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"The Credibility Trap"

This is an important post from Jesse's Cafe Americaine. Slightly re-arranged and edited:

What Is a 'Credibility Trap'
"A credibility trap is a condition wherein the financial, political and informational functions of a society have been [so] compromised by corruption and fraud, so that the leadership cannot effectively reform, or even honestly address, the problems of that system without impairing and implicating, at least incidentally, a broad swath of the power structure, including themselves.

The status quo tolerates the corruption and the fraud because they have profited at least indirectly from it, and would like to continue to do so. Even the impulse to reform within the power structure is susceptible to various forms of soft blackmail and coercion by the system that maintains and rewards.

And so a failed policy and its support system become self-sustaining, long after it is seen by objective observers to have failed. In its failure it is counterproductive, and an impediment to recovery in the real economy. Admitting failure is not an option for the thought leaders who receive their power from that system.

The continuity of the structural hierarchy must therefore be maintained at all costs, even to the point of becoming a painfully obvious, organized hypocrisy.

It always ends, often from external forces, and too often badly. But while the money is still flowing the band plays on.

Somehow, that seems awfully familiar. I would say "ruling class" rather than "power structure," and I'd think carefully about "the leadership," but I think Jesse's nailed and named a real phenomenon. Read below the fold...

Tweet of the day

This actually looks like a keen travel tip and a fine example of lateral thinking.

Why didn't we just give the weapons to ISIS directly, and cut out the middleman?

Do I have to do all the Pentagon's thinking for it?

It appears that the US is destroying artillery the US paid for, after it was abandoned to its enemies by troops the US paid to train. Under Saddam Hussein, the Iraqi army had significant heavy weaponry, but much of it was destroyed or decommissioned in the 2003 US invasion. Efforts to provide American-made mobile artillery was seen as a key step toward making the new Iraqi military an independent force. In the past few weeks, millions of dollars of US weapons have fallen into ISIS's hands.

See, that's what I mean. Read below the fold...

Steve Israel to help defend Netanyahu against war crimes charges?

Wowsers:

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has asked US lawmakers to help Israeli officials defend a projected Palestinian legal campaign over alleged war crimes committed against the Gaza population.

It is believed that attempts will be made to bring Israel's military and political leaders in front of international courts such as the International Criminal Court (ICC).

Read below the fold...

Memo to Steve Israel: Fire your bulk emailing service

Because the personal touch matters so much, right? Read below the fold...

More problems for Boeing's union-busting plastic plane, the 787

I'm tellin' ya, I'll be checking my flights to see if they're putting me on one. It's only a matter of time! Reuters:

Exclusive: Boeing 787 output hiccups reemerge at assembly sites

More like what my father used to call a frothy eructation than a "hiccup," but never mind that. Read below the fold...

In the garden: Hidden raspberries

And the morning glories seem to be twining about nicely, even in shade. Read below the fold...

Tweet of the day

ObamaCare Clusterfuck: Ginormous medical bills because Nevada Health Link can't fix a typo

Las Vegas Review-Journal:

The family’s troubles began in February, when Amber Smith delivered daughter Kinsley five weeks prematurely. Kinsley spent 10 days in Summerlin Hospital’s neonatal intensive care unit, and Amber’s 40-day hospital stay included two surgeries.

The Smiths bought insurance from Anthem Blue Cross through Nevada Health Link in October and made two premium payments in January. Yet the claims are being denied because Amber’s birth year is listed incorrectly on the family’s insurance identification cards, Smith said. It’s one year off — written as 1978, when it should be 1979.

What a shocker. Health insurance companies will do anything to deny care when the bills get large. This is just rescission under another name! Like for post-existing conditions....

Nor has Smith been able to get baby Kinsley added to the family’s insurance, despite “dozens of calls” to Nevada Health Link and Anthem. So despite never missing a $1,300 premium payment, the Smiths are on the hook for all of Kinsley’s follow-up care. What’s more, some of Amber’s specialists have unexpectedly [oh?] abandoned provider networks, leaving the family with unexpected out-of-pocket expenses, he said.

The family’s grand total? Roughly $1.2 million.

That's a lot of money! And it's a two-fer! Not only denial for a post-existing condition, a narrowing network! Ingenious. And the Smiths aren't the only ones: Read below the fold...

On the University of Illinois and the Salaita firing

Really appalling. Good post from Juan Cole here. Shorter: The Israeli lobby doesn't like a professor's tweets, talks to the administrators at the University of Illinois, and gets the guy fired. The sweetener is that UI had just only just hired him, and he'd resigned his previous (tenured) position. Nice work on the academic freedom front, guys!

Best comment: Read below the fold...

August 7 should be "Elinor Ostrom Day"

Since that's the day the great theorist/discover/teacher of Common Pool Resources was born. (Hat tip diptherio, and here's hoping we remember next year at this time.) Here's an interview: Read below the fold...

In the garden: Après le déluge

Massive beatdown for these cucurbits, whatever they are, I forget, and which seem to have grown quite successfully without my noticing them until today:

(Showing also that I have been way too cheap with the straw; that newspaper should not be exposed, and there should be straw soaking up all the nice water!)

And the painter should come back: Read below the fold...

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Workers of the world, unite!

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