Links 7/1/14

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Get Ready To Party Inside PS1’s New Courtyard Fungus Tower Gothamist (Chuck L)

5 Bizarre Sources of Energy OilPrice (Chuck L)

Former NASA Chief Scientist: “We’re Effectively Taking a Sledgehammer to the Climate System” TruthOut

Recommendation against pelvic exam in asymptomatic, average risk, non-pregnant women ScienceDaily (Nikki)

The Rise of the DIY Abortion in Texas Atlantic (furzy mouse)

New method increases targeted bone volume by 30 percent ScienceDaily. Looks like weight training for couch potatoes.

Rio’s Maracanã Stadium is Privatized Rio Times. This story is from last year, but in light ot the World Cup, EM thought NC readers should be reminded.

China manufacturing expands at fastest pace this year Telegraph

Japan: The Mystery of the (Almost) Invisible Suicide majiroxnews. owenfinn: “There are very large protests against the Goverment`s plan to “re-interpret” the constitution tonight outside the PM`s residence here in Tokyo – again no media coverage.”

Rice-pledging scheme’s dominoes are ready to fall Bangkok Post(furzy mouse)

Historic sentence for Akil Jakarta Post

Euro zone unemployment stuck, recovery stalls CNBC

Sarkozy held over influence claims BBC

What the Arab Youth Movements have Wrought: Don’t Count them Out Yet Juan Cole

Argentina: will it or won’t it default? Financial Times

Energy Sector Faces Attacks From Hackers in Russia New York Times


Ukraine Suspends Truce, Launches Attack Wall Street Journal

Ukraine begins military offensive as cease-fire ends CNN


How 2 shadowy ISIS commanders designed their Iraq campaign McClatchy

Opinion: America won’t mind if Iraq splits DW

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

Should Facebook Manipulate Users? New York Times. Article is much harsher than the headline suggests.

Facebook’s massive psychology experiment likely illegal BoingBoing (Carolinian)

Told You So, FBI Back Door Search Edition Marcy Wheeler

Supreme Court Rejects Google’s Street View Appeal New York Times

Uhhhh… Occupy Google gets help with “messaging” from Google-funded Silicon Valley think tank Yasha Levine, Pando

US court revives lawsuit against Abu Ghraib security contractors Aljazeera

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce Continues Its Winning Ways Constitutional Accountability Center (Chuck L)

Hobby Lobby: Not A Limited Decision Kit OConnell, Firedoglake

Breaking: NY’s high court upholds Home Rule bans – Decision complicates natural gas prospects Shale Gas Review

North Dakota’s Latest Fracking Problem Wall Street Journal

Loser of Republican Congressional Primary in Oklahoma Plans to Contest Election …Claims Body Double of “Dead” Incumbent Defeated Him Jonathan Turley. Chuck L: “The scariest thing in this link is that Murray got over 5% of the vote!”

Former CalPERS CEO Buenrostro plans to plead guilty in pension corruption case, lawyer says Sacramento Bee (Ana)

Fed has grown complacent on credit market risk Financial Times

A Grieving Father Pulls a Thread That Unravels Illegal Bank Deals New York Times

Class Warfare

Supreme Court rules against home care workers unions Daily Kos. Harris v. Quinn was a narrow ruling, so public sector unions are still OK for the moment. But the idea that home health care workers can’t organize to get basic protections is still troubling.

6 Groups That Are Reinventing Organized Labor Think Progress (Nikki)

Robert Samuelson Wants People to Be Unemployed: The Economics of the Economics of the Great Recession Dean Baker (David L)

Sixty-Nine Days: The Ordeal of the Chilean Miners New Yorker (lambert). Today’s must read.

Antidote du jour (Josh D). This is Pandit:

Links picture of NC sleepy cat

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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            1. diptherio

              I was having a conversation with a friend the other day in which he said something to the effect of, “I don’t believe in astrology, but all of us Capricorns are really alike.” I think a lot of us are like that sometimes.

              1. hunkerdown

                That’s what I call “disembodied head” culture. It’s simply not bourgeois to imply that the human mind is subject to any outside limit. To find some sort of truth in Sun signs, the most superficial of astrological coincidences, yet not consider it at least that credible, reveals considerations other than faithfully reflecting facts on the ground.

                And Capricorn Suns do indeed share that compulsion to climb and that belief in just deserts to a remarkable degree. Let it also be said that, thanks to the 20th Amendment (which may well have been informed by some astrologer to the rich and famous), POTUS is typically inaugurated with the zenith in the last degree of Capricorn, the degree which best expresses the unrestrained id of any sign, and with Taurus rising, a nation obsessed with matters of power and wealth is almost guaranteed. In the case of 29 Capricorn, the Ferengi Degree seems an apt enough name.

          1. diptherio

            It made me giggle…does that make me a sadist?

            Don’t worry about it, I don’t think I’ve ever posted an article without having to go back and adjust and fix things at least three times. At least with the web typos are easy to correct.

  1. Joe

    Since you changed the website so my RSS reader (Freely) can’t see full articles, we may have to part ways. I love your content, but it had to be easier to read from a phone (Android in my case). Your web page layout is awful on a phone. If you made a mobile version, that might be a good enough solution.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      I’m sorry, no site of our size has a custom mobile version (the cost is prohibitive) and readers despised the off the shelf service we tried. We showed readers four drafts of our website and got extensive feedback from mobile users during that process.

      We increased the point size on mobile devices over the weekend and quite a few readers told us the new font size worked for them. I am sorry that you are an exception.

      1. ex-PFC Chuck

        “We increased the point size on mobile devices over the weekend . . “

        Apparently not just mobile devices. When using my Windows laptop I have the character size set at one Ctrl+ notch up. In the past couple of days I noticed a big jump up in NC’s font size, but with one Ctrl- notch down it becomes what used to be about 3 notches smaller. Not that my aging eyesight minds the larger size. :-)

        1. Yves Smith Post author

          Most desktops saw no change. We only got a couple of complaints, and they were from desktop users on old machines/OS. Kristin implemented a fix for that so it should be back to normal. Apologies.

      2. run75441


        I don’t know, a big and popular site like yours should have that ability. :) Just kidding. It looks good. Thanks for linking to Maggie and AB.


    1. Howard Beale IV

      Yeah, but the cat’s name ‘Pandit’? Hope it isn’t after the ex-Citi CEO….

      1. Tim Mason

        The first Prime Minister of India was usually referred to as Pandit Nehru. The title is now often conferred on Hindu musicians. It may be that that cat is a master in the katzenjammer style. If so, he should be unleashed on Wall Street.

  2. Jim Haygood

    Argentina comes to its senses … from La Nación in Buenos Aires:

    Finally, the Government is progressing toward negotiations with the holdouts. At least it took the first step yesterday, in confirming that it will send a negotiating mission to meet with Daniel Pollack, the master appointed by Judge Thomas Griesa to reach an agreement with vulture funds in respect of the payment of U.S. $1.33 billion which, according to the U.S. court ruling, Argentina must cancel.

    According to the statement of the Economic ministry, Pollack proposed as possible dates for a meeting with officials from Argentina either July 3 or the next week, starting on July 7.

    “In this regard, the Ministry of Economy reports that it has appointed a delegation to meet on July 7 with the designated official,” said the statement released yesterday.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      Talking and coming to a deal are two different matters. Defaulting involves costs, as does coming to a deal, since Argentina has to pay other bondholders on the same terms as NML. If NML overplays its hand, it makes sense for Argentina to default.

      1. Jim Haygood

        ‘If NML overplays its hand, it makes sense for Argentina to default.’

        Yes. And that’s still the likeliest result.

        What’s changed from last weekend, when Argentina blasted the judge as ‘biased’ and the plaintiffs as ‘usurers’ in the NYT, is that they’ve at least agreed to show up for a meeting.

          1. fresno dan


            “That is why, over the last decade, governments have augmented the market-based approach with a contractual approach that resolves the holdout problem by introducing collective-action clauses (CACs) that can also cram down on holdouts the terms accepted by a majority of creditors. These clauses became standard in sovereign bonds but were missing in those issued by Argentina before 2001, when the crisis hit. Though 93% of Argentina’s creditors accepted new terms for their bonds in 2005 and 2010 in two exchange offers, a small group of holdouts sued Argentina in the United States, and, with the US Supreme Court recently ruling on the issue, have now won the right to be paid in full.

            The US court decision is dangerous for two reasons. First, the court ruled for the first time that a country cannot continue to pay those creditors who accepted a big reduction (or “haircut”) on their claims until the holdouts are paid in full. So, why would any future creditor who benefits from an orderly restructuring vote for it if its new claims can be blocked by even a single holdout creditor?

            Second, if the holdouts are paid in full, the majority of creditors who accepted a haircut can request to be paid in full, too. If that happens, the country’s debt burden will surge again, become unsustainable, and force the government – in this case Argentina, which is servicing most of its debt – to default again on all creditors.”

            Well, if the above is true, it seems to me that the US court ruling is unreasonable and counterproductive. And it strikes me that it acts as if buying a bond should entail no risk – kind of like what our political system thinks about bailouts. Its SUPPOSE to be profit and LOSS…

  3. owenfinn

    Checkmate – coup d’etat in Tokyo.

    Japan’s Government Approves Larger Military Role

    I posted the following here 18 months ago and still believe that what has been happening since then has been orchestrated with the cooperation and maybe direction of the US.


    January 24, 2013 at 8:20 am

    Regarding “Powder Keg in the Pacific” – before it all blows up and the possibility of learning the truth becomes a casualty, will someone, anyone with the resources to do so – journalist, blogger, whomever – PLEASE look into Tokyo Governor Ishihara`s visit to the Heritage Foundation last April. Who invited him, what was discussed, etc.

    This whole thing was set off by his speech at the foundation after he announced his plan to have the city of Tokyo buy the disputed islands.

    Was this crisis contrived in Washington? Did TPTB in DC want the DPJ out?

    Washington (or at least the CIA) has a long history of working with and favoring the LDP. see-

    Anyway, the conservative LDP played these heightened tensions for all it was worth while campaigning. The resulting overwhelming victory in the last election was good news for their chums in DC, the Heritage Foundation, and their clients the US defense industry.

    1. James Levy

      As always, Washington bases every move on a static model of the future. China will remain a potential “challenger” while Japan will remain a compliant vassal. And Russia will never be able to tempt either into a change of role. So a rearming, belligerent Japan can only be an asset to Washington, right? One day, pretty soon, the Americans are going to piss enough people off that they will wind up like Britain in 1776: up to its neck in a shooting war far from home without a friend in sight and everyone slipping money and arms to the people America is fighting.

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      There seem to be a lot of non-political sovereigns masquerading as nations.

  4. Juneau

    The Facebook study is a clear violation of informed consent guidelines for human research. It’s one thing when marketers do this kind of nonsense, something entirely different when clinical and academic researchers do it. We/they are held to a different standard.

    In particular they should have warned people they might feel worse. It is dangerous to mess with people’s minds when their guard is down. Why did the researcher need to make people feel worse as a control? Seems kinda mean. They could have cheered everyone up and just compared the subsequent comments that to their baseline comments.

    1. Carla

      Well, I could say those who use Facebook (or rather lets it use them) deserve what they get. But I won’t. Those who are sentient will figure this out without my help; and those who are not are beyond help.

    2. Bill

      On the “bright” side, just one depression related suicide among those subjects and their family could be wealthy.

    3. direction

      Agreed. Thanks so much for posting the link to the “science.” I posted it immediately on facebook hahahaha. On a side note: I noticed recently that if I want to send a message to someone I have just met and am not friends with, facebook will charge me a dollar. So much for social networking

      1. direction

        Can someone post the direct link to the new york times article on FB, that link is not working. thanks

  5. rjs

    does anyone have a sense of what the effect of the trade agreements now being negotiated (TPP & TTIP) will have on home rule…we know they will mandate gas exports to asia and europe respectively, but will corporations be able to sue Dryden and Middlefield for lost profits, like they they sued Quebec under NAFTA?

    1. Ulysses

      The extreme secrecy surrounding these negotiations means that nobody outside of the corporate lawyers cooking up the deals can know what the exact answer to that question is. What has been revealed by Wikileaks so far suggests that municipalities, like nation-states, will be vulnerable to suits that are brought to recover “lost potential profits. This is one of the many reasons the kleptocrats want to get these agreements “fast-tracked,” so that these kinds of details are unknown until after the fact.

      There is also a very real probability that minimum wage laws, emissions standards, etc. would all become moot points if the TAFTA, TPP, and other similar agreements are put in place. The basic idea is that if you are allowed to pay workers three dollars a day in Vietnam, and have them work in unsafe conditions without overtime, meal breaks, etc. then the new $15/hr. minimum wage in Seattle would be an obvious bar to expected future profits and thus vulnerable to lawsuits. The law could still technically remain on the books, but only if the citizens of Seattle were willing to pay enormous sums of money to the kleptocrats for the privilege.

    2. Fíréan

      re. TTIP/TAFTA and in reply to rjs.
      You might wish to pose your questions to any of the following persons : the list of the negotiators, EU & USA.
      (Believed to be current at time of posting. USA names at lower part of list).

      I could post numerous websites url links, of persons and organisation from a large and broad spectrum of the political field ( in Europe), where heavy discussion, debate and speculation are taking place with much objection to the whole thing .

      1. Fíréan

        The comparison to NAFTA and the arbitration process is made within this article, english language French website, and how any private company would be able to challenge the national goverment through arbitration.
        With regards to cases of NAFTA :
        ‘During 20 years of the operation of the NAFTA agreement Canada has had 30 cases brought against it by private US companies and it has lost 30 times. Mexico has had 5 cases against it by US firms and has lost 5 times resulting in compensation payments of $204 million. Canada and Mexico have brought 22 cases against the US and the US has won 22 times. All together it’s an outstanding record for so-called independent arbitrators.’

        and TAFTA/TTIP

        ‘ It gives the power to private companies to identify non-tariff barriers, which adversely affect their ability to compete in a particular nation, and then to challenge the national government in an arbitration. Clause 23 of the EU Mandate promotes the inclusion of “investor-state dispute resolution” clauses in the agreement which are intended to achieve this objective.
        Investor-State Dispute Resolution Clauses
        As the mandate currently stands any private company, which wishes to invest in another country in the TTIP trading bloc, will have the right to challenge national or local laws, regulations or standards if they consider that these put them at a disadvantage compared to the situation in their country of origin. This short video explains it well. ‘ /end quote ( for video see website )

  6. Katniss Everdeen

    RE: The Rise of the DIY Abortion in Texas Atlantic (furzy mouse)

    It would appear that when the “exceptional” nation decides to enter the Dark Ages, those ages will be “exceptionally” dark.

    1. Johann Sebastian Schminson

      If the religious right abhors abortion in relatively safe medical/surgical environments, wait until the bodies of mothers and aborted fetuses begin appearing in alleys, restrooms, and other public and private spaces.

      Why do I get the feeling they’ll be thrilled?

      They did, after all, cheer the idea of one of their countrymen dying in the gutter due to lack of health insurance.

      The god these folks worship is apparently incredibly feeble, if “his” will cannot be done without the likes of “his” followers judging and taking vengeance into their own hands.

    2. afisher

      The reality is that this powerful article that should be shared and let people decide if they want to share or ignore. One never knows when it may save a life instead of some trying to use the RW tool of a bent hanger.

  7. Pwelder

    I’m surprised that there hasn’t been more response from the greens on flaring of associated gas in the Bakken. No matter where you stand on fracking as a method for extracting hydrocarbons, it is unconscionable to waste the associated gas from the shale oil plays when the gas is produced in these quantities. You get all the environmental downside of burning the gas, with no human benefit other than Continental Resources can bring the oil to market a couple of years sooner.

    The US is lucky to have the Bakken oil, which is a nice grade of crude – light, sweet, yada yada. But by the time you’ve flared all this associated gas, I bet the overall impact is right up there with the oil sands.

    1. Johann Sebastian Schminson

      Drive I-95 from Baltimore to NY, and you will pass a number of industrial plants sporting gigantic burn-offs of god only knows what. There should, by law, be a steam generator attached to every one of these devices. If you’re going to burn that many BTUs, at least make it useful. What a waste.

    2. Vatch

      There are so many environmental problems out there, environmentalists need to perform a sort of triage. They must pick their fights carefully. Excess flaring is something that industry should solve without any external prodding because doing so will save money and increase profits. The failure to do so is evidence of gross mismanagement. So much for the value of markets and the private sector!

  8. Eureka Springs

    Pandit? Is that cat into plagiarizing Pando Daily?

    Unless organizations like Red Cross open their books entirely as a streaming open sourced practice I shall never contribute again… that also goes for efforts like the one by OWS/Greaber reported upon here on NC some time ago. Which is depressing because times like the Tsunami I really wanted to be sure I helped with that $1,000 contribution. Now I just feel like a fool for blindly trusting closed organizations.

    1. diptherio

      For the record:

      A pandit or pundit (Sanskrit: पण्डित; paṇḍita) is a scholar and a teacher, particularly one skilled in the Sanskrit language, who has mastered the four Vedic scriptures, Hindu rituals, Hindu law, religion, music, and/or philosophy under a Guru in a Gurukul or has been tutored under the ancient Vedic Guru-Shishya academic tradition.

      And the name fits. Super-smart cat. Not only does he read NC, he also comes when he’s called. And he’s got a little tilak mark on his forhead.

      1. Eureka Springs

        Thanks. I skipped Sanskrit 101…. read Sidhartha in English. No wonder he looks so tired…)

  9. fresno dan

    “A recent Policy Note published by the Levy Economics Institute of Bard College shows that what we thought had been a decade of essentially flat real wages (since 2002) has actually been a decade of declining real wages”

    In other news, FED discovers that bankers are not doing God’s work, but merely trying to enrich themselves…

    1. Paul Tioxon

      An anonymous confession by a deal making banker who finally sees the error of his ways. I guess it’s finally owl of Minerva time for the people in the middle of it finally coming to their senses.
      “The transactions were certainly good business for the private equity limited partners who would see a good return on their investment in five to seven years, the former business owner who was able to monetize the value of his business and walk away, and the investment banks and debt holders who would receive handsome upfront fees and generous interest rates. Sometimes the deals would be grand slams that would pay a quick dividend through a recapitalization and the piling on of additional debt.

      “And what about the employees? I always felt that they were viewed as nothing more than a line item on the profit and loss statement. Anything that could be done to reduce that expense, i.e. job reductions, would increase EBIDTA (gross profits) and help to insure that the newly indebted company could meet the liquidity and leverage covenants in the bank loan agreements.

      “The rich got richer and the middle class and working class got pink slips. Loans to finance these buyouts served no economic purpose except to transfer wealth. And in 2009 and 2010, when the feces hit the oscillator, many of these highly leveraged deals went up in smoke and the banks that financed them took large loan charge-offs.

      ……………. He added, re last Monday’s column about jailing more financiers who contributed to the 2008 financial crash: “Putting a few hundred of those jerks into prison would have been a wonderful thing. Not only did they trash the financial system, but they walked away with their huge monetary rewards intact.

      “I see that (adjustable-rate mortgages) have returned. We are screwed again and it’s only a matter of time until the next government bailout. As a taxpayer I am outraged.”

  10. Garrett Pace

    Generally, it freaks me out that the only people who have a say in what a corporation is “all about” are the idlers living off the work of other people.

    But that was true before the SC ruling.

    1. direction

      A protester at the courthouse in Dallas had a sign reading: “If I make my uterus a corporation, will y’all stop regulating it?”

      1. flora

        Since the SC ruling on religious exemption was allowed to specifically limit contraception coverage, and excluded any other religiously held health exemption attempts (vacines, blood transfusions), the Court comes perilously close to violating the Establishment Clause.

        1. psychohistorian

          Our bought Congresscritters jumped the Establishment Clause shark back in the early 1950’s when they changed the US motto from E Pluribus Unum to In God We Trust.

  11. OIFVet

    So Sarko has been detained for questioning. In exceptional America no former president has been or will ever be held accountable for his crimes. I am beginning to like the French.

    1. rich

      The Case for Bashing Tony Blair
      Tuesday, 01 July 2014 03:57

      It seems that Matthew D’Ancona is upset that people are criticizing former Prime Minister Tony Blair, who is apparently making vast sums in a second career in the financial industry and on the speaking circuit. There are several points worth noting.

      First, as is the case with Bill Clinton, his generational counterpart in the United States, the public certainly has good cause to be upset that Blair set the economy on a path of bubble driven growth, even if the bubble blew on the watch of his successor. The public also has the right to be furious that Blair, like President Bush in the United States, misled his country into war in Iraq.

      Both of these factors should be enough to tarnish Blair’s public standing well past his lifetime, but the immediate topic is the fortune that he is amassing in his career as a former Prime Minister. There are two issues here. First, it is difficult to avoid the perception that Blair, like Clinton and now former Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, are cashing in on the connections that they have made in their political careers. It seems more plausible that Blair and Geithner are attractive as employees in the financial industry because of who they know, as opposed to their business acumen. Also, the lavish speaking fees these people earn can be at least as much to curry favor as opposed to an immense desire to hear their wisdom.

      Suppose that Tony Blair had spent his political career sounding more like Elizabeth Warren than Bill Clinton. Would the big bucks still be flowing in his direction? My guess is that the answer is no.

      can you hear the thunder?

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Hilary will make more than Bill when it’s all said and done.

        She’s tougher, smarter and more disciplined.

        My guess is, in a non-biased world, she would make at least twice as much as Bill would, after her two terms.

        1. OIFVet

          Wasn’t her book advance 2/3 that of Bill’s? It is either the dreaded glass ceiling, lack of sex scandal featuring her, or combination of the two.

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            That proves one thing every woman knows – she has to work thrice as hard in order to make twice as much as a man.

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Maybe Sarko’s wife can become the French president and pardon her husband.

      Afterwards, she can go on to make billions giving speeches.

    3. EmilianoZ

      Sarko was always an outsider to the French elite. He’s not a product of Les Grandes Ecoles. His general deportment was always considered suspiciously “americain”. As a president he never behaved with the decorum and gravitas that the French associate with the position. It’s hard to imagine the traditional French elite subjecting one of their own to the ignominy being visited upon Sarko. Obviously they dont want him to run again.

      1. OIFVet

        Darn it, was just beginning to lose some of my cynicism and to dare to hope that a better, fair world is possible. Oh well, back to my usual cynical self.

      2. Tim Mason

        Actually, other high ranking politicians – including de Villepin and even Chirac – have been the subjects of legal investigation. French magistrates have a degree of independence, and a belief in public service, that occasionally can over-ride class interest to some extent. However, such moves rarely result in serious charges, and I doubt that Sarkozy will be greatly inconvenienced. In any case, a criminal record is no bar to a successful political career in France. The French electorate is unruffled by corruption.

  12. Jim Haygood

    Today’s PMI (Purchasing Managers Index) came in at 55.3%, where 43.2% is the threshold of recession.

    ‘The average PMI® for January through June (54.0 percent) corresponds to a 3.6 percent increase in real gross domestic product (GDP) on an annualized basis. In addition, if the PMI® for June (55.3 percent) is annualized, it corresponds to a 4.0 percent increase in real GDP annually.’


    Despite -2.9% GDP in the first quarter, neither the leading indicators nor the PMI show any hint of recession.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      I am just wondering if they outsourced economic stats calculation to China…

    2. craazyman

      The sky is falling a little more slowly today than yesterday. I noticed the Spain ETF is up to $43. I bought it at $27 — a lot of it — and then sold it after reading macroeconomic articles on the internet that said the sky would fall right on top of Spain! I didn’t think that was right, even my own research led me to believe it was wrong, but I let myself be scared anyway. The macroeconomic articles I read said the sky would fall in more places than Spain, too. In fact, it was gonna fall almost everywhere. I think the S&P is up at least 50% since then. The sky is a lot higher now, so when it falls, it really will fall. No foolin around anymore. It might even fall so far in Spain it’ll be up only 15% or 20% from $27, when it finally lands. It has so far now to fall you may have to plan other activities while it falls, that’s how long it will take. You can’t look up for hours on end or the neck gets sore. You have to find something else to do.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        There was a Sapanish movie from 2005, called the Stone Raft.

        It’s about the Iberian Peninsula breaking off from the European continent, drifting into the Atlantic like a raft.

        The movie didn’t say what caused it, but perhaps it had something to do your sky falling in the Pyrenees.

        1. craazyman

          If the sky fell it would hit the Pyrenees first, since they rise to 10,000 feet. That could be enough to break Spain off. When the sky hits the rest of Spain it all might sink.

          that is, unless there’s economic growth. If the economy can grow 3% it might be enough to enlarge Spain and fill in the crack between it and the Pyrenees. It also might raise the land enough to keep it above water.

          Growth is the solution. If you can get growth (the “universal you”, in this context), you won’t even know the sky fell. If a sky falls and nobody knows, has it really fallen? It’s confusing. That’s what happens when you do what Isaac Newton did, but you forget what he was doing it with! You confuse everything and everybody. But as long as the money flows your way, why worry?

      2. Jagger

        —-The macroeconomic articles I read said the sky would fall in more places than Spain, too.—-

        By chance, were any of the articles from the pen of Jim Cramer?

    1. Johann Sebastian Schminson

      My cat seems to manufacture ammonia in it’s urine. Maybe the little turd will earn his keep by providing the household with renewable energy.

      1. OIFVet

        Don’t count on it, my guess is that the cost of cat food would go through the roof. Which would make all these people whose newly “improved” SS benefits keep them in cat food well and truly screwed.

        1. Johann Sebastian Schminson

          We are upper middle class — when we have guests over, we only serve canned Fancy Feast.

          Excuse me while I yack-up a fur ball.

    2. hunkerdown

      It’s not scarce at all. The world makes 110 million tons of the stuff per year, 5/6 of that going to agricultural fertilization. It’s easily made out of hydrogen and air over an iron catalyst, so could be fed by methane or electrolysis. (Anyone get the feeling the electric-to-liquid-fuels movement is an excuse to avoid updating the ramshackle electrical grid and do fun things with the money instead?)

  13. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    China’s manufacturing fastest pace this year.

    So, is it time or pretty soon that they need to cool it down again to combat inflation?

    1. Paul Niemi

      I’ve been watching the news coming out of China pretty closely since early April. It looks to me like they are doubling down on everything they have been doing since 2008 to keep growth going. I think things may appear to be getting better, before the whole structure comes unglued. Xi’s purges of some top-echelon party officials has created a situation fraught with danger, for example, but it does expose a system in which corruption is an acknowledged feature. When I think about that, my question is how large is the swindle, not does a swindle exist?

      1. Synopticist

        As long as their construction boom continues, everything in China will be hunky-dory. If it stops, the crash will be of historic proportions, regardless of manufactoring exports.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Then they should be busy for quite a long time, as they build their Great Sea Wall in the South China Sea.

          “The only man made object visible with naked eyes from Mars.”

        2. Paul Niemi

          The construction boom in China has entered the realm of the surreal: a city that is a replica of Manhattan, plans for a high speed train to Canada, a mega-city that will hold 100 million people, that is all in addition to the ghost cities already there. It is mass deception, crazy talk, bragadocio. I am afraid that in five years we could see pictures of barefoot peasants with wheelbarrows planting vegetables right in the shade of uninhabited and derelict high-rise towers all over China. I am afraid that out of the vast sums of government-directed lending, as well as the trillions of hot money inflows by various means, too much has been siphoned off by corruption. The money to pay the bills as they come due just isn’t there anymore.

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            Why high speed rail to Canada?

            Why not a rail extension from Lhasa to Mumbai?

            Beijing to New Delhi by train, anyone?

            1. Paul Niemi

              That is certainly an appeal to novelty, which is in the spirit of asking the right questions, questions with real substance, real thrust. Nevertheless, some residents of Mumbai may say they are uniquely blessed to have the world’s highest mountain range between them and Beijing, a sentiment I could likewise understand.

  14. Synopticist

    Juan Cole and his panglossian take on the arab spring. The American quasi-left controlled dissent speaks. Just give it some TIME.

    We’ve got a couple of brutal sectarian civil wars(Syria, Iraq), one jihadi Mad Max-land (Libya), and a failed democratic experiment where the generals are back in charge. (Egypt). In fairness, Tunisia looks like it might, hopefully, not turn into another al qeada led insurgency, but it’s too soon to tell. Plus there’s a worsened civil war in Mali, and all sorts of sh*t in Niger.

    The western “support the Islamists because it worked in Turkey” policy has been a catastrophic failure, and Turkey looks more and more like a dictatorship. The entire idea was short-sighted and ignorant to start with, which is utterly typical of US “statesmanship”. The Qataris funded most of these revolts, and even they’re backtracking.

    I used to answer people who complained about the Iraq war making things worse “ask me in ten years time.” Well, those ten years are up, and it turns out the opponents of invasion were right all along. Likewise, it didn’t take that long to see how screwed up the entire arab region is. We had no business sticking our noses in, using all our hard and soft power to overthrow leaders we’d grown vaguely disenchanted with, when there were absolutely no guarantees things would improve.

    1. Doug Terpstra

      Failed states, mass-casualties, refugees, and perpetual conflict everywhere — mission accomplished! The unrepentant, unreconstructed Zioneocons are rubbing their bloody paws with glee.

    2. Banger

      I was surprised at Cole. His article was silly–it seemed like it was deliberately written as silly–is he merely trying to please his handlers? I have no idea of course but his basic idea is that the Arab Spring didn’t work out but it will work out in 20 years is beyond belief.

        1. Synopticist

          That’s a very glass half full view for you, Lambert !
          That must mean you’re getting good fruit crops this year. Well done.

  15. lb

    This might be interesting, even if it’s more of a sign of the times (or a sign of eroding property rights, or of the mighty not being subject to what seem like reasonable rules):

    Apparently Microsoft can seize the servers of someone hosting malware which works against them, or which they have an interest in eradicating. There’s collateral damage here (the myriad users not violating the law, their use of the service, and most notably, perhaps, their privacy as Microsoft now receives traffic from them or destined to them…). Doesn’t civil forfeiture usually accrue to some part of the public sector (local police, federal agents, etc.) rather than landing directly in the hands of another private party? This all appears to happen under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, which has been repeatedly amended, lowering the bar for action, as well.

    1. hunkerdown

      “Cruising for prizes with a letter of marque was considered an honorable calling combining patriotism and profit, in contrast to unlicensed piracy, which was universally reviled.[1]”

  16. Katniss Everdeen

    “Despite -2.9% GDP in the first quarter, neither the leading indicators nor the PMI show any hint of recession.”

    So what’s your point? The “data” makes no sense? The “calculations” are rigged? Even though it feels like a recession it’s not because it can’t be? Someone’s LYING?

    Color me “surprised.”

    Why are you even paying attention? It just encourages them.

    1. Jim Haygood

      It’s probably just random fluctuation. And perhaps some weather influence, though that’s an overused excuse.

      I pay attention because if the economy is entering recession, I want to be out of stocks and 100% invested in long Treasuries to ride out the epic meltdown of Bubble III.

      But despite Dr. Hussman’s fervent, weekly maledictions, the outrageous Bubble just refuses to stop inflating.

      Dr. H needs to try magic … call a hoodoo man to do some conjur.

      1. Johann Sebastian Schminson

        If he needs a good witch doctor with some powerful mojo, I hear Bernanke is now selling conjure bags on

      2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        I thought we never got out of the last recession…the one we are still in.

        1. Vatch

          Normal people know that the recession that began in 2007 isn’t over yet, but the economic witch doctors at the U.S. National Bureau of Economic Research have other ideas:

          The Business Cycle Dating Committee of the National Bureau of Economic Research met yesterday by conference call. At its meeting, the committee determined that a trough in business activity occurred in the U.S. economy in June 2009. The trough marks the end of the recession that began in December 2007 and the beginning of an expansion. The recession lasted 18 months,….

          See? We’re in an expansion. Everything’s good.

  17. James Levy

    If I recollect correctly, Friedman et al. used to talk about the “natural rate of unemployment”, which his policy nostrums were designed to keep in place so that the horror of horrors, rising wages, never took place. I always argued with conventional-thinking economics students that if they were going to design macroeconomic policy to ensure some people would be unemployed, they at least owed those people food, clothing, and shelter because their policies were denying them a chance to make a living. They always just shrugged.

    1. hunkerdown

      Starting to think that econ or business degrees should require attending as the guest of honor at one blanket party per year. They need to learn a healthy respect for the approval of people they don’t even know.

  18. Banger

    The end of the cease-fire in Ukraine is very interesting due to the fact that the mainstream media has been covering events in radically different ways. The WaPost only mentioning within a story about Putin’s speech and the NYT actually moved away from it’s usual bellicose ways by writing a fairly straightforward piece. Washington seems to have lost interest in the Ukraine situation because, since the mainstream media will only echo the official line, clearly either they have lost interest or the policy makers are divided and the policy is now incoherent. In fact, I’ve been saying for a long time that FP in Washington is incoherent and points to power struggles within the national security state that seem to involve more than the neocon/realist schools and I will admit that I have no idea what is going in Washington.

    I was really shocked by the WaPost’s position of giving pretty fair coverage of Putin’s speech that I didn’t see anywhere else. If anyone has any insights on this I’d like to hear it.

      1. Banger

        Do you really think that? Anyway do you suppose this may offer an opening for sanity in ruling circles? The idea feels really good….

        1. Synopticist

          Well, the view of the Europeans is unquestionable,but the optimism is only based on the fact things are so f*cked that even Washington must have noticed. The jihadi/neo-con alliance Part Two may have bitten the dust, but these things seem to have a zombie quality.
          The Ukrainian ceasefire has ended, so that’s not good.

    1. Synopticist

      The complicating factor is the Europeans, especially Germany (in particular, German industrialists). I’m guessing that despite making the required anti-Putin noises, the Germans are terrified of the economic effects of a long term alienation from Russia, which would be truly catastrophic. The City isn’t about to give up on Russian money either, nor are the French going to give up juicy arms contracts.

      And it’s not only them…
      Austria may be acting as a kind of stalking horse for the other countries affected. (She’s always had a certain leadership role in south eastern Europe, and was very outspoken when the UK and France insisted on lifting the weapons ban in Syria, at US instigation). In broad terms, Europe is not happy about this thing, the question relates to keeping the lights on next winter after all.

      Another element is the realisation that if push comes to shove and the Russians do actively intervene, there’s nothing the west can do about it. It doesn’t make any sense to start making noises which sound like promises of support, which the west can’t keep.
      Then there’s Iraq getting Russian help, which might at last have concentrated minds about helping jihadis, and we still need to get our forces out of Afghanistan somehow. It might be that I’m being too optimistic, but perhaps saner counsels are getting a hearing.

      1. VietnamVet

        The sane thing would be to end the Neocons’ and Wall Street’s attempt to destabilize Russia. After all, there are thousands of Americans in Baghdad whose only way out is through the airport protected by Russian planes and pilots.

    2. Jackrabbit


      I was really shocked by the WaPost’s position of giving pretty fair coverage of Putin’s speech . . .


      WAPO editorial, July 1st:

      AS HEAVY fighting resumed Tuesday in eastern Ukraine , it was obvious that Russian President Vladi­mir Putin had disregarded the demands from the United States and European Union . . .

      That means that President Obama and E.U. leaders face the test of delivering on their rhetoric. . . . .

      A failure by the West to act following such explicit rhetoric would be a craven surrender that would provoke only more Russian aggression.

      . . . the three sanctions under discussion are modest . . .Yet they are needed . . .

      the worst outcome would be inaction . . . as Ukraine’s army desperately attempts to contain a hardened insurgent force, including many Russians, that has been equipped and advised by Moscow. The relative good news in recent weeks has been Mr. Putin’s tempering of his aggression out of fear of sanctions. If there is no response, he will lose that fear.

      H O P

      1. Banger

        Not the editorial–the story today. The editorial page is largely neo-con friendly and has been since I’ve read it starting in the Vietnam era, the news division is more mixed–different editors.

        1. Jackrabbit

          You start from a reasonable conjecture, which you claim to have experienced first hand some time ago: that there is a real debate and all sides get a fair hearing. You imagine that you might get a glimpse of this ‘debate’ by reading the tea leaves.

          Unfortunately, a preponderance of available evidence indicates that THAT model of policy-making no longer holds. Neolibcons have a virtual monopoly on policy-making and a solid consensus among ‘respected voices’. Your failure/refusal to recognize this – given your professed intimate knowledge of Washington – seems strange. Is it not logical to interpret it in the context of your overall elite-friendly ‘realist’ outlook, in which you urge us to work within the system that has been imposed upon us?

  19. Mario75

    BNP Parisbas & Iran: a puny 8.9 billion dollars, but no one went to jail, apparently.

  20. MtnLife

    Re: Hobby Lobby Decision
    Is it just me or does this seem to legalize any sort of discrimination whatsoever by draping it in “religious freedom”? What are the standards for accepting someone’s religious beliefs? There are more than a few religious groups out there that eschew all medical treatment, do they now have a free pass on providing any medical coverage at all? What about a religion that views all non-believers to be infidels, sub-human, or some other variant of people not worth helping or, worse yet, harming? Can the KKK start up a Church of the Whitest, Most Racist Aryan Ever and it’s members refuse to hire any non-WASP? Can they void health care, minimum wage laws, and other legislation based on religious freedom? What other “legal” discrimination will bleed out of this decision?

    1. Garrett Pace

      To me the zeitgeist of governance is whispering that this is about corporations, not God.

      And properly positioned corporations can do whatever they want.

      1. MtnLife

        I just went scanning around and saw it was limited to contraception atm but the article had made hints about it being applied to homosexuality too. I imagine this decision will only embolden the “religious freedom” movement to see how far they can push it, possibly with a well-connected owner (your properly positioned corporation) who can pull behind the scenes strings of power.

        One other pondering: what about legitimate, medical, non-contraceptive uses of contraceptives? Birth control pills are sometimes used as hormone regulation. How does this fall under the ruling?

        1. Garrett Pace

          It shouldn’t matter whether this is about religious prerogatives or anything else, or whose ox was being gored. I have a sinking suspicion that modern fauxgressives would roll right over if this was about, say, gay-reparative therapy instead of contraception.

          I think “religious freedom” is just another stalking horse for the corporate state.

          1. James Levy

            The energy for this is at the grass roots, not in the boardrooms of America. It may be a bone to be thrown to the Base in order to get out the troops in November. It is also a fair representation of the beliefs of the Reactionary Catholic majority on the Supreme Court, something that I think may have the Founders spinning in their graves!

            The appalling nature of the decision aside (as it affects third parties and has nothing to do with the lives or personal freedom of the people who put forward the suit–they can refuse to take the pill or keep a condom off their Johnson any time they like), does this mean that Quakers can now refuse to pay taxes because those taxes support war and killing, which are anathema to their religious beliefs? Does it mean Orthodox Jews and Moslems can refuse to pay taxes because some of the money goes to subsidize the pig farmers of America? What exactly do we all get to pick and choose paying for or not paying for, abiding by or ignoring? And why do so many conservatives who argue that we have too many people in this country already applaud a decision likely to increase the population? So many questions, so few coherent answers.

            1. hunkerdown

              The coherence is to be found in the winners and the losers. Everything else is sophistry.

          2. JTFaraday

            “I think “religious freedom” is just another stalking horse for the corporate state.”

            Hobby Lobby: Shedding our social welfare responsibilities, one trojan at a time.

  21. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Home care workers can’t organize.

    Not surprising since housewives are not counted as workers and their work not in the GDP. Housewives can’t organize, either, I assume.

  22. kareninca

    We are going to see a lot more DIY medicine, and it won’t all be for financial reasons. Per the ACA, all of your medical records are required to be digitized, and thereby accessible to any government toad who cares to peruse them (along with the usual corporate toads). You have no more medical privacy – as you chat with your doctor, it will be as if the NSA and Sergey Brin and Lois Lerner were sitting there, making a recording, along with every petty immigration official and any local cop.

    About 30-40 percent of American women have had abortions. A standard question on your yearly OB/GYN sign-in form is whether you have ever had one. It actually matters to your healthcare, whether you answer this honestly. Do you think women will, knowing that they might as well be posting the info on Face book? I don’t think so. Add to that drug issues and social diseases, and who would want to go to a doctor, to broadcast their ailments? Do you think there is any blackmail potential here; any social control goals and consequences?

    I don’t have any of those things – but I still plan to greatly curtail any doctor contact from what it would otherwise be. Maybe I’m a rarity – I value privacy for its own sake – but I don’t think so. I detest the idea of even trivial medical issues becoming public.

    Thanks Obamacare (at the behest of the NSA I am sure), for ruining my next medical appointment. Thanks surveillance police state. I hadn’t been to a doctor in years – usually one of these “new patient visits” is long and thorough – mine won’t be.

      1. kareninca

        We have an ultra-liberal friend who just LOVES the idea of digitized records. When I told him that there was damned little that I planned to discuss with my doctor in a world of digitized non-privacy, he was so very sad. He first started with talking about vaccines – oh my, it is so Necessary for Public Health that the Government know who has been vaccinated for what. Okay, I said, vaccination records can be digitized (I didn’t mean it, but decided to briefly concede the point). Then he was silent. I knew he was thinking – oh my, it is so Necessary for Public Health that Obesity Rates be known! That Ingrown Toenail prevalence be tracked!!! It’s all For the Children!!!!

        He told me – it would be good for you!! What if you had to go to an emergency room?? I told him – great – so people who want that should have the option of digitization. People who don’t, should be able to OPT OUT.

        IN the old days – I”m 50 – it was the right wing that was into the police surveillance state state. Now it’s a good chunk of the left, too.

        I also find it odd that I have a constitutional right to privacy that gives me a right to get an abortion, but this constitutional right is not powerful enough for me to refuse to have my medical records digitized. Some privacy right.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Wow, we are in the Age of Transparent Consumers/Citizens/Patients.

      Trade secrets, though, are not transparent.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        With digitized medical records and smartphones, archaeologists in the 30th century will have not trouble recreating our lives and our daily movements.

        1. hunkerdown

          I know flash data retention is on the order of a few decades. I don’t think even spinning rust would hold for a millennium without a monastery of geeks duplicating hard drives all day.

  23. Abe, NYC

    Re Bizarre Energy Sources
    A single hurricane releases as much energy as the world consumes in several months, and there are obviously dozens or hundreds of them every year. That just shows how much energy the planet receives from the Sun, far more than humans will ever possibly need. Harvesting that energy is obviously the problem, but only because we never took it seriously.

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