Links 11/11/15

An arms race among venomous animals? Science Daily

Half-Billion-Year-Old Brains Preserved in Fool’s Gold Live Science

Banks said to hold $10tn of ‘risky’ trades FT. What could do wrong?

Fidelity Marks Down Value of Snapchat Stake by 25% WSJ. Froth.

Goldman Contrarian Joins Chorus Warning on Bond-Market Liquidity Bloomberg

Washington’s former bailout czar has a new job at the Federal Reserve WaPo

The Federal Reserve’s Shifting Makeup WSJ

Neel Kashkari to Replace Narayana Kocherlakota at the Minneapolis Fed? Brad DeLong

Beyond Banking: under attack on all sides FT. Part one of three.

Up for Scrutiny: Over $335M a Year in Business Incentives Oklahoma Watch. In Oklahoma alone….

Trade Traitors

A Trade Deal for Working Families Barack Obama, Bloomberg

Here’s what the Internet hates about the TPP trade deal Daily Dot

TPP has provision banning requirements to transfer or access source code (Knowledge Ecology International) Discussion.


Greek finance minister says debt deal should include long grace periods Reuters

Fresh effort to create register of public bodies Ekathimerini

Europe responds to Cameron’s EU reform proposals Open Europe

Portugal on collision course with EU as centre-Right government falls after 11 days Telegraph


Syria conflict: Army ‘breaks IS siege of Kuwairis airbase’ BBC. ISIS is bad, so that’s good, right?

Exclusive: Russia to propose Syrians launch 18-month reform process – document Reuters

Egypt detects ‘impressive’ anomaly in Giza pyramids AP 

Black Injustice Tipping Point

University of Missouri hunger striker says Ferguson protests were ‘monumental’ for him  Los Angeles Times

The Incident You Have To See To Understand Why Students Wanted Mizzou’s President To Go Huffpo

Race protests scattered around U.S. campuses after Missouri resignations Reuters. Not sure what a “race protest” is. I mean, for? Or against?

The Vilification of Student Activists at Yale The Atlantic

Mizzou mass media professor issues apology for confronting reporters WaPo. Making the story the press, and not the protests… 

Supreme Court gives broader immunity to police using deadly force in chases Los Angeles Times and Court protects police in fatal shooting case SCOTUSblog. Nice timing, there, Judge Roberts.

Police State Watch

Video appears to show motorist had hands up before marshals killed boy CBS. That’s not “boy.” That’s “his autistic son.”

The US inmates charged per night in jail BBC

Dear Jessica, We Are Hiring A Generation Of Fearful, Inexperienced, And Poorly Trained Cops. Medium

The LASD bought a five million dollar helicopter with seized assets last year Muckrock

Poll: Americans fear guns over terrorism by large margin McClatchy

Imperial Collapse Watch

Interview with Charlie Savage on Obama’s War on Terror Legacy Glenn Greenwald, The Intercept. How Obama normalized and rationalized what Bush did. All predictable, of course, when Obama flip-flopped on FISA reform in July 2008, and gave the telcos retroactive immunity for the felonies they committed in Bush’s program of warrantless surveillance.

Classified Report on the C.I.A.’s Secret Prisons Is Caught in Limbo NYT. “[T]he interrogation sessions are said to be described in great detail.” Personally, I’ve always felt there was as direct video feed from the torture chambers to Cheney’s office, and possibly the Oval Office. We all know how Cheney liked his intelligence raw.

Netanyahu reaches out to Democrats in Washington appearance McClatchy. Not just any Democrats: Podesta’s think tank.

Class Warfare

In the long shadow of the Great Recession  Martin Wolf, FT. Hysteresis. At the micro level, we often handle hysteresis by making amends, and so forth. Of course, the elites will never do that. Even assuming good faith.

To Understand Climbing Death Rates Among Whites, Look To Women Of Childbearing Age Health Affairs

The Decline of Labor, the Increase of Inequality TPM. Remember card check? Remember when Obama promised to walk the picket line in his comfortable shoes? Good times.

The Philanthropy Hustle Jacobin

An Overdue Power Shift in College Sports WSJ. Unions for college football players?

Human Remains 629667 LRB. On immigration.

Editorial It’s time to stop the whining about charter schools Los Angeles Times.

How Vietnam Mastered Infectious Disease Control NOVA

Everything You Need to Know About the Exxon Climate Change Probe Bloomberg

Vint Cerf is Wrong. Privacy Is Not An Anomaly Center for Internet and Society

Antidote du jour:


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. timbers

    “A Trade Deal for Working Families Barack Obama, Bloomberg”

    At least his writing where he can speak to his base. Maybe “Family Circle” magazine will reprint Obama’s article?

    Up Next:

    “Why My Drone Assassination and World Wide Network of Torture Chambers and Support of Al-qeada, ISIS, ISIL is Good For Pregnant Women, Children, and Wedding Attendees and Hospital Staff and Patients” Barack Obama, O, Ohrah Magazine

    1. jgordon

      That Barack Obama article seemed pretty long and wordy. I’ll him summarize it by paraphrasing him so hardworking American who are too desperately stressed trying to stay afloat to pay attention to things like these trade treaties will be able to comprehend BO’s logic:

      Give corporate lobbyists utterly everything they want–and then some–forever in perpetuity, and the lives of hardworking Americans will get better! Hmm, sounds plausible to me.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Sometimes, when I get home, I am too emotionally drained to cook anything, even if I am lucky enough to be not physically worn out that particular day.

        But that’s what I have been taught since the first grade – you gotta to out-smart others in this Darwinian intellectual competition for food and survival. Not sharing. Take no intellectual prisoners.

        Kill all ideas that stand in your idea’s way.

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            In the Realm of ideas, ideas get along peacefully.

            Ideas don’t kill ideas.

            And ideas exist long before humans write them down on paper or utter them.

            They may have come into the world (at the time of Big Bang) before the arrival of man.

            1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

              For example, the idea of bailing out big banks may be in favor one day among humans.

              And later, the idea of not bailing out big banks becomes popular among these same living beings.

              But both ideas were, are and will always be there in their Realm.

                1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

                  I believe he was a mystic, someone who was not on the side of sacerdotalism, but believed that everyone could experience the Ineffable, that each of us had Greatness inside.

                  I would be a fan of his.

          2. neo-realist

            Powerful interests tend to work against ideas that threaten their hegemony, as well as providing forums to be expressed to the critical mass.

  2. allan

    Neel Kashkari: how did he get chosen? From the Fed’s FAQ:

    To conduct the search, the Reserve Bank’s board of directors forms a search committee composed of Class B and C directors. That committee hires a search firm to help identify a broad, diverse, highly qualified candidate pool. The committee considers a large nationwide pool of candidates, both within and outside the Federal Reserve System, who meet the position’s qualifications. The Banks seek candidates who can

    •guide the focus of the Bank’s economic research and gather economic intelligence through interactions with the Bank’s board of directors and other business and community contacts,
    •provide keen insights to Federal Open Market Committee policy discussions,
    •communicate clearly about monetary policy,
    •be a strong chief executive officer of the Bank,
    •ensure the Bank maintains an effective system of bank supervision by faithfully carrying out its delegated authority from the Board of Governors, and
    •make strong personal contributions to matters requiring collective System action or direction.

    Is there any way that an objective search of `a broad, diverse, highly qualified candidate pool’ would have resulted
    in a failing upward revolving door specialist like Kashkari being selected?
    And who might be the Class B and C directors of the Minneapolis Fed, appointed to `represent the public’?
    Read and weep.

      1. lord koos

        Hey, what are you complaining about — the search included the New York AND London offices of Goldman.

  3. Christian B

    On”Mizzou mass media professor issues apology for confronting reporters”:

    Your take that this that they are “making this about the press” is way off the mark. Anyone who knows anything about Mao’s Cultural Revolution and who watched that video would get chills down their spine. This needs to be a story. The bullying and illogical statements had the same group think you will find on the right wing of the political spectrum as well. When power and illogical groupthink congeal we should all be frightened and call it out.

    Funny thing though, that kid they were pushing around won an award for a photograph of a black teen crying at the Micheal Brown protest.

  4. craazyboy

    I case anyone missed it, we had the Rs debate on the economy last night. Two debates actually, the lesser one with the guys that score 2% or less in the polls, and then the main event with all the big guys.

    We should be inundated today with expert opinion about what they said and who the “winners” are. In the meantime, for some reason I feel compelled to make a few un-expert and wholly inadequately detailed and un-fact checked observations.

    Debate I (the guys that won’t be elected to the jobs they have now)

    1) Christie reminds of John Candy’s Evil Twin.

    2) The general consensus seems to be we need a small government that dominates the world. Any of the candidates can do it.

    3) The one exception being Jindal (LA Guvernator). We need a small government and the country should emulate the economy of Louisiana.

    4) I can’t put my finger on anything else that needs mentioning.

    Debate II (People we need to be Very Serious about)

    1) Lots of rather impressive oratory, some of it even sounded informed. (see my fact checking disclaimer)

    I have no idea which planet, alternative universe, or time line they are talking about. This would concern me, but the audience would cheer and clap at regular intervals.

    2) Given the uncertainty in 1), the general consensus seems to be we need a small government that dominates wherever it is we are. Any of the candidates can do it.

    3) The one exception being Senator Paul (Ky). We need a small government and the country should emulate the economy of Kentucky.

    4) We have a big national debt ($19T) and we need tax cuts.

    5) I can’t put my finger on anything else that needs mentioning.

    1. cwaltz

      If I hear the words “small government” one more time I’m going to smack someone.

      The size of the government is less consequential than the actual effectiveness of said government. The fact that we had one inspector for hundreds of oil rigs was determined to be part of why we ended up with the BP spill. When a Republican says “small government” what they really mean is ineffective regulatory arm so businesses can do whatever the Hades they want until something bad happens and then go “who could have imagined” like the morons in Congress.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Certain Democrats and Republicans want a do-nothing small government…(witness our do-nothing small Justice department – small does not refer to its size, as we know).

        All else being equal, if we can do the same job with less, small is the better (more elegant, they say in math) choice.

        We want a powerful small government (especially a small imperialist sector), with a financial fraud-czar, to compete with the do-nothing Justice dept (here, competition is good).

        Oh, maybe also health czar to protect us from unhealthy health care insurances, GM foods and bad eating habits, and to go into our schools and tell teachers that they are, but not doing enough in educating students about living a happy, healthy life, and coexisting with Nature.

        We need czars to cut through the bureaucracy of a small government that can still be too big.

        Finally, the power of the government must be measured relative to that of the little people. The people are little (Little is Beautiful), but we can be even more powerful than the government.

    2. Socal rhino

      Best summary I’ve seen, craazyboy. Runner-up, halfway through main event was a tweet by Larison at American Conservative: Bush having a good debate, spoiled it by speaking.

    3. optimader

      Thanks CB, now I feel I didn’t miss it.
      I was hoping to hear Christopher Chris Christie Christ Almighty I’m Hungry walked over to Bobby Jindal’s lectern, sprinkled some salt on him, and then ate him on live TV. Too bad, sounds like nothing that interesting happened.

      1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

        Maybe he wanted one of Arby’s Whole Beef Halves, surrounded by a thin thin thin 16 millimeter shell (offer not good after curfew in Sectors R and Z)

          1. JerseyJeffersonian

            The President of these United States is named Schickelgruber.

            Apparently, it is an numerous gens, as all we seem to get nowadays as “serious candidates” for that office are members of this family. So, sit down, Louise, and don’t worry about your mascara running, ’cause we are all progressively, and to our dismay, learning of this our implacable fate.

    4. fresno dan

      Thanks for the “crazy like a fox” synopsis ;)

      I don’t receive FOX “business/TAXCUT TAXCUT TAXCUT ‘government is bad bad bad’ except when its waging war (oops – police actions) and monitoring us, but monitoring us is soooo bad when its done by a democrat” channel, so I didn’t get to see the debate.
      I did see an excerpt of Fiorina, which for the zillionth time reaffirms my opinion that the woman is clinically mentally disordered.

      One thing from the FOX channel I did get is, again, I point I constantly make, FOX is first and always about the money. They constantly hyped how wonderful, wise, and fair their moderators were – and how objective and truthful they are, and every other media outlet is run by gay communist cannibals who hate Christmas…
      If buttercoating Trump and Carson sells rascal scooters (paid for by medicare…), than they are gonna sing their phrases.
      I am sure later in the campaign, if the republican establishment really thinks one of the screwballs actually has a chance at the nomination, expect to see some hard hitting “investigative” journalism against the outsiders…
      Of course, whether FOX really wants a republican president is debatable under my theory. I am sure that Murdoch can work with Hillary (maybe better than any republican) and salivates and how great FOX ratings would be with Hillary in the White House…

      1. craazyboy

        It was a free service complements of website. The archive is still there. Probably on youtube by now too.

        Ya. I think Roger Ailes is like a stockbroker – he makes money whichever way the political tides flow. Probably more when his customer base is angry – as they are wont to be….[ the brown people done et $19 trillion dollars in food stamps!!!]

        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          It’s interesting to think of the press as brokers of emotion rather than conveyers of information. The unifying rubric would, I think, be “the story” (“the narrative”).

      2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Speaking of those screwballs actually having a chance, if that happens, you can then expect some bad news from the Teutorburg Forest.

        “We need experience.”

        “Germanicus, give me back MY legions.” Sorry, it should be ‘Quintilius Varus, give me back MY legions!!!”

      3. jrs

        Yes Fiona on the same crazy rant again as in a prior debate, the exact same one, it happens every time she goes off her meds ….

  5. Carla

    Re: charter schools. Yes, it’s so annoying when citizens whine about public funds flowing into unaccountable private hands. I agree, serious study is certainly called for. Or a new legal system…

    1. abynormal

      expo$ure Alway$ $catter$ the cockAroache$ “A more useful proposal on the agenda, by board member Monica Ratliff, would require charter schools to disclose information to parents and staffs about their special-education offerings and curriculums, and any time the school has been served with a notice that its charter might be revoked. But the proposal would go overboard by requiring schools to reveal their teacher pay scales, calorie contents of their meals and the square footage of their play areas. Important information should be revealed to parents, but this proposal reaches beyond what’s useful.”
      whaaap whaaap whaaap
      …i’ll just leave your curriculums for point rendered

    2. JTMcPhee

      Sure looks like we already have that “new legal system,” in which you and I have no standing, no rights and ipso facto, E Pluribus Unum, no remedies. QED and Red Ipsa Loquitur.

      1. Jim Haygood

        ‘Red Ipsa Loquitur’ — this Latin expression can be translated as ‘the price of copper speaks for itself.’

        This morning, the red metal briefly slipped below $2.20/lb, the lowest level since 2009. Chart:

        Maybe the Fed should pay more attention to Dr Copper than to their in-house ‘experts.’ A spectre is haunting America: the Ghost of 1937.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          I was told last weekend that Chinese wives are dumping gold…probably to raise cash for overseas adventures, I presume (I should have asked).

          1. Jim Haygood

            In early 1937 the Fed tweaked the discount rate and reserve requirement higher. Stocks proceeded to slide 50%, and the economy fell back into recession.

            Oops, our bad!

          2. MLS

            The depression started in 1929 and by 1937 had recovered in many respects (although unemployment was reportedly still in the teens). Then the economy took a nasty turn and deflation set in while productivity plunged as we hit a deep recession. Some people described the conditions to be as bad or worse than during 1929-1933 period.

            The causes are generally believed to be some combination of tax hikes, cuts in federal spending, and tighter monetary policy, much the scenario we have today.

            Jim’s comments refer to the plunging price of copper which is often considered a barometer for prices and demand for raw materials, and he likens it to the onset of deflation similar to what we saw in 1937.

          3. abynormal

            In 1936, marginal personal income tax rates were increased again. For incomes between $100,000 and 150,000, the tax rate went from 56% to 62%, a 10.7% increase in the tax rate; for incomes between $1,000,000 and $2,000,000, the tax rate went from 63% to 77%, a 22.2% increase ; and for incomes in excess of $5,000,000, the marginal tax rate became 79%, an increase of 25.4% from the previous top marginal tax rate of 63%. Between August 1936 and May 1937, the Federal Reserve doubled the percentage of reserves commercial banks were required to hold relative to their deposits. The economic expansion that commenced in April 1933 then peaked in May 1937. The economy entered the second recession of the Great Depression, which lasted through June 1938.

      1. craazyboy

        He keeps ’em coming too. Neil Cavuto did a post interview w/ Carson last night. One of Neil’s debate questions was “would you bail out banks” (you have 90s to answer). It was fielded by both Cruz and Kasich, both of whom said no, and proceeded to give totally unrealistic reasons why that would work. Then Neil followed up w/ “take the case of BofA failing. Would you then tell all the depositors they lost their life savings?”. They then went into meltdown mode and flunked the trick question royally.

        Ben quietly avoided the question. Then Neil posed it to him post debate. I can’t quote all the noises that dribbled out Ben’s mouth, but to paraphrase, Ben thinks you should let TBTF banks fail, but the bank should give depositors advance notice so depositors can take their money out and put it in a smaller bank!!!!


        He’s against bank regulation, but bank runs should be scheduled in advance!!!!

        He’s also unaware we have fractional banking – when you deposit your money, 92% of it got loaned out immediately. (or sooner, as MMTers so importantly point out) 8% of it is held as reserves.

        So in Prez Ben’s world we will have scheduled bank runs where we can stand in long lines and get 8% of our money back!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

        1. ChrisFromGeorgia

          Sheesh, neither of these guys could think of a four letter agency whose mission it is to protect depositors? How sad is that?

          1. Vatch

            Yes, that is sad. However, if a behemoth bank like JP Morgan Chase or Bank of America fails, the FDIC probably won’t have enough funds to pay the depositors. An internet search shows that JP Morgan Chase had $1.36 trillion in deposits in 2014 (source: Marketwatch). Of course, some of that money is not covered by the FDIC, but I suspect a lot of it is. According to Wikipedia, in 2010 the FDIC had $18 billion in cash, $19 billion in Treasury securities, and the ability to borrow $500 billion from the Federal Reserve. Depending on how much of the $1.36 trillion is FDIC insured, this might not be enough.

            I think that if a too-big-to-fail bank fails, the government should become the owner of the bank. Or at least, the shareholders’ equity should be diluted by however much the government must pay to save the bank. I think JP Morgan Chase has about $230 billion in shareholders’ equity as of 2014, so this could be heavily diluted if the government must pay several hundred billion dollars in the event that the bank fails.

            1. cwaltz

              The FDIC can be funded the same way we fund things like wars that we also don’t have cash on hand for. This idea that we can only blow money on blowing things up is ridiculous.

              1. Vatch

                Of course, so long as the Congress is willing to appropriate the money. As we learned a few days ago, they are more interested in protecting the banks’ 6% annual Federal Reserve dividend than they are in repairing our nation’s deteriorating infrastructure.

            2. andyb

              When you open an account in any bank, read the fine print on the application. Bottom line: in the event of a default/bankruptcy you are but a creditor, and even then pretty low on the totem pole of priority payouts. Your best case scenario is to be issued stock in the new bank or the one that takes over the failed one, in which case the value might be as much as 10% of your total deposits.

              BTW, the FDIC fund covers less than 2.0% of total deposits at all US banks.

        2. jgordon

          Well actually we don’t have fractional reserve lending anymore. The amount of money banks has on deposit bears little relationship to the amount of credit they create. Unfortunately that is one of the myths still taught in economics classrooms that is completely wrong, which shows exactly what economics is worth.

          1. craazyboy

            The reserve requirement does apply to savings and checking accounts. Oddly, credit cards are exempted. When it comes to regulation, they look at capital ratios (or overlook – ie wave mark-to-market, off balance sheet treasure, etc..) But yeah, the real problem is banks aren’t banks anymore, plus the weird derivatives….

  6. DJG

    The protests at Yale: The true issue here is not costumes, which is an argument over the kitsch that is now Halloween. The true issue has something to do with free speech–you may not like what the Silliman master have to say, but they aren’t off the charts. What the article is especially good at pointing out is that U.S. elite universities are wildly racist, structurally so. Gee, how could that have happened? And isn’t it interesting that U.S. elites have adapted to get what they want regardless of societal and economic changes–which is reproducing the elites and its current hard-wired commitment to the so-called free market?

    At my oh-so-elite alma mater, the “diversity” program is laughable. The university is big on “international” students–you know, offspring of the Chinese kleptocracy and scions of high-caste Indian families. Yet the percentage of black American students has remained the same for years. Occasionally, the university publishes diversity pie charts that should be sent immediately to Edward Tufte for vaporization. And, by the way, the biggest undergrad major is economics. Hmmm. I wonder why.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Those elite higher learning institutions are only interested in furthering their hold on intellectual-wealth inequality.

      They are not interested in opening up their libraries, their archives, their research facilities, their instructors to all.

      1. participant-observer-observed

        Last time I looked, MIT had some course content online for free viewing, for non credit.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Still need to fork over some extortion money to get certified though.

          “We certify the holder of this paper is qualified to function as a state-of-the-art part (having rejected all the D and F copies) in your machine.”

          On the back side:

          “Don’t worry. Next year, we will have cheaper robots to do the same, should your budget requires the application of that brilliant economic principle, the Substitution Effect, to combat rising (wage) inflation.”

          Side note: Your truly will never eat anything prepared by a robot. So, take that, all you fast food restaurants.

  7. Adam S

    Re: the Barack article. His defense of the TPP in that article is ridiculously awful. It really needs a full article breaking it down, complete with color-coding and reference key, in true NC-style.

    1. abynormal

      great idea as you, yours and friends

      the Lambert color coding extends mother natures pallet teehehehe

  8. Synoia

    TPP has provision banning requirements to transfer or access source code

    Which would greatly benefit certain 3 letter agencies by preventing backdoor prevention through code inspection.

    Otherwise I see small benefit to this provision.

    1. Chris in Paris

      IBM and MSFT have been complaining for years about government procurement contracts that require source code escrow (makes sense to people who need to access file formats, say 100 years in the future). That’s what this is about.

      1. JTMcPhee

        Really? That’s all it’s about? Like the rest of the treason deals parts are just about protecting twerking class families?

        It’s just a category-definitional thing, mayhap — I bet Barack would list HIS nuclear family as “working class,” he and Michelle and the kids and dog work hard at what they do, work up a real sweat for their employers, lots of off the clock salaried hours you betcha… Maybe his nominal pay actually works out, like it does for other “high income salary (the bonus comes with the NEXT gig)” workers, to just $15.00 an hour…

        1. Chris in Paris

          That’s actually a pretty substantial give to the software companies. Basically it means that if you use their proprietary software, you’ll have to hire IT forensic experts to illegally reverse engineer the software that is long out of service coverage — but still covered by copyright!

  9. Synoia

    Antidote du jour:

    Lovely Shot. For certain that shot was not take close up and personal.

    Being close to a herd is certain death. Either from the young bulls surrounding and protecting the herd, or from the mothers of the calf elephants. I’ve been chased by both.

    I’ve seen an elephant get irritated with a VW Combi.. The Combi came a poor second.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      I was surprised to learn that as far back as 3,000 years ago, elephants and rhinos roamed the Central Plain of China.

      I have seen rhino bronzes from that period and personally, I have 3 small jade elephants from the Shang dynasty.

      I guess they went through their Easter Island moment and vanished forever from that area.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      That’s sad to hear.

      In less visible ways, the wealthy benefit in many other areas, especially since they have captured the government.

  10. fresno dan

    Interview with Charlie Savage on Obama’s War on Terror Legacy Glenn Greenwald, The Intercept. How Obama normalized and rationalized what Bush did. All predictable, of course, when Obama flip-flopped on FISA reform in July 2008, and gave the telcos retroactive immunity for the felonies they committed in Bush’s program of warrantless surveillance.

    GREENWALD: If you were to say to Obama or a lot of his key advisors and the officials who’ve implemented these policies: “Hey look, there’s this critique of you that you’re a huge hypocrite because you were out there all those years criticizing Bush for all these policies that you ended up then embracing,” one of their defenses, if not their primary defense, would be:

    “No, that’s totally wrong, our primary critique of the Bush administration was not that they exercised these powers, but that they exercised them lawlessly. That instead of going to Congress saying ‘we want to do this,’ they would just do it on their own, or they didn’t get judicial approval, and our critique of them was one of lawlessness, that they were doing these things without legal authority. And so even in these cases where we end up looking like we were doing the same thing, we actually got Congressional approval and so we were doing it under the law. That is a fundamental difference.”

    So the first term, right after 9/11, was one of extreme secrecy. They did do all these things on their own. They didn’t go to Congress. Nobody knew what they were doing. They implemented warrantless surveillance, they were torturing people, they were detaining people on black sites. There was no legal framework for any of the stuff that they were doing.

    But in the second term, and you talk about this in your book, there’s a lot of instances where they did go and get a legal framework from Congress like the Military Commissions Act, the FISA Amendments Act, prior to that the Protect America Act.

    When Obama was running for president and making all of these critiques, he wasn’t running in 2002 and 2003, he was running in 2006, 2007, 2008. So even though you might be able to parse a lot of his statements so that they seem to be critiquing the lawlessness of those policies rather than the policies themselves, certainly a reasonable observer listening to him complain about the Bush Administration in these areas would think that his objections were not just to the legal – the process – part of it, but to the actual substance of it because by then, so much of it was under legal authority.
    SAVAGE And it’s only in retrospect that you got back – you said “parse it” – you can see that it was very carefully formulated in a way that the rule of law issue was the paramount one. And in fact, one of the behind the scenes stories I tell in this investigative history is how when Obama was going to give his big national security speech at the Woodrow Wilson Center in August of 2007, this was where he would sort of present his unified vision and say, “take me seriously as a foreign policy potential president,” an early draft of the speech said he was against military commissions, full stop, period. And his legal advisors, including especially Jeh Johnson, who went on to become his Pentagon General Counsel, and then Homeland Security Secretary, edited that speech and said “you should not flatly rule this out because you don’t know what you’re going to need to do when you’re president, and you might find that military commissions are necessary.”

    And so they rewrote that section of the speech so that he was against the Military Commissions Act of 2006, the first one, and listening to that, I think a lot of people came away with the message “Oh, he was against tribunals,” when it turned out that all he was against were tribunals under that particular act, so that when Congress passed another one in 2009, which tweaked the rules a little bit, he could say, “well, this one is fine.” This was part of deciphering the mystery of the disconnect between the expectations created by his campaign rhetoric and how he actually governed.

    Over and over again, you’re right, in the second term of the Bush Administration, as Congress was legalizing stuff that the Bush Administration had put in place arguably lawlessly, he was criticizing it without making clear that he was against the earlier iteration of it, and not necessarily the way it was going forward. Sometimes, with his vote. He voted for the FISA Amendments Act, for example.

    Well, there you go. The difference between Bush and Obama was that the law wasn’t quite correct…
    A distinction without a difference. Its a “legal” policy but it is accepted by both parties as being the “right” (meant as both “correct” and “conservative”) policy – turns out we NEVER had a choice about the POLICY.
    The fact remains that there are two “right” political parties – repubs (more right, or more accurately more propagandist) and dems. Whatever, the choice of a peace or isolationist party is simply unavailable.

    In my view, until we have strong 3rd parties, that will bring up real alternatives, the dynamics favor the continuation of the status quo….and if your a banker (or the pentagon), that is just wonderful (you can have a democratic Goldman Sachs Treasury secretary…or you can have a republican Goldman Sachs Treasury secretary…)

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      They get you with Republicans.

      They get you with Democrats.

      They get you with small government.

      They get you with big government.


      They are versatile. (Smart people are that way – win either the market is up or down, if you know how to hedge your bet).

      Response? Make the little people Big.

    2. Steven D.

      If you want third parties you must have proportional representation, ranked choice voting or something similar. Talking about the need for third parties is just idle chatter under our current electoral system.

      1. Left in Wisconsin

        Yes. The rules make it IMPOSSIBLE to take power as a third party. (Independent candidates can win elections but the two parties still structure the terms of governance.) So you either need to supplant one of the two parties or take one over.

        Even though both parties are controlled by money and powerful interests, all of that (for both parties) is subject to challenge, partly because they need to appeal to “activists” and “voters.”

        In terms of what money, interests, activists and voters, the only way (IMHO) to see the parties is as coalitions that need constant maintenance and (re)construction. Both are corrupt and so potentially liable to being supplanted. I guess. But it is way too defeatist to suggest that either one is so powerful that it is beyond influence or even capture by good-hearted activists, and eventually politicians.

        I personally see no way in to remaking the Republican Party; the activists and voters I identify with are all D’s or further to the left. So I focus my energy on trying to “re-socialize” D candidates and the D party apparatus (while salving my conscience by still faithfully committing a very small amount monthly to my local rump third party).

  11. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Hunger strike.

    People use it for noble causes. But I puzzle over its mechanism.

    It seems to say, ‘I will abuse myself. I will hurt myself, unless I get my way.”

    Now, the underlying implication is, and there is no doubt that is the case, that the “freedom-of-speech society has failed to listen to me, so I have to go to my last resort.”

    In a way, it’s like when parents fail to listen to their kid, the kid will refuse to eat or pout.

    I wonder if there are other ‘last resort’ ways to getting a deafened (too many free speakers speaking at the same time, on so many TV channels, maybe?) society to listen.

    Maybe, another last resort way is to burn oneself alive on a street in Vietnam? I don’t think I have that kind of conviction and courage.

    What about just bloodying one’s one face, maybe by tattooing it? Would that get the deafened society to listen to you?

    What about ‘I am just going to hurt myself by super-sizing processed food meals until you listen to me?”

    Or ‘I am going to hurt myself, even endanger my life, by raising my cholesterol. I am going on all fat diet, until I get my way?’

    1. Christian B

      The “nobility” in the hunger strike is that you are sacrificing the fulfillment of an innate human desire, hunger. It’s roots are religious nbut I am afraid without the religion it looses all meaning.

      Not so with a fat strike, its roots are materialistic.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        That’s a good point.

        There are many innate human desires.

        Can one do it with thirst, as in thirst strike? (Hunger is already widespread, saved not being publicized as dramatically as a hunger striker)

        How about a procreation strike?

        And even when rooted in religion, the mechanism for achieving the aim, whatever that may be, is by evoking sympathy and empathy from the public, with one’s pain and suffering. And so, we can move beyond the original motive, as we frequently do, and adopt the core components to other situations, which are, 1. we hurt ourselves, causing pain and suffering to ourselves as a price to be paid to 2. have our just cause dramatized and publicized.

        1. Christian B

          There are not many innate human desires, just two: food and sex. Everything else fluffernutter. Celibacy is more personal and less visible so that is left to one’s protests against god. And a thirst strike would only last a day or two, a bit longer than self immolation but not as dramatic.

          But the roots of hunger strikes are more than “religious”, they are spiritual, it that they rest on the fact the the other party would actually be shamed by a person starving on your doorstep. That is why hunger strikes are useless today; no one gives a %$^*.

          ING: . . . He has chosen death:
          Refusing to eat or drink, that he may bring
          Disgrace upon me; for there is a custom,
          An old and foolish custom, that if a man
          Be wronged, or think that he is wronged, and starve
          Upon another’s threshold till he die,
          The Common People, for all time to come,
          Will raise a heavy cry against that threshold,
          Even though it be the King’s.
          — W.B. Yeats, The King’s Threshold

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            A starving person on your doorway.

            I was just thinking about that – that we have evolved to see that, but not the many more starving all over the world.

            We came from living in small clans.

            This modern globalized world – in many ways, it’s just an abstraction.

            And we can’t communicate with each other – we don’t hear and we are not heard.

            Is it time to, or can we, go back to small (communities and governments), as in local, again?

    2. JTMcPhee

      How about self-immolation, like some folks in Vietnam and on the steps of the Pentagram and over in Tunisia (where the ñeolibs are trying to ensure their hegemony in the aftermath of the aborted Arab Spring thing)? Are those acts of desperation serious enough, or just holding their breath until their faces turn charcoal too?

      Curious why the criticism and diminution of hunger strikes, that even if broken before the striker dies produce often serious medical sequelae, is presented here. Anything that awakens empathic responses on that scale ought to be at least respected..

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Not diminishing.

        Trying to understand to see the essential issue and to see if there are alternatives.

        The essential issue is, the way I see it, that we don’t feel we are being heard. (not that kind when we are being listened to via surveillance). Meanwhile, pain and suffering go on all the time, everywhere.

        That people have to abuse and hurt themselves in order to have their causes heard – that speaks to a huge breakdown in communication in our society.

  12. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Americans fear gun violence.

    I wonder if we fear police violence more than gun violence?

    Especially police with guns.

  13. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Vietnam…infectious disease control.

    Loan’s dream is to get his pocket farm thriving. But this kind of farming can bring forest microbes into contact with people. Elsewhere, human-animal contact has allowed a number of viruses to spill over. Chimpanzees brought us HIV, the West African Ebola outbreak most likely came from contact with fruit bats, and SARS came to us through palm civets. The close proximity can also provide a place for viruses to mix and trade genes—and become more infectious.

    But through One Health programs, the local forestry department and health offices have reached out to Loan and others. They’ve taught him how to handle his animals to prevent infections—keeping them caged in order to prevent bites and scratches, for example, and he knows to alert the authorities if he notices any infections in the animals or the people who handle them.
    From the article:

    Positive: the programs prevent infections.

    Not sure if positive: Nature’s checks on human aggression have been sidestepped. The GDP Growth Army marches on. We will conquer energy-supply obstacles. We will ensure a few make it through Global Warming. There will be no place for (you can run) Nature to hide (so we believe).

  14. karl

    re: Missouri,

    Looks like the media is trying to fan grievance based race war.

    Nice distraction from the economy.

  15. Jess

    From the story on the SCOTUS ruling on police immunity:

    “By the time Mullenix fired, Leija had led police on a 25-mile chase at extremely high speeds, was reportedly intoxicated, had twice threatened to shoot officers and was racing towards an officer’s location,” the court said. “Ultimately, whatever can be said of the wisdom of Mullenix’s choice, this court’s precedents do not place the conclusion that he acted unreasonably in these circumstances beyond debate.”

    Seems to me that this was a bad case on which to base precedent. Suppose the cop had not fired and Leija ended up killing innocent people in another vehicle? When you go on one of these high speed chases you endanger quite a few people other than yourself and the pursuing police. Shooting a suspect fleeing in a car at high speed over a considerable distance is quite different from shooting a suspect fleeing on foot.

  16. hemeantwell

    Re “The Decline of Labor, Increase in Inequality,” this signals a certain analytic wavering:

    In 1978, despite the most massive lobbying drive in union history, Carter placidly watched a modest labor reform bill be filibustered to death by Republicans and Southern Democrats in an overwhelmingly Democratic Congress. The bill would have increased the paltry penalties on companies who illegally sought to defeat organizing drives, expedited union elections, and allowed union organizers limited access to the workplace. Despite its best efforts, unions could not match business’s determination to thwart the bill. (Subsequent legislative efforts during the Clinton administration to outlaw replacement workers and, during the Obama administration, to ensure card check union elections failed without even a congressional vote.)

    First we have the neoliberal avant la lettre Carter “placidly watching” the reform bill fail. But two sentences later the Democratic party disappears as a variable and the political order turns into a scale that weighs “determination,” kind of like what produces results when you join a gym. This nicely reflects what many writers, e.g. Greta Krippner see as an attempt by the pols to flee from responsibility. Like HRC, they present themselves ever fresh and sparkling, willing to open mindedly listen and listen and listen, placidly.

    1. Left in Wisconsin

      Carter seems to be a very decent human being but he was a union hater. Even by that point (Carter’s presidency), the unions were seen as only a source of votes and voters, not a constituency to be heard. Then, when Volker & Reagan blamed inflation on the unions, that was all many Dems needed to hear. Mondale, to his credit, tried to put Humpty Dumpty back together again, and his slaughter in 84 signaled the end of any effort by the D’s to strengthen unions or help working people. Thirty years later, here we are.

      1. JTMcPhee

        And Jimmy Hoffa and Tony Boyle and such sure did not help the Cause… Not sympathetic characters at all…

        1. Jim

          Have to disagree. In my opinion Hoffa was one of our most charismatic labor leaders.
          He despised the Kennedy brothers and made the mistake of believing he needed the muscle of the Mafia but he was pretty good at organizing.

          We desperately need such organizing skills today. What is going on at the Missouri campus is a case in point.

          Some of the student leaders on the Missouri campus claim political inspiration from what they saw/experienced in Ferguson. They come back to their campus community and tried to organize there. These protests are apparently built around demands for more recruitment of black students, faculty and administration but the linkage between these demands and any concrete benefits such demands might have for the average citizen of Ferguson are quite iffy–despite the rhetoric of solidarity.

          Black student protest on college campuses seem to historcially end up primarily benefiting an upwardly mobile sector of the black population who attend college. The daily life of people such as those who live in the community of Ferguson do not appear to change as a consequence of such campus protest.

          How would Hoffa have dealt with this organizing dilemma?

          How would you deal with this organizing issue?

          1. JTMcPhee

            Hoffa and Boyle and other leaders of strong unions imo turned into convenient bugbears for so called conservatives in the earlier campaigns of the class war. Noise about corruptionandcommunism and them libruls sure helped Raygun the former union official to demonize and destroy the air traffic controllers, one milepost on the road to where we are…

  17. Steven D.

    The Bush-Cheney torture was all about entertaining the torturers and indulging their fantasies, not about any useful purpose. Cheney in particular is a pervert in the true sense of that word. Bush is a pathetic punk and the poster child for the fragile male ego.

    The real work of interrogation is boring without all the drama, feelings of total control, sadism and self-mythologizing involved in torture.

    1. JustAnObserver

      Good interrogators are highly skilled and are known to get better results than torturers but torture is so much *cheaper*.

      Yet another example of crappification ?

  18. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Unions for college football players?

    Sounds reasonable, as they are revenue-generators for the colleges.

    On the other hand, janitors are also employees, albeit on the back room side.

    Nevertheless, if revenue-generators can get scholarships and education, why can’t janitors and other employees be parts of the student body, getting a chance to earning a university degree certificate.

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