Links 4/6/14

Richard Smith takes a victory lap in his pursuit of international scammers (he hounds lots of regulators, and finds they seldom take interest): Latvian pair behind firm named over Quinn payments Irish Times. The Quinn companies turn out to be connected to dodgy NZ Company registerer Glenn Smith, covered here. And And Glenn Smith is connected to GT Group (Taylor family) via stooge directors that they both use, e.g. Leah Toureleo of Vanuatu, see this link.

How the French begged Churchill to stop Britain’s Prince Edward and Mrs Simpson collaborating with Nazis: Officials feared the Windsors would consort with Third Reich sympathisers Daily Mail

Teen Scientist Receives Glowing Review of Science Project about Glowing Seaweed Firedoglake (JGordon)

Get The Test – Another Colonoscopy Song! YouTube (Chuck L)

Science Compared Every Diet, and the Winner Is Real Food Atlantic (Lambert). My only quibble is I think they misrepresent Paleo and confuse it with Atkins. Paleo is no processed foods, and no grains, and meats should be grass fed rather than grain fed.

Google and the flu: how big data will help us make gigantic mistakes Guardian

News of ‘ping’ injects hope into search for Flight 370 Washington Post

Australia’s House Prices ‘Flashing Red’, Debt to Income at Record Level Michael Shedlock

Maria Miller’s £1m profit on taxpayer-funded home Telegraph. Richard Smith: “Note the Leveson reference. Looks like the Telegraph likes its revenge cold.”

Financial Conduct Authority: A gift to the City Financial Times. Richard Smith: “So much capture and spin going on here that it’s dizzying.”

Tony Blair ‘knew all about CIA secret kidnap programmes Telegraph

‘Too many voters’ in Afghan election Guardian


The US-Russia Ukrainian deal Asia Times

Ukraine, a Fascist Coup? CounterPunch

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

Germany opens NSA spy probe amid calls to deliver Snowden to testify RT. The US would go batshit if an ally let Snowden into their borders and refused to extradite him on behalf of the US. This would be a huge poke in the eye. I doubt Snowden would risk it.

Berlin powerless to challenge US drone operations at Ramstein air base DW

Mass Surveillance by Eavesdropping on Web Cookies Bruce Schneier


The Monster on the Hill CounterPunch

Democrats Hate Big Money in Politics (Wink, Wink) Bloomberg

So What If Democrats Lose the Senate? CounterPunch

Coates, Chait and the Iraq war understanding of gratitude Dan Fejes. Trust me, you need to read this.

Under Revised Quake Estimates, Dozens of Nuclear Reactors Face Costly Safety Analyses New York Times

More HFT

On Lewis and HFT Bruce Krasting

No one really knows if HFT is good or bad Noah Smith

Banks’ disclosure and financial stability VoxEU

EL-ERIAN: Here’s Why Jeremy Stein’s Departure From The Federal Reserve Matters Business Insider

Occupy Sandy and the Future of Socialism Truthout

Soaring Housing Costs Driving Educated People From Big Cities WSJ Economics

Graduate Students on Strike Jacobin

Hopkins Hospital Workers Speak Out against “Poverty Wages” Real News Network

Is college worth it? Economist

Antidote du jour



See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here

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    1. Sebastiaan

      That writer hasn’t read the book. Like Salmon, Kaminska and so many other bloggers these days, commenting on a book they haven’t read yet, breathlessly front-running the next media hype – like flash-traders in opinions.

      I just read it. It’s effectively a 200-page advertorial for the IEX exchange, and there isn’t much in it the averagely informed observer of the financial markets didn’t already know or suspect.

      However, Lewis does imply that at least some of the Big Banks have realized their oligopoly is of limited use in the speed and technology race. Which is why HFT will probably be regulated sooner rather than later.

  1. Foppe

    Re “Real food”: I would encourage people to watch this presentation (note: to a vegan audience). In it, a MD discusses the role adopting a vegan diet plays in reducing the risk of 13 out of the 16 major causes of death via diet, as well as in actually reversing atherosclerosis (something your immune system is constantly trying to do, but if you keep eating cholesterol the damage accumulates more quickly than your body can repair it), cancer cell growth (primarily because ceasing to meat/dairy products will strongly lower blood IGF-1 levels, which is a hormone that promotes cancer growth; this is all discussed/explained in the video), etc.

      1. MolonLabe

        1) Cholesterol may be a response to inflammation, rather than a direct cause of vascular disease. There is no correlation between dietary cholesterol and blood levels.
        2) IGF-1 is secreted in response to Growth Hormone and is critical for growth in children. It may also play a role in “maintenance” in adults.
        3) The biggest dietary impact that you can have on your health is to cut out sugars, simple starches, anything sweet (“natural” or not), and processed foods.

        1. optimader

          “The biggest dietary impact that you can have on your health is to cut out sugars, simple starches, anything sweet (“natural” or not), and processed foods”
          Local Organic Honey?
          Ruby Red Grapefruit? a slice or two homemade darkRum cake a couple times a year???

          A future w/o out a cold pilsner at the end of a bike ride?
          Fck that, I’d rather be happy than deluded or frustrated. I’ll leave the dietary Puritanism to someone who will just succumb to any of a number other maladies.

          I’d rather be happy

        2. Foppe

          I see you’ve bought into paleo wholesale.
          1. proof please.
          2. yes, the body produces tiny bits of IGF-1, and IGF-1 plays a role in child development. It does not follow from this that we need to ingest extra IGF1 via dairy; in fact, the extra intake is one of the reasons why the age at which puberty starts keeps decreasing. After you’ve finished growing, ANY extra IGF1 ingested via diet is too much, and in vitro experiments have shown that if you add IGF1 to “vegan” blood (who don’t have any extra IGF1 in their blood) that’s put on cancer cells in a petri dish, the cancer cells start to grow again, whereas until you do so, they are contained and basically killed by the blood. This is explained perfectly in the first video I linked to, btw. Please acquaint yourself with someone’s arguments before replying.
          3. Links please, and please have actual arguments against those presented in the video. Again, biggest dietary impact comes from cutting meat & dairy.

          1. David G. Mills

            I’ll give you links. Two books: Wheat Belly (by a cardiologist) and Grain Brain (by a neurologist and fellow of nutrition). Both books are excellent about how bad starches and particularly grains (primarily wheat but others containing gluten) are for your health.

            Gluten has two proteins. One is called gliadin. Gliadin metabolizes to a protein called zonulin which causes both the tight junctions of the intestines and the tight junctions of the blood brain barrier to loosen.

            The loosening of these junctions causes abnormally large molecules to escape into the bloodstream and then into the brain. It seems that these abnormally large molecules also mimic other body tissues and when the immune system targets them, it also inadvertently targets the body’s own tissue.

            So I quit grains. Eat them at your peril.

            1. Foppe

              Jeff Herman in FDLI (2010)

              … the 2005 [USDA dietary guidelines] Committee included long and well-cited discussions of the health benefits of eating fruits and vegetables, whole grains and milk products, in attempts to justify the Committee’s recommendations for those food groups. But while the Committee also recommends consuming a variety of foods from the “meat and beans” group on a daily basis, there is oddly no discussion at all of the scientific research on the health consequences of eating meat. If the Committee actually discussed this research, it would be unable to justify its recommendation to eat meat, as the research would show that meat increases the risks of chronic diseases, contrary to the purposes of the Guidelines. Thus, by simply ignoring that research, the Committee is able to reach a conclusion that would otherwise look improper.

              What people “worrying” about first-world diseases always forget is that the increased access to meat and dairy is a good thing. It is not, for the reasons explained in the video (reason 1: IGF1; reason 2: endotoxemia). Yet because eating meat and dairy is considered an indicator of higher social status, and often even mistakenly believing it has health benefits (because they have vague intuitions/false beliefs about how vegan diets are nutritionally inadequate) they ignore the obvious — that being able to eat meat/dairy daily is a historical anomaly, never true before the rise of capitalist agriculture, and even then only realized after the 1950s, but that it was never proven to be safe, something that just can’t accept, because everyone’s invested in the idea that eating meat/dairy is a privilege. Yet it is precisely because people weren’t rich enough (and because the supply and transportation system needed just wasn’t there yet) to be able to afford meat/dairy on a daily basis before that they were protected from those diseases, whereas now that eating meat/dairy has been “democratized”, and now that everyone is eating meat/dairy in huge quantities, those diseases are endemic.
              To put it starkly: there is no nutritional need to eat meat. Assuming people eat a balanced diet (i.e., regularly eating legumes/seeds/nuts/vegetables/fruits), the only supplements one needs to take are vits b12 and d; everything else you can get from plants. On the contrary, there are huge risks associated with eating eggs/dairy/meat (esp. daily), and all the nonsense about carbohydrates is only true because people combine it with saturated fats, eggs, and meat, which wreak havoc on your arteries/veins, and via your blood, every other part of your body. Now it is of course up to you whether you want to buy into the ‘dairy/meat is good, CHO is bad’ nonsense, but please consider watching the video I linked to, or this one from McDougall, who talks about Atkins diet (but could just as well be talking about paleo diets, as they are problematic for largely the same reasons), and don’t just trust the writers of the latest fad diet books because they have such pretty eyes.

              1. David G. Mills

                Just utter nonsense.

                Davis in his book Wheat Belly points out that before agriculture, men were 5 inches taller, and women 3. And wheat started out as a 14 chromosome plant 10,000 years ago an was hybridized into a 28 chromosome plant by the time of the Bible. Since then when was hybridized again into a 42 chromosome plant that has undergone significant iterations since then.

                Pulmutter in his book, Grain Brain points out that it would take humans between 30,000 and 40,000 years to mutate our intestines to be able to tolerate wheat. Yet historically we keep changing it.

                We do not have the intestines of a cow with four stomachs and 30 plus feet of bowel. We don’t have carnivorous intestines either. We are omnivoires that spent two million years as hunter gatherers adapting to a paleo diet.

                Meat has not changed all that much, especially if you can find grass fed meat. Pulmutter points out in his book that the brain really needs the saturated fat you demonize, and that failure to get it, diminishes IQ. Could be your problem as well as the vegan researchers. I will stick to Atkins/Paleo/ketogenic. Meat, good fats, and green plants.

                1. Foppe

                  I love the personal attack there, as it, coupled with the lack of any meaningful counterarguments to anything i’ve said, tells me you’re feeling out of your depth. Let’s see..
                  “We spent 2my as hunter/gatherers” is as telling an overstatement as there ever was, as is the hand-wavy nonsense about the amount of “evolutionary time needed to adapt to constantly changing grains” precluding us from being able to digest them. We do not need the intestines of a cow to digest grains; the intestines of a gorilla (and ours are extremely similar) are just fine, and they thrive on a vegan diet as much as any animal held in a zoo can. I have no doubt that protohumans sometimes ate small mammals, but to suggest that meat was a staple food is risible, let alone the idea that we got 30-55% of our daily nutrients from it. Where on earth do you think they got 5kg of unspoilt meat a day, assuming an average group size of 10-20? How did they preserve it?

                  To sum up (and I apologize for not regurgitating everything told in an extremely accessible manner in that freely available TED talk just because you’re too emotionally invested in your diet to care about your bodily health), what you’re saying is basically that you are happy to ignore all of the real research by actual paleoanthropologists, and go by the fairytale that this “cardiologist” (who looks quite unhealthy in recent pictures, I’m sure for reasons entirely unrelated to his following his own diet rec’s for a few years) who is hoping to make a few mill selling his fad diet book spins. I have an idea why this is the case, but what I don’t really understand is why, with a meat industry worth tens (and a feed industry worth at least as much), you want to trust the next low-carb, meat-heavy diet rec.
                  As the guy I quoted above points out: the USDA dietary guidelines committee is silent on the health consequences of eating meat precisely because if they dealt with the literature on that, they cannot find any sources that “support” the conclusion that eating meat is even neutral. Put differently: a committee that is packed with members that are in big Ag’s pocket feels that it cannot get away with simply lying about the health benefits, so they choose to do the only thing that they are left with: to make no recommendation either way on the health consequences of eating meat, by not even putting the question to paper. Doesn’t that make you even a little bit worried?

            2. optimader

              So a peanut butter and black currant jelly sandwich on Lithuanian rye bread with a ice cold pilsner is out for you??
              You might as well cut you wrists and side into a tub of warm water…

    1. Eeyores enigma

      Over 80% of health issues in humans stem from vitamin deficiency.

      Even those who eat a reasonably balanced diet are deficient in so many nutrients that they are compromising their health. There is no “diet” utilizing the industrial food system that provides all the nutrients required to avoid disease. We all are programed to think of disease as a reverse lotto system, some people are just unlucky. BS!

      The food that is available to most is devoid of many the nutrients normally present in that natural product. Industrial agriculture by definition makes sure of this. Then the health industry or sick care industry blossoms. You can’t make up for nutrient loss through supplements because it is never just about that one letter or a letter plus a number vitamin. It is about the nutrient rich food that has all the elements that allow for those nutrients to be assimilated that makes you healthy. But then thats hard to package and get rich on.

      We already can not possibly feed the population of the planet. We can keep them alive in some state of zombification not unlike feed lot livestock or caged poultry and technically we would be alive but not by any definition any one would be comfortable with if truth be known.

      But never mind this doesn’t pertain to you so just go to the farmers market and relax.

      1. susan the other

        In 2009 I took a fall and injured my ankle and some other joints. As a result I stopped my daily exercise routine which was two hours of hiking and walking. That exercise always made me hungry and I drank an extra beer or two. But since I quit hiking I have taken up napping for 2 hours every afternoon. It seems appropriate since I’m old and retired. I don’t need to eat very much these days. Exercise and appetite go hand in hand for me and when I stopped hiking I was able to cut way back on food. I have never felt better. And I believe them when they say it is far healthier for you to eat less. Just make sure it is healthy food and take an occasional vitamin. Diets recommend daily calories (1800 for me) but that requirement can be a loose variable at best. I only need about 1000 calories a day, including wine. Really. And my weight is stable now, with a little extra dieting in summer. I have been surprised by how little food I actually need. And now I’m wondering just how toxic extra food is. No info on that yet.

      2. James Levy

        For your hypothesis to be truly accurate we would have to see signs in the bones of those who died in cultures before industrial agriculture which indicated that they were significantly healthier than people are today. Such bones would also likely indicate, if you are correct about food before industrial agriculture and the fact that 80% of disease comes from poor nutrition, that those people lived longer, healthier lives than we do.

        I would submit that the historical and physical anthropological record refutes your claim. You can make a good case for the deleterious effects of industrial agriculture without making “golden age” claims about the world before it that do not hold up to scrutiny.

        1. Yves Smith Post author

          Average lifespans in fact declined with the start of agriculture. The record is very clear in Egypt. Not clear if due to grains per se or the reduction in variety in diet.

      3. Foppe

        Your argument only applies to the meat industry. We’re running out of farmland because the 65 billion animals a year that are killed for eating all require corn/wheat/etc. If you stop eating meat & dairy, and just start eating legumes, vegetables, fruit, and nuts, the entire “this is unsustainable” argument collapses.

          1. optimader

            Lets experiment by feeding Kitties Chicken Mcnuggets and let’s see if they go Feral!
            A mythological, female, magical creature that flies all night looking for prey. They feed on people’s sadness. They kill by screaming in such a high pitch that it breaks glass and the arteries of its victim’s body so that they drown in their own blood. ”

            America has a long way to go….

          2. Foppe

            Yeah. Funnily enough it has nothing to do with the owner being a vegan, and everything to do with the owner being an idiot who doesn’t understand that every omnivore needs b12, vit d, protein, etc., because they generally can’t synthesize enough of it themselves.

    2. Cal

      NuVal DOT COM….that’s all I need to know that this dispassionate analysis is just another commercial promotion. “Click here to locate a store near you.”
      And how much does the store have to pay for that?

      Who is funding his research? Monsanto? Bayer?

      Interesting how in all this dispassion regarding health, there is no mention of organic food and the avoidance of neurotoxins, i.e. pesticides, nor of GMOs, like corn, squash, canola, beets etc, which produce their own internal pesticides and/or are engineered to be drenched in Roundup, a known carcinogen or now that insects are becoming tolerant of that, the latest chemical bomb to be sprayed on food, 2, 4,-D.

      1. Foppe

        I’m sorry, where do you see a link to nuval? Because I don’t see it anywhere.
        The person who runs the website does not do research himself, he only looks at meta-analyses of studies done by others; a lot of the most useful data he basis himself on comes from the (publicly funded) Nurses’ health study, which is a longitudinal study that has been running since 1976. Another study is the European “EPIC” study, which is set up in roughly the same way.

      2. Foppe

        As for the rest, nutritionfacts is “brought to you by the Jesse & Julie Rasch Foundation in partnership with Michael Greger M.D. Dr. Greger scours the world of nutrition-related research, as published in scientific journals, and brings that information to you in short, easy to understand video segments. We also provide links to the original journal articles whenever possible so that you can source the information directly, if you so desire.” So he has very little to gain from you taking him seriously.

        1. Cal

          From the Atlantic article:
          “The current review is in pursuit of that, as is a system for determining the nutritional value of foods that Katz recently spent two years developing. It’s called NuVal,” (link provided in the original).

          Oh, OK, so I guess he can get away with ignoring the only growing market share in the food industry and ignore thousands of studies regarding health and the effects of pesticides and GMOs.

          How’s the weather in Missouri?

      3. hunkerdown

        Roundup and 2,4-D are herbicides, not insecticides. If you want to be taken seriously and not as just another duckspeaking American, please know what you’re talking about.

    3. JCC

      I find this whole “Paleo” thing to be somewhat of a misnomer, at least, and just another fad at most when it comes to all the “scientific” claims relative to paleolithic diets. I’ve always thought that the “paleo” word was a very bad choice in naming this food regimen.

      Besides the fact that the majority of their hunter/gatherer lifestyle diet probably was made up primarily of nuts, roots, berries, bark, and the occasional small mammal/fish, most of the promoters I see on the web, at least, have no clue what they ate.

      But there is one good thing about all this… we definitely know what they didn’t eat; tons of sugar and processed foods, bleached-out over-processed grains, booze galore, and more chemicals than you can shake a stick at, so maybe some real good will come out of all this, i.e., better and more access to better quality food.

    4. gordon

      I’m no dietitian, but the remark that a “paleo” diet excludes grains strikes me as odd. The Australian aboriginal people used grains regularly, and their pre-colonial lifestyle was about as “paleo” as you could get.

      (Sorry about the duplicate comment, but the first one got put in the wrong place for some reason)

    1. Cynthia

      Let’s ignore the neo-Nazis the US and UK helped fund to have the Ukraine revolt in the first place. Let’s also ignore that the US only fights countries that can’t shoot back. Let’s further ignore that Putin is already making greater overtures to China, establishing a natural gas pipeline to China, and he could cease sending anything west and that might pull the plug on the entire EU. With a bit of coaxing, China could start demanding gold payments from the US for the debt they hold, and that would pull the plug on the US.

      But instead of addressing any of that, let’s pretend that the new aggressive Russian Bear is ready to steamroll over eastern Europe. That should fill up several square feet of column space.

      1. Synopticist

        The fuc*ing ineptness of the whole thing is mind blowing.
        What did they think was going to happen? What if Putin decided not to bend over and say “please sir may I have another”? What was plan B?

        Europe freezes to death next winter if we don’t get Russian gas. And the foreign policy elite have got away with their idiocy because the super-tame media hasn’t criticised the obvious stupidity, rather they’ve played along. Just like they do over Syria.

        You get quite frequent articles in the UK media (and mainstream blogs) these days, attacking Russian state TV. It’s apparently gaining viewers which clearly bothers them, but who can be surprised. It’s a baaad time when you have to rely on the modern version of Pravda to counter the endless stream of tripe that comes out of the western MSM.

      2. Doug Terpstra

        Yes, lets! And let’s peddle Afghan hopium for a killing; then let’s turn our entire foreign and domestic policy over to Wall St militarist neocons; and finally, let’s saw both barrels off a double 12-gauge, plant both feet together in Ukraine, aim straight down, and pull the trigger.

        1. Cynthia

          This entire Ukraine fiasco clearly shows how deeply desperate Obama is to start yet another war.

          But he really screwed up this time. He decided to take on Russia. If he wanted to finally win one before leaving office, he should’ve picked on someone a whole lot smaller.

        1. Cynthia

          Perhaps, just perhaps, the people of Europe still remember the last war, unlike Americans who have no memory of war being fought on home soil and destroying cities and roads choked with refugees, killing millions. Maybe they really just don’t want to do that anymore. Maybe they’re happy to trade with Russia, perhaps even hold their noses while doing so, rather than make war with them.

          It seems it’s the US, whose psychopathic “leaders” are happy to make war in someone else’s backyard, to constantly push for dominance, “leaders” who are able to get the American people to go along, mostly because the American people have no memory of just what it means to have a war fought right outside their backdoor.

          Doesn’t anyone study history anymore?

          1. neo-realist

            Americans also don’t have conscription to worry about……..with the exception of those who chose the army over jail or a tent under the bridge.

      3. James Levy

        I try always to avoid the “America, the indispensable yadda yadda” line but if the Chinese demanded payment in gold Uncle Sam would tell them to go stuff it in a wonton and China would be shit out of luck, holding a trillion in worthless paper. And the Fed would simply buy up the paper if the Chinese dumped it. It would add a few percentage points to global inflation but then China would lack collateral for loans and the US would have de facto repudiated its debt at little cost. Until enough big nations refuse to allow the US the right to control the global currency, China has no recourse but to play along.

  2. allan

    Andrew Cuomo’s school tax rebate as a giveaway to the rich. Who could have predicted?

    As a bonus, a top Cuomo aide goes on record saying “I would consider someone making up to $500,000 as upper middle-class, I wouldn’t classify them as rich,” while the median income in Westchester (where he lives) is $81,000 and the 95th percentile is $227,000.

    1. petal

      Speechless. Thank you for posting this-have re-posted so all of my still friends in NYS (where I grew up) can see it. To this guy I must be off the chart dirt poor… I can’t imagine what he thinks of all of the rural poor so much worse off. And now feeling even worse about myself than before, as I spend yet another (unpaid) weekend in the lab doing research to help my fellow human beings because it’s the decent, non-avaricious thing to do.

      1. James Levy

        Cuomo is lining himself up for a shot at the Big Chair, which means sweetheart deals for the rich and keeping NYC liberal major DiBlasio at arm’s length. Expect at prominent role at the 2016 Dem Convention then a vice-presidential nomination (if Hilary doesn’t make it) or a run for President in 2020 if the Republicans win in 2026.

        1. Eric Zuesse

          Your comment “Expect at prominent role at the 2016 Dem Convention then a vice-presidential nomination (if Hilary doesn’t make it)” is interesting if it has evidence to back it up, but is so poorly phrased that it could mean either (a) Cuomo is aiming for the VP nomination if Hillary doesn’t “make” (= become) the Presidential nominee, or else (b) Cuomo is aiming for the VP nomination if Hillary doesn’t become the VP nominee. (a) sounds ridiculous; and (b) sounds like you are assuming that Hillary is aiming for the VP slot, which also sounds ridiculous. Did you intend some third meaning, which isn’t ridiculous?

          1. James Levy

            I assumed that people would understand that Hilary and Cuomo cannot be on the same ticket because they are residents of the same state. So, I Hilary does not get the nomination then Cuomo can get the VP nod. If she is nominated and loses, Cuomo will be well positioned for 2020.

  3. Banger

    Andrew Levine makes many good points on whether it matters if the RP wins the Senate or not. I am, like Levine, sick to death of the lesser of two evils trap and, I must say, it would depend on the candidates rather than the party–the DP is a dead end if you are on the left. On the other hand, the left is moribund and shows little signs of reviving anyway so why not vote for the lesser of two evils?

    1. James Levy

      One caveat–if I were gay, I’d care a great deal. If I were a black voter, or a young woman worried about an unwanted pregnancy, or a research scientist hoping to investigate something on the growing list of Religious Right “verboten” topics, I’d certainly be concerned.

      I know that when it comes to oligarchy and the National Security State the legacy parties are two sides of the same coin. But the people I mentioned above are real and their concerns are not bogus. I’ve been castigated for making this point before but I’m afraid I can’t just ignore these concerns because the Republicans and Democrats are two factions of the Power Elite.

      1. hunkerdown

        All that allegiance and support and PC hoop-jumping over the past four decades, and this is how the newly White LGBT community repays the far left’s favors? Were you just using us?

    2. Carla

      “why not vote for the lesser of two evils?” Because you’re throwing away your vote. Because the lesser of these particular two evils is even less honest than the greater of these particular two evils. Because by voting for the lesser, you keep that lesser party from ever giving way to an actual opposition to the greater of two evils. Because a vote for the lesser of two evils is a vote for the status quo that is killing us all.

      The Republicans tell us they’re going to f**k us over, and then they f**k us over. The Democrats tell us they’re going to help us, and then they f**k us over.

      1. Johann Sebastian Schminson

        I know it doesn’t count for much or clean the sheets, but at least the Dems leave some spare change on the night table.

    3. hunkerdown

      To play a game is to ratify and endorse its outcome. To play a game in which you can make no move that works to your net benefit strongly suggests that you gain from others losing, and that is a consumerist attitude that demands examination.

      If “being seen on stage” is the right and proper extent of our participation in the political system, and we are yet subject to decisions in which we had no hand and which further remove our ability to affect decisions in the future, why bother signing on to the injury? They get FAR more out of the vote than we do. Therefore they need it more than we do.

      C’mon, we boycott browsers for smaller-time stuff than industrial-scale, factory violations of personal integrity.

      1. Ulysses

        Even a fairly massive election boycott that wasn’t reported in the MSM would do little to disrupt the status-quo preserving narrative. We have to be far more proactive than simply exposing our two-party system as a fraud. The large majority of Americans, voters and non-voters alike, are already aware of that fact.

        We need to stop collaborating with this illegitimate, murderous regime at any level. Open defiance of authority, “monkeywrenching” the frackers, revel, riot and rebellion at every turn!! Do you think TPTB cares if voting rates fall to historic lows? When we see massive acts of civil disobedience, crowds in the streets too huge to ignore, spontaneous solidarity strikes everywhere the kleptocrats commit abuses against our working brothers and sisters — then we’ll see TPTB begin to sweat.

        Think Lech Walesa more than Timothy Leary and you’re on the right track :)

        1. Jess

          Awesome comment. Exactly right. If you want to see a fictional account of how what you suggest might play out, check out my book, Public Enemies, on Amazon.

        2. Banger

          That’s one possible course to take but it wouldn’t be mine. Organizing an nurturing community, providing alternatives to the system, connecting, connecting, connecting the dots, connecting people and so on. The culture thrives on separation and alienation to survive–we decrease those things and everything will change.

    1. Synopticist

      But the big problem with that interpretation is the rockets used to deliver the poison gas, which Hersh doesn’t talk about. They were of a type used by the regime, which the jihadi rebels have never been seen with.

    2. Banger

      I’m not sure, but I believe Hersh is now banned from American mainstream media. But if you do nothing else today, read the Hersh article. He is the only journo that military and intel people trust because he relays their words accurately and stands up for them publicly–he was instrumental in helping senior military and intel officers from stopping the plot to go to war with Iran some years back.

      The picture he paints is the truest one I know of and accurately reflects the factions within Washington. There are, as I’ve said, deep divisions within the Deep State with the neocons and bloodthirsty types congregating more on the “left”, i.e. the Democratic Party and the liberal press as opposed to senior military and intel officers who have had too many Vietnam types of situations on their hands for the past half-century.

      As for Turkey–that regime is among the most dangerous and corrupt in the world–this has been known for some time and is almost completely ignored by the media.

  4. Katniss Everdeen

    RE: The Monster on the Hill CounterPunch

    Succinct, accurate and right on point.

    “Everything Adelson does is done openly, proudly, shamelessly. I wonder how ordinary Americans react to this spectacle of one billionaire – especially a Jewish one – choosing their next president for them.”

    No need to wonder. Americans were predictably INERT. The in-your-face prostitution was acceptable business as usual. SCOTUS later affirmed the behavior as a constitutionally protected “right” of citizens in this most exceptional country.

    And so Americans contented themselves, as is their endlessly entertaining wont, with keeping score. The Wisconsinite with the lazy eye did well. The bellicose bungler from New Jersey had to grovel for having referred to Palestine as “occupied territories,” which was a rather difficult maneuver for a man as large as he.

    Whom will “Sheldon and Miriam” choose for us, their loyal servants? Whom can we elect to serve you, Sheldon, for you surely deserve to be served? I, for one, cannot imagine a world without the sheer joy of casino gambling which you have provided, and the Israeli planetary dominance which you now seek.

    Such a time in America where it seems our very existence depends on fast-moving, 100% fatal cancer. Or polonium tea.

    1. optimader

      “And so Americans contented themselves, as is their endlessly entertaining wont, with keeping score….”

      Yes they did. Americans get who they deserve.
      All the prattling on about Oligarchs and media control. Americans (who bother to participate) accepted the appalling choices from strawpolls through primary runoffs and finally the election of every elected representative and POTUS.
      if we had more intelligent, engaged electorate that actually participated and pushed back, we would have better choices.
      Anyone that tacidly watches the crap on CNBC, CNN, FOX ect without giving them and more importantly their sponsors ferocious direct feedback, specifically boycotting sponsors, not due to their “excellent product ” but the media it is placed in, really has little to whine about.
      Effective intolerance of how media presents ( effective as in financially measurable), and monies that get dumped into media placement will have to be rethought. This includes campaign funding.
      Who has written a Corporate Brand and told them you will not purchase their otherwise “excellent product” due to the horseshit fake political debates or superficial political campaign ads? “Everytime I see this BS ad I wont buy your toiletpaper for one quarter”.

      We fulfill our lowest expectations here in the US, (and incidentally using people physical appearances, lazy eyes or not) as notable “qualities” is part of what we should all be ashamed of.

      1. Cynthia

        With the American media within its grasp, the vast wealth of Wall Street under its control, the US Congress in its back pocket and Hollywood is a mere loyal mouthpiece, the Israeli Lobby is enjoying its true Nirvana. All while the helpless Joe-Six-Pack has never been more desperate. His manufacturing jobs were moved to China, permanently, his home is in foreclosure and his retirement fund, if he’s got one, is teetering in disarray.

        And just to make sure that Joe never realizes the real culprit, who screwed him up, Joe is injected with large dose of terrorism mania and a lot of paranoia. He is made to believe that the terrorists, Muslims and perhaps even Obama are the root cause for his misery and not the multi-national corporations and the Israeli firsters.

        By the time Joe discovers the truth, the US will be struggling as a second grade economy; the corporate lobbyists and Israeli firsters would have long moved to China, the new emerging superpower.

        1. Optimader

          Joe has never been more enabled to inform himself beyond allthe superficial media impressions. Joe has the personal responsiblity to be informed but beyond all the economic stress he apparently still doesnt need to. Things must get much worse for Joe

          1. skippy

            As long as Joe receives his cortex injection of “Free Will” [living life large baby] he and the rest of the conditioned posse will continue to live it out in the Mega Mall – where all armchair thunkit is half off RRP.

            skippy… little does the Free Will posse know that armchair thunkit is manufactured for penny’s on the dollar in a vacuum and the RRP is a cognitive scam from antiquity.

            1. neo-realist

              And the millennials have their distractions of IPhones, Droids, social networks and Comic Con Cosplay costume balls, the slowly sinking slip of state will sail without disruption.

    2. Eeyores enigma

      Kat – You are quick to condemn the behavior of the masses but behavior does not come out of a vacuum.

      We must ask the question “what are the dysfunctional environmental conditions that illicit all of these examples of bad behavior?

      Then we must be diligent and dig down to the core issue and bring it to light so as to destroy it.

    3. Jackrabbit

      It sure seems like Adelson’s support for losing Republican candidates is designed to lead us to believe that Democratic Presidential Candidates are independent of Zionist/Israeli influence.

    4. Cynthia

      Israel firsters like Sheldon Adelson are like a virus that has taken control of the living cell, in this case the US. Normal rules of conduct just do not apply to Israel. That is why the holocaust narrative is so essential to Israel and those who sustain that rogue state through words and deeds. It enables them to pull out the “existential threat” nonsense in order to stifle any debate about the actions of Israel or its fifth column in the US and UK. Iran is under a much greater existential threat from the rogue state of Israel than Israel is from Iran in actual fact. We truly live in an Orwellian world.

      1. James Levy

        The need for absolutes–absolute security for Israel, absolute security for the wealth of the elite, an absolute assurance that 9/11 won’t happen again–has so warped our society that it is unrecognizable even from the days of Carter and Reagan. Perhaps, ironically, more from Reagan than Carter, because Reagan’s dopey optimism did calm the worst fears of many and give hope. Our elites today know nothing but fear, and frightened men make lousy rulers and pathetic judges of risk and reward.

    5. Cal

      “Educated people being priced out of cities”
      The young and uneducated as well as foreigners with lots of money are buying in many cities. “Education” means not just a degree but life experience and a knowledge of what is valuable beyond money.

      San Francisco tops the list. You can buy or rent an expensive place in San Francisco and be in a wind tunnel and fog belt far from downtown. The schools will be mediocre to outright dangerous. You may be in a depressing neighborhood that might go up in price but will never improve in the other categories like weather and demographics. The hipster neighborhoods have too many public housing projects in and around them to ever be free of the gang shootings, prostitution and robberies, no matter how high the property prices soar.

      Or, you can buy or rent for far less in a different municipality that is actually closer to the business center of town via transit and enjoys better weather, the best schools in the state and the company of normal Middle Class people, or at least a California approximation of that. We were priced out of San Francisco and can not afford to buy or rent there in spite of a “middle class” salary combination. Renting and then buying in a less expensive locale means we still can work there however. It’s a ten minute walk to the bus stop and a half hour bus ride to downtown on high quality public transit.

      We rented a large apartment across the Golden Gate Bridge and saved for years and then bought and now enjoy the far different and better weather in Marin County. No one can believe what five or six miles difference can mean for local weather until they have experienced a San Francisco summer.
      Closest to the City to further away are apartments in Strawberry, Mill Valley, Corte Madera, Larkspur, Greenbrae and San Rafael. Rents are most reasonable compared to San Francisco.
      San Rafael was where we bought a home. It is no longer cheap but there are still relatively inexpensive places for sale around the Civic Center area and in its northern half, Terra Linda. Going west in Marin toward San Anselmo and the traffic congestion is horrible, to and including the buses crawling.
      Novato is a bit of a commuting stretch unless you like working on the bus.
      Bottom line, there are alternatives to buying or renting at least in San Francisco.

    6. Jackrabbit

      It sure seems like Adelson’s very visible support for losing Republican candidates is designed to lead us to believe that Democratic Presidential Candidates are independent of Zion*st/Israeli influence.

  5. Romancing the Loan

    “I would consider someone making up to $500,000 as upper middle-class, I wouldn’t classify them as rich”

    We’ve shifted smoothly and deftly from defining middle class as what the middle majority of Americans actually make in income into defining it as however much money you need to have all the accoutrements of a stereotypical middle class family from 50 years ago. It just keeps rising, doesn’t it?

    1. Klassy

      It’s the anodyne “IPO Foundation” but who are the backers? Is this a tax exempt organization?

      1. optimader

        “When is prostitution NOT prostitution?”
        when it’s your Passion rather than just a job

        1. Emma

          Yeah, because women are so passionate about being used half-naked, ready & willing, to sell cars, phones, guns & whatever other crap is essential to our hunter-gatherer survival in a material world. With the Barbie badge of honor, thanks to Girl Scouts in a Mad Men world, we suck up capitalist pro-family values, and sexual commodification only enhances our passion & value for whatever work we’re hired to embrace.

          Heck, we even get to prostitute ourselves to pay school fees before being hired. It’s pink freedom without passion. Let alone compassion where the sky’s the limit for both school fees and dreams. We passionately choose our work, the clientele, and even get to blank out Mr CEO who owns us for whatever period of time he pays for. It simply reinforces the tradition that our principal role is to gratify men before ourselves, and preserves our economic dependence on men. It’s both a spurious decision, and the acquiescence of the constraints of a woman in a capitalist system which is designed to punish the less well-off.

          The added caveat in all this? It conserves the lack of choice women have, and glosses over serious effort to rationally analyze the quality of any other actual potential options to pay for education and expenses which do not incur debt, and which many countries elsewhere, seriously undertake and implement with an insightful eye to their future. America has indeed, an interesting attitude and approach to school fees, given that it is well-prepared to persistently and audibly espouse human rights and equality of the sexes to the rest of the world.

          Surely the availability of real choices for women with regards to professional careers and education is important to not only the Girl Scouts of America, but also their friends, families, students and women in general across America? Surely collective action to campaign for decent student financial support would be both a prudent and astute tack for the Girl Scouts, rather than supporting the coffers of J&J and Mattel?

          Or should we simply let a girl try to fight for her own rights, and in doing so, fail to kick her aggressor in the crotch. That way Mr CEO continues to impose his will on the ‘haves’ and ‘have nots’ for yet another generation to come.

          1. optimader

            I was thinking more in terms of Poets that succumb to their urge to pursue a career in technical manual copywriting

            1. Emma

              Makes sense – some poets simply want to be zen just like Robert Pirsig who wrote technical manuals for IBM…

  6. mark

    “Famous Last Words” is an entertaining novel by Timothy Findley; Part of the plot involves the Duke and Duchess of Windor and their Nazi sympathies.

    1. susan the other

      This Windsor quisling stuff is an old story; the new twist was that the French begged the UK to curb the Windsor’s enthusiasm for the Nazis and so the UK banished the Windsors to Bermuda where, like Casablanca, they operated as usual. The French?

  7. susan the other

    Just a comment on Occupy Sandy; Truthout. New Socialism is old Socialism. And we have known the Red Cross is a peculiar “capitalist charity” corporation for decades. How do you get rid of something that not only does not work for shit but it actually makes things worse? You do not replace it with something that does work, you only have to introduce something that does work. And if it is not sabotaged, as it always is here in the USA, then evolution replaces pointless capitalism pretty quickly. We should embrace our inner poverty and our selfless gene asap. We will find our own model, but the city in Denmark (can’t remember name) where the city incorporated as a socialist town and everybody who lives there pays 80% of their income for the necessities of live including health care, education, basic food, housing, etc – and they get to keep 20% for their own fantasies (spike heels; a nice leather jacket; extra booze; a trip to Africa, etc.) might be a good starting place. That’s a 20% giveaway to free market capitalism; to luxury goods that also should carry a high tax burden, etc. But who cares as long as the rest is taken care of? And that probably means that 80% of “money” can easily become digital. So 20% of money (still taxable) will be the maximum that can be underground and nefarious, etc. It should also be the limit that can be spent on international trade since trade is a total scam anyway. Consumerism will be gone with a big capitalist wind, but it will be replaced by a domestic PX mentality that won’t be bad in that it will provide the necessities. Etc. Maybe. After all the “health insurance” companies were happy to settle for a 20% profit handout – this is a similar idea.

  8. Vatch

    A couple of weeks ago, Murky posted the URL for this article, and invited readers to comment:

    I don’t recall seeing any comments, but they might have appeared after I last checked. What I am wondering, is what are the numbers of neo-nazis or fascists that were involved in the Maidan protests and in the new Ukrainian government? There have been frequent references to neo-nazis and fascists in Naked Capitalism, but I don’t remember seeing reliable numbers. Could someone please point me to one or more sources?

    Here are a couple of quotes from Professor Motyl’s article:

    Are Svoboda and the Right Sector fascist? Let’s compare them to a bona fide fascist regime. Vladimir Putin’s Russia is an authoritarian dictatorship that has a charismatic strong man as its undisputed leader, glorifies him in an unabashed personality cult, and employs hyper-nationalism and neo-imperialism as a source of legitimacy (more on that here). These features are found in equal measure in Hitler’s Germany and Mussolini’s Italy, and we justifiably call regimes with such defining characteristics fascist. Unsurprisingly, such regimes are usually violent and intolerant of various minorities.

    Both Svoboda and Right Sector are on the right. They are decidedly not liberals—and some of them may be fascists—but they are far more like the Tea Party or right-wing Republicans than like fascists or neo-Nazis. I for one wouldn’t want them to be setting the tone for Ukrainian policy. But neither would I want the Tea Party to be in charge of Washington. No less important, their role in the Kyiv government is at best tertiary (they would probably win no more than 5 percent of the vote in a national election), and policy is set not by them but by the broad coalition of unquestioned liberal democrats.

    Is Professor Motyl wrong? If so, please point me to the evidence. I would prefer something a little more reliable that anecdotes or random photographs. I have already seem some unpleasant pictures, and now I would like some numbers.

    Thank you.

    1. Vatch

      Okay, I found some information, but it’s still sketchy. There are 20 members of the cabinet, and 6 belong to the Batkivshchyna or the All-Ukrainian Union “Fatherland” party, 3 are listed as Euro-Maidan activists, 3 are Svoboda members (at one point there were 4, but not any more), and
      8 are “non-partisan”. Clearly, the “non-partisan” designation is awkward, to say the least. Here’s the article where I found this:

      The parliament, as of March 25, has this distribution of parties:

      120 Party of Regions (Yanukovych’s party, before they disavowed him)
      88 Fatherland
      41 UDAR (Klitschko’s party)
      35 Svoboda
      32 Communist
      37 Economic Development (most of these used to in the Party of Regions)
      36 Sovereign European Ukraine
      58 Non-affiliated
      3 Vacancies


      I don’t have firm information about the extent of neo-nazi/fascist participation in the Maidan protests.

      1. OIFVet

        Where’s Gallup when you need them? A telephone survey of the Maidan populace, or perhaps tent-to-tent canvassing. Methinks you focus on the wrong question and miss the point entirely by doing so. It is not about absolute numbers, it is about organization and willingness to use violence as the means to obtain political goals. Remember, the nazi party in Germany started as a small but well organized and violent movement. There is plenty of evidence that the neos were the muscle behind the overthrow of the elected government. No less an “authority” then Murky Trollov’s favorite propagandist Timothy Snyder was forced to admit so: It is rather dangerous to get in bed with these unsavory characters, yet we have done so time and again and learn nothing from past blowbacks.

        And for sheer reading pleasure, a rather good take down of Motyl’s neocon propaganda:

        1. Vatch

          Thank you for the links. It certainly does appear that Professor Motyl has an axe to grind. I still hope to learn more about the opinion spectrum of the Maidan protestors, and I agree, it would be great to have had polling during those events.

          Regarding the use of force: the new government was willing to use force against the right wing leader Muzychko. The muscle isn’t on just one side.

          Yes, the Nazis started small, but by the time they came to power, they had slightly more than a third of the votes. That’s a lot more than the Ukrainian right wingers currently have; of course that could change in the election on May 25.

  9. Oregoncharles

    “Science compared every diet” – by focusing on fad diets, the article obfuscates a very real problem with nutrition “science” itself:

    It’s emphatically a moving target. Even if we ignore fad diets, as most of us do, the official, “scientific” recommendations change with unnerving speed and regularity. For instance, not long ago nutritionists recommended margarine over butter – only to learn that hydrogenated oils are outright poison. Now there’s an increasing consensus, or at least controversy, that saturated fats and cholesterol are not the cause of heart disease, sugar is.

    Very amusing, to see that the hippies had it right all along.

    This is the real reason for Pollan’s maxim: we can’t trust the nutritionists. Either they haven’t a clue or they’re corrupt (guess who pays for most of the research?). There may be legitimate reasons for some of the confusion: for instance, high variation in human needs and sensitivities, or large sensitivity to circumstance (climate, altitude, exertion, etc.) But the real problem lies in the way research is paid for.

    When official advice – even from the guy in the article – is plainly unreliable, we’re forced back on common sense, such as Pollan’s. Maybe that’s a good thing.

  10. Cal

    Reactors and safety analysis?

    How about Diablo Canyon? California’s last commercial reactors still being mismanaged by the criminal organization that is Pacific Gas and Electric, complicit in the killing of an entire neighborhood through decades of penny pinching and malfeasance?

    ” Adding to the fallout from the deadly San Bruno pipeline blast, a federal grand jury on Tuesday indicted PG&E on criminal charges for violations of federal pipeline regulations.

    The 12-count indictment alleges that PG&E knowingly and willfully violated the federal Pipeline Safety Act and its regulations between 2003 and 2010, culminating in the September 2010 explosion that killed eight people, injured 66 and destroyed 38 homes.

    “The citizens of Northern California deserve to have their utility providers put the safety of the community first,” U.S. Attorney Melinda Haag said in a prepared release. “Today’s indictment of PG&E for violating the minimum safety standards established by the Natural Gas Pipeline Safety Act reflects the company’s failure to follow that very basic principle.”

    ” For 18 months, operators at the Diablo Canyon nuclear plant near San Luis Obispo didn’t realize that a system to pump water into one of their reactors during an emergency wasn’t working. It had been accidentally disabled by the plant’s own engineers, according to a report issued Thursday on the safety of nuclear reactors in the United States.”

  11. tongorad

    Panayota Gounari on Greece, Neoliberalism, and the Crisis of Capitalism

    Truthout Interviews, Panayota Gounari, Associate Professor of Applied Linguistics at the University of Massachusetts in Boston, illustrates the neoliberal response to the crisis of capitalism is to enact policies that have the markings of a kind of social necrophilia that Erich Fromm once described. The more Greek society decays under the economic ideology of neoliberalism, the more its Prime Minister says the policies are a success. That’s the very definition of social necrophilia. The leader of one of the oldest democracies comes alive with praise that “the system” is working the more his fellow citizens suffer.

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