Links 4/20/14

Scientists Successfully Teach Monkey Theory of Evolution Daily Currant

Attendance dropping at aquatic theme parks over claims of abuse and suffering Observer

Jackson Hole landslide slowly swallows Wyoming town Christian Science Monitor

Genetic testing a cracked crystal ball Nikkei

U.S.-Japan Talks Said Unable to Overcome Deal Obstacles Bloomberg. As we predicted.

A year after Rana Plaza: What hasn’t changed since the Bangladesh factory collapse Washington Post

Mount Everest avalanche leaves at least 12 Nepalese climbers dead Guardian

The Risks of Everest Are Deadlier for Some New York Times

Deflation in Sweden: Questions and answers Lars E.O. Svensson (MacroDigest)

UN envoy and Israel in Easter row BBC

Iran slams U.S. justice verdict on Manhattan skyscraper Reuters. More to this than you;d get from the anodyne headline.

Ukraine

How the US made its Putin problem worse Reuters

Ukraine crisis: The weakness of Europe BBC

With tensions escalating between Gazprom and Naftogaz another suspension of Russian gas supplies to Ukraine cannot be ruled out London School of Economics blog

EU official against cutting Russia gas ties Associated Press

U.S. Warns Money Managers of More Russia Sanctions Bloomberg. Wow, this is heavy-handed. And it ought to be inside information, but when to quote Nixon, when the President (or his minions) does it, it is not a crime.

Russia to ‘help’ Ukraine in overcoming crisis Aljazeera

Ukraine’s crisis: Going nowhere fast Economist

Donetsk separatists: ‘We’ll stay until victory’ DW

Ukraine’s Army Fails to Retake Anything in the Eastern Ukraine Pater Tenebrarum

The Errand-Boys of Europe Dublin Review of Books (Chuck L). An important and meaty essay.

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

New ‘Google’ for the Dark Web Makes Buying Dope and Guns Easy Wired. I told readers quite a few times that using Tor was waving a big red flag to make you a Person of Interest to the NSA. I’m enough of a cynic to wonder whether this is an astroturf project to justify the use of HUMINT against Tor users.

The mentality of J Edgar Hoover’s FBI undergirds today’s surveillance state Guardian

Clapper Goes on Tour to Persuade University Students Snowden Is No Whistleblower, Not a Hero Kevin Gosztola, Firedoglake

Obamacare Launch

How Obamacare Leaves Some People Without Doctors Huffington Post. Surprised that HuffPo is acknowledging this issue. And it’s a biggie.

Health care site flagged in Heartbleed review Associated Press

Insanely Rich Reporter Covers White House Meeting of the Insanely Rich Gawker

Repeat After Me: The American Tax System is Hardly Progressive at All Steve Roth, Angry Bear

Fed Bond-Buying Delivered ‘Significant’ Boost to U.S. Economy, IMF Researchers Say WSJ Economics. If the characterization of the paper is right, it stunningly conflates the financial economy with the real economy. The argument among experts is about how much QE lowered long-term interest rates. But as we’ve argued, that’s the old “loanable funds” fallacy, that if you put money on sale, businesses will snap it up and go out and invest. Anyone who has run a real business will tell you that’s not how it works. Their paramount criterion is whether they see enough demand for their product or service to support a larger operation.

When It Comes to Generating Jobs It Pays Not to Listen to the Experts Beat the Press

Wall Street deregulation pushed by Clinton advisers, documents reveal Guardian. The Rubinites were at it from the get-go. And Gene Sperling, who I’ve seen use the expression “middle class” as if referring to an alien species, figures prominently.

Banks Cling to Bundles Holding Risk Gretchen Morgenson, New York Times

Just Punch My Bankruptcy Ticket Pamela Foohey, Credit Slips. On the uselessness of mandated pre-bankruptcy counseling (and why are nearly broke people required to spend more money???). Note this sort of counseling was widely seen as another squeezing blood from a turnip exercise, but now we can say it’s official.

Tech workers seek to have Steve Jobs’ emails admitted as evidence in class action suit Reuters

Sending Alerts Instead, G.M. Delayed Car Recalls New York Times

Student debt holds back many would-be home buyers Los Angeles Times

An Indictment of the Invisible Hand Truthout

Antidote du jour:

Easter-Bunny-Wallpaper-15

And a bonus:

Description_ cid_07A998D0-2D08-41EB-A94B-0C6A6E44009D

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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72 comments

  1. diptherio

    My dear fellow white people: Please, please, get over your obsession with standing on top of inaccessible mountain peaks. If you want to test yourself, do some f-ing cross-fit. Please.

    I can’t help but recall a conversation I had with a climbing guide/porter at a hotel in Jiri, the start of the Everest trail (which was as far as this white boy felt compelled to go). “I climb because I am poor and there is no work for me, except this portering. But you people, why do you do it?” I had no answer for him, not being a mountaineer. For any who are, and who may be reading this, consider well his questions to me, for they were actually directed at you:

    “Why you have to go to top of mountain? Is death a game to you? Why can’t you look from down here? Why you have to go to the top? Don’t you care for your life?”

    1. Ignacio

      I agree with you but a possible answer to your question can be something like “because life is so boring to me”

      1. diptherio

        Yeah…sad, isn’t it? And I spend plenty of time in wilderness areas, climbing up various mountains and spending the night amongst bears and other wild critters, so I can kinda relate…a little. But to the extent that I do things that endanger my well-being, I do them alone (or with willing companions). And I don’t do anything so insane as trying to summit Sagamartha (Everest) or any other serious peak.

        1. abynormal

          my kinda high:

          “How many lives do we live? How many times do we die? They say we all lose 21 grams… at the exact moment of our death. Everyone. And how much fits into 21 grams? How much is lost? When do we lose 21 grams? How much goes with them? How much is gained? How much is gained? Twenty-one grams. The weight of a stack of five nickels. The weight of a hummingbird. A chocolate bar. How much did 21 grams weigh?”
          Guillermo Arriaga/writer 21 grams

          “The earth turned to bring us closer,
          it spun on itself and within us,
          and finally joined us together in this dream
          as written in the Symposium.
          Nights passed by, snowfalls and solstices;
          time passed in minutes and millennia.
          An ox cart that was on its way to Nineveh
          arrived in Nebraska.
          A rooster was singing some distance from the world,
          in one of the thousand pre-lives of our fathers.
          The earth was spinning with its music carrying us on board;
          it didn’t stop turning a single moment
          as if so much love, so much that’s miraculous
          was only an adagio written long ago
          in the Symposium’s score.”
          Eugenio Monteio

          Happy Single Moments to You and All NC’rs

          1. susan the other

            This is beautiful. Are you sure it is not Eugenio Montale. I clipped one of his poems decades ago and sent it, over the years, to my friends facing the death of a loved one. The poem was so positive it was Easter reincarnate. It was written about the devastation of WW2 on the countryside of Italy and how the next spring nature took over and all the sweetness of life was restored – just that easily… except for the memories. Then one day I found I had lost my last copy of this poem and I have not been able to find it again, not in any of Montale’s works… so I’m wondering if it was my mistake, and it was not written by Montale at all. Anyway it was beautiful in the way this one is.

    2. Brindle

      Climbing Everest is definitely a 0.1% kinda thing. The average cost per person is $40k on up to $100K for your platinum service expedition.
      No doubt makes a good conservation topic at your next party in Boca Grande or Laguna Beach.

    3. DakotabornKansan

      When asked what was the hardest thing about climbing Mt Everest, an anonymous Everest summiteer replied, ”Pissing through 6 inches of clothes with a 3 inch penis.”

      As for climbing Everest being a 0.1% kinda thing, Sir Edmund Hillary, calling for restrictions on Everest expeditions, said, “I think the whole attitude towards climbing Mount Everest has become rather horrifying. The people just want to get to the top. They don’t give a damn for anybody else who may be in distress.”

      As a healthcare professional who has always been interested in human performance at altitude, I recall the following quote:

      “People ask me, ‘What is the use of climbing Mount Everest?’ and my answer must at once be, ‘It is of no use.’ There is not the slightest prospect of any gain whatsoever. Oh, we may learn a little about the behaviour of the human body at high altitudes, and possibly medical men may turn our observation to some account for the purposes of aviation. But otherwise nothing will come of it. We shall not bring back a single bit of gold or silver, not a gem, nor any coal or iron… If you cannot understand that there is something in man which responds to the challenge of this mountain and goes out to meet it, that the struggle is the struggle of life itself upward and forever upward, then you won’t see why we go. What we get from this adventure is just sheer joy. And joy is, after all, the end of life. We do not live to eat and make money. We eat and make money to be able to live. That is what life means and what life is for.” ― George Mallory, Climbing Everest: The Complete Writings of George Mallory

      As Mark Twain once wrote, “It is easier to fool people than to convince them they have been fooled.”

      1. JEHR

        “During the 1924 British Mount Everest Expedition, Mallory and his climbing partner Andrew “Sandy” Irvine both disappeared on the North-East ridge during their attempt to make the first ascent of the world’s highest mountain. The pair were last seen when they were about 800 vertical feet (245m) from the summit.

        Mallory’s ultimate fate was unknown for 75 years, until his body was discovered on 1 May 1999 by an expedition that had set out to search for the climbers’ remains. Whether Mallory and Irvine reached the summit before they died remains a subject of speculation and continuing research.” (Wikipedia)

        1. Wayne Reynolds

          There is no evidence to show whether Mallory and Irvine at the time of their accident were making their ascent or their descent. The possibility remains that they might have been the first team to summit Everest. A mystery of the same scale as the disappearance of Amelia Earhart.

    4. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      This is how I see it.

      Mt. Everest = The highest point of wealth inequality.
      Trish’s disposable serfs (comment below) = serfs like you and me so the 0.01% can summit
      Climbing alone = get rich alone (and no one does it. It takes a whole village).
      Why summit a peak? = why get so filthy rich?
      Insane to climb it = psychopath to accumulate billions
      $140,000 minimum to climb = the price of selling your soul to be a 0.01%er (seems like a good deal).

      All the 0.01% signs are there for everyone to see.

    5. Vatch

      The psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi provides an excellent answer to this question in his book Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience. If you don’t have time to read the book, see the Wikipedia article on Flow:

      Flow is the mental state of operation in which a person performing an activity is fully immersed in a feeling of energized focus, full involvement, and enjoyment in the process of the activity. In essence, flow is characterized by complete absorption in what one does.

      Rock climbing, artistic painting, computer programming, and playing chess are some of the activities that can produce the flow experience.

      1. Yves Smith Post author

        You don’t have to climb Everest to get that. I have a buddy who climbs and he’s clear that the prospect of death if you don’t stay relentlessly focused is the big appeal.

        Read Jon Krakaukeur’s excellent Into Thin Air. Climbing Everest is largely about dealing with the effects of low oxygen. Climbers lose a huge % of their body mass because they can’t digest food properly at that altitude, even at the base camp. You are expending more calories than usual fighting the cold and not getting enough intake. And with that low level of distress, you don’t have the focus you do in climbing at lower altitudes.

        1. Vatch

          You’re quite right that people don’t need to climb Everest for the flow experience. But Flow is a reason why people climb mountains.

    6. Andrea

      Because, kudos, being at the top (sic), gaining a small sliver of recognition, adulation, local fame, has become globalized. Mountains and sportiness are rugged metaphors (heh, sorry.)

      *Only Everest !*

      That takes big bucks, which is part of the story, it is extravagantly expensive, you need to be rich to attempt any climb.

      Many invest in ‘going there’ and doing an escalation very quickly, without proper precautions, training, equipment, respect, interest, etc. Just to garner the social ‘badge.’

      So Nepal caters to that tourist trade, it is an vital source of revenue. (Mount Everest is littered with garbage..) The Nepalese have to make safe-ways with ropes etc. to regulate, which then kills them…

      The Mont-Blanc is a lower-tier, less prestigious, destination, people die like flies there as well.

      Many ‘poorer’ ppl attempt one or another ascent. Desperately sad.

      They scrape and save and do it on the cheap, trying to circumvent or diminish the cost of equipment, guides, food, clothes, hotels, etc. They often band together without knowing each other (pooling savings, counting on safety in numbers, exchanging shoes and the like, all ‘too cool’..) which is disastrous.

      They also expect that in case of dire straits they will be saved by .. white helicopters? Many, many thousands have died. (Exact numbers not available.)

    7. neo-realist

      When you’ve got white skin privilege and opportunities, resources, and material goods have come easy relative to other groups, what else is there to conquer, except to climb a freakin mountain?

    8. Crazy Horse

      I think you are missing the key point. Humans have always sought means of challenging themselves— usually by trying to kill other males in combat because too much testosterone was flowing through their veins. Far better to try to climb an impossible mountain, surf the biggest wave, or jump off a cliff wearing a squirrel suit.

      But having your sorry butt drug up Everest by a professional guide/whore who is only doing it for the money? And hiring a herd of human beasts of burden to carry your expresso machine up the mountain and serve you your morning Double Mocha Organic Colombian Half & Half with a swirl of whipped cream on top? And walking over the dead bodies frozen into the summit ridge to reach your goal?

      What exactly is it you see in the mirror in the morning, Mr. or Ms. triumphant mountaineer?

  2. c.f. tips from bootblacks

    “…whether the government intended to follow through, or was trying to trigger asset sales through the threat of sanctions.” Good for Reuters, calling bullshit.

    I remember Ken Adelman and his mini-me’s trying to pull this same stunt in 08. The CIA pukes try it every few years. It’s very appealing to financially innumerate government drones because it makes them feel like big-shot wheeler dealers.

  3. dearieme

    You get good views from the tops of hills – though I admit that I’ve gone no higher than the top of an alp. Happily there was a cable car. Really invigorating though; clean air, snow, a glass of Riesling, a bowl of strawberries. And glissading down, slightly sloshed, was superb. That’s the way to do it.

  4. Johann Sebastian Schminson

    “Fed Bond-Buying Delivered ‘Significant’ Boost to U.S. Economy”
    ________________

    QE would have been much more effective, and it would have put some solid ground under our untested consumer credit economy, only if it would have been applied to the indebted consumer. The obvious counter to the situation that “trickle down economics” has landed us in is a “trickle up” solution — it is the only means by which both the indebted, and ultimately, the creditor, could be made whole.

    It’s as if the solution to the Titanic hitting the iceberg was to punch another hole in the back of the ship to let the water out.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      QE directly to indebted consumers = bazooka when there is a need (and an excellent idea, Johann).

      The everyday, bread and butter way = Money Creation via the Little People spending it into existence.

      And what if the government needs some money for more drones?

      Well, the way to go is with more money creation via the Little People (of course!) so they can pay more (income and sales) taxes…this is called ‘trickle over from the 4th branch of government to the other 3.’

      I call this theory, OM (short for ‘Opposite MMT’).

      One can chant it like a mantra. OM OM OM OM OM….

  5. Jackrabbit

    In Cold War Echo, Obama Strategy Writes Off Putin

    So much here that I barely know where to start. First, the article’s perspective is notable (even if expected by now): U.S. – and even Obama himself! – are depicted as unquestionably superior and on the moral high ground. But what is really remarkable is the evident haughty petulance of the Obama Administration that gets translated into what can only be surmised, incredibly, as a policy of Russian regime change. I am no Russian expert but I find it difficult to believe that Putin acts without wide support from Russian oligarchs and govt officials. So the US really seeks to eliminate Putinism. And I question if China and other countries would join in in any meaningful way (as the article suggests). “Our way or the highway” is not very diplomatic.

    @Banger: While great pains are taken to make Obama look like a moderate (or atleast listening to moderate points of view), the falsity of this is belied by the resulting hard-line policy.Note: keep in mind that US/NATO is also moving ships to Baltic Sea and sending troops to Poland.

    Banger has previously written about how important the NYT can be with regard to policy signals. I believe this article qualifies. I also think that the ‘dangerous world’ theme is one that Hillary hopes to make much of in her 2016 campaign.

    1. Banger

      Really interesting article in the NYT! Yes, this signals that the realists have, basically, won the struggle with the neocons/and the Samantha Power gang with some caveats. The U.S. will go through harassing rather than opposing Russian power and hope that internal contradictions and a lowered standard of living within Russia will cause Russia to return to a new Yeltsin era–that is a real pipe-dream. The NYT believes this is a “new” policy and there may be new details but it is, essentially, the same policy that has been in effect during most of Obama’s administration–the notion that he intended to be more open and friendly with Russia seems absurd to me.

      The article you cite shows what I’ve been saying that there is a deep struggle within Washington for the driver’s seat in national security policy. It may be that the “crazies” in the national security establishment will become increasingly isolated–the engineers of the coup in Ukraine may lose power–we’ll see. That means that it is unlikely that the U.S. will escalate tensions in Syria.

      There is still danger that Ukraine may escalate into a civil war which, I believe, is what the planners of the Kiev coup wanted in the first place–just repeat the Syria operation sort-of in reverse. It’s amusing to watch the Kiev government twist and turn with contradictory orders from different factions in Washington.

      1. Jackrabbit

        Banger, I don’t know how you can agree with me and then describe the realists as having won.

        This NYTimes article is clearly propaganda meant to depict Obama as reasonable and moderate when his Administration is nothing of the sort. The article does NOT convey a realist point of view (limits to power; must work within international community and diplomatic norms, etc) but a neocon one (your either with us or against us). The US will work with Russia only to the extent that it is in our interest to do so (like maintaining supply lines to Afghanistan). The Bloomberg article today is further proof of a neocon ‘win’. The goal of this full-court press now seems clear: regime change in Russia.

        And I do not share your optimistic view of Syria and Ukraine. I think the neocons will attempt another run at Syria, and a Ukrainian civil war seems almost certain, not simply “a danger” that it occurs.

        1. Banger

          Realists are people who make compromises with power. They “won” in the sense that the “crazies” aka neocons did not get the President to move towards more drastic action and try to force the crisis into a deeper crisis. Both sides suck–but one is less toxic than the other.

          1. Jackrabbit

            The realists “won” only if you believe what they want you to believe – that Obama is a moderate, and overall good-guy that we should trust implicitly, who “listened” to the realists. Yet the result of this faux “win” is apparently committing the US to regime change in Russia?!?!

            This makes no sense unless you know that the Obama Administration consistently miscategories, misdirects, and misleads and you see the NYTimes article for what it is: ‘Great Leader’ propaganda. If you pay attention to what Obama does and not what he says, then you are left with a conclusion that the neocons convinced Obama to seek regime change in Russia. The Administration covered this ugly fact in the way that he usually does, saying: “it could’ve been worse” (sound familar? its the Republicans!, don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good!”, etc.).

            THAT (regime change; plus the impact on Hillary’s prospects) is the import of the NYTimes article. They HAD to make this ‘political’ announcement after the Bloomberg article (which was printed first). But the haughty petulance that the NYTimes reveals will not be well received by the rest of the world.

            1. Crazy Horse

              The occupant of the White House is Obama the Assassin, the Commander of a fleet of remote control Death Drones, and by his actions the world’s leading terrorist.

              You are sitting down with your family and friends to enjoy a traditional Easter dinner. Among the group is a college student who is taking a course taught by Bill Black entitled “The Best Way to Rob a Bank is to Own One”. He has been observed talking to the professor in a coffee house after class—clear evidence of belief in dangerous ideas by a male of combat age. One of the drones circling overhead detects the location of his cell phone, and a Predator is dispatched to exterminate him, flown by a 20 year old geek sitting in a bunker half way around the world.
              You and all your family die in the attack.

              This is the Obama policy down to the last detail except for the nationality and holiday being celebrated.

              How is this not terrorism and would you not be terrified all the time if you lived under such a threat?

              One can either acknowledge reality — that a policy of remote assassination is terrorism even if some of those it kills are actual enemies, or use the propaganda of quasi-government organs like the NY Times to construct your own alternative delusional reality.

    2. Brindle

      I read that piece on the front page of the NYT earlier. Interesting how they mix in an obvious Opinion piece without designating it as such.
      Obama’s view of the world differs from the from the Cheney-esque one only in matters of style and presentation. Just look at how the U.S.’s meddling in other countries internal affairs affairs has arguably gotten worse under Obama.

    3. Wayne Reynolds

      We cannot forget our warships currently in the Black Sea where just this past week the USS Donald Cook was buzzed 12 times, supposedly a reference to the 12 Apostles during this time of Easter week by a Russian Su-24 jet, but also I have read that it was a display by Russia that they could jam and shut down the operating systems aboard the ship. Supposedly 24 or so sailors freaked out and applied for resignation. The ship is now in port in Romania.

    4. VietnamVet

      The NYT article is strange. Corporate media is omitting pertinent facts like the USA pushed for the Kiev Putsch or that Russian military doctrine is to use tactical nuclear weapons if loosing. We have a government creating its own visions rather than dealing with reality. The sanctions and NATO membership for Western Ukraine are existential threats to Russia. No matter how it is sugar coated by not agreeing to a neutral Ukraine the Obama Administration’s goal is regime change in Russia. This is radical and risks destruction of the Northern Hemisphere.

      David Brooks had a hysterical fit of rage against Validmir Putin on Friday’s Newshour. It can only because the Western Multi-National’s rule of the world is being rejected and Brazil, Russia, India and China (The BRICs) are re-sovereignizing the international system. This will not be pretty and could destroy the world as we know it.

  6. E.L. Beck

    “U.S.-Japan Talks Said Unable to Overcome Deal Obstacles Bloomberg. As we predicted.” makes it sound as if TPP’s demise is a done deal, but this isn’t over. The negotiators simply failed to reach agreement prior to Obama’s visit to Japan, denying him a victory lap.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      We never said it was over. We said, contrary to recent PR in the Western media, that the Japanese and the US would not resolve their areas of dispute in time for the Obama visit.

      We’ve said Obama still hopes to push it through in the lame duck session. But the Japanese have made it clear they want the US to negotiate, and so far, it has been unwilling to do that.

      And the longer deals take to get done, the less likely they are to get done.

  7. Banger

    Interesting article on the BBC site about Ukraine sanctions. The article implies that it is probably unlikely that the Europeans will enact serious sanctions against Russia at this time because each country has its internal issues and will take a loss. This sad and ragged continent is now caught between continuing subservience to the U.S. national security state and the interests of their own people over a crisis created by the U.S.

    For Americans it is critical that Europeans not join the U.S. national security state in marching to war–we don’t really want new wars cold or hot–we need to concentrate on breaking up the oligarchy that solidified as a result of the phony war on “terror.” We don’t have to live under a single imperial regime in this world. We can stop the radical phase of U.S. imperialism that started with the end of the USSR and just relax a little and stop meddling in the affairs of other societies and start to find some creative solutions to common problems instead of yet another Great Game. The Russians were perfectly fine with a relatively neutral Ukraine–why does Ukraine have to be a U.S. satellite?

      1. RanDomino

        The same ones who went to Iraq?
        On the other hand, maybe not. Iraqis are non-white and non-Christian and everyone knew victory (in the conventional invasion phase) was a foregone conclusion. They might not be so keen to fight white Christians with a real military élan.

  8. jfleni

    RE: Attendance dropping at aquatic theme parks over claims of abuse and suffering

    It’s about time this horrendous exploitation for a handful of miserable fast bucks was stopped!

    But consider a slight modification of the article:

    “Marine animals [PEOPLE] evolved to travel [WORK] to get food,” adds Marino. “It is a challenge to hunt for food and they want to be challenged that way. So it is no favour to them to throw them dead fish [FOOD STAMPS].”

    In addition, researchers point out that cetaceans [PEOPLE] have extremely sophisticated social lives which are disrupted when individual animals [PEOPLE] are caught [ABUSED] and separated from their family groups. Killer whales [PEOPLE] have developed complex matriarchal societies in which sons and daughters live with their mothers. When such a family is broken up, the effect is highly stressful.

    Would that the plutocrats thought a little more about people, as least as much as cetaceans.

  9. Garrett Pace

    “Progressive taxation”

    When the tax from arbitrage is less than half that of actually adding value through one’s labors, progressive taxation is impossible.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Progressive is also equitable.

      You make more, you pay at a higher rate. That’s fair and equitable.

      To add to Abigail Field’s Our Corrupt Tax Code, if the code is more equitable, that is to say, if it is more equally corrupt, then we ALL get to pay less – us the not-very-rich can pay same low tax rates as the super-rich – if we all corrupt together, then there will be more money in the system (because taxation destroys money, and we don’t want that now).

          1. optimader

            Had dinner w/ a couple friends, one of which is from Belarus –sister lives in Kacha, Crimea. Interesting perspective ill have to offer when I’m sober.

  10. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Student debt…home buying.

    If people want to own instead of renting, fine. But some would say, and have said it here, that it’s better to rent than to buy.

    Perhaps it’s like the saying, there is a season to everything…a time to buy and a time to rent.

    And like the Zen parable in Charlie Wilson’s War of a boy with a broken leg, today’s misfortune may be tomorrow’s fortune. “We will see,’ says the Zen master.

    So too, we will see about not being able to buy a home in the last few years.

    1. sd

      Buying makes little sense in a world that no longer provides a career path with one company. Entire industries now pick up and move to a different state. Buying just traps workers and forces them to accept lower pay.

  11. down2long

    Re: Bankruptcy counseling. I’ve had to do it three times (once when entering Chapter 11, once when trying to get my BK discharged after meeting all the terms of my BK so I could file another BK to save a building) and then, hours later, taking another another credit counseling to file the second BK which was rejected by the evil “judge.” (Turns our those of us individuals unfortunate enough to owe too much money to file Chapter 13 must file Chapter 11. Except of course, we are not afforded the same protections as a corporation which files Chapter 11, as in being able to file a second, concurrent Chapter 11 if you have a creditor getting out of line. Same as it ever was.) The credit counseling is truly ridiculous from the get go – including paying by credit card or bank check. I was bankrupt. I did not have either of those.
    However, of course thanks to that bastard Joe Biden who led the “Bankruptcy Reform Act of 2005″ in an effort to make BK unaffordable/impossibly complicated to consumers (and to further slather on W”s pole) and in the he service of all the bankster credit card companies headquarters in his beloved Delaware, the rule of credit counseling was passed.
    It may appear incidental, but that credit counseling certificate is the first thing they ask for when you make that death march to the BK filing office. If somehow you do not file that certificate, your case will be dismissed lickety split. If you are filing pro se (for yourself) you will get your notice of dismissal in the mail 2 weeks (or more)later. The banks will be notified immediately electronically and move quickly to grab your stuff, you will be in the dark for at least two weeks.
    All part of the design. One unexpected upside: After I answered the online questionnaire, I had to speak to a “counselor.” Now you have to understand that I was at one of the lowest points of my life, and reasonably afraid of becoming homeless after fifteen years of really hard construction work to buy my rental properties and improve them, and prepare for my retirement. The counselor was very nice – we both knew the interview was a pro forma hoax. But I still had my sense of humor (very tattered, but intact.) We joked a litte – and he said to me “You’re gonna make it.” I was like “How do you know?” He said, “I’ve been doing this for a long time, and I can tell the winners from the interviews. It’s all in the attitude.” Thanks God he turned out to be right. And I sure needed that vote of confidence right then.

  12. Ignacio

    The essay “The errand boys of Europe” is excellent. I think it could be categorized as must read.

    1. susan the other

      Yes, I liked it too. Kinda like the cliff notes of Russian foreign policy. And it makes Putin more understandable. The old Heartland theory is still current – that surprises me. I don’t see how controlling central Asia is tantamount to controlling the world. I think it’s just a catch phrase. Maybe because so much oil is in central Asia… And to separate out the Heartland from Rimland is so imperialist I can hardly take it seriously – especially since Rimland, the shoreline of the planet with all its megacities, is going to be inundated, swamped and flooded out, making the inland reaches of every country a better place to be… But it was interesting reading and I understand Russia a tad better.

      1. TomDority

        However, the evolutionary process by which monkeys made men of themselves was considerably slower than the reverse process.

        1. scraping_by

          According to classic Darwinism, the monkeys became men by environmental pressures. Nobody asked how they wanted to live…

          1. different clue

            Pondo Pete (?) is an orangutan, not a monkey. Major difference.
            I wonder if the same thing could be taught to a chimp or bonobo?

    2. Murky

      Yeah, it’s a very good piece. The author is adroit for such a broad topic: A thousand years of Russia’s history with the West. About 10 thousand words. Unavoidably dense with named individuals and historical events. Could easily be unpacked into a full sized book. Smart in not offering opinions on Ukraine, too much controversy there. Just clean history, without the bias of taking sides. Yay!

  13. JGordon

    There is something extremely funny about teaching monkeys the theory of evolution, but I can’t quite put my finger on it.

  14. Yulek

    They were teaching that monkey BS. Theory of gradual evolution has one serious hole in it. There are no intermediate forms in fossil record (figured this out myself when I was 15). And another theory fills it nicelly, theory of stabilisation.

    1. Johann Sebastian Schminson

      There could also be a continuum of evolution, in which each change is too minor to be evident in the fossil record.

      The real BS is that there is a big, invisible, one of Us, who pulled us out of the same nothingness as the Fed does dollars.

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      I wonder if they can teach monkeys to believe in creationism, with enough bananas…

      1. allcoppedout

        That takes fermented grapes Beef. With enough wine in you it’s easy to confuse apes with monkeys and then with a few whiskeys in you it becomes plain they are reading the Bibles left after they went through the pagan stage of eating that chap from the Gideon Society, You then try to teach them evolution and when they throw the Bibles at you, it’s reasonable to conclude they have accepted creationism.

    3. Vatch

      Okay, I’ll bite. What is the theory of stabilization?

      I hope you’re not rejecting biological evolution simply because you are dissatisfied with phyletic gradualism. Punctuated equilibrium provides an explanation of biological evolution for those who think that there aren’t enough intermediate forms in the fossil record.

      1. allcoppedout

        Let’s face it Vatch, Lambert can’t even spell ‘currant’ in the title at his site. All very sotiricale.

  15. allcoppedout

    Paleontologists have observed gradualistic speciation, punctuational speciation,
    and morphological stasis, all in a single series of rocks with punctuational speciation
    occurring about 10 times more frequently than gradualistic speciation.
    At present, research is still ongoing on the evolutionary patterns of life; which of these
    evolutionary patterns has a great influence on the existence of very diverse groups of
    organisms on earth. And it is possible that in the next few hundred years we may have an
    answer. But remember that these are just both theories and one or both could be proven right or wrong.
    http://www.sersc.org/journals/IJBSBT/vol3_no4/3.pdf

    Free paper for anyone interested in reliable expert knowledge on evolution.

  16. M Raymond Torres

    Re Wall Street deregulation pushed by Clinton advisers, documents reveal

    What a weird non-revelation. The people Clinton paid to advise him advised him and he followed their advice. Yes. And? What matters is that Clinton chose to support deregulation. Whether he did it with or without the support of his advisers seems trivial to the point of inanity. Clinton was destructively (cynically?) wrong on this (and so many other) issues and many of us knew it and said so at the time. How does word that he and his advisers were on the same page make the news in 2014? What am I missing here?

  17. Propertius

    After the torture, the assassinations, the mass surveillance, and the war crimes, it’s a little hard for me to get to get all worked up over sharing a little insider information with one’s cronies. I know it should be otherwise.

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