Links 8/11/14

Incredible journey: one wolf’s migration across Europe Guardian (Lance N)

Pew report: “Sex robots will become commonplace” Pando

Scientists discover vast methane plumes escaping from Arctic seafloor EarthSky (furzy mouse)

Rules prevent solar panels in many states with abundant sunlight Los Angeles Times

A Valuable New Book Explores The Potential Impacts Of Intelligent Machines On Human Life Business Insider (David L)

How Owensboro tobacco grew a possible miracle drug for Ebola problem Chuck L: “Perhaps someone can offer some insight on whether this piece might be a head fake to draw attention away from the question of whether the Fed’s involvement getting the allegedly untested Ebola vaccine to Brantly and Writebol et al is in fact the product of a weaponization program.”

Oil and gas company debt soars to danger levels to cover shortfall in cash Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, Telegraph

ECB needs to talk about slack and not structural reforms Antonio Fatas

Sheep rustling and tool theft boost rural crime figures BBC


Why Bomb Civilians? Ian Buruma, Project Syndicate

US Leaders Aid and Abet Israeli War Crimes, Genocide & Crimes against Humanity Jurist (1 SK)


Ukrainian army edges closer to Donetsk Financial Times

Ukraine crisis: the neo-Nazi brigade fighting pro-Russian separatists Telegraph (Unseld)

Map of MH17 debris locations (Chuck L)

Jeroen Akkermans RTL News Berlin (Chuck L) Hi res photos of MH17 debris (Chuck L)

Looting Ukraine The Browser (Richard Smith). From July but still germane.

Exxon, Rosneft in joint Arctic oil project despite sanctions on Russia South China Morning Post

Friedensnobelpreisträger appellieren an Russland die Ukraine und den Westen, die Gewalt in der Ukraine zu stoppen – Walesa macht Uneinigkeit des Westens für Ausweitung des Konflikts verantwortlich Focus. Unseld: “Focus,’ a centre-right magazine features an appeal for peace /end of all violence in ukraine in its print edition, signed amongst others by Dalai Lama, Lech Walesa, Desmond Tutu.”

UKRAINE-KRISE/Sachsen warnt vor Belastung der Ost-Wirtschaft durch EU-Sanktionen Unseld: “Sachsen, an eastern German province, is warning: economic sanctions will hurt the eastern part of Germany too much.”

German Economy Backbone Bending From Lost Russia Sales Bloomberg (Unseld)


Angry Iraqi PM in show of force BBC

Obama Calls Iraq “Long Term Project”; US Bombs Its Own Weapons; “These People Are Coming Here” Says Senator Graham Michael Shedlock

Hillary Clinton blames rise of ISIS on Obama “failure” to intervene in Syria civil war Salon (Carolinian)

ISIS magazine Al Mustaqbal being handed out at Indonesian mosques Daily Mail (Bob V)

Fighters abandoning al-Qaeda affiliates to join Islamic State, U.S. officials say Washington Post (furzy mouse)

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

Noise Floor Exploring Unintentional Radio Emissions Melissa Edwards, DEF CON 21 (mellon). Reminds me why I use wired connections.

Senator Warns Fitbit Is A ‘Privacy Nightmare’ And Could Be ‘Tracking’ Your Movements Business Insider (David L)

Widespread Commercial Drone Flights Years Away — Regulators Wall Street Journal

Obama on the World New York Times. An interview with Thomas Friedman. Brace yourself.

The ‘P3’ dilemma: How effective are public-private partnerships? Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. I like the P3 nomenclature even less than “public private partnership” since it takes a deliberately anodyne label used to describe a particular form of looting, and then makes it insider-y. But the piece is otherwise instructive.

BOSTON UPDATE: Another Tsarnaev Friend Arrested, Another Government Leak WhoWhatWhy (Chuck L)

No Charges in FL Walmart Shooting Due to ‘Stand Your Ground’ YouTube (furzy mouse)

GUN Linux: On the range with TrackingPoint’s new AR-15s ars technica

Letter to the CFTC on Position Limits and Aggregation Proposals Occupy the SEC. Occupy the SEC is alive and kicking!

Libor to FX Cases Drive Surge in Teamwork With Regulators Bloomberg

Fees boost private equity’s Wall St clout Financial Times

Calpers Rethinks Its Risky Investments Wall Street Journal. A surprising error in this article. Claims CalPERS didn’t make substantial investments in PE until the early 2000s. In fact, it was a significant investor well before then, and started investing in PE in 1990.

Why a $16 Billion Fine Is Chicken Scratch for a Big Bank Richard Eskow, Alternet (RR)

Class Warfare

New survey reveals where the world’s millionaires live CNN

Are Wages Really Rising? Global Economic Intersection

MIT Researcher: My Uber Drive Was Proof That ‘Good, Secure, Fulfilling Jobs Are Declining’ Business Insider (David L)

In the Future We’ll All Be Renters: America’s Disappearing Middle Class Joel Kotkin

Sentencing, by the Numbers New York Times. Pre-crime meets big data in a really bad way.

Antidote du jour. Paul O: “Her name is Pip and she is a cross between a Whippet (mother) and a Bedlington terrier; a cross bread with some history in the UK originally bred for poaching and rabbiting – though in her case mostly for sleeping. Many would call her a lurcher though I believe the correct term may be whirrier.”


See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. rjs

    the average length of time for those who have been delinquent without foreclosure is now at 502 days, while the average time for those who’ve been in foreclosure without a resolution has lengthened to a record average 997 days…
    in New York, those in foreclosure have been there an average of 1350 days….
    more on the MBA delinquency survey and the June Mortgage Monitor report here

  2. abynormal

    re, World Millionaires…“What gets me most about these people, Daddy, isn’t how ignorant they are, or how much they drink. It’s the way they have of thinking that everything nice in the world is a gift to the poor people from them or their ancestors. The first afternoon I was here, Mrs. Buntline made me come out on the back porch and look at the sunset. So I did, and I said I liked it very much, but she kept waiting for me to say something else. I couldn’t think of what I was supposed to say, so I said what seemed like a dumb thing. “Thank you very much,” I said. That is exactly what she was waiting for. “You’re entirely welcome,” she said. I have since thanked her for the ocean, the moon, the stars in the sky, and the United States Constitution.” Vonnegut (my personal fav Anne Cox Chambers)

    1. trish

      late to links, but this brief Vonnegut thread was nice to see (after long tedious day) and to optimader, never thought to search for audio vonnegut, but wonder if any read by author. My county library is remarkably deficient re Vonnegut, but can go out of county now…
      so, so enjoy comments on this site.

  3. John Jones

    “Hillary Clinton blames rise of ISIS on Obama “failure” to intervene in Syria civil war”

    Is it safe to say if hillary is elected the U.S will go to war in Syria?

    1. rjs

      ISIS were our boots on the ground against Assad in Syria…if we would have intervened, it would have been on their side…

      1. John Jones

        Yes I agree. Im just wondering if she is going to commit actual American troops etc. And also be more aggressive with Russia. It is worrying if she is the next president.
        Not that there is much hope either way with the current crop.

      2. Carolinian

        She claims we failed to support the “moderate” alternative but as Moon of Alabama and others keep pointing out the moderates were mostly vaporware run out of a p.r. operation in England. It might be interesting to read a complete history of the Syrian revolt. I believe the State dept (run by HRW) and our ambassador were much involved in stirring the whole thing up to begin with. Regime change in Syria was always the goal. Which is not to sat Assad was a good guy but the objection seems to have been, rather, that he wasn’t “our son of a bitch” to use FDR’s turn of phrase.

        1. Katniss Everdeen

          It’s what Benghazi was about. Which is why no one wants to talk about Benghazi. It was “covert” support for Syrian rebels aided and abetted by the state department.

          To quote HRC, “What does it matter?”

          1. Lambert Strether

            Is that what Benghazi was about? Honestly, I have, I really have tried to make sense of what the Republicans are on about; it seems their party is so enfeebled they can’t even gin up a good scandal any more. You seem to have a different idea; got a link on that?

              1. bob

                Did they do another conference call to argue that, while the numbers many not bear it out, they should be ranked higher in america hating?

                What does an al qeada franchise cost these days? More or less than a Dairy Queen?

            1. ewmayer

              I posted a link – with excerpt highlighting the Libya-to-Syria-via-Bengahzi weapons pipeline to an NC daily links page several weeks ago. Here again, is the link – there are surely other articles about this (at least outside the MSM) such as Synopticist’s above, but this to me is the best:

              Seymour M. Hersh · The Red Line and the Rat Line: Obama, Erdoğan and the Syrian rebels · LRB 17 April 2014

              Read it. Save it. And don’t make me repost it again. ;)

              1. bob

                Please explain why this is a scandal? The US is selling WEAPONS*?
                *the US is the largest exporter of arms in the world.

                I’m also very confused by the geography of it all. Since when is Libya between the US and Syria? Why ship arms half way around the world, into a Libyan civil war zone, then back out? To be able to say the word ‘Bengahzi”?

                If your point is that the US exports too many weapons, I agree. If your point is that the US sells too many weapons to Syria (or Libya, or the easter bunny) I have to wonder whose side you are taking. Who, exactly, are the people that are too dangerous to have weapons?

                Did you know that we sold/sell weapons to Iraq? Russia even. Oh my.

                You’re trying to make a moral argument in an area completely removed from morality, since forever.

                One last bit of advice- If you talk about Libya, you can’t gloss over France. All of the narratives that try to advance some sort of conspiracy theory read like a john wayne spaghetti western. Merica, the moral masters of the high country.

                In the case of Libya, it reads much more to me that we’re France’s post-imperial bottom bitch, keeping the rest of the ho’s in line. Doing the dirty work so not to wear out the pimp hand of old europe.

                1. ewmayer

                  The whole point was to take arms from Gaddafi’s former arsenal – I not directly link-able to the U.S. (important if they end up in “non-moderate rebel” hands) to rebel factions in Syria. The Benghazi embassy was not functioning as an embassy but as a weapons transshipment point – a rather unusual use of an embassy under international laws governing such – and our dear leaders in the US were lying their lying little butts off about it.

                  And your geography stinks – where is the US relative to the countries shown there? And what is the distance between Libya and Syria? Yours is the kind of moronic shtick that works better in places like the ZeroHedge comments section. I suggest you slither on back over there.

                  1. bob

                    I still too stupid to get it, explain it again?

                    The CIA was using an embassy? Ya don’t say.

                    Let’s play a game-

                    What do Libya, Syria and Vietnam all have in common? Former french colonies, flat earth america first ‘geography’ aside.

                    Please also explain who the bad guys are, and which weapons are good and which are bad. If a bad guy gets a good weapon, is he good now? Or do the cancel each other out? What about a good guy with a bad weapon? We need matrices!

        2. Yonatan

          … he wasn’t “our son of a bitch” …

          Sorry, but he was (US outsourced torture to Syria and elsewhere) before he wasn’t. That seems to be the fate of all “our sob’s”. It is amazing that they never appear to notice the pattern.

  4. trish

    re Incredible journey: one wolf’s migration across Europe

    so enjoyed this. a brief respite from the slew of news horrors. oh, a day as that wolf…

    1. dearieme

      “At every place he stayed for more than three hours, we went to investigate and we found that he’d caught two foxes there.” Right: time for Boris Johnson to campaign for wolves in London.

      (By the way, the Mayor of London is NY-born. He’s got a birth certificate! You could do worse for a President – he’s a rackety character, alas, but better educated and more intelligent than you are likely to end up with.)

      1. Christopher Dale Rogers


        Had not realised that old Boris was born in the USA, so I smell a conspiracy brewing, given I was opposed to the neoliberal David Miliband becoming the leader of NeoLabour, the thought of another US-imprt Bullingdon boy leading the Tories fills me with more dread than I have for the Cameron-Osborne axis lunatics presently running the show in Westminster.

        Whatever happened to a meritocratic Uk and political economy, we’ve reverted back to the Edwardian era with all these snobs running the show, particularly on the Conservative/Lib Dem-side of the equation.

        I’d have thought one dose of the Bullingdon Boys was enough to bring us all to our senses in the UK, seems my own citizenry seem to be suckers for punishment as peers in the USA, is it little wonder I desire for both the Scots and Welsh to breakaway from this madness?

    2. Brindle

      Article showed that wolves can live in semi- human populated areas without catastrophic predation of livestock and pets. In Minnesota before the era of the legal wolf hunting season—pre 2012, wolves were becoming less fearful of humans, but now they fear for their lives and are much more hesitant to be seen by people—too bad.

      1. Carolinian

        In the US coyotes are spreading everywhere. I’ve seen one in a nearby neighborhood of my own town. They are super secretive and can be rare to spot. Stories have reported there are quite a few in Chicago. One has been seen in Central Park.

        1. ambrit

          Coyotes are a real menace. They’re smart, tricky, and unprincipled. Whoa there! I’ve just described a NeoLib politico! (Call them the Coyote Party? Meep. Meep.) [Some may take issue with the smart part. Fair cop.]

          1. ewmayer

            “Coyotes are a real menace. They’re smart, tricky, and unprincipled.”

            If it’s any consolation, they say much the same about us.

          1. MtnLife

            I’d give my vote to the hybridization theory due to an experience I had in the Adirondacks. I heard a pack behind me on a late night, full moon, winter hike as I was nearing the cabin I was staying at. Didn’t think much of it because you hear them all the time but they rarely close in on people intentionally. In the last 100 yards to the door I heard them splitting to flank me and that their numbers were much higher than a standard coyote pack. Needless to say my pace quickened exponentially. No issue but I’m not interested in finding out what would have happened a half mile back. Due to the unusual behavior and pack size I’ve adjusted my wariness for them accordingly.

            1. craazyboy

              I’ve heard normal cy’otes pack hunt for sport too (entertainment) and not just the usual reasons of getting food, or protecting their babies from aggressors.

              Scary species that acts like that!

              1. EmilianoZ

                LOL! But they’re not wolves. That would be an insult to those magnificent animals. The ones you’re talking about are hyenas.

                1. Synoia

                  Hyenas are the most effective group hunters in Africa.

                  What we have in DC is bottom crawlers, or carrion eaters.

                    1. OIFVet

                      Can’t we just agree that comparing politicians to animals is unfair and insulting to animals? And I truly mean any and all animals.

                    2. craazyboy

                      Maybe if we could find an animal that eats and drinks expensive wine at French restaurants, passes the bill to some else, then brags they can mate with 300 million other animals of the same species.

                    3. John

                      They are Hungry Ghosts, one step below the Animal realm. Filled with insatiable desires that can never be satisfied, they have constricted necks and bloated bodies.
                      There are a lot of Hungry Ghosts in this particular part of Samsara (USA)
                      The poison of this realm is Greed, the antidote is Generosity.
                      Wisdom from Tibetan Buddhism.

                    4. abynormal

                      A canker
                      Who cankers the very wood
                      Wherein he stays.

                      A climber
                      Who sucks
                      The marrow of those
                      Who nursed and nourished him
                      With pills and potions of power.

                      A snake
                      Who stings and bites
                      Who managed milk for him.

                      Makes promises
                      Never means to fulfill
                      Wears smiles
                      Emerge not from the heart
                      Preaches precepts
                      Flouts with impunity
                      Propounds principles
                      Violates with a vengeance.

                      Swears by poverty
                      But shuns the poor
                      Castigates riches
                      But sheathes the rich
                      Declares war on corruption
                      But shields the corrupt
                      Loudly advises frugality
                      But rolls in regalia.

                      A living and licentious example
                      Of service-above-self

        2. Johann Sebastian Schminson

          Plenty of vermin in the cities for coyotes. As long a they don’t go all dingo on our asses and start stealing babies, I’m okay with them.

  5. Gabriel

    Has anyone read the book “Fragile by design” by Calomiris and Haber? They’ve done case studies of banking systems in Britain, the US, Mexico, and Brazil.

    They see a nation’s bank performance as “the predictable consequences of political bargains and that those bargains are structured by a society’s fundamental political institutions” [2014, p. x].

    Appreciate any reactions and evaluations.

    1. judabomber

      I’ve read it and would recommend it. In fact I think I picked it up because someone here recommended it as well.

      In a nutshell, it basically gives an overview of the political and historical factors influencing the development of banking systems in various countries, going into greater detail on some than on others.

      I can say I didn’t really care much for the chapter on Mexico. In addition, if you’ve read Rajan’s Fault Lines (and the chapter in particular I am thinking of is “let them eat credit”), you will probably find he does a much better job of explaining the grand bargain between the politicians, GSEs, community organizations and megabanks in the U.S. as well as the reasons for regulatory failure leading up to the crisis. Calomiris and Haber devote several chapters to this subject.

      Actually, the chapter I found most interesting was the history behind the crisis-free Canadian banking sector and its development relative to the populist unit banking system that persisted in the United States for some time.

      As the authors point out, the 10th Amendment to the Constitution said much about how the U.S. banking sector developed, while the Canadian system was the polar opposite. For the Canadians, strong powers at the federal level (which meant a small number of nationwide banks from the start) and charter renewals that are approved by the lower house as a check on monopolistic behavior.

      But they don’t have a chapter or two on China.

      1. Gabriel


        Thanks for the summary. From your description it looks like a worthwhile read.

        I too am interested in Canadian banking, seeing how it survived the Great Recession in good health.

  6. dearieme

    “Her name is Pip”: if that’s short for “Pippa” I have to ask; has she got an elegant bum?

    1. ambrit

      A subject worthy of “Pseuds Corner” if I ever saw one. [Too many puns to keep in head! Fear cranial fragmentation!]

    1. ambrit

      Seen the figures on the ‘inflation’ in rental prices vs. the stagnation of wages? The shame of renting today isn’t a social stigma as much as the impoverishment of the renters lives due to ever rising percentages of their wages going to rent. The ultimate in job mobility that I saw was the Mexican family picking citrus in the Tampa area of Florida. Mom and Pop and four children living in a camper van. (We were travelling around the south in a second hand Airstream trailer at the time.) I picked oranges in the same pick up labour gang alongside this family for a week. Very physically hard work. This family were saving as much of their money as they could to buy a plot of farmland back home. This was early 1980’s. The children all picked the oranges alongside their parents. No school for them, and no one at all associated with this enterprise said anything about that fact. Almost a typical peasant attitude; children were an extra labour source. I don’t know if they ever got their piece of the Mexican Dream. I sot of hope so, but still feel sorry for those children. Little lives blighted by exploitative capitalism.
      Edward R Murrows “Harvest of Shame” is still a good introduction to this phenomenon:

      1. craazyboy

        I think there is a Vonnegut #3 Story Shape there, but until he gets around to writing it up there in Tralfamadore, I’ll have to take a guess at it.

        The poor Mexican family eventually saves enough money to buy a small plot of corn in Mexico. “Market prices” fall, and just before they lose it all, sell it to a Mexican bank for enough money to hitch a ride with a cy’ote to S. Cal, and the entire nuclear family, included the grandkids, gets yobs at taco bell selling genetically modified and robot harvested corn tortillas.

        Fortunately, this only happened to one family, so no big macro problem, or anything like that.

  7. Jim Haygood

    Ambrose E-P takes up the EPA’s claim that ‘the world’s leading oil and gas companies are taking on debt and selling assets,’ based on an EIA study that analyzed cash flows for … five long years!

    Nowhere does the EIA study examine how $106 billion in added net debt affects the balance sheets of 127 major energy companies. ExxonMobil, the largest, has $347 billion in assets and a trivial $7 billion in long-term debt. Not that the company’s conservative managers would do such a boneheaded thing … but ExxonMobil alone could have shouldered the $106 billion in added net debt for the entire industry, whose collective assets are in the trillions.

    In fact, the energy industry has the lowest debt to equity ratio of any sector, at 0.32:

    Poor Ambrose … shoulda took Accounting 101 along with them squareheaded chaps.

      1. Jim Haygood

        Returns may well be declining. But the EIA study in no way supports the Telegraph’s sensationalist headline that ‘oil and gas company debt soars to danger levels.’ It’s actually the least indebted sector, relative to equity.

        A different perspective: in Dec. 1980, in an Oil Shock II bull market driven by oil ‘n gas, the energy sector constituted 28% of S&P 500 capitalization. Today, it’s 10.6%:

        Trying to paint energy overall as a bubble sector just isn’t supported by the data. Likely the pin that pops Bubble III will be a total surprise.

        1. Eeyores enigma

          Steven Kopits lays it out for you. Talks about Shell having to borrow to pay dividends.

          Shouldering rising debt, as you say is a bonehead thing to do and obviously not sustainable.
          Also a good percentage of their so called assets are simply not.

          To dismiss this article and the trend over all is ignorant.

        2. Johann Sebastian Schminson

          Isn’t loading a corporation up with debt the standard exit play? Take all of the value, and leave the corpse of your corporate “person”, picked clean, for someone else to bury.

          1. McMike


            If the juiced yields from initially fracked wells in the choicest holes are played out, it’s time to pass the potato.

            It is important to remember that the owners/managers (and the banks) make money the whole time, until the moment they leave, regardless of whether the ship is sinking/engulfed in flames, they extract money in fees/etc the entire time.

            A lot of people get stuck on this, they insist on the conventional cherry pie Norman Rockwell Econ 101 framing that NO ONE would run a business into the ground on purpose, “why would they do that?”, “how could someone do that?”…. they are stuck with a conventional mythical premise where bankrupt companies don’t create income for anyone involved, and that bankrupting a company, on purpose in particular, means that the owners will be held accountable – that it will somehow go on their permanent record.

            They simply cannot process the notion that there are investors and managers out there whose sole goal is to strip the value from healthy companies which they acquire and operate for the sole purpose of being stripped. (“but but but they are fiduciaries)…”That this system is incredibly destructive, un-conservative, and un-american, but hides behind a bunch of nonsensical ideological claptrap, and is fully endorsed, encouraged, by the US tax code and SEC.

            It may well be time to set up the shorts and skeedaddle leaving the locals to clean up the bankrupt holes, the taxpayers to bail something out, and ma & pa pension funds holding worthless LLCs.

            Setting up the shorts to profit one last time from the implosion of your own ponzi scam. Freaking brilliant.

        3. McMike

          I think your claim that the industry is solvent is an over-correction in the opposite direction.

          The fracking sector, of which there are many players who are not Exxon, and for which is only a portion of Exxon’s operations, may well be up to its neck in debt.

          While Exxon might be able to afford to jettison its fracking ops without major consequence, or use its cash flow and power to cherry pick or outlast the others, it still may be true that the underlying fundamentals are not healthy, that the wall street cabal has created a subprime-style investment bubble/scam in fracking plays, and that operators who are not Exxon are in full-stop panic mode trying to keep the lights on.

  8. MikeNY

    Re Mish’s piece:

    Senator ‘Mad Dog’ McCain and the original steel magnolia Senatrix Lindsey Graham enact another scene in their passionate pas de deux. It is truly a violent love story.

  9. Jim Haygood

    Vibrant arbitrage opportunities abound in the Bolivarian Workers Paradise:

    Gas in Venezuela costs about 6 U.S. cents a gallon, calculated at the official exchange rate, compared with $4.60 a gallon in Colombia. Basic food products such as rice and cooking oil cost about 10 percent as much as in Colombia.

    Criminal gangs are shipping the equivalent of 60 to 100 tanker trucks of subsidized Venezuelan fuel per day into Colombia, much of it paid for with cocaine, according to the head of the nation’s customs agency DIAN.

    Meanwhile, Venezuelan shelves go bare. In cities close to the border, such as Maracaibo and San Cristobal, people sleep outside supermarkets to buy out deliveries of subsidized products when they arrive and take them to Colombia. The 50- to 100-kilometer drive from both cities to the border takes about four hours on a road choked with 1970s trucks and sedans loaded with food and fuel.

    In the sparsely populated savanna further south, Venezuelan ranchers drive the same herds of cattle back and forth across the border to exploit currency-exchange differences, said Orlando Zambrano, a congressman from Venezuela’s Apure state. The ranchers buy the animals in bolivars at Venezuela’s official exchange rate and sell them in Colombia at a black-market rate 12 times as high.


    Maduronomics, comrades. Why work, when you can trade for a living? I, too, support the strong bolivar!

    1. Paul Tioxon

      This sounds more like a proto-capitalist paradise and you sound jealous that you can’t do it here as profitably as they do it there. You just want in on the action. Maybe if Venezuela sets up an US style Homeland Security State, they will stop illegals at the borders with a really long, really high fence and a few divisions of border patrol. Then cross border activity will be properly regulated by the state.

      1. MtnLife

        I was thinking the same thing: look at all those entrepreneurs! The only thing different from our land of subsidized industry for oligarchs is that, in Venezuela, the poor/middle class are getting in on it too.

      2. Jim Haygood

        A proto-capitalist paradise with price controls? Been there, done that, comrade:

        On Aug. 15, 1971, in a nationally televised address, Nixon announced, “I am today ordering a freeze on all prices and wages throughout the United States.” After a 90-day freeze, increases would have to be approved by a “Pay Board” and a “Price Commission,” with an eye toward eventually lifting controls — conveniently, after the 1972 election.

        By the time Nixon reimposed a temporary freeze in June 1973, it was obvious that price controls didn’t work: “Ranchers stopped shipping their cattle to the market, farmers drowned their chickens, and consumers emptied the shelves of supermarkets.”

        Ironically, Nixon’s actions also helped galvanize an emerging libertarian movement opposed to the bipartisan welfare-warfare state. “I remember the day very clearly,” Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas, recalled in 2001, saying the events of Aug. 15, 1971, drove the reluctant young obstetrician into politics.

        1. MtnLife

          How does this compare to your original example? In your second example, the producers stop producing because they don’t feel they are making enough profit. In your first example, the producers keep producing but instead of the public consuming the products they are reselling them for a profit at a rate that outstrips supply. It’s one thing to have a managed economy but that doesn’t really work when your people export resources allocated to them and you’ll have shortages.

        2. Johann Sebastian Schminson

          Nixon had to deal with the pure fiat dollar he created. As a result, inflation ran amok and led us down the path to a credit-based economy, where money creation and distribution trump monetary velocity.

          Ford used the WIN! slogan to fight the tide.

          Carter hired Volker put a stop to the BS by creating a false shortage of dollars, but Reagan put a quick stop to that.

          When it came to consequences, Reagan lived the IBDYBD life.

          And here we are.

  10. financial matters

    How Owensboro tobacco grew a possible miracle drug for Ebola problem Chuck L: “Perhaps someone can offer some insight on whether this piece might be a head fake to draw attention away from the question of whether the Fed’s involvement getting the allegedly untested Ebola vaccine to Brantly and Writebol et al is in fact the product of a weaponization program.”

    It looks like Brantly and Writebol were given an antiserum (antibody based) rather than a vaccine (antigen based) but the tobacco process is useful for developing both.

    A lot of biotech is ‘dual use’ so it can be used for good or bad. ‘Weaponization’ can imply different things but usually you would want something that would kill the other guys and leave you alone. This can be hard to do with infectious disease as a lot of treatments or preventative measures aren’t 100% effective. But as things get better understood people can mess around with viruses and bacteria making them more of less potent, resistant to different therapies etc.

    Nature does a good job at both on its own. Probably the best we can do is have good surveillance so we can detect unusual disease patterns and figure out what’s causing them as the CDC has been doing for years and NAMRU is also involved with. This implies a strong public health system.

    There is a lot of trouble with using eggs in the production of flu vaccine including a long lead time which the tobacco genetic engineering process would help with.

    Also it’s useful to note the involvement of public agencies like DARPMA and NIH in developing these therapies and tests. This should help keep them from being $1000 ‘pills’ with the proceeds not going to the public interest.

  11. tyaresun

    From “Sentencing, By the Numbers” (pure insanity I say)

    The basic problem is that the risk scores are not based on the defendant’s crime. They are primarily or wholly based on prior characteristics: criminal history (a legitimate criterion), but also factors unrelated to conduct. Specifics vary across states, but common factors include unemployment, marital status, age, education, finances, neighborhood, and family background, including family members’ criminal history.

    Such factors are usually considered inappropriate for sentencing; if anything, some might be mitigating circumstances. But in the new, profiling-based sentencing regimen, markers of socioeconomic disadvantage increase a defendant’s risk score, and most likely his sentence.

    1. McMike

      We’re a step closer to preemptive sentencing for thought crimes and genetic predisposition offenses.

    2. Synopticist

      It’s trickle down finally working for the middle class. The bankers get off scot-free, so it’s only fair the moderately wealthy get lower sentences than the poor.

  12. diptherio

    Don’t think I’ve posted this here yet, may be of interest to crypto-currency enthusiats

    Social Proof of Work ~Matthew Slater, European alt. currency designer

    The basic idea is to have the calculations being performed by nodes (if that’s the right word) in a crypto-currency actually be designed to be useful. Primecoin, for instance, calculates large prime numbers. Matt suggests SETI calculations as another possibility.

    And then there is the idea, like Solarcoin, of providing alternative currency to people for performing socially useful tasks, like generating solar electricity. Both of these seem like better ideas than bitcoin’s randomly difficult calculations.

  13. jfleni

    RE: Obama on the World

    This gibberish from one of the the Neocon’s Prinicipal spokesmen just shows “Buttkisser Barry’s” complete, corrupt and degraded foolishness, about economics and foreign policy and everything else. It really makes little difference that Hillary’s most recent statements are even nuttier.

    It makes “inside the Beltway” sound like the wall around a severely deranged asylum! The question for the rest of us is how to make sanity prevail again!

    1. Brindle

      It’s been awhile since I could finish a Friedman column in the NYT, basically have to suspend brain function. So, I knew this interview was a smelly t**d and avoided clicking on it.
      The longer Obama goes into his presidency the more I see how shallow and vacuous he is.

    2. Johann Sebastian Schminson

      By moving to the left. And by that, I don’t mean simply being slightly left of the Republicans.

      Our grandparents already figured this out for us. We sold the cow for magic “trickle down” beans.

  14. Garrett Pace


    “Advocates of punishment profiling argue that it gives sentencing a scientific foundation, allowing better tailoring to crime-prevention goals.”

    Because SCIENCE!

    McNamara and Kennedy/Johnson waged a very scientific war in Vietnam too, with data gathering, KPIs, goals and measurable progress. And we can see how splendidly that worked out.

      1. hunkerdown

        You too? Cue the Twilight Zone theme….

        We will never, ever adopt the German custom of setting traffic fines as a percentage of income, but this is somehow fair game. If there be profit, none dare call it class war…

  15. Garrett Pace

    Oil and gas company debt

    “The EIA said revenues from oil and gas sales have reached a plateau since 2011, stagnating at $568bn over the last year as oil hovers near $100 a barrel. Yet costs have continued to rise relentlessly.”

    Efficient markets for the win. Wondering how many thumbs are on that scale.

  16. fresno dan

    And from the Greenspaner himself:
    Moreover, it was far from obvious that bubbles, even if identified early, could be preempted short of the central bank inducing a substantial contraction in economic activity–the very outcome we would be seeking to avoid.
    Instead, we noted in the previously cited mid-1999 congressional testimony the need to focus on policies “to mitigate the fallout when it occurs and, hopefully, ease the transition to the next expansion.
    How’s that mitigation working out, Al? (maybe its all going to plan – the 0.01% are doing fabtastically well)
    I can’t help but think of the parallel between the difficulty in getting food for most of human existence, and the difficulty in getting credit. And how when it became very, very easy to get both, it seemed like a good thing.
    And now we’re realizing that after that last hamburger, super sized fries, chocolate shake, and apple pie, that getting off the “gravy train” is a lot more difficult than getting on was…

    1. FederalismForever

      @fresno dan. Greenspan was such a disaster. It’s amazing he ever became Fed Chairman when he had never earned a PhD (it was honorary) and had never published a single piece of “real” scholarship in any economics journal. He was a former speech-writer for Nixon, with a fondness for the novels of Ayn Rand. I well remember the dot-com boom, when investors would try and parse Greenspan’s cryptic pronouncements for hidden wisdom. In retrospect, maybe Greenspan was “cryptic” because he didn’t know what he was talking about!

      AEP’s take-down of Greenspan here:

      So many of our current troubles seem to originate in the 1980s, when the American public twice voted in a former actor to the Presidency, and when someone like Greenspan became Chairman of the Federal Reserve.

      1. ewmayer

        Please, enough with the fact-free rants: Greenspan does have a PhD in economics. Amusingly, beyond that being a by-now-widely-seen-as-dubious distinction, the massive irony is the subject of EZ-Al’s PhD, which is – wait for it … – housing bubbles:

        In 1977, Greenspan obtained a PhD degree in economics from New York University. His dissertation is not available from the university[14] since it was removed at Greenspan’s request in 1987, when he became Chairman of the Federal Reserve Board. However, in April 2008, Barron’s obtained a copy, and notes that it includes “a discussion of soaring housing prices and their effect on consumer spending; it even anticipates a bursting housing bubble”.[15]

        There are many more “you simply cannot make stuff like this up” examples of AG’s lifelong battle with the scourge of “irony deficiency” on that wikipage – I cannot resist just one more (boldface is mine, but ‘baldface’ is Al’s):

        Greenspan stated that the housing bubble was “fundamentally engendered by the decline in real long-term interest rates”,[60] though he also claims that long-term interest rates are beyond the control of central banks because “the market value of global long-term securities is approaching $100 trillion” and thus these and other asset markets are large enough that they “now swamp the resources of central banks”.[61]

        Following the September 11, 2001 attacks, the Federal Open Market Committee voted to reduce the federal funds rate from 3.5% to 3.0%.[62] Then, after the accounting scandals of 2002, the Fed dropped the federal funds rate from then current 1.25% to 1.00%.[63] Greenspan stated that this drop in rates would have the effect of leading to a surge in home sales and refinancing, adding that “Besides sustaining the demand for new construction, mortgage markets have also been a powerful stabilizing force over the past two years of economic distress by facilitating the extraction of some of the equity that homeowners have built up over the years.”[63]

        Of course the FF-fund rate manipulation is about short-term rates, but all the post-2008 rate-targeting exercises (QE1-N, “operation let’s-do-the-twist”, etc) by Greenspan protege Bernanke are rooted in the belief that CBs indeed can control long-term rates. And once ZIRP becomes a more-or-less-permanent feature (in the U.S. now as has long been the case in Japan), whether it explicitly targets short or long durations becomes more or less an academic exercise.

          1. ewmayer

            Yves, do you have a cerdible reference refuting the claims and related details by both Barrons and Wikipedia? Here is what Barrons says:

            Greenspan purportedly was trying to deter news coverage of his personal life when he ordered the thesis into hiding. His anti-paparazzi subterfuge backfired: The stealth thesis became red meat for his critics, who smelled a cover-up. Magazine articles and a new book, Deception and Abuse at the Fed (reviewed here on March 31), have suggested that his degree was largely honorary and that the thesis was a cut-and-paste job, comprised of previously published, non-academic articles wrapped in a flimsy introduction.

            TWO MAGAZINE ARTICLES IN THE late 1990s suggested that the thesis was entirely the work of Greenspan’s staff at the Council of Economic Advisers, which he chaired from 1974-1977.

            Not true, says Paul Wachtel, an NYU economics professor who was on Greenspan’s thesis committee. Though the work is, in fact, a collection of previously published articles, he says that it is hardly unusual, as some critics assert, for a collection of articles to be submitted as a thesis. “There’s no requirement that a Ph.D. thesis be a single magnum opus, based on the German 19th-century model,” Wachtel maintains, noting that Greenspan also had to vigorously defend his work to earn his degree. (Greenspan wouldn’t comment publicly to Barron’s on the matter.)

            Further, a quick search at University Microfilms in Ann Arbor (which archives all doctoral theses granted in the US) turns up what appears to be a match:

            by Greenspan, Alan, New York University, Graduate School of Business Administration, 1977; 0336606

            It is not 100% clear from that whether that is in fact a PhD, so I tried ordering a copy, but that yields “The dissertation or thesis you requested is not available for purchase at this time.”. However, the title is entirely consistent with the “collection of papers melded into a PhD” assertion by Barrons. Having done a PhD myself (not in econ, thankfully), two chapters of which were based on published papers, and having known others whose entire dissertation was such a collation – I can verify that there is indeed nothing unusual about that.

            p.s.: If any of our economist-readers here know Paul Wachtel, please do us the kindness of pining him re. the Barrons piece. Let’s settle the truth or falsity of this issue once and for all.

            1. ewmayer

              Gah — “credible” and “pinging” in place of “cerdible and “pining”.

              “It’s not dead, it’s pinin’ for the fjords…”

        1. fresno dan

          Thanks for that info – informative and entertaining.
          Now I don’t know if Greenspan has a Ph.D. or not, but I find if revealing that he would not want people see his dissertation???? Whats with that????

          “Besides sustaining the demand for new construction, mortgage markets have also been a powerful stabilizing force over the past two years of economic distress by facilitating the extraction of some of the equity that homeowners have built up over the years.”

          I almost died of irony poisoning…..

  17. Ulysses

    Some food for thought in the Joel Kotkin excerpt linked above:

    “Canadian academic Charles Montgomery, for example, celebrates what he sees as high levels of happiness in the city slums of developing countries. Montgomery points to impoverished Bogota, for example, as “a happy city” that shows the way to urban development. If we can’t do a Bhutanese village, maybe we can be compelled to evacuate suburbia for the pleasures of life in some thing that more reflects life in a crowded favela.

    Although this emphasis on happiness certainly has its virtues, and should be a consideration in how a society grows, lack of economic growth, and low levels of affluence, seems an unlikely way to make people more content. Recent research, in fact, finds that, for the most part, wealthier countries are not only richer but happier than those assaulted by poverty. Indeed the happiest countries are not impoverished at all, according to the Earth Institute, but highly affluent countries led by Denmark, Norway, Switzerland, the Netherlands and Sweden; the lowest ranked countries were all very low-income countries in Africa.”

    When I hear comfortable, wealthy people lecturing the lower orders about lowering their carbon footprint, eating organic, and “letting go of their materialism,” I am astonished by the hypocrisy. A couple of years ago, I noticed an acquaintance –who has benefitted his whole life from vast inherited wealth– pull up in his brand new Mercedes at my favorite Farmers’ Market upstate, with a new bumper-sticker: “Live simply, so that others may simply live.” This guy thinks that his “simple life” with brand new solar panels on his house in town, his (7 bedroom) “cottage” on the lake, and elegant winter place in Belize, makes him morally superior to some guy driving a filthy diesel truck 10+ hours/day just to keep food on the table and shoes on his kids’ feet. We do need to all change our habits and behave in a far more ecologically sustainable manner, but I am very concerned that too many people who are already comfortable are looking down on the rest of society as “surplus” mouths to feed, and nothing more than a drain on Earth’s finite resources.

    There is no such thing as “overpopulation!!” All living humans are equally precious. If we can no longer sustain a middle class with the traditional “jawbs and groaf,” so be it. Yet we cannot simply push 80% of the people into precariat status, while the other 20% of us turn tricks to keep the .01% giving us crumbs from their table. We need a way to sustain all humanity with dignity and respect.

    I certainly don’t pretend to know the best way to accomplish this more humane world, but I do know that allowing the sick and selfish kleptocrats currently on top to keep running the show is not an option.

    1. Expat

      Or, to put it the way another Ulysses did, according to Dante:
      Considerate la vostra semenza:
      Fatti non foste a viver come bruti,
      Ma per seguir virtute e conoscenza
      (Think of your origins: you were not born to live like brutes, but to seek knowledge and excellence.)

      1. Ulysses

        Grazie!! :) Yet even those who are skillful and wise can fall into error:
        “Ma `e certamente cosa verissima che non sempre gli uomini savi discernono o giudicano perfettamente: bisogna che spesso si dimostrino segni della debolezza dello intelletto umano.”

        F. Guicciardini, “Storia d’Italia,” I,iii

        I am afraid that we, wise or otherwise, will all face challenges in the near future in which the weaknesses of our human intellect will be all too obvious!

    2. hunkerdown

      Ah, to anyone who has a basic understanding of systems theory, there is indeed such a thing as overpopulation. Perhaps you meant to say that there is no such thing as human overpopulation in need of culling. That doesn’t mean that everyone should go out and make puppies. More likely, it means that we should be making many fewer puppies.

    3. trish

      re the the hypocrisy, the lecturing of the wealthy,the rationalization… I’ve seen, heard a lot of that too (and that same bumper sticker). professed eco-friendliness on suv’s is common. a willful ignorance of where much of our problems start, stem…

      I feel the “do what you love” mantra captures much of this…thought this piece good:

    1. optimader

      I expect it will say MH17 flew into a cloud of shrapnel from one or several SAMs detonateding in close proximity causing all the irregular swiss chees holes, and explosive decompression contributed larger holes from the inside out. blowing off bits of skin and structure.

    2. Jackrabbit

      Today I read about the R-60 missile (also see: expanding-rod warhead) that is carried by the SU-25 and which is conjectured to be the air-to-air missile that would’ve been fired at MH17. I think it helps in thinking through what may have happened.

      I was thinking that in any kind of ‘false flag’ it would be important to kill the pilots – and doing so at 33,000 ft was difficult to do reliably without a bomb having been placed on board. But an R-60 is designed to slice through the fuselage or wing, causing catastrophic damage and bring the aircraft down quickly. Much less need to kill the pilots.

      But the R-60 may have simply not worked well with an airliner that is as big as a 777. So MH17 was still airworthy and maneuverable by the pilots. It turned and may have landed. Which the perpetrators of this attack didn’t want. Whether you accept the inching-toward-accepted view of a mistaken attack on what was believed to be Putin’s plane, or a ‘false flag’; witnesses were apparently deemed to be rather unwanted. Thus, it appears, the canon attack, which seems to have been mostly directed at the pilots, on the stricken aircraft.

      1. optimader

        from Aviation Week article I posted previously:
        “… using a Sukhoi Su-25 Frogfoot carrying an R-60 Aphid air-to-air missile (the only AAM normally carried by the Su-25). This would require some remarkable timing and a pilot immune to nose-bleeds, because the Su-25 can manage Mach 0.82 flat out, on a good day, and a 777 can do 0.89, and furthermore the Su-25 is unpressurized and has a normal service ceiling of 23,000 feet. No doubt coincidentally, on the day this claim was published, a Wikipedia editor with a Russian address was found trying to insert a 33,000-foot ceiling on the Su-25 page. As for the R-60, the 3 kg warhead’s ability to assure a kill on a large aircraft with highly redundant systems is dubious at best. …”

        Now considering the BUK delivers a SAM w/ something like 65kg of HE, I think one or several of those shredding the MH17 cockpit is a more likely scenario.

        1. Jackrabbit

          OK, well I’ve surmised the ineffectiveness of the R-60. But I’ve also read that the BUK explodes OVER a target and, at 33,000 ft and at that speed, that would mean catastrophic explosive decompression and tearing apart of the airplane. So, if a BUK were used, then what explains the damage under the cockpit window (see pic linked in my comment above) and, what many believe to be bullet holes?

          1. optimader

            Explosive decompression would occur where the fuselage is compromised, I dont believe it would not necessarily result in the tearing apart of the (structurally) uncompromised portion of the airplane fuselage . Im sure if you were to google images you would see many examples. Aloha Airlines 737 come to my mind, wherin, if you recall, the first class cabin section lost a good portion of the top of the fuselage ( and landed!)

            Certainly high velocity shrapnel could pass right through the relatively delicate skin and structure of B777.

            ” But I’ve also read that the BUK explodes OVER a target ”
            Don’t know that to be a fact. I’m no expert on this, but I would not expect a radar proximity fuze resolves orientation, rather it would compare a signal strength to a predetermined value.

        2. Lambert Strether

          Do we know that? It would seem to me a SAM would be more likely to go for the center of the aircraft. Harder to miss, and more structural damage. If you fire a rocket at the nose and miss, maybe the rocket hits the fuselage aft, or goes off into the sky. If you fire a rocket at the middle and miss, you could hit the fuselage for or aft, or either wing.

          A plane, on the other hand, might well shoot to kill the pilot.

          All pure speculation and easily resolved by the release of the ATC transcripts, the black boxes, the telemetry, and perhaps photographs of the rocket contrails (which none of the locals IIRC saw). And oddly, or not, neither of the powers involved has seen fit to do any of this.

  18. docg

    re: Vast Methane Plumes

    Well, there you have it, what’s behind global warming. Some small plumes of methane escape into the atmosphere naturally, and thanks to the “feedback effect,” as so elegantly described in the article, they begin to multiply until they become “vast methane plumes” heating the atmosphere far beyond anything carbon can do. It’s only natural! No need to do without that gas guzzler, folks. And hey, you don’t really need to cancel your flight to that next academic conference. It’s all about methane!

  19. Skeptic

    Rules prevent solar panels in many states with abundant sunlight Los Angeles Times

    I am surprised there is no comment on this story as it really sums up the 1% Strategy and Objective: get every nickel and dime they can efficiently harvest into their pockets. They do not want you to have your own power, water, housing, gardens, etc. They want you totally dependent on their systems. The Lobbyists are working overtime creating Regulation that will make it impossible to be independent.

    For example, here in Canuckistan, I met a guy who built his own house completely Off The Grid. Wind and Solar Power. But the regulatory glitch is: if you do that you must nevertheless put in an electrical hookup to their Grid even though you may never use it. This is to drive up the cost of Off The Grid and make remote places impossible and too expensive to use.

    Another example was a small village near me where all the folks had their own wells and septic systems. Well the Slicksters came to town and tried to sell them on a local centralized mini water/sewage system with all the necessarily expensive pipes, pumps, plants, etc. to provide the water and sewage disposal. Well, the locals, much to their credit, said NO THANKS. But I wonder how many communities have been sold on this by the Slicksters and their Municipal Cohorts.

    One of my maxims in these trying times is to avoid all 1% Systems wherever and whenever possible.

    1. ambrit

      The three Gulf Coast counties of Mississippi are still under a consent decree with the Federal EPA to go to total community water and sewer. The basic result is to put the burden for remediation on the users. Sounds good until you realize the increased costs are driving gentrification of the Gulf Coast. (Gotta get them N—–s and White Trash out of here. They all want to live like respectable folks. The nerve! Give me a bunch of hard working respectful S—-s any day. H—! We can deport them any time we want. They know that, and stay in their place. Catch my drift?)

    2. optimader

      “.. But the regulatory glitch is: if you do that you must nevertheless put in an electrical hookup to their Grid even though you may never use it. This is to drive up the cost of Off The Grid and make remote places impossible and too expensive to use…”

      serious question, if you don’t pay your utility bill,(which presumably would only be the connection fee) what happens, they disconnect you? Then what?

      1. OIFVet

        Then your failure to pay up is added to your permanent record kept by the three-headed credit reporting monster. Your car and auto insurance rates jump, loans and mortgages become more expensive. It ends up costing you a lot more than it would have if you had just paid the fuckers their service charge.

      2. abynormal


        “One of the saddest lessons of history is this: If we’ve been bamboozled long enough, we tend to reject any evidence of the bamboozle. We’re no longer interested in finding out the truth. The bamboozled has captured us. It’s simply too painful to acknowledge, even to ourselves, that we’ve been taken. Once you give a charlatan power over you, you almost never get it back.” – Carl Sagan

      3. Skeptic

        “…though you may never use it.”

        You pay for the hookup. If your new house is located, say, one thousand feet from the nearest power line, you pay for running that line to your house. This can be thousands and thousands of dollars. If you do not use the power, then there is no utility bill or maybe one for $0. One of the attractions for Off The Grid is that you can select a remote location where there are no power lines, get the land and maybe a beautiful vista cheap and that helps to finance your Off The Grid setup. But, when you must Hookup, all that savings and more go to the 1%.

        One of the loopholes in the above is to get an Old House that was never hooked up in the first place. There are some of those around here. So, you buy, move in and set up Off The Grid. But they may soon close that loophole for, I would suppose, Health and/or Safety reasons. I know of one guy who bought such a house at least half a mile from the nearest power line and set up Off The Grid. Great deal since few wanted the house because there was no 1% power.

        If you think about the above, it is similar to Obummercare where many must pay for care they will never get. Many 1% schemes use the same principle.

    3. trish

      “make it impossible to be independent…”

      there’s various mega-subsidies for the industry, write-offs, etc. for the wealthy (not just the “1%”), but many closer to the bottom can’t afford to front the money to invest in panels, etc. etc etc. Limited in power, ability.

  20. Bunk McNulty

    Apropos of nothing, can someone please explain to me why I can’t start a fabulous “My Social Security” account with the SSA without first unfreezing my Experian credit report? I suppose I am hopelessly behind the swing here, but how the hell did Experian become a gatekeeper for the Social Security Administration?

  21. Jeff N

    “I have frozen myself to I may live to see the wonders of the future. Thaw me out when robot wives are cheap and effective.” — Jasper, the Simpsons

  22. Lambert Strether

    Isis consolidates. LRB:

    The foster parents of Isis and the other Sunni jihadi movements in Iraq and Syria are Saudi Arabia, the Gulf monarchies and Turkey. This doesn’t mean the jihadis didn’t have strong indigenous roots, but their rise was crucially supported by outside Sunni powers.

  23. abynormal

    SoB Robbin Williams passed away.

    “You’re only given a little spark of madness. You mustn’t lose it.”

      1. abynormal

        i couldn’t even type his name correctly…still shocked. dang i’ll miss him…always looked forward to what he’d come up with next. he had range covered.

    1. OIFVet

      I had the opportunity to meet him during one of his USO tours in Iraq, he was incredibly nice in person. The bad thing is, on that particular tour he was accompanied by Richard Myers. It took a lot to maintain one’s “military bearing” around that guy.

    2. skippy

      If you want to understand Robin, look into his early years…. yes childhood.

      skippy… how he made it this far…. must have been a gigantic battle…. I doff my frontal lobes in respect~

      P.S. And thank him for his reality adjustments….

      1. abynormal

        yes he did battle and yet he continued to amaze with the height of the bar he raised.
        its funny, my 21 yr old daughter only knew him for serious characters. one sunday morning i had her watch him do the 2hr actors studio special…she never viewed him the same.
        she just called…needless to say shes very upset.

        What’s right is what’s left if you do everything else wrong. Robin

        1. skippy

          Robin Williams Live at the Roxy 1978 – reality what a concept!… thanks for coming dad… we have changed reality’s because those are the shitty seats now~

          Skippy… I could unpack soooo much, but, will not, out of respect and decency to the bereaved…

          PS. My worthless 2c… the currant political operatives sent him over the edge… he thought they were the real deal and….

  24. steviefinn

    It’s always very sad to lose someone who made us laugh, as we have too many who make us weep.

  25. hunkerdown

    “Social proof-of-work”… reminds me of those envagelical T-shirts that come into fashion now and again, name-dropping and snowcloning the stylings and phrasings of contemporary pop culture only to jam some ill-fitting Biblical message into it, much like those “Bolex” watches for sale at the flea market.

    I’m a fan of time-backed currency, but this “community currency engineer” is trying to force things that don’t fit into places they aren’t welcome and ends up recreating exactly the power structures that cryptocurrencies were designed to operate without: any authority above natural law. Whatever it is he’s trying to say, he failed and probably should reconsider his need to have said it.

  26. rich

    John Oliver on the US Payday Loans Industry

    This video by John Oliver below discusses the payday loan industry in the US, which is remarkable even by today’s lax moral standards when it comes to financial matters.

    If not for the corruption of big money, outlandish fees from banks and usurious rates of interest from private financial companies could be stopped, and quickly.

    Part of the problem is the attraction that some in the US have with the romantic notion of naturally good ‘free markets’ unencumbered by the means of protecting the weak and desperate from the stronger and unscrupulous.

    People are not naturally good nor perfectly rational in all their affairs. And just because someone wears a suit and carries a pen and a high powered law firm instead of a gun does not mean that they are not a criminal in the truest sense of the word.

    And the manner in which we are continually given corporations higher regard, more privileges, and more and more power over the individual is a sickness of our souls. It is a portion of the worship of money and power above all else.

    the 8 minute mark gets real interesting………..

    1. Christopher Dale Rogers


      Good to see humour is alive and well in the posts under the You Tube video – just proves that despite all the propaganda, truth prevails. Probably why they now wish to control the internet like they control the mainstream media.

  27. cripes

    The despicable Rachel Maddow has just finished delivering an epic war-mongering, screed oh her MSNBC “news” show, that being the organ of the white house, deserves some atention.

    In brief, she painted a foul and false history of the rise of ISIS/ISIL, the aborted white house military campaign last year against Syria, and called for a cross-border military campaign to “degrade” ISIS. In the course of this propaganda, she maliciously claimed that godhead Obama’s brilliant scheme to bomb Syria was flouted by an irresponsible congress, when he gallantly requested congressional authorization to wage war on yet another country and they failed to rubber stamp his crimes. How generous of the war president to ask congressional approval! And now the caliphate is the fault of the spineless congress!

    In the course of this abuse of history, she failed to mention, even once, the false flag gas attacks used by Obama and Kerry to justify their plot, the massive opposition of the American people and around the world, and the lickspittle Obama’s political calculation that he could only proceed under cover of congressional military authorization. He lost, as he should have.

    She also deliberately pretends that the failure to bomb Assad’s secular government, in support of our jihadist proxies that were funded to effect regime change in Syria, has now resulted…drumroll…in the success of a jihadist military caliphate in that area. What?

    This is why I say the liberal, humanitarian war hawks are the more effective evil. Rachel Maddow, fighting for the right of gay people to kill brown people.

    1. VietnamVet

      One of the hardest part of getting old in the 21st century is getting one’s mind around the lies and propaganda. The failure to bomb Syria was the cause of the rise of the Islamic Caliphate. Putin shot down MH-17.

      Way back in the 1960s during the Cold War at least the domino theory and stopping a communist takeover made sense. The problem was that there was no light at the end of the tunnel. No one wanted to be the last person to die for a mistake.

      This year for no sensible reason the United States decided to go to war with Russia and then lies about it. Due to this insanity, 2014 is much more dangerous than 1962 or 1983 ever was when mankind almost destroyed itself before. There is a very real possibility that the last thing we will ever see is the bright shining light of a nuclear explosion.

      1. tongorad

        “Dallas is a rich man with a death wish in his eye.
        A steel and concrete soul with a warm hearted love disguise.
        A rich man who tends to believe in his own lies.
        Dallas is a rich man with a death wish in his eyes.

        -Jimmie Dale Gilmore

  28. sd

    Thought the whole topic of a new bubble over at Business Insider was interesting because it runs parallel (or rhymes with) commercial real estate rental rates which seem to be shooting up without any driving demand. It feels like a bubble.

    Business Insider
    In his latest weekly note, bearish investor John Hussman sounds the alarm about bubble mania all over again.

    He writes that the exact behavior that caused the housing bubble is happening again. Investors are using cheap money to buy anything with yield, regardless of risk.

    Hussman: Low and Expanding Risk Premiums are the Root of Abrupt Market Losses

    My impression is that today’s near-absence of risk premiums is both unintentional and poorly appreciated. That is, investors have pushed up prices, but they still expect future returns on risky assets to be positive. Indeed, because all of this yield seeking has driven a persistent uptrend in speculative assets in recent years, investors seem to believe that “QE just makes prices go up” in a way that ensures a permanent future of diagonally escalating prices. Meanwhile, though QE has fostered an enormous speculative misallocation of capital, a recent Fed survey finds that the majority of Americans feel no better off compared with 5 years ago.

    More at the link.

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