Links 2/21/14

Dogs in scanners reveal vocal skills BBC

Decreasing Arctic albedo boosts global warming Arctic Sea Ice (Chuck L)

Brilliant Blunders Project Syndicate

10 reasons why Sydney property is bonkers MacroBusiness

Creaky Trains Made of Bamboo Still Rule the Rails in Cambodia Wall Street Journal

China Targets Economists William Pesek, Bloomberg

Mystery in Tokyo as hundreds of Anne Frank books are defaced Telegraph (Lambert). Ugh.

Child-Porn Scandal puts German Grand Coalition on Rocks; End of a “Glorious” Honeymoon; Broken Eggs Michael Shedlock

Ukraine ‘peace deal’ after clashes BBC

Who is Leopoldo Lopez? Max Blumenthal (Richard Smith)

Thinking for Ourselves About Venezuela Black Agenda Report

The photo that cried wolf Columbia Journalism Review and CNN Propaganda – “Lone Kid In The Desert” Edition Moon of Alabama

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

Federal Government Soon to Know Everywhere You’ve Driven American Prospect

Guest Post — Eyes Wide Shut: Scahill and Greenwald’s Flawed Critique of U.S. SIGINT Based Targeting Just Security. Recall that bmaz at emptywheel gave an enthusiastic endorsement of this site when it started just a few months ago. While this is clearly a pro-military guest post, its criticisms about not giving caveats or relevant background information have merit. Plus this is being done as a debate, so a rebuttal post is coming soon.

Judge William Martini Endorses Hunting for Terrorists in Muslim Girls Schools Marcy Wheeler

Obama’s Nuke-Powered Drone Strike solartopia, Firedoglake

Obama drops proposal to cut pensions Financial Times. Notice misleading subhead: “Latest move by White House to court liberal base.” No, this is Obama officially acknowledging he was obviously going to lose on this issue.

Judge strikes down Nebraska law that allowed Keystone XL pipeline Dallas News

Fracking Boom Leaves Texans Under a Toxic Cloud Bloomberg

Angry crowd runs George Zimmerman out of Miami Salon

Flu Deaths Rise Among Young and Middle-Aged U.S. Adults Bloomberg. Wonder if this is a reflection of other public health issues, like more people in this age group being homeless or not able to pay for enough heat in this severe winter.

Weather Narrative Getting Confusing MacroWatcher

The sum of all tightenings barnejek’s blog (Scott)

U.S. companies ramp up capex as confidence grows Reuters

Obama’s TPP negotiators received huge bonuses from big banks RT (Buck McNulty)

The subprime education crisis Frances Coppola

New Parents Wisely Start College Fund That Will Pay For 12 Weeks Of Education Onion

Tomorrow’s hamburger may cost as much as today’s steak MarketWatch

Affordability backwards FT Alphaville

I am out of tune with these times John Hempton

Antidote du jour (Lambert):


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  1. Jim Haygood

    More part-time jobs, comrades:

    WASHINGTON — Cities, counties, public schools and community colleges around the country have limited or reduced the work hours of part-time employees to avoid having to provide them with health insurance under the Affordable Care Act, state and local officials say.

    The health care law’s employer mandate subjects larger employers to tax penalties if they do not offer insurance coverage to employees who work at least 30 hours a week, on average. But many public employers have already adopted policies, laws or regulations to make sure workers stay under that threshold.

    Mark D. Benigni, the superintendent of schools in Meriden, Conn., and a board member of the American Association of School Administrators, said in an interview that the new health care law was having “unintended consequences for school systems across the nation.”

    The American Federation of Teachers lists on its website three dozen public colleges and universities in 15 states that it says have restricted the work assignments of adjunct or part-time faculty members to avoid the cost of providing health insurance.


    ‘Unintended consequences’? Ha ha ha ha …

    1. just me

      “unintended consequences” ha ha ha ha —

      Marcy Wheeler 9/30/13: One complaint I had from the very beginning, and I was screaming about it at the time, was that if you’re a corporation, the only way to get health care for your employees provided for free is to ensure that they are poor, that they stay under that 122% of poverty level that means that they can get Medicaid for free, because the Medicaid’s always going to be better than what they would provide, and they qualify. And we knew – I mean, Walmart was at the table when they were designing Obamacare, and we knew even then that Walmart relied on Medicaid in those states, and California is one of them, in those states where the qualification level was high enough such that people who worked could actually get Medicaid as well, so we had to expect that, you know, this was one of the primary things that Walmart was interested in doing. So what’s happened since? Walmart has moved a bunch of people to part-time, ensuring that they don’t qualify for Walmart’s own healthcare system, and also ensuring that they’re too poor, that they’re poor enough that they’re going to qualify for the Medicaid in the states where it’s been expanded. And so basically what we’ve done is given huge employers an incentive to pay their people poverty wages.

      Links in the original go to emptywheel posts on MaxTax (Max Baucus), the plan written by his staffer and former Wellpoint VP Liz Fowler — her name is in the properties on the proposal PDF:

  2. diptherio

    Re: The Subprime Education Crisis

    Another good piece of writing from Frances, which proves to me, once again, that we need a Job Guarantee Program; and the sooner the better. I can’t see any way in which “the market” is ever going to solve this conundrum.

    It seems that the bachelor’s degree really has become the new high school diploma–i.e. the minimum standard educational requirement. Seeing as how this is the case, and understanding the perversity of a BA/BS degree that, while becoming less valuable is also becoming more expensive, it is probably high time we extend free public education to “grade 16.” The Scandahoovians figured this out long ago…the Swedes, iirc, actually provide a living stipend to their young people who attend college.

    An educated populace is a social good, and should be pursued on that basis. Young adults being able to form households and find their way into careers relatively early in life without massive amounts of debt overhang is also a social good. Extend public education to the bachelor’s level and provide a Job Guarantee program…or condemn ourselves to debt-servitude and un/under-employment. That’s how it looks from here anyway.

    (on a side note, I wonder if Frances drives a Ford? teeheehee)

    1. McMike

      They need to change the name from college to pre-bankster training. Then the government would throw trillions at them.

      1. F. Beard

        Y’all complain about banksters but what they are doing must not be illegal or else the laws they are breaking must be nearly impossible to enforce.

        Let’s euthanize government backing for the banks instead. We don’t fret over gamblers who lose, do we? Why should banks be any different?

        Are Lambert (and I have my doubts* about him :) ) and I the ONLY people concerned about ethical purchasing power creation?

        *A church kept driving off people who did not 100% agree with its doctrinal position till the one remaining member told the pastor, “Pastor, it’s down to you and me – and I have my doubts about you.”

        1. Vatch

          They’re breaking many laws, and yes, those laws are very hard to enforce, for political reasons, not legal reasons. Why would it be any easier to eliminate government support for the banks? It’s likely much more difficult to do that. For now, let’s try to shame Obama, Holder, and other big shots into actually enforcing the law.

          1. Vatch

            For those readers who aren’t up to speed on all of the jargon around here:

            JG = Job Guarantee
            BIG = Basic Income Guarantee

          2. F. Beard

            A Guaranteed Income IS my preferred method in view of past thievery In ADDITION to the equal redistribution of the common stock of all large corporations PLUS land reform (See Leviticus 25 for some basic principles).

            A JG is not necessary since thems that needs to be ordered around can join the Army or work for free (since they won’t need the income) for thems that like to order around. As for public works, that’s what government is for.

            And no, banking CANNOT be successfully regulated for long else it would long ago have been perfected, not 320+ years and counting.

            1. F. Beard

              Besides, government-enabled/back credit creation is INHERENTLY wicked since it allows the rich to steal the purchasing power of everyone else.

            2. Vatch

              Banking in the U.S. was (somewhat) successfully regulated for several decades starting around 1933. If it is impossible to do so for long, we’re in dire straits, because it will be far more difficult to eliminate the government role in banking. If the government role in banking is removed, we can expect events such as the Panic of 1907, or the depression that started in 1893. The Great Depression (1929) started in large part because of the government’s hands off attitude towards banking.

              1. F. Beard

                If the government role in banking is removed, we can expect events such as the Panic of 1907, or the depression that started in 1893. Vatch

                Wrong. Government has always been involved in banking if for no other reason than it has failed to provide a convenient, risk-free transaction and storage service for fiat for the population that was not deliberately hobbled to make the private banks seem more attractive.

                  1. F. Beard

                    I already named a huge one: the lack of a convenient risk-free storage and transaction service for what IS in fact Caesar’s money – fiat. And that service should pay no interest and make no loans to avoid violating Equal Protection Under the Law – especially in favor of the rich. And that service should be free up to normal household limits on account size and number of transactions AS A PUBLIC GOOD.

                    Chalk that lack up to Biblical ignorance too – since it logically follows from Matthew 22:16-22.

                    You guys think ethics is OPTIONAL when it comes to purchasing power creation? It is ESSENTIAL!

                    1. F. Beard

                      Yes. Suppose the government did not provide a military so some cronies could make a bundle by providing mercenaries? Is that not government involvement via deliberate neglect of a uniquely government responsibility? So it is with fiat, the government’s money.

                      Let the banks be responsible for their own private money if they can find people to accept it – hence common stock as private money.

                    2. Vatch

                      The price of common stock fluctuates — sometimes quite wildly. Currency needs some stability, and common stock doesn’t have that. The stock might not be as bad as 1924 Germany, 1946 Hungary, or recent Zimbabwe, but it wouldn’t work as money.

            3. Calgacus

              The big BIG – a living wage for everyone – for doing nothing – is very obviously highly inflationary, and it just can’t work outside rare special cases. A small BIG is a safety net, and basically everyone outside the hardest Randroid right supports that.

              A JG is not necessary since thems that needs to be ordered around can join the Army or work for free (since they won’t need the income) for thems that like to order around.

              The moral right to a JG in a monetary economy is not based on people’s (irrational) desire to be ordered around – but the opposite, their right to real, practical freedom. To – as much as possible – NOT “be ordered around”.

              The existence of money is the “ordering around”. Refusing people a way to get money when they say ” they need the income” – NOT when all wise planners deem necessary = refusing to have a JG – is issuing orders and preventing them from being carried out. So a monetary economy, any monetary economy, with any other utopian plans put into action – but without a JG or equivalent is stark raving mad. The JG, full employment is absolutely necessary to a moral, ethical society.

        2. McMike

          It does not have to be this way: change the laws to make them enforceable, make more of the things they do illegal, then support aggressive enforcement. Re-erect the glass stegal wall.

          And, YES, end federal support and subsidy. Dissolve the Fed. Close the discount window. Forget the FASB. Let Them Fail. etc.

          The solution to banker capture of government though, is not to dissolve government. The answer is to make it harder to capture government. It is to remove the means of capture: campaign finance, corporate person hood, gerrymandering, two party system, the revolving door, etc.

          Maybe we should have a clawback of the first three year’s pay for any former government official. Anything above some benchmark goes to the treasury.

          1. F. Beard

            The solution to banker capture of government though, is not to dissolve government.

            Where’d you haul that stinky straw man from*? Burns good though. Must be the methane.

            But in addition, the monetary sovereign (e.g. The US Treasury, not the Fed) should provide a risk-free storage and transaction service for its fiat and abolish government deposit insurance.

            *”Son, do you think you can pass this football?” “Coach, I don’t even know if I can swallow it!”

          2. Ben Johannson

            Prosecutors obtained a thousand convictions of top executives during the S&L crisis and laws have only gotten tighter since then. Sarbanes-Oxley prosecutions alone could clear out Wall Street. The issue is solely one of will, ’cause there ain’t any.

            1. F. Beard

              Because the banks are TBTF because of enormous government privileges, including implicit ones such as dereliction of duty in not providing a risk-free storage and transaction service for its fiat.

              1. skippy

                Those privileges were bought and payed for over decades and by you know who, some completely insane ideologues.

                But as it was with the “Chicago gawd Pact” at the end of the day… you all – believe – in a core foundational tenet.

                skippy… you should see it out there…. claims that libertarian socialism is a mix between socialism & capitalism [but still have remnant gov] and social democracy with socialism…. its like a bloody zero G ideology in a vacuum monkey grinder contest. Its almost as bad as your use of the Heisenberg Principle or better yet, ideology is like an electron that is – here – and – everywhere – at once.

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      And then, the master’s degree is the new high school diploma.

      After that, the doctorate is the new high school diploma.

      At that time, the competition to serve the 0.01% is so fierce, to get ahead, to elbow past the other 99.99% little people, one must have a post-doctoral degree.

      The Chinese knew this well. The highest degree one could get from the Imperial Exam was the Jinshi degree in the court exam, after obtaining the Xiucai degree in the college exam and the Juren degree in the provincial exam.

      But soon it was apparent that a Jinshi degree was not enough. One needed to be appointed to the Hanlin Academy.

      And everyone got so busy with that, the uneducated ‘barbarians’ moved in from the Steppe.

    3. hunkerdown

      When the Middle Class™ says they want “education” they really want “babysitting on an intellectual work farm”. If we as a society were truly interested in making more effective citizens and not just appearing to make better citizens while turning out manageable work units, there would be less, later and more effective primary schooling instead of “good proletariat” indoctrination.

      Besides, the bourgeoisie exist for the sole purpose of arrogating social goods to themselves and blocking others. They will find some other costly signal of in-group membership, reject the old one as unfashionable, and congratulate themselves on their innate perceived superiority and their deserved bigger cut of the pie. (see also: Cameron Diaz’s pubes)

      1. JTFaraday

        It’s true. The aim of most parents is the production of manageable work units. “Some how” even old fashioned Civics dropped off the map. We are so F-ed.

        But Bad Teacher is a very funny movie.

  3. McMike

    re flu vaccine. Hmm, so the vaccine may be effective about half the time. By effective I suppose they mean that the person did not get the flu after getting the shot. I wonder if they control for people who did not get the flu even though they did not get the shot.

    The other half, for whom it wasn’t effective, there’s not much discussion on what the shot meant for them in terms of long term systemic health.

    In the meantime, all this hysteria, massive government mobilization, etc. For maybe 100 deaths per flu season. In a nation of over 300 million people.

    1. McMike

      Oh look, a couple decades later, the US government is forced to admit we are killing tens of thousands of people every year through our (mainly commercial ag) overuse of antibiotics:

      Seems that decades of routine use of antibiotics has become one of the leading causes of death in America.

      I’m sure the government is totally on top of the risks of vaccines though. Surely they wouldn’t sit on top of concerns about vaccines, hands tied by lobbyists and corny corruption, they’d tell us right away if they had concerns about the cost/benefit. Or fluoride for that matter.

        1. huxley

          Selling out the country has never been so profitable. Or so tacitly legal. It’s by far the biggest industry in the US.

          In the so-called class war, the primary weapon of the rentier class is the US government. Except that it’s not really a war at all, because only one side is fighting, but ‘class massacre’ just doesn’t have the right ring to it.

          For that matter, the US does not actually have a government. It’s more like an organized crime syndicate. Everything has already been stolen. It just hasn’t been delivered yet.

    2. Propertius

      That’s not what the article said, McMike. It said:

      Americans who got a flu shot this year cut their risk of falling ill [ i.e., “morbidity”] by 60 percent

      That doesn’t count the reduction in severity of illness from partial immunity in those for whom the vaccine wasn’t 100% effective. It also doesn’t count the unvaccinated people who didn’t get sick because the immunized people around them didn’t spread the disease to them (“herd immunity”).

      By all means, feel free to refrain from getting vaccinated yourself. Talk about your reasons for that decision until you’re blue in the face. Just don’t misquote someone else as “evidence” for your beliefs.

      1. McMike

        As I said, what’s the control? How was the 60% calculated? Did they factor in self-selection?

        PS. I said about “about half” because other previous years have been below 50%.

        PPS. Herd immunity is a nonsense post-hoc argument developed by the pharma industry to blame the unvaccinated for questions about their product’s effectiveness.

        You are here on a web site that devotes itself to talking about the lies, corruption and financial & policy perversion that the finance industry creates in government, regulation and the economy. As well as the intellectual sell out and idiocy of the economics “science”. It has toyed with wondering even about suspicious deaths of bankers. It has discussed massive global frauds and unfathomably broad conspiracies. It spends more than a little time talking about the same effect in the health care industry, food production, not to mention energy extraction and climate science.

        I recommend that folks here consider devoting that same analysis to the vaccine paradigm. Is it possible that the bedrock trust in monopoly vaccine producers, industry-sponsored research, and government drug regulators and public health bureaucracies is misplaced?

        1. McMike

          Is it possible that:

          – Glaxo-Wellcome = JP Morgan-Goldman Sachs
          – The FDA = The SEC
          – The CDC = The Federal Reserve
          – Corporate-funded research = Bank-funded bond rating
          – Doctors = Economists
          – Medical media = financial media
          – The APMA = The FASB
          – Congress = Congress

          Is it possible that the “conventional wisdom” on vaccines is similar to the “Washington consensus” on economics?

          Is it possible that the vaccine paradigm is subject to the same life cycle as the antibiotics paradigm?

          1. Binky Bear

            Its quite possible that you are comparing apples to hand grenades with no factual or empirical link beyond a deep desire to see Jenny McCarthy in a bunny costume smoking an e-cig and shouting “j’accuse!” at vaccine makers while dousing herself in untested chemical perfumes, skin and hair care products, consuming unknown street drugs, and eating god knows what before throwing it up.

            On the other hand in the real world things are bad enough without dismissing one of the few unalloyed good things done for humans in general (and with worldwide consequences as human populations expand unchecked by diseases that formerly prevented our colonising the entire surface of the earth and exploiting it until it is unusable).

            1. McMike

              Are you able to address my actual post, without making it about Ms. McCarthy? Or resorting to scare mongering and puritan shaming about measles?

              The empirical data on drug company malfeasance, FDA ineptness & capture, medical arrogance, and research corruption is already ample enough to make a case for skepticism.

              Not to mention skepticism about the madness of massive one-size-fits-all preemptive social engineering programs, particularly those that place medical experimentation and mandated captive market-making in the hands of the government. Particularly those that purport to be in the public’s best interests, that the public is too ignorant to make their own decisions, that the best delivery system is private companies with guaranteed markets and liability immunity, and that the “experts” in Washington know best.

              It is you who employs magical thinking to pronounce that this program is immune to the corruption and madness taking over every other facet of human life.

              And the notion that vaccines are an “unalloyed good thing” is beyond ridiculous on its face.

              1. Pete

                McMike, to associate your reasoning with Jenny McCarthy is effectively a cheap shot attempt to label you akin to a ‘conspiracy theorist.
                Psychologist Laurie Manwell of the University of Guelph agrees that the CIA-designed “conspiracy theory”(post JFK assassination) label impedes cognitive function. She points out, in an article published inAmerican Behavioral Scientist (2010)…In the same issue of ABS, University of Buffalo professor Steven Hoffman adds that anti-conspiracy people are typically prey to strong “confirmation bias” – that is, they seek out information that confirms their pre-existing beliefs, while using irrational mechanisms (such as the “conspiracy theory” label) to avoid conflicting information.

                The extreme irrationality of those who attack “conspiracy theories” has been ably exposed by Communications professors Ginna Husting and Martin Orr of Boise State University. In a 2007 peer-reviewed article entitled “Dangerous Machinery: ‘Conspiracy Theorist’ as a Transpersonal Strategy of Exclusion,” they wrote

                “If I call you a conspiracy theorist, it matters little whether you have actually claimed that a conspiracy exists or whether you have simply raised an issue that I would rather avoid… By labeling you, I strategically exclude you from the sphere where public speech, debate, and conflict occur.”

                As for the actual issues you raise…

                “”The Atlantic published a piece on Ioannidis’ work , back in 2010, titled “Lies, Damned Lies, and Medical Science,” well worth reading, and which opened with “Much of what medical researchers conclude in their studies is misleading, exaggerated, or flat-out wrong. So why are doctors – to a striking extent – still drawing upon misinformation in their everyday practice?“

                Ioannidis’ work revealed that about half of the most highly regarded research findings within “evidence-based” medicine are either wrong, or significantly exaggerated:

                [Ioannidis] zoomed in on 49 of the most highly regarded research findings in medicine over the previous 13 years, as judged by the science community’s two standard measures: the papers had appeared in the journals most widely cited in research articles, and the 49 articles themselves were the most widely cited articles in these journals.

                …Of the 49 articles, 45 claimed to have uncovered effective interventions. Thirty-four of these claims had been retested, and 14 of these, or 41 percent, had been convincingly shown to be wrong or significantly exaggerated. If between a third and a half of the most acclaimed research in medicine was proving untrustworthy, the scope and impact of the problem were undeniable. That article was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association………
                Evidence-based medicine (EBM), of course, is founded upon an epistemological power structure arranged hierarchally like a pyramid. The ‘quality of evidence’ determines whether or not something can be said to be true. On the lowest tier, the ‘base’ of this pyramid, is the Anecdote, considered worthless, encompassing many folk medical systems employing food and plant medicines and still used by the majority of the word as their primary care system, followed by: Cell Studies > Animal Studies > Human Studies > Clinical Trials > Meta-Analyses and Systematic Reviews of Clinical Trials.

                This model assumes, in the characteristically Napoleonic style, that what it does not officially confirm as being true, is not true. Herbs and vitamins, for instance, are almost never considered to be “evidence-based” and credible because they have not run the gauntlet of prerequisite clinical trials required for them to be verified as therapeutic within this model. The fact that our bodies, for instance, require vitamin C in order to be alive, is not evidence enough to support the concept that it may be valuable to take it supplementally at doses beyond the recommended daily value (which may keep you only a few milligrams above starvation/deficiency values).”

                1. McMike

                  Thanks for the link. Yes, it is amazing to me how blind people are to the problems with our medical science industry, made so much worse since much of the studies are corporate-funded, and/or voluntary reporting.

                  Of course, the academic world has fallen into the same revolving door and corruption trap as the economists. Academic labs vie for corporate funding, patent sharing, and the usual junkets and consultant/board positions.

                  Tossing around the conspiracy theory line is a sure sign of a troll. Binky Bear managed three or four logical fallacies in two paragraphs.

    3. Vatch

      Hi McMike, I strongly agree with you about the scandal of the abuse of antibiotics in agriculture. I’ve written my elected representatives about this, as well as a newspaper. I’m less inclined to agree about scandals involving vaccines. The CDC says that there are 3,000 to 49,000 flu related deaths per year:

      US Flu Related Deaths

      So there are more than 100 deaths per flu season in the U.S.

      Here’s a short article about the increases in measles and whooping cough, which are attributed to the anti-vaccine movement. I realize the issue is not black and white, and that children sometimes had reactions to the older form of the whooping cough vaccine. Still, these diseases are on the increase, which is something to be concerned about.,0,5576371.story

      1. Mcmike

        The uptick in WC is not due to unvaccinated, thats industry scapegoating to cover a drop in effectiveness, as is the invention of the herb immunity canard.

        Flu deaths are very hard to count, because the deaths are often of the already compromised andor from pneumonia not the flu per se. So theres a chicken egg problem.

        What i’d really like to have though is a discussion with someone who thinks the vaccine industrial complex is immune to the lies and corruption everwheloming every other facet of economy politics policy media and health care.

        1. McMike

          And more to the point: why should we take the LA time’s word for it on vaccine propaganda put out by industry and the CDC, any more than we should trust it to talk about Social Security or Obamacare, or what’s going on with the S&P 500?

        2. kimyo

          my next musical project now has a name, thanks to you: ‘the herb immunity canard’. feat: herb on frontvox, kinda like an homage to kid creole…..

          seriously, though, thanks for taking the time to takedown the v.i.c. your arguments are clear and well-stated.

        3. Francois T

          Do you realize how little credibility you have when you spew this “vaccine industrial complex is immune to the lies” kind of vapid trope?

        4. Bart Fargo

          Vaccine refusal has indeed contributed to recent pertussis outbreaks, acting alongside a number of other factors including the waning of immunity from the newer acellular pertussis vaccine:

          Nonmedical Vaccine Exemptions and Pertussis in California, 2010
          Jessica E. Atwell, Josh Van Otterloo, Jennifer Zipprich, Kathleen Winter, Kathleen Harriman, Daniel A. Salmon, Neal A. Halsey, and Saad B. Omer
          Pediatrics 2013; 132:4 624-630

          Furthermore, herd immunity is not a term invented by the vaccine industry. The effect has been scientifically demonstrated time and time again and the concept itself is well over a century old, predating the modern pharmaceutical industry entirely.

          Frankly I wonder if it is much use debating with you, since you seem to completely distrust every possible source of information regarding vaccines (the scientific literature, the mass media, physicians, and the pharmaceutical industry). It may surprise you that many vaccinologists, immunologists, and physicians are likewise distrustful of such sources, but that does not mean we deem them completely useless. One must rely on his own education and reasoning to separate the conclusions that seem true from the conclusions that seem partially true from the findings resulting from poor methodology. Commercial corruption is likewise a major concern for pharmaceutical trials, and even though corruption undeniably exists, effective pharmaceuticals and vaccines still are produced. Do you reject modern medicine entirely because it is a profitable business as practiced in America? The decision of which opinions to trust is ultimately your own; the most any medical “expert” can do is correct blatant misinformation and hope that your choices do not lead to harm for you or your community.

          1. Pete

            “Do you reject modern medicine entirely because it is a profitable business as practiced in America? ” Pretty much. ‘Medicine’ for profit is totally illogical. The sicker and more dependent you are, the more money to be made. End of story. If I have a broken limb, Western med serves a useful purpose, otherwise I approach modern medical advice with extreme skepticism- particularly since it has never expressed any interest in root cause and/or non-invasive preventative measures.

            “The decision of which opinions to trust is ultimately your own…” This is increasingly untrue with vaccines. Entire 3rd world countries are being turned into giant lab experiments with the children being the guinea pigs. These are not people making “informed decisions”….Gates and the WHO were high-fiving themselves for “eradicating Polio” in India. Meanwhile childhood paralysis actually increased 12-fold (AFP)… how clever, you just change the name of the disease and poof, it’s gone. With all these new chemically synthesized vaccine strains running wild through totally unsanitary living conditions, I don’t understand what could possibly go wrong.

            Meanwhile, back in the center of the empire…. “”If the State can tag, track down and force citizens against their will to be injected with biologicals
            of known and unknown toxicity today, there will be no limit on which individual freedoms
            the State can take away in the name of the greater good tomorrow.”
            — Barbara Loe Fisher, Co-Founder NVIC

            “These are desperate times for those denying vaccine risks. We know it because we are witnessing so many acts of desperation being committed by doctors determined to shut down the public conversation about vaccination and health. Vaccine risk deniers are working overtime to restrict public access to information, cover up vaccine injuries and deaths and violate the human right to informed consent to medical risk-taking.

            No Flu Shots? No Employment.

            2013 was only a few days old when public health agencies and medical trade groups called for veteran nurses and other health care workers to be fired for refusing to obey orders to get annual flu shots – no exceptions and no questions asked. 1 It did not matter that the risky and notoriously ineffective influenza vaccine turned out to be almost useless in preventing infection with the most prevalent influenza strains circulating in the U.S. this year. 2

            Proposed State Legislation to Force Vaccine Use

            This was followed by the introduction of legislation backed by public health officials and Pharma-funded medical trade groups like the American Academy of Pediatrics in states like Texas, Oregon, Arizona and Vermont. 3 Their goal is to remove or restrict non-medical vaccine exemptions in state laws so doctors have more power to force vaccine use by children and adults – no questions asked and no exceptions.

            Institute of Medicine Report: Where Is the Good Vaccine Science?

            In mid-January came the eye-opening Institute of Medicine committee report acknowledging that only 37 scientific studies have examined the safety of the current U.S. vaccine schedule for newborns and children under age six,4 which now totals a stunning 49 doses of 14 vaccines 5 compared to 23 doses of 7 vaccines recommended in 1983. 6 The lack of enough good scientific studies meant the committee could not determine whether the numbers of doses and timing of government recommended vaccinations is – or is not – associated with development of chronic health problems like seizures, autoimmunity, allergies, learning disabilities and autism in the first six years of life. 7”


          2. McMike

            Another poster trying to project an either-or bifarcation.

            The illogical person here is the one who concedes every major point of my argument, than attacks me for following its natural conclusion.

            If the herd immunity thesis is over a century old, that means it is just a little bit younger than germ theory itself. Which doctors once spent a great deal of time and energy trying to ridicule.

            There’s another thing of import here that is about a century old: the public health revolution. You know; ideas about germs, nutrition, tooth brushing, and indoor plumbing.

            1. Bart Fargo

              If you think I conceded even a single one of your arguments, you missed my point entirely. I’m not in favor of throwing the baby out with the bathwater (rejecting medical science because some of its practitioners are corrupted by money) like you and Pete are. Though I suppose it is only natural you would reject something that appears so beyond your effort and capability to understand.

    4. Francois T

      “For maybe 100 deaths per flu season”

      Would it kill you to do some research instead of pulling numbers out of the levator ani of your prejudices?

      1. kimyo

        your links point to modeled numbers, not measured.

        To estimate the proportion of deaths that were influenza associated, the average annual number of deaths estimated by the model was divided by the average annual counts of death with underlying pneumonia and influenza causes and respiratory and circulatory causes.

        do you have a source for measured counts of flu mortality?

        1. Bart Fargo

          Read the rest of the page from the second link (CDC website) to find out why such measured counts would be gross underestimates of actual flu mortality.

      2. McMike

        Fine. Replace 100 with 30,000. Divide it by 300,000,000.

        Then forget the fact that most of them were going to die one way or the other anyway when the flu came along. Then back out the number of people not helped by the vaccine. Then back out the people who are actually directly harmed by the flu vaccine.

        Then we can talk about what the long term impacts are on the rest of us.

      3. McMike

        The prejudice at question here is your hysterical disproportionate fear of the flu, and your unwarranted overreliance on drug companies and the FDA.

  4. Jim Haygood

    Another heartwarming Obamacare story from CBS San Francisco:

    When Julia Turner signed up for a policy through Covered California late last year, her long-time physician was listed as participating in her Blue Shield plan. When she tried to make an appointment last week, however, he told her he was not accepting patients with her Blue Shield policy, purchased on the Covered California exchange.

    When KPIX 5 contacted all of the 41 doctors on the list Blue Shield provided to Julia, it found only four of the doctors were actually accepting new adult patients, and only one of them was board certified.

    One insurer told KPIX 5 that so many doctors in Alameda County initially declined to accept the low reimbursement rates, the insurer couldn’t get enough doctors to meet the state’s minimum network adequacy requirements.

    So the insurer came back and offered similar reimbursements to a much narrower network of doctors. Those doctors agreed to the rates in exchange for the insurer limiting patient provider options, and funneling more patients to fewer doctors.


    Meet your new physician, Crazy Eddie. His prices are I-N-S-A-N-E! But he makes it up on volume. Please keep the line moving, folks.

    1. Vatch

      Well, of course. If the insurance companies were to adequately reimburse the physicians, it would cut into profits. ObamaCare/RomneyCare/HeritageFoundationCare is designed to benefit the health insurance companies.

  5. voislav

    RE:Guest Post — Eyes Wide Shut: Scahill and Greenwald’s Flawed Critique of U.S. SIGINT Based Targeting

    Despite it’s position on drone strikes, this is a very interesting article. It gives great insight into the mindset of military personnel planning and conducting these strikes. Particularly striking is that they treat this as a regular battlefield scenario, cell phones are equivalent to radars, collecting cell phone information and targeting based on this is compared to using anti-radiation missiles to take out radar sites. There is complete disregard to the difference in signal-to-noise ratio involved with targeting a cell phone compared to a clearly military target like a radar. There is also a complete disregard for civilian casualties, guilt by association seems assumed. Any errors are not because of incorrect intelligence, it’s because those bad guys are unscrupulous and they do things to avoid cell phone tracking. Conviniently avoided are the more questionable targeting methods, such as signature strikes.

    Another striking thing about the article is complete disregard of any legal or moral considerations. The argument is based purely on operational grounds and strikes are considered a priori legal. It boils down to “this is how military has dealt with its enemies for a long time and we see no need to change that because of a few civilian casualties”. It’s a wonderful example of the military mindset that makes it trained to fight the last war.

    1. foppe

      That struck me as well, yes. The first part of the article just consists of a reassertion of the arguments gg/scahill attacked, coupled with the question “doesn’t their attacking these claims prove they’re off their rocker?”, and is as such irrelevant except insofar as it showcases their state of mind; the rest is, as you say, obtuse for similar reasons. That said, I would have preferred it if gg and scahill’s had presented their story as a case study of an unjust war; their choice to argue purely that it’s “imprecise” strikes me as conceding too much, and opens one up for too many stupid retorts of the “but this is necessary and justified because those meanies keep attacking us invaders who want to pacify the country” variety.

    2. ScottW

      Voislav–Eloquently stated about the Just Security piece. I did a little further research on one of the authors, Corn, and found a White paper he wrote stating how we determine who is a threat should not be disclosed because it will tip off the enemy. No transparency, no public debate, just trust us when we tell you we are killing terrorists. 2,400 killed outside the traditional battlefield–all terrorists, but a few. Right. Just like we were supposed to trust the intel community that told us Iraq was full of WMD as a basis for killing hundreds of thousands. My guess is the authors would attempt to also defend the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Iraqi civilians as just a cost of war, or better, yet deny that many were even killed.

      It gets very tiring to hearing people state that the Snowden disclosures don’t tell us what we already knew, unless you are totally naive. This is simply not the case. Cases have been thrown out of court because people claiming they were being spied on did not have hard proof, and thus lacked standing. With the documents in black and white, false denials like, the one Clapper made to a compliant congressional oversight committee, can no longer be made.

      Most chilling about the article is blaming the terrorists for the U.S. killing civilians because the terrorists are the ones who switched the SIMS card, or gave their phones to a family member. So the authors admit we know basing strike decisions on this data will subject a certain number of civilians to death, but that is not our fault because the terrorist did not play fair, and tried to trick us. And let’s not forget, hundreds of civilian deaths, mutilations, psychological injuries are taking place outside Iraq/Afghanistan, where most times we don’t even know the identities of those we are killing.

    3. H. Alexander Ivey


      I quite agree with your analysis of Just Security’s posting; pure military, the good and the bad (mostly the bad, actually, I have read some very good arguments from military people, this post is not one of them). I reiterate; the post is simply an a priori argument that military force is always justified. A good post to show why civilians should be in charge of a war, not the military – else the war justifies itself, the fighting never stops.

      As for “It’s a wonderful example of the military mindset that makes it trained to fight the last war.”, here I quibble. Generals don’t fight the last war, they study it, but they fight the war they’ve built their military forces for. Mistakes made, while they are brushed off by the generals as what happens in war, and brushed off by civilians as those generals fighting the last war, are made because war is messy, non-linear, and error prone. No need to look for hidden agendas or design flaws. People die and things are destroyed, worlds from the title pages of DoD documents.

  6. Tyler

    RE: “I am out of tune with these times”

    “I used to be with it, but then they changed what it was. Now what I’m with isn’t it, and what’s it seems weird and scary to me, and it’ll happen to you, too.” – Abraham Simpson

  7. Hyunsu O’Callaghan

    Jenks & Corn in the doubleplusgood named JustSecurity: this is what you get from 95-IQ military apes running scared.

    Combat, combat, combat. In Pakistan, in Yemen there is no combat. It’s either extrajudicial killing or aggression. Take your pick.

    Error, error, error. And they’re all hunky-dory. Or else the protected persons’ fault. Tell it to the ICC prosecutor. She’ll decide when the accumulated Gomer-Pyle cockups amount to indiscriminate use of force.

    What we have here is wilful killing, wilfully causing great suffering or serious injury to body or health, wilfully depriving a protected person of the rights of fair and regular trial, and bombarding undefended towns. Violations of these provisions give rise to individual criminal responsibility as a matter of customary international law, which is federal common law and the law of every state as well as in universal jurisdiction. Each High Contracting Party to the Geneva Conventions shall be under the obligation to search for persons alleged to have committed, or to have ordered to be committed, such grave breaches, and shall bring such persons, regardless of their nationality, before its own courts, to coin a phrase. Nowhere to hide. Hide at home and we got you under the War Crimes Act of 1996.

    Watch the frame they try to push you into. The question is not kill with SIGINT or kill with HUMINT. The question is prosecute or extradite.

  8. Kurt Sperry

    Brilliant Blunders– Those who take the NYRB can read a nice review of Livio’s book by Freeman Dyson in the latest edition.

  9. psychohistorian

    The Bloomberg article on China targeting economists made me laugh. In the US we have the shadow banking system and are still in free fall from the financial corruption that brought us 2008 and these folks are claiming China is a black box that is scary.

    Couple that with Obama tweaking China’s tail with Japan posturing and now meeting with the Dali Lama and you have propaganda wars writ large…..the problem here is us little people take the brunt of the global plutocratic blunderings and posing…..while Rome burns.

  10. psychohistorian

    The George Zimmerman posing in Salon is/should be a wake up call to TPTB.

    You can’t fool all the people all the time and those purveyors of ALEX type rules to our society are coming to the end of their shelf life…..and blowback is going to be a bitch.

    Tom Perkins, are you reading?

    Jamie Dimon, are you reading?

  11. diptherio

    Watching the Olympics last night I was assaulted by Cadillac’s new commercial in all it’s un-ironic, gag-inducing splendor. They’re doubling down on the “American Dream” mythology and it’s concomitant philosophy of American exceptionalism.

    Cadillac 2014 ELR Coupe commercial, featuring Neal McDonough as the ostrich.

    Astounding, really, the refusal to accept facts when they conflict with one’s preconceived fantasies. A person could write a psych PhD thesis on this commercial alone…

    1. Propertius

      Dr. Mrs. Propertius, who is Canadian, was the first to show me this commercial. She opined that it embodied all that she found endearing about the American character. ;-)

    2. coboarts

      I saw it, grimaced, and then thought, “why did they think this was necessary?” Americans are not, as a whole, screaming for more time off right now.

      1. jrs

        They very well should be. True it’s not the first thing on people’s minds when you reduce 40% of the population to poverty and a quarter can’t get work no matter how badly they want it. But bread and roses, bread and roses!

    3. jrs

      Government Motors, so the tax dollars of working people went to this company (they got bailed – no doubt because they worked so hard they needed a government bail out) to make an ad propagandizing us on the evils of us worker bees getting any mandatory vacation time (the U.S. actually doesn’t have any mandatory vacation time – 2 weeks is conventional). Could one’s money be used against one in any more insulting way? (hey NSA if you’re listening don’t answer that). Next they’ll be producing ads on how Americans don’t need any stinkin wage increases, and how we should all work extra hours without overtime, and real Americans never need paid sick time.

      Yes of course it’s factually wrong all over the place (Americans aren’t actually more productive, they just work more hours is all – working harder not smarter) and the space program – haha.

  12. gonzomarx

    “it was 20 years ago today when stg pepper taught the band to play..”

    ‘I felt like he was speaking directly to me’
    When Bill Hicks died 20 years ago this month, Brendon Burns mourned his comic hero – but taking standups too seriously does them a massive disservice

    Bill Hicks on religious cults – exclusive video
    In this previously unseen footage from the Hicks family archive

    1. diptherio

      Have you seen the (relatively) new doc on Bill’s life, American: the Bill Hicks Story? It’s on Youtube and it’s great. Lots of old footage. And it’s amazing to see the change in his mother’s attitude toward his work since the last doc (Totally Bill Hicks) was made.

  13. Andrew Watts

    RE: Guest Post — Eyes Wide Shut: Scahill and Greenwald’s Flawed Critique of U.S. SIGINT Based Targeting

    It’s surprising the authors didn’t bring up a historical example of what would be a resounding success in the tactical use of SIGINT. The US military used SIGINT provided by the NSA quite effectively over North Vietnam to improve the ratio of kill/loss of it’s fighter pilots. The story probably would’ve ended in a different manner if all the North Vietnamese MiG pilots had to do was to remove the SIM card from their cellphones.

    In today’s world the tactical use of SIGINT is barely effective. The military should have realized this after the first few drones started to blow up civilians without hitting their primary targets.

    It’ll be interesting to see the rebuttal.

    “Why anyone would be surprised that the US military is relying on SIGINT and network operations provided by the NSA, the US governmental agency whose stated mission is to use SIGINT and network operations to support the U.S military, is utterly perplexing.”

    I’m sure the Germans love this explanation for the Angela Merkel incident.

  14. Jim Haygood

    Repsol settles with Argentina on compensation for its seized YPF shares:

    (Reuters) – Argentina and Repsol SA (REP.MC) will sign a definitive $5 billion settlement over the seizure of YPF SA (YPFD.BA) within days, a source said. The settlement is half the $10.5 billion Repsol was seeking in international courts.

    Under the terms of the agreement, Repsol will receive various bonds with a total nominal value of around $5.5 billion, including already issued Argentine dollar-denominated bonds and a new ad-hoc 10-year bond worth $3 billion, the source said.


    Interesting that Argentina settles with Repsol, but pursues scorched-earth litigation with U.S. hedge funds.

    So now a country whose forex reserves are shrinking fast, and whose credit default swaps indicate an 80% probability of default, is saddled with $5 billion more in dollar-denominated debt. Maybe Repsol just wants to dump them bonds and run, before the mierda hits the ventilador.

  15. Jess

    Yesterday I was taken to task in the comments section for my assertion that the bulk of the original protestors involved in the Kiev demonstrations were not tools of the CIA/global elite but merely regular folks fed up with the corruption and political dirty tricks of the current anti-democratic pro-Putin/pro-Russia government. Having pretty good ties to sources in the Ukrainian community, in my comment I listed four things that the average Ukrainian wanted. One of them was the release from prison of former freely-elected President and opposition leader Yulia Tomyshenko who had been imprisoned on a trumped-up charge of “exceeding her authority” while President. (Evidently she hadn’t exceeded it enough to keep from being defeated in her re-election bid.) Anyway, I was ridiculed as a propagandist, but guess what? Today the Ukrainian congress voted to rescind her conviction and release her from prison. Of course, her mortal enemy and the person behind her original political persecution, Putin puppet/current President Victor Yanukovych, still has to sign the bill.

    BTW, see this as a move by the Ukrainian congress to force Yanukovych and “the family” (the term for his corrupt inner circle) to defuse things and, most importantly, to provide a genuine opposition leader as an alternative to people like Vitaly Klitschko, the former boxing champion who is seen by some as a protege/stooge of Andrea Markel. (The evidence of his stooge status being based on the fact that he lives in Germany and probably not much more. But whatever.)

    1. Synopticist

      It’s pretty hard to complain about corruption WHILE AT THE SAME TIME demanding the release from prison of a woman who just happened to end up owning the entire gas monopoly of her country. Perhaps she faced a political persecution, but she still deserved to go to jail.

      It seems to me that most Ukrainians are both sick of the authoritarianism of the present government and distrustful of the opposition. But however hard they demonstrate, the Ukraine is not getting into the EU any time soon.

      1. Jess

        There is a lot more to this supposed “gas monopoly” story that meets the eye. The fact that Russian petroleum transits Ukraine has put Ukraine in the position of being an ally of western Europe by threatening to shut down the pipeline if Russia tries to extort the EU with exorbitant and punitive price hikes. There was also a long-standing dispute over exactly what Ukraine owed the Russian gas monopoly, Gazprom, for fuel used domestically. And finally there is the fact that a number of these charges have been hurled by her political opponents after she was already in prison for a “crime” that the Ukrainian congress has just decided wasn’t a crime after all.

        As for getting into the EU, as I noted yesterday, according to my sources within the everyday Ukrainian community, most rank-and-file Ukrainians, even in the pro-west western 2/3 of the country, don’t want to belong to the EU or adopt the Euro. What they do want is mutually beneficial trade with the EU and the US. And they are leery of most trade deals with Russia for fear that just facilitates the Russkies meddling in Ukraine’s independence. (Putin would like nothing better than to reunite the former Soviet satellite republics into a new USSR.)
        And last but not least, Tymoshenko is clearly much more beloved and trusted by vast numbers of everyday Ukrainians than Yanukovych.

        1. JerseyJeffersonian


          You wouldn’t be the “Jeff” (who then later morphed into a sockpuppet named – creatively, oh so creatively – “Another Jeff” in order to kiss its own ass in the comment section) who was spammin’ up the thread over at Moon of Alabama the other day, would you? Just a silly two letter switch in your handle, and a putative sex change away.

          Just as convincing here as you were there. You do this for sport, or are you a professional agent provocateur? No links, no adducing of any evidence, merely…assertions and appeals to the accounts of, well, some Ukrainians who we are asked to believe that you know. Weak tea.

          The EU doesn’t need, nor will it be able to afford, another economic basket case to be dropped into its lap. Trust me, Ukraine is never going to get anywhere near belonging to the EU, or being accepted into the Euro currency union. The Russians, who you find so hateful, were willing to extend some real economic credits to Ukraine, while the EU mouthed some meaningless platitudes. The U.S.? Well, as in Syria, as in Libya, as in Venezuela, if they can’t rule, they will content themselves with burning the place down. See any similarities to the current situation in Ukraine? Probably not.

          Apropos of this likelihood, here is a little bit of a discussion with Prof. Stephen Cohen on Democracy Now, and his reading of the role of the extremist right wing in the current troubles in Ukraine:

          “… What percent are the quasi-fascists of the opposition? Let’s say they’re 5 percent. I think they’re more, but let’s give them the break, 5 percent. But we know from history that when the moderates lose control of the situation, they don’t know what to do. The country descends in chaos. Five percent of a population that’s tough, resolute, ruthless, armed, well funded, and knows what it wants, can make history. We’ve seen it through Europe. We’ve seen it through Asia. This is reality. And where Washington and Brussels are on this issue, they won’t step up and take the responsibility.

          JUAN GONZÁLEZ: Well, even in most recent history, whether you look at Libya or whether you look at the situation in Syria, where those presidents warned that there were extremist elements inside a broader popular movement that were eventually going to gain control, this seems like a replay in terms of what’s going on here in the Ukraine of a popular movement, but yet a very, very, as you say, right-wing movement—not only a right-wing movement, but a fascist movement with a history. Ukraine has had a history of a fascist movement going back to the days of Nazi Germany.

          STEPHEN COHEN: Let’s go to real heresy. Let’s ask a question: Who has been right about interpreting recent events? Let’s go to the Arab Spring. Obama and Washington said this was about democracy now, this is great. Russia said, “Wait a minute. If you destabilize, even if they’re authoritarian leaders in the Middle East, you’re not going to get Thomas Jefferson in power. You’re going to get jihadists. You’re going to get very radical people in power all through the Middle East.” Looking back, who was right or wrong about that narrative? Have a look at Egypt. Have a look at Libya. Who was right? Can Russians ever be right about anything?

          Now what are the Russians saying about Ukraine? They’re saying what you just said, that the peaceful protesters, as we keep calling them—I think a lot of them have gone home. There were many. By the way, at the beginning, there were hundreds of thousands, tens of thousands, of very decent, liberal, progressive, honorable people in the streets. But they’ve lost control of the situation. That’s the point now. And so, the Russians are saying, “Look, you’re trying to depose Yanukovych, who’s the elected government.” Think. If you overthrow—and, by the way, there’s a presidential election in a year. The Russians are saying wait ’til the next election. If you overthrow him—and that’s what Washington and Brussels are saying, that he must go—what are you doing to the possibility of democracy not only in Ukraine, but throughout this part of the world? And secondly, who do you think is going to come to power? Please tell us. And we’re silent.”

          Sigh. As Upton Sinclair opined, “It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends upon it.” This even works when ego gratification is the form of remuneration.

        2. Murky

          Greetings Jess. I wouldn’t worry about opinions expressed by Synopticist. The day before yesterday he wrote the following:

          “The Ukraine is basically 2 countries, a European east and a Russian west”.

          Well, Synopticist has that completely backwards. It’s west Ukraine that’s historically linked to Europe, and it’s east Ukraine that’s Russian. I’ve come to expect bad facts and vitriolic rant from Synopticist. So I just ignore him. And now JerzyJeffersonian has dogpiled onto this thread, degrading any quality of discussion. Ignore him too! Now I myself don’t claim to be an expert about Ukraine, like some people here, but I do have relevant background in this subject area. I’m roughly 3 decades into Soviet and Post-Soviet area studies. My job requires that I work with Russian archival documents almost every day. And I work with Ukrainian language materials too, though I do not have good competence with this language. Anyways, the things you write about here are generally on the mark. Let me throw in other relevant context to add to what you have said. First for the hard facts. Zbigniew Brzezinski stated in an interview just last month, that Russia will continue to hold onto Ukraine as a protectorate or client state. I concur. The popular will of many Ukrainians to move towards integration with Europe is a no-go, as Russia will never permit Ukraine to be pried loose from its sphere on influence. So much for the bad news. The good news is that Ukrainian popular will is extraordinarily strong right now, and the Yanukovych regime is collapsing fast. Many of Yanukovych’s colleagues are resigning from his Party of Regions, and some of his lackeys have already fled the country. The Parliament has just put forward a motion to impeach Yanukovych. Timoshchenko will soon be out of the slammer to add to the anti-Yanukovych crusade. It’s not likely that Yanukovych will last until December, when new elections are scheduled. But there are other issues that need to be addressed in the new Ukraine. An agreement has been brokered by the foreign ministers of France, Germany, and Poland, along with Ukrainian politicians Klichko and Yatseniuk. I think there is something wrong with this agreement. The opposition forces gathered in Maidan square did not get any direct representation whatsoever. Take for example the Pravyi Sektor. These were the very core of Maidan fighters, who went after and defeated Yanukovych’s police forces. Without the Pravyi Sektor, the Maidan demonstration would have probably failed. So how are they represented? Not at all! A speech just today in Maidan demanded immediate resignation of Yanukovych, and a crowd of many thousands gave strong vocal support to that proposal. This newborn political opposition in Maidan square is powerful and volatile, and really needs to get some direct representation in matters of governance and justice. Love how Russia has blundered in this entire matter, as they backed the idea that sheer force would keep their guy in power. Not so! That video of Yanukovych’s snipers shooting unarmed Ukrainians was just too damaging. If there is a moral here for political regimes, is that brutal repression of a nation doesn’t work when ‘kill videos’ go viral. Glad to see Russia losing some of it’s grip, and the Yanukovych regime in complete crumble, but there are more constructive issues to attend to. The most challenging thing will be how to build new democratic institutions in Ukraine, after so many decades of corruption. I’d start with an overhaul of the court system and the police forces, so that those institutions are not under the thumb of the political class. But all that’s on a horizon of months and probably years. It’s the next weeks that will lay the ground for future reforms. I am optimistic.

            1. Murky

              I am for Ukraine joining the European Union. With Ukraine breaking away, Russia will now make every effort to retain Ukraine under its sphere of influence. Economic integration of Ukraine with Russia is still systematic, and Russia will use that in every way possible to retain some control. Such was Russia’s recent 15 billion dollar loan to Ukraine. Can Europe match that offer? I’d love to see it happen.

  16. Synopticist

    Aussie house prices, WTF?

    I know it’s a lovely place and everything, and they export a lot, but surely prices are a function of supply and demand? If there’s one thing Aussies aren’t short of, it’s the supply of land.
    Those guys are going to get a gigantic crash sooner or later, basically at the same time that China cuts back on their coal and iron.

    1. skippy

      “but surely prices are a function of supply and demand?” – Huh?

      RE is now Australia’s largest asset class at about 5T w/ superannuation funds, self managed portfolios, financial advisers all dog piling in chasing yield, that and overseas mobs – individuals seeking a port in troubled times. Chinese investors have been known to pay up to and over a hundred K over premium, so whilst the world is awash in liquidity and they see your port as some sort of haven, expect more of the same. Additionally our boomers are now downsizing which further facilitates this process, that and CRE vacancy’s are trending up, non performing.

      Skippy… prices are a function of supply and demand – snicker – where did you ever get that silly idea.

      1. Synopticist

        “prices are a function of supply and demand – snicker – where did you ever get that silly idea.”

        Yeah, I know, that was sort of a joke. But I still can’t get my head around Aussie house prices. So much space. It surely can’t end well.

        1. skippy

          There is not as much space as one would think by just looking at a map. The favorable living conditions are mostly on the eastern sea board and only extend inland a short ways, that and crazy topography, fragile eco systems, flood and fire prone, long drought periods, long narrow logistics lines that are exposed to Natures whims, that’s a short generalized list.

          So yeah, property prices are generally reflected by extended radius emanating out from the capital city’s CBDs, with most the new building in the last decade on previously flood prone zones [decades in between events per historical records]. That said, in the outer burbs prices are pretty flat and more than likely will stay as such, to much wage deflation and quality job losses w/ increases in basic needs costings ie water, electricity, fuel, food, counsel rates.

          Skippy… the only things that might stop it is getting rid of neg gearing, capital controls, or another liquidity event.

  17. fresno dan
    “This index is based on the CPI. If an individual received $1,000 per month in 1999, they are receiving $1,360 today. In contrast, if the Big Mac Index were used, beneficiaries would receive $1,770. By using the CPI, the government is paying out $410 less than they would otherwise pay based on the rise in the price of a Big Mac”

    He doesn’t include the price of I-stuff, which if it has gone down, more than compensates for the rise in hamburger prices, as texting is well known to distract people from hunger…. Plus, Billionaire Bloomberg would tell you that hamburgers are bad for you.

    Or, Marx can tell you about substitutes for hamburger (OH, OK – he was talking about bread, but the concept of substitution is the same…)
    “At all events the Committee had directed the attention of the public to its “daily bread,” and therefore to the baking trade. At the same time in public meetings and in petitions to Parliament rose the cry of the London journeymen bakers against their over-work, &c. The cry was so urgent that Mr. H. S. Tremenheere, also a member of the Commission of 1863 several times mentioned, was appointed Royal Commissioner of Inquiry. His report. [45] together with the evidence given, roused not the heart of the public but its stomach. Englishmen, always well up in the Bible, knew well enough that man, unless by elective grace a capitalist, or landlord, or sinecurist, is commanded to eat his bread in the sweat of his brow, but they did not know that he had to eat daily in his bread a certain quantity of human perspiration mixed with the discharge of abscesses, cobwebs, dead black-beetles, and putrid German yeast, without counting alum, sand, and other agreeable mineral ingredients. Without any regard to his holiness, Free-trade, the free baking-trade was therefore placed under the supervision of the State inspectors (Close of the Parliamentary session of 1863), and by the same Act of Parliament, work from 9 in the evening to 5 in the morning was forbidden for journeymen bakers under 18. The last clause speaks volumes as to the over-work in this old-fashioned, homely line of business.”
    I would say the sand, using FED logic, is just a substitute when the price of sand free bread getting too high. And its kinda like fiber, so its probably good for you…and black beetles are just protein, so don’t worry, be happy…

  18. squasha

    Child-Porn Scandal puts German Grand Coalition on Rocks; End of a “Glorious” Honeymoon; Broken Eggs

    a nameless ruling party official whispered audibly today something about a decision in the works that would exclude Die Linke from an upcoming commission regarding STASI files, which were made available to the previously spied-upon, post-DDR. Since some of Die Linke party’s members are themselves former east German govt officials, members of all other parties feel it unwise to include them…add this to the current porn Scheißesturm and so much for the seat at the table the SPD promised them in 2017

  19. allcoppedout

    I managed to read most of the links today and found little to disagree with. What I can’t take is this is it. There is no breakout.

  20. P. M.

    For anyone interested, CMS published additional guidance today on their “estate recovery” rules for Medicaid recipients.

    “States have inquired as to whether the various Medicaid LTSS rules, including the estate recovery rules, will apply to MAGI individuals who are eligible for LTSS coverage. This guidance is intended to address these questions.”

    I’m sure Lambert will do a full analysis soon.

  21. Propertius

    One wonders what the reaction to the Zimmerman story would have been had it been entitled “Hispanic Man Terrorized by Racist Mob.”

  22. Doug Terpstra

    Sharp knockout takedown.

    The CIA has been at this Great Game for The Prize for many decades now. They do it in their sleep, by knee-jerk reflex.

    What’s happening in Venezuela, a place with the world’s largest known oil reserves, is a textbook replay of the 02 coup attempt, foiled only by massive popular resistance. It’s just their bad luck that GW Obama’s oil, what Chavez called “the devil’s excrement”, happens to lie under their land.

    Counterpunch has several good articles on the machinations of the Obama regime in Venezuela. And reports by CEPR on the remarkarble economic progress acheived by the late Chavez give important context, exposing the stark fallacies pitched by US MSM of an economy in crisis as rank propaganda.

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