Links 3/11/14

Thanks for all your input on our post asking about RSS. Separately, I’m still not over my bug and so I hope you will forgive the thinness of original posts.

Self-Controlled Crows Ace the Marshmallow Test Scientific American

Stingray stabbed Crocodile Hunter Steven Irwin “hundreds of times” Washington Post (furzy mouse). A related YouTube for the brave.

Elephants can tell difference between human languages PhysOrg (Robert M)

Is the Wolf a Real American Hero? New York Times

Practice Not As Important As Thought For Success, Study Says Popular Science (Robert M)

A slice of land will be removed from island for Utøya memorial GizMag

Hong Kong Airplane Spots Debris: Video Bloomberg. Lambert: “500 miles away from site where contact was lost….”

Vanished Malaysia Airlines flight leaves relatives with anger and phantom phone calls Washington Post (furzy mouse)

Trade fears sprout in the GMO divide Financial Times. China won’t even buy our GMO corn.

China shadow lending slows sharply Financial Times

Take that, space junk! Australian scientists to zap debris with lasers Guardian

Venezuelans Are Marked With Numbers To Stand In Line At Government Supermarkets Business Insider


For First Time, Kremlin Signals It Is Prepared to Annex Crimea New York Times

Kerry rejects Putin Ukraine meeting BBC

Europe prepares sanctions against Russia Financial Times

Waiting for China to Speak Out Against Putin Bloomberg. Editorial. Who wants to bet on how long the West will have to wait?

Denying the Far-Right Role in the Ukrainian Revolution Fair

Rallying for Ukraine NBC10 (Carol B).

Do as we say, Russia, not as we do Susie Madrak

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

“Snowden’s disclosures have improved the security of the Internet.” ACLU (Steve L). Virtual conversation with Ed Snowden.

Behind Clash Between C.I.A. and Congress, a Secret Report on Interrogations New York Times

Edward Snowden, Tattletale Arthur Silber (diptherio)

Obamacare Launch

Morning Plum: As GOP certainty about Obamacare’s collapse deepens, number of uninsured falls again Washington Post. Lambert: “I love how we’re using Gallup because all the government’s numbers are soft.” Also note that the group that shows the biggest gains is the <$36,000 in household income cohort, which is consistent with the notion that the main benefit of the ACA is likely to have been Medicaid expansion. HHS Doesn’t Know How Many Uninsured Are Signing Up for Obamacare National Journal. Lambert: “ZOMG, read the quotes!”

Petition for Single Payer RootsAction. Please sign. Unlike a lot of petitions, they allow you to opt out of being added to a mailing list. And it automagically harasses your Senators for not being on board.

Indonesia launches world’s largest health insurance system Christian Science Monitor. Lambert: “Gee, it’s like the US is a third world country, or something. Oh, wait….”

In Parched California, Town Taps Run Nearly Dry New York Times

Next Chapter In The Global Banana Trade’s Bloody History: ‘Walmartization’ Huffington Post

Center For American Progress Takes Direction From Obama White House DS Wright, Firedoglake. Quelle surprise!

White House spearheads efforts to teach students to handle money McClatchy. More neoliberalism. We need better shoppers, not a more equitable system.

eBay chief’s pay cut as target missed Financial Times. Rare enough to generate a front-page headline.

Lloyds Trader Said to Tip Off BP to $500 Million FX Deal Bloomberg

Debt Servitude and the Student Loan Bubble Counterpunch (Carol B). A good recap.

Has Commercial Bank Lending Peaked? Economonitor

Investors prefer business pitches from handsome men, U.S. study finds Reuters (Carol B)

No, Americans Are Not All To Blame for the Financial Crisis Dean Starkman, New Republic

Antidote du jour (furzy mouse). Panda scared after the earthquake in Japan embraces the leg of a policeman.


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  1. Jamie Dimon

    They also prefer “fuck you” from a handsome business men, such as myself. Congress prefers it too. I’ve done studies. Weirdest thing in the world. I keep saying “fuck you”, they keep handing me money!

  2. Chromex

    Wji;e those quotes from National Journal are a hoot, I am suspect that they are leaving stuff out simply because of the abysmal article that states, laughably, that Obama is some sort of “leftist” on”most key issues”. Not sure what issues are “key” to NJ, certainly NOT civil liberties, foreign policy, the lives of the poor who live someplace far away, deference to power , greed and capital, anti-whistleblowing, ending the revolving door between government and private enterprise, etc ad nauseum I would gather. Which would make Nixon and Kissinger Marxists , I guess.
    While I AM ready to believe that this administration would not collect such data, I would not trust the source to be forthcoming about quotes from other members of the administration that would contradict these.. in other words every other article in that rag appears to have been written by someone dishonest, at best..not that I in any way wish to be seen as defending the ACA or Obomber

    1. Benedict@Large

      But on a recent HHS conference call, Obamacare implementation point man Gary Cohen was asked the key question: how many of the people who have signed up for Obamacare were previously insured? His response: “That’s not a data point that we are really collecting in any sort of systematic way.”

      Avik Roy, “McKinsey: Only 14% Of Obamacare Exchange Sign-Ups Are Previously Uninsured Enrollees

      And (same link):

      The whole point of Obamacare was to expand coverage to the uninsured. But for the tens of thousands of regulations that the law has imposed on the country, its authors never bothered to try to measure the one thing that they were actually trying to achieve.

    2. Yves Smith Post author

      The National Journal, sadly, has some of the best reporting on Obamacare.

      And to the National Journal, Obama is a leftist. He’s to the left of the Republicans. That = left.

      Your reaction is a CLASSIC cognitive bias, halo effect. That happens to be the same bias that leads investors to prefer pitches from handsome men:

  3. gonzomarx

    Bob Crow dies of suspected heart attack at 52

    Crow was a Union leader who fought not only for his members but also for the working class as a whole and would often call things by their true name in the media and was thus hated by the political class and it’s bitches in the MSM.

    Co-operative Group chief executive Euan Sutherland tenders resignation

    Sutherland throws a hissy fit as the Co-Op bank has a little of democracy in it (though not for long if Mr Market has his wicked way)

    might be my crappy work browser but the comments section is not showing up in Firefox.

      1. gonzomarx

        works ok in Chrome and the comments work in Firefox for other stories posted (e.g. Trans-Pacific and Gaius posts) but just not for today’s Links.

    1. vlade

      Crow was in it first and foremost for his members, and had little hestitation in taking members of public hostages, no matter their class. When Tube strikes, the most seriously hit aren’t middle class or banksters, as they either get alternate transport, stay in hotels in the City or work remotely, and in general would be paid whether they did or didn’t show up. The worst hit are the manual workers (cleaners, caffe and restaurant workers etc.) who can’t get to their jobs and are paid based on whether they show up or not.

      1. McMike

        Well, actually, striking workers usually get it the worst.

        But the point is, that is how strikes work. They create political pressure for a resolution.

        That’s why strikes were easier when more people were unionized, they had a greater chance for solidarity. Get through that initial stage to where the business owners, upper class, and politicians start to sweat.

    1. abynormal

      i can’t take my eyes of it…i’ll return to it thru the day…Thanks Fuzzy

      “Animals don’t hate, and we’re supposed to be better than them.”
      Elvis Presley

      1. EmilianoZ

        This antidote is an insult to the dignity of all pandas. It depicts them as cowering supplicants.

        1. F. Beard

          NO! It pictures them as sweet innocents.

          Were you never frightened by say a thunderstorm? Who still isn’t on occasion?

          Some people have a talent for missing the goodness in life.

          1. EmilianoZ

            When I was a child maybe.

            Infantile innocents… Yeap, that’s the cliche about pandas. Even full grown pandas like the one in the picture.

            In the wild, pandas are fierce ravenous creatures.

            1. F. Beard

              are fierce ravenous creatures.

              For bamboo? LOL!

              Nevertheless there are sweet animals in Nature that man has not wiped out yet.

        1. F. Beard

          Well, the picture is real and touching.

          Shame on liars everywhere! There’s a place for you if you don’t repent and it ain’t cool in either sense of the word!

        2. Stephen Liss

          “Claim: Photograph shows a Japanese panda hugging a policeman’s leg after an earthquake….”

          Everyone knows all giant pandas are Chinese. No such thing as a Japanese panda. AS IF they’re going to settle ownership of the Diaoyu Islands on the basis of such outrageous lies.

          1. abynormal

            Pandas International have released an email explaining the situation of the pandas in Japan after the horrific earthquake and tsunami that hit recently. I have copied the email below.

            Pandas International Supporters- Numerous supporters have asked about the well-being of the pandas in Japan. There are pandas at the Ueno Zoo in Tokyo, the Oji Zoo in Kobe and Adventure World in Shirahama. Dr. Tang emailed me that he had been in contact with the panda caretakers in Japan and all the pandas and the caretakers are safe. A member of Pandas Unlimited forum called Adventure World in Shirahama. The panda family there is safe. There are no injured animals. She also called Oji Zoo in Kobe. Tan Tan is safe. There are no injured animals. Ueno Zoo in Tokyo is opening as usual.

            one of them gota be XXXL ‘)

        3. abynormal

          dang, compatriot panda propaganda thingy
          thanks Steve…i still like the image (its he!! here in humanland)

  4. vlade

    China is in an interesting position on Russia/Crimea.

    I doubt they want to support US openly.

    On the other hand, it’s not like they would see Russia as their favourite drinking buddy (there were, and likely will be in the future, tensions over parts of Siberia…). Worse yet, a local referendum to secede despite central government sets a really bad precedent for them given that China is not as monolithic as it would like to show to the rest of the world (if nothing else, it could legalize Taiwan’s existence, not to mention Tibet and other areas).
    If I was China, I’d play the card of supporting the territorial integrity of Ukraine via UN very openly, in exchange for US/UK/EU agreeing (likely behind the door) to stop talking Tibet and if at all possble to weaken the tie with Taiwan. Costs little, I voice the same policy as ever (internal problems of countries are their own) and can get upside. So I’d interepret China’s silence as not having yet received what it wants from the West – I don’t see it dealing with Russia on this (after all, it has a border with Russia with some disputed parts).

    1. Robert Dudek

      That’s assuming countries wish to avoid hypocrisy when making policy. They don’t.

  5. Vicky Else

    I hear you about the “teaching kids to handle money” thing, but want to share that the inability to handle money is one of the biggest ways that poor people are open to exploitation from all kinds of businesses, legitimate and not. There are real costs to not knowing this stuff, which middle class kids are taught from the day they start receiving an allowance. So this is a good initiative, even if some of the ideology is bull.

    1. Klassy

      I think not having money is the biggest way that poor people are open to exploitation. Of course, there is truth to the belief that sometimes people make dumb decisions with their money. I’m sure that we all know people that we think “what the hell are they doing with their money?” Usually, these are people that aren’t poor, however. Or shouldn’t be poor, more correctly.
      The ideology is bull, and I think it should be rejected. Once again, it turns structural problems into personal failings. Does it ever end? (answer: no!) Some of these financial literacy classes are sponsored by the same institutions that are doing the robbing and exploitation (banks).

      1. diptherio

        Exactly. ‘Tis much easier to convince yourself that a payday loan is a good idea when getting one looks like your only option for making rent.

      2. McMike

        There’s a ton of science on this. One notable finding, when poor people get a windfall, they tend to “blow it”; i.e. spend it on friends and family.

        And of course we recently had a dialog about why poor people will spend money in ways that seem on the surface to be contrary to economic optimization: such as buying junk food.

          1. McMike

            That’s easy. it is defined as whatever a tenured upper middle class economics professor who doesn’t leave his desk often would do when confronted with an academic question that he has no personal experience with.

        1. Linden

          One thing that I’ve seen over and over again in my work with low-income people is that all the people they know tend to be members of that same class. When any of them gets their hands on some resources, pretty soon all their impoverished friends and family come around looking for a loan, repayment of a past loan, help with the rent, etc. Everyone’s in distress all the time so they must leverage whatever resources are there, and it’s hard for the person who got the money to say no, particularly when the same people helped them in the past or would help him/her in the future.

        2. Robert Dudek

          It’s may be economically rational in the short term, but it is harmful in the long term. I would go so far as to say that it is an “economic” way of thinking that leads people to choose junk food (I include here the majority of the middle class). On the face of it, junk food is cheap and convenient. It’s only when you think about the medium and long term effects of poor diet that the negatives start to way very heavily on whatever short term “positives” exist.

      3. Alexa

        Agree, Klassy.

        The State of TN won the first round of “Race To The Top” ($501 million dollars) partly because they were/are willing to conduct what amounts to “re-education camps” for the poor.

        Appears to me that neoliberals in BOTH legacy parties have bought into Charles Murray’s “Coming Apart” theory (as is reflected by elements of the TN pre-school curriculum).

        This reminds me of a recent NPR story about teaching “yoga” to poor children. If the PtB were to actually propose viable policies to alleviate the conditions that spawn poverty, it wouldn’t appear to be so cynical.

        Apparently, neoliberal Dems’ only plan is to help the poor “manage” the stress and hardships of being poor–not to overcome it!

        1. Klassy

          That’s the way I think of it too– reeducation camps. I’m sure most of the NPR listeners ate up that yoga story.

      1. Klassy

        I can agree with this. This is one reason why I feel that financial literacy classes are pretty useless for people with scarce resources, as opposed to simply giving them more money.

        1. MLS

          But wouldn’t it be better in the long run if we get them to make better decisions with the money we gave them? Honestly, it’s hard to drum up support to help someone out financially if all they do is take it to the casino and gamble, as an example.

          Personally I think financial literacy classes can be extremely useful; even simple (read: nonidealogical) concepts such as the power of compounding and how to budget aren’t as widely understood as they should be.

        2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Giving money to the people – that would be money creation via the people spending it into existence.

          A great idea for the people…but not so great for the brainwashing elites.

        3. Andrea

          Yes. And overall blaming the poor for bad decisions is just the Victorian attitude writ modern, or following the theory of “you just get what you deserve”, i.e. if you are poor it is your fault, and by extension that means that the poor person is badly educated, stupid, reckless, a spendthrift, deluded, uncaring, etc. etc.

          Personally, I have known a lot of people who made very poor financial decisions (as seen with a sort of Protestant middle class ethic eye, or following what is generally considered to be ‘dumb’, after the results are obvious of course), and they have been, with a very few exceptions, middle-class or somewhat rich. These poor decisions include :

          – various forms of gambling and gambling addition, from sports, casino, to the stock market, playing the exchange rates, or entering pyramid schemes, etc.

          – buying things for re-sale that would clearly not work out (house, art work, classic car, etc.)

          – investing in mad cap schemes for visibility and hubris

          – cheating on taxes and getting caught with huge fines

          – paying bribes or ‘under the table’ with the desired result not forthcoming

          – paying useless insurance, often double / triple contracts (OK that is particular to where I live)

          – spending money on overpriced ‘luxury’ goods when these are shoddier than a lower-priced equivalent

          – fill in more …

          Note, the financial losses or ‘mistakes’ are often hidden, covered up, not made public. So who needs education here?

    2. Yves Smith Post author

      Quite a few studies say these courses about teaching people about money are useless. What helps is more math literacy.

    1. vlade

      @paul (in case the thread gets broken again)
      Well, it depends. If you’re willing to harm innocent to get your way (and innocent who you’d say are your class, poor etc.), is it your decision or are they just a collateral damage who stood in the way? Then I’d say how can you complain about bankers doing the same – pushing interest of their specific group at cost to everyone else? Or civilians being killed by airstrikes to “hunt terrorists”?

      Regardless, my point was re fighting “.. for the working class as a whole”. He didn’t. He fought for his members, very well and very efficiently, and likely they will get much worse deal in the future, for I doubt he had a planned successor (seems like in that union you get to be a leader by the previous one dying). But he didn’t do much for “working class as a whole”.

      1. allcoppedout

        I don’t agree with any of the masonic guilds, but it’s rare those of the rich are considered in the same light as trade unions. The big failing of the trade unions is constitutional. We need them to represent us all.

  6. Jim Haygood

    From the WaPo’s Obamacare article:

    ‘It’s an early possible sign of success. There’s been a lot of uncertainty about the effect the ACA is having on the number who are uninsured. Clearly people are signing up, and clearly Medicaid coverage is expanding.’

    One sees this flaky meme over and over: the notion that a lot of people signing up for subsidized goods and services — public housing, Obamaphones, Medicaid — makes a program ‘popular’ and ‘successful.’

    I can assure you that if the government distributed free beer, Obamabrew also would be wildly popular and ‘successful.’


    This brew’s for Big Bro!

      1. JerseyJeffersonian

        Brewed using GMO corn, as a relief program to AgriBiz, who can’t unload that corn on the Chinese, no doubt.

        AgriBiz is already in on the ethanol racket; maybe they could multi-purpose some of the same equipment and brew Obamabrew one week, and ethanol the next.

        1. Crazy Horse

          Na, it wouldn’t have the true unadulterated Obama BS flavor unless you threw him in the fermentation vat.

    1. Klassy

      Interesting. I assumed they would be in rural areas. I did not read who posted this link and I thought this is right up diptherio’s alley.

  7. F. Beard

    re We need better shoppers, not a more equitable system.

    There’s that word “equity” again. But why share (common stock = shares in Equity) when the so-called “creditworthy” can legally steal the purchasing power of the general population instead?

  8. paul

    I would say there is a difference, a 24 hour strike is going to inconvenience people and even cause them hardship, but that is a facet of the society we have. Part of the reason these people have such shitty, insecure jobs is the lack of organisations like that formerly led by Crowe. He had a hard enough time time defending his membership (which grew from 20,000 to 80,000 during his term). He certainly spoke out for and supported other workers at every opportunity.
    ‘Collateral’, occasional and unintended harm is unfortunately unavoidable in current circumstances.
    I can complain about bankers, the ruling class because they go to work everyday to cause harm to these people.
    It’s their job, it’s their calling.

    1. Ulysses

      X1000! We need to get back to where crossing a picket line, patronizing a non-union hotel, etc. is simply unthinkable behavior. Deep solidarity is our strongest weapon!

      1. McMike

        Thanks, my coffee just shot out my nose.

        Solidarity? We are on the verge of an environment where a poor brother will kill his other poor brother for the right of some rich guy to own slaves.

        I sit and listen to blue and gray collar working people disparage unions and union workers, then teachers, then civil servants, then immigrants… then bitch about the lousy pay, short hours, and no benefits. Without the slightest hint of self-awareness.

    2. vlade

      So was Crow’s job, and he was fairly explicit about it. I.e. “to get _my members_ chance to enjoy fine wine […] just as Cameron and his Old Eton buddies can”. Not to get “everyone” or “working class”. My members. So actually much more explicit than any banker.

      1. paul

        Your search for equivalence is getting rather desperate.
        His job was to defend even, heaven forbid, promote his members’ interests.
        You are criticising him for for what he did not do,which he could not do. We are supposed to have labour parties and trades union congresses to perform the task you accuse him of failing in.
        However he did at least lead by example and a cursory glance at his efforts shows that his efforts outside his members’ interests were considerable and he repeatedly showed solidarity with other unions.
        Christ, he’s the only person in the media to utter the words ‘working class’ and ‘socialism’ with any pride in the last 15 years.
        Yes he was more explicit than the ruling class, but then unions are far more regulated,scrutinised and vilified than them.

  9. Collective punishment

    The boilerplate message on the ACA petition was altogether too namby-pamby for me so I added stuff. Seems the site garbled it. Then I figured, Why tell my crooked worm congressman anyway? I should be talking to the people who are gonna purge him from public life.

    ^ The Obama administration and Congressional Democrats imposed the ACA in corrupt collusion with commercial insurance interests. The bill is corrupt abuse of function in the meaning of Convention Against Corruption Article 19.

    The ACA’s single most predatory aspect is asset recovery. This exaction is deceptively concealed and arbitrarily applied to corruptly-determined ‘capitation’ fees along with excessive costs of care. Asset recovery violates equal protection and derogates families’ common-law UDHR rights to health, housing, and an adequate standard of living, denying customary international law protections guaranteed by the Paquete Habana, 175 U.S. 677 (1900).

    The ACA is not just legally indefensible. The popular revulsion against it is going to destroy the Democratic party. And as a guy who grew up Democratic, I can tell you that if you do not clean up this abortion with a single payer system, I will cheerfully pitch in to help your party eat itself alive.

  10. F. Beard

    re Has Commercial Bank Lending Peaked? Economonitor:

    Ha! Ha!

    Now the bankers themselves will beg Congress for greater deficit spending so their cattle (the US population) don’t become too poor to pay usury?

  11. MERI

    Why we need new language to talk about “privacy”:
    “Indiscriminate surveillance is giving rise to pronounced informational asymmetries that disfavor us as consumers and as citizens. The way companies can use these insights to discriminate among us can, for example, exacerbate inequality and expose minority and low-income populations to exploitation—a fact that the language of privacy doesn’t fully capture. Framing data collection primarily as a civil liberties issue implies that surveillance is only a problem if we personally believe it constrains our freedom. Establishing that there are hard political and economic consequences—and conceiving new language to encapsulate these effects—gives privacy advocates a stronger hand, and a basis for engaging people who might dismiss privacy as anachronistic.”

  12. F. Beard

    Heartrending antidote. Thanks!

    What is desirable in a man is his kindness, … Proverbs 19:22
    New American Standard Bible (NASB)

  13. kevinearick

    Homosexuality & US Navy: Breeding Extortion

    So, you need a transmission device that will propel you forward into the future, instead of backward into the past, and depending upon how far you want to go, you flip the switch at empire implosion time…

    Bay Area is on a roll, right? Another way to look at it is that Bay Area requires 20% RE inflation to keep the automaton rockstars autonomic. The difference between Bay Area and Detroit is that Detroit actually had a product, albeit a crappy one. America’s one and only product is military, going backward in time.

    Homosexuality is not evil; it’s just a derivative outcome, of single people forming civil marriages, mimicking real marriage, to gain benefits at the expense of someone else’s responsibility. Empires breed themselves out of existence, unless you fuel them, adding event horizon filters, dividing by zero with inflation, to ensure the outcome, to load the spring.

    Free speech isn’t free, and the Internet has consumed itself with filters exchanging entertainment for privacy. The majority, globally, has lost its ability to rear children, which means that those remaining will determine the course of the future, as usual.

    You need a navy that will take you to the future, instead of the past, which means that you need a navigation system. Marriage always produces the best military discipline, and leaves the shell behind for corporation to exploit, until it can’t.

    Groupthink crowd sourcing, best as the enemy of better, always ends badly, for those employing fiat as a measuring tool. The US Navy is a force for stupidity, chasing its own tail with fiat money, debt arbitrarily applied to production as a measure of control.

    The Nazis were bred over decades, by public education, and were wiped out with 6 months work, by farm kids, whose parents left the empire to educate their own children. That is the lesson of WWII, and this empire has done us all the favor of wiring itself together globally, so much for nuclear power. You don’t have to go anywhere. Russia finds itself in a preemptive finance war, surprise, surprise…

    The middle class is replacing itself with software, capitalized with RE inflation. Distance, time, is a function of perception, not the other way around, depending upon your perspective. The only difference between the Global City and its predecessors is its dress. Funny, where the bombs fall when the time comes.

    Since when wasn’t a port the source of slush money? Follow the script, and have a nice day.

    (if you have no better use for your children…)

    1. F. Beard

      The Nazis were bred over decades, by public education, and were wiped out with 6 months work, by farm kids, whose parents left the empire to educate their own children. kevinearick

      Well said! That pretty much nails it and is one reason I advocate land reform ala Leviticus 25.

      But many don’t believe in freedom cause, cause, cause people will reach the wrong (i.e. not their) conclusions.

      If non-believers were simply “non” but nooooo! they have to force their beliefs on everyone else too. Thus they turn out to be pests if they obtain power.

      1. Howard Beale IV

        Which beliefs are that, el Beardo? Those of the individual (which Christianists apply more forcefully than non-beliviers, even going so far as to export them to third-world countries), or those of the state?

        Remember the difference between chronos and kairos-ignore that distinction at your own peril.

        1. F. Beard

          Which beliefs are that, …

          I don’t keep up with what the public schools are indoctrinating. But when I look at the tattooed population (How can women ruin their skin?) I suspect it isn’t good.

            1. F. Beard

              What? Threats finally?

              “First they ignore you …”

              But as for spiritual, you have no say in the matter since God is my Judge, not you.

              1. skippy

                The group is your judge ninny, the other stuff is an unknow – unknow and you live in the hear and now.

                skippy… hint… everyone is judging you by your comments… grok that?

  14. ohmyheck

    Re: Practice/Thought link— ” Perhaps the “10,000 hour rule” should be defined as “the amount of time academics spend arguing over what factors explain success.””

    We have a winner!

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      On the other hand, 10,000 hours spent practicing subservience to the overlords makes one a very elite serf.

      So, I would say there is some truth to that academic work.

      1. allcoppedout

        The academy is profoundly anti-creative. Textbooks are a classic example. In most disciplines the material in them is the same because of copying and nearly all universities are the same for the same reason.

    2. psychohistorian

      I would say the “10,000 hour rule” does not apply to economists.

      They have had decades, if not centuries, to figure out that it is inheritance that keeps the global plutocrats in power and they never include that in their models or theories.

  15. Skeptic

    Self-Controlled Crows Ace the Marshmallow Test Scientific American

    I recently read in Crow Quarterly, a research publication of the Heckle and Jeckle Institute, that Humans can be taught to perch on telephone wires if trained with mindless entertainment and salty snacks. The Institute hopes to be able to use this research to free up Crows for more important work such as chasing Owls or stealing seeds from Monsanto test patches.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        I take the article two ways.

        1. the 99.99% should delay gratification because we will be rewarded later (yeah, rignt).

        2. Humans should stop overconsumption and delay material gratification, so that those who come after us will reap clean-environment rewards.

        1. allcoppedout

          All education is ranking. I tried the high-wire experiments to thin out the pack, but was turned down in the ethics’ committee.

    1. Johann Sebastian Schminson

      Read that earlier. Looks like Widdlebooboosnukkums went apeshit. I’m surprised the local PD didn’t declare town-wide lockdown and mount a full paramilitary response. Then again, they were probably assuming the cat was only standing his ground.

    2. ohmyheck

      “”The cat remained behind bars in the custody of the family and officers cleared the scene and continued to fight crime elsewhere in the city,” Portland police said in a release.”

      Oh you Portlandians! So funneh…

  16. rich

    Living Wage Calculator – Poverty in America

    Introduction to the Living Wage Calculator

    In many American communities, families working in low-wage jobs make insufficient income to live locally given the local cost of living. Recently, in a number of high-cost communities, community organizers and citizens have successfully argued that the prevailing wage offered by the public sector and key businesses should reflect a wage rate required to meet minimum standards of living. Therefore we have developed a living wage calculator to estimate the cost of living in your community or region. The calculator lists typical expenses, the living wage and typical wages for the selected location.
    Select a Location

  17. Johann Sebastian Schminson


    I think you have what I’ve taken to calling the FunkFlu™.

    It’s kinda’ like a head cold, at first. Then, it sorta’ moves to the throat and chest, for a while, but not really bad. Even after these symptoms have faded, the overwhelming and persistent symptom is fatigue. No fever.

    Is this what you have?

    If it is, it’s a real bitch, ’cause it is persistent. Mine has lasted 3 weeks, and I’m just coming out of it.

    Get Well (soon?).

  18. Jerome Armstrong

    “Denying the Far-Right Role in the Ukrainian Revolution – Fair”

    Just start linking to Counterpunch already.

    Carrying over from the other tread. What exactly did Snyder write that was propaganda in his NYT’s post?

    Snyder’s piece was excellent in detail concerning a timeline of the uprising, and was entirely right in calling out the places like The Nation for presenting “little of the factual history of the protests.” All I have read in criticism is merely name-calling and general derision. Not very serious, nor accurate.

    Oleh Tyahnybok, Yulia Tymoshenko, and Vital Klitschko were the leadership of the uprising, but by far and away, Klitschko, and UDAR in general, were the most popular figures.

    The three sides agreed that the economic situation sucked, that European integration was the future for Ukraine, and that the current gov’t was corrupt, not transparent, and needed to step down.

    I’m not denying that there has been a power grab by the Right Sector. But it’s interim gov’t, so unless there’s something more substantive behind the name-calling, give it a break with the hyperbolic.

    Svoboda got a mere 10% in the ’12 election. Sure, against Yanukovych, Tyhnybok might have won, but who wouldn’t? What are the scary “neo-nazi’s that have taken over Ukraine” polling right now? 3 and 4 percent in the two latest polls for the elections that are scheduled for May 25th.

    What’s happened here with many of the ‘left’ in the US is that, so full of hatred for it’s own state’s abusive power abroad, it looks for any excuse to attack it’s authority.

    1. Synopticist

      ” What exactly did Snyder write that was propaganda in his NYT’s post?”

      How about…”Any democracy within the Eurasian Union would pose a threat to Putin’s rule in Russia. Putin wants Ukraine in his Eurasian Union, which means that Ukraine must be authoritarian, which means that the Maidan must be crushed.”

      Putin wins elections in Russia without getting out of bed. The guy is wildly popular. I can’t stand Putin, and have very little liking for, or sympathy with, Russia’s geo-political ambitions, but this is bullsh*t.

      It’s impossible to deny there are now fascists in power in the Ukraine. It’s equally impossible to deny there was a major element of foreign funding and organisation of the original protests, and, again, you cannot deny that the first things the new government did was to ban the Russian language and appoint oligarchs as regional governors.

    2. Massinissa

      You do realize most of the left is supporting the ‘revolution’ right? No clue what youre complaining about: Counterpunch is a minority thing on the left.

    3. Murky

      I’ll go light on the Ukraine rant today. About the Snyder piece, I already stated my views yesterday. Today all I’ve got are links. This next Guardian link is neither pro-Russian or pro-Ukrainian. It’s particularly good on historical background, without one-sided opinions.

      Now for a critical review of Western media coverage. Taras Kuzio is an expert on contemporary Ukrainian and post-communist politics at the University of Alberta. His article in the Financial Times is titled The West’s Double Standards in Ukraine. To get past the pay wall, just google the title, and click the link. Here’s the direct link for subscribers:

      Finally, I recommend Johnson’s List for anybody who wants comprehensive coverage. Let me explain first what it is. It’s a daily email containing full text of articles about Russia, Ukraine, and everything in the post-Soviet sphere. It’s usually more daily news than I ever need, so I just cherry-pick the content. Contains many translations from the Russia press, so if you don’t read Russian, this is probably one of your best sources. Here’s how to get on Johnson’s List. Write a simple email to David Johnson with the word ‘subscribe’ in the subject header. Here is his email, but I’m verbalizing it, so bots don’t deluge Mr. Johnson with spam. davidjohnson at starpower dot net

      1. JerseyJeffersonian


        Taras Kuzio is nothing if not a wolf in sheep’s clothing, judging by his affiliations. For starters, here is his Wikipedia biography:

        Now, things jump out at me from the section of this biography (and only a couple, although I rather suspect that there would be more had I the time to chase this around) dealing with “Career”, one of them being his affiliation with the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs, a wing of the National Endowment for Democracy:

        Ostensibly, these are “Non-Governmental Organizations”, but a cursory glance at the funding and the chain of command (see the description of the NED in the Wikipedia article) makes that a risible statement. They are strictly policy instruments of the US government, specifically the State Department. And guess who Victoria “Fuck the EU” Nuland works for? So the NDI and its parent organization, the NED are unlikely to be anything other than NeoConservative/NeoLiberal fronts. Transparently so, thank you very much.

        As to the second affiliation which jumped out at me, well, that would be the Jamestown Foundation:

        In this instance, a quick scan of the first two paragraphs of the article rather makes my point.

        So, it would seem that traditional scholarly objectivity may have very little to do with Prof. Kuzio’s point of view. With these sorts of organizations, one doesn’t get the gig if one is ideologically suspect; i.e., prone to unwelcome outbursts of scholarly objectivity. Birds of a feather do, after all, really flock together.

        As I said, I don’t have the time right now to pursue the other elements of your post, but the one I did address seems to be rather vexed to say the least.

        1. Murky

          Okay, I’ll blab with you. If I was trying to attack the credibility of Kuzio, I would start with that portion of his Financial Times article in which he said there were only 200 active members of the Pravyi Sektor. The Wikipedia article on Pravyi Sektor lists 5,000 members, although, to be honest about it, I don’t think anybody really has reliable data on membership. And Yarosh himself said there were 50k people on the Pravyi Sektor social networking page. So that’s a whole lot of ammunition for you, in that you are hell-bent on discrediting Kuzio. It sort of looks like he’s minimizing the right wing in his assessment. Wouldn’t you agree?

          But I’ll tell you directly, Kuzio’s Wikipedia page doesn’t look like a nest of neocon infiltration to me. You have zero experience finding work with a PHD or MA in Slavic area studies. I’ve gone through this ringer. The CIA recruited on my campus years back. Likewise with the NSA; they love people with Slavic language skills. Occasionally there is State Department work. Most other work is usually in academia, either in history or polysci departments or in libraries. I ended up in a library/archive. So you can shit on Kuzio for the jobs he’s taken, but options are limited if you are an expert on Russia or Ukraine.

          Condemning someone for their affiliations is called, ‘guilt by association’. Instead, you might try actually reading or listening to what Kuzio has to say. That’s a more authentic means of assessment.

          And for what it’s worth, I share your contempt for Obama, Kerry, Nuland, Hilary and other bozos in the US foreign policy apparatus. I can not even read or watch videos of these people making proclamations about Ukraine. Sickens me. They have no depth in history, and are precisely that evil which you describe as ‘neocon’. Yes they would install NATO in Ukraine if they possibly could. A West verses Russia conflict could spiral out of control into a global war. That’s the danger of neocons.

  19. Jerome Armstrong

    60 Minutes has a pretty good look at Poroshenko and Klitschko.

    Porosheko, 49, an Independent, is by far the most popular person, if he were to run for President. He’s the minister of trade and economic development in the interim gov’t. Klitschko, 42, head’s up UDAR, which is likely to be the strongest party. It’s quite a sea change, both generational and in orientation.

    Anyway, back to the “neo-nazi’s are uprising in Ukraine” for the latest… the champion, Yarosh, said that he is going to run for President. They will come up with a name on the 15th. They will likely replace Svobada as the biggest party on the right, fwiw.

    1. Massinissa

      I pray youre right and Right Sector doesnt become the next government, but we will see, and im unconvinced. Very unconvinced.

  20. craazyman

    That’s amazing about elephants. I’d never be able to tell the difference between, say, Norwegian and Swedish or Russian and Ukranian or even Japanese and Korean. This may be a hoax, but if not, we should figure out how they do it.

  21. allcoppedout

    Get well Yves. With you ill I’m trying to make sense of finance on my own. This seems to lead to a lot of downtime and symptoms just like flu!

  22. savedbyirony

    I have not yet read the book reviewed in the article but this piece touches on a number of topics often considered in this blog.The recent look at life satisfaction in regards to whether-or-not one has children and ongoing explorations of class distinctions being two such topics the article covers.
    A past article in The Atlantic Monthly makes an interesting companion with the above piece, for anyone who may have missed it back in 2012. I didn’t think very highly of the essay when it first appeared, but was intrigued because it generated the most responses for a single article from readers of The Atlantic in 2012.

    love the antidote today

    1. savedbyirony

      I’ve also been thinking about the link looking at the death of Steve Irwin. I wonder why it’s here, but that is not what struck me about seeing his name. I recently watched the documentary “Blackfish” about Orcas, Seaworld and animal economic exploitation. Highly recommend it, though it is hard viewing to watch such incredible creatures so cruelly treated. (The book is even better as it supplies much more info about both Orcas and Seaworld’s business model.) And what also caught my eye is that Bindi Irwin (15 years old) has been recruited to work as a spokes person for Seaworld. I don’t know if she hadn’t lost her father, whom from what i have read appeared to work honestly for real conservation and the decent/respectful treatment of animals, she would not now be out promoting Seaworld, but it’s hard to see the Irwin name affiliated with Seaworld and marine mammal captivity/exploitation in general.

  23. Howard Beale IV

    The CIA Forces A Constitutional Crisis-Andrew Sullivan:

    Sully couldn’t be more wrong. Nothing, and I mean, nothing will happen here – except maybe those of us who look at DiFi and laugh our asses off at her being manipulated and/or her stupidity. Wisdom does not seem to be a DiFI strong suit.

    Now of BHO doesn’t remove Brennan, maybe the impeachment card can be played-who knows-this may be the event that brings him down?!?!

  24. H. Alexander Ivey

    Re: Edward Snowden, Tattletale Arthur Silber (diptherio)

    Rather a long winded and bile filled discourse, but with a good central point.

    Silber’s key paragraph…
    “Be sure to appreciate the meaning of the highlighted phrase: a tattletale is someone who reports “something bad or wrong” to an authority. And that is precisely what Snowden has done. He has entrusted the documents to “responsible journalists,” who have adopted the rationales and methods of the States themselves. Moreover, these “responsible journalists” work together with “government stakeholders” to determine which documents may be “safely disclosed” on the basis of factors that are explained in only the vaguest and most vacuous of terms. We haven’t escaped the oppression and abuses of authority: we have only added to the authorities who decide what we will be allowed to know. Before, we were concerned with oppression by the State. Now we can look forward to oppression by the State and by those “responsible journalists” who have lucked into the story of a lifetime, which they then stripped of almost all meaning and impact.”

    Silber’s central point is that Snowden seems to believe in the rightness of the State to conduct massive surveyance of any and all of its population and that, while the people do have the right to know what their State is doing, they don’t get to know, in actionable details, what is being done with their private data – or what is their private vs their public data.

    Now clearly Snowden thinks we have the right to know the big picture of how the USA and its big 5 allies have built a massive surveyance state, that is the purpose of his and Greenwald’s reporting. But I agree with Silber’s noting that the releasing of Snowden’s documents are too controlled to affect a disruption of this state of affairs. This lack of full disclosure is really a point to argue. What is Snowden trying to do? He says he wants a debate, which he has gotten. The debate would not have been possible without his work and the risks he and others have undertaken. But a debate within a overpowering and unresponsive system is a debate in an echo chamber. Not useful if you want a change.

    Silber’s point is that the amount and type of information that Snowden has released is not the amount and kind that will affect change. Change comes from knowing, in detail, how something happens. Snowden seems to have been careful in not giving too much detail, all under the guise of not wishing to expose agents and operators to danger or reprisal – a curious point given the immoralness of the entire system that Snowden has now pull back the curtain on.

    So now what? Good question. Neither Snowden or Greenwald seem to have concrete answers – and in accordance with Silber’s point, they haven’t grasp the nettle and offered suggestions on how to change or limit the system.

    1. Hugh

      I would say that it was a smart initial strategy on the part of Greenwald and Poitras to dribble out stories on NSA spying because this kept the issue of NSA and government spying before the public and each successive story simply reinforced the case that the NSA was a totally out of control agency from the public’s point of view and a worthy absolutely necessary part of the surveillance/police state from the viewpoint of our rich and elites.

      However, at some point and I believe we have been at that point for some time, it is important to release all the Snowden files so that we the public can see them for ourselves and render our own judgment as well as contribute the benefit of our insights. In some ways, the NSA would favor a bulk dump because they would then know the full extent of the disclosures and the amount of damage control they needed. For this reason, releasing say a quarter of the files every 3 months would keep the issue out there for another year and keep the NSA on tenterhooks for that long as well.

      I think a case could be made for redacting the names (if any names are mentioned) of anyone below section or department level at the NSA. Anyone at or above this level should be fair game. It is important to remember that a lot of this stuff we already know. I mean we have this agency with a philosophy of vacuum up everything everywhere any way possible so it’s not hard to guess the wheres and hows, but seeing the evidence gives our suspicions weight and certainty.

  25. Eva Romer

    Thank you for the excellent coverage of issues of Obamacare.
    Perhaps you could look into why Americans abroad will likely have to pay the fine for not enrolling, even if they have perfectly good healthcare in the (no doubt socialist) countries they live in?
    Incidentally, why US citizens living abroad are automatically criminals if they misfle anything and have to pay in advance for taxes that are impossible to do yourself and nigh impossible to estimate would also be interesting. The IRS requested comments recently in the context of corporate taxation (no need seeing your iTax link), but most of the submissions were from fed-up Americans abroad – and I think the difficulty of submitting and the potential threat of prison, fines etc are more aggravating than the tax payment.
    For the record, I am not personally concerned.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      You need to check, but I am pretty sure that any month you are out of the US you do not have to have US health care coverage. But you need to verify what the time periods are. If you are a long-term non-resident, I don’t believe you have any issues.

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