Trolling liberal websites Open Thread

mmghosh's picture

MA suggested sometime ago that there were disinformation and trolling bots created to influence websites known to have high traffic.  The print run of the Guardian in the UK is minute - IIRC 150,000 copies a day, less than our local papers even.  The online site has huge traffic however.


For a British newspaper - 210 in the world, and pretty amazingly 170 in the USA, (compared to most popular The Daily Mail 141 and 102, and compared to the other quality press at The Daily Telegraph 357 and 398).


The Guardian's commentariat seem to have caught onto trolling bots (this is the first time I have seen this in a political context).

captainbeefheart AView
07 July 2013 11:28pm

Recommend 25
LASpectator, I notice, along with 4 or 5 other posters only post negatively on NSA-related topics and have only appeared on CiF since the story was broken by the Guardian.
LA has posted 125 comments since 28th June, when s/he joined - all NSA related: 42 on one Snowden/Assange thread and 52 on an Ecuador thread. This does seem rather a coincidence.
Do moderators notice trolls, as their posts do tend to sidetrack discussion - subtly or not so subtly - from the main issue: mass surveillance and spying by the NSA. I believe in free speech [not paid speech!]

A few posts later

steady2 captainbeefheart
08 July 2013 12:21am

Recommend 7
I just checked that out too. Someone joined only 12 days ago, has sent in a pile of comments, all on one subject. I am on holiday and do not have that much time to send in so many comments.
These people who work for NSA or CIA or are put up to it, by US intellegence or military are not the most clever people around. You would think they could at least send in a comment on flower arranging, or the Stones concert. All on ONE topic, sheesh.

Naturally, they may not all be bots, but humans put up to the job of trolling.  I would think an automated trolling program would be reasonably hard to write (but there may be very clever people involved.)  If someone (whistleblower or otherwise) could demonstrate these bots/humans originate from the NSA it would be truly fascinating - enough even to put Trevino in the shade.  They may not have covered their tracks too well (low down hierarchical stuff).  It leads one to think that these might have other applications - finance, or buildup to a war. 



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How To Make Dodger Fans Want To Murder You

M Scott Eiland's picture

Step One: venture out onto Facebook or some other venue where you know the crowd who hangs out there is old enough to remember watching the Dodgers play in the 1970's and 1980's;

Step Two: grin evilly, then post, "Hey--I've got a great idea! The Dodgers should put Puig at third base!"

Step Three: flee madly for your life as the people who remember the days of Steve Garvey and later Pedro Guerrero at third for the Dodgers feel the sensation of someone walking over their graves and start moving in your direction with bloody retribution on their minds.

. . .and Don Mattingly must be fired (bye Ned--don't let the door hit you in the @$$ on the way out!).

Epic Is An Overused Word

M Scott Eiland's picture

That being said, this game was *epic*. Dodgers beat the Diamondbacks 7-5 in *14* innings, finishing a three game sweep of the NL West leading D-Backs in their own ballpark. 14 inning games are usually brutal enough, but this one was even nastier:

--the two teams used fifteen pitchers between them (eight by the D-Backs, seven by the Dodgers);

--the six Dodger relievers threw *nine* shutout innings while surrendering only two hits and three walks (for a bullpen that has been awful most of the season, this is a more ridiculously awesome feat than usual);

--a lot of pitches were thrown, even for a fourteen inning game. Four hundred and seventy six pitches, to be exact--more or less the equivalent of two complete games by both team's pitching staffs. Given that the starters both went five or less innings each, to say that both bullpens are utterly exhausted would be a gross understatement. Clayton Kershaw will be pitching again on Friday, and Mattingly will be probably under more pressure than usual to let him go the distance given that the Dodger bullpen will probably get more use on Thursday with the recently ineffective Chris Capuano getting the start. The D-Backs will be facing the NL Central cellar dweller Milwaukee Brewers for their four game series going into the All-Star Break, which should help them fend off the Dodgers at least until after the All Star Break.

Oh, and one more thing:

 photo sweep_zpsc84ab961.jpg


. . .and Don Mattingly must be fired (bye Ned--don't let the door hit you in the @$$ on the way out!).

Our Tax Dollars At Work

M Scott Eiland's picture

Justice Department spends thousands of dollars to support Zimmerman protests.

Yeah, I'm sure we can trust Mr. Holder and his goo--er, "subordinates" to evaluate the situation objectively if the Florida jury fails to get with the program and acquits Zimmerman, and it comes time to decide whether to take a second bite at the apple and seek a civil rights prosecution as happened in the Rodney King case. I mean, he's always been so objective and non-political about these things before.

. . .and Don Mattingly must be fired (bye Ned--don't let the door hit you in the @$$ on the way out!).

looks like I picked a bad time

brutusettu's picture

to listen to Glenn  Beck's greatest hits (not long before seeing Morrissey's little ditty).


Incredulous me needs more than a government agency doing something that appears well within the agency guidelines (which would not be the claims of astroturfing that Ed Morrissy And The Just Asking Questions)




A new kind of astroturf


Having the government organize "spontaneous" protests demanding that the government take action sounds vaguely ... Maoist.  This is just coming out,  and Judicial Watch isn't my favorite source,  but if it's as it appears it's another scandal to add to the list.


Holder is working hard for the title of worst AG ever.  It's a tough competition but he seems to have what it takes.

theres very little to support that view


we're talking about a long existing branch of teh DOJ that spent a whopping $5K over three weeks (i imagine that $5k probably buys lunch and dinner at a Koch funded astroturfing effort).there is no itemized info on what it was spent on.


read up on the CRS and you'll find its hardly an astroturfing maoist branch of govt. it seems more like a mediating office sent to calm waters rather than agitate. their sole regional office in atlanta covers everything in the south.


but hey, don't let me dissuade you from picking up a pitch fork here, its pretty much SOP at this point for wingnuts to see nefarious secret govt operations in every closet these days.

“The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.” -George Bernard Shaw

Instead of dancing along the border fence of the posting rules


why not go and nominate a few new mods?



did not mean to imply wingnutdom to eeyn, he's made it clear he is anything but.


edit. P.S. - remind me how many suspensions wre handed out in the last term? if the answer is "zero" than it seems obvious we have grown up and no longer need mods, right?

“The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.” -George Bernard Shaw

I know there was at least one suspension.


Somebody has to clean the spam out also.

In the medical community, death is known as Chuck Norris Syndrome. 

Yes, We Scan



Switch to Yahoo!

mmghosh's picture

freedom is a fundamental value that does not need to be justified in terms of some other value like efficiency

A poll out today suggests a sizable segment may be


unhappy with these NSA programs:


In a massive shift in attitudes, voters say 45 - 40 percent the government's anti-terrorism efforts go too far restricting civil liberties, a reversal from a January 10, 2010, survey by the independent Quinnipiac University when voters said 63 - 25 percent that such activities didn't go far enough to adequately protect the country.


Yahoo might be trying to appeal to that segment.

On Yahoo


already.  They are taking a good stance on FISA,  too bad their e-mail webpage is so horrible.

So who's going to make the House GOP pay a political price


for killing immigration reform


Today House Republicans affirmed that rather than take up the flawed legislation rushed through the Senate, House committees will continue their work on a step-by-step, common-sense approach to fixing what has long been a broken system.  The American people want our border secured, our laws enforced, and the problems in our immigration system fixed to strengthen our economy


Is Mr. Post-partisanship up for this?





This whole idea that the American people collectively want something is nonsense, especially on the immigration issue.  There are competing groups with completely incompatible goals,  and as you've pointed out on numerous occasions,  the country is divided into Congressional districts that are firmly in the control of one side or the other.   No one will pay any price;  the politicians on each side are behaving precisely as their constituents want them to.



You're writing as if political persuasion and engagement


isn't possible. 


A state like TX with low Latino voter participation compared to other states is ripe for leading a backlash.


That's Obama's job. Arguably he shouldn't have been hanging back this long in the first place.

Persuasion and engagement?


This is TX not some Jane Austen novel.   Really, what's the starting point for engagement between one guy that thinks not enough people are shot dead for crossing the border,  and another that wants public schools to teach that Texas' gaining independence from Mexico in 1836 was racist and thus illegitimate? Those are only slight exaggerations.


TX could (possibly) swing in a Pres or Senator election,  but the House seats aren't going to change. much.  You've said the redistricting in TX was done unfairly.  Depends.  If the goal is for people to have representatives who represent their views,  the legislature did an outstanding job, judging by the election results.  Both Republicans and Democrats generally win their seats by overwhelming margins.  The pro-border-wall people live in different districts from the anti-border-wall people.  What's to discuss?

THere' low info. independents


there's the registered voting D base that needs to be fired up over this, and there's new voters to be registered.


TX was a dumb example. None of the closest 25 races that Republicans won are in TX (they range from wins of .3% - 8.2%) 


FL and NY each have 3 of the top 25 tho.


I don't think many people believe Ds can win the House back in 2014 or anything, but this was the party's top priority after the 2012 election and it's generally popular. The D leadership should go all out and claim as many scalps as possible.


Mr. "I actually just want to govern for a couple years" needs to try some new tactics.

I Heartily Endorse This Strategy

M Scott Eiland's picture

Obama should definitely go out and imply* the Republicans are racist and evil for not wanting to reward lawbreaking with ironclad permanent residency and eventual citizenship. I'm sure that won't produce any backlash among moderate voters who will be considering soon whether they want to give the Democrats more seats in the House and Senate. Nor will it put steel in the spine of conservative Republicans or cause them to be even more confrontational with Republicans who have been talking up amnesty. Senator Rubio would in no way like to have the opportunity to verbally kneecap Mr. Obama as a means of luring back possible 2016 primary voters who have written him off as a traitor to the cause. And most definitely Governor Christie has no interest at all at an opportunity to provide a profane verbal rebuttal to those among those primary voters who say he sold Romney out in order to save his political skin.

Perfect strategy for Mr. Obama. Lock and load the teleprompter and fire away!

*--or just come right out and say it: Obama is about as subtle as a Golota uppercut to the 'nads even when he's trying for subtle.

. . .and Don Mattingly must be fired (bye Ned--don't let the door hit you in the @$$ on the way out!).

Yeah, you're talking the political language of past decades


REpublicans aren't going to want to loudly crap on the idea of a path to citizenship or DREAMers, they're just going to try to quietly deep six these aspects and focus on "common sense" pieces like more money for the border.


I haven't heard any high profile political rhetoric at the national level taking your hardline law and order approach. It's this callous, stringent and strident persona that Republicans haven't been able to sell lately.


Maybe it's b/c your average voter is less worried about cheating and crime, and more worried about getting screwed by powerful people. Just a guess.  

Also. . .

M Scott Eiland's picture

. . .it's not necessary for the voters (or the politicians) to repeat the argument--it's the underlying reason for why they get so infuriated when the usual suspects pull out the race card in bad faith. They don't need reminding of their reasons, or of Democratic motives for rewarding scofflaws.

. . .and Don Mattingly must be fired (bye Ned--don't let the door hit you in the @$$ on the way out!).

I don't see why you're assuming that


Obama would be so ham-fisted as to accuse Republicans of racism.


There are other options and I would hope Republicans would take the bait with the scofflaw, illegals, etc. insulting language and draconian law-and-order approach.


My fellow citizens, we must make sure immigrant families never, ever have security or political representation b/c of what they've done.

Who Said Never?

M Scott Eiland's picture

Four words: "Back of the line."

. . .and Don Mattingly must be fired (bye Ned--don't let the door hit you in the @$$ on the way out!).

haha, right


because america is a country that plays by the rules, goshdarnit. and the best place to demonstrate that is by making an example of the poorest, least powerful people you can find.

“The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.” -George Bernard Shaw

like immigrant children who grew up in the US


and have little to no connection to their parent's country of origin:


"You can't separate the ... kids from those (parents) who came across the border with a pack of contraband on their back," King said.


It's not so much the racism thing for Republicans -- it's coming across as mean d*&ks.

Which Is Much Better Than Focusing. . .

M Scott Eiland's picture

. . .on the fact that yes, it is a stupid idea to create an incentive for people to break the law by making it clear that we will never enforce it--to the point that ultimately their advocates will be smugly self-righteous about how mean it would be to enforce the law.* Birthright citizenship is abused enough--I'm not willing to bootstrap the situation further unless any permanent residence/citizenship is limited to them and no other of their family members.

*--not speaking of anyone here, of course. By the way, is anyone reading this in touch with Hank? We're about due for a new troika.

. . .and Don Mattingly must be fired (bye Ned--don't let the door hit you in the @$$ on the way out!).

Referring to children as "packs of contraband"


is d&8kish, any way you slice it. Most people don't like that crap, and it's emblematic of why King is vulnerable in what should be a safe Republican district, and why the party would do well not to let his ilk dictate the shots. 


"unless any permanent residence/citizenship is limited to them and no other of their family members."


You're already more friendly to immigration reform than most House Republicans. Congrats.


... and yeah, I'd love to hear from Hank. It hurts my self-esteem that he isn't popping in once in awhile.

Yeah. . .

M Scott Eiland's picture

. . .and referring to human fetuses as "blobs of tissue" is outright insane and yet the right to choose endures, much to my relief. King may indeed blow himself up with that comment, but it has no other wider significance.

. . .and Don Mattingly must be fired (bye Ned--don't let the door hit you in the @$$ on the way out!).

You're Overlooking. . .

M Scott Eiland's picture

. . .that a lot of the people most opposed to amnesty view it as *how* more powerful people are trying to screw them. Which is odd, since I'm pretty sure you've mentioned the potential impact that newly legalized immigrants might have on the job market.

. . .and Don Mattingly must be fired (bye Ned--don't let the door hit you in the @$$ on the way out!).

"the potential impact that newly legalized immigrants


might have on the job market."


It's Republicans who have been making it worse, by demanding to increase the wage-depressing H1-B visas, and by not giving immigrants full legal status, which actually makes it less likely that they'll bargain for competitive wages, or not work for lower wages under the table.


They're already here - granting amnesty isn't going to lower their or anyone else's wages.

You know many of these


low info independents?  You are underestimating their resistance to receiving information.  What message and method do you have that highly trained and motivated professionals haven't already tried?  We have electioneering laws that don't allow you to talk to them closer than 100 feet to the poll.   They're only going to make it 30,  maybe 40 feet tops before it's gone. 

Assuming That The MSM Hasn't Been Simply. . .

M Scott Eiland's picture

. . .funneling propaganda from Reid, Pelosi, and Soros' Whores, the electorate will take care of that. The thinly veiled hysteria coming from said propaganda sources as immigration "reform" dies the death of a thousand cuts suggests that they know that that threat isn't really terrifying Republicans as a group and House Republicans in particular.

. . .and Don Mattingly must be fired (bye Ned--don't let the door hit you in the @$$ on the way out!).

MSE or Zelig if you're around

brutusettu's picture

It seems no one goes anyway, might as well give 'em away.  Zelig's favorite genre of music will have 3 members of SNSD out to throw the 1st pitch at another Dodger's game.


Thanks go to the Indians* for being cheap and making this Ryu-Choo matchup possible


*in related news: Late Cleveland Browns fan Scott Ensminger got in one last jab at his favorite team even after he passed away. In his obituary, he asked that members of the team carry his coffin so that they could “let him down one last time.”

Thanks For The Thought. . .

M Scott Eiland's picture

. . .but I'm back up in Oregon and probably won't be in SoCal again until next year. :-)

. . .and Don Mattingly must be fired (bye Ned--don't let the door hit you in the @$$ on the way out!).

Reason Magazine's 45 Enemies of Freedom


since 1968.  Note the one exception to alphabetical order.


1.  Michael Bloomberg
2.  Idi Amin
3.  Joe Arpaio
4.  Osama Bin Laden
5   Leonid Brezhnev
6.  Fidel Castro
7.  Dick Cheney
8.  Hillary Clinton
9.  Paul Ehrlich
10. Dianne Feinstein
11. Daryl Gates
12. Newt Gingrich
13. Steven Hayne
14. Eric Hobsbawm
15. J Edgar Hoover
16. Jeffrey Immelt
17. Michael Jacobson
18. Ed Jagels
19. Leon Kass
20. Ruhollah Khomeini
21. Henry Kissinger
22. Naomi Klein
23. Paul Krugman
24. Loki
25. Jeffrey Loria
26. Mao Tse-Tung
27. John McCain
28. Jenny McCarthy
29. Robert McNamara
30. Newton Minow
31. Robert Moses
32. Robert Mugabe
33. Richard Nixon
34. Henry Paulson
35. Sean Penn
36. Pol Pot
37. Vladimir Putin
38. Bruce Ratner
39. Diane Ravitch
40. John Rawls
41. Charles Schumer
42. Steven Seagal
43. Lamar Smith
44. Aaron Sorkin
45. Elizabeth Warren





Well, obviously I've been slackin


I'm working on a thing in my garage. It's not a Death Star, but it'll do.

And a shout out to all my homies in the NSA, I'm just playin' y'all.

In the medical community, death is known as Chuck Norris Syndrome. 

Looking for some low cost


5" diam x 24 foot threaded rod and some stepper motors in a NEMA 5 size case.   Thinking of converting the entire garage into a giant 3D printer.  First project would be a 24' x 24' Fresnel lens.

Eeyn's just kidding too, NSA buddies.


Ancay ouyay akemay away eathday arstay?

In the medical community, death is known as Chuck Norris Syndrome. 

Pinochet, Rios Montt, Ngeze, Duvalier, Sharon

mmghosh's picture

Hussein, Omar, Basayev, Prabhakaran?

freedom is a fundamental value that does not need to be justified in terms of some other value like efficiency

I'd say that to make the list


as a foreign leader, it's not enough to merely be violent and have a criminal disregard for human rights,  you have to have some specific animus toward people running their personal lives as they see fit.


I haven't studied the "philosophy" of Rios Montt,  Duvalier, and Hussein in any detail, and I don't intend to,  but my general impression is that their main goal was merely to be at the top and running things.  Their serious violations of civil liberties were for the purpose of suppressing opposition or the appearance of opposition,  not some maniacal desire to control the details of people's lives.  Not that they were at all respectful of personal freedoms, they just didn't care.


Sharon, Prabhakan, Ngeze - merely violent, racist men out to benefit their ethnic group at the expense of others.


Contrast with Bloomberg,  who of course doesn't order anyone killed or tortured,  stays scrupulously within currently accepted human rights law,  and is sort of temperate in his rhetoric.  Nevertheless, his purpose in life seems to be preventing people from making intensely personal decisions that he disagrees with.  He literally hates us for our freedom.






Hmm. Most of those mentioned would not even know

mmghosh's picture

that their subjects had a personal life, worth mentioning, so I'll grant you that.  What about adding Reagan, then?  Also, Burma bin Laden - not peace but swords.

To ears untrained in the Burmese language, his sermons seem steady and calm – almost trance-like – with Wirathu rocking back and forth, eyes downcast.  Translate his softly spoken words, however, and it becomes clear how his paranoia and fear, muddled with racist stereotypes and unfounded rumours, have helped to incite violence and spread misinformation in a nation still stumbling towards democracy.


"In every town, there is a crude and savage Muslim majority."


The increasing openness of Burma, which was once tightly controlled under a military junta, has seen a wave of anti-Muslim sentiment spread across the 60 million-strong Buddhist majority – and Wirathu is behind much of it.

Rising to prominence in 2001, when he created a nationalist campaign to boycott Muslim businesses, Wirathu was jailed for 25 years in 2003 for inciting anti-Muslim hatred but freed in 2010 under a general amnesty.

freedom is a fundamental value that does not need to be justified in terms of some other value like efficiency


M Scott Eiland's picture

YMMV, but they certainly belong there more than moronic celebrities except for the ones actively trying to destroy constitutional rights (McCarthy is a fool, but sadly the fact that other fools follow her blindly to the detriment of children is a cost of freedom, not an act of suppression of it).

. . .and Don Mattingly must be fired (bye Ned--don't let the door hit you in the @$$ on the way out!).

Yeah, she was a strange pick -nt




brutusettu's picture

yes, son of Norse giants Loki, raised as Thor's brother Loki.

Well. . .

M Scott Eiland's picture

. . .that whole "will help bring about Ragnorak" thing tends to hurts one Freedom street cred.

That list certainly has a wide enough variety of entries to annoy virtually everyone. I will amuse myself by imagining that Idi Amin resents the usurper at the top of the list and that he would use familiar methods to clear the obstruction out.*

*--and that he'd use a 64 oz soda to wash the meal down with. ]:-)

. . .and Don Mattingly must be fired (bye Ned--don't let the door hit you in the @$$ on the way out!).

Hey that was only a rumor


But Jean-Bedel Bokassa apparently got off the hook because cannibalism was only a misdemeanor in the Central African Republic.

As Opposed To North Korea. . .

M Scott Eiland's picture

. . .where it's two of the four food groups.

. . .and Don Mattingly must be fired (bye Ned--don't let the door hit you in the @$$ on the way out!).

"annoy virtually everyone"


in fact that seems like its sole purpose.

You're not going to let on


which ones annoyed you?  Lemme guess - Krugman, Rawls?


There's no one on the list I'm not happy to see trashed,  but Clinton and Warren do seem like a stretch to be on any top 45 list.  Warren just hasn't done anything significant,  and Clinton's anti-freedom record is based mainly on some ineffectual mouthing off when she was FLOTUS.


The omissions are more significant:  Rudy Giuliani,  Kim Jong-il,  Nelson Rockefeller come to mind.

Krugman makes zero sense


He's an enemy of freedom b/c he wants the government to do more of its infrastructure investment at the bottom end of a business cycle?


He's against freedom b/c he wanted the government to take over and fire the management of the banks it was bailing out, before re-privatizing them, rather than just shovel no-strings money at them?


He's against freedom b/c he supports the same kind of health care system that every other developed country has?


He's against freedom b/c he's fine with the marginal rate returning to Reagan-era levels?


I imagine the thinking is basically "laissez faire = freeeedom!" but that doesn't mean there's even a prima facie plausible argument here.

His main sin


(as Reason describes it) is basically that he views government spending as an inherent good in and of itself,  more or less regardless of what it's spent on.   They would say he isn't really in favor of any of the things you list, he's just looking for excuses to do "stimulus".

That's inaccurate


Krugman wants public infrastructure investment more than other types of government spending, and only when the economy is depressed. He wants to pay down public debt when the economy's doing well.


But suppose he were indiscriminately in favor of deficit-financed stimulus right now. What's that got to do with the price of tea in China freedom again?


How would your freedom be reduced if the federal government decided to increase spending right now?

Hey, I didn't make the list


My libertarian wet dream is a federal government small enough to entirely run off 10% inflation.   All deficits, all the time! Just print and spend,  no need to worry about tax collection.  I used to buy into the thing that inflation was bad but you and Stinerman convinced me.  Well, mostly Stinerman,  you're some kind of Rawlsian and can't be trusted.


Heavy tax-financed stimulus, on the other hand, decreases private freedom of economic action. 



Couldn't work.


No-one would accept as payment a currency that is not collected as tax, much less one that is deprecisating at 10%.


The government would not be able to buy any goods or services.


The only reason you work for dollars is that every year your governemnt, on pain of severe punishment, insists that you give them lots of dollars. And for the pedants, even if you live tax free, the government does this enough to enough people to create a market for the dollars. 


Absent that market, the currency would revert to it's value as a small piece of cotton paper, printed.

It's a bad theory...


And it's especially bad with dollars. People work for dollars in many dozens of countries around the world where dollars are not used to pay taxes. Why? You'd figure they'd rather work for their local currency.


People will work (or steal) to get a certain currency when it acts as a currency. When it is a widely accepted medium of exchange, when it is a measure of value, and when it can be used to store value.


I know damned few people who would refuse to accept Swiss Francs, for example, yet Switzerland taxes very few people indeed compared to how many people hold or would like to hold Swiss Francs.

This was clear enough to Larkin, whose patriotism rested on the notion that England was the worst place on earth with the possible exception of everywhere else.

You're going to have to work a lot harder than that.


You certainatly haven't refuted or even started to refute my assertion.


The dollar is taxed and so is the frank. In fact, the dollar is probably the currency with the largest tax take in the world. Certainly in the top 3.


The tax take creates the market for dollars. From that, secondary markets develop including dollars for international trade. The fact that dollar inflation is mostly under control then also creates "store of value" markets.


To prove your assertion, that my theory sucks, you'd need to show me a currency issued by a sovereign state that is not required for paying tax and is not backed by a commodity (or directly convertible to a currency that doesn't meet this test).


I do agree with your assertion that "People will work (or steal) to get a certain currency when it acts as a currency. When it is a widely accepted medium of exchange, when it is a measure of value, and when it can be used to store value." (I crossed out the measure of value thing because I don't think anybody would steal something that was only a measure of value nor would they pass up stealing something that stored value and could be used for exchange but didn't measure value). But the question is not whether people will work for or steal money. Of course they will. It is more fundamental than that; What makes something a currency? Why are people willing to accept a currency in exchange for work or goods? Especially in the case of fiat.


Now I'm writing a bit like I believe this is all black and white. I don't. Human nature is involved here and people are barely logical. There are fads and foibles like bitcoin (though this is convertible to a taxed currency) and local currency schemes with decaying value notes and so on. When the Euro started heading down people ran to CHF even though it was quickly tied to the Euro and not backed by a commodity. Behaviours have inertia. If US taxes went to 0 tomorrow people wouldn't throw their money away. Not immediately.


But what would happen if the US issued a parallel currency tomorrow and passed laws that it was possible for people to ask for their pay in either dollars or the new currency and that shops should by law accept both but that no taxes fees fines or charges would be payable with the new currency? 


Why would anyone accept a currency that was inferior to the alternative?


What would happen if they issued the currency and stated that people could be paid in either, shops had to accept both but only the new currency could be used to pay taxes fees fines and charges to the Federal and state governments?


Or to ask a different question, why, when a state fails, like in the  Soviet Union, or East Germany, does the currency become worthless overnight? 

You'll Have To Do Better Also


What would happen if they issued the currency and stated that people could be paid in either, shops had to accept both but only the new currency could be used to pay taxes fees fines and charges to the Federal and state governments?


Two can play that game. What if they issued a new currency that only could be used to pay taxes? Or a currency that was good for everything except fuels?


I mean sure, if you leave out some non-trivial expense category out of the basket of expenses you can cover with a currency, the currency is worth less, if not worthless altogether. Substitute "taxes" for any major necessity, the same thing happens. You've proven nothing. Obviously any useful currency must also be a means to pay taxes. Duh! The definition of a useful currency is that it be useful to pay for anything (all debts, public and private).


I fail to see that as proof that taxes, as opposed say to energy, or land (including rent), or medical care, or clothing, or any other major necessity, have a defining place here. You are confusing necessary with sufficient.



This was clear enough to Larkin, whose patriotism rested on the notion that England was the worst place on earth with the possible exception of everywhere else.

You might be playing too,


but not by the same rules.



The assertion is that taxes are special since they are the only expenditure that the issuer of the currency obliges you to pay and they oblige you to pay them in the currency. They close the loop. Without them there is no pull for the currency above any other handy medium of exchange.


So the thought experiment has 2 parallel currencies and the only difference between them is the point of contention the ability to pay tax with one and not the other. 


But I will guess we will never agree about that one - it's an experiment in economics and they are notoriusly impossible.


Instead why not answer why a currency's value dissappears as soon as the issuing government does, as with the Soviet Union or East Germany. 

Of Course...


...ability to enforce laws, duration, and size of the issuer are irrelevant to the viability of a currency.


That makes no sense.


The state has laws and the police power to enforce them. These laws among other things include property rights, which impinge directly on wealth.


Most states last longer than smaller organizations, such as banks and so on, that could possibly issue a currency. The United States has been around since 1776.


And size matters. In any given country the state is by definition a large, if not the largest, economic actor. Even if it collected no taxes (for example by funding from natural resource extraction rights on public land, fees, and so on), it's still the state.


Or, put another way, the state can tax and issue currency, and all the rest, because it has power. It does not have power because it can tax. The power of the state is derived from a combination of political recognition of the legitimacy of the state, and force. Either one alone is not enough.

This was clear enough to Larkin, whose patriotism rested on the notion that England was the worst place on earth with the possible exception of everywhere else.

In your first sentence


why are these things relevant to the value of a currency? They shouldn't be if all a currency has to do is meet your 3 requirements -store of value, measure of value, medium of exchange. 


There must be something else and I think it is the states ability to enforce laws, specifically 1 of two types of law, depending on the type of currency;


Currency has value either because it is exchangable for a thing of inherent value ( gold being the classic ) or because it represents debt. In the first case the siye and power of the state is relevant because if the state disappears it is not able to honour its commitment to provide you with your gold in exchange for the cash.


But the dollar is not exchangable for gold or any other thing of value from the government. There is no commitment to be honoured by the USA for each dollar issued. So how does a dollar have value and why is this value dependant on the existance of the state? It has value because it is backed by debt. Specifically the debt created by taxation. When I hold a dollar I hold your commitment to work to pay a dollar of tax to your government. The power of the issuing state is important because it needs power in order to be able to force you to settle that tax debt. To pay your taxes.



OK, thanks for pointing out the tiny flaw


Your point brings up three new questions:


(1) What is the minimum level of taxation needed to "legitimize" the currency?

(2) There must be some level of deficit spending at which the level of taxation relative to the amount of money being printed isn't enough.

(3)  I said "federal" government.  If states required property tax payment in dollars, would that be sufficient?  Or is there some other theorem that says the authority doing the printing has to be the one doing the taxing?


Sincere questions,  BTW - I never did get a real econ class.

I never did either,


engineering all the way. I don't think my conclusions would be ones born of formal economics - they prefer myths about hardy farmers having trouble figuring out how many cows to exchange for a shovel and so inventing money. 


But since I first heard it from Graeber, an anthropologist, I'm damned if I can find a hole in it.

The stimulus is supposed to be deficit-financed


Keynesians like Krugman don't want to raise taxes right now, they want to run a public deficit to offset private contraction or underutilization.


But even a tax-financed stimulus wouldn't necessarily decrease economic freedom overall - it depends on the tax and stimulus. 


Krugman supports a financial transaction tax. If that funded e.g. small business loans it could well increase overall economic freedom.


I don't think there's any real link here, besides some vague government = bad sentiment.


Let's rename this baby Enemies of Freedumb.

There Are Some Odd Choices There

M Scott Eiland's picture

One can thoroughly despise, say, Steven Seagal or Jenny McCarthy, but dubbing them "enemies of freedom" seems a bit, ahem, excessive. Politicians, of course, are generally fair game even if one is inclined to roll one's eyes at the various Derangement Syndromes on display.

. . .and Don Mattingly must be fired (bye Ned--don't let the door hit you in the @$$ on the way out!).


TXG1112's picture

It makes more sense when you realize that the only purpose of the list is to generate page clicks. They want to annoy as many people as possible. Wouldn't want to miss some potential click throughs.

--- I will not be pushed, filed, stamped, indexed, briefed, debriefed, or numbered. My life is my own.

Even Assuming That Purpose It's Still Flawed

M Scott Eiland's picture

Adding, say, Michael Moore and Ann Coulter in the places of McCarthy and Seagal would have probably increased the number of irritated clicks associated with those slots in the list by a couple of orders of magnitude.

. . .and Don Mattingly must be fired (bye Ned--don't let the door hit you in the @$$ on the way out!).

You may be right about that

TXG1112's picture

It's possible that they just wanted to include some hollywood folks just to keep people guessing. I suspect that Reason didn't put a huge amount of thought into it in any case and I'm pretty sure that its just a link bait listicle.

--- I will not be pushed, filed, stamped, indexed, briefed, debriefed, or numbered. My life is my own.

The "recovery"


The Volokh Conspiracy and Elena Kagan


On Tuesday the legal website reported on Justice Kagan's "revelation ... that she reads the Volokh Conspiracy 'every day'..."


On Wednesday it included a guest post wwith the most positive profile of a SCOTUS justice I ever recall reading on the site: 


The Supreme Writer on the Court: The Case for Kagan.


In only a few years’ time, Kagan’s engaging yet biting opinions and dissents have astonished a once-skeptical Left — and have catapulted her to the top of the liberal bloc, if not the entire Court...


We report, you decide.


We'll see how your tune changes


when it turns out "M Scott Eiland" is Samuel Alito's online pseudonym.


Anyway, can you blame them?  A few of them regularly write briefs intended for the SC,  and I'd guess all the conspirators would like to someday argue a case in front of them.  Might as well start buttering her up now.  They also went to the trouble of bringing in a guest poster to do the job to give themselves a bit of cover.

A personal letter from the VPOTUS


I got a letter from Joe Biden today.  Apparently the poor guy's hard up for cash,  and suggested that I send him $500 or $1000 at my earliest convenience.   Otherwise,  people will take away my Social Security and kill school children with guns.


Question:  is Business Return Mail fixed price per piece, or if I make the return envelope heavier by including some reading material for him,  will he get charged more postage?  I'd hate to be uncertain about whether he got charged more postage.





“The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.” -George Bernard Shaw

Thanks, nils


I'll have to find some other way to let Joe know I'm thinking about him.

He's running in 2016?


What a ptless primary that would be between him and Clinton, both establishment figures who for all anyone knows would govern identically. 

Well, Ol' Joe Has *One* Fan Who Wanted Him In The Job

M Scott Eiland's picture

Alas, said fan will be unable to vote him, due to his unfortunate status as a currently deceased non-citizen composed of dissolved shark poop.

. . .and Don Mattingly must be fired (bye Ned--don't let the door hit you in the @$$ on the way out!).

Don't forget our intelligence agencies determined that OBL


wanted Bush to defeat Kerry in '04, and that that was the central motivation for his releasing his tape 1 month before the election.

Amazing! Zimmerman aginst the Weight of the State...


...what is really interesting is that you or I, spending $50,000 or a $100,000 dollars of our saved money, spending it because this is something really important and even spending this wisely on a good defense counsel...we would not get half the defense and trial time the court has given Zimmerman and the deceased Mr. Martin in this case.


I hope that the public understands that nobody gets a trial like this except maybe baby Jesus and probably not even him.


(actually this string of trials have become "content," for CNN etc, Arias, Casey Anthony, and now Zimmerman are free and circuses for the masses.


Important policy stuff is happening all over the world, but what the hell, there is an interesting murder trial on!)


Forgive me, I have seriously drifted from my and I will never get a trial like this. And if you're a poor person...forget it, you are going to be condemned and go to prison. The only thing you can bargain with is the amount of your life that you are going surrender to the state.


Lastly, I hope people are noticing how grueling this is on Trial Counsel...they went to 10PM tonight, ordered back and ordered to be ready to go at 8AM, pretty much day after day.


Tough living, tough time for lawyers.



Zer ist no forgiffness.


'Forgive me, I have seriously drifted from my point'

Comment discipline, comment discipline, comment discipline.  How many times does it need to be said around here?

In the medical community, death is known as Chuck Norris Syndrome. 

The Poor Schlub . . .

M Scott Eiland's picture

. . .wouldn't have had the combined malevolent attention of Sharpton and his race huckster scum brigade, the corrupt Attorney General and his "my son would have looked like the dead kid" boss, and a Nifong-ette special prosecutor focused on them, either. If not for the tampering with the system, this case would not have reached trial--the fact that the special counsel couldn't even trust a "we'll indict a ham sandwich if you trot it in front of us" grand jury to do the honors was all the evidence we needed there. Of course, a grand jury probably would have been competent enough to indict on charges that had the remotest chance in Hades of passing the laugh test.

. . .and Don Mattingly must be fired (bye Ned--don't let the door hit you in the @$$ on the way out!).


brutusettu's picture

-Zimmerman only saw Trayvon on a sidewalk (that's very suspicious?  is Zimmerman aware of hands free phones?) before squatting to watch, then trying to track him down.  

-Neighborhood watchman says he forgot 1/3 of the street names.

-Zimmerman says he was on his back, his gun was holstered behind Zimmermans right side.  Says Trayvon saw the gun that was at least originally should allegedly be between Zimmerman and the ground.

-No signs on Trayvon's knuckles that he punched a skull.

-Zimmerman has small cut on bald head, no bruises afaik, no stitches, barely marginally consistent with the huge whooping he says he was taking.

-Video Zimmerman's defense team has "sucker punch" happening 20-30 feet from where Zimmerman fired the gun he says he forgot he had.

-Zimmerman says Trayvon "(said cliche 80's action movie line that would really help Zimmerman's case")

-Trying to suffocate someone with their bare hand by covering the mouth?!?!  (lucky Peter Pan and past whoppers couldn't be brought up)


not the best position to be in when, if true, Zimmerman's account still seems more like something that is wildly exaggerated to try and help his case.


I'm just surprised HLN isn't showing 24/7 live video feed from the courtroom.

I dunno brut


45 seconds from the first 911 call until a shot is fired.  Zimmerman winds up with a broken nose, cuts on his head and evidence of other blows to his face, Martin ends up with a gunshot wound consistent with him being on top and at very close range (inches) from Zimmerman.  I'd treat any evidence that suggests Martin wasn't an active participant in this fight with a high degree of suspicion.

In the medical community, death is known as Chuck Norris Syndrome. 

under 45 seconds, 25-30 punches, over 12 head slams, impressive

brutusettu's picture

I'd treat any evidence that suggests Martin wasn't an active participant in this fight with a high degree of suspicion.


Huh, who is saying that?



45 seconds from the end of the 1st 911 call to shots fired (is that accurate)?  Since Zimmerman and Trayvon weren't engaged in a struggle right away,  that would need to mean for Zimmerman that Trayvon acted extremely fast to throw "25 to 30 punches"  AND "*over a dozen* head slams"



****according to the Great Orange Satan, EMS didn't put on their report that Zimmerman broke his nose,  they reported that his nose was "tender" Zimmerman told a physician that the EMS told him that he broke his nose.

Because Zimmerman lied to his family physician assistant, when he falsely told her that he was "told" by EMS he had a broken nose, the Physician Assistant wrote "We discussed it was likely broken." And in the insurance code she wrote he had a "closed fracture" but no xrays were done to confirm that. The Physician Assistant also wrote Zimmerman "refuses to be seen an ENT (Ear Nose and Throat doctor)" and they discussed the "risks" of him not being seen by an ENT. Gosh, after all that alleged pummeling to his nose and head, why would Zimmerman refuse to go see an ENT? Who knows.


To date, George Zimmerman has not released any xrays showing he had a broken nose nor has any licensed medical doctor ever diagnosed Zimmerman with a broken nose. And Zimmerman has never released a medical report from an Ear Nose and Throat Doctor.

Plus Zimmerman claims he was knocked to the ground with an unprovoked punch, but the shooting happened about 30 feet away.  That's moving quickly roughly 30 feet after  getting decked, allegedly, and still enough time to get one's head slammed over a dozen times and be on the receiving end of 25-30 lightning quick punches.



There's a little bit of a trail of Zimmerman's story appearing to be wildly exaggerated beyond reason, all would add up to the level of threat Zimmerman would need to use lethal force.  Zimmerman took classes which covered these topics.  All that's left is Zimmerman having one of the roughly 200 pairs of rare shoes in that size.


I'd expect Zimmerman to lay it on thick


So would both of us in his shoes, so would everyone else here.  Especially if you've been portrayed by the media as the Grand Wizard trying to lynch a choir boy. 

The 45 seconds is from the 1st call from a witness.  I don't think a musical duet is what had somebody calling the cops so from what we can tell the fight was no less than 45 seconds but in all probability was actually longer. 45 seconds is what we know, but it doesn't discount Zimmerman's version of the story.  I don't find it hard to believe that in 45 seconds someone could land a few blows, go to ground, knock another's head into the ground and get shot and do it all in the distance I can spit, though I don't think all that Zimmerman claimed could be done in 45 seconds.  If you allow for probability, figuring blows were landing prior to the 911 call, then Zimmerman's account is harder to discredit on a basis of time constraint.

I'm happy to let a jury decide and honest to God don't really care about the verdict, but I'm a bit bugged at the media here.  They've bullsh*tted us and continue to do so in an attempt to get a show trial.  Yes, they continue to do so.  Below is the editorial page response, the original article requires a login.



In the medical community, death is known as Chuck Norris Syndrome. 

as for the the lightning quick punches that always seem to land

brutusettu's picture

the "EMT told me my nose was broke"  etc that was before the media got to it.

It's not easy to throw punches and try to overpower a larger man to lift and smash down a head, Trayvon must have been in remarkable shape with remarkable large lung capacity.

Zimmerman's account, before he was "lynched" by the media,  makes it look like he laying it on more than a little thick the moment he's given a chance.


Plus there was this:


-This guy is suspicious (he just happens to be black)

-These guys seem suspicious (they just happen to be black)

-This guy is  suspicious (he too just happens to be black)


-This guy is on sidewalk "in the rain" (another boy was walking his dog during the fight, during this rain), no thought seemed to go through Zimmerman's mind that the suspicious guy had a hands free cell, he's just suspicious (he just happens to be black)


Spike Lee was out of control and if he's worth anything as person, he should make sure a family doesn't have to worry about necessities for quite some time, NBC was far too inept at the least  (Zimmerman doesn't think black males are suspicious, it's just the suspicious people just always happen to be black to him) 


context for *everybody would just lay it on thick if in Zimmerman's shoes*

I wouldn't "forget" I was carrying a gun with a full clip and one in the chamber to Target.

I wouldn't call the cops on someone on a sidewalk (who happened to be later verifiably in the middle of a cell phone call).

I wouldn't track someone for moving away from me after I parked to spy on them for being on sidewalk while not running from a drizzle.

If a neighborhood watchman, I wouldn't forget the name of one of just three streets in the enclave I drive through to go shopping/maybe live in, and then moments before being too concerned I might be right next to the guy I was tracking earlier,  ignore a dispatcher's advice, leave my vehicle to try and give the most thorough address of sidewalk location I can.

Most of all, I would not be shopping at Target with a full clip and a round in the chamber.  

If I was forced to be armed,  I wouldn't get closed upon in an opening where and how Zimmerman says he was.

I wouldn't be in his shoes. (/end rant)



all this detail


I literallyu don;'t have the time to parse every detail of teh zimmerman-martin encouncter and figure out what must be true.


whats obvious, though, is that if teh vicitms were reversed, martin would have been immediately arrested,  this would be likely an open and shut case, martin would be doing time, and zimmerman would not have lain dead in teh morgue for several days as john doe because no one cared to identify him.


the reason for the outcry in this case isn't only the injustice of the killing, although that seems clear to all but teh staunchest give-the-shooter-the-benefit-of-the-doubt crowd.


it's the sense that, shoe on the other foot, things would be very different indeed.

“The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.” -George Bernard Shaw

Oh, c'mon Nilsey, you have the time.


Zimmerman does get the benefit of the doubt.  It's how our system is set up, but more importantly in this case, there's enough fact to support his story.  Not to the extent that he shouldn't have had a trial but I think enough that he's in the area of reasonable doubt.  The fact that matters most is when Zimmerman pulled the trigger was he, or did he reasonably believe he was, in danger of death or serious bodily harm.  I don't know, and am perfectly happy letting a jury figure that out. 

Reversing the races might be an interesting exercise.  You think a black resident of a gated community who called the police on a 17 yr old hispanic with all remaining facts following marrying up with just the races changed would lead to a guilty sentence for black Zimmerman?  I'm not sure I agree, I certainly think you are assuming too much.

In the medical community, death is known as Chuck Norris Syndrome. 



i think if martin had killed zimmerman, this would be a non-story.


and he may get teh "benefit of teh doubt" from the judicial system, but a lot of onlookers outside of that system are quick to give him that benefit. again, trayvon martin never got that benefit, even after the incident those who for some reason feel compelled to take zimmermans side have been circulating rumor and gossip about martin's "thuggish" qualities.


but once again, like you i'll let the jury decide. whatever that verdict is in this case, i can draw my own conclusions about historical and ongoing the treatment of african americans vs everyone else by this "benefit of the doubt" judicial system we have.


it ain't pretty.


edit: "reversing the races" isn't what i;m talking about. i'm talking about if events had transpired differently and zimmerman had wound up dead. in any case, "reversing the races" isn't a realistic exercise. black men generally would not expect to be let go with a statement after killing someone. if the races were reversed, the police response to this would have been very different.

“The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.” -George Bernard Shaw

Maybe He Was a Thug...Not Racial At All, The Lesson Being...


...don't let your children grow up to be cowboys...and if you do, expect them to maybe wear the hat.


You will note that Trayvon's brother seemed to be a good kid, to have none of the attributes that were so clearly exhibited by Trayvon.


I don't know why people insist on denying this elephant in the room...Trayvon was a scary kid that undeniably, for whatever reason, beat the hell of out Zimmerman. 


And got shot.




Tell the parents the truth; they either had a bad kid or raised him badly.


The brother seemed Okay, Trayvon was sent away to live with his father because he was thrown out of school and was an uncontrollable kid.





What a load of nonsense Trav


Really how can you type such garbage? There would have been no incident at all if Zimmerman wasn't a cop wannabe who was hassling people he had no business bothering. 

There are Two Naratives...I Was Over at Dkos....(Re Trayvon)


...and seeing their take on the Zimmerman matter was like I was in an alternate universe.


And your comment also focuses entirely on an early time....Why did Zimmerman follow Martin? You know well the answer...there had been a series of home robberies, one of which was a home invasion done by fearless and brazen young black men.


Have you been watching the trial? Have you seen the testimony on why the Neighborhood watch was created?


On a personal note, I was out very late last Chinatown a Chinese man in a hoodie, I laughed because it was no worry even though I was on a dark street in a sorta bad area alone.


At 2:30am on a brightly lit Hollywood Blvd., a young black man in a hoodie walking towards me was worrisome. (It was rainy last night in Los Angeles).


If we wanted to be smart, we might argue that young black men like their negative reputation, and yes that's exactly what it is, exactly because it gives them a sense of power in a world that has made them powerless.


I get it.


But the worry is real and real for real reasons.


Not  Rubbish at all.



I'm sorry you're so afraid Trav


but that is irrelevant to this situation. I walk by young black men in my neighborhood all the time. Sometimes at night. Never had a problem with any of them and never worried a bit about it. Of course I live in a nice neighborhood. If I was walking through some other areas I might be concerned. But I would also worry about anyone I saw late at night in those areas. Hispanics and white people included.


Since you bring up the neighborhood watch I'll just point out that Zimmerman did not follow the protocol expected of such volunteers. And since you seem to want to justify Z's actions towards Travon by applying race based criteria lets try reversing that. Specifically I'll note that there are more Hispanics than blacks in street gangs and they have a far higher rate of committing violent crime than whites do even if it's lower than that of blacks. Whatever prior history in the area may have been TM was doing nothing suspicious. Zimmerman was though. Hell if I had some random Hispanic guy following me around my neighborhood I would for sure be concerned. A hell of a lot more concerned than passing a black kid walking down the street.


On specifics I would note that a lot of people have tried to impugn TM's character. Well Zimmerman has a few issues as well. You know like being arrested for assaulting a police officer, a restraining order for domestic violence and lying in court.

I Hope Your Are Watching Early This Morning The Excellent...


...closing argument of the Defense today.


No shouting and bluster and sowing of confusion like the Prosecution yesterday.


Just straight talk.


It's on right now, take a look.


(I'm not fearful...I'm smart in my dealings with other people and strangers....duh.)



As Multiple Practicing Attorneys Have Pointed Out. . .

M Scott Eiland's picture

. . .it's a bad sign for the prosecution when they're the ones spinning the "well, it *could* have happened this way" line and the defense is being straightforward about recounting the testimony as presented. I'll be blunt and say it's an even worse sign when the prosecution is obviously echoing the worn talking points of the online race baiting left. The roles from the OJ case have been reversed, and Johnny Cochran didn't have the burden of proof beyond a reasonable doubt to deal with.

. . .and Don Mattingly must be fired (bye Ned--don't let the door hit you in the @$$ on the way out!).

I Like O'Mara...But, But...Several Gastly Errors....



...much of his multi-media did not work. First was the much debated 1 minute animation...he finally got it to run, but it was not smooth and all the fiddling lessened whatever impact it might have had.


He couldn't project pictures of the bullet wound, blood present, second image blood gone. I think he wanted to project the young Trayvon and Zimmerman but just held up images.


Most importantly, going over the elements at the end he wanted them projected but instead had to read them from his iPad which was difficult.


And he FAILED to clearly emphasize that not only 2nd degree wasn't warranted, but he mentioned manslaughter, the real and pressing danger only once....this was, in my view, a disaster...he needed to hammer on both 2nd degree AND Manslaughter.


He was obviously tired at the end, and why the hell didn't his staff try to work on the multi-media not working when O'mara was talking?


I thought it was a very poor closing.




Edit: The 4 minutes was were the cardboard cutouts.


Edit 2: The Prosecutors multi-media is just working perfectly in rebuttal...What the Hell?


Edit 3: P's rebuttal going very well with good energy.


reply to "edit"

brutusettu's picture

the jury heard the call of Zimmerman to the dispatcher.  Zimmerman claimed that it was too dark to know if Trayvon was within earshot.  So the perception of that really depends on what the jury had in their head.    Zimmerman says it was too dark to know if someone was right beside them.  The deceased isn't around to directly say if they thought Zimmerman could be watching him during those 4 minutes, wasn't their a witness that stated Trayvon didn't know if Zimmerman was right by him?  4 minutes in the dark with a man watching you in the shadows.

OJ had an excellent defense team too


I still think he did it. On another note how about this. Hispanic guy follows woman in his car at night. And then rapes her.


But hey no need to be concerned when some one follows you around at night when you're doing nothing wrong.

Not Actually, OJ had an Incompetent Prosecution & Judge...nt



Same Old Narrative. . .

M Scott Eiland's picture

. . .with precisely zero legal or moral relevance every time it is recited. Particularly since Zimmerman's "clueless" reaction ". . .like he's on drugs or something" turned out to be objectively correct. TM's questionable behavior may have been largely excluded as prejudicial, but it's certainly not unreasonable to assume that GZ saw something off about TM that might well have been dealt with by polite discussion had TM not reacted with violence out of irritation about alleged profiling.*

*--if TM was afraid, he certainly didn't act like it as far as any evidence presented in court demonstrates.

. . .and Don Mattingly must be fired (bye Ned--don't let the door hit you in the @$$ on the way out!).

Hispanic guy following someone around at night


Which Explains. . .

M Scott Eiland's picture

. . .why the woman went all MMA on the guy and beat the crap out of him, no doubt.

. . .and Don Mattingly must be fired (bye Ned--don't let the door hit you in the @$$ on the way out!).

in other news, Dude that fired a gun had MMA training

brutusettu's picture

dude that is on trial claims the deceased was beating the crap out of him (minor abrasions and Zimmerman's word that the EMT told him his nose was broke, no EMT report stating that afaik).



it's kind of hard to land a punch even in the top position (not sure if Zimmerman's rapid fire punch count includes punches he claims to have blocked).  but even pro boxers get gassed throwing punches in quick succession, that's one time where defending takes less energy than the aggressor.


Peter Pan very well may get away with Murder 2 because he shot the lone witness that was around when Peter Pan got superficial wounds.




And are we claiming that the rape victim would be justified in defending herself from a guy that was tracking her?  Would she have to wait for the man to pull out a knife, or could she punch the guy that was circling her if the guy reached in his jacket?



anyway, did anyone watch enough of the trial to know Zimmerman's explanation to how he shot Trayvon about 40 feet from where Zimmerman claims he was sucker punched after epically dropping his guard and reaching into his jacket?



What I'm waiting to hear


from Zimmermans defenders is a good explanation of why he had to get out of his car in his own neighborhood to read street signs and figure out where he was. Particularly since he was an avid member of the neighborhood watch so presumably should have known the neighborhood.


Wait you say he didn't know the neighborhood? Then WTF was he doing trying to judge whether or not another persons actions were suspicious? If he didn't know where he was then he sure as hell didn't know whether any particular person belonged in that area.



"objectively correct"

brutusettu's picture

was Trayvon objectively high at the time (that stuff is fat soluble)? i.e. was Trayvon objectively "on drugs or something" in an accurate and non-misleading way?




*--if TM was afraid...

fwiw, harder to present evidence from dead people.  Maybe Zimmerman's peripheral vision is as bad as his ability to memorize 3 whole street names in the enclave he lives in or his collaborated MMA ineptness.  

Zimmmerman seems like he would have had to let his guard down big time to let the person he was watching and following earlier get that close without Zimmerman closing ground near the end.

I didn't hang around Trayvon

brutusettu's picture

But in a medium size high school, I knew my share of people that very well fit the bill and would talk themselves up.


I still didn't know anyone that age would go lone wolf, double back to try and jack up some severely.  Maybe if they had a friend or 2 with them, but not by themselves.  Even my walking stereotype of 19th century Irishman freshman roommate might do the sustained attack Zimmerman claims, but only if provoked in a large way, and he says he jacked a kid in the face for following very close behind him for several yards while going to class.  




 How did they end up 40+ feet from where Zimmerman says he got suckered punched?  rolling? was one of them trying to flee?  Zimmerman is making stuff up and he was continued to try and keep close distance to Trayon before the fight?



I don't know why people insist on denying this elephant in the room...Trayvon was a scary kid that undeniably, for whatever reason, beat the hell of out Zimmerman. 

  • According to Zimmerman, yes, beat the hell out of dude with some light MMA training.  According to outward signs from Zimmerman's body, superficial wounds, consistent with someone that severely lacks knock out power.


-maybe Zimmerman's account of events is a good lesson too, don't track people, have a long sustained period of taking a mental break, allow the person you were tracking to get close, then just not pay much attention and just reach inside your jacket at night in the dark.  A teenager might think you're armed and try to defend themselves.



regardless, being on trial is not a place anyone wants to be. but neither would be being tracked down by some strange man at night for talking on a cell, on a sidewalk, during a light drizzle.

And Zimmerman had his bail revoked


for lying about his financial assets in court. So why exactly are we supposed to take what he says now at face value?

Trav, you might be right


But the cops wouldn't have known all that when they passed on the initial opportunity to arrest Zimmerman.  I think that decision was more about who Zimmerman was and what he did.  Zimmerman initiated contact with the police...skip to after the shooting....stayed on the scene, cooperated and had some evidence supporting a defensive shooting in his favor.  I think race was far less a motivation in the decision not to arrest initially than is being assumed by many.

In the medical community, death is known as Chuck Norris Syndrome. 

uh, exactly the point


Zimmerman initiated contact with the police...skip to after the shooting....stayed on the scene, cooperated and had some evidence supporting a defensive shooting in his favor.  I think race was far less a motivation in the decision not to arrest initially than is being assumed by many.

this is why i believe race *is* a factor in the entire episode. unless one believes that martin did absolutely anything to provoke his stalking, confrontation and death by zimmerman other than "look suspicious" (i.e. young black man, hoodie - a racist stereotype) why should zimmerman have done anything that he did? and why would the police have reacted so nonchalantly? we'll take a statement, be on your way. sorry for the fuss officers. no problem george. we'll just cart away john doe here and wait for someone to report him missing i guess. open and shut case right? black kid, wrong place wrong time. story of our lives dude.


i mean, now we are back to discussing the particulars of the case which i am not super interested in.


question: does anything about this rub you the wrong way at all?


the reason people were protesting this isnt because it was uncommon or crazy. or because martin was an angel who was so obviously sainted he shoukld not have been shot. its because the harassment of young black males ending in unprosecuted murders is recurring theme of life in teh USA.


“The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.” -George Bernard Shaw

Unprosecuted murders is recurring theme of life in teh USA?



...absolutely true.


But should not influence the Zimmerman/Martin trial.


I will note that Aaron Hernandez, a Hispanic, will be charged in the killing of Lloyd, a black man.


Oscar Grant, the Fruitville metro Station killing, did result in the conviction of the officer, (though not much punishment).


All of this is bad stuff.


The black community needs to address this not as a victim but rather an ongoing problem in which they are a participant also.





And of course...

Jay C's picture

I think that decision was more about who Zimmerman was and what he did.  Zimmerman initiated contact with the police...skip to after the shooting....stayed on the scene, cooperated and had some evidence supporting a defensive shooting in his favor.

Well, isn't it obvious? George Zimmerman was, in this case, far more able to "cooperate" with the police, and present his "defense" for the shooting, because any "evidence" to the contrary was somewhat difficult to ascertain. Because Trayvon Martin was dead. Shot to death by George Zimmerman.


Hard to give "evidence" from beyond the grave.....

More importantly, why on earth would he run?

brutusettu's picture

The dude called the cops, cops would know he left the vehicle. Know he owns a gun etc.


and if someone is lying their butt off or making wild exaggerations, one might question how much "cooperation" that is. 


non-stitch worthy minor cut to nose, small cut to back of head, no obvious bruising (at least from low-res cameraphone pics).  I guess that could somehow be construed as "some" evidence supporting an epic sized beating.

Which Explains. . .

M Scott Eiland's picture

. . .why no one ever successfully prosecutes a murder where the only living direct witness is the alleged murderer.

. . .and Don Mattingly must be fired (bye Ned--don't let the door hit you in the @$$ on the way out!).

Everything in a legal Sense about Zimmerman/Martin Has been...

(#306289) you well note, strange, suspicious...out of the ordinary.


I think the lawyers are bone dead exhausted...I know wherefore of they come.


What is particularly odd is the fact that if Z is convicted of the lesser included of manslaughter, he might well spend more time in prison than were he convicted of 2nd degree murder...the Jury won't know this.


And eeyn can't possible be suggesting that while Zimmerman deserves some time in court, maybe even some time in jail, he can't be meaning 20 to life for manslaughter either.


Or maybe he does.


The above seems like a tad too much trouble.


Well, his life is ruined regardless.


And of course Martin's is forfeit.


(Strangers should be more care-full with one another).



Who I feel sorry for


Trial counsel?   The prosecutors are probably on salary, and not an outrageously high salary,  so I feel slightly sorry for them having to go to 10pm.  OTOH given how weak some of their evidence/witnesses have turned out,  they could have avoided working late hours by charging Zimmerman with some much lesser offense, or maybe just dropping it entirely and letting the Martin's handle it via a civil suit,  where (AFAICT) juries are willing to award money regardless of evidence based on sympathy alone.


The defense lawyers are paid by the hour, right?  And probably not a low rate.  So I don't feel at all sorry for them.


The judge was the one who decided to keep going until 10pm so I'm not sorry for him.


I'll tell you how sorry I am for Zimmerman after it's determined whether or not he's guilty.  In general though, even if you are well within your rights, if you decide to patrol the streets and confront people, having to spend time in court is a foreseeable occupational hazard.  Professional police officers expect to spend time in court, so should amateurs.

so should amateurs? That's Pretty Smart, Maybe the Smartest


...comment I've heard, and I've heard a lot of supposedly smart pundits pontificate for hours...nicely done, nice analysis, nice...not volley as in tennis....nice....hitting for the truth as in baseball.





MOney doesn't fall upwards naturally


this economy has been deliberately engineered to redistribute income and wealth upwards, Economic Policy Institute Interactive Edition.

Hrm. As I've mentioned a few times, the flatlining of


wages and the great wage/productivity divergence seems to happen in the early 70s, well before the Reagan Revolution or even the first tentative steps to deregulation taken in the Carter administration.


Sure, less Right to Work and a higher top marginal tax rate could probably change things some, but I'm not entirely sure that the level of prosperity enjoyed by Anglo-American workers could have continued as it did in the fifties and sixties even if you did have a much more actively redistributionist government.



Non-expert thoughts


1. Agreed it would be facile and wrong to blame wage/productivity decoupling entirely on the Reagan admin.


2. Though decoupling began in the early 70s, it really took off in the late 70s, and exacerbated significantly after '80. That doesn't mean it's all about ascendant political conservatism, but it does mean it's not ruled out as a potentially significant cause. 




3. Most of the gains came in the 90s with a great labor market, suggesting near full employment is necessary for wage growth. In the late 70s, the Fed's tight money policy weakened the labor market and thus probably contributed to the lift-off of the late 70s decoupling.  


4. There's a new puzzle about the decoupling of job (not wage) growth and productivity starting in 2000. Overall, things are getting worse for labor.



5. There's also the new 2009 - 2012 situation of wages not just flatlining but going negative during periods of economic expansion.


6. The Economic Policy Institute has a post up listing factors for the decoupling:


Over the entire 1973 to 2011 period, roughly half (46.9 percent) of the growth of the productivity-median compensation gap was due to increased compensation inequality and about a fifth (19 percent) due to a loss in labor’s income share. About a third of the gap has been driven by price differences.


6a. - So income inequality is important, and the mid 70s is about the time CEO and executive compensation started to take off. It would be worth looking at the laws and behaviors of corporate boards and directors during this time period and after. 


6b. Though it's a smaller factor, I'm not sure a left-leaning political or labor movement can do anything about something like "price differences":

... workers have suffered worsening terms of trade, in which the prices of things they buy (i.e., consumer goods and services) have risen faster than the items they produce (consumer goods but also capital goods). Thus, if workers consumed microprocessors and machine tools as well as groceries, their real wage growth would have been better and more in line with productivity growth.



Charles Dickens reversal on anti-semitism


In 1863 a Jewish acquaintance, Eliza Davis, wrote Dickens a letter complaining of the Oliver Twist character, Fagin, as "a great wrong" to the Jewish people. He replied that he had not meant any disrespect towards Judaism, but only meant to give his character a nationality. He made amends in Our Mutual Friend when he turned the stereotype upside down. The sympathetically drawn Mr. Riah is forced to front for a Christian moneylender, and a generous community of Jews shelters the heroine, Lizzie Hexam. Riah reflects, "[People] take the worst of us as samples of the best . . . and they say 'All Jews are alike.'" Mrs. Davis gave Dickens a Hebrew and English Bible inscribed, "Presented to Charles Dickens, in grateful and admiring recognition of his having exercised the noblest quality men can possess-that of atoning for an injury as soon as conscious of having inflicted it."



More on the FISA Court betrayal


Secret courts making secret bodies of law and secret rulings on the constitutionality of spying:


In one of the court’s most important decisions, the judges have expanded the use in terrorism cases of a legal principle known as the “special needs” doctrine and carved out an exception to the Fourth Amendment’s requirement of a warrant for searches and seizures, the officials said.



The special needs doctrine was originally established in 1989 by the Supreme Court in a ruling allowing the drug testing of railway workers, finding that a minimal intrusion on privacy was justified by the government’s need to combat an overriding public danger. Applying that concept more broadly, the FISA judges have ruled that the N.S.A.’s collection and examination of Americans’ communications data to track possible terrorists does not run afoul of the Fourth Amendment, the officials said.


So the FISA Court decided that an exception to searches that allows for something like making sure voluntary employees running trains aren't high should be expanded to allow the government to spy on every single American's phone calls and emails for years on end.


These judges betrayed the country.

C'mon, you can do it!


You can beat Wal-Mart!

Evil China threatens Peking economics professor with expulsion


Broken, inadequate judicial review of the NSA


A former FISC judge believes the court is only appropriate for signing individual classified warrants, not issue rulings on the legality of entire surveillance programs based only on hearing the DoJ's side of things:

"A judge has to hear both sides of a case before deciding," he told members of a Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board (PCLOB) recently appointed by President Obama.


"What Fisa does is not adjudication, but approval. This works just fine when it deals with individual applications for warrants, but the 2008 amendment has turned the Fisa court into administrative agency making rules for others to follow."

"It is not the bailiwick of judges to make policy," he added.

This broken system, and the un-American judges who green-lighted mass surveillance on their fellow citizens, was based on the ridiculous reasoning that every single piece of phone and internet meta-data over the past 6 yrs. is "relevant" to a government investigation. From yesterday's WSJ:

"Relevant” has long been a broad standard, but the way the court is interpreting it, to mean, in effect, “everything,” is new, says Mark Eckenwiler, a senior counsel at Perkins Coie LLP who, until December, was the Justice Department’s primary authority on federal criminal surveillance law.
“I think it’s a stretch” of previous federal legal interpretations, says Mr. Eckenwiler,"

Thanks, FISC judges. I hope everyone here doesn't mind if an NSA analyst peruses a list of every sex site you've ever visited on the internet, for any reason or none, and then listens to recordings of your phone calls and reads your email if an algorithm determines that there's a 51% probability that you were on international soil during the communications (I'm sure no one here travels internationally very often).

Spy-loving bastards


U.S. District Judge Royce C. Lamberth, who originally green-lighted the NSA's PRISM spying program, and Judge Reginald Walton, current Chief Justice of the Fisa Court, betrayed their fellow Americans and made a mockery of the rule of law.

A former FISC judge and former DoJ specialist on surveillance


We have Edward Snowden to thank for providing them with information so that they can weigh in on these  issues and offer input on how to better the system.


That seems to me important and worthwhile.

Hidden good news buried


in your link - after several years of delay,  the President has finally allowed the PCLOB to run.  Powerless and obscure, but at least in existence.

Powerless, obscure


and stacked with members who don't care about civil liberties:


Rachel Brand, another seemingly unsympathetic board member, concluded: "There is nothing that is more harmful to civil liberties than terrorism. This discussion here has been quite sterile because we have not been talking about terrorism."


No knock SWAT served warrants at 3 AM

brutusettu's picture

on people simply suspected of a misdemeanor (or living in a house mistakenly raided),  that seems harmful to civil liberties.

Having everyone's communications habits tracked and recorded, that seems ripe for abuse of civil liberties.


Different state laws that would make it difficult for consumers to get real health coverage and having the real leverage solely in profit seeking panels that answer only to investors looking for the best rate of return they can get, that seems harmful to civil liberties.



TSA frisking and the bottlenecks before checkpoints it creates, the grave threat of terrorism demands those fleshy bottlenecks stay in place.


Yes yes, the fact that terrorism totally is the most harmful to civil liberties is doubleplus good, so say we all, so say we what a former top Bush justice department 



The Chamber of Commerce must have some members that stand to make big $ from total informational awareness and so much more.

Slight correction


I don't think it has to be 51% probability.  IIRC courts have ruled that even "probable cause" doesn't necessarily mean mathematically more likely than not.

"Probable cause" isn't the issue


It's whether the NSA can access content because it "reasonably believes" one of the communicants is on foreign soil. As long as it's not a domestic target, the NSA doesn't need probable cause. 


To meet the "reasonably believes is not domestic" standard, the NSA uses a computer program to analyze the data. If it produces at least a 51% probability that one of the communicants is on foreign soil, it can read your email and listen to your phone calls for any reason or none. The WPOST reports:

Analysts who use the system from a Web portal at Fort Meade, Md., key in “selectors,” or search terms, that are designed to produce at least 51 percent confidence in a target’s “foreignness.” ... Training materials obtained by The Post instruct new analysts to make quarterly reports of any accidental collection of U.S. content, but add that “it’s nothing to worry about.”

Long awaited report on the death of bin Laden published.

mmghosh's picture


Jason Burke breaks it down.

There are few surprises here, except perhaps the depth of Pakistani animosity. "American arrogance knows no limit," Pasha told the authors. Their own views appear much the same, if expressed in marginally more measured tones.

freedom is a fundamental value that does not need to be justified in terms of some other value like efficiency

Wanted: A Really Big Toilet Tank

M Scott Eiland's picture

Nothing less will serve to flush the turds finding their way into the NYC mayoral race.

. . .and Don Mattingly must be fired (bye Ned--don't let the door hit you in the @$$ on the way out!).

Elliot SPitzer is Peter Noth's character in The Good Wife


If I were watching that show, I'd know about how many more TV seasons it will take Spitzer to recapture the governor's office.


EDIT: Wiki has the answer: "In season one’s finale, Peter launched an ultimately successful campaign for his old job. At the end of season 3, he launches his campaign for governor of Illinois, winning the governorship as Season 4 concluded."


In 3 TV seasons from today, Spitzer will be governor again.

I doubt it...


Mayor, maybe. Governor? He was crashing and burning well before the prostitution thing. Most people unfamiliar with New York politics don't realize in how much trouble he was getting himself into. Brilliant prosecutor; bad politician.


You can be fascinated by politics, be a political animal, be an intelligent one, and yet suck at it. He knew how to get people to fear him. To love him, not so much.

This was clear enough to Larkin, whose patriotism rested on the notion that England was the worst place on earth with the possible exception of everywhere else.

But recently SPitzer has shown sincere willingness


to dedicate significant monetary resources to lovin'.


Also, on The Good Wife, Chris Noth's character reformed, so we can expect same from Spitzer over 3 TV seasons' time.

Ha, Peter Noth

brutusettu's picture

Chris Noth (the actor) plays Peter Florrick (the character).



I meant Mr. Big


Aka, Peter North

I thought it was a Freudian Slip

brutusettu's picture

i.e. catchy had the North Pole on his mind and didn't know it.


I read "Peter North" the 1st time around and only later caught the lack of "r" after doubling back after reading the quote from wiki.

Ahh Pr0n names. That's a whole new diary


I got dibs on 'Plenny O'Toole'

In the medical community, death is known as Chuck Norris Syndrome. 

5 hours and no better names


why do I come here anymore?

In the medical community, death is known as Chuck Norris Syndrome. 

So Passe

brutusettu's picture

If I had to come up with one, Champ Copulate.

Sorry, I meant straight names


I'm not using 'Fred Flintbone' anymore, you can have it.

In the medical community, death is known as Chuck Norris Syndrome. 

Surname is obvious butchering of the Capulet surname

brutusettu's picture

and the 1st name is a real 1st name.

O'er the land of the free


Countless # of decent size cities that can support limited taxi

brutusettu's picture

services, or limos used as taxis, will criminalize taxi service *in the name of safety* i.e. hope to continue to rake in cash from DUI fines.  


checkpoints = profit (for those deciding to have checkpoints instead of legal taxis)



nanny bloomberg won't let us buy soda, so facism.


The worst part about watching this is that I was only surprised that the cops didn't act worse. 



The camera was running and they did not delete the video.

This was clear enough to Larkin, whose patriotism rested on the notion that England was the worst place on earth with the possible exception of everywhere else.

Draconian Measures May Be Called For

M Scott Eiland's picture

Say, awarding treble damages plus attorneys fees in all cases where it can be shown that the officers decided to try to suppress evidence of their wrongdoing, plus explicitly authorizing civil actions for fraud (meaning punitive damages can come into play*) based on that sort of attempted destruction of evidence.

*--Personally, I think punitive damages are a bad idea and should be abolished, but as long as they exist this is an appropriate area for them to be available as a remedy.

. . .and Don Mattingly must be fired (bye Ned--don't let the door hit you in the @$$ on the way out!).

Yeah but the point isn't so much damages


as it is the hassle and the respect for basic liberties.  I can't really demonstrate any damages received in being brow-beat by an overbearing cop for a few minutes but the brow-beating is inconsistent with those notions of freedom we like to claim we have. 

I think we generally fall into two groups of people; those that think the cop is getting a little too much authority on and those that think the driver is being a punk.  I don't know how to convince the latter to start thinking like the former.

In the medical community, death is known as Chuck Norris Syndrome. 

Hire someone dressed up like a cop to slap them silly?





Anyone up for some dim-sum?


That Number Can't Be Right


The Earth's atmosphere cannot nearly sustain unspoiled chicken feet for 46 years, much less allow for preparing and serving it.



Was that claimed?  Anyway,  maybe they were pickled.


Those chicken feet,  depending on where in Vietnam they came from,  survived either the bombing of Hanoi or the fall of Saigon.  There must have been electricity disruptions,  so I'm sure they weren't frozen.

I picked up a new description "Glenzilla"

mmghosh's picture

for Mr Greenwald here.


Whistleblowing is tough on the left.


Also, going after Greenwald (and Snowden).

freedom is a fundamental value that does not need to be justified in terms of some other value like efficiency

Are Your Sure Spandan isn't an FBI plant Himself?

(#306216) this stage I'd put nothing past these bastards.




For it's lack of clarity of thought and ass kissing syncopated towing the line...I'd say this was written by IBM-bot, a well programmed one, but one I would not share tea (or electrons) with.


As to Tbogg, it just seemed bitchy. And Twitter does not lend itself to long rational discourse.


Fee on them...


you won't find this on Dkos, the Orange Satan:


Good comment re obama and the us


epistemic closure ... (22+ / 0-)

... refers to a system for understanding things where only a fixed set of conclusions are possible. This will always eventually fail, because the real world generates surprises on a regular basis, and when it does, the people with that kind of closed system for understanding the world will certainly fail to cope, even if they might be in denial about failing to understand what is going on.


Barack Obama: From Nobel Laureate to Ugly American.





A profile of the FISA Court's chief justice


I liked this part the best:


He continues, according to his official biography, to serve as a Big Brother...


FISA Court Chief Justice - pants-wetting, unstable crybaby?


Digby points us to this WPost profile:


Lamberth, a hulking Texan, began to cry as he described a secret briefing about a terrorist threat to the District that he received as a FISA judge. "My wife and friends live here," he said.


She muses about informing the judge re: threats orders of magnitude greater to him and his family's safety: He'll revert to the fetal position and never be able to leave his bed. ... [He's] living in some fever dream that makes him cry when he thinks of the danger his family could be in from a terrorist attack.


This is exactly the kind of irrationality that's turned this country into a bunch of pants-wetting little children who are willing to let "Daddy" do anything to make them feel safe.


After reading about the surveillance state expansions this guy has signed off on, he deserves to be mocked.


Malice Frightens People

M Scott Eiland's picture

As other causes of death become increasingly rare and/or delayed, the idea that something completely out of their control might kill them and/or their loved ones terrifies people*, and they understandably don't really care about making really dead or incarcerated anyone who might be thinking about intentionally making such a thing happen. The best chance of pushing back against the excesses that result is reminding them that the same people they're trying to protect with this impulse are also at risk from these methods. If you don't start there, you'll never get anything but laughter regarding any complaints about how those methods impact those living in other countries (particularly ones who don't bother to hide that they don't like us very much).

*--which is basically the same thing that makes people avoid commercial air travel when it's objectively safer than any other means of transportation--even (relatively) minor incidents such as the one in San Francisco have a disproportionate impact on people's willingness to fly if there are other options, and people will die who did not otherwise as a result.

. . .and Don Mattingly must be fired (bye Ned--don't let the door hit you in the @$$ on the way out!).

I guess that's a psychological explanation


but you'd expect better control of one's fear from a judge.


Several years back, my girlfriend was working at the ACLU in CA and a guy with lots of firearms was picked up who was on his way to her office (not merely her district) and to the TIDES organization (a weird obsession of Glenn Beck's back in 09).


I didn't weep or sob when faced with the prospect of my beautiful, innocent girlfriend getting shot and I wouldn't have signed off on mass surveillance of my fellow Americans b/c I was petrified by this threat.


This judge is seriously a disgrace, a traitor to America and the rule of law.

Short You


We have to pay the cost of loss of freedom because of morons who don't understand statistics.


Or am I missing something here?

This was clear enough to Larkin, whose patriotism rested on the notion that England was the worst place on earth with the possible exception of everywhere else.

Fear of Intentinional but Highly Unlikely Random Murder

brutusettu's picture

The only solution is to set up an apparatus that is a perfect tool to abuse and doesn't catch a dude whose heightened risk was brought to the attention of the FBI on a silver platter courtesy of the Russians.

I Would Like to take Partial Credit Since I Think MA Was....


....responding to me, (I notice these things and take these small victories


I think I've seen it on CNN, in the LA Times, WaPo, but not the NYT, I real lots of comments.


But here is the real problem, and yes--everything is personal for me, but I want to trust what I read, with a critical eye to be sure, but still by-in-large trusting in the good faith of the writer...I would like to think the same for my Government...which is why the Snowden matter is so difficult for me...I mean I knew, but I didn't really "Know," much like the Europeans.


Long ago I decided that the price of cynicism in life was far too high, that it was far better to occasionally be considered gullible and a fool that to distrust everything...I think that is kind of a poison and a generally a bad way to live one's life.


But I may have to rethink this bedrock philosophical basis on how I live my this really is bad, just the idea of bots human or not, at least for me.


Very bad.






I know I posted this 3 month tracking of the German Green Politician


Then, Michael, one of my former Captains in Vietnam sent me this link...well...! Even more fascinating from a security state perspective, (this surprises me and distresses me, they can see everything, literally).


Best Wishes, Traveller

Take all the credit you want!


I kind of differ with you. I do not assume any good faith when I read, or bad faith. I just don't assume anything. I don't think that's cynicism. It's skepticism though.


So if I read one piece by somebody I have not read before, I don't put nearly any weight on what it says, regardless. I start weighing stuff if over time the writer exhibits a pattern of reliability. I'm also mindful of the money. Follow the money. Who pays for the writer or the web site? Somebody always does.

This was clear enough to Larkin, whose patriotism rested on the notion that England was the worst place on earth with the possible exception of everywhere else.

The US Department of Defense has blocked access to Guardian

mmghosh's picture

articles for staff, allegedly.


The Guardian has more traffic than, or


The really bizarre bit for your video link is that they are storing 5 billion terabytes of videodata per day.  What a colossal waste of time, energy, money and effort.  

freedom is a fundamental value that does not need to be justified in terms of some other value like efficiency

That Number Can't Be Right


The Earth does not manufacture nearly one TB per person per day, much less install and deploy it.

This was clear enough to Larkin, whose patriotism rested on the notion that England was the worst place on earth with the possible exception of everywhere else.

I suspect it's the British billion


and they repeated themselves by using the Tera prefix.


5 billion bytes in UK = 5 trillion bytes in US = 5 Terabytes


which seems much more reasonable.   It's amazing how often popular writing about technology is off by a factor of 1000 or more.



1.8 billion pixel camera will generate huge files.

mmghosh's picture

This is a completely pointless, hugely expensive waste of the planet's resources simply to keep a few million people supposedly safe from "terrorism", even discounting the sinister aspects - which at the end of the day may not be as sinister as people wish to point out.  Most of this work will probably end up with enabling one upmanship in finance or to pursue individual vendettas.


There are many better ways to spend the same resources.

freedom is a fundamental value that does not need to be justified in terms of some other value like efficiency



I agree that it's not a wise thing to do.

But it's got to be a couple of orders of magnitude less wasteful than invading Iraq, for example. Or even, in your corner of the world, maintaining large standing armed forces over Kashmir for over half a century.


Two ways to look at this:


1. Humans are incredibly stupid, selfish, petty, destructive, and short-sighted.


2. Humans are amazing in their ability to make any kind of social order work at all on a planetary scale, for more than five minutes in a row.


Who knows, that 1.8 billion pixel technology might find its way into a next generation space telescope. After all, what was Hubble if not repurposed spy satellite technology?

This was clear enough to Larkin, whose patriotism rested on the notion that England was the worst place on earth with the possible exception of everywhere else.

False equivalence. The presence of armed forces in Kashmir

mmghosh's picture

is almost entirely the result of mujahideen-led insurgency that started in 1988.  The funding for this, combined with the training in arms was via US funding for the mujahideen in Afghanistan.  


If you remember, there was a shooting war in Kashmir in 1999, initiated by irregular and regular forces in Pakistan.


In addition there have been regular standoffs with the PLA, last one in April 2013.  It is not in doubt that armies are maintained to guarantee a nation's territorial integrity, in the presence of real threats.  Videoing and keeping records of citizens activities are not remotely equivalent.  I don't condone the Indian Army's activities in Kashmir, far from it.  Atrocities committed by the Army have been documented and need resolution.  The presence of an Army along the borders of a nation is, however, justified, in a way that the Iraq invasion and occupation was not.  Contrast the aftermath of the liberation of Bangladesh in 1971 to the Iraq invasion after 2003.

freedom is a fundamental value that does not need to be justified in terms of some other value like efficiency

Debatable at Best


Your statement presumes that India has negotiated both in good faith and realistically, and is thus a victim to a the threat of a far inferior neighbor. I'm not an expert on the conflict but I get suspicious when the larger country claims to be victimized by the smaller one, for over 66 years. A cursory reading indicates to me that India does not care what the population of the various regions of Kashmir want, as you 1) claim the entire region and 2) refused to hold a plebiscite under third party supervision.


Standing armies are wasteful by definition. Of course they are justified in some narrow sense, but the expenditure in resources by India and Pakistan to maintain their armies, obtain nuclear weapons, buy military hardware is staggering and especially so for nations with so much poverty.


The invasion of Iraq is the single most wasteful, unjustified, and even criminal use of resources since the attack by Iraq on Iran in 1980, and it is certainly the biggest, least justified act of aggression by the United States since Vietnam, though, IMHO, it was probably even less justified than Vietnam, making it the least justified large act of war the US has ever undertaken.


But the point of this is that, all things considered, 1.8 billion pixel cameras are not the biggest problems humanity must deal with, in the face of a collective $1.7 trillion in annual military expenditures.

This was clear enough to Larkin, whose patriotism rested on the notion that England was the worst place on earth with the possible exception of everywhere else.

Secession is not national policy, as history indicates.

mmghosh's picture

Regular elections started to be held in Kashmir since the 1970s, and democratic governments have been elected in every decade.


The major spike in the increase in jihadism was a direct product of the AfPak policy of the USA in the 1980s.  As for standing armies, yes of course everyone should demilitarise.  But three nuclear capable states have common claims in Kashmir, and MAD is the only thing that keeps them apart.


Our governments are certainly at war with our citizens in Central and Eastern states for many decades now.  And that is a bad thing.  But our neighbours have, since independence, declared war unilaterally, invaded and pre-emptively struck in 1948, 1962, 1965, 1971 and 1999.  That is 5 times in 60 years, rather a lot.  To state that we are responsible for this is blaming the victim.

freedom is a fundamental value that does not need to be justified in terms of some other value like efficiency


M Scott Eiland's picture

After all, we can't get *all* our awesome spin-off tech from porn.

. . .and Don Mattingly must be fired (bye Ned--don't let the door hit you in the @$$ on the way out!).

5 TB is way too low


5,000 TB is probably closer. With large drives you are talking maybe $50 a TB. Add in the network storage array hardware, datacenter costs, etc. It might cost them $200 a TB these days. Let's say $400 with various overheads and profiteering.


$400 * 5,000 = $2 million a day = $700 million a year. For storage growth. Totally plausible ballpark figure. Say $500 million to $1.5 billion per year.


We are talking about roughly 700,000 disk drives. Seagate and WD manufacture around 450 million annually between them.


Still, 5,000 is a suspiciously round number. Also, 5,000 TB before or after compression? It's video right? So there are many ways to compress the data, both on input and over time. For example, as videos become stale, they can remove frames or in other ways reduce redundant information.

This was clear enough to Larkin, whose patriotism rested on the notion that England was the worst place on earth with the possible exception of everywhere else.

And they drive on the wrong side of the road.


And drink warm beer.  And fight over soccer.  It's simply stunning that such a backwards country could produce geniuses like Austin Powers.

In the medical community, death is known as Chuck Norris Syndrome. 

The Irish drink warm beer too.

mmghosh's picture

What is it with the US and chilled beers?  Chilled lagers might have their place, but I was served chilled Guinness, of all things, last year in the US (I tried it, too, for the novelty value if nothing else).

freedom is a fundamental value that does not need to be justified in terms of some other value like efficiency

The US preference for chilled beers is an interesting story


Unfortunately, I don't know it.  I'll take a total SWAG at it and guess that the combination of canning, coupled with Prohibition limitations leading to poor beer quality led to a 'requirement' to chill for taste and the advent of big household refrigerators led to capability. 

In the medical community, death is known as Chuck Norris Syndrome. 

Ever been to the central Phillipines?


Beer served on the rocks like a soda,  at least when I was there (70's).  



i had beer on ice lots of times in viet nam.

“The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.” -George Bernard Shaw

I've never heard of such a thing.


I guess you could do that with light beers.  What's the worst that could happen?  They'd have a watered down taste? 

I guess it also makes a certain sense in a warm climate if sufficient refrigerated space isn't available.  Keep it warm, and store it warm to avoid skunking.

In the medical community, death is known as Chuck Norris Syndrome. 

Not To Mention Andy Murray

M Scott Eiland's picture

The Brits are celebrating a King Andrew of the non-Royal variety today.

. . .and Don Mattingly must be fired (bye Ned--don't let the door hit you in the @$$ on the way out!).

Murray was one of the schoolchildren in the Dunblane massacre

mmghosh's picture

he hid with his brother under a desk.  He was in a youth group run by Hamilton, and his mother gave lifts to Hamilton in her car.


Pretty amazing fellow.


He talks about it here.


freedom is a fundamental value that does not need to be justified in terms of some other value like efficiency