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Open Thread 23 - 29 Oct

by Bjinse Mon Oct 23rd, 2017 at 07:51:45 PM EST

You knew there would always be a new thread, as you knew the river would flow again after it was frozen


Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Tue Oct 24th, 2017 at 05:11:53 PM EST
The Disruptors -
So, the most obvious case we highlight is the corporation. On one level, we think of the corporation as a typical organizational form of modern capitalism. But in another sense it's simply a body of people with some sort of hierarchy and defined roles, engaged in some kind of productive process.

It's not inherently engaged in producing commodities for profit. And if we go back to the prehistory of the corporation, the corporation was just a legally chartered body that carried out some kind of function. It got appropriated as an organizational form for capitalism specifically, but it didn't start out as that.

The other side of the coin is that there's a long tradition of thinkers, including Galbraith, Keynes, Veblen, and many others, who saw a natural, or at least possible, evolution of the corporation into the basis of some kind of planning or collective organization of production --that it could easily cease to be oriented toward the needs of profit maximization.

So if you think that type of evolution is possible, then you ask, why hasn't it happened? I would argue that the answer is that somebody stopped it from happening -- that there are people in society whose job it is to prevent that from happening. There are people and institutions whose job it is to ensure that corporations remain within capitalist logic, that they remain oriented towards production for sale and for profit. On some level, this is the fundamental role of shareholders and their advocates, and of institutions like private equity.

by generic on Wed Oct 25th, 2017 at 06:51:30 AM EST
Yes, I've tread this ground many years before and after Romney sputtered the obvious: corporations are people. For typical, trite, incredulous innerboob responses in the US has been, "I'll believe that when I see a corporation in an orange jumpsuit [US penal uniform]" and "Personhood is [FILL IN EXPLETIVE].

Cognates, dualism, diversification

The word "corporation" is a common noun like a "tree", the "tribe", a "group", the "club", a "school", the "service," and so forth. The name of a corporation is a personal noun. Whatever the name adopted by a group of people is the alias (legal idiom "term of art") for each and every member; the name is not the object-in-itself :) "US Steel" for instance performs the same semantic function as "Chippewa". What neither name denotes, as does a common noun, is the systematic value or common purpose(s) of that particular group of people. Nor does it perforce describe the actual activities of the group's members, eg. "Nike".

People have formed and dissolved corporations, like, forever.

It's the scope and anonymity of individual members engrossed by such naming that some people express difficulty comprehending ... as they do pronouns, particularly indiscriminate usage of the first-person plural, "we," likewise ambiguous second-person usage (Eng. sing. and pl.) in context of first-person (self) referential speech, a very weird and contemporary expression of alienation.

Why do people incorporate?
To accomplish a goal that one alone cannot. "Belonging" is a crude expression of that need. But so is diversifying risk of injury to oneself: It is at this point that overweening social, economic, financial, material and mortal explanations of and "motivations" (sic) for so-called modern "corporatism" converge.

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

by Cat on Wed Oct 25th, 2017 at 12:19:25 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Corporations deal with resources and fridge benefits like no other artificial entity we now. A corporation is quite a life form: internalized enjoyment, externalized waste. It invades, it preys... on us.
by das monde on Wed Oct 25th, 2017 at 01:00:31 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Don't get all metaphysical on me ... I just waddled over to my stacks again, pulled out Arie de Geus, The Living Company (1997), dusted it off, scanned the table of contents, yep, the buzz of the next twenty years in four chapters, pp 234.
  • Learning

  • Persona (Identity)

  • Ecology

  • Evolution


Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Wed Oct 25th, 2017 at 05:05:58 PM EST
[ Parent ]
CASE: Schnall and Adamji (plaintiffs) v. Chessick (defendant) and
Restaurant.Com, Inc. a Deleware Corporation, (defendant and nominal defendant)

ADAMIJ was employed a/o 2004, establishment date of business, in capacity of CIO. SCHNALL is one of "original investors and shareholders", ie. no earlier than 2004. Both own common stock in the company. Here "company" and "corporation" are synonymous; "stock," "security," "equity" are synonymous contract instruments, designating owner interest in the going concern (the "company"). Restaurant.com, Inc. stock is not publicly traded; the company stock is "closely held" or "privately owned". Plaintiffs' brief, defendant's filing with the SEC for Regulation D exemption (2012), SEC Regulation D and IL Sec. of State summary of same under IL securities trading law support this conclusion: "In Illinois, all sales to Illinois residents within the immediately preceding 12-month period must have been made to not more than 35 persons or have involved an aggregate sales price of not more than $1,000,000." Thus are established maximum number of interested parties and total face value of shares created and distributed 2004, 2012, and any time thereafter.

WHEREAS plaintiffs' brief does NOT allege CHESSICK sold stock to any one who are not accredited investors; plaintiffs' brief neither confirms nor denies distribution of profit to shareholders at any time, 2004 - 2012; plaintiffs' brief does not refer to company by-laws stipulating fiduciary duties and other obligations of company officers; plaintiffs' brief does not identify a board of directors, its members by name, or any individual, designated hiring authority responsible for hiring CHESSICK; plaintiffs' brief does not refer to any employment contract, all terms and conditions inclusive, accepted by therefore contravened by CHESSICK (2012); and plaintiffs' brief does not allege fraud by violation of Regulation D or other means by CHESSICK, one may wonder that none considered investing a portion of their salaries and income in preferred shares as had CHESSICK.

Why did "shareholders", plaintiffs, assume the alias of the company, "nominal defendant"?
In your deliberations (facts unknown notwithstanding) consider US ferangi rules of incorporation noted above --cognates, dualism, diversification.

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

by Cat on Fri Oct 27th, 2017 at 11:09:29 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The paper this interview is based on is here

There is a certain tension between the claims that finance improves allocation and that it
tightens discipline. After all, the economic benefits of finance come precisely from the way in
which it suspends the discipline of the market. Finance allows companies to grow despite having
no profits of their own to reinvest, as vividly illustrated along Sandhill Road and its equivalents
around the world. More generally, it breaks the link between current income and current ex-
penditure. The most disciplined government would be one that paid for all expenditure strictly
out of current receipts; such a government would have no need of finance. This contradiction
is visible in acute form in Europe. The crisis there is said to show that financial markets must
be freer and governments must submit more strictly to their discipline. Yet it is those same
markets' financing of large deficits and "mispricing" of government debt that is understood to
have created the crisis in the first place.
by generic on Thu Nov 9th, 2017 at 10:03:59 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Thanks for providing this, although I started reading it with a certain prejudice acquired from having read many similar efforts to describe market failure through the ages or reconcile economic and financial ('pecuniary' is Veblen's magic word) strategies to accumulate wealth without even questioning centuries of capitalist indoctrination (rooted in private property), much less de facto and de jure sanctions of the state that absolutely prune the scale and scope of the market "behavior" of individuals and "corporations".

I'll finish it this evening and leave an historical example of "agency dilemma" that caught my attention again last night after an encounter with a UID extolling the virtue of bitcoin ("store of value") by comparison to gold and fiat but not quite slaves and "miners".

GENOA, 12th - 15th cen. CE "triangle trade" terminal of slaves, precious metals, and finance spanning west Africa to China. Have you never wondered how Europe accumulated gold reserves given its deposits are negligible? I settled on two abridged references.

Genoa, 'La Superba': The Rise and Fall of a Merchant Pirate Superpower

In 1266 the Mongol leaders of the Golden Horde ceded Caffa to Genoese, and Tana (on the Sea of Azov) to both the Genoese and Venetians. ... Unsurprisingly, Caffa was to host one of Europes largest slave markets. Genoa was tapping directly into major trade routes thousands of miles long, and linking them with the rapidly developing European economy. It was the medieval invention of globalisation.

Medieval Italy: An Encyclopedia
Overseas trade, Genoa's economic backbone, relied on three types of contracts: the commenda, the societas, and the sea loan.[...]It neede commercial privileges in Latin Syria and obtained these by aiding the crusades; it also neede treaties with the Byzantines, who still controlled access to the Black Sea.* [...] Early in 1252, Genoa introduced the first reaular gold coinage in the west, narrowly edging out Florence. By then Genoa dominated trade in the Greek islands and rivaled Pisa and Venice in the crusader states, and Egypt remained the heart of the eastern trade.* [...] Genoa's galleys, unlike those of Venice, remained completely private ventures. Because of vast war debts, the popular regime under Guglielmo Boccanegra had to reorganize the commune's finances, which relied heavily on excise taxes, a modest tariff, and borrowing during wartime. ...A precocious market in public securities developed as new laws allowed creditors to sell shares.

) Anatolian, Balkan, Chinese gold deposits still among largest reserves today.
(**) actually, trans-continental Muslim trade, well-documented in Arabic literature, to Ghana/Benin for gold bullion and dust, still among largest reserves today.

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Thu Nov 9th, 2017 at 06:21:54 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The source is fake-newish by the new Twitter standards, but who else would talk about this (even for Halloween)?

Get Ready for a New Chernobyl in Ukraine -- Oriental Review

According to analysts from Energy Research & Social Science [actuallya journal title], there is an 80% probability of a "serious accident" at one of Ukraine's nuclear power plants before the year 2020. This is due both to the increased burden on the nuclear plants caused by the widespread shutdowns of Ukraine's thermal power plants (the raw material they consumed - coal from the Donbass - is in critically short supply) and also because of the severe physical deterioration of their Soviet-era nuclear equipment and the catastrophic underfunding of this industry.

Plus, the Ukrainians are determined to replace Russian fuel assemblies by Westinghouse's product, even if experimental and practical experience has been dire.

the accident rate at Ukraine's nuclear plants has increased 400% since 2010 [...]

In addition to the use of knockoff fuel, the biggest reason for the increased number of incidents at Ukraine's nuclear plants has been the chronic underfunding of the industry. In the 25 years since the collapse of the USSR, literally not a cent has been invested in that sector. But in the meantime, the reactors that have outlived their 30-year lifespan either need to be closed (which would cost money that Energoatom does not have) or have their service life extended [...]

[...] Kiev arbitrarily decided to extend the operation of the reactors back in 2015, but it was not until 2017 - after the fact - that it sent that (pre-approved) program to update the nuclear plants to its neighboring countries and international environmental organizations for study.

This was a simultaneous breach of two UN Conventions that require signatories to obtain public and intergovernmental approval prior to (not after) commencing work at a nuclear power plant [...]

Serious concerns are being raised about the fact that the Ukrainian state agencies responsible for nuclear energy have not yet devised ways to dispose of the spent nuclear fuel and other radioactive waste, now that the service life of the reactors has been extended and given the fact that Ukraine is refusing to use Russian storage facilities.

So the play with nuclear stuff is as incompetent and irresponsible as you could imagine? Trump and Brexiters may envy.
by das monde on Fri Oct 27th, 2017 at 03:28:24 AM EST
Sure, why not? Ukraine haven't paid any price for Chernobyl, apart from a few irradited people. But we can blame the USSR for that.

If it all goes wrong, the international community will bail them out. And if it goes right, they can't afford to pay anyway, so it's a free power station

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Fri Oct 27th, 2017 at 05:20:10 PM EST
[ Parent ]
< wipes tears >

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Fri Oct 27th, 2017 at 07:32:02 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Gamblers tend to stop at omega events.
by das monde on Tue Oct 31st, 2017 at 12:50:54 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Info Tech of Ancient Democracy -

The Athenians had to keep those bodies flowing smoothly, then, and that was largely a matter of keeping track of who belonged where and when. They also had to maintain a smooth and dependable flow of the information generated by those bodies -- the votes, the decrees, the endless speechifying. They had, in short, to do a lot of stuff that modern information technology would have helped them tremendously to do, and nonetheless they managed pretty well, with the materials at hand, to build the tools they needed to make their system work.

Those tools -- the info tech of ancient Athenian democracy -- are the subject of the following Notes. I present them now without further ado.

They built quite fancy devices.

by generic on Mon Oct 30th, 2017 at 05:01:41 PM EST
Declarations of primacy, English-speaking children these days call it "virtue-signalling". So let's play The Best Cradle of Western Civilization.
Democracy in Ancient Iraq
... Although there can be no doubt that the assemblies held at Uruk during the time of Gilgamesh were less advanced than those held in later Greece or Rome, the situation that brought about the convening of Uruk's bicameral assemblies is not dissimilar to the one that ancient Greece faced some 2400 years later. Sumer, like Greece, was made up of a number of independent city-states, each of them vying for power and supremacy over the region and its people. In a reversal of the veto power that the assembly of the arms-bearing men had over the elders in Uruk, the Spartan* elders (a council of twenty-eight men, all over sixty years of age) had the power to overrule any `crooked decree' that was passed by the popular assembly. ...

(*)Note that the origin of "Spartans" in the Peloponnese is contested among professional classicsts. Some say they were not "Greek"-speakers but "Indo-Iranian" speaking colonizers from Eurasia, contemporaneously associated with "Sea People", Hurrian or Hittite cultures and conquests, 2nd millenium BCE.

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

by Cat on Mon Oct 30th, 2017 at 08:30:20 PM EST
I'm not entirely sure that anyone can say with authority what the governmental arrangements were in Uruk. I'm not entirely sure anyone can say with any confidence how far back the saga of Gilgamesh lies in pre-history.

But if Uruk was the first town, ie pre-dates Jericho, then we're talking 10,000 years. And there are towns in Turkey that are older than Jericho with sophisticated stone work. So, the events that inspired the Saga of Gilgamesh probably originates from the middle Ice age. Way before Nineveh.

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Tue Oct 31st, 2017 at 04:34:32 PM EST
[ Parent ]
well, yeah. Bernal's phrase for uncertainty of theoretical claims in the business is "reasonable plausibility."

I take your point therefore in defense of volumes of historiography published by "professional" and amateur classicists that deviate in any respect from eurocentric, judeo-christian "interpretations" of The Evidence. Hell, that deadline 8,000 BCE (canon, first "civilization")? It is whimsical, strictly speaking as dating conventions on which all sorts of ancillary research relies have been upset by supposed hi-fi material analyses several times in the last 50 years.  

So too are toponymic conventions :) among the ancients and the interpreters. Cunieform Ugaritic and Hurrian or Linears A and B, don't translate themselves, yo. Elsewhere, oral "tradition" is SOL on the *Matters-Meter.

I promoted this one article, for example, and a couple of pertinent lectures (previously) to illustrate the state of play in sociology of knowledge. Premium added to "greek" democracy is fading.

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

by Cat on Tue Oct 31st, 2017 at 05:50:01 PM EST
[ Parent ]
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Thu Nov 2nd, 2017 at 03:35:35 AM EST
[ Parent ]
blimey. that's quite a diary. No time to read right now, but will return to it later

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Thu Nov 2nd, 2017 at 08:21:05 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It's sad to look at all the commenters there, I'm the last of them

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Thu Nov 2nd, 2017 at 08:25:17 AM EST
[ Parent ]
but not the least!

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Thu Nov 2nd, 2017 at 04:53:43 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It's entirely possible that the Sea People were remnants of the Minoan civilisation who suffered massive famine after the explosion of the volcano of Thera. It's likely that this was a dispersed civilisation around the coasts and islands of the Aegean and Eastern Mediterranean, all of which would have been disrupted to a greater extent by tsunami in the aftermath of the explosion.

This led to a collapse of the existing "Heroic" Greek civilisations of the middle bronze age. Several of these kingdoms appeared to have died out, Sparta probably being one of them. The later Spartans were supposedly arrivals from the Balkans who took on the mantle of the original but who were apparently unrelated to them.

But whatever the theories, however much there is interesting linkage in the fossil record, we lack anything like real proof.

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Tue Oct 31st, 2017 at 04:43:55 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Wait a minute. I though they were descended from Abraham. See 1 Maccabees 12:21 for proof.
by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Tue Oct 31st, 2017 at 05:08:42 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Ah, my mistake, who could possibly argue with proof like that

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Tue Oct 31st, 2017 at 05:15:20 PM EST
[ Parent ]
That is one period in play these last 30 years because continuing excavation of artifacts located the several "palace" destructions, Crete, "Syro-Palastine" and Pelopponese PLUS documentary evidence (translations of cunieform various lang that had languished in obscure museum vaults) indicate earlier settler/colonization of those territories by city-states migration and conquest from points SE and NE of the Levant, north and southern Mediterranean coasts and deltas, and even the Balkans, if you will: re ipsa loquitor.

Fossil forensic analysis is redundant; recent (m)DNA sequencing [1, 2] confirmed the obvious inadequacies of stereotyping by "nationality" or naming conventions, now or at any time in the past 10,000 years.

Historical linguists have paid a lot more attention to documents to decipher how, where, when, and why people adopt names for themselves and places in their possession. Corporate M&A ritual in the present day as it always has been -- especially in Greece considering legendary invasions of the inexhaustible "tribes".

"Minoan" material culture scarcely anymore conveys the meaning of originality given to it by european scholarship at peak imperial hegemony and idolatry of the "Heroic Age" of Greece.

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

by Cat on Wed Nov 1st, 2017 at 08:39:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Paleo Politics -- The New Republic
Grain is special, but for a different reason. It is easy to standardize -- to plant in rows or paddies, and store and record in units such as bushels. This makes grain an ideal target for taxation. Unlike underground tubers or legumes, grain grows tall and needs harvesting all at once, so officials can easily estimate annual yields. And unlike fugitive wild foods, grain creates a relatively consistent surplus, allowing a ruling class to skim off peasant laborers' production through a tax regime of manageable complexity. Grain, in Scott's lexicon, is the kind of thing a state can see. On this account, the first cities were not so much a great leap forward for humanity as a new mode of exploitation that enabled the world's first leisured ruling class to live on the sweat of the world's first peasant-serfs. As for writing, that great gateway to history, Scott reports that its earliest uses suggest it was basically a grain-counting technology. Literary culture and shared memory existed in abundance both before and after the first pictographs and alphabets -- consider Homer's epics, the products of a nonliterate Greek "dark age" before the Classical period. Writing contributed a ledger of exploitation.
by das monde on Sat Nov 4th, 2017 at 06:57:13 AM EST
[ Parent ]
"translations don't write themselves, yo"

From the `Odyssey,' Book I, Homer, translated by Emily Wilson

< wipes tears >

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

by Cat on Sat Nov 4th, 2017 at 06:18:58 PM EST
[ Parent ]
By the way, isn't "virtue signaling" a recent term?

'Virtue-signalling' -- the putdown that has passed its sell-by date

As the Boston Globe columnist Mark Peters has pointed out, "virtue-signalling" has existed in isolated pockets since at least 2004, but was popularised (not, as he claims, invented) by James Bartholomew in the Spectator in April 2015. If you've heard the phrase recently, it's most likely being used according to his definition [...]

"Virtue-signalling" is also a neat, pithy phrase, with - and this is the killer, really - a social-sciencey air, as though it's a phenomenon recorded by behavioural economists and factored into nudge-unit projections of how many men pee standing up. (As of January 2016, however, a Google scholar search for the term yields only a handful of citations related to the work of a single religious studies academic.)

by das monde on Sat Nov 4th, 2017 at 06:58:07 AM EST
[ Parent ]
When I was feeling particularly saucy @ calculatedrisk, I'd lede some new file thus:


Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

by Cat on Sat Nov 4th, 2017 at 06:16:38 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It is pithy, but is really a recycled version of 'blowing your own horn', or 'whitening the sepulchre' so nothing new.
I expect the next meme phrase description to get parsed will be 'self-referential'.
Because 'raving egomaniac' is so yesterday.
Or'Fake News' as 'bald-faced lies' aka 'McWhoppers'.

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty
by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Sat Nov 4th, 2017 at 07:51:20 PM EST
[ Parent ]
`Virtue Signaling' Isn't the Problem. Not Believing One Another Is.
The real problem, of course, isn't the signaling part: Everyone is signaling all the time, whether it's about social justice or their commitment to Second Amendment rights or their concerns about immigration law. Those who accuse others of virtue signaling seem angry about the supposed virtues themselves -- angry that someone, anyone, appears to care about something they do not. Another Twitter user, defending Donald Trump after the infamous "Access Hollywood" tape, wrote: "Stop virtue signaling. It doesn't work. Are you saying you never talked dirty in a [private] conversation?" The logic here is not that Trump or his actions were morally correct, but that no one else is, either, and anyone who claims otherwise is lying.

Those who cry "virtue signaling," though? At least, they claim, they're honest about it. They are, of course, trying to signal something about their own values: that they are pragmatic, appropriately cynical, in touch with the painful facts of everyday life. Virtue signaling can be a way of staking out a position in an argument -- not just the high ground, but the highest ground. (You may be against racism, but I am more against racism than you.) But calling out virtue signaling is a useful position in itself.

Hillary Clinton was an easy target for this charge, nevertheless.
by das monde on Sun Nov 5th, 2017 at 01:03:50 AM EST
[ Parent ]
And, of course, the biggest impediment to understanding the extent of 'democratic' rule and 'popular' influence on government is likely pre-history. Any place inhabited by pre-literate people will be known only if other people wrote about them and if that writing survived. For all we know many to most of the people living inland from the Mediterranean could have had many 'democratic' practices. This is the realm of archeology and anthropology.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Sun Nov 12th, 2017 at 09:01:40 PM EST
[ Parent ]
by Bernard on Mon Oct 30th, 2017 at 08:59:30 PM EST
Vox - David Roberts - America is facing an epistemic crisis

Say Mueller reveals hard proof that the Trump campaign knowingly colluded with Russia, strategically using leaked emails to hurt Clinton's campaign. Say the president -- backed by the Wall Street Journal editorial page, Fox News, Breitbart, most of the US Cabinet, half the panelists on CNN, most of the radio talk show hosts in the country, and an enormous network of Russian-paid hackers and volunteer shitposters working through social media -- rejects the evidence.

They might say Mueller is compromised. It's a Hillary/"deep state" plot. There's nothing wrong with colluding with Russia in this particular way. Dems did it first. All of the above. Whatever. Say the entire right-wing media machine kicks to life and dismisses the whole thing as a scam -- and conservatives believe them. The conservative base remains committed to Trump, politicians remain scared to cross the base, and US politics remains stuck in partisan paralysis, unable to act on what Mueller discovers.

In short, what if Mueller proves the case and it's not enough? What if there is no longer any evidentiary standard that could overcome the influence of right-wing media?

My bold

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Thu Nov 2nd, 2017 at 08:17:50 PM EST
Props for selecting a horrible essay: Author reveals he has either no idea of or is able to apply essential public law and practical standard of evidentiary proof of guilt in the USA: reasonable doubt. The former chastises attys, the latter restrains jury. In deliberating the life or death of the accused, speculation about events (facts) which have not occurred produces an immoral justice.

Say Mueller reveals hard proof...
Say the entire right-wing media machine kicks...

Which is why, "I don't deal with hypotheticals," is an ancient US American atty joke about the adversarial role (for hire) at trial.

US standards of "due process" like much of constitutional backmatter ought to be understood in relation to "epistemological" history of rebellion against arbitrary, historical authorities of the English crown. But modern children don't get that tuition in political theory much less its practical application and results. Except O.J.!

Accordingly, Mueller obtained indictments with the evidence he has. None of this implicates Trump in the crimes charged to the indicted in point of fact --to be litigated (T, F)--- or findingsof law to be litigate (T, F).

Trial by press has no standard by comparison.

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

by Cat on Fri Nov 3rd, 2017 at 11:04:34 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I don't see the Republicans getting rid of Trump, unless he gets bored and quits. But he can't resign if that would put him in prison, so he will probably stay.

Then again, the case of Russia being involved in the leaks is still as weak as it ever was. The guy with the Greek name that has made a plea met with a professor who claimed to have contacts in Russia, but looks more like someone who wanted to be more important than he is.

Lies gets you perjury and Manafort and Gates may go down on corruption, but if all Mueller digs up is lies and corruption, is there a point where the media and Democrats will accept that Russia didn't have anything to do with the election?

I suspect the answer there is also no. So neither side accepts Mueller's investigation as a fact finding mission. The epistemic crisis is already in place.

by fjallstrom on Fri Nov 3rd, 2017 at 11:38:35 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I wonder how much evidence of Russian involvement an investigation would have to find before the Russians-didn't-do-anything brigade could be convinced?

[I'm neutral here: neither Trump nor Brexit have single causes but it seems to me that opinions about Russian psyops have more to do with political positions than facts. Of which there are few.]

by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Fri Nov 3rd, 2017 at 11:49:20 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I can't speak for the whole brigade, but I find the lack of technical evidence suspicious. And I don't limit myself to technical evidence I get to see, but when FBI doesn't get access to the servers I find that suspicious, even though I wouldn't have access to their findings until it had been used in legal proceedings.

Since we have general surveillance on the Internet, NSA should have a decent amount of evidence, proving at least that there was an intrusion and a copying of emails. If NSA published findings that Snowden and VIPS accepts as evidence, I would tentatively accept it. Still possible that it is forged evidence of course, but forgeries bring their own risks of exposure down the line.

And while my general trust in Assange is pretty low, Wikileaks has so far held a high standard in what they publish, and from what I've seen of Craig Murray (who is supposed to have received at least the DNC leak), he appears trustworthy enough.

So for now, I think leak is more likely than hack.

by fjallstrom on Fri Nov 3rd, 2017 at 12:12:00 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I posted the link to the indictment and the criminal statute cited. You might want to read the charges (12 in all)  in the indictment before commenting further. Conspiracy to commit tax evasion by mail and wire fraud (commonly known as "laundering").

The brief includes a table of domestic and international banking transactions. Apart from this there is undoubtedly a roomful of enumerated documentary evidence of the crime in commission that has been submitted with the indictment but which is not published --email communication between the indicted conspirators included.

Do not rely on purported "leaks" in press to evaluate merits of the case. That Mueller is still searching for witnesses to roll is actually kind of sad.

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

by Cat on Fri Nov 3rd, 2017 at 01:35:22 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes, I have read the indictment of Manafort and Gates as well as the plea bargain for George Papadopoulos.

And unless I missed something, there is little connection to the now established narrative of the Russian government (not just random Russians), tipping the election in favour of Trump through hacking DNC and spreading the emails by way of Wikileaks. Which is what I understand Colman was asking about.

Manafort and Gates are charged with illegally receiving  money (and hiding, and lying about it) from Yanukovych, his party and various organisations. The party is described as pro-Russian, but otherwise Russia isn't mentioned there as far as I saw.

George Papadopoulos had contacts primarily with a professor, identified by media as Joseph Mifsud, who promised him contacts with the Russian Ambassador in London (but that didn't happen) and introduced him to a woman Papadopoulos understood to be Putin's niece (but who wasn't). The only solid connection to Russia is an unnamed person that Papadopoulos understood to be working for the Russian Foreign ministry.

Mifsud has in newspapers claimed it was a Russian academic, not a Russian Foreign ministry official.

So what we are left with is a chain of persons that might connect to the Russian Foreign ministry, but a chain that has proven less than trustworthy in the past. Don't really see how that would affect my answer to Colman.

by fjallstrom on Fri Nov 3rd, 2017 at 04:24:02 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I feel frustrated by expectation --ginned up by the press-- that this investigation or any indictments obtained by Mueller will result int Trump's indictment. Those expectation gainsay Mueller's main predicament which is to foster an appearance of justice and impartiality, The American Way, while hiding or withholding the very evidence collected, "unmasked" moths ago, by NSA that would incriminate Trump racketeering. Because that's all the prosecution's strategy has going for it that the IRS has clearly been unable to substantiate.

Sordid is an inadequate description of these proceedings which in themselves I had hoped would galvanize public opposition to deep-seated corruption in Congress.

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

by Cat on Fri Nov 3rd, 2017 at 07:22:09 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I came across Inside Hillary Clinton's Secret Takeover of the DNC and it's interesting. Donna Brazile is promoting a book about the inside game at DNC.

"When I got back from a vacation in Martha's Vineyard, I at last found the document that described it all: the Joint Fund-Raising Agreement between the DNC, the Hillary Victory Fund, and Hillary for America.

The agreement--signed by Amy Dacey, the former CEO of the DNC, and Robby Mook with a copy to Marc Elias--specified that in exchange for raising money and investing in the DNC, Hillary would control the party's finances, strategy, and all the money raised. Her campaign had the right of refusal of who would be the party communications director, and it would make final decisions on all the other staff. The DNC also was required to consult with the campaign about all other staffing, budgeting, data, analytics, and mailings."

Essentially, the Clinton campaign bought the party in August 2015.

by fjallstrom on Thu Nov 2nd, 2017 at 09:20:41 PM EST
Isn't this the woman behind the leak of the debate questions to Clinton? If she is writing things like this, could it be that the Democrats are moving to supporting Sanders for 2020 (who else have they got)?
by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Fri Nov 3rd, 2017 at 07:27:29 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I hope Sanders doesn't stand, even tho I support his politics. His candidacy was damaged by genuine complaints from black people that they were largely ignored by him until they embarrassed him, and even then their policy involvement was largely totemic.

So, it would be far better to have a new bernie like candidate who learns the lessons of his campaign.


keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Fri Nov 3rd, 2017 at 07:54:34 AM EST
[ Parent ]
For what it is worth, he is now popular among black respondents in popularity polls and he should have time to work on his messaging. And prepare the tax returns (unless they were hiding something really damaging).

He is old though, and needs to find someone to pass the torch to anyway. Question is if they have someone to pass the torch to.

by fjallstrom on Fri Nov 3rd, 2017 at 10:37:02 AM EST
[ Parent ]
His candidacy was damaged by genuine complaints from black people

Do. Not. Go. There.

Return to "Bernie Bro" revolt against the DNC in several state caucuses and subsequent litigation of fraud against the DNC.

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

by Cat on Fri Nov 3rd, 2017 at 11:09:45 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Either all black people supported Hillary Clinton or all black people supported Bernie Sanders. Which is it this week?

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Fri Nov 3rd, 2017 at 11:15:27 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Black people did not go to the polls to support Bernie Sanders!

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Fri Nov 3rd, 2017 at 11:17:06 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Rant fearuting Brazile

Welding et al. v. DNC Services Corp., d/b/a final order Aug 2017

Lawsuit ost-mortem

archived: Welding et al. v. DNC Services Corp., d/b/a [!] Democratic National Committe complaint May 2017

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

by Cat on Fri Nov 3rd, 2017 at 01:42:51 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes it is her.

I think at the least, she is positioning herself for a future where the Sanders wing of the party holds significant power. Which looks a bit odd, considering the purge of the DNC, but I think things are happening on the state level.

by fjallstrom on Fri Nov 3rd, 2017 at 10:28:50 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I for one assume her motive is simply money, proceeds of book sales. I'd bet she started writing day after the wikileaks dump, when DNC abandoned her "loyalty." Some call that "walk-away money."

Vindication acceptable to "Bernie Bro" insurgents is too far a stretch for her future employment. She's over 30 and not even blond. Let's be real.

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

by Cat on Fri Nov 3rd, 2017 at 11:24:30 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Does anybody actually buy these books? Do they then read them? Does anybody here know anybody who knows anybody who does? Here is Current Affairs (not online) on What Happened
Reader, we can't do it. We were begged. "But it is an extremely important book," they said. "Regardless of what you think, when a major party candidate gives their candid perspective on an important election, it is worth at least writing a review." And we can't argue with them. They are right. Nevertheless: it is impossible. We cannot review Hillary Clinton's What Hap- pened, because we would have to read Hillary Clinton's What Happened, and this is simply impossible.
by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Fri Nov 3rd, 2017 at 11:38:40 AM EST
[ Parent ]
A cursory search for Clinton sales finds the number 300,000 sales repeated. So I guess it sold well. Brazile's book is on the Amazon bestseller list (number nine, right now) so I guess it is selling well.

Unless those numbers are as fake as the numbers of Facebook users, which is so very possible.

by fjallstrom on Fri Nov 3rd, 2017 at 12:24:12 PM EST
[ Parent ]
In a merica, people buy books, celebrity biographies and DIY, but they don't read them.

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Fri Nov 3rd, 2017 at 01:37:17 PM EST
[ Parent ]
When I worked for BBC News, I'd often go into the Newsnight office (nightly deep dive into issues prog) and sift through their shelves of unread political books (free to a good home - please/beg). Some genuinely interesting but an awful load of clunkers. I'd have left Hillary's book on the shelf

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Fri Nov 3rd, 2017 at 01:57:12 PM EST
[ Parent ]

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