Links 2/11/14

Shirley Temple Black, actress and diplomat, dies at 85 Washington Post

Marius the Giraffe Didn’t Have to Die Bloomberg

Camels Had No Business in Genesis New York Times

End-Permian extinction happened in 60,000 years—much faster than earlier estimates, study says PhysOrg

Global-Warming Slowdown Due to Pacific Winds, Study Shows Bloomberg

Creating Liquid Fuel from Old Plastic Bags OilPrice (furzy mouse)

Bitcoin value drops sharply after tech issues continue BBC

Facebook Fraud – How Much of Facebook’s Ad Revenue is Legitimate? Michael Shedlock

How Russia Might Have Stopped World War I American Conservative (Lambert)

Assessing the impact of the car industry’s closure MacroBusiness. In case you missed it, Toyota will stop making cars in Oz.

Car industry: what Australia could learn from state support around the world Guardian

China, Taiwan hold first direct talks since 1949 split Washington Post

China forces banks to prepare for losses MacroBusiness

Courts, voters and the threat of another euro crisis Gideon Rachman, Financial Times. Similar concerns to the ones we voiced yesterday. And Rachman is generally a cheerier sort than his colleague Munchau.

OECD Jobless Rate Falls to 7.6% Wall Street Journal

Lord Turner: UK economy is like 90s Japan Telegraph

Barclays to cut 12,000 jobs, pays bigger bonuses Reuters

Alarm as Kabul records polio case BBC

Bin Laden death images ‘purged’ Guardian

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

Reddit, Mozilla, Tumblr and more gear up for massive NSA protest tomorrow VentureBeat

Lights Out for NSA? Maryland Lawmakers Push to Cut Water, Electricity to Spy Agency Headquarters US News

Source: U.S. debating targeted killing of American terror suspect overseas CNN fails at security so far Errata Security (Howard Beale IV)

1932 Signals Chief for the Army Talks Hackers and Hacking: “Cryptanalysts Are the Same Birds” Matt Stoller

Obamacare Launch

U.S. to further delay Obamacare employer mandate Los Angeles Times

Obamacare delay sparks new mandate fight Politico

‘Private Option’ for Medicaid Could Be Derailed in Arkansas New York Times

Illinois partners with The Onion to push Obamacare enrollment Chicago Tribune. But consider: Hundreds Of Millions Spent Promoting Marriage Hasn’t Helped At All: Study Huffington Post

The debt ceiling — yes, again FT Alphaville

Boomers Turn On, Tune In, Drop Out of U.S. Labor Force Bloomberg

Is America Working? Frances Coppola, Pieria

Suspicious Death of JPMorgan Vice President, Gabriel Magee, Under Investigation in London Pam Martens

Bad debit cards are not the answer to bad FICO scores Cathy O’Neil

Fed Researcher Thinks Banks Are Getting Lazier Matt Levine, Bloomberg

Many Emergency Shelters Don’t Open Until Homeless People Are Already At Risk For Hypothermia Huffington Post

Propane Shortages Leave Many Without Heat OilPrice

Antidote du jour (Chuck L):

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      1. dearieme

        Thanks, skippy, but I’ve already read the story, in the Tel a few days ago. Of course, if I want to read a cheesy, verbose account of the news, a few days late, my first port of call will always be the NYT.

        1. skippy

          Would you prefer the actual academic papers [their and others], I can have quite a lot, side step all that cheesy verbose projection stuff…. oops I mean not you, but, the reporters.

          skippy… what is it with your stripe that always leads such comments with disdain right out of the box, no qualifier needed, just your personal slurs for effect.

  1. kimyo

    re: Global-Warming Slowdown Due to Pacific Winds, Study Shows

    The scientists used computer models and weather data to determine the effect of the stronger winds on ocean circulation.

    it’s not science if there’s no measurements. if your theory is that the hiatus is a result of the deep ocean heating up, you prove it by making measurements of actual deep ocean temperatures.

    in order to do real science, you’d then compare those measurements against previous samples.

    no current deep ocean temp measurements + no historical deep ocean temp measurements = not science.

    1. Nowhere

      The article states: “A paper in the journal Geophysical Research Letters in May found that ocean waters below 700 meters (2,300 feet) have absorbed more heat since 1999. A separate study in Nature in August linked the hiatus to a cooling of surface waters in the eastern Pacific, and today’s research builds on that.”

      There is a link to the actual journal article (free!) that describes the physical data that were collected and analyzed. Science.

      1. kimyo

        argo came online in 2007, 9 years after the pause began:
        argo (wiki)

        A program called Argo was first proposed at OceanObs 1999 which was a conference organised by international agencies with the aim of creating a coordinated approach to ocean observations. The original Argo prospectus was created by a small group of scientists, chaired by Dean Roemmich, who described a program that would have a global array of about 3000 floats in place by sometime in 2007. The 3000-float array was achieved in November 2007.

        ‘xbt’ data goes back to 1955. in total we have barely 60 years of data, much of which is quite sparse.

        ‘scientists’ who claim to grok oceans don’t even know the key facts – how much water is in the pacific? how much water entered the pacific today via riverflow? rainfall? how much ocean water evaporated in 1998? 1901?

        you can’t model something if you don’t have even a basic grasp of the parameters.

        1. Francois T

          “you can’t model something if you don’t have even a basic grasp of the parameters.”

          Typical talking point of the WUWT crowd. Is that where you learned this sleight of hand, denier?

    2. erk

      Upon reading that sentence you immediately pointed out an obvious flaw yet you don’t think that the 10’s or 100’s of thousands of climate scientists around the world have not once considered that too?

      The data on ocean heating has of course been collected and analyzed and guess what it shows!? Massive heating. Far more heat is accumulating in the oceans than in the atmosphere. Data published in 2012 ->

      Climate models are an integral part of real science. Since we have only one atmosphere, they are the only way we have to “experiment” with climate. Models produce surprisingly accurate reconstructions of the last 100 years of warming.

        1. Binky Bear

          I’ll put this right here for you so you can get caught up. Wasting time on popular press articles is counterproductive and overcoming your credulity is paramount. We’ll wait.

          So we have estimates, measures, and proxy data that more or less serve to construct the model. The estimates and proxies are checked against the measurements which leads researchers to bias towards gradualism-which is giving us surprises as the ice caps melt much faster than the gradualist-influenced models. If anything, these models and predictions are underestimating the potential rapidity of dramatic regime changes in the climate.

        2. davidgmills

          Don’t waste your time arguing the science or lack of it about global warming on an economics blog. All you will get is people quoting real climate or skeptical science some other blog. Pointless waste of energy.

  2. vlade

    Yes, the giraffe didn’t have to die. But so what? That cow that’s now the steak didn’t have to die either, but it did.
    What’s the big news with this, especially in the view of what goes on in the rest of the world?
    I could understand someone being unhappy about the public way the butchery was done, but again, there’s a few live taxidermy shows, so what?

            1. OIFVet

              Give it some time. If we can create vegetarian salmon and cannibalistic cows, who is to say we can’t create vegetarian lions. Look at the ingredient label of dry cat food, for most brands it consist of grains mostly. And cats are just small lions.

              1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef


                Thanks for connecting the dots. I wonder if lions can be inspired to stay away from flesh? Buddhist lions, perhaps.

    1. heresy101

      So what?
      I’m waiting for news that some animal liberation group has culled the human genome of the barbaric genes of a Danish World-Renowned Expert so that I can donate to their cause.

    2. bulfinch

      I thought it was awful. Couldn’t they have simply neutered the poor guy?

      I also thought it was a waste that they didn’t preserve his beautiful pelt. They just butchered him and chucked him to the cats.

      1. Yves Smith Post author

        I bet it was upsetting to the staff and volunteers. I’d quit helping a zoo that did something like that. These poor animals spend their lives in captivity to amuse us. The least we can do is be as nice as we can to them under the circumstances.

  3. badbackjack

    Reddit may be ready to help protest against the NSA, but they’re still censoring the the heck out of the subs. Was following a hugely popular post yesterday about Verizon throttling for about an hour when it was deleted for supposedly being off topic. Its been happening for a while now.

    1. kimyo

      few things makes me as sad as reddit’s (and metafilter, digg etc.) takeover by the propaganda arm of tptb.

      if uncorrupted, a resource like reddit could have been part of the next step in human evolution. at the very least, it would have played a huge part in deploying a government by the people, for the people.

  4. allcoppedout

    Russia could have stopped WW1. Thinking here now is the UK should have stayed out of it. Difficult in my view, as we started it by invading Iraq in 1913. I no longer think any national interests are involved in war. We need a money trail to those who profit and how they still have money and assets after the destruction. We seem incapable of democratic foreign policy.

    The idea of Russia at war with Germany always appealed to British Asian interests, and some even think we conjured up the Nazis to continue to protect such through WW2. Anyone written on how we get rid of the warmongers and who they really are?

    1. Katniss Everdeen

      The United States could have “stopped” WWI too–by staying out of it. The promise of US neutrality, a promise he, not surprisingly, did not keep, was what got Woodrow Wilson re-elected president in 1916. England and Germany were spent and Germany, at least, wanted to call the whole thing off. US participation breathed new life into the conflict.

      By 1917, the Allies were starting to run low on young men.

      It’s interesting how pulling on one tiny historical thread unravels the fabric, particularly in light of yesterday’s discussion here about Israel. Enter the Balfour Declaration:

      Britain wanted the United States to join World War I and the British hoped that by supporting a Jewish homeland in Palestine, world Jewry would be able to sway the U. S. to join the war.

      And what do you know? It worked. The US, at least TPTB were “swayed.” The US declared war on Germany in April, 1917. And the seeds of our current disasters were sown.

      Is it just me, or does it seem like there is a lot of subtle and not-so-subtle Russia bashing going on these days? Wonder what that’s all about?

      1. Massinissa

        Isnt it both russia bashing and china bashing usually? And anyway, hasnt it been going on for years? Its just heating up because of sochi.

        Anyway, remember when the mouthpiece of the PTB/1% Mitt Romney said that Russia was the US’s “Geopolitical Enemy #1”? That was about a year or two ago I believe. God, was 2012 that long ago?

        The Communists may have become Capitalist, but the Cold War never actually ended. We are sort of still playing that same goddamn game. For instance, on China, all that nonsense talk about “pivot to china”, and “air sea battle”.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          ‘We are here to talk about freedom of speech in China.’

          ‘Well, we are sorry about that.’

          ‘You should be. Very serious matter to us. We don’t think we want to speak to you again’

          ‘Well, we are deregulating our banking sector….’

          ‘Hey, when can you come over for a lovely state dinner?’

      2. different clue

        Is that really what diddit? I remember once reading that during the wave of anti-Germanitic persecution which Wilson deliberately unleashed and drove all over the US,
        the New York City-based Jewish Daily Forward was one of two newspapers shut down by the Wilson regime for being pro-German. I can’t remember what the other one was.

        Are we sure Wilson wasn’t driven by his own messianic imperialism? Are we sure Wilson and the British regime didn’t conspire together to put a big shipment of rifles aboard the Lusitania in order to get the Germans to sink it? Without telling the passengers ahead of time, of course. I had always thought that the Lusitania and the “Zimmerman telegram” were the triggering causes cited to enter WWI.

      3. different clue

        That’s a different interpretation than what I remember having read. I read that Wilson wanted to take America into the war to fulfill his own messianic imperial urges. Did elements of the British and Wilson regimes collaborate together to put arms(rifles) shipments to Britain on the Lusitania and make sure the Germans knew about it in order to bait them into sinking it to give Wilson an excuse to seek war? The Lusitania’s passengers were certainly never told about it.
        Wilson unleashed a wave of antiGermanitic persecution all across America as part of his war on the homefront. One of the two newspapers I remember reading that his regime shut down was the New York City-based Jewish Daily Forward . . . for being pro-German. I don’t remember what the other one was.
        I had thought that Zionism was a very minority philosophy among World Jewry in those days. Am I wrong?

          1. different clue

            I have to wonder about very many secular jews signing up either. I thought the big signup came after winning WWII and beholding the full splendor of the holocaust.

      4. Yves Smith Post author

        Timeline does not support your argument. Balfour Declaration was signed AFTER the US entered WWI.

        And the US entry in April 1917 was triggered by Germany aggression:

        At the beginning of 1917 Germany decided to resume all-out submarine warfare on all commercial ships headed toward Britain, realizing that this decision would almost certainly mean war with the United States. Germany also offered a military alliance to Mexico, as intercepted and decoded by the British in the Zimmerman Telegram, and publication of that offer outraged Americans just as German U-boats (submarines) started sinking American ships in the North Atlantic.

        Balfour Declaration signed: November 1917.

        But I take it you see Jews as the cause of everything. How very convenient to have a ready scapegoat.

          1. Yves Smith Post author

            I hate stereotyping. You can make statements about Israel and AIPAC and various lobbying groups and neocons and hawkish Jewish billionaires. Those are completely fair game and they deserve to be called out.

            But then to make generalization about Jews and insinuate nefarious plots is quite a different matter and I’m gobsmacked even after pointing out how focused groups with intent (that may align with an ethnic group) is not at all the same as the group, some readers go on tilt. If someone accused all women of actively promoting pro-abortion policies, the bogusness of the stereotyping would be obvious. But they are the same in form.

            1. optimader

              “I hate stereotyping. You can make statements about Israel and AIPAC and various lobbying groups and neocons and hawkish Jewish billionaires. Those are completely fair game and they deserve to be called out.”
              I would add Zionism as fair game. Many do not understand this is an ideological/political affiliation differentiated from the ethnicity and religious faith.

            2. JTFaraday

              “If someone accused all women of actively promoting pro-abortion policies, the bogusness of the stereotyping would be obvious.”

              Maybe that’s because lots of right wing women are vocally pro-life, and there isn’t a conspiracy of silence around the issue. Breaking the silence on Israel is a relatively recent phenomena.

              And Israel is not the only issue around which there is such a conspiracy of silence. Black women were regularly berated for saying negative things about black men, given the way black men have been ceaselessly under attack in the US. This shows up in the mainstream media in the form of things like campus protests against sexist rappers and so forth.

              Now that’s a demographic that is clearly oppressed in American society, so perhaps the conspiracy of silence presents one with an immediate dilemma.

              If American Jews wish to break the stereotype that they’re all secret neocons in hiding, and I do see people who say they feel bullied by part of their own community, then they know what to do. And it’s their responsibility to do it.

      5. alex morfesis

        1917 ? world jewry ? powerful ?

        you must be some white russian leftover whose grandfather keeps telling you how “someone else” other than his lazy self, is the reason you are not part of the “no-ability”

        you should do a weeeee bit of research on all the “good living” jews in america enjoyed in 1917…delancy street knishes and all that…

        spring hill (alteneuland) was founded in 1909 outside of jaffa and 8 years later the Othmans cleared it out as they were afraid of losing control to the British of the lands and oil they controlled (the othmans controlled)…

        world war 1 was about oil…

        who lost…????

        the two nations that controlled most of the oil outside of the US…Russia and the Othmans…the british and french secured oil for their industrial needs, and the french continue to disrupt american actions to help their industry have access to cheap oil…

        look up Mr. 5% to get an idea of the persons who made money from the war…jews, powerful in america in 1917 ???…

        put down the krakpipe…

        oh, and in case you believe in guilt by association, for many years, my family’s accountant was named Stephen Wise…I guess that automatically makes me an uber zionist…

    2. optimader

      “…The people of England have been led in Mesopotamia into a trap from which it will be hard to escape with dignity and honor. They have been tricked into it by a steady withholding of information. The Baghdad communiques are belated, insincere, incomplete. Things have been far worse than we have been told, our administration more bloody and inefficient than the public knows. It is a disgrace to our imperial record, and may soon be too inflamed for any ordinary cure. We are today not far from a disaster. How long will we permit millions of pounds, thousands of Imperial troops, and tens of thousands of Arabs to be sacrificed on behalf of colonial administration which can benefit nobody but its administrators?”
      ~ August 22, 1920, written by former Lieutenant Colonel Thomas Edward Lawrence (AKA Lawrence of Arabia)

  5. diptherio

    Re: Lights out for NSA?

    Remember this the next time you’re about to say something clever and cutting about “Republicans” as a whole :

    Eight Republicans in the 141-member Maryland House of Delegates introduced legislation Thursday that would deny the electronic spy agency “material support, participation or assistance in any form” from the state, its political subdivisions or companies with state contracts.

    A group of legislators finally decide to fight back against the depredations of the Surveillance State and actually stand up for civil liberties, and who is it? Them crazy Republicans…I just hope Mass. Dems have enough sense to get on board with this.

    Maybe this concept of simply refusing to cooperate with unjust authority will catch on. Let’s hope. Ironic, but telling, that it’s the conservatives who are leading the charge on Stasi-USA. In this instance, I would rather have a libertarian representing me than what, these days, passes for a progressive democrat.

    1. YankeeFrank

      You make compelling points, I just fear that most libertarians are very conservative in certain covert ways — in other words they take it too far (racism – OK!) for one.

      1. diptherio

        It’s just part of my constant crusade to get people to stop thinking in terms of broad categories and vague labels. I don’t have a problem with Republicans or with Libertarians–as a category. What I do have a problem with is individuals, some of whom happen to identify as Republican or Libertarian, some of whom call themselves Democrats or Independents, etc.

        As the referees never tired of telling me during my days as a killer left back for my club soccer team: “play the ball, not the man.” It’s the argument and the policies that matter, not the label somebody happens to be wearing.

        1. neo-realist

          But I take it you’re white, so you have no problem with republicans/libertarians who oppose civil rights legislation, who southern strategize dark skinned people in the media, and who support voter ID laws. I’m not saying Corporate Dems are apostles for social and economic justice, but the republicans and libertarians go out of their way to bash dark skinned people in one way or another.

          That being said, the support of such legislation against the NSA is very much an aberration in their tribe when you consider their mostly overwhelming support for police state measures against the people.

          1. diptherio

            I try (though not always successfully) to not prejudge on the basis of political, religious, or any other label. If a person pushes for racist policies and voices racist opinions, racism is the problem, not their preferred political label.

            And then, there is the “strange bedfellow” issue. Personally, I don’t mind, just so long as you don’t get so emotionally/financially attached to your bedfellow that you stop confronting them on issues where you disagree.

            To sum up, I think political debate would be more useful if we discussed policies rather than political labels. Maybe it’s just me…

          2. diptherio

            “…but the republicans and libertarians go out of their way to bash dark skinned people in one way or another”

            Are you including Noam Chomsky-type libertarian-socialists when you say “libertarians,” or do they not count as libertarians? Again, labels just seem to confuse the issues (and yeah, white, male, middle-class background…among other things).

            1. MikeNY

              FWIW, I agree with you and Beef.

              If Charles Koch came out tomorrow calling for restraints on the NSA, I’d listen to his argument. “Truth, from whatever source”, to quote Maimonides.

          3. Strangely Enough

            “overwhelming support for police state measures against the people.”

            That’s pretty bipartisan, now.

            1. neo-realist

              Yes, it is pretty bipartisan now, but considering the authoritarian nature of most republicans, it’s way out of their nature, for even a few of them, to support putting curbs on the intelligence apparatus.

          4. JTFaraday

            The problem with your argument with respect to individuals, and I don’t necessarily disagree with your characterization of the R-Party, is that the kind of pre-judgment in which you engage has by now lead lots of people of certain demographics and living in certain regions to affiliate with the Party that doesn’t ritually disparage them. The D-Partisans do this every bit as much as the Repugnants.

            Seeing the liberal elite press, punditocray, and blogospheriat pontificate on the racist white people in Pennsylvania and Ohio on a quite literally daily basis during the 2008 Presidential election– based on little more than HRC’s consistent lead in the primary– might turn people away from the D-Party for quite some time to come.

            And let’s note that Obama did win both PA and Ohio in 2008, but the ritual performance of the D-Partisans in 2008 is one of the reasons I want nothing to do with the D-Party, and I am not even from one of those states. A somewhat different person, with a somewhat different set of interests, might just become a Republican.

            All of this ongoing nonsense just contributes to why our politics is so far down the nut hole it’s virtually irretrievable in anything like its current form.

        2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          It’s a good habit to have, focusing on the argument/policy, and not on the label/reputation/authority of the person.

          It doesn’t matter if that person is a Nobel laureate…all of us not warring on the 0.01% are worthy Nobel Peace Prize winners.

          It doesn’t matter if that person once held a Guinness World Record – each one of us, when born, was the world’s youngest person.

          We are all special and capable of greatness.

      1. bob

        “1) Prohibits state and local agencies from providing any material support to the NSA within their jurisdiction. Includes barring government-owned utilities from providing water and electricity.”

        So, they are talking about ending tax breaks to surveillance valley?

        That would be a start. This is just pandering.

        1. bob

          This is just Right Wing agitprop. One of their “partners” proudly displays CATO as a partner.

          Is there any “movement” anywhere that doesn’t start with the 501c3 coalition of the benevolent dictators? I’d call it incest, but even that doesn’t cover the levels of flesh on cash on flesh.

          “If we are going to change America®, it starts with anonymous, tax free donations from billionaires.”

        2. MikeNY

          I don’t think it has much chance of passing, so in that sense, yes, I agree, it may be pandering. OTOH, isn’t most of the water and sewer in CA provided by public utilities? Would be sorta hard to have an office complex without water and sewer.

          1. bob

            It would be expressly illegal, IMO. You can’t have any group of people inside any building without water, sewer, and electric service. Public health, emergencies, etc. But, they know this.

            Never gonna happen. Just another SV PR agenda wrapped up in “disruption”. “Hey, look over there! They’re spying on you! Wanna buy a list of rape victims? Compulsive gamblers? Freedom!”

            1. different clue

              Very good point. Based on that, I am against those legislators.
              They clearly have a trojan agenda. Oh well . . .

          2. bob

            Thinking more that it’s just an attack against universal service, which is the next sacred cow on their agenda.

            “cut the NSA off from electricity”

            Next week-

            “I don’t like the strip club down the street, cut the sewer service!”

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          I would like to see a 3D printed banker.

          In general, I expect robot bankers to be better than anthropo-bankers, at least until they program in greed.

          Then, it’s game over for humans.

  6. JohnL

    I have one of those printers. It was going to the thrift store. I guess I’ll give if to the animal shelter instead.

  7. Clive

    Re: “Suspicious Death of JPMorgan Vice President, Gabriel Magee, Under Investigation in London”, I mentioned at the time this story broke in the Links comments of the day that a friend eye witnessed the events (and okay, this is hearsay, but I only provide the best and most reliable hearsay) and the Met (-ropolitan Police) were done and dusted in half a day max at the scene of the unfortunate incident. Most of the time was taken by the paramedics figuring out how to recover the body of the deceased.

    Down the road from where I live, there was an attempted murder about a year ago, the crime scene was blocked off for almost a week and a member of the local constabulary on site guarding it the whole time. The poor unfortunate person was in a coma for several days, therefore no-one could question them as to whether they simply fell (conceivable as it was on rough ground near a pub) or had been beaten up. So, correctly, it was treated as a potential crime until it could be definitively proven otherwise.

    A body turns up at the JPM office in London and within an hour or so the Met concludes no crime, no victim. Nothing to see here folks, move on.

    1. Synopticist

      If I’d heard that story only 7 or 8 years ago, I’d have rolled my eyes and put you down as a conspiracy theory fantasist. As if the Met would cover up the suspect death of a banker, c’mon…

      Now I know better. And if there’s one thing we have all learned in the last few years, it’s that it isn’t safe to let bankers go their own way without paying very close attention to whats going on.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          I am not sure if I am too paranoid, but do we have to worry about running out of tin-foil hats?

          I, myself, am thinking of getting a few more spare ones.

          1. Clive

            I’m more concerned, as per yesterday’s feature on the subject, about the crapification of tin foil hats. Like, substandard ones made out of the sort of tin foil you get nowadays, which hopelessly scrunches up and perforates at the first sign of a cup cake.

            1. Fíréan

              Anyone remember the banker, Roberto Calvi, who “hanged” himself under a bridge in London some decades ago, 1982 to be precise ? Declared to have been a suicide, end of story, and anyone who said otherwise was a “conspiracy theorist”. Until October 2002 when was declared to be a murder and various persons, masons or mafia, admited knowledge that it was a murder but they weren’t guilty thenselves

                1. different clue

                  The poison-tipped umbrella victim was Georgi Markov, a defector from Communist Bulgaria. He was killed to stop him from making radio broadcasts about people within the Bulgarian power structure.

              1. Jackrabbit

                This guy wasn’t a banker. He was some kind of risk/ops guy.

                Some are thinking this might be related to the London ‘Whale’ – but wasn’t the bad news is already out on that? Would someone kill this guy just because he balked at ‘pinning’ the loses on the ‘rouge traders’?

                Strangely, the Vatican Bank is once again in trouble and is being restructured with the help of a group of people at major Banks and Promontory Financial (the financial services regulatory ‘fixer’ that Yves shined light on in her report on the failure of the OCC Foreclosure Review).

                Pope Francis himself has been involved in cleaning up/reforming the Bank. In fact, he just (January 2014) fired four of the five Cardinals that ran the Bank. Why would he take such action? It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to imagine that these Cardinals were attempting to stonewall/stymie reform – perhaps to keep certain secret dealings from getting out.

                Alternatively (for a those prone to darker thoughts), the intended ‘reform’ might not be quite as thorough as the public is being led to believe it will be.

                The ‘truth will out’ so I suppose, IF there was foul play, we will learn about it eventually.

          1. Clive

            Hmm… Seems to offer very limited protection against alien abduction. For a start, it doesn’t even cover your ears.

            1. Chauncey Gardiner

              Yes, and I had another question. I h/b wondering if I can use standard household foil for the application, which is typically 0.016 mm (0.63 mil) thick, or if I will need to use heavy duty foil, which is typically 0.024 mm (0.94 mil) thick? Is it possible to use the lighter foil, but layer it? It does tear more easily than the heavier foil. ;-)

  8. Spring Texan

    Why is this website not supporting ? NC seems very consistently concerned about surveillance.

    In any case, if any of you are interested in contacting Congress today (“The Day We Fight Back” (against NSA surveillance)), they have made it really easy . If you feed in your phone number, they’ll call you back, ask for your zip code, and connect you with your senators and reps.

    The script is something like “I’m a constituent and I’m calling to oppose mass surveillance — would urge you to SUPPORT the USA Freedom act and OPPOSE Senate bill 1631, the so-called FISA improvement act. It’s also important to me to stop undermining of encryption standards and to respect the privacy of non-citizens.” Obviously you can modify this to taste and I did.

      1. Spring Texan

        I admit that was my first thought and I have a congressional directory anyhow, but it does save a lot of trouble and they need the phone number to call you back and actually make it easy to make the phone calls and the zip code to know who your reps are.

        At that I live in a split zip code and they sent me to the wrong rep.

        If you have the numbers handy just as good to call on your own for sure. But for some people that’s too much trouble and this does work and I can see why they need those two pieces of info but yes calling on your own (if you’ll do it) just as good.

        1. diptherio

          I see your point. I live in a State with one only Rep, so not a big deal for me.

          And I swear, I wouldn’t be so paranoid if it wasn’t for all the damned government snoops…

    1. bob

      I don’t support anything that the billionaires of surveillance valley bring me. They have enough money, can’t they program people too?

      As a matter of fact- Are you a program, spring texan?

    2. Yves Smith Post author

      I put it in Links. You are out of line in saying we are “not supporting” it.

      I don’t put up posts advocating action (in MoveOn style). I may call for action at the end of a post and suggest readers make calls, etc.

  9. F. Beard

    re the antidote: That is one great 3-D printer!

    re Global-Warming Slowdown Due to Pacific Winds, Study Shows Bloomberg:

    That heat is not stored very deep leaving even more heat storage capacity below?

  10. Katniss Everdeen

    RE: Bin Laden Death Images ‘Purged’

    Sometimes I am surprised at how cynical I’ve become.

    This article instantly reminded me of the movie Wag the Dog and the bit about, “There is no B-3 bomber.” There really WAS no B-3 bomber, but the DENIAL convinced everyone in the “press” to conclude that there WAS and its existence was being lied about. Twisted but interesting.

    And now we have, “There are no photos of the Bin Laden assassination.” See where I’m goin’ with this?

    Not that it’s widely reported, but plenty of people, including Paul Craig Roberts, have provided evidence that OBL was long-gone by the time he was finally “neutralized.” With great fanfare, I might add.

    Apparently old boogeymen don’t die, they just fade away. Or not.

  11. OIFVet

    Re Marius the Giraffe

    Reading the article, I was struck by how the worth of an animal was viewed purely from the standpoint of utility. Sure, some lip service was paid to the intrinsic value of an animal’s existence, but in the case of Marius his value was determined solely on the basis of his genetic make up. Unfortunately for him his genes were simply worthless to the zoo so he was fed to the lions.

    How long before the human animal is culled based on its genetic make up? Its not a far fetched notion to me; libertarians and neoliberals share the belief that the “elites” are “elite” because they are smarter, harder working, whatever, never mind that most of that “superiority” seems to stem from them being sociopaths. The “loser” masses are simply inferior people in this world view, “takers” who take from the “producers” (show me a banker on the production line or working the checkout lane). The existence of the masses seems to be superfluous, all they do is consume valuable resources without contributing anything in return.

    So is it crazy to imagine a not so distant dystopian future where the elites breed human animals for specific characteristics and discard “defective” individuals”? Aldous Huxley imagined it way back but now we already have the technology that makes such a world possible. Think the industrialization of chicken and hog production. Today a giraffe, tomorrow a human. Because utility.

    1. Shutter

      Re the giraffe… so the World-Renowned Expert has his reasons for the ‘cull’ and he doesn’t like it when commoners argue with him. Its tough on him isn’t it?

      And the brutality of the public execution of the innocent being and the subsequent public desecration of his corpse was what… just to prove a point that He was in charge and the peons were not?

      What happened to decency? Or are World-Renowned Experts above all that?

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        This hits me especially hard.

        I think of myself as a giraffe – head in the clouds but feet firmly on the ground.

        1. OIFVet

          Same here. Cognitive dissonance is a real pain in the butt for realistic idealists, or is it idealistic realists …?

      2. OIFVet

        One of the prerequisites to be an expert these days is the ability to view concepts such as decency and morality as inefficient artifacts of the quaint old days. Scientists, lawyers, and bankers are particularly susceptible to this phenomenon because they rarely think about how their particular area of expertise relates to the entire system of life on Earth. Efficiency has been defined to exclude such externalities as moral and environmental degradation from the equation, those costs, quantifiable or not, are passed on to society. So while it may be hard to put monetary value on morality, we see the costs of its decay in the way we treat each other and our planet and in the associated decline of quality of life for society as a whole. So while from industrial and scientific viewpoint the way we raise livestock and zoo animals is incredibly efficient way to make money, in reality these are costly and inefficient enterprises which make money or further its scientific objectives by passing the costs on to us.

        I view the fetishization of “experts” as one of the most harmful developments since it cloaks outrageous acts and practices in the respectability of science and pseudosciences like economics.

    2. Vatch

      There must be other zoos in Europe that don’t have as many giraffes as they would like to have. Marius could have been sent to one of those zoos. But no.

  12. Huxley

    Doesn’t it seem strange that the federal government would be going through so much effort to persuade people to commit suicide?

    Maybe it’s just me.

  13. Huxley

    Marius is the first of many that will eventually be featured in a new theme zoo called Giraffic Park, where all animals will be created congruently but some will be more congruent that others.

  14. Cocomaan

    Chronicle of Higher Education – Colleges Are Reminded of Federal Eye on Handling of Sexual-Assault Cases

    It sends a message, she said, that victimized students are worth less than the people who assault them.
    “Your job as educators is to radically change that message,” Ms. Lhamon said. “My job as the chief enforcer is to radically change that message. I know we can do that together.”
    She added: “And I also know that if you don’t want to do it together, I will do it to you.”
    Talking over the laughter from college presidents, university lawyers, Title IX coordinators, and student-affairs administrators in attendance, she pressed on.
    “Do not wait until the next assault to make a change,” Ms. Lhamon said. “Do not wait until a student files a complaint. Act now.”


    Toward the end of the two-hour discussion, the panel’s moderator, Hunter R. Rawlings III, president of the Association of American Universities, invited students to offer advice to the presidents. One by one, the students—from Dartmouth, Georgetown, Temple, UCLA—offered their recommendations in swift and passionate bursts: Require sensitivity training for campus police officers. Say “survivor,” not “victim.” Remember that sexual assault cuts across race, class, gender, and immigration status. Create programs for graduate students. Don’t erroneously label an accused student a “rapist” or “harasser.”

  15. Lambert Strether

    Just ripped out a giant tangled useless hairball of religionist crapola that makes the blog look bad. You guys know who you are. Don’t fucking start. It’s like being trapped in a small car with a bunch of squabbling six-year-olds, no, worse, a bunch of six year olds who got in the car with the intent to squabble, and couldn’t wait to start doing it once the door slammed. “He started it!” “No, he started it! He’s looking at me!” Massive rule #1 violations all around (“Don’t be an asshole”). And if you’re even thinking about responding to this comment, don’t. Just don’t go there. Try learning from each other, for pity’s sake.

      1. Yves Smith Post author

        That is an assisted suicide request which I am only too happy to oblige. You couldn’t resist the urge to be a smartass, could you?

    1. allcoppedout

      Well done Lambert. On the Barclay Principle you should award yourself a large bonus for any stripping out activity. I’ll sit on the remuneration committee for a share – I mean to provide objective balance.

  16. kevinearick

    Planning: The Extortion Racket

    I’ll tell you what the plan is. The plan is to work with nature so it gives us more to work with. Adaptation; that’s the plan.

    I can’t tell you what the weather is going to do five minutes from now, let alone tomorrow or ten years from now. I can tell you with certainty that arbitrarily diverting natural resources to Las Vegas, to build bigger casinos, and to China, to build more lost cities, artificial environmental control, doesn’t make the job any easier. There is no insurance against diversity, change, that does not create greater catastrophes, climate variability.

    Empire has been perfecting the natural resource extortion racket, artificial scarcity under its control, for over 5000 years. That is History. Your choice is to comply by example for your children, rebel and teach the empire new tricks, move forward by yourself, or employ the empire as a counterweight. Labor drops the empire on itself, adding weight with each iteration.

    The politicians that survive are small time mobsters, collecting individuals into easily identifiable groups and offsetting on against the other, telling them all that they are entitled to equal consumer rights, that producers are the evil that must be forced into correction, by majority rule. The private welfare corporation explicitly exploiting resources is defined as the producer, giving the public welfare corporation regulatory control, which completes the circuit through the untaxed non-profit welfare corporation, netting the Foundation.

    Regardless of ism, the cycle is exploit, fallow, exploit, in artificial population booms and busts, transforming control to the empire in both directions, driving government growth with deferred individual responsibility. Isms don’t work because they are not designed to work. They are designed to placate the majority, with confirming words. If government is structured properly, it can control the weather, or at least insure against it, so goes what passes for thinking within the empire. Separation of power, within government, was a myth from the beginning.

    As America has gotten dumber, down the same path of all empires, the participants have become increasingly dependent and fearful of military, as have all of its trading partners, failed empires of the past that must be propped up to exist. The majority railing against the military is an empty gesture.

    Yes, healthcare in Canada is better, but it still sucks, and Canada depends upon America for subsidy, because Canada, along with the rest of the Commonwealth, is playing the same stupid empire game, destroying its own abundance of resources only to send what remains to China. Real living standards have declined in BC, which is relatively better off than others, for now, because RE inflation driven by the printing press and fiscal policy has misallocated resources.

    If you look, you will see that the majority of critters around you are planning extortion, in one way or another, all experts with tie wire, bubble gum and duct tape, words. The empire is only a prison if you choose to make it your focus. Like its participants, it’s passive until it’s aggressive. Hitler rolled across Europe accordingly and little has changed. Scale economies always result in tyranny because life is about diversity, which is much more about individual ideas than the color of your collective skin.

    The wealth effect of inflation is hollow, but spend that money and expect a different result. The real value of that house is declining with RE inflation because it is encumbered by the empire tax on production, increasing extortion. Keep printing, running faster and faster to get further behind, or invest in a home for your children. Decisions are only complex id you make them so, for lack of effective priorities.

    Obviously, children are not the priority in America, which all the data amply demonstrates, and government consumption is the overwhelming bulk of its economy. The empire is just misdirection. The magician requires a crowd that wants to be misdirected. Anticipating the magician is child’s play. The oligarch is a derivative of the majority, which wants to live in the false security of the past.

    The corporations – public, private, and nonprofit, produce exactly nothing without individual initiative, but self-serving definitions of production. A piece of paper does not confer personhood, no matter how much the empire prints and spends to convince you so. Real confidence comes from experience, not a survey.

    The Bank prints until it can’t; the empire weeds out the majority for you. The trick to competing with a mob in possession of a printing press is not to compete with it. This country has precious few capable of rebooting an economy, all locked out for lack of interest in a piece of paper signaling empire compliance, and a majority capable of passing a test to be their supervisor. Good luck with that.

    Equilibrium is a function of adaptation, not planning extortion. Opportunity or threat depends upon perspective. Central control doesn’t work because it collects on fear. Hitler was the result of collective stupidity, peer pressure, not the cause.

    Replace time in empire time, over time. The empire spends all its time fighting its own fires. The difference between the majority and labor is that the military poses no threat to labor. Shock and awe, blitzkrieg, preemptive strike, and all the others are just words, meant to frighten the already frightened. Without labor, that paper is worthless.

    Print $50T to subsidize dead real estate and grant the slaves $10 – let them all eat misallocated cake. The military doesn’t call the President when the President creates a problem it can’t solve. The only difference between order and chaos is a switch.

    Empires are built to be destroyed because it’s a whole lot easier than fighting willful ignorance minute by minute. The empire is designed to short itself into implosion. Move forward and adjust the gap for transmission.

    Space travel is space travel no mater where you go in the universe. There are more ways to get a good approximation of corruption than there are people, but one is to count the number of tow trucks. The driver you want is the one the empire doesn’t.

    Ping the empire’s clock, but don’t set your time by it. Bypass the herd and the predators it attracts. Place your children TDC on the fulcrum when you want to grow the economy. Funny, if you are an ‘illegal’ immigrant, you get a piece of paper, to enter the ponzi at the bottom, and welfare to support your family growth.

  17. susan the other

    Just thinkin’ about the OilPrice one on recycling plastic bags and low density polymers to make fuel. Not a bad idea at all, altho’ both the recycling process and the reuse of the fuel will accelerate global warming – just slower – but if more social equity and good could come from it than the current system allows… so that every household had a backyard recycling reclamation for fuel from plastic and a decentralized grid connection for solar and/or wind generation, it would go a long way to stabilizing the economy. And yes, Toyota would still have to shut down 90% of its plants.

  18. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Fed research, banks getting lazier.

    It’s hard to get up and move about when green money grows on trees and you have Just-In-Time Slaves for doing everything.

    It’s not like you’re a lion and have to hunt for food or die.

  19. Yonatan

    The antidote du jour is the best example of 3D printing I have ever seen. It is remarkable what can be done these days.

  20. p78

    The difference between Paris and Bruxelles in a nutshell:

    Belgian state TV investigates why Belgian bread tastes poorly as compared with the French one.
    They discover that almost all traditional bread makers have been driven out of the market.
    Belgian bread is often “industrial”, that is, 80% pre-baked then delivered “frozen” to supermarkets that reheat and sell it as “specialty bakery fresh bread” which obviously it is not. Think La Brea bread sold on the East Coast. Sometimes, the bread sold in Belgium comes frozen from as far as Poland, without the origin being mentioned on any label.

    Key part at 28:55:
    In France, however, because of the laws voted 15 years ago, a shop can apply to be called “Bakery” Boulangerie Artisanale only if it bakes the bread on the premises from the beginning to the end, and in a traditional manner. The law is enforced by inspection teams from the “Dept. of Fraud Repression” that can suspend the shop license. No tollerance for any frozing during the technical process (30,000 E fine and/or 2 years of prison.). This law saved the traditional art and also preserved the true bread taste for the young generation.

    1. optimader

      I’ll wait for the expose on why French beer is swill compared to a fine Belgian. A wise person taught me you can’t have everything at once.

    1. Emma

      Interesting, but don’t you think Mazarr, with the barest hint of naivety, leads us astray somewhat in his overly-optimistic conclusions of where the US is headed?

      1. optimader

        I think he “alternative model” a reasonable aspiration.
        Our current military force projection approach confronted w/ asymmetric warfare (relatively inexpensive countermeasures) is unsustainable and ineffective. Resilient defense (as opposed to preemptive offense) with a smaller antagonistic footprint globally makes sense to me.
        Ultimately isn’t our best defense enlightened cooperation w/ the long term objective of everyone having something to live for?

        1. Emma

          Nice close.
          Mostly agree too, however maize farming for corn syrup in the Antarctic has more chance than a “reasonable aspiration” in Washington, hence my reticence to accept his alternative model.

  21. Francois T

    RE: Global-Warming Slowdown Due to Pacific Winds, Study Shows.

    Nyet!! The warming that was predicted to affect the Earth land mass was absorbed into the oceans because of the abnormal intensity of the trade winds.

    ERGO…there was NO such thing as a “slowdown”, only a temporary diversion that holds in store a very rapid warming in the near future.

  22. optimader
    “…As life has sped up, we humans have not, at least in our core functioning: Your reaction to stimuli is no faster than your great-grandfather’s. What is changing is the amount of things the world can bring to us, in our perpetual now. But is our ever-quickening life an uncontrolled juggernaut, driven by a self-reinforcing cycle of commerce and innovation, and forcing us to cope with a new social and psychological condition? Or is it, instead, a reflection of our intrinsic desire for speed, a transformation of the external world into the rapid-fire stream of events that is closest to the way our consciousness perceives reality to begin with?…”

    The intellectual mogul run though the trees. Why are we like moths drawn to the flame?

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