Links 3/27/14

Goats are far more clever than previously thought PhysOrg (Robert M)

Danish Zoo Reviled in the Death of a Giraffe Kills 4 Lions New York Times (Scott) :-(

Researchers suggest Vikings used crystals with sun compass to steer at night PysOrg (Chuck L)

Gameover Malware Targets Job Seekers Slashdot (bob)

Historic Court Ruling Stops Cultivation of Bayer’s GM Maize in Brazil Sustainable Pulse

Watch the US Drop 2.5 Million Tons of Bombs on Laos Mother Jones

Once Again, Australia is Stealing Its Indigenous Children CounterPunch (Chuck L)

Chinese steel mills face ruin MacroBusiness

China has a little bank run MacroBusiness

Plunge seen in project launches in Bangkok and suburbs ThaiVisa (furzy mouse)

ECB Faces Uncharted Waters With Negative Deposit Rate Wall Street Journal

Struggling eurozone risks losing its good looks Financial Times

Sisi leaves army to run for Egypt presidency Financial Times


IMF Reaches Deal to Provide up to $18 Billion to Ukraine Wall Street Journal

Ukraine agrees to 50% gas price hike amid IMF talks BBC (OIFVet)

Why Ukraine’s Next President Doesn’t Matter OilPrice

Military Cuts Render NATO Less Formidable as Deterrent to Russia New York Times. Oops.

American Constitutional History Professor: Crimea’s Secession from Ukraine is VALID … and Mirrors America’s Path to Becoming an Independent Nation George Washington

Obama Says Putin’s Challenging the World Order in Ukraine Bloomberg. Translation: OMG, a national leader is refusing to blink when Obama barks.

Petition of Alaska joining Russia polls over 25,000 votes Voice of Russia (furzy mouse)

European Banks Feel Effects of Crimea Crisis, With Austria Bearing Brunt New York Times. Austria’s banks came too close for comfort to faiilng in the crisis. Austrians were convinced Germany would rescue them when Germans thought otherwise.

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

Some Questions About the President’s Phone-Records Proposal Just Security

UK Court Says Information Stored Electronically Is Not ‘Property’ Techdirt (Chuck L). I’m not sure I’d be that worried. Most competently-drafted contracts re outsourcing databases make clear that the data is owned by the party who created the database. So don’t accept a vendor contract blindly, and make sure you add a clause that specifie the data your provide and any updates are yours! Copyrighting properly would also take care of that, at least in the US.

Obamacare Launch

Democrats’ Obamacare albatross Boston Globe

Obamacare Will Never Be Popular Bloomberg

A Few Religious Objections to Hobby Lobby, et al. Peterr, Firedoglake (Carol B)

UPDATE 4-U.S. lawmakers want Gilead to explain Sovaldi’s hefty price Reuters (furzy mouse)

The Democrats are indeed “doomed” Lambert. Freudian slips in fundraising appeals.

One simple chart shows just how big Daily Kos’ tent actually is (and it’s very big) Daily Kos. OMG, Daily Kos tells you why you should never support them in one simple chart. As one maven put it: “They are proving their value to their paymasters and that they understand the true face of the Dems. Their job is to corral the left into the right.”

New York Moves Country Closer to Eliminating the Electoral College Jon Walker, Firedoglake (Carol B)

Sheriff’s Dept. Charges Man With No Drugs With ‘Intent To Distribute Counterfeit Controlled Substances’ Techdirt (Chuck L). Pre-crime is here.

Why the S&P is a bubble MacroBusiness

App Maker Buckles on 1st Day of Trading Dealbook

Fed Rejects Capital Plans For Citi, HSBC, RBS, Santander, Zions ValueWalk (MacroDigest)

Will a For-Profit Degree Help You Get a Job? Atlantic (Carol B). I’m surprised anyone is still asking that question.

Democratic Compromises, Capitalist “Market Discipline:” The Real Reasons For Unemployment Cuts Bruce Dixon

Unemployed, and heading toward foreclosure MSNBC (Carol B)

The Right’s New ‘Welfare Queens”: The Middle Class New Yorker (furzy mouse)

Bank of America to Pay $6.3 Billion to Settle Mortgage Securities Suit New York Times. Lambert: “Check the comments, which are from paying subscribers.” They make the usual fare from the NC commentariat look tame.

Newly unsealed documents show Steve Jobs’ brutal response after getting a Google employee fired Mark Ames, Pando


DEBATE: Can accountants be trusted? Economia (Richard Smith)

Antidote du jour (furzy mouse). A mixed beach! Wish I had links telling the story.


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  1. Michael Fiorillo


    My guess is that this photo was taken on Assateague Island in Virginia, which is a national wildlife refuge known for its wild (feral, really) horses, and made famous by the children’s book “Misty of Chincoteague.”

      1. down2long

        This year the family got the bright idea of having the family reunion at the beach. Aunt Mable and Aunt Beatrice got drunk as usual and passed out on the sand. I was mortified as all the whiteskins stared at us, but what can you do? I just acted like I didn’t know any of those horses asses. I think I pulled it off. How embarassing.

  2. skippy

    Association between economic growth and early childhood undernutrition: evidence from 121 Demographic and Health Surveys from 36 low-income and middle-income countries


    Economic growth is widely regarded as a necessary, and often sufficient, condition for the improvement of population health. We aimed to assess whether macroeconomic growth was associated with reductions in early childhood undernutrition in low-income and middle-income countries.


    We analysed data from 121 Demographic and Health Surveys from 36 countries done between Jan 1, 1990, and Dec 31, 2011. The sample consisted of nationally representative cross-sectional surveys of children aged 0—35 months, and the outcome variables were stunting, underweight, and wasting. The main independent variable was per-head gross domestic product (GDP) in constant prices and adjusted for purchasing power parity. We used logistic regression models to estimate the association between changes in per-head GDP and changes in child undernutrition outcomes. Models were adjusted for country fixed effects, survey-year fixed effects, clustering, and demographic and socioeconomic covariates for the child, mother, and household.


    A quantitatively very small to null association was seen between increases in per-head GDP and reductions in early childhood undernutrition, emphasising the need for direct health investments to improve the nutritional status of children in low-income and middle-income countries.

    Skippy… well there goes another free market truism down the same feted hole that spawned it … only like a trillion+ to go… sigh…

  3. Ignim Brites

    Is Gov. Cuomo really going to sign a bill that commits NY to giving its votes to a popular vote winning Republican even if the Rep only has a plurality? Seems unlikely. If the Electoral College should be abolished then abolish it. But don’t be surprised if in consequence the People and its country are also abolished.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Scaling up, at the UN, all votes should be popular votes.

      That means

      1. No more vetoes by the Big Five
      2. No more ‘one nation, one vote.’ China, India and Indonesia, each a billion plus in population, should have far more votes than, say, Iceland, Malta and Jamaica.

      Maybe China and India work something out to 1. outlaw bullfighting and 2. allow elephant tusks and rhino horns to be traded freely everywhere. It’s ‘you win some and you lose some.’

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Thank you. You’re right.

          I blame it on my bigness-phobia – fear of large numbers or anything big. But not envy…I am not jealous that India has over 1 billion humans.

  4. no more banksters

    Greece: Two more to assist the neoliberal government?

    It seems that the systemic establishment recruits independent MPs who suddenly join the government when things become risky for its dominance

  5. vidimi

    Re: IMF Reaches Deal to Provide up to $18 Billion to Ukraine

    the WSJ does a much better job reporting on this than does reuters and, by extension, the guardian which ran it.
    here, at least, the conditions for the loan are mentioned in the opening paragraph. although the details are still opaque, the WSJ mentions further on that “they will be painful”.

    here is the reuters/guardian version for comparison:

    1. abynormal

      make room for the bond squids…’Approval is “expected in April, following the authorities’ adoption of a strong and comprehensive package of prior actions aiming to stabilize the economy and create conditions for sustained *growth*,’

      hmmm…“There are no such things as limits to growth, because there are no limits to the human capacity for intelligence, imagination, and wonder”
      Ronald Reagan / no wonder

      1. abynormal

        7/2008 Obama explained…”the key to a growing and prosperous economy is a motivated workforce that is engaged and constantly thinking about how it can improve itself, its company’s products and services, and its country.”
        (no wonder my pessimism is the only thing thats grown)

    2. Katniss Everdeen

      And these “painful” commitments are to be made, on behalf of the “Ukranian” people, by an UNELECTED bureaucrat, installed in an American fomented and financed coup and approved by American neocon queen Victoria Nuland. BEFORE any “elections.”

      Encapsulates the current American definition of “democracy” perfectly.

      1. Murky

        Ah, yes, the whole planet is in the spin cycle, acquiring opinions and a true depth of knowledge about events Ukraine. Everybody is an expert! Yes indeed, them ‘Ukranian’ people, as you tag them, have been thoroughly manipulated and duped. They are controlled drones of the American ‘neocon’ military/industrial/financial complex. Ukrainians have never ever had minds or a will of their own. That revolution in Ukraine thing can not possibly have been a ‘popular uprising’. Nah, people never mass protest against extreme and excessive corruption. Absolutely essential that the revolution it be termed as a ‘coup’. Controlled by elites from abroad. Employing 100% Ukrainian fascist thugs acting on direct orders from their American masters. And using terrorist weapons! Rocks, bottles, and gasoline. It’s also important that the narrative be simplistic. Good guys, bad guys. Singularity of evil. So the rabble and every yahoo can rant out opinions with self-righteous conviction. Choosing sides is way the faaaaak more important than any critical depth in the issues.

        Meanwhile, Jeffrey Sachs has written genuinely intelligent commentary about international law, NATO, and the misconduct of nations. Regrettably, he doesn’t take sides. Faaaaakin wimp.–sachs-sees-in-russia-s-annexation-of-crimea-the-return–with-us-complicity–of-great-power-politics

        If you really want to trash neocons, forget about blundering Victoria Nuland, and pay some attention to Michael McFaul. He was Obama’s ambassador to Russia, and he is probably one the best distillations of neocon views. Plenty of content available on this guy via google. He’s recently written editorials in the Washington Post, the New York Times, and just the day before yesterday he held a phone conference at the Council on Foreign Relations. Today’s McFaul piece is from the LA Times. Would love to read an intelligent take-down of McFaul’s version of Russian evil.,0,5504013.column

        And finally, today’s Christian Science Monitor gives an excellent overview of Russian mass media and propaganda.

        Oops, I forget to take sides! Here’s making up for that. Fascists! Neocons! Okay, I feel so much better now.

        1. Massinissa

          My god, that CSM article is like something from Pravda 40 years ago…

          Sorry man but im not convinced.

          1. Murky

            Massinissa, I doubt you have ever read Pravda. Be honest now! So why would you talk about things you know so little about? I’ve had to read Pravda many times. And in excruciating detail. BTW, Pravda had a curious interlude in the Yeltsyn era. Yeltysn banned it for a few months. Then Pravda got taken over by a Greek financier. Lost the communist party rant and became a popular rag with general interest content. Pravda Piat’ was the friday version of the rag, and it read like the leisure section of the New York Times. Becaame removed from an instruction set for the communist party managerial class, which is what the original Pravda was. Then there was a big fracas in the Russian courts. The Greek guy lost his right to publication. And the newspaper was returned to communist party ownership.

            Massinissa, are you at all cognizant of of the history of mass media in Russia? Forget about Tsarist period, although the emergence of newspapers, book publishers and a literate reading public at that time is actually quite interesting. Start from the Soviet period. TASS was the original Soviet Telegraph Agency and it’s existence has been continuous up to the present day. It’s been renamed as ITAR-TASS. But TASS was really clunky in it’s delivery of content; it was brute with the language of officialese and overly laden with ideological bricks. So the NOVOSTI press agency was created in 1962 (Wikipedia says 1961, but that’s not my recollection). Novosti’s task was to put out soft-prop, mostly general interest stories that could be digested by ordinary citizens. Novosti was actually quite successful, but just several months ago, Putin dissolved the Novosti press agency! Why? Because RT, Russia Today, was a new and more effective state-controlled outlet for Russian media and propaganda. The journalists at Novosti were given the option to be assimilated by RT, but most refused to be transferred. RT itself was created in 2005, and is by far the most sophisticated media apparatus ever seen in Russia. Think back for a moment to the Gorbachev years. At that time the discipline of sociology obtained some freedom from the strictures of Marxism Leninism, and centers for the study of public opinion were established for the first time in Russia. The Levada Center is one of them. Putin was smart enough to recognize that a knowledge of public opinion was quite useful to the regime. So now, RT works hand in hand with public opinion research, to bring you the very best news and propaganda! As regards state control of media, there are almost no independent television stations left in Russia. Moreover, many editors of major publications have been switched out in recent weeks because they didn’t carry Putin’s party line. That’s a fact, not some fantasy. Some censorship of internet content has also been established. Notably the website of Alexei Navalny, the top Russian dissent today, has been blocked. Propaganda has always been part of Soviet and post-Soviet news media; it’s an old habit that is firmly entrenched, and is very much alive today. The recent wave of propaganda emerging with the crisis in Ukraine is a phenomena worth observing, and the Christian Science Monitor has done an excellent job with it’s reporting.

            Massinissa, I do have a two words to describe your grasp of Russian media and propaganda. ‘Systematically ignorant’. So get educated.

            1. Synopticist

              I expect Russian state television to be chock-block full of propaganda. I thought we were better than that though, and we certainly used to be.
              These days, I’m not so sure.

              1. Murky

                Agree with you about how bad Western propaganda can be. Example? During the Kosovo war Western propaganda was mind numbing. Ordinary Americans really hated Serbs for a while; Serbs became the modern era Nazis. Russian propaganda in recent weeks has been at full throttle too, but at least it’s not a let’s-kill-Ukrainians type of propaganda. The day before yesterday, a Youtube video appeared with a tape of Tymoshenko allegedly stating that Russians in East Ukraine should be nuked! Nobody is taking the tape seriously. Besides which, Ukraine has no nukes to drop on anybody. Mostly the tape appears to be a showpiece of technical skill, that speech can be fabricated just as reliably as images can be photoshopped. The reporting that Maidan protesters used snipers is another obvious example of propaganda, never substantiated but widely reported. Other Russian disinformation included alleged harassment of Russian speakers in east Ukraine, none of which has been verified. Russian propaganda mostly just divides Ukrainians and Russian from each other, fostering a dangerous kind of nationalism. My overall take on the Russian propaganda blitz is that it needs to be documented, and that the Christian Science Monitor article does that well enough. I admit that I’m offended by this propaganda, but it does not make me anti-Russian. My take is that Ukraine and Russia are bound economically and by infrastructure, and that Ukraine’s instant Westernization is nuts. Neocons and NATO are definitelly going to charge into Ukraine any which way they can, and the problems in that region of the world are only likely to become much worse. I think Western propaganda is giving ‘neocons’ in Washington every excuse to build up the military industrial complex. It’s also a prelude to Western financialization of Ukraine. And so we’ve got a new cold war coming our way, thanks in large part to the effectiveness of propaganda. Is Western propaganda worse? Not to my thinking. Just equally bad.

                1. Synopticist

                  Being “equally bad” as the Russians makes us worse, in my book.
                  As for the Timoshenko tape, no-one in the west is taking it seriously, sure, but why? Any proof that it’s fake? Perhaps it’s because the old hag is a typical ex-soviet block oligarch murderous psycho, and the western MSM doesn’t want to remind us of the fact.

                  “The reporting that Maidan protesters used snipers is another obvious example of propaganda, never substantiated but widely reported.”
                  Huh? Substantiated by 19 dead policemen, surely?

            2. Katniss Everdeen

              Noted your spelling of “Yeltsyn.” Most Americans would have spelled it “Yeltsin,” if they could have spelled it at all.

              From yesterday’s ClubOrlov link:

              “In case you are wondering, to convert to Ukrainian, you take Russian and replace ‘y’, ‘o’ and ‘e’ with ‘i’, ‘i’ with ‘y’, and ‘g’ with ‘h’. To convert back—you ask a Russian.”


              Just wondering.

        2. Katniss Everdeen

          “Holy ‘Better dead than RED,’ Batman, this guy McFaul has about 65,000 TWITTER followers!!!@$%@!! And when he quit being ambassador to Russia, 1000 people tweeted ‘we’re going to miss you, Michael.’!!!!!@#%!@! 1000 people! Holy minuscule percentage of the American population! He MUST know what he’s talking about!” Robin exclaimed.

          “Yes, but ‘Yats’ was not elected, he was installed. It’s hard to see how he has the authority to sign a note payable by ‘them Ukranian’ people,” Batman mused.

          “I know, Caped Crusader. But Jeffrey Sachs, formerly of the Chicago School of Economics (as extensively detailed in The Shock Doctrine,) says we have a SOLEMN COMMITMENT. He cites INTERNATIONAL LAW. And the Christian Science Monitor says…..” (Thanks to Massinissa, Batman does not bother to read CSM)

          “To the Batmobile. Time for a consultation with Sergeant Joe Friday and Officer Bill Gannon. Just the “faaaaaks, Ma’am. I mean Robin.”

        3. bob

          I still think you’re Dick Cheney. Weren’t you originally feigning ignorance of Russia/Ukraine?

          1. Murky

            You’ve mistaken me. I am anti-NATO in the extreme. And I am against the neocon establishment in Washington D.C. too. The consensus on these issues is broad here. That much is good.

            What I am against are yahoo opinions from people having absolutely no depth in the history of the regions and people they make judgments about. History is complicated, not some cartoonish version of reality with easy solutions. Naked Capitalism deserves better.

            Care to state your views on the conflict in Ukraine, Bob?

            1. bob

              All I’ll state publicly- and you can quote me on this- the propaganda is getting really, really thick.

              I don’t suppose you’d answer your own question? Will it require a disclosure?

              1. OIFVet

                Bob, could you please link to Murky’s statement of ignorance on the Russia/Ukraine issue? This is rather peculiar, seeing how he’s “had to read Pravda many times” and his use of the Ukrainian spelling of YeltsYn instead of Yeltsin (great catch by Katniss). Murky also seems to be conversant in Russian.

                How about it Murky? Care to prove your credentials like I did when you asked me 5 days ago? You seem rather invested on this issue and something does not seem to fit quite right. Also, concern trolling is really overdoing it.

                  1. OIFVet

                    Thank you Bob. Then there are the repeated appeals to (biased) authority, Snyder being gospodin Mutnyy’s favorite go-to propagandist.

                    Murky, did you ever finish that google search about Polish anti-semitism? I am super anxious to find out if I wronged a whole nation by generalizing.

                    1. bob

                      It’s the passive aggressive apeal to authority. Claim the middle ground, then offer up a few letters after a name.

                      From that thread above-

                      “If Ukraine take a huge loan from the IMF, a hellish kind of austerity will be imposed. And if US foreign policy succeeds in completely prying loose Ukraine, the maniacs in Washington DC will want NATO in asap, and we can have a WW3 scenario. Anybody see reasons for optimism?A professor at Berkeley has proposed an economic program for Ukraine. It’s a little out of my depth, but there are people here who can make fair assessment.


                      He casts the IMF in a dull light, then offers up a white paper that reads like IMF 101, including a recommendation of going to the IMF on page 2.

                  2. JerseyJeffersonian

                    Cognitive disruptor.


                    Everyone else is an idiot, a naif, a bigot. Him? A sage, a deep scholar, one who worms his way into the thread by selectively aligning with sympathies present on this site. Tells everyone how “Naked Capitalism deserves better”…than idiot, naifs, and bigots such as we.

    3. Jim Haygood

      Currently, the IMF’s ‘big three’ borrowers are Greece ($36B), Portugal ($33B) and Ireland ($30B). $18 billion lent to Ukraine will rank it No. 4.

      However, Ukraine’s GDP per capita of about $3,900 (roughly equal to El Salvador’s) is less than a fifth of Portugal’s or Greece’s.

      Making poor people pay debt service on a loan of this size ought to do a good job of keeping them poor. But think of all the Ukrainian plumbers and porn stars that will emerge …

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        What eve happened to the quote, poor Mexico, so far from God and so close to the Untied States?

        In these modern days, in a shrunk world, proximity guarantees nothing, it seems.

      2. Peter Pan

        Although the current “kamikaze” cabinet of Ukraine will face elections in May, why do I suspect that the next cabinet will be overthrown by the people of Ukraine when they realize that they’ve been royally screwed over (economically) by association with the EU/USA/IMF and that the corruption continues to persist?

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          That’s when NATO will be called in to ‘maintain peace.’

          And German soldiers will be vacationing at the sunny shores of the Black Sea again.

          But history doesn’t stop there.

          We can look back to an even earlier period, when Germans and Russians worked closely together in-between the two World Wars, to relate to today’s story about German industry visiting Uncle Putin.

      3. Synopticist

        “Ukraine’s GDP per capita of about $3,900 (roughly equal to El Salvador’s)…”
        OMG. Holy sh*t, El Salvador. More than 5 times poorer than the Greeks.
        They’re also equal on the international transparency list of corrupt countries with Nigeria, (!!!!!!), and share a similar GINI co-efficient with that same proud African regional power.

        However sympathetic I am towards ordinary Ukrainians, these guys are not joining the EU anytime soon.

    4. Cynthia

      It will be interesting to see what happens after the IMF austerity program goes into full swing. Millions of Ukrainians unemployed, social programs cut, and public services privatized for higher fees.

      The triumphant parties in Ukraine will be searching for a scapegoat and what better target than the Jewish Prime Minister bankster Arseny Yatsenyuk.

  6. Ned Ludd

    Daily Kos demonstrates how to build a successful liberal website.

    1. Create a site that encourages contributions from people who are disenfranchised.
    2. As the site gets popular, promote establishment-friendly members of the community to be its moderators.
    3. Selectively enforce the rules to give establishment-friendly people free reign on the site.

    You have these packs of what seem to be Democratic Party loyalists (or hacks) polluting the comment threads of certain diarists, sometimes posting dozens of insults, totally absurd fallacies, and all kind of provocative comments. It all seems to be sanctioned by Kos and admin. There is no real even-handed moderation here. It is transparently biased and dishonest.

    4. Find contrived reasons to ban, or threaten to sanction, people who point out #3.
    5. Write a post explaining how diverse your site is.

  7. dearieme

    “Researchers suggest Vikings used crystals with sun compass to steer at night”: golly, that’s old news.

    1. ambrit

      I remember reading that the Vikings also used some sort of crystal that was polarized to find the sun during heavy overcast and cloud too. We always underestimate what old cultures were capable of.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        The only way to sell new stuff is to underestimate what old cultures were capable of.

        That’s Marketing 101.

    1. Katniss Everdeen

      I can only hope that this exquisite hypocrisy from our Nobel Peace Prize winning president will finally allow the US to assume its rightful place on top of the scrap pile of discredited global “empires.”

      And take the insane DC neocons with it.

      If he could accomplish this, even I could find a reason to praise Barack Hussein Obama.

    2. notexactlyhuman

      Uh oh. A crack in the illusion is spreading. A disillusioned Charles Pierce weighing in:

      “Two weeks ago, while discussing the president’s position on the fight between the Senate and the CIA, I said that I thought we had clearly defined the limits of the president’s philosophy of looking forward and not back, and of his role as national healer, and of the general theme of absolution that had charged his entire political career with a kind of redemptive energy. I was wrong. Yesterday, speaking in Brussels, the president soared past those limits and he and the fundamental justification of his presidency sailed into the surreal, perhaps never to return.

      In merciful brief, the president attempted to explain to the world why the self-destructive and mendacious decision of the United States to engage in aggressive war in Iraq in contravention of god alone knows how many provisions of international law was manifestly different — politically, legally, and morally — from Vladimir Putin’s land grabbing in and around Ukraine. Before anyone gave him a chance to be president, and throughout his unlikely rise to the White House, the president famously called the war in Iraq “the wrong war in the wrong place.” It was the first stark difference between the president and Hillary Clinton in the 2008 Democratic primary campaign and the clearest difference between the president and Senator John McCain in that year’s general election. It represented the cleanest break available to the country from the bloody stupdity of the previous administration. It was the seedbed for all the hope and all the change. The problem arose when the architects of the American fiasco were allowed to escape any real accounting for what they’d done in Iraq and to the United States. There was no public punishment, no public shaming, no indication from the new administration that it was ready to demand penance from the old. And yesterday, the president illustrated quite clearly the size of the corner in which his basic philosophy had painted him.

      The case he made was preposterous.”

      1. OIFVet

        Congratulations to Mr. Pierce, it only took him five years to realize that Obama is a charlatan. Many of us suspected it as soon as he announced his transition team and knew it for sure by mid-2009. Will any of the other bootlicking “progressives” risk their MSNBC and think tank sinecures and finally admit that the emperor has no clothes?

        1. Propertius

          Many of us suspected it as soon as he announced his transition team

          Some of us figured it out when he decided to lecture us on how important it was for health insurance companies to “have a seat at the table” (May 31, 2007). Flipping on public financing and telecom immunity in 2008 was just icing on the cake at that point.

          1. Synopticist

            “… how important it was for health insurance companies to “have a seat at the table””

            “A seat at the table”. How could anyone object to “a seat at the table”.
            That’s is pure Obama.

          2. OIFVet

            I admit that I was slow on the uptake. The first one to reveal Obama for what he is, and its not even a contest, is Dr. Adolph Reed in 1996:

            “In Chicago, for instance, we’ve gotten a foretaste of the new breed of
            foundation-hatched black communitarian voices; one of them, a smooth
            Harvard lawyer with impeccable do-good credentials and
            vacuous-to-repressive neoliberal politics, has won a state senate seat
            on a base mainly in the liberal foundation and development worlds. His
            fundamentally bootstrap line was softened by a patina of the rhetoric of
            authentic community, talk about meeting in kitchens, small-scale
            solutions to social problems, and the predictable elevation of process
            over program — the point where identity politics converges with
            old-fashioned middle-class reform in favoring form over substance. I
            suspect that his ilk is the wave of the future in U.S. black politics,
            as in Haiti and wherever else the International Monetary Fund has sway.
            So far the black activist response hasn’t been up to the challenge. We
            have to do better.”

            “The Curse of Community,” Village Voice, January 16, 1996

        1. down2long

          Poor Charles. I love him generally but his slow wakeup to Obeyme’s betrayal has been painful to watch. He still grasps at straws from time to time like a cuckholded husband making excuses for a strayed wife, “She didn’t love Jamie, it was his money”…..

      2. James Levy

        They are all creatures of the system and in the end will find a way to justify the actions of the system. To join the Power Elite is to jettison any heterodox thoughts from your head and embrace the fraternity. I said years ago the key moment for me was the video, right before his inauguration, of Obama yukking it up with Bush father and son while Jimmy Carter stood isolated and concerned at a distance from the other three. The body language was unmistakable: “I’m now in with the Players, and ain’t gonna waste my time with a loser like you.” I was concerned by the hopelessly folksy and pseudohistorical crap of his speech in Chicago the night he was elected, which seemed to wish away American history and imagine that now that he had been elected president, all was right with the world. But that picture of Obama and the Bushs was worth a thousand words, and told me all I needed to know about who Obama really was.

    3. Doug Terpstra

      That’s an encouraging link, especially the 300+ comments. In the photo, Obama appears to be arrayed in religious finery with a grand pipe organ as background, like a charlatan, with hands raised to heaven, exhorting his cult flock to partake of the sacramemtal Kool-aid. It’s good to see that such “exquisite hypocrisy” (Katniss) seems to have broken the basilisk’s evil spell.

      1. Peter Pan

        I think the key part of Obama’s speechifying was that NATO would protect Baltic countries that are part of NATO should Russia militarily threaten them.

        Reading between the lines and adding an Orwellian twist, my interpretation is that NATO may militarily threaten the Russian Baltic state of Kaliningrad by building up troops surrounding Kaliningrad’s border.

        1. Synopticist

          Oh gosh, yeah, you’re right, Kaliningrad.
          Please, don’t give them any ideas. Most neo-cons likely don’t even know it exists, so keep that under your hat, OK?

      2. Jess

        Exquisite hypocrisy? Yes. But “sacramental Kool-Aid” is a little exquisite wordsmithing in its own right. Nicely done, the whole comment.

    1. Katniss Everdeen

      A well-deserved “dis” in my opinion, made all the more obvious by the one person who tried to get the crowd to applaud but found no takers.

      I just wish someone would have thrown a shoe.

    2. Synopticist

      This comment below says a lot for me…: “No-one claps for Obama or wants to be his friend but Obama thinks he’s isolating Putin! LOL!”

  8. JTFaraday

    re: Bank of America to Pay $6.3 Billion to Settle Mortgage Securities Suit, New York Times. “Lambert: “Check the comments, which are from paying subscribers.” They make the usual fare from the NC commentariat look tame.”

    I can’t read these comments–I guess my computer/browser is too old– but I regularly read the comments at the NYTimes as the 2008 crisis unfolded. Despite what’s frequently claimed of the public at large, these commenters understood the basic outlines of the scam and were unrelentingly furious.

    There is a huge untapped fount of public anger about this.

    1. Lambert Strether

      The comments are there. It’s just that the designers crapped up the page with so much mobile-centric adaptive stuff in JavaScript that it’s slow to load. Just wait for the layout to stop randomly jumping around the screen and you’ll be fine [snort].

      1. JTFaraday

        No, not me. My browser really is too old. They didn’t even try to load all that fancy stuff in my browser.


        “mobile-centric adaptive stuff” I love it. I remember when I used to visit HuffPo on a daily basis, before it became painful for the browser to deal with. Killing the beauty of blogs has to be one of the great accomplishments of the phone based web, from the establishment perspective.

  9. SubjectivObject

    Austalia ………… try as I may …………. no coherent words …………. through the blind of rage

  10. Katniss Everdeen

    RE: Sheriff’s Dept. Charges Man With No Drugs With ‘Intent To Distribute Counterfeit Controlled Substances’

    It would appear that Oklahoma “law enforcement” could teach Eric Holder and his stooges in the “justice” department a thing or two about establishing “intent.”

    It doesn’t appear to be as hard as they’re making it out to be.

  11. optimader

    re”:Military Cuts Render NATO Less Formidable as Deterrent to Russia New York Times.

    Fortunately the US is not struggling and can “come up with additional military spending”!
    Maybe the unintuitive approach for the French economy at least would be to invade Crimea and then promptly surrender?

    The Mouse That Roared
    The Mouse That Roared is a 1955 Cold War satirical novel by Irish-American writer Leonard Wibberley, which launched a series of satirical books about an imaginary country in Europe called the Duchy of Grand Fenwick. Wibberley went beyond the merely comic, using the premise to make still-quoted commentaries about modern politics and world situations, including the nuclear arms race, nuclear weapons in general, and the politics of the United States.

    The tiny (three miles by five miles) European Duchy of Grand Fenwick, supposedly located in the Alps between Switzerland and France, proudly retains a pre-industrial economy, dependent almost entirely on making Pinot Grand Fenwick wine. However, an American winery makes a knockoff version, “Pinot Grand Enwick”, putting the country on the verge of bankruptcy.
    The prime minister decides that their only course of action is to declare war on the United States. Expecting a quick and total defeat (since their standing army is tiny and equipped with bows and arrows), the country confidently expects to rebuild itself through the largesse that the United States bestows on all its vanquished enemies (as it did for Germany through the Marshall Plan at the end of World War II).

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      There was another 1955 movie, Sissi (this from IMDb):

      16 year old princess Elisabeth, ‘Sissi’, follows her mother and sister Helene to the Austrian court in Ischl, where the engagement between Helene and the young emperor Franz Josef will be announced. But he meets Sissi when she’s out fishing and falls in love with her. Sissi also loves Franz Josef but a marriage with him comes with a bonus, his arrogant and headstrong mother.

      In 2009, it was made again and called Sisi this time (from IMDb):

      The Austrian Emperor Franz Joseph falls in love with the young Elisabeth. It’s love at first sight but Franz Joseph’s mother Sophie doesn’t approve this love.

      Today (2014), Sisi is leaving army to run for Egyptian presidency.

      I am impressed.

      1. optimader

        thanks beef..
        I remember that movie from waaay back,,, ordered a copy from the library, we’ll see how it stood the test of time.
        I was in Vienna last summer a few days at the end of a bike trip and visited the which is now a Mueseum of course. A case study for the old Imperial dilemma of what to acquire when you’ve run out of stuff to acquire. A friend of mine calls it Shit on Shit decorating

        A Museum there more to my taste:
        which is a very cool place

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          You’re welcome. I watched the BBC documentary, Africa, you mentioned. I learned a lot…gorillas amidst farmers. Thanks.

    2. James Levy

      This shit enrages me. A war with Russia is unthinkable. They are not going to be deterred because nobody is going to go to war over Crimea any more. This is not 1854, and Turkey is not threatened with dismemberment. No vital interest to the United States exists in that part of the world. I hate Obama as much as anyone who doesn’t hate him for being black, but the pile-on in the media goading him to take some crazy action is insane.

      Russia has been more than capable for going on five centuries to wear you down and fight it out to a finish. Only spectacular incompetence led to defeat in 1916-17. And although Britain and France (at huge cost) had them over a barrel in 1856, Russia was still able to negotiate their way out of their predicament because the invasion and occupation of Russia was impossible. So what do these clowns think Obama should do, launch everything we’ve got at the Russians in a “bolt from the blue”, create a nuclear winter, and wipe out the Northern Hemisphere?

  12. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Petition of Alaska joining Russia…

    How many signed the petition of Russia joining Alaska?

    I wonder how many would be for merging New York with California to form a super-state, Cali-Yorki, not to be confused with Karaoke?

    1. homeroid

      We Alaskans are not as ignorant as some may think. The trans Bering sea vodka pipeline is being worked on as we speak. Our investment is that we keep voting for batshit crazy idiots. It’s known as the Russian backdoor.

  13. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    2.5 million tons of bombs in Laos….

    ‘More than 100 Laotians fall victim to unexploded cluster bombs annually…’

    How many animals are killed or maimed annually?

  14. kevinearick


    there are many layers to the onion, all operating on the same algorithm, with different false assumptions creating different dresses, but to answer your question as I understand it, the different layers of certified programmers do not understand that they are dividing by zero with virtual memory in the nuts and bolts machine language driven by their top level languages, and the implicit kernel ‘sees’ the gravity, employing it to accelerate their problem…

    DC computers, like their masters, are passive, until they are aggressive, and they blow themselves up.

    That disappearance of the Boeing, and Russia’s ICBM launches are related, by technology, including but not limited to HFT.

    The critters in WDC are their own worst enemies; POTUS is becoming more like Mussolini every day.

    1. kevinearick

      groupthink is easily programmable…and can only result in division by zero, due to momentum; watch out when they divide zero by zero…

  15. jfleni

    RE: Obamacare Will Never Be Popular

    But Medicare for All will be enduringly and overwhelmingly popular (and cheaper and more effective) from the very first day! It just needs Insurance thieves, T*rd Way, Democrats who can’t believe they will lose, and all the rest out of the way!

  16. jfleni

    RE:Researchers suggest Vikings used crystals with sun compass to steer at night

    The more we find out about the Vikings, the more it becomes plain that they were usually nothing like the moronic ax-swinging brutes portayed by the media and Hollywood!

    As the ancestors of the English, Scandinavians, Russians and many French, Italians, Spanish and Germans, how could it be otherwise. Their navigation was far ahead of everybody else at the time (like their exploration of the entire length of the Mississippi, and it’s now just becoming apparent.

    1. RanDomino

      They’re the ancestors of the medieval/modern Northern European ruling class, which brings the characteristics of both into sharper focus.

  17. jfleni

    RE: Gameover Malware Targets Job Seekers

    It’s hard to believe that more people do not use VPN – Virtual Private Networks (usually at trivial cost) for both unbeatable privacy and guaranteed safety.

  18. Charles Yaker

    Antidote de jur

    Don’t see a story looks like an average hot summer day at Assateague National Seashore in Maryland. Not far from NYC near Ocean City Maryland. Check it out . Point me to a place to upload pictures and I’ll send some horses called pony’s attacking a cooler

  19. Mel

    ‘Obama’s “role as national healer”?’

    You miss the point.

    There was a scene in _News Radio_ where Phil Hartman’s character is committed to a mental hospital for observation, for being himself in public. He meets another patient played by Jon Lovitz who introduces himself:
    Lovitz: “I’m Ulysses S. Grant 18th president of the United States.”
    Hartman: “Go on! You’re not the President.”
    Lovitz: “Of course I’m not the President! It’s my name, not my job description!”

    Ditto here. His role. It’s what he appears to do, and what he’s famous for. It’s not what he *does*.

  20. BondsOfSteel

    RE: American Constitutional History Professor: Crimea’s Secession from Ukraine is VALID … and Mirrors America’s Path to Becoming an Independent Nation

    Sigh. It’s frustrating to see all these political and history professors make all these analogies to Crimea… which none really fit. Especially when there is a direct historical analogy… which no one wants to mention.

    A large nationalist country send in troops to protect a region in a boarding country which has a majority of people that speak the nationalist county’s language and share their culture. The country says this is necessary because these people are a minority in their existing country.

    Once the troops are there, a referendum is taken… > 90% of the region votes to succeed and join the large nationalist country, which then accepts and annex the region.

    Sound familiar? Studetenland:

    1. gordon

      Texas also declared its independence from the national state of which it had historically formed a part, engaged in a war of independence and eventually was absorbed into a neighbouring state with an ethnic makeup more similar to its own. Is the US likely to restore Texas to Mexico?

      1. BondsOfSteel

        Yea… but… um…. manifest destiny!

        Seriously, not a bad example. You could argue that the US did not send troops like Germany or Russia, but we all know about Davie Crocket.

  21. Luke Nolan

    The situation in Kiev is heating up again.

    For those of you not in the know, Oleksandr Muzychko (Sashko Bily)–a leader of Ukraine’s Pravy Sektor (Right Sector) and alleged torturer of Russian soldiers in Chechnya–was killed two days ago in an apparent shootout with the police, though there are conflicting accounts surrounding the incident. Muzychko’s death has sparked unrest among the Ukrainian ultra-nationalist group, who have called for the resignation of Ukraine’s acting Interior Minister Arsen Avakov and have just a few hours ago begun protesting outside the parliament building.

    VoiceofRussia is currently providing live updates on the situation:

    Here are some Youtube videos of the situation outside:

    Here’s another video from inside parliament showing officials abandoning the building and security staff barricading the doors:

  22. fresno dan
    The corridor between Manhattan and Washington is a well trodden highway for the personalities we have all gotten to know in the period since the massive deregulation of Wall Street: Robert Rubin, Lawrence Summers, Henry Paulson, Timothy Geithner and many others. Not all the traffic involves persons connected with the purely financial operations of the government: In 2013, General David Petraeus joined KKR (formerly Kohlberg Kravis Roberts) of 9 West 57th Street, New York, a private equity firm with $62.3 billion in assets. KKR specializes in management buyouts and leveraged finance. General Petraeus’ expertise in these areas is unclear. His ability to peddle influence, however, is a known and valued commodity. Unlike Cincinnatus, the military commanders of the Deep State do not take up the plow once they lay down the sword. Petraeus also obtained a sinecure as a non-resident senior fellow at the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs at Harvard. The Ivy League is, of course, the preferred bleaching tub and charm school of the American oligarchy. [4]

    Petraeus and most of the avatars of the Deep State — the White House advisers who urged Obama not to impose compensation limits on Wall Street CEOs, the contractor-connected think tank experts who besought us to “stay the course” in Iraq, the economic gurus who perpetually demonstrate that globalization and deregulation are a blessing that makes us all better off in the long run — are careful to pretend that they have no ideology. Their preferred pose is that of the politically neutral technocrat offering well considered advice based on profound expertise. That is nonsense. They are deeply dyed in the hue of the official ideology of the governing class, an ideology that is neither specifically Democrat nor Republican. Domestically, whatever they might privately believe about essentially diversionary social issues such as abortion or gay marriage, they almost invariably believe in the “Washington Consensus”: financialization, outsourcing, privatization, deregulation and the commodifying of labor. Internationally, they espouse 21st-century “American Exceptionalism”: the right and duty of the United States to meddle in every region of the world with coercive diplomacy and boots on the ground and to ignore painfully won international norms of civilized behavior. To paraphrase what Sir John Harrington said more than 400 years ago about treason, now that the ideology of the Deep State has prospered, none dare call it ideology. [5] That is why describing torture with the word “torture” on broadcast television is treated less as political heresy than as an inexcusable lapse of Washington etiquette: Like smoking a cigarette on camera, these days it is simply “not done.”

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