Links 3/9/14

Dear readers: We will be doing a meetup in Washington, DC on Tuesday March 18 at 6:00 PM. A couple of readers voted for Vidalia. It sounds like a really nice place, but a key criterion is that we be able to mingle. If it’s all sit-down, that won’t be so easy. Does Vidalia allow for that? If not, what would you suggest? Will update re venue by the weekend. Either way, be there or be square!

He took care of the zoo’s animals for decades. They did the same for him. Washington Post

Woman gets slapped in the face by a whale Independent (Chuck L)

Great Walls ‘could stop tornadoes’ BBC

Are you smarter than a 5-year-old? Preschoolers can do algebra ScienceDaily (Chuck L)

The Fat Drug New York Times. Wow.

Tale Of The Teletank: The Brief Rise And Long Fall Of Russia’s Military Robots Popular Science

Bitcoin founder’s writing matches nothing in Dorian Nakamoto’s background FT Alphaville

Use of Stolen Passports on Vanished Jet Raises Concern About Terrorism Bloomberg

China Reports Unexpected ~$23 Billion Trade Deficit In February Business Insider. Puhleeze. How many years running have China’s trade stats taken a turn for the worse right before the April-October dates when Treasury is required to name currency manipulators? When is the media gonna wise up?

Letter from the son of a businessman who committed suicide #OmicidiDiStato Beppe Grillo

Greek Banks Need A Few Extra Billion DealBreaker

Saudis Bankrolling Israel’s Mossad: More Confirmation? Barry Lando Firedoglake


US warns Russia not to annex Crimea BBC

Obama talks Crimea solutions in phone calls with world leaders Christian Science Monitor

Everyone Agrees that Ukraine Sniper Attacks Were a False Flag … They Only Argue About WHO Is the Culprit George Washington

London’s Laundry Business New York Times (bob)

Warning shots block OSCE observers from entering Ukraine’s Crimea DW

Sovereignty vs. Self-Rule: Crimea Reignites Battle New York Times

Ukraine Decries Crimea Separatist Referendum as Unfair Bloomberg. Quelle surprise!

In response to sanctions, Russia may halt inspections Washington Post

Russia’s roulette: why investors are rolling with the punches Telegraph

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

On ‘Freedom and Security’ Angela Merkel, New York Review of Books

DOJ’s Leaky SCIF Double Standards Marcy Wheeler

You Know Who Else Collected Metadata? The Stasi ProPublica (Chuck L)

Facebook to Buy Drone Company Titan Aerospace for $60 Million NBC (Chuck L)

Auto Regulators Dismissed Defect Tied to 13 Deaths New York Times

The Geographical Dispersion of U.S. Inflation Menzie Chinn

Grover Norquist Is Open To Eliminating The Carried Interest Loophole Business Insider

JPMorgan whistleblower gets $63.9 million in mortgage fraud deal Reuters. A rare winner.

A Whistle That’s Lost in the Crowd Gretchen Morgenson, New York Times

Which Side Is Your Pension On? Jacobin

Antidote du jour. Gretchen’s Byxbe:

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  1. Skeptic

    Auto Regulators Dismissed Defect Tied to 13 Deaths

    The Lemon Equation

    I read years ago about The Lemon Equation in an academic business publication and knew after I read it that we were headed to a Dark Place.

    Here is how it works: a corporation is informed of a potentially very harmful or lethal flaw in the product or even already knows of it. Instead of fixing the problem, the corporation sets a team of bean counters to work out a.) how much it will cost to fix the problem and b.) how much it will cost to pay off the lawsuits should they even occur and even be successful. If a is greater than b, then the corporation does nothing about the harmful or fatal flaw. It also probably does a lot to cover up and deflect any recognition of the flaw. Nowadays, a corporation may even build in flaws which are cost beneficial. A simple example would be substituting a cheaper part for a more expensive one, knowing that a harmful or fatal result might occur.

    A little thought will show how this Lemon Equation easily works for everything from airplanes to derivatives to pharmaceuticals to…….

    But let’s all remember, there are no conspiracies.

    1. h_rostam

      as i recall, edward norton gives an almost verbatim account of the same thing towards the start of the movie fight club. I actually thought you were quoting the movie for a second there.

    2. hunkerdown

      Never attribute to conspiracy that which can be adequately explained by perverse payoff matrices.

    1. judabomber

      For happy hour, Vidalia does have some bar space to mingle but…

      PJ Clarke’s was also suggested below and is closer to your venue. Given that people are coming to meet (as opposed to eating which would lean more towards places like Veranda and Vidalia) it may be a better choice.

      Personally, I am rather indifferent to the venue, so long as there is space to meet/mingle with everyone and it is close to a metro stop.

      1. astrid

        I’ll check with Vidalia tomorrow and report back – my impression is that the seating areas adjacent to the bar can be easily reconfigured for a larger mixer and the 10 seat bar may be sufficient space for a smaller group. I think Vidalia would work well because it’s a bit off the beaten path for the usual happy hour crowd (the entire restaurant is underground and the entrance is very unassuming). Every time I’ve been there (admittedly only a dozen times over the years), it’s been relatively quiet and uncrowded.

        However, Kellari Taverna or PJ Clarke’s are indeed closer and they’re already pre-configured for larger standing groups.

  2. abynormal

    don’t forget to set your cocks ahead

    There is more to life than simply increasing its speed.

      1. Keenan

        Don’t fret, they pay no attention to our time changes.
        They cock-a-doodle-do according to the sun. ;-)

      2. diptherio

        HA! Literally LOLed..

        Although if you only set your clocks ahead and not your cock too, don’t you run the risk of a jet-lagged johnson?

        1. abynormal

          my turn to laffmyarseoff Dip…needed that after the earlier embarrassment
          jet-lagged johnson too funnee

  3. ohmyheck

    Re: Bloomberg report on missing plane: this article is beyond pathetic, as to be simply laughable. Thankfully, the commenters are not buying it.

    “”groups including al-Qaeda have sought to crash airplanes into oceans to cover up evidence, according to the experts” Uhhh, right. Who feeds these guys their lines? That is the first time that line has ever been floated out. How about you are unlucky enough to be on the same flight with people or stuff some agency or gov group really wants eliminated. So “groups including al-Qaeda” obviously function as universal boogey men in this case. Perhaps a case of China immigration control by other means.”

    “Trillions spent on wars to fight terrorism, billions spent
    on security at airports and spying on the public. More billions spent on
    collecting the electronic communications of the public and still it is possible
    to board an airplane using not 1 but 2 stolen passports. At least 1
    stolen passport was listed as stolen in the Interpol data base.

    What is wrong with this picture? Why are we spending so much money on
    high tech spying when we cannot even check to see if a passport or other
    identification is valid? Perhaps it is time to use the simple and less
    expensive methods of security. Check to see if the identification is
    valid and stop wasting money on high tech spying.

    Whether or not it is terrorism is a separate point, the
    money we are spending is not being effectively deployed if anyone can board a
    plane with a stolen passport.”
    “Doesn’t seem to indicate terrorism. For one thing, it is standard procedure to lock the cockpit. If anything unusual were to happen, the pilots’ first actions would be a transponder squawk and radio messages. This disappearance either happened suddenly with a catastropic communications failure, or the pilots were asleep.”

    “At impact the plane would have broken up and debris would have been everywhere. It’s not as if the plane would dive underwater intact and sink with no evidence.”

    TPTB are losing control of The Message.

    1. James Levy

      My first thought on hearing all this incoherent speculation is that perhaps there were four people on that plane someone wanted to off, and that the “missing passport” mystery was a nice way to cover that up. Give the US government propensity to target weddings I hardly think it beyond them to kill 289 innocent people in order to “get” the four they want. Hell, I’ve never believed that the Iranian commercial liner they shot down over the Persian Gulf was an accident, either. They later claimed they thought it was an F-14, which of course was an air superiority fighter that carried no bombs (although the Iranians during the tit-for-tat urban raids of the Iran-Iraq war had used a primitive sling to carry bombs on some of them, but a US Navy warship hardly had to fear such a mode of attack; ships are a bit smaller than Baghdad and tend to move). Not waiting for visual confirmation showed either cowardice or a deliberate attempt to kill Iranian civilians to “send a message.”

      1. ohmyheck

        Jesse posted a video interview of John Perkins, who wrote “Confessions of an Economic Hitman”. Having not read the book, it was a real eye-opener. I did read Naomi Klein’s “The Shock Doctrine”, but to have her ideas confirmed as fact, and have Perkins connect the dots, is, uh, remarkable.

        Here is a list of youtube videos, if anyone is interested.

        I know many here have highly recommended Perkin’s book, and I whole-heartedly agree that it is must-read, or at least a must-view.

        Rabbit-hole? what rabbithole…whoops!

        1. montanamaven

          Perkins has two more books that continue from the first. “The Secret History of the America Empire” has more on Africa and the Middle East. “Hoodwinked” has some more tales and ends with some positive work being done in Central America.

        2. JCC

          Perkin’s books are excellent, I read his first one when it came out and as far as I’m concerned it confirmed suspicions I’d been harboring for a few years at that time.

          As for the speculation on terrorists and passports, what a joke… no immediate claims by “bad guys”, a secret terrorist attack? That makes a lot of sense!

          But… it’s good for keeping the Fear Factor well fed.

    2. Kurt Sperry

      One must wonder though whether having people traveling under false or stolen documents isn’t normal in at least in some areas of the world. People would not join up in boarding queue with stolen papers unless there were an acceptably low probability of being caught and detained. For any potential plan predicated on the use of stolen identity papers to have any real chance of working, either the processes of verifying papers must be known to be so broken that success is likely or the officials checking the papers must be involved. One imagines there might be good money to be made as an immigration official for making “mistakes” to order. I’d bet money having people on an international flight under a false identity is probably a perfectly normal thing to happen, but the vast majority of the time the whole thing passes quietly and unnoticed.

    3. optimader

      I’m glad I am not so fckd up as to subscribe to or read Blmbg, the only frustration is that I don’t have a subscription to cancel.
      “groups including al-Qaeda have sought to crash airplanes into oceans to cover up evidence, according to the experts”
      I’m sure you could go through the article , substitute “various agencies of the US Gov.” and have a far less speculative piece of rhetoric.

      1. optimader

        btw the most informative article I read.. on the subject. I FINALLY ditched Slate as my hated home page on my laptop, as I have been meaning to do for a while , because their bllsht salacious article on the incident could not even muster the basic fact of what kind of aircraft was involved.
        “All news is lies and all propaganda is disguised as news.” ~ Willi Münzenberg

        1. abynormal

          another treasure link of yours…thanks Opti

          “All media exist to invest our lives with artificial perceptions and arbitrary values”
          (it is written’)

    4. Johann Sebastian Schminson

      The target of all of this data collection isn’t terrorists. Three thousand or thirty thousand lives are of no consequence to governments. The threat and the target is The People. You and me.

    1. Blair

      A few other more bar-ish bars nearby are the Post Pub (L and 15th[?], grimy but comfortable), Stan’s (L and Vermont; grimy but inexpensive) and Stoney’s (P between 14th and 15th, good beer, dubious food, upstairs room possibly available). Commissary (same block) can probably seat a biggish group and is very solicitous of people with diverse dietary needs.

  4. Eureka Springs

    And I would love to know where Vicki Kagen Nuland got her hands on the first (?) 5 billion already down the Ukrainian rabbit hole? Who approved that money and where did it go?

    USA a Democracy… not in the slightest.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Great Walls require Great Wallets.

      The Great Wallet of China is buying – you can see that from the Moon.

  5. Jagger

    G Washington article: Everyone Agrees that Ukraine Sniper Attacks Were a False Flag … They Only Argue About WHO Is the Culprit.
    Washington’s logic is off in this article. Just because everyone is ACCUSING everyone else of a false flag operation doesn’t mean it was a false flag operation. Maybe it was, maybe it wasn’t but you can’t reach the conclusion it is a false flag based on self serving accusations. It is a leap of logic which loses Washington credibility, IMO.

    1. optimader

      Who even knows how many snipers? Are we to assume only one faction represented? Factually the waters edge is “there was at least one sniper, full stop.”

      1. James Levy

        Read Mike Whitney at Counterpunch today and the info in The Guardian. It’s pretty much nailed down now.

        1. Jagger

          I read both of your sources and I am still not convinced who was behind the sniping. I still lean towards the police simply from the videos but I definitely don’t know. And I certainly have absolutely no faith in any proclamations from politicians with unknown agendas and one unknown doctor.

          I still remember the babies thrown from their incubators after the Kuwait invasion. Nope didn’t happen. Just part of the propaganda game irresponsibly put out by the media. To claim this theory is nailed down, I suspect is a bit premature.

          1. James Levy

            You may be right, but just pointing out the Kuwait bullshit shows the Americans just as willing and able to make stuff up as the Russians. I remember when it looked like the Russians may have brokered a cease fire during Gulf War I that Schwartzkopf (the most overrated general in history) came on TV to announce that “they’re hanging people from every lamppost in Kuwait City” and we had to smash ahead on the heels of the retreating Iraqis. That and the “Hail Mary” when he had uncontested control of the air and complete dominance on the ground had to be the two biggest, most shamefaced lies I ever saw an American official utter and get away with uncontested by anyone.

          2. optimader

            “I still lean towards the police simply from the videos but I definitely don’t know.”

            So do I. Operatives of the (a) State that see their gig at risk would have compelling motivation. I simply don’t know, and therefore if I fancied myself more journalist than propagandist I try to be explicit about speculation vs fact.

            I read the Counter punch piece and it has much implied bias IMO.

            1.)”While all Nazi forces took part in massacres and atrocities, the Waffen SS did so with particular efficiency. ”
            In the context of Ukrainian civilians, you can accurately interchange “Nazi Forces” w/ “Soviet Forces” and Waffen SS w/ NKVD. So the point is what? Psychopaths have their day in the Sun during War?

            2.) “The post-war Nuremberg trials designated it (ed. Waffen SS?) a “criminal organization.”…””…many of them by Ukrainian auxiliaries and units like the Galicia Division”
            Yes, well OK then, moving along..
            from wikipedia: “Although the Galizien Division has not been found guilty of any war crimes by any war tribunal or commission, numerous unproven accusations of impropriety have been leveled at the division and at particular members of the division from a variety of sources. It is difficult to determine the extent of war criminality among members of the division.[40] If prior service in Nazi police units is a measure of criminality, only a small number were recruited from established police detachments. Among those who had transferred from police detachments, some had been members of a coastal defence unit that had been stationed in France, while others came from two police battalions that had been formed in the spring of 1943, too late to have participated in the murder of Ukraine’s Jews.
            According to Howard Margolian there is no evidence that these units participated in anti-partisan operations or reprisals prior to their inclusion into the division. …, both the Canadian government and the Canadian Jewish Congress in their investigations of the division failed to find hard evidence to support the notion that it was rife with criminal elements”

            3.)”Some 800,000 Jews were murdered in the Ukraine during the German occupation…”

            By whom? I think it is inaccurately implied that it was at the hands of the Galicia Division, or am I just misreading a non sequitur point?

            IMO it’s would be more journalistically rigorous to point out these deaths in the context is the 5,200,000 Ukrainian civilian deaths and 1,650,000 Ukranian military deaths for a total of 6,850,000 total deaths. Tragedy that it was, were the Jewish deaths the only ones that should be characterized as murder, let alone even disregard mention of the other deaths? I think not.

            So as long as we are on the subject of horrifically abstract numbers of “murders”, it’s journalistic malpractice when an article purporting to offer “historical context” on the base motivations amongst Ukrainians 70+ years ago when it does not even mention Holodomor “Extermination by Hunger” during which something like 7,500,000 Ukrainians were “murdered” over the course of two years.

            (Put in context, the genocide referred to as the Holocaust resulted in ~5.9 MM Jewish deaths. Rarely do we hear about the ~3MM Soviet POWs, ~3MM Poles, ~ 1.5MM Roma and ~0.5MM others that also perished. In this context, the Jewish victims were the minority.)

            So if I were a average Ukrainian reflecting on history: Joe Stalin –paranoid serial killer and micromanager, the Soviet Union and by default Russia and it’s satellite political puppets my perspective would be colored by the collective 14.4MM of my extended people starved to death and then killed as cannon fodder in a war terribly bungled by Stalin who resorted to trading Ukraine people and real-estate for calendar pages til mother Nature would be a strategic factor.

            I could go on but I wont, the article is amateurish the deeper I read it.

            1. skippy

              Tis hard for some to look a the total history of a region and not resort to myopically simplistic slices of time for brevity sake.

              skippy… does it really matter who the snipers were in the bigger scheme of things?

              1. abynormal

                “for brevity sake”…i do agree with you there but how else to break cycles w/o a firm diagnosis of historical facts?

                i remember playing ball in the neighborhood…a car might go by and mess up the game. instantly someone would scream start over…sometimes we could and other times it got nasty.
                but those were the dayz huh?

              2. optimader

                “Tis hard for some to look a the total history of a region and not resort to myopically simplistic slices of time for brevity sake. ”
                For the joe sixpacks in the Ukraine that want to advance their positions in life, I’d figure the past 80 years or so is less so ” myopically simplistic” and more so relevant. Hypothetically, still a time frame with first hand witnesses at the Holiday dinner table.
                Consider, they survived the stasis of the spectacularly failed SU experiment only to be delivered into the hands of an unsophisticated thief. Hitting the political equivalent of Cntrl-Alt-Del seems a reasonable alternative to me.

                Whether in reality it is just a changing of the kleptocrat guard is another thread.

                1. skippy

                  Oops… my comment was more of a high light to yours ie a day, month, year or decade on struggle st. Something about being sandwiched between old Western Europe and China being the makings for an interesting meal, yet so many in MSM are timing the waiter.

                  skippy… personally I would opt out for Celebrity Billionaire – Trillionaire Death Match Mano-a-mano in secure confines or maybe the aristocracy can pick up sword play again… one can only hope.

                  1. Optimader

                    One thing is for sure, its a hardluck history that can make Poland seem reletively fortunate. I do agree w the sentiment that the protocol should be a death match between the “aristocracy” that feels some propriety in the matter. No doubt more situations would be peacfully resolved.

  6. F. Beard

    I hates DST cause I like natural. And who likes to drag themself out of bed one hour earlier nohow?

    But the proper way to do DST would just be to peg the start of day at sunrise like the Hebrews used to do but add, say, 5 hours to it so that sunrise would be 5am every day. Of course clocks and watches would have to be redesigned …

    But I reckon I’ll just mosey back to Arizona one day.

      1. F. Beard

        Hebrew time is even more interesting since:

        A Hebrew Hour is defined as 1/12 of the time between sunset and sunrise, or 1/12 of the time between sunrise and sunset. from

        So people would work longer in summer and shorter in winter. Maybe we’d be healthier if we worked according to the Sun?

      2. F. Beard

        and Im not a hebrew

        Neither am I but otoh I’m glad my thing doesn’t remind me of Dune.

  7. Jim Haygood

    ‘With control out of the hands of capitalists or institutional investors, Teamsters union trustees broke from the main practices of corporate finance.

    Instead of investing the funds into stocks, they increasingly moved their money into trustee-selected mortgages — typically commercial real estate that used union labor for the jobs.

    The fund was no paradigm of prim and proper social investing, for sure. It had a lot of money sunken into shady casino deals, including the now-defunct Aladdin in Las Vegas. But the money was used for pro-worker ends.’ — Michael McCarthy, Which Side is Your Pension On?

    McCarthy discreetly refrains from revealing the funding status of the Teamsters’ worker-managed pension, which was cited in a federal lawsuit:

    The Fund’s assets, as of February 28, 1977, were $55,293,339. The actuarial cost to the Plan, for fiscal year 1977, was $10,756,500; the actuarial cost exceeded gross contributions by $4,217,500.

    The liability of the Fund for the current pensioners and beneficiaries is $78,208,800. The total liability of the Fund for all vested benefits (including the liability to current pensioners and beneficiaries) is $143,000,000.

    This disaster of a pension fund was less than 40% funded, and some of its loans were to Mafia-linked developers in Las Vegas.

    But, hey — it was pro-worker, you know.

    1. F. Beard

      Workers would have far less need for labor cartels if government did not back/enforce the banking cartel which unethically finances their replacement via automation and outsourcing.

      But what does ethics have do do with anything? A great deal apparently.

  8. lawrence

    Norquist: “I’m insufficiently focused on that as a specific thing,”

    Interpreted as:
    A) The hedge fund guys haven’t been sending me my cut.”
    B) Give Obama a bone and take it away later.
    C) Don’t bother me. I’m wasted.

      1. Yves Smith Post author

        Norquist heads the Tax Foundation and for a very long time has arguably been the single most powerful operator in the Republican party. Rove merely drove tactics. Norquist influences policy in a big and not good way. Unlike the Democrats, the Republicans believe that people who do lobbying and think tank work should make a lot of money so I am sure Norquist isn’t suffering financially.

        He’s been fixated on the tax issue (as in reducing taxes) since he was an undergraduate student at Harvard in the 1970s and that view was considered at best eccentric.

        1. Optimader

          Yes Yves im aware of his CV.. Taxes, bathtub, drowning and all that good Methodist imagery. As you imply I was rash in my assesment, he’s a skilled one-eyed parasite in the land of the blind.

  9. Katniss Everdeen

    RE: The Fat Drug

    Rx antibiotics are also excreted, unmetabolized, and enter the water supply. Water treatment protocols do not remove them and they are “re-consumed” by some one else in tap water.

    The prevalence of prescription medication in the water supply is mentioned in the “news” every so often with very little emphasis and almost no follow-up.

    The very prevalent anti-psychotics also cause weight gain.

    1. Chris

      Don’t forget genetically modified food. First inserted into Americans’ diets starting in the mid 1990s, they correspond with the increase in obesity.

      Here’s chart of the “pros” and the cons of GMOs:

      As to human gut bacteria, it’s been know that GMOs affect those as well:

      “GM genes ‘jump species barrier’
      Antony Barnett, public affairs editor
      The Observer, Saturday 27 May 2000

      “A leading zoologist has found evidence that genes used to modify crops can jump the species barrier and cause bacteria to mutate, prompting fears that GM technology could pose serious health risks.
      A four-year study by Professor Hans-Hinrich Kaatz, a respected German zoologist, found that the alien gene used to modify oilseed rape had transferred to bacteria living inside the guts of honey bees.
      The research – which has yet to be published and has not been reviewed by fellow scientists – is highly significant because it suggests that all types of bacteria could become contaminated by genes used in genetically modified technology, including those that live inside the human digestive system. ”

      The best page on the effects of GMOs:

    2. Yves Smith Post author

      Yes but you get them in much higher concentration in conventionally farmed meat. They were fed high doses AND they are higher up the food chain. Basically if you are talking about any bad substance that accumulates in the tissues, usually by being fat-soluble, you get a higher dose of it the further up the food chain you go. That’s why tuna has high concentrations of mercury despite being an ocean fish. It’s a top predator, 4 or 5 steps up the food chain, depending on what it ate.

  10. diptherio

    Re: Which Side is Your Pension On?

    As Mr. Simon would put it:

    I got some so-called friends
    they smile right to my face.
    But when my back is turned,
    they like to bury me without a trace.
    Oh no no. There’s only on thing I need to know:
    Who’s side are you on?
    Who’s side are you on?
    I got them paranoia blues
    down and out in New York City.
    Where they roll for a nickle,
    stick ya’ for the extra dime.
    Any way you choose,
    you’re bound to lose in New York City.
    I just got out in the nick of time (oh lord)
    I just got out in the nick of time.

    1. F. Beard


      We kill government-backed/enabled usury for stolen purchasing power or it kills us (50-65 million in WWII alone). And no, putting government in charge of the thieving (so-called utility banking) is not the answer since the Soviet Union tried something similiar*

      * “The Soviet state used Gosbank, primarily, as a tool to impose centralized control upon industry in general, using bank balances and transaction histories to monitor the activity of individual concerns and their compliance with Five-Year Plans and directives. Gosbank did not act as a commercial bank in regard to the profit motive. It acted, theoretically, as an instrument of government policy. Instead of independently and impartially assessing the creditworthiness** of the borrower, Gosbank would provide loan funds to favored individuals, groups and industries as directed by the central government.[2] from

      ** But that runs aground on another reef since when it comes to government backed/enabled/privileged credit creation no one is creditworthy!!! Only the general welfare is worthy of the public’s credit!!!

      Learn or burn folks. The Lord is not fond of oppression of the poor, to put it extremely mildly – much less systematic, hypocritical oppression such as our government-backed banks impose.

  11. Jackrabbit

    PM to Putin: Reduce Ukraine tensions

    Cameron calls on Russian president to agree to contact group allowing direct talks between Kiev and Moscow

    The entire game plan of the West appears to be to secure a ‘propaganda victory’ because Putin refuses direct talks. Seems fairly clear that Putin will not legitimize the new Ukrainian govt by entering direct talks.

    1. nycTerrierist

      Yes, great piece on Kessler.

      And get well soon, Yves. Rest, if/when you need to —
      all your fans here insist on it!

  12. Sissyphus

    re “Letter from the son of a businessman who committed suicide”.

    This reminds me of why – having discovered that in business honesty and integrity is for fools and suckers – I threw in the towel at age 45 salvaging sufficient, I hope, to see me through the rest of a quiet life frugally on the side-lines.

    “For who would bear the whips and scorns of time,
    Th’ oppressor’s wrong, the proud man’s contumely,
    The pangs of despised love, the law’s delay,
    The insolence of office, and the spurns
    That patient merit of th’ unworthy takes,
    When he himself might his quietus make
    With a bare bodkin?”

    1. F. Beard

      For whoever is joined with all the living, there is hope; surely a live dog is better than a dead lion. Ecclesiastes 9:4 New American Standard Bible

  13. Hugh

    Re self-determination, I wonder if Putin is going to schedule the referendum on Chechnyan independence on the same day as the Crimean one. I wonder if the Crimean Russians are going to schedule the referendum on independence for the Crimean Tatars on the same day as well.

    As I have said before, the crisis in Ukraine is about how the country will be divided up among the kleptocrats, Russian, European, American, and local. In this regard, Russian imperial ambitions should be viewed with the same skeptical eye as their European and American counterparts.

    1. psychohistorian

      And then there are the calls from Obama to 6 countries and not Germany, for example….

      Only 6 that are still mainlining Empire…..says something doesn’t it?

      I want America taken away from the fascists/global plutocrats…..I am ready to suffer to see that happen.

    2. cwaltz

      I’m pretty sure that everyone other than the utterly oblivious is aware that this isn’t a good guy vs. bad guy fight. It’s greedy guy vs. another greedy guy fight.

      They aren’t fighting over who’ll help the Ukrainians, they’re fighting over who gets access to Ukraine’s assets. The people can starve and die for all they care.

  14. allcoppedout

    The physics paper on building great walls 300 metres high, 50 metres wide and 100 miles long to stop tornadoes was fascinating. It would put an end to the Chinese trade deficit Yves scoffs at, though one has to admit these announcements are even more reliable, timetable-wise, than tornadoes. We should float a joint stock company immediately. Now, who wants to cast the first stone – er – I mean lay the first brick?

    For those not prepared for such solid investment, we have alternative bonds in ventures building ground floor flats in flood zones.

  15. allcoppedout

    The ‘Fat Drug’ is rather old science. We’ve been into the hologenome and holobiont for some time –

    If we give mice a gastric band they get thin (boring). If we extract gut bacteria from these mice and give them to mice which don’t get gastric bands they get thin (interesting). Time to invest in gastric-banded humans?

    Maps of antibiotics, diabetes and obesity, along with farm research have long made us suspicious. Probiotics have long been something of a scam, but a lot of medicine emerged from quackery. Possibly the best news in all this is it may be that all those snide doctors and dieticians scoffing at fat freaks who eat too much, are lazy, lack willpower, have beer-bellies and the rest were wrong. In this era of trust, one hopes the anti-antibiotic research has not been sponsored by the trans-fat and sugar industries.

  16. voltaic

    Auto Regulators Dismissed Defect Tied to 13 Deaths New York Times

    Looks like NTHSA will be hearing about these oversights next week if you care to drop by

    From twitter @nthsagov

    Invite your followers to join us on Twitter next Wednesday, 3/12, @ 3pmET. We’re chatting about how to stay safe…

  17. mk

    “Iindiscriminate surveillance is giving rise to pronounced informational asymmetries that disfavor us as consumers and as citizens. The way companies can use these insights to discriminate among us can, for example, exacerbate inequality and expose minority and low-income populations to exploitation—a fact that the language of privacy doesn’t fully capture. Framing data collection primarily as a civil liberties issue implies that surveillance is only a problem if we personally believe it constrains our freedom. Establishing that there are hard political and economic consequences—and conceiving new language to encapsulate these effects—gives privacy advocates a stronger hand, and a basis for engaging people who might dismiss privacy as anachronistic.”

    1. JTFaraday

      “Framing data collection primarily as a civil liberties issue implies that surveillance is only a problem if we personally believe it constrains our freedom.”

      Oy gevalt. No, it doesn’t. That’s why it’s “civil,” not “personal.” Which even the author knows, when she slips back into the collective civil rights and liberties frame herself:

      “The third is that one of the primary threats we face is that privacy becomes entirely commoditized, rendering it a good to buy rather than right we all enjoy.”

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