Links 3/28/14

Giraffe licks dying zoo worker Associated Press (Martine)

Tigers slaughtered in show of social stature for Guangdong businessmen Guardian (furzy mouse) :-(

Noble failures celebrated in unique Dublin show Irish Times (Scott). From earlier this year, still germane.

The secret to saving a wet phone or tablet CNET

“Data” the buzzword vs. data the actual thing Noah Smith. On Nate Silver’s new site.

Meet the manic miner who wants to mint 10% of all new bitcoins ars technica

Bitcoin stumbles on fears of China clampdown CNBC

Game over: How libertarians lost the battle for Bitcoin’s soul Salon

Wealthy Chinese emigration “panic” MacroBusiness

China’s shakeout is on track MacroBusiness

Schäuble revives push for eurozone integration Financial Times

Intesa Sanpaolo Posts Massive Loss Wall Street Journal

The Dysfunctional Guitar: More on the Reuters Syria Photo Controversy BagNews (psychohistorian)

Obama Seeks to Calm Saudis as Paths Split New York Times

Candidacy of former general polarizes Egypt DW

Robert Kaplan Writes In Defense Of Slavery Moon of Alabama (Chuck L)


The Major Reason There Will Be No War With Russia: They Are Shady Capitalists Now Truthout

Ukraine bail-out delivers windfall to hedge funds and Russian banks Telegraph

US human rights chastised by UN Guardian

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

The NSA phone-record law ignores other (big) data we’re giving away Guardian

Geolocating Twitter Users Bruce Schneier

Obamacare Launch

The One Thing That Could Save Obamacare––And The Obama Administration Needs To Do It In the Next Month Health Care Policy Renewal

Red state Senate Democrats propose Obamacare fixes Daily Kos (Carol B)

Deadline Near, Health Signups Show Disparity New York Times


Obama Is More Fiscally Conservative Than Reagan Business Insider

States Most & Least Dependent on the Federal Government WalletHub. Detailed analysis with cool charts. Blue states less dependent, natch.

‘Guns are a health care issue’ MSNBC (furzy mouse)

In Georgia, Carry a Gun, Just Not in the Capitol New York Times (furzy mouse)

Hundreds of Students & Faculty Occupy College Campus to Fight Cuts to Public Higher Ed Real News

PG&E Expects Criminal Charges Related to Pipeline Explosion Wall Street Journal

Helen Galope v. Deutsche Bank National Trust, 12-56892 Court Listener. Unpublished 9th Circuit Appeals court decision says a defaulted mortgage borrower has standing to pursue claims that she would never have purchased a mortgage (which was sold as having a rate set by independent means) had she been aware of Libor manipulation.

Fed should start rate hikes in first quarter 2015, Bullard says Reuters

Fed’s Dudley: Fed Should Take Better Account of Its International Impact WSJ Real Time Economics Blog (MacroDigest). This is a direct contradiction to Bernanke’s stance, which was to deny QE had any effect abroad. Is he trying to pre-empt Yellen?

Fed feels backlash over stress tests Financial Times. The Fed is getting what it deserves for coddling them during the crisis and participating in the “get out of massive liability almost free” settlements on foreclosure and chain of title abuses.

SEC Is Urged to Shorten Window for Investor Tip-Offs Wall Street Journal

Disabled Borrowers Trade Loan Debt for a Tax Bill From the I.R.S. New York Times

Wal-Mart Sues Visa for $5 Billion Over ‘Swipe Fees’ Wall Street Journal. Godzila v. Mothra.

The 67 People As Wealthy As The World’s Poorest 3.5 Billion Forbes

Whoa Did Warren Buffett Get This Massively Important Prediction Wrong Matt Stoller

Antidote du Jour (furzy mouse):


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  1. rjs

    here’s a powerful post by Sylvia Kronstadt:

    Your crime: dementia. Your sentence: solitary confinement&nbsp

    Do you ever envision yourself as old and alone? Can you imagine that you — that active, attractive, sociable you — might someday essentially be a prisoner in an institution that runs your life? And that nobody will care — you will be forgotten?

    Maybe your memory and your volition will have deteriorated, but you will still be you. No one seems to realize that. Each day at the nursing home, you get washed off, spoon fed, strapped into a wheelchair, and abandoned in your darkened room. Deeper and deeper you sink, into inconsequentiality.
    You grow pale and gaunt. Your eyes are increasingly haunted. You will be here until you die.

    1. makedoanmend

      One can’t help but wonder if someone, somewhere is making money off the living corpse. Otherwise wouldn’t tthe person would be dead already? In our society the unwritten law is that what can’t be exploited is worthless and must be discarded.

    2. Johann Sebastian Schminson

      Dementia is a slow killer that robs a person of their identity, gradually and certainly. Until you have dealt with the decline of an aged family member suffering from these symptoms (the underlying diseases that manifest as dementia are numerous and varied), you can’t really understand the hopelessness that surrounds the patient, as well as his/her caretakers (family and hired), during this period in a person’s life.

      The US owes Jack Kevorkian a posthumous apology and, arguably, a Congressional Medal of Honor.

      No life should end as a hollowed out husk of a body, with the actual person inside gone long before the container it was housed in.

    3. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Sobering read about not just dementia, but simply growing old and alone.

      Alone not just physically, except for the personnel at the nursing home (one’s lucky to have family members who come when not busy hunting and gathering food), but emotionally alone – all one’s friends are likely gone, and the world one grew up with has long vanished…

    4. ambrit

      I see this as the triumph of the “Cult of Youth.”
      There used to be a social contract between the generations. “I’ll raise you when you’re young and crotchety, and then you’ll keep me when I’m old and crotchety.” Anything less is Materialist B——t. There is a reason that Compassion is the Prime Directive of all “serious” religions. It keeps the species alive, and well. Add to that the myriad intangible benefits of having generations interacting on a regular basis, and you have Human culture.
      We recently went through the ordeal, in the original sense of a rite of passage, of being involved in the deaths of both of Phyllis’ parents. Her mother had Dementia, and her father just gave up under the load. They died, he first, interestingly enough, within weeks of each other. When her mother was almost gone, we saw the extended family come in from all over to “say goodbye.” Looking into Kathys eyes very close to the end, I saw madness and despair. It could have been a projection on my part, I’m still trying to work that part out in my head. The sad part about it though, was the institutionalization, really, the financialization, of the end of some ones’ life.
      I hope that abynormal survives the ordeal she is now enduring with her familys’ end issues. I empathize, and that is what ultimately makes us human in the best sense. I should have said, We empathize. Overcoming the Ego is the greatest challenge; a daily struggle, like life. Hugs and kisses aby! You are not alone!

      1. abynormal

        i can hardly see to type thru the tears. im so tired, emotionally. your thoughts mean the world to me right now…Thank You.
        answers or ‘fill-in’s’ seem to come after the facts. im on alert for every movement in the moment. my father was released from the hospital wed afternoon. his file read ‘good condition’…the doctor winked and got his sodium level up enough (with a tablet from the nurse…marked his file ‘confidential’). now its the wait. dad’s in good spirits and he says comfortable considering his body is shutting down…blood in urine is getting stronger.

        i can’t deny im scared…constantly wondering ‘have i heard & expressed every?’
        no one whistle’s anymore…i miss my fathers whistling already.

        1. ambrit

          Dear aby;
          Seize every moment, you’ll be glad later that you did. My Dad died suddenly in a car crash when I was a thousand miles away. I cried without warning at the drop of a hat for months afterward.
          Don’t be afraid to let your sister share the burden either. What’s the old saying? “When two share it, a grief is quartered.” Or something like that.
          Love from Phyllis and Me.

  2. Ulysses

    Piketty’s work continues to attract media attention:

    “Professor Thomas Piketty, in his new book Capital in the Twenty-First Century, makes the argument that, after a social-democratic blip in the middle of the last century, inheritance is once again becoming the key route to wealth. Piketty argues that if wealth is concentrated and the return on capital is higher than the economy’s growth rate, inherited wealth will grow more rapidly than that stemming from work. This returns us to the terrain of Balzac and Austen, where the road to financial security is to target those who already possess wealth and, where possible, marry them. The data Piketty analyses – a huge and comprehensive set – suggests that the proportion of people receiving a sum in inheritance larger than the lifetime earnings of the bottom 50% is set to return to 19th-century levels in the next couple of decades. Pleasant news for our neo-Victorian government; less pleasant for the rest of us, and a disaster for anyone who cares about inequality.”

    This is from a short piece by James Butler in yesterday’s Guardian:

    1. psychohistorian

      Thanks for the link.

      It is gratifying to read of others that are beating the drum of neutering inheritance. I sincerely believe that doing so would fundamentally change social incentives for the better.

  3. Jim Haygood

    So the penniless Ukraine — whom our KongressKlowns just met at a Spring Break party last weekend, and whose psycho ex still breaks in and beats her up now and then — is America’s new billion-dollar bar girl.

    This should be a charmed relationship.

    You’d think as the world’s longest-running sponsor of land theft in Israel’s occupied territories, the U.S. wouldn’t get all shocked and hurt and belligerent when its newest client state gets a little chunk nipped off of it.

    If you want to be a pro in the land-theft business, you’ve gotta roll with the punches when the other side’s settlers win a round sometimes.

    1. Bill the Psychologist

      Let’s try to accentuate the positive here.

      Ukraine is so close to Iraq and Afghanistan, that when our troops leave those countries, they can just go directly there. We save LOTS of money on troop transports.

      Plus, they’re already so traumatized and filled with that “good” rage (good for combat), they’re ready to kill or be killed.

      This is called a Win:Win………

      Have a nice day.

    2. craazyman

      I don’t know why the Fed can’t print up some money and have the govermint just buy Ukraine from Russia. Didn’t the nation buy Alaska from Russia? I think so. Wouldn’t that be cheaper than all this drama? Anyway, Money talks and bullshit walks. If Ukraine is the 51st state, they could pay taxes to us! They could pay for themselvves in dollars. And we could go over there and speak English. Now that’s a plan.

    3. hunkerdown

      No you don’t. You feed the rubes the line that keeps them indignant and supportive, no matter what’s actually going on, and btdubs we were never at war with Eurasia.

  4. trish

    re the link above, Ukraine bail-out delivers windfall…
    gee, this seems exactly what Michael Hudson predicted just last week:

    “the [IMF] has told the kleptocrats, the ten or 12 billionaires that run the country, we will make you very, very rich if you join us. We will give you a lot of IMF money, you can transfer it into your banks and your bank accounts, you can then send it abroad to your offshore banking centers, and the Ukrainian people will owe it. So you can do the Ukraine what the Irish government did to the Irish: you can take the public money, you can give it all to the private bankers, and then you can tax your people and make them pay…[and] as the IMF gives the loan to the Ukraine…Russia says that Ukraine owes $20 billion, dating back to the Soviet Union era in exchange for, in addition, to about $5 billion or $6 billion for the oil subsidies that it’s been given. Russia said it is going to charge Ukraine the normal oil price, not the subsidized price. So all the money that the IMF and the U.S. gives Russia says is immediately owed to it itself…Whatever happens, either the Russian government will get the IMF money for gas and imports or the kleptocrats will. None of the money…[is] going to go to the Ukrainian economy any more than the IMF money went to the Irish economy or the Greek economy or the other economies that are there. IMF money doesn’t go to the country and it doesn’t go to the people. It goes to the billionaires who run them to take the money and immediately send it back to the West so it’s a circular flow, and it goes in and out of Ukraine in about 20 minutes.”

    1. Banger

      I saw a story at Zero Hedge that indicates that Turkey intends to create a false-flag event to enable Turkey to go to war with Syria. Now, I now Americans don’t want to believe false-flag events happen but, sorry, they do and they have throughout history. Anyway this seems a to be a big story that explains why the Turkish government wants to ban Twitter and Youtube and I wonder if anyone can further illuminate why this is not being reported on in the mainstream. It may have been covered here but I haven’t seen it.

      Or maybe this is another fakes story being echoed all over alternative sites?

      1. JerseyJeffersonian


        Here are a couple of links to coverage and analysis of these leaks and the implications of the plotting from Moon of Alabama:

        What scares the bejeezus out of me is that this plotting, purportedly egged on by the US, is toward perpetrating a false flag event by Turkey that would be blamed on Syria and could be used to invoke NATO treaty obligations for coming to the aid of a member state. The plan seems to be that the US, and maybe other Western states, would then enforce a no-fly zone to deny the Syrian Army the ability to use their air power to attack the jihadi killers that they are fighting. NATO becomes the salafist murderers’ air force. And Mr. 11-Dimensional Chess and his handlers think that it will end there? How quickly, and how badly this could spin out of control is pretty obvious to me.

        1. Synopticist

          That’s got the transcript.

          The scariest thing is the near total MSM silence. Erdogan has banned Youtube, which the media can’t ignore, but note the way it’s being reported. They all say “Youtube banned following a leaked discussion on involvement in Syria” or “recordings concerning military operations” or the like.

          None talk of a blatant false flag attack being discussed.

    2. JjuneTown

      I thought that all the IMF came up with was loan guarantees…….so that someone else has to put up the loan money, but the IMF guarantees repayment on behalf of Ukraine.
      Not that this changes a lot.

  5. Hugh

    It’s not so much conservative or on just fiscal issues. Obama is more extreme than Reagan, and for that matter George Bush a range of issues. He is more neoliberal/corporatist on the economy and more neocon than either in foreign affairs. And he is a bigger promoter of the surveillance/police state and domestic spying.

    As for Dudley, perhaps he just recognizes that the Fed is the de facto central bank to the world.

    1. Tom Allen

      From January 2008:

      Senator Barack Obama: “I think Ronald Reagan changed the trajectory of America in a way that Richard Nixon did not and in a way that Bill Clinton did not. He put us on a fundamentally different path, because the country was ready for it. I think they felt like with all the excesses of the 1960s and 1970s and government had grown and grown, but there wasn’t much sense of accountability in terms of how it was operating. I think people—he just tapped into what people were already feeling, which was we want clarity, we want optimism, we want a return to that sense of dynamism and entrepreneurship that had been missing.”

      1. montanamaven

        Talking about Reagan’s election In “Audacity of Hope” …”I understood his appeal. It was the same appeal that the military bases back in Hawaii had always held for me as a young boy, with their tidy streets and well-oiled machinery, the crisp uniforms and crisper salutes.” For him Reagan embodied “Americans’ longing for order.”

        1. neo-realist

          For TPTB brown nosers like himself, Reagan embodied (White) “Americans’ longing for order.”

  6. Tom Stone

    Yves, Thank you for the years of work. NCC is my first stop of the day and has been for longer than I care to remember.

      1. abynormal

        Third’d. ‘there’s no place like home’…for exploring n breaching self-imposed boundaries

        Thanks Yves

  7. diptherio

    Re: Robert Kaplan writes in defense of slavery

    There must be a new anti-democracy, pro-slavery wing in the GOP. I was flabbergasted the other day by David Harsanyi’s interview on Book TV from this year’s CPAC conference: The People Have Spoken (and They are Wrong).

    And then there was Fox’s Napalitano on the Daily Show last week attacking ABRAHAM LINCOLN. Should we be expecting a coup attempt from the GOP (followed by the reinstatement of slavery)? It seems like they’re trying to justify one in advance, laying down some early PR cover.

    1. Invy

      I wouldn’t be surprised with all the billionaire persecution complexes flying around, it wouldn’t be inconceivable to obtain financial backing for it…. Hell, there are already militia enclaves in the soverign citizen movement which would be more than happy to take up arms.

    2. Banger

      The source of much of the neocon intellectual strain stems from the University of Chicago’s intellectual atmosphere from the 40’s onwards and culminated with Alan Bloom’s The Closing of the American Mind. Neocons like Kaplan believe that the West had taken a wrong turn in the 1960s and we needed a return to a more ordered society with enforced hierarchies. I believe their model is the Roman Empire and is yet another expression of the perennial obsession of the West’s intellectuals for a New Rome. It is Empire the neocons want and its achievement, they believe, is within their grasp.

      While the left intellectuals flounder in a metaphysics-free sea of confusion the neocons are bright eyed, dynamic, and joyful enthusiasts for a clear set of ideas. They may differ on methods (brute force vs. soft power) but they are joined together in a moral crusade of World Empire–they are, it appears, a secular Jesuitical order and they are a conspiracy that reaches into all parts of the national security state. Their appeal should be obvious–in a culture of intellectual confusion where rationality itself is questioned, where values are relative, they know the truth. That is how, I believe they have galvanized intellectual culture in Washington in the same way Evangelicals dominate thought in the fly-over world.

      1. montanamaven

        Great book on this is by Professor Sheldon Wolin. “Democracy Incorporated: Managed Democracy and the Specter of Inverted Totalitarianism”. Chilling chapter “Elites Against Democracy” reminds me of the Kubrick movie “Eyes Wide Shut”. And Susan Jacoby talks about Alan Bloom’s book in her book “The Age of American Unreason”. That chapter is called “Blame It on the Sixties’.

      2. diptherio

        “…Evangelicals dominate thought in the fly-over world.”

        As someone who lives in “fly-over world” (more than a bit classist, or maybe regionalist, that phrase, btw) I find this sentiment both baffling and insulting. You seem to think that non-coastals are much more uniform than we actually are. Evangelicals don’t even dominate thought among the Christian denominations, they’re just a lot more vocal about their thoughts.

        1. Banger

          Generalizations are always wrong–I do live in the South and the Biblical teaching has a pretty strong influence ’round here. Of course there pockets of people who think differently particularly where there are universities or large urban areas.

          1. ambrit

            Dear Banger;
            We live in one of those University Towns, and unfortunately, Town and Gown is the modus vivendi here. The college crowd is really a sort of Colonia set amidst a sea of confused and reactionary neo-serfs. To be seen as “thinking differently” can get you in a lot of trouble. More so now that the establishment is Militarizing itself. “Biblical Thinking” is quite often used as a tool for political and financial aggrandizement . A case in point, the recent election for mayor of our fair Metropolis, Hattiesburg Mississippi. A revote was mandated due to electoral shenanigans. The revote was won by the candidate backed by the head of the biggest protestant Evangelical church in the place. It seems there were some irregularities with ballot boxes coming out of the district dominated by the members of that church. The challenger knew that the “fix” was in, but twice in a row was too much, so he folded his tents and snuck away.

          2. diptherio

            I snapped a little there…it’s just that phrase “fly-over country.” I despise it. You may have been using it ironically, but my rage blocked me from seeing it.

            My condolences on living in Evangelical land…I bet you’ve got a great Jack Chick collection though.

            1. ambrit

              Oh yeah! Jack Chick. I’ve always wondered if his group got the Jehovas Witness printing commune in NYNY to churn out his stuff.
              BTW, as far as it goes, I’ve always had a soft spot in my head for “The Fabulous Furry Faith Brothers.”

              1. hunkerdown

                The JWs have a vastly different interpretation of the divine ultimatum than other Christian sects, perhaps more Montessori than hickory stick. For them to print Chick pamphlets would be to endorse a sensibility in which they strongly disbelieve.

            2. craazyman

              You mean you actually want us New Yaawkers and DC Lobbyists and LA Hollywood flunkies to land and go fly fishing with $!000/day guides and buy up 4000 acre dude ranches with golf courses when we’re not in town talking loud about money and business on the cell phone so anybody 100 feet a way will be impressed?

              Holy Smokes. I would have thought “fly over” would be a prayer answered.

              Be careful what you wish for. :-)

        2. Propertius

          In my little corner of “flyover world”, Buddhists outnumber evangelicals by a rather sizable margin: but I’m sure TPTB are truly grateful for your efforts to further divide the peasantry.

      3. Sufferin'Succotash

        Where on Earth did you get the notion that’s there’s such a thing as an “intellectual culture” in Washington? Intellectual tabula rasa is more like it. People leave their brains behind at the Beltway.

        1. ambrit

          “”intellectual culture” in Washington?” What, are you saying that that big Beltway Circle is really some giant Petri Dish?

        2. Banger

          DC area has the highest concentration of graduate degrees in the country so there’s a lot of intellectual stuff going on. It tends to be more conservative than in other places so neoconservatives are in the right place.

        3. montanamaven

          Boy, I sure wouldn’t use the word “intellectual” in association with D.C. I haven’t heard any really original ideas and thought coming out of that place. It seems samey. The proper term is group think. And go along to get along. And “smart aleck” more than smart. An actual intellectual, Staughton Lynd, who as an assistant professor at Yale in the 1960s and one of the first anti-war academics, said

          “I am employed by Yale University, the institution which produced the architect of the Bay of Pigs, Richard Bissell; the author of Plan Six for Vietnam, W.W. Rostow (special assistant to presidents Kennedy and Johnson); and that unagonized reappraiser, McGeorge Bundy……I think I know something about the Ivy League training which these unelected experts receive: a training in snobbishness, in profincial ethnocentrism, in a cynical and manipulative attitude toward human beings.” From Susan Jacoby’s “The Age of American Unreason”

          Lynd was fired and became a great labor lawyer and author of many books. He lived with the working people instead of writing about them from an Ivory Tower. “Intellectual Origins of American Radicalism” is a classic of imaginative outside the box thinking. The best and the brightest in those days challenged the system not benefited from it inside the beltway.

    3. Sufferin'Succotash

      Actually, Harsanyi skates around the anti-democracy position by saying that he’s for “diffused democracy”, which in practice would mean local governments could be more easily manipulated/intimidated/controlled by wealthy and/or violent special interests. The small-town South after Reconstruction would be positively Utopian according to his definition of democracy.

      1. diptherio

        I couldn’t listen to even ten minutes of him. Right off the bat he says “Democracy is tyranny of the majority, right?” The interviewer didn’t challenge him at all and he seemed to be basing the rest of his argument on that premise. I think the appropriate response would have been something like, “Well that’s why we have the Bill of Rights, right? Tyranny of the majority is a possibility, but is by no means synonymous with democracy per se.”

        1. hunkerdown

          Someone’s been reading Federalist #10, I see. The “tyranny of the majority” was code for protecting the fortunes and the privileges of the landed gentry. Everyone else gets to micturate up a rope while clawing and maiming each other, by design.

          With the franchise open to almost everyone, other means had to be found to steer the nation and keep it off the rocks of public purpose (which today we call “populism”). Enter flex nets.

    4. Eclair

      Diptherio, I don’t think we have to worry about the reinstatement of slavery …. until cable or Netflix makes it the subject of next season’s hit series.

      We’ve been through “24 Hours” (torture),” Big Love” (polygamy – I’m still waiting for the series on polyandry), and “House of Cards” (a primer on how government is really run – learn to love it, peasants). Way back, in my pre-“Blowback” and “Shock Doctrine” days, I was hooked on “JAG”, a paean to our military and their love for rule of law. I’m sure I have missed a basketful.

      Or, maybe it will preview as a Reality Show. Sign up for a year’s worth of shows and a lottery will determine if you become a “slave” or an “owner.” A follow-up to “Naked and Afraid” (don’t even ask why I know about this show!): Naked and Enslaved.

      1. hunkerdown

        Poly*amory*, please. Even though the preferred word is an unseemly mixture of Latin and Greek, polygamy implies a gender inequity that polyamory intentionally does not.

    5. RanDomino

      Tea Party people been on an anti-democracy kick for a few years. There’s a YouTube video that was going around called “The American Form of Government”. It’s offensively ahistorical and irrational. My favorite moment of insanity is when it talks about how Rome was a republic, and then it became a democracy (since democracy = mob rule, obviously) and then an empire, and what the US is doing is moving from being a republic to democracy, so what we need to do is push the reset button and go back to being a republic… with no suggestions for how to prevent a republic from becoming a democracy again. There’s another great part that assumes that everyone is a small business owner or farmer, and without a centralized government to protect property then everyone would have to hire security guards… with no consideration of who would be hired AS a security guard in a scenario where everyone is a property owner. Basically, if you’re not an upper-middle class white male, you do not exist.

      1. sufferin' succotash

        That’s not true. You will exist, as a member of the Ownership Society a term which will acquire a whole new meaning (just think when the aliens’ To Serve Man turns out to be a cookbook!).

  8. Daize

    Re: The Major Reason There Will Be No War With Russia
    Every argument made in the article about the idea that Russia will avoid direct confrontation (and thus avoid invading Ukraine “proper”) could have been made pre-Crimean invasion claiming that Russia will never invade Crimea.
    The author is under the illusion that Russia is a capitalist country like any other and he applies the logic that since Americans are only motivated by the filthy lucre it must be the case with all peoples everywhere, including Russians. This is a totally mistaken and facile view of geopolitics that Americans in general seem to like.
    Re Ukraine: Ya ain’t seen nothin’ yet.

    1. Dan B

      I agree; the writer could not answer, I think, how this confrontation occurred in the first place or where it’s going.

    2. optimader

      Crimea was a legitimate strategic choice, the rest of the Ukraine, not so much.

      Putin, might consider offering a liberal emigration policy from Ukraine to Russia for PR (that functions to filter in a preponderance of Ukrainian technical specialists to fill missing puzzleboard pieces in Russia) but that’s about it.
      Russia long term is better off allowing Ukraine to settle into the role of subservient agrarian economic trading colony. The notion of integrating Ukraine into Mother Russia as a land war buffer is so 20th century. It’d there anyway whatever the most current map calls it.

      1. OIFVet

        Russia already has a very liberal emigration policy for Ukrainians, millions work there and send remittances back to Ukraine, to the tune of several billion $ annually. I agree about integration as a military land buffer, but if our neocons and their Ukrainian flunkies insist on expanding NATO into Ukraine then Russia would not have much of a choice but to act. Russia is pretty well encircled by NATO now as result of its expansion and Russian weakness in the 90’s, that in spite of Bush Sr.’s promises to Gorby. It has no reason to trust what has become an offensive rather than defensive alliance, and NATO in Ukraine is a hard red line, one the Russians will not hesitate to enforce. The neocons are crazy to believe otherwise.

        1. Vatch

          Just curious: Was the first Bush’s agreement backed up by a treaty that was ratified by the U.S. Senate? If not, how binding would it have been once there was another U.S. President?

          1. OIFVet

            No, it was not. A rather poignant commentary on the worth of a US president’s promises. How binding would such a promise be, you ask? Apparently as binding as the duly signed and ratified ABM Treaty, iow not at all as far as the US is concerned. We were told the Cold War was over. Russia certainly believed that, but the US never disengaged from carrying it out in the shadows. The lifeblood of empires is war after all.

            1. montanamaven

              From the article I linked:

              Malta’s most significant outcome would simply be the reassurance it provided to the two leaders through a face-to-face meeting, and the building of a personal relationship on which both would rely in the difficult next two years. Gorbachev, for example, told Bush: “First and foremost, the new U.S. president must know that the Soviet Union will not under any circumstances initiate a war. This is so important that I wanted to repeat the announcement to you personally. Moreover, the USSR is prepared to cease considering the U.S. as an enemy and announce this openly.”

              1. OIFVet

                “Good boy Gorby, now sit, roll over, play dead” the US said as it patted the naive puppy on the head and secretly grinned at the obeisance of the puppy it had never seized to hate. The puppy was an idealist who believed that universal human values were shared by his American buddies and that those values would lead to peaceful coexistence between the puppy’s nation and the Americans. I can only imagine the puppy’s horror as the Americans unleashed a total economic warfare on its nation through an entity called the IMF and helped by a local drunkard and his corrupt circle, and then proceeded to encircle it militarily when it was weak and unable to defend itself. The people hated that now grizzled old dog for the humiliation and economic hardship his naivete unleashed on them, and he was reduced to being made fun of by some Americans from something called The Daily Show.

                Younger pups watched carefully as all this unfolded and took notes, learned lessons. The new dog in charge is fiercely protective of his Rodina, and apparently smarter than the entire American neocon coterie and assortment of political demagogues put together (must be because Russian pups grow up playing chess and reading books while American pups grow up in front of the TV playing first person shooters.). He refuses to be patted on the head dismissively, which brings impotent growls from the overextended and discredited American pack. How dare that young pup stand up to our empire rather than roll over or cower submissively as we aim a strong kick in his butt? Does he not know how exceptional we are, of our white man’s burden to bring western values to the slavic barbarians and other assorted natives throughout the world and the universe? They never ask themselves about the lost opportunity to bring peace and unity to the world. Why should they, empires need money and there is no money to be made if we don’t pursue a neo-colonial agenda backed by drones and stealth bombers.

                1. Murky

                  That’s most powerful and far reaching historical analysis I’ve ever read! Herodotus would be stunned! Because your words establish an entirely historical genre. Fairy-tale history! No factual data is required, because a good storyline is all you need. This is the epic tale of a young puppy, cruelly abused by its American masters. As I read your piece, the scale of wrong was so collossal, that I shed real tears and cried out for justice! And, by God, justice was forthcoming! A new generation of super hero puppies are born! They fight the Western bad guys! And we know that canine justice will prevail on Earth! Yes, your story is one of sheer genius! You really should write a few sequels. In the next episode, can you bring in bunnies, kittens, and a baby racoon?

                  1. OIFVet

                    I detect sarcasm, the old standby of those who can’t refute the facts. Care to engage in a FACTUAL rebuttal or are you satisfied with copping the superior attitude of the all-knowing know-nothing that characterizes the contemporary shill?

                    PS For the next episode I had considered writing about the Ukrainian weasel who walked between the rock and the hard place and got slapped around by all sides for his trouble, but I was afraid it would bring back unpleasant flashbacks for you so I decided to drop that story line. For now.

                    1. Murky

                      OIFVet said: “Care to engage in a FACTUAL rebuttal”?

                      You’ve got to be kidding, man. Fairy-tale facts are irrefutable! Nobody is going to argue with your quest for canine justice.

                      But I will throw you a bone. Here is some genuine history. Pay attention, you might learn something.


                    2. OIFVet

                      Oh my, the troll has indeed changed tactics and moved on to childish insults. Well then, here’s a very adult message to pass on to your neo-fascist buddies from the folks who put them in their place last time around:
                      Пусть ярость благородная
                      Вскипает, как волна!
                      Идет война народная,
                      Священная война.
                      Гнилой фашистской нечисти
                      Загоним пулю в лоб,
                      Отребью человечества
                      Сколотим крепкий гроб!
                      I am sure you remember how the rest of it goes. In case you’ve forgotten, here’s the refresher: До свидания господин Мутный

                    3. Murky


                      Well, my friend, your civility and manners here are not in good form. For example, I have not called you names. But you just called me a ‘troll’. And you just spoke of my “fascist buddies”. Well, that’s a very nasty and inappropriate mischaracterization. You don’t know squat about my friends, nor can you speak reliably of their character. You have interacted with Vatch in similar fashion, quite rudely. I tell you this honestly, lashing out with insults does not win arguments for you, it only makes you look thuggish.

                      Yes, I ridiculed your puppy story, because you presented it like some sort of credible world history. Ridicule is an effective rhetorical device and it’s fair play in public discourse. Likewise, wit and quality of argument is also fair play. We can argue our points as aggressviely as we please, so long as we don’t breach civility.

                      But somehow you have lost good civility. You lash out with ad hominem content when your ideas are challenged. Your humanity has deteriorated to the point where you think you have the right to abuse others. Well, here is a reality check for you. You have no right to abuse.

                      Just so others here know, the Slavic text posted by OIFVet is about shooting people (including me) in the head and burying them. Extremely unpleasant.

                    4. Yves Smith Post author

                      Murky, honestly, all he did was tell a long-winded story and you went after him with both barrels. Your ridicule was over the top and designed to elicit a response. Don’t bait people if you aren’t prepared to deal with what comes back at you.

                    5. OIFVet

                      I will not continue to feed your trolling, I gave you the opportunity to engage me in a substantive manner and you responded childishly. So stop complaining, I responded precisely the way you wanted me to, expecting me to discredit myself in the process. The commenters here at NC are high caliber and savvy and I trust they will make their own conclusions about who did what to the other.

                      As to the text of the song, anyone who clicked the link will note what it was about and how your “translation” failed to mention it is the fascists who are to be destroyed. Funny that you feel threatened by that. I have become very anti-war because of my own war experience, but I will always exempt war on fascism. My family is one of those who lost loved ones fighting the nazis in WW2. Millions others died also. And yet here we are facing resurgent neo -nazism in both Eastern and Western Europe, with you whitewashing their part in the Ukraine coup and our government’s involvement with this scum. Awakening these dark forces is dangerous and stupid, they should be given no quarter, not ever. NEVER AGAIN!

    3. heresy101

      The writer is right about Ukraine being a capitalist country, but his scenarios don’t take into account the other side of capitalism as it slides further into barbarism.
      “The Right Sector is a conglomerate of Ukrainian nationalist forces with neofascist views that has been organized into a paramilitary collective of over 10,000 strong. The group first emerged at the end of November 2013 at the Euromaidan protests in Kiev headed by Dmitry Yarosh. Right Sector fighters became notorious for using clubs, petrol bombs, and firearms against Ukrainian police and for wearing Nazi insignia.”

      While many of the kleptocrats are supporting the neo-nazis, others are seeing that they may be undermining their own rule:

  9. fresno dan

    Whatever happened to the phrase, “We can’t be the World’s policeman” ???
    We’ve never actually tried “isolationism” Has all the wars, police actions, interventions, etc. made the world safer? Like the war on drugs and the war on cancer, much strum and drang…we used to have a word….”profiteers”
    Brookings actually had a nice essay about treaties and being “involved”

    1. Paul Tioxon

      Of course we are the policeman of the world. With over 600 military deployments, bases, airfields and naval bases around the world, how can anyone not doing stand up comedy think otherwise? The Neo-cons as the Standing War Party, in favor of the standing army are totally disgusted with Obama’s peacenik incompetence in geopolitical maneuvering. Here is the wisdom of gravitas from unknown unknowns, The Mystic of The Cloud of Unknowing himself, Donald Rumsfeld, Nixon Administration builder of the Amerikan Garrison State:

      According to this Donald, a “trained ape” could have done a better job in diplomatic relations with the country. That country is Afghanistan. And of course, Rumsfeld’s empathy with Karzai exceeds that of his regards for actual Americans in the White House, the State Department, and any where else we are not carrying our the naked aggression of the Project For A New American Century. Rumsfeld’s Reich is about to be abandoned at the end of this year and ALL he got was a lousy t-shirt for the effort. Here is more from the link which includes a wonderful Fox News Video of his racist ape rant.

      “Rumsfeld said he understands the position Karzai is in, from badmouthing U.S. officials to recently announcing he supports Russian President Vladimir Putin on annexing the Crimean region of Ukraine.

      “United States diplomacy has been so bad, so embarrassingly bad, that I’m not the least bit surprised that he felt cornered and is feeling he has to defend himself in some way or he’s not president of that country,” Rumsfeld said. “We have so mismanaged that relationship.”

      Rumsfeld called out individual members of the Obama administration, including the president himself, for comments he said “trashed” the Afghan president.

      “They have trashed Karzai publicly over and over and over,” Rumsfeld said. “[Richard] Holbrooke, the special enjoy did. Vice President [Joe] Biden did. Secretary Hillary Clinton has. The president has been unpleasant to him. And it seems to me they put him in a political box where he really has very little choice.”

      The former secretary said while he does not support Karzai’s position on Crimea, he gets it.

      “I personally sympathize with him to some extent,” Rumsfeld said. “Nobody likes to hear a foreign leader side with Putin on the Crimea the way he has. But I really think it’s understandable, given the terrible, terrible diplomacy that the United States has conducted with Afghanistan over the last several years. … I think there is probably not a politician in the world who, dealing with the United States, instead of having the United States deal with him privately through private diplomacy, came out repeatedly, publicly, in an abusive, unpleasant manner.”

  10. Vatch

    Nice story about the giraffe and the dying zoo worker at a Rotterdam zoo. If this were a Copenhagen zoo, maybe they would have killed the giraffe before it could greet the dying person.

  11. optimader

    If this were a Copenhagen zoo,
    I wonder if the lions were overwhelmed with a sense of self loathing?

    1. OIFVet

      Too late to ask four of them, they were euthanized to make way for a new male. Another reason why I loath zoos. And wealthy Chinese businessmen who electrocute tigers for amusement and demonstration of their parvenu status.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        They will say we are just jealous they can kill male tigers for their xxxxxx, bears for their paws, rhinos for their horns and drink human milk from actresses.

        But when the global rich have to resort to that Maginot Line of defense – envy – you know they have no real defense.

        1. ambrit

          I’m suspecting that they don’t think they need a defense. Thus we make our merry way down the path to chaos.

      2. optimader

        I’ve been to “good” zoos where at least at risk animals/species are stewarded and I’ve seen retched zoos that are more like county jails.

        I could go on an incredibly “offensive” jag about contemporary Azians…that incidentally is all true, but I wont.
        I say contemporary because I don’t think anyone living is responsible for the behavior of previous generations, that said, there is enough species genocide to go around on the hands of Caucasians as well if you rewind the tape. That is no excuse for what goes on today and that is predominatly an Azian thang.

        1. OIFVet

          Oh I agree re Asian zoos. I have seen the videos of lions in a Chinese zoo getting pelted with bottles and snowballs. The Chinese seem to have adopted the ‘Ugly American’ model of tourist behavior. Not long ago a photographic book came out documenting the deplorable conditions in zoos worldwide. There was a picture of a very depressed monkey in a filthy barren concrete and steel jail cell that shook me to my core. It was taken in some notoriously bad Indonesian zoo. We also have the Sea World prisons here in the US where highly intelligent marine mammals are used and abused in the pursuit of profit and the entertainment/miseducation of the tourist sheeple. I also recently read about some California couple who received a permission from the state to kill the mountain lion that had killed their pedigreed puppy. Here’s a clue for these morons: you should have kept a closer eye on your puppy and should not have walked him in a mountain lion habitat. Now you will punish the wild cat for doing what nature built it for, and for your own stupidity and sense of entitlement.

          I can see the utility of zoos as a last refuge of threatened species, but I prefer that species are not brought to the brink in the first place. I am simply morally opposed to zoos, whatever they may say about their “educational missions” and such. I think that they are prisons and that no animal, regardless of its intelligence, can be happy as a prisoner. I refuse to set foot in a zoo even though the Brookfield zoo has two snow leopard cubs, and I love snow leopards. I am sorry for the rant.

        2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Opti, even contemporary, it’s still a global effort, if we can see the animals dead from bombing, fracking, oil spills, etc.

  12. Johann Sebastian Schminson

    Every day, I read these links, and every day my list of Enemies of The People and the Planet gets longer.

    1. Ulysses

      “It would be easier for the weakest poltroon that lives, to erase himself from existence, than to erase one letter of his name or crimes from the knitted register of Madame Defarge.” (II,15) Ask not for whom the knitting needles clack, O kleptocrat, they clack for thee!!

  13. Katniss Everdeen


    “There is no such thing as a women’s position on this case or on any other issue.”

    Yes there is, Bucko, and THIS IS IT. Nothing makes my blood boil like men claiming to have the same stake, or ANY stake, in issues of abortion and childbirth as women do. AND presuming to decide issues with which they have absolutely NO experience, and NEVER will.

    “But there is such a thing as women’s voices, and with this case, especially, it was important that they be heard.”

    What patronizing, mealy-mouthed, Taliban-inspired GARBAGE!!! Thanks for nuthin’, Toobin, you little jerk. I’ll bet you thought “What the definition of “is” is was a compelling argument.

    1. AnnieB

      Yup. This is the sort of attitude that, in part, fueled the women’s movement of the ’70s. Some and I emphasize “some,” men just don’t get it. They didn’t get it then, they don’t now, and I think they don’t want to either. Unfortunately, these men contribute to the difficulty of all women’s lives.

      1. Katniss Everdeen

        I would most certainly agree with lyour “some” men emphasis, and I know many truly wonderful men who see the forest for the trees.

        Toobin is most certainly NOT one of them, although I suspect he THINKS he is. And would use this disgraceful article as evidence.

        The condescension in this article, especially the “Those three little ladies on the supreme court really ROCK” title, is as nauseating as it is typical of flacks like Toobin.

        1. Vatch

          In fairness to the author, we need to recognize that titles of articles can be chosen by an editor, and not necessarily by the author.

          1. Katniss Everdeen

            I guess that’s what’s known as journalistic “integrity.”

            “It’s HIS fault!”

    2. Propertius

      More than anything else, I think this demonstrates the absurdity of tying health insurance to employment. The notion that one’s employer (should one be lucky enough to even have an employer) should determine the conditions under which healthcare can be obtained is barbaric.

      1. Katniss Everdeen

        I would emphatically agree.

        It also demonstrates the UTILITY of tying health insurance to employment. And make no mistake, restriction of covered health insurance services as a means of controlling your workforce is most definitely a utility.

        1. hunkerdown

          I dated the daughter of a general partner at a boutique accounting firm for a while. He said that he liked providing health insurance to his employees because it made him feel like he was doing a good deed. He also said in other discussion, “Why should I help people who are working against me?”

          Labor discipline is also the reason cited for not providing a basic income guarantee. One could look at this as industrialists using government to make people hungry and create demand for the unpalatable condition of wage labor.

    3. Vatch

      Thanks for pointing out that the backwardness of the Taliban is present in places besides Afghanistan. Less than a century ago, women could not vote in either the United States or Great Britain. I’m sure that many cultural conservatives in the U.S. would love to return to those halcyon days, but they don’t dare admit it publicly. They find sneakier ways to limit women’s rights.

      1. Katniss Everdeen

        It would seem that we are fighting the Taliban “over there” so we can pretend it doesn’t exist “over here.”

        1. Katniss Everdeen

          Had to come back and make a comment I’ve been wanting to make for several days now.

          Jimmy Carter is making the rounds hawking his new book. It’s something about making the planet safe for girls and women. (Another great, white father who hears our “voices.”)

          Invariably he gets around to expressing enormous pride in his support for the “freedom fighters” (aka Taliban) during the Russian occupation of Afghanistan.

          I wonder if he’s ever read the book 1000 Splendid Suns, written by Khaled Hosseini, who also wrote The Kite Runner. It is a novel about women’s place in Afghan society during the time that Carter’s and Brzezinski’s “freedom fighters” liberated the Afghans from those wretched Russians.

          Needless to say, the Taliban has different ideas about a “woman’s place” than the Russians do, and that “place” degrades devastatingly and inexorably as a result of the US geopolitical success.

          I swear, sometimes the crickets chirping in these people’s heads are SO loud even I can hear them.

          1. Vatch

            The Taliban’s treatment of women is cruel and primitive, but I don’t think that Russian practices are very enlightened in this area, either. Here’s a short article about this aspect of Russian society:


            During the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan, there were multiple factions fighting against the Soviets. I doubt that very many of them cared much for women’s rights, but most were not as extreme as the Taliban.

            1. OIFVet

              Good lord Vatch, you just had to casually compare Russia with the Taliban just because. FWIW my mother often remarks that she feels much more disrespected as a woman here in the US than she did in BG during communism. Particularly in the areas of institutionalized sexism. She also believes that the fall of communism in BG has set back women’s rights; there may be more women in leadership positions now but overall the status of most women has only decreased in parallel with their decreased economic standing, courtesy of the IMF shock therapy and the resultant economic inequality. In BG at least there was no gender gap in pay back then, and now there is. Whatever the many shortcomings of communism, her recollection is that they did genuinely try to adhere to some basic equality. Buncha commie talibans if you ask me.

              1. Vatch

                Did I say that Russian attitudes towards women are as bad as the Taliban’s? No, of course I didn’t say that, and you know it. Your mother may be correct about Bulgaria, or maybe she’s feeling nostalgia for her old home. But then again, the social conservatives (the Christian Taliban) in the U.S. are moving us backwards, so she may be correct.

                I know you don’t like it when I cite Wikipedia, but here I go anyway:


                Despite official ideology, in practice, most Soviet women did not enjoy the same position as men in society, or within the family. Average pay for women in all fields was below the overall national average, and the vaunted high percentage of women in various fields, especially health care, medicine, education, and economics, did not hold true in the most prestigious and high-paying areas such as the upper management of organizations in any of those fields. Women were conspicuously underrepresented in the leadership of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (CPSU); in the 1980s, they constituted less than 30 percent of party membership and less than 5 percent of the party Central Committee, and no woman ever achieved full membership in the Politburo.

                1. OIFVet

                  OhEmGee, men drink and abuse women. Sounds like any good old American trailer park. And men refuse to do housework. Unlike in the US where men have the good housekeeper apron hanging in their closets at the ready. That must be the country’s fault, and not old fashioned male chauvinism. And what an exploitative work environment, the laws ordered so little paid maternity leave, unlike in the US where most state laws require…none.

                  Look Vatch, no place is perfect paradise of women’s equality, but the US is just now entering some semblance of enlightenment compared to where communist countries were decades ago. It has nothing to do with whatever little nostalgia my mother may feel after more than 20 years of living in the US. As a payroll manager in her state enterprise in BG she knew full well who was paid what and the rules governing payroll, which were issued by the responsible ministry. And the fact is, men and women were paid the same for doing the same job, as the law REQUIRED. Compared to the US, where women get paid 80 cents on the dollar for the same job as men. And it may be that women in BG were more enlightened and assertive, but domestic violence usually landed men in jail. One also rarely heard the derogatory words about women that fly so freely now after 24.5 years of transition to western values, and condescending behavior toward women, while never absent, was never so out in the open and aggressive as it is now. I guess that is part and parcel of the progress promised by the great proselytizers of freedom, democracy, and unregulated market capitalism in November of 1989.

                  Today, as low middle class wage slave and a recently widowed woman in the contemporary American economy, my mother also has a rather good point of comparison between her life in BG and her life in the US. She says it is not even close. I believe her, having been there to deal with the estate after my father passed. To say that financial institutions are dismissive and condescending to women who speak with accents is an understatement. I am a much better educated person then the desk jockeys who were copping these attitudes and still would not presume to treat a homeless wino this way. It comes from upbringing and the wider culture in which a person was raised. I will not pretend to be a perfectly enlightened male, but I dare say that the culture of my formative years and my parents were both more conducive to fostering respect for women’s equality then contemporary American society is.

                  And no, you did not say that Russian attitudes are as bad as the Taliban’s. By comparing the two you only made the yawning gulf between the two seem smaller. It’s called dragging someone’s reputation through the mud and it is achieved by making wildly inappropriate and out of context comparisons.

                  1. Vatch

                    I certainly agree that women’s rights need to be improved in the United States, and most other places as well.

                    You shifted the topic:

                    To say that financial institutions are dismissive and condescending to women who speak with accents is an understatement.

                    The topic was women’s rights, not the patronizing attitude of people in finance towards foreigners.

                    I am very skeptical of what the law required in the USSR. The difference between theory and practice was enormous. Sadly, a similar problem prevails in the United States as well.

                2. OIFVet

                  Just received my mother’s email reply to my question about maternity leaves in BG back in the day: 12 months paid and up to 24 months unpaid maternity leave, plus free daycare for ages 12 months and up. Yeah, it was a real hell hole for the working women, no doubt about that.

    4. M Raymond Torres

      Whoa, there. I find your criticism of Toobin’s remarks to be spurious and your tone offensive. As for the assertions you quote, he’s right. A “women’s position” would presume that women are in agreement on these issues, which we most definitely are not. And he goes further to say that what women have to say in cases such as this is especially important. What’s the problem?

      And, men don’t have “ANY stake” in abortion and childbirth? Really? Of course a man has a stake in a pregnancy he has fathered. The state, too, has a stake, which is the basis for funding prenatal care for low-income women. The question is whether that stake is sufficient to allow him (or the state) to reach into our bodies.

      1. markf

        Men have a legal obligation to pay child support for any child they are the biological father of.

      2. Katniss Everdeen

        I can assure you that my “criticism” is neither fake nor false (the definition of “spurious”.) It is quite genuine. As for my “tone,” I’m glad you caught the offensiveness. It, also too, is genuine.

        A “women’s position” “presumes” nothing more than that it is a position belonging to women. As in “exclusive province of.” “Agreement” is neither “presumed” nor required.

        As for the heartwarming crumb of “what women have to say in cases such as this is especially important,” I can only say, “Golly, gee, Ya’ think?”

        “And, men don’t have “ANY stake” in abortion and childbirth? Really?” Yes, REALLY. I’m happy to concede this point the very next time a man runs the protest gauntlet at an abortion clinic because he can’t afford another mouth to feed. Oh, and the philandering MOTHER contends it “belongs” to someone else. Proof not required, but, hey, you can sue for child support.

        As for the “interests” of the “state”????? Must be a damn comfy rock you’re living under. Don’t come out. It can get pretty ugly out here.

        Honestly, M Raymond Torres, I’m not the enemy. The line just needs to be drawn to include as many people as possible. You’re free to stay as far behind the line as you want. As you CAN. But some are not as “lucky” as you are.

        Are you THAT sure of yourself? NOTHING lasts forever. And what seems “radical” to you today, may be your lifeline tomorrow. Just consider it.

        And then get the hell out of my way.

      3. OIFVet

        “The state, too, has a stake.” But of course! It needs the female ovens to churn out more babies to use as human batteries for the corporate-financial matrix and meat to throw into the meat grinder of the military. Once the batteries run out of juice and the meat has been ground the state has no stake left and it discards them so as to not bear the expense of the upkeep of these now useless objects.

        1. hunkerdown

          I keep wondering, even more so now, whether abortion restrictions aren’t being carefully tweaked in either direction in order to satisfy someone’s key performance indicator.

      4. just_kate

        Katniss is in the right here and your finding her views offensive just proves her point. Women need the full freedom of agency over our own bodies PERIOD. That is the only way EVERY woman can decide for herself – beliefs, opinions, actions, etc – with or without input from other people.

        I have come to believe that men should just STFU about this stuff since I’ve been hearing the same BS arguments and opinions my entire life from the gender that has single-handedly fucked up everything in the world.

        1. psychohistorian

          +big number…for Katniss as well

          Some men just cannot get beyond inculcated patriarchy.

  14. Luke Nolan

    The Right Sector protest which began yesterday night has continued into today.

    “At a parliament session on Friday, Mr Turchynov, called the Right Sector rally outside parliament ‘an attempt to destabilise the situation in Ukraine, in the very heart of Ukraine – Kiev. That is precisely the task that the Russian Federation’s political leadership is giving to its special services’.”

    “Speaking exclusively to the Daily Beast, Ukraine’s interior minister [Arsen Avakov] says revolutionaries must accept the internal battle is over and help to face down Russia.”

    “Igor Mazur, a Right Sector leader known as “Topolya,” or “Poplar” because of his 6’7’’ frame, seems to think that the battle not only hasn’t ended but has yet to begin. Right Sector, he says, is training its forces in military exercises outside Kiev. Like the late Bilyi, he fought the Russians in Chechnya as a young man in the 1990s, as well as in the separatist Georgian province of Abkhazia. He says his men would join the Ukrainian military on the condition that they be able to maintain their own unit outside the formal command structure.”

  15. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Mining 10% of new Bitcoins.

    Is that harder than finding 10% of all new prime numbers?

  16. down2long

    Congress Creeps to Detroit: Drop Dead dark skinned people. Congress to Ukraine: You poor white fascists, how much do you need – and ask for a lot. I hate to keep writing checks.

    1. bob

      It’s a great picture. My guess is in upstate NY, lots of snow, and the dog is obviously angry that more is on the way. Doing his part to eat it all.

  17. diptherio

    Today’s Democracy Now! episode is a must-listen for all you security-state nerds. Rizzo looks so foolish, despite his best intentions…I almost felt bad for the guy…caught between absurdist government policy and the combined force of Amy and Juan…but then I remembered that he was CIA counsel when the whole torture and kidnapping thing went down and I didn’t feel bad any more.
    I’d love to see Lambert’s textual analysis of some of his comments.

  18. Jagger

    —-“Guns are a health care issue”—

    Living is a health care issue. Since living is inherently a risky business, I get nervous about the “health care issue” argument used to justify government intervention and control into personal choices. Too easy to cherry pick pet issues and the argument can be used against almost any issue/activity. Today, the argument is used by the left and tomorrow it will be used by the right. Definitely makes me nervous whoever makes the argument.

  19. Luke Nolan

    Old news, but I don’t recall seeing it posted here. Apparently Israel’s entire diplomatic corps has been officially on strike since Sunday, resulting in the closure of all their embassies abroad.

    “We are completely shutting down the (foreign ministry) office and missions abroad. This is the first time ever,” ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor said.

    Another ministry official told Reuters: “As of now, the foreign ministry doesn’t exist. It’s not possible even to submit complaints”.

  20. JohnB

    That’s a pretty fascinating court ruling, on the LIBOR stuff. I’m much of the opinion, that bank fraud has gone largely uninvestigated, partly (though certainly not primarily) because it’d arguably invalidate a huge proportion of mortgage contracts – putting people in line for massive compensation (in the form of writedowns).

  21. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Obama more fiscally conservative than Reagan.

    He definitely will get a bigger presidential library then, being able to spend more on domestic spying and still yet fiscally conservative.

  22. rich

    Public Schools for Sale?

    March 28, 2014

    Public education is becoming big business as bankers, hedge fund managers and private equity investors are entering what they consider to be an “emerging market.” As Rupert Murdoch put it after purchasing an education technology company, “When it comes to K through 12 education, we see a $500 billion sector in the US alone.”

    Education historian Diane Ravitch says the privatization of public education has to stop. As assistant secretary of education under President George H.W. Bush, she was an advocate of school choice and charter schools; under George W. Bush, she supported the No Child Left Behind initiative. But after careful investigation, she changed her mind, and has become, according to Salon, “the nation’s highest profile opponent” of charter-based education.

    Public Education: Who Are the Corporate Reformers?

    “Reform” is really a misnomer, because the advocates for this cause seek not to reform public education but to transform it into an entrepreneurial sector of the economy. The groups and individuals that constitute today’s reform movement have appropriated the word “reform” because it has such positive connotations in American political discourse and American history. But the roots of this so- called reform movement may be traced to a radical ideology with a fundamental distrust of public education and hostility to the public sector in general.
    “Reform” is really a misnomer, because the advocates for this cause seek not to reform public education but to transform it into an entrepreneurial sector of the economy.

    The “reform” movement is really a “corporate reform” movement, funded to a large degree by major foundations, Wall Street hedge fund managers, entrepreneurs and the US Department of Education. The movement is determined to cut costs and maximize competition among schools and among teachers. It seeks to eliminate the geographically based system of public education as we have known it for the past 150 years and replace it with a competitive market- based system of school choice — one that includes traditional public schools, privately managed charter schools, religious schools, voucher schools, for- profit schools, virtual schools and for- profit vendors of instruction. Lacking any geographic boundaries, these schools would compete for customers. The customers would choose to send their children and their public funding wherever they wish, based on personal preference or on information such as the schools’ test scores and a letter grade conferred by the state (based largely on test scores).

      1. bob

        Yeah, bad joke. Although, I spend time close enough to Canada to catch their broadcast TV stations. After 10 at night it’s a relative free for all. Nudity! and swearing!

  23. allcoppedout

    The link on data was dull. Many in here have noted that economists and politicians saying ‘we must take tough decisions’ means ‘you peons will have to starve so we can eat better caviare’. The data-set, of course, lurks behind the words. We know words are cheap, but we are still not good at seeing the data they imply in use.

    It is possible to think of communication that did raise data in real-time. I’ll go speculative to make the point. If the only cricket records available at a point in the future consisted of a few scorebooks from my grammar school, one might safely conclude I was the best all rounder ever. Sadly, on today’s wider data this clearly isn’t true. We know how parochial my achievements were. When someone speaks the ‘making tough decisions’ rot the wider data is missing.

    The general assertions of austerity tend to be spun in theories of household belt-tightening. Why is this now we could attach the wider theory and data sets in real-time? Why is our main media so backward and why are we left giving Samizdat counter-opinion?

  24. Jim S

    I sent in some links to the blogger account, but they got bounced back as spam. No big loss, just letting you know.

      1. Jim S

        It was to blogger nakedcapitalism com from the same address I’m making this comment with.

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