Links 1/27/14

Happy belated Australia Day! Lambert was running the site yesterday, so apologies for not acknowledging the holiday on a timely basis.

Dog cancer ‘dates back 11,000 years’ BBC

Genetic Engineering Companies Promised Decreased Pesticides … But GE Crops Have Led to a 25% INCREASE In Herbicide Use George Washington

“Our Food Is Dishonestly Priced”: Michael Pollan on the Food Movement’s Next Goal of Justice for Food Workers Truthout

Researchers teach old chemical new tricks to make cleaner fuels, fertilizers PhysOrg (Chuck L)

Stephen Hawking Thinks Black Holes Don’t Exist Smithsonian (furzy mouse)

Bletchley Park s bitter dispute over its future BBC

Himmler letters and diaries found Guardian

Cash pours into Aussie joke virtual currency MacroBusiness

Beijing Cracks Down on Pollution, Banning New Refining, Steel, and Coal Plants OilPrice

All the less reason Prachatai English (furzy mouse)

Ukraine state of emergency warning BBC

Afghanistan Exit Is Seen as Peril to Drone Mission New York Times

Emerging Markets Meltdown

A Teeny-Weeny Bit Of Taper, And Look What Happened Wolf Richter

Asian Stocks Head for Biggest Decline in Seven Months Bloomberg

Investors Have Been Bailing Out Of The Emerging Markets For The Last 13 Straight Weeks Business Insider

Analysis: Emerging market pain not about to faze U.S.-focused Fed Reuters

Start of a Global Currency Crisis? Michael Shedlock

When the hedge doesn’t work John Hempton

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

12 privacy-destroying technologies that should scare you Info World (Chuck L)

Adviser: Snowden requires amnesty Guardian. This was predictable.

Snowden asks ‘how reasonable’ it is to assume only Merkel was tapped DW

Debt Collection Industry Poised for Changes Credit Slips. Note that the CFPB has posts a ANPR, which is “advanced notice of proposed rulemaking”. That lets interested parties, including the great unwashed public, chime in. This will also serve to show whether the agency has any guts (and with so many of the incumbents small fry and so much bad press on this topic, they should be able to take significant ground. But I’m not holding my breath).

Obamacare Launch

Maryland Will Limit Hospital Charges Statewide Bloomberg (furzy mouse). From earlier in the month…

Obama’s Plan to Use Executive Action Triggers Republican Criticism Bloomberg

States Weigh New Plans for Revenue Windfalls Wall Street Journal

Fox News’ unique approach to polling MSNBC (furzy mouse)

Ezra Klein Is Joining Vox Media as Web Journalism Asserts Itself New York Times

Top MBAs’ pay doubles in five years Financial Times

The Terror of Our Age Greg Grandin, TomDispatch

Antidote du jour. Furzy mouse tells us: “Humphrey was a house pet that became too large and was moved to the Rhino and Lion Nature Reserve in South Africa , where he was safe but lonely. Cameroon Pygmy Mountain Goat climbed Humphrey’s enclosure fence and befriended him.”


And a bonus (Swedish Lex):

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  1. Murky

    The “Ukraine State of Emergency Warning” sounds pretty dramatic, but it’s really only about clearing out a single building in Kiev. That would be the Ministry of Justice, which was stormed and taken over by protesters yesterday. More significant is the news that many if not most of the major cities in West Ukraine have had key public buildings seized by the protesters, who are clearly a majority and have the public behind them. There have been protests in East Ukraine too, but seizure of public buildings has generally failed, and the police known as ‘Berkut’ have arrested and beaten a number of protesters. At the moment the country is split west to east, but the protest spreads every day, and the Yanukovych regime looks unsteady.

    An academic contact of mine in Ukraine stunned me today with an email. He has already declared victory, believing that the people, or ‘narod’, have won. And a dozen of his colleagues think likewise. Now he’s brainstorming just who will hold the top posts in the new people’s government. But I can’t believe it just yet. I think Yanukovych will play out his hand until he has no more choices. He’ll surely consider use of brutal force to repress the mass protests. But can Yanukovich act unilaterally, without a green-light from Putin? I don’t think so. And I doubt Putin is going to permit a massacre in the main public square of Kiev while the world watches. It’s just a lot easier to dump Yanukovych.

    Breaking news and comprehensive coverage at the link below. It’s all in cyrillic, but at least you can watch live video feed from Independence square (Ukr: ‘Maidan Nezalezhnosti’).

  2. Murky

    Yikes! My post got eaten. I’ll try again.

    “Ukraine State of Emergency Warning” sounds pretty dramatic, but it’s really only about clearing out a single building in Kiev. That would be the Ministry of Justice, which was stormed and taken over by protesters yesterday. More significant is the news that many if not most of the major cities in West Ukraine have had key public buildings seized by the protesters. In the west, at least, the protesters are winning, and they have broad public support. There have been protests in East Ukraine too, but seizure of public buildings has generally failed, and the security forces known as ‘Berkut’ have arrested and beaten many protesters. At the moment the country is still split west to east, but these protests spread every day, and the Yanukovych regime looks increasingly unsteady.

    An academic contact of mine in Ukraine stunned me today with an email. He has declared victory, believing that the people, or ‘narod’, have already won. And a dozen of his colleagues think likewise. Now he’s brainstorming just who will hold the top posts in the new people’s government. But I can’t believe it just yet. I think Yanukovych will play out his hand until he has no more choices. He’ll surely consider use of brutal force to repress the mass protest. But can Yanukovich act unilaterally, without a green-light from Putin? I don’t think so. And it’s not likely Putin will permit a massacre in the main public square of Kiev while the whole world warches. Much easier just to dump Yanukovych.

    Breaking news and comprehensive coverage at the link below. It’s all in cyrillic, but at least you can watch live video feed from Independence square (Ukr: ‘Maidan Nezalezhnosti’).

  3. Klassy

    The Tom Dispatch piece was fantastic. Melville is one of the best chroniclers of our age. Some day I may take a stab at The Confidence Man again.

    1. Katniss Everdeen

      Right you are, Klassy. The piece was fantastic.

      It reminded me of the Ward Churchill essay in which he referred to World Trade Center workers as a “technocratic corps” of “little Eichmanns.” Caused quite a bit of controversy as I recall.

      1. annie

        Churchill was hounded out of the University of Colorado for that comment, lost his appeal, job and tenure.

    2. Cal

      Look to Haiti to see the counterpoint.

      Why doesn’t Grandin move there with his family instead of sitting comfortably in NYC?

    3. EmilianoZ

      Grandin seems to have coordinated with Chris Hedges who wrote a (very) long column on Ahab:

      Ahab represents our mad leaders but we’re all accomplices like Ishmael:

      But when a man suspects any wrong, it sometimes happens that if he be already involved in the matter, he insensibly strives to cover up his suspicions even from himself. And much this way it was with me. I said nothing, and tried to think nothing.

      In addition to the mad Ahabs and to what Grandin calls the “respectable” man who believes in the values of the society he lives in, there’s also the simple “careerist”. He doesn’t really believe in anything, he just wants to get ahead, make more money, secure his retirement.

    1. XO

      Those who can’t or won’t see what lies behind the Corporatist juggernaut apparently make up the majority of the power structure, if not the population.

      A coalition of the ignorant, the angry, the intellectually/politically lazy, the power and wealth obsessed, and those either already part of the fascia (but bound to it loosely enough to be cut away at the first opportunity), or those trying to insinuate themselves into the bindings.

      The worst of the lot are the ignorant and the intellectually/politically lazy. They stand only to lose, having built their own gibbets, no questions asked.

    2. McMike

      This is the most interesting aspect of the NSA deal. If spying on citizens was the only issue, it would have passed from the news long ago. But spying on foreign elected officials (and presumably other foreign elites), doing industrial espionage, etc., THAT has upset the cart around the globe.

      Will be interesting to see how it plays out.

      1. TimR

        Do you think other countries don’t have spies and operate the same way? Really, they’re “shocked, shocked” that gambling is going on in this establishment?

        This is an old old story that state powers and their industries collaborate on foreign policy/spying and the rest. The CIA (originally OSS) grew up out of the needs of Wall St, and was filled from its ranks.

        Now maybe the NSA has gotten a step ahead of other spies and that has upset the apple-cart, I don’t know; but I’m sure foreign elites don’t have clean hands either as far as intent goes.

    3. Jack Parsons

      How do I get in on this? I’m a US citizen and taxpayer. I deserve my fair share of industrial secrets that were purloined on my dime.

      Maybe there could be an auction site.

    4. Furzy Mouse

      Snowden and friends would be very foolish to accept any amnesty terms to return to the USA…the goons are not to be trusted under any conditions or circumstances…as the leaks continue to drip, no doubt there will be “offers” which, like Assange, Snowden should treat as simply self-serving bait…he would be locked up in a heartbeat, never to see the light of day again, like Manning.

  4. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Snowden: Only Merkel?

    I remember the new Chinese leader was here at that time, and some thought he might bring the issue up but I was skeptical because…er, I could not believe they didn’t have anything on him…maybe he likes American reality TV better than Chinese soap opera, or, Japanese ramen over Chinese beef noodle soup. That’s got to be good for something.

  5. fresno dan

    A Teeny-Weeny Bit Of Taper, And Look What Happened Wolf Richter
    “These “disruptions” being losses of any kind.
    Mega gains based on printing money out of nothing have become the norm. Everybody has gotten used to them. Wall Street players have gotten immensely rich off them. No one can imagine a different scenario. Nothing else is apparently allowed to happen.

    Forget the corporate revenue and earnings debacle. Forget the employment quagmire, the lack of corporate investment in anything other than their own shares, the lousy shopping season, the layoffs in retail and tech. Forget the sky-high stock prices, the IPO bubble, the distortions and mal-investments. So long as the Fed prints enough money, asset prices will go up. And that’s the only bet left, apparently.

    Good grief, how far as a nation, as investors, as traders, as risk-takers have we fallen, under the Fed’s noble tutelage that consists of doling out free money? Now these “risk-takers” cling to the Fed’s sullied apron like little children and beg for more goodies, or their livelihood.”

    Markets, capitalism, free enterprise – when I was a youth, I believed such jibberish, now I see it is nothing more than the iron rule of them that gots, keeps… with the added insult of these being the meritorious, industrious, the oh so clever, the great intellects who understand arcane finance, which boils down to when I lose a bundle the state has to save me. When you lose a little, you live on the street…to prevent moral hazard…

  6. Murky

    There is an online robot that eats posts at Naked Capitalism. Its name is ‘Akismet’. Akismet decides whether what you have to say has any merit. Most posts get through. But if Akismet sniffs out anything it doesn’t like, your post is lost forever.

    Two of my posts eaten today. This current post is just to see whether Akismet is sleeping or still voraciously hungry for my words.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Judging by the success story here, people anywhere in this world should expect another bubbl…sorry, more good times ahead after more future bailouts.

  7. kevinearick

    Property Control Ism: Monopoly for Monkeys

    Females are relatively high frequency, high amplitude. Males are relatively low frequency, low amplitude. Males are adapted to find the forest. Females are adapted to find the tree. Within the empire, the females identify the forest, the males identify the tree, their children have no working example, and the politicians make a living negotiating settlement, by attempting to alter nature to suit the empire, with the expected results, every time.

    America has the lowest economic mobility rate in the developed world, but the SF Bay Area (Seattle, DC, etc), where kids are paid more to immobilize kids globally with mobile app eye candy, has a marginally better rate, so it should be emulated as a best business practice…and Gov. Brown wants to reroute water, again, to raise the rate of extortion again, implemented by the passive RE profit morons paying the graft back in the form of property taxes, all of whom vote for income disparity in their favor, ensured by moron education to complete the feedback loop.

    That is the state of education in America, stupid emulating stupid, to build scale stupid. When they print ahead of value creation, replacing the value stage with accounting law to emulate value, employing the worst possible example as best practice in a race to the bottom, they are promising slaves to be delivered at a later date. And, once again, the emperor has promised slaves that cannot be delivered, because everyone is not doing it, and everyone does not think that California/China is the path to the future.

    The empire pays individuals to organize around the removal of natural resources from effective production, creating artificial scarcity for the purpose of extortion. That’s what those empire lines are all about. They replace work with make-work. And the empire assumes it controls everything not so delineated – the air you breathe, the water you drink and the land you would otherwise employ, but it can only do so if you accept its assumption, that government is a public trust, in a community organized to defer individual responsibility to that end.

    Owning the planet is an absurd myth/assumption, employed to control its resources to the end of extortion. The real question is who you want to make decisions regarding the world you live in, and that should be you, but that requires you to educate your self, to appreciate what you have been given. Baking the irrational real estate cost into an apple, to sell it for a dollar, which is only worth 2 cents, is certainly not the answer, unless your objective is to create as much contract busy work for middlemen as you can.

    If a dollar is worth 100 cents to Buffet et al, due to credit control leverage, and it’s worth 2 cents to a custodian, who bases self worth on empire participation values, the answer for the custodian is not to join another group to get 6 or 8 cents. Toys, TV and manufactured food are not wealth.

    America is not last in every important category but military, trade control, by accident. The more control over trade it gets, the dumber it gets, and the greater the income inequality it fosters globally. Money from extortion is a gravitational force, which reaches a threshold to implosion, big surprise, like that has never happened before.

    Why do you suppose all the other nation/state morons wanted America to be the world’s policeman, Yellen was chosen as head of the Fed, and Germany is playing last to lose, again? Why do moron replicators rise to the top within the empire?

    The majority always prefers to serve itself. Politicians are paid to give the participants the excuse they need, an artificial crisis to ensure additional artificial crises, as the means to gain control over everyone else. That works, until it doesn’t, and the majority becomes irrelevant, only to be replaced by the next majority, clinging to power like a cat in a tree, afraid to come down. Don’t hang out with mental teenagers and be surprised to find your self acting like a teenager. That’s empire education.

    Unless you are capable of discounting the empire, rent, you have no business owning property, unless you want to belong to the majority, selling your children into slavery until your family line ceases to exist. In the real world, that piece of paper normalizing extortion is meaningless. What matters is putting ‘property’ into effective production, for a community that shares your values, the value of that which has been given to you, despite the empire’s every attempt to steal it with paper promises representing the labor of future slaves.

    Does it really surprise you that the majority seeks something for nothing, ignorance, and is taken advantage of by thieves, with an education propaganda system built for the purpose? Does it really surprise you that they vote for increasing tyranny, no change as change, every time? Emulating ignorance as an inbred assumption is stupid, but that is the empire, for those who choose to accept the assumption, ignorance is bliss and thinking is painful.

    Empire property is always a loss-leader, a gravitational rat hole for money, because its participants only understand extortion. Nothing about productivity may be learned in a temperature controlled building among like-minded students cornered by peer pressure to accept stupidity as a way of life. If automation is the answer, why are we here?

    Government grants individual rights to toys, tv, and manufactured food as a function of property control to the end of empire, graft, which is why Americans look and act the way they do, subjecting themselves to bipolar control anxiety. The monkeys begin by electrocuting each other, on the false premise of scarcity, continue to electrocute themselves in the political Pavlov swap, and bear more monkeys in self deprivation, absent love, to complete the circuit.

    Empire social event horizons are delineated by habits. Build your exit before you enter, and pop out, by habit, the habit of hard work. Devolved human monkeys are creatures of jealousy. Leave the monkeys with their derivative property, income and jobs. They will return to the dust with or without your help, and you have much better things to do, like provide for your children’s, and thereby your own, future.

    Empires always end in a bust, in a deprived child’s game of monkey monopoly. The answer is to build another sand box, beyond monkey recognition, which is not that difficult if you think about it. Tune the empire out and it implodes.

  8. fresno dan

    “Now, the island is finding crisis-management decisions made half a decade ago have put it on a trajectory that’s turned 2 percent unemployment into a realistic goal.

    While the euro area grapples with record joblessness, led by more than 25 percent in Greece and Spain, only about 4 percent of Iceland’s labor force is without work. Prime MinisterSigmundur D. Gunnlaugsson says even that’s too high. ”

    Funny how Iceland can have low unemployment….and funny how Iceland knows more about profit and LOSS than all the bank CEOs and FED governors combined…

  9. ChrisCairns

    Yves, thanks for acknowledging Australia Day, I know you have a soft spot for us.

    26 January 1788 was the day that the first fleet arrived in the cove that is now Sydney and Governor Philip raised the British flag.

    Non indigenous Australians celebrate the day in many forms, but for the indigenous population, the day is one of sadness and they call it invasion day.

    To placate the growing unrest, which is not contained to our first peoples, TPB awarded the Australian of the Year award to an indigenous Australian rules footballer, Adam Goodes, for his vocal efforts against racism.

    It is insufficient, however IMHO, and the day needs to be moved via a referendum, so that we can include our first peoples in the celebration and move steadily forward as a civil society.

  10. Skippy

    A must watch… beautiful visuals with concise facts to illustrate the issues.

    Planet Ocean is a 90 minute 2012 documentary by Yann Arthus-Bertrand and Michael Pitiot.[1]

    Can we imagine a film that would change the way people look at the ocean? Can we explain simply, to everyone, the greatest natural mystery of our planet? And lastly, can we help our children believe in a better and more sustainable world tomorrow?

    This is the triple challenge of a new cinema adventure signed by Yann Arthus-Bertrand and editor- in-chief Michael Pitiot, who brings with him the scientific missions of TARA, a unique pool of researchers, oceanographers and biolo- gists from several countries. Thanks to its astonishing photography, the film takes us on a magnificent and unprecedented journey into the heart of the least known regions of our planet.

    The film narrates the most marvelous and also the most terrifying human experiences of our time. Filmed in extreme geographical conditions all over the globe, it describes the modern Odyssey of people who go out to discover their blue planet.

    The film is also a plea for humanity to respect the world in which we live.

      1. Skippy


        The Abbott government says it has no plans to help fund a Pacific Ocean system of buoys monitoring extreme weather patterns that is now facing collapse.

        Leading ocean experts, including senior Australian scientists, will gather in California on Tuesday to discuss the “abrupt decline” over the past 18 months of data from an array of deep-water buoys.

        Known as the Tropical Atmosphere Ocean Project, or TAO, the array of devices has been funded for about 30 years mostly by the US and Japan.

        As revealed by Fairfax Media, vandalism by fishing fleets and cuts in spending on regular maintenance visits have led to a 40 per cent reduction in the flow of information from the buoys. The slide is continuing.

        “The implosion of the TAO is a real tragedy for the oceanographic and climate community,” said Mike McPhaden, a principal scientist with the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and former manager of the array.

        The TAO, set up after a huge El Nino weather system surprised scientists in 1982-83, delivers critical real-time observation of atmospheric conditions and those of the sea down to 500 metres below the buoys. El Ninos, and their opposite pattern, La Ninas, typically shift rain east or west over the Pacific, often bringing drought or heavy rains to many parts of the world, including Australia.

        Early warning of an El Nino could save farmers millions of dollars by helping them modify their choice of crop and the timing of planting. The cost of the US portion of the array – 55 buoys in a total of just under 70 – is about $US10 million ($11.4 million) a year.

        “[TAO] pays tremendous dividends for countries such as Australia and the US, where El Ninos and La Ninas have significant impacts on our patterns of weather variability,” Dr McPhaden said.

        Current conditions indicate the El Nino-Southern Oscillation is in a neutral phase, although some measures indicate a shift towards an El Nino. Such a weather pattern forms roughly every three to five years. The most recent one was in 2009.

        Australia’s oceanic research now falls mostly under the Education Department. A spokesman said the decline of the array “is of great concern to the international science community”.

    1. Glenn Condell

      Thanks, looks v interesting. I heard an excellent review of Her on Radio National from a reviewer I like, so that’s on the list too. As is Gravity, for which I have unfortunately now missed the run in the local cinemas (don’t want to see it on TV) The director Cuaron did Children of Men, another speculative sci-fi I admired. Did you see Moon? Another good ‘un.

      The one I’m really keen to see is Tarkovsky’s Stalker, which like Gravity I have been ordered by experts to see at the flicks and not on a box. His Solaris was good .

      Re Hollywood, I actively avoid movies from the Coalition of the Willing in general and H’wood in particular, certainly the non-indie stuff. It’s not political, well not entirely, it’s just that I simply can’t cope with the noise, the hard smooth surfaces, the irony, the navel-gazing, the ‘music’, the aggression and the pace. I seem to need qualities like playful and contemplative and sometimes angry and sad too, but unmediated and unsullied by being ’embedded’ in empire. Eg, I prefer Peter Jackson’s early NZ gore-fests over the LOTR franchise.

      The last film I saw at the movies was (I am embarrassed to say) Enders Game. My 8 year old son wasn’t keen on the alternatives and it was holidays.. I am even more embarrassed to say that I quite enjoyed it. Probably not as much as Dick Cheney (it goes in for pre-emptive fascism in a big way) but with my bullshit detectors turned off for a few hours, it was OK.

  11. Walter Map

    More evidence that the Monsters of the Universe are criminally insane, and perfectly determined to wipe out civilization – including themselves – in their obsessive pursuit of profit:

    UK to Shred Over 80,000 Pages of Environmental Protections

    “Listen, and understand. These Terminators are out there. They can’t be bargained with. They can’t be reasoned with. They don’t feel pity, or remorse, or fear. And they absolutely will not stop, ever, until you are dead.”

    “My mommy always said there were no monsters. No real ones. But there are.”

  12. Optimader

    For anyone interested
    post seminar Ethanol samples will be available

    Bioenergy Demonstration and Deployment Strategy Workshop
    March 12 – 13, 2014
    Chicago, IL

    The Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) Bioenergy Technologies Office (BETO) is hosting a Demonstration and Deployment strategy workshop on March 12-13 2014, at Argonne National Laboratory’s ANS conference center in Chicago, Illinois.

    As the bioenergy industry advances commercial scale cellulosic ethanol production, BETO will identify the next step(s) in drop-in hydrocarbon biofuel production. This workshop intends to discuss, reassess, and prioritize the demonstration and deployment efforts needed to realize affordable, scalable, and sustainable production of hydrocarbon biofuels.

    University, national laboratory, industry, advocacy, government and other stakeholders will consider the following questions:

    ♦ What is the state of technology regarding the deployment of hydrocarbon biofuels, as well as supportive bioproducts and biopower?
    ♦ What are the current technical, conversion, feedstock and logistics, and market barriers to deploying

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