Links 4/30/14

California readers: Please come to our CalPERS hearing or encourage CalPERS retirees in the Bay Area to attend. It’s this Friday, May 2, 2014, 9:30 a.m., Superior Court of California, Department 302. That’s on the third floor of 400 McAllister Street, San Francisco, CA 94102 (map). But be sure to check here after 2:00 PM PDT on Thursday! The judge may postpone the hearing, so double check that it is still on before you drop by. More explanation here.

World’s best restaurants full of world’s worst people Daily Mash

The rising cost of decommissioning a nuclear power plant Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists

Fifty Years of BASIC, the Programming Language That Made Computers Personal Time

Everything You Need To Know Before E-mailing The FCC About Net Neutrality Consumerist. And yes, please DO e-mail them! The plan is to crush the small and independent fry on the Web (except of course for shopping sites…)

I’m wearing Google Glass. I hate it. Washington Post

Flawed TPP trade deal a bridge too far MacroBusiness

Japan’s manufacturing contracts for the first time in 14 months Walter Kurtz

China’s Economy Surpassing U.S.? Well, Yes and No. WSJ Economics

China Has Accomplished Something In Global Trade Not Seen Since Colonial Britain Business Insider. Repeat after me: this is not a sustainable model.

More on China’s weakening provinces MacroBusiness

Recovery in Europe? Angry Bear

Null points for EU’s stress-test comedy Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, Telegraph

How the U.S. Created the Afghan War — and Then Lost It, The Unreported Story of How the Harqqani Network Became America’s Greatest Enemy Anand Gopal, TomDispatch

Heavy security as Iraq goes to polls BBC

Kerry’s Flap Should Prompt Reflection Counterpunch

Rio Olympics Preparations ‘the Worst’ New York Times


Ukraine: Fascists Lack In Math Moon of Alabama

Ukraine Separatists Seize Another Local Government Headquarters; Two Points of View; EU Expands Sanction List by 15 Michael Shedlock

East Ukraine ‘out of Kiev’s control’ Guardian

Ukrainian farmers look to IMF as credit becomes tight Reuters

Putin Parties With German Ex-Chancellor, Sanctions Be Damned Wolf Richter

Serious tensions in German-Russian relations DW

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

Details of Apple’s Fingerprint Recognition Bruce Schneier. I cannot believe the public is about to cooperate with providing biometric IDs on a mass basis, particularly as the Supreme Court is about to rule whether cops need a warrant to get data off your smartphone. And I wonder what happens with this tech for people whose prints are so shallow that the old-fashioned ink prints don’t register properly? That actually could be amusing (in a good or bad way) if the digital image for a small subset of people didn’t match up with the prints they leave in the real world.

Supreme Court Is Wary of Warrantless Cellphone Searches Wall Street Journal. Fortunately, the Supremes might not be ready to give away the store…yet…

White House Makes Reassuring Noises On 0-Day Policy Just Security

Senate: Americans Don’t Need to Know Drone Death Toll Guardian (RR)

An Imperial Scam Coming to Your State Soon Counterpunch Carol B)

Oklahoma inmate dies after ‘botched’ lethal injection BBC. Bad enough that we have a death sentence. We can’t even execute people in a faux civilized manner. A firing squad would be vastly more human and would give the gun nuts a thrill. But I suppose the mangled corpse and the messy clean-up make that a no-no.

‘Gun enthusiasts’ stalk and threaten CEO after she develops weapon only owner can fire Raw Story (furzy mouse)

State Department Gives 87% of Afghan Funds to Only Five Recipients Peter Van Buren Firedoglake. You cannot make stuff like this up.

CBO Report Confirms U.S. Deficit Back to Normal Level Triple Crisis

Seattle Organizers Taking $15 Minimum Wage Battle to the Ballot Real News Network

Great news: InBloom is shutting down Cathy O’Neil. The public wins against the Gates Foundation.

Woman loses her home over $6.30 MarketWatch

Two Giant Banks, Seen as Immune, Become Targets New York Times. Puhleeze. Two foreign banks, BNP and Credit Suisse, and for offenses against the US government, as opposed to defrauding ordinary people: “…Credit Suisse for offering tax shelters to Americans, and the other against France’s largest bank, BNP Paribas, over doing business with countries like Sudan that the United States has blacklisted.”

Bank of America Pleads “We’re Idiots, not Crooks!” Peterr, Firedoglake (Carol B)

eBay bringing billions back to US Financial Times

Settling the Bets of the Private-Equity Megadeal’s Golden Age New York Times

Borrowers being driven to ‘shadow banks’ Financial Times. Remarkably credulous reporting by the FT, including quotes from obviously whiny bankers. As Michael Crimmins of Occupy the SEC noted via e-mail:

This is stenography hung around a news flash that the regulators are actually looking at compliance with 2013 guidelines.

Alternative lenders for highly leveraged deals were always going to step in. Nothing new there. That was part of the plan to push the backstopped banks into a more prudential direction.

Piketty’s Global Wealth Tax Isn’t Happening. Here Are Five Politically Realistic Ideas Instead. New Republic

Inequality: A Missing Perspective Pieria

Antidote du jour (Amolife):

Screen shot 2014-04-30 at 5.28.52 AM

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. Jim Haygood

    At Rutgers, the state university of N.J.:

    Roughly 50 Rutgers University students staged a sit-in at a school administration building in New Brunswick on Monday to protest the school’s decision to invite Condoleezza Rice to speak at the university’s commencement next month.

    The school’s Board of Governors voted to pay the former secretary of state under President George W. Bush and national security adviser $35,000 for her appearance at the May 18 ceremony, where she will be awarded an honorary degree.

    But several faculty members and students want the invitation rescinded because of Rice’s role in the Iraq War. Rutgers’ New Brunswick Faculty Council passed a resolution in March calling on the university’s board of governors to rescind its invitation.


    This corrupt $35K kickback to Condosleaza from the academic-industrial complex is part of the same system that made hundred-millionaires of the Clintons and Gores. As Condi’s beetle-browed boss once inquired, “Rarely is the question asked: Is our children learning?”

    1. JerseyJeffersonian

      I am a staffer at the Law Library at the Camden campus of Rutgers. Our campus is separate from that at New Brunswick, where this travesty will be enacted, and the Newark campus. Nonetheless, this decision was met with resistance university-wide, as the main campus at New Brunswick is what most non-Jersey people think of as “Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey”. The resistance occasioned the crafting of a letter from Robert Barchi, the President of Rutgers as a whole, that was sent to us in all of the schools of the university. It follows here:

      Dear Members of the Rutgers Community,

      On May 18, we will welcome former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to deliver the 2014 Rutgers University–New Brunswick commencement address. In recent weeks, members of our University community have engaged in spirited discussions, and faculty, staff, students, alumni, and a range of individuals from across the nation have written both in strong support of, and in opposition to, Condoleezza Rice as our commencement speaker. We have even heard from high school students who have written to say that they would withdraw their Rutgers applications if we rescind—or fail to rescind—our invitation to her. These are the kinds of exchanges that every great university welcomes. Like all vibrant intellectual communities, Rutgers can thrive only when it vigorously defends the free exchange of ideas in an environment of civil discourse. Our students—like all members of our University community—benefit from these kinds of energetic civic exchanges, and through them learn to develop, articulate, and defend their own values and their moral and ethical positions.

      Whatever your personal feelings or political views about our commencement speaker, there can be no doubt that Condoleezza Rice is one of the most influential intellectual and political figures of the last 50 years. She has been on the Stanford faculty as a professor of Political Science since 1981, and she has won two of the university’s highest teaching distinctions. From 1993 to 1999, she served as Stanford’s Provost, the institution’s chief academic officer. In 2001, she accepted the offer to serve in Washington, D.C. as National Security Advisor and later United States Secretary of State, the first woman of color to serve in that role. In March 2009, Dr. Rice returned to Stanford University as a professor of political economy in the Graduate School of Business and in political science and as the Thomas and Barbara Stephenson Senior Fellow on Public Policy at the Hoover Institution. Dr. Rice’s success and influence is all the more impressive when considered in the context of her childhood in the segregated South, during the most tumultuous and violent years of the Civil Rights struggle.

      As many of you have suggested in your letters and in discussions with me, we live in a time when politics can be deeply polarizing. Like our fellow citizens, you and I—our colleagues—have deep and sincerely held beliefs and convictions that often stand in stark contrast to others around us. Yet, we cannot protect free speech or academic freedom by denying others the right to an opposing view, or by excluding those with whom we may disagree. Free speech and academic freedom cannot be determined by any group. They cannot insist on consensus or popularity. These principles are, in fact, best illustrated and preserved when we defend perspectives that we oppose or when we protect what may appear to be a minority view.

      My hope is that we can use these seemingly controversial moments to reaffirm our commitment to open and civil discourse. Indeed, they provide strong evidence of a healthy and engaged University community. I will continue to work with you to guarantee the University remains a space where ideas can be considered, discussed, and debated, a space that embraces and defends civil discourse, free speech, and academic freedom.


      Bob Barchi

      Okee dokee, “Bob”. Nice exercise, but many of us don’t think too much of assisting in the rehabilitation of war criminals, and on the university’s dime, no less. Further, I guess we are expected to disregard the sophism of conflating academic freedom with the discretionary and quite calculated act of paying some war whore to be the commencement speaker at the university’s main campus. The whole episode illustrates in a microcosm what actually happens when The People Who Matter have their minds made up; those who disagree with the decision are disregarded, and their reasons – if ever so politely – are disparaged, in favor of the implementation of the decisions of the Worthy.

      Probably “Bob” did have to factor in that Rutgers still gets funding from the state, and the ultimate gatekeeper of this largesse (such as it is) is the repulsive and politically-ambitious Governor Chris Christie. Crossing Big Chris, ever on the lookout to defend his right flank in the Republican party, might have consequences.

      So we’re screwed, basically.

      1. Propertius

        Nice exercise, but many of us don’t think too much of assisting in the rehabilitation of war criminals, and on the university’s dime, no less.

        I’ll trust you’ll keep that in mind the first time someone suggests inviting former President Barack Obama to speak there, too.

        1. JerseyJeffersonian

          Yes, you can count on that. But realistically, Obama (he hopes), or his role model, Bill Clinton don’t go for the penny-ante university gigs; they look to bankster, or industry trade groups and such ilk for fees commensurate with their services to the Elite, past and future.

          Kindasleezy has thus far contented herself with the academia circuit, but perhaps bigger things await her in future. Now that her NeoCon/R2P compatriots have been so busy drumming up Cold War II, it will not have been lost on her that her previous specialization in Russkie Fightin’ may have a second life. Perhaps government service will again be in her future.

          Note her appearance in association with the Clintons, and other luminaries of the NeoCon/NeoLib world, in the 5th and 6th paragraphs of this article:

          Small world, huh?

      2. Doug Terpstra

        Nice rebuttal, Jersey. $35K=free speech? Huh! Screwed? Nah, you’ve effectively outed the hypocrisy. Now I hope you all organize a very warm welcome for war whore kindasleezy (!). Bake a few cream pies, wear loafers, and practice.

  2. Clive

    “China Has Accomplished Something In Global Trade Not Seen Since Colonial Britain Business” — yes, and if that model (which wasn’t anything fancy, just your plain common-or-garden variety mercantilism) was remotely viable in the long term, we’d (Britain) still have the world’s largest economy and biggest share of trade. We don’t. It stopped working for Britain (and Japan too) and it will stop working for China as well for the same reasons: eventually the customers you’ve enticed/entrapped through your mercantilism figure out that they can pick a more pliable mercantilist counterparty and force you into a race to the bottom (a classic middle income trap) or the mercantilist country amasses bigger and bigger claims on its trading partners against a fixed stock of “assets” that there is a crisis of confidence in those “assets” and the game stops. There’s variations in that, but those are your basic endgame denouements.

    I do, for what it’s worth (not much, just my opinion) think that China realises this. Realising it and actually being able to do something about it though are two entirely different things.

      1. Clive

        No, and you’re right about that. Just that every time I try to figure out what the “correct” economy should look like, my head hurts!

      2. lolcar

        If you don’t want to consume it, then what’s the point of producing it. A fully-developed economy SHOULD have a very high proportion of personal consumption expenditure.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          It depends, I think, on the efficiency of the fully developed country under consideration.

          If its production system is a perpetual motion machine needing no maintenance, then 100% can be consumption (leaving out government spending for now), once the machine is set up.

          If the system is not efficient, then you might, for example, need 90% investment for its repairing/maintenance/replacement, which counts in your GDP, leaving only 10% for consumption.

          Or you might not be diligent and you ignore to repair the production system, when 90% of the GDP is needed to oil the machine, but you spend, instead, again for example, 40% on consumption, postponing the day of reckoning and inviting yourself the question the sustainability.

          On top of that, you issue more imperial money to buy stuff from abroad, for more consumption. Here, one might question about the sustainability of importing, like one might have the same question elsewhere, when in excess.

          Of course, some countries ask the other question – if you don’t want to export it, then, what is the point of producing it?

        2. rjs

          without the large increase in health care spending, first quarter GDP would have been down at a 1.0% rate…

        3. hunkerdown

          The ideological goal of a “fully developed economy” as some desirable thing therefore disappears in a puff of logic. Developed societies have robust, accessible public goods.

      3. craazyman

        all uz ar manifesting “The Disorder” (TM) — the intellectual disorientation caused by flailing around with Quantity in search of Form. You can’t lay a glove on it, your punches flail and you twist yourself into pretzels of pain. In advanced stages it leads to emotional disorientation, anger, free-floating anxiety, cynicism and despair. Or, it may just directly to a state of emotionally distanced predation using “tools” derived from 8th grade algebra but doctored up into an impenetrable complexity and hideously dense obfuscation.

        “The Disorder” (TM) circulates in pompously pretzelized logic back upon itself into a transparently odious but analytically invisible tautology. Invisible of course to those in the worst throes of The Disorder. The tautology is this: Form is Quantity. It’s a ghastly excuse for science. But then, it’s the delusion of madmen and so we need to treat it not as a science but as a disease.

    1. dearieme

      They must mean “Imperial Britain”. Colonial Britain’s main export was wheat to the Roman legions on the Rhine.

      1. Propertius

        Since, as Cicero famously noted, there was no silver in Britain and the Britons were too stupid to make good slaves.

  3. Hugh

    Supreme Court decisions on the death penalty usually involve 8th Amendment issues regarding cruel and unusual punishment. The Court’s history with the death penalty has not been a felicitous one, more like something out of Frankenstein or a horror film.

    Wilkerson v. Utah (1878) the first death penalty case the Court heard sanctioned death by firing squad supposedly because it did not inflict “pain for the sake of pain.” Wilkerson was duly shot or rather winged. Most of the firing squad aimed to miss, and he did not die immediately. This created a situation where he could not be helped or finished off. So over a period of about a half hour, he slowly bled out. There was certainly “something inhuman and barbarous” and “more than the mere extinguishment of life” about his death.

    Similarly, in in re Kemmler (1890), the Court upheld the first execution by electric chair because it was created “in the effort to devise a more humane method of reaching the result.” It was in fact a sales gimmick by JP Morgan and Thomas Edison to promote electricity (of the direct current kind). George Westinghouse who favored alternating current funded Kemmler’s appeal. In the event, Kemmler was fried for 17 seconds with a thousand volts. He was pronounced dead until spectators noticed he was still breathing, at which point two thousand volts were applied. This caused blood vessels on his skin to burst and his hair to singe where the electrodes were connected. The smell was so bad some of the witnesses had to leave.

    Louisiana Ex Rel. Francis v. Resweber (1947) was another case cited where the electric chair did not kill the prisoner. The execution was stopped and the case was appealed in part on 8th Amendment grounds. The Court held that mishaps don’t count so in Kafkaesque style Francis was executed a second time. It came out later that the executioners at the first execution were drunk.

    Death by lethal injection was sanctioned by the Court in Baze v. Rees, Commissioner, Kentucky Department of Corrections decided on April 16, 2008 in a 7-2 vote. The case involved the use of the three drug cocktail, but it set up the conditions for botched executions because it allowed this type of execution to be carried out by people with only limited medical experience and for non-medical personnel such as the warden and deputy warden to make medical assessments about how the execution was proceeding.

    1. F. Beard

      So the guillotine will become popular – as predicted by the Book of Revelation.

      But will Progressives keep the blades sharp or are dull blades, like prison rape, acceptable?

      1. allcoppedout

        Careful Craazy – taking that counting dummy away is making them restless. I often think 79, 80 says it all. You just need to ask what the difference is between 80 ad 79. Those who say ‘one’ as though they have just solved a series of tensor equations defo have The Disorder (TM), those who stare back wondered what kind of patronising wuckfit would ask are proll OK. Harder to diagnose those who know you might be talking about mercury and gold being so qualitatively different. The ones with The Disorder (TM) can be sorted out in this group by giving everyone a pile of the same number of bricks to build houses with. Groups that build exactly the same houses with the same number of bricks have the disease. Just like capitalism really.

        1. allcoppedout

          The ones who correct your grammar are suspect OCD and then there are those who would ask ‘what is ad’? These guys can proll tell difference between a silver liquid and a gold solid at room temp. They may even know numbers written in tax returns is not data about the condition of human beings. Best to keep them sedated on functionalism. Poor dears hardly know.

      2. allcoppedout

        Yup. The USA is proll the only nation on earth where more men are raped than women. The benefits of large scale incarceration. I’d be happy tossing all the banksters into that system, though note ‘into’.

    1. montanamaven

      Graeber’s detractors dismiss him as “romantic”. That’s akin to being called a “purist” by my “realist” friends who are loyal tribal Democrats. One comment expressed how I felt about the article because I am a fan of Graeber’s writing.

      As in his books and essay such as “Revolutions in Reverse”, He’s asking us to “think different” and that there is an alternative which lies in solidarity.

      1. allcoppedout

        Yep. Justamug nails it. There’s a paradigm shift needed from functionalism to radical humanism. More are dreary functionalists hiding behind a radical posture than we can ‘t count. The admission one has learned the hopelessness doesn’t come easy.

  4. Carl

    Re: Nuke decommissioning

    For some cautionary info on what’s likely to guide the impending rash of plant closures, read up on “Safe Store” Our NRC at its – – best.

  5. Vatch

    Here’s a link to a short essay by Paul Ehrlich on growth mania:

    I posted a couple of quotes from the article in a comment to yesterday’s Naked Capitalism “J.D. Alt: GROAF & CONTRAKSHUN” article:

    I hope it’s okay that I posted the link in two places. I was concerned that few people would see the comment to the “Groaf” article, since that article is no longer featured at the top of the NC home.

    1. diptherio

      Thanks for the link. Ehrlich pretty much nails it. Blinded by our own abstractions–always desiring growth, but growth of what? Out West, plenty of people understand that “development” can be inimical to human happiness and fulfillment. Lots of us get much pleasure from those parts of the earth that have yet to experience economic growth and development. An strange thought to many economists, it would seem…

      1. F. Beard

        Common stock as endogenous money ALLOWS but does not REQUIRE growth.

        But most people, including many here, prefer a government-backed credit cartel to drive people into debt for usury – necessitating exponential growth.

        I wonder what subset of the 10 Commandments is acceptable to Progressives since even “Thou shall not steal” offends them?

        1. ChrisCairns


          But most people, including many here, prefer a government-backed credit cartel to drive people into debt for usury

          You must be reading a different blog from me, mate – “many” (most) people here have completely different preferences.

          I think I will keep skipping your comments, less is more and so on…

          1. F. Beard

            I’ve never missed you before. Skip away! In fact, I wish you could skip ALL my comments (and me yours) with a single mouse click or two!

            But read Bill Black’s articles for an example of a person who is trying to save the government-backed counterfeiting cartel from itself.

  6. lk

    The latest strategic analysis from the Levy Institute. It’s sober reading. I think deflationary policies or austerity would be more accurate than saying “secular stagnation”.

    Is Rising Inequality a Hindrance to the US Economic Recovery?
    Strategic Analysis, April 2014
    Dimitri B. Papadimitriou, Michalis Nikiforos, Gennaro Zezza, Greg Hannsgen

    “Postrecession, foreign demand is still weak and the government is maintaining its tight fiscal stance. Once again, the recovery predicted in the latest Congressional Budget Office report relies on excessive private sector borrowing, and once again, the recovery is at the mercy of the stock market”.

  7. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    China’s economy surpass US…Yes And No.

    Why is that even a question.

    Per capital, the number is higher in the US and a lot of other countries.

    But apparently, the welfare (assuming wealth equality, more or less – I know, I know, we have to suspend our belief here) of the average citizen, as measured by GDP per capital, is not important.

    It’s how powerful one can build an army, how much the supreme leader of a country can have his/her way with other leaders of the world.

    In that case, a country of 1 trillion serfs making $10 each is much stronger than a country of a thousand people, making $1,000 each.

    The former has $10 trillion from which to budget an army.

    The later has only $1 million. This country is weak, sad and pitiful…to be annihilated.

  8. David Petraitis

    That bastion of eco-terrorism the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists has updated it’s thinking on the true costs of nuclear decommissioning:

    The Yankee Nuclear Power Station in Rowe, Massachusetts, took 15 years to decommission—or five times longer than was needed to build it. And decommissioning the plant—constructed early in the 1960s for $39 million—cost $608 million. The plant’s spent fuel rods are still stored in a facility on-site, because there is no permanent disposal repository to put them in. To monitor them and make sure the material does not fall into the hands of terrorists or spill into the nearby river costs $8 million per year.

    It cost in this one case 15 times the cost of building the reactor and five times longer. It notes that it’s previous positions on this had been, ahem, too low.

    1. Eureka Springs

      Funny ha ha how they glossed over $8 million per year waste management for what, a thousand, perhaps one hundred thousand years, maybe more?

      These are the types who once promised nuke plants would make our electric meters run backwards.

    2. bob

      Instead of getting electricity out of these superfund sites, we get bills. The bills and danger don’t go away when the plant stops making electricity. Only the benefit (electricity) goes away.

      Sorry, I still don’t see how this helps anything. Yeah, it might suck that it’s that way. BUT IT IS THAT WAY. WE CAN’T CHANGE THAT. For hundreds of thousands of years if you believe the industry or it’s critics. Funny that both the industry, and its critics, both keep making money, but no electricity, after shut down.

    3. McMike

      I love that word: “decommission.”

      It implies, with all of it’s bureaucratic sterility, that the plants – now permanent irredeemable brownfields of nuclear waste- are in fact decommissioned, as in: remediated and rendered inert.

  9. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Two foreign banks, BNP and Credit Suisse, and for offenses against the US government, as opposed to defrauding ordinary people: “…Credit Suisse for offering tax shelters to Americans, and the other against France’s largest bank, BNP Paribas, over doing business with countries like Sudan that the United States has blacklisted.”


    It’s not very comforting to hear, from some, that to rein in banks, we have to give more power to the government, instead, say, more power to the little fishing people of a monetary sovereign of the little fishing people, for the little fishing people, by the little fishing people.

  10. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    87% of Afghan funds went to 5 recipients.

    Luckily, the ability to print or spend money as much as possible makes such unpleasantness easier to forget or at least overlook.

    On the other hand, if you are under a budget, at least the story will be news (not that it will do much).

  11. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    An Imperial Scam Coming to Your State Soon.

    A side note somewhat related to the adjective ‘imperial.’

    The whole world is now under one empire.

    That’s different from saying, there is only one empire in the world.

    Some are under direct rule.

    Some are under various degrees of suzerainty, with the rest in temporary revolt (but not for long).

  12. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Piketty’s Global Wealth Tax Not Happening.

    With almost everything, you can always say, only if you don’t try hard enough, and ponder about that possibility and another one – are some people trying to change a worthy subject?

  13. mk

    one look at that beautiful winter bird (blue jay?) fills me with appreciation and joy for the beauty of life. thanks for posting and thanks for this blog.

    This story is VERY interesting, how NBA players threatened a boycott of games to force owner Sterling out.

    Players’ union Vice President Roger Mason Jr. said Tuesday he spoke to representatives from every playoff team about the possibility of boycotting the upcoming postseason games in solidarity against any ruling that didn’t include a mandate for Sterling to sell the Clippers.

    “We didn’t want to jump to conclusions, but we were prepared that if this decision came down, we were prepared to move forward that way,” Mason said. “We didn’t think that this was just a Clippers issue, so we didn’t want to put the pressure on Chris Paul and Blake Griffin and that team. We wanted to band behind our brothers to do the right thing.”

    … snip …

    Now if only we could get all the customers of a large corporate entity to unite to force it to “do the right thing”… like getting higher interest rates for savings accounts…, or forcing a cut of CEO benefits/salary/etc….

    How can we build those “united player” relationships….

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Well, it’s a good try, to impose penalty and a lifetime ban. And make him sell the team.

      What it doesn’t do is to address the root cause.

      When Sudan can run trade surpluses selling cars to the US, when Cameroon can make most of the world’s smartphones, when we have a Fortune 500 company owned mostly by rich middle class African Americans, when we have countless billionaires out of African (not that is a good thing) buy up all the most expensive artworks at Sotheby’s auctions…if these can go on for 50 or 100 years, then all these problems will disappear.

      How so?

      Well, money is, to answer the question, what is money, power.

      If it can make sociopaths sexy and successful in the dating game or the spread-your-DNA game, then you know it can do many magical things, though I doubt money can buy Big Brother true love…

  14. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Weapon that only owner can fire.

    Is that a good thing?

    What happens when you platoon buddy falls and you are out of ammunition, thus could use his weapon? Or you patrol partner?

    1. Johann Sebastian Schminson

      What happens when an enemy soldier — out of ammo (or perhaps preferring your type of weapon) — picks up your buddy’s gun and shoots you with it?

      All illegal firearms were once legal. All firearms used by criminals were originally sold “legitimately” by their manufacturers.

      It will be a good day when all firearms stop functioning when the person who legitimately owns them loses possession/control of them.

      If guns don’t kill people, then, at the very least, people who are prone to killing other people shouldn’t have functioning guns.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        That does happen – your enemy gets your buddy’s gun…unfortunately.

        And we can train soldiers to prevent that, as much as possible. Thus some hope.

        But we can’t train a soldier to fire a buddy’s gun, when needed, under the new system. Complete no hope, in this comparable situation.

        1. F. Beard

          And what about when you don’r have enough weapons such as in the movie “Enemy at the Gates” and you’re expected to use your comrade’s weapon once he’s been mowed down by German machine guns?

        2. Propertius

          But we can’t train a soldier to fire a buddy’s gun, when needed, under the new system.

          Or a spouse, for that matter.

          And, of course, since the system relies on radio it’s potentially jammable and probably trivially hackable (like most home automation systems):

          It’s still probably useful for preventing access by children, etc. But I suspect that, before very long, illegal universal firearm activators would be quite common among criminals – probably jammers, too.

          Not that any of this is of great personal concern to me, since I own neither smart nor stupid firearms.

  15. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Here is one idea to help the unemployed, but not necessarily to stimulate the native economy, thus demonstrating that the two are not necessarily related:

    Pay those out of work Americans to travel around the world, to explore strange new cultures, to seek out new friends and new civilizations (preferably on foot, to reduce carbon footprint).

    Where are the economic benefits? – one only asks that question if one never thought about externalities or believed stay-home mothers did not contribute to the economy.

    I think this is way better than MMT’s Job Guarantee.

    1. allcoppedout

      Your trailer trash will travel better than Kerry’s wig. Strange really Beef, not that I’d expect less from poor people. That so few economists travel into other areas of knowledge and experience. Piketty versus three months on a jack tuna boat. My guess is employers might view surviving the latter above the former.

    2. Calgacus

      A) Why should this not be a Job Guarantee job? The Job Guarantee job can be anything the individual workers and the society as a whole decide it to be. Including this, or being a stay-at-home mother or whatever.

      B) Sorry, this does “stimulate the native economy”. They would be paid in the native currency, which would eventually wend its way back home as payment for exports from their home country. And they could save some and spend it when they get back home. So it would stimulate both the economies of the countries visited and their home country.

      C) Hard to see any reason for this being the only JG job. Most people don’t always have so much wanderlust.

      1. F. Beard

        Ah, you’re finally seeing my point: Jobs aren’t necessarily needed; income is!

        Income that was systematically stolen by your beloved government-backed counterfeiting cartel, the banks.

      2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        1. Yes, I welcome the clarification is vacationing is a job and paying people to travel is also job guarantee.

        2. You can see that money can come back…in the long run, as they say.

        3. “Here is one idea.” It is not the only idea. So, I agree with you that this is not the only JG job.

        But, most of all, thanks for clarifying that vacationing and travelling abroad can be an option.

  16. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Why is Apple working on fingerprint recognition when it should be focusing on DNA recognition?

    That’s not a quick way to get back to $600 a share stock price.

  17. Jim Haygood

    Today the Dow Industrials set a new record high of 16,581.

    Less noticed, but perhaps more important, is that the Dow Utilities also reached a record of 553.58, surpassing their previous high water mark of 550.06 on 9 Jan 2008.

    What’s it mean? Strength in interest-sensitive Utilities suggests that investors aren’t worried about bond yields going up, particularly after today’s weak GDP report.

    And inside the FOMC, the ‘whisper number’ of ‘S&P 2K by springtime’ is still on everyone’s lips. Surely Groaf and Yobs will follow!

    1. craazyman

      Well, for those of us who wanna get rich quick and don’t wanta jowb it’s been a tough slawg

      I don t want a job I want a lay around and waste time utterly, doing nothing of any commercial value and avoiding productive activity in any way possible. Productive activity is what somebody pays you for. If it’s fixing a car or doing plumbing work it’s OK, but if it’s office work of any kind, the odds are high you’re just f*kking things up somewhere and the world would be better off it you stopped. Laying around is much better from a social perspective

      For that, one needs cash. That’s when getting rich quick in the stawk market is the way to go — waiting for groaf and jawbs is no fun at all. The stawk markit goes upl even if there’s no groaf and no jawbs and it goes up if there is. I think they’re rigging the market and they won’t let it go down and tthey’re rigging gold and won’t let it go up. it makes it hard to get rich quick but iif you get lucky it’s still possible

      some people would have hard time without a jawb but not me. As long as there was lots money for 5 baggers Why else read about macroeconomics? I can’t think of one reason, except scientific study of a mental disorder. But even that isn’t as good as doing nothing

  18. McMike

    re FCC/Neutrality.

    I must confess; I have a bad case of outrage fatigue. Facebook and Google have already strangled the web, the NSA rendered it porous, and Verizon rendered it slow and expensive.

    Might as well go all the way and create a VIP section.

    1. Propertius

      The only potential upside is that Comcast (the owner of MSNBC) will be able to restrict access to the opinions of Bill O’Reilley (staunch net neutrality foe) by slowing access to his employer (

  19. optimader

    Are these people morons!?! (Not referring to the teenagers, all teenagers are morons).

    Teen contaminates Portland’s drinking water supply
    April 29, 2014
    The city of Portland, Oregon, was forced to dump about 38 million gallons of drinking water after a teenager was caught urinating in the Mt. Tabor water reservoir on April 16.

    Video footage showed a group of three teenagers trying to climb over the fence of the reservoir, with one of contaminating the water reserves. The reservoir was taken out of service immediately after the contamination was revealed and officials started testing water samples. The 38 million gallons that had to be dumped will be replaced with fresh water taken from the Bull Run supply, media reports said.

    According to Portland water administrator David Shaff, the risk for adverse health effects was very small but the agency was not going to deliver deliberately contaminated water to its customers. Shaff added that the city had sufficient water reserves and compensating for the lost amount of fresh water would not be a problem.

    This is not the first time the same reservoir has been affected by deliberate contamination. In 2011 another man was spotted urinating in the reservoir, which led to the dumping of 7.5 million gallons of water, BBC News reported.

    1. Vatch

      Isn’t the Portland water chlorinated? I would imagine that birds poop into the reservoir many times per day, and that’s probably a bigger health hazard than one person’s tinkle.

        1. bob

          “Fukushima radiation” in portland’s water? Or in the pee of the teenager?
          Watch out! I think I see some sneaking up behind you!

          1. McMike

            Was referring to the potential for airborne contamination.

            But yeah, in the pee too. Because the pee itself is often sterile. So whatever concerns there are about his pee must have more to do with contaminants.

            In truth, the whole thing is about a hysterical bureaucracy and the ick factor.

          2. jgordon

            Everything in this world has a connection to every other thing in this world. Assuming that you have no risk from the atrocity we have committed at Fukushima simply because it seems far away is a myopic and ultimately suicidal way of thinking. If you don’t personally pay for it, then your kids will.

      1. bob

        Once they get the tanks, then another pony is required- Water treatment facilities.

        Open water reservoirs allow for evaporative cooling and natural UV treatment during the summer. Trap it all in a tank, crank the heat up via exposure of the tank to the sun, and boom! UV treatment plant for water that never needed it to begin with. Year round too! Gotta keep those electric meters running!

      2. optimader

        The point of posting this is not so much the idiocy of blowing down ~30MM gallons of fresh water, it is more just an illustration of the utter lack of common sense that is tolerated in these paranoid, distorted risk/reward times we live in this Country.
        What do they do when the CCTV captures a raccoon taking a steaming crap into the reservoir water, drain it or just write over the tape?

        I think a fact finding boondoggle to Crater Lake is in order for the good people of Portland Dept. of Water, which ironically I believe was and still is considered a standard for clean, potable water.

        So… for the Portland Dept of Water, Question 1.) What do the fish do in Crater Lake after eating?

        Crater Lake is a caldera lake in the western United States, located in south-central Oregon. It is the main feature of Crater Lake National Park and is famous for its deep blue color and water clarity.

        Water quality[edit]

        Due to several unique factors, mainly that the lake has no inlets or tributaries, the waters of Crater Lake are some of the purest because of the absence of pollutants. Clarity readings from a Secchi disk have consistently been in the high-20 meter to mid-30 meter (80 to 115-foot) range, which is very clear for any natural body of water. In 1997, scientists recorded a record clarity of 43.3 m (142 ft).

        The lake has relatively high levels of dissolved salts, total alkalinity, and conductivity. The average pH has generally ranged between 7 and 8.[24]

        1. bob

          The idiocy is widespread, and usually well funded. They are trying to sell Portland some tanks. I’ve seen it before, several dozens of times now.

          Big muni bond issues make careers in banking for pols. Ponies, with interest.

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      It sounds like that it makes a good pairing with the Netherland’s Texel Sheep Poo Cheese.

    3. Banger

      When I first heard the story I didn’t believe it–it had to be a joke. Urine is relatively sterile and certainly it is the least polluting factor that Portland’s faces.

      This is yet another example of the stunning and bizarre tendency in this country for political entities and courts to be batshit crazy. Seriously–this is madness. People drink urine without ill-effects.

      1. Glenn Condell

        ‘People drink urine without ill-effects’

        Reminds me of ex-PM Gough Whitlam’s reply when a staffer told him that visiting Indian PM Morarji Desai drank a glass of his own urine each morning.

        ‘I’ve heard of getting on the piss early, but that’s ridiculous’

  20. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Just come across this in LA Times: Retired Justice Stevens tells Congress ‘money is not speech.’

    I would add, you are free to speak, but there is no guarantee that you will be heard.

    Sad, isn’t it?

    The purpose of speaking and freedom of speech is to be heard.

    But if you can distract the people with 500 channels, bread and circuses, professional sports, reality shows, etc., so that no one can be heard, unless they are ‘chosen’ to be heard.

    That’s a pretty neat way of getting around ‘freedom of speech.’

  21. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    3D printer builds small houses.

    I can’t wait when they come out with a 3D printer that can make, say, organic oranges.

    1. sd

      I have one of those. It’s called a tree. There’s a second one that makes lemons. Runs on solar and hydro power.

  22. Doug Terpstra

    This reminds me of a horrific article by Sean Kerrigan on the criminal travesty of the US prison industry, essentially a cruel 21st Century slave plantation. As a result, there is a higher rate of black slavery (involuntary servitude) today than before the Civil War, and more men than women are raped in this country.

    Why are Wall Street felons and Washington war criminals exempt from the “justice” we reserve for petty thieves and junkies? Our for profit prison system makes the Bastille look like a country club.

  23. Banger

    I recommend reading the NYT editorial of today: Not Getting Through to Mr. Putin.

    Basically, the NYT is calling for the EU and US to hang together because (hahahaha) international law:

    Among other things, a weak and fragmented response would call into question a longstanding trans-Atlantic commitment to protect international law and democratic values against the kind of aggression Mr. Putin is engaging in. And optics here are important: The decision of Gerhard Schröder, the former German chancellor, to meet with Mr. Putin on Monday in St. Petersburg and embrace him in a bear hug sent an unacceptable signal that some prominent Europeans are willing to ignore Mr. Putin’s brutish ways.

    In a way the editorial is an admission of defeat but international law and democratic values–what a hoot–when has the NYT been interested in such things? Not for many years. They oppose any regime the U.S. opposes no matter whether it is law-abiding or hyper-democratic. The Chavez regime was the NYT’s favorite whipping boy despite the fact Venezuela has a more democratic system than we do.

    1. Doug Terpstra

      Ah yes, the scofflaw regime-changing, serial warmongers preach with strident Pharisaical indignation on the sanctity of international law and democracy. Beyond chutzpah!

      While Nero plays golf and selects drone targets, the only player in this imperial power game showing quiet statesmanship is Putin, who refuses to be baited into the “aggression” of which US propagandists accuse him, playing chess against novice checker-players. The US comes off as a confederacy of screechy self-important dunces, dangerous clowns who can’t even execute a proper charade of a farce. This is truly a case of surrealpolitik … by the criminally insane.

  24. skippy

    Tony Abbott’s Commission of Audit has recommended massive cuts to the size of government, with whole agencies to be abolished, privatised, or devolved to the states, in what would be the biggest reworking of the federation ever undertaken.

    Among its 86 recommendations, to be finally revealed on Thursday afternoon, are calls for the axing of multiple agencies and the surrender of huge swathes of responsibility back to the states in education, health, and other services.
    The Abbott government is now in the final week of pre-budget deliberations.

    The Abbott government is now in the final week of pre-budget deliberations. Photo: Penny Stephens

    Among the small group of ministers and bureaucrats granted access to the report, there is an acceptance that some ideas will be adopted, others can be modified or placed into a longer-term planning framework, and some will be regarded as politically untenable.

    Senior ministers concede the report contains the kind of suggestions to be expected from “economically dry” business types, but admit many are just not achievable in the real world or politics.

    The National Preventive Health Agency is the largest in a string of small so-called ”orphan” health agencies marked for abolition. Under heavy attack from the alcohol industry, it releases its long-awaited report into a minimum floor price for alcohol on Thursday. The report has been gathering dust now for a year and it is to be released under a clause in the agency’s act that requires the automatic release of reports if a year has elapsed since they were presented to government.

    Also marked for privatisation or abolition is Defence Housing Australia, which manages and owns properties for defence families. It turns an annual profit before tax of $1 billion and employs 600 people. The government has commissioned Ernst & Young to advise on whether it should be sold.

    The closely guarded Commission of Audit report is built around the theme of competition, according to a source who has seen it. It calls for competition between the states to provide services currently subject to some oversight from the Commonwealth. It also calls for competition between private firms to provide within-government services presently provided by the government itself, such as building management and Commonwealth cars.

    Read more:

    Skippy… slave colony’s are so romantic… colorful locals being guided by wise administrators… with engaging tales of efficiency stuff ups of the day… down at the club in the late afternoon… at the… CLUB…

    PS. Elected officials or Auctioneers… I’m confused…–but-they-are-united-in-saying-strong-choices-is-flawed-20140428-37e5v.html

    1. Glenn Condell

      Well, we all have to contribute to the national belt-tightening, don’t we?

      Except Aust multinationals, who sent $60 billion to offshore no or low tax havens in 2012 alone:

      It occurs to me that if some of that dough had been taxed as it should have been we might be able to afford to education and health… just a thought. Perhaps I’m missing something.

      You can’t blame the govt, they’re just poorly advised:

      Still, we now have the debt tax, sorry levy, to slug the wealthy… of course the wealthier you are the less you’ll feel it, but it’s the thought that counts. And what a refreshingly lefty notion to slug ‘rich’ parents who send their kids to public schools; I guess the result will be more of the little toffs in private schools, exacerbating the class divide, and less parent financial support of struggling public schools, but I’m sure that’s not what that nice man Joe Hockey intends.

  25. optimader

    A little evening bomb throwing into the comments thread.. , (I wish my parents named me Seamus)

    Dublin Review of Books
    How Scientific Inquiry Works
    Seamus O’Mahony
    – See more at:

    …The critics of science argued that it, and its practitioners, should no longer be accorded an exalted status. Science was a social activity, carried out by imperfect individuals; its claim to ultimate truth was false. A variety of “scandals” – mad cow disease, “climategate”, the MMR vaccine debacle ‑ were seized on by the media to justify this fall from grace, this defrocking of a previously untouchable priestly caste. The arrival of the Internet only strengthened the growing suspicion that “ordinary” people could become empowered by having information; Collins calls this sense of empowerment “default expertise”. He deftly illustrates the paradox of public distrust of science and scientists during a period when science and technology has achieved so much: “We have seen Neil Armstrong stepping onto the Moon and we can watch satellite TV only because space rockets do work. Nowadays the journey to the airport is more dangerous than the plane ride. And the very Internet I use to get my anti-vaccination propaganda fix wouldn’t be there without the scientists. Hasn’t smallpox been eradicated and polio nearly so? Compare my teeth with my father’s and grandfather’s!” Why then, does the public imagination focus so much on science’s perceived failures? “It is something to do with the world view,” writes Collins, “or spirit of the age – what we will call the ‘zeitgeist’.” He is unable to elaborate further: “no one, aside from advertising agencies, press magnates and fascist dictators, knows how the zeitgeist works. I certainly do not.” He does suggest, however, that his fellow academics may have something to do with it: “Whether or not it has been important, academics’ reflection and reinforcement of the spirit of the age has been revealing. Since the 1960s, certain academic groups have been effectively trying to turn us all into default experts by showing that there is nothing special about science. For some this has been inadvertent, while for others it has been an explicit project. The academics in question come from the social sciences or the humanities and they make a living from reflecting on, researching and writing about the natural sciences….. – See more at:

    1. Glenn Condell

      ‘Why then, does the public imagination focus so much on science’s perceived failures? “It is something to do with the world view,” writes Collins, “or spirit of the age – what we will call the ‘zeitgeist’.” He is unable to elaborate further’

      Expertise in general, scientific or otherwise, is now regarded with more suspicion – with good reason. Plus, everyone now has the global facts at their fingertips.

      ‘Since the 1960s, certain academic groups have been effectively trying to turn us all into default experts by showing that there is nothing special about science. For some this has been inadvertent, while for others it has been an explicit project. The academics in question come from the social sciences or the humanities and they make a living from reflecting on, researching and writing about the natural sciences’

      That is is an effort that should continue, just as the scientists themselves get on with the hard stuff. The Two Cultures are yin and yang. There is something special about science, but nothing special about scientists. Ditto art and artists.

  26. optimader

    one more..

    When Hitler Was Curator
    The “Degenerate Art” exhibition at the Neue Galerie is full of easy truths. But let the disquiet emerge.

    By Morgan Meis

    Hitler loved art. His taste tended toward classicism. The Greek ideal of beauty was his general standard in aesthetics. He once wrote the following memorandum about how he guaranteed that he would get “good” art for the Munich Museum. “I have inexorably adhered to the following principle,” Hitler wrote.
    “If some self-styled artist submits trash for the Munich exhibition, then he is a swindler, in which case he should be put in prison; or he is a madman, in which case he should be in an asylum; or he is a degenerate, in which case he must be sent to a concentration camp to be “reeducated” and taught the dignity of honest labor. In this way I have ensured that the Munich exhibition is avoided like the plague by the inefficient.”

    Some pretty harsh sensibilities about what constitutes “art” and “artists”, but then again, it was Hitler afterall…

    1. allcoppedout

      Oddly enough we have a night-time visitor we call ‘the owl cat’. One can only see this when he is on our window-sill peering in. The dog is well wary. The stuff on science as just another social practice has long been recognised by scientists, but generally people can’t even fix their own cars and struggle installing windows, let alone constructing a Bose-Einstein condensate to catch a photon and see it emerge as a matter-wave. Jury service is a good way to work out expertise.

      1. skippy

        I’ve always heard Jury duty was for those not – smart enough – to get out of it, only those that think 3-4 star hotel rooms is living life large are eager, American thingy.

        Lawful requirement down here with stiff fines for the recalcitrant.

        skippy… Seems some only want the benefits of society, as long as they don’t have to support it in any meaningful way. Oops got to run…. someone with a bar coder is looking at me funny…. am I an asset to be sold… the country is cash poor….

        1. F. Beard

          Jury duty should be so well-paid that people love to do it.

          And if the State doesn’t like the expense then it can, for instance, eliminate victimless crimes from the books.

          Take your duty and stuff it! Besides did you volunteer or were you a well-paid mercenary?

  27. JerseyJeffersonian

    An email I sent along to some friends and family (who are probably heartily tired of such emails) with the subject line NeoCons As Far As You Can See. Now it’s your turn, for whatever good may come of it:

    Like the famous parrot in the Monty Python skit, they’re not dead, they’ve just been resting. Actually, I think that they’ve been very, very active, thank you very much. Here are a couple of posts all concerned with elements of their subterranean activities and their more open resurgence.

    From Justin Raimondo, ideologically a libertarian. Don’t think much of his social theories, but his aversion to foreign interventionism? Sir, I salute you.

    Next, a scathing assessment of the “modest proposal” by Anne-Marie Slaughter (aptly named, I must say) to revisit military intervention in Syria to teach those Russkies a lesson:

    Be it noted that she was placed into the position of Director of Policy Planning at the State Department in 2009 at the direct instigation of…Hillary Clinton (more on her later), in which capacity she served for two years before returning to Princeton. She was probably a soulmate of Victoria “Fuck the EU” Nuland in her single-minded faith in American Exceptionalism. You might think that she is actually more an adherent of the Responsibility-To-Protect (R2P) school; but functionally, R2Pers and NeoCons bleed over into one another, something readily apparent when one scratches their surface. At minimum, they reinforce each others’ pernicious tendencies.

    Now it’s time to meet your next Democratic candidate for President:

    Again, recall that both Ms Slaughter, as well as Ms Nuland, were proteges of SoS Clinton. So if she becomes President Clinton, you will likely get both of them back in policy-making positions, perhaps within the inner circle. Sound enticing?

    And last, but not least, we should note that the NeoCons have been working like termites to undermine alternatives to reflexive international confrontations:

    And with some success, one notes. The last thing that we need is another Cold War, or policy of “containment”, or strategy of tension. But I guess hegemonic thinkers inevitably gravitate toward these stratagems. What a waste for the rest of us.

    Pray for peace and sanity.

    1. JerseyJeffersonian

      Ya know, Mario, if there was a petition up to designate the US as a “State Sponsor of Terrorism”, I’d sign that one in a heartbeat. Maybe even as a “State Financier ($5 Billion according to Ms Nuland) of Terrorism”.

      The other one? Fuck that.

      Maybe you could try your luck over at Balloon Juice, or some other in-the-tank Obamabot site. Bet you could find a lot of blinkered Empire-Worshippers over there.

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