Links 5/3/15

Dailly Mail

Ancient Origins

Eyes on Trade

Gretchen Morgenson, NYT.

FT. Despite fewer train bombs.

NYT

Grexit?

Australian Financial Review

The Telegraph

Greek Reporter

Times of Malta

Voice of America

Gillian Tett, FT. Last week, but still useful.

The Press Project

Euronews

UK Elections

The Economist

Antipope

LRB. The Greens.

Black Injustice Tipping Point

Reuters

The Baffler. Fun fact: “CNN misidentified the blue-and-white-wearing sorority Zeta Phi Beta as gang members.”

 Mark Ames, Pando Daily

Contra Costa Times. Automobile dealers. The Schwerpunkt, like, totally….

Reuters

National Journal

Baltimore Sun

The Atlantic

Quartz. From January, but useful. I wonder if Baltimore’s geography is similar?

Guardian

The Nation. Hmm. Let me think.

Science. More new media triumphalism.

WaPo

Defense One. Let’s hope not.

NYT. Considerable angst about this in LA….

2016

Ryan Lizza, The New Yorker. Warren.

McClatchy

? Jacobin

Bangor Daily News

Digitopoly

Washington’s Blog

Stanford stem cell experts highlight “inherent flaw” in drug development system SCOPE. In a word: “Profits.”

Adult

 NYRB

Class Warfare

Robert Reich

globalinequality

Bloomberg

Slate. Remember “code is law”? Uglier than you would have thought possible, like Soviet bureaucracy, except in software.

Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System. “In the end, the staff forecast of economic activity during the Great Recession should be judged by how useful it was to the conduct of monetary policy at the time.”

New Left Review

Brad DeLong

Antidote du jour:

mare-of-young-foal

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.

80 comments

  1. MikeNY

    Wow, Lindsey Graham bucked the GOP consensus on climate change?!?

    Stopped clock, or … *faints*

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      “By a vote of 99-0, we also demand that you (Fukushima) stop your radiation leaks.”

      “Thusly, the world is awed by our omnipotence (or near-omnipotence, as we don’t do, or can’t do, climate change.”

      EOS.

  2. Victoria E.

    Re: “Is climate policy compatible…”–this is only a conundrum if we accept that market-based solutions are the only solutions. The Threat to Our Way of Life is so huge if people start basically giving up gadgets because they can’t afford the juice that I strongly suspect the government would take steps to interfere in that process, driving strong solar investment (and not just solar–also micro grid wind, etc.).

  3. financial matters

    US fears a European sequel to Lehman Brothers Gillian Tett, FT. Last week, but still useful.

    I think an interesting question to ask is what has been done right since the Lehman collapse 7 years ago. It seems hard to point to any structural change that has fundamentally improved the economy.

    By not dealing with these issues the problem has to resurface somewhere and this now seems to be the untenable Greece situation.

    We really seem to be having Shock Doctrine moving forward in Greece and in the US by the cutbacks in social programs and promotion of things such as TPP.

    There is pushback though as these things such as extreme neoliberalism and extreme extraction start to take their toll in the ‘developed world’.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      For ‘some people,’ what has been done right in the past 7 or so years is

      the setting of precedents of non-prosecutions of certain past actions

      and, therefore

      when future looters are to be prosecuted for the same actions, they can claim they are being selectively prosecuted and their cases should be dismissed per previous (current, from our perspective) precedents.

      1. Macon Richardsonn

        If I remember from law school about a million years ago, the US Supreme Court once ruled as a general principle that selective enforcement of the law was okay with them. Therefore, should any future US administration decide to punish banksters (Don’t hold your breath!) non-prosecution of prior crimes will be no defense.

  4. Ned Ludd

    In Baltimore, Danielle Villarreal reported that dozens of people were arrested on their way to work or trying to catch a bus, for violating the curfew.

    I used to walk 20 minutes to the bus stop that was closest to my apartment, for the bus out to my job in the suburbs. Someone from one of the poorest city neighborhoods would have to walk more than an hour – just to get to the bus stop. And they may have to arrive early in the morning at a suburban office complex, to clean or for maintenance or grounds crew work.

    I saw many whites in Baltimore, who live away from the poorer neighborhoods, joking on Twitter about the curfew, unaware (or unconcerned) with how it is another way for the state to terrorize poor and working class people.

    • it’s totally up to the cops if they choose to believe you or not. – Danielle Villarreal

    • low income workers can’t afford to miss a day of work. I’d be livid. – Stacey Shepard

  5. Foppe

    Joschka Fischer (former german Green party foreman, r2p-liberal, who sees himself/is seen as hovering — ever so slightly — to the left of the neoliberals) that Tsipras has chosen to “drive Greece into the abyss”, because even though

    “by the time Tsipras’s leftist Syriza party came to power in January, a new, more growth-oriented compromise had become possible. Even hardcore German proponents of austerity – and certainly Chancellor Angela Merkel – had begun to reconsider their position, owing to their policy prescriptions’ undeniable adverse consequences for the euro and the stability of the European Union.”

    (The whole article is an exercise in bloviation about “extremism”, “flirting with Putin“, the need for not “exposing the gratuitous nature of delegitimizing [other EU countries’] own painful reforms”.)
    Poor misunderstood Germany (as well as -holding Germans, and other marginalized Europeans).

    1. Santi

      After dealing with Varoufakis, the new target for the info war seems to be Tsipras :)

  6. Ned Ludd

    In jail, your constitutional rights are worth about as much as the food they you. Asking to see a lawyer when it took four hours to get water was like asking for caviar. When I cited the fourth and sixth amendment protecting due process, and Maryland state law banning detainment beyond 24 hours without a charge and statement of probable cause, the COs told us that the state of emergency meant that “24 hours is out the window”.

    We pleaded to talk to someone, anyone. When I asked one of the higher-ups, a lieutenant, what he was doing to ensure that the law was being followed, he told me bluntly: “”

    And the beat goes on.

    1. Lambert Strether

      Creating a new normal.

      If this were Serbia, though, the grannies would be calling the police station. So it’s a question why that isn’t happening.

      1. Ned Ludd

        [T]he direction of policy over the last 30 years has been to encourage people to see themselves as atomized individuals (i.e., why should I help a relative) and has demanded much more labor mobility, which weakens family ties. And this idea may stick in my craw even more than most people since I have no extended family to speak of, and harbor doubts as to how helpful my immediate family, such as my siblings, would be in a pinch. I suspect I’m not alone on either or both fronts.

        I think most people would discover, if they were incarcerated, that their family is either indifferent (and unhelpful) or takes the side of the police. When I first started going to protests, I was shocked by the violence meted out by police against one non-violent gathering. Anyone who was pepper sprayed was rounded up, one-by-one, while they wandered in pain through the crowd looking for help. They were charged with “resisting arrest” since they had left the site of the pepper-spraying.

        When I told this to my mother, she scoffed. “If they got arrested, they must have been doing something wrong”.

  7. Brooklin Bridge

    The Political Roots of Widening Inequality – Robert Reich is an excellent read, and his solution is right on target,

    The most important political competition over the next decades will not be between the right and left, or between Republicans and Democrats. It will be between a majority of Americans who have been losing ground, and an economic elite that refuses to recognize or respond to its growing distress.

    But as always, this looks much easier in written form than it is in reality. Like Matt Taibbi’s giant bank/financial octopus glued to the face of the victim, there seems little if any opportunity for the majority to make headway against the .01%. Moreover, it is no longer sufficient for a majority of Americans to rally behind the cause (assuming such cohesion were possible – which it isn’t); the imbalance in power is fast becoming international in scope where giant corporations have truly international control while the vast majority of people are legally, politically, ideologically and financially restricted to national boundaries.

    1. quixote

      You got it. People are penned in. Corporations are not. People could change the situation at their next elections if enough of them voted together. But the only thing enough agree on is Taxes Bad, Unions Worse and so the elites grab more and more.

      And the poorer people get, the more too many of them seem to feel the solution is to claw at each other.

      The only good news is that history is not linear.

      1. James Levy

        The US nation-state is still critical for the system of global capital accumulation to function, so I think that if things could be changed here, it would open up large spaces internationally to change. But it just so happens that the most powerful global elites are based here, and the US population gains both materially and psychologically from being the global enforcer/banker/issuer of currency. Americans would have to accept a very different reality and a very different place in the world if they were to elected people willing and able to defang the Power Elite and declaw the MIC. They would gain a lot but lose a lot, too (at least comparatively–it is not a lie that most Americans still live better than most other citizens of this planet). We are not yet in the “you have nothing to lose but your chains” phase of history, at least not 80-90% of Americans.

        1. Brooklin Bridge

          I remember my parents and many others of the middle class back in the fifties participating in all manner of boycotts and public message efforts right through the sixties (pre-Nam) and they were comparatively much better off than their “middle class” counterparts of today, so I suspect there is more to it than simply still having a slightly bigger slice of the pie. Fear of losing what little people have and the media amplifying that in every way imaginable is part of it. Fear that the end is neigh (the Archdruid recently had a whole post on that) is likely another part. Fear, fear fear; ever more expertly and technically exploited.

          What ever the reason, we are in a stasis and James’ observation that the US is the largely the epicenter of the problem on the corporate level without having any corresponding push back on the popular level where it could have the greatest effect is spot on.

      2. diptherio

        I’m currently listening to the history of the French Revolution on the , as recommended by Lambert. I’m just waiting for the moment when normal Americans, like the French peasantry, finally decide, en masse, “Nope, we’re just not going to do that stuff anymore.” (i.e. pay taxes, submit to traditional authorities, etc).

        The winners of the current ancien regime can’t help themselves. They’ve become so OP within the current system, to use gamer slang (“over-powered” (although grammatically it should be “over-powering”)) that they really can just run roughshod over the rest of us. And they do…repeatedly…to the point where increasing numbers of people are finding the whole game a little unfair. That’s my reading of the Gilens and Page findings: our political process is a battle among wealthy elites, who occassionally enlist the help mass-based interest groups in their internecine struggles. But no matter who wins, one section or another of the greed-elite is going to end up with the spoils and the populace at large is going to foot the bill (see ACA).

        But let’s be honest, the spoils of Empire have provided a pretty decent cushion for a lot of people here in the US, and most people have to be pushed pretty far before they spill over into outright revolt. I hope I live to see the day when everybody finally says, we ain’t buying it any more, but that seems like a bit of a long-shot…a boy can dream though!

        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          I’m glad somebody mentioned the podcasts, because that gives me a chance to mention that although I do use the podcasts to help me fall asleep, I always go back and restart to the last point I remember. (A bonus is a minor point of self-awareness: I’ve always felt I had a hard time falling asleep, but in fact I’m quite good at it!)

        2. Jack

          “our political process is a battle among wealthy elites, who occassionally enlist the help mass-based interest groups in their internecine struggles. But no matter who wins, one section or another of the greed-elite is going to end up with the spoil”

          Late Roman Republic right here. When’s the civil war?

        3. montanamaven

          Reforms or Revolution? The ability to shift, change, re-imagine does not seem to be what the US does very well. While Russia keeps on changing. And propaganda plays a large part in trying to divert the US citizens from seeing Russians for who they really are. I missed the discussion two days ago on Moon of Alabama’s “NYT Propagandizes False Ukrainian History”. The thread was one of the best threads I’ve ever read on MoA. Great story on Hearst hiring a “reporter” to report on the famine and the evils of communism. Turns out he faked his reporting. And now more propaganda to demonize Russia. The end game has always been to make Russia heel to capitalism. God love them. They just don’t take direction very well. Not very good sheep.

          The Soviet Union, like the American Revolution, was a work in progress. And it showed quite an astonishing ability to re-invent itself, from de-Stalinization to Perestroika, indeed to (one could argue) its peaceful dissolution. This is arguably a more credible display of change than the 100 years it took the United States to undo slavery (and the other hundred to undo Jim Crow) or America’s still unsolved issues regarding its native population. But just as the core ideals of the American Revolution have lead it to reform itself in many remarkable ways, so I think we must know that the core ideals of the Russian Revolution would have put it on the path to righting its basic injustices and achieving great things. As indeed is happening in many countries that still, to some degree or another follow its example in Latin America, Asia, and Africa. But unfortunately the US-led Cold War counter-revolution has succeeded in ways rarely seen in this world history.

          Guest 77.
          another interesting discussion was about how few nations and empires understand farmers. Independent yet cooperative. Hard to understand by urbanites. Even Marx called them sacks of potatoes. Okie Farmer has great insight on this. Sorry it’s late and I’m late to this discussion because real life interferes. Hope to resume this discussion of revolutions.

      3. cwaltz

        It feels like every horrible step we take closer to the idea that corporations are special people with all our rights but none of our responsibilities leads us closer and closer to a day where our only option will be the option that our founders once took(absolving ourselves of a government that no longer works for us) and I have to wonder which multinational CEO wants to be the first to meet a guillotine when the pendulum swings wildly back and no accountability changes to calls for blood from average people angry that there was no accountability.

    2. Katniss Everdeen

      According to Factbook.org, Robert Bernard Reich was the 22nd Secretary of LABOR, serving under president William Jefferson Clinton from 1993 – 1997.

      Nafta took effect in 1994 and the WTO on January 1, 1995. The dates are notable since they fall within the good professor’s tenure as” protector” of the welfare of american “labor.” That both “agreements” have devastated american “labor” and ultimately the middle class is undisputed. Clinton enthusiastically supported and signed these abominations, presumably with Reich’s counsel and approval.

      “Protestors” against WTO in Seattle at the time were vilified, marginalized, brutalized and ultimately crushed. So much for coming together to “demand fundamental change.”

      That Reich is considered a credible critic of a system that he helped create is typical. Like so many others, the guy has absolutely no shame and the public has no memory.

      As far as I’m concerned, he should be thrown out with the rest of the Clinton trash. Until we stop relying on those who created the problems to articulate and solve them, solutions will continue to be endlessly debated and guaranteed impossible. By design.

      1. Vatch

        A minor point: the Seattle WTO protests occurred in 1999, after Reich was no longer in office. The major laws deregulating the financial industry were passed in 1999 and 2000. Of course, since these events came so recently after he had been in office, it’s doubtful his views had changed much.

        A not so minor point: it’s been nearly 20 years since Reich was in office. A lot has taken place, including the Great Financial Collapse and the passage of several freedom draining Patriot Acts. Inequality has definitely worsened over this period of time. I think it is very likely that Mr. Reich’s views have changed substantially since he was part of the first Clinton administration.

        1. Brooklin Bridge

          I think it is very likely that Mr. Reich’s views have changed substantially since he was part of the first Clinton administration.

          A very good point. Que faire? Pitchfork or open mind?

          1. bruno marr

            … well, you could read his writing (books) from that era and gain a clearer understanding of Reich’s views. I think you’d discover that he has been a Labor supporter for a very long time. (Being Labor Secretary doesn’t automatically make one a decision-maker on major policy.) As Robert indicates in his May 1 essay, understanding the politics that changed the Labor equation is important.

            (Disclaimer: I’m a “pen pal” of Robert’s.)

            1. Vatch

              You make good points. The Secretary of Labor is typically one of the least influential of the cabinet members. Nowadays, and possibly 20 years ago, Mr. Reich often has very good things to day. Examples:

        2. Katniss Everdeen

          Oh, please. “A lot has taken place” BECAUSE OF, not in spite of or independent of, the anti-labor, middle-class-destroying policies enshrined in in nafta and wto. Not to mention the soon to be fast-tracked TPP.

          These things don’t bite immediately. They are designed to start slowly, and even to initially appear beneficial (OBAMACARE), to put temporal distance between the betrayer and the effects of the betrayal.

          As for the “Great Financial Collapse,” it was the direct result of the failure of the effort to ameliorate the middle class devastation by replacing lost income with increasing debt. The “patriot” act was preemptive population control in recognition of the social unrest that would inevitably result from this financial repression, conveniently couched in national “security” rhetoric and urgency.

          The “things have changed” or “thinking has ‘evolved’ ” defense is a kissin’ cousin to the “whocouldanode” defense and just as bogus. Ross Perot, whatever his faults, saw what would happen and was forced off the stage. Reich does not deserve absolution simply as a result of his not ever having gotten the hook.

          1. different clue

            I dimly remember Reich supPORTing NAFTA at the time. Is my memory wrong?

                1. Vatch

                  He’s sure pushing hard against the TPP. Here’s his article against the TPP from May 2:

                  It’s also clear that he has changed his mind about NAFTA. From his article:

                  Supporters of the deal [TPP] say it contains worker protections. I heard the same thing when, as secretary of labor, I was supposed to implement the worker protections in the North American Free Trade Act.

                  I discovered such provisions are unenforceable because of how difficult it is to discover if other nations are abiding by them. On the rare occasion when we found evidence of a breach we had no way to force the other nation to remedy it anyway.

                  The Trans Pacific Partnership is far larger than NAFTA – covering 40 percent of America’s global trade.

                  It would appear that Mr. Reich learned a thing or two from his NAFTA experience.

        3. Jess

          “I think it is very likely that Mr. Reich’s views have changed substantially since he was part of the first Clinton administration.”

          Ahh, that would be, “No”. Yesterday a FB friend posted a quote from Reich about how great Bernie’s candidacy is because it will open up room for Hellary to move to the left. The clear implication is that this will enhance Hellary’s chances of winning the Presidency. Not a word about how great it would be if, you know, Bernie actually won the nomination and then the election.

          Robert Reich is a scumbag.

      2. Brooklin Bridge

        You raise good points. I have to plead guilty on memory; I used to have the same reservations as you about giving any truck to Reich, but over time I found his articles to be consistently on point and the skeptic in me slumbered.

        Back to the pitchfork…

    3. depacmanchopra

      Our friend Barry Ritholtz has been saying things like this for a while, as have many others:
      I would suggest that the entire country (and virtually all republicans) have a severe case of Stockholm Syndrome.

      I am tickled to death that Bernie Sanders has entered the fray, however remote his chances. Might make us all think a little more deeply. I suspect Hillary might alter her tune, but she’s a neoliberal at heart.

      1. Vatch

        Regarding Sanders: It’s nice to have someone to vote for in the primary, even though we know that the eventual Democratic candidate in November, 2016, will be a Republican in Democratic clothing. November is the month for third party voting.

      2. Brooklin Bridge

        Sanders may be used by team Hillary if not the media to highlight how “reasonable” she is by comparison. Look for Sander’s ideas to be presented as pie in the sky typical radical leftist dreaming. He will be given a certain amount of leeway to bring up real issues including some that would even be embarrassing to Hillary if they where not twisted in review and made to look far out. Hillary’s doublespeak and obfuscation, on the other hand, will be praised for its responsible, measured practicality. It wouldn’t surprise me if they ask Sanders what his views on flying saucers are, the way they did with Kucinich.

          1. cwaltz

            He was asked during the debate about his UFO sighting. To be fair they asked Hillary about diamonds or pearls…..so overall it was a their “attempt” at lightheartedness.

          2. Brooklin Bridge

            Kucinichhad indeed sighted a UFO, but he had no illusions about it. It was, as he said, “an unidentified object”. The interviewer, however, couldn’t stop injecting remarks that made it sound like Kucinich was a total UFO nut case. Kucinich should have called him on it but didn’t, he just smiled, and that is the only thing about the exchange I never understood.

            I don;t think it will be possible to that with Sanders, but I suspect a subtler version of it would not be unthinkable. Take anyone’s ideas and some of them are very ripe for projecting as “way out there” by today’s incredibly narrow standards.

        1. buffao cyclist

          The media will do everything it can to discredit Bernie. They don’t want his ideas to become mainstream. The media really has no shame.

        2. cwaltz

          I think Bernie may surprise people. Straight out the gate he’s not mealy mouth apologizing for being a socialist….he’s using the fact that places like Norway, who have a democratic socialist system in place, have a BETTER standard of living then we do.

          It’ll be interesting to see how the venture capitalists respond to Americans finding out that socialism doesn’t necessarily equate to communist Russia.

          1. Brooklin Bridge

            I certainly hope so, but I sincerely doubt he will be given the opportunity to call BS on the whole thing in a way that gathers serious national attention. This is not what the MSM is paid for and they do what they are paid for pretty well.

  8. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Can unrest be predicted?

    Yes.

    We find the following to be fairy reliable: Happy people don’t do unrest…unless they have too much alcohol.

  9. James Levy

    The 50-49 vote reminds me of lines from the play “A Man for All Seasons”, wherein More says (approximately):

    Some contend the world is round, others say it’s flat–it is a matter of disputation. But if the world is flat, will the King’s command make it round, and if round, will the King’s command flatten it? No gentlemen, I will not sign.

  10. judabomber

    RE: Organic agriculture and carbon…check out the link below which is a great presentation by Gabe Brown where he discusses the evolution of his production methods in ND from the traditional, synthetic input-intensive model to replicating what occurs in nature.

    He currently focuses on building soil health naturally through “stacked production” which integrates cover crops, and dense rotational livestock grazing among others. With his increased soil organic matter he is also better able to integrate the limited (or in flood years the abundant) amount of rainfall he receives every year relative to his neighbors.

  11. diptherio

    Here’s another Mayday link, this one on a down note:

    ~Pando Daily

    Yesterday, May 1st, the turnout at Civic Center for the annual International Workers Day parade was an apt demonstration of the state of the labor movement here in San Francisco. Some 200 souls were on hand to hear the megaphone effluent and join in a march to 24th Street in Mission which was so puny it that it barely registered in the routing algorithms guiding contractor/drivers to their next drop off. Not a single brand ambassador shrugged off her T-shirt, sign, pink umbrella or clipboard to join the procession.

    This May Day, a voter-enacted minimum wage hike took effect, which will squeeze the bottom line of traditional employers and especially those of the mom-and-pop variety. If those small businesses fail, it will mean all the more fodder for the “sharing economy” bosses, who won’t be inconvenienced by the new law.

    The labor movement is ill equipped to deal with these “new” realities, the rough old unions are bloated and sick abed. Perhaps therein lies an opportunity of the sort so cherished these days in San Francisco — an opportunity for innovative disruption. Could technology provide a solution to this broken system, and relieve these blossoming pain points? Is an app for collective bargaining possible? Would any VC fund it?

    If you, dear reader, live in San Francisco and are fortunate enough not to rely on contract work to make rent or top up your income, I suggest having Postmates deliver you a cigar. Clear some time — perhaps by having Washio do your laundry and Homejoy do your housecleaning — disregard the back from your health-wearables and enjoy your due, for you are perched atop the sharing economy of bourgeois amenities. Just don’t look down.

  12. myshkin

    From the Guardian, the once respectable UK daily that is well on its descent towards one of the circles of journalistic hell consigned to print media in the age of new media. Occasionally they have a real eyeopener and this is one, at least I had no idea.

    The story is a blend of Dickens and Steinbeck with a little Orwell thrown in, specifically the newspeak regarding markets that covers any feelings of moral or ethical baseness investors might encounter and the obviously brainwashed victims from the underclass.

    The accompanying video is worth the five minute watch.

  13. sd

    When the NYT writes an article about how great something is, its already over.

    Rents in LA have skyrocketed just not as much as San Francisco. It’s now almost impossible to find a decent studio or a share for under $800 month. Student housing can occasionally turn something up for $600. All of which means that the elderly on fixed income can’t afford housing. Downtown rents are now about $2800 for a “loft” aka converted office or commercial space with exposed pipe and conduit and cement floor that are about 800 sq feet. Today, there are mini lofts, micro lofts, and bistro lofts which is a fancy way of saying converted SRO.

    Commercial RE is running $2 sq ft minimum. Businesses are getting driven out with rent increases. But hey, the bars are full so LA must be where it’s at.

    The artists are moving south, Inglewood and South Central, a little bit of the industrial belt below DTLA but that’s still got some gang problems.

    All of this in a city that’s lost 16,000 jobs as state tax incentives all over the country lured filming away from Hollywood.

  14. timbers

    “U.S. intelligence is selecting civilian targets to be bombed.”

    No one cares. On to TPP and world wide feudalism.

  15. JTMcPhee

    I see Alan Dershowitz, of O.J. Simpson ” dream team” fame is telling the world the policemen will never be convicted.

      1. trinity river

        Actually, Dershowitz is just changing the conversation, hoping no one will remember why his name has been in the news lately.

  16. Torsten

    re: Buffett and “distortions”

    Almost 28 million U.S. taxpayers received the EITC in the 2013 tax year, according to IRS data in December. The payments totaled more than $66 billion and the average amount nationwide was about $2,407.

    I teach English to a boatload of Haitian immigrants. This tax season, I discovered how f*ucking hard it is to file for the Earned Income Tax Credit. From discussions with my students, I surmise that, for the first 10 years they are in the States, most Haitians are lucky to see half of that $2,407. They go to their community “tax preparers”, who refuse to list themselves as paid preparers on the tax forms. The preparers charge exorbitant rates and appear to routinely fail to file for the EITC or child tax credits. Then of course, there’s the matter of “immediate refunds” with exorbitant fees extracted. (And don’t get me started on how my Haitian students aren’t eligible for welfare and don’t earn enough to get ObamaCare.)

    I know there’s also wage theft, and that Haitians are among the most abused workers in our economy. But I’ve taught and worked with lots of other low-level U.S. workers, and I know the tax preparers are ripping them off, too. Even my least fluent Haitian students know their Florida paycheck should show $8.05/hr. The minimum wage is *way* less distorted than the U.S. tax code.

    1. curlydan

      Next year, see if there are any volunteer income tax sites near you. Here is a locator:

  17. DJG

    Re: Great and Beautiful Lost Kingdoms. I realize that the article is about two sets of deliberate choices as to influences. But the influences weren’t all from India outward. Here is an interesting aspect of Buddhism, which hadn’t portrayed the Buddha, but through the influence of the Greeks, was persuaded to adopt the highly naturalistic approach that is found in Indian, Chinese, and even Japanese portrayals:

  18. Yonatan

    “America’s Police Will Fight the Next Riot With These Stink Bombs”

    Another consequence of the Israelification of US police forces. The Israelis use ‘skunk’ against Palestinian protesters. It is sprayed indiscriminately from vehicles which were originally water canons.

  19. FederalismForever

    Re “Baltimore and the Walking Dead” it’s truly disturbing that Mark Ames continues to scoff at Dan Quayle’s remarks about the importance of two parent families. So many studies have established a close correlation between single parent families and all sorts of bad outcomes that those who, like Ames, continue to doubt these studies now resemble tobacco company executives who doubt the connection between cigarette smoking and cancer because all we have are a lot of really really strong correlations.

    I really wonder if people like Ames truly grasp how dire the situation is for the 75% of African American children born into single parent families. This is an astoundingly high figure, well above the percentage for many groups in this and other societies who have been born into poor circumstances. It’s much higher than the percentage for newly arrived immigrant groups living in the ghettos during the Great Depression, for example. But it’s not just that 3 out of 4 African Americans are born into single parent households. It’s also that 3 out of 4 (or even 4 out of 5) of Jews, Asian Americans, wealthy white Americans are NOT born into single parent households. For everyone who is concerned with the growing income/wealth disparity between African Americans as compared to Jews, Asians and wealthy white Americans, please provide a realistic scenario, based on plausible assumptions, as to how this gap could ever close (or even narrow) when 75% of African American households are headed by a single parent, whereas 75%-85% of Jewish, Asian, and wealthy white American households are headed by two parents.

    As time goes by, the Moynihan Report increasingly reads like prophecy. Yet so many progressives denounced it at the time. How foolish they look now!

    1. lolcar

      People believe that cigarette smoking causes cancer not simply because there’s a correlation between smoking and cancer but because there’s also a convincing causal model showing how carcinogens damage a cell’s DNA leading to out of control cell growth. What’s the causal model linking marriage to prosperity that conservatives are trying to sell ? If African-Americans married more often they wouldn’t be first fired, last hired in a downturn. That black borrowers would no longer be more likely to be steered into a sub-prime mortgage compared with white borrowers with an identical credit score. That they’d no longer receive heavier penalties for the same offences within the criminal justice system. What’s the causal model showing that single parent families lead inevitably to damaged children ? I for one, and probably 1/4 of the kids I went to school with, grew up in single-parent families. It was no big deal in a country where the public schools are funded on an equal percapita basis rather than with what can be raised from local property taxes and where living in a single-parent family didn’t also mean living in poverty.

      1. FederalismForever

        @lolcar. The structural obstacles you cite – predatory lending practices, sentencing disparities, etc. – only provide further support for the notion that African Americans are in even greater need of the additional support provided by two parent households. Consider the three minority groups whose average income per capita (on most studies) exceeds that of whites – Jews, Asians (of East Asian descent) and Indians (from Subcontinent) – all have tighter family units, a higher percentage of two-parent households and lower divorce rates than the majority White population. Coincidence?

        I realize that this is a generalization, and that individual situations may justify single-parent households. But if we really are serious about addressing the ever widening income/wealth gap, we must acknowledge that this 75% single-parent rate in African American households today (as compared to around 25% in 1965) is an extremely large obstacle to overcome. In order to narrow the gap, the rate of growth in AA households must exceed the rate of growth in White, Asian, Jewish households, by a substantial amount over a long period of time. How is that going to happen when only 1 out of 4 African American kids lives in a two-parent households, whereas only 1 out of 4 kids in the groups we’re trying to catch do not live in a two-parent household?

        1. Yves Smith

          Your argument is not convincing. Prejudice against blacks is VERY deep seated in America. Were Indians steered to subprime loans? No evidence that this occurred. Why? Most subcontinentals have a Commonwealth accent, which is worth 5-20 attributed IQ points, depending on how plummy it is. More to the point: were Asians or Indians ever subject to lynching? Massive bias in incarceration and sentencing rates?

          1. FederalismForever

            The fact that blacks have been subject to a far greater level of prejudice only confirms my point that they are in even greater need of the benefits which are strongly correlated with two parent households (acknowledging that this is a general statement, which admits of exceptions such as the one described in the comment by cwaltz below).

            Please take a look at the examples of minority groups who are more successful and wealthy than the majority populations in which they reside, not just in America but around the world. Almost invariably these groups have lower divorce rates and a higher percentage of two parent households than the majority.

      2. cwaltz

        I grew up in a dysfunctional two parent household for my first 13 years. Quite frankly, I probably wouldn’t have had as many issues had my mother left my father instead of allowing him to beat the crap out of her. The idea that having a two parent family guarantees a good outcome for me can be completely refuted by my sibling(and my father as well) who ended up with my father’s alcoholism and his temperament. He was in so much pain that he took his life before he hit 40. My father was also raised in a two parent household. It did not negate his own father’s alcoholism or the poverty that he experienced that pretty much impacted HIS childhood(which in turn impacted his adulthood and MY childhood.). My father was imprisoned when I was 13 after pulling a gun in a bar and then getting in a shootout with a police officer. While in prison he was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia. He lived into his 40s before ODing on alcohol and thorazine. So yeah the whole entire 2 parent families yield better outcomes don’t strike me as the entire picture since much depends on the nature of the 2 parents you are given.

  20. rich

    “60 Minutes” Finally Finds PEU Rubenstein
    60 Minutes had plenty of opportunities to tell investigative stories on The Carlyle Group. There are several generations of pension pay to play scandals, sewage sludge bribery to a Congressman’s wife, the implosion of Carlyle Capital Corporation and subsequent investor lawsuits, losing a pipeline firm to billions in bad energy bets, over 150 Carlyle affiliates based in the Cayman Islands, twenty five hospital deaths after Hurricane Katrina, dumping British pensioners and the announced demise of two Carlyle Group mutual fund offerings.

    Rather than self-made billionaire I would refer to Mr. Rubenstein as a tax preferred, government subsidized billionaire. Don’t believe me? Look at how many Carlyle affiliates supply Uncle Sam and the number garnering direct government subsidies. Boston Private received TARP funds while the FDIC granted BankUnited massive amounts of free money.

    CBS News joins CNN, FT, WSJ, NYT and many more in offering puff pieces on a man that has done much to destroy America’s middle class, increase our deficits, utilize offshore tax havens and send management theory back decades in the quality arena.

    Greed is as greed does. That includes smearing makeup on it so it looks like something else. Makeup hides Carlyle’s second quarterly decline in assets under management. Once over $202.7 billion assets under management are now $192.7 billion. That last happened after the 2008 financial crisis. Let’s ignore the underbelly of the PEU beast and enjoy the roaring 2015’s. Bully, bully Mr. Rubenstein!

  21. Oregoncharles

    – LRB. The Greens.:
    Not all that friendly.
    It does, however, bring up an issue that NC faces, as well: Economic Growth vs. sustainability. “Groaf.”

    As he says, the UK Green Party’s position is that you can’t have both: the world is a sphere, and you can’t grow indefinitely – or even any more – without hitting the bounds. As he also says, that isn’t a popular position – though apparently it doesn’t prevent them from polling at 10%, very high for an “anti-party.” (Is my envy showing?) He also says, but I would question, that this position contradicts their left-wing economic and social justice positions. For one thing, if it’s a brute fact, that’s irrelevant. But it isn’t really a contradiction; it’s directly addressed by their own calls for “enough,” and in the larger picture by redistribution. In order to stop growing without penalizing the poor, you penalize the rich instead. They can afford it.

    Much more than that is required – for instance, a complete remodel of the financial system. That seems like an appropriate topic for NC; one source would be the Society for a Steady-State Economy, Herman Daly’s organization (please search it so I don’t have to complicate moderation with another link.) Lambert, that would be a good source of links.

    We face this issue whenever we talk about Keynesian economics. They assume we have not entered a zero-sum game – but the world says we have, some time ago. And we have to live here; Mars is none too comfortable, to say nothing of the brain damage. (Lead-foil spaceships, perhaps?)

  22. ewmayer

    Re. the Snowden / Assange / Manning statues unveiled in Berlin – In light of the BNSD/Merkel revelations (see yesterday’s links), this belongs firmly in the “you simply can’t make stuff like this up” category.

    Inquiring minds want to know: Will Angie be laying a wreath in honor of the three champions of liberty? Or perhaps participating in a special ‘side street solidarity march for-elites-only’ which the MSM splice together with footage of the rabble engaging in similar main-street activities, wir-sind-alle-Charlie-Hebdo-march-style?

  23. JohnB

    Think the Kylie Jenner stuff was mentioned in links a few days ago (don’t worry – safe pic):

  24. different clue

    That Washington’s Blog post about organic farming operating as a carbon capture sink is a part of what I have been saying in comments for a while now. Agriculture, etc. can be run in such a way as to suck down skycarbon and inject it into the soil in medium-term stable forms. That is bio-storage and bio-sequestration.
    Range-and-pasture animal agriculture is one of those methods for driving skycarbon suckdown and soil carbon buildup.

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