defiant standoff between a student and authority figures. The student doesn’t want to back down because there’s an audience of her peers.

    Solution: Remove the peers.

    Now the ony people left in the classroom are the student and an authority figure. The kid is given the option to comply with a lesser consequence or continue the standoff with a greater consequence. The longer the authority figure has to wait for compliance, the greater the consequence. Without an audience nearly every kid complies sooner rather than later. How do I know? I’ve been through this exact scenario many times. The girl matched each escalation because she didn’t want to lose face, but with no other kids in the room she has no one to impress. Follow-up is in-school suspension so that classmates know there has been a consequence for this behavior and there’s limited interest in re-creating it (plus that consequence is not staying at home playing video games.)

    Problem solved and now no one has made the national news and lost their job.

    1. Eureka Springs

      Involve the peers might be better. Removing the peers is teaching all involved that the group doesn’t matter but divide and conquer authoritarianism does and will always prevail. As mentioned before ’tis a good thing her peers were watching all along.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        That makes sense.

        The peers are the public. We hope to find safety in them. Hard to imagine resolving anything with an authoritative figure in solitary confinement.

      2. bdy

        I’m not sure. I’m a big fan of passive resistance, in part because you can escalate a non-violent situation into a violent, authoritarian response — just by where and when you choose to sit-down-and-not-get-up. But classroom issues seldom warrant so strong an approach (to be fair, I have no idea what happened between teacher and student in the build-up).

        And to be clear, a spontaneous sit-in like that is a huge spanner in the institutional works. She may have been performing for her peers, but she’s also very likely working through an entirely personal and deeply seeded anti-authoritarianism. Taking the other kids away makes the confrontation appropriately personal. Attaching further consequences to how long she decides to sulk works to a degree, because the outcome is more dependent on her rather than some arbitrary call. But braver, and better, to simply ask her, “Okay, what’s going to happen now?”

        Then accept whatever she decides, as long as her choice doesn’t hurt anyone.

        1. Bridget

          fresno dan’s solution is surely less confrontational, but ignores the right of the other students not to have their instructional time disrupted. However, their day is probably shot anyway, so round them up and March them into the hallway.

          Maybe a furniture dolly with a ramp instead of dragging the desk and its recalcitrant occupant.

          If I know teenagers, the discipline that will get her attention more than removal from the classroom or suspension would be confiscation of the cell phone that started this whole thing.

    2. cwaltz

      Personally, I don’t understand why if a child is being non compliant their guardians aren’t called to step in.

      We don’t even allow police to question juveniles when detained so why in the world would manhandling them be considered appropriate?

      Had I been the principal there would have been a phone call to this child’s guardian letting them know that they needed to come down to the school to pick up their child’s cell phone. There would have been a conversation about the phone being a distraction(and let’s be clear a cell phone really is a minor distraction for anyone other than the user unless you really aren’t interested and engaged to begin with) and a discussion about what happens next if she is caught utilizing the cell phone during class hours again.

      School is where children learn to model adult behavior and in this case these children learned that adults consider it completely appropriate to be bullies and force should be utilized to ensure compliance to even the most minor of rule infractions. I doubt any of these kids are going to see the police as anything other than a threat after the display that officer put on.

      1. participant-observer-observed

        Exactly. There is a compassionate care answer, when framed as a health issue. If not parents, then a school nurse, or local community member, or school ombudsman should be systematically on call for such scenarios.

        The student is trying to communicate something, however unskillfully. No one has yet shown an interest in listening to what she as been trying to say, except the brutality response.If her thesis was that her environment is barbaric and vicious, the response provided all of the necessary evidence for yielding that conclusion. I hope she moves on to be a phenomenal (passive resistance) activist!

      2. montanamaven

        School is where children are trained to be compliant workers. If they are obedient, they get to be stuck in cubicles or assembly lines or restaurants kitchens for the rest of their lives. If they are disobedient, they get to be stuck in cubicles in prisons. There is something seriously wrong with the Western method of schooling. Teenagers see that they are heading for the wood chipper and they some of them rebel. Good for them.

    3. nihil obstet

      Why does the noncompliance have to be confronted then and there? Once the student refuses to comply, just state “We’ll address this after class,” and continue with the lesson, ignoring her. The lesson goes on, the other students aren’t deprived of lesson time, and the situation doesn’t turn into the equivalent of a food fight with your two-year-old. You can then work out reasonable and effective sanctions for the noncompliance in a calmer, more thoughtful situation.

    4. Masonboro

      The cop was showing off what a badass he is to a classroom of students. Classic redneck behavior (I am a 73 year old North Carolina resident and know the type).

      Another reason to remove the audience as suggested above.


  5. Paul Tioxon

    Truly, chocolate will get you through times of no money better than money will get you through times of no chocolate. I live next store to Aldi, which is a German owned chain of food markets. They are small, smaller than a CVS these days, but have everything to eat that you need. Being a German company, they seem to import a really wide variety of chocolate candies or cookies. And they are cheap, taste good, use sugar, not corn syrup, and do not seem to have any artificial ingredients. Coming from the EU with food laws that are more demanding than the FDA, Germany, Austria and Belgium, the chocolates taste like what I remember from years ago, even from Hershey, which I grew up believing were the king of chocolate candy, period, end of story.

    Next door is a Family Dollar, which is great for me to get masking tape, or a plastic bucket or transmission fluid, or a battery for the smoke detector, but not for the soda and chips and candy, which they have a lot of. They have the M&Ms, the Hershey stuff and no brand name cheapo chocolates which have been around forever and forever always tasted like crap to me, King of Chocolates eater. But no, in there is nothing fancy remotely striving for the high end, like Godiva, much less organic anything. And these two stores put together are the alternative universe, the Earth2 of shopping, separating the people who regularly go to the Giant supermarket about 3 blocks away and fill up their carts with brand name only items, which may not be artisanal quality and price that goes with, but is more expensive than the no brand name Aldi store line and the Family Dollar, whose name says it all.

    1. DJG

      Great observations. I find that Ghirardelli is the best “commercial,’ as opposed to artisan, chocolate made by a U.S. company. The ingredients are real. I can buy it at the grocery store or the Walgreen’s.

      Lindt is also U.S. made these days. Check out the back. New Hampshire? Epicenter of chocolate.

      Godiva is now owned by Ulker, a Turkish food giant. So those darn Muslims are finding any way to subvert us.

      And, yes, the chips and crap (and the bacon and the pork belly) and the high-fructose corn syrup, all of which are everywhere, are a kind of swill for the plebeians. Ironically, many of them have enough to afford something marginally better.

      1. Paul Tioxon

        Wilbur Chocolate owner Cargill to close a manufacturing plant in Lititz

        Big chocolate story in the news today. The Port of Philadelphia brings most of the cocoa beans to America which are processed at 4 large plants who in turn supply the chocolate used by most manufactures of chocolate in all its forms:

        ” The Philadelphia region is a hotbed for chocolate processing and manufacturing. Last year, 97,688 tons of cocoa beans arrived as a “break-bulk” cargo on pallets, and more than 50,000 tons were delivered in truck-size containers to the Philadelphia port.

        Within 100 miles of the Delaware River are four large cocoa processors that grind raw beans into cocoa powder, cocoa butter, and chocolate ingredients to make candy, ice cream, cookies, and cakes. “

        1. Darthbobber

          My sister was the Quality Assurance head there for a year. It was a strange stint, where they brought management in from everywhere else while the plant’s normal management went off to a training program on running things the new Cargill way. The town’s like a Spielberg movie set, and I was very well supplied with Wilbur Buds for a year.

          That was a unionized manufacturing force, by the way, curious as to whether the plants that will be picking up that production are.

    2. curlydan

      Aldi is awesome. I used to think it was just a place to stock up on bulk items when a food drive was going on, i.e. I thought only really poor people shopped there. Oh, but I was younger, stupider, and more judgmental back then. Now I think Aldi is the ultimate shopping experience–a left-wing, socialist super-market utopia. Great quality food, low pretense, private label brands, and communal atmosphere (e.g. you often give your cart to a person headed inside to get your quarter back that you used to unlock the cart). And yeah, the chocolate is good, too.

      I still think Family Dollar is kind of a ripoff, though, although their price on their private label Cetaphil face wash can’t be beat.

      1. Ulysses

        “Now I think Aldi is the ultimate shopping experience–a left-wing, socialist super-market utopia.”

        This is great! I will be sure to pass along your assessment to my friends who work at the one in the Rego Park Center off of Queens Blvd, lol. It will certainly make their day!

        1. hunkerdown

          Aldi also pays much better than minimum wage in most areas to start. And the refrigerated salsa is (almost certainly) manufactured by Garden Fresh out of Ferndale, Mich., for those who know of it.

      2. BEast

        I’ve been leery of Aldi’s ever since they got busted — and admitted to! — selling horse meat as beef in the U.K.

    3. Carolinian

      Aldi red wrapper dark chocolate bars–from Europe–are truly great. I’ve been eating them for years.

      Aldi is expanding heavily in my area and our longstanding store is always packed these days. Since Lambert asked for recession indicators this could be a big one. They do attract a varied clientele but it skews blue collar. The soccer moms are at Public.

      1. 3.14e-9

        I was about to Google it, so thanks for that. The “red wrapper dark chocolate bars” were a giveaway. I’ve been buying them at TJs for years.

  6. allan

    “When you read a sentence that includes the words “the sacred entitlement programs such as Medicare and Social Security,” you know that there’s nothing left or even liberal about NPR at all.”

    And fellow corporate handmaiden PBS didn’t want NPR to get all the credit for trying to re-inject “entitlement reform” into the narrative. Yesterday, Gwen Ifill interviewing Jack Lew on the Newshour:

    GWEN IFILL: Short-term, you have avoided another debt ceiling crisis and another government shutdown crisis. Long-term, without significantly reforming entitlements or somehow some — cutting spending on that, are we going to be back at the same place again?

    And even Lew wouldn’t bite. In fact, his body language said, `I can’t believe you’re bring that up’.

    JACK LEW: You know, Gwen, the debt limit is sometimes thought of as spending money. …

    There is more work to do as we get into the long-term, into the retirement of the baby boom and other things that we know are over the horizon in terms of full impact, but there is not an immediate crisis.

    Right now, if you ask me, the immediate crisis in our country is our failure to invest enough today. …

    PBS, some free advice: When you’re too neoliberal for Jack Lew, you’ve got a problem.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      Ha ha. Maybe Obama told Lew “Get ready to mint the damn coin!” and then told him to figure out how to avoid making it out of platinum because all the jokes make him crankypants.

        1. Carolinian

          Ifill didn’t get the job as Newshour co-host by defying the group think. These days defying DC conventional wisdom can be bad for your career.

          1. barrisj

            PBS Newshour was the real deal back in the day of “MacNeil-Lehrer”, then lost a bit of traction when Jim Lehrer took over…only saving grace was Ray Suarez. He left, and there remains empty pants-suit Ifill and the truly nonsensical Shields/Brooks grapplefest as one’s antidote to cablenews blather…beyond grotesque, but, there you have it.

            1. Carolinian

              Alex Cockburn once satirized the Newshour by having Macneil and Lehrer lead a discussion on the pros and cons of Swift’s A Modest Proposal. The show still adheres to this on-the-other-handism but the hosts are more open about their own preferred view.

              Still sometimes they have interesting segments.

    2. bob

      The whole “newshour” is a malone tax dodge, which for him, equals more take home pay.

      Of course he thinks he pays too much for the deadbeats. He’s been paid, by PBS, for years, to educate us.

      Your “donations” make it all happen!

  7. fresno dan

    Hillary Clinton on Colbert: Next time, we let the banks fail WaPo.


    It all depends on the meaning of the word “fail”
    And I would also say the problem is not letting the big banks fail (they are just bricks and mortar, assets -too few – and liabilities, too many) as it is not prosecuting the people who ran the big banks…
    Big banks don’t kill people, big bankers kill people…

  8. allan

    Google Ireland, through which a large fraction of Google’s worldwide revenue flows, announces it’s results for 2014.

    Revenue: €18.3 billion
    Pretax profits: €209 million
    Irish taxes paid: €41million

    (No idea why it’s so late – the results for all of Google were announced last January.)

    Globally, Google had $66 billion in revenue.
    So, very roughly, its Irish operations account for 1/3 of Google’s global revenues.
    And yet the profit margin on that 1/3 is roughly just 1%.

    Anybody have any insight into what version of three card monte is being played here?

    1. Clive

      A masterful piece of tax arbitrage the days of which are, hopefully, numbered. At least in the EU anyway, which has finally said enough is enough. Until the mega corporations figure out how to circumvent any clampdown.

      1. JTMcPhee

        “Regulatory Reconciliation Commission” and ISDS Troika rulers will make plain the way of our Lords… All nice and pseudo-legal and faux- legitimate…

        You Brits better mind your €s and £s: Proconsul Eff. Ing Froman has fired the armor-piercing warning shot across your sorry would-be Progressive Democratic Socialist Dare You To Try, Just Try, To Opt Out Or Secede From The New (Neo) World Order…

        Have you checked the Code that runs your Trident targeting and Tornados for back doors and Trojans? Nah, only a conspiracy theorist would think that way, or a George Smiley… Never a hint of that from a prig pig- Fokker who knows how to Blair with the best of them…

    1. JTMcPhee

      …there’s really not even a place to start, to address that amazingly either hopefully, change-worthy, naive or maybe ironc exhortation…

      Thanks for an opportunity for a wry smile…

    1. participant-observer-observed

      I am hoping we can get a bank-manager friend to join us for a more econ-focused meet in future. But initial meet should be fun!

    2. Ulysses

      “I’m tired of lookin’ at the tv news
      I’m tired of drivin’ hard and payin’ dues
      I figure baby I’ve got nothing to lose
      I’m tired of being blue

      That’s why I’m goin to Katmandu
      Up to the mountains where I’m going to
      If I ever get out of here
      That’s what I’m gonna do”
      — Bob Seger

  9. abynormal

    @ the courageous DIPTHERIO

    I’m tired of lookin’ at the tv news
    I’m tired of drivin’ hard and payin’ dues
    I figure baby I’ve got nothing to lose
    I’m tired of being blue

    That’s why I’m goin to Katmandu
    Up to the mountains where I’m going to
    If I ever get out of here
    That’s what I’m gonna do

    Kkkkkk, Katmandu
    Take me baby cause I’m goin’ with you
    If I ever get out of here
    I’m goin to Katmandu×569.jpg

    1. craazyman

      Saturn is a hoax. The truth is when you get closer and closer in a space ship Saturn stays the same size.

      When you’re right next to it, it’s only as big as the pupil in your eye. Just like it is in a backyard telescope!

      Nobody can understand this and so NASA is covering it up with an elaborate video.

  10. abynormal

    “Some of the professionals I interviewed said they viewed their clients as friends, going on vacation with them, attending family weddings, and crying at their funerals. Others expressed contempt for the ultra-wealthy, and embarrassment at the ways in which wealth-management work contributes to their clients’ escape from the rule of law. One American I interviewed in Geneva told me of a group of his clients in Monaco who sincerely believed they were descended from the Pharoahs and were destined to inherit the earth; he said their utter boredom and decadence were such that their main sport was sleeping with each others’.”

    Public dialogue about inequality will remain stalled on the old tropes of “class war” and “envy” of the “wealth creators.” It may be more productive to turn the spotlight away from the rich themselves, and instead focus on the professionals who—in their quiet, discreet, and extremely effective way—make it possible for the wealthiest people in the world to gain all the benefits of society, while flouting its laws. Rather than asking whether the distribution of economic resources is fair, perhaps the more compelling question lies upstream, in the way that distribution is created in the first place: by a kind of shell game played with international law. Most people have little tolerance for such shenanigans on the street corner. What about on a global scale?”

    deep curtsy Lambert

    1. low_integer

      Wealth is like sea-water; the more we drink, the thirstier we become; and the same is true of fame.

      Arthur Schopenhauer

  11. allan

    A follow-up to the post several days ago on charter scam school operator Success Academy:

    At a Success Academy Charter School, Singling Out Pupils Who Have ‘Got to Go’

    Success Academy, the high-performing charter school network in New York City, has long been dogged by accusations that its remarkable accomplishments are due, in part, to a practice of weeding out weak or difficult students. The network has always denied it. But documents obtained by The New York Times and interviews with 10 current and former Success employees at five schools suggest that some administrators in the network have singled out children they would like to see leave.

    I’m sure Andrew Cuomo has a perfectly sensible explanation.

    1. abynormal

      Success Academy:
      “Didn’t care about my work-life balance, personal health, emotional well-being” (in 21 reviews)

      “The job can be very stressful with long hours and an extreme focus on the results of data” (in 10 reviews)

      “Extremely high turnover due to many reasons, just a few of which are listed here” (in 6 reviews)…“Culture riddled by dysfunction ”, “Mission driven, but a cult of personality ”,

      “Lack of consistently reinforced processes, lot of exceptions because we are start-up mode, but gives opportunity to support in creation of systems” (in 3 reviews)

      “Focus on test scores and nothing else” (in 4 reviews)

      “There is no work-personal life balance. You are overwhelmed with the amount of hours (14-hour days) required to perform adequately. It is extremely difficult to sustain this work schedule for the long run. Highly stressful and demanding environment. The more you give, the more that is wanted. High turn-over (approximately 60%) due to stress and extreme work schedule. For the amount of hours required to perform, you are extremely under-paid. Other industries that require that level of effort and commitment pay 3 to 4 times more in wages. If you have a family, this is not the job for you. Opportunities for advancement arise due to the high turnover of staff and teachers.”

  12. Katniss Everdeen

    RE: Why the economic recovery doesn’t feel like one Business Insider

    Since the author doesn’t seem to be able to provide an answer to his own question, maybe I can help.

    The “economic recovery” doesn’t “feel” like one because it isn’t one.

    See, that wasn’t so hard.

    And for future reference, that same process can be used to answer a few other nagging questions that may come up. Such as:

    Why don’t rising rents, food prices, “healthcare” costs, drug prices, education costs and utility bills “feel” like zero inflation?

    Why doesn’t perpetual war “feel” like glorious victory?

    Why don’t the Syrians, Libyans and Iraquis “feel” grateful for the liberty our occupations of their countries have provided them?

    1. Jim Haygood

      Today’s flash GDP estimate showed nominal growth (that is, the ‘top line’ in current dollars, before inflation adjustment) of a pitiful 2.9 percent since the 3rd quarter of last year. Inflation (GDP implicit price deflator) accounted for 0.9 percent of the 2.9 percent annual change, leaving 2.0 percent real growth. (Media reports focus on the quarterly change of 1.5 percent.)

      In the pre-ZIRP days of old, the rule of thumb was that nominal GDP growth below 6% annually meant that we were in recession. You can see the old 6 percent rule in action on this historical chart:

      Since the 2008 crisis we’ve been stuck below 6 percent nominal growth all the time. And folks don’t like it. Out of earshot of our rulers, you can hear them whispering and muttering about it.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Top 100 CEO retirement savings = 41% of families.

        And in the post-ZIRP world, those 41% families will be ‘encouraged’ to deplete further their (no more than $1,000 on average) savings, in order to ‘increase aggregate demand,’ under the pain of negative rates on their money.

  13. fresno dan

    If you’re feeling sorry for Jeb Bush after Wednesday night’s CNBC debate, don’t. His defenestration by Marco Rubio should make even those who support neither of them for president smile. It’s a sign that maybe, just maybe, the system still works.
    Were America’s presidential elections more democratic, Jeb would never have been a serious candidate to begin with. From the beginning, the strategy behind his candidacy had little to do with actual voters. As Politico reported, it was to leverage his father and brother’s fundraising network to get donors to “write the biggest checks you can and create a massive pile of cash to scare away other candidates.”
    Jeb claimed he was not his father or brother—at least when he wasn’t hosting fundraisers starring them—and in one crucial respect, he was right: They were better campaigners.
    In the coming days, journalists will gorge themselves on stories about Jeb’s collapse. But collapse implies that Jeb had much real support to begin with. What he had was money.
    Not this time. All September, Trump tormented Bush. Now Rubio has flattened him too. On a human level, it’s painful to watch. But structurally, it’s kind of wonderful. Maybe Republican voters are responding to outsiders. Maybe they’re responding to demagogues. Maybe they’re just responding to candidates who put on a good show.

    Maybe with regard to Bushes, its fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me, fool me thrice, O HELL NO

    You know, if Carson or Trump actually were elected, would that really be worse than Bush???

    My view is that we got into Iraq because we did have an “experienced” politician, who could get things done, who knew how to do something like that. Not that it was wise, or smart – but a Bush could marshal the republican party and neocons to advance such a policy. I doubt Carson or Trump would be able to do that – have the contacts or understand the mechanism for doing such a thing.

    In a world of nothing but bad proposals, perhaps a president who is incapable of getting us into another war or dismantling social security or signing more “trade” agreements is the very best we can do…
    It would be nice to soar with eagles, but when your entire flock consists of turkeys…

    1. barrisj

      Well, the party line, as enunciated by FoxNews this morning, is that “moderator bias” and “the librul media” are responsible for the way these “debates” have morphed into the ludicrous clusterfuck that rarely has risen above grade-school playground taunting. The revised posture now is that Trump has been unfairly assisted in his rise in the polls by the “debate” moderators, who have “guided” the questioning in such a way that Trump was able to hurl insults and demeaning slurs at the “establishment” candidates, causing them to go “off-message” while attempting to respond to the Donald’s provocations. Trump has now begun the inevitable slide into irrelevancy, the good doctor Carson has peaked, and by early next year, my man Jeb! will have convinced the Repub elite and money-people that he da Man, forget about one-term, callow Rubio, and head-to-head polling v. Billary
      will show a “competitive race”, QED.

      1. participant-observer-observed

        To bad we couldn’t hire that debating team from the corrections institute that beat Harvard to do a mock/proxy debate, each response based on historical evidence of positions on issues. It could have its own YouTube channel! More substantial than the SNL parodies.

      2. fresno dan

        Yeah, I think you have a good analysis there.
        For a while, Fox, which is always all about the money, enjoyed the freak show and rating (its all about selling erection meds) , but maybe somebody pointed out to Murdoch that upsetting the status quo could be detrimental to his wealth…
        I mean, Trump has actually brought up the idea that not ALL taxes of the wealthy should be reduced, and
        WARNING – – – the following could which is so SCARY and BLOOD CURDLING that it cause nausea, fainting, and myocardial infarction in the GOP establishment – – – CAUTION IS ADVISED prior to reading.
        You have been Warned!!!

        SOME taxes could be raised!!!! Aiiiieeeeeee!!!!

        1. barrisj

          So, after each of the “debates”, the MSM – as is their wont – choose a “winner”, or even a “clear winner”…naturally this week’s “winner” is…wait for it – MARCO RUBIO! Wait, why is he this week’s “debate” winner? Coz he’s on the rota, it’s his turn, Carly scored big last round, then quickly allowed to fade into a footnote. Eventually, when this grotesque process comes to an end, my man Jeb! will be the last man standing, everyone else kicked into touch. It’s the American way, live with it.

  14. allan

    In today’s edition of Not the Onion:

    Anthem attack possibly over insurance industry knowledge

    The suspected Chinese hack of health insurer Anthem may have had more to do with that nation’s leaders being interested in learning how to provide healthcare for its population than stealing data.

    The February attack, along with a smaller hack of Premera in March, may have been part of a Chinese attempt to figure out how to deliver healthcare to its aging population, according to the Financial Times.

    The mind reels …

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Not the Onion – is that the Garlic?

      In any case, today, we read that China is dropping her one-child policy.

      Consumerism, here we come.


      Domestic consumption.

      If per capita consumption doesn’t do the job, then, we will overcome with more capita’s.

      (Total Consumption = Per capita consumption x Population.)

      That’s how Mao stopped imperial aggression, sorry, evaded policy action, on the Korean peninsula – through numerical superiority.

      1. different clue

        So the ChinaGov wants more children to grow up to be workers. And the ChinaGov supports mass population-wide smoking so that the workers will die too soon to get their pensions.

  15. Jim Haygood

    David Stockman (Ronald Reagan’s budget guy) rips the face off the departing Weeping Cheeto, “Johnny Lawnchair”:

    There are few political hacks in Washington more deserving of everlasting ignominy than retiring speaker John Boehner. So here’s a vehement good riddance to the man who has single-handedly destroyed whatever pathetic semblance of fiscal responsibility that remained in Washington.

    $72 billion or nearly two-thirds of [the budget deal] goes to the war contingency and state department security programs. Total US national security spending will touch nearly $800 billion next year. That’s two-thirds of Russia’s entire current GDP of $1.2 trillion!

    A crisis-driven resort to prioritized spending cutbacks is the only mechanism left. That’s why Johnny Lawnchair deserves everlasting infamy—–or at least until Paul Ryan comes up with new excuses for burying future generations in terminal debt.

    Stockman mercilessly zeroes in on the Big Lie of Republicans: namely, posing as rock-ribbed fiscal conservatives, while pumping unlimited funds into the most decadent and feckless military empire in the history of human civilization.

    Our next Republican president will have to troll a hundred-dollar bill through Harvard Yard to find another Kennedy School of Government clown like the current Def Sec, Ashton Carter.

  16. jfleni

    RE: Caution: Copy-Pasting URLs from Google Search can Leak Previous Searches

    Treat slimy effing GIGGLE just like a dread disease.. use one of the many search engines that wipe everything out when you go!

    1. fresno dan

      I learned a new word!
      thanks for that!

      make conflicting or evasive statements; equivocate.
      “the more she tergiversated, the greater grew the ardency of the reporters for an interview”
      change one’s loyalties; be apostate.

      BTW – you forgot lying…

  17. willf

    Bernie Sanders is in big trouble: You don’t have to be a neoliberal shill to see the cold, hard facts Salon (OregonCharles). If the game is rigged, change the rules.

    The article posits that since Sherrod Brown endorsed Clinton*, this means that Sanders is in trouble because HRC is winning the “invisible primary” wherein prominent party members flock to one candidate. But he says its OK if Sanders loses because:

    This is not to say that Sanders’s campaign is a waste of energy for liberals. Already we have seen it push Clinton to embrace more leftist positions, such as opposing the Trans-Pacific Partnership and the Keystone pipeline.

    Oh ha ha, really?

    No, not really. The very next sentence:

    Voters and activists will need to find ways to hold her and her party accountable on those positions if she wins the election. Doing so is the most difficult and frustrating work of politics after an election is over.

    So, now we acknowledge that the idea of Clinton being “pushed to the left” is for the campaign season alone. But hey, them’s the breaks:

    But the Democratic Party is what it is, and that will not change by next November, no matter how many debates Sanders wins or how much his supporters can get #FeelTheBern trending on Twitter.

    So, the party’s chosen candidate is being “pushed to the left” by Sanders, but that’s just for show. Don’t expect the party to be pulled to the left any time soon, because “it is what it is”.

    This philosophy seems like a surefire way for the DNC to kill off any enthusiasm Sanders brought to the party, long before election day, 2016. When Sanders loses, the party’s hopes for 2016 go with him, even if they can’t see that.

    *Sherrod Brown has been a Clinton supporter since 2008, but somehow his endorsement is a loss for Sanders?

    1. cwaltz

      The amusing thing for me is that there seems to be this misimpression that these votes “locked in.” Who here remembers 2008 when Hillary superdelegates jumped ship and ended up in Obama’s camp when it had been decided that he was going to be the candidate and that there wasn’t going to be a floor fight?

    2. nippersdad

      “When Sanders loses, the Party’s hopes for 2016 go with him, even if they can’t see that”

      Amanda Marcotte, today:

      “….and no one is better equipped to make it close than Marco Rubio, who will put voters to sleep until they wake up to find that they forgot to vote for Clinton.”

      Bearing in mind that Marcotte is one of Clintons biggest fans, this makes me wonder if she (or they?) is not more situationally aware than they let on. Otherwise it seems a little early to bring up the 2000 election. Usually the fearmongering comes a little later in the cycle.

      1. cwaltz

        Clinton’s best chance is the GOP base is just as disgusted with whoever their super duper oligarch leadership decides gets to carry the “fiscal, compassionate conservative” torch.

  18. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Giant surveillance blimp.

    Rogue blimp.

    Symbolic of run-away government (military/security part) spending.

    1. fresno dan

      Shouldn’t that be symbolic of “floating”-away government (military/security part) spending – ever higher?

  19. Oregoncharles

    “Poland Stands Up for National Sovereignty in Europe American Conservative”

    Can someone tell me what this article MEANS? Is Poland going to throw its body on the gears, or is this just smoke?

    If I remember correctly, Poland is not presently in the Euro. Are they facing a deadline on that? I think they recently decided not to join the Eurozone – a bad sign for the single currency.

    Do we have a Polish version of Isabel?

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