Links 11/14/15

Woman wins fight to wear spaghetti strainer on her head in driver’s license picture by citing ‘pastafarian’ religion Daily Mail

UK prosecutors charge 10 with Euribor manipulation FT. 2008’s phishing equilibrium persists, I see.

Ernst & Young Loses Trial for Not Vetting Madoff-Tied Audits Bloomberg

Contractors That Defraud the Government the Most Also Spend the Most on Lobbying The Intercept

IEA Offers No Hope For An Oil-Price Recovery Oil Price
Natural Gas Leak Uncontained Outside Los Angeles for 3 Weeks ABC

Businesses Are Stocking More Than They’re Selling. What Does It Mean? WSJ

Ho Ho Huh? Retail Sales Look Shaky Heading Into Holidays Market Watch

Unicorns beware: markets get it wrong FT

Dani Rodrik: when economics works and when it doesn’t Prospect

Chinese Yuan Should Be an IMF Reserve Currency, Christine Lagarde Says WSJ

Some Platinum Coin Objections from the Mainstream: Part I New Economic Perspectives. Parts II, and III.

Friday lay day – Is MMT applicable to the Eurozone? Bill Mitchell

Paris Attack

Paris Attacks Kill at Least 120 as France Goes Into Lockdown Bloomberg

Paris: Simon Kuper in the Stade de France FT. “I don’t think this is a clash of civilisations. I see it as a clash of a couple of thousands jihadis with a great city. ” Yep. But ka-ching.

Live: Paris rocked by string of deadly shootings France24

Attacks in Central Paris: Live Updates NYT

Context for Paris Terror Attack: U.S. and Its Allies C-R-E-A-T-E-D ISIS Washington’s Blog. Short and sweet.

Angela Merkel’s future under scrutiny for the first time as German asylum process criticised Telegraph

What’s Happening to My Country? Der Spiegel


Today’s Battle Progress In Iraq and Syria Moon of Alabama

The very simple reason why Syria peace talks are probably doomed Vox

Is Syria America’s next Vietnam? CNN

What the US Owes Syria HuffPo

Turkey PM: No plan for land operations in Syria or Iraq Al Jazeera

America’s bold voice cannot be the only one Barack Obama, FT. Where to begin…

Obama urges Congress to approve Pacific trade pact early in 2016 Reuters


Four things to watch for in the Democrats’ debate McClatchy. Two hours, Drake University, CBS starting at 9 p.m. EST.

The Debate Democrats Should Be Having The New Republic. “The cardinal imperative of electing a Democrat in 2016 is to prevent Republicans from consolidating control of government and using it to regressive ends.” Fortunately for Democrats, Sanders polls extremely well; see here and here.

Clinton campaign surrogate stumps for trade deal she opposed The Hill. McAuliffe would never do this if Clinton didn’t approve, so Clinton is sending a message.

Nina Turner changes her mind on Hillary Clinton, endorses Bernie Sanders for president Plain-Dealer

U.S. postal workers union backs Sanders’ presidential bid Reuters

Clinton Has 45-To-1 ‘Superdelegate’ Advantage Over Sanders NPR

Trump surges among likely Republican primary voters: Reuters/Ipsos poll Reuters. Before his Carson rant, however.

Where Fed’s critics got it wrong in GOP debate Mark Thoma, CBS

How taxpayers prop up Big Pharma, and how to cap that Los Angeles Times

High Court roundup Reuters. Upcoming cases.

Progress Without Politics Jacobin. On Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

Black Injustice Tipping Point

Missouri Football Coach Backs Away From Student Activists HuffPo

The Kids Today Eschaton

In Defense of Rafael Correa Jacobin

Guillotine Watch

Billionaire Spends Record $48.5 Million on Blue Moon Diamond for 7-Year-Old Daughter Newsweek

My $120,000 Vacation NYT. “Of course, we all have a responsibility to reduce inequality in our society. But maybe not every day.”

For Guidance, Would-Be Philanthropists Turn to Peers New York Times. Heaven forfend they should consult the objects of their largesse.

Class Warfare

California’s economy is booming, so why is it No. 1 in poverty? Los Angeles Times

Half of Russia’s Richest People Are Planning to Cash Out Bloomberg

The only affordable retirement for most Americans isn’t in America Quartz

The Rape Trial Everyone in America Should Be Watching Cosmopolitan. Daniel Holtzclaw.

It’s not just Texas: abortion clinics are rapidly closing in liberal states, too Guardian

How Many Deaths from Mistakes in US Health Care? Conversable Economist

Does YOUR gut contain an entirely new form of life? Scientists say mystery ‘fourth domain’ may be lurking inside us all Daily Mail

How marijuana keeps on growing Gillian Tett, FT

How Apple Is Giving Design A Bad Name Don Norman and Bruce Tognazzini, Fast Company. “The most important principles largely or completely missing in iOS are discoverability, feedback, recovery, consistency, and the encouragement of growth.” I use iOS constantly, and all this is true. Who would have thought Apple would crapify ease of use?

Antidote du jour:


See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
This entry was posted in Guest Post, Links on by .

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. IsabelPS

    “The Federal Republic of Germany established a functioning democracy in the decades after Hitler and its people had good reasons to be proud of the country’s political culture. But no one should take it as a certainty that this achievement is safe forever.”

    Never. Anywhere. It’s like the Red Queen, evolution, entropy. A permanent fight.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      “This enemy you cannot kill. You can only drive it back damaged to the depths and teach your children to watch the waves for its return.” –Richard Morgan, Woken Furies.

  2. Peter Schitt

    Re: Paris and Merkel’s disgusting platitude about the attackers “hating freedom”.

    An attack on our freedoms? What freedoms, and for whom? The freedoms of corporations such as Deutsche Bank and VW to destroy our finances and poison us? The freedom to live in poverty like 20% of the German population because of outsourcing and deindustrialization? The freedom to compete against third world immigrants for non-livable wage jobs? The freedom to choose our foreign policy? Our currency? Enough with the blarney. We are no more free under the Neoliberal Death Cult than under any other form of totalitarianism. And, as Lambert would put it, what about the freedom of brown children not to be vaporized into pink mist?

    Spectacle and illusion: the sickening propaganda of lighting up public monuments in Blue, Red and White. And Obama’s perverted empty mouthing of Liberté, égalité, fraternité. The sickly-sweet irony of a phrase coined by Robespierre: Now, that’s a guy who knew something about hacking off heads. He made ISIS look like the Brady Family. 20,000 heads lopped off in the Great Terror.

    Then Hollande, the bumbling bufoon, rips up the Geneva Convention by validating the Paris atrocities as “an act of war”. He vows, ‘We are going to lead a war which will be pitiless’. Where has been the pity up till now? Let the carpet bombings begin. Further down we spiral into barbarism. Or is it deliberate? Never ascribe to malice…

    ‘We live in an age, Philip Roth wrote, in which the imagination of the novelist lies helpless before what will appear in the morning newspaper: “The actuality is continually outdoing our talents, and the culture tosses up figures daily that are the envy of any novelist.”‘ (Hedges, Empire of Illusion)

    1. MikeNY

      A prodigious rant.

      Reminded me of Ezra Pound’s invective against The Great War, when he said the problem with it was that it didn’t allow anyone “to kill the right people”… Intemperate, but with a grain or more of truth.

      1. Elliot

        Intemperate isn’t the word I’d use…Pound was notoriously fascist and antiSemitic, he got his wish of “the right people” being killed in the next war.

        I’d go for disgusting.

    2. Pavel

      Definition of irony: Obama the dronemeister expressing outrage at the loss of innocent life. Paris is of course an outrage, but the US, UK, and others support the Saudis who are engaging in genocide against the Yemenis, where there is an ongoing humanitarian crisis.

      I remember the sickening sight of Netanyahu leading the protest march in Paris after the Charlie Hebdo attacks — Bibi, whose government killed 1500+ civilians in Gaza last year with barely a peep of protest from Obama.

      So much selective outrage! Be against all wars and all violence. How hard is that?

    3. Katniss Everdeen

      In stark contrast to his rhetoric following the american gunship attack on a HOSPITAL, our nobel-peace-prize-winning president has called the Paris attacks an “attack on humanity.”


      I’d imagine Medicens Sans Frontieres, a humanitarian aid organization founded in France, is somewhat confused.

      1. abynormal

        It’s discouraging to think how many people are shocked by honesty and how few by deceit. Noël Coward

    4. craazyboy

      Scary to think what may be happening with Christie right now. I think he’ll just begin trembling, reach his resonent frequency, and before he can even get the words “Freedom Fries!” out of his mouth, pop like a big huge zit, splattering himself all over nearby newspeople and TV cameras. I’m not watching any news for the next 48 hours, and I recommend NC readers shouldn’t either. When images like these become burned into memory, that’s how PTSD starts.

      1. Katniss Everdeen

        If you don’t watch the “news,” you’ll miss the commercials.

        You know, the ones with the jingling bells, softly falling snow and melodious expressions of the heartfelt american wish for “peace on earth.”

        ‘Tis the season.

        1. craazyboy

          But that’s no fun anymore either. All the news talks about there is whether the shopping season is going well and how did “Black Friday” do. Then there’s Santa Claus. Supposed to be a big fat white guy in a beard living in a factory in the North Pole, but everyone knows Santa is really an Asian dude. Janet Yellen is Mrs. Clause. Mr. and Mrs Clause are job creators. How boring. “Black Friday” should be renamed “Yellow Friday”. Then the Pentagon is trying to intimidate Santa’s elves for building a stupid little island in our South China Sea. We can’t even keep our fantasies straight.

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            Mr. and Mrs Claus suggest ‘Yellow and White Friday,’ instead.

            Since green money is involved, it’s actually green, yellow and white, which happen to be what they used often for Tang Sancai wares. also known as egg-and-spinach.

            So, let’s celebrate Egg-and-Spinach Friday.

            Now, I am hungry.

          2. Lambert Strether Post author

            Re: Mrs. Clause:

            Driftwood (offering his pen to sign the contract): Now just, uh, just you put your name right down there and then the deal is, uh, legal.

            Fiorello: I forgot to tell you. I can’t write.

            Driftwood: Well, that’s all right, there’s no ink in the pen anyhow. But listen, it’s a contract, isn’t it?

            Fiorello: Oh sure.

            Driftwood: We got a contract…

            Fiorello: Hey, wait, wait. What does this say here? This thing here.

            Driftwood: Oh, that? Oh, that’s the usual clause. That’s in every contract. That just says uh, it says uh, “If any of the parties participating in this contract is shown not to be in their right mind, the entire agreement is automatically nullified.”

            Fiorello: Well, I don’t know…

            Driftwood: It’s all right, that’s, that’s in every contract. That’s, that’s what they call a ‘sanity clause’.

            Fiorello: Ha ha ha ha ha! You can’t fool me! There ain’t no Sanity Clause!

        2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Peace on Earth.

          And love one another.

          However, one must crawl before one can walk. And therefore, at the present time, we have to start with ‘Try not to hurt each other.’

          First, try not to hurt each other.

          Maybe one day, we can love one another.

        1. optimader

          Trump offering a wafer-thin mint to Christopher Chris “Christ I’m Hungry” Christe could be good theater.

          After Eight Mint Chocolate Thins (After Eights) are a confectionery product that are intended to be used as after-dinner mints. They were created in 1962 by Rowntree and Company Limited. Since the 1988 acquisition of the United Kingdom-based company, the mints have been manufactured by Nestlé.

          The fondant in the centre of After Eights is made from a stiff paste of saccharose, water, and a small amount of the enzyme invertase. This fondant can readily be coated with dark chocolate. After manufacture, the enzyme gradually splits the saccharose into the much more soluble glucose and fructose, resulting in a more liquid consistency.[2] Maturing of the mint is said to take over three days.

          The the enzymatic chemistry has always appealed to me, they have to “rot” just a bit before they are ready to be served. In the same theme as fetid Marmite on toast for breakfast.

          1. Lambert Strether Post author

            I made fun of Trump’s golden weave because it’s part of his branding, but in general I deprecate assaults on the physical or psychological characteristics of candidates (modulo their relations, if any, to the truth, and their exercise of power).

            And I used to be expert in that, too; I did it for years. And now Bush v. Clinton is a real possibility. So clearly that brand of “making fun” had zero impact, and may even have had opportunity costs.

            Anyhow, I got a laugh out of “wafer-thin mint” and “stiff paste,” and so I’m approving this comment with that caveat. (And Skynet works in mysterious ways, so I don’t know why Skynet put this comment in the queue.)

          2. Jeff W

            The fondant in the centre of After Eights is made from a stiff paste of saccharose, water, and a small amount of the enzyme invertase.

            The better-known example, perhaps, in which invertase is used might be in creating those gooey liquid centers found in chocolate-covered cherries (a fact I recall from my biology college textbook close to 40 years ago). And bees synthesize it to convert raw nectar to honey. It gets around.

        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          And for Teutoborg Forest to happen, you need an Arminius, a trusted but double-minded comprador.

          I love the analogy, but I’m not sure how far to carry it.

          “Quintilius Varus, give me back my F-35s!”

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            It’s tenuous at best, I have to admit.

            The world is not safe and I am a bit paranoid this morning.

            “Give me back Toyota trucks!!!”

    5. Lambert Strether Post author

      “They hate our freedoms” —George W. Bush, address to a joint session of Congress, September 20, 2001.

      Even if Hollande, et al., are channelling W, it’s hard to imagine they’ll do as much damage as we did by invading Iraq. Then again, life is full of surprises!

      1. Massinissa

        French boots on the ground in Syria again! This time instead of colonialism, it will be neocolonialism!


        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Reality is not flat; keep progressing, we will be back to where we were before.

          We live in a round reality.

    6. Vatch

      Odd thing about Robespierre: for almost all of his adult life, he opposed the death penalty. When he said “Liberté, égalité, fraternité” in 1790 (after the start of the French Revolution in 1789), he was still an opponent of executions. It wasn’t until around the time of the King’s trial in late 1792 that he changed his mind. After that, things snowballed…

    1. Massinissa

      They get on my nerves sometimes by hating, well, all leftists ever who are not them. But yes, even with that caveat, its always been a solid site.

    2. snackattack

      Thanks, that is a good link, I’ve added WSWS to my list of things to read.
      re: articles on the paris attack I also liked the AngryArab‘s analysis

  3. Torsten

    Let’s see. Do I have this straight?

    On the one side we have Putin, Iran, Syria, and Hezbollah.
    On the other side we have the U.S., Israel, Saudi Arabia, and ISIS.

    Which side will France be on now?

    Which side will Hillary be on in tonight’s debate?

    1. cwaltz

      I’m pretty sure the people itching for WW3 are going to claim ISIS is on the side of Syria, Russia and Iran. Nevermind that it isn’t true. The truth matters very little to the PTB these days. The only thing that matters is keeping the war machine running.

          1. cwaltz

            I’m right there with you. I think I’ll save some money on health care by just reading tomorrow how Hillary won tomorrow and how she’s gone from tea party ready to stately. (rolls eyes)

    2. NotTimothyGeithner

      The identity of the attackers is relevant.

      ISIS has claimed credit, but ISIS unlike Bin Laden and his cronies was not motivated by perceived personal betrayal. After the Soviet withdrawal, everyone pretended the Mujahideen didn’t exist. The Paris attackers could easily be individuals who expected Western governments to knock over Assad.

      Hillary will remain as deranged as ever.

    3. jgordon

      Err you forgot Al Qaeda. They are also allies of the US and Israel in Syria. It is the “moderate” Al Qaeda affiliate Al Nusra that’s been handing off American-supplied weapons and Toyota trucks to ISIS after all.

  4. Jim Haygood

    Sad day, not only for the 120 victims, but for all of us now that a dramatic cause célèbre for amping up the war on Isis has been found.

    “Mr. Hollande did not specify what intelligence pointed to [Deash’s] involvement,” says the NYT. Nor have the dead attackers been identified (foreign or French residents?). But Hollande has already invoked an “act of war” and blamed Isis, so the tanks will roll regardless.

    If intelligence pointed to Deash’s involvement, why did it provide no warning of the attacks?

    We’ve seen this movie before, when an attack on the WTC towers by 19 hijackers (the majority of them Saudi) led to an invasion of … Afghanistan, where Bin Laden allegedly was hiding. Declaring war on a nation-state for the acts of a criminal gang neither stabilized Afghanistan nor stopped the emergence of new terror groups such as Isis.

    But maybe if we double down and try the same approach in Syria, with more troops, more money and more air support, it will work this time! Anyhow, it works for the NSA, which will argue for new domestic spying powers (in case a copycat attack is brewing here in die Homeland) despite its abject failure to detect the planning of the Paris attack.

    1. MikeNY

      Keep doing what’s not working.

      When you spend a trillion a year on a war machine, you need to bomb something, just to show people what they get for their money.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        If the people’s money is mis-spent like that, but they will claim it’s not your money.

    2. Ignim Brites

      Time to withdraw from the Middle East altogether. But doesn’t that mean we will have to withdraw from NATO? Maybe doesn’t matter. Perhaps Marine Le Pen will create a European security organization with Putin and AfD and kick the US out of NATO.

      1. optimader

        Ron Paul for all his eccentricities has been the only politician of some national stature with laser like focus on standing down our MIC from it’s Global (and domestic economic) offensive. it would be a fundamental gamechanger on oh so many levels.

        1. Massinissa

          He is a glibertarian weirdo alright, but I do not regret voting for him in the primary for 2012. I even got my dad to do it too, though that was mostly by telling him that Paul would be the easiest one for Obama to beat.

        2. Ignim Brites

          Rand Paul is talking about a non-interventionist foreign policy and Trump is talking about letting Russia take the fight to ISIS. Don’t know where Sanders is on this. Maybe he has the guts to face down the Dem and Rep establishment not to mention our “We’re No. 1” MSM.

      2. different clue

        NEATO. The North East Atlantic Treaty Organization. No Turkey. No America. No Canada.
        Just EuRussia.

    3. Lambert Strether Post author

      We should make book on who France invades (hopefully they don’t nuke anybody). On the showing of the Bush administration, the country will be somebody France has always wanted to invade, rather than whoever is even putatively responsible for the event.

      I’d guess a former French colony. Vietnam is out, and so far as I know they don’t have a “Muslim problem” anyhow. Maybe somewhere in Africa, where France already has 3,000 troops, like Mali, justified as a pre-emptive strike against the next Islamic terror strike. AFRICOM could help; maybe they could even escape their headquarters in Stuttgart (!), and get closer to the action (on a totally temporary basis, of course). As a bonus, only black people get whacked, and we could maybe even start skirmishing with the Chinese; so far, only the Navy’s been doing that.

        1. Optimader

          They had some hard learned lessons in alcgeria, but unfortunately the ones that learned them are dying off. Persistence of memory has its generational limitations as those that were directly impacted disappear. WWI? They are all gone and it is now considered pretty much an historical footnote with little rrlevance.

      1. craazyboy

        I bet Greece. France wouldn’t like invading anyone that fights back.

        But this does raise the issue of invading counties based on the actions of a small group of terrorists which may or may not have some nebulous ideological link with some nebulous international terrorist group. In my more paranoid moments, I still think the USG may invade Oklahoma because of Timothy McVeigh. Plus they have oil in Oklahoma.

    4. barrisj

      As commentators on other sites have pointed out, these sorts of co-ordinated suicide bomber attacks are business as usual throughout Baghdad, and now Beirut. “Radical Sunni” groups have accounted for over 160 deaths of innocent bystanders in Beirut and Baghdad in aggregate the past 10 days…I must have missed the 24/7 coverage by CNN/BBC/al-Jazeerah, et al…oh, wait, “barbaric behaviour” are those heinous acts directed toward citizens of major Western countries…now I get it.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Whether it’s drone bombing or school shooting, it’s equally tragic.

        We have to remind ourselves of that whenever we focus on one and ignore the other.

  5. BDBlue

    The new iTunes on iOS sucks so badly, I may never buy another iPod. I’ve had an iPod since the first generation and that one with it’s little scroll wheel was better than the new ones for listening to music because of the crappy new iTunes. I don’t want Apple Music. I don’t want Apple Radio. I just want to play my songs and occasionally buy a new song or 2 from the iTunes store (usually I buy the CD and rip them so I own the music for realz, but there are exceptions). So why can’t I just do this without having to search through a bunch of crap I don’t want? Because Apple wants the rents that I’m never going to give them. At this rate, not only are they not getting my rents, they also aren’t going to get me to buy any more of their products. Every time I open iTunes on my iPod, I want to re-subscribe to Spotify just for spite (and because it is a better product than Apple Music, which, btw, my husband tried for the first three months, was underwhelmed and has had to repeatedly try to cancel it because they keep billing him for it despite his repeated cancellations).

    1. Pavel

      I agree, and have given up on using the Apple music app on my iPod/iPhone. Try the minimalist “Ecoute” or the McIntosh music apps. The latter has a beautiful retro UI. Each is either free or only a buck or two. I enjoy shaking off Apple’s incessant attempts to ram music I don’t want down my throat (or ears).

        1. Clive

          Only at random intervals and then odds of selecting the intended text is less than winning the lottery.

      1. Will

        Not to directly contradict you or anything, but… what about cut-and-paste? I’ve never heard a critique of that.

        1. Clive

          Maybe it’s just me! And maybe because I’m left handed (so much of the world just doesn’t work properly if you’re left handed). But selecting text is nigh on impossible for me to do. All that jiggling around with tiny blue dots and select markers with a life of their own….

    2. craazyman

      it sounds like you need a record player and some speakers with an amplifier.

      you can take a record out of the cardboard sleeve and lay it on the turntable and let it spin around and around under the little needle, that makes the sound you hear!

      you can sit on the couch and chill out or walk around in the room. but you can’t take it on a bus or on the street. that means you might have to hear the thoughts of the universe in your head. for some people that’s weird. to me, THAT is weird. music music everywhere and not a thought to think

      1. JCC

        Naw… it sounds to me like he needs to load up a system with CentOS, Fedora, Redhat, or god forbid, Ubuntu, and run one of their supplied music players. No Apple Silo captivity, any podcast or radio station he prefers and a great interface with a wider variety of codecs, flac, etc.

        I have an apple laptop both at work and at home and I find myself using both less and less (in fact I’ve shut down the one at work due to security update issues that are almost impossible to solve in a DISA environment). Apple has gotten as bad as, if not worse than, Micro$oft.

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            I am a big believer in self-singing to entertain oneself, though it’s been a long time since I sang in the shower.

      1. Massinissa

        Sorry but, are you being serious about the $100 dollars? I dont have that kind of device, so I dont know if youre being serious or sarcastic.

  6. Kokuanani

    Please note that the “$120,000 vacation” was taken by David Brooks, who rants at the NYT about . . . well, you know.

    He still manages to whine about it.

    1. Gareth

      That vacation cost more than my house. It kind of puts everything in perspective for me. Are there any job openings on the guillotine crew?

      1. nigelk

        At this point, everything that comes out of NY or Washington sounds like the teacher from Peanuts.


    2. cwaltz

      “In other words, they were socially and intellectually unpretentious. They treated the crew as friends and equals and not as staff. Nobody was trying to prove they were better informed or more sophisticated than anybody else. There were times, in fact, when I almost wished there had been a little more pretense and a little more intellectual and spiritual ambition.”

      Someone should tell David that maybe they thought he was pretentious enough for the lot of them.

      1. bob

        “Sir, we’re going to have to ask you to move more toward the center of the ship, we seem to be having pretension balancing issues.”

      2. Torsten

        “In other words, they were socially and intellectually unpretentious. They treated the crew as friends and equals and not as staff. Nobody was trying to prove they were better informed or more sophisticated than anybody else. There were times, in fact, when I almost wished there had been a little more pretense and a little more intellectual and spiritual ambition.”

        Like Proust describing les Guermantes. David Brooks is such a waste of time.

        1. cwaltz

          Who knew that treating people like crap is part of proving to people that you are informed and sophisticated?

          If David thinks that treating people in a friendly manner or in a way you wish to be treated is something the rabble do, I think that the next thing they should fund for David is a trip to an etiquette class or a day sitting with Miss Manners. And on a budgetary note it will cost them far less than $120,000

      3. Jeff W

        David Brooks confirms yet again that he is, as always, unendurable, even in the smallest of doses.

        “People of small caliber like to sit on high horses.”

        ― Magdalena Samozwaniec

  7. tegnost

    Re christmas sales…Don’t we always ge those scare stories this time of year, and with xmas decor draping the boxx stores before halloween? WTF? I think it’s lamberts hermes futures again, cajoling the optimists (I think thats how the rich see themselves) to get out there and make those numbers! My personal xmas budget comes down to xmas eve do I have any extra after two 3 week months, that’s good years, this year is slower than the last two, but one raindrop doesn’t make a flood.

  8. tegnost

    LA Times… another shrkeli story had we gotten a real health care law he wouldn’t have been able to do it, I think he’s an (anti) hero for making it so obvious

    1. andyb

      California’s boom is like the US recovery; both are propaganda crapola. I’m just waiting for the Cali sheeple to awaken to the fact that they are are slowly being genocided from Fukushima radiation and USG induced drought. It’s a good thing that Brown has permitted assisted suicide; the line will be long.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        It helps all the dollars that flowed out of the 50 states return to two or three places, California, Manhattan and maybe Seattle.

  9. David Finnerty

    Re Lambert Strether’s comments posted after links to articles about Paris atrocities

    Hey Lambert, WTF?!?!

    “Yep. But ka-ching.”
    “Short and sweet.”


    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      No Iraq invasion*, no ISIS. On current evidence, no ISIS, no Paris assault.

      So what’s your problem? Insufficient pom-pom waving?

      * Very profitable for many very serious people. Hence ka-ching.

    2. Massinissa

      Look, being snarky is what lambert does. Without it he wouldnt be able to stay sane. Let him off. He isnt trying to be malicious. This is how he copes. I for one am perfectly fine with it. Hes not trying to hurt anyones feelings.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        The current crackdown being conducted by the propaganda security ministry is on twisted sense of humor.

        For those with snarky or twisted sense of humor, you are on the road to dementia.

        Talk about subtle intimidation.

    3. Gaianne

      David Finnerty–

      Yes, let’s all join the crocodile tear brigade! We can squeeze right in there with Hollande and Obama!

      Yes, it is shocking when French citizens get the 3rd World treatment. It is almost as though they don’t matter . . . oh, wait!


      The French Government is not letting a good crisis go to waste. The highest disrespect we can show the victims is to collude in that.


      1. Emma

        As naive as it may well sound to some, let’s look to inspiration from the French monk Matthieu Ricard. He wishes that each and everyone of us find happiness, and that we deny it from ourselves by not focusing on ridding our world of suffering. This view was held by Gandhi and Tolstoy who exchanged lengthy correspondence on the matter. They advocated for the unity of men through love and understanding to achieve a more peaceful world. A valuable exercise for us all therefore would be a reading of this article by Simon Cottee in The Atlantic which considers how people become terrorists and commit atrocities:

  10. Ignim Brites

    From Mark Thoma’s piece:
    “As Ben Bernanke recently made clear , the Fed’s policy of an extended period of low interest rates is a consequence of the failure of Congress to do its job. Instead of pursuing expansionary fiscal policy over and above the initial stimulus package once it was clear more stimulus was needed, or simply holding the line, Republicans in Congress pursued austerity.”

    Sounds like he is making a case for the Dems to be upset with the Fed.

    1. cwaltz

      Why? The Congress is being controlled by Republicans and he acknowledges that.

      It sounds like the former Fed is making the case that the American people should be upset with Congress rather than upset with the Fed.

      The former Fed chairman is making the case that they have a limited toolbox to fix the economy with and that without Congressional action they’ve repeatedly had to use a hammer on the economy.

      1. Ignim Brites

        FED action relieved the Congress of responsibility. And Thoma’s charge charge relieves the FED of responsibility for the multiplicity of bubbles now beginning to pop.

        1. craazyboy

          Absolutely. Ben did make a few whimpering noises about fiscal policy during one congressional testimony, but proceeded to zealously pursue the “wealth effect” with monetary policy. The fact that Ben or his Fed apologist Thoma bring this up 7 years later is the same as how some Very Serious People sheepishly mention maybe some prosecutions were in order as a result of the GFC – after the statute of limitations passed. Perhaps some folks did make “mistakes”. Maybe even Holder, the SEC or the Fed completely abandoning their regulatory role.

          I do recall the famous rumor? back in the early 90s where Greenspan threatened Clinton with rate increases unless Clinton “did something” about runaway welfare cost.[Cadillacs – and look what eventually happened to GM!] Clinton happily? folded. The story gets played however they want the outcome to be. It’s all nothing but foo foo.

          1. cwaltz

            I’ve come to the conclusion that some of our very serious people are largely just very overpaid people with absolutely no imagination.

            They all may be very educated but they aren’t all very smart.

            Greenspan just makes me angry. His “creative loans” were largely responsible for the big housing mess. That being said, no one forced the banks to make huge loans to people without even pretending to consider whether they could truly pay them back at some point and time. You’d figure the six figure guys like Dimon or Moynihan at some point would have said, “you know, maybe it isn’t a good idea to loan someone making $40,000 a year the money to buy a $500,000 home.” But no, it’s all the governments fault. After all they were willing to insure these loans. So nope, let’s not bother questioning. It’s tiresome. Apparently personal responsibility is only for the little people, not the powerful and connected. Let the very serious people circular firing squad commence.

            1. craazyboy

              The Fed was legally our “consumer loan protector”, but Greenspan didn’t like the job. And what happens to little folk when they don’t like laws? You get a $10 million advance to write your memoirs?? Uh-uh.

              So they fired the Fed and gave the job to Liz Warren. I think.

          2. flora

            “bring this up 7 years later ”

            ah. just as the statue of limitations runs out. what a coinkydink.
            The credibility gap is so large they have to at least pretend.

            1. polecat

              no,the credibility gap is so deep they have to wear bungies and hope they don’t smack into the bottom of the cravase!

        2. cwaltz

          No, Fed action is independent of Congress and it’s actions do not impede Congress from acting. The problem is most of Congressional actions, while smart from a microeconomics viewpoint, have been a disaster on a macro level. Cutting the Federal budget by hacking away at different parts of it cost the economy jobs that in turn could have created more jobs. Congress outsourced job creation to the private sector. This is counterintuitive. Private sector exists to make profit. Government does not. If demand is not present the private sector isn’t going to create anything. In this instance government is supposed to step in(and to be fair they did, a little bit, before they then reversed course and started hacking away.) After all, it isn’t in the for profit business, it’s in the for the general welfare of citizens business.

          I actually agree with some of the points being made. There are plenty of people who want to make the Fed a villain(and I would agree that their actions are not always in the best interest of all of us) but the reality is some of our pain is the result of Congressional action(or inaction.) Don’t get me wrong, the banking sector is problematic, but I’d also argue that the government has not exactly been helpful when dealing with a lethargic economy. When it isn’t busy cutting federal funding for anything other than military expeditions, it’s solution has been to ignore problems or address them in a way that hurts the majority(such as “health care reform.”

          1. ewmayer

            Hmm, yes, well let’s have a look at the results of those “Cutting the Federal budget by hacking away at different parts of it” efforts over the past 2 decades, shall we?

            1996 – $1.6 trillion
            1997 – $1.6 trillion
            1998 – $1.7 trillion
            1999 – $1.7 trillion
            2000 – $1.8 trillion
            2001 – $1.9 trillion
            2002 – $2.0 trillion
            2003 – $2.2 trillion
            2004 – $2.3 trillion
            2005 – $2.4 trillion
            2006 – $2.7 trillion
            2007 – $2.8 trillion
            2008 – $2.9 trillion
            2009 – $3.1 trillion
            2010 – $3.6 trillion
            2011 – $3.8 trillion
            2012 – $3.7 trillion
            2013 – $3.8 trillion
            2014 – $3.5 trillion
            2015 – $3.7 trillion

            So while there have been YOY ups and downs, the past 20 years consists overwhelmingly of ups, to the tune of the annual budget more than doubling in the period: 2015 vs 1996 represents a 4.5% average annual inflation rate. Apparently this relentless expansion is not nearly enough of a stimulative program, however – we need more F-35s!

            I do wish the MMTers would pause to consider whether the real issue is not that we’re not spending enough, but that we’re spending too much of it on the wrong things. Do you really think trillion-dollar coins will magically fix those priority problems? What would prevent our criminal-racketeering PTB from simply spending it on even more wrong things, pray tell?

            But I see you make essentially the same point in your 2nd paragraph. Would you agree that we need a dramatic shift in government spending priorities – that is a ‘regime change’, to use a term popular in DC foreign policy discussions – more than we need ‘more printing’?

            1. cwaltz

              I definitely agree that DC spending priorities suck.

              That being said I also think that those that aren’t MMT folks are also part of the problem because they keep acting as if the government is exactly like a personal spending account or like a business. It isn’t. The printing thing really isn’t that problematic at this time. Most of the world looks at our government debt as a safe investment vehicle. At some point it may be a problem(when we’ve managed to piss off and alienate everyone to the point that they agree to drop the dollar as reserve currency) at this time though the money we owe isn’t nearly as catastrophic as problems like the earning power of citizens(to the point that 1 in 7 needs food stamps).

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      It’s more a failure to get money to the people who have (immediate*) demands they can’t meet these days.

      *can’t wait for the trickle down to filter through many middlemen.

      1. cwaltz

        If I’m not mistaken there was some discussion at some point and time and it was decided that the Fed couldn’t put money directly into the hands of the people(they could loan to banks), only Congress could do that.

        Personally, I thought the idea that the Fed be able to put money into municipalities to stimulate the economy somewhat intriguing but there was a discussion about something even that mundane being not something they could do.

        1. craazyboy

          ‘Tis a slippery slope. It’s best if the Fed is limited to treasury bond purchases and, if we did have a democracy, congress voting on spending priorities.

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            We can set up a trust account at the Treasury, so the Fed put money into the Treasury, to be immediately forwarded to the people.

          2. cwaltz

            Heh, about that democracy thing…….

            If I remember correctly we the people weren’t for a trillion dollar bailout for the banking sector and Congress has done it’s very best to ignore or outright stymie what Americans consider a priority-jobs. *sigh*

        2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          As long as we are on the right track, I think, if there is a will, we find a way to bypass all levels of government and middlemen and get money directly to the people.

  11. Katniss Everdeen

    Heard somewhere on the web:

    “If the koch brothers taxes go up, they may be forced to lay off some congresspeople.”

  12. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Mystery 4th domain, new form of life.

    With GM foods, we can have 5th, 6th and more domains.

    Life is a big mystery indeed.

  13. jgordon

    Damn that’s a great photo! It sucks that the ISO had to be so high on it though; the light must have a real pain to work with.

  14. financial matters

    Nice to see this Wray-Mazzucato collaboration coming up with some policy options that involve public banking.

    Mission Oriented Finance

    “5. While the US system of innovation has a decentralized system of public sector organizations that provide funding for mission-oriented innovations, this system resulted in the socialization of risks and privatization of returns. There is, therefore, a role for public banks (e.g., SIBs, state investment banks) to play in the capital development of the economy, because they are able to reform this system from within through concrete financial mechanisms that help rebalance the risk-reward nexus.

    What is required today is a similarly ambitious policy centered around, for example, the green economy, where the public sector can invest in those areas of high capital intensity and high technological risk that the private sector is too fearful to touch; as well as in associated policies that make it more desirable for consumers to change their consumption patterns and life style (Mazzucato and Perez 2014).”

  15. willf

    For Democrats, the math is vastly different. If the next president is a Democrat, he or she will be severely encumbered by the GOP’s vise-like grip on Congress.

    Ah, but if the Democrats run a candidate who has long coat tails and energizes his electorate, this grip could be reversed in one or two elections. Whereas if they run with a candidate who energizes the opposition and demoralizes their own base, then there’s no hope of a turnover.

    The cardinal imperative of electing a Democrat in 2016 is to prevent Republicans from consolidating control of government and using it to regressive ends.

    Pace eventheliberal New Republic, that is the same “cardinal imperative” that we heard in 2012, 2004, 2000, 1996…

    The “cardinal imperative” is always “stop the republican agenda”, there is never a democratic agenda to expand and build upon. It’s always a rearguard action, nothing more. (There was briefly some noise about a progressive agenda in 2008, but that disappeared as soon as the election was over.)

    1. Jeff W


      The “cardinal imperative” is always “stop the republican agenda”, there is never a democratic agenda to expand and build upon.

      Isn’t the point of democracy to vote for what you want? It’s not supposed to be voting, always, against what you least (or absolutely don’t) want.

      1. hunkerdown

        A plain reading of the Tenth Amendment reveals that the aristocrats get first dibs. The rest of us have no rights beyond what the aristocrats leave unclaimed. So the magical thinking that the US is democratic obscures the clear actions of a noble caste in practice and the clear design of the Federal system to keep citizens strictly divorced from direct contact with policy.

  16. TedWa

    I don’t see why the President couldn’t make the use of the platinum coin as a real threat against repugs demanding too much to avoid a shutdown – do you? I mean, what kind of conman is Obama if he can’t even handle the repugs as deftly as he bombs innocents or jails whistleblowers? Maybe the reason is he wants to lose each time, DINO’s need to appear as if they’re trying when they’re really not.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      He could also confront the MIC and take their toys away and shift that money for domestic spending.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Many refugees will be grateful for that, if they don’t personally benefit from that, their fellow countrymen or future generations will.

      2. TedWa

        Totally agree, but 1 really has nothing to do with the other. When the repugs demand cuts to SS, Planned Parenthood and everything else the 1% and Wall St wants them to do or else they’ll shut down the government, he doesn’t have to fold over like a bad lawn chair every time. They’re “compromising” everything away progressives hold dear in the name of “getting along” and turning dems into DINO’s like Obama. No guts no glory – and we all pay for it.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          The possibility is that the platinum coin is just status quo, but bigger.

          That is, all additional money will not escape the grasp of the Military Industrial Complex.

          The safer way and the courageous way is to confront it and shift their toy money to fund more healing and sharing with the world.

    2. hunkerdown

      What makes you think he isn’t handling the GOP to produce the outcomes he desires? Isn’t it arrogant of you to think that any member of the nobility wants to merge with the common classes, to the detriment of their own superiority, of the sort that can only be found in trained animals and invalids?

  17. TarheelDem

    The “only affordable retirement” isn’t. It is your typical AARP upper middle class idyllic fantasy.

    Reality for the middle class typically means having loss your 401(k) funds to living during late-career layoffs, still paying on a mortgage for a house that is now overvalued if not underwater, and paying off at least some of the kids’ student loans because of their poor income prospects, a medical bill or two — and doing all of that out of Social Security and whatever near-minimum-wage part-time job you can find. No wonder credit card companies that routinely charge 20% rates are sending you offers all the time. It is easy to add compounded 20% interest to the drag on your income with $1000, $2000, $3000 in credit card interest charges coming off of that Social Security income.

    But thank goodness for most folks that Social Security, despite the claims of the 401(k) sales teams, is still here even if hobbled.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      When they are old and weak, not rugged individuals anymore, if they ever were, when they are at the most vulnerable, they face death by mistakes in the US health care.

      Maybe if you own a hospital, you can order your staff to minimize mistakes.

  18. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Religion must be looked down upon as superstitious, not scientific, but it’s protected by the Constitution.

    Bless those Pastafarians.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      And if a Miterfarian wants to wear a miter for his/her head for the driver’s license picture, people should be polite and refrain from laughing publicly.

    2. Vatch

      I give the Pastafarians credit, to my knowledge, none of them have committed any acts of deadly terrorism.

  19. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Billionaire’s $48.5 million diamond.

    When a billionaire first fell from the sky with his billion dollar money-making idea, if there were no customers (nor rich counter-parties) around, did the cash register make a ka-ching sound?

    ‘Without you and me, there can be no billionaires (unless the Fed gifts the money away).”

  20. Carolinian

    Interesting story on problems with the Apple UI. My local school system laid out a bundle to supply every kiddie with an IPad or IMac. Perhaps it was so they could have a course on how to use the things. The capper is that the school board just proudly announced an award for innovative technology. Source of the award? Apple Incorporated. I believe this is what Lambert calls a self-licking ice cream cone.

    Personally I carry around both a Win 8 and Android tablet (with app for running Linux). However if any sort of productive use is foreseen then Bluetooth mouse and keyboard are also thrown in the bag. The finger paint mode of computing is always going to be a clumsy compromise.

      1. Carolinian

        Actually it’s the new fifty buck Amazon Fire that my brother gave me. With a little reverse engineering you can tame both the Google and Amazon spybot aspects. After that it’s pretty cool….

        1. Local to Oakland

          Maybe I’m a Luddite, but i’m still a BlackBerry fan. A physical keyboard is better for dealing with a slight tremor and I like the security and the non conformist aspect.

            1. Oregoncharles

              Even the smaller keyboard I frequently use is clearly inferior (harder to use, more miskeys) to the full size one I’m on right now. The worst is accidentally hitting command keys outside the letter keys; strange things suddenly happen.

      2. subgenius

        The cake keeps changing, but the licking remains the same

        Ice Cream Sandwich
        Jelly Bean / KitKat /
        Lollipop / Marshmallow

        1. subgenius

          The cake (Cupcake / …. Etc …/ jelly Bean / KitKat /Lollipop / Marshmallow ) keepschanging, but the licking remains the same

          (Phone editing is so fail)

  21. Ron

    The Paris attacks points to trouble for ISIS on the ground and is a indication that bombing and better coordination by the U.S. ground forces within the war zone is having a negative impact on there operations. Russian involvement also is a large factor weighing against the ISIS on the ground and with the downing of the civilian Russian plane may have provided the motive for better coordination between NATO and Russian interests. Whether the Paris attack and others to follow can be an effect war tool for the ISIS is TBD but it is an indication that by widening the conflict and bringing it home to those it opposes on the ground they are searching for an alternatives as there ability to arm themselves on the ground will continue to be limited exposing them to greater losses along the supply chain and on the ground.

    1. Jagger

      Whether the Paris attack and others to follow can be an effect war tool for the ISIS is TBD

      I don’t believe the attacks in Paris are designed to influence the battlefield but rather to widen the gap between European Christians and Muslims. In particular, they hope to see a extreme backlash against European Muslims which would help to undermine the position of moderate Muslims worldwide but particularly in the middle east. A European backlash will push more Muslims toward the extremist position. These attacks appear to have more political than military objectives.

      1. Ron

        Yes I agree but ISIS has a problem in that there objective to take and hold land, cities etc. In the modern world to hold these positions and gain territory will require significant military hardware and the question is who or what country will supply such equipment and how will they protect this equipment from the bombing that is currently going on that will only intensify.. So just creating chaos in France or downing a Russian Jet doesn’t resolve there basic battlefield need for high volume loads of modern warfare equipment and as the bombing intensifies attacking supply depots and destroying supply routes both by bombs and political arm twisting the ISIS will become more of a terror group rather then an Army fighting on the battlefield, which is why they are creating these events to demonstrate that they have power to attack and create chaos.

  22. IsabelPS

    Oh dear:
    The comuniqué was obviously written (or translated) by someone that had studied French in school (as opposed to studied it as a foreign language) because it had some grammar mistakes typical of someone that learned the language orally first. And I really do hope that this passport cannot be connected to one of the killers.

      1. IsabelPS

        Yes, of course. But you know perfectly well that you can’t be sure that it is true for each and every one of them. I do hope this is not the 1 in hundreds of thousands that was not.

      2. Oregoncharles

        Sadly, refugee flows are a great place to hide infiltrators. Remember that a lot of the IS recruits come from western Europe. Really, the only right way to deal with this sort of thing is not to cause it in the first place.

        OTOH, the passport might well be stolen or faked. I just read that they found an Egyptian one, too. Q: why would they carry their passports? No need to conceal your identity if you’re going to suicide, but it makes it easier to track you.

  23. Local to Oakland

    Thanks for the link re medical errors.

    It would be nice if there was greater funding for autopsies. These used to be common but are now less so. Thus some fatal errors are not found. I would think both government and insurance companies would have an interest in the future cost savings from better feedback re cause of death.

    I have also seen a policy proposal that information from Morbidity and Mortality conferences should be shielded from use as evidence in litigation. I think this is a very good idea. We already protect information disclosed in settlement negotiations. The good for future patients from open discussions should outweigh the harms from limiting th evidence in a particular malpractice case.

  24. spooz

    Interesting events on the campus of CU Boulder, where undergrad students enrolled in an upper level Sociology “Whiteness Studies” class, which its instructor describes as “an advanced course in racial inequality”, were compelled to cancel a rally to protest racism and show support for University of Missouri on Friday after CU’s Black Student Alliance complained that they had not been consulted and were left out of the planning process.

    “It’s not anyone that’s being affected telling the story, it’s only white people telling the story,” said Paris Ferribee, co-president of CU’s Black Student Alliance.

    The events organizers posted an apology late Thursday:

    “We acknowledge that we should have contacted (Black Student Alliance) to see what they were already planning with regard to Mizzou,” Azabe Kassa wrote. “While we understand that this does not excuse our actions, we learned a lesson in proper allyship. We still hope to work with (Black Student Alliance) to support your efforts and to stand in solidarity with black students.”

    I’m wondering why the Black Student Alliance didn’t reach out to the organizers instead of attacking them? It seems shortsighted to turn your back on solidarity.

  25. Expat

    Well, you know, this was, after all, an “act of war” according to Droopy…pardon, I mean François Hollande. Because launching fighter-bomber attacks on targets in Syria was not an act of war so, gosh, why would they do this to us?
    Pardon my cynicism, but I am both French and American and reside in France. After seeing the quasi-fascist state that the US has become, I fear for France. We are already under martial law (plan d’urgence) and have the same sweeping eavesdropping programs in place as in the US. Furthermore, France has always been far less squeamish about using secret services for dirty work, so this should get very nasty.
    I don’t yet know if I know any of the victims so this has not become personal as opposed to 9/11. But as in 9/11 I don’t think any of the victims is any more innocent than any civilian in Syria, Iraq, Libya, Chad, etc. What we call collateral damage and acceptable civilian losses abroad, we hastily call terrorism at home.
    Blowback. Sowing the wind and reaping the storm. Baisé, quoi.

    1. jo6pac

      Thank You. Amerika planets the seeds of hate then hoping nothing comes home but only to those nations we keep as pets. False flag Xmas in Amerika and hopefully the malls will be empty and not because of a warning but we just don’t have the $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$.

  26. Roland

    The Paris attacks were a strategic win for ISIS either way.

    If the French quit the anti-ISIS coalition, of course for obvious reasons that would be a little bit of a win for ISIS.

    But if the French and their allies ramp up their war efforts, that’s a bigger win for ISIS. The Western powers are good for nothing except destroying and disrupting things. In all of their recent wars, there is not one occasion when any of the Western powers have left things more stable, more secure, or more prosperous than when they first arrived. So if the Franch and their allies increase their efforts in Syria and Mesopotamia, then the sort of stateless mess in which ISIS prospers is bound to expand and deepen.

    Any domestic frictions in France owing to interethnic tension, or loss of civil liberty, are extra bonuses, nothing but good from an ISIS point of view.

    In other words, if the French make policy changes of any kind whatsoever, whether internal or in foreign affairs, in response to the ISIS attack on Paris, then the French leaders have submitted to the will of the ISIS leaders.

    There is no win for the French coming out of this Paris battle. There can only be damage limitation. The way for the French to limit the damage done by the ISIS attack on Paris would be to make no policy change whatsoever.

    The best thing for the French to do is to deny ISIS any sort of correlation between what ISIS does and what France does.

    However, the ISIS leaders know that most political leaders, and especially the political leaders of the contemporary Occident, tend to be vain, exceptionalist, and fretful. Today’s Occidental leaders lack phlegm. They can be easily goaded into making critical decisions based on a need to restore their prestige. Occidentals demand so much safety and security that they can easily be provoked into overreaction abroad, and lockdown at home.

  27. different clue

    France, America and etc. should “switch sides” and support the Syrian Arab Republic/Iran/Hezbollah/Russia without reservation. The distinction bewteen a moderate headchopper and an extremist headchopper is a distinction without a different. Vladimir Lavrov said that and he was right.

    You are with Assad or you are with the terrorists.
    You are with Putin or you are with the terrorists.

    And that’s no sarcasm.

Comments are closed.