The horizon is not so far as we can see, but as far as we can imagine

Week-end Wrap – Political Economy – May 2, 2021

Strategic Political Economy

“The Free Market is Dead: What Will Replace It?”

[Chris Hughes, Time, via Naked Capitalism Water Cooler 4-27-21]

Significant because it’s Time, of all places. 

But corporate America’s newfound support for more public investment is not a temporary phenomenon. We are witnessing the most profound realignment in American political economy in nearly forty years. President Ronald Reagan summed up the conventional wisdom that reigned from the mid-1970s onward in the United States: “Government is not the solution to our problem, government is the problem.” Economists, policymakers, and everyday Americans alike generally accepted that markets, unfettered and free, are the best way to create economic growth…. That ideology began to crack after the Great Recession, and in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, it has collapsed. The rise of ethno-nationalism on the right and democratic socialism on the left testify to the growing disillusionment with the conventional wisdom of how government and economics are supposed to work. It’s not just the fringes questioning free market orthodoxy in a time of disease. Cross-partisan supermajorities of Americans want some of the biggest companies of America to be broken up, significantly higher minimum wages, a wealth tax on billionaires, and believe significantly more public investment is required to create economic growth. We have had regulations, public investment, and macroeconomic management to varying degrees throughout American history. What makes this moment different is that Americans across parties, class, and educational background are using a new framework to think about how we create prosperity.”

“What’s behind the growth slump? Takeaways from census data”

[Associated Press, via The Big Picture 4-28-2021]

“The U.S. population grew to 331 million, a 7.4% growth rate from the last time the Census Bureau counted every person in the country, in 2010. Those may sound like big numbers, but it’s actually the second slowest rate of population growth the census has ever recorded, just behind the 7.3% growth in the 1930s. That decade’s slowed growth was rooted in the Great Depression. Our past decade’s sluggish rate had similar beginnings in the long shadow of the Great Recession. The drawn-out recovery saw many young adults struggling to enter the job market, delaying marriage and starting a family. That dealt a blow to the nation’s birthrate. Then the pandemic hit last year and made matters worse. But while U.S. population growth recovered after the Great Depression, demographers are not optimistic it will pick up anytime soon. Most forecast even slower population growth in the decades to come. Americans are getting older — the median age in the U.S. is 38, up one year from 37 in 2010. Immigration had been dropping even before the pandemic effectively shut it down. And many Republicans have largely turned against the idea of immigration, legal or illegal, a new political barrier to the country adding more population quickly. ‘Unlike the Great Depression, it’s part of a process where we’re likely to keep having slow growth,’ said William Frey, a demographer at the Brookings Institution in Washington, D.C. That has potentially grim consequences for the nation’s future.”

“…we’re likely to keep having slow growth…” Why? Just because population growth slows down? What most people do not realize is that a transition to an economy free of fossil fuel dependencies — if done in time to meet the challenges of climate change — will require some of the fastest economic growth in recorded human history. What do you think it’s going to look like as we replace the 1.5 billion motor vehicles in the world with electric vehicles? Do you want to do that over 30 or 10 years, or over the next ten? Or sooner? In fact, the faster the growth, the faster will we be changing the economy to meet the challenge of climate change. Frey is obviously stuck in a old paradigm of economic thinking. A huge challenge is going to be to managing world-wide economic growth rates of ten to fifteen percent for about 15 or 20 years, then transitioning to near zero-growth rates after the world’s economy and transportation systems have been rebuilt on a carbon free basis. 

How Humanity Gave Itself an Extra Life

[New York Times, via The Big Picture 5-1-2021]

During the century since the end of the Great Influenza outbreak, the average human life span has doubled. There are few measures of human progress more astonishing than this. If you were to publish a newspaper that came out just once a century, the banner headline surely would — or should — be the declaration of this incredible feat. But of course, the story of our extra life span almost never appears on the front page of our actual daily newspapers, because the drama and heroism that have given us those additional years are far more evident in hindsight than they are in the moment. That is, the story of our extra life is a story of progress in its usual form: brilliant ideas and collaborations unfolding far from the spotlight of public attention, setting in motion incremental improvements that take decades to display their true magnitude.

The development of clean water supplies, and advances in medicine and medical care get most of the attention, with very welcome focus on the scientists, researchers, and engineers who are mostly excluded from economic histories. But I think a much better article could be written, that would include some of the more mundane but hugely significant stories, such as how mass production of textiles and clothes made living conditions much more sanitary for billions of people, or how mass production of glass and plastic containers enabled cheap and dependable distribution of medicines and vaccines. And the story of clean water supplies should focus on the crucial role of collective actions overseen by governments, such as the aqueducts built by Rome. 

The Biden Transition and the Fight for Real Hope and Change This Time

Bidenism’s One-Two Punch

Harold Meyerson, April 29, 2021 [The American Prospect]

In his first address to Congress, as in his first 100 days, he led with proposals for fundamental change, but particularly with proposals so popular that they’re hard to oppose. In the Republican response to Biden’s speech, South Carolina Sen. Tm Scott skipped lightly and quickly through his critique of Biden’s proposals for infrastructure, family assistance and access to health care, and he was in such a rush because Republicans know that Biden’s case is compelling. Like his fellow GOPers, Scott spent much more time on racial, religious and cultural wedge issues, proclaiming that America is not a racist nation, but rather one with Christianity and opposition to abortion at its core. This came after Biden had just presented the closest thing to a social democratic manifesto that any American president has ever delivered. But it’s precisely the social democratic aspects of Biden’s agenda that win the greatest popular support, including a quarter to a third of rank-and-file Republicans. So long as the debate focuses on the lived experience of the American people, Republicans don’t have much to say….

Biden’s is an argument with potentially wide political appeal. In one sense, it’s an appeal to a sane American nationalism. Unlike any previous president since the current era of financial globalization began, he states that the past 40 years of government acquiescence in and even encouragement of corporate flight and offshore investment has proven to be a national disaster, and he puts forth policies that would reverse that dynamic. In another sense, it’s an appeal to the nation’s commitment to democracy, recognizing that the rising challenge to the nation isn’t simply coming from other countries, but from autocracy itself, from the claims that autocracy provides a better path to progress than democracy does. If there is such a thing as Bidenism, it is this, a one-two punch aimed at financial globalism and oppressive autocracy, an affirmation of the value of both an egalitarian national interest and liberal democracy….

My own thinking on Biden at this time is that he is doing far more than I ever expected. I think what is driving Biden here is his witnessing of the failures of Obama up close — particularly the failure to understand the hatred and hostility underlying the intransigent opposition of the conservatives / libertarians / Republicans and the selfishly base motivations for their culture wars. Biden may not be challenging the corporatist neoliberal status quo because he has suddenly come to dislike it, but I will take what he’s offering so far. It’s far from perfect — for example, there’s nothing really good about Biden’s plans for health care since Biden defers entirely to the health insurance industry — but it is more and in many ways better than expected. 

Put another way, Biden is striving to be bolder and bigger-thinking than Obama was. This motivation to rule is not among those considered by marxists, socialists, conservatives, and libertarians, so it is entirely outside the understanding of most people minding politics today. But it was fully understood by the founders, who carefully studied previous examples of civic republicanism. John Adams wrote, “A desire to be observed, considered, esteemed, praised, beloved, and admired by his fellows is one of the earliest as well as the keenest dispositions discovered in the heart of man.”  In The Federalist Papers No, 72, Alexander Hamilton wrote  about “the inducements to good behavior,” observing that “the desire of reward is one of the strongest incentives of human conduct.”

Even the love of fame, the ruling passion of the noblest minds, which would prompt a man to plan and undertake extensive and arduous enterprises for the public benefit, requiring considerable time to mature and perfect them, if he could flatter himself with the prospect of being allowed to finish what he had begun….

Note that under capitalism, these more noble motivations of human conduct receive no consideration or reward whatsover. There’s only the profit motive. “For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?” As I have written before, and shall continue to write, one of the great tragedies of American history is that we have allowed liberal capitalism to supplant civic republicanism as the primary driver of governance. 

Progressives today were prepared to force Biden to respond like FDR advised a group of progressives: “now make me do it.” I sense that Biden’s attempt to move way past Obama has confounded them. I think we should take it for what it is, retarget our efforts, and begin to concentrate fire on the recalcitrants in the Democratic Party such as Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema. Clearly, we have to “make them do it.” As David Dayen writes his review of Biden’s American Families Plan​​​​​​​: 

I’ve never in my political lifetime been more optimistic about the stated priorities of the upper echelons of the government, and I’ve never been more pessimistic about the prospects of actually getting them into law.”

The carnage of mainstream neoliberal economics

“In Jackson, Mississippi, You Can Go Into Debt Trying To Take A Shower”

[Buzzfeed, via Naked Capitalism Water Cooler 4-27-21]

“In February, freezing temperatures knocked out power and water across the Southeast, leaving millions of people scrambling to stay warm and unable to access basic supplies for days. But in Jackson, most of the city’s 160,000 residents, 82% of whom are Black, were without safe, reliable water for more than a month. It marked the latest chapter in years of issues with a brittle and decaying water system, and highlights the deep vulnerability of aging infrastructure — a problem from Flint, Michigan, to Sandbranch, Texas, and Newark, New Jersey — as extreme weather becomes more routine with climate change….. People working in shops and restaurants lost entire paychecks when their workplaces closed due to lack of water. Kids couldn’t go to school or daycare, so parents had to shell out extra money for food and babysitters. They had to divert money away from rent or other bills to buy bottled water and cover the costs associated with being unable to bathe, do laundry, or cook in their own homes….The water is flowing again in Jackson. But for Robinson and others who are barely getting by, the empty taps left debt and new worries about the future. Years of neglect of the water system had already brought poor service and outrageous bills. In the face of a changing climate, the problems can only get worse, and so far, residents have had to pay the price.”

Neoliberalism requires a police state

Chevron’s Prisoner: Steven Donziger

[The Daily Poster, April 28, 2021]

On Tuesday, six progressive House lawmakers — Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Cori Bush, Jamaal Bowman, Jim McGovern, Jamie Raskin, and Rashida Tlaib — sent a letter to Attorney General Merrick Garland requesting he review Donziger’s case.

The letter is the latest in a series of pleas to the Department of Justice. Earlier this month, Donziger’s legal team sent another letter to Garland requesting his office remove the case from the private prosecutors and drop the charges. And in February, 13 international human rights and environmental organizations, including Amnesty International and Amazon Watch, sent a letter to Garland demanding he review the case and decrying “a state of affairs widely viewed by the international human rights and environmental community as one of the most serious ongoing human rights abuses for which the United States has yet to answer.”

That same month, hundreds of law students from 52 schools across the country announced a recruiting boycott of Seward & Kissel over its prosecution of Donziger despite “conflicts of interest.”

Restoring balance to the economy

“The safety net program Congress forgot”

[The Hill, via Naked Capitalism Water Cooler 4-26-2021]

“SI’s archaic income rules — which were put in place to allow beneficiaries to supplement their modest monthly benefits with additional income if they’re able to do so — have never been updated since the program’s establishment in 1974. These limits are stuck at $65 per month for earned income and $20 for “unearned” income. For very-low-income seniors and disabled people who receive a small amount from Social Security in addition to SSI, so-called “unearned” income includes their Social Security benefits. These paltry “income disregards” have lost virtually all of their value due to inflation over the years, shrinking already meager monthly benefits even further. Further pushing already-struggling beneficiaries even deeper into poverty is a mean-spirited rule called “in-kind support and maintenance,” which targets beneficiaries who are lucky enough to receive help from loved ones with meeting their basic needs. A bag of groceries to help ensure you’ve got food to last through the month or a place to stay to help get you off the street can trigger a one-third reduction in SSI’s already sub-poverty-level benefits. Along with economic security, marriage equality is out of reach for SSI beneficiaries too. The program’s rigid marriage penalties reduce benefits by one-quarter for SSI beneficiaries who marry another SSI beneficiary, and can lead to outright loss of benefits for those who marry someone not receiving SSI. Imagine not being able to marry the person you love for fear of losing survival income. During the campaign, President Biden pledged to right these wrongs, committing that people with disabilities and seniors should never have to live in poverty in America. His historic disability policy platform spoke to each of these shameful policy failures. Biden committed to raise SSI benefits to the federal poverty level; update outdated asset limits and income rules; eliminate the cruel in-kind support and maintenance rule; and abolish SSI’s marriage penalties. Now a coalition of House and Senate Democrats are urging Biden to make good on his promises to the 8 million disabled and elderly SSI beneficiaries. They are calling on him to include these long-overdue SSI updates in the American Family Plan, to finally bring the decades of shameful neglect of this critical program to an end.” • We’ll see. That’s a lot of lovely means-testing to get rid of, though.

Making the Top 1% Its Own Tax Class

Barry Ritholtz [The Big Picture, April 27, 2021]

Ritholtz correctly predicted a key feature of Biden’s proposed tax reform.

I interpret the proposal as being motivated as follows: This admin believes the top1% has enjoyed outsized benefits for decades, while the bottom 50, 75, even 90%? Have fallen behind. Hence, to pay for the badly needed upgrade, the top1% are going to have to pay for more capital gains taxes.

Rich Americans Face Biden Tax Hike With Anger, Denial and Grief

[Bloomberg, via The Big Picture 4-27-2021]

Pressure has been building to raise levies on the wealthy after decades of tax cuts that disproportionately benefited the top 1%. Politicians at the national and state levels have recently proposed or passed higher rates, but the measures were largely focused on income taxes.

The rich produce only more rich, not anything really useful:

[Twitter, via Naked Capitalism Water Cooler 4-30-2021]

Cory Doctorow
Apr 29
Replying to
That means that markets produce aristocracies, entrusting capital allocation to the wealthy, rather than the “deserving” (that is, people doing things that make the world better off).

Cory Doctorow
Apr 29
Markets are only incidentally systems for allocating capital to people who do stuff. Mostly they are systems for allocating capital to people who already have capital.

The rich have begun howling their predictable argument that higher taxes will disincentivize productive investment. The obvious response is that the history of the past half century shows that investment capital has been grossly mismanaged and misallocated by the rich. The six or seven trillion dollars a day in financial speculation could easily have financed a world Green New Deal a couple times over by now. And what good is the $30 to $50 trillion doing sitting around in hot money  centers and tax havens? How much more do taxes have to be lowered to “incentivize” that $30 to $50 trillion to actually being applied to productive investment?
Civic republicanism is always highly suspicious of economic wealth. Thomas Gordon in Cato’s Letter No. 3  (1720) wrote:
A free People are kept so by no other Means than an equal Distribution of Property; every Man who has a Share of Property having a proportionable Share of Power; and the first Seeds of Anarchy, which for the most part ends in Tyranny, are produced from hence, that some are ungovernably rich, and many more are miserably poor; that is some are Masters of all Means of Oppression, and others want all the Means of Self-defence.
​​​​​​​A half century later, Benjamin Franklin argued “the poor man has an equal right, but more need, to have representatives in the Legislature than the rich one.” The great principle of civic republicanism, which we may say has been deliberately forgotten, is that taxation is a means to prevent the rise of oligarchs. In a republic, we don’t mind you being rich. But being ungovernably rich is an entirely different matter. Progressives can pick up the flag of civic republicanism and campaign for a restoration of 90 percent top marginal tax rates with this motto: “You can be rich, but not filthy rich.” 

“How Austerity Destroyed the Public Good”

[Adolph Reed, The New Republic, via Naked Capitalism Water Cooler 4-30-21]

“The cycle of strategic pillaging of public goods that produced the Katrina disaster is by now well documented: Free-market ideologues neglect the public welfare for decades; they then privatize and starve out funding for public goods and services; and finally point to the resulting shortfalls in public-sector performance created by their handiwork as a rationale for cutting funding and neglecting these critical services and infrastructures even more…. The yearlong-and-counting Covid catastrophe bears similarly painful witness to the entirely predictable results of four decades’ worth of leaders blatantly and cynically discrediting government while also hollowing out the country’s social and physical infrastructure—very much including the anemic public health systems that prolonged and worsened the pandemic’s course…. The orchestrated mass forgetting of the idea of the public good reinforces the broader suspicion of government as a knee-jerk principle. And this distrust in turn ratchets up rampant vulnerability to the frighteningly solipsistic—if not nihilistic—notion of “rights” as unqualified individual entitlement expressed in anti-masking propaganda and gun rights absolutism. The long-running atrophy of the public good as a framework for governance also creates an enormous opening for malevolent conspiracy theories that at least offer internally consistent accounts of the sources of people’s anxieties and concerns and promise to resolve them—even if through a mass purge of the political opposition or an apocalyptic reckoning. That, indeed, is the big punch line here. The neoliberal regime of intensifying economic inequality may be exhausting its capacities—in this country and elsewhere—for delivering sufficient benefits to enough of the population to sustain a nominally democratic order.”

The Lumber and Chip Shortages Have the Same Root Cause: Underinvestment 

[Barron’s, via The Big Picture 4-29-2021]

Perhaps no manufactured good is less technologically sophisticated than a 2×4, while none is more complex than the latest microprocessors. Yet the U.S. economy is currently suffering from shortages of both lumber and chips—and for similar reasons. In both cases, today’s shortages are the legacy of past busts, which then led to years of underinvestment that has left producers unable to respond to sudden surges in demand.

And, underinvestment and COVID: 

Over 100 Drug Lobbyists Working to Block Generic Covid-19 Vaccines

[Intercept, via Naked Capitalism 4-27-2021]

[Twitter, via Naked Capitalism 4-28-2021]

The problem with worldwide COVID vaccine access is not the patents: the vaccines have all been sequenced, the exact contents are on freaking GitHub and have been forever. I know Moderna has waived their patent for sure; I think several others have too. The issue is manufacturing.

Information Age Dystopia

The internet is breaking. Here’s how to save it.

Dan Kaminksy [Cyberscoop, via Naked Capitalism 4-25-2021]

“Facebook allows advertisers to target children interested in smoking, alcohol and weight loss”

[Guardian, via Naked Capitalism Water Cooler 4-28-21]

“Facebook is allowing businesses to advertise to children as young as 13 who express an interest in smoking, extreme weight loss and gambling for as little as $3, research by the lobby group Reset Australia has found. The organisation, which is critical of digital platforms, set up a Facebook page and advertising account under the name “Ozzie news network” to see what ad options Facebook would provide through its Ads Manager platform. While Facebook will not allow the advertising of alcohol and other age-inappropriate content to people under 18, it does not prevent advertisers from targeting children determined by Facebook’s profile to have an interest in alcohol, for advertising that might not appear explicitly to be about those topics. Facebook offered the page the ability to advertise to approximately 740,000 Australian children aged between 13 and 17, but then when the group refined the advertising by interest, found that, just as for those aged over 18, they were able to advertise to teens under 18 with interests in alcohol, smoking and vaping, gambling, extreme weight loss, fast foods and online dating services.”

“CEO of $2B company pushed out for taking LSD before meeting”

[The Hill].

“On Monday, a company ousted its chief executive officer and co-founder because he used LSD in 2019. Justin Zhu was experimenting with drugs to boost his focus, but the illegal drug goes against marketing startup Iterable Inc.’s company policy, which resulted in him being kicked out…. Based in San Francisco and created in 2013, Iterable Inc. is a mobile-optimized email marketing solution that enables marketers to test and send personalized emails optimized for mobile without coding, Bloomberg reported.”

I love Lambert Strether’s comment: “I love the idea that our mobile infrastructure was designed by CEOs tripping on acid. It explains a lot.”

Collapse of Independent News Media

“The Mass Media Will Never Regain The Public’s Trust”

[Caitlin Johnstone, via Naked Capitalism Water Cooler 4-26-2021]

“This year has marked the first time ever that trust in news media dropped below fifty percent in the United States, continuing a trend of decline that’s been ongoing for years. Mass media punditry is divided on where to assign the blame for the plummet in public opinion of their work… The one thing they all seem to agree on is that it’s definitely not because the billionaire-controlled media are propaganda outlets which manipulate us constantly in conjunction with sociopathic government agencies to protect the oligarchic, imperialist status quo upon which the members of the billionaire class have built their respective kingdoms. It cannot possibly be because people sense that they are being lied to and are fed up with it.”

“Disney’s writer wage-theft is far worse than reported”

Cory Doctorow [Pluralistic, via Naked Capitalism Water Cooler 4-30-21]

“Disney argued that when they bought out Lucas, Fox, etc, they acquired their assets, but not their liabilities. In other words, they’d acquired the right to sell Foster’s work, but not the obligation to pay him when they did. This is not how copyright contracts work, period. If it were, then any publisher with a runaway bestseller novel could incorporate a new company, sell its assets – but not its liabilities – to that company, and stiff the writer. Both Foster’s agent and the Science Fiction Writers of America tried to negotiate with Disney quietly on this, but they were stonewalled and insulted (Disney insisted that they wouldn’t even discuss a deal without first getting nondisclosure agreements from Foster, another unheard-of tactic). After failing to make progress with private negotiations, they went loudly public, launching the #DisneyMustPay campaign. The good news is, the campaign was successful, and Foster has been paid. The bad news is that the campaign flushed out many writers who are also having their wages stolen by Disney. The company is stalling them, too – refusing to search its records or volunteer info unless the authors can name the specific instances in which they’ve been robbed.” And: “They have a form where writers who suspect that Disney has stolen their wages can report it, anonymously:”

There should be a way to charge Disney and other corporate executives with the crime of theft. Treat them like the perps they are. 

Disrupting mainstream economics

The Woman Who Shattered the Myth of the Free Market

[New York Times, via The Big Picture 4-26-2021]

Joan Robinson upended the misogynistic good-old-boys’ network of economists and devised theories around competition and labor vital to the antitrust debates of today….

Robinson turned Marshall’s framework on its head. Competition, she argued in her landmark 1933 book, “The Economics of Imperfect Competition,” wasn’t an on-off switch between pure monopoly and pure competition. A competitive market was not the normal state of affairs — it was a rare “special case.” Markets typically reached a state of “equilibrium” in which Marshall’s progressive improvements halted while exhibiting many of the flaws of a monopoly regime….

Crucially, Robinson argued that workers, as sellers of their own labor, almost always faced monopsonistic exploitation from employers, the buyers of their labor. This technical point had a political edge: According to Robinson, workers were being chronically underpaid, even by the standards of fairness devised by the high priests of the free market.

Bill Mitchell — The Cambridge Controversy – a fundamental refutation of orthodox economic theory – Part 1

[Bill Mitchell – billy blog, via Mike Norman Economics 4-27-21]

Some years ago, I promised to write about the – Cambridge capital controversy – which saw economists associated with Cambridge University in England and MIT in Cambridge, Massachusetts argue about the validity of neoclassical distribution theory. I never wrote the blog posts because I considered the material was a little difficult for a blog audience. Also, while of great interest to me, the topic was not necessarily compulsory reading for those trying to come to terms with Modern Monetary Theory (MMT). But today, I relent. For two reasons. First, I think my readership has reached much higher levels of economic literacy over the last 15 years and can handle a challenge. But, more importantly, there are times when the mainstream characters, who have been claiming that there is nothing new in MMT and that they knew it all along and all the important results can be explained within an orthodox New Keynesian approach, reveal their true colours. Their hubris sees them get ahead of themselves and they show they never really understood the basics that undermine their own approach. Such was the case this week when Paul Krugman declared the Controversy “a huge intellectual muddle” and “a tortured debate that illuminated nothing much”. Well, that just goes to show how the mainstream denial functions. A body of work comes along and blows the dominant paradigm out of the water, and the response is to ignore it as a meaningless muddle. Their current attacks on MMT are just another application of that approach, which I first encountered as a student while studying the capital debates. Given the complexity of this issue and the amount of material, this will be a two-part series. Today, we learn the historical context, which will convince you that this was not idle or arcane discussion. This was a debate that went to the heart of the existence of capitalism and the defenders of that system – the mainstream economists did everything they could to defend the myths that they had erected to make the system look fair. They failed but went on anyway. Here is Part 1….

Bill Mitchell — The Cambridge Controversy – a fundamental refutation of orthodox economic theory – Part 2

[Bill Mitchell – billy blog, via Mike Norman Economics 4-28-21]

This is Part 2 in a two part series that deals with the importance of the Cambridge capital controversy – which saw economists associated with Cambridge University in England and MIT in Cambridge, Massachusetts argue about the validity of neoclassical distribution theory. Most recently, in response to a New York Times article about Joan Robinson, one of the key protagonists in that controversy, Paul Krugman declared the Controversy “a huge intellectual muddle” which was really unimportant in the scheme of things. That just revealed his ignorance and/or his part in an on-going denial that the basis of the framework he operates in is deeply flawed and has no scientific legitimacy. In this Part, we get down to the complexity (as best I can without becoming too technical) of the debates. The import though is clear – orthodox economics, which is still taught on a daily basis in our universities and which people like Krugman use to make money by writing textbooks about is based on a series of myths that cannot be sustained, both logically, in terms of their own internal consistency, and, in relation to saying anything about the real world we live in….

Is Biden Accidentally Giving the Green Light to Mega-Mergers?

Matt Stoller [BIG, via Naked Capitalism 4-30-2021]

Why Do Economists Ignore the Greatest of All Market Failures?

Brad DeLong [Grasping Reality, via Naked Capitalism 4-25-2021]

“These Chicago Boys are all right-wing Marxists,” he said:

They buy the Marxian proposition that the state is an executive committee for rigging the economy in the interest of the ruling class. But they think that that is a good thing as long as the ruling class is based on wealth, however previously acquired. All their objections are to those who use some form of societal power other than wealth to try to rig the economy in their interest. And while there is an argument that a wealth-based ruling class is in general best, it is a weak argument.

Climate and environmental crises

“As the Caspian Sea Disappears, Life Goes on for Those Living by Its Shores”

[The Moscow Times, via Naked Capitalism Water Cooler 4-30-21]

“According to a series of recent studies, the Caspian — the world’s largest inland body of water — is rapidly drying up as climate change sends temperatures in the region soaring. Having already fallen by several meters since its mid-1990s peak, the Caspian’s retreat represents a major threat to fragile ecosystems with hundreds of endemic species, and to huge areas of arid inner Asia where human life has always depended on the sea…. In 1996, however, the tide turned. That year, a sustained and rapid decline in the Caspian Sea level began, continuing up to the present day… While previous Caspian fluctuations were driven by unpredictable combinations of human and environmental factors, this decline — which has been accompanied by record high temperatures in landlocked inner Asia — has a more straightforward cause, say scientists. ‘This time, it’s about climate change,’ said Eldar Eldarov, a geography professor at Dagestan State University.”

Warning of Threat to ‘Humanity and the Natural World,’ Hawaii State Legislature Becomes First in US to Declare Climate Emergency

[Common Dreams, via Mike Norman Economics 4-30-21]

Creating new economic potential – science and technology

Joanne Chory is using plants to save the planet

[Washington Post, via The Big Picture 4-30-2021]

In the Breakthrough Prize video, Chory laid out a vision for a new kind of agriculture: She wanted to create crops like wheat or rice that are bred to store huge amounts of carbon in their roots. If enough farmers replanted their fields with these engineered species, she said, they could pull as much as 20% of carbon dioxide emitted by humans out of the atmosphere each year.

‘Insanely cheap energy’: how solar power continues to shock the world 

[The Guardian, via The Big Picture 4-27-2021]

Australian smarts and Chinese industrial might made solar power the cheapest power humanity has seen – and no one saw it coming

Disrupting mainstream politics

“Congress Eager to Increase Staff Pay But Fear Voter Backlash”

[Bloomberg, via Naked Capitalism Water Cooler 4-28-21]

Lambert Strether convincingly argues: “Do it. After the State of Maine stupidly gutted the Legislature’s institutional memory with term limits, the only people who knew what the laws meant were the lobbyists.”

Why Some Black Democrats Haven’t Embraced a Voting Rights Push

[New York Times, April 26, 2021]

Predatory — and Criminal — Finance

“Six Questions for Gerald Horne About His New Book, The Bittersweet Science: Racism, Racketeering, and the Political Economy of Boxing” 

Gerald Horne [Washington Babylon, via Naked Capitalism 4-26-2021]

Horne: “Inexorably racketeering takes root in a nation based on mass enslavement of Africans–often ensnared by proto-gangsters–and mass expropriation of the indigenous (likewise). As I have written in my book on ‘Jazz’ and others on Hollywood, in the U.S. and elsewhere, organized crime is attracted to ‘business’ that throws off cash proceeds, which facilitates money laundering. It is also a kind of primitive accumulation of capital–ala the slave trade. And, yes, this generates corruption of various sorts. As I state in the book, if you compare Ali to Bob Foster, yet another talented boxer who fought for peanuts, it is evident that boxers felt they needed ‘backup’ and, yes, the presence of the Nation, especially the Fruit of Islam, served as a deterrent to traditional racketeering. Of course, my book on Watts details how the Nation filled an ideological vacuum created by the Red Scare and the persecution of figures like Robeson (see my book on him).”

Dirty Dollars: Accused money launderers left a path of bankrupt factories, unpaid taxes, shuttered buildings and hundreds of steelworkers out of jobs

[Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, via The Big Picture 4-25-2021]

Conservative / Libertarian Drive to Civil War

Tucker Carlson, Unmasked

[The Atlantic, April 27, 2021]

Last night, a viral tweet claimed that Fox News’s Tucker Carlson had told his audience to harass people on the street wearing masks—and to “call the police immediately; contact child protective services” if they saw a child wearing one. Surely, this couldn’t be a fair description; naturally, it was. Having spent the early part of the month espousing the white-supremacist “great replacement theory,” Carlson is now seeking to use the power of the state to harass and immiserate his political opponents:

[Twitter, via The Atlantic, April 27, 2021]

“The United States is at risk of an armed anti-police insurgency”

[The Conversation, via Naked Capitalism Water Cooler 4-26-2021]

“I am beginning to observe in the U.S. some of the social conditions necessary for the maturation and rise of an armed insurgency. The U.S. is at risk of armed insurgencies within the next five years if the current wave of killings of unarmed Black people continues….. Entities operating independently will spring up, but over time, a loose coalition may form to take credit for actions of organizationally disparate groups for maximum effect. There will likely be no single leader to neutralize at the onset…. There is another, related variable: The availability of people willing and able to participate in such insurgency. The U.S. has potential candidates in abundance. Criminal records — sometimes for relatively minor offences — that mar Black males for life, have taken care of this critical supply. …. Some of these men may gradually be reaching the point where they believe they have nothing to lose. …. Any anti-police insurgency in the U.S. will likely start as an urban-based guerrilla-style movement. Attacks may be carried out on sites and symbols of law enforcement. Small arms and improvised explosive devices will likely be weapons of choice, which are relatively easy to acquire and build, respectively….. The U.S. government will seem to have a handle on the insurgency at first but will gradually come to recognize that this is different…. I am often amazed that many people appear unaware that Nelson Mandela was co-founder of uMkhonto we Sizwe, the violent youth wing of the African National Congress,”

The Right to Crash Cars Into People

[The New Republic, via DailyPoster April 25, 2021]

In 2017, “a 20-year-old neo-Nazi named James Alex Fields Jr. deliberately drove a Dodge Challenger into a crowd of people counterprotesting the ‘Unite the Right’ rally in Charlottesville, Virginia. Fields injured scores of people and killed a woman named Heather Heyer. The obvious and immediate response to this intentional attack was nearly universal shock and horror. Fields was charged with murder and convicted. But since just before that attack, and even more so after it, Republican elected officials across the country have been trying to make it easier for certain people to run over certain other people.”

Altercation: Paid to Lie

Eric Alterman, April 30, 2021 [The American Prospect]

On the boundless and hugely remunerative cynicism of Rupert Murdoch and his faux-news fabricators



Open Thread


The Most Radical Statement I’ve Ever Read


  1. bruce wilder

    “I am beginning to observe in the U.S. some of the social conditions necessary for the maturation and rise of an armed insurgency. The U.S. is at risk of armed insurgencies within the next five years if the current wave of killings of unarmed Black people continues…..

    Narrative matters, I guess. You can be sure some people will ask just how many of the roughly 1000 people shot and killed by police a year are black and unarmed. (Noting that unarmed is not the same as appearing to be unarmed and non-threatening; also being armed is not per se illegal nor is it an indication of guilt or deserving summary execution). But, yeah, what are the numbers in “this wave”? ~20?

    The frame of the narrative surrounding police violence and other issues is being driven toward the goal of people fearing insurgencies. Great work everyone.

  2. Chicago Clubs

    Absurd. The people most incensed by the “wave” of police killings are media-saturated libs, and there will be no insurgency from that quarter.

  3. Hugh

    As far as I know, there is no national reporting system for violence and death by police. So data vary and are incomplete. The WaPo started one database of fatal shootings by police. From 2015 to the present it recorded the following broken down by race but not year:

    White 2,886
    Black 1,507
    Hispanic 1,057
    Other 240
    Unknown 551
    Total 6,241

    I agree with Tony’s depiction of the unproductive rich. And I wish Bill Mitchell would use some of his analytical skills examining MMT rather than beating the dead horse of classical economics.

  4. Ché Pasa

    Insurgency against the police…


    I’ve seen something along the lines of inviting or forcing the police out of various neighborhoods and districts. Patrols and interventions by police reduced to a minimum or eliminated altogether. Employment of private or “people’s” security services.

    To the extent that there is any armed confrontation, response or resistance to the police, it is almost entirely confined to the radical right, libertarians and sovereign citizens. So called. And to those acting in varieties of self-defense — including rare instances of criminals engaged in shoot-outs with police.

    The Police as an institution in many places are in bad shape due to appallingly bad leadership and guidance from elected and appointed supervision and a warrior ideology which pits them against everyone not in blue — and some of those too.

    It’s a decadent institution like so many of ours are.

    I’d be in favor of abolition, except we’ve got this cohort of armed, amped up, warrior cops spread all over the nation. Abolition simply puts these types out on the streets to do as they will. I don’t think we want that.

    “Reform” seems to take forever and almost always gets us right back where we started from. Nothing (much) changes for the better.

    Insurgency, fighting them mano-a-mano seems confined to the rightists and libertarians. Avoiding them altogether or prohibiting their interference on a neighborhood by neighborhood, district by district, region by region basis seems to be the trend, leaving them nothing to do.

    One more botched drug raid or traffic stop may be all it takes.

  5. bruce wilder

    The CCC only proved 1.) that mainstream reliance on neoclassical theory was immune to fundamental criticism not for reasons of intellectual coherence but for sociological reasons and 2.) the critics with strong social positioning (e.g. prestige academic appointments) could be trapped in their own esoterica.

    Bill Mitchell convinced me MMT is spoiling in the jar.

  6. bruce wilder

    The possibilities of fundamental police reform are limited both by the politics of police unions as powerful actors and by the stultified librul imagination embodied in approved MSNBC/CNN/NYT/WPost propaganda.

    The palpable resentment of police who see themselves cast as “bad guys” in corporate Media and the increased frequency of hostile encounters with citizens that result from the propaganda may be either a block or a pivot point for the acceptance of some reforms.

    Some reforms have already happened. Body cameras are mandated in a lot of departments, for example. At least temporarily, prosecution in celebrated cases is now possible — that will not last. Incidentally, the bloodlust for the rookies in the Floyd case is also not helping the politics.

  7. Chicago White Sox

    The people most incensed by the “wave” of police killings are media-saturated libs,

    lol. The black community doesn’t care. They’re eager for a return to “normalcy.”

  8. Chicago Clubs

    I don’t think it makes much sense to say “the black community” this or the “the white community” that. Media-saturated libs are mostly white, but there are plenty of black academics in on the hysteria, like the guy who wrote that article. The non-media/academic population are eager for a return to normalcy and by and large like the police. It’s the so-called “elite” (who are so only in very specific contexts that involve basically no exercise of real power) who are fueling all the BLM #resistance talk, and as usual that’s what it’ll stay as.

    Also it always seems to escape people that the second word in my username is not “Cubs.”

  9. team name?

    There is both a grassroots resistance and the elite, financier corporate-fueled nonsense of which you speak. You are – whether intentionally or not – conflating the two. This just sows even more confusion.

  10. js

    Chicago clubs, do you know even as a neighbor or an acquaintance any black people? Because the police violence of last year was hard. But you imagine it’s about academics. Okay …

  11. Trinity

    “not for reasons of intellectual coherence but for sociological reasons”

    I think “socioeconomic reasons” would be much closer to the truth.

    I found the Tucker video disturbing. Okay, that’s putting it mildly. Truth is I started crying a little. I would ask why this is allowed, but that’s covered by “socioeconomic reasons” as well.

  12. different clue

    Well . . . I read the Tucker Carlson article and clicked on the specimen TuckerTweet. I read some comments. Most of the comments were from Performative Outrage Liberals performing their outrage. One comment was useful. Here it is in copy-paste . . .

    “That’s illegal! Calling CPS for a report like this is a felony. Why hasn’t Fox News stood up and suspended or fired him?”

    Actually, the first two sentences are useful. The third sentence is Performative Liberal Outrage Performance. But the first two sentences are useful.

    Every such Tucker-inspired report should be legally responded to with all the fullest forces of the law. But that is a choice that the targets of such CPS-swatting reports will have to make on their own.

    About adult-targets-of-Tucker-harrassment? In our zero-solidarity society, I have no good advice. If liberals had a gun culture, they could travel in armed groups including decoy-mask-wearers, and shoot down anti-mask aggressors if necessary. But liberals have no gun culture, and no mutual defense solidarity. So I have no advice for liberals in this position.

    A movement to boycott every advertiser into dropping Carlson would be nice. Let his show become advertising-free. That would also require a movement. I have read he is an heir to the “Swanson Dinner fortune”. Is most of his money tied up in “Swanson Dinner stocks and bonds”? If so, extermicotting Swanson Frozen Dinners could perhaps exterminate Tucker’s money before he could diversify it all out of Swanson Dinner stocks and bonds.

  13. Hugh

    Carlson is just another idiot fascist Fox is pushing for ratings. Glenn Greenwald liked appearing on his show because birds of a feather and all that.

  14. bruce wilder

    Tucker Carlson is a lightening rod for anger and resentment Democrats want no part of, take no responsibility and refuse to acknowledge or represent, and that summarizes how and why the Democratic Party is useless and forever unwilling to take power.

  15. Hugh

    If you want to hate Democrats, feel free. Never having been a Democrat, I lack your obsessive resentment of them. But fascists like Carlson are responsible for their own fascism, just as you are for defending him.

  16. different clue

    I have watched Carlson’s show sometimes. Sometimes he has on a good guest and treats herm well.

    But not often. Usually Carlson is a mile-a-minute liar and a Gish-galloping troll. He works to keep his fan-base on-beam and on-the-needle.

    Sanders might have been a good enough Trumpanon Whisperer to where he could have whispered one per cent of Carlson’s fans in another direction. The other 99 per cent are a lost cause. If they believe what Carlson tells them, then they are just radioactive human waste at this point. Their anger has no merit and no basis, and they are no more worthy of respect and regard than are the pink pussy hat Legions of Clinton.

  17. bruce wilder

    “99 %” are “radioactive human waste”!? Do read what you write, dc?

    There is a lot of free-floating anger and resentment in the U.S.A., and it has plenty of basis in the way the country is being run, but most of the angry do not understand what that basis is. Job 1 for Tucker Carlson is to ensure their anger is misdirected politically.

    Hugh, calling other commenters names, names you do not know the meaning of, is not useful commentary.

  18. Hugh

    bruce, unlike you I do not defend fascists.

  19. different clue

    @ Bruce Wilder . . .

    Do I read what I write? Yes. Yes I do. Did I write something to offend you?

    Oh . . . yeah . . . . 99 % of Carlson’s fan base are just radioactive human waste by now. Well, I could be wrong on the numbers. It could be as low as 95%. Or even 80%.

    But I don’t have the spirit of scientific inquiry needed to do the studies required to find out what the numbers are. 95%? 99%? Whichever, when you see that much radioactive human waste all gathered together in one bunch and glowing in the dark, you don’t want to get too close.

    Well, I don’t. Maybe you do, and that’s another story.

  20. different clue


    I remember decades ago when I was a child that we sometimes ate Frozen Dinners as a family while watching a Family Program together on TV. I don’t know if they were Swanson or not.

    I remember liking them. Frozen Dinners were very modern. They were a very modern thing to eat while gathered together and watching the Wonderful World of Disney on our trusty non-portable big square-shaped Motorola black-and-white TV.

  21. Astrid

    Nope, Hugh defends Ukrainian Banderite Nazis, racist demagogues like Navalny, and head chopping freedom fighters in Syria and Xinjiang. Also Christian fundamentalist fabulist like Adrian Zenz. That’s the sort of breezy self confidence you need to accuse people he probably never interact with day to day of being Fascist for watching the wrong TV program.

    Different clue,
    If people who watch Tucker Carlson are irredeemable garbage, then I’d say the same for Rachel Maddow’s TDS and anti-Russia/Venezuela/China/Iran/etc audience. They all seem ready for each other’s throats and destroying people that they can’t be bothered to understand or have minimal empathy for. So what does that leave us if we want a sane county one day?

  22. different clue


    Good question. I alluded to it with my referrence to the ” pink pussy hat Legions of Clinton” .
    But to put it more plainly, yes. The Carlson audience and the Maddow audience are exact mirror images of eachother, as are Carlson and Maddow themselves. Except the Maddow audience is less likely to try SWATting you or harassing you the way Carlson earnestly pleads for his audience to do. Meaning the Maddow audience is probably less of a toxic radioactive-waste physical menace to your personal existence.

    And where does that leave us? Well, if Tuckie-poo’s core audience is 3 million Americans and Maddow’s core audience is 4 million Americans, that leaves 310 millions Americans who do not watch Tucker Maddow. And that’s really a lot to be left with. And that’s where we build out from.

    If I was famous enough to be invited on the Tucker Maddow show, I would decline the invitiation. Not that I will ever be famous. But if I were, and I got invited onto the Tucker Maddow show, my contribution to reaching “the what we are left with” would begin by declining to go on Tucker Maddow’s show.

  23. Hugh

    The incoherent Astrid troll arrives.

  24. Astrid

    Hugh, Perhaps you should get a new English dictionary to help you understand what other people are saying and learn to communicate in a manner comprehensible to others. The one you are using is failing you, badly.

  25. Astrid

    Different clue,

    If I had the proclivity to announce my ideas in public and find myself shunned by traditional media. I would care more about getting the idea out than where it gets out. We’re getting close but not quite at the inflection point where Joe Rohan and Jimmy Dore can deliver more votes reliably yet. We’re getting closer to that day and that’s portably a good thing, but let’s hope for the sake of their families and friends, that some of those 7 million are so beyond reason as certain individuals here.

  26. different clue


    Its a moot point, because I won’t be famous enough to be invited onto Tucker Maddow.
    But if I were, that would mean I was already famous enough anyway from exposure ” elsewhere” for Tucker Maddow to have heard of me, and for Tucker Maddow to think they could somehow make money off of me appearing on their show.

    And their show is one of the toxic radioactive tarpit venues which hurt society by their existence.
    And lending one’s support to them by appearing on their show would be to hurt society by lending support and validation to their society-hurting existence.

    Whereas if one confines oneself to the huge vast noTucker noMaddow community, one can create one’s own influence-node in that community by insisting that any people who are interested in what you think . . . . will have to come to where you are.

    Tucker Maddow is one toilet I would never go bobbing for apples in . . . . not that I will ever be famous enough to be invited to bob for apples on the TuckerToilet Maddow Show anyway.

  27. banquet

    This thread degenerated rather quickly. Not unusual around these parts.

    The host saw fit to remove my previous post. I think it served as an historical reminder that may have brought some people back to an earlier time in their life. In that regard, it was touching. I imagine it was also a tad humorous to some, serving as a relief valve to what our host himself has described as an often unruly commentary that depresses him. So I’ll present it here again, as the commentary seems to need a diversion from its current immature, inane path. Also, I am mentioned in commentary by different clue above, so this will serve to reconstitute – albeit in a non progressively linear manner – the original intent of a portion (some may argue the most important portion) of this thread.

    I used to enjoy the Swanson Hungry Man Turkey dinners. Thinly sliced turkey with gravy in a large trough, mashed potatoes, stuffing, and a dessert-type concoction, all in their respective smaller troughs.

    By the way, where’s S Brennan? He hasn’t been around since that Bridget girl kicked him in the nuts.

  28. the other commenters


    Dear banquet,

    Thank you for your interest in our comments. We are always happy to hear from you. Please let us know if you have any other concerns.

  29. Trinity

    “This thread degenerated rather quickly.”

    Thought this deserved to be repeated. I could be wrong.

    “… people who watch Tucker Carlson.”

    And I’m not sure why (or how) the focus switched from Tucker to the people who watch him.

    The fault lies with Tucker, and no one else. Tucker’s behavior is Tucker’s. The words are his (presumably, although perhaps ghost written for him). The job is his to keep or leave. I doubt the network cares (he can be replaced) and he probably focuses on his “numbers” (viewers) to keep his job, but that choice is again his and his alone.

    His viewers are consuming a product he produces. That’s their choice. To me, if the product didn’t exist, they would be forced to consume (or confront) an alternative, perhaps their own outrageous beliefs. And I’m outraged it exists. But I cannot see blaming the consumers, except in terms of their own behavior, what they can control (perhaps not wanting to think critically or for themselves, lemming-like behavior, etc.)

    It’s as if we choose only the relative nature of things (people are just stupid if they listen to Tucker) instead of the absolutes that do exist? It’s possible that the video of Tucker is faked, but the probability is very low, so it stands as proof of his actions, real proof, the only proof. We instead discuss the effect, not the cause. And then inappropriately apply absolutes to people (Hugh is a Nazi) which doesn’t (can’t) hold for all time in all things. And can’t be proved by reading comments on a website anyway.

    We are losing something very important here.

  30. different clue


    I remember reading somewhere that propaganda design engineers have learned how to elicit self-reinforcing brain-rewards-chemistry positive feedback loops by giving those brains the right kind of media input. Fox News is supposed to be very good at this. It and its program stars have learned how to put its product-consumer-brains at home through cycles of fear-anger-rage-hate-catharsis with appropriate dopamine pleasure releases inside the brain at appropriate cycle-reinforcing-rewarding points.

    If that is so, the people consuming the ToileTucker Carlson product have become endo-brain-chemistry addicts and no longer have a choice about watching . . . . unless we consider the choice to endure days or weeks of cold-turkey withdrawal from the ToileTucker-elicited brain chemistry to be a choice.

    Whether I can judge the Carlson-addict audience or not is irrelevant to my own survival interest. My survival interest lies in correctly percieving them as a radioactive human-waste mass being brought along the path to going critical and then going supercritical. I don’t want to be within reach of them when they go Chernobyl.

  31. Astrid

    I don’t think I’ve accused Hugh of being a Nazi, but he certainly unquestioningly supports the Benderite neo-Nazis in Ukraine and various other reactionary pets of the USUKIS security state. People like him give cover to the destruction of countries and people under white noise of humanitarian intervention. He’s been given many chances to be better, and he is still completely terrible.

    When he is confronted by others with evidence, he dishonestly turn to unprovoked name calling and when that fails, snakes into the next thread, as full of his self righteousness as ever. I would say it’s mental illness but honestly I’ve seen similar behavior amongst a few of my PMC friends, albeit not to his level of dishonesty. I am comfortable calling him what he is, and that is a Neoliberal scum and tool of the US security state.

    What I do here is a tiny bit of penance for what I’m too chicken to do in real life, and call a spade a spade. Hugh and others like him are scum and deserve to be called it for it, even if it’s in a way that doesn’t hurt him the way he hurts others though his toolness.

  32. Astrid

    Different clue,

    Fair enough. Admittedly I don’t know of Carlson watchers but know way to many would be Maddow watchers (low information liberals who are luckily too busy to be addicted to cable news). But mostly, I would like a way out of this madhouse.

  33. different clue

    ” There are many rooms in the Madhouse”.

    Actually, there are many houses on the block. Some mad, some madder, some not mad at all.

    The world is still a big place, even though the high compression the psycho-social side of it is kept contained under makes it feel smaller.

    Perhaps non-mad people can find other non-mad people doing non-mad things non-madly. Perhaps such non-madness groups can find eachother and grow larger longer-lived networks on non-madness. And go from there.

    About the Maddow watchers . . . . how many of them just HAVE to watch their Maddow? How many of them would go into painful headache/dizziness/nausea withdrawal if they were suddenly cut off? Would it hit them at least as hard as cold-turkey-breaking a two-pot-a-day coffee habit?

    Perhaps most of us are are meat-robot actuators forced to move around by their skull-mounted brains in search of a dopamine fix. Perhaps the most important choices we make, before we have made them, are what lines-of-input to become addicted to in the first place.

    I am just as addicted to my garden-agronomy books as the Tucker Maddow audience are addicted to their Tucker Maddow. I think I made a better initial choice of what to become addicted to.

  34. different clue


    A couple of years ago, some of the wits and wags over at Sic Semper Tyrannis came up with an acronym for the Three Amigos who were supporting the Global Axis of Jihad from behind . . . namely France, America and Great Britain. They took the initials for those countries and arranged them to spell . . . FUKUS. Pronounce ” fuckus”.

    FUKUS. France United Kingdom United States. F U K U S. FUKUS.


  35. Soredemos


    “Glenn Greenwald liked appearing on his [Carlson’s] show because birds of a feather and all that.”

    Oh, screw you. Greenwald (along with various other ‘unacceptable’ personalities) appears on Fox because other outlets won’t agree to have him on. Fox will take him, while most ‘leftist’ and ‘independent’ media, won’t, to say nothing of CNN or MSNBC. And that says far more about them than it does about him.

    I don’t even particularly like Greenwald on a personal level. The guy has a significant asshole streak in him, and occasionally picks some weird hills to die on. I also completely disagree with how he essentially privatized the Snowden leaks, turning them into a gravy train he was able to fleece off of for years, before they were finally locked away in Pierre Omidyar’s vault, probably never to be seen again.

    But Greenwald is also legitimately a better journalist than 99% of his critics. He says things that are true that liberals don’t like, so they smear and blacklist him.

    What he’s done on behalf of the Brazilian Left in particular, literally, no hyperbole, risking his life in the process, is more than any of us will ever do. Greenwald was the vector for the release of crucial information that completely overturned the conviction on fraudulent charges of a democratically elected leftist President, who will most likely run again. In the process a vast right wing conspiracy was laid bare for all to see. Directly because of Glenn Greenwald, Brazil may soon be free of a thoroughly thuggish leadership that actually is at least pseudo-fascist.

    In comparison to that, the fuck have you ever done Hugh?

  36. Soredemos

    >“The United States is at risk of an armed anti-police insurgency”

    I seriously doubt this. The American people are fundamentally cowardly, and in fact not only will they never actually take up arms to defend their rights, so long as you allow them to keep collecting guns many of them will remain convinced that they have nothing that needs to be defended. Various rights have been being shredded for twenty years now, and the gun fetishists have been no where to be seen. And I have exactly zero expectation that the various LARPing ‘antifa’ types could ever be relied upon to actually stick around for any kind of stand up fight. I’m talking about those that aren’t simply undercover cops, of course.

    I’ll add, by the way, and at length, that a year of BLM protests have actually inclined me more towards the cops than against them.

    It’s popular now to push the narrative that police killings are declining, that the protests are working. Even NC was pushing this line a few days ago. And it’s true. But it doesn’t mean there are fewer total corpses lying in the streets. The general homicide rate (as well as crime in general) has been going up, substantially. Because cops are increasingly just not doing their jobs at all, rather than risk a confrontation. So that’s where we are now: fewer people killed by cops, in exchange for more people killed by non-cops.

    And I expect the murder rate to increase even further, following the Bryant shooting, where a huge number of activist types have decided it’s unacceptable for a cop to use lethal force even against someone who is literally mid-swing with a knife attacking another person (I’m going to be generous and assume that a lot of these people simply had a knee-jerk reaction to ‘officer shoots teenager’, on the day of the Chauvin verdict no less, and didn’t bother to inquire further. That so many people refuse to walk back their stance is damning however. The whole thing is on video; it was about as justified a shooting as I can imagine). What’s going to likely happen now, if it isn’t already, is that police departments are going to adopt informal (I seriously doubt anything will ever be written down) radio codes that mean ‘drive around and pretend you don’t see the incident going on’. From the cops perspective, if they’re going to be raked over the coals even in a case such as preventing one teenager from literally murdering another, then it’d be better for them to just not get involved at all.

    BLM has been a protest movement about nothing. Its demands, when they aren’t pure gibberish, are repellent to the majority of the public. American policing is absolutely fucked, but BLM took the best opportunity in decades for genuine, substantial reform, and pissed it away. In reality there is not a plague of black men being shot by cops (the average number every year numbers in the scores or dozens. It was 27 in 2019, and even that number is debatable; the Wasinhgton Post claims it was only 13).

    American police kill way too many people, but there’s little evidence that they do much, if any, specific targeting based on racial grounds. You can be damn sure though that the vast majority of people they do kill are poor. BLM has taken a fundamentally class based problem and contrived to make it a racial one.

    One thing that is abundantly clear to me now is that we need a public security force. Because of course we fucking do. Every civilization ever has had some form security force, even if it’s just a small town watch or community appointed sheriff and his band of temporary deputies. Because crimes, great and small, do happen in any society (and one may scoff at the very idea of private property and the need to protect it, damage or theft of communal property, or murder or other forms of assault would still be potential problems even in a communist society), and society needs a way to combat the problem.

    Again, American police are fucked, and the whole institution needs to be uprooted and rebuilt from the ground up, not just more/better training, or ‘civilian review boards’ (a policeman is already a civilian; the whole framing and language of this debate is another thing that’s fucked). Police forces should be directly accountable to their local communities. Of, by, and for the people, and if they aren’t, the people have direct veto to fire them. Seriously, any time a cop kills someone, put the officer up for a community vote over whether they get to stay a cop or not. That type of thing would be a damn good start.

    But the past year should have also made it clear that the answer is not ‘get rid of police altogether’, or ‘defund them into oblivion’, because they actually do serve a legitimate social function.

  37. different clue

    Here is a proud self-photo of a Typhoid MAGA Trumpanon coronavid-spreader. Is this person a ToileTucker watcher? I don’t know. One thing I do know is that this is a hunk of radioactive human waste. This is a terminal case.

    Do you want to be anywhere near this creature when it decides to go Chernobyl?

  38. VietnamVet

    In the West an Extra Lifespan (doubling) starting with the Victorians was due to the building of public health infrastructure, vaccines, and new medical practices.

    What is disregarded is the declining lifespans in the USA and England in the 21st century even before the pandemic — “Deaths of Despair”. This is actually misleading since it implies that the victims are to blame. Coronavirus has exposed that it is intentional. The pandemic has erased another year of life for the living.

    The West is depending solely on for-profit mRNA vaccines to mitigate the pandemic, although it is becoming clear that gene therapy will not create herd immunity. Nevertheless, there is no demand for the rebuilding of a vigorous comprehensive national public health program to eliminate the virus. Americans are being told to vaccinate and get use to coronavirus being endemic.

    The reason is simple — “Profit over lives.” Financialization of the economy has put 80% of Americans into debt. They cannot afford to get ill. Defeating the virus requires a national public health system and dismantling the dysfunctional privatized healthcare system that takes diverts half of the 17.7% of the US GDP to rentiers and managers.

    Liz Cheney and the corporate Republicans are being sidelined by insurrectionists for reasons that they cannot comprehend because they are paid not to. If American lifespans continue to decline, a succession of the states is inevitable.

  39. Astrid

    Faux idpol lawfare has been used against left critics of the USUKIS state, in ridiculous Kafkaesque prosecutions of Assange, Alex Salmond, and now Craig Murray. If you can afford it, please toss a couple bucks in Murray’s direction for his legal defense

    If there was ever anything good in idpol, it’s long been coopted as an authoritarian tool to beat down other people’s civil liberties and right to due process, over the self-righteous truthiness of its diehard useful idiot believers. Their opposite is the terrible authoritarian right, happy to beat down other people’s civil liberties and right to due process for their alternate truthiness.

    It’s not just the cable news dopamine addicts who are mad. The whole country is a mad house on a bender to end all benders. Even if it were to collapse on itself, it’ll probably export its evil oligarchy abroad until the whole planet is on fire.

  40. Jason

    In reality there is not a plague of black men being shot by cops (the average number every year numbers in the scores or dozens. It was 27 in 2019, and even that number is debatable; the Wasinhgton Post claims it was only 13).

    More bullshit from Ian’s commentary. What else is new.

    The police kill upwards of 300 blacks a year, and even the FBI has said that’s obviously under-reported because they’re essentially left to their own devices as far as reporting goes.

  41. Jason

    I don’t even particularly like Greenwald on a personal level. The guy has a significant asshole streak in him, and occasionally picks some weird hills to die on. I also completely disagree with how he essentially privatized the Snowden leaks, turning them into a gravy train he was able to fleece off of for years, before they were finally locked away in Pierre Omidyar’s vault, probably never to be seen again.

    Don’t stop there. You should be suspicious of everyone involved. Where’s Snowden in all of this? He should be calling out Greenwald and saying he regrets he got involved with all of them for exactly the reasons you state. But no. We hear nothing. The whole thing was obviously a psyop and Snowden is up to his ears in it, yet he’s deemed a truthtelling rock star by many leftists and civil libertarians. The whole thing’s a fucking joke.

    What he’s done on behalf of the Brazilian Left in particular, literally, no hyperbole, risking his life in the process, is more than any of us will ever do.

    lol My god the fucking stupidity. He plays more of a libertarian with some leftists tendencies here – enough to get Citizens United passed so he has proverbial blood on his hands because of all the misery that’s caused. Then he’s more of a true leftist from his hideaway in Brazil and we’re all supposed to feel good about that? Fuck him. He’s a piece of motherfucking shit and I doubt very much he is who he purports to be which means all his defenders are being taken for a ride by another conman. But keep expending energy following him and defending him. That’s the game and you’re playing it well.

  42. Astrid


    And just what does you do that makes you more worthy to listen to than Greenwald? So what if he doesn’t have your preapproval positions? He did good work, exposed the truth, and maybe bought Brazilians a chance to free themselves from USian regime change operators.

    Even if the numbers are off by an order of magnitude, the critique against BLM makes sense to me. Police kill poor and marginal people of all colors, they’re empowered by a complicit governing class who is always happy to divide and conquer. BLM turned a serious class and governance issue that should be concern of the 99 percent into an navelgazing wokeness exercise that accomplished nothing. As intended.

    You are exhibiting a suspicious number of hugh-isms

  43. Jason

    My god, read the fucking New Yorker piece on Greenwald from 2018. He hears gunfire while poolside at his estate in a gated community with his husband and two dozen formerly stray dogs. What a story What a guy. Neat and tidy. But that’s not how it works in the real world.

    I’ve lived on the streets and I know people doing yeoman’s work fighting the power. None of us would ever consider a Glenn Greenwald type an ally. He’s a big part of the problem.

  44. Jason

    Astrid, I could really care less what you think. I’m sick of the bullshit and I’m not going to take it anymore. You engage in “hugh-ims” yourself if you care to self-reflect at all. We all do.

  45. Jason

    I’m sorry everyone. I’m obviously not in a good place today. I’m signing off.

  46. Soredemos


    You’re right, I should have clarified. The 27 is the number of *unarmed* black men killed by police in 2019. There in fact is not an epidemic of cops just whacking innocent black men in the streets.

  47. Soredemos


    Again, Greenwald has done more for the Left than you and your friends ‘fighting the power’ ever will.

  48. Jason

    The 27 is the number of *unarmed* black men killed by police in 2019. There in fact is not an epidemic of cops just whacking innocent black men in the streets.

    You conveniently ignore the fact that they police themselves, as I wrote, and as the FBI itself said. Guns are planted in the same way drugs are planted. Or they don’t even have to be. The numbers are entirely unreliable.

    It’s unbelievable we’re even having this discussion at this point. It’s the at heart of the entire problem. Who’s watching the watchers? They watch and report on themselves and then lie to the public. To say there is precious little oversight doesn’t even do it justice in many localities: there is literally no oversight.

  49. Jason

    Again, Greenwald has done more for the Left than you and your friends ‘fighting the power’ ever will.

    I have nothing else to say about Greenwald. I swore that prick would never take up any more space in my head and then I waded back into it. That’s on me.

    Needless to say, I disagree with you.

  50. Mr Jones

    Noam Chomsky talked about the problems inherent with magical figures, and it seems Greenwald has become one. Chomsky even applied it to MLK, saying that having a mythical figure like that can cause people to feel they have to be that themselves in order to accomplish anything. And the media loves an icon, so the behind-the-scenes, uneventful but very necessary and often grueling work “on the ground” is easily missed by the wider masses in their zeal for the crusader. To recognize this is not to denigrate the work of MLK, of course.

    Chomksy, incidentally, never applies his own Chomskians to himself, so he fits this bill to a T as well. And anyone paying attention can see how Chomsky actually induces precious little critical thinking in the majority of his acolytes.

    In Greenwald’s case, this again is not to say that he hasn’t done good work. But to say that “he’s done more for the left than” what the proverbial regular people do isn’t helpful and ultimately isn’t accurate. It’s always the people, though the intellectuals have their place.

  51. Mr Jones

    “Chomskians” should be “Chomskyisms” I suppose. You get the idea.

  52. angela

    Did you see what the police did to that lady with dementia? That’s a little more common than people know. Adolph Reed said that police violence against poor whites is just as prevalent in places like North Dakota and Wyoming where there aren’t large black populations. The job seems to select for these types of personalities. Jimmy Dore grew up around cops, both friends and family, and he said as much.

    I don’t have much experience with police in my personal life, thank goodness. I don’t understand people who are attracted to watching other people and telling them what to do and what not to do. They’re authoritarians by nature. But they’re little boys and girls inside.

    I just read where the police near me charged a guy who was in diabetic shock with DUI.

    I’m sorry, I know it sounds mean, but the few cops I’ve met have seemed rather dumb to me.

  53. Astrid

    Greenwald didn’t just do more than the typical lefty. Given that he broke 2 of the most significant stories about state surveillance and collusion in the last 30 years and nobody else really came close, demonstrate that he is particularly brave and/or skillful in his approach. He is *important*, just as Chelsea Manning, Edward Snowden, and Julien Assange are important. Attacking his stories because of his personal preferences are smears. It’s attacking truth with personal feelings.

    I skimmed The New Yorker article that Jason referenced. I don’t see anything that reflect poorly on Greenwald. Just a lot of dishonest Russia Russia Russia noise. This pretty much confirmed my opinion that TNY hasn’t been with reading since Sy Hersh left.

  54. Soredemos


    When you don’t like the facts, just claim the facts are lies and all the guns are planted, I guess.

    The vast majority of people killed by cops, armed or unarmed, in the US are white. But that doesn’t fit the racialist narrative, so people like Daniel Shaver, executed on video in a hallway for the slightest, likely subconscious, violation of police instructions, go ignored by the protest ‘movement’.

    @Mr Jones

    Sorry, but objectively Greenwald has done a vast amount for the Left. If you don’t think he has, I can only say go read up on Lula de Silva and Operation Car Wash. Greenwald was a major, even pivotal, figure in the overturning of the fraudulent charges against de Silva.

    None of this is ‘myth making’. Greenwald isn’t some saint who can never be challenged, Again, I think the guy is something of an asshole, and he has at times taken bad stances. But that doesn’t change the reality of his real world impact.

    ‘The people’ on the ‘Left’ in the US are currently mostly alternating between agonizing over pronouns and protesting against things that mostly don’t actually exist. The Left has no power; anything we’re getting now are the handout crumbs that senile Biden (or more likely his handlers) choose to throw our way.

  55. Ian Welsh

    I’ve supported Greenwald, Assange and so on (plenty of articles can be found to back this up.)

    Glenn is more of a libertarian. For example he supported Citizen’s United. He supported the Iraq war.

    He has become more left wing and radical in a latin American context since moving to Brazil, probably in large part because of his husband, who is a socialist politician.

    The thing about Glenn, however, as Soredemos says (and I sure don’t agree with Soredemos on everything (but so what?)), is that he has put his personal safety on the line, hard, twice now. In particular crossing Bolsonaro was dangerous. I actually told Glenn at the time that while I agreed with him doing it, he might want to leave the country for the duration. He was in real danger of getting killed and/or having nasty shit done to him, his husband and his children.

    More guts than a slaughterhouse, as my father’s generation said.

    Doesn’t mean he’s right about everything, but he has my basic respect and support.

    (I have met Glenn, but we are not friends.)

  56. Soredemos


    Also I echo Astrid in saying that I’m not sure what you’re expecting us to get out of the New Yorker piece. I guess I have to point out that Greenwald (as well as other Russiagate skeptics like Aaron Mate) were 100% correct in their take on the collusion story being fake news. There was no ‘collusion’, and precious little evidence for any ‘Russian interference’ in any sense. Greenwald was correct.

  57. Diana

    I don’t understand how Glen Greenwald’s operation car wash thing is helping the downtrodden here in America? I tried to understand it, but it’s over my head. Why isn’t he here with us? He’s helping save a lot of dogs in Brazil I see. That’s nice, although I’ve seen it mocked as a virtue-signaling PMC thing here in the US. I guess Glen gets a pass. I just don’t understand. We need help here, now.

  58. jerome

    I think the New Yorker piece on Greenwald that Jason referenced was simply to show that the guy’s kinda an elitist douche himself, and people like that should only be taken so seriously. And it goes without saying that anytime someone ponies up with a billionaire and enriches themselves in the process, that person immediately becomes suspect and the entirety of their career should be thoroughly reevaluated for ulterior motives. I mean, this should be obvious. That it’s not obvious to more people is frankly scary. But then gullibility is in no short supply, even among the learned.

    Can anyone imagine Robert Parry cozying up with Pierre Omidyar? Didn’t think so.

    Anyway, it had nothing to do with the Russia crap, which Jason has called out before as ridiculous.

  59. Astrid

    Can you people understand that someone can be imperfect by your standards and still do good work? So what if Greenwald is imperfect, again, he apparently broke two huge stories that lots of journos did not dare touch. Talking about him, when it’s his stories that matter, are smears intended to undermine his argument. This is exactly how they memory holed Assange by smearing him of unprovable sex crime and now acting as though he is an unperson. You’re all witting or unwitting tools to people only too happy to bury Greenwald’s stories.

    Can you people comprehend that others can have different opinions and make different choices than you and still do good? That the only truly irredeemable people are those who cooling so hard to their own goodness that they prefer to ignore facts hitting them in the face?

    If you can’t comprehend this, you are never going to effect any kind of positive change. Because you’re not interested building coalitions and create something positive. You just want to hold onto your precious opinions and look down on everyone else (the overwhelming vast portion of humanity) for being*wrong*.

    Then most of you voted for senile rapist corporate whore warmongers Biden/Harris, because Trump. Somehow it’s okay when you do it, but the Trump voters, whatever their reason for voting the way they do, are beyond the pale.

  60. Jason

    When you don’t like the facts, just claim the facts are lies and all the guns are planted, I guess.

    I don’t know if the obfuscation is intentional or just sort of oozes naturally from you without conscious thought. Or you just have reading comprehension problems.

    The facts aren’t known because the people in a position to provide the facts have incredibly powerful vested interests to not be honest about them. So, you saying “the facts are lies” is a roundabout way of saying the police are always right and should always be trusted.

    What part of “who’s watching the watchers” don’t you understand Soredemos? Because that’s the most important part, your obfuscation notwithstanding.

    Yes, guns are planted. Obviously. “All guns are planted” are your words when I actually said that they needn’t ever be, because…?

    Who’s watching the watchers, remember Soredemos?! Now perhaps you’re learning, though I won’t hold my breath.

    Of course, sometimes guns are planted. You’re aware of cops carrying second pieces, for just that sort of scenario, aren’t you Soredemos? They do.

    So now you’ve learned some things here today, Soredemos. Take care and carry your newfound knowledge forth to the world.

  61. Mr Jones


    I think Glen Greenwald has done good work. But I admit to being a bit suspicious and skeptical of him, too. I can hold both thoughts in my head. Others have said similar things. Perhaps some of the issues brought up have struck a nerve with you because they’re onto something you simply don’t want to look at.

    Jason, you’ve never called anyone here a bad name and I don’t think you ever would, but maybe cool it with the vicious epithets towards Glen and other online personalities. I know you see them as just more useless media faces, but Ian has conversed with him and others here obviously feel some sort of personal affinity for him beyond his media work.

    I really think we need to do our utmost best to get along. I know that sounds trite, but we’re ultimately all on the same page here, for the most part. We really are.

  62. Astrid

    Fair enough. I certainly have entertained these thoughts about Greenwald for burying most of the Snowden cache in return for what looks a lot like a payoff from Omiyear.

    But in a time when so few in media are willing to break any story against the establishment and most are willing to keep telling debunked lies to justify the forever war and security state, trafficking in unproven speculations and vague animus about one of the few who broke ranks, in a way clearly designed to minimize Greenwald AND his stories, function as smears.

  63. Rebecca

    Jason’s obvious anger aside, he really got me to thinking. Why hasn’t Edward Snowden spoken out about the files? They’ve essentially been privatized after Glen Greenwald sat on them, as Soredemos said. The files should be in the public domain. That was the point.

    I remember reading Glenn Greenwald when that was going on and he kept saying things like, “the files are huge and it will take a lot of time to go through them.” I don’t understand why other people weren’t brought in to help. Hell, it could have been a university class project run by Glen or something. I’m just throwing out ideas, but the point is how did it get left to just him? Or, why did he allow it to be? Plenty of good, honest people would love to have helped Glenn go through the documents. And where’s Laura Poitras? I seem to remember her writing an article addressing it and she intimated that there was some fishy business going on.

    I also don’t understand why Edward Snowden hasn’t spoken out. Wasn’t the whole point to get it out into the public? And why haven’t more people in these circles called them out for it? The whole ordeal smells really, really fishy.

    Jason, I understand your frustration with all this. I really, really do. Please take care of yourself first and foremost. Please.

  64. Rebecca

    I wanted to add that I was also dismayed when Glenn supported Citizens United. I understood his constitutional argument, but it seemed strange that he was so forcefully making that argument in this case.

    I guess it’s just like Ian said: he’s more of a libertarian all around. I was really attracted to his firm free speech ideals on an individual level, but I guess I hadn’t seen or didn’t anticipate that they also always contained, or morphed into, economic libertarian ideals as well.

  65. Astrid

    Again, Greenwald built his public career on being a civil libertarian, not an economic libertarian. I don’t agree with him on many things and if he was running for public office, I might vote against him if he still hold those beliefs and his opponents can demonstrate they are better. But he is not. Dismissing his important actions, which are left aligned and broadly applicable, because he also unimportantly believes stuff that you don’t like, is diminishing his good actions and causes where you and he do agree.

    If Trump or Tucker Carlson or Biden or Pelosi does something that is demonstrably good, I would give credit and fervently hope (but not expect) for more of the same. Good is good, bad is bad. Intentions are useful metacontext but judge by the results.

  66. Astrid

    If idpol and BLM was working to achieve the goals of the actual left, it would have been crushed and memoryholed like Occupy and anti-invasion of Iraq protests, not unnaturally trumpeted from nothing and obtained universal corporate/government sponsorship.

    It’s about breaking up class solidarity and attacking left critics of the system that feeds them, and perhaps also confusing us to death with its ever evolving roster of grievances. It becomes all about how you’re saying it (wrong) and nothing about what’s actually said. It’s also vicious and callous in destroying people’s professional and public lives, for any deviance from their proscribed (but unwritten and everevolving) code of conduct.

    It’s also ruining my podcast and pop culture reading experience. Where previous it was interesting people engage directly with cultural artifacts for interesting insights, now it’s wokeness exercise 24/365 by people who mostly don’t even understand the context of what they’re trying to be woke about. And the antisemitism faux-issue has absolutely destroyed the value of the BBC’s recent cultural production.

    I have to retreat into reading about volcanoes and hurricanes and tomato growing to unwind.

  67. Soredemos


    Considering my stance is that we should have completely uproot our public security forces and replace them with ones directly democratically accountable to their local communities, something that is far more radical than anything BLM has proposed (or at least, far more radical while also not being completely retarded), I don’t need lectures on quis custodiet ipsos custodes.


    Yes, why on earth would a guy with deep personal connections to Brazil care about what happens in Brazil? Truly it’s a great mystery.

    If you think the extent of what he’s doing there is being nice to dogs, than I suggest you try harder to understand what he’s actually done. Which seriously isn’t complicated.

  68. different clue

    There’s two kinds of people in the world.

    The kind that says ” there’s two kinds of people in the world” . . .

    . . . and the other kind.

    I take information from wherever I can get it and I do the best I can with it. Sometimes there are bad actors who happen to be going my way for a short distance. They may give me some isolated pieces of good information in the furtherance of their longer-range bad-faith intentions.
    But the isolated pieces of good information may be good in isolation. I just have to keep parallel track of the longer range bad-faith intention behind the bad faith release of some good-as-far-as-it-goes information.

    Everyone has to be their own Intellegince/ CounterIntelligence Officer. Oh well . . .

    Snowden’s revelations have lowered public trust in the Surveillance Industrial Complex. That’s a good thing right there. And Snowden isn’t dead yet.

    Not only is Snowden not dead yet, he is in a place where the FUKUS justice-industrial complex can’t even physically reach him for either kidnapping back to the West for Guantanamization or for assassination-in-place.

    If Greenwald’s journal work did indeed lead to the set-aside of Lula’s fake conviction and to the discrediting of Brazil’s Elite Class, then Greenwald did good work there. And if Lula or a Lula type successor regains power in Brazil and can then purge and burn the Bolsonarians from public life and can significantly attrit and degrade the elite such that the Bonfire of the Amazon gets stopped in mid bonfire, that is good for the downtrodden of the United States.

    Why? Because if it slows the pace of man made global warming, it will reduce the number of American poors who will die of heat stroke in the coming Death Valley Heat Waves yet to come.

  69. Mr Jones

    The police unions always kill off any serious civilian review boards. These are public officials. All their activity should be open for public review. There needs to be serious civilian review boards with oversight power. There should be no qualified immunity and end the inane police bill of rights (a nation within a nation!) immediately. This will be good for all involved, the police first and foremost in fact.

  70. a homeless lady

    I don’t have any sympathy for Glenn Greenwald. My life is in danger every day on the street. There may be a future more left government in Brazil that may alleviate global warming so I won’t die of heat stroke? This is meant to be funny or a serious argument? It is neither.

    What is wrong with you?

  71. a homeless man

    I’ve been beaten, shot at, stabbed. I’m humiliated almost daily. What I consider my family is my extended family here on the street, and we care for each other as best we can. There are some strong bonds here.

    So, I can relate to Glenn and his family being in danger. If he would like to talk about it, I’m often at the corner of Broadway and Chestnut in Camden, NJ. Sometimes talking about these things can help. God Bless.

  72. different clue

    @ a homeless lady,

    Thank you for your interest in my comment. I am always happy to hear from you. Please let me know if you have any other concerns.

  73. different clue

    Here is a video of a maskless woman on a train spitting in someone’s face. Luckily, the video has a happy ending.

  74. Astrid

    I think I understand the point of the pair of”homeless” posts. The poster thinks there are more pressing problems within the US that we should turn our attention to.

    I agree. The US has an awful track record in its foreign entanglements and should get out of all of them, NOW. USA definitely shouldn’t be sending million/billions to aid/abet coup regimes in Brazil (operation carwash lawfare), Ecuador (US backed faux left spoiler endorse US backed right wing banker), Venezuela (I can’t even…), etc.

    But since the US does do all these things, isn’t it helpful to at least know about them and see if we can fight back? Or at least know who our enemies are? Bolsanaro is a creature of the USA and particularly the Obama DoJ/DoS. You know, the one that definitely didn’t care about Wall Street corruption in the USA but apparently cared so much about it in Brazil to go into extraordinary length to make sure to get their “miscreants”, including making shit up and colluding with the judge. If you think chickens won’t come home to roost, you’re dreaming. It already is. 2008 was round 1. 2020 is round 2. Check out the story of Steve Donziger to see what’s coming down the pike.

  75. somecomputerguy


    Kaminsky attempting to advance the idea that Martin Shkreli is an example of regulatory capture is very cute.

    The reason for the security crisis in IT is that however profitable it might be to produce secure software for any given task, it is more profitable to produce insecure software.

    The minimum common sense requires is that first you have to make program accomplish it’s task reliably. The most successful software company in the world got that way by NOT doing that. In case anyone hasn’t noticed, Microsoft Service Packs and updates are necessary because their product isn’t finished yet.

    If version 1.0 actually works, why should anyone buy version 11.0?

    After the code does what it is supposed to without keeling over, then you audit it.

    Paying for second step in that process is a non-starter.

    There are indeed practices to avoid in the initial coding, and these are indeed well known, and have been for many years. And yet they keep appearing in new code.

    When Facebook first came out, I was impressed. I wondered how they solved the inherent dire security problem involved with giving anonymous users the level of permissions necessary for it to work. They didn’t solve anything, and Zuckerberg is a billionaire.

    Software is insecure for the same reason it is more profitable to run a railroad that has mass casualty events on a regular basis.

    The same reason the nuclear power industry standardizes on a reactor design that causes a catastrophe when it fails, and then cuts maintenance spending.

    The benefit of a non-event at some point in the future is indeterminate. The money I put in my pocket by not worrying about safety is right now.

    The people putting that money in their pocket, aren’t the engineers.

    Welcome to capitalism.

    Kaminsky wants a version of the NIH to monitor the software industry. Because they aren’t into finger-pointing, one supposes.

    I guess Kaminsky thinks the NIH will be like the doctors office, a trusted, non-judgemental entity who just wants to help, and who can be trusted view the source code.

    This would address the issue that it is actually illegal to decompile code to look at it to make sure it is safe.

    Why would any CEO waste a single penny on security after that, when they can have the NIH fix it for free, at public expense?

    Instead of the NIH, I suggest the Gestapo. I want to see a guy in a black leather trenchcoat in the parking lot with his foot on the CEO’s neck, and a pistol pointing at his head. Smiling.

    This would do more than address the security problem, it would get rent-seekers out of the software industry.

    The problem is the fundamental, long-term, non-viability of the proprietary commercial software industry, and the things that are being done to drag out it’s demise.

  76. Jason

    NYPD Oversight Board Overturned Hundreds of Its Own Police Misconduct Findings

    Several members of a board that probes NYPD misconduct regularly overturn their own staff’s investigative findings that wrongdoing occurred — helping to clear cops in hundreds of cases in recent years, an internal analysis obtained by THE CITY shows.

    The watchers watching themselves.

  77. a homeless lady

    I think they’re right about Glenn Greenwald. He really loves writing about himself and being in front of the camera! I’m glad he’s such a narcissist though, and it does help us that he cares about Brazil so much. I can tell because I got an extra potato in my stew at the church yesterday. We have to think globally.

  78. different clue


    As an old analog refugee lost in this new digital world, there is not much I can do or even understand about these things you write about. I could stop using blogs, but I am not going to do that.

    That said, is there a way for hundreds of millions of people with hearts full of hate to lower their digital level of living and re-raise their analog living in order to somehow degrade and attrit revenue streams to the digital industries who cause the problems you describe?

  79. Astrid


    Speaking for myself, policing in this country is definitely a problem. There is no accountability for rotten apples and good policemen are actually driven away. There’s also issues with urban police militarizing and treating the people they’re sworn to protect as occupation force. There’s also the unholy link between evil corrupt prosecution complex that feeds people into maws of private prisons. The number of people incarcerated and those who suffer lifelong damage from having a record is staggeringly awful.

    But, that report doesn’t necessarily indicate an overwhelming amount of abuse. 11 percent overturn and numbering in the hundreds could have a reasonable interpretation. Honestly, I would expect the board to go against their staff sometimes, otherwise there’s something wrong with the process. There may be something unseemly going on, but what the NYT report, by itself, can easily be seen as a shallow way to manufacture outrage. Rather than any kind of bombshell.

    I am absolutely pro reforming and deescalate the police. The number of people imprisoned in this country is a form of aparteid against economically disadvantaged communities. But the branding of
    black lives matter is inherently decisive and calling for defund the police is in its face nonsensical. Furthermore, they’ve been coopted by the Democratic elite and their corporate masters as another way to distract and carve up the electorate, so we won’t notice the class based looting and upwards transfer of wealth happening in all communities outside of Greenwich, CT and Las Altos, CA.

  80. Astrid

    A homeless lady,

    Okay, you convinced me. I have no right to care about anything that doesn’t directly affect you and your next dinner. Good luck with due process the next time the cops pick you up for something you didn’t do. Or when you’re choking on climate change induced wildfire smoke.

  81. somecomputerguy

    different clue,

    I am writing this reply on computer running Ubuntu Linux. I stopped using Microsoft the instant I didn’t have to, for work. That was five years ago.

    It used to be, that there were a lot of assholes running Linux because they think it makes them ‘elite’.

    Linux wasn’t written and isn’t sustained for them. It was written for you.

    The members of the free software movement have basically dedicated their lives to making sure you have an alternative to being the product.
    I can’t do their cause justice in a short post.

    Let me summarize the pros and cons of using open-source software; the cons are bullshit. The only thing worth adding is that open source software only changes when substantive improvements are made to it.

    That means that when you learn how to use Linux, or most other open source software, you don’t have to relearn it, ever. Instead, you just get better and better at using it to improve you life.

    One reason to use proprietary software is because your boss makes you. Another reason is because you are afraid. Find an old computer that is not being used, or the next time you upgrade, keep the old computer. Chances are, it will run Linux. Try it out that way.

    Software is essentially scientific knowledge. The ability to charge for using it is first, wrong, and not sustainable in the long term.

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