Links 1/2/16

This observation may seem to make no sense, but both Lambert and I noticed that there was too much news between Christmas and New Year, as in an unnaturally high level (and no, we most assuredly do not mean the Cosby suit).

Why Life Goes Faster as You Grow Older Alternet (furzy)

Sweden’s Cash-Free Future Looms — and Not Everyone Is Happy About It Slashdot

91% of patients who survive opioid overdose are prescribed more opioids ars technica (PlutoniuKun)

The little-told story of how the U.S. government poisoned alcohol during Prohibition. Slate (resilc)

You’ll never drink again: Sex, race, science and the real story of Prohibition Salon (JT McPhee)

2015 Wrap

15 News Stories From 2015 You Should Have Heard About But Probably Didn’t AntiMedia (EM)


Ending of China’s super-boom spells pain with no end seen yet Reuters (resilc)

Obama will travel to Germany this spring McClatchy (furzy)

The Christmas gift from the Irish taxpayers to the super wealthy and vulture funds Progressive Economy (PlutoniumKun)


Gallup: Ukrainians Loathe the Kiev Government Imposed by Obama GlobalResearch (GlennF). Focus on the Gallup results and read past the rant.

Corruption in Ukraine is so bad, a Nigerian prince would be embarrassed Reuters. Translation: the people the US bribed are not staying bribed.


UK Iraq veterans ‘may face prosecution’ BBC. For war crimes.

Saudis spend 25% of budget on military Business Insider (resilc)

Russia Vindicated by Terrorist Surrenders in Syria Strategic Culture Foundation (PlutoniumKun)

Syria Analysis: Obama — We Just Need Better Packaging of Our Strategy EA WorldView (resilc). As we said in 2010, Obama thinks the answer to every problem is better propaganda.

Imperial Collapse Watch

Daniel Larison American Conservative (resilc). From article:

U.S. foreign policy is to reconsider why the U.S. needs to have authoritarian client regimes at all. It was arguably useful in some cases to support anticommunist authoritarian rulers during the Cold War when the U.S. was engaged in a rivalry with the Soviet Union, but once the USSR was gone the value of these clients was greatly diminished. Like many Cold War-era relics, these relationships continued over the last twenty-five years despite growing evidence that they were useless or even a liability for U.S. security.

The Misinformation Mess Robert Parry, Consortium News (furzy)

Countries Scaled to the Economic Aid Received From the US Barry Ritholtz (resilc)

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

Open to Inspection Lapham’s Quarterly

Why didn’t high-priced/pseudoscientific “behavioral profiling” work in San Bernardino? Boing Boing (resilc)

U.S. Doesn’t Know How Many Foreign Visitors Overstay Visas New YorkTimes (resilc)


Might a Money-Sucking Family Political Dynasty Be Problematic? Gawker (resilc)

Fascinating analysis of the way Trump uses words Boing Boing (resilc)

Jeb Bush says Donald Trump a ‘creature’ of Barack Obama McClatchy (furzy)

Will California Actually Force Legislators to Wear Sponsor Patches Like Nascar Drivers? Vice (resilc)

Health Care’s Price Conundrum New Yorker (Kevin C). Important.


Obama to impose new gun control curbs next week Washington Post

White Militiamen Are Trying to Provoke a War with the Federal Government Again Gawker (resilc)

Women Over 50 Are Plagued by Persistent Unemployment New York Times

Class Warfare

Bernie Sanders calls Washington Post’s column cancellation ‘unfortunate’ Washington Post

Somali workers fired at Colorado packing plant in prayer dispute Reuters (EM)

Controlling rents, ensuring supply Dublin Review of Books. PlutoniumKun: “Brief overview of German housing rent controls.”

New year brings minimum wage hikes for Americans in 14 states Reuters (EM)

60,000 New Yorkers sign up for micro-apartments Undernews (furzy)

Privilege, Pathology and Power Paul Krugman, New York Times. Bill B:

Sigh, of course, Krugman neglects to cite to original sources, so I took an hour and hunted down a few:

Wealth and the Inflated Self: Class, Entitlement, and Narcissism

Higher social class predicts increased unethical behavior

Social Class, Contextualism, and Empathic Accuracy”

The Railroad Tycoon Who Manufactured Terrorism Scare To Break Labor Mark Ames, Pando. Unlocked for the nonce, so read it sooner rather than later.

A generation of failed politicians has trapped the west in a tawdry nightmare Guardian (PlutoniumKun)

Antidote du jour (Rajesh):

baby monkey links

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. Benedict@Large

    Regarding “too much news”, if this was indeed so, I’d suggest that it could be because people who formerly didn’t “make” news during this time period are no longer taking the customary time off. Could this be the erosion of benefits in the newsroom?

    1. Savonarola

      Yes. The unrelenting news cycle means no one truly gets off — well, some people do at the top. But the rank and file do not have off. They have off Christmas day itself and New Years Day itself at best. These used to be union jobs. . .even where they still are, the news companies are using the general state of the industry to push through the right to make people work extra hours without overtime or to shift their work hours with almost no warning. Somebody needs to be generating content at all times. . .somehow.

  2. allan

    Grandma: FBI wanted terror suspect Lutchman as informant [Democrat and Chronicle]

    In November and December, Emanuel Lutchman spoke several times with an FBI informant about his willingness to plan and carry out an attack in Rochester, according to the criminal complaint that charges him with offering “material support” to terrorists.

    According to Lutchman’s grandmother, however, his role could just have easily been reversed. She said the FBI contacted him in the fall, asking him to be a confidential informant.

  3. bob

    The little-told story of how the U.S. government poisoned alcohol during Prohibition. Slate (resilc)-

    “By mid-1927, the new denaturing formulas included some notable poisons—kerosene and brucine (a plant alkaloid closely related to strychnine), gasoline, benzene”

    They’re still using gasoline like that. E85. 85 percent ethanol, 15% gasoline (containing, among other things benzene)

    You think gas is taxed a lot? You can get a gallon of E85 for you car for about what normal gas goes for, right now $2.10.

    The cheapest ‘vodka’ costs at least $10 for a liter, roughly a quarter gallon. “vodka” is also 40 proof, so, in effect, it’s E20. One gallon would go for at least $40.

    E85 from the gas station- $2.10/gallon
    E20 from the liquor store- $40/ gallon

    It worked!

  4. fresno dan

    Florida woman fatally shoots ‘intruder’ who turns out to be her daughter Washington Post

    The sleeping woman woke up when she heard a noise and saw a figure coming toward her late Tuesday night, said Sgt. Denise Roberts, of the St. Cloud Police Department. The figure was approaching quickly, Roberts said, and didn’t say anything.

    “The homeowner fired one round at the subject,” a news release on the shooting states. “The subject was later identified as the homeowner’s daughter.”
    A 911 call captured the aftermath of the shooting, which was apparently confusing for those at the scene. In the call, a man can be heard telling a dispatcher that the victim “passed out,” saying she has a pacemaker and a heart problem. A woman later gets on the phone, and struggles to relay information to the dispatcher.
    “The homeowner’s story is consistent with the physical evidence and the witness’ statement,” the release states. “At this time, the incident appears to be an accidental shooting; however, the investigation is ongoing and it is considered to be an ‘open investigation.’”

    I didn’t have a chance to comment on the above story that was in yesterday’s links, and I feed compelled to make a few points.
    So according to the woman police officer herself, she fires at someone before she has had an opportunity to identify HER OWN DAUGHTER.
    Ask yourself, how long by size, sex, clothing and type of gait, even the path taken, would it take you to recognize a family member?
    The mother (police officer) was completely unfamiliar with the daughter’s schedule?
    Is it credible to believe that in the amount of time that transpired, one could infer an “attacking” from a person “walking quickly”???
    Did the mother (cop) order the daughter to “halt’????? No words were spoken at all???? Merely seeing someone walking toward you is enough justification to shoot???? Hmmmm…..

    I think this and Tamir Rice’s shooting bolsters my view that police are being allowed, if perhaps even encouraged, to shoot first and ask questions later.

    Now, according to some comments, the husband was doing undercover work. If the family were in such a precarious situation, they never had a family discussion about how they approach the house (maybe call on a cell phone before approaching?) to avoid such a situation?

    Finally, the final part of the news story seems VERY odd. Passed out? Pacemaker?
    I can’t help but speculate that a scenario for a justified shooting was being concocted prior to the shooting victim being recognized as the daughter.

    “The homeowner’s story is consistent with the physical evidence and the witness’ statement,” the release states. “At this time, the incident appears to be an accidental shooting…”
    I would say it is consistent with a criminally negligent shooting….

    Ironically, on that same day the Post posted a story on how many people are shot WEEKLY by children


    1. Yves Smith Post author

      The pacemaker part of the 911 call is very troubling. How do you miss a gunshot wound to the chest at close range? There had to be a ton of blood. It looks like the couple in a panic was trying a cover up first. I would guess they wanted EMT there ASAP and didn’t want to admit to the shooting. And the authorities didn’t call them out on it in their public statements. Would someone who was not an ex undercover cop have gotten the same treatment?

      1. bob

        The whole “undercover cop” part doesn’t make sense either.

        By admitting the husband was an undercover cop, they’ve outed him already. The only people that don’t know who he is are the general public.

        The whole “accidental shooting” thing is getting crazy. If you point and shoot a gun at someone, you meant to shoot them. It was not an accident. It may have been a misidentified person, followed by a shooting. But the shooting still happened. That doesn’t mean it is was an “accident”. Is she claiming that the gun went off by itself?

        Even the law, as applied to non-lawmen, says this- intent follows the bullet.

        She meant to kill the person in her house. She did.

      2. Jess

        Not having read the transcript of the 911 call, the first thing that hit me about the pacemaker was the possibility that the mother had one and passed out after realizing she had shot her own daughter. That might account for the confusion, but like I said, I’d have to read the 911 transcript to know for sure if this was what was stated, or could be inferred. If that’s not the case, then you’re dead right about it being highly improbable that a GSW to the chest could be mistaken for a pacemaker incident.

        1. Yves Smith Post author

          They have a video with the actual call as a voiceover. You can hear what was said. Also bizarre that this was released so close to the time of the shooting.

      3. fresno dan

        (CNN)A woman in St. Cloud, Florida, woke up just before midnight Tuesday and fired a shot at a person she thought had broken into her home.

        But the person wasn’t an intruder; it was her 27-year-old daughter.

        The woman fired one round, but police didn’t say where the bullet hit the daughter. She died at a hospital.
        In a recording of the 911 call provided by police, the husband tells a dispatcher that his daughter has a pacemaker and heart problems. She had passed out, he says. He does not mention a gunshot.

        After getting instructions to start CPR, the husband leaves the phone and a woman frantically talks to the dispatcher. The daughter is still breathing but very slowly, she says.

        About five minutes into the call, the dispatcher tells the woman that paramedics should have arrived.

        The officer, a 17-year-veteran, is on administrative leave but is not under investigation, the department said.

        Well, makes it a little clearer…..and even more disturbing.

        I would presume the husband was home (quite a coincidence that he would arrive just after his daughter is shot). Which makes the only reasonable understanding of the call to 911 is that it was an outright lie. He didn’t hear the gunshot???? Not giving accurate information that can affect the survival probability of your own daughter…
        Why in the world would you do that (“muscle memory” – always lie about the circumstances of a shooting if you are a cop?) – do you think people will not notice the gunshot wound???

        Children kill parents and parents kill children. Something here is screwy. Or Florida purposefully hires mentally deficient people to be police

    2. optimader

      The mother (police officer)…Did the mother (cop)
      what I read was mother=911 dispatcher, and the husband =LEO

    3. skippy

      From my own personal experience.

      Humans working in High Anxiety environments over long periods of time have a 60ish second temporal disconnect upon waking, especially if suddenly or a threat is perceived, and especially if in deep REM whilst living the dream.

      Per say noone would have thought of jostling myself awake, maybe a foot, tho more likely by voice, people do come up ready for combat and can be quite efficient in this alter state of mind. Which can be heightened by environmental factors like at night time, visual recognition, ancestral instinct[?], et al.

      The center mass shot is reflective of well honed skill and intent to kill as quickly as possible, one shot, especially if done in the dark or impaired visual conditions, sights would have been useless.

      Sadly in my case I’ve had a few experiences, no weapons were involved tho. In one particularity troubling case a girl friend, which did like to party a bit to much. Long story short, I was to meet up with her out in town around 10:00 PM, she was having to much fun with friends and never showed up, a few calls about leaving soon. Where it was decided I would go to her apt to feed and water her dog and chill out. When the waiting got ridiculous I had a few beers in the fridge, bad idea. Having finally gone to bed I was awoken some time latter by a forceful slap to the back of the leg thigh as I was splayed out spread eagle. Seems she was a bit miffed at my drinking the few beers she had expected when coming home.

      My immediate response was to land on my feet, grab her by the shirt at the collar level, host off feet, walk across the room and press up against wall, all in one fluid motion. She went into panic mode and tried to clock me with an iron which was on iron board next to us, I swatted it away with a knife palm to the wrist whilst still holding her up. At that point I asked her what the hell she thought she was doing, then let go. This is the point where reality recognition was setting in.

      I then went to the edge of the bed to put my shoes on and go home, was sleeping fully clothed. As I was walking out the door I could hear her on the phone to the cops, I just turned and look at her blankly and keep walking. En fin.

      Skippy… whilst not conducting a apologia for the WP story, I only point out the non rational vs. rational expectations in “an outlier” in Faulkner’s body of work.

      1. optimader

        A friends dad who was a USN pilot/flght surgeon/neurosurgeon personally always advocated a solid 1++ waking hours w/ breakfast from deep sleep to throttle, particularly if we were flying over Funkyland or water.. Apparently takes awhile to completely spool up in the cognitive dept even if you think you’re completely awake.
        Look at early morning commuters.

  5. fresno dan

    The little-told story of how the U.S. government poisoned alcohol during Prohibition. Slate (resilc)

    I happen to already have known that. It reminds me of the song by Paul Simon:
    When I think back On all the crap I learned in high school It’s a wonder I can think at all

    It took me a long time after becoming an adult, and putting two and two together, overcome the incessant propaganda, to realize that the US government, if not outright evil (and there is a very good case to make for that), has no justification AT ALL to make any claim that it in fact better or better acting than the vast majority of governments on this planet (Tuskegee syphilis experiment, Gulf of Tonkin, etcetera – I could go on forever)

    1. Paul Tioxon

      Marijuana was poisoned by the DEA in Mexico during the mid 1970s with the deadly herbicide, PARAQUAT. Mexican marijuana was the cheapest pot that was mostly smoked by the working class of America as opposed to the more expensive and potent varieties, such as Columbian which started to make its way into American via affluent college campuses. The DEA again started poisoning marijuana inside of the US during the Reagan administration, even though its use was banned by the EPA as a toxic killer chemical with no known cure after exposure to human beings. Then AG Ed Meese justified poisoning Americans:

      ” The Government contends that while paraquat is dangerous in a concentrated form, once it is sprayed it becomes ”biologically inactive.”

      Mr. Lawn said today that the Government must prepare another environmental impact statement when eradication is contemplated and that ”at that point, the determination is made by environmentalists, by law enforcement, which chemical will be most effective.”

      Attorney General Edwin Meese 3d said ”the real environmental damage is not from” the herbicides, but rather from what is being done by the illegal growers of marijuana.”


      Despite planted counter narratives to discredit the exposure of the US deliberately poisoning pot to deter its use, instead of scaring people off, the government officials in law enforcement would downplay the toxicity of the herbicide, seemingly contradicting its desired result to diminishing widespread pot smoking. Instead it inflicted chemical poisoning to its citizens just as it poisoned its own troops in Viet Nam with Agent Orange defolient that was sprayed onto the jungle cover of Viet Nam so troops could patrol those denuded areas with greater visibility to their surroundings.
      From the US Center for Disease Control, the CDC:

      “What paraquat is:

      Paraquat is a toxic chemical that is widely used as an herbicide (plant killer), primarily for weed and grass control.

      In the United States, paraquat is available primarily as a liquid in various strengths. The US Environmental Protection Agency classifies paraquat as “restricted use.” This means that it can be used only by people who are licensed applicators.

      Because paraquat is highly poisonous, the form that is marketed in the United States has a blue dye to keep it from being confused with beverages such as coffee, a sharp odor to serve as a warning, and an added agent to cause vomiting if someone drinks it. Paraquat from outside the United States may not have these safeguards added.”

      1. fresno dan

        thanks for that….
        I had forgotten about that – but one would have to have the memory of all the Google servers to keep all the examples of nefarious actions by our own government….

      2. JTMcPhee

        What a bunch of Fokkers so many of us humans are. And the myths that sort of used to insulate us from what we (whoever “we” is) ought to remember and see in the mirror are still shading “us”… Even though they are about as opaque as a window screen…

      3. McKillop

        Yet this recent story claims that paraquat wasn’t “. . . all that toxic”.
        People now are suspicious of the cannabis available -that it is more than merely potent but spiked with something. LSD, I’ve read, was reportedly also spiked with strychnine by the criminal/black marketeers after in was made illegal in ’68.
        It’s hard for me not to shrug, in pretended nonchalance, about such news when I consider the use of chemicals in industry, and food preparation, the use of poisons and biological weaponry (just in case!) in warfare, the everyday abuse of people both incarcerated in prisons and in poverty, & cetera.
        Stories about past poisoning of booze strike me as strange in that the stuff is poisonous to begin with.

  6. fresno dan

    15 News Stories From 2015 You Should Have Heard About But Probably Didn’t AntiMedia (EM)

    With regard to the media, it is like the old Woody Allan joke:
    2 old ladies are eating in a diner. One says the food is soooo BAD! The other says yeah, and the portions are so small!

    Press Freedom Continued to Deteriorate (how much is due to the media itself? It seems to do more cheerleading of the government than challenging of the total bullsh*t that is spewed incessantly forth)

    Multiple Activists Arrested, Charged with Felonies for Educating Jurors About Their Rights (Where O where do we get the idea that the courts are anything but a third of the triad of government oppression and injustice? That judges act with any integrity or courage AT ALL?)

    Six-Year-Old Autistic Boy Killed by Police (I would bet good money that children from 0 to 18 were killed, if not in one year, than in 3 or 4 years by police – but again, its not reported because our government doesn’t want it reported. Have to maintain the propaganda that that black is white, up is down)

    A study by fact checker, Politifact, revealed that all the major outlets surveyed — Fox News, CNN, and MSNBC— consistently report half-truths and lies. It is little wonder, then, that another survey found only 7% of Americans still harbor “a great deal of trust” in the mainstream media. (Irony and sarcasm alert – Sarah Palin was prescient – it is a Lamestream media!)

    And on an on. So much for my New Year’s resolution to stop watching news and reading blogs as it is all just so depressing…

    1. perpetualWAR

      I posted yesterday that I address judges as “Your Heinous.” There’s a reason for that.

  7. fresno dan

    Imperial Collapse Watch

    Daniel Larison American Conservative (resilc). From article:

    U.S. foreign policy is to reconsider why the U.S. needs to have authoritarian client regimes at all. It was arguably useful in some cases to support anticommunist authoritarian rulers during the Cold War when the U.S. was engaged in a rivalry with the Soviet Union, but once the USSR was gone the value of these clients was greatly diminished. Like many Cold War-era relics, these relationships continued over the last twenty-five years despite growing evidence that they were useless or even a liability for U.S. security.

    I miss the guy who used to go on about the “deep state.”
    You see so much done by the government that defies any dispassionate analysis of whether such policies, actions, allies, the whole rigmarole of “foreign policy” benefits outweigh the ginormous costs.
    Other than inertia for this ongoing self destructive behavior, and a pathological need to continue to do what doesn’t help, other than the “Best and the Brightest” just buying their own propaganda hook, line, and sinker, there seems to be no rational justification for the mess we continually get ourselves into…

    1. gordon

      To my mind, the Larison article just reminds me how the US regularly extends its traditional Latin American strategies to, well, everybody. For generations, the US has manipulated, undermined and pressured Latin American governments. It has often supported Latin American dictators who have no better claim than being “US-friendly” or “anti-communist”. Since the end of WWII this kind of strategy has formed the basis of US foreign policy world-wide.

      Latin America was a terrible school for an isolationist US to learn foreign policy in. As infinitely the biggest and strongest nation in the New World, the US allowed itself to drift semi-consciously into the role of international bully. Now that is the only international role the US knows. Every foreign State on earth is now treated as though it were a recalcitrant banana republic.

  8. mad as hell.

    The Misinformation Mess Robert Parry, Consortium News (furzy)

    Excellent article. I would subtitle it America’s argument to end all American arguments.

    1. diptherio

      Except Robert Parry doesn’t appear to understand that taxes don’t fund spending at the Federal level.

      1. optimader

        …. taxes don’t fund spending at the Federal level..

        Boeing Lobbyist at Pentagon meeting: …and this Sir, is why the flyaway cost of an F-35 doesn’t matter! The beauty of this racket is that no one is paying for it!
        (frame out: everyone murmuring to each other and ashing cigars)

    2. gordon

      Parry’s article articulates some of a process I privately label “Zapata’s Revenge”. By that I mean the process whereby the US increasingly comes to resemble the Latin American States it (the US) has traditionally despised, manipulated, undermined, bullied and sometimes invaded. It is a process of progressive corruption, impoverishment, destabilisation, social estrangement, inequality and violence. When complete, Zapata’s Revenge will mean that the US will have become indistinguishable socially, politically and economically from Mexico.

      (It has been suggested to me that “Pancho Villa’s Revenge” would have been a better label. Probably so, but you know how the first phrase that comes to mind when you identify a phenomenon tends to stick, even if on reflection it could have been better – so Zapata’s Revenge it will remain for me.)

  9. Dino Reno

    Fascinating analysis of the way Trump uses words

    Another way of calling the underclass stupid because Trump can use simple words in magical ways to sell them anything.

  10. wbgonne

    Syria analysis: Obama — We Just Need Better Packaging of Our Strategy EA WorldView (resilc). As we said in 2010, Obama thinks the answer to every problem is better propaganda.

    Of course Obama thinks that. It explains his entire life. It defines him. Obama is an empty person with a pretty veneer: A hologram.

    1. Jef

      “…empty person with a pretty veneer: A hologram.”

      That is a requirement for the office in addition to being able to memorize and repeat all of what your handlers put in front of you.

      We have Presidents so a name can be placed in front of all of the bad $#it that the system in place generates giving the impression that all we need do is replace that name with a different name and all the bad $#it will stop. We fall for it every time and the guy always get better at golf.

      1. flora

        ha! Bill Clinton: “I still believe in a place called Hope.” Go online and read that 1992 acceptance speech.

  11. ambrit

    The “too much news” observation is perhaps restricted to the “Christian” nations, and the dregs of the Anglo American empire? I’m curious to see if the ‘Holiday News’ volume is consistant with ‘normal’ news volume, or a real spike, averaged out over the entire year.

  12. rich

    CNBC’s Annual PEU Review Omits Carlyle Group

    CNBC reported on 2015 stock performance for a number of publicly traded private equity underwriters (PEU). Reporters used a number of terms besides private equity to describe the companies, LBO, public deal makers, and hedge fund asset class. They highlighted the beating most took in their annual stock performance.
    I found it interesting the report omitted The Carlyle Group, especially given Carlyle co-founder David Rubenstein is a frequent guest speaker on CNBC. Carlyle also values its good name. I offer the following chart on Carlyle’s 2015 stock performance.

  13. docg

    re: Life going by faster as we age.

    On your first birthday, 24 hours represents 1/365th of your total life span; on your 60th birthday, it represents only 1/21,900th of your life span. So percentage-wise each day is, literally, shorter as we get older.

    1. optimader

      that summarizes the phenom w/o needing too much prose. It’s all relative as a % of lifespan..

      1. McKillop

        The observation is true, but irrelevant to most people.
        The article spoke of three theories but only pretended to present any theory -according as to what a scientific theory is by definition. Only ideas and opinions were written.
        As well, the article mentions ‘perception’ which, it seems to me, puts it on the same level as perceptions that the sun rises and sets, that all personal opinions are able to be labelled as theories.
        Even the 1/365th explanation, while being arithmetically correct, explains nothing but that the original article is puffery.

  14. Steve H.

    I’ll just share a communication & my response…

    Well, poop. We just figured out that (probably due to holidays and bank schedules) Mister’s last check was issued on the 31st and not the 1st . . . which puts us a paycheck ahead for last year, which puts us over the limit for our healthcare subsidy, which means we’ll have to pay all that back plus (I’m assuming) penalties. Blargh.

    Janet said that something like every 17 years, there are 27 payperiods if yer paid every two weeks. So you aren’t the only one, this is systemic.

    1. fresno dan

      What a terrible way to start the new year!
      And of course, the horrible irony is that by taking such a chunk of income, if you actually needed medical care, what with the co-pays, lack of ability to figure out if in fact someone working on you is in “network” one could end up being charged 100X the insured price…well, it goes on and on.

  15. tony

    On the militiamen. If you go to some racist site, like Youtube, you’ll find plenty of “ironic” racists wanting to “ironically” kill all blacks. Apparently, the progressives are hardly any different and threatening a federal officer with a gun is grounds for a massacre. The average comment looks like this:

    “I agree that if one of the current cop of republican fascists were in the white house, they’d be less likely to try this, at least partly because they’d be so much happier in general if some reactionary cracker were assaulting foreign airwaves with random aggression and irrational warfare. Treasonous motherfuckers don’t recognize a president they didn’t happen to vote for.

    Kill them all.”

    I wonder if the neighbourhoods protected by Black Panthers should have also been firebombed. (No.)

    It’s also too bad Blair is not the one getting procecuted for war crimes.

  16. dcblogger

    micro apartments are the next stage of the real estate bubble, first create an army of people desperate for any sort of housing, then get the gov’t to accept micro apartments.

    1. perpetualWAR

      The only reason Japan has those “apartments” that are essentially coffins, is that Japan is a small island. Yet America is a vast country, yet we are going to allow coffin-like apartments here? It is such bullshit.

      1. optimader

        The only reason Japan has those “apartments” that are essentially coffins, is that Japan is a small island.
        Isn’t Manhattan an island also?
        Coffin? Think of it as a spacious live aboard boat w/nice accommodation features but no harbor view.
        Bottom line, no one is holding a gun to anyone’s head to force them to spend ~$2,800/mnth to live there. Case in point, I’m guessing there will be less of a RE market support for them in N Dakota.
        Location, location, location..

  17. Jim Haygood

    Obama’s rule-by-decree approach to gun control (welcome to the Third World, comrade) reminded me of a funny quote:

    A “D” grade by the Brady Campaign on South Dakota’s gun laws once prompted a South Dakota state senator to say, “Find out what it takes to get an ‘F,’ and I’ll pass it.”

    Strange, how the planet’s most lethal drone assassin don’t want his constituents to be armed.

  18. diptherio

    The Corruption in Ukraine is so bad… article in Reuters is hilarious. The author’s suggestion is that the corrupt guy we helped put in power stop being corrupt. Ha! OMG,it’s just too silly. I can’t stop giggling.

    Reminds me of that old story about the frog who gave a ride across a stream to a scorpion, after the scorpion assured him that he wouldn’t sting the frog, since that would lead to both of their deaths. Of course, half way across said stream the scorpion stings the frog and as they both sink to the bottom the frog expresses his amazement that the scorpion would do such a thing, to which the scorpion replies, “what did you expect, I’m a scorpion!

    So Cohen here, in his little opinion piece, suggests that the scorpion Poroshenko stop doing scorpion things. Can’t he see that he’s hurting everybody by allowing the corruption to continue? Well…maybe not everybody:

    Poroshenko is the only one of Ukraine’s 10 richest people to see his net worth actually increase in the past year, and his bank continues to expand while others lose their licenses. One of his industrial companies also won a large shipbuilding contract — a clear conflict of interest with Poroshenko’s role as president.

    So, in an apparent attempt at satire, Cohen suggests that the Chocolate King of Kiev should just stop doing the thing that’s enriching him and instead and crack down on corruption…[giggles] It’s unstated, but implied, that Poroshenko would get a pass if he declared himself immune to punishment for past corruption, just so long as he goes after some of his companions in crime…kind of like how we give immunity to mobsters who testify against their bosses (of course, we don’t have the equivalent of prison time to threaten Poroshenko with to coerce his cooperation, which is what makes the suggestion that he just cooperate so funny).

  19. EPATMD

    On the militiamen: they’re crazy as billed I know but the story I read ? Can’t remember where…charged with “arson” but it is common practice in rural areas to use controlled fires to combat weeds, particularly along the edges of irrigation ditches. They do this in my rural community near large expensive homes and no one thinks twice about it. I read that it then spread to adjacent BLM land which he was leasing. Private land often abuts BLM land which ranchers are allowed to use for grazing.
    In addition he already served 3 years, was released, then pursued *again* for additional time because his sentence did not meet mandatory minimum and was therefore an “illegal” sentence.
    I really don’t know details but the punishment could be punitive for what could have simply been a rancher going about his business. Maybe something beneath the surface.

    1. Aumua

      It seems like 90% of the stories I’m reading today are just missing key details, and how much time do I have to track down the information that’s been left out? I just don’t feel like it today, man. I give up.

      I feel like I’m not being told what’s really going on in story after story. Like what did this rancher actually do, for instance.

      1. ambrit

        See this for a longer exposition:
        The crux of the case is that the father and son have owned the ranch since 1964, along with grazing allotments, traditionally used for raising cattle. The land is Federal, and leased for use. Two burn offs effected Federal lands. The two were charged with arson. The case was bought under a new federal anti terrorism statute, which mandated minimum sentences of five years. The original judge thought the five year sentences were excessive and handed down much shorter terms; three months for the 72 year old father and one year for the 43 year old son. The prosecutor sued to have the five year sentences upheld, and won.
        The back story is that the ranch has been surrounded by a Park and the state has been pressuring the family to sell out.
        The two agreed to return to prison and do not want the militias to intervene.
        The use of terrorism to cover a multitude of sins has come to be one of the defining features of our Police State. Much as I decry the Bundy Bunch, they do have an issue to fight about. Terrorists come in many shapes and sizes, and often now, in uniforms.

        1. flora

          thanks for the info. the feds do burn off of their own public lands regularly. It’s a normal part of rural life.

        2. Elliot

          While it’s great fun to sympathize with the poor put-upon outsiders being bested by the great big bad government, the militia movement here in the west is not the poster child you’re looking for. Or at least I hope not. Their legacy includes murder, bombings, etc., and they use a veneer of patriotism to cover violent racism, and want to appropriate forest & wildlands for their own private exploitation. Those forest and wildlands belong to all of us, not just to bitchy (and often out of state!) guys with guns who like to misquote the Constitution.

          1. epatmd

            I agree.
            But there seem to be two separate issues here: the militia, and the punishment. It does not appear they asked the militia to intervene.
            CNN reported they burned the BLM land to “conceal poaching”. I couldn’t find other details with a brief look. Coverage is terrible.
            Even if they did poach deer the sentences seem cruel and unusual. I haven’t heard of burning land to conceal poaching before but honestly just don’t know.
            Invoking terrorism is absurd, as has been said. The convicted ranchers are meekly returning to prison to serve their sentences.
            Most telling is a report that the small townspeople are sympathetic to the ranchers (but militia’s presence is controversial). My experience is that rural people rarely sympathize with poachers.

        3. Epatmd

          Finally found both an article with the details, and DOJ statement on re-sentencing.
          Cruel and unusual punishment IMO. At a minimum.

          The Hammonds resisted selling their land to the gov’t to allow the creation of the cow-free park as you have said.
          “…In the Hammonds’ plea agreement in the 2012 trial, the BLM obtained the first right of refusal should the family have to sell their private land, Maupin added…”

          A DOJ document asserts there was poaching of at least 7 seven deer, either dead or wounded, with witnesses, but the teenager who testified to this was thought by one Judge to have an axe to grind, involved in a family disagreement, I believe the same judge who thought the sentence “shocked the conscious”.

          1. flora

            Thanks very much for The Fencepost article. I encourage everyone to read it.
            And you are right that the Hammonds’ sentence and the Bundy militia are 2 separate and unrelated issues.

          2. Oregoncharles

            So it IS about Steens Mtn, right next to the Malheur NWR. I’ve been there, twice; it’s one of the most magical places in Oregon, and we have a lot of them. I think I support getting the cows off of it – but not by using trumped-up charges to force someone off their private land. The “FencePost” article is not unbiased, but it is informative. It makes a fairly strong case that the “arson” charges are, indeed, trumped up, with malice aforethought. No wonder this case attracted the militias.

            One disturbing aspect is that the use of fire in land management was much promoted BY ENVIRONMENTALISTS about that time. I wonder why they seem to have turned against it? The natives kept the whole Willamette Valley in grassland by burning it, right up onto the neighboring hills. And a long history of fire suppression has created nightmare conditions in a good deal of the West, as noted in the story.

            A further element in the story is very common here: BLM and private lands are often intermingled. There are large areas of western Oregon in a “checkerboard” of private and public land. I can imagine it complicates management – but again, that doesn’t justify sending someone to prison for “arson.”

            The militia occupation of the refuge headquarters is another matter. I assume it was empty because of the time of year. I thought the government’s backing down in the Bundy Ranch case was bizarre and sinister, but in this case, I hope they can figure out a way to get their buildings back without bloodshed. Just cutting them off from electricity and supplies should do it; it gets COLD out there. The appearance of total, paralyzed confusion on the part of the authorities doesn’t help things.

    2. flora

      Yes. Controlled burns are part of rural life. BLM often does controlled burns. Some even go out of control. Sometimes with private property structural damage. Accidents happen. This article seems to be sensationalism with an agenda.

  20. Vatch

    Bernie Sanders calls Washington Post’s column cancellation ‘unfortunate’ Washington Post

    Jeff Bezos, the owner of the Washington Post, probably doesn’t want a columnist at his newspaper who might advocate better working conditions for the wage slaves at

    1. allan

      From the story:

      On Thursday, Hiatt said in an email that the column simply failed to find and hold an audience.

      “The Post opinion section takes pride in publishing a wide range of views,” said Hiatt, “including progressives …, Ruth Marcus,…”

      This Ruth Marcus?

      The Costs of Bailout Rage

      By Ruth Marcus
      Wednesday, March 18, 2009; A13

      Could we put down the pitchforks for just a moment and have a reasonable discussion about the bonuses at American International Group? …

      But, you ask, what about autoworkers who are being squeezed to renegotiate their contracts? Those renegotiations mostly involve the future terms of employment, though, it is true, they also could affect retiree health benefits. If an autoworker doesn’t want to show up on the assembly line under the terms of a new deal, he or she doesn’t have to. That’s different from telling AIG employees they’re not getting the amount on which they agreed for work they’ve already performed…

      Of course, what they had performed was fraudulent. But what’s a little fraud between progressive friends?

  21. Vatch

    This observation may seem to make no sense, but both Lambert and I noticed that there was too much news between Christmas and New Year, as in an unnaturally high level

    It makes perfect sense to me. Politicians, business executives, and other leaders sometimes have to reveal embarrassing information, so they choose a time to do so when a minimal number of people will be paying attention. An eight day period that includes two major holidays is a great time to hide something in plain sight.

  22. Frank Shannon

    I think the reason that Obama thinks the answer to every problem is better propaganda is that when the only tool you have is a hammer every problem looks like a nail. Better policies would be unpopular with the only constituency that matters, the elites.

    1. prostratedragon

      There was a New Year’s Eve email dump in response to an information suit, showing that the McDonald shooting was definitely on the radar soon after it happened, and that both McDonald family attorneys and the City of Chicago corporation counsel were preparing for court action.

      Tribune article

  23. Oregoncharles

    ” there was too much news between Christmas and New Year, as in an unnaturally high level ”

    Trying to beat the new year restart? Hoping to slip something by us while we aren’t looking? Seems like a rush of news at the very end of the year is not a coincidence, even though the date is thoroughly arbitrary.

    1. Lambert Strether

      An emergent outcome of elite infighting and conflicts in portfolio management, perhaps. More bubbles in the pot because Gaia turned up the heat, perhaps.

      I wonder, however, what reflexivity has to say about emergent outcomes and elite thinking. “Something will turn up.” –Mr. Micawber

  24. James Housel

    RE: ” A generation of failed politicians” the wonderful quote from James Baldwin

    “It is ultimately fatal,” Baldwin warned, “to create too many victims.” For then, “however long the battle may go on” the wielder of superior firepower “can never be the victor; on the contrary, all his energies, his life, are bound up in a terror he cannot articulate, a mystery he cannot read, a battle he cannot win”.

    Could we chisel this on a public building?

    1. craazyman

      James Baldwin was a master. I remember reading Notes of a Native Son and being amazed at the power and clarity of his prose. I read his other work too the way a drunkerd drinks, just drinking it down with almost a physical thirst for more. It was a while ago & i can’t remember it now very well. i never considered him as a “Black writer’. Not Ellison either in invisible Man. That was a masterpiece. it is a masterpiece. These guys were incredible, powerful, lucid, forceful and clear. probing through every surface to the underlying reality. It’s not racial at that point. They’re lessons in what do do and how to do it. it doesn’t matter if your white or black or tan.

      i had a social friend, a white guy, whose family had money. Evidently they met James Baldwin at a party once in New Yawk back in the Day. Evidently he was drunk, or maybe not, but he was introduced and said something like “Hey you white mother fukkers!” with glee and enthusiasm. hahahahahh! That crackked me up, to hear that.

  25. OIFVet

    Putin is a monster: Huge numbers of Russian women have wed Turks over the past few decades. Now Putin is putting their marriages in jeopardy. I think Nemtsova is running afoul with the feminists, though: “Russian women often are in charge of their households in their own country…some of the Russian wives in Istanbul go to the other extreme. One wrote in her social media profile, “I am a girl. I do not want to decide anything. I want a dress.”” So how’s that working out for the Russian women in mixed marriages? “Sometimes local guys take too much responsibility, too much control, over their Russian wives,” said Smirnova. “Husbands often tell Russian girls to put on a hijab [veil], and convert to Islam just for the sake of good relationships with parents, and when women disobey, it often leads to a divorce.” Evil Putin… all the dyev wanted was a dress and got the hijab instead.

      1. OIFVet

        Get cozy with Nemtsova. Given the copious Russian men-hating going on in her article, Nemtsova just might be able and willing to lend a tongue.

  26. Dave

    Why time goes faster when you are older?
    All this technodrivel is just that.

    It’s fractions baby! When you are 6, a year is 1/6th of your life. When you are 60, it’s 1/60th of your life. Each year assumes a smaller and smaller part of your life, and in the cumulative memory of everything that’s happened, is a smaller and smaller percentage.

    Assume you could live to be 1,000 years old, a year would be just a moment. At some point, living longer would cross over and make your life actually shorter.

    And “the Chinese helped build the transcontinental railroads?” B.S. they were hung in baskets because of their small size and lightweight to help drill holes in the rock faces for dynamite placement across the Sierras only.
    The Irish built the railroads.

  27. Dave

    30 to 40% boosts in health “insurance” premiums for Middle Class Americans and small businesses mean that there’s no or little money for consumer spending, starting households etc.

    Wait until year over year December sales numbers are released. The Obamacare cost recession has already begun.

  28. Skippy

    For a good time…. see first graph… Evolution of Atlanta Fed GDPNow real GDP forecast for 2015: Q4
    Quarterly percent change (SAAR),d.dGY

    That is all….

    In one lifetime, GDP, or Gross Domestic Product, has ballooned from a narrow economic tool into a global article of faith. It is our universal yardstick of progress. As The Little Big Number demonstrates, this spells trouble. While economies and cultures measure their performance by it, GDP ignores central facts such as quality, costs, or purpose. It only measures output: more cars, more accidents; more lawyers, more trials; more extraction, more pollution—all count as success. Sustainability and quality of life are overlooked. Losses don’t count. GDP promotes a form of stupid growth and ignores real development.

    How and why did we get to this point? Dirk Philipsen uncovers a submerged history dating back to the 1600s, climaxing with the Great Depression and World War II, when the first version of GDP arrived at the forefront of politics. Transcending ideologies and national differences, GDP was subsequently transformed from a narrow metric to the purpose of economic activity. Today, increasing GDP is the highest goal of politics. In accessible and compelling prose, Philipsen shows how it affects all of us.

    But the world can no longer afford GDP rule. A finite planet cannot sustain blind and indefinite expansion. If we consider future generations equal to our own, replacing the GDP regime is the ethical imperative of our times. More is not better. As Philipsen demonstrates, the history of GDP reveals unique opportunities to fashion smarter goals and measures. The Little Big Number explores a possible roadmap for a future that advances quality of life rather than indiscriminate growth.

    Dirk Philipsen is a German- and American-trained professor of economic history, senior fellow at the Kenan Institute for Ethics, and a Duke Arts and Sciences Senior Research Scholar at Duke University. He is the author of We Were the People: Voices from East Germany’s Revolutionary Autumn of 1989. He lives in Durham, North Carolina.

    Skippy…. incentives thingy…

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