Links 3/10/14

There Are Whales Alive Today Who Were Born Before Moby Dick Was Written Smithsonian. And: Whale survives harpoon attack 130 years ago to become ‘world’s oldest mammal’ Daily Mail (Richard Smith)

Dolphin Stampede and Whales off Dana Point and Maui (Drone Video) Big Picture (furzy mouse). Flip side is consider the story above: image how drone technology would be super helpful to hunters.

6.9 earthquake in Northern California felt as long and slow Los Angeles Times

4,000-year-old Dartmoor burial find rewrites British bronze age history Guardian (furzy mouse)

Up to 1000 NIH Investigators Dropped Out Last Year Science. Not good.

NRC Finds Several Reactors with “Degraded Level of Performance” OilPrice

Neil deGrasse Tyson tells CNN: Stop giving ‘equal time to the flat Earthers’ Raw Story (furzy mouse)

Hackers Hit Mt. Gox Exchange’s CEO, Claim To Publish Evidence Of Fraud Forbes

Stolen passports aboard Malaysia Airlines B777 disappeared enroute to Beijing The Aviationist (optimader)

Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 makes it clear: we need to rethink black boxes Guardian

China Rattles. Forgive the heavy dose of MacroBusiness links, but their sources are pretty diverse. Plus Australia has become sufficiently dependent on China to lead them to be very keen observers:

China default special I: Hard landing fears MacroBusiness

China default special II: Commodity ripples MacroBusiness

Chinese Market Get Demolished Business Insider

Asian markets tumble on weak Chinese economic data BBC

Copper, iron ore futures gripped by “panic selling” MacroBusiness

Analysts shrug off China bond default Financial Times

Japan’s fourth-quarter economic growth estimate revised down – live Guardian

Spain giving away 15th century village for free Agence France-Presse (furzy mouse)


VIDEO: Russian troops ‘seen digging in’ BBC

From Now On, No Compromises Are Possible For Russia Testosterone Pit

U.S. to host Ukraine leader as Russia cements grip Washington Post

Pro-Russia Troops Install Minefields, Border Markers in Crimea; Gazprom Ups Price of Natural Gas 37%, Calls in $2 Billion Gas Debt Michael Shedlock

Ukraine shock waves jeopardize global economy Nikkei. Note the contrast with the complacency in the US financial media.

Making sense of sanctions DW

Explore Ukrainian influence battles with foreign lobbying docs Sunlight Foundation (Bob H)

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

Weirdest Snowden leak yet: The NSA has an advice columnist ars technica

Assange: NSA’s ‘Penetration Of The Internet’ Has Led To ‘Military Occupation’ Of Civilian Space Associated Press

WikiLeaks’ Julian Assange: NSA critics got lucky because agency had no PR strategy CNET

Zombie super PACs face termination Public Integrity

We are all right-wingers now: How Fox News, ineffective liberals, corporate Dems and GOP money captured everything Salon

How the Rich Became Dependent on Government Welfare David Sirota, Truthout

CPAC Bonus Saturday — The Princess In Excelsis Charles Pierce, Esquire. On Palin. Yowza.

Big biz takes on tea party, gently Politico

Few show up to meet George Zimmerman at Florida gun show Daily News (furzy mouse)

Scores arrested at Massachusetts ‘Blarney Blowout’ Associated Press (bob)

No one is watching Al Jazeera America Politico (Lance N). I don’t think they post their content on-line with a delay (they didn’t at the beginning and I haven’t looked lately), which is a big mistake. More websites would embed their content and talk about it, which would over time increase awareness of their work.

After pledging transparency, PBS hides details of new deal with billionaire owner of NewsHour Pando

Wireless Bills Go Up, and Stay Up Wall Street Journal

Use of Public Transit in U.S. Reaches Highest Level Since 1956, Advocates Report New York Times. Downward mobility will do that. And mind you, I like NYC subways but hardly any of the US has our caliber of public transportation.

One-Hit Wonders James Surowiecki, New Yorker

Deal Me Out The Baffler. John C: “A nice explanation of what Sorkin really does for a living.”

Credit Suisse Documents Point to Mortgage Lapses New York Times. “Lapses” looks like a cute device by the headline writer to undercut the article.

Lawsky to step up assault on Wall Street’s corporate wrongdoing Financial Times

Banks shedding asset management businesses Walter Kurtz

Forward guidance could ‘encourage risk’ Financial Times. Lovely!

Obama’s Economic Significance Richard Wolff, Truthout (furzy mouse)

Antidote du jour. James R: ” I spent a good part of my summer watching 4 great horned owls (in Marfa, TX). This one was my favorite. Clearly it did not find my company stimulating.”


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  1. craazyman

    Wow. 200 years floating around eating plankton blowing jets of water through the top of your head. That’s a long time under any circumstances, and especially those. It makes you wonder about the Sequoia trees. They can’t even walk around.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Sequoia trees are not whales because whales left home-ocean as immigrants on land, but they returned.

      Their story is one of home (-ocean), sweet home (-ocean).

      1. allcoppedout

        The real story here would be written by a whale looking for revenge on the human butchers. Some clams live 500 years. One might pose interesting economic thought experiments based on humans being able to manage this longevity. With a dozen or so regenerations available when would we retire? How would a second generation of the same person feel about having to pay for her home again? I’d like to think we’d be smart enough to abolish finance other than as a utility by the third. By the fourth we might be a lot more interested in Logan’s Run than Ahab. How many second and subsequent regenerations would take out a second student loan?

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Sounds like cleverness (technology for longevity) overrunning wisdom (sharing) again.

    2. optimader

      Passed away as a disillusioned geriatric whale, not realizing the opportunity for an apology from stone harpoonist had long since passed.

      1. Binky Bear

        For the Inupiat there is no apology needed. In their ideology, the “whales give themselves.” The animals give themselves up to be harvested because they are people wearing whale skins who are simply reincarnated as whale people when treated with the appropriate respect and reverence. The entire calendar of their lives revolves around preparation for the hunt, celebration of the harvest, and celebration of the spirit of the whales (and other marine mammals) that give themselves up for the “Real People,” the people who eat meat. Indeed, the wife of the whale hunter becomes the whale some time before the hunt, the traditional houses were shaped like whales, and were even built from whale ribs and jaws.
        Lowenstein, Ancient Land, Sacred Whale
        Brower and Brewster, The Whales, they give themselves

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Whales returned home to water around 50 million years and the earliest evidence was found in 2007 in India, with the discovery of tiny deer-like Indohyus.

          This may connect whales, the heart chakra, self-sacrifice and religion/spirituality.

      2. craazyman

        Deep Thoughts

        “I’ve been thinking deep thoughts (no pun intended) for more than 200 years and I still can’t fathom (still no pun intended) whether the oceans are worth swimming. But I think I’m making progress! Guess I’ll just have some more plankton and keep thinking the deep thoughts, then blow some air through the hole in my head and get my picture taken by a whale watching boat.” — Whale

        1. Optimader

          More like…Im bored..hmmm maybe ill swim over there… Should i eat or poop? Oh! a boat full of monkeys! Maybe ill poop first, i had just a ton of those corsican sardines with my krill last night, man they just go right through me Aaaahhhh

    1. Hugh

      Revolutions tend to come under the control of their most radical elements, whether of the right or the left. That’s because these elements usually have a small hardened, focused leadership, a tight organization, and are willing to go the limit. The Bolsheviks did not begin the Russian Revolution but they did end up winning it. In Egypt, if memory serves the Muslim Brotherhood did not begin the occupation of Tahrir Square, but they knew how to exploit it. The hijacking of the revolution is an aspect of most revolutions. Revolutions also usually lead to counter-revolutions and/or civil war and/or foreign invasion. The Ukrainian revolution has aspects of many of these things. It is why going into a revolution it is so important to have clear goals that everyone can understand and hold leaders accountable to as well as clear ways of accomplishing them.

      1. no more banksters

        “While falling afoul of Godwin’s law tends to cause the individual making the comparison to lose his argument or credibility, Godwin’s law itself can be abused as a distraction, diversion or even as censorship, fallaciously miscasting an opponent’s argument as hyperbole when the comparisons made by the argument are actually appropriate. Similar criticisms of the “law” (or “at least the distorted version which purports to prohibit all comparisons to German crimes”) have been made by Glenn Greenwald.”

        1. allcoppedout

          The history of the city of Lviv is instructive and so dire as to make one doubt humanity. Godwin’s Law is part of a set of silencing procedures that work through manners backed up by instruments of torture. I think we should open up the depravity of our history to prevent repeats.

          The BBC did a ‘poor little abused Crimean Tartar under Russian jackboot’ story the other night, failing to mention Tartar roles in hundreds of years of slave raiding and what was done for the Nazis.

          Lviv has been ruled by Poland, Austria, the USSR, Nazi Germany and the “independent” Ukraine. Between he wars its population of 300,000 plus had 160,000 Poles, 100,000 Jews and 50,000 Ukrainians. There was a pogrom against Jews in 1941 and Ukrainians also slaughtered Poles. I did some transitional economics lectures there 20 years back and got the ‘beautiful city reflecting a culturally diverse past’ tour. In fact, the city, like much from the Baltic to the Balkans, is a monument to ethnic cleansing and the willingness of long-term neighbours to set on each other. There’s a good account by John Paul Hinka, ‘The Lviv Pogrom of 1941’ and he pins the blame on the Organisation of Ukrainian Nationalists.

          In history, we are all guilty. Stalin’s expulsion of the Crimean Tartars was a disgusting genocide, but what were our bombings of Dresden and Tokyo? Godwin’s Law is a form of politesse and those manners that sweep what we need to talk through under the carpet. We don’t go far enough when we raise Hitler and the extent to which our lot bought and paid for his rise. The more you know about Ukraine, the more it looks ripe to be turned into a European Middle East.

          1. Wayne Reynolds

            While reading the varying websites covering the events in Ukraine I came across an old Soviet joke about the followers of Stepan Bandera as being so brutal that even the German SS ousted them.

        2. Murky

          Geez, Lambert, why would we ever want to listen to ‘experts’ on the subject of Ukraine? We know Nazis when we see ’em! Right? We don’t need no expert historians to tell us who is a Nazi, and who is not! We know better!! Take for example this guy Timothy Snyder. He is a historian at Yale. And he’s written a half dozen books on East European history. He definitely fits the category of ‘expert’ about Ukraine. And now he’s written an essay in the New York Review of Books.

          Just yesterday Yves wrote the following: “That Snyder piece was one of the most blatant, shameless bits of propaganda”. So now we have a lead opinion! And where there is a leader, group-think follows. And it’s going to be real difficult now for anybody to claim Snyder is still worth reading. But I make that claim.

          I believe Snyder is historically accurate in describing the Ukrainian revolution as a popular uprising and not a fascist coup. I believe Snyder is accurate in his description of the current Russian propaganda campaign against Ukrainians. If anyone can find something explicitly false in Snyder’s article, I’d love to hear about it.

          1. allcoppedout

            I have no clue who is behind what. An electoral system that didn’t just promote a super-thief to power might be a good thing. What do we have to offer on that? Or a system with a choice between candidates that are not all neo-liberal? I expect it much easier to encourage a shooting war between factions similar to Iranian kids running in minefields in the Iran-Iraq War in socks with ‘death to Israel’ embroidered on them.

          2. Benedict@Large

            Fairness & Accuracy in Reporting did an extensive take-down of Snyder’s article.

            “Denying the Far-Right Role in the Ukrainian Revolution”

            To my taste, the man lost total credibility when he cast The Nation and the Guardian as polar opposites of Lyndon LaRouche’s Executive Intelligence Review through Ron Paul’s newsletter. Words fail me, but anyone who could see the world in that fashion cannot be taken seriously.

            1. Murky

              Good link! It certainly reads better than than half-baked blog-rant about ‘Nazis’ and ‘fascists’. The writer, Jim Naureckas, is quite articulate and able to make a reasonable assessment of the quality of Snyder’s journalism.

              Snyder does not deny there are right wing groups in Ukraine. He mentions them explicitly, Svaboda and Pravyi Sektor. And it’s not just a casual mention. Snyder gives some detail about these right wing political factions. But that doesn’t satisfy Naureckas. Naureckas claims Snyder has an obligation to comprehensively describe these right wing political groups, as if that were the main theme of Snyder’s essay. But this criticism is off the mark. Right wing extremism was not the topic of Snyder’s essay. Snyder’s topic was propaganda. And Snyder does succeed in describing the various themes of Russian propaganda against Ukraine.

              If there is a problem with the Naureckas essay, it’s that he piles on other topics for Snyder. But somehow I don’t mind that Naureckas deflects the debate. I too want scholarly scrutiny of right wing politics in Ukraine. Articulate debate from these two well qualified writers reads a lot better than poorly focused blog-rant. Thanks again for the link.

            2. Jerome Armstrong

              That’s just flat out misrepresentation about what Snyder wrote. Multiple polls have shown that the Right Sector is just a minor party. But yea, they have had success with their power move. I have little doubt that Klitschko and his UDAR party are still the most popular, and will win the next election. The troubling thing is that Nuland already knew that too.

          3. Doug Terpstra

            If not a coup, how do you reconcile $5 billion in NED agitprop and Kagan-Nulan’s “ the EU”, we want our “guy” “Yats” installed. It’s regime-change, aka coup, with the O-regime’s fingerprints all over it. These are inconvenient conspiracy facts (not theories). Who ya gonna believe, Obama or your lying ears?

            This is classic Great Game cold war energy “strategery”. You have to be blind, deaf and dumb (emphasis on latter) to twist this coup into a homegrown, “popular uprising”. That’s an absurd dismissal of fact. To be sure, Putin has his own devious agenda too (for all we know, O and Putin may be coconspirators), but let’s not paint our treachery as nobility. Ukraine may prove to be a bridge too far for the neocons and finally, Obama’s Waterloo.

            1. Murky

              Here is the first line of Wikipedia’s definition of a coup d’etat:

              “The sudden deposition of a govenment, usually by a small group of the existing state establishment – typically the military.”

              Most notable is that a coup d’etat is a top down operation. People from the elite classes forcibly gain power. A popular uprising is something else entirely. That’s a grass-roots level public protest, in which thousands of people take to the streets, and simply overwhelm existing government by sheer numbers.

              The Yanukovych government was overwhelmed by massive street protests. That’s a popular uprising, not a coup d’etat.

              As for your claim about Western infiltration and control of the street protests in Maidan, you will have to substantiate that. Please provide links of reputable quality.

          4. Jerome Armstrong

            That’s a shame that Yves said that about Snyder. Having followed the Ukraine uprising from way back, and having been involved in it’s politics previously, I know that he is a very good authority on Ukraine. I read the piece and thought, wow, he’s really been following the story closely.

            But yea, the group think is definitely buy into the neo-nazi stuff as an easy means to not look deeply at what’s going on there. I’m not saying that the Right Sector hasn’t made a power grab. And it is also obvious that things went down just as Nuland would have liked.

            But hey, didn’t we see Obama capture all of the online energy of the left here in the US, and use it to propel him into the Presidency just to put Emanuel and Rubin in charge, ensuring the corporate priorities?

            Anyway, it will be interesting to see what Snyder writes next.

            1. Yves Smith Post author

              Mark Ames is about to do a major piece on the far right in the Ukraine. Ames is absolutely no fan of Putin, but he sees what is happening on the ground as fascist and extreme, as in to the right of 1930s fascism.

              You appear to have been reading too much American reporting. Just about everything from the MSM and a lot of secondary outlets (remember, the Obama Administration is keen to control messaging on the Web) is incomplete at best. Just because Putin is a thug does not mean our conduct is remotely justified. We picked this fight, and it was a dumb and dangerous one to pick.

              1. Murky

                So who is Mark Ames? One of best sources is a profile of Mark Ames published in Vanity Fair in February of 2010.


                It’s an entertaining read about Ames’ very unusual style of journalism. If there’s a parallel for Ames, it might be Hunter Thompson on steroids or speed. Ames’ career took off, strangely enough, in Moscow, where he published The Exile. The Exile was an outrageous kind of scandal sheet, mixing gutter quality content with serious journalism. The Vanity Fair article also devotes a lot of space to Ames’ lifestyle in Moscow, with much description of prostitutes and drugs. The Hungry Duck bar has it’s own Wikipedia entry, for those who are curious. Ames, as best I can judge, is a talented journalist. But he’s the least reliable person for neutrality and balance on a story. Outrageous content and accusation are essential elements of his style. A New York Times journalist in Moscow, Michael Wines, said of Ames: “Never wrestle with a pig. You just get dirty, and besides, the pig likes it.”

              2. Jerome Armstrong

                I read mostly Russian and Ukraine websites translated to keep up to date. I am sure that Snyder is too. But anyway, that’s beside the point.

                I’d like to know though, what did Snyder write that was propaganda? His article was about the uprising, not the actual overthrow of the Gov’t, mostly. Write a post on it, I’d like to know.

          5. OIFVet

            For Timothy Snyder truthiness and truth are one and the same, at least in his NY Review articles. His biases are so obvious that I would rather not extend the “expert” title upon him, even if he has written “half a dozen [non-peer-reviewed] books.” Many easter european communist dictators wrote even more books, and believe me they were no experts.

        3. Jerome Armstrong

          Well, you’ve yet to see the headline “Crimea must choose between Hitler and the Neo-Nazi’s” I take it.

  2. timotheus

    Re departure of researchers from NIH orbit: true and accelerating. The junior researchers who have spent 10-20 years building up credits and credentials and now should be eligible for the R01 grants are facing insane competition, and even the seniors with 100-page resumés can’t get funded or suddenly win an award and are told, Sorry, we’re cutting 16% off the top. This will undermine U.S. medical research for decades, possibly permanently.

  3. Hugh

    Charlie Cook Palin “is the living representation of the infantilization of American politics, a poisonous Grimm Sister telling toxic fairy tales to audiences drunk on fear, and hate and nonsense.”

    The question that screams to be asked is Is Obama any better? Or Hillary or just about any other politician today? Aren’t they all telling us toxic fairy tales, just modulating the tone to fit the audience?

    1. psychohistorian

      I would say no, Obama and soon to be anointed Ms. Clinton are not any better and yes, most/all politicians are telling us toxic fairy tales and yes to just modulating the tone.

      It is a race to the bottom and we all have to go along for the ride.

    2. Lambert Strether

      Simple answers to simple questions: No, no, and yes, respectively.

      I mean, last I checked, Palin hadn’t made any jokes about whacking people with Predator Drones.

      I mean, assuming that was a joke. She probably would, given the opportunity, but the point is, she hasn’t.

      1. allcoppedout

        Actually, a joke like this about burning down Robin Hood Airport (expressing passion for his girl in a period of ‘wrong kind of snow’ Britain), got a young guy arrested here for twittering about it. Do you not have a similar law in the US? Our guy got off after 18 months of appeal. That would be long enough to see Obama off.

    1. huxley

      Caribou Barbie’s “nuke it in order to save it” approach to foreign policy. Botox and menopause actually seem to have improved her.

    2. diptherio

      Potted plants…I thought that was going to be a slightly different story. I was thinking “pot plants in the yard?…that’s bold.”

      English: one language, only not.

    3. abynormal

      Dangit Skippy…i said NO to opening the palin line when you released it. As in YOU CAN’T MAKE ME I WON’T DO IT NO WAY!

      “Failing to show peace through strength has allowed some “very, very, very bad dudes (to) gain ground”, said Palin

      and that’s what i get for RUBBERNECKING

      1. hunkerdown

        I was really disappointed that Idiocracy II didn’t drop during or after the 2008 elections.

  4. ignim Brites

    It is surprising that President Obama is seeking a spotlight role in the Ukrainian conflict. Having lead the opposition to the Iraq war, it should be obvious to him that the policy preferred by the American people is anything that takes the onus off them to be involved. This is also what is most likely to produce a diplomatic settlement since the most certain thing that Russian aggression will provoke is German rearmament. But maybe Obama feels he just has to save face for the world historical intellectuals in New York and DC.

    1. Lambert Strether

      “Having lead the opposition to the Iraq war”? Huh? Obama gave an anti-war speech, which wasn’t recorded at the time, before he was a national figure. That’s it. He was in no sense whatever a leader of the opposition to the Iraq war.

      1. OIFVet

        He was playing a thousand dimensional chess so you simply didn’t realize his outsize role in creating and leading the anti-war opposition.

  5. dearieme

    Dartmoor – “At 600 metres above sea level, White Horse hill is so remote that getting there even today is a 45-minute walk across heather and bog, after a half-hour drive up a military track from the nearest road.” That sentence seems to me to invite the reader to assume that Dartmoor was as uninviting a place to live then as it would be now, but it probably wasn’t. There are arable fields on Dartmoor at higher altitudes than anyone would farm at today, because the Bronze Age was warmer than today as far as anyone can tell. So if, as seems likely, the grave was placed on rough grazing (since it would make no sense to place it on arable, or good pasture, or meadow, or in woodland) then it may have been close enough to farmers’ “habitations” that they would see it routinely when they tended their flocks or herds. After all, there’s not much point making a fuss about a burial at a place so remote from the population that they’d rarely see it or visit it.

    1. susan the other

      But hmmm… If our ancient 4-toed ancestor was meandering along the Thames in the year 900,000 bce, does that mean that it took her some 500,000 years to make it to the Tiber? By then having evolved a pinky toe. And lived thru several ice ages. And still predating current archeo histories of homo sapien sapien by another 400,000 years, Heidelbergensis by some 200,000 years and dear old uncle Neanderthal by 250,000 years. That is very interesting. And no indication that our ancient Hobbit came “out of Africa” either. Didn’t detour past the Middle East. So where did Frodo come from. Speak me more.

    1. psychohistorian

      I got a chuckle out of his reference to Glenn Greenbacks…….
      I also like his closing statement that he says should be required on all such “leak” stories.

      “This story contains those facts, and only those facts, that we and the State have determined it is safe for you to know. We will never tell you anything else, and we will most certainly never tell you anything more.”

    2. JTFaraday

      “Here’s one Greenwald tweet in response to questioning: “Which specific documents should be released that haven’t been? Are there any?” If you read the subsequent tweets (at the same link), you’ll read this from Greenwald: “So if you can’t even say that there’s been a single doc we improperly withheld, what’s your criticism?” This is idiotically nonsensical. Moreover, Greenwald himself has to know it’s idiotically nonsensical.”

      I’m kind of not impressed with this whole back and forth p*ssing match. I don’t think anyone looks particularly good.

      Take the above exchange Silber cites from months ago. Once Snowden and Greenwald et al made the decision not to do a big data dump, Greenwald’s snippy comment–and he’s always been snippy, that’s why some people just don’t like him– is not nonsensical. Have none of these critics ever been in a position of having to process large amounts of information before?

      If I get thousands of documents, how do I even know what I have and haven’t released? I don’t necessarily know much more than you. The back and forthing with critics has been as obstructive of the process as anything else we can see. There’s only so many hours in a day.

      As for Snowden (and Greenwald too, perhaps), Silber once wrote a piece entitled “If You Love Martyrs So Much, Then You Be One” about Bradley Manning where he complained about people who seem to “want” others to make themselves martyrs that the state can brutally attack. That we had no right to demand that. It just looks to me like Snowden, in not doing the big data dump Manning did (duh), decided not to be that kind of martyr.

      So, too bad for Silber. If you ask me, the commentariat dead wood is piling up on this bonfire of professional jealousy at a rapid rate. Congratulations to whoever’s winning.

    3. Brooklin Bridge

      I think going to work for Omidyar was a mistake as this overly defensive and snippy post suggests.

      In the last few years, Greenwald’s most oft repeated message is that no one is beyond scrutiny. Who one works for is a legitimate part of such scrutiny and any serious journalist would want to question it. The post came about because apparently Omidyar, gave several hundred thousand dollars to a Ukrainian “pro-democracy” organization opposed to the ruling regime, and Greenwald’s point is that what Omidyar does has nothing to do with him. Perhaps, but it would sure make me uncomfortable and the shrillness of Greenwald’s tone suggests he may be having second thoughts himself.

      1. JTFaraday

        Well, yeah. And to the extent that he has to rely on people like Jay Rosen for support, that’s no solution either. Jay Rosen, in addition to being Greenwald’s intellectual inferior, is an opportunistic putz. Also, definitely not the hardest the hardest working guy in show business, that one.

        But some of the people criticizing Greenwald (like Mark Ames) work in very similar conditions, and (apparently) live in the same state of denial. If I have to dismiss Greenwald based on Ames’ arguments, then I have to dismiss Ames too.

        I’m not at all opposed to doing that, frankly. I’ve always thought that Peter Thiel’s publishing outlet hired Ames because he has a substantial following of liberal useful idiot puppets– who don’t think too much, if at all– and because he was (and is) on a crusade against “libertarians” in defense of a US government no one has any business defending. I don’t support this at all.

        In light of which, and assuming that the story we’ve been given about Snowden is roughly accurate (and I don’t know if it is or not), my larger point would have to be that the stakes were/are a little higher for Snowden and Greenwald than they are for the Monday morning quarterbacks whose biggest problem is which nominal “libertarian” corporatist billionaire seeking tech contracts from the government they should work for.

  6. Jim Haygood

    Neil deGrasse Tyson recalled that he once said that “the good thing about science is that it’s true whether or not you believe in it.”

    He’s not a scientist, he just plays one on TV.

    In the 19th century the best physical scientists believed, reasonably enough, that our universe obeyed the laws of Newtonian mechanics down to the indivisible level of the atom. Then along came Einstein, and quantum theory, and atom smashers, and the scientific truth of the day had to be updated.

    Dogmatic statements that one side has won a scientific debate are rash, particularly when the phenomenon in question involves time series full of trends, countertrends and random perturbations. When is the next ice age going to start? Climate science can’t tell us, because even with the aid of supercomputers, its models are just not that powerful.

    1. craazyman

      When is the next ice age going to start? asks Jim.

      It’s already started! Everything is frozen and even the polar bears need to come indoors.

      This is bad for winter surfing on the Great Lakes but it’s good for skiers and overcoat makers. What’s going on with the fashion these days. All the young dudes have overcoats that only go down to their hips. Those are petticoats not overcoats. A real man wears an overcoat that come down to the knees. Some of the homeboy dudes stylin it up on the subway even wear pants so the waist go down below their underwear. Have you seen that? If they put an overcoat on then their pants would be lower than the bottom of the overcoat and their underwear would be showing. That’s ridiculous.

    2. Johann Sebastian Schminson

      That’s the beauty of science — the “dogma” is not “dogma” for long. Real science tosses conventional wisdom as soon as reliable measurements prove that dogma wrong.

      Maybe science will DISprove climate change — I trust the scientists are doing their best to get to the actual (as opposed to dogmatic), bottom of the AGW debate.

      Einstein’s contributions did not invalidate Newton’s “dogma,” as Newton’s theories were ALWAYS open to revision.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        As they do their best to get to the bottom of the AGW debate, there is a lot we can do.

        Austerity for the 0.01% is a must.

        For many of the 99.99%, less consumption, in and of itself, is good…for the body and the spirit.

        Eating less, eating health, natural instead of GM/chemical, buying fewer toys, drive less, etc…

        Focusing solely on the AGW debate distracts from doing these things.

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            You’re right.

            Environmental degradation is more than GW -, man-made or otherwise – to include air pollution (man-made for sure), water-pollution (man-made for sure), reduced bio-diversity (man-made for sure), genetically modified organisms (man-made for sure), etc.

            A lot of what we should do to remedy those will reduce AGW as well.

            It doesn’t have to be solely AGW.

            1. Jim S

              I do think the points you raise are common ground. An economics question for an economics blog: is it feasible to reduce net energy consumption without a proportional reduction to standard of living, or perhaps maintain the current standard of living?

              1. Kurt Sperry

                Energy consumption’s environmental impact is hugely dependent on how that energy is “produced*”

                *Without getting pedantic about the term in a thermodynamic sense.

                1. Jim S

                  Don’t refrain from detailed explanation on my account. My grasp on energy issues could be firmer, as evinced by the broadness of my question.

                  The energy situation in Germany seems to indicate that wind and solar is not going to be a cost-effective replacement for oil and coal in the near future. Am I mistaken to infer that, if we are serious about reducing oil and coal consumption, we are going to have to scale back on heavy industry at the least?

                  1. Kurt Sperry

                    In the sense that essentially all energy available on Earth was actually produced by thermonuclear processes in the sun and what we call “producing” energy is really just concentrating, converting it or moving it around–re-purposing it.

              2. different clue

                If train/trolley/streetcar travel was as deep and broad and densely interconnected as it was in 1920, such that people needed fewer cars and less driving to get to most of their destinations; would their standard of living even be lower?

                If buildings were so well insulated that it took half as much energy as now to keep them at the same temperature as before, would the standard of living of the people in those buildings be lowered? If the buildings were still the same temperature as today?
                I remember reading somewhere that California has held the per-capita end-user use of electricity per individual down at the 1972-73 level unto this very day. Has the electricity-driven side of standard of living gone down for Californians? (I don’t speak of the social sadism/ upper-class-directed social-infrastructure demolition side of standard of living).

                1. Jim S

                  Quite interesting. And if Los Angeles replaced its freeways with trolleys it would gain a huge net energy savings, I imagine. On a related note, I recently read that Phoenix’s light rail is unsuccessful due to the efficiency of its road grid, but this same efficiency is now considered detrimental to businesses.

                  But how do we get there from our present-day sprawling Suburbias?

                2. David G. Mills

                  Less driving always lowers the standard of living in my book. Of course urban lovers might disagree.

      2. Jim S

        That’s the beauty of science — the “dogma” is not “dogma” for long. Real science tosses conventional wisdom as soon as reliable measurements prove that dogma wrong.

        You would think so, wouldn’t you? But in practice, observation still must run the gamut of rivalry, jealousy, spite, belittling, departmental politics, and sheer bureaucracy that any other institutional work faces, all driven by the quest for scarce funding. And in some fields the major part of science is practised by way of mathematical modelling (Yves and Lambert featured a link last month wherein a physicist joked about getting his hands dirty with observation). So measurement should trump all, but in actuality it has to join the queue along with everyone else.

        To draw an analogy, one could also state that as priests preach morality, they are also the best practitioners of morality and hence would never harm children. Clearly false given the scandals of recent years, but as a statement of the Ideal it’s acceptable. Should we then say that all priests are depraved and that all scientists are illogical? Hardly. But we are doing ourselves scant favor by allowing statements of the Ideal to prevent our digging down into the dirt of the Real.

        1. Johann Sebastian Schminson

          Despite tall of that, from the advent of the Scientific Method up until now, science has proven to be stronger than all of those trifling human character flaws.

          Piltdown Man didn’t pass scrutiny. Neanderthals did.

    3. diptherio

      You’ve definitely got a point that sombunall* scientists have a hard time distinguishing between the current best explanation that scientific consensus has to offer and the Truth. It seems like a simple enough distinction to make, and yet over and over again it is not made, or its recognition is delayed, due to the psychological incapability of most people, scientists included, to admit that they’ve made a mistake or that they might not actually know everything. See Kuhn, Thomas S. (1962).

      However, I don’t think that not being able to tell us when the next ice age is going to occur is a knock on contemporary climatological practice or theory. If the climate is a complex system (i.e. displays cascading failures, accute dependence on initial conditions, non-linear relationships between components, etc.) then long-term prediction is impossible. There are far too many variables and feedback loops and whatnot to be able to predict events more than a short period of time into the future. What you get instead of prediction is a range of possible outcomes, maybe with probabilities attached. Not being able to say when the next ice age will occur with precision is not a sign of bad science, far as I can tell

      *”sombunall” is a neologism coined by Robert Anton Wilson, and is a contraction of the phrase “some but not all.” Wilson argued, and I agree, that the English language lacks a proper adjective to use in situations where the speaker is unsure of actual proportions. To wit, I have no idea what proportion of scientists display the cognitive failing I describe above, but I know that some do (because I’ve met them) and that some don’t (ditto). Therefore it is defensible to say some, but not all, think this way: “sombunall.”

      1. allcoppedout

        I was taught (in geography) that we would soon be freezing our balls off. Carbon dioxide was just a “white gas” (dear, dearie me). God knows what ideological rot my teachers got me into. My economics teacher was trying to get into the pants of my female peers. Science was altogether more decent than this other stuff on offer.

        I find non-scientists always believe science is more precise than it really is and have no clue about how science gets to be precise when it can be. On observation carbon dioxide appears white, but this is actually water vapour seen as solid CO2 melts into air. I know we know. The real issue here concerns ‘I’ll believe it when I see it’, the spin of theory with data and our lack of a neutral observation language. It’s already tough before you jump off a cliff to do relativity observations.

        Most people remain too thick to do any science, something that may have a lot to do with the way it is taught. Few people can do maths, even the elementary school rot, a tiny few doing anything like, say, the A levels available. So base science on maths and you exclude almost all. By now we should be able to do science and even accounting without maths – let the machines do it. Who in their right mind would design a syllabus based on excluding almost everyone?

        I think we should be examining what Lambert calls ‘the ffing stupid’ if we want to be more scientific and get better understandings of such as global warming and economic posturing. In part, science is a game of spot the Emperor with no clothes with a fleet of Mercedes. Some of what is required is a dropping of “manners” and being able to tell each other we are barking. We rarely get the data we need to make scientific sense of the social and as Diptherio gets at with sombunall and feedback loops a lot of non-laboratory science has complexity problems of the type, ‘We tried MMT and it failed. Now was Dr Mugabe representative of the general sample’?

        We used to have political parties with people in them who didn’t just read from the spin-doctors’ hymn sheet. These people have gone, replaced by neo-liberal clones or rubber-faced aliens (anyone been close enough recently to make a grab so we can decide which). The climate change debate in public is the equivalent of giving equal time to creationism as a theory of evolution or the fatuous domination of television economics by third rate clothes’ horses interviewing City spivs. 98% in the journals raises no doubt at all we are facing serious problems and there is no trace of the propaganda denials.

        I’d change the global warming debate and trash economics as we know them in favour of a ‘resource idiocy’ discourse. Just as Zimbabwe needs a silver bullet for Mugabe rather than an MMT Bible (though sadly after Mugabe it’s Mugabes all the way down), we need to be thinking about replacing existing leadership in a way that doesn’t just produce more of the same, supplication relationships of science to leadership cadres and democratic voting, and get this into our theory formulation, perhaps in a way similar to that in which we make approximation decisions in what maths we adopt in science theories (Gunther Ludwig). Dumbing science down just kills it, much as breakfast television kills economics. This doesn’t mean we can’t teach differently to let more people get the capabilities.

      2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Science motivated by Greed or Military Domination is always about applying science, even only as best current explanations or partial knowledge, without thinking about the needs of the many (properly accounted for by including those in the future).

        Science without practical application, and guaranteed to be speculation only, never to be applied (because it’s only the best current explanation, until another best explanation arrives, thus we can not fully anticipate the negative consequences), gets very little funding.

        If we take the ‘best current explanation’ meme seriously…

      3. Kurt Sperry

        Some means “some but not all” or certainly can. What’s a sentence where substituting “some”, “somebunall” and “some, but not all” would create a strong difference in meaning? If one means “all” one substitutes “all” for “some”.

        Try, “You’ve definitely got a point that ____ scientists have a hard time distinguishing between the current best explanation that scientific consensus has to offer and the Truth.” perhaps as a handy example.

    4. BondsOfSteel

      Um… wrong.

      Neil deGrasse Tyson is a scientist… an astrophysicist to be exact:

      And… quote about “the truth” your using to imply scientific dogma is from a larger segment about talking about how science doesn’t have dogma… science requires proof. The whole point of the Giordano Bruno segment was that dogma keeps us from discovering the universe through the evidence based model of science.

      P.S. Newton wasn’t wrong… just incomplete. We know more… but we’re still incomplete.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        If we only know partially, can we in good conscience apply that partial knowledge?

        That’s the core of the ‘science question.’

        Knowing something (much less partially ) is one thing. Applying that knowledge is another, especially partial knowledge (our best current explanation).

        Thus, we have more ‘science solutions*’ to problems created by past ‘science solutions,’ based on then best explanations, always for the needs of many**, though not always ‘necessary’ at the initial point.

        * By ‘science solutions,’ I mean, mostly, though not exclusively, science motivated by
        1. Greed
        2. Military domination

        **The needs of many outweigh the needs of the few – Does it mean the more populous country decide what should be done vis-à-vis her less populous neighbor, for example? What about the needs of the total human population today versus the needs of the total human population for the next 1,000 years? Who do you include in the ‘many’ when it comes to long term impact? Just people today or those to come after us?

        1. BondsOfSteel

          >If we only know partially, can we in good conscience apply that partial knowledge?

          Yes. Newtonian mechanics has allowed us to land on Mars, implement satellite base GPS, and find exo-planets based on their wobble. The distances and precision we’re able to calculate is boggling.

          The ‘solutions’ you’re talking about aren’t physical… they’re metaphysical. People always confuse science and philosophy.

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            Knowing exo-planets exist is not the same as colonizing them.

            One can inquire and know about Newtonian mechanics without using that knowledge (to, for example, land on Mars).

            Knowing, especially partially, given it’s ‘only the best current explanation,’ is not the same as applying that knowledge, not knowing fully what the consequences are (like the state tracking citizens via GPS).

            It’s one thing to know. It’s another to apply that and we don’t always have to apply what we know. For example, one person may know how to hack a network, but he/she doesn’t have to.

            Greed driven or military domination driven science research projects always have to have practical applications.
            And sadly, philosophy has been applied tragically, like science.

            1. BondsOfSteel

              Yes, these are all philosophical questions/issues:


              There’s actually a branch of philosophy that deals directly with the use of science called the “Philosophy of Science.”

              Philosophy of Science is not Science, which is evidenced based.

              1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

                I think the philosophy of science deals with the foundation of science and the nature of science, such as its inductive nature, and the question of what science is – with the best current philosophical explanation of a scientific theory as ‘the best current explanation.’

                The emphasis is on ‘explanation.’

                Thus science offers explanations, not operations manuals to plunder Nature.

                The problem occurs, then, when we do not stop at treating a science theory as an explanation, but use it as a weapon to be exploited by the Greedy and those hungry for Military Domination.

                Taking a step back from even those – Greed and Dominatin – and reflecting over ‘the best current explanation,’ we ask a more general question, what if what is deemed good (under our best current explanation) might be judged bad under our future best explanation and how should one conduct oneself with what we know scientifically, that is, only tentatively? Would we be able to rein in human hubris, aided by tentatively best explanations, that way?

      2. Kurt Sperry

        Indeed. Newtonian models still work great for almost anything you need to do involving physical objects of human scales on the Earth.

        Science has consistently produced progressively more accurate descriptions of reality from its very start. The process also given time consistently corrects the errors made within it. Scientists can be dogmatic, but science writ large generally and pretty reliably isn’t.

    5. Bruno Marr

      I know I’m late to the debate but, science is a process (observation-hypothesis-testing-etc.) NOT an immutable Truth.

      So scientists have observed climate data and hypothesized that CO2 is increasing, and ongoing testing of the evidence indicates that the climate systems are increasing in energy (through heat gain) which makes weather systems more active/unstable/dynamic and causes a rate of change that can upend expected weather patterns and the social/cultural endeavors (agriculture, flood control, etc.) that we depend on.

      Unless you’re one hell of an “outdoorsman” that’s likely to affect most of us.

      1. Synapsid

        Bruno Marr,

        “…hypothesized that CO2 is increasing…”

        Well, no–that’s measurement. Keeling started that back in the 1950s, on Mauna Loa, and it’s now measured every day at sites all over the world. Look up “Keeling curve”.

    6. optimader

      Thanks Jim
      With your rather eccentric logic, you reinforce NDT’s point with:
      “Dogmatic statements that one side has won a scientific debate are rash”

      First things first, NDT’s point:
      The minimum standard for a legitimate scientific debate is that the opposing claim have a recognizable scientific basis. Faith based claims do not fulfill that standard and therefore should not be presented as a false surrogate for a legitimate debate claim. (File under: Debate, Fallacy of Faith)

      Second things second, Your point:
      In legitimate scientific debate, flawed or misapplied theory is disposed of by the more robust theory.

      A unique aspect of scientific debate that many people don’t grasp is that legitimate scientific debates are never really “won”. The result of a successful scientific debate is when a prevailing “theory” is recognized as a refinement more closely approaching Truth.

      You kinda trip and bang your nose with the nonsequitur about Climate Science though. What is your point? It sounds suspiciously like a specious suggestion analogous to GPS “quickest route” algorithms are unreliable models for providing driving instructions because they can’t anticipate the impact of a truck of ball bearings flipping over 10 minutes up the road.

    7. hunkerdown

      Tyson is simply a high-ranking evangelist for Scientific Materialism. If it’s a religion, and unquestionably any system of weighting facts for truth is just that, we ought to capitalize it, right?

      1. F. Beard

        In other words, a nerd?

        Scientists are useful, of course, but you’d never want them running things.

    8. F. Beard

      Yep. I recall the so-called “End of History”* once the West beat Communism but it turns out the West has intrinsic flaws too – long anticipated by the Bible, btw – such as systematic oppression of the poor via a government-enabled usury for stolen purchasing power cartel.

      * Hah! Then where’s the peace dividend?!

  7. Andrew Watts

    RE: Obama’s Economic Significance

    The New Deal robbed many radicals of their revolutionary fervor. Why bother with a revolution when American democracy was capable of peacefully instituting the Socialist Party’s political platform? The labor-radical coalition was only a dominant force in politics for a short period of time and look at their lasting accomplishments. It doesn’t seem radical to us in the present and herein lies the brilliant legacy of that historical period.

    The political forces that seek to overthrow the New Deal programs are unquestionably reactionary and increasingly revolutionary. This threat to democracy is not originating from the oligarchs alone. An oligarchy has always maintained a persistent and considerable presence under every democratic system. it’s a feature of any system of democratic governance that struggles between the competing interests of the many and the few frequently occur.

    The real enemy of democracy has been fascism. The growth of proto-fascist thought has been facilitated in part by popular culture. Where evil is too strong and good is too weak. The legal system is incapable of handling criminals while the political system remains paralyzed. Therefore we need “super men” vigilantes that disregard any law beyond their own strength.

    Those among the political right who openly admire an autocrat like Putin and the liberal left that unquestionably support the ascension of any revolutionary group are an ominous sign.

    RE: WikiLeaks’ Julian Assange: NSA critics got lucky because agency had no PR strategy

    It wasn’t luck. The first rule of politics is to goad your opponent into saying or doing something stupid and then viciously attacking them. I’ve taken to calling it the “James R. Clapper Commandment of Politics”.

    It’s still good to hear that Assange approves of the progress that’s been made.

    1. Benedict@Large

      “…and the liberal left that unquestionably support the ascension of any revolutionary group…”

      Just who is this fantasy left that you are talking about? I have been a liberal for all of my six decades, and have associated with other liberals the entire time. I have never once met any liberals like the ones you refer to.

      You need to turn off AM radio. It is bad for your brain.

    2. hunkerdown

      “Representative democracy” was designed to be neither. Can you please deal with the constitutional republic we have instead of intentionally trying to convince us that we ought to be satisfied with the nerf-bat policy-excluded democracy Madison and the other aristocrat founders ACTUALLY and INTENTIONALLY gave us?

      Seriously. Go read Federalist #10 and see if you can still flog that “he lets me stand on the stage with him” “representation” as anything more meaningful than a pacifier.

    3. Andrew Watts

      The American left wing has an uncomfortable history with it’s admiration of authoritarian leaders. During the Great Depression there were many left-wing supporters of Stalin. Of course, this was before the full extent of the purges and heinous atrocities was widely known. Similarly the right wing had a problem with it’s admiration for fascists like Mussolini.

      Do I really have to bring up more recent examples in the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt or the current situation in the Ukraine? Maybe I should bring up how easily Americans are suckered into supporting a cult of personality?

      Because nothing has changed since then, right? All you have do is ignore a few hundred years of American political history and it’s developments.

      Roosevelt is routinely accused of saving capitalism when all he did was pilfer the ideas of the Socialist Party. Sometimes it’s incredibly funny how ignorant Americans are of their own ironic history. In other instances like your “our democracy is a sham” bit it’s a tad worrisome. It’s worked out pretty well so far despite the political incompetence that is far too common.

      “Democracy is finding proximate solutions to insoluble problems.” -Reinhold Niebuhr

    1. JTFaraday

      Here’s another p*ssing match. 6+ years of blaming women’s and minority movements for the failings of liberals and the left, and these guys still can’t figure out why they still have no friends.

        1. Linden

          “And the funny thing about it when you think about it, Tom, is that if you’re concerned with the conditions of black Americans, most black people are working people. One might say even disproportionately. And what improves the condition of the working class is going to improve the condition of more black people than the disparity focus would. That’s not to say it’s either/or. But the fact is we’ve largely dropped the one in favor of the other. You can see the same thing in the women’s movement. I made this point in the article. It wasn’t that long ago when the political agenda of the women’s movement included stuff like comparable worth and universal child and elder care. And right now, attention to that stuff is shriveled. The defense of reproductive rights is a constant, of course. But the political-economic program that gets touted by the women’s movement is directed toward the glass ceiling and the first woman president. Stuff like that.”

          So in other words, blacks, and I suppose also women, shouldn’t point out that a successful class-based campaign, should it prove to be the rising tide that lifts all boats, will still leave their boats lower compared to others in more fortunate groups. And the women’s movement has never stopped fighting for paid universal child care and elder care, but the progressives have never taken either up as a cause so they could get wider traction. To them, they are “women’s” issues, not “everyone’s” issues. “Everyone’s” issues are those that affect white men also: economic inequality (but not the kind that comes from not being white men) and civil liberties (but not the kind that assert one’s ownership of one’s own uterus against the power of the government). Icky women and minorities scare away white men, whose votes somehow count for more because they are “real” votes, not votes based on mere self-interest.

          1. Synopticist

            The biggest reason the “left” in America is so uniquely weak, in comparison with the rest of the western world, is because it’s embraced identity politics more than elsewhere.

            There’s no substitute for a strong labour movement and po0litical agitation for a more economically fair society.

          2. Klassy

            seems to me that comparable worth has fallen off the radar. I think comparable worth is huge.

      1. hunkerdown

        It couldn’t possibly be that one of the core tenets of identity politics, and quite possibly the main reason why rich aristocrats see fit to fund it, is that navel-gazing and “being us” is what little people should do instead of worrying their pretty little heads over policy?

  8. Dikaios Logos

    Seeing all the links on bad Chinese economic data made my mind wander into dangerous, if also informed speculation about the Malaysia Airlines plane.

    First of all, the fact that the stolen passports are Europeans makes use by Uighurs, the Turkic minority in the far west, very likely. Many Uighurs could be easily confused for Europeans, especially Southern Europeans, so the use of an Italian passport really makes me wonder.

    Second, travelers to Beijing (or Shanghai or Guangzhou) with connecting international flights within 72 hours don’t need Chinese visas. The Chinese have gotten very persnickety about reviewing visa applications in recent years—this transit visa policy would be the loophole to exploit.

    Third, for reasons related to accidents with fireworks, explosives screening on Chinese domestic flights and trains tends to be very good and has been for decades.

    Fourth, the very much underreported in the U.S. Kunming terrorist attacks of last week make me wonder about the timing of this. Clustering of this kind of activity seems a good technique to increase paranoia. As does basing it in ‘safe’ areas like Kunming (the capitol of Yunnan, the most multi-ethnic province in China) or overseas Chinese havens like Kuala Lumpur that don’t have the experience with terrorism that you would see in a place like Beijing.

    And finally, timing this stuff to be coincident with bad economic data might be more than a coincidence!

    Sorry for the indulgent thoughts, but NC readers do understand the world is full of questionable actions and motives and so I thought I’d share! And Uighurs have many reasons to upset, including religious crackdowns and a ridiculous recent experience with ‘development’ by a heavy-handed Chinese state.

  9. Doug Terpstra

    Richard Wolff confirms Obama’s pivotal role in the final consolidation of the class war coup, a relentless assault on the New Deal, climaxing in Obama as ultimate outsider and stealth neocon. Indeed, as consummate wolf in sheep’s clothing, O makes Machiavelli look like a paragon of transparent integrity and moral character. And after O, gifted charlatans and pretense will no longer be necessary; the class war triumph is a fait accompli. All that remains is for the system to implode of its own wretched excess.

    Chris Hedges has a great piece on “the malaise and sickness of a society in terminal moral decline” in “Welcome to Satan’s Ball”.

    “Bulgakov, Mann and Roth understood
    that here is no real political ideology
    among decayed ruling elites. They
    knew that political debate and
    ideological constructs for these elites
    is absurdist theater, a species of
    entertainment for the masses. They
    warned that once societies enter
    terminal decay, in the end it is the blunt
    forces of censorship, relentless
    propaganda, coercion, fear and finally
    terror that keep a subdued population
    in check. Those who hold power in
    such systems are thieves who run a
    vast kleptocracy.

    “The rise of criminal elites is global.
    Vladimir Putin is a megalomaniac and
    a thug who is filling his personal
    coffers while he is the leader of Russia,
    and Barack Obama, who has more
    polish and sophistication, will fill his
    own pockets, as did the Clintons, with
    tens of millions of dollars as soon as
    he leaves office. The banks and
    corporations for which Obama works
    are as criminal and corrupt as the
    Central Bank of Russia…”

    “Our elites have established the most
    efficient system of mass surveillance
    in history. They have abolished most of
    our civil liberties. They have trashed
    our economy for their own personal
    gain. They have looted state treasuries
    and thrown working men and women
    aside. Satan is again holding a great
    ball. You are not invited. I am not
    invited. Only the gangsters will be
    there. Putin will be an honored guest.
    So will Obama.”

    1. diptherio

      Hedges is writing poetry now, eh? Pretty depressing and un-musical stuff if you ask me. I think he should stick to journalism where those things aren’t an issue.

      [joking, poorly]

      1. Doug Terpstra

        Hedges is a rather gloomy “poet prophet”. People enjoy him about as much as Israelis enjoyed Jeremiah … before they self-destructed. Jeremiah couldn’t sell his form of journalism very successfully either.

    2. craazyman

      It all makes me think of the scene in Brothers Karamazov when Ivan tells the parable of Christ coming back to earth at Seville at the time of the inquisition. If George Washington himself, who turned down the chance to be King came back, he, like Christ, would be told he is no longer needed. Nor would Lincoln be needed. Nor would Teddy Roosevelt. Nor would Franklin Roosevelt nor Dwight Eisenhower. One after the other, they’d be told they are no longer needed. The system has been perfected, improved upon since their time, to achieve the best of all possible worlds and they can turn around and leave the living and go back to the land of the dead. We the living no longer need to think or feel, no longer need to wonder what a man is or what a woman is, no longer need to contemplate the relation between individual and state, no longer need to ask any questions at all. We have money to do that for us and we have given it the power to enforce its own laws. So efficiently and so pragmatically that human intervention can only subtract from the perfection thus achieved. Even Jesus Himself would be turned away, again, and quite probably crucified again if He didn’t go quietly. Unless, of course, He brought with him enough money to hand out so that they could buy whatever he wanted to sell.

  10. notexactlyhuman

    I’m sure that most of you are already in the know regarding how free trade agreements are hamstring in any and all attempts to significantly reform healthcare and make it affordable, but I’m relatively new to the premise. Seems, as per usual, everyone’s speaking for the establishment has been lying all along.

    I’m now curious as to the timing of Hillary dropping healthcare reform relative to the introduction of NAFTA and whatever other FTAs that were proposed or enacted during Bill Clinton’s presidency.

    1. allcoppedout

      They should bring in advisers on transparency from the Metropolitan Police. A search there is being made difficult because they didn’t keep records of the destruction of the records that might be relevant to finding the records that – er – were destroyed.

  11. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    From the BBC Asian markets tumble link:

    “Whether GDP [gross domestic product] growth is to the left or to the right of 7.5%, that is not very important,” said Mr Lou, according to Reuters.

    He added that what was most important was job creation.

    That’s nice, though in the 50’s and in the future, better sharing of wealth, not just job creation, was and would be the most important aim, in a back-to-the-future sort of the way.

  12. Jackrabbit

    From Now On, No Compromises Are Possible For Russia

    Henry Kissenger’s call for “balanced dissatisfaction” which got a lot of attention is really a case of ‘too little too late’ adult supervision. Kissenger and other in-the-know moderates should’ve been warning about the neocons long ago. (Maybe he was? Admittedly, I have not followed Kissenger’s views but it seems that whatever push-back the neocons got after Iraq fadded years ago).

    Russia is dealing with the perceived threat on its borders decisively. Either the neocons miscalculated or they figured that they would create ‘facts on the ground’ that would drag the West into support for Ukraine. In for a penny, in for a pound (of flesh?). And in that regard, they seem to have been successful. Despite the potentially huge costs and a possible cold or hot war, who in the west will argue against Ukrainian ‘freedom’?

    = = =

    It is the same for the neo-libs. Like neocons, they are ideologues and unless they are effectively countered they will keep at it until the world looks/operates as they want it too. Although NC, and others, have been pushing back against the neolib agenda, those who oppose neolibs seem to have gotten little real traction.

    ‘Austerity’ is the neolib Ukraine. Many seem to think ‘austerity’ is a short-term prescription for an ailing economy. I suspect it is not. It is likely to be a permanent condition as it is the culmination and continuation of a long-term campaign of occupation: occupation of global resources by a global elite. Instead of “f–ck the EU”, the neolibs give us “f–ck the 99%” via tax cuts, looting, and “recovery” propaganda. Developed nations have been essentially bankrupted and weakened in favor of corporate and monied interests that care for little more than their power and prerogatives. Yet who in the West will argue against “free markets” and the ransom payments (tax cuts) to “job givers” that we are told are necessary to effect them?

    = = =

    People of good faith in positions of responsibility should speak up BEFORE disasters like the Global Financial Crisis, Ukraine, Inequality, 1984-like police states, Climate Change, etc. They could start by pointing out how our dumbed-down and ingrained assumptions of FREEdom and FREE markets have become mental chains exploited by unscrupulous ideologues.

    1. NotSoSure

      There’s no mystery. We allow it because we think maybe someday we’ll become one and get a huge payday as well. Humans beings and delusions …….

      1. allcoppedout

        My guess is the public are generally too stupid to understand, rather than deluded they can make it big without winning the lottery. They think they have a much great chance there than they really do.

      2. Emma

        For some human beings, “Not engaging in ignorance is wisdom” and that is the best tip of all.

      3. Doug Terpstra

        I’m notsosure about that. I think a large majority were plenty steamed about the criminal bonuses and the selective sanctity of contracts, just as they were opposed to bailouts that funded them. Wall Street simply flipped us the finger and said, “hey, it’s a free market; buy your own damn president, AG, and congresswhore.”

        1. Brooklin Bridge

          agree. public apathy comes about generally due to MSM propaganda and/or silence. Complexity, either real or manufactured (again often by the MSM) is usually a distant second for cause.

      4. Jackrabbit

        The losses have been papered over so many don’t feel cheated. And those who have tangible losses are told that it is their fault or nobody’s fault. And another thing: many don’t believe that their protestations would change anything.

    2. HotFlash

      I assure you that I am not apathetic. I have been stamping my feet and whistling for months, years even. What do you propose, a petition?

  13. rowlf

    The Guardian article on Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 show the typical lack of research in journalism. Much of the information on aircraft is available if some time is spent to understand the systems involved. Had the author spent some time researching the subject, he would have found out that most Airbus and Boeing aircraft manufactured after the late 1980’s downlink fault information to their groundside maintenance systems. Not all operators use this feature, but many find it useful to be able to see the same faults the flight crews are seeing while the aircraft is flying, so they can assist the pilots in operating procedures and to get a head start in correcting the fault after the aircraft lands by alerting ground staff and moving material. Some ground programs allow the user to set alerts and even send text messages to the ground staff when a specific fault or class of faults occurs. (Airbus has a very good integrated software suite for maintenance functions on their aircraft.)

    After the Air France flight 447 crash in 2009 the list of flight faults that occurred during the flight was made available for review within the industry. This was not the same as the data that is recorded by the flight data recorder, but is used alongside the data from the flight data recorder and the cockpit voice recorder to reconstruct event.

    If journalists can’t get a relatively simple, research able story about airplanes correct, what other stories are they mucking up?

  14. Wayne Reynolds

    Regarding the 6.9 earthquake in Northern California, back in the early 70’s I lived in Anchor Bay just south of the quake site. From the map in the link the quake appears to have happened at Point Arena where the San Andreas fault emerges from the sea and cuts through the land. Back in the early 70’s that was the proposed site of a nuclear power plant. There was much controversy about the high paying jobs in the construction of the plant for the locals versus the anti-nuclear people. Thank god the anti-nuke people prevailed.

  15. Hugh

    “That’s the beauty of science — the “dogma” is not “dogma” for long. Real science tosses conventional wisdom as soon as reliable measurements prove that dogma wrong.”

    And this is why economics is not a science. While I agree Neil deGrasse Tyson is romanticizing the process and ignoring the politics in the scientific establishment, good science does eventually displace the mistakes and misconceptions which preceded it. And while science can open us up to vast new universes, it is only one aspect of our human nature.

    1. allcoppedout

      Economics is probably caught up more directly with the various idiot traditions of general upbringing that Bacon called Idols 400 years ago. Science is remarkably difficult to pin down as a method or even set of them, In the philosophy of it one is quickly into the head banging language of structured realism, the possibility of an information world, Bourbaki sets and the interplay of at least, mathematical structure, the empirical claims of a theory, the function of theoretical terms, rôle of approximation, the evolution of theories and intertheoretic relations. Even this is complicated further by problems in logic and language in use. It is perhaps not surprising that only highly simplified versions of this translate to the world of the interested lay reader (including most scientists) in terms like ‘paradigm’ and ‘world view’. One fairly sophisticated version is called actor-network theory, described by one of the principal writers, Bruno Latour, as four words, four lies (the hyphen being a word).

      Most people can’t resist the rush to knowledge and conviction, and most think they can argue without knowing much about argument (actually another complex minefield). In our institutions we often leave the decision-making in the hands of the inexpert (juries), or the magical ‘expertise’ of the charismatic (leadership), consumers making rational decisions (so when do we see rational adverts?) and the ballot box. None of this is necessarily wrong, but one sees little sign of the incorporation of this in the action frame of reference of using science. Added to this, we have an education system and main media that are chronically non-scientific and science itself formulated more or as as unteachable to most.

      I actually don’t drink much, but can’t help noticing almost everyone down the pub understands parting with beer vouchers in exchange for temporary sociability and liver damage. And most have little clue the pint is two pennies at the factory gate and three quid delivered in the glass. We are used to life being made simple for us. I start research methods with a magic act and try to let people explore rather than find the dogma that satisfies me. I hope there is something more in the process than learning, say, Beard’s ability to come up with (usually pertinent) Biblical citation as we flirt with Gramsci and Foucault, or look at expressing complex data in spreadsheet cubing or databases. If I get people to grasp the contradiction that I’m teaching to get people thinking for themselves, I let myself have a ‘star’. Science has attitude.

  16. liberal

    “How the Rich Became Dependent on Government Welfare”

    LOL. The rich have been dependent on government welfare ever since private ownership of land was created.

  17. alex morfesis

    From now on no compromises are possible for russia

    Test pit/Valentin

    we are all a victim of our upbringing and our choice to try to expand beyond the cages we create in our minds…

    but this russian meme that at Yalta, the russians got to play with eastern europe…permanently…

    that was the secret deal churchill made for the nobility with Stalin to insure no competition from royals attempting to resurrect their “houses” and take back their “sovereign subjects”

    The US did not sign on to that deal with stalin…that was the british

  18. Doug Terpstra

    I think a bit of historical context, in this case the complete US rap sheet of crimes (Guatemala, Chile, Nicaragua, Honduras, Panama, Grenada, Venezuela (failed), Cuba (failed), Yugoslavia, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, Egypt, Syria (failed so far; Ukraine is payback?), Libya ..) also provide prodigious circumstantial for US penchant for regime change. Add $5 billion and the smoking tape of Nulan and Pyatt, then ask cui bono? and wjo had means, motive, and opportunity?, snd I don’t see how one could possibly dismiss US engineering.

    See also: “US Imperialism and the Ukraine Coup”

  19. douceur de vivre

    Thanks much for the McClatchy article at 12:06. It shows the civilized world’s version of regime change playing out.

    The CIA Act of 1949 was the enabling act for a new regime that set the constitution aside. It was as drastic a change as when the Constitution replaced the Articles of Confederation. The 1949 Act replaced rights and law with autocratic rule by what Truman called the president’s Gestapo.

    The Act’s INTELLIGENCE OPERATIONS AND COVER ENHANCEMENT AUTHORITY contains this gem: “(j) FINALITY OF DECISIONS. —Any determinations authorized by this section to be made by the Director of the Central Intelligence Agency or the Director’s designee shall be final and conclusive and shall not be subject to review by any court.”

    But pressure from the outside world is changing the US regime again.

    Convention Against Torture Article 2, an act equivalent to federal statute, supersedes and amends the 1949 Act to prohibit decisions conferring impunity for torture:

    “1. Each State Party shall take effective legislative, administrative, judicial or other measures to prevent acts of torture in any territory under its jurisdiction.

    2. No exceptional circumstances whatsoever, whether a state of war or a threat of war, internal political instability or any other public emergency, may be invoked as a justification of torture.

    3. An order from a superior officer or a public authority may not be invoked as a justification of torture.”

    [ ]

    And Article 7, clause 2 reads, “authorities shall take their decision in the same manner as in the case of any ordinary offence of a serious nature under the law of that State.” So much for hiding your torturers from the courts. In independent courts – which still exist, outside US borders – it’s open season on CIA torturers.

    CIA has been fighting the law tooth and nail by wrapping legally-mandated investigations in red tape and using the CIA-controlled DoJ to intimidate their way to impunity.

    And it’s not just the CIA regime’s torture under threat, it’s their drone murder, their disappearances, their aggression. In the same way that the Helsinki Convention punctured Soviet legitimacy with innumerable slow leaks, international codification of the Nuremberg Principles is puncturing the legitimacy of fake US democracy and CIA rule.

  20. Alexa

    Fascinating and striking “owl” photo, James R! Thought owls slept in “perch” position.
    Wonder if National Geographic would be interested in purchasing rights to this photo–just a thought!


    1. Clive

      Story still emerging here, but unfortunatley it does seem to be more to do with the reported £3.66M comp package he was apparently asking for which was leaked by a, presumably, somewhat disenfranchised member of the board or otherwise in-the-know C-level exec. Kind-a hard to square that sort of money with what was thought to be the co-op’s ethos.

      “thought to be” being the phrase here. Any last vestiges of the co-operative movement died when the group got bought up by private equity. After that, any quaint notions of a worker or member owned business model should have been cremated at one of the co-op’s funeral parlours.

      Yes, you’re right though Lambert, the other banks are quietly bitchin’ to the government about the “special treatment” given to the co-op (not least it still being able to pretend / market itself as a mutual when it’s just mercenary private equity pulling the stings, that’s with the politicians to decide and they’re taking their time about it). An enquiry is pending, but it would be fairly safe to assume that the co-op was allowed to trade while insolvent for at least a year as various attempts were made at a back-door bailout.

      Really, the UK banking industry bears more than a passing resemblance to a circus freak show.

      And CEOs of course are all about gimme-gimmie-gimme — but it’s one thing to behave like that behind the scenes, it’s another to be pilloried for it in public. Normally your typical CEO can get away with it because, after all, it’s duh market don’cha know. But with the co-op still pretending to be a co-op, it all gets a bit more scrutiny. Shows how thin-skinned these Louis XIV act-a-likes are — without their court and their flunkies shielding them and, oh, the horror of it, the grubby unwashed faces of the proletariat getting within earshot and asking awkward questions, they bawl their eyes out. Poor loves.

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