Links 6/1/14

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The woman who lived in sin with a dolphin Telegraph

More Pet Brands Target Owners Who Like to Cook Their Own Dog Food Wall Street Journal

Cynical? You may be hurting your brain health ScienceDaily (Chuck L). This looks like junk to me. How do you define “high levels of cynicism” v. garden varieties of cynicism? Plus in this case, the cynicism may actually be a proxy for other issues that lead to poor outcomes, namely, weak social bonds or financial insecurity (aka stress).

The Enduring Promise of a Thinner You New York Times

Buried Carbon Causes Deep Concern Truthdig (Chuck L)

Nuclear-waste facility on high alert over risk of new explosions Nature

It’s simple. If we can’t change our economic system, our number’s up Guardian (Lawrence)

After the Sun (Microsystems) Sets, the Real Stories Come Out IEEE Spectrum (Chuck L)

Microsoft shows off real-time universal speech translator for Skype, coming in 2014 ExtremeTech (furzy mouse)

Turn Gmail Into an RSS Reader With IFTTT Gizmodo

Animated Map Visualizes NYC’s Raging Workaholism Fast Company

Come Saturday Morning: The Worst Places to Work, Worldwide Phoenix Woman, Firedoglake

China denounces Japan and US over ‘provocative’ speeches BBC

Southeast Asia’s Regression From Democracy and Its Implications Council on Foreign Relations (furzy mouse). Free download

Want to unwind Thailand’s coup? Look to palace politics Christian Science Monitor

Sex, Drugs and Accounting in Europe Bloomberg

Climate change to boost summer flash floods, says study BBC

RBS could fail due to ‘£100bn black hole’ – with British taxpayers in line to lose their entire £45bn stake Independent. FYI, the book is by Ian Fraser, a sometimes contributor to NC.

Bank of England governor: capitalism doomed if ethics vanish Guardian. A bit late to be worrying about that. However, as Harry Shearer points out: “Can you imagine a head of the Fed talking like this?”

Caracas Goes Thirsty as Taps Run Dry and Bottles Vanish Bloomberg

Venezuela: A plan for coup d’état and assassination of Maduro failed evolution


Ukraine Fights Separatists in East, Approaches Russian Gas Deal Bloomberg

Russian ForEx Reserves and Balance of Payments Vulnerabilities Menzie Chinn, Econbrowser

Encyclopedia of Ukrainian oligarchs Eurozine (Richard Smith)

Alexander Lebedev and Vladislav Inozemtsev: Western financiers welcomed dirty money but now it must be stopped Independent (Richard Smith)

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

What a Drone Can See YouTube (Lawrence)

New federal database will track Americans’ credit ratings, other financial information Washington Examiner (Chuck L)

Frontline, in case you missed it: How the NSA Can Get Onto Your Computer, How the NSA Can Get Onto Your iPhone, How the NSA’s Secret Elite Hacking Unit Works

Another viewing item if you didn’t see it last week: Edward Snowden Exclusive Interview with NBC Brian Williams YouTube

5 Reasons The Deficit Has Fallen By Nearly $5 Trillion (And Why That’s A Bad Thing) National Memo

New Law ‘Facilitates Privatization’ of US Water Systems Mint Press (furzy mouse)

Police didn’t search database showing Calif. shooter had bought guns Washington Post (furzy mouse)

Daily Meme: Hit Me With Your Best Shot American Prospect. Revealing Dean Baquet remarks.

George Clooney ‘planning to launch career in politics after marriage to British lawyer’ Daily Mail

The New Paradigm for Banks Mohamed A. El-Erian

Fed Officials Downplay Financial Stability Concerns WSJ Economics

Reconciling Hayek’s and Keynes’ views of recessions VoxEU

FT v. Piketty

Everything You Need to Know About Thomas Piketty vs. The Financial Times New York Times

You shouldn’t use a spreadsheet for important work (I mean it) Daniel Lemire. Ahem, some of the problems are not due to spreadsheets in general but Excel in particular. I can’t stand to use Excel because it is a terrible tool. I relied on Improv because even in the early 1990s you could build multi-dimensional models (oh, and easily rotate them), plus it documented formulas using the labels you input (as in your column/row names) making them easy to check. It also has all sorts of complicated financial and mathematical formulas built in as function choices, so you don’t have to generate them. IBM refused to sell Improv after it acquired it, despite many offers, so some developers built an imitation, Quantrix, and then improved on it. Unfortunately, it cost over $1500 , so if a reader connected with the company is feeling generous, I’d love a copy.

Class Warfare

Not Walking the Walk on Board Diversity Gretchen Morgenson, New York Times

Tech Titans on Income Inequality and Their “Stingy, Stingy” Industry re/code

Fast Food Workers’ Movement: Union 2.0? Real News Network

eBay Shrugged: Pierre Omidyar believes there should be no philanthropy without profit Mark Ames Pando. Important. Also documents more of Omidyar’s relationships to the US security state.

Don’t believe brokers, the government, or Piketty: Your property values won’t grow faster than your paycheck Amar Bhide, Quartz. Today’s must read.

Antidote du jour (furzy mouse):


See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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    1. Jim Haygood

      [Deputy Economic Minister] Ramirez told reporters in Caracas, “Mineral water is a government issue, as companies need permission to bottle it. If they leave us without water, we’ll look into it.” — Bloomberg

      ‘Mineral water is a government issue’: AH HA HA HA! Almost as high on the ‘to do’ list as ‘more toilet paper’ and ‘a good 5-bolivar cigar.’

      Let’s review: a surreally misaligned exchange rate created a shortage of foreign currency; government forex rationers neglected to fund plastic bottle importers; without bottles, la gente are unable to transport water even when it’s available; thus, ‘mineral water is a government issue.’

      If Soviet rocket scientists couldn’t make central planning work, how is easy-going Venezuela going to manage it? Caraqueños had better pray that the Maduro regime doesn’t take over the mineral water sector. With Maduro’s infallible reverse Midas touch, Caracas could end up as the world’s only city where residents are dying of dehydration in the midst of tropical rains.

      1. Jagger

        Government issue as in a social good, no social necessity, that the people, all people, have access to water for daily survival. If you give over the control of water to private business, you have the money to buy the water at whatever market forces and profit require or you die. Government theoretically is a power over corporations and should ensure that capitalistic corporations doesn’t create a new water market that controls whether people live or die.

        So yes, water is a government issue as it should be here in the US when it comes to fracking.

  1. Banger

    Re: Monbiot’s piece:

    Here’s George:

    The inescapable failure of a society built upon growth and its destruction of the Earth’s living systems are the overwhelming facts of our existence. As a result, they are mentioned almost nowhere. They are the 21st century’s great taboo, the subjects guaranteed to alienate your friends and neighbours. We live as if trapped inside a Sunday supplement: obsessed with fame, fashion and the three dreary staples of middle-class conversation: recipes, renovations and resorts. Anything but the topic that demands our attention.

    Statements of the bleeding obvious, the outcomes of basic arithmetic, are treated as exotic and unpardonable distractions, while the impossible proposition by which we live is regarded as so sane and normal and unremarkable that it isn’t worthy of mention. That’s how you measure the depth of this problem: by our inability even to discuss it.

    Ok, this issue has been batted around on this site from time to time but, and here’s a major tragedy, we go on as if this wasn’t the case–we imagine that “progressive” politics of the the old Democratic Party is sufficient. We imagine that industrial production, good, skilled and semi-skilled blue-collar jobs will shore up the middle-class if we only had good policy from Washington. Well, guess what? That just isn’t going to happen. The fact is that we need austerity not to balance budgets but to return to sanity. Let me be clear as I can here–were insane! We cannot go on as before to do so is to ask for destruction. I’ve seen this before in the lives of people I’ve known–people who can’t stop their self-destructive behavior–they just keep going on and on and on until their lives and their families lives are in tatters and, if they live through it, they grumble about the injustice of it all.

    There is, basically, one macro pattern that must be developed, i.e., we have to reclaim normal humanity. The term we need to think about is “conviviality.” What makes this word important is that it means being friendly and active–a convivial gathering, for example, involves good food, drink (or smoke) and other shared pleasures. It’s not people blankly staring at a screen. A convivial society contains a lot of communal celebrations and opportunities for friendship–in fact, getting “high” either through substances, chanting, dancing, trance-music or whatever is also critical in a communal celebration–that should be our focus not industrial production.

    We focus way too much on the trappings of life and little on the substance. We don’t need 95% of what we have. Society can be designed so that energy is used more efficiently through technology; there are a multitude of schemes to grow food that would free us from agri-biz and the oil economy, housing can be considerably simplified, and there are clear methods of conflict resolution (this is a sophisticated field why aren’t the principles of conflict resolution better known?) to solve the problems of border disputes and political rivalries–the endless wars the U.S. engages in are not necessary they are ALL (and I do mean ALL) contrivances created to keep a portion of the oligarchy in power. The products we buy and the information we ingest are “sold” to us through incredibly sophisticated mind-control techniques that would make the staff of Hogwarts envious–we need to find some magic to dissolve the spells.

    Our true human nature is not to be bitter and frowning, to scuffle in front of oligarchs just to validate our lives, it is to connect and delight with each other and the beauty of this earth. Our focus on “work” and the fact that if we get off the treadmill we will be outcasts and people will shun us is, to me, the one unforgivable sin talked about in the Gospels. It is not work itself that is the problem–work can be good even if you’re breaking up rocks in some prison yard–but the FOCUS on WORK is an abomination. Here’ a thought: tune in, turn on, drop out–as valid today as it was almost a half century ago except today it’s almost illegal to actually do that.

    1. abynormal

      “we go on as if this wasn’t the case–we imagine that “progressive” politics of the the old Democratic Party is sufficient.” NOT on this site’)

    2. Eeyores enigma

      Banger – We have structured society under the pretext that the only way society can function is if we all have the threat of “No Money = You Die” hanging over our heads. Without that threat nobody would accomplish anything.

      This lie is disproven every day in too many way to list. The fact is people are much more productive, creative, innovative, and happy without this threat. Everything would still go on just fine but all of the bad behavior would for the most part, go away. The only time this lie works is when someone wants to get someone else to do something they don’t want to do or when they want to get a bunch of people to be productive for them so they can reap the profits of that production.

      Until we change that we can never change anything.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        We can trace its possible root to the Division of Labor.

        We, priests, shamans and chiefs/kings

        You, laborers, farmers and workers.

        In the beginning, there were only wholistic humans….people did a bit of everything (except limited biologically).

        1. Eeyores enigma

          You skip a step with your logic.
          The way labor was divided was by establishing the “no money = you die” paradigm.

        2. skippy

          From PIE…

          Gawd kings

          Priests and warriors


          Money was a device brought into being by divine decree, administered by priests and warriors over the chattel. That being said there are moments in history where the administration of this social tool have benefited the chattel in inducing a more reasonable social compact, its just hard yacka to keep the gawd kings, priest and warriors from reverting to their default historical paradigm. Any sign of stresses [natural or induced] is used a leverage to justify their paradigm over any other possibility e.g. TINA.

    3. ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®©

      One of Monbiot’s points (from the comments):
      27 May 2014 6:56pm

      I would say that population is discussed a lot more than the growth in consumption, which massively outstrips population growth. In fact population is often used as a scapegoat for the problems caused by per capita growth in consumption. No surprises there: it’s about the only problem for which rich post-reproductve white men are not responsible.
      Austerity as pushed in D.C. is meant to benefit those who have and consume the most.

    4. diptherio

      But, but…

      Robert Bryce argues that technological innovations have improved the quality of life for humans for centuries and it is completely reasonable to think that we will innovate our way out of the problems we face today. Mr. Bryce spoke at an event hosted by the Manhattan Institute in New York City.

      Note: I didn’t watch the video–just reading the description was good enough for me. I’m sure this Robert Bryce guy is an expert, and he makes me feel way better about things than Monibot does, so I’m going to assume he’s right: somebody somewhere will figure out some way to violate the laws of physics.

    5. allcoppedout

      Hard to disagree – though some have it ‘turn on’ and the rest was a means to defeat the peace movement by trivialising it. We might ask how we turn the revoltingly decadent off.

      1. hunkerdown

        Ah, bourgeois decadence… Since their entire personality is caught up in their chattels, one might strike there first. So, maybe start by dumping buckets of PBR on hipsters as they pass below?

    6. gordon

      I linked to this a couple of days ago:

      A couple of (slightly edited) extracts:

      “The Motor City is going green. In a city with too much abandoned, derelict, and ruined space, Detroiters are fighting back with one of the country’s largest urban agriculture movements. Residents, nonprofits, and corporations are rehabilitating their city in a sustainable–and often edible–way …

      …One farmer, who would identify himself only as Magnetic Sun, said he is a 33-year-old, lifelong Detroit resident. Tired of seeing his friends struggle to feed their families, he started gardening on a lot near his home. Now he grows corn, tomatoes, zucchini, yellow squash, kale, sunflowers, and more. Walking around his garden, he pulls an ear of corn off a plant, shucks it and takes a bite.

      “I feed the elderly people on the block, the youth they come down, they help, they take food home, we sell a little bit at the market, and you know, I feed myself and my family,” he said. “My aunty is 84 years old and has never seen a zucchini till last year. She’s 84 years old and she’s never seen the squash grow on the plant!”

      As far as taboos on discussions of sustainability are concerned, I remember the intense discussions around the Brundtland Report (“Our Common Future”) after its release in 1987. What happened to all that? I even remember discussions around Paul Erlich’s book “The Population Bomb” back in the late sixties. That sank too. Does anybody else remember ZPG? Silent Spring? Hello??

      1. Banger

        Great story on Detroit–thanks for that.

        As for discussions with people. The problem is that so much is off the table because we are all afraid of offending someone–we don’t understand what dialogue or the dialectic is. I think the problem of political correctness is hugs as is ever increasing amounts of denial which is very deep in the culture.

        1. gordon

          I have a feeling that the environmentalists are to some extent themselves to blame. In recent years, to be an environmentalist has almost become synonymous with being a greenhouse activist. Many of the older concerns of the environmental movement (pollution, invasive species, overfishing, recycling, forest preservation, species preservation, monoculture, GMO, population, permaculture etc.) have seemingly been de-emphasised if not actually abandoned. I’m not a greenhouse denier, but I think it’s a mistake for greenies to put all their eggs in the greenhouse basket in this way. Environmentalism as a grassroots movement drew its strength from the potential for local activities on a broad front of issues. To limit environmentalism to greenhouse cuts off a lot of that interest and enthusiasm, and makes it seem futile to eg. promote recycling if we’re all gonna die because of greenhouse anyway. I’d like to see greenhouse as one among many environmental (or sustainability, if you prefer) issues.

  2. ex-PFC Chuck

    “eBay Shrugs” brings to mind one of my mother’s favorite expressions: “He [or she] who chooses to sup with the devil had best come prepared with a long spoon.” One wonders how the likes of Glenn Greenwald, Marcy Wheeler, et al, could possibly have found ones that were anywhere near long enough.

    1. Mister Bunny

      Wheeler bailed out from PierreLand a couple of weeks ago. As for GG, Scahill, et al., they followed the $$$ and there they sit. I’m sure they have abundant self-serving rationales for working with Omidyar.

  3. optimader

    “ Haha, I’m American, I don’t have culture, so how could I be forcing it onto you? ”

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Cultural rape: Inserting cultural object(s) uninvited into another culture…like foreign male tourists wearing speedo when visiting this country.

      Monetary rape: Inserting unwanted monetary object(s) into another monetary system…like hot imperial money into a small, emerging country.

      1. optimader

        Cultural rape: Inserting cultural object(s) uninvited into another culture…
        Doesn’t even have to be a different culture…
        Consider for a moment, after banging out a ~30mi bikeride on lake shore drive on a hot August day and going into a bathroom at Hollywood beach only to be visually confronted w/ an obese 60yo guy wearing only a black lace thong, flipflops (and cane). However unfair, I’ll forever hold the damage to my visual cortex against the entire Chicago Gay and Lesbian crowd.

        1. hunkerdown

          Because only beautiful people ought to be seen in public, of course, and the rest of them should get their earth tones on and blend into the wall. Who’s the top here?!

          With respect, I suggest cultivating your tolerance, because people sure ain’t gettin’ any prettier.

          1. optimader

            “Because only beautiful people ought to be seen in public, of course, and the rest of them should get their earth tones on and blend into the wall”

            Less a case of my “intolerance”, more a case of someone else’s incredibly inappropriate behavior on a public beach.

            I would reframe your reflection as people sure ain’t gettin’ any more considerate..

  4. craazyboy

    “What a Drone Can See – YouTube (Lawrence)”

    Who was it that said “Life Is A Stage”?

    Now we can analyze Tiger Woods’ golf swing from 17,000 ft. altitude. Then pull an old video from the archives in Utah to compare it with last years swing.

    The really cool platform, after drones, is a solar powered glide plane that just stays aloft for years at a time.

  5. Steve Gardner

    Re: “Tech Titans on Income Inequality”

    I have worked my whole 30+ year career as an engineer. So, OK. I’m a geek myself but some of these Silicon Valley guys have to get out more. Talk about clueless!
    These guys never developed any understanding of their fellow humans. The dark side of being a hard core geek I guess.

    Check this out: “Philip Engelhardt, managing partner of PhilQuo Ventures, said he thinks smartphones have begun to level the playing field for ambitious young people, in a version of the “pull yourself up by your own bootstraps” meme. [. . .] And you know one of them is going to be one of the kids whose single mother got a smartphone at work, and she’s taking night classes. He takes that thing and goes online and learns to code and has a vision of an app that no one else has.”

    Learning to code with a smart phone? Really? Well as anyone who does know how “to code” knows, and this guy clearly doesn’t, you need a lot more than a browser to learn to code. You need to write code–lots of it and test it. Without even a rudimentary development environment that is impossible and this guy either doesn’t know or doesn’t want to spoil his pretty narrative by admitting that fact. And consider this bit of inspired ethnocentrism: “In the old days, he had that vision alone on a plain in India with skinny cows all around him, and he couldn’t do anything about it.” Skinny cows? Really Phil? Do he and Vinod Khosla ever talk? They are in the same business. I gotta wonder how Khosla feels about that statement. But forgetting the “skinny cow” thing for a minute, consider the importance of context and background in determining what thoughts we can even think. This isn’t about intelligence or education per se. Not even Albert Einstein could have had such a vision. Does he think that some kid in a village in India has the context and background to have a vision of how an app could help the world and it is just no access to a computer that stops him? This is so clueless! And these are the guys we are supposed to admire and follow? Really? We are doomed if this is representative of “leadership”.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      More science projects for our scientists:

      Too (high levels of) cynicism hurting brain health
      Too much computer programming hurting brain health
      Too much math hurting brain health
      Too much economics hurting brain health
      Too much philosophy hurting brain health
      Too much science hurting brain health
      Too much blogging hurting brain health
      Too much happiness hurting brain health
      Too much poverty hurting brain health

      Suggestion: Avoid too much of all of the above.

      1. Mel

        Lately finished Iain McGilchrist’s The Master and his Emissary, a book of neuropolitics. It’s tonso’fun, scientifically, philosophically, politically, but it’s strenuous fun, so perhaps not just everyone can spare the time. Chapter 2, where he surveys the scientific findings that he’ll use to support his ideas, runs to 535 citations. The fundamental idea is that the two brain hemispheres have different uses. The left hemisphere is the logic engine, dealing in abstract reasoning about categories and defined relationships. The right hemisphere deals with what fighter pilots call “situational awareness”: a gestalt awareness in real time of specifically where you are, what you’re doing, who you’re with, what’s happening around you, etc. I think there’s a strong parallel between these two categories and the categories that Daniel Kahneman, in Thinking, Fast and Slow calls System Two and System One, though I somehow suspect that they won’t turn out to be the same things.
        The neuropolitical point is that Western culture (at least) from the Enlightenment on has heavily, and mistakenly, emphasized rational left-hemisphere functions over balanced left/right processes. McGilchrist draws this out in detail examining philosophy, art, and Modern culture and society generally. Distilled, his list would be similar to yours. I found it a compelling argument.

    2. craazyboy

      Obviously, this is why geeks used to get punched in high school.

      But one may wonder if 1 million smart apps is enough already

      Or if one may find himself/herself working in the land of skinny cows someday.

      If so, pick Bangalore – it’s the good place.,_Bangalore.JPG&imgrefurl=

    3. KateB

      This little anecdote illustrates both the naiveté and the profoundly sexist nature of the geek mystique. Notice that the smart phone belongs to the “single mother,” she’s taking night classes (presumably in early childhood education), but it’s her son who “goes online and learns to code.” Aaargh and roooar and pfffft. May none of you, regardless of your sexual orientation, ever get laid again. You need to repeat your childhood education, the long term course, so that you can eventually grow up and join the adults.

    4. hunkerdown

      You’re supposed to admire and follow them because they claim to offer a vision of a better future. Surely you didn’t think a PR front was going to deliver it? All those 20somethings with Unite Blue pacifiers in their mouths and thumping rave music? That’s freedom.

      And learning to code with a smartphone? What a beautiful example of bourgeois magical thinking: the belief that the full measure of one’s responsibility toward society is exhausted as soon as one glib solution has issued forth from one’s lips.

  6. sheepdog

    The antidote is the extreme of sadness today. A 4H girl saying goodbye to her “project” before it is sold.

  7. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    5 Reasons The Deficit Has Fallen

    I only got to the first reason:

    “…progressives have argued that the government needs to spend when the private sector cannot or is unwilling to. The left briefly won this argument with the stimulus, which was largely mitigated by cuts at the state and local levels. Since then, the conservative argument that immediate cuts would help prevent a debt disaster has prevailed…”

    Here is one solution that will satisfy both sides (progressives and conservatives):


    1. This directly address the fact the private sector cannot spend, versus government spending that we hope, something in vain, will trickle down and are pork laden – win for the progressives.

    2. With money directly to the Little People, we can afford to shrink the government – a win for the conservatives.

  8. Jim Haygood

    ‘Until 1968, public funds in California and 15 other states did not own any stocks. State laws prohibiting stock purchases were then repealed. Now, 65% of public funds are invested in stocks, real estate and other alternative investments.’ — Amar Bhide, Quartz article

    Incredibly, Social Security’s 1935 statute still hasn’t been amended to include equities in the Trust Fund. Effectively, this forces people who make less than $117,000 a year to invest 12.4% of their income at a long-term return of approximately zero.

    Social Security is a massive engine for pauperizing the middle class. Nothing, but nothing, ever gets reformed by our petrified Depublicrat regime.

    1. tswkr

      Except that Social Security is not a pension fund and the federal government has no need to generate a return in order to pay retirees from the federal budget. The rate of return is governed by law and has been estimated to be between 4.5% and 6.5% by actuaries at the SSA.

  9. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    China, Japan and the US provocative speeches…

    If Russia is not already on that Asian security forum, it should join right away.

    1. ambrit

      Dear MLTPB;
      What would Putin say to these squabbling Powers anyway? “Hey you, I think I’ll try and revive Manchukuo, only this time, as a Russian Far East Protectorate.” He does have Vladivostok, and the Russian Far East Fleet; with boomers, too. With all that permafrost melting, he needs a place for the Siberian peoples to move to. And, oh, Manchukuo is a breadbasket case, isn’t it?

        1. ambrit

          I knew that. Even the Imperial Japanese Army wasn’t stupid enough to invade Soviet Russia back before the ‘official’ start of the Pacific Theatre of WW2. (Soviet Russia didn’t even declare war on Japan until August 8 1945!) Since the original Manchukuo was carved out of China by Japan, what’s the odds of big trouble if Russia tried to carve it out of China again? China has claimed almost all of the South China Sea, based, in part, on some mouldy Chinese Admiralty maps from as far back as the fifteenth century. The Soviets owned Manchukuo for six month in 1945-1946. That’s about as good a claim as the Chinese one to the South China Sea.
          Great Powers playing Great Games.

  10. OIFVet

    “How the EU can save Ukraine:”“Offering free political risk insurance to those who invest in or do business with Ukraine is a way of countering the threat of Putin’s Russia.” He basically argues for something akin to universal health care for the bottom line corporations doing business in newly “liberated” and neoliberalized Ukraine, yet another scheme to socialize corporate risk while assuring their profits. And here we are stuck with Obamadon’tcare. What’s next, free political risk insurance for climate change-related losses, citizen boycott losses, etc? The “progressives'” favorite billionaire is, as “eBay Shrugged” indicated, the original for-profit “philanthropist” on which today’s Omidyars are modeled. His Open Society funds scores of neoliberal and neocon think tanks in Eastern Europe whose “intellectual” output is then used by the comprador governments as justification for ever increasing doses of neoliberal medicine to cure the ailments caused by that exact same medicine. Soros helped kick the door wide open for our contemporary “philanthropists” out to get an 18 year old’s last $3.

  11. susan the other

    Even Mark Carney in the Guardian! Monaghan. “Capitalism is Doomed if Ethics Vanish.” So why didn’t capitalism vanish long ago? Because there was still a smidge of social capital left to function? I don’t think so. It’s because there was still enough well-being, aka wealth among people, for the oligarchs to get away with financial murder. And I fear Mr. Carney protests too much because there is no such thing as “Fair Markets” in a capitalist context. There is only organized crime abetted by enablers in chief and commanders in tragedy. Fair Markets? Please define that one.

  12. Skeptic

    Cynical? You may be hurting your brain health ScienceDaily

    Maybe. However, the Institute For The Advancement Of Skepticism did a study which proved that Skeptics live longer, have great sex, are bon vivants and, most of all, admired by everyone.

    1. craazyman

      I’d be skeptical about those study results.

      . . . but not cynical !

      speak of Links material relating to strange news that you almost refuse to believe, just yesterday I saw a news story that’s sure to blow the doors off the scientific consensus about reality. Evidently a woman wrote a book about something that happened in the 1970s, which is only now coming to the attention of the world. A girl enrolled at a California community college and lived in a dorm with a roommate named Racheal, spelt like that too. Racheal wore a scarf and sunglasses all the time and only ate strange plates of weird food. Then one day Racheal tripped and started to fall. When the roommate grabbed Racheal’s arm to arrest her fall there was no bone. It felt like a firm sponge. Also, Racheal’s sunglasses fell off and her eyes, which you’d never see since she wore the shades all the time, were green as avocados with cat-like slits. Well, it turned out Rachael was an alien-human hybrid from the Zeta-Reticuli star system! That part isn’t so surprising, but what’s really shocking about this is her diet. Evidently she wouldn’t have been the kind of girl you’d take out for southern Barbebcue and icy cold Budweiser draft beer, if you wanted to get something going.

      Here’s the Link. There’s a book and an internet interview. The book has a preface written by a PhD.

      It would, frankly speaking, be editorial malpractice not to post this as a Link. Not only does this sort of reporting interest curious minds, it makes more sense than most of the stuff people willingly read, like all this nonsense about r and g and professor Piketty and the Financial Times. You can make up anything you want but only your readers will decide the truth.

      1. craazyboy

        But from all the anal probing reports we’ve heard, it must have taken the aliens some time to figure out inter-species breeding?

          1. allcoppedout

            Earth is the only planet with species that have external reproduction organs. The rest of the universe finds this a complete hoot and practise proctology as a first contact ritual. They are disappointed we didn’t reciprocate is all Craazy. Exo-economists need to do more alien ethnography.

        1. craazyman

          they probably needed to find out what hole was the right one for the breeding program to work. Here in new yawk there’s anal probing going on in certain neighborhoods 7 days a week, even on Sunday! Could be confusing if you’re an alien scientist.

          1. craazyboy

            Ya, good point point. Gotta be careful who you ask!

            Guess they got the right end of the bod right. But that means space aliens don’t believe in fore playing around. Just wham-bam thankyou Sir! Err, maam.

          2. ambrit

            Since the NYPD is so famous for its ‘rampant’ anal probing, does this mean they’re all aliens?

      2. direction

        Solid gold. I had something serious to say, but there is no way to add to a thread after craazy gets a hold of it. bravo.

        1. direction

          Well, what i was going to say was a little “thank you” to Susan for this part of her critique: “other issues that lead to poor outcomes, namely, weak social bonds or financial insecurity.”

          When you are one of those high school students who win awards and are voted “most likely to succeed” etc. and then you become arguably the worst failure in your class, as I have, you tend to spend your odd moments wondering what happened. I have not read up on the proper psychology, but I’d say she’s spot on about this combination of the stress of minimum wage work (when I left the field I’d been training in) and total estrangement from family rejection and the distance from friends that stems from the ensuing shame of it all, well it goes a long way toward explaining what happened, so thanks for summing up my life in one easy sentence. I don’t know why it has mystified me for so long. One tends to misattribute ones failures to personality flaws when really it might be simple externalities. So thanks, for some reason that makes me feel quite a bit better about myself.

  13. Oregoncharles

    “It’s simple. If we can’t change our economic system, our number’s up:

    Yeah. That’s the big one. I kind of liked Banger’s post, up above, but I don’t think he (?) did justice to our predicament, or the politics of it.

    One of the best things about this site is that it does NOT presume politics or economics as usual, though some of the posts do. But I wish Monbiot’s post, or a follow up to it, was headlined, rather than buried in the links. Private equity is part of the problem, but it’s an epiphenomenon. This is the real thing, and aside from things like the Transition movement (article on that, maybe?), there is damn-all addressing it. Probably because it’s just too scary.

  14. fresno dan

    Don’t believe brokers, the government, or Piketty: Your property values won’t grow faster than your paycheck Amar Bhide, Quartz. Today’s must read.

    Thank you so much for this link. When I first took an economics course, and first had a real career job with an “investment” plan, I wondered how “investments” – year after year – could be so much greater than GDP. Where was all that extra money (or more accurately, supposed real wealth) coming from??? As I looked into it, most of the gain is inflation, a good portion is the rising population (mere coincidence that they don’t report per capita numbers…don’t by CYNICAL – didn’t you see the link that its BAD for the BRAIN).

    But now that I have lived a while, it seems to me that although I have had a tremendous increase in my nominal income, and yes, flat screen TVs, cell phones, and….oh, cars are MUCH more reliable, are all real improvements…..well, it just doesn’t seem to me that I am in fact five times richer due to “investment” (the cpi calculator tells me that my 5k income in 1975 is now worth in real dollars about 21K, and my salary before I retired is about 5 times that).
    But a good portion of the increase was due to education and simple increase in wages due to experience and seniority.
    The thing about this “investment” stuff that irks me so, is that it never considers how we have gotten worse off over the years. It has been 50 years since I tasted a real tomato (hopefully, I can buy a house with a yard and plant real tomato’s). Traffic….all the time. Pollution. Declining places you can go for solitude. Voice mail trees that make canceling a credit card a three day ordeal…
    NO, all this about our investments, economic growth, and that thanks to positive GDP, we are continually getting richer – I just don’t buy it.

    1. abynormal

      ‘they’ formulate their numbers and we have to Live the real ones. from my emails today:

      personal outlays for durable goods grew by an inflation adjusted $4.8 billion, a 1.4% annualized increase, up from the previously estimated 0.8% growth, even though current dollar spending on durables was down $3.5 billion during the quarter.
      “it’s because prices for durable goods went down at a 2.5% rate in the quarter, believe it or not…” rjs

      “the so-called one percent decline in first quarter GDP was actually -.24%…they do that with everything…you make a dollar tomorrow, the government will say your annualized income is $366…” rjs

    1. ambrit

      Dear JT;
      Ah, the joys of waste management! I have actually worked on several retro high tank “Crapper” style toilets. They work very well.. The head of water is quite powerful. Flushing these while sitting does entail significant, er, tail risk.
      As for the economics aspect, well, many persons do reading and similar tasks while ensconced upon the ‘throne.’ (A big contributing factor to hemorrhoids.) So, the combination of economics and plumbing is a natural. The fit between plumbing and neo-liberalism is even greater.

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