Links 7/17/16

Pokémon Go powers Nintendo into Japan’s top 20 companies FT

White House Cuts Economic Growth Forecasts WSJ

Central banks want to issue national digital currencies, but are countries ready? World Economic Forum (from May, but still interesting).

Bank Complexity: Is Size Everything? FEDS Notes

The Collapse of California’s Carbon Cap-and-Trade Market Conversable Economist

Nuclear waste: keep out for 100,000 years FT (DL). Good signage is very important!

Public Health Takes a Hit Even as Uruguay Prevails in Infamous Philip Morris Investor-State Attack Public Citizen

China threatens reprisals on NZ dairy, wool and kiwifruit if government doesn’t back off cheap steel inquiry Stuff

The Fake Factory That Pumped Out Real Money Bloomberg. Accounting control fraud in biofuels.

Justice department ‘uses aged computer system to frustrate Foia requests’ Guardian


The UK has no trade negotiators, says former Brexit minister FT

Labour divisions widen as anti-Corbyn leadership rivals turn on each other Guardian

Jeremy Corbyn considers legal challenge to new Labour leadership voting rules stitch-up Mirror


New details suggest attacker in Nice was alienated, troubled man WaPo. Just like the Orlando and Dallas shooters. So let’s send more troops to the Middle East!

Hollande’s promise to respond militarily to the Nice attack just continues the West’s vicious circle of terror and war The Independent

French MP warns Hollande: Ban the burka EVERYWHERE or face CIVIL WAR Sunday Express

As Bastille Day Attack in France Kills 84, Is the War on Terror a “Self-Fulfilling Prophecy”? Democracy Now

The Misguided Logic of Keeping Calm in the Face of Terror Foreign Policy

Political scientists have isolated why disasters push us farther to the right Quartz

Turkish Coup

European history is speeding up as Turkish coup follows Brexit Irish Times

Turkey rounds up thousands of suspected participants in coup attempt WaPo

Turkey’s president asks US to extradite Monroe County cleric he blames for failed coup The Morning Call

The Gülen Movement and Turkish Soft Power Carnegie Endowment for Peace (2014).

Turkey’s bungled putsch: a strangely 20th century coup Reuters

How Turkey Came to This Salon (Re Silc). Re Silc: “The generals are Kemalists. They are not secularists. Neither side is secularist. Secularism means that there is a differentiation between church and state. In Turkey it is laicist but gets translated as secularist, which muddies the issue. Kemalists controlled religion in society and preferred Sunnis. I hate using secular because it makes it sounds like they are the good guys and everyone else is bad.”

Did Erdogan STAGE the coup? US-based Turkish cleric facing extradition over botched rebellion claims president orchestrated plot to justify a clampdown on civil rights Daily Mail. Just because person A benefits from event E doesn’t mean A planned E; opportunism can be adaptive behavior exactly because opportunities arise that are not planned.  On the other hand, a coup as clumsy and stupid as this one… Well, there’s one country that has a history of that, no? Especially in the Middle East. On the third hand, we might remember that Frank Herbert wrote, in Dune: “Then, as his planet killed him, it occurred to Kynes that his father and all the other scientists were wrong, that the most persistent principles of the universe were accident and error.”

A History of Media Control and Media Blackouts in Coups d’Etat Privacy Online News


One year later, Iran obeying nuclear deal, despite early doubts McClatchy

Black Injustice Tipping Point

Eric Garner’s Daughter Says ABC News Silenced Her At President Obama’s Televised Town Hall Meeting Essence. Seems like Obama “stood between you and the pitchforks” again, this time with cops.

Obama says Black Lives Matter. But he doesn’t ensure they do Guardian

Hillary Clinton is Hypocritical When it Comes to Black Lives Matter. Here’s a Tweet to Prove It. Wear Your Voice

How Americans view the Black Lives Matter movement Pew Research Center

Racism, Stress, and Black Death The New Yorker


The Great Republican Crack-up: How Dayton Helps Explain the Rise of Donald Trump Pro Publica. Must read.

The Trump Before Trump David Frum, WSJ. William Jennings Bryan.

Ignore the Polls. Trump’s Campaign Is a Hot Mess, and That’s All That Matters. TNR (Re Silc). Liberal goodthinkers regard presidential campaigning rituals and conventions as norms, and use them as a yardstick for Presidential fitness.

Barbara Bush: “I don’t know how women can vote” for Trump CBS News

Trump Time Capsule #41: ‘We Remember the Nuremberg Trials’ The Atlantic. All very well, but I don’t remember any prosecutions for war crimes or torture when Democrats had power; they looked forward and not back.

Sixty mega-donors gave 30 percent of the money raised by Donald Trump and the Republican Party WaPo

Trump VP Pick Raises Legal Questions for Some Wall Street Donors Bloomberg

Clinton pledges constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United ruling Politico

Chelsea gets big billing at Democratic National Convention alongside mom Hillary on preliminary speaker list that includes Bernie Sanders and none Clinton’s potential running mates Daily Mail. Maybe Chelsea’s a placeholder for the Veep?

Sanders Activists Already Agitating in Philadelphia TAP (Re Silc).

“Those Damn Emails:” Comey’s Political Fix Unraveling Counterpunch

Challenger raises more than Wasserman Schultz, but she has more cash for home stretch Sun-Sentinel

Class Warfare

How the 2% lives The Economist. Temping.

What’s wrong with Airbnb? Worthwhile Canadian Initiative. Plenty, if you’re “lower income,” apparently.

‘Web of Science’ to be sold to private-equity firms Nature

Scientific Education as a Cause of Political Stupidity The Archdruid Report

I rejected my parents’ WASP values. Now I see we need them more than ever. WaPo

Antidote du jour (Richard Smith, via):


See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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About Lambert Strether

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


  1. skippy

    Ref – Brexit…

    Couple of interesting links….

    Tory sources said Boris Johnson had won his surprise promotion to Foreign Secretary after offering to back Mrs May for the leadership while he was still a candidate in return for her promising to stand aside later.

    Theresa May’s husband is a senior executive at a $1.4 trillion investment fund that profits from tax avoiding companies

    Disheveled Marsupial… As far as the Archdruid goes… yeah on engineers… but I think he misses the collective decadel effect of ‘Science Mart’ and ‘Merchants of Doubt’ wrt to Science due to – his personal – views on reality… which in many ways is just as bad as what he decries…

  2. Adam1

    On Turkey… An odd possible coincindence occured to me last night. I have a employee who made a detour to the Turkish consulate in NYC on a planned vacation last week. He’s about to age out of being able to defer his military service duty unless he does his service or buys his way out. As I understand it a few years ago buying out jumped to about $15k dollars (or Euros). The guy that works for me had decided to just let his Turkish citizenship laps instead of handing over so much money. Then he learned that the buy-out option was on sale for $1,000 and it expired like on what my vague memory recalls as the day of the coup (although maybe it was the end of the month).

      1. Fred

        Looking composed when giving a speech, all the proof you need that this wasn’t staged to provide cover for rounding up one’s political enemies. That of course has never happened before.

        1. optimader

          That of course has never happened before
          Knowing really nothing much as objective fact (me) about the events in Turkey , it could plausibly be a play from the 0100 level Intro to Practical Dictatorship course guide by Joe Stalin (he was an editor afterall!). Think: A round up of perceived and real enemies, as well as people you know are allies-just to terrorize everyone.

          OTOH Looking composed when giving a speech,
          really means nothing if he’s a bona fide card carrying Psychopath.

          Considering the fact that Military Leadership positions are traditionally elitist but not necessarily composed of the sharpest knives in the drawer, this could plausibly be a manifestation of clique behavior (say a coup) that seems implausible to a “wider population”. (Think: a “well fed” and satisfied military/police rank and file.)
          aka, invoke Taleb’s Firehouse Effect. In other words, This can very easily be nothing more than just be a botched coup attempt.

          The Firehouse Effect.

          When cliques, of people, with a lot of time to chat, start to believe in things that would seem crazy to the wider population. From Fooled by Randomness by Nassim Taleb.
          So named after an observation of firemen who would spend a lot of time talking amongst themselves between fires.

          1. Fred

            Stalin is all the further back your history goes? Proceed on to Sun Tzu. Branch out a little bit more while you are at it.

            1. optimader

              I prefer a more contemporary example, does some older attribution impute more validity for you??
              But OTOH, maybe I misunderstand that era of Soviet history, or is it a case that you just harbor a soft spot for “Ol Uncle Joe? (he had a naughty side, but more a circumstance of being largely misunderstood, right?)

              In any case, pithy attribution to Sun Tzu!…ohhh wait..

              1. Fred

                Uncle Joe was an ally when we defeated Not-uncle Adolf. Only cost a couple of blood relatives.

      2. NotTimothyGeithner

        Since plans unless they are simple usually go to rot right away, the most likely scenario is:

        -Erdogan doesn’t see the EU as viable anymore and needs to make amends with Russia
        -he plans to clean house of his enemies and blame them for Western influence over time.
        -potential purge victims launch a hasty coup
        -Erdogan being paranoid always expects enemies and defeats hasty coup
        -proceeds with his housecleaning plan while he has the momentum
        -blames US and announces the pilot who shot down the Russian plane was one of the plotters.

          1. dbk

            Indeed, although perhaps “Ottoman” might also be appropriate in the context.

            A friend who works in Istanbul (I’d referred to her telling me that Erdogan probably had at most a year left in power on a Links thread three weeks ago) forwarded me a piece yesterday from The American Interest, Feb. 2, 2015 by Jenny B. White entitled “The Turkish Complex”. Highly recommended.

            The political situation in Turkey is vastly more complex and nuanced than we in the West can appreciate looking in. Erdogan has liberalized the economy over the past decade or so, with the result that a financial middle class has arisen which is as fond of Western toys and baubles as French or English or German youth – but they are, at least many of them – devout Muslims. This Western-style economic “liberalization” has gone hand in hand with the President’s opening of the Turkish borders to other ME nationals – rather like a Turkish/ME form of Schengen, actually. The result is that Turkey is no longer exclusively Turkish – Kemalist – the elephant in the room being IS, whose members pass through Turkey and conduct active recruiting among the disenfranchised/dispossessed/disillusioned. And of course there are also the Kurds, who very much desire their own state.

            Politics per se in Turkey, dating back to Ataturk (and to the Ottoman sultans, surely) is associated exclusively with personal power networks – a strong man is literally seen as a quasi-savior of the nation (which views itself as eternally persecuted by outsiders), and his power is directly connected with, and rests on the depth/breadth of his network of dependent relationships.

            Erdogan will surely strengthen his own network hierarchy as a result of this coup attempt – he already controlled some branches of the military, including the highest echelons and intelligence branch – but in the longer term, it’s anybody’s guess. The economic situation is no longer rosy (high youth unemployment), and IS is a problem Erdogan cannot seem to confront effectively.

            One of the (many) takeaway phrases: “Turks are increasingly dreaming Ottoman dreams”.

            Interestingly, the Greek press and intelligentsia have a good grasp of what seems to be happening, having been subject to Ottoman dreams themselves for about 450 years. And again interestingly, at least to me, is the fact that the description of Turkish political influence networks is the closest parallel to how comparable networks in Greece operate that I’ve ever read.

            It’s really, really not Western European politics – it’s a different creature altogether.

        1. optimader

          All plausible.. Military antagonists caught wind of Erdogan’s police Precrime Division intentions.

          time to go consider this over cold beers on a hot patio….

          1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

            Yes but don’t you wonder where all the Turkey-based CIA guys were and what they were doing during all this? And the Gulen-Clinton Foundation links? And Erdogan’s recent feelers for rapprochement with Putin?
            The whole globe feels like we just need a little Gavrilo Princip moment and all bets are off

            1. Optimader

              Ultimately, inspite of the extraordinary technical resources i presume the cia has acsolable, when it cones to human intrlligence assets, i don’t have much confidence that the cia could find its metaphoric ass with both hands

        2. VietnamVet

          The Islamists have taken control of Turkey. Erdogan’s Coup could be the 21st century equivalent to Sarajevo if one of the five great powers in Europe switches sides to join Russia and China in creating a multi-polar world. Along with Brexit, the USA neo-cons and German neo-liberals cannot allow the splintering of European Union and the fall of the Empire. The loss of 90 nuclear weapons stored in Turkey would destroy the Democratic Party. The insanity of starting World War III could appear to be the best option to the current western ruling elite.

    1. Larry Headlund

      There is nothing particularly new nor odd about family members being speakers at political conventions:
      Marilyn Quayle in 1992
      Robin Dole in 1996
      Laura Bush in 2000
      Lynne Chaney in 2000
      Laura Bush in 2004
      George P. Bush in 2004
      Lynne Chaney in 2004
      Laura Bush in 2008
      Cindy McCain in 2008
      Ann Romney in 2012
      Craig Romney in 2012

        1. pretzelattack

          in this, as in so much else, the clintons are following the republican tradition. but they are extending it to their kids. innovative!

        1. Vatch

          Can’t we vote for Lindsay Lohan, instead? She has expressed interest in running for President in 2020, although I don’t think she’ll be old enough until the middle of 2021. So LiLo for Prez in 2024!

        2. Christopher Fay

          Chelsea has been an under performing asset for the greater Clinton Family Fortune Initiative.

          Her loser husband crapped out on managing money though Goldmine Sachs was busy funneling its clients’ money to him for him to lose.

          Chelsea doesn’t have that $64,000 per minute speaking gig on reality tv news anymore.

          So she’s just sitting around the penthouse not earning. Getting her on stage is a great way to signal that her price per minute per speech has gone up, and if you want influence in a reign of Hillary, get those check books out there.

      1. Tom Allen

        Eleanor Roosevelt in 1940
        Pat Nixon in 1972
        Nancy Reagan in 1984
        Barbara Bush in 1992
        Hillary Clinton in 1996
        Tipper Gore in 2000
        Teresa Heinz Kerry in 2004
        Michelle Obama in 2008 and 2012

      2. Lambert Strether Post author

        Good point, but as GreyLady points out, there aren’t any Democrats on that list. (Perhaps that’s why it seems like a discontinuity to me, rather like Al Gore kissing Tipper.)

        There’s the placeholder motive, there’s the appeal to moderate Republicans, there are the dynastic implications…. In permaculture, we believe in stacking functions!

    2. sd

      Turkey coup arrests hit 6,000 as Erdogan roots out ‘virus’

      “We will continue to cleanse the virus from all state institutions, because this virus has spread. Unfortunately like a cancer, this virus has enveloped the state,” Mr Erdogan told mourners at the Fatih mosque in Istanbul.

      I find this kind of language deeply disturbing.

      1. James Levy

        One of my grad school profs was Robert Proctor, and in his book Racial Hygiene he shows convincingly that to understand the Nazis you have to see that their governing metaphor, their master narrative, was biology. It suffuses everything in Nazi ideology, and once you get that, the Nazis and their actions make perfect sense (in that they are entirely logically consistent). Everything is a struggle of the “race” for survival. That struggle has no moral element, it is governed by the “laws of nature”. Land and resources are everything, because they guarantee the survival of the race. Any contamination of the race is dangerous. The Jews were a cancer, an infection, of the body politic, the race, and you don’t argue with cancer–you eradicate it.

        When people use biological metaphors the way Erdogan does, it precludes discussion or debate. One instinctively turns to images of infections and parasites, and those are not dealt with via reason or law. It is, indeed, very scary language.

        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          Which is even nuttier than it sounds, since it assumes morality has no adaptive function (even ex spandrels, where morality would have arisen randomly from the interaction of other functions, and exaptation, where traits evolved for one purpose serve another).

          1. IDG

            That’s the problem, closed logic systems can be internally consistent, as long as you agree with the foundational axioms.

            However if those axioms are not grounded in reality (ie. facts) you can end up with all sort of apparently sounds concussions justifying the most fucked up of things because your axioms were pure rhetorical garbage.

            This happens a lot in economics, but it also happens a lot with politics, like Erdogan above. Whoever gets to frame the discourse (to set the foundational axioms!) gets to write the apparently consistent logic. That’s why neoliberalism has been so succesful, or why tyrants can reach and hold onto power, because they set the main core beliefs which justify their actions and policies.

            1. nowhere

              It’s almost as though we’ve never really gotten past the Devine Right of Kings. We just keep putting more plaster and paint on that basic structure.

              1. LifelongLib

                We still think of elected officials like the President as being “leaders”, even though they’re just supposed to be people who have temporarily been given authority to handle issues that we citizens can’t deal with on our own. So even in “democracies” we still have the psychology of a monarchy…

                1. Cry Shop


                  “President Bartlett” on that smug neoliberal show berated a woman for not standing when he enters the room, to the approval of his staff. I’d have schooled him. “You forget your place. You’re the public servant, and I, one of your employers. You stand when I enter, and not the other way around.”

        2. IDG

          Very good point…

          Be ware of anyone who is using biologic arguments when arguing about political ideologies and using them to enact policies (like purging the body politic).

          It’s not necessarily wrong, but is very, very dangerous, because you can end up with logically sound beliefs systems as long as you agree with a limited set of foundational axioms for such system when dealing with inherently multi-faceted uncertain systems like societies.

        3. tongorad

          Sounds a lot like TINA. “Healthy” economy, equilibrium, TBTF, etc, all combine into the horizon we all must agree upon without dissent or question. Crackpot realism, in other words.

  3. ProNewerDeal

    I am curious if anyone has written an article that synthesized the newly released “28 pages” Sep 11 report, with imprisoned “Al Qa3da bookeeper” Zacarias Moussaoui’s earlier US court testimony that many Saudi Gov elite funded Sep 11 & Al Qa3da generally, including the current Saudi King, Ambassador Bandar “Bush”, the “Intelligence” Agency head; & the Billionaire investor & #2 owner of Faux News.

    I feel like both this “28 pages” & Moussaoui’s claims are bizarrely near-ignored news reports. I have the feeling I did when 0bama & Attorney General E Holder decided to NOT prosecute HSBC for money laundering of various criminals including Al Qa3da: The War on Terr0r TM is not done for the stated reason of “reducing terr0rism”.

    In order to supposedly “Fight the War on Terra”, The US prosecuted wars in Afghanistan & Iraq, & a massive increase in the Unconstitutional Surveilance State.

    Now, at a minimum, many Saudi Gov elite individuals (if not Offical Saudi Gov policy) have strong evidence of funding Sep 11, & US BigPol & BigMedia seemingly IGNORE it? At a minimum these Saudi Gov elite individuals need to be tried (even if in absentia) & if convicted, extradited.

    Does anyone in BigPol & BigMedia even have to PRETEND to have an ounce of judgement, wisdom, or sense of proportion? Apparently not.

    All the Warmongerers Chickenwawk Fake Tough Guys, both neoClown & D “humanitarian interventionist”, including Bush43, 0bama, & H Clinton, Trump, where are you now? They want to overthrow more random nations’ governments, but leave these Saudi criminals untouched.

    I wonder if H Clinton is owned by some of these same Saudi elite criminals via the Clinton Foundation, records of which were possibly among her deleted emails.

      1. Antifa

        There is a Canadian Clinton Foundation also. Under current law, if a Canadian charity transfers/donates monies to an American charity, the American charity does not have to list the original donor.

        Just the Canadian foundation. Great way to launder money.

        This is the mean by which a whole lot more foreign money reached the American non-profit we know as the Clinton Foundation.

        1. Pookah Harvey

          The Canadian foundation is called Clinton-Giustra Enterprise Partnership. CGEP is a Canadian organization founded by Clinton and Giustra. The group contracts its economic development projects to the Clinton Foundation and does not disclose its donors. Giustra is a Canadian mining magnate and good buddy to Bill. Greg Palast has done some investigative work on him

          This is a story reported by The Times, The New Yorker…an investigator named Peter Schweizer… Seymour Hersh too. I went to Kazakhstan to check out these stories. A guy named Frank Giustra, who is a big resource magnate, gave $30 million to the Clinton Foundation… Then Giustra went to Kazakhstan and got the exclusive agreement to mine the uranium from Kazakhstan. This was when nuclear power was making an ugly little comeback, coming out of its crypt. Right after Giustra shows up, Bill Clinton shows up. This guy just got $30 million from Giustra and shows up and he meets privately with the president of Kazakhstan. Hmm, okay…

          Hillary Clinton becomes Secretary of State, and Seymour Hersh, myself, and others discovered that there was massive bribery paid by U.S. oil companies to the president of Kazakhstan, Nursultan Nazarbayev. A Mobile executive went to prison for the bribery payments, but Nazarbayev, himself, the president of Kazakhstan who received the money, about $160 million in bribes… his name was never mentioned in the indictment of the bribers who went to jail. Rather, he was listed as something called KO2, or Kazak official 2. Now, why do we care about that? Because my inside sources at the Justice Department told me that that was arranged by Hillary Clinton, as Secretary of State… And, by the way, you don’t want to get on the wrong side of a dictator, because journalists tend to end up dead in Kazakhstan for doing that. Nazarbayev said that anyone in his nation who mentions that he is subject of a bribery investigation, or that he had taken bribes, goes to prison — and they are lucky if they come back out with all their fingers on. So what Hillary Clinton did was, by taking his name out of the indictment and just putting in those initials KO2, it may seem minor, but what that did is allow this guy to clamp down, imprison, and torture journalists in his nation who would bring up the question of bribery from oil companies. Did Hillary Clinton do that to favor the oil companies, to stroke a blood-thirsty oil potentate in the Caspian Sea? Or did she do that to make sure that her foundation kept getting pleasured by Mr. Giustra?

          …All I wanted to do was get the information in the e-mails between Hillary and her husband regarding this transaction. But according to Hillary Clinton, that’s a personal message, cause it’s to her husband. Well, it’s not really to her husband, it’s to her co-recipient of millions of dollars. They run a business together, basically, called The Clinton Foundation, a political operation called The Clinton Campaign. Hillary Clinton took it not only upon herself to withhold this information by putting it on a private server — and here’s what really disturbs me — when she was caught and told to turn over those e-mails, she took it upon herself to order the erasure of 56,000 e-mails.

          On top of Kazakhstan here’s another story on how Bill, Giustra and Carlos Slim have gotten together to start a private equity firm in Colombia

          And here’s another story from the International Business Times concerning Giustra activities in Columbia:

          For union organizers in Colombia, the dangers of their trade were intensifying. When workers at the country’s largest independent oil company staged a strike in 2011, the Colombian military rounded them up at gunpoint and threatened violence if they failed to disband, according to human rights organizations. Similar intimidation tactics against the workers, say labor leaders, amounted to an everyday feature of life.

          For the United States, these were precisely the sorts of discomfiting accounts that were supposed to be prevented in Colombia under a labor agreement that accompanied a recently signed free trade pact liberalizing the exchange of goods between the countries. From Washington to Bogota, leaders had promoted the pact as a win for all — a deal that would at once boost trade while strengthening the rights of embattled Colombian labor organizers. That formulation had previously drawn skepticism from many prominent Democrats, among them Hillary Clinton.

          Yet as union leaders and human rights activists conveyed these harrowing reports of violence to then-Secretary of State Clinton in late 2011, urging her to pressure the Colombian government to protect labor organizers, she responded first with silence, these organizers say. The State Department publicly praised Colombia’s progress on human rights, thereby permitting hundreds of millions of dollars in U.S. aid to flow to the same Colombian military that labor activists say helped intimidate workers.

          At the same time that Clinton’s State Department was lauding Colombia’s human rights record, her family was forging a financial relationship with Pacific Rubiales, the sprawling Canadian petroleum company at the center of Colombia’s labor strife. The Clintons were also developing commercial ties with the oil giant’s founder, Canadian financier Frank Giustra, who now occupies a seat on the board of the Clinton Foundation, the family’s global philanthropic empire.

          The details of these financial dealings remain murky, but this much is clear: After millions of dollars were pledged by the oil company to the Clinton Foundation — supplemented by millions more from Giustra himself — Secretary Clinton abruptly changed her position on the controversial U.S.-Colombia trade pact. Having opposed the deal as a bad one for labor rights back when she was a presidential candidate in 2008, she now promoted it, calling it “strongly in the interests of both Colombia and the United States.” The change of heart by Clinton and other Democratic leaders enabled congressional passage of a Colombia trade deal that experts say delivered big benefits to foreign investors like Giustra.

          Sorry for the length of post but thought the Giustra Clinton relationship telling.

          1. JTMcPhee

            I natter on about how nice it would be if us ordinary people had some kind of organizing principle around which efforts to make the world a”better” place could operate.

            Your useful post makes it pretty clear that the Fokkers and Fuggers have themselves a strong organizing principle of the other kind.

            How do us mopes demand and get “better” outcomes from the political economy, without the power that a central organizing principle can give? “We” see with great granularity all the pieces and bits of what’s being done to “us”– how to push back, without becoming just another predatory power elite? I think MLK and the Wobblies had some notions…

      2. optimader

        However, Saudi Arabia has donated heavily to the Clinton Foundation

        Allthat meansis that it’s not really illegal!

  4. Napoleon Dynamite

    “Being Muslim in the West in 2016 means having your faith’s compatibility with modern, peaceful, democratic values questioned on a daily basis by at least three constituencies: non-Muslim racists and bigots of all sorts, Muslim fundamentalists and, particularly in places such as France, hysterical secularists. Facing these constant attacks can be quite disheartening.

    Unfortunately, adding insult to injury, it also increasingly means being so-called defended by people and institutions that think they are being clever and constructive in arguing that there is no link between the barbaric acts of violence carried out all over the world these days by monsters in the name of Islam.”

  5. ProNewerDeal

    Have the D & R parties stopped pretending the US Gov claims to be a Democracy, & not an aristocratic oligarchy or a bad Fake-ality show? Why are candidate family members including Chelsea Clinton & Trump’s children & wife speaking at the D & R conventions?

    At least B Clinton can claim to be relevant as being an ex-President, what are the rest of these nepotists doing there? Aren’t the Ds supposedly supposed to give some younger pols like Tulsi Gabbard or Kamala Harris or whomever “a chance like 0bama 2004” by letting them speak there, instead of these family members? F these 2 parties.

    1. nycTerrierist

      Agreed. The dynasty-esque nepotism is extremely offensive — and un-American!

      Amazed more people aren’t offended by this.

      1. JTMcPhee

        How about the Adams family? And the Roosevelts? C’mon, “we” idiots have lots of dynastic paradigms. “We” don’t collectively have a clue about how to manage the political economy to “preserve our precious freedoms” and stave off the constant pressure and demands of the rapacious Few, who are on-task, focused, 24/7, cutting our nuts off…

        Did B. Franklin really say, “We have given you a republic, madam. If you can keep it.”? A government structure is inescapably top-down, just a matter of degree. And “family” is a fundamental social unit, and the Force is Strong with it…

        1. Arizona Slim

          And there were the Harrisons. Poor William. Couldn’t possibly cut the length of his inaugural address. He was going to deliver that three-hour stemwinder, rainy weather be darned!

          Benjamin lasted longer in office than his grandfather, but that’s about all we can say about him,

        2. LifelongLib

          Well, the U.S. government was founded by people who were expected to hold political office from time to time, and who even if they were not in office were fully informed about what the government was doing and why. A real democracy (or republic) requires that level of informed participation by all of its citizens. We never reached that ideal, and in recent decades have fallen farther and farther short of it.

    2. Pat

      At least Trump has the excuse that much of the Republican establishment has decided to go on vacation this week. And Ivanka has shown herself to be pretty capable if not Donald Jr. Chelsea isn’t even good at being a dilettante.

      1. EndOfTheWorld

        I agree that Trump’s kids are an asset to him—why not display them? Chelsea, OTOH….

        1. jgordon

          I disagree. Chelsea is on record saying that she has thought a lot about money and decided that she could get by without it. So she must quite an asset to her mother, considering how sympathetic and in touch with the little people she is; most of the other fabulously rich people around Hillary wouldn’t be willing to horse whisper to the underclass voters like she has.

    3. Jess

      As a resident of California and thus somewhat knowledgeable about smarmy Kamala Harris, please don’t put her in the same sentence with Tulsi Gabbard.

      1. Otis B Driftwood

        Yeppers to that. She’s a middle-way democrat. Likely our next Senator, unfortunately.

      2. polecat

        Kamala Harris ……. points finger in air ……. sees which way wind blows …… vauntingly climbs another rung up that political ladder ……………

  6. edmondo

    Maybe Chelsea’s a placeholder for the Veep?

    Maybe Chelsea is the Veep? Never underestimate the chutzpah of a Clinton.

    1. Propertius

      She’s old enough, but either she or Hillary will have to move before election day (the Constitution prohibits the President and the Vice-President from being residents of the same state).

      1. edmondo

        Those are the rules for “little people”

        Clintons will just lie under oath that Chelsea is an Alaskan. It’s not a lie when a Clinton does it.

  7. Carolinian

    Re Fallows, Trump, and the “victor’s justice” of Nuremberg–Of course no American’s or British were in the dock at Nuremberg for Dresden, Tokyo or Hiroshima. The good guys in the Good War justified themselves by asserting that mass murder was an unfortunate side effect of war itself and that “they started it” and therefore must face the rope. And perhaps this is indeed the only “Nuremberg principle” worth talking about. Those who start wars are the ultimate villains, and the notion that wars can be fought according to rules or that there can be such things as “moral armies” is just so much eyewash.

    So in the interest of balance I’m sure Fallows will also be giving us a Hillary time capsule and taking a look back at how she fares according to the one true Nuremberg principle. Actually I’m quite sure he won’t do that.

    1. Jim Haygood

      Until the Allies invented “war crimes” from whole cloth, concluded wars involved civil settlements. The losers might pay reparations, hand over weapons, accept occupation, change their leadership, or all of the above. But there was no concept of criminal liability, since organized violence was the mission of the opponent’s military, just as it was for ours.

      Are [selective] war crimes prosecutions any more effective than the former system of civil settlement? Evidently not. Probably the most deleterious result of the war crimes era is more wars started by the former prosecuting nations, who now regard their goodselves as exempt from sanction.

      1. Plenue

        I’d much rather live in a world where things like the deliberate targeting of civilians are considered unacceptable than one where anything goes is the norm. Of course war crimes are an invention, just as any notion of universal human rights is an invention. They’re worthwhile inventions. Now we just need to actually be genuine with them and hold everyone accountable for violations, instead of cynically and selectively using them as justification for punishing rivals. While we’re at it we could extend the idea to its logical conclusion and declare war itself to be the ultimate crime. It was done once in 1928 with the Kellogg-Briand Pact, which is still on the books.

    2. optimader

      Those who start wars are the ultimate villains,
      Yes, by definition IMO, because they initiate the release of the Dogs of War. Until that point there is always an alternative.

      and the notion that wars can be fought according to rules or that there can be such things as “moral armies” is just so much eyewash.
      Yes. “according to rules” is window dressing (eyewash) that lowers the barrier to war. Wars become more brutal as they persist.It is written

      Inevitably normally compassionate people leave the scene disappointed, and those that are sucked into the violence vortex, leave with some level of PTSD.

      1. JTMcPhee

        Who “started” WW I? The War of the Roses? Even WW II (and no, the answer is not “Japan” or even “The Nazis,” no matter what the Narrative says)?

        1. optimader

          Fully rendered:
          I’ll go with Austro-Hungarian , precipitated by desire for Serbian land grab back.

          Europe: I’ll go Germany attempting a land grab –after some beta testing in Spain
          Pacific: Japan attempting an Indochina and pan Asia land/resource grab

          War of the Roses
          English civil wars/power grab. Honestly don’t know enough about thosewars to comment..

          1. JTMcPhee

            Try Barbara Tuchman’s books for some good stuff on WW I at least. Proud Tower, Guns of August.

            A triggering event, like the string the gunner uses to release the hammer that fires the primer that ignites the powder charge that sends the artillery shell out the tube that is part of the whole machine and machinery and political economy that kills millions and enriches a few, is not in my estimation a “cause.”

            But that’s just me, of course.

          2. Subgenius

            Nope, Dorset regiment of the British army were deployed to Basra to prevent the Basra to Berlin railway going into service, giving Germany access to ME oil before the assassination…

        2. Plenue

          Austro-Hungary for the first, Japan and Germany for the second. Simply objective fact.

            1. Plenue

              No, it’s still a fact that the Austro-Hungarian declaration of war against Serbia is what triggered the conflict. Europe may have been filled with leaders eager for a good brisk fight, bolstered by the fact that few people had bothered to take note of all the technological advancements that had taken place since the last major European war, but it was the desire to seize Serbia that started everything off in earnest. There likely would have been another war of some kind before long anyway, but it wouldn’t have been the same war. Just because all the leaders were warmongers doesn’t excuse the specific faction that provided the initial spark.

            2. That Which Sees

              Most wars are started by mistake (or misunderstanding). I’ve be trying to make this point in the discussions about Brexit.

              WW I was largely the result of error by the European Elites of the time regardless of who filed the official declaration of war paperwork first.

              Angela Merkel is on a path that could easily start WWW III.
              — Because she wants war? That seem unlikely.
              — Because she and her EU European Elite peers like Schabule, Gauck, and Juncker have formed an echo chamber reinforcing delusions rooted in smug superiority? Highly plausible. A total lack of real world understanding compounded by arrogance from successfully steamrolling Cyprus and Greece.

  8. abynormal

    WHALE SHARKS ROCK MY WORLD! while back i dreamed i was with friends at the top of a dead volcano, where a full moon lit the surface of a pool of water. we dove in and a whale shark showed up to swim with us. i’ve never experienced a purer grace…just another day in aby’s world.

    I can’t say it, but it rhymes with rich. (about vice-presidential candidate Geraldine Ferraro October 15, 1984, New York Times) not itch but rich

    1. abynormal

      quote by Baba lalu Bush, btw born 1925…i’ve heard ‘mean’ boards a long shelf life.

    2. ChiGal

      What a wonderful dream! I used to have big, bold fantastic technicolor dreams but not lately…

      And the antidote is magical, thx!

    3. optimader

      we dove in and a whale shark showed up…I’ve never experienced a purer grace
      Aby.. they dont have much ahem, “fiber in their diets”. It’s like they are perpetually drinking gallons of Belgian beer..

  9. roadrider

    Re: Scientific Education as a Cause for Political Stupidity

    Makes some very valid points about the differences between science and politics but goes off the in conflating industrial/applied science (like pharmaceuticals) with basic science and in the discussion on climate change.

    In the former case, the scientists involved are clearly not disinterested parties since they are employees of large companies hoping to profit from the acceptance of the product in question. They might even have been the originators, or promoters of the product in the research phase (NB: I worked many years in the drug industry – not as a scientist but within the R&D areas). In other cases, the claims are made largely by marketing people and scientists either make their peace with them to keep their jobs or do what they can to prevent the more outlandish claims. Direct challenges to the safety and efficacy of a product the corporation has a big stake in is usually a career-ending move. I’ve seen in happen.

    In the latter case, its not scientists who have a profit interest in some product who are raising the concern about climate change – its just the opposite. The scientists who are working for the fossil fuel industries are either complicit in spreading FUD about the issue of climate change (or keeping their mouths shut to keep their jobs) and scientists who have no stake in fossil fuels who are raising the alarm.

    And by the way, while I don’t agree with everything Richard Dawkins says (and he’s said some pretty stupid things) I find most of his criticisms of religion and god beliefs to be completely valid and on point.

  10. Christopher Fay

    There’s more photographic evidence of the existence of whales sharks than there is of Sasquatch. Whale sharks are a given. We are holding out hope for Sas.

  11. Christopher Fay

    Okay, Turkey coup over for now. New of which is now actively being swept under the rug.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      Village Elders have openly said they had no idea this was coming.

      Coup or flag, it doesn’t matter. What does it say about U.S. intelligence services to have missed it or secretly approved?

      1. optimader

        What does it say about U.S. intelligence services
        To me It says don’t have false expectations of intel

  12. craazyman

    Celebration of the WASP

    “Begin with an individual, and before you know it you find that you have created a type; begin with a type, and you find that you have created–nothing. That is because we are all queer fish, queerer behind our faces and voices than we want any one to know or than we know ourselves. When I hear a man proclaiming himself an “average, honest, open fellow,” I feel pretty sure that he has some definite and perhaps terrible abnormality which he has agreed to conceal–and his protestation of being average and honest and open is his way of reminding himself of his misprision.

    There are no types, no plurals. There is a rich boy, and this is his and not his brothers’ story.”

    -F. Scott Fitzgerald, THE RICH BOY, 1926

    1. abynormal

      about that bail money friday night…your such a true in my world, owe ya! but i have to decline this time as i am the one that steeped that sheet bag…lessons learned an all that.

      i did check in this morning with my parole officer…she strongly advised to me to address her as sir before every sentence i’d dared to peep. i may circle right back to the same cell cause she winked as told me i reminded her of a boyfriend that looked like a girlfriend…real Killers that one :-/

      1. craazyman

        Every time I look up and see the Queenboro Bridge even on an average day of desultory exhaustion from a bus window, even in 2016, I’m reminded of the passage in Gatsby where he writes about crossing the very same bridge in the motorcars 90 years ago and seeing Manhattan as if for the very first time.

        “Over the great bridge, with the sunlight through the girders making a
        constant flicker upon the moving cars, with the city rising up across the
        river in white heaps and sugar lumps all built with a wish out of
        non-olfactory money. The city seen from the Queensboro Bridge is always
        the city seen for the first time, in its first wild promise of all the
        mystery and the beauty in the world.”

        And then I do too! fuk an a. The Infinite Well.

        1. optimader

          Don’t you mean the Ed Koch Queensboro Bridge? HAHAHA
          This vanity renaming bidness is a slippery slope

          In December 2010, the city announced that the bridge would be renamed in honor of former Mayor Ed Koch from the Queensboro Bridge to the Ed Koch Queensboro Bridge.[18] The renaming decision was unpopular among Queens residents and business leaders, and many locals continue to refer to the bridge by its older name.[19][20] New York City Council member Peter Vallone, Jr. from Queens vowed to remove Koch’s name from the bridge. “Never in a million years would they think to rename the Brooklyn or Manhattan bridges,” said Vallone. “But for some reason, it was OK to slap Queens around.”[21]

            1. Kokuanani

              Actually some of us locals refer to it as “Voldemort National Airport,” to indicate Reagan = “he who shall be named.”

            2. Bubba_Gump

              Many locals make a point of referring to it as “National Airport” or DCA. We (I) sometimes are even a**holish enough to “correct” others.

          1. neo-realist

            While serving as the mayor, Koch supposedly threw out some coveted political endorsements for local political positions in Queens, which may account for the “reward.”

          2. craazyman

            I think he was gay, maybe that’s why.

            I don’t care. Ed Koch is always the mayor of New Yawk in my mind. He was the mayor of my youth in New Yawk when I was Nick Carraway and the whole city was a glittering crowd on Gatsby’s lawn, each street was lit with dreams and each night was an exodus into some wonderland of romance and discovery — usually accompanied by copious amounts of wine, scotch, beer, vodka, cocaine, shots of tequila, etc.

            Ed Koch is mayor of the eternal city in my mind.

            1. ambrit

              You cannot be that young good sir. I pegged you for a Lindsayite, roaring along the boulevards on your candy flake scoot, doing the Electric Kool Aid Test.
              Lindsay retired to rural Magonia, didn’t he?

  13. DrBob

    Welfare Cards Carry Number For Sex Line Instead of Help Line

    “Some holders of electronic benefits transfer cards in the US state of Maine have found that dialling the phone number on the back of the cards gets them a sex line instead of their balance.

    “A Maine government spokesman told the Sun Journal that officials were aware that the phone number on some welfare cards was off by one digit.

    “Lj Langelier, of Lewiston, discovered the error when he went to check his EBT balance before going to the grocery store. What he got instead was a message welcoming him to ‘America’s hottest talk line’.

    “Langelier says he thought he’d misdialled but kept getting the same message when he called back.

    “The department said it planned to replace the misprinted cards and strengthen its review process to prevent future errors.”

    1. edmondo

      Expect Governor LePage to point out that “welfare recipients” spend in inordinate amount of time on sex lines in his next press conference.

  14. Pat

    The Counter Punch article is a rather dense indictment of the Email white wash. Unfortunately that white wash has done its work, talked with someone last night who has bought that Clinton is better and that the email mess was nothing. That sort of fell apart for them as we talked, but I think they, and much of the public, would be surprised by the details in that article.

    1. Butch In Waukegan

      The article skewers Lynch and particularly Comey. Clinton is sooo vulnerable on this. My hope is there will be leaks from Justice or the FBI (less likely), and Trump hammers her on her emails. Experience?! I might even watch the “debates”.

      1. Antifa

        There were rumored threats earlier this year that if Clinton escaped indictment, some of the FBI agents on her case would leak details of her deeds to the press.

        Comey somewhat blunted this urge by skewering Clinton so thoroughly in his press conference. He further blunted this urge by making every agent involved in the investigation sign an exclusive NDA regarding the Clinton files, and administer polygraph tests, and make it clear that there would be more polygraph tests in future if anything leaked.

        So the FBI is nailed down really solid if the topic is Clinton.

      2. Lambert Strether Post author

        If what the FBI worker bees demand is that Comey lay out a fact set, then wasn’t Comey’s speech an uneasy compromise between his need to suppress an internal FBI rebellion, and his need to cater to the presidential selection endorsed by the political class?

        Random thought: Doing a McGovern on Trump, and then impeaching Clinton later, might be the ideal strategy for the Parliamentary Republican Party to pursue. Lots of opportunity for strategic hate management there…

        1. BradK

          Impeachment of President Clinton II by a Republican congress would engender less-that-zero credibility regardless of what additional damning evidence may be uncovered. Her apologists — and especially the corporate media — would howl “witch hunt” and “vast right-wing conspiracy” effectively granting her public immunity from any conviction.

          OTOH, an indictment and prosecution by a DOJ under a Democratic administration (let alone one headed by a Black Woman AG) would have gone a long way towards defusing her martyr personification.

          The opportunity was there but has passed — or perhaps passed over.

    2. nippersdad

      It was a well done article, especially for those like me who aren’t good at keeping the big picture, with all of its’ myriad details, in mind. What especially struck me in it, though, was how Trey Gowdy was presented. I don’t pay much attention to Republicans at the best of times, but I thought the general consensus was that he was a rather cartoonish character. For him to be presented as an authoritative representative of the law was surprising.

      1. Pat

        My memory is not what it was, but someone here watched the Comey hearing and reported on it. They were impressed with Gowdy and his questioning.

        Being the face of the Benghazi hearings, and the somewhat schizophrenic nature of that has been a huge factor in the public/media presentation of Gowdy. He didn’t manage it well, largely because that was a hot mess since the big reasons Benghazi was a problem were off limits. (Congress refusing additional funds for security that State requested and more importantly the location’s primary purpose as a black ops outpost to run guns and hold terror suspects.) Hard to discuss the mishandling of the event without those.

        1. Uahsenaa

          I watch a lot of committee hearings on C-SPAN, and the problem with Gowdy is that, while he is clearly an intelligent man well versed in the law, he’s also at rank partisan who won his seat by running well to the right of the Republican incumbent in 2010. He’s also known for criticizing the leadership of his own party for not being sufficiently “conservative,” meaning pure enough for the Tea Party wolves.

          When put in circumstances outside his prosecutorial expertise, he says whatever his corporate masters tell him to in the most histrionic way possible.

          Also, Chaffetz did a much better job of showing how Comey didn’t have a leg to stand on.

          tl;dr – He’s smart, but his office is predicated on throwing huge piles of red meat to the base.

          1. Lambert Strether Post author

            That’s it. One way to look at “ZOMG!!! Benghazi!!!!” is as a fund-raising machine to suck more dollars out of the Republican base. From that perspective, the lack of a coherent narrative and the endless shapeshifting is a feature not a bug.

    3. Carolinian

      After being exposed to her and her husband all these years I suspect most of the public who aren’t partisan Dems have HRC’s number. This is why the MSM assumption that undecideds will break for Hillary could be very wrong.

      BTW that Counterpunch article was the second I’ve seen (first being in Wall Street on Parade) defending my unusually haired congressman, Trey Gowdy. He may be a wingnut but he was once a prosecutor.

      1. Uahsenaa

        Therein lies the rub: he’s rational about his area of expertise, and a certifiable nutter about everything else.

    4. sd

      I thought this summed up the email situation nicely and could prove useful in explaining Clintons email to anyone who has not been paying attention.

      A fiduciary who commingles financial assets is guilty of crime. Clinton commingled real assets, national secrets owned by the public, with her private information, and put them both in her private insecure server.

      1. James Levy

        I’m reminded of Bill James’s discussion of the Baseball Hall of Fame. James argues that the position of all partisans today is to find the least qualified person who played the same position as the guy you want in, then scream that it is “unfair” not to put X in if Y is in already.

        Today, it would be “unfair” (her partisans would scream) to prosecute Clinton given what Scalia did in 2000, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Powell, and Bush did in 2003-4, the bankers did in 2007-8, and Patraeus did a few years back. The cry would be “selective prosecution for political motives”, and they’d have a point. But it’s a weak and dangerous point. The buck has to stop somewhere. The only way to pull this off would be to haul Bush before a court on torture and breaking the FISA law and indicting Clinton on the email server. If you took them both down, you’d make a statement that this sort of crap is OVER. But millions of people would never accept, after so many powerful people have acted with impunity, the government suddenly deciding that it’s Hillary’s ass they want, and everyone else can skate.

        1. YankeeFrank

          That argument disgusts me. Of course they should all be prosecuted, but if we use the argument that she can’t be prosecuted because they weren’t, where does that leave the rule of law for “elites”? I’ll tell you where. In tattered shreds flowing down the sewer never to be seen again. At some point they’d better start indicting these people or this nation will fall apart. These people, our supposed “elites”, are playing with fire and its only a matter of time before the entire edifice, built by people far superior to them in every way, crumbles and rends them.

    5. optimader

      That sort of fell apart for them as we talked, but I think they, and much of the public, would be surprised by the details in that article.

      but still… I’m with Hurl! because I look forward not backward!.

      She has some hard work to gain our trust back, but Go Girl!

  15. Cry Shop

    ”Nuclear waste: keep out for 100,000 years“
    Vs. “Coal Slag/Ash: Good luck keeping it out of your drinking water and food chain, and you have to worry about it forever.”? Irrational behavior on both sides of that balance.

    Scientific Education as a Cause of Political Stupidity The Archdruid Report

    Starts out bashing Engineering Training, which isn’t the same thing as Scientific Education, and gets it well wrong on both what is an engineer as well as what engineers do. “What it [engineering] doesn’t teach you is how to question the problem.” Seriously? One of the first things Engineering College taught my cohort in the 1st year was to question the problem, particularly because these problems were often formulated by non-engineers/non-scientist.

    He then mocks Neil deGrasse Tyson’s proposed evidence based decisions by claiming things like “the balance of benefits” and “value” judgement isn’t evidence based decision making.

    Normally the blog is quite lucid, but this time it seems the author is on a rant about something he doesn’t understand.

    1. James Levy

      James Howard Kunstler likes to remind technophiles that technology is not energy.

      Someone should have reminded the Archdruid that engineering is not science, and that the modern notion of progress isn’t science, either.

      Science is a slog through what you hope are better and better approximations of reality based on testable evidence.

      The great American philosopher Charles Sanders Peirce argued pretty convincingly that we can only come to believe a thing 4 ways:

      1) egocentrically (because I believe it)
      2) from authority (the Pope said so)
      3) a priori reasoning (postulate then inference)
      4) scientific enquiry

      All can get you where you are going, but science has by far the best shot of providing material, verifiable, and universally available reasons for believing something. If I tell you that a certain disease is caused by an abundance of yellow bile, or that it is caused by an infection, chances are a lot better that it’s an infection than it is an overabundance of yellow bile (no matter what Galen said).

      1. Synapsid

        James Levy,

        I agree with your description of science. In practice, I specify “the natural sciences.” I would suggest using “accept, conditionally” in place of “believe”, though, and not just to be pedantic.

        Here’s what the natural sciences do:

        Step 1: propose an explanation or interpretation of some aspect of the natural world (suggest a hypothesis).
        Step 2: come up with one or more (more is better) ways to test the hypothesis, such as “if this is correct, then we should see…”
        Step 3a: submit hypothesis and tests to the scientific community; its members will test the living daylights out of it. Step 3b: modify hypothesis as necessary in light of feedback from testing, and re-submit.

        A hypothesis that survives repeated attempts to disprove it and that provides testable predictions will become widely accepted, and might be called a theory, e.g. the molecular-kinetic theory of gases, the general theory of relativity, the theory of plate tectonics. Testing of it will continue, though, and acceptance of it is conditional.

        A theory in the natural sciences can’t be proven, only disproven–there is no scientific proof. You can only prove something if you know all the rules that apply; we can prove things in mathematics because we know the rules–we make them. Similarly in logic. In the natural sciences, though, the effort is precisely to find out what the rules are.

        Here endeth the lesson. I must learn to stay away from the keyboard on Sundays.

      2. Softie

        “George Orwell once remarked that the average person today is about as naive as was the average person in the Middle Ages. In the Middle Ages people believed in the authority of their religion, no matter what. Today, we believe in the authority of our science, no matter what.”

        – Neil Postman: Informing Ourselves to Death (

        1. optimader

          average person today is about as naive as was the average person in the Middle Ages.
          GO was an interesting guy, that doesn’t extrapolate to agreeing with all of his reflections.

          In the Middle Ages people believed in the authority of their religion, no matter what. Today, we believe in the authority of our science, no matter what.”
          Maybe, but I’d rather error on the side of an approach that is modeled on reiterating best available information and repeatable/demonstrable proof.

          1. Propertius

            There’s a big difference between science and scientism, as I’m sure Postman would have acknowledged.

            I also wonder if he would still stand by that quote given the marked rise of fundamentalism in a number of religions and of outright superstition in the quarter of a century since he said it.

    2. sd

      Usually I find his writing thought provoking. Even if I disagree with a particular premise, take the time to understand why I disagree.

      This particular post of his wandered all over the place. I would have preferred he got right to the point of whatever it was he was trying to say which I think had something to do with why people reject science when they need to embrace it and embrace science when they should be rejecting it.

      1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

        I recall someone saying the only way to be sure a “Danger” sign stays posted around piles of nuclear waste is to found a religion around it (religions being the only kinds of institutions with potential longevity on an adequate timescale)

        1. That Which Sees

          So, Anathem by Neal Stephenson? A very good (but rather strange) book.

          The title is a hybrid of:
          — Anthem — A patriotic song, and
          — Anathema — Something to be strictly avoided

          Too many spoilers if I try to explain further.

          1. ambrit

            Very good book.
            It’s sort of a “The Mote in God’s Eye” meets, “Alas Babylon” experience.

    3. That Which Sees

      100,000 year waste is the result of a poor technology choice, high pressure water reactors, made during the Cold War to obtain Plutonium.

      A smart technology choice, such as the Liquid Flouride Thorium Reactor [LFTR] has waste that is dangerous for ~800 years. Better yet, it can burn the existing waste as fuel knocking about 99,200 years off that problem.

      You can find a good introduction to Green Nuclear (as opposed to current reactors) here:

      The dangerous materials used to create “Toxic Solar Death Cells” are being dumped into Chinese waterways at an alarming rate. Anyone who thinks solar is even vaguely helpful to the planet is not looking at the bigger issues.

      1. nowhere

        Is that endemic to all solar cell production, or a choice Chinese producers make to reduce costs?

        1. That Which Sees

          The use of toxic materials in manufacturing is endemic to the current technology family of silicon based photovoltaic, solar cells.

          The decision to dump waste to save money is much more prevalent in China than the US, however the US is importing solar cells made in China. So, by proxy, US solar installations are supporting environmental degradation overseas.

          Eventually there will be a breakthrough in solar technology. Some of the organic material research looks promising and avoids or reduces the toxic byproducts and waste. When that will happen is anyone’s guess.

          1. Cry Shop


            then there’s the mining tailing from the rare earth elements which more or less is permanently destroying croplands and aquifers on a vast scale.

            Kind of reminds me of Obama’s switch to fracking from nuclear, supervised devil swapped for nearly unregulated beast of revelations scale. Natch the later bribes better.

            1. nowhere

              I don’t see how mining more uranium or thorium is any different. Mining, in general, is a nasty business. And processing waste from manufacturing is an order of magnitude less than processing any nuclear waste stream.

              There have been no commercial reactors anywhere (from my searches, please provide info) that work on a thorium cycle.

          2. nowhere

            But thin-film is advancing beyond these problems. And it seems to be progressing much faster than the ever present unicorn thorium reactor.

            It’s not as though other industrial processes, refining being a prime example, don’t produce tons of toxic waste, and use extremely toxic chemicals during production. I’ve yet to read any convincing evidence that this is a problem that can’t be easily overcome with the proper regulations.

    4. Plenue

      Lucid? Archdruid has always been Dunning-Kruger personified. And unbearably smug in his idiocy as well.

        1. Plenue

          He’s either a modern polymath with a large degree of varied knowledge and experience in a wide variety of fields who can draw interesting connections. Or he’s delusional and far too confident in his actually quite shallow knowledge on a variety of subjects. I very much lean towards the latter. I stopped taking him seriously around the time he wrote an article expressing dismay that no one in university would indulge his ideas that religion was actually humans throughout history attempting to coup with ‘real’ supernatural experiences.

          1. hunkerdown

            Funny how accepting a non-standard set of first principles, let alone actually reasoning from them, is so often taken as “idiocy” by the class whose rice bowls depend on authority and dependence of others and crack from interdiscplinarism.

            Since he’s on the spectrum, I’m going with the former. I don’t agree with his vaguely Platonic take on authority. That doesn’t get in my way of accepting those observations for what they are and recombining them against the uncountable special pleadings of hegemonic normativity. That’s the beauty of not casting oneself as a subordinate instrument and fashion accessory to the chattering classes.

            1. Plenue

              There is no reasoning to be found in magical thinking.

              Much of the status quo and academic group-think may be crap. It doesn’t mean this contrarian/alternative guy isn’t also full of a whole different set of crap. I have the same impression of Orlov.

              1. Skippy

                I have the same impression of Orlov.


                Disheveled Marsupial… tho both draw eyes and sell lots of books…

          2. nowhere

            I haven’t read that specific article, but in the articles I have read, he makes a number of interesting connections, cuts through a lot of BS, and seems to generally have a pretty good grasp of the subjects he writes about.

            In this particular article, his discussion about GMO rice rings true on many factors that have been playing out in nutrition and health research for the past 10 years or so. It also ties into some of the discussions on why “elites” (technical, economic, political) aren’t being as trusted as much as in years past.

            Factor that spreading crisis of legitimacy into the history of climate change activism and it’s not hard to see the intersection. Fifteen years ago, the movement to stop anthropogenic climate change was a juggernaut; today it’s a dead letter, given lip service or ignored completely in national politics, and reduced to a theater of the abusrd by heavily publicized international agreements that commit no one to actually reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Much of the rhetoric of climate change activism fell into the same politically incompetent language already sketched out—“We’re scientists, you’re not, so shut up and do as you’re told”—and the mere fact that they were right, and that anthropogenic climate change is visibly spinning out of control around us right now, doesn’t change the fact that such language alienated far more people than it attracted, and thus helped guarantee the failure of the movement.

            Reading …and Then There’s Physics, the puzzlement of why the general population isn’t persuaded and how to improve messaging is a frequent topic.

            I would argue that he doesn’t really provide any solutions, other than collapse now and avoid the rush, but there are many sites that provide analysis without really discussing the path forward.

        2. Cat's paw

          I haven’t read today’s linked essay so I can’t comment on that. I’ve read perhaps 7-8 of the druid’s pieces over the years, mostly b/c they were linked from NC or a few other sites I check.

          Not once have I been impressed or even induced to see some issue or situation in a new light/perspective. The writing is overly long, wanders, and lacks clear focus. He is always far too certain of his premises–does it ever occur to him to actually question any of his premises?–and thus comically certain of the analyses/predictions which are derived therefrom. Intentionally or not, his writing style is prophetic/moralistic (without actually getting within a country mile of the moral force of genuine prophecy) and as is common for such a style, he is wont to pronounce in a vague, overly-generalized, but grandiose manner. (eg’s: see Nietzsche’s criticisms of Wagner’s music or the old saw, “full of sound and fury signifying nothing”).

          Is the writing smug? I don’t know, maybe. I remember one thing I read where he claimed to have given up air-conditioning long ago, despite living in the oh-so humidified world of rural Maryland, b/c something/something/western civilization declension narrative/something/keen personal foresight/something/rugged acceptance of natural conditions…my general reaction was: “oh fuck off and go pat yourself on the back in private.”

          Caveat and full disclosure: while I don’t doubt the validity of my criticisms one iota I do recognize a common psychological process that is operative here. My reaction to the druid’s writing, the weaknesses that are obvious to me, is determined at least in part by my own writing sharing some of the same predilections and weaknesses–tendencies to being vague, overly generalized and imprecise, and grandiose.

          In other words, one recognizes one’s own–or “you can’t bullshit a bullshitter.”

          1. dk


            At first I thought archdruid was supposed to be pure satire… the guy is serious? I’m still up in the air about it. Maybe he’s trying to play both sides.

            And another +1 just for you caveat/disclosure… I read my own writing a few hours later and sometimes just want to run and hide.

    5. Lord Koos

      It’s a big assumption that there will be humans on this planet in 100,000 years. At the rate we’re going, 1000 years is a stretch.

      1. optimader

        I certainly don’t plan to be, so in many ways anything past 50 years or so might as well be infinite!

    6. Bubba_Gump

      Re archdruid: I actually think he’s usually ranting about stuff he doesn’t understand. Maybe it’s because I’m an engineer.

      1. dk

        I do know some engineers that are exactly as he described.

        And a whole lot of lawyers, teachers, doctors, and politicians, too, just to attach it to some more professional categories. I can think of several non-professionals as well, but they’re not taken very seriously.

        I think he describes the syndrome pretty well. But the connection to engineering as a discipline is tenuous at best.

    7. Norb

      The point that was being made is the failure of scientists to come to terms with the political dimension of society and their relationship to the decision making process. The scientific method is an unrivaled tool for understanding the natural world but of limited value in the political realm. You can’t use the same method in the political sphere and it is extremely dangerous and counterproductive to think it is possible. Science, politics, and religion offer three distinct modes of interpreting human experience and mold value systems differently.

      Just because you are a good scientist or technologist using the scientific method to better understand specific natural phenomenon, doesn’t automatically translate to the political or religious realm. The scientific method won’t guide you in determining if something should be done or created. That is a value based judgment.

      Greer is saying that the problems we are facing today won’t be solved by science, but by politics. The nature of the politics will determine the nature of our society.

  16. John Wright

    Re: Scientific education as a cause of stupidity.

    I work as an electrical engineer and find my co-workers highly interested in their work AND completely aware that design is a compromise where one can’t have all positive features maximized, say great battery life, great performance, small size, low cost and low weight.

    Tradeoffs are inherent in engineering, as with politics, there are usually a spectrum of design possibilities as you “can’t have it all, all the time”.

    In my experience, engineers tend to be more politically conservative but also not very religious.

    Engineers tend to be skeptical, for example, I see little evidence technology can advance/scale sufficiently to handle the world’s climate change, resource shortages , promised economic growth and projected population growth.

    Note, there are a small number of engineers/scientists in US Congress, here is an old link from March 14, 2011,

    “With the recent retirement of Vern Ehlers and unfortunate defeat of Bill Foster, there is now exactly one scientist in the entire 535 member US Congress, New Jersey’s Rush Holt. Depending on how wide we define engineering, there is also one engineer, California’s Jerry McNerney.”

    “Contrast this with Congress containing well over 200 lawyers, a large number of small business owners, and even 15 medical doctors, and we see that scientists and engineers are vastly underrepresented in our Congress, as well as throughout elected office all over the country.”

    So the Archdruid should be comfortable that the electorate has apparently elected a US congress that is not politically stupid, at least not as a result of a scientific education.

    Engineers are not telling the earth’s people to “don’t worry, you can have it all”, politicians and economists are. Possibly the celebrity technical people quoted in the press are selected because they happen to agree the establishment’s point of view, or have an far out idea that will capture viewers.

    1. Synoia

      The engineering challenge:

      Of Cheap, fast and good – choose two.

      Management always chooses cheap and fast, and claims “who could have known” on costs, when the increased budget expands their sphere of control.

      1. ambrit

        The same applies to construction.
        Thank the Deity we have Quality Control people on big jobs. Any medium to large scale construction project is so complex, unexpected synergies lurk, waiting ‘their’ time to strike fear and terror into the hearts of mere mortal humans. I’ve seen the pile of rubble that was a multi story condo project on the Florida East Coast. The General tried to rush the cement pour schedule to where the lower columns did not have enough time to fully cure their concrete. (The afore mentioned theory was the general consensus at the time among professionals, concerning the disaster.) See the appended article for a more nuanced and politically “balanced” analysis. As a result, at about the five story level, design and construction deficiencies caused a sort of pancaking collapse. Eleven people were killed. That’s the potential of “cheap and fast.”

        1. Vatch

          Earlier this month there was an interesting article by Chris Martenson about the use of steel rebar in concrete construction. There’s a lot of oxygen in the molecules of concrete, so the reinforcing steel rusts, even though it’s not exposed to air. The rusted steel expands, which causes cracks in the concrete, which leads to crumbling of roads and buildings. I wonder whether stainless steel should be required wherever rebar is used. At the very least, it should probably be required in bridges and high rise buildings. I don’t know how much this would add to the short term costs, but it would slash the long term costs.

          Here’s the article:

          1. John Wright

            Rebar is available in zinc coated (galvanized) or epoxy coated versions.

            Both might help the new build effort.

            Both probably have engineering trade-offs (cost?, strength?) that I am unaware of.

            Stainless steel might be an unnecessary expense.

            1. Antifa

              What about carbon nanotubes, graphene rods . . .?

              Why not build buildings out of carbon reclaimed directly from the atmosphere? Forget about concrete.

              What about building skyscrapers underground? It’s always the same temperature down there, and buildings can’t fall over if they’re buried.

              If Phoenix is destined to hit 140F in the shade by 2050, people are only going to be able to live there if they dig themselves in.

              1. JTMcPhee

                We are just waiting for technology to provide the cure for corrosion cracking in steel-reinforced concrete. Just a matter of time…

                Rust always wins. Water is the universal solvent. Entropy rules. Murphy formulated the only set of laws that seem to my observation not to have any exceptions or caveats. And of course behind it all is the big fundamental problem: People are stupid, like this guy so eloquently explained:


              2. Gaianne

                “Why not build buildings out of carbon reclaimed directly from the atmosphere? Forget about concrete.”

                Yeah. They’re called trees. Amazing things! The technology is actually quite well studied, with many proven applications.


                1. RMO

                  The glider I fly the most is fiberglass with balsa wood as a core material in the wings and tail. When someone asked me if it was made of carbon fiber (which started being used in gliders in the late 70’s – years after mine was made) I told them the structure utilized “carbon-based fiber”

          2. That Which Sees

            Everything has a “design life”. Most of the public works (e.g. bridges) with mechanical issues are well past their “do not use after date”.

            If the government was willing to put in more money up front and ongoing funding for routine maintenance, structures with a longer “design life” can easily be achieved with current methods.

            The real problem here has nothing to do with engineering. It has to do with those in charge wanting stuff on the cheap.

              1. That Which Sees

                On work of imperial importance Romans put in the specs “design life > 1,000 years”. With maintenance to extend that life, a fair number are around today because they were engineered to do so.

                Judaism’s holiest site the Temple Mount is rooted in the best of Roman building techniques. Substantial budget, good site selection, excellent material selection, and painstaking accuracy during the build.

                  1. Cry Shop

                    Long life isnt always better. The Apian Way can’t support modern traffic. Singapore builds schools to last only 20 years. They found classroom designs, infrastructure, etc. date too fast to keep up with latest theories and population changes.

                    1. nowhere

                      Sounds like a lot of “cheap” energy is being consumed. This seems unlikely in the future.

                    2. Cry Shop

                      Nowhere. Energy is getting ever cheaper if we ignore the environmental cost, which most do.

                    3. nowhere

                      Seeing as EROEI has been slipping for decades (and I don’t count financially cheaper, because as you said, there isn’t a full accounting of cost), we will have to disagree on that point.

              2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

                Some Central Asian qanats are quite old, and still functional, probably older than China’s Great Wall, which was rebuilt in the Ming dynasty…the original one by the First Emperor has largely disintegrated, survived in various short segments.

    2. sd

      Bit outrageous, but I’ve wondered what Congress would be like if 50 percent of its members were chosen by lottery. There’d be nurses and doctors, teachers and plumbers, firefighters and police officers, massage therapists and carpenters, etc. It stands a chance of actually representing a plurality of Americans.

        1. dk

          Democracy doesn’t scale well, period.

          But that may be in part because our ideas about scale are not reasonable. Decision making takes time, good decision making takes even longer. Administration (including data collection) over larger populations and areas takes longer. Yet we (as a general nonspecific plural of the culture) have become convinced that anything less than instant turnaround is deficient (the marketing of automation/computers contributing to this idea).

    3. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Almost every profession I know of, the practitioners exhort each other to police themselves – with ethical standards, for example – lest others do it for them.

      When celebrity technical people are being quoted in the pressed, selected because they happen to agree with the establishment’s point of view, they have failed that self-policing.

      Others, now, will take over the narrative.

        1. ambrit

          That now depends on who is paying the bills. (Not necessarily the ultimate sources of the funds, but who controls the disbursement of said funds.)

            1. ambrit

              I would suggest you take a “Grant Writer” to lunch some afternoon. They are paid to know who to approach and in what manner to inveigle money out of ‘them’ to fund research. Many pure science research departments now exist at the whim of the likes of DARPA. Just try to find out the ultimate source of funds for high energy physics research.
              Short version; as money and power become concentrated, the biases of the gatekeepers of the largess of the ‘anointed’ limit and direct the course of research. The determining factor is funding determinations.

              1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

                Do we know if human greed and ego is just – and that would be fortunate – limited to the bureaucrats in charge of science research, or to also, say, for example, those gatekeepers of stimulate-economy-infrastructure-project largess?

              2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

                I would also add that, they always ask, what is the practical application of this piece of science research project?

                But we get nothing but PARTIAL knowledge, because it’s only today’s best explanation, with the Scientific Method.

                And precisely for that reason, applying any result is the last thing, only very reluctantly, we should do.

                WE HAVE NO IDEA WHAT HIDDEN BUTTERFLY EFFECTS are there, when we apply our partial knowledge.

                But sadly, that egotistical blindness is the most significant factor directing scientific work today.

                1. ambrit

                  Be of good cheer! Modern Man is well on the way to eliminating those pesky butterflies.

              3. pretzelattack

                ok, so what results in high energy physics are questionable due to the funding sources? how have they passed peer review? have the results been questioned in the scientific literature?

                1. ambrit

                  I ‘m suggesting that this is too narrow a world view, ie. the mainstream of physics experimentation is constrained by funding gatekeepers who rely on some “official” version of the art that determines what is possible and what is not. Many discoveries are fortuitous side effects. Penicillin, for example was not searched for, it was stumbled upon. (I know the example is straying far afield, but it’s the best I can come up with on short notice.) So, I do not try to knock down extant discoveries, but mourn the off beat discoveries that were never even still born. If a scientist cannot get funding for an ‘outside the box’ experiment, the underlying theory isn’t even given the chance to be disproven.
                  In prior decades, civilian spin offs of military projects were numerous and a net plus for society. (Let us argue about the merits of atomics some other time.) Weather satellites, fibre optics, etc. were a boon for mankind. What looms on our horizon now? Better targeting for drones? Plasma rings for weather control? Geo engineering for dummies? Earthquakes by subsonic remote control?
                  A secondary consideration is the faking of results to gain further funding for follow up experiments. Peer revue is apparently becoming an example of Games Theory in action. When the money becomes the chief object of desire, science slinks away to hide.

                  1. pretzelattack

                    i’m just wondering who isn’t getting funded, and what results are being faked in the hard sciences.some of the examples you mentioned would not relate to the science being faked, but genuine. i’m quite sure they can come up with science that advances weapons, but less sure that there is some broad fakery going on based on funding.

  17. cocomaan

    Not once is it mentioned that Central Banks will follow mandatory digital currency implementation with negative interest rates. It will be done because “National security”, but the real reason will be negative interest rates.

    Digital currencies are a bizarre non-necessity, but the vague language of efficiency seems to be what’s driving an inevitable transition to all transactions being monitored by TBTF companies like Visa:

    The idea of a central bank-issued digital currency might well be the type of “soft infrastructure” investment that brings direct and immediate efficiency gains. But perhaps more importantly, it would also accelerate and help scale a wave of service innovations that help advance financial inclusion, stimulate economic growth, and ultimately spur social progress.

    Exactly what is wrong with paper currency? I can give my brother 500 bucks today because he needs it, and nobody needs to know. Privacy is freedom from someone asking me why I’m doing something. Cash is king.

    1. pretzelattack

      putting on my tinfoil hat, it’s also easier to “disappear” digital currency, or confiscate it.

      1. sd

        Doesn’t a digital currency guarantee the rise of a cash based market out of reach of the IRS? “If you pay cash, we’ll give you an 8.25% discount.”

        1. pretzelattack

          i think that’s a likely consequence, probably more barter, too. people aren’t going to like this.

        2. ambrit

          First, one needs a generally accepted medium of exchange. Governments can simply declare older tokens of value as defunct. (Seen any Confederate bills in circulation lately?) As for ‘traditional’ stores of value, such as monetary metals, the government can proceed upon a campaign of confiscation. Given the ubiquitous nature of surveillance today, any public venue, such as supermarkets, public utility offices, and potentially all retail establishments, will be monitored for compliance through mandatory video surveillance of the check out registers. I’m sure that algorithms to spot “illegal” transactions can be formulated. As for false positives, well, I can easily imagine some poor person thanking whatever deities they worship that they only had to spend the night in jail, rather than a stint in a re-education camp off in the boonies somewhere.
          Dystopian? Hah! Look forward, never back!

          1. Cry Shop

            Yes. Carrying large amounts of cash is already illegal in many nation states. Subject to confiscation without any cseparate charge / crime. This is part of the tax farming on the poor, forcing them to use oligarchs’ fee based banking services. In the end it’s taxes that give money it’s power.

          1. JTMcPhee

            And how and why is MJ being legalized? Maybe it has something to do with the large number of reactionary and Elite users of said consumable, anxious about possible intersection with the Drug Police? And of course the manifold possibilities of 10-Bagger profits from new Markets? And the reason for more legalization of LGBT “rights?” Nothing to do, I am sure, with just Wide Stance Larry or the wonderful back stories of creatures, “successful people,” like Roy Cohn?

            1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

              We will need Drug Police as well as Cash (your cash belongs to us now) Police to catch lawbreakers using cash.

            2. Lord Koos

              I’m convinced that one of the reasons pot will eventually be legalized across the USA is because TPTB are all for anything that might keep the population sedated.

              1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

                I forgot to add, that, when one is one with the universe, with new doors of perception. one is not likely to be mean or to pick up the pitchfork.

                1. Lord Koos

                  True. But in all fairness, when you’re at those doors you’re probably less likely to go along with the official program.

        3. dk

          Oh, that already exists.

          Not necessarily in connection to tax-dodging, either.

          And the discount can be a lot larger.

    2. human

      It is also not mentioned that digital currencies are orders of magnitude less expensive to handle than physical currencies. Tens of thousands will be made redundant, myself included. On the plus side, changing currencies vis-a-vis Greece, should be less expensive in both time and cost.

    3. jawbone

      All digital currencies will require people, no matter their ability to pay for smart phones and/or computers, to have such access.

      Or they’ll truly be on the dung heap of history…. Well, that might go along with the “hurry up and die” approach of the Corporatists.

      1. Lord Koos

        At some point they’ll just start planting chips in people, or maybe a tatoo that can be scanned. And cash will be easy to eliminate, all they have to do is declare it worthless after a certain date.

    4. nothing but the truth

      the reason for going digital is that there can no longer be a run on the bank.

      you just can’t take it out of the bank.

      so the final reason for banks to be careful – customers might take their money out – is gone. They can take it to bank B, but not out of the system.

    5. Lambert Strether Post author

      Speculating freely and going dystopian in an ugly way: Maybe if your bank account falls below a certain level, they force you to purchase certain items* “for your own good.”** That assumes both digital money and a completely digital supply chain all the way to the point of purchase but the latter is surely coming. Combine that with a guaranteed annual income, and you can see how to abolish the big gummint welfare system entirely.

      Note that ObamaCare provides a legal precedent, since ObamaCare forces you to enter a market.

      NOTE * The items would of course be determined by quality, and not by whichever major corporation ponied up to whoever whenever [snort].

      ** I just invented the buzzword: “Financial wellness.” Eew.

      1. JTMcPhee

        There was a sci-fi short story in Analog 50 years ago where that was the exact premise. “The economy” was in a tailspin, and “the economists” had (chaos notwistanding) been able to trace deflation and the rest back to the decision of one impoverished mope not to buy a new washing machine. So they unlimbers the Wayback Machine, went back, and forced the mope to buy that damn washing machine. And all was well, going forward…

      2. Uahsenaa

        A really good SF show, Continuum, theorizes something like this but in the form of corporate debt you acquire at birth for being afforded basic necessities for living that you have to, through various kinds of labor, work off over the course of your life. The “terrorists” in that dystopian world are basically warriors against debt peonage. It also has the virtue of being very well written… well, maybe not so much the last season.

  18. dots

    “…opportunism can be adaptive behavior exactly because opportunities arise that are not planned.”

    On Turkey – Perhaps Erdogan doesn’t really know who his enemies are nor how many he’s made in recent years? It’s possible this uprising caught him off guard and in the moment he was found far more vulnerable than he realized?

    If he did attempt to seek safety in Germany, I doubt he believed Fethullah Gulen to be the true threat (or possibly didn’t believe him to be the only agent acting against him). Once he realized he wasn’t being hunted he seemed to have shifted gears and began reacting opportunistically. If this is actually the case (i.e., not multi-dimensional machinations) this all could represent some warning, test or other form of chain-yanking.

    Not sure I believe his story of who-dun-it, but I’m totally ignorant of Turkish history and/or politics.

  19. Ignim Brites

    “Political scientists have isolated why disasters push us farther to the right”

    Anger validates the truth of the propositions stated in anger. It is an epistemological category as when Mao states that correct ideas come from the class struggle. It generates strong convictions. Which is why Nietzche argues for the superiority of the courage to attack ones convictions.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      The Great Depression disaster pushed us to the left – that is one exception there.

      The czar mismanagement disaster pushed Russia to the left – another exception.

      Probably more examples.

        1. Lord Koos

          Perhaps a move to the right is more likely when fear is drummed up over some demonized/scapegoated group, or some perceived external threat (terrorism), rather than a political change that occurs from economic conditions.

      1. JTMcPhee

        During the Great Depression, as I recall reading about it, quite a number of federal and local enforcement agencies got busy getting bigger and going after “seditionists” and labor leaders, and my grandfather, who weathered the down times just fine by working for a company that manufactured shoe repair bits and polish and dressings, got to rail about (his words) the Coons that FDR was giving all that stuff to… Moved Left? Really?

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          It was not perfect, or perfectly left.

          Perhaps many would say, good, but not perfect.

  20. lb

    The Economist article on temps notes that less than 1/3 surveyed see a path from temp to “a career”. This is consistent with what I’ve seen anecdotally, for a couple of reasons:

    1) Some employers see temps as abjectly fungible labor and classify certain forms of work as permanently to be done by temps — the current generation of temps. Temps are capped at a maximum number of months of employ to avoid their being considered permanent employees, or at least eligible for the benefits accrued permanent employees. This is usually 18 months, possibly 12.
    2) To convert a temporary worker to permanent requires a certain buy-out from the temporary employer. (I am not sure if this is uniformly true, but I’ve heard it repeatedly — perhaps more with more skilled temps). This feels, IMHO, like buying a slave’s freedom. Given there is a pre-existing relationship between the main employer and the temp employer, this buy-out requirement is likely to be respected commonly, and serves as a disincentive. Why not just roll employ over to another new temp, at a lower cost? (Doing things at a lower cost despite lower quality is so popular these days, after all).

    Also omitted are the margins of the temp firms which are arguably lifted from the compensation of temps disproportionate to the benefit the firms provide. To delve too deeply there might be hostile and show how parasitic these firms are/can be…

    1. John k

      Usually buyout fee disappears after 6-12 months. This gives the temp firm compensation for the cost of finding a person that the employer determines is a keeper, and costs that the employer avoided.

      1. That Which Sees

        In lawsuit frenzy USA, the big benefit of Temp-to-Permenant is that an incompetent reaching the end of their temp contract can be released with minimal chance of legal blowback.

        If that same person was to be hired and then fired, the legal risk would be much higher.

        1. JTMcPhee

          Do you have any understanding of how “the law” and employment lawsuits and employer (vs. employee, temp or perm) work, in the many “right to work” states? Or how high the bar to recovery by an abused employee is everywhere? Thank you for the neoliberal excuse…

  21. pretzelattack

    doesn’t seem like the political scientists recognized the way the media or the elites use disasters to frame a narrative that pushes us to the right.

    1. tongorad

      doesn’t seem like the political scientists recognized the way the media or the elites use disasters to frame a narrative that pushes us to the right.

      Not that long ago (my parents generation, born in the 30’s) the US had vibrant labor press:

      The history of labor journalism in the United States is a huge but relatively unexplored topic. Karla Kelling Sclater surveys 180 years of labor journalism and discusses key books and articles about labor journalism in her essay:
      The Labor and Radical Press
      1820-the Present:

      By the end of the 19th century, working-class newspapers proliferated in cities across the country. Between 1880-1940, thousands of labor and radical publications circulated, constituting a golden age for working-class newspapers.

      Look how far we’ve, um, advanced. The idea of labor press to counter media narratives seems like a pipe dream.

  22. JSBA

    “Clinton pledges constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United decision”

    Uh, isn’t the much easier route to simply appoint another Supreme Court justice and then re-litigate? Seems much simpler/more likely to succeed than trying to amend the constitution.

    1. Pat

      You can, of course, do both. But the former is a nice show piece from someone who no more wants to overturn Citizen’s than she wants to be transparent with the public.

      And the wording of said amendment will be very telling, even if it hasn’t got a chance of happening.

    2. PhilK

      isn’t the much easier route to simply appoint another Supreme Court justice and then re-litigate? Seems much simpler/more likely to succeed than trying to amend the constitution.

      Why, certainly, if one’s intent is actually to overturn Citizens United.

      On the other hand, if one’s intent is to frighten money out of CU’s well-heeled beneficiaries, while sending the peasants off on a meaningless snipe hunt, then a constitutional amendment is the bestest!

    3. Katniss Everdeen

      I’d imagine clinton is well aware of the fact that many americans have no idea how worthless a “promise” to address a “problem” through constitutional amendment actually is.

      And since when did the constitution start mattering again anyway?

    4. edmondo

      How about a constitutional amendment prohibiting immediate family of a former president from sitting in the Oval Office?

    5. Propertius

      I think it’s interesting that so many seem to want to overturn a ruling whose core finding is that organizations of individuals retain the constitutional rights of those individuals. I wonder what could possibly motivate someone to advocate that?

      I have addressed the idiocy of a Presidential candidate promising to enact an amendment below (hint: the President has no role in the amendment process).

      1. JTMcPhee

        I’m sure you know what the real a core ruling of that case is. “Someone” is Kochs and Dimons and the rather small set of vaguely visible corporate and kleptocratic people of great wealth. Nice restatement of the effect and intent of the case, ab initio ad finitum. From the what, Libertarian, “Property” point of view? Your rich people are winning now — what happens when you are facing the point of the spear? Hope you don’t be needing Medicare and Social Security and any protections from the Panopticon.

    6. ewmayer

      “Obama pledges to close Guantanamo in first year of office, to reform Wall Street, and make sure all kids can read good.” [h/t Zoolander]

      Quite a warm breeze blowing as Hillary spoke … those ‘Merican flags were really flapping!

  23. low integer

    Was writing a bit about the Archdruid piece then saw this. I guess they’ll be needing another bomb delivering robot…

    1. low integer

      I feel ignored ;-)

      “I guess they’ll be needing another bomb delivering robot” was written as a comment on the economic and political forces that are directing the application of engineering and the “soft” science knowledge to the world. “Hard” science, which is really only physics imo, is relatively incorruptible in the sense that nature doesn’t tell lies, yet progress in physics is vulnerable due to the vast resources required to do research.

      Anyway, I think most scientists/engineers just assume that politicians, bankers, economists, etc. are doing their jobs in the same way the scientist/engineers are doing theirs i.e. working towards an optimized solution in good faith and without bias or corruption. Dishonesty is considered pointless and is not treated as a valid option by most science types. In my experience, younger engineers know that there are problems with the socioeconomic system yet have no idea how to extract the eigenvectors from the reality matrix, so they end up avoiding politics and economics and sticking with what makes sense to them. In general they are very receptive when someone helps them find that first foothold from which to begin their ascent (descent?) to new types of knowledge, ime.

      1. low integer

        I can also confirm that there is a noticable cohort of fundamentalist Christian, young-Earth creationist engineers in Australia, which initially surprised me.

    1. Dave

      Hillary’s thoughts on what white people should do to show their unconditional support for Black Lives Matter:

      “White Americans need to do a better job of listening when African Americans talk about the barriers they face.”

      From the “Hillary Clinton is Hypocritical When it Comes to Black Lives Matter. Here’s a Tweet to Prove It. Wear Your Voice” link above.

      1. cwaltz

        Anyone who actually watched her with the BLM activist who spoke with her would know how hypocritical that statement was

        If I remember correctly a young female black activist paid $500 to speak with her and instead of listening to the young lady she chastised her and told her to run for office if she wanted her concerns addressed. She insisted that the young lady let HER talk while the young lady listen. I forgot though the rules apply to everyone except the special snowflake oligarchs.

    2. Sam Adams

      Until the USA reverses the militarization of police with their uniforms evoking storm troopers clad in bulletproof vests, clear shields, assault weapons standing on assault vehicles driving into the community from a far off gated community, the police will be viewed as occupying forces. Occupying forces are met by resistance, they are not trusted and sometimes are met armed. This is the beginning of attacks, not the end point because everyone from TPTB to MSM are seeking to rebrand the occupying forces as put-upon and misunderstood. Nobody is interested in addressing cause.

    3. barrisj

      Correction: Battlelines had been drawn, now it’s active engagement…FoxNews commentators wondering if this latest cop shooting a “consequence” of “pressure to demilitarise our police departments…” – very helpful.

          1. James Levy

            It’s interesting that Trump yesterday used two oldies but goodies in his speech: we need “strength’ at home and aboard and he would guarantee “law and order”. I can’t believe that Trump wasn’t channeling Nixon–I’ve seen Trump signs in Cleveland saying Trump is supported by “The Silent Majority”.

            Christie as the new Mitchell?

            1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

              Who will be Trump’s Kissinger to get us out of our Vietnam?

              “Stay out of Chile this time.”

            2. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

              I look upon quite a few Republican presidents wistfully these days, I would take Eisenhower’s military policies, Reagan’s tax policies, and Nixon’s social policies anyday compared to where we are today. Yes those policies were usually worse than what preceeded them…but they’re still better than the levsls we’re presented with today.

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        And I didn’t know this:

        In May, [Democrat Governor John] Edwards signed a “Blue Lives Matter” bill into law, making Louisiana the first state in the country where police officers, firefighters and other first responders are a protected class under hate-crime law. Edwards, the son of a sheriff, said that this was needed because these people “put their lives on the line every day, often under very dangerous circumstances” and deserve this protection. No other state includes police officers as a protected class under hate-crime laws, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures….

        “Hate crime,” as a concept, sure was easy to co-opt…

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          What is not hate-crime?

          Love crime?

          “I love you, lobster. That’s why I have to kill you and eat you.”

          Is that kind of love crime permissible?

      2. James Levy

        In their hearts, the answer is “no”, because they could live without black people but they couldn’t live without the protection of their life and property they see the cops as essential in maintaining. For a subset of Americans killing a few innocent blacks now and again is a price they are fine with paying if it makes them “safer”, and the perception among some (many?) is that black men are a threat and for me to be safe they have to be cowed, incarcerated, or killed. There is little chance this belief is not widely held or cops would be held accountable for their actions, and as we’ve seen since Rodney King at the very latest they are not. The excuse “cops have so much clout because they have a union” isn’t supported by the evidence, because when the government wants to run roughshod over unions, they can and will (the Air Traffic Controllers, overwhelmingly white and middle class, come to mind). No, they have clout because the public wants them to, and District Attorneys know this and grand juries and juries bear this out. Lambert, you wisely look for agency in most cases. You need to consider the who has the agency in these cases, and why.

        1. fresno dan

          James Levy
          July 17, 2016 at 3:42 pm
          Sadly, I think your analysis is spot on – although I may quibble about whether it is exclusively due to race. Hard to look at the Kelly Thomas video, indisputable evidence of police murder, and not come to the conclusion that the public countenance the murder of anyone of any race by the police.

          However, the police unions not only function with regard to economic matters, but essentially as political action committees. I know when I was in Maryland they were instrumental in the outrageous police bill of rights that gave police TEN days to get their legal ducks in a row before they could be questioned about police misconduct. The constant propaganda that there is a war on police.

          And in an interesting fissure between police and the NRA:

          The head of Cleveland’s police union said Sunday he would ask Ohio Gov. John Kasich to suspend open-carry gun rights for a week after several police officers were gunned down in Baton Rouge, La.

          “It’s a heartbreaking day,” said union president Steven Loomis. The union’s attorneys are also asking Kasich to declare a state of emergency in the city during the Republican National Convention, which begins Monday.

          But a spokesperson for Kasich said he lacks legal authority to do what the union asked.

          “Ohio governors do not have the power to arbitrarily suspend federal and state constitutional rights or state laws as suggested,” said spokesperson Emmalee Kalmbach.

          And so it begins – the incredible illogic of the NRA – – the “good” guys with guns running around with guns will be distinguishable from the bad guys with a gun by the police. If teachers had had guns at Newtown, and the police show up, how exactly were the police to know Adam Lanza was not a teacher?
          There is already a fissure between big city police (for gun control) and rural sheriffs, against gun control.

  24. Vatch

    Nuclear waste: keep out for 100,000 years FT (DL). Good signage is very important!

    Good signage! :-)

    Few people can read the Sumerian cuneiform of 5,000 years ago. How many people will be able to read English 100,000 years from now?

  25. ambrit

    We have shopped in the Hammond Aire shopping mall/district. A typical gentrified urban area. Baton Rouge is a typical southern 50/50 city. A lot of the black people are poorer and disproportionately desperate. There was a movement of poorer blacks to Baton Rouge from New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. Various tricks were utilized by NOLA politicos to prevent those Diasporistas from returning to New Orleans from where ever they had fled to. Houston was the other major city of “Refuge” for those fleeing New Orleans during and after Katrina. The whites there are trending in that direction but do not fully realize it yet. The American Myth of the Middle Class is strong there. This mall is near to Louisiana State University and caters to the “Upper Percentages” and their enablers, the “WannaBees,” a subset of the “WorkerBees.”
    That said, Airline Highway, which was closed off by the police, is a major traffic artery. This intersection, Old Hammond Highway and Airline Highway is a short distance from an Interstate Highway 10 intersection with Airline Highway. All in all, this is a major traffic corner. Offhand, I couldn’t think of a better place to stage an “incident” of this nature. The fact that the neighbourhood has been sealed off by Baton Rouge police suggests that perpetrators are being hunted.

    1. pretzelattack

      i have relatives living within 5 miles of the 10/airline intersection. out on highway 61.

      1. ambrit

        Keep in contact with them. One of our daughters and her family live out in Walker. The ‘Divide and Rule’ mindset is still potent down south. Baton Rouge allways struck Phyllis and myself as a tense and ominous place. Seriously, is this impression a result of the highly populated urban sprawl, or is it situational?
        As a side note, I haven’t seen any definite statements about the racial makeup of either shooters or police yet. Could this be some sort of preventative censorship, or perhaps Political Correctness run amok?
        If the figures I saw are accurate, the question arises; where does one find ten police congregated together? Both BRPD and Parish Sheriffs shot. It being Sunday morning, could this have been one of those ubiquitous ‘Church Traffic Control’ details? However, ten men. There are no megachurches near there. Mysteries abound.

        1. pretzelattack

          things certainly got more tense and overcrowded post katrina. given militarized cops who see themselves as something of an occupying army, and the protests of the past few days, it doesn’t surprise me that cops are grouping together.

          1. JTMcPhee

            Time to watch the “Robocop” movies again. Speaking of cops under pressure, occupation, “Journey Into a Libertarian Future” kind of stuff.

            All Hail Omni Consumer Products!

    2. Romancing the Loan

      I have heard speculation online that the Baton Rouge incident spiraled out of control from armed robbers opening fire on responding police instead of from someone sniping cops out of nowhere. I’m sure the issue will be treated with the seriousness and consideration it deserves and not used to fire up a civil war for ratings.

      /we’re doomed

      1. ambrit

        If a Civil War, not for ratings. There are plenty of suckers to go around. Sometimes, amoral, greedy opportunism is just that. No plot required.

      2. savedbyirony

        Yes, a possibility for “civil war” and other purposes, though i think ratings would be low on this list. Earlier in the week there was a story about an arrest involving three black youths in Baton Rouge caught stealing guns from a pawn shop that went from, “stealing to sell” to “stealing to kill cops”, and all the media excuses for the excesses by the police during last week’s protests in Baton Rouge because of “threats” to the police.

      3. barrisj

        Well, I’m sure the “race/civil war” people have that covered, as they will claim that the “armed robbery” was merely a planned ruse to draw police in, then pick them off as they responded to despatch calls.

      1. ambrit

        Harry Shearer could probably give a much better appreciation of the New Orleans perspective on this. Right now, the Louisiana ‘media’ seem to all be on the same script, sitting around the campfire and holding hands. All this ‘poor poor blue coats’ messaging looks peculiar and unseemly to this Deep South Nonconformist.
        As has happened a lot lately, the story is morphing. Herein we see the deleterious effect of ‘instant’ news. Without judicious handling, much emotional and plain wrong “information” is presented to the public as “fact.” I am becoming somewhat gun shy about even forwarding what passes for “News” on the Internet. Reporting the emotional reactions to ‘news’ events is well and good. What’s bad is mistaking that for the ‘news’ itself.

  26. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Democracy Now: Is War on Terror a self-fulfilling prophecy?

    That’s a good question.

    My question is, how do we identify the combatants in the current conflict? Is it like the 60s’ when we went to Vietnam and couldn’t tell how the bad guys from the bystanders?

    And what was the correct strategy for Vietnam – to exit, thus separating us from ‘all of them?’ Is that the Trump’s idea?

    Does it apply now?

    1. James Levy

      Trump has vowed to “destroy” ISIS/ISIL so how far he is committed to disengagement is anyone’s guess. People made a huge deal over Obama’s “opposition” to the Iraq War, but we saw how that turned out. His “bring back torture” and “kill their families” statements also imply an ugly attachment to business as usual. Once in office, he may or may not change course.

  27. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Bank complexity – is size everything?

    Size is everything – we are being brainwashed to think so, in various subtle ways.

    Why the particular fascination with dinosaurs, as opposed to other living things of the same time?

    Because their size (not all of them were huge, but the hugeness of the huge ones stand out BIG TIME).

    That’s why.

    It takes work to appreciate small or less.

    And we remind ourselves to look down, as well as to look up (that’s separate from associating up with good/virtuous/desirable).

    But China, the most populous nation in the world, with middling, if that, average income per person, is the most economically powerful country in Asia, and almost there in the world.

    Size is good for them.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        A lot of times, animals and plants seem more distant, or not even there, as we enjoy the world as our oyster…the oppose of appearing closer than something really is.

  28. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Public health takes a hit in Uruguay…Phillip Morris.

    Will we see bigger cigarette companies, as they are looking to potentially broaden their product lines?

    “Tobacco or marijuana cigarette?”

    Warning: don’t smoke weed when pregnant.

    And no public weed smoking in this restaurant or movie theater (forget second hand smoking risk for now, think of forcing others to inhale when they are not ready or in mood at that particular moment – that’s an assault issue).

    No pot smoking in your San Francisco shared-air-duct apartment either.

    No smoking marijuana while driving.

    No smoking under 18.

    It makes one wonder: Where can you smoke? It might as well be illegal.

    Welcome to the club, say tobacco smokers (and I used to get a headache when my late father smoked tobacco).

    1. pretzelattack

      you’re not supposed to smoke outside in colorado, i’ve heard. i’m not sure how widely observed that is.

      1. sleepy

        I believe the law is that you can’t smoke in public or in an area accessible to the public That doesn’t necessarily preclude the outdoors.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          In San Francisco, will it be ‘there are children in this apartment with shared air ducts?”

          Not even in your own apartment home?

  29. allan

    U.S. curtails federal election observers [Reuters]

    Federal election observers can only be sent to five states in this year’s U.S. presidential election, among the smallest deployments since the Voting Rights Act was passed in 1965 to end racial discrimination at the ballot box.

    The plan, confirmed in a U.S. Department of Justice fact sheet seen by Reuters, reflects changes brought about by the Supreme Court’s 2013 decision to strike down parts of the Act, a signature legislative achievement of the 1960s civil rights movement.

    Voting rights advocates told Reuters they were concerned that the scaling-back of observers would make it harder to detect and counter efforts to intimidate or hinder voters, especially in southern states with a history of racial discrimination at the ballot box. …

    It’s John Roberts’ world. We just live in it.

  30. nothing but the truth

    the west is crumbling fast.

    smart people should start thinking post-western-civilization structures.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      That’s an interesting link, and cautionary. Corbyn said:

      Mr Corbyn brushed aside the leadership contest “as a little local difficulty”.

      One commenter points out that’s a catchphrase in British politics*:

      He was due to tour the Commonwealth when his Chancellor Peter Thorneycroft and several junior Treasury ministers resigned over a disagreement about cutting public spending. The government appeared to be in meltdown but Macmillan turned up at the airport and told reporters:

      “I thought the best thing to do was to settle up these little local difficulties, and then turn to the wider vision of the Commonwealth”

      Then set off on his trip.

      Harold MacMillan was a conservative PM in the early 60s, so it’s an interesting sidelight on Corbyn deploying the language of a political junkie!

      And as a corollary, we on this side of the Atlantic need to be careful, since we are almost certain to miss these little allusions and ironies…

      NOTE * Rather like “look forward and not back” or “mission accomplished.”

  31. This or RS-28

    Actually, Jim Haygood (9:28) the settlement approach is alive and well. It never went away. It’s the draft articles on State Responsibility for Internationally Wrongful Acts,

    The principles are a compilation of existing international judicial precedent and customary international law. This September the UNGA will vote on whether to proceed to formalize these principles in a binding convention. The US has been trying to torpedo the convention because the principles close all CIA’s favorite loopholes for covert aggression and coercive interference. Before or after you go to war you get the option of deterring wrongful acts with ICJ-adjudicated liability for reparations, compensation, restitution, or satisfaction with interest.

    As you say, it’s a needed alternative to international criminal law. Iran’s defense strategy is based on buying time to give this law a chance to bite. Libya stopped a US attack with these principles in 1992.

  32. fresno dan

    The Great Republican Crack-up: How Dayton Helps Explain the Rise of Donald Trump Pro Publica. Must read.

    In 1971, another letter to another Republican congressman from Ohio: Jacqueline Kennedy wrote to William McCulloch to wish him well on his retirement from the House of Representatives. This was not something that former first ladies did often — especially to members of the opposing party — but McCulloch was a special case. “You, more than anyone, were responsible for the civil rights legislation of the 1960s,” she wrote. “There were so many opportunities to sabotage the bill, without appearing to do so, but you never took them. On the contrary, you brought everyone else along with you.”

    Rep. William McCulloch in his Washington office on Sept. 11, 1963. (Bob Schutz/AP Photo)
    There was little exaggeration in this praise. McCulloch, a country lawyer from tiny Piqua, just north of Dayton, was a conservative in the Old Guard mold that had defined Ohio Republicanism since Robert Taft: fiscally prudent, wary of foreign entanglement, even-keeled to the point of stodgy. He wore red suspenders, returned a portion of his congressional office allowance each year and forswore spending pork for his district. He supported gun ownership and school prayer and opposed many social welfare programs. But he was also the proud descendant of abolitionists and had goaded President John F. Kennedy into pushing forward on civil rights and had then played a leading role in seeing the legislation home after Kennedy’s assassination. “To do less,” he said, “would be to shirk our responsibility as national legislators and as human beings who honor the principles of liberty and justice.”

    Is there any example of that today???

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Returning a portion of his congressional office allowance each year?

      Plus interest or not?

  33. Alex morfesis

    Bernie Sanders behind coup in Turkey…well we have to blame someone and if the question cui prodest is put forth, then no one can gain more than Bernie…hang with me for a second…


    if all those out there upset that $hillary has obtained her morganatic coronation by less than noble means(although the nobility has never been noble…) had put some focus on huma, you might have sent $hillary back to double a…

    although why bernie didn’t might also beg the question…

    As an aside(has value…be patient…) my semi joking about Germany and the coup…may start taking bets…my german is hardly good enough anymore to order breakfast but the body language of merkel in her 3 minute briefing I thought at first was simply that someone disturbed the sacred german vacation days…then I found what looked like a decent translation…then saw the comments attributed to martin schulz and elmar brok and it became obvious…the germans were communicating with the putsch krewe, are upset they did not pull it off and are hoping no one asks them what did they know and when did they know it…now back to huma…

    She is not just some mystery intern who suddenly found herself glued to $hillary…she is a saudi watcher paid to sit with $hillary…the mother of huma is saleha…do your own research…the blue pill or the red pill…

    So huma and her siblings tied to saudi think tank…huma there getting paid while married to a us congressman…worked with mom and sauds until 2008…

    And as to that little “german” town in Pennsylvania that holds gulen…

    He is not the most famous man of international intrigues from saylorsburg…

    that would fall to that good friend of modi…you know, that guy from india…

    Dayananda saraswati

    So…why would not one but two such characters choose that little town and area for their fun…??

    Well…it might help to know gulen and his operations have a huge network in germany…

    I am sure it is all just a twist of fate…

    Go track down some of strange comments from the germans about the coup…you almost get the sense they can hardly control their anger over erdo having danced around the coup attempt…

    Well, maybe wolgang gets to be prime minister after all….schaeuble has had the road blocked by the eastern european girl and if somehow he was able to trick her into having improper and premature conversations with the turkey putsch krewe…strange body language from merkel when she spoke for three minutes about turkey…very strange indeed…

    Oh stop rolling your eyes…the blue pill or the red pill…may ended up at number ten with more moves, twists and turns than I just described…and wolfgang has always wanted to run the show directly…mutti might have a problem…

    So maybe bernie still has a door open…hope he runs off the shoulder of the left tackle like we practiced…go for it bernie…no need to directly accuse…you are a us senator…you can ask questions…incirlik holds 50 nukes…germany should not be playing games when nukes are involved…go for it…let donald bring up huma…judicial watch was already laying down the crumbs last week…

    No the one on the left jeff…no I wont take that first issue spiderman from you…besides, third issues most people ignore and get more rare over time…thanks…

    are the fries any good at elevation burgers…??

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      Given that Germany, like Turkey, is a European power, it would be madness to claim that they knew nothing, or even hadn’t gamed out possible outcomes. My own joke aside, that’s a long way from saying Merkel planned it.

      So the US sets the Middle East on fire, generating (among other things) a massive refugee flow, many of whom end up in Germany. Turkey then cuts a deal with Germany to reduce the flow, in return for… billions, apparently. And now…

      Can’t tell the players without a scorecard. Too much going on right now. Heaven knows what the elites are doing now that our attention is distracted by multiple eruptions…

      1. Alex morfesis

        Merkel planning the coup…hope I did not come across that strongly…

        Mutti doing a mafia coded request that someone take the stone bothering them inside their shoe or some other form of vague encouragement…


        just pointing out how muted the response from germany was and how during the initiation of the coup there was no talk of “rule of law” but now sultan erdo must follow the “rule of law” in respects to those who instigated the coup…

        last I checked since these are soldiers, they are subject to military law…

        either way it has been a long week…

        boris has handled all his problems well enough and has not stuck his foot in his mouth…he had to make an emergency landing on his way to the fm summit in europe…but boys will be boys…

        One last piece on this idea sultan erdo is “rounding up” judges…

        Parliament past a couple of weeks ago a decree and amendments to previous judiciary reforms…

        if you think it is bad in greece, turkey has a 2 million case backlog in its dysfunctional judicial process

        More info in english at the council of europe opinion # 857/2016 strasbourg dated july 11, 2016…

        He got the right to remove about 500 judges and a committee within the justice ministry is to control the replacements but he gets to appoint about 175 judges out of 711…

        So a number of these “roundups” and removals seem to have already been in the works…

  34. Chauncey Gardiner

    Thank you for the link to the FEDS economists’ analysis of structural complexity as a factor in institutional and systemic failure-risk assessment of “systemically important financial institutions” (SIFI’s); and the difficulty of subsequent resolution following such failures. As anyone who has tried to slog through the footnotes of their financial statements included in their SEC 10-K filings would likely tell you, arriving at meaningful conclusions regarding the probability of institutional and systemic risk presented by these entities is very difficult, in large part due to the sheer structural complexity of these institutions and their operations. It is difficult to avoid the conclusion that not only are they “Too Big To Fail” (while acknowledging that failure might not always be preventable); but they are “Too Complex To Analyze” and “Too Complex To Manage”.

    In a related vein, I have wondered from time to time whatever happened to both Lehman’s tuna-fishing subsidiary in the Seychelles and “the London Whale”?

    1. JTMcPhee

      Just like the so-called “Department of Defense.” Pentagon flows simply can’t be audited, a feudal system unaccountable but fed like some prize bull nonetheless. “But it’s a great jobs program!”

      Old joke about the pig farmer that by God was going to win the blue ribbon for the biggest hog at the State Fair. So he stuck a plug in its butt and started feeding it. After a year, it took an 18-wheeler flatbed to get it to the Fair, hands-down a winner for biggest pig. After five years, the hog was so huge it couldn’t be moved, no how ho way. Six months later, it was encroaching on the farmhouse and henhouse and barn, so the farmer decided it was time to do something. He trained a little monkey to pull all kinds of plugs when the monkey saw them. Turned it loose one day next to the hog’s posterior. Monkey did its thing, farmer planned to make a movie of it. Next day he wakes up in the hospital. Doctor asks him, what was the last thing you saw? He says, a solid wall of sh%t dooming right at me. The last thing? But what was the last thing on the movie film? Now that you mention it — the last thing was a monkey trying desperately to plug up the hole…

  35. James Levy

    The size of districts, the influence of outside money, the ability of anyone with enough money (or the right backers) to run a primary challenge, all militate against it. In his book Who Will tell the People? Grieder talked with an old-time Ohio House Dem (from Cleveland) who said that he caught hell on Vietnam early because he was expected to attend Union functions and it was in union halls that he first heard men ask him “what the hell are you doing sending my son to Vietnam?” He also said that any donation check for $50 or more meant a stop at the person’s house for a handshake and a cup of coffee (and an earful).

    Politics today takes place via the (expensive) media and at 30,000 feet. Just imagine the last time Clinton or Trump had a conversation with anyone who was not dependent on their approval or a millionaire? Clinton has been in a cocoon almost all her life, and Trump has made a fortune on TV getting people to suck up to him so he doesn’t fire them (and you can bet that’s been true in his corporation, too). It’s not just that those who represent us no longer are remotely in the same class as us, or live remotely similar lives. They now live entirely separate lives, and the connective tissue is severed.

      1. fresno dan

        James Levy
        July 17, 2016 at 3:30 pm

        When I was in a union for government employees, I got on the political committee and I was tasked with getting a local representative to speak. Naively, I though the chance to talk to voters was worth something….nah. It was 500$ (as I recall) to show up for 10 minutes. At the time, I was shocked that their was no effort at all (cover expenses or something) – – just a flat out fee to see your congress person.

  36. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    China NZ cheap import steel inquiry.

    Didn’t the US slap anti-dumping tariff on Chinese steel a while back?

    Is NZ easier to pick on, and American too big to pick on, like Wasserman Schultz compared to Hillary?

    What is the corresponding alternative for the US – “If you hurt our steel industry, we will not import more laminated flooring?”

  37. Propertius

    I love it when Presidential candidates promise constitutional amendments: one of the few governmental acts in which the President has no role whatsoever.

    1. Vatch

      Excellent point. Thanks for reminding us that Hillary Clinton’s supposed opposition to Citizen’s United is effectively meaningless.

    2. jo6pac

      Yep, it will be written on napkin from one of those really fun drinking parties she plans on having. Everyone will have a good laugh then into the fire place;)

  38. rich

    WeWork sues ex-employee for disclosing information to reporters

    WeWork Companies Inc, a closely held operator of shared office space, has sued a former employee for unauthorized disclosure of information to Bloomberg News that showed the firm, which is valued at $16 billion, falling short of its financial goals.

    In a complaint filed late on Friday with the New York Supreme Court for Manhattan, WeWork accused Joanna Strange, who was fired June 10, of unlawful access to its computers and of stealing confidential and proprietary information. The firm, which operates sites in 40 U.S. and foreign cities, also accused Strange of breaching her contractual and fiduciary duties.

    Bloomberg reported on Friday that in late April, WeWork in an internal review document slashed a 2016 profit forecast by 78 percent, cut its revenue estimate by 14 percent and disclosed a 63 percent surge in projected negative cash flow.

    wonder what numbers private investors get when Wework raises capital ?..those won’t work these might work??

  39. kareninca

    One of the points people are making at Zero Hedge – yes, I know this will be unpopular here – is that if French citizens were allowed to carry guns (they are not), the truck in Nice would not have been able to continue on for a mile and a half of squishing people. The driver could have been shot dead, or his steering tires shot out, before it was. And you can’t say that guns wouldn’t stop it, since guns were what the French constabulary used to ultimately stop it. The French cops were very brave and acted quickly, but everyone else in the picture was forced to be a sitting duck.

    The torture in the Bataclan club makes this even more salient. It was covered up by the French government; it is only coming out now (

    “A French government committee has heard testimony, suppressed by the French government at the time and not published online until this week, that the killers in the Bataclan appear to have tortured their victims on the second floor of the club.

    The chief police witness in Parliament testified that on the night of the attacks, an investigating officer, tears streaming down his face, rushed out of the Bataclan and vomited in front of him just after seeing the disfigured bodies.

    The 14-hour testimony about the November attacks took place March 21st.

    According to this testimony, Wahhabist killers reportedly gouged out eyes, castrated victims, and shoved their testicles in their mouths. They may also have disemboweled some poor souls. Women were reportedly stabbed in the genitals – and the torture was, victims told police, filmed for Daesh or Islamic State propaganda. For that reason, medics did not release the bodies of torture victims to the families, investigators said.”

    They gave one family half of their son. Since the other half was unimaginable.

    If you think that the “bad guys” will shoot you up, you may or may not want other people around you (who admittedly may be incompetent) to have guns. If you think they will disembowel you, and feed you your testicles, and if you are female stab you in the vulva, well, you may think your fellow citizens should be allowed to carry (leaving aside whether it is a “right”). And that you should be allowed to, too.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Humans pride themselves as tool users (used to be thought of as the only ones, but the idea no longer popular).

      Tools to be used on animals and plants.

      Funny, those tools then became the first weapons to be used on other humans.

      it seems, we first do it to animals and plants. Then, we do it to ourselves.

    2. JTMcPhee

      Did the US or its partners in “rendition” return the bodies of those “treated” to their families? Did the US Phoenix Program treat its victims with decency and respect? Look, it’s stupid to swim against the tide of violence engendering and be getting violence, And to cite one set of grislies as unanswerable justification and proof of innate wisdom for another set of idiocies (arming everyone) is maybe kind of a logical non sequitur?

      However much we armed people (that category includes me) might dream of pulling a Jason Bourne or other Great Heroic Bullsh&t Savior act out of a holster or magazine, in immediate response to some instantaneous idiocy.

      1. kareninca

        Where did I suggest “arming everyone”? I did not write that. I realize it is easier to debate someone if you claim they said something they didn’t say, however doing so is worse than a logical error (which I did not commit).

        Calling it a “set of grislies” does not really capture how horrible it was; it is a very dismissive way of putting it; it is a way of categorizing it so as to be able to forget it.

        1. lambert strether

          You’re arguing that’s not the end point of the incentive structure you’ve constructed? The country’s already awash in guns, so all the remains is to train everyone?

          “You may well think,” forsooth.

          1. kareninca

            The country is not awash with guns. I don’t know a single person out here in the Bay Area who owns a gun – and that includes me. People in some regions own guns; people in other regions don’t – and the crime rates don’t correspond to the ownership rates. But we’re talking about self defense, and I’m not sure how I’m setting up an incentive structure. I’m not sure what you mean by that.

        2. Michael

          The Bataclan torture thing is garbage, check Snopes. Pretty muxh everything in your post was boilerplate Republican mythology, complete with sources like Heat Street.

    3. lambert strether

      And when every American has their fetish object pointed at some other American and they’re all trained to pull the trigger… What then?

      1. kareninca

        It is not easy to get a conceal carry permit; it takes a huge amount of bureaucratic effort (it is the hobby of my father and a few of his friends – mostly retired academics on the East Coast – to collect them for as many states as possible, so I know how it works). I think that the people who have them are in general significantly more intelligent and stable than the typical cop.

        1. JTMcPhee

          Concealed carry permit is “hard to get?” As a veteran, albeit with actual arms training and experience (a long time ago, with some target practice since), all I and any other Florida military vet have to do is present my DD-214 discharge papers, a fingerprint card and a very short application, along with a little fee. And of course anGrizzly Tools yone who wants, as the Gun Nuts are always pointing out, can get a firearm on the black market. Or can buy one at a gun show, with minimal checks. Or with a little machining skill, and maybe a lathe and milling machine combo from Grizzly Tools or Harbor Freight, can make their own. CNC makes it even easier. Tribespeople in the Afghan borderlands make them with hand tools.

          And if one wants to carry concealed, without the gentle comfort of a permit, there are huge catalogs of accessories that facilitate concealed carry. More stable and intelligent than the typical cop? Wow, you really like poking the bear, don’t you?

          1. kareninca

            “all I and any other Florida military vet have to do is present my DD-214 discharge papers, a fingerprint card and a very short application, along with a little fee”

            Well, most people aren’t vets. So I am guessing the process is different for them. What my dad and his friends describe is months and months of bureaucratic runarounds; being stuck sending the prints over and over again (since the ones they send “aren’t good enough”); having forms delayed by the state until deadlines have passed; having to go to distant barracks (open at very limited times) to have the prints done; difficulty getting through to offices on the phone. And of course one’s background is checked thoroughly. It requires patience and persistence and a clean record.

            I don’t know anyone with a concealed carry permit who is an alcoholic or who is a wife beater. I do know of cops who are alcoholics; loads of them are on steroids; they have the highest spousal abuse rate of any profession. And the ones I have met (with two exceptions) have been strikingly unintelligent. I am not being snarky when I say that I think that the people who negotiate the CC hoops are likely smarter and more stable. I’m not sure how that is bear poking.

            Of course people who are not law-abiding can steal or machine their own guns. Criminals will always have guns, no matter what the gun laws are.

            1. JTMcPhee

              Yah, the mythical “law-abiding citizen.” Who never exceeds the speed limit, never does renovations on his Castle Keep without a permit, never cheats on his tax returns, never rolls through a stop sign, etc. And as soon as the “law-abiding gunner” shoots his boss, kills his family or road-rages a Chrysler van full of Cub Scouts, he or she is now magically a “criminal.” And no longer a “law abiding gun owner.” I can keep up this exchange as long as you can.

              Got to note that there are over 1,500,000 military veterans living in just Florida alone. And so very sorry that your family members are getting the treatment from “the bureaucracy” that so many people I came across as a nurse were getting from the medical bureaucracies, and folks I know from the Banksters who are stealing their homes via foreclosure fraud and won’t even let over-asking-prince short sales go through.

              How many gun carriers do you know? What’s the sample size in your likely narrow population? I know several Sover3eign Citizens who do ‘roids, and many decent intelligent (older, I admit) policemen (mostly through their need for workers comp from on the job ordinary injuries, like back problems from hoisting those Great Big Manly Utility Belts loaded with the tools of the trade). I LIKE guns — sexy machinery, lots of little features and benefits for cognoscenti and brand loyalists to discuss and argue over (AK vs AR, wheel guns versus semi-auto pistols, bullet weight and aerodynamics and powder loads and brass manufacturers and reloading tips’n’techniques, on and on and on.) and lots of Sexy Babes on the advertising and on so many Manly Web Sites, As for “backgrounds are checked thoroughly”? What universe do you live in?

              So let’s go for Everybody Must Get Armed, and “Kill ’em all, and let God sort ’em out!” That is working out great in places like the other Swat (Afghan-Paki border), part of the place where empires went to die… But then I bet that in your mind proves your point, armed gunmen (not so many women, er…) Resisting The Oppressive Central Government so they are free to do honor killings and vengeance killings and just for the hell of it shoot-em-ups…

              1. kareninca

                Thanks for your reply. Believe it or not, I actually read it carefully and with interest; I like getting more info. I’m not going to claim that I am convinced, but I’m not going to debate any of your points since it would probably just annoy the hosts. I am still wondering why “everyone must get armed” is being attributed to me. I am for abortion rights but that does not mean that I think that everyone should be compelled to have an abortion.

    4. craazyman

      If they’d been armed with anti-tank missiles they could have taken out the truck in one shot.

      the problem is you don’t know exactly when you’ll need it, and having it around all the time creates its own problems.

      1. kareninca

        “the problem is you don’t know exactly when you’ll need it, and having it around all the time creates its own problems”

        I’m still waiting for someone to point out where I said that ownership should be mandatory. As opposed to forbidden. There is space in between.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Can anyone say how the world can get out of this mess and move forward?

      Is it ‘the conservative religious side will be a little more liberal, and the liberal Western side become more conservative?’

      Compromise, the art of deal?

      Any one?

      Any ideas?

      1. savedbyirony

        With a society armed to the teeth, it’s hard to say. But as regards to the “justice” system holding cops accountable to egregious racist behavior, maybe just maybe there might be a part of the black American community that is now willing to become more political and more actively organized as leaders which commands both big bucks and plenty of public exposure with a substantial amount of cross-racial lines support -the American black athlete- who can put real economic pressure on TPTB. I look at Mizzou and their football team, i look at the NBA players Union and Donald Sterling, i see big time athletes like Lebron James making reference to Ali i think he certainly must know better than i what Ali did and sacrificed, and think maybe this segment of our society which many people venerate and which hold some of the keys to the entertainments we adore and the treasure chests they fill and think leaders there might now be seriously planning to get involved. Leaders (and perhaps even their unions) and recruiters for people of all colors wanting and willing to help.

          1. RMO

            “For the People of the Gun, they think this is going to be grim fun”

            I’ve found that quite a few firearm enthusiasts in the U.S. seem to fit this description. Perhaps they’re just more present online than the saner ones but it does seem to be an attitude that I have only rarely found among firearm enthusiasts in other nations. I actually really enjoy target shooting myself and find the history and engineering involved with firearms fascinating (as I do with many technologies) but I was frequently creeped out by the people who seems to be obsessed with just how big a hole they can make in another person and the way that so many of them seem to be almost looking forward to getting to play Left 4 Dead in real life.

            As for Nice, I seriously doubt that having everyone in France packing heat would have been able to seriously reduce the toll of that particular mass murder. It probably would have been more effective if there had happened to be someone there with a large truck or SUV who could have attempted ramming the vehicle to disable it.

  40. Elliot

    Kareninca (is that orange county btw?), if you look at the photo of the truck at the end, it took more than “a bullet” to stop it. It took sustained fire. Even the policeman on the cycle couldn’t stop him, and he even tried to board the truck.

    You’ve been reading too much NRA fiction and watching too many movies. And if you look at the Orlando situation, where the police have been slow to admit how many deaths might be from officers’ weapons–and they are trained to respond in crisis situations–you’ll see that Jane Public toting a gun is not the answer to madmen driving trucks. “The goodguy with a gun stopping the badguy with a gun” is a proven myth.

    1. kareninca

      No, I’m in the Bay Area.
      Yes, it took sustained fire. That was my point. There are not an infinite number of cops in this world.
      “Even the cop on the cycle couldn’t stop him.” Well, no kidding. Again, that was my point.
      The “good guys” often do take out the “bad guys”, but you have to leave the anti-gun sites to see articles about it; you won’t see those articles on the sites that you frequent I would bet. Remember that train in France? In that case the “good guys” didn’t have guns – better if they had.

      I get tired of the passivity of people who would rather have testicles fed to them than consider defending themselves; who expect the police to defend them; who think they live in a world where the state is their Bestest Friend and its representatives will show up in time to save their skins. No, the cops will show up in time to write down what body parts you are missing.

      1. lambert strether

        I get tired of a world where gun — well, let’s say owners — are prsented as moral exemplars. To each their own, I guess.

            1. kareninca

              I was fooled because ISIS does that sort of thing all of the time (and also the story ran in reputable papers). Unless you think that they really don’t, and that all those stories of ISIS torture are invented. I would love for that to be true.

  41. Butch In Waukegan

    How about making college tuition inversely pegged to administrative costs.

    Chiefs of 5 public colleges paid more than $1M, study finds

    Pay for public college presidents continued to climb in 2015, and a growing number of chiefs topped the $1 million mark, according to results from a new study.

    The median total pay for public university presidents reached $431,000 in the 2015 fiscal year, an increase of 4.3 percent over the year before, according to an annual survey by The Chronicle of Higher Education. Five presidents were paid packages of more than $1 million, up from two presidents in the previous year and three in 2013.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      No one can complain their education (at those colleges) does not prepare their students for the real world (of pay inequality).

      “It’s just like school!!! I can handle, that is, get used to this. Life is not so scary after all.”

    1. JTMcPhee

      The Empure has trained up a whole lot of people with all kinds of sniper and maneuver-and-fire skills, and a rather jocular attitude toward armed violence with their band of brothers — Search YouTube for Afghanistan combat. And lots of “indoctrination” into some pretty weird sh$t, from the viewpoint of anyone interested in a community based on comity and decency and that stick-a-fork-in-it “rule of law.” All the forces in play are pretty much wound up tight, and there ain’t much use for peacemakers. “Peacekeepers,” there’s another story…

      “The center cannot hold”

      “And we are here as on a darkling plain, swept with confused alarms of struggle and flight, where ignorant armies clash by night.”

      Per Henry (that mothertrucker) Kissinger, “Power is the ultimate aphrodisiac.” He ought to know.

      And for the visual thinkers, this cartoon:

      I feel there is some pithy quote there in the back of my mind, about “native sons” and all that, and birds coming home to roost. Can’t quite put my senescent mental finger on it…

      1. cwaltz

        Ironically enough, the people they are training are likely from the bottom of the economic ladder too which means that many of them are AA. Mix a little of PTSD with inequality which provokes anger and despair and you’ve got a recipe for problems.

        Our government apparently hasn’t paid attention to historically how revolutions begin. They don’t happen in places where people are happy and feel like that if they work hard they can succeed. They happen when people become desperate and feel there is absolutely little left to lose.

    2. JTMcPhee

      The Empire has trained up a whole lot of people with all kinds of sniper and maneuver-and-fire skills, and a rather jocular attitude toward armed violence with their band of brothers — Search YouTube for Afghanistan combat. And lots of “indoctrination” into some pretty weird sh$t, from the viewpoint of anyone interested in a community based on comity and decency and that stick-a-fork-in-it “rule of law.” All the forces in play are pretty much wound up tight, and there ain’t much use for peacemakers. “Peacekeepers,” there’s another story…

      “The center cannot hold”

      “And we are here as on a darkling plain, swept with confused alarms of struggle and flight, where ignorant armies clash by night.”

      Per Henry (that mothertrucker) Kissinger, “Power is the ultimate aphrodisiac.” He ought to know.

      And for the visual thinkers, this cartoon:

      I feel there is some pithy quote there in the back of my mind, about “native sons” and all that, and birds coming home to roost. Can’t quite put my senescent mental finger on it…

  42. kareninca

    A comment about the Alton Sterling case (from ZH):

    “OK, I see the record (Alton’s rap sheet) of a fuckup who can’t act right and can’t win for losing. I also see a lot of redundant “stacked” charges, and I have no doubt there’s a lot more subjectivity than objectivity in the choice of some of those charges. It’s very common that a guy in a horrific relationship winds up with a sheet like this.

    Anyway, despite what the corporate MSM tells you, this isn’t about Alton Sterling. I couldn’t care less about Alton Sterling.

    It’s about the philosophy, techniques and tactics of US law enforcement. Every time they kill somebody, with almost no exceptions, they’re found to have “Followed Procedures.”

    This includes incidents where concerned neighbors called for a welfare check on a neighbor with recurrent mental health issues; the police respond dressed in Star Wars Bondage gear looking like monsters, with barely-restrained dogs, bright lights and bullhorns; when the person having the mental health episode freaked out they invaded the person’s home, sicced dogs on them and tried to drag them out of the closet or out from under the bed where they were hiding, often naked; and then killed them for resisting the dog. Because a dog is a police officer, and a dog’s fear of being harmed outweighs your right to live, don’t ya know. Just in the Twin Cities, where I live, we have at least one of these incidents a year.

    We had one a couple weeks ago, and not long before that, an incident where a guy was flipping out on meth in his own car in an otherwise-empty parking lot. Somebody called and the cops showed up to check. The guy was so far gone he seemed unaware they were there. So they smashed in the windows of his car and tried to tase him, and when he panicked at being attacked and tried to run, they blew him away.

    In both cases the police were found to have followed appropriate procedures.

    My Ass. If that’s what the police consider appropriate, we’ve got a fucking problem. If that’s what we want from the police, then we only need about 1/10th as many cops, because 90%+ of all police calls don’t require armed commandoes. If we had a squad with an EMT and a social worker, that would do it for almost everything people really call the cops about.

    Every so often I come across somebody in a mental health crisis, whether it’s a crazy guy walking down the middle of the street, or somebody in a hysterical breakdown. I can’t call the police because I don’t want these people to be shot like a drunk-dancing raccoon at noontime, and there isn’t anybody else to call.

    Fuck Alton Sterling. But he didn’t do anything that merits summary execution without due process, arrest, trial, legal representation; the works. This is still supposed to be the United States of America, dammit. 15 years of non-stop fearmongering in the media and Official Channels hasn’t drowned out the memory of our national values, at least in my mind. I don’t care if the police think they’re some Guatemalan dictator’s bodyguard; free citizens are still supposed to be in charge in this country.”

    1. Aumua

      This is otherwise a great post, but you could make all of the points and tell the same stories without saying “Fuck Alton Sterling”. What does that even add, anything?

        1. kareninca

          Yes, it was someone else’s post. I thought it made a very good point (and it was well received there). I don’t think you are allowed to post on ZH without using the word f*** at least once in your post.

  43. Otis B Driftwood

    Regarding the BLM movement and the link from yesterday to the law professor’s educational and inspiring response to a student’s “open letter” about his support for the movement, I happened to have an encounter with a local police officer today. I had had something stolen from my driveway and he came by to take a report. Anyway, after he took my report, I made a point to thank him for doing a difficult job. My son has been going to local BLM protests and I’ll join him next time he goes, but I believe it equally important that we recognize the more-often-than-not good service the police provide to our communities.

  44. robnume

    Chelsea Clinton gets big billing at Democrat Convention because there is so little going on at that “convention.” Some convention; no decent candidate to vote for and no truly progressive issues to support. And Hillary will run over herself to support the TPP. The Dem’s purposely left the TPP off of the platform because this way Hillary can come out in support of this trade treason by declaring, “It’s what our party wants, so I have to back it. For them.” Uh huh. Time to leave this “party.”

  45. RMO

    For me the best part of the article mulling over ways to design radioactive wast dumps in such a way that it would be obvious to any culture that may exist 10,000 years hence that they were dangerous was the suggestion to genetically modify plants to be blue and then plant them at the sites. Brilliant. After all it’s not like plants tend to spread their progeny on the wind and could end up all over the place, right? Or maybe they’re counting on engineering them in such a way that they can’t reproduce (and won’t mutate in such a way as to allow them to reproduce over a 10,000 year span). Of course if they can’t reproduce in the wild they would need to be produced and then planted and tended to by people. For 10,000 years. Sounds like it should!

    Anyone out there have any idea as to how any of us can find a paying job thinking up brilliant ideas like the people in the article?

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