Links 4/1/14

Dear patient readers,

I need to scold some of you.

1. The comments section is not the place to discuss site performance issues. We have a Contacts link that you folks seem to be ignoring. I suggest you learn to use it. Any future comments about site performance in the comments section will be deleted, since that is what it will apparently take to train you to communicate with us (the site admins).

2. The reason for the comments in 1 is that it is cumbersome for us to track you down from the comments section, plus virtually without exception, the complaints do not provide enough information for us to do anything to address the issue.

3. We find in well over half of the cases where people are having performance issues, it is a user issue (as in they haven’t purged cache or taken some other troubleshooting step). For instance, one person who complained twice yesterday is running an extremely underpowered old machine and has confessed in previous exchanges that they have trouble with a large number of other sites. But you’d never get that from reading their remarks yesterday. We are willing to tell you how to troubleshoot, but we don’t like people denigrating the site when odds are decent that the problem is not what they think it is.

Now you can buy a $60,000 remote-controlled dragon, because why not? GizMag (furzy mouse). You too can play at being Danerys.

Game of Thrones: the women of Westeros Guardian. So how many GOT stories will we see between now and the season launch in April?

Japan accepts court ban on Antarctic whaling BBC

Why I’ve ditched statins for good Telegraph (martha r)

Climate inaction catastrophic – US BBC

All Public Comments Are Welcome. Then What? New York Times (Michael C). This is a harbinger of what will become sadly routine: the use of algos or “big data” to supposedly make an unassailable point, when a common-sense understanding of the information being analyzed shows that it’s biased, so the analysis is a “garbage in, garbage out” exercise.

Forget Bitcoin, African E-Money Is the Currency-Killer Business Insider. Also bear in mind Google is planning to get into the money transfer business.

Ex-president Jiang urges Beijing to curb anti-corruption drive Financial Times. Because it might rattle some of the elite! Sound familiar?

China factory data hint at stability Financial Times

France Joins in Europe’s Rightward Drift Keith Humphreys (MacroDigest)

New troika deal sets Greece range of targets but no immediate austerity measures ekathimerini

Total Breakdown in Myanmar’s Arakan State Council for Foreign Relations


Will Vladimir Putin Bolster the Eurozone? Jean Pisani-Ferry, Project Syndicate

Nato to decide new steps on Ukraine BBC

NATO to Discuss Ukraine as Russia Pulls Some Troops Back Bloomberg

Health Website Failures Impede Signup Surge as Deadline Nears New York Times. “Surge” is no longer an auspicious word.

WASHINGTON: After more than a century, a jewel of ocean research targeted for closure McClatchy. Chuck L: “More devolution.”

Voting For Neoliberal Democrats As The Lesser Of Two Evils masaccio, Firedoglake (Carol B)

U.S. Regulators Say Oil Industry Withholding Data on Rail Crashes OilPrice

Senators Criticizing Conflict of Interest Disclosure Surrounding OSHA Ruling Receive Timely Contributions from Rule’s Opponents MapLight. Headline is awfully wordy, but trust me, the piece is short and meaty. Or you can read the Raw Story version: Chemical industry-funded senators want to hide chemical industry funding of studies

Ryan Unsuited to Lead ‘Adult Conversation’ About Poverty Bill Moyers

AP Re-Used Three-Year-Old Article on Torture Report David Swanson

Private prisons, not kids, getting ‘gift’ Arizona Central

Cuomo’s budget deal puts charter chains over New York City’s special needs kids Daily Kos

Did America Lose Its Libido in the Recession? Bloomberg. Wow, notice the insistence on looking for historical parallels, when historically we’ve never had the young as the target market for non-dischargeable debt, aka student loans. Although a crappy job market for college grads does not help either. Plus I have also heard young people discuss the ethics of having children, as in doubting whether it is ethical to subject humans (by giving birth to them) to the world we are going to have 50 years from now.

Michael Lewis Tries to Tell You That the Rigging of Equity Markets is News. His book is nevertheless showing the true colors of some commentators.

Fault Runs Deep in Ultrafast Trading Andrew Ross Sorkin, New York Times

Michael Lewis’s flawed new book Felix Salmon

The Wolf Hunters of Wall Street New York Times. If you are curious, the Lewis extract

FBI Investigating High-Speed Trading Wall Street Journal. Story curiously coincides with release of Michael Lewis book. The SEC has bizarrely allowed co-location to take place, which they knew created unequal access to the market. However, this article says the FBI is looking into front-running, which is a slam-dunk securities law violation.

Piketty Swings for the Fences (and seems to miss, consensus appears to be the book’s data is really useful but you need to take the economic discussion with a fistful of salt).

Kapital for the Twenty-First Century? James Galbraith, Dissent

Everything wrong with capitalism, as explained by Balzac, “House” and “The Aristocats” Quartz (Lee)

US companies’ overseas cash hits $947bn Financial Times. But this story is misleading in that the funds are overseas only in the tax sense. For instance, Apple’s former $14 billion horde was in banks in the US.

Stocks On Speed: Leverage Spikes, As Does Risk Of Crash (Look At That Insane Chart!) Wolf Richter

Do “Too-Big-to-Fail” Banks Take On More Risk? New York Fed

Antidote du jour (jfg):


And a more conventional bonus image (Lawrence R):


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  1. Jim Haygood

    Unless this is a bad April Fools joke, the Lobby’s wildest fantasy is about to come true:

    JERUSALEM — Officials involved in the fraught Israeli-Palestinian peace talks said on Tuesday that an agreement was near to extend the negotiations through 2015 in exchange for the release of Jonathan J. Pollard, an American serving a life sentence for spying for Israel. The agreement would also include the release of hundreds of Palestinian prisoners, including citizens of Israel, and a partial freeze on construction in West Bank settlements.

    ‘Selling one’s birthright for a mess of pottage’ [e.g., a ‘partial’ settlement freeze] comes to mind. Pardoning Pollard, who reportedly did enormous damage to U.S. security, would be Obama’s version of Clinton’s Marc Rich pardon … but much worse.

    Is there anything left in this whored-out shell of a nation to sell?

    1. ambrit

      The Rosenbergs were executed for just the sort of behaviour that Pollard exhibited. He should have been shot, (he was a DNI employee, and thus part military,) as a salutary example. Spying for anyone against your country is a crime. Endorsing such actions is, technically, treason. With friends such as AIPAC and their handlers, who needs enemies?

    2. Katniss Everdeen

      And all of this playing out against the nauseating backdrop of this past weekend’s pilgrimage to Las Vegas which involved, among other things, Chris Christie’s truly despicable “apology” for calling Palestine “occupied territories!” I suspect Hillary Clinton will at least have the good taste to conduct her rhetorical fellatio in private.

      “Whored-out shell” hardly even scratches the surface.

      I’m with Russell Brand. Why even bother to vote? Why must we be subjected to THREE YEARS of expensive propaganda meant only to keep the illusion of “democracy” alive a little longer?

      Just let “Sheldon and Miriam” make the choice for us and get on with it already. And then let them give us our marching orders. As if we didn’t know them already.

      1. Oregoncharles

        You could at least make a protest vote, such as the Green Party. Hell, if enough people do that, we might start winning.

        1. Katniss Everdeen

          Point taken. But I’m starting to feel like a chump for even participating. Like somebody could get the idea that I really believe votes “matter.”

          How low do you think the participation rate would have to be before an election could be declared a non-decision? I’m starting to think THAT’S the best strategy. Just boycott.

          Meanwhile, back at the $39 BILLION Adelson ranch:

          Perhaps. But last fall at Yeshiva University, this “very rational guy” gave this response to a question from Rabbi Shmuley Boteach on whether he supports U.S. negotiations on Iran’s nuclear program:

          “No. What do you mean support negotiations? What are we going to negotiate about? What I would say is, ‘Listen, you see that desert out there, I want to show you something.’ … You pick up your cell phone and you call somewhere in Nebraska and you say, ‘OK let it go.’

          “So, there’s an atomic weapon, goes over ballistic missiles, the middle of the desert, that doesn’t hurt a soul. Maybe a couple of rattlesnakes, and scorpions, or whatever.

          “And then you say, ‘See! The next one is in the middle of Tehran. So, we mean business. You want to be wiped out? Go ahead and take a tough position and continue with your nuclear development.

          “‘You want to be peaceful. Just reverse it all, and we will guarantee that you can have a nuclear power plant for electricity purposes, energy purposes.’”

          Sheldon and Miriam Adelson’s AMERICA. Gawd bless it. I’m PROUD to call it home.

        2. ambrit

          Or you could also, along with the Greens vote, as my wife and I have done, put a bumper sticker on your truck, (no, it doesn’t have hemis!) which reads “Re-Elect President Gore.”

      1. bob

        Shhh. You can’t talk about thing like that. It makes some people very uncomfortable.

        Have you seen the video of schumer running away from the comcast/time warner deal? Of course not. Chuck doesn’t ever run from a camera!

        His brother, who is running the deal on Wall st, feels a little different.

  2. Brindle

    The image of “CIA doctors” taking metrics is as ghoulish as the actual torture.

    —One of the men said CIA interrogators “would pour buckets of very cold water over his nose and mouth to the point that he felt he would suffocate. Icy cold water was also poured over his body. He said it happened over and over again,” the report says. CIA doctors monitored the prisoners’ body temperatures so they wouldn’t suffer hypothermia.—

    1. ambrit

      And I bet they were using charts worked up by the Reichs Ministry of Health with the help of “volunteers” from places such as Buchenwald and Auschwitz too!

      1. Bill the Psychologist

        Mengele’s moral descendants……scumbags all. That’s a technical term.

        1. Cal

          “Mengeleian Supply Chain”

          That’s a description of our modern health care delivery system that I read somewhere in the comments either here or at some other site in the last week–

    2. Katniss Everdeen

      “A report by the Senate Intelligence Committee concludes that the CIA misled the government and the public about aspects of its brutal interrogation program for years…”

      The word “misled” is about as worthless and meaningless these days as is the word “hypocrisy.”

    3. afisher

      I am more surprised that people are surprised. The torture has been well known since back in 2009 – the Levin Commission and the International Red Cross investigations have confirmed all of that behavior. To assume that the CIA or it’s hidden affiliates would “just stop” is as infantile as to believe that the “torture” was designed ONLY for GITMO and somehow as if by magic – it made it’s way to the middle east.

    4. Chauncey Gardiner

      The behavior cited in the WaPo article linked is not only criminal, but psychopathic IMO. Of further concern, there is this: Readers’ comments relating to this recent homicide are telling.

      So are these two articles:

      Who are these people acting in our name? Who granted them these powers and why?

      1. hunkerdown

        Granted?! Do you also believe that stores are “where stuff comes from”? Can USians even conceive of power as something other than prayers to deus ex machina?

        Power is nothing more than a credible threat. As such, power is *asserted*. Challenged sometimes (successfully, on occasion), delegated often enough, but never “granted”.

        Without understanding the law of the jungle, one cannot interoperate with it.

        1. Chauncey Gardiner

          Somehow the counter arguments always circle back to an “American people are stupid, naive sheep addicted to ‘deus ex machina’ happy endings. Sorry, pal, I’m not buying it. And I’ll stick with “granted”.

        2. Mildred Montana

          “The question of justice arises only between parties of equal strength; the strong do what they can, and the weak submit.”
          —-Thucydides, History of the Peloponnesian War

  3. LibSoc

    Cuomo’s budget deal puts charter chains over New York City’s special needs kids:
    The educational system as it exists today is a really expensive day care service. I find the hemming and hawing over Charters vs Public vs Voucher vs Private to be so mind numbingly pointless. None of the above typically offer lessons that are of fundamental value (go watch an episode of “Are You Smarter than a Fifth Grader” to realize the worthless pedantry we force our youngins to memorize) nor do they present the (worthless) information in a manner that is absorbed in the long term. We are aware of the Forgetting curve and we have open source Spaced Repetition programs that allow people to easily attain 90%+ retention of information. It’d bonkers that we allow this system to perpetuate itself.

    1. hunkerdown

      If K-12 were intended to teach personal agency and how to exercise it responsibly, why in blazes would it be modeled on the Prussian system, whose moral content revolves around supplication to and enablement of authority?

      Melodramatically begging for Providence to rain down manna generally solves nothing, but it’s what the Prussian system was designed to teach…

    2. bob

      Like with obama, I don’t understand people who are just coming around to the fact that Cuomo is a neoliberal hack tool of the bankers. He was the former head of HUD under summers/rubin.

      1. craazyman

        What until it opens its mouth. You don’t know what kind of sh*t might come pouring out! Seems to be happening a lot these days, which is why I read about it rather than watch it on TV. bwaaaaak.

      2. craazyman

        The words press out in squeezes of muddied mind sludge, fetid and fragrant clumps of clichés plopping pungently into piles and pools of putrid prevarications.

        1. optimader

          “fetid and fragrant clumps of clichés plopping pungently into piles…”

          A visual bridge too far,
          Zebra retains some shred of dignity even if it doesn’t know if its coming or going.

  4. burnside

    After many weeks of headlines describing many thousands of Russian troops ‘massed’ near the Ukraine border, the most recent from late last week, I saw a report filed Sunday by NBC’s Jim Maceda who, tired of conflicting reports, went to Ukraine himself to take a look. A four-day drive of more than a thousand miles of border areas.

    . . . and this morning we see the same sources describing a Putin ‘withdrawal’. Did NBC just wreck someone’s aggressive agenda?

    1. Jackrabbit

      I new low in “nothing to see here”.

      Russia is withdrawing a token force of a few hundred men. Ask yourself this: why is that newsworthy? and why is that overstated by some sources as a simply a “withdraw” without saying what is being withdrawn?


    2. OIFVet

      I thought it strange that despite the bellicose rhetoric the government wouldn’t release satellite images of the Russian troop “build-up.” Now we may know why, it was a propaganda campaign all along. At least last time around the Bush administration had the decency to release some satellite images of trailers and pretend that those field kitchens were cooking up more than tasty flat bread and shawarma. Fairleft at FDL has compiled more links that expose the administration’s lies, all from establishment media:

  5. JCC

    A followup for “Patient Readers” and I hope I’m not out of line posting here, but I think it’s good advice relative to the issue:

    As an SA (Systems Administrator) for multiple Labs, multiple networks, and some very complicated software setups – many are browser-based interfaces – on multiple Operating Systems, we have a poster, somewhat humorous but very true, regarding troubleshooting methods and Level of Effort (time). I don’t recall the exact wording and cannot replicate the dominant graph here but essentially it goes like this relative to MS Operating Systems (I tried to use a side-by-side layout but can’t get the tags right):

    Troubleshooting Guide

    Method 1
    A) ...
    B) ...
    C) ...
    2 to 4 hours
    Problems solved - approx. 5%

    Method 2
    A) Clear the browser cache
    B) Reboot
    10 minutes
    Problems solved - approx. 95%

    Hope this helps.

    1. Larry Barber

      Except method 1 actually has a chance of fixing the problem, rather than just putting the inevitable recurrence off to some point in the future. I know “restart, reboot, rebuild” is the standard Microsoft methodology, but all it leads to is unfixed problems.

      1. Yves Smith Post author

        No, clearing cache means that the problem is NOT the site, it is that you have a stale version of the page in your local cache and that is causing problems.

        Any website issue that can be fixed by cache clearing and/or a reboot is a user issue. Lordie.

      2. JCC

        I would agree except that method here is not “restart, reboot, rebuild”. We use identical images on all systems. If one of 600 systems across 40-some Labs screw up once every two weeks or so and a cache clear fixes it, why wastes hours of both the SA’s time and the User’s time… not to mention the taxpayers’ money (DoD environment) spending hours tracking down a problem that can be solved in 10 minutes? The “Microsoft Way” is absolutely the worst case scenario and we avoid it like the plague.

        Yves, by the way, is 100% right.

  6. Cal

    NPR = Necon Propaganda Radio

    Listening to our two local NPR stations in the Bay Area has gotten frustrating.
    The more I read Naked Capitalism and read alternate media, the more I realize that everything National Public Radio is parroting is just more civic decay and the prelude to WWIII, dressed up with nice little garnishes of transgenderism and dollops of freaky human interest stories, all the while pushing for more debt and pretending to be ‘an alternative’.

    Now they are talking about basketball games…took them off all my presets on the car and at home.

    Yves, Lambert, ever think of starting a radio station or an audio feed?

    1. Truthisgold

      Hey Cal, I understand the experience of hearing NPR in a different light. Try KPFA 94.1 in Berkeley, the nation’s FIRST Public Radio station.

    2. Cocomaan

      You’re not the only one. Remember that NPR’s offices have some severe Obama-related conflicts of interest, like Michele Norris, whose husband was so heavily involved with the Obama campaign that she had to step down from All Things Considered.

      I am getting a stereo installed in my car so I can listen to podcasts I download to my phone, like Dan Carlin’s “Common Sense” and “Hardcore History”. His coverage of Ukraine was really, really good IMO, asking (paraphrased)

      “What would it take for you to start WW3? Doesn’t matter, the decision has already been made for you by NATO’s mutual defense pact”.

    3. down2long

      Strongly recommend you add KPFA (As I recall it’s 90.3) Pacifica Radio to your presets and donations list. As the crisis continues to unfold, I have found Pacifica to be the best radio news there is. Ian Masters has a nightly one hour gem. Democracy Now. There are a couple shows in the morning that are a little to stridently confiscatory for my social democratic stance, which is always a tough stance as a housing provider in a rent-controlled gulag. They tend to hate little businesses, we are an easy target. I.e. blame the victim. I say go after the real perps, the big corps, but you can always get local action against a bunch of unorganized and fiercely independent small biz owners.
      I see I’ve gotten a bit off track, so will continue. For anyone who is interested, we L.A. housing providers have formed a guerilla housing provider group that is making a real difference in leveling the playing field between the green light the big developers (huge campaign donors) have to rape and pillage, and then the politicians use of us little guys as the fall guys:
      One of the reasons for so much suffering in the world, according to my therapist, is that people cannot get comfortable with having two contradictory beliefs at the same time.
      As you see, I am now capable of this. It has led to much happiness and restful sleep.
      So yes, the Pacifica stations. Really a life preserver for those of us who feel we have become completely irrelevant and unrepresented.

      1. down2long

        My one big complaint with Democracy Now is Amy Goodman’s voice. I had voice training and so I guess I am acutely aware of the all the stress that is in her voice – I find what she says so interesting, but it is so exhausting listening to that stressed voice for an hour. I can’t figure out if she is pushing her voice down into a lower register (a lot of men do this), reaction to time constraints, (her cadence is often rushed) or what. Maybe it’s just me.

        1. Oregoncharles

          Her voice is quite unusual for an announcer, and oddly abrasive. I ignore it in favor of the content – or read transcripts.

  7. John Merryman

    What’s this about China going after its crooked generals? Is there some spat between the People’s Liberation Army and the Chinese Communist Party we don’t know about?

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Their Trial by Combat was over a while back.

      The winners were declared virtuous, the losers, corrupt.

      We do the same here – economic winners are heroes and losers lazy parasites, in our Trial by Free Market Combat (a.k.a ‘competition.’).

      In this way, the Middle Ages never really left us.

      If you are a serf, experiencing droit du seigneur often, you knew that already.

  8. diptherio

    Tesco-op Set to Transform Every Community

    The Coalition government, a keen proponent of employee-ownership and decentralisation of services, is reportedly “fed up” with the “problems of big business”.

    In reaction, a white paper is being circulated that suggests big businesses should be decentralised from 1 April 2015 to their employees and customers in a move described as the Even Bigger Society.

    Employee-ownership advocate Crystal Ball explains: “The prime minister and chancellor are big supporters of co-operatives and believe it’s time Britain totally runs itself without interference from the state.”

    One of the first companies to be transformed is set to be a well-known high street supermarket.

    The new Tesco-op brand is set to be trialled this year and all Clubcard members, alongside employees, will own a slice of Britain’s top retail chain.

    Almost sounds too good to be true…{winks}

  9. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    $947 billion corporate cash, overseas or in the US – that’s where all (or at least a lot of) the printed money went.

    People, listen, you have to go to the announced drop zone when the helicopter comes. It seems this last round, only corporations and rich people showed up.

    1. MikeNY


      We need to tax that sh*t and give it to the people on whose backs it’s being made.

  10. Susan the other

    The post on the IPCC and the renewed urgency of dealing with climate change. Everyone concerned is saying that the key to surviving climate change is “managing the risks.” Gee, what a novel idea. Kind of like understanding the Climate Fairy. Only the climate fairy can kill us fast whereas the confidence fairy – the market fairy – kills us softly and slowly so managing the risks is obfuscated.

    And the African MPesa. It is a real, local fiat, exchange system. Sounds like its success is proof of gold’s, and virtual gold’s, absurdity as a currency. But the title of the article is misleading (“African money as the currency killer”). The article didn’t make the MPesa sound like a currency killer – it sounded just the opposite, it sounded like a currency validation. As a new exchange for local currencies/local fiat. But it does sound like a credit card killer company killer.

    And lastly Galbraith on Thomas Picketty’s Capital for the 21st Century. Much about the analysis was over my head – the different definitions of “capital” and the discussion about interest rates. Interesting that Picketty, a new New Dealer, excludes only human capital from his valuation of capital. And Galbraith himself talks about the rate of return on capital without ever mentioning that much of it came from devastating the environment. No economists ever points out a possible model showing the rate of innovation which just escalates the rate of return by escalating the rate of destruction.

    1. Garrett Pace

      Maybe if they give him another Nobel Peace Prize that will help.

      He’s still technically not George W. Bush, even if the imitation is flawless.

  11. Bruno Marr

    Statins & Heart Attacks:

    First, I’m not a cardiologist, but the doctor writing the article should see one (not just his GP). The cardiologist will explain to him that much of what he observes is actually accurate. Remove sugar and refined carbohydrates from your diet and LDL levels will drop; that’s because your insulin response mechanism and a properly functioning liver have reduced the production of cholesterol. But some folks don’t respond to a quality diet; so statins.

    That same cardiologist will also tell you to exercise the big muscles in your body regularly, get plenty of good sleep, and avoid inflamation (gum disease, sickness, etc.), if you want to MINIMIZE your chances of having a heart attack. Because it usually takes only ONE heart attack to kill you. (I’m the outlier.)


    1. Yves Smith Post author

      I think I will have to put this up every time people discuss statins. From a past reader comment:

      I was talking to my brother (PhD in biochemistry as was my father) not too long ago about another PhD in biochemistry, Dr. Ray Peat. Peat did his dissertation on progesterone and had spent 40 years researching it. Progesterone is made from cholesterol and is the precursor of the hormones testosterone, estrogen and hydrocortisone. In other words, four of the body’s six major hormones are derived from cholesterol.

      Peat did some extensive research on the deaths of women, to find out what was the optimal cholesterol level for longevity. His conclusion was the number women needed for longevity was 270 (very high according to the AMA which wants it under 200). Peat found that low cholesterol did in fact decrease a woman’s chances of dying from a heart attack but caused a woman to die sooner from something else.

      My brother couldn’t believe what I was telling him about Peat’s research, but after checking out Peat’s articles and references, he concluded Peat was right. In fact, one of the things my brother found in his research was that LDL is very good at killing bacteria. My brother jokingly commented to me that in lowering one’s LDL that you don’t die of heart disease, you die of MRSA much sooner.

      So both my brother and I who were on statins got off of them. Plus my brother found a new meta study of 62,000 people showing they did no good for those who didn’t have cardiovascular disease, making the decision even easier.

      My dad, who taught medical students biochemstry for 40 years, found very few MD’s that knew enough biochemistry to give him any confidence in their ability to decide whether medications were justified. So I have always been very skeptical of what they recommend.

      As for your Atkins comment, I have been an Atkins dieter for about 18 years. My dad thought Atkins’ ideas made sense from a metabolic point of view which is why I started doing it and still do. Atkins was a cardiologist and he wasn’t nearling as concerned about cholesterol as he was about triglicerides and blood pressure.

      The other thing that is getting attention as a possible marker for heart disease is C reactive protein, which measures inflamation. Progesterone is great at reducing inflamation (remember it is the precursor of hydrocortisone) which is why I take it and I am a man.

        1. Oregoncharles

          Make sure it has real bergamot extract in it – derived from an orange relative.
          Both orange mint and beebalm, a mint family plant often called bergamot, have the same flavor, but I suspect not the same medicinal value. Lots easier to grown, though, being mints. In fact, orange mint pretty rampant given plenty of water.

          1. Vatch

            But, but, won’t the genuine bergamot extract lower my cholesterol? I don’t want to die from an infection! Decisions, decisions!

      1. fresno dan

        Yeah, 20 years ago I had a heart attack and was put on a big statin dose. Of course, just the other a study determined that saturated fat does not increase heart attack risk, at least for people who have not yet had a heart attack.
        So I gave up fat as much as I good, and switched to carbs. Of course, triglycerides went up, cholesterol stayed up. And I gained weight, mostly because I was hungry all the time.
        Than I went to low carb, meat, veggies and not too much food OH, and booze of course. – I just wasn’t hungry anymore. Lost 30 pounds with no effort at all.

  12. fresno dan

    Now you can buy a $60,000 remote-controlled dragon, because why not? GizMag (furzy mouse). You too can play at being Danerys.

    For a nine foot wingspan, 60K is outrageous. I would expect a 60K dragon to have a 70 foot wingspan, and shoot flames at least 200 feet. And the FED says there is no inflation…..and hedonics.
    Why, I remember when you good get a good draft dragon for 1K…..sure, you had to feed it pretty much a cow pure day, and a virgin (try finding one of those nowadays) once a year…

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      You probably rebooted or shut your browser. The fact that it is better today means it was a user issue, since we’ve done nothing with the site. And your remarks yesterday were totally out of line and damaging to us.

      1. Wells Fargo Must Die

        No, they weren’t. I simply asked if anyone was having a problem. And there were many that were and someone even thanked me for bringing it up. I’m using Chrome today and have made no changes whatsoever. Somebody on the back end figured out what the problem was and fixed it.

        If it was as simple as you make out, I wouldn’t have had a problem to begin with. In any case, problem solved and I’ll refrain from bringing up the subject in the future. Just glad to have to deal with the issue any longer.

        1. Yves Smith Post author

          No, we did absolutely nothing to the site. We have all of two people running our back end, and they did NOTHING in the last 36 hours. They make changes only when we instruct them and we issued no instructions. And your “many people” was all of two in addition to you when you omit the person we know who has a crap machine and has trouble with lots of sites.

  13. Garrett Pace

    “I have also heard young people discuss the ethics of having children, as in doubting whether it is ethical to subject humans (by giving birth to them) to the world we are going to have 50 years from now.”

    There’s some fascinating Darwinian self-selection going on right now. Towards optimism? Religious parochialism? Or negligence & cruelty, for bringing people into “the world we are going to have 50 years from now”?

    One would thing toward wealth also, which is the historical norm, but not apparently the case nowadays. Or maybe the middle is being hollowed out.

    1. kareninca

      Here is an extremely funny (to me, anyway) study from Norway re who is having kids, and how it is changing:

      “Men with neurotic personality traits are having fewer children compared to previous generations, according to a new study published in the European Journal of Personality. The study examined the effect of personality on how likely a person is to have children, using extensive survey and birth registry data from Norway. It also found that men who are extraverted and open tend to have more children, while women who rank as conscientious on personality tests tend to have fewer children, although these findings were constant across generations.”

  14. fresno dan

    1. How much natural gas is the United States currently extracting?

    (a) Barely enough to meet its own needs
    (b) Enough to allow lots of exports
    (c) Enough to allow a bit of exports
    (d) The United States is a natural gas importer

    Answer: (d) The United States is a natural gas importer, and has been for many years. The EIA is forecasting that by 2017, we will finally be able to meet our own natural gas needs.

    So why do we want to export natural gas???
    “Why all of the natural gas exports, if we don’t have very much natural gas, and the shale gas portion (which is the only portion with much potential for growth) is so unprofitable? The reason for all of the exports is too pump up the prices shale gas producers can get for their gas. This comes partly by engineering higher US prices (by shipping an excessive portion overseas) and partly by trying to take advantage of higher prices in Europe and Japan.”

    Help the few and screw the many. Yeah, that is US policy. Although I think any time we have the opportunity to stick our nose in other countries affairs, we can’t resist. (cough cough Ukraine)

    1. Brooklin Bridge

      Another reason is that over time, politicians have become increasingly uncomfortable with the possibility that they might say something that by coincidence or some freak accident actually turns out to be true and thus be looked on with horror by their colleagues as if they had leprosy or something. So when they say, “We will produce enough natural gas to satisfy our own countries needs”, they are assuming it is a crock of crap that sounds good to the retards AND condescendingly false to their colleagues as all serious political discourse MUST. Also, they have taken note of the fact we don’t like them or consider them particularly frank and they are trying to sneer back at us to let us know that nah, nah, we don’t care. The fact that the gas meme may turn out to be true in 2017 was never anticipated. It has them positively scrambling for corrective measures.

  15. Chauncey Gardiner

    Thank you for the link to the “Stocks on Speed” post by Wolf Richter on the historically high levels of margin debt being used to purchase stocks, and the other sources of debt also being accessed for that purpose.

    Has risk been priced out of the equation? I think not. Seems to me that this salient feature alone insures that the benignly termed “correction” in the stock market, when it finally comes, will be quite deep.

    That said, quite a nice Potemkin village the Fed-Treasury-PPT members have constructed here with QE-ZIRP rocket fuel for a very small segment of society. But then, with a dysfunctional Congress and a resultant lack of fiscal initiatives to improve infrastructure and the real economy, maybe the Fed has been the only game in town.

  16. Brooklin Bridge

    Re Voting for neoliberal Democrats as the lessor of two evils

    A few years ago, I used to read posts on Firedoglake from time to time and even made the mistake of sending in a contribution. That got me on their email list at a curious time when I was having serious disk problems on my pc. When ever Firedoglake sent me an email, if I opened it, it would secretly (without informing me) drop a turd (a file of some sort) in a particular location on my hard drive. I would not have found out about it except for the fact that the disk was failing and the disk manager would complain about bad sectors from a create file request the instant I opened one of the Firedoglake emails (usually asking for support or funds). The system message from the file system was specific enough so there was no doubt about the Firedoglake emails being the source. Perhaps other sites do this as well, but that doesn’t mean it’s right, and there is no requirement in any existing email protocols to put unmarked files on someone’s disk without telling them. It is not an intrinsic part of email. So for Firedoglake to be doing it did not endear me to them in the least.

    At around this time, I also came across a comment by Jane Hampshire in the comment section of some post on FDL. The comment basically threatened those of her readers making comments who were criticizing other commenters (in varying degrees of politeness and lack thereof) for their insistence on voting for the lessor of two evils. She said she didn’t want to “offend” the pro lessor of two evils group because they represented a large group of her readers and she would therefore bar anyone from comments who persisted in such criticism. That was the gist of it; I forget the exact way it was put.

    Anyway, it was the last time I read Firedoglake except for articles by David Dyden.

      1. Bunk McNulty

        “Lesser” not “Lessor.” Unless you’re talking about leasing two evils…

    1. Hugh

      Interesting that masaccio concludes, “There are no Democratic voices for a decent future” but doesn’t call for giving up on the Democrats or indeed working actively against them.

      1. hunkerdown

        Some people are enamored of the reverse takeover as a credible solution to the duopoly problem. It’s hard to tell whether those people are just unaware of the level of hostility of Party brass (and, ahem, their owners) toward their policy orientation, are unaware of which way power in a political party actually runs, are trying to build community through a star-crossed shared endeavor, or are just actively working the identity politics to goose the Party’s (or the system’s) credibility, preserve its owners’ mandate, and brag about being on Team Win. Being 7 months until an election, the last seems most likely.

        Then again, even Ian Welsh is suggesting it as a viable theoretical possibility, but with today being today…

        Of course masaccio didn’t offer a solution. I wouldn’t either. Offering a solution is the way polite culture absolves itself of responsibility and enables its ill behavior. Marx didn’t really offer one either, just iterated the game and predicted the dynamics with some insight. On a more mundane level, dealing with the predictably hostile, destructive and disengaged responses of the ox-owning class and those who believe they may own oxen in 10-20 years gets tiring.

        Settle on what the problem(s) are first, then jawbone about solutions. Unless the point is to waste mental energy on infighting and non-viable solutions based on false premises and mischaracterization.

  17. Hugh

    I wished to echo the sentiments expressed above about the traitor Jonathan Pollard. It goes to show what a putrified, ossified wreck US-Israeli policy and US foreign policy more generally, epitomized by the blowhard Senator Foghorn who is the current Secretary of State. He is pushing the nth iteration of a US sponsored “peace process”. This is based, like its predecessors, on a two-state solution. This model was always dubious, by 1967 unworkable, and received the final nail in the coffin with the murder of Rabin in 1995 at the hands of a Jewish “extremist” (whose views now represent the Israeli mainstream). The current Israeli Prime Minster Netanyahu made it his life’s work to destroy any possibility for a viable two-state solution and was the primary architect of the destruction of the Oslo Accords. However, it was another Israeli Ariel Sharon who saw the logical consequence of Netanyahu’s policy and successfully sold it to the Israeli public, Israeli apartheid, Israel in control of the land and resources, and the Palestinians segregated into small non-viable bantustans. It says a lot about the efficacy of the Israeli propaganda machine in this country that an obvious policy apartheid could not be called apartheid, that it took a former US President to finally use the term to bring it out into the open, and then even he caught seven kinds of heck for doing so. But once the apartheid genie was out of the bottle there was no way for the Israelis to stick it back in. It was both obvious and accurate.

    It is against this backdrop that Kerry’s bankrupt peace process needs to be seen. It was always going to fail because both Israel’s reactionary political classes and its equally reactionary public have no interest in a two-state solution beyond the kabuki version featured in apartheid.

    The conviction of Pollard was unusual because it showed there was a bright line beyond which even the Israelis could not go. The terminally brain dead Kerry is busily trying to remove this bright line so that he can get another couple of weeks out of his doomed initiative.

    I would also like to address the bias of the New York Times writers Mark Landler and the infamous Michael Gordon. They make it seem like a good idea for Pollard to be released in exchange for “hundreds of Palestinians”. The Israelis hold thousands of Palestinians and they can always arrest, and will, hundreds more. They say that Pollard will be up for parole in November 2015 without mentioning how vanishingly small his chances of getting it are. I mean how many times has Charles Manson been up for parole and how many times has he gotten it? What are his chances of ever getting it? Then there is the argument that the secrets Pollard stole for the Israelis are long out of date and that this somehow makes his treason less important and easier to forgive. Listen our government is crap. But what Pollard did wasn’t just a crime against the US government but against the American people. It is this which separates him from whistleblowers like Bradley Manning and Edward Snowden. He acted against the American people. They acted for them, and it is this which I can not forget or forgive.

    1. optimader

      “Senator Foghorn who is the current Secretary of State…”

      His head should have been the Zebras ass.

      1. MikeNY

        “A haircut in search of a brain.” Assuming it’s not a wig.

        Can’t wait to read Tom Friedman’s 1,596th visionary column the issue next Sunday, ebullient with praise for our “tireless and valiant Secretary of State”, and laying out the path for “guaranteed Israeli security and durable Mid-East peace”.

    2. JerseyJeffersonian

      And here’s a lovely man, Avigdor Lieberman, Israel’s Foreign Minister no less, shopping for legal advice on how to expel Israeli Arabs:

      Now that’s some serious, military-grade apartheid there, chilluns.

      And Pollard? I hope that the only way he ever leaves prison is feet first in a box. And furthermore, I can’t abide the idea of helping Netanyahu fulfill his promise to Pollard, made when he visited him in prison, to some day secure his release. It’s all here in the wikipedia article:

      Read and be appalled that Kerry and Obama would even think of furthering this scheme. But then again, when you consider all of the other things that they have done for the citizenry, could this really be all that startling?

    3. different clue

      The Rabin shooter really was an extremist at the time, not just an “extremist”. His mission was to derail the whole Rabin effort in order to help turn Israel into the country where the extremist’s views would be mainstream today. “This miserable Faust! Who is his Mephistopheles?”

      Canadian blogger Jeff Wells at Rigorous Intuition wrote a post about this at the time. It can be found among the “Assassinations” topic-cluster of posts at his blog. Here is a link to the particular post.

      1. different clue

        This was supposed to be a reply to Hugh up above but it didn’t nest that way. I am not computer smart enough to know why. I wonder if this reply to my own reply to Hugh will nest differently.

  18. different clue

    Oh, and . . . I know nothing about designing websites and blogs so readers get attracted. But I notice that after having mentioned NC and offered links from time to time over at Pat Lang’s Sic Semper Tyrannis, that a few reader-commenters there have come over here and keep returning. So if everyone here mentioned NC in the comments of another one of their favorite high quality blogs, and did so from time to time with links, perhaps some fellow commenters over there might come over here.

    1. different clue

      Also, Sic Semper Tyrannis has recently put up a post on this Pollard proposal. Plus which,
      they have also too besides been running some posts with good threads about Ukraine lately.
      Like this:

      And quite a few other posts besides in the last few weeks about Ukraine/Russia/NATO/America/etc. Very worth reading. Many of the commenters are retired military, retired intelligence, retired diplomatic, etc. people.

      1. JerseyJeffersonian

        I associate myself with these remarks.. Colonel Lang is an honest broker, and the diverse and widely-knowledgeable group of commentators provides a course of continuing education.

        And while we are on the topic of blog pimping, here are a couple others which I follow that provide alternative news and analysis:

        A/K/A The New Great Game. This address will always take you to the most recent several posts, newest at the top. Here is the very first post; you can ladder up from there to progressively more recent posts:

        Next, Moon of Alabama:

        Again arranged with the most recent post at the top, although there is a “Monthly Archives” sidebar down the page on the left with which one may navigate the site.

        Next, The Vineyard of the Saker, whose owner is a Russian emigre:

        I find these of interest. For some reason, this quote from Steppenwolf of Hermann Hesse came to mind…

        I tried to open the door, but the heavy old latch would not stir. The display too was over. It had suddenly ceased, sadly convinced of its uselessness. I took a few steps back, landing deep into the mud, but no more letters came. The display was over. For a long time I stood waiting in the mud, but in vain.
        Then, when I had given up and gone back to the alley, a few colored letters were dropped here and there, reflected on the asphalt in front of me. I read:

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