Links 2/19/16

Japanese tourists flock to see Hachi, the cat with lucky eyebrows Guardian (YY)

Are Cats allowed in Court? UK Criminal Law Blog (Richard Smith)

The Hadza, the Honeyguide Bird and the Persistent Problem of ‘Naturefaking’ Atlas Obscura (Robert M)

Furious George: monkey in Brazil drinks rum and chases bar patrons with knife Guardian (YY)

Sound wave therapy is first alternative to Viagra in 15 years New Scientist

The Garden of Earthly Delights by Jheronimus Bosch (Chuck L). Interactive.

One-Third of Clinical Trial Results Never Disclosed, Study Finds Bloomberg (martha r)

China?

Why Are China’s Rich Kids heading West? New Yorker

Beijing is banning all foreign media from publishing online in China Quartz. Richard Smith: “Either Quartz has suddenly fucked up, or this is a biggie.”

Negative-Rates Fallout Makes ECB’s Task Harder Wall Street Journal

Bank of England deputy says 2019 rate hike expectations not justified Telegraph

Cameron EU talks continue through night BBC

Syraqistan’

Saudi Arabia’s Credit Rating Cut Two Levels

False flag or not, Turkey fails to exploit latest terrorist attack failed evolution

Is Syrian war partly an ad for Russian arms sales? Reuters

Exclusive: Radioactive material stolen in Iraq raises security fears | Reuters. EM: “This was featured in one of ZH’s latest end-of-the-world (buy guns, lead and silver!!) scaremongering stories According to Wikipedia IR-192 has a half-life of roughly 74 days, so those 10g stolen in November, assuming they had just come brand-spanking-fresh from the reactor used to produce the material, would be down to under 5 grams’ worth of material by now. By end of this year it’ll be down to well under a gram’s worth. Still scary in the wrong hands, but a very limited-time-usage item.”

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

Reality With Apple and The FBI Karl Denniger Scott)

Imperial Collapse Watch

Study: Sanctions boost foreign military more than they hurt economy PhysOrg

Addicted to Los Alamos American Conservative (resilc)

The Untold Casualties of the Drone War Rolling Stone

Spies Who Chased Terrorists Join Banks to Hunt for Rogue Traders Bloomberg. Resilc: “Ex-CIA operatives and banksters, a marriage made in hell.”

Dirty little secret: Insurers actually are making a mint from Obamacare Los Angeles Times (Kevin C)

2016

Donald Trump and the Central Park Five: the racially charged rise of a demagogue Guardian (Kevin C)

‘Fuck the Pope!’, Says Donald Trump Ed Maloney. Note that Catholics are not well represented in the Republican party.

US election: Donald Trump v Pope… who wins? BBC

The AFL-CIO Is to Remain Neutral in the Democratic Primary Nation

The Clinton Monster That Won’t Die Counterpunch (Li)

Bernie Sanders Economic Plans Questioned By Critics With Ties To Wall Street, Hillary Clinton International Business Times

‘Let me do the worrying’ Hillary Clinton squeezes Hispanic girl whose parents are in line for deportation in new ad to court heavily Latino Nevada Daily Mail (Li). Clinton even manages to shed crocodile tears.

How Clinton fundraiser Anna Wintour handed Hillary a shameless 10-page puff piece in Vogue magazine Daily Mail (Li)

Shockingly, authorities arrest activists instead of people responsible for the Aliso Canyon methane gas leak Inhabitat

Chicago residents sue ‘criminal’ city for not warning of high lead levels in water supply Independent (martha r)

Black Injustice Tipping Point

Are We Doomed to Slow Growth? New York Times. With bad management, meaning our current elites, yes.

A National Infrastructure Program Is a Smart Idea We Won’t Do Because We Are Dysfunctional Gawker

Jobless Claims Fall as Manufacturing Appears to Stabilize Reuters

NY Fed warns asset managers are vulnerable to ‘runs’ Financial Times

Fed’s next move much more likely a rate hike than a cut – survey Reuters

Class Warfare

Walmart in worst sales result in 35 years Financial Times

Morning rush hour snarled as protesters block downtown Minneapolis streets Minneapolis Star-Tribune (steve h)

Plano couple sued after giving one star to pet-sitting company on Yelp Dallas Morning News (martha r)

Antidote du jour (Alan T) “The bull was doing his best to impress the cow, but she was having none of it”. Jack Bell Photography. Glacier Park.

bull moose and cow links

And a bonus antidote from Chuck L:

Forget snuggling by the window, Jesper the cat loves OUTDOOR adventures.

Posted by 9NEWS (KUSA) on Monday, February 15, 2016

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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110 comments

  1. Dr. Roberts

    This whole Apple situation strikes me as an intentional test-case for legally compelling this sort of cooperation. The fact that it has to do with a famous terrorist attack suggests to me that this is meant to establish a legal precedent to give companies like Apple more formal legal cover for what they’re already doing. Or maybe the kafkaesque nature of the modern surveillance state just has me paranoid.

    1. Ulysses

      “Or maybe the kafkaesque nature of the modern surveillance state just has me paranoid.”

      Just because you’re “paranoid”– doesn’t mean that we’re not living in a nightmarish panopticon worse than anything George Orwell could have imagined!

    2. Chris in Paris

      I think it has more to do with Apple wanting to continue selling their products in countries with differing/stronger privacy protections. Follow the money.

    3. flora

      A counter argument to Denniger’s:

      “The 40-page court order said Apple must provide “reasonable technical assistance” to the FBI.
      After Snowden documents showed how the law allowed a massive scope of bulk surveillance, everyone forgot about a little-known law from the 18th century that courts still had at their disposal.

      “The All Writs Act is designed to gives a court the “authority to issue [orders] that are not otherwise covered by statute,” so long as the request is not impossible. A court forcing Apple to reverse its encryption would be “substantially burdensome,” but asking it to remove the feature that prevents the phone from erasing after ten failed passcode attempts is not.

      “Dan Guido, a respected security researcher, said on his blog that he believes all of the FBI’s requests are “technically feasible.” ”

      http://www.zdnet.com/article/apple-iphone-fbi-backdoor-war-silicon-valley/?tag=nl.e589&s_cid=e589&ttag=e589&ftag=TREc64629f

      1. flora

        adding: I agree with the ZDNet article’s assessment of the court’s verdict.
        “[The ruling] was a de facto declaration of war against not just the tech titan, worth more than half-a-trillion dollars in market size, but the US tech industry.

    4. bob

      It’s all PR.

      First, why do they even need to get at the phones? Every bit of data onto them comes to it via the internet, which is widely known to be completely captured and watched.

      Then there was the corp sponsored “privacy” protest in support of Apple-

      “Funding notes for @fightfortheftr: In 2012, $1 million from Soros, HP, Ford, Microsoft and others. ”

      I have no idea how people continue to believe that ad and marketing companies are at all interested in privacy. They are simply interested in being seen as Privacy®. Do they own the trademark yet?

      1. Steve Gunderson

        And we are in this predicament in the first place because the Dept of Health bungled the password reset on the terrorist’s phone.

  2. Steve H.

    – Naturefaking

    “It encourages environmentalists to seek an impossible future, he says, in the form of a return to a nonexistent past.”

    A constructive unwrapping of consequences. Treating humans as an object of inquiry (“anthropology”) would seem to be a worthwhile subject. This was a frameshifter for me:

    …four variables is sufficient to provide a reliable estimate of the probability that any particular mother will murder any particular infant: the age of the mother, whether or not this child is the gender that the mother wanted (which, itself, turns out to be easily and universally predicted based on only two variables, the mother’s social status and the predicted reliability of the food supply), the child’s birth weight (and to a lesser extent other indicators of long-term viability), and her estimate of whether or not attempting to nurture this particular child will only get both her and the child killed.

    bradhicks.livejournal.com/328184.html

  3. craazyboy

    Sound wave therapy is first alternative to Viagra in 15 years New Scientist
    ————–

    “Hard rock: 1 weird way to cure dependence on Viagra.”

    1. Jef

      Am applying for the patent as we speak.

      A smart phone app that plugs into the headphone jack then wraps around the appendage in question. Downloadable ESWT tracks available on iTunes.
      Bluetooth version for using on the go.

  4. Pavel

    More reports of TPP/TTIP Transparency™, courtesy of The Guardian, this time in the UK.

    MPs can view TTIP files – but take only pencil and paper with them:

    MPs have won access to documents covering controversial and secretive trade talks between Brussels and Washington, but can only take a pencil and paper into the room where the files can be viewed.

    Confidentiality rules mean no electronic devices – including phones, tablet and laptop computers, or cameras – are allowed in the room at the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) in Westminster. This is fuelling concerns about a “cloak of secrecy” surrounding the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) negotiations between the EU and the US government.

    UK business minister Anna Soubry agreed to provide the room in BIS’s offices on the condition that MPs keep the TTIP documents private. Soubry said pressure on Brussels officials from EU governments had won the concession, but the department was obliged to maintain secrecy.

    Green MP Caroline Lucas said that access to documents on “this hugely significant trade deal” was necessary before UK parliamentarians were asked to vote on it. “But the bad news is that a cloak of secrecy still surrounds TTIP. If the same rules apply here in the UK as they do in Brussels, which is what the minister is implying, then MPs will be bound by a confidentiality agreement if they want to see the text,” Lucas said. “This opaque process, which shuts citizens out of this crucial debate, is profoundly undemocratic.”

    Because nothing says “thoughtful, open, democratic, considered analysis and discussion” of a major trade deal like this sort of process.

  5. Pat

    I do have to say that I’m not sure that the Vogue piece on Clinton is Wintour riding to Clinton’s rescue. Not because I don’t think Wintour would not do that. I’d just have to know whether it was a last minute addition or not. There is enough lead time on monthlies like Vogue, that barring this being added at the last minute, this fluff piece was probably considered to be a nice tiara to wear in the last weeks before the coronation on Super Tuesday. I’m thinking that group didn’t realize they were going to need it to be another desperate life preserver being thrown towards the Titanic.

  6. flora

    re: Trump and the Pope.
    Until the 1960’s in the US Catholics were suspected by non-Catholics of putting allegiance to Rome and the Pope ahead of allegiance to their US citizenship. It’s why Kennedy had to answer the religion question. In the last 50 years that question has quieted, 6 of the 8 remaining SC judges are Catholic.
    Now the Pope inserts himself in an election with a comment about a candidate being unChristian and lots of eyebrows are quietly raised. Jeb and Rubio were quick to distance themselves from the Pope’s comment for good reason. The eyebrows are still raised.

    1. Optimader

      Not a Pope guy ,but why shouldn’t he have an opinion?
      In this case i happen to agree with him in the pure sense of what i percieve Christian ethics are supposed to be about.
      On that note I also think the sclerotic institutions of the Pope and the Catholic Church have plenty of unChristian moments on their collective hands.

      To be fair, local Catholic institutions do do some good charitable/educational work in Chicago that no one else seems interested in stepping up to the plate for.

      On the third hand some reasonable administration and control of immigration into this country only makes sense. The theatrics/cost/historical efficacy of a border wall are clearly not the way to get the job done.

      1. flora

        Yes, Dorothy Day and the Catholic Workers movement does wonderful work.
        And, Bernie Sanders has, imo, the best immigration policy ideas. So maybe the Pope was putting in a plug for Bernie. ;)

      2. MikeNY

        I think you are right on all counts.

        On #3 in particular, if we take refugees and immigrants in, we also have a responsibility to provide for them adequately and humanely, meaning, to give them a real chance for a decent living and assimilation, and freedom from persecution here. So much of the anger and furor of immigration boils down to ever more concentrated oligarchy and concentration of wealth.

        1. Jim Haygood

          As for a border wall, think of the jaguars. One wild jaguar, El Jefe, is roaming in Arizona south of Tucson.

          He is an undocumented immigrant from Mexico’s Northern Jaguar Reserve, located 130 miles to the south.

          Build an impenetrable wall from the Pacific to the Gulf of Mexico, and El Jefe will die alone.

        2. Jess

          “So much of the anger and furor of immigration boils down to ever more concentrated oligarchy and concentration of wealth.”

          That may be the view from liberal elites at 30,000 feet, but the ground truth is, most of the anger comes from losing formerly good paying jobs, esp. in construction and what’s left of the manufacturing sector, to illegals willing to work for far less and with far fewer safety protections. A second bone of contention is the dilution of the educational process for public schools in the less affluent school districts where illegal immigrant kids tend to be concentrated. The costs and administrative hassles associated with trying to educate non-English as a first language students are seen as holding back those students (of all races) who are native-born and speak English as their natural first language. One school district in Orange County, CA (I think it is Santa Ana but it might be Anaheim) has, at last report, students who speak 29 languages. I don’t care what you say, you simply cannot run a school system with that much disparity in language as effectively as you can if every student is fluent in English.

          The bottom line for all this anger (which is totally justified) is: First you take away my blue collar or lower-level white collar job, then you handicap my kid’s chances of moving up through education to a level where he or she can get one of those jobs of the future that depend on a higher education. Hard to be critical of people in that situation with that attitude.

          1. MikeNY

            I see the concentration of wealth in the hands of the oligarchs and the strangulation of the middle class as extremely closely related, if not the same thing.

          2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            They have not done it yet, but if the bad guys really want to create chaos, one good way is to bring a lot of the desperate-to-work people from all over the world to keep the natives busy (busy getting more education and busy getting more training, to very little avail, ultimately, as the neoliberal math is etched in stone against them), and tell anyone who oppose their war of chaos bigoted

            Luckily, the rich, bad guys are not the smart…because it’s hard to believer they are not that ruthless.

          3. Left in Wisconsin

            First you take away my blue collar or lower-level white collar job, then you handicap my kid’s chances of moving up through education to a level where he or she can get one of those jobs of the future that depend on a higher education.

            I think this is overstated but even so, one needs to be clear just who the “you” is. It’s not liberals or immigrants. It’s employers. The same ones who are moving jobs overseas. The same ones whose kids do not go to the same school your kids do.

          4. Dave

            ” to illegals willing to work for far less and with far fewer safety protections.”

            Don’t forget those obsolete Americanisms of weekends, holidays and overtime. Also, once a critical mass of ‘immigrants’ is hired, all other employees must speak Spanish to fit in.

            A couple of cafe’s in Larkspur (California) hire nothing but black t-shirt clad immigrants who have a lock on the jobs. No local teenagers or adults ever get hired. Lots of rah-rah, green-green, buy-local jabber about their business, but not when it comes time to hiring. “Hire Local” is never part of their advertising.

            All the handwringing T-shirtistas love the environment and sport Bernie bumper stickers on top of the faded Obama ones, but they never stand up for their relatives, neighbors, their children, or in some case, their parents, who cannot find work thanks to the endless ant-line of immigrants, legal and illegal.

            1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

              To work for far less?

              We have minimum wage laws, but no maximum effort laws.

              “If you want to put in 12 hours a day, but charge the company only 8 hours – by working the other 4 hours at home (wink, wink) off book – why not? You are setting a good example of hard work.”

              Study at home,

              Go over what you need to work tomorrow, mentally, but you can show that you’re better than local workers.

              But don’t think you’re special, because the human speciesl has evolved to be on alert, to work harder, in a new environment, any new environment.

              That’s why corporations prefer these harder-working humans.

              And once they become acclimated, there will be newer group of relocated, but on alert (thus harder working), new workers to start their journeys up the mobility ladder.

              1. Dave

                What a crock. You counter real street level observations with some neocon nostrums learned in a philosophy class.

                You assume that they are paid by a check with deductions and all that noise, instead of in cash.

                “These workers aren’t going over tomorrows needs at home.” They show up and bumble through the motions protected by their lack of English skills and sheer numbers. They are human commodities that can be easily replaced. Americans wanting to “compete” with this have to not only commoditize themselves but also learn Spanish.

                Plus the customers of the cafe have to accommodate their mistakes and assume that’s “just the way things” are because they are too young to remember what real skills and service look like.

                1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

                  People come in all types.

                  Some take cash.

                  Others work harder, off book (their employer’s book, in effect, getting around the min. wage law).

                  If you have to pay for 20 years of education to get paid at the same rate, when before, the earlier generation only had to pay for 12 years of education, you are set back

                  1. by wage stagnation (the same rate, even with all the inflation)

                  2. putting more work (to get qualified) – in effect, your return (from yeas of education) is lower (equivalent to lower pay – and in entry level jobs, this would breach the min. wage law).

    2. Ed

      I did notice something striking (to me) while some of the Republican candidates were being asked about the Pope at the CNN sponsored town hall (Kasich gave the best answer). Of the six remaining Republican candidates, four are Catholic. None of the remaining Democratic candidates are Catholic. Only three of the eight in both parties are Protestants.

      The BBC report makes the statement “there are not many Catholics in the Republican Party” or something to that effect, which is almost hilariously wrong. The report reads as if the writer read a bunch of books about the 1960 election and didn’t both to see if anything changed.

      1. bob

        ” “there are not many Catholics in the Republican Party” or something to that effect, which is almost hilariously wrong.”

        Completely agree.

        1. bob

          Adding, until the recent pope, catholics and their churches were single issue warehouses- Abortion.

          This gets into some ugly history, especially with the BBC “reporting” on it.

          1. cwaltz

            For all of the blah, blah, blahing on his opinion on Trump’s immigration/national security not jibing with the Pope’s, I found what the Pope had to say about contraception and the Zika virus interesting. Apparently God is befuddled and doesn’t “really” mean to give fetuses diseases like Zika. So in the case of preventing Zika, women can choose to use birth control. *shrugs* Catholicism has some jacked up viewpoints.

            1. hunkerdown

              No special interests living in their own bubble of precedent, whether the Catholic Church or the government of the USA, can turn and suddenly embrace reality when their various bodies’ institutional survival as going concerns (and their members’ oxen and rice bowls) are unwillingly up for renegotiation. That’s how crusades happen.

    3. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      6 out 8 are Catholic?

      Time for Hindu, Buddhist, Zoroastrian, atheist and others to join, maybe?

      “Senator, i am qualified, partly because of my good karma from my previous incarnations, just as you are here as a human senator, and not a cat with lucky eyebrows.’

      1. fresno dan

        It was often said that it is smarter to be lucky, than lucky to be smart.
        With an aphorism like that, than between a cat, with lucky eyebrows, and the repub slate, the smart thing is to go with the cat…

  7. James Levy

    Where I live in the Berkshires I’ve seen lady moose twice in three years–what a sight! Just saw a beaver cross the road yesterday dragging a branch in his mouth. Like the moose, I’ve only seen them twice. And last week a flock of wild turkeys attacked a postman in Hinsdale. They’ve never attacked me.

    1. Carolinian

      I finally saw a moose by the road in Rocky Mtn Nat. Park. I tried to share my enthusiasm with some fellow tourists but they seemed bored. Perhaps Lambert can share moose stories. In Maine their trucks sometimes have moose catchers on the front.*

      *May be snowplow frames (that double as moose catchers).

      1. JEHR

        Once I was walking the dog along a rural highway near our home when I heard these thundering hoof beats coming from behind us. There was a young moose running for all its worth up the road and never turned back. It was early spring and I suspect it was running from insects. This moose ran around the area for awhile as a number of people saw it. They are such majestic creatures. Now and again I see the larger hoof prints of moose among the deer tracks.

      2. sleepy

        To me, part of their majesty is how absolutely quiet they are when moving through the forest, much like bears, or elephants so I’ve heard. I’ve been fortunate to see a number of them the past couple of years in Colorado, Wyoming, and Minnesota.

        I was in Newfoundland a few years ago, and it is not uncommon to see a moose every couple of miles while driving. They are like deer–just about everywhere.

        And those “moose catchers” on trucks—I see a lot of them lately here in Iowa on both cars and trucks, but they are used for deer collisions.

    1. Steve H.

      “At her speech at Columbia, Hillary appealed to the audience that, “One in every 28 children now has a parent in prison. Think about what that means for those children” as if she hasn’t played a role in taking away our parents. Doesn’t she know that we have grown up and remember what she did to our communities?”

      Hmm.

      “In the South Carolina Democratic Party, more than fifty percent of the presidential primary vote is African American. This made it possible for then-Senator Barack Obama to win decisively in 2008, after he had won Iowa and lost New Hampshire. This huge win helped propel his campaign to the nomination later that year.”

      brookings.edu/blogs/fixgov/posts/2016/02/18-south-carolina-primary-history–fowler

      [ ;-)] So we shall see.

      1. flora

        Hillary running on black poverty issues that she helped create. So re-elect her?
        That’s like letting the same bankers who crashed the financial system keep their jobs because ‘they know how the system works’.

      2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        What she did to the communities?

        She shall be held responsible.

        The other questions is, do we hold the voters who put Bill into office, twice, responsible?

        How many times can they claim they have been fooled?

        In any case, tomorrow, we will find out…we shall see, if the Empire Strikes Back.

    1. Carla

      Wow. Thank you.

      This, on forced arbitration as a wealth transfer scheme, plus the link re: health insurers raking in the cash from a “single payer” support my view that it is neither wise nor progressive to promote ideas like Postal Banking at this point.

      The U.S. Postal Service, like every sector of the economy, has been so corporatized and crappified by privatization that before we can have Public Banking at the post office, we will have to take the postal service apart and after a ritual cleansing, put it back together again to make it serve its intended public purpose. THEN maybe we can have legitimate public banking. Otherwise, JP Morgan Chase will have the franchise to operate and profit from the “postal banking” franchise, just as it does with SNAP (food stamps).

    1. sleepy

      I know the moose population in Minnesota has crashed in the past 7 or so years, from c. 8000 to half that. At the same time I had read something recently about their expansion on the east coast, down to Connecticut and parts of southern NY state. Maybe that’s stopped as well.

      1. bob

        For a long while, they were eliminated in Northern NY, the adirondack park, more or less.

        They’ve been coming back big. The st. Lawrence river and lake Champlain were natural borders that they had to overcome.

        I heard from a moose expert up there this year that the population is growing, and are very healthy. His anecdotal evidence was that the collars they were using elsewhere to track them were too small for the moose they were finding up there.

  8. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    ” Go west, young men, go west.”

    Why are China’s rich kids heading west?

    Is that another zen koan? “Why has Bodhidharma left for the east?”

    1. DJG

      If you read the article, you will see that Bodhidharma has little to do with it. Crossing the great water now means finding a place to shelter one’s ill-gotten gains and spoiled offspring.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        You’re right, and one suspected that already (as many have commented on it here many times).

        Sometimes, my mind just wanders all over the place…no Zen mindfulness.

      2. Plenue

        There’s also the fact that China’s (and this goes for other East Asian countries as well) education system is a monstrous, suicide inducing hell of relentless standardized tests and cram schooling. Governments themselves recognize that things need to change but are having a tough time getting any meaningful reform done, and people who can afford it are increasingly sending their kids to foreign schools. Meanwhile China’s exam hell model is held up in America as something to strive for, and the fact that at least one of the places where it’s been implemented in the United States has taken to posting security guards at train stations because they’ve become popular student suicide spots goes mostly unmentioned.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          The irony is that students coming from such nations (to escape such tests) are doing well taking America’s standardized tests.

          They are very used to it.

  9. Anon

    Re: Dirty Little Secret
    Quote for context:

    What’s the catch? The big profits have come not from the insurance exchanges, but via the ACA’s Medicaid expansion, in which the largest insurers have been playing a major role. The same insurance executives who go out of their way to badmouth the ACA’s individual exchange plans talk as though they can’t get enough of the Medicaid business, especially its managed care component.

    “Managed Medicaid continues to emerge as the ultimate long-term sustaining solution for states,” United CFO Dave Wichmann told investors last month, adding that his company expected to compete for that business aggressively.

    This trend not only underscores the diversity of healthcare solutions embedded in Obamacare, but may also point to its future. In Medicaid, as in Medicare, government is the single payer. It sets reimbursement rates for doctors and hospitals and sets enrollment terms so that members, once enrolled, stay enrolled.

    So potentially, if Hillary was to win, this is as far as us single-payer folks would get.

    1. Barmitt O'Bamney

      You can have single payer – as long as you stay indigent. It may not extend your life any further than just turning up at the ER would when you get really sick, but you’ll get to say you have single payer insurance. Fail to comply with this simple condition and you will be soaked, first by the insurance mafia directly, and then indirectly once more via the IRS. The second soaking is to pay for the profit heavy Medicaid coverage of the indigent. It’s almost like it’s designed to make people hate the very concept of single payer.

    1. meeps

      Is it just me, or are we living in topsy-turvy world when a periodical places the question, “Is this the end of Syria’s misery?” on an image of a dropping bomb?

      1. Plenue

        Depends. Is it a Russian bomb? Because the fact is that that IS the quickest, and least bloody, way to peace for Syria. Even if the ‘rebels’ had succeeded in toppling the Assad government, ISIS and AQ would have quickly toppled any nascent democratic government in turn, any remaining secularists would have been killed and the rest jumped ship to join their fellow jihadis. There is no ‘negotiating’ with ISIS, with the possible exception that, had ISIS conquered Damascus, and should the Turks and Saudis intervene to preserve ISIS rule in Raqqa, the West will attempt to relabel the extremists and legitimize them as a Sunni state that can be diplomatically dealt with.

        Assad may or may not be a nice guy (at this point I have no idea how many of the claims made about him and his government, like that they castrate rebel prisoners, are true) but I’ve seen enough about life under ISIS rule (as well as other extremist governments, like the Taliban or, hell, the Saudis) to know he is preferable to them. And not just for Syria; the middle-east doesn’t need another extremist state (or chaotic failed state, not sure which would be worse).

        1. different clue

          If the R + 6 can somehow deter the US and its partners in the Axis of Jihad from increasing support for the alphabet jihadis and for ISIS . . . for long enough that the R + 6 including the Syrian Arab Republic/ Syrian Arab Army can exterminate every trace of rebellion by conquering and physically exterminating every physical rebel and rebel supporter, then the SAR can reconquer Syria and decontaminate every trace of support for rebellion from within the territory of Syria. They would be fully justified in using every method necessary and convenient to keep rebellionism exterminated and cauterised for the next several decades so as to not have to go through this all over again.

          That way, we don’t have to witness either a Sunni Jihadi state OR a failed state in Syria. We can witness the restoration of a secular non-sectarian dictatorship where non-jihadi sunnis and non-Sunnis don’t risk enslavement and extermination.

          A total R + 6 victory and total extermination of every trace of rebellion and rebellion-sympathy is the only possible good outcome for Syria. And calls for “cease fire” or other such pro-jihadi crap should be ignored as part of the conspiracy they are to try and buy time for the jihadis to win the war against human civilization in Syria.

    2. Plenue

      The calls for cease-fire are mostly Washington attempting to salvage at least some territory for their proxies. There was already one that broke down almost immediately, and the list of who is even showing up at the negotiating table is very telling. Add to that Assad has said he’s willing to give amnesty to Syrian natives who lay down their arms and go home. Russia and its coalition will continue to kill ISIS and Al-Nusra Front/AQ and affiliated groups, entirely legally both by the explicit request of the Syrian government and in accordance with UNSC Resolution 2254. Don’t want to get killed? Be a Syrian citizen (not a foreign mercenary) and go home. Pretty sure I once heard a phrase about “not negotiating with terrorists”…

      Russia has chastised Assad for vowing to take back his entire country, but it’s not clear whether this is part of humoring the Western calls for ceasefire, or that have genuine intention of stopping the Syrian advance at some point. Taking back Raqqa is at least a firm goal; the Syrian Army is pushing hard for it right now.

  10. Jim Haygood

    Today the Yellenites are whooping and fist pumping on a strong CPI report.

    Headline CPI was up 1.4% y-o-y, while the core rate (praise Goddess) leaped through the two-percent ceiling, to 2.2% y-o-y.

    J-Yel to Fischer: “One rate hike ain’t enough, Stan, so you’d better make it three.”

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      If wage inflation has anything to do with that, well, it will be Apocalypse Now.

      Bring on the robot armies.

      Gotta keep (human) labor down.

      1. Jim Haygood

        Shelter (one third of CPI, +3.2%) is the largest source of upward pressure.

        Medical care (one fifteenth of CPI, +3.3%) is popping even faster. Good thing it’s not a cartel! Oh, wait …

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          If apartment is too expensive, substitute with living under a bridge.

          Our economists call it ‘substitution effect.’

          That has kept inflation under control.

          “It the economy, stupid!”

          “NO, its’ the people in it, smart guy!”

          We don’t care about numbers.

          We care about people, some may want beef, not chicken substitutes.

        2. Left in Wisconsin

          That’s perfect. The costs of having a place to live and trying to stay healthy go up so of course the right policy response is to cut our wages.

  11. diptherio

    This talk by Brendan Martin of the Working World (a non-profit worker co-op financing org) will be appreciated by the NC crowd. He talks about how finance is power, delves into the history of finance the present state of it and what we can try to replace it with. Very good.

    The Oppression of Debt & the Promise of a Financial Commons
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q72LaC35GB0

    1. diptherio

      Here’s a choice quote:

      A lot of people always ask, “what are we fighting for?”

      “What do the people in Occupy Wall Street want?”…maybe we don’t know.

      […]

      In the ancient world, when the great lie was told to us…that debt was just a real thing that was more important than human life – revolutions had a very clear ask: they always sought to cancel debt and redistribute the land, the land being productive capital. So for me I try to think now, what should we be demanding? And it’s the destruction of our debt, which is our chains, and taking the means of production, which is our freedom.

      1. Patricia

        Thanks again, Diptherio.

        My early-teen nephews are quizzing me about money, wealth/poverty, business, banking, and this is an excellent vid from which to draw, to point them away from their libertarian father’s crankiness.

        1. diptherio

          Glad you like it.

          If they “binge watch” the whole series, they’ll be head-and-shoulders above 90% of the populace at understanding the fundamental dynamics of our economy and how we might actually change them.

    2. Hierophant

      Thanks for sharing this. Going to share it with as many people as I can, and hopefully at least one person takes a watch/listen. Our societal ignorance on things like debt and finance is painful to watch.

  12. Steve H.

    Now The Onion is nottheonion:

    John Robb: The Onion is dead. It was bought by Hillary’s top donor and it immediately began to publishing this unfunny crap:
    theonion.com/article/female-presidential-candidate-who-was-united-state-52367

    Sad, but also proof that satire continues to be a powerful voice, as it has been for over two millenia. Who’s up next?

    1. Aumua

      Oh my god, it’s true..

      What a tragedy. I can’t imagine being a writer there and staying through this. This is almost as sad as Bowie.

    2. RP

      That is the least funny thing I’ve ever read on The Onion.

      Sad news.

      Off to watch Samantha Bee & John Oliver

  13. Skippy

    Per the China lock down, I pinged someone…

    “Missed this one Skip, putting out feelers earlier when I read it, but no one I spoke with seems concerned. Thought was it is related to recent articles on mining and construction job losses and protests in western press that were available in China. My thoughts still back to watch what the do not what they say. Clearly a sign of fear of how things are transitioning. Big loan book and refi of USD debt signals deval fast approaching with a stealth stimulus already started. Clamp down on foreign press where talk of deval is rampant in an attempt to limit outflows further. Something is brewing in the middle kingdom and date to watch is March 10 in the article – this is just before the end of the National People’s Congress meeting (12 March 2016). So a guess now is that something is planned to be released here that will kick off a storm in the west that China needs to spin for local consumption. We have a where, we have a when, what we need now is the what. I have a very good idea of what to expect after piecing together what I have been told but at this point, I hope I am wrong. Might be a good time to be in cash if my thoughts are any where near correct.” – OJ

    Skippy…. long tailed cat in a bloody room full of rocking chairs…. it seems….

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      Wow, this is huge. Hillary has picked up a celebrity who confessed to total trust in George W. Bush.

      1. bob

        She might have mattered back then.

        This just looks like grandma trying to get cool with the kids– from 15 years ago?

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          I just don’t think the singer behind “hit me baby one more time” would have ever swayed votes, even 15 years ago. Truly, Britney is a neo-feminist icon.

  14. PQS

    Re: Apples Vs. National Security State:
    This must be about something else, as noted above. Maybe there is another battle behind the scenes based on the Snowden papers. And obviously the NSS also doesn’t want anyone to think there is a chink in their armor – that anyone can encrypt their phone and get away with something.

    Because otherwise, this just looks like yet another “We Want it ALL” argument from the NSS. They have the other phone, they have their homes, friends, family, acquaintances, probably everyone who ever shopped at the same grocery store, they have their laptops and the phone records associated with the phones – who they called, when, etc. That certainly seems like enough data for them to mine to come up with any co-conspirators. What’s wrong with using good old shoe leather to, I dunno, do some actual investigating and run down all this information? It isn’t like they can’t afford it.

  15. rich

    RE:Clinical trials

    The Right to Try

    By Bill Maher

    We hear a lot about burdensome regulations, which is almost entirely a Republican critique. Well, here’s one federal agency whose regulations are getting attention from both sides of the political spectrum: the FDA.

    Currently, it takes the FDA about 7-10 years of clinical trial before they’ll approve a new drug. Lots of terminally ill patients aren’t going to live that long and would like access to experimental or “investigational” drugs in the pipeline because, well, they’re going to die anyway, so why not?

    They’re called “Right to Try” laws, and versions of them have been kicking around at the state level. Now, they seem to have their spokesman: Matt Bellina, a former Navy combat pilot, who was diagnosed with ALS in 2014.

    Matt started a petition to allow him and other ALS suffers access to a drug that has shown some promise in treating the disease, and he’s got nearly 800,000 signatures. In a video posted to YouTube, Bellina notes, “There are states in this country where I could go legally end my life, but I’m not allowed to go try a drug that I believe could save my life.”

    It’s tough to argue with the idea that terminally ill patients should be afforded the chance to improve their situations, even if it means circumventing the normal FDA approval process. There are also some compelling reason to not do this. And much like the “right to die” issue, it largely depends on your view on personal liberty and autonomy, or the role of the government. Basically what we have here is people who want a Dallas Buyer’s Club for terminal diseases that doesn’t require that anyone involved with the Dallas Buyer’s Club break the law. Is this a good idea? And if it isn’t, do you want be the person to tell Matt Bellina?

    http://www.real-time-with-bill-maher-blog.com/index/2016/2/16/the-right-to-try

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Whatever happened to ‘what an adult does with his/her body is his/her business?’

      Get government out of my body?

      I get to choose what I do with my body?

      1. rich

        They restrict what you desperately need access to BUT they make it easy as hell to get the things that will kill you. Go figure.
        I think it has to do with money…actually, it’s the money. Money makes the world go round.
        Sick place we live in.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          A case may be made for hard drugs, but if they want to stop second hand Marijuana smoking in public (similar to second hand tobacco smoking), they are abusing it.

    2. Pubor Payresh

      Guess what? Clinical trials are complicated, and academic publishing is dysfunctional. Even for drugs with “breakthrough status,” it takes a year or more to simply close out a trial and report the data to an agency. Preparing it for publication, especially when many authors are involved, is increasingly like herding cats…into a car wash.

      Same goes for publishing papers, which I’ve done over 4 dozen times these past 30 years. What used to take a couple of months and one or two revisions, now routinely takes 6-9 months and substantial additional experimentation just to get past the reviewers. For me it has most recently taken almost a year to publish a basic biomedical research story in one of the Nature Journals. Clinical trials with positive results are even more rigorously reviewed.

      http://www.nature.com/news/does-it-take-too-long-to-publish-research-1.19320

      IMO, the fact that one third of all trials are never disclosed is actually a big positive, given the failure rate of clinical trials and the reluctance of most journals to publish negative results.

    3. Lord Koos

      The other side of that is that a there have been a whole lot of drugs approved whose dangers have been played way down. So the FDA system is broken in more ways than one.

  16. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Spied join banks to hunt for rogue traders.

    Your rogue trader is my patriotic trader.

    It helps to have spies on your side, so you can anticipate when the Yuan will have its biggest rally in a year, especially when you are trying to short it. You may keep your head in that case.

    I think if yo are smart and have lots of money, you want spies on your side, so you can make more money to, for example, take on Russia.

  17. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

    Selfie Nation hits another new low point: we’re supposed to feel sorry for the overfed, overpaid, over-entitled drone operators while we completely ignore the thousands of innocent people who have been blown and incinerated to bits by mistake by their illegal pre-crime assassination international war crime bombs.
    There isn’t a cosmic toilet large enough to flush down what passes for “American Civilization and Values” these days.

  18. Dave

    “Doomed to slow growth”

    Slow growth? We are in retrogression of growth. For the last 15 days I have been attempting to switch my long distance carriers back to AT&T. This is a simple land line. This is 100 Year old+ technology.

    Their third party vendor is the problem. None of the AT&T employees can explain what is happening. Half of them are in the Philippines and are utterly clueless, except for reading scripts, and badly mangling English words at that.

    Any time you call AT&T you are barraged with suggestions to go online and type your own information into their system for them. AT&T is a joke.

    Our family has vowed to not spend any more money on vendors of services or sellers of products who will not hire Americans to answer the phone, at a bare minimum.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Not many got much out of ‘fast growth’ of the past few decades.

      Maybe we should try slow growth, for change.

      Slow, but more equal.

      It’s possible that a bigger share of a smaller pie (GDP) is more than a small (and getting smaller) share of a bigger pie.

      That’s my dream, anyway.

  19. ewmayer

    Re. “Sound wave therapy is first alternative to Viagra in 15 years | New Scientist” — So maybe we just need ‘sex and rock-n-roll’, not the intervening drugs? Note to mini-me: can you hear me now? And, will we see the, um, rise of a chain of “Rock Hard Cafes”, specializing in stiff cocktails? That would be, erm, swell.

    Re. Donzilla v. Pope-thra — will this rather amusing public spat lead to a KO strategy called the “Pope-a-Dope”? Inquiring minds want to know. A pro-wrasslin-style blustery calling-each-other-out would also be a nice touch. “Ahm comin’ to gitcha, Frankie baby … ahm gonna knock that fancy-pants miter off yer head and chase ya back to Vatican City with it!” Francis for his part, being a Latino wrassler, would of course be wearing a Lucha Libre mask – he could do it up with a big red X like boxer Bernard “The Executioner” Hopkins, and adopt the ring nick “The Excommunicator”. I’d pay a generous PPV tithe to watch that.

  20. optimader

    Is Syrian war partly an ad for Russian arms sales? Reuters

    I wonder why that headline is stated as a question?

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