Links 8/21/14

Social Design Made In Turkey: Feeding Istanbul’s Stray Dogs, a Bottle at a Time Der Spiegel (furzy mouse)

The ABC’s of animal speech: Not so random after all PhysOrg (Robert M)

Time to agree to differ? Matthew Taylor (Vlad)

At Multiverse Impasse, a New Theory of Scale Simons Foundation (David L)

Machine Learning Algorithm Studying Fine Art Paintings Sees Things Art Historians Had Never Noticed Physics arXiv (furzy mouse)

UPS hit by cyber attack Financial Times

Bitcoin on the brink Futures Magazine (furzy mouse)

Economists React: China Set for a Summer Slump After All WSJ China Real Time

Chinese Journalists Bemoan Decline Of Traditional State-Run Newspapers, Rise Of State-Run New Media Onion

Australia’s media laws: The moguls are dead, long live the moguls Economist

Harvard’s college paper reposts the controversial article after author leaves Thailand Prachatai English

Now it’s time for Silicon Valley to profit from the new Indian ecommerce laws it helped shape Mark Ames, Pando

India yoga guru BKS Iyengar dies BBC

Worse than the 1930s: Europe’s recession is really a depression Washington Post

Argentina Proposes End Run Around U.S. Court in Bond Dispute New York Times

Argentina’s Last Bond Exchange Went So Well It’s Doing Another Matt Levine, Bloomberg

How Libya Blew Billions and Its Best Chance at Democracy Business Week. Lambert: “There’s a mention of Benghazi and that just…. disappears. The cast of characters sounds like Richard Smith’s beat.


Council On Foreign Relations: The Ukraine Crisis Is the West’s – Not Putin’s – Fault George Washington

Ukraine’s economy: Broken down Financial Times (Michael Hudson)

The End of the Rebels in the Ukraine and the Ukraine’s Future Ian Welsh. An aside: I recall considerable reader pushback when I used “the Ukraine”….


Obama: Foley video shocks the world BBC

James Foley Killing Part of Larger Terror Spree Unleashed by ISIS NBC

Military Considering Sending Additional Troops To Iraq, Officials Say Huffington Post

Sunni Awakening in Iraq and the future of IS Asia Times

Imperial Collapse Watch

Why Do They Hate Us?,by André Vltchek Vineyard of the Saker (f-l)

Give Up Your Domestic Empire or Live Under It AntiWar

Big Brother is Watching You Watch


How to Break Cryptography With Your Bare Hands MIT Technology Review (MJL)


Women will benefit from the Affordable Care Act’s contraceptive coverage Science Daily

Audit: ‘Obamacare’ Tax Not Meeting Revenue Target Associated Press

The simple policy that led America’s biggest drop in teen birth rates Washington Post

Whose Presidential Campaign Will Your Pension Finance? Nation of Change

NRA launches ad campaign attacking Michael Bloomberg Washington Post

Poll: New York Gov. Cuomo Is Part of Culture Of Corruption, Voters Say International Business Times


Kajieme Powell: St Louis police release video of fatal shooting Guardian. Swedish Lex:

He was shot by law enforcement and the video captures, it seems, the entire episode (in HD). It is horrible to watch.

So, a deranged person waving a knife, not intending to directly approach the police (or intending anything, really), but possibly so right before the shooting. No warning shots. No single bullet intended to immobilize Powell. Just a barrage of shots intended to kill ASAP. Powell was armed with a knife, not an AK47. Had this been in, say, Sweden, the two police officers would be in jail now awaiting charges for murder. Not manslaughter, in my view, since these are trained people who know how to handle situations like these. This was not a situation where, say, a single, stray, bullet that went of because the victim was 50 cms from the officer’s throat with the knife. But multiple shots from two officers at several meters distance where the victim was standing above the street level, which means that Powell would have had to jump down before being able to approach the officers and possibly, hypothetically, wanting to attack them.

War Journalist’s First Arrest Happens in Ferguson Speech Crackdown George Washington

Compton School Board Approves AR-15 Rifles for Campus Police Atlantic

The day the U.S. police became my enemy Medium

Mapping the Spread of the Military’s Surplus Gear New York Times (Patty A)

Grantham on the everything bubble MacroBusiness

We Just Witnessed A Historic Month For Commercial Aircraft Orders Business Insider

Strategies shift as regulators renew scrutiny of bank compliance Financial Times

BofA MBS Accord With U.S. Said Coming as Soon as Today Bloomberg


Dramas to match scenery at Jackson Hole Financial Times

Expect a hawkish Yellen at Jackson Hole: Pro CNBC

Fed Officials Said Job Gains May Bring Faster Rate Increase Bloomberg

Class Warfare

Inequality Delusions Paul Krugman

New report details depth of hunger crisis in the United States WSWS (Tyler)

Antidote du jour:

orphaned orangutans in Borneo

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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    1. Ulysses

      Thanks for sharing this important story!

      “Management did not report the angry picketing of its November Board meeting, nor did it report any of the uncooperative details of the bargaining process that I mentioned. Nor did they mention anything about the Jackson Lewis law firm. The Co-op News is not an inclusive organ that gives voice to employees, or even members. Members are permitted to submit suggestions about products that the Co-op sells, but there is no space for members to write about the relation between management and employees, the direction the Co-op is going, etc.”

      It’s all about controlling information. Some of my friends laugh at me for my constant praises of Scabby the Rat. Yet the anti-labor viewpoint is really the only perspective readily available to most people. When people notice Scabby on the street and stop to talk to a Laborer, or Electrician, or Nurse, whoever is out front with the leaflets, it is often the only time in their lives that they have ever heard from a labor point of view!

      I am always very encouraged by how open people are to changing ideas once they receive sufficient information. One passing tourist, who had a conversation with me because of Scabby, was so motivated to spread the good word about unions (which she had never heard before in her life!) that she e-mailed me later to tell me that she’d joined the Indiana I.W.W. chapter! She is now my best informant about labor issues in the Midwest.

      We will never have much access to MSM, because it is corporate-owned. Yet we can still raise public awareness if we do the work of standing in the rain on the picket-line, helping people learn what the MSM won’t teach them.

    2. MtnLife

      Sounds remarkably similar to what happened to the Brattleboro Co-op over the past few years. They forgot about their original mission of supplying reasonably priced healthy food in a healthy work environment. Instead, they spent a ton of money to open a fancy new store at the same location (granted, parking is “slightly” better now) that no one but the board (having been slowly invaded by carpetbagging neoliberals and that severely curtails worker involvement) wanted and in the process jacked up prices while not taking care of their workers. The whole vibe there has changed. Many who were regular customers can no longer afford to shop there. Yeah, it looks nice but its soul is gone.

      1. Lord Koos

        If you want to look at the demise of a great co-op, look no further than REI. At one time, (before it was taken over by the MBAs with a mission) it was a reasonable place to shop, now it’s outdoor gear and gadgets for the 5%. There are millions of $$$ of member equity, but the “members” will never see any of it. If you need a $100 organic cotton t-shirt it’s a great place to go, however.

        1. Ned Ludd

          REI’s store-brand apparel used to be made in the U.S. I believe that their items were made by Wickers, which is still made in the U.S.A.

          When REI outsourced production to textile manufacturers in Vietnam, quality went down and prices went up.

          1. Lord Koos

            Funny that prices went up when they outsourced… the only way that makes sense is that someone in the middle made a lot of money.

    3. jrs

      Meanwhile members probably straight out give away tons of money plus give risky loans with interest rates in no way conmenserate with risk (ie not a narrow self-interested capitalist transaction), shopped there even when they weren’t the best deal in town, etc. etc. to see their co-ops suceed. So to management: YOU DIDN’T BUILD THAT.

      I don’t want to bash consumer co-ops too much as the shopping alterntives are often worse and if they are responsive to the members it’s great and they do spread the co-op concept, but only workers co-ops guarantee accountability to the workers.

  1. diptherio

    Re: Animal language

    I’m sure if the scientists keep working at it long enough they’ll figure out some way that we humans are unique. Not tools…not language…maybe it’s sitcoms. What other species has ever produced a sitcom (even just a pilot)?

    1. trish

      all the arts? I think there is architectural magnificence in the insect world (certain wasp & bee nests, termite mounds, for example) not to mention a gazillion other incredibly fascinating and amazing things within the world(s) of all the other species inhabiting the planet (or trying to) and, because of our extreme anthropocentricity throughout history, we have way underestimated the complexity of the other species in myriad areas – many recent discoveries are just the tip- but literature and visual arts and music…and then there’s analytical writing/commentary, the sciences and…
      rushing this, not doing a good job articulating, but all the beautiful stuff humans are capable of that don’t do harm (admittedly much has been used/abused for harm but that’s another issue, with the system)…

      example, termite mound:

      1. trish

        I have to say, too, that as things in our world get uglier and uglier, both nature and the arts (particularly literature and music), while always important to me, come more into focus as essential to prevent becoming overwhelmed with despair. trans-species pleasure? my circuses?

      2. MtnLife

        For all of our “brilliance” we are so far behind the animal world in construction. Animals don’t build square shelters. Round is the most space efficient, material efficient, and structurally sound method of building. It gets its strength by creating 360 degree symmetry, there is no weak “angle of attack” (the corner of your house is much stronger than the middle of a flat wall). The only remotely straight line I can think of in the animal kingdom is bees/honeycomb. Humans have only recently realized how strong that structure is and began applying it to different materials.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          That human ‘brilliance’ stems from our bad eye sight.

          With the severe myopia we have, we see straights lines where circles exist.

          Then Isaac Newton came along with his calculus. But even today, people still can’t see circle.s

      1. Vatch

        Well, yes, I agree about human destructiveness, but many viruses infect multiple species. The rabies virus infects just about every mammalian species; the West Nile virus infects birds, various mammal species, and even some reptiles and amphibians. Influenza in birds and hogs is subject to mutations that will allow it to also infect humans. And the currently topical Ebola virus infects other primates besides humans.

    2. susan the other

      The explanation that animals have something like inflexible grammar-words and humans have “context-free grammar” was interesting – but it didn’t explain much really. I remember reading ages ago about whale language that changes and evolves new words every season as they migrate north. Sounds pretty context-free to me. Pretty independently creative, no? And what about Coco the gorilla and her kitten? She described her relationship with her kitten with what can only be termed as poetry and metaphor. So maybe human language is actually just a profusion of grammar-words as well. They prolly won’t go there.

    1. MikeNY

      We just can’t help ourselves, can we? We continue to insist that peace and stability will spring forth like wildflowers after the desert rains, if we just drop enough bombs on people to make them do what we want. And let us the neighborhood’s oil.

      And then we are mystified that they don’t like us.

    2. Jackrabbit

      This article is fraught. Suggestion: before you read the article, scroll down to the comment by Richard Steven Hack. He gives a pretty good explanation of the shortcomings.

      And if you are further interested in whether US policy is failing or actually succeeding, read the following by Sy Hersh:

      The Redirection

      The Red Line and the Rat Line

      H O P

    3. Banger

      The piece does introduce a modicum of reason to the ISIL issue but it frames it within the mainstream discourse. The piece, like all American intellectual commentary on issues of the day, aggressively ignore both history and the questions of who benefits and following the money. Why? Because if those questions were to be asked and the pattern of Anglo/American involvement in that region were to be taken seriously the whole tissue of lies that make up the meat of the mainstream narrative would collapse. At some point we are going to have to face the fact that the mainstream narrative whether left, right, or center is 90 percent propaganda (examine the history of propaganda, advertising and public relations in the US for a closer look) and that a sensible reality-based examination of our situation is critical if we are going to understand the world around us.

  2. abynormal

    “According to data compiled by the FBI, in a seven year period ending in 2012 an average of nearly two black people were killed by police every week. Even more troublesome: Almost 20% of those killed were under the age of 21, more than double the rate of whites of the same age group.”

    “…a black mentally disabled Los Angeles 25-year-old was shot 3 times in an incident with police. He later died of his injuries. Like Brown, the victim, named Ezell Ford, was unarmed. Think about that for a moment. As Ferguson was embroiled in national outrage, massive protests and localized riots over a fatal police shooting; police in another city shrugged their shoulders and killed another person in much the same way. Now protests have begun there, too.”

    “In a stark example, a report by NBC in 2011 found that German police officers fired just 85 bullets all year. In the same year in America, a single traffic stop in Miami led to police firing over 100 rounds at the suspect. Another 84 shots were fired at a murder suspect in Harlem. Another 90 shots fired at an unarmed man in Los Angeles. And so on.”

    I’m the voice inside your head
    You refuse to hear
    I’m the face that you have to face
    Mirrored in your stare
    I’m what’s left, I’m what’s right
    I’m the enemy
    I’m the hand that will take you down
    Bring you to your knees

    1. scott

      It’s interesting the number of foreign reporters (real journalists) that have been arrested in Furgeson. Ameraican “journalists” know better than to stick their noses into the security-state/MIC’s business. Just re-read what you’re spoon fed at press conferences or the AP wire.
      I think the events of Furgeson and the way foreign press are treated lowers the chance of the US ever hosting the Olympics again from pretty-darn-low to zero.

      1. Ned Ludd

        I read one U.S. reporter lamenting that foreign journalists got arrested because they had a “communication problem” with the police caused by a language barrier.

      2. abynormal

        it is very interesting. after the 2 journalist were shot in the back…foreign journalist descended on Ferguson. remember our journalist packed up their gear and did what they were told before tanks made their round, firing canister that started fires on citizens property.
        the foreign journalist were very aware they’d be in harms-way…also realizizing an editor may scrap their work, and yet…

        ‘Tell them the stories they don’t want to here anyway’…Year for Living Dangerously

    2. Banger

      We always have to remember, when we speak of the brutal nature of American policing, that the vast majority of white people want the police to enforce the law in as brutal and aggressive a way as possible. In part this is a result of decades of propaganda depicting poor and young black men as predators both in the “news” and in TV and movies–but, more importantly, the media has depicted cops, CIA and FBI agents, prosecutors as “good guys” in most general release films and TV series. Many of these characters, starting with Dirty Harry, were depicted as brutal enforcers (thugs) who were ugly but focused on serving “society” (of whites) and therefore good. This is in sharp contrast to the character Matt Dillon in the Gunsmoke series. Dillon always went out of his way even in the violence-torn “wild-west” to stick to the letter of the law and often risking his life to bring in a killer for trial and so on. The message of the series was, basically, the integrity of the law was as important as catching criminals who, btw, were often portrayed as having some good in them.

      Most cops act out of fear and are, thus, cowards. A coward should not be a police officer. A police officer should be lean, fit, and trained expertly in marital arts and have some sense of self-respect shooting mentally ill or crazed individuals with the intent of killing them is disgusting not just for the community of victims but for the law-enforcement system itself. At one time courage and integrity were considered virtues and the cartoon martinets that large number of police have become is sad but it is even sadder that the majority of American support them even though they look, increasingly, like Stormtroopers–can Darth Vader be far behind?

      1. craazyman

        Dirty Harry?

        That movie was made in 1971! That was 43 years ago! Most white people in America today weren’t born when they made Dirty Harry. On the other hand, take a movie like Gran Torino. No doubt the audience wanted some butts kicked but when I went it was a multi-racial audience. My Taiwanese girlfriend, at the time, actually started crying at the end of the movie. But she’d cry at almost anything. Most folks were cheering and there was lots of people cheering who weren’t white.

        Dude, check your momentum. You’re flying off the handle through empty air.

        By the way, New York is under CRAPIFICATION ALERT!!

        The Barney’s Warehouse sale is a big disappointment. Most of the prices are full retail! And the selection is dreadful! No waistcoats! Shoes you’d find at Men’s Wearhouse! Ties for $60 that you thought would be $20. Suits for $600 marked down from a fake $1600! What is this, Joseph A. Bank day at Barney’s? don’t know what the world is coming to, but it doesn’t seem good at this point.

        1. craazyboy

          Well, I think you should give up on shopping locally, craazyman. Order your suits on Ebay like fly over states people do. The suits all come from the same place anyway. Then you got money left over for tailoring too

          But Holy Warehouse, craazy! Who pay $1600 for a suit from someplace that has “warehouse” in their name? Even in New Yawk? Next thing you know Joseph A. Bank will have a “10 suites for the price of one” sale and no one needs that many. Not even New Yawkers. No wonder they are all on Xanex.

        2. Banger


          Anyway Dirty Harry movies were significant in that they lauded extreme law enforcement such notions were soft-pedaled in American movies until the seventies so it was significant in indicating cultural trends in comparison the the ethic of the fifties and sixties when the excesses of the Nazi and Stalinist empires were fresh in people’s minds.

        3. craazyboy

          Oh yeah, we hit a new high on the S&P500 today!
          Didja get your SPY calls placed yet?
          We’re sure to climb the Ebola “Wall of Worry”.

      2. tim s

        Interesting that you make the Star Wars reference. That has been in my mind as well for a while. Consider all of the SWAT pictures showing these gorillas (so many of them are just massive) all decked out in their weapons & gear, then couple that with the info that there is a cap on allowable intelligence to be on these forces, and you have all the makings of the stormtroopers from the movies. In the SW movies I saw, those Storm Troopers’s always just seemed to stupidly run around a corner and get shot (or whatever). I doubt this story will end much differently. You can’t win in the long run with a force of mediocrity running on fear and/or bloodlust.

        As far as Darth, I’m sure he exists. I’m sure also that opinions will vary on who/what Darth’s actually is.

        1. tim s

          When I say the “end of this story”, I’m looking beyond Ferguson. I don’t know how far out. This Ferguson chapter will probably end like so many others, being just another brick in the wall.

      3. vidimi

        spot on. decades of propaganda showing police and secret agents as the good guys who must sometimes break the pesky laws in order to stop the bad guys from enacting armageddon have taken their toll.

        regarding cowardice in the police, i think that fear is instilled in them through training rather than policing being a career that attracts cowards.

    3. Paul Niemi

      I would point out that when considering what the police have become, it’s good to look at the antecedents. For example, as Mayor of New York City in the 1990s, Rudy Giuliani hired police commissioner William Bratton. Bratton believed in the “broken windows theory” of urban decline. So it was believed that by going after the smallest infraction, such as jaywalking, felonies would be reduced. It worked, perhaps too well, and it seems that policy has been copied by departments nationwide. But I would predict that one result is many more people are confronted by police today than would otherwise have been the case. When policy overrides professional discretion, and there is zero tolerance for all sorts of misbehaviors, the results have unforeseen consequences.

      1. James Levy

        There is no real evidence that “broken windows” worked. It’s like the death penalty. Places that had the death penalty saw a fall in murder. Problem is, places without the death penalty saw the same drop in murder, and in some places an even steeper drop. Same with Bratton. The top year for crime in NYC was 1991. Crime started dropping in 1992. Guiliani took over in 1993. He caught the secular trend, as crime has been falling almost everywhere since 1992. The Freaknonomics guys say it’s because of all the potential criminals aborted after Roe v. Wade, but I don’t think that holds up under scrutiny, either, because you’d have to show that it was poor and minority people who were having a disproportionate number of those abortions for the theory to hold true. The best answer to the question of why crime has been dropping for over 20 years is that we really don’t know.

        1. Synopticist

          The UK saw exactly the same trend, crime peaking in the early nineties and subsequently dropping every year since. Roe v Wade didn’t affect the UK.

          1. hunkerdown

            Yay for curiously-weak factoids!

            For what it’s worth, in the 1970s lead-based paint was banned in the US and largely withdrawn from general sale in the UK.

        2. trish

          I recall the Freaknonomics guys have said a lot of stuff that didn’t hold water but got a lot of attention (part of the intent), just like so many trendy best-seller non-fiction. pop-economics to explain the world, as someone said, and it doesn’t work.

        1. Paul Niemi

          Let’s agree it did not work. Are there features that have become part of police training around the country now? Sometime if something is not working, then the response is to double down and go to extremes.

          1. James Levy

            What I wrote was no criticism of you, as the incessant propaganda for 20 years has been what a success Guiliani and Bratton were at “stopping crime”. But I’m sure you are right in that the trend these days is for authorities to go all Trotsky and demand that if you just push the revolution a little further, everything will turn out just great: neoliberals and the Chicago School being obsessed with out Trotskying Trotsky.

            1. Paul Niemi

              Sentencing guidelines may have something to do with crime coming down. We have incarcerated so many people, there are few criminals left at large to increase the crime rate. In some ways we are living in paranoid nation. It seems clear to me that so many young males would not be going to jail if jobs were available to them. And it’s clear the response is wrong, when the police are using deadly force so regularly.

  3. vlade

    @Swedish Lex:
    When I lived in NZ, a guy (who attacked taxi with passengers, a car with some teenagers and a police patrol car) was shot by police when running at them with a softball bat and a golf club, after a warning shot was fired and attempts to negotiate (all confirmed by witnesses).

    The policeman was faced with a prosecution (can’t remember whether for manslaughter or murder), all the way to the high court and a full jury trial, which after three hours acquitted him. It took two years all in total.

    Slightly different process I guess..

    1. John Jones

      A similar thing in Australia. A person with a mental illness and a knife killed by police. Actually I think it has happened more than once. And I don’t think anything happened to the cops. Excessive force and no respect or knowledge when dealing with the mentally ill is quiet common.

      1. vlade

        The guy shot in NZ wasn’t mentally ill (officially, anyways). He was drunk I believe, had quite a history of violence, and was rampaging through the town (no-one knows why to this day).

        TBH, even if person is mentally ill (and how do you tell?), if they are coming at a cop and threatening their life (or threatening lifes of others), it’s hard to blame the cop for shooting. Shoot to disable is hard, if not impossible, as you have to hit a non-critical part of the body that drop him. That’s pretty much just the leg, in fact pretty much just the knee – which will likely cripple for the rest of the life even if you hit it, and that “if you hit it” is a very big if with anything but shotgun. Imagine a screaming man wielding bat/knife/machette running at you full speed from 50m (which would take him about 6-7 seconds to cover), and you aiming for one of the knees with a handgun. And not being in Holywood movie.

        Of course, if the person is staying in one place and screaming or doing whatever, not immediately _really_ threatening anyone (which is very clearly Ferguson case), shoting them is a murder (pretty much for the same reason – you can’t easily shoot to disable, so you’ve been knowingly shooting to kill)

        So the NZ difference with Ferguson is that the NZ cop tried to do something else, was very clearly threatened (running towards the cop screaming “I’ll kill you you f*king a**hole”), and _yet_ there was a process that dug into it for years to say whether it was ok or not (I just checked, and the police investigation which published 45 pages report was finished only nine years later). Which is as it should be IMO.

        1. John Jones

          Fair points.
          I remember one of the cases I mentioned the man was surrounded by a fair amount of cops.
          I don’t remember if he charged at them though.

          As for them telling if they are mentally ill. Fair enough if the police have never encountered
          a particular person. But if they have a record and history I say that’s different.
          To often it seems to me that police shoot first and ask questions later.

          1. Swedish Lex

            Disturbed people, under the influence or not, swing knives and other stuff all the time, threatning to injure everybody, including themselves.
            The role of law enforcment is then to defuse the situation. Not “resolving” the situation by shooting to kill.
            The standards expected from police should be much higher than on average citizens.
            The Powell video therefore looks more like an execution.

            1. Whine Country

              You have the answer. Everything else is noise, and that’s just how the cops want it. In every example, a scenario wherein the situation is diffused is possible but instead the cops ratchet up the emotions and then shoot to kill. Blah, blah, blah. We all argue and nothing changes.

              1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

                Universal gun ban.

                Gun ban for individuals.

                Gun ban for cops.

                Make the world a safer (not completely safe, knives, among other destructive tools, will still be out there) place.

                1. nycTerrierist

                  Not familiar with guns here, but wondering:
                  can’t cops use a kind of tranquilizer when they shoot
                  instead of shooting to kill?
                  This way they can ‘neutralize’ any impending or perceived to be impending threat, without killing.

                  I can’t see the downside to something like that.

                  1. nycTerrierist

                    of course, I should add, shooting (to tranquilize) would be a last resort, when other methods of conflict resolution are exhausted.

                    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

                      They talk about climate change and how if we continue, it will be pushed over to a new stable equilibrium (very likely not-human-friendly and not current-life-forms-friendly), and even if the current conditions are reversed, the world can’t get back to where we are today.

                      Similarly, when we go over to a new (gun-less) equilibrium, it’s possible other conflict resolutions will never be exhausted that we will need guns again.

                    2. MtnLife

                      I can think of a number of reasons why they haven’t adopted tranquilizers: time to incapacitation, variance in dosages, and variance in penetrating power needed to bypass clothing and puncture the skin. Time to incapacitation needs will vary according to the situation. One may call for a near instant drop to prevent reaction versus possibly a slow, sluggish fall to be able to protect them from injury in a possibly dangerous environment. Also, they have a bad tendency to kill with overdoses, even when administered by a trained wildlife expert. That’s not to say our military doesn’t use them as evidenced here: “The Defense Department is giving away free equipment the military no longer needs to state and local police: … a tranquilizer gun to shoot bears in Pennsylvania“. IIRC, it’s also illegal for a non-doctor to use one on a human (outside of military purposes obviously) for the overdosing reasons.

                      @MLTPB: As much as I would like to see it, I don’t see violence being removed from the world, short of maybe putting the entire population on testosterone and adrenaline blockers (hmm, is the rise in male estrogen levels an “accident”?), and that would also probably not be a good thing. Going gun free just means we will be back to bows, slings, and melee weapons. I think the best course of action may be to eliminate/reduce the more “rational” reasons people commit violence like need, greed, persecution/subjugation, and a general sense of unfairness. Irrational blood lust is still pretty hard wired into our DNA (see previously mentioned adrenaline and testosterone) and no matter how peaceful you make society some dude is going to beat the crap out of another dude over some woman (who probably wants neither) at some point. If we can contain violence to the irrational-emotional individual level I think that could be considered a win.

                    3. Banger

                      Cops in the USA are not interested in conflict resolution any more than the US National Security State is interested in it. They only want to subjects to obey without question–they’re always on the lookout to escalate the situation–it appears to be part of their training now.

              2. jrs

                Yea but enough protests and riots and so on and maybe things might change. Although it could be for the worse …

                1. Swedish Lex

                  Next to no guns in the US is an interesting idea.
                  But I guess California will run out of water a 100 times before that happens.

              3. trish

                exactly, a scenario wherein the situation is diffused is possible. and even if unsuccessful, certainly alternatives to shooting (or stun-gunning) to death unarmed people.

                adequate training and high expectations of cops. and as MyLessThanPrimeBeef says, Universal gun ban, for individuals and cops.
                Make the world a safer place. though rather a bit of a dream.

        2. ewmayer


          “Shoot to disable is hard, if not impossible”

          So what is the point of all the money police depts spend on nonlethal weapons like pepper spray and tasers?

          1. hunkerdown

            Deskilling, perhaps? It’s relatively easy to produce a less-likely-lethal effect with a taser or OC spray, even for a doughy juiced-up white boy with trouble aiming a remote.

          2. vlade

            Pepper spray will work on someone who’s an opportunist rapist, but it has two massive problems. You have to be very close for it to be deployed. It doesn’t work on someone who just went (literally) berserk. Such a person will come at you with a bleeding open fracture (not a personal experience, a second hand), and pepper spray will not even inconvenience them.

            Taser is better in this, but I’d not call taser non-lethal. The problem with taser is that when you miss, you’re stuffed (in a situation where someone is running at you).

        3. bob

          “TBH, even if person is mentally ill (and how do you tell?), if they are coming at a cop and threatening their life (or threatening lifes of others), it’s hard to blame the cop for shooting.”

          I’m calling BS on this whole thought process. It’s very easy to blame the cop for shooting. He pulled the trigger.

          If all you need are guys that can pull the trigger(and not be blamed), you don’t need cops, you need soldiers.

          Cops are professionals. They are trained and hired to deal with these situations, preferably without using deadly force. Otherwise, sub it all out to blackwater and pay them on a bullet plus contract.

          Do situations arise where the use of deadly force is necessary? Yes, but only as a last resort, and with a very good explanation.

          If a 80 pound kid is charging a 200 lb cop in riot gear yelling “i’m going to kill you!”, the cop does not have the right to shoot him dead, and he should be “blamed” if he does. Should the kid be arrested? Yes. Automatic onsite death penalty? No.

          1. bob

            Also adding that as a cop, you are going run across many assholes who go looking for a fight. It’s part of the job.

          2. vlade

            I’m sorry.

            Have you ever been in a situation where an adult male, about the same weight as you or bigger was charging you from a short distance (50m can be covered in 7 seconds, which is less than it takes an average person to read this far in the text) with a lethal closer-range weapon? I have twice in my life, and it’s one of the scariest things I have experienced, ever.

            A person on rampage has lost their rational faculties. They will attack you with a open-fracture arm. Stuff like pepper spray is just a trivial annoyance to them.

            Yes, the cops are professionals, but they are not paid to get killed, they are paid to protect people. Ideally even the chap on rampage, but sometimes there has to be a choice.

            That’s why there is a very lengthy process that decides whether it was or wasn’t an appropriate action, whether things could or could not have been done better earlier, whether it would have been better to run (and whether there was anywhere to run) etc. etc.

            A much bigger problem with Ferguson that the actual shooting (yes, I know, it IS a tragedy) is that it will most likely never be properly investigated and the cop(s) who killed won’t stand a trial. That’s the real tragedy, because it creates future Fergusons.

            1. vlade

              And I’d add something else.

              In the countries I lived through my life, a cop shooting someone was first-page news that happened on average less than a year (even in the UK, where there were five fatal shootings since 2005), followed by a very lengthy investigation. So saying that cops resolve most situation by shooting to kill may apply to US, but then it doesn’t to large swathes of world. Which is the main point I was making from the start.

              That despite the fact that there are situations where this may be the only outcome (and that it’s easy to judge the other way it from the comfort of your chair behind your monitor), in most “civilised” (whatever that means these days) countries this happens rarely.

          3. bob

            So, we’re inventing hypothetical now?

            The video of the cops gunning the guy down is very clear. Was the guy looking for a fight? Yes. Did the cops have the guy outnumbered and outgunned? Was there a police car, or part of the car between the cops and the guy with a knife?

            Very curious how everyone can find a “reason” that the guy is ded.

            Murder- Willful taking of another life. Guilty, on the video alone. Were there mitigating circumstance? Yes, and they can be used in a defense. I don’t think it’s a good defense, but everyone has a right to a trial…except those gunned down in the street.

            You were pretty clear in that the cops can’t be blamed for killing the guy. Who should be blamed?

        1. fresno dan

          Why does the middle guy get to raise his right hand? Seems like he’s disrupting the group solidarity….
          Of course, if they all did it, it might seem Gangnam style….

    2. Johann Sebastian Schminson

      My fellow American don’t love guns, per se, but they absolutely adore them some human on human violence. Guns just increase the participation rate.

  4. Brooklinite8

    Article on Modi and Ecommerce is biased. Yes India needs a much needed facelift in few areas. You can’t view this as corruption. Please stop this propaganda against modi. India is not for every one. I mean it. Not for every reporter. We have our own culture. There are few things we do as a norm in a way no western culture does. Indian culture runs deep. You named him as human rights violation person. Where was Pandodaily and where is pandodaily when America was/is invading Vietnam, Iran, Iraq and countless atrocities committed in Syria, Libya, africa and south America. Don’t be a hypocrite. We didn’t invade any muslim country for any commodity benefits. Its a culture clash. Its on our own land. We are ok with it and Muslims understand it. Stop it. The author is immature and senseless. Let India change a little for the poor people sake and for the muslims sake. If you really want to write about India, Please expose the guys who are actually bribing, bribed and have swiss bank accounts. I don’t want to hear about e-commerce in India. There are jobs here. There is growth here. You can do better.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      Sorry, one of my good friends who graduated from IIT and got very blue chip jobs in the US is very clear that India is deeply corrupt and the corruption is institutionalized via educational processes at schools like IIT (which in India has the stature of Harvard + MIT rolled into one). And get a grip. Pando didn’t exist during the Vietnam or even the Gulf War, and it has been critical of US aggression overseas.

    1. Swedish Lex

      In this case, the Swedish police:

      1. Knew that they were dealing with a person who very recently have been violent who went after them with two knives.
      2. Tried pepper spray.
      3. Fired warning shot
      4. Aimed first to immobilize.
      5. Had to shoot to kill.

      1. Whine Country

        I’d like to know more about how they “went after them with two knives”. We’ve heard that scenario described by to many times only to find out later that it was made up. How come we are able to immobilize dangerous animals with tranquilizers in order to work with them? I have never read where a lion was pepper sprayed, a warning shot was fired, a shot to immobilize him was made and then we had to kill him so that we could work with him. If I call the police to report a robbery, I might get someone to come out to make a report. But only in a few days or a week. But there’s never a way to slow down a dangerous situation, protect any potential victims and find a way other than killing an individual when “danger” is present.

        1. abynormal

          imo, you’ve answered your own question. ‘their’ obvious agenda is our reckoning…how best to protect ourselves while changing their MO?

          “But we need to search for and find, what we need to own and perfect into a magnificent, shining thing, is a new kind of politics. Not the politics of governments, but the politics of resistance. The politics of opposition. The politics of forcing accountability. The politics of slowing things down. In the present circumstances, I’d say the only thing worth globalizing is dissent.” McKenna

        2. Swedish Lex

          The official investigation will show the details.

          On average, Swedish police fires warning shots 20 times per year. In addition, shots are fired against citizens 20 times per year, on average.

          On average (past 20 years), one person is killed per year due to fire by the police.

          Sweden has 9,64 million inhabitants.


        3. optimader

          “How come we are able to immobilize dangerous animals with tranquilizers in order to work with them?”

          Proximity? Who is defining the interaction when a dangerous animal is darted?

          1. Bill

            Not to mention that most dangerous animals are darted while they are restrained in a trap, or from a vehicle. The really strong, fast acting agents like carfentanil are extremely dangerous to those using them, and the wide range in body weights among people make them impossible to use in the context discussed here in some sort of pre-mixed dart.
            The more commonly used drugs take a while to kick in (several minutes, in which the animal staggers around violently and uncontrollably), and again would be useless for the purpose discussed here. What you don’t often see in the nature shows is that when working with dangerous animals, there is often someone standing on guard with a rifle or shotgun to kill the animal if the immobilization goes poorly.

            The video linked below shows how dangerous an encounter with a knife-wielding individual can be for police. Despite the presence of 7 officers armed with handguns and rifles, the guy with the knife manages to inflict serious wounds to 3 of them (another version says 1 officer was killed).

          2. Propertius

            Precisely. When a dangerous animal is darted, it’s done from a safe distance. The animal in question usually isn’t charging and the darts still take a substantial period of time to take effect, as in this video (note that the bear has already been shot at the time filming commenced).


            That’s a very different situation from dealing with a belligerent human assailant, particularly one who is armed or who is twice an officer’s size.

            Any police officer who attempts to “shoot to wound” an assailant ought to be fired – the first thing to go in a high-stress situation is fine-motor skills. A disabling shot under such circumstances is all but impossible and trying to achieve it endangers not only the officer but bystanders as well (those bullets have to go somewhere, you know).

            1. OIFVet

              And yet the Seattle cops somehow managed to subdue a mentally disturbed man with a samurai sword: The “fine motor skills” argument is ridiculous. The military conducts marksmanship training to the point where it becomes nothing more than muscle memory. Aim center mass is the mantra, as this is the biggest target and stops the enemy cold. Surely even a corn-fed fat policeman can manage one shot at center mass from a few meters.

                1. OIFVet

                  FBI’s definition of “incapacitate” is the equivalent of “to kill”. This appears to be the goal, to kill. Not to stop. Yes, some small percentage of people shot center mass will continue coming. Most will not. Watch this video: The soldier goes down, contrary to FBI’s argument which seems to be unaware of the advances made in recoil absorption since the 19th century.. He only gets up again because his body armor stopped the round. That same round, if it were to penetrate, would cause enough internal damage to keep him down.

                  Regardless, there is also the simple fact that non-lethal weapons are deployed in police forces around the country, which will reliably incapacitate a charging attacker. Use them.

                  1. optimader

                    OIF ,
                    Read the full paper and consider Newton’s Third Law as it would affect the shooter of a revolver if bullets possessed “stopping power”.
                    People tend to have a false perception regarding the notion of the physics of a handgun bullet, as well the accuracy of a shooter under stress. What may prove to be fatal wounds ultimately are really no guarantee of stopping “an enemy cold” unless it creates a neurological interruption.
                    It is what it is.

                    1. OIFVet

                      How many police departments are actually using revolvers rather than semi-automatic handguns these days? My educated guess is few and far in between. Certainly that was semi-automatic fire heard on the video, not a revolver. And again, “fine motor skills under duress” argument works only if police marksmanship training is inadequate. I have my doubts on that point. The problem is in training to shoot to kill.

                    2. James Levy

                      So, if I feel “endangered” by a black dude my only reasonable response is to pump six or seven shots into the middle of his chest and watch him die? That’s your brilliant policing tactic? You’re a fucking moron.

                    3. OIFVet

                      @James Levy: if you are referring to me, then you have fundamentally misunderstood both what the argument is about and what my position is.

    2. bob

      Some guy, with a reason or not, decided he was going to start a fight with some cops. Stupid yes. Automatic loss of the right to live? No.

  5. Bill Smith

    Now that Hamas has admitted kidnapping the 3 teens I wonder if all the articles about how Netanyahu knew they didn’t have anything to do with it will be retracted…

    1. Jim Haygood

      Too late. Summary justice already has been meted out:

      ‘Earlier this week, the Israel Defense Forces demolished the homes of two suspects in the three teens’ kidnapping and murder, Hussam Kawasama and Amer Abu Aisha, while sealing off the entrance to the cellar where a third suspect, Marwan Kawasama, resided.’


      As the D9 operator who took out Rachel Corrie likes to say, ‘Bulldoze first; ask questions later.’

      That’s due process, Israeli style.

        1. hunkerdown

          Then perhaps the colonizers should stop whining about big scary firecrackers when the occupied people defend themselves.

    2. vidimi

      hamas’ responsibility for the incident is sort of a moot point. the real issue was israel going into full rampage mode over a triple murder with no due process and no regard for the innocent.

  6. Bill Smith

    “Speaking at a conference in Istanbul on Wednesday, Saleh al-Arouri, a Hamas official from the West Bank who lives in exile in Turkey, appeared to confirm Israeli allegations that the Islamist group was behind the teenagers’ abduction. “There was much speculation about this operation, some said it was a conspiracy,” al-Arouri told delegates at the meeting of the International Union of Islamic Scholars on Wednesday, a recording of which was posted online by organizers.”

    “The popular will was exercised throughout our occupied land, and culminated in the heroic operation by the Qassam Brigades in imprisoning the three settlers in Hebron,” he said, referring to Hamas’s armed wing.

    1. vidimi

      if anything, this confirms that gaza had nothing to do with it and that the whole crime was planned and executed from the west bank.

      1. Bill Smith

        Hamas Qassam Brigades have nothing to do with Gaza? How do you get to that thinking?

        BTW in the speech I watched the guy said it was to support to the hunger strikers in jail.

    2. Katniss Everdeen


      Of course if a clumsy israeli stubs his toe while watching the carnage in Gaza from a hillside in Sderot, he was wounded by the murderous Hamas.

      There is no justification for israeli actions in Gaza. None.

  7. MikeNY

    Re Grantham:

    Emblematic of how entirely ass-backwards is the thinking of the apparatchiks at the Fed. Asset values no longer *reflect* prospects for the economy, they are supposed to *create* the prospects for the economy. In a page out of the Neo-Cons, the Fed apparently believes “We create our own reality.”

    What happens when reality rudely begs to differ with our omnipotent central planners?

    Someday, we’ll find out.

    1. Jim Haygood

      Are you full dovish, semi-dovish, or contingent dovish? ;-)

      I, too, support the Yellen plan for national prosperity!

    2. susan the other

      We have always created our own reality. When not? Our old rugged individualism capitalism was a figment of our imagination too. Gold is likewise a figment. A strong dollar is an obsession without a reality check. There’s no reason why we can’t function well with MMT. As long as we keep our MIC in check. You have certainly already noticed how our former “rational” economy failed to do this.

      1. MikeNY

        I see the Fed as — at best — conservative defenders of the banks, the status quo, and inveterate practitioners of trickle-down. Do you see them differently?

        Wrt the NeoCons: it appears the that Iraq ‘reality’ they thought they were creating got mugged by the other reality.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          How Government Spending Trickle Down Works –

          Commission/protection cuts to our banksers
          Political graft/pork barrel projects
          CIA/NSA spooks black budgets
          State Department PetroDollar hegemonic diplomacy/Word Bank econ hit man programs
          Foreign aid to our international sponsors
          Federal assistance to local militarized police departments
          Social Security
          Unemployment benefits

          It’s a long way to trickle down and the money doesn’t always end up spent in the homeland. Some of the money support bars and nightclubs in the most remote corners of the planet. And like a very long river, sometimes it runs dry before it reaches where it is supposed to go.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          That sounds better:

          Ask not what the MIC can do for you.

          Ask what you can do the MIC.

  8. milesc

    Re Bitcoin on the brink Futures Magazine (furzy mouse)

    Odd headline given the content. On the brink of what?

  9. Victoria Else

    Re: Kajeme Powell: this same thing happened last year in the tiny town of Leonia, NJ. A local resident with a long history of mental illness had a knife and menaced some people in the CVS; police followed him, surrounded him, and shot him. He was African-American; the police white.

    1. abynormal

      thanks Caroline, re: “Driven by a desire to spread the Christian message, the nonprofit is a sophisticated international enterprise, able to navigate the logistical and regulatory challenges necessary to rescue stricken missionaries and gain access to a promising experimental treatment that was administered to the workers.”

      “Your purpose is your why.”
      Deborah Day

      1. Lord Koos

        For some reason this reminded me of the church in the US that raised money for charity to Haiti after the earthquake. The money was spent to buy new motorcycles for their favorite priests.

  10. Ignim Brites

    It does seem that Judge Greisa’s actions constitute an unconstitutional exercise of foreign policy which is reserved to the executive branch.

    1. Jim Haygood

      The Obama administration submitted an amicus curiae brief pointing out potential foreign policy implications. But it couldn’t make any constitutional claim that the district court lacked jurisdiction, when the civil contract at issue stipulates New York as the venue for litigation. Art. III, Sec. 2: ‘The judicial Power shall extend to all Cases, in Law and Equity, … between a State, or the Citizens thereof, and foreign States, Citizens or Subjects.’

      Matt Levine’s most compelling point is that U.S. bondholders likely will be unable to tender their bonds for exchange into new Argentine law bonds via the U.S.-based custodian (Depositary Trust Co.) and trustee (BoNY Mellon), if the judge enjoins them from participating. This portends an entrenchment of the existing standoff, in which Argentina professes willingness to pay, but bondholders are precluded from receiving payment.

      More interesting, but much more speculative, is the case of Lázaro Báez, a construction magnate and Kirchner associate who was accused by Argentina’s tax directorate in 2007 of issuing false invoices on public works projects. The Báez scandal has been a staple of Argentine press reports every since.

      Paul Singer knows this. As his ATFA front group website reports:

      A Nevada court gave NML Capital discovery into 123 Nevada shell companies that are controlled by a well-known Kirchner associate, Lázaro Báez. Robert Cohen, attorney for NML, framed the Nevada court’s ruling this way:

      “The 123 shell companies – we believe are just the tip of a very large iceberg. There’s a lot more that we believe will come out connected to Lázaro Báez and others who have been making a practice over many years of stealing from the Argentine government. We are closing in on these people.

      The Wall Street Journal recently reported on Báez and his ties to the late Néstor and current President Cristina Kirchner, as well as the dramatic increase in wealth of the Kirchner family during their years of public service.


      ‘Los K’ (as they’re called in Argentina) had the good sense not to buy any of them skeevy Argentine bonds. Nothing but Patagonian real estate at home, and US Treasuries for their offshore accounts, thanks!

      1. Carolinian

        Speaking of that front group, seems it’s a pretty shady outfit as well. Those widows and orphans and pension funds hold pennies compared to the vultures.

        ATFA’s ad lists the members of the “American Task Force Argentina Educator Coalition” who support the vulture fund’s case: the Alabama, Georgia, and Colorado conferences of the American Association of University Professors (AAUP), the Nebraska Community College Association, and lastly, the Nebraska Retired Teacher Association. That’s it. There was no participation from the national AAUP or TIAA-CREF in this campaign; in the case of the Georgia conference of the AAUP, it’s unclear if the collaboration with ATFA involved the participation of anyone but the group’s then-executive secretary.

        Dean Baker refers to the above in his latest scolding of the NYT for their problems with terminology.

      1. abynormal

        The Globe Is De-Dollarizing Jim…suck it up WINNER!
        Jack Lew’s worst nightmare: “The constant chant from Washington over the past few years has been one of falling just short of labeling China “a currency manipulator” and proclaiming unilaterally that the Yuan is being artificially maintained at a lower level than it should be. However, as Bloomberg Briefs’ Fielding Chen notes, based on a trade-weighted basket, China’s currency is actually 20% over-valued. Having stayed close in value to this basket until 2007, China’s policy since has been a stronger-than-market currency, but as the world increasingly de-dollarizes, and the Yuan gains more global prominence, the following chart suggests the direction of the next trend in China’s currency.” ZH

        1. Jim Haygood

          You’re right, Aby. The world is de-dollarizing, and that’s prolly a good thing.

          But most of the world has relatively stable currencies. In outlier Argentina, where the peso loses nearly 40% of its purchasing power every year, the USD is the de facto liquid store of value.

          In the 20th century, Argentina lopped 13 zeros off its currency. To bring the peso back to its dollar parity at the start of the 21st century, it now would have to drop a 14th zero. Onward to fifteen!

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            Too much money and too small its acceptance market.

            Price marijuana only in Argentinian pesos, the country won’t be able print fast enough.

            Alas, she is no hegemon, global or regional.

              1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

                All the more urgent for Argentina to strong arm or sweet talk, whatever it takes, others to accept her pesos for pot purchasing.

                1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

                  Jim, you and I both know it’s simple Econ 101 – supply and demand.

                  I believe my suggestion will do the trick.

                  1. skippy

                    Supply and Demand – Says law is for the best part refuted.

                    Now their are some that want to make it reality, due to ideological preferenced outcomes, yet, that’s more a case of forcing reality to bend, to a desire [conditioning], than an actual representation of human activity.

                    skippy… is it not the most egregious manifestation of Short-termism ever devised?

                2. fresno dan

                  I will call pesos “wrapper” – incorporate some marijuana into your currency, and you make a currency with dual use.
                  C’mon, everybody has been in that situation where you just bought some grass and don’t have any papers……

  11. abynormal

    re, depth of hunger in America 2014:
    “Requests for food assistance are up even for those serving in the US military, the employer of last resort for many working-class youth. The study found that almost 620,000 households enrolled in Feeding America programs had at least one family member currently in the US military. That figure amounts to 25 percent of all US military households.”

    ironic how US Government is relying on hungry Military to squash the anguish of its poor and hungry

    1. nycTerrierist

      Ironic and disgraceful. Neo-Robber Baron style:

      “I can hire one half of the working class to kill the other half.” – Jay Gould

  12. beene

    Anyone who thinks about using Instant Checkmate, first search someone you know; if you have my experience you will find its service is a scam.
    I posted this as it was an advertisement on this site.
    Instant Checkmate, Inc.
    4330 S Valley Blvd. Ste 118
    Las Vegas, NV 89103-4052

  13. vidimi

    Ian Walsh says Ukraine will be the second Greece.of Europe. either he overestimates how bad things are in greece or he underestimates how bad they are going to be in ukraine. greece is a formerly first-world country making the rough transition back into the second world. ukraine is a second-world country that is violently transitioning into the third world.

    currently, moldova is the poorest country in europe but ukraine will surely take that honour within a few years.

  14. optimader
    The psychology and realities behind it
    “Hollywood is great at making war seem so simple and strait forward. It makes the watcher believe that people kill each other because they are told, because it is kill or be killed, the enemy is hated or whatever. Hollywood tries to make us believe that all soldiers fire at each other, desperately attempting to hit and kill each other. While there is some truth in the matter, it is mostly wrong…..It should be noted that although a soldier may shoot, he may not try to kill. He may be ordered to fire but it is very hard to determine if he is trying to hit as can be noted by the 52,000 rounds fired for one hit ration in Vietnam. People were willing to fire but not always willing to hit the target. This can also be evident in earlier times when muskets were used when soldiers would get in a line, shoulder to shoulder, shoot each other and not hit anything. Even then some would not shoot.

    Most sane humans, if given the choice, will not kill their fellow man and are extremely reluctant to do so, despite what holly wood would like you to believe. When they are forced to do so, many can experience a great deal of psychological trauma.”

    1. abynormal

      ‘many of those experiencing psychological trauma’ take up arms in the field of Law Enforcement

      How to Become a Police Officer | (i can’t get it to open…but the jest is obvious)
      What does it take to become a police officer? Mental and physical strength and agility, patience for a lengthy application process, … Military to Police Force: A Natural Transition? Learn About the Law Enforcement Field; Law Enforcement Education Overview;
      [Search domain]

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Terribly inefficient…completely intolerable for our neoliberal overlords.

      All that money for brainwashing – production, distribution, writers and actors wages.

      And 52,000 shots for one hit?

      It’s time for…..robot soldiers, programmed to be ‘artificially intelligent,’ but without a conscience.

      Cheap to produce and they can shoot better too.

      Eventually, they will be equipped with flappable wings to replace drones. Talk about savings and efficiency.

      The whole idea just needs to be written down in a Ph.D. dissertation.

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            In fact, I have outdone myself with a triple use, winged fighter robot equipped with papoose on its back.

            The new feature is to compete with all the driverless personal transportation devices out there.

            Also, as there is a raging debate about whether bipedalled or quadrupedalled robots are more fighting effective, the final version is not available yet.

    3. craazyboy

      So….this officer dude believes the military is dysfunctional, but in sorta a good way?

      Both sides trying to miss each other, but ending up suffering from PTSD in spite of their “best” efforts?

      hmm. Almost makes you wonder why leadership makes us do these things?

          1. craazyboy

            Wow. Bullets probably mfg’d with our foreign aid money too, because Israel economy.

            Then I wonder if our troops missed 249,999 times because it was hard to find the insurgents?

            I’d think tinnitus would be another thing to worry about. Maybe give out a Purple Ear Medal?

          2. MtnLife

            I’d be interested in seeing the number of actual combat rounds fired per kill instead of total consumed by the military (by service would be interesting as well). Tons of training and boredom don’t really make for an accurate estimate. The Vietnam number is exacerbated by giving the draftees fully automatic weapons (original M16, M60) with which to suppress a nearly invisible enemy. How many people who didn’t choose to be in a conflict like that aren’t going to spray and pray?

            1. craazyboy

              When I see ’em “use” a quarter million bullets to get one enemy combatant, I start wondering if somebody set up a little arms trading biz for himself.

      1. OIFVet

        I recommend that you read the entire book, it is very illuminating. Col. Grossman talks about the changes in training that the military instituted after every war based on lessons learned. The bottom line is that the “evolution” in the training methods have resulted in today’s military having much lower resistance to killing. The training on the firing range, videogame-like marksmanship training, recruits having to shout “one shot, one kill” hundreds of times each day, all of these combine to make today’s soldier much deadlier than his predecessors. The problem is, human psychology can be overcome temporarily but not permanently. The aftermath of the killing is not pretty for many soldiers once they are out of the combat theater or out of the military altogether. The costs get pushed on to society; the VA picks up part of them but only a small part. The rest is society’s problem: alcoholism, drug abuse, homelessness, violent crime, suicide. All that thanks to the “evolution” of training.

        1. optimader

          On the flipside of PTSD, there is that subpart of the Military population that gravitated to it and persist because they take satisfaction in killing. When out of the military, do they also gravitate to law enforcement? Certainly they do join the ranks of entities like
          Presumably ex military go to the front of the line w/ a jr college degree in Law Enforcement?

          In the Russia their legions of freshly unemployed Afganistan/Chechnyian ex-mil and KGB became the operatives of the nexus between the organized crime/oligarchy/government.
          It remains to be seen how dumping Vets into the ranks of the unemployed in the US plays out

          1. OIFVet

            I think that the last time the US treated its veterans well and had a coherent reintegration program was after WW2. Still, for all the problems, we OIF/OEF vets have it better than Vietnam vets, and it is not even a comparison with the Russian vets. Will see. Many states and the federal government have hiring preferences for veterans, and states like Illinois do have tax credits for businesses that hire veterans. That helps.

            1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

              Vets – surplus soldiers.

              We always treated surplus chemicals well.

              The MIC, post WWII, muscled into agriculture and thus chemical farming replaced organic farming, and you also ended up with fluoridated water everywhere.

      2. optimader

        It is a psych study that I believe started w/ WWII vets. Of course it looped back into bootcamp psych programing for the Vietnam generation soldiers to lower their inhibition to kill, in part w/ a strategy of encouraging soldiers to get “even” for KIA comrades. FIle under: Mai Lai ..
        as well on the other hand:,_Jr.

  15. Jackrabbit

    Council on Foreign Relations: Ukraine is West’s Fault – Washington’s Blog

    Mearsheimer says:

    U.S. and European leaders blundered in attempting to turn Ukraine into a Western stronghold on Russia’s border. Now that the consequences have been laid bare, it would be an even greater mistake to continue this misbegotten policy.

    Whether the US will heed this advice depends on your view of WHY they chose to take this action to begin with. What are they after? what do they hope to gain? As is so often the case in discussions of Iraq and Ukraine and other ‘hot spots’, Mearsheimer fails to connect the dots to larger issues. Will the US back down on Ukraine as BRICS unite to challenge the US-neolibcon NWO? It seems clear that they have already chosen to seek regime change in Russia instead.

    Doubling down is typical neocon behavior as they face no consequences for failure.

    H O P

    1. Murky

      Hiya Jackrabbit! Howrya? Yes, very interesting commentary by Mearsheimer. A strong rebuttal has been posted by Anders Aslund. His text below, not mine.

      John J. Mearsheimer is supposed to be one of the foremost American international relations theorists. But his article, “Why the Ukraine Crisis Is the West’s Fault,” in the latest issue of Foreign Affairs, shows his contempt for democracy, national sovereignty, and international law.

      His thesis is that Russia has the right to decide the fate of the countries in its neighborhood in its own interest. “Ukraine serves as a buffer state of enormous strategic importance to Russia,” writes Mearsheimer, a professor of political science at the University of Chicago. “No Russian leader would tolerate a military alliance that was Moscow’s mortal enemy until recently moving into Ukraine.” By this token, Mearsheimer would consider any Russian attack on Poland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, and other neighboring NATO states as justified. Mearsheimer is denying countries their right to self-defense or to join NATO.

      Throughout his article, Mearsheimer has nothing but good words to say about Russia’s president, Vladimir Putin, which speaks volumes. When Putin was nominated president through an accident of history as Boris Yeltsin’s powers were failing, Russia was a far freer country, verging on a democracy. It was Putin, not the West, who turned Russia into a dictatorship. That is the reason why Putin is so worried about any democratic breakthrough in his neighborhood, and Mearsheimer clearly sympathizes with him. Why should a dictator have the right to impose his will on his oppressed people?

      Mearsheimer invokes the role of popular will in two instances in his article. In one case, he claims that most of the people in Crimea “wanted out of Ukraine.” But the evidence is missing. Opinion polls before the “referendum” under Russian military control showed nothing of the sort, and the referendum was a blatant fake.

      The other case is when Mearsheimer, again without evidence, claims that Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych was ousted through a “coup.” He lost his parliamentary majority on February 20 after having ordered the killing of 100 citizens, and he was voted out with a constitutional majority of two-thirds. One may complain that a more complex impeachment procedure should have been applied, but Mearsheimer’s hero Putin is not even democratically elected.

      In his defense of Putin, Mearsheimer claims that “there is virtually no evidence that he was bent on taking Crimea” before February 22. Sorry, it was all too evident that Russia had contingency plans for doing so. Otherwise the Russian takeover would not have been so successful. The Russian special forces’ film of the events on YouTube shows these plans in all their clarity. The Russian action was a carefully planned aggression. Fortunately, Putin does not appear to have had ready-made plans for occupation of the rest of Ukraine.

      Mearsheimer also defends Putin’s rationality, which is a tall order. Let us just note that Putin clearly believes, as former US Ambassador Michael McFaul has so eloquently put it, that no popular uprising can happen anywhere, and that everything is instigated by security services, notably the US services. Therefore, it could not have been the Ukrainians who ousted their corrupt dictator Yanukovych-it had to be the Americans. Only a conspiratorial and paranoid mind like Putin’s can take that at face value, but Mearsheimer bolsters him.

      Mearsheimer goes on to claim that Putin is no “modern-day Adolf Hitler.” But how else to explain why Putin’s speech on March 18 about his defense of the Russian-speaking people appeared to be partlycopied from Hitler’s speeches in 1938 and 1939? In 1938, Nazi Germany was economically and militarily strong, accounting for 38 percent of Europe’s economic output. Apparently, Hitler was more realistic than Putin, but that is no reason to defend either of them.

      Mearsheimer could not care less about international law, presumably because it runs counter to his defense of “realism.” He does not even mention that Putin in his military aggression has violated the UN Charter, the Helsinki Act of 1975, the Treaty on the Dissolution of the Soviet Union of 1991, the Budapest Memorandum of 1994, the Russian-Ukrainian Friendship Treaty of 1997, or the Russian-Ukrainian Sevastopol Base Treaty of 1997, and so on.

      A final ludicrous argument advanced by Mearsheimer is that Putin’s actions are justified because Russia is a great power. “Washington may not like Moscow’s position, but it should understand the logic behind it,” he says. “This is Geopolitics 101: Great powers are always sensitive to potential threats near their home territory.” He enumerates what the United States, also a great power, does not accept on its doorstep. Well, the United States has accepted Cuba on its very door-step for quite some time.

      Moreover, the United States is a great power, while Russia is not, which Mearsheimer acknowledges: “Even if Russia did boast a powerful military machine and an impressive economy, it would still probably prove unable to successfully occupy Ukraine.” He pursues this thought further: “Russia is a declining power, and it will only get weaker with time.”

      Indeed, Russia’s GDP is merely 2.9 percent of global GDP and 6 percent of the NATO countries’ GDP. Its defense budget is less than one-tenth of the defense budget of the NATO countries. So why should Russia stand above any law, if it is not a great power? This is Geopolitics 101, which Mearsheimer seems to have missed. He leaves us without an answer. Apparently, he has not thought his case through.

      With Mearsheimer’s arguments, any crackpot military aggression anywhere in the world could be defended. He could use the same arguments to justify Joseph Stalin, Adolf Hitler, or Saddam Hussein, which suggests that these arguments in defense of Putin might not be of much value.

      1. OIFVet

        Yes indeed, no “serious” analysis is complete without the obligatory comparison of Putin with Hitler and Stalin.

        Is that the same Aslund who pronounced the 1990’s reforms he advised Yeltsin on to be a resounding success? Judging by the squealing tone, it’s the same guy. Funny how every time Prof. Mearsheimer challenges the neocon machine orthodoxy, he is quickly besieged by all kinds of squealing non-entities. I had the privilege of taking several of Prof. Mearsheimer’s classes in the 1990’s; to have the nutty Swede lecture him about international relations is hilarious.

        1. Jess

          First, to admit my ignorance, I was unaware of Aslund or Mearsheimer until now. However, rather than focus on Aslund’s past sins (real or subjectively assigned) how about someone addressing certain specific points he makes, such as, “Has Russia really violated all those treaties and agreements he lists?”

          Also, is anyone here arguing that Putin has not turned Russia into a dictatorship? That Russian democracy, fledgling as it was under Yeltsin, has not been turned on its ear by RasPutin?

          Asland may have been wrong about many things but is there not the possibility that, like a broken clock that is still correct twice a day, that he’s right in this instance? Or am I just stupid?

          1. OIFVet

            The questions you ask have been discussed here many times these past few months, I will not rehash past discussions. That’s what the archives are for. I will only say that insisting that everyone else comply with international laws and treaties while you are in fact the worst serial offender does not exactly give you the credibility to lecture anyone on these issues.

            As to the Russian “democracy”, Yeltsin killed it in 1993. And in 1996 he dug out its corpse and killed it again, just to be sure that it is in fact dead.

            Finally, Aslund was a significant player in the events of the 1990’s that have brought us the present-day situation. He is fair game. It wasn’t me who declared Russia “a success”.

      2. Jackrabbit

        Murkey, the question you have never answered is why should people in the West care? Oh sure the neocons and oligarchs will do swell. But there is no benefit for most of us. THAT’s why we say that Ukraine is not in our interest.

        Yet, it would seem that Ukraine is very much in Russia’s interest, just as Russia in Mexico would very much be in our interest. And to make it even more CLEAR for you, Murkey, a Federal and non-aligned Ukraine would not be a ‘win’ for the West, but it wouldn’t be a ‘loss’ either. How many people have to die because the neocons feel that they have to, have to, have to, have a ‘win’ rather than a stalemate?

        1. Murky

          Hell, yes, you got that so right, Jackrabbit! I’m with you on this. Ukraine is in Russia’s sphere of interest, so Russia can do anything they God damn well please down there. And the USA has every right to grab Mexico or Canada, because that’s our sphere of influence. I really like British Columbia; good timber, fishing, and mineral resources. Some really nice digs in Mexico too; we can move out the locals and set up shop down there. Not hard to do either. Just get a separatist movement going with covert CIA backing and it’s a done deal. Remember what happened in Chile? Yahoo, let’s do it again! The facts: Russia OWNS Ukraine. And the United States OWNS Mexico and Canada. Love this sphere of influence argument; it’s like a license for nations to annex new territory. Crimea is now Russian territory, not Ukrainian, and just look at the good prices for a primo holiday vacation. Check it out!

            1. OIFVet

              So, 20 years of Ukrainian neglect are supposed to be reversed in four months? And problematic car access to a peninsula also is supposed to show that four months of Russian rule are a failure? Wonder what the line of attack will be when a bridge across the strait is built…

          1. OIFVet

            Did you pause to take a breath in the middle of this rant? Good lord Murky, you are getting shriller by the day!

          2. Jackrabbit

            Yeah, Murky. How ’bout we set an example and pull our troops out of the dozens of countries that they are stationed in, cease droning and NSA spying on the world, and stop covert and overt sponsorship of terrorists?

          3. vidimi

            america does indeed own canada and mexico. if russia went into canada or mexico and overthrew their governments replacing them with puppets, you can bet that america’s response wouldn’t be as restrained as russia’s. in fact, even if america didn’t own their neighbours, having a foreign power realign them against it would be an unpardonable offense. russia’s reaction to the ukraine crisis is thus not so much an expression of imperial entitlement but of self defense.

      3. sidelarge

        I admire your nerve to quote Anders Aslund, of all people. Seriously. His credibility was reduced to zero a long time ago. I guess he has nothing to lose at this point. A total clown who belongs to the pundit circus.

        FYI, Mearsheimer is someone who used to even argue at one point that Ukraine should keep the nuclear weapons to deter Russia. No Russia lover.

        1. Murky

          No doubt you are right, comrade Sidelarge. Aslund is a loser. Your word is good enough! But better still if we can run down some detail on this guy. Linked below is his Wikipedia page. Where’s the bad stuff? Or, do you have your own ‘kompromat’ on Anders Aslund? Share what you’ve got! You da man!


          1. OIFVet

            His “career” is its own compromat, comrade Murky. The very definition of ‘failing upward’, a defining characteristic of our “elites”.

          2. sidelarge

            We don’t waste our time arguing about Anders Aslund for the same reason we don’t, say, Art Laffer when we discuss tax cuts. He simply belongs in that heap of waste in the history of economics. I don’t even know what you are trying to prove with your almighty wikipedia source, but that pitifully short description on that page actually rather clearly illustrates part of the reason why.

            Let him trumpet the wisdom of Latvians and their wonderful austerity in his ditto-head circle. That’s his circus.

          3. sidelarge

            “He worked also with Deputy Prime Ministers [b]Anatoly Chubais and Boris Fedorov[/b].”

            … and called the whole socio-economic pornography “success”.

            If that simple sentence doesn’t mean much to you, I don’t even know why you feel compelled to say anything at all about Russia.

  16. Garrett Pace

    Alternate headline to “When A Machine Learning Algorithm Studied Fine Art Paintings, It Saw Things Art Historians Had Never Noticed”:

    “Algorithms fail to make art more enjoyable, but give scholars loose ends to natter over.”

    1. craazyboy

      I wanna know what happens if you point the machine at a Dali painting? Smoke comes out its ears?

    2. Carolinian

      I thought this article was absurd. The computer finds similarities in certain paintings and concludes that artist A must have influenced artist B. What do scientists say about correlation and causation?

      1. Garrett Pace

        It doesn’t really matter if it’s correlated or caused – it’s giving art historians something new to argue over. Indeed, they can split into “coincidence” and “influence” sides and keep their arguments going forever.

      2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Painter to machine: “You are putting words in my mouth.”

        In this respect, this machine is very human like.

        I would give it a passing grade on its Turing Test.

        In fact, I wouldn’t mind dating her…seeing, like 57% of Americans, I dine alone often and so, I can use a human like companion for dining conversation.

        1. craazyboy

          I’d suggest steering clear of the stodgy Renaissance type and go for a loose Modern Art galgorithm or even a wild and crazy Abstract freakgorithm .

        2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          “You are seeing things that are not there!!!”

          People like that make really good conversation partners, where lively debates are possible.

    3. susan the other

      more code is law… just wait until the analysis of art is standardized! And trust me, it won’t evolve new meaning on its own… grief.

      1. optimader

        It’s been done (codification of art)
        Degenerate art: Why Hitler hated modernism

        The painting by Hitler (Farmstead, painted by Hitler in 1914) may be a good example why he got failed his art exam (unfortunately). He must have missed the class on perspective, or was the far end of the farmhouse for the resident trolls? Would be a different world if he passed the exam.

        Artistic ambition[edit]
        In his autobiography Mein Kampf, Hitler described how, in his youth, he wanted to become a professional artist, but his aspirations were ruined because he failed the entrance exam of the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna.[2] Hitler was rejected twice by the institute, once in 1907 and again in 1908;[3] the institute considered that he had more talent in architecture than in painting. One of the instructors, sympathetic to his situation and believing he had some talent, suggested that he apply to Academies School of Architecture. However, that would have required returning to secondary school from which he had dropped out and which he was unwilling to do.

        Later, when he used to tint and peddle postcards featuring scenes of Vienna, Hitler frequented the artists’ cafes in Munich in the unfulfilled hope that established artists might help him with his ambition to paint professionally.

        According to a conversation before the outbreak of World War II in August 1939, published in the Blue Book, Hitler told British ambassador Nevile Henderson, “I am an artist and not a politician. Once the Polish question is settled, I want to end my life as an artist.”[2]

    4. Leeskyblue

      The employment of algorythms in art criticism can certainly can be misused but so can any tool, and computers are just tools.
      We all have encountered the temptation to play “fitting games” with ideas. In the examples given in the article, two artists could easily and entirely independently have resolved a visual problem in a similar way simply because certain compositional forms are universally better than others.
      A famous teacher with whom I studied used to say of any medium, “Inferior (or superior) in the hands of an inferior (superior) practitioner”.
      Art criticism can be mechanistic and foolish without the help of a computer and often is, while the responses of a person with an untrained eye can sometimes surprise and delight.
      If a machine really could be made to think like us at our creative best, would it still be a machine?

  17. Fíréan

    Ian Walsh expresses his opinion in this short article, with no reference to any of the main political parties or persons involved within the Ukraine nor outside, except for Putin. A quick entertaining piece for his readership, maybe, and yet not enlightening to anyone.
    I would scan any document, written text, first for the main vocabulary of the conflict if looking to be educated on the matter before giving serious reading time.

  18. Yonatan

    Re: Ian Welsh:

    FWIW some tweets from Tony Hartin

    I’m a physicist with a social conscience.
    Joined November 2008

    5h: #Ukie Donbass & Azov Batt units repulsed with heavy losses driven out of #Ilovaisk. #NAF fully control the city & captured many spoils

    7h: #Ilovaisk: While #Ukraine Donbass and 93 Brigade are surrounded inside the city. Azov, Dnjepr & Shakthersk battalions have withdrawn.

    8h: #NAF almost cleared #VeselayaGora and begin battles for #Shchastia #Lutugino & #Slovyanoserbsk

    9h: Lifenews carries the story on Mi-24 shootdowns, at #Geogrievka near #Lugansk via @Alexsligo

    10h: Reports of two Mi-24 helicopters shotdown near #Lugansk

    11h: #Ilovaisk #Ukie #Donbass batt as well as 17th tank & Dnepr-1 unit surrounded by #NAF and under #NAF Grad fire from #Shakhtersk

    20h: CONFIRMED #NAF at #VeselaHora #Luhansk oblast area in position t [sic] cut supply of all #UKraine units around #Luhansk city- MAJOR MOVE #cdnpoli

    12h: indiscriminate #Kiev shelling of #Donetsk last night killed 34 civillians [sic], total killed in Donetsk – 951 with 1748 wounded #warcrimes

    951 dead innocent civilians in one city! Many other villages, towns and cities have been bombarded indiscriminately with artillery, flechettes, cluster bombs, white phosphorus and recently ballistic missiles with 450 kg high explosive warheads. This is murder on a scale comparable to or exceeding Gaza.

    The Ukrainian independence celebrations are scheduled for 24 August. They will do anything to get a photo-op of a Ukrainian flag in Donetsk.

    If the rebels are losing, it isn’t to the Ukrainian military.

    1. Carolinian

      I mostly like Ian Welsh but he does like to present himself as an expert on everything. I doubt he knows any more about what’s going on in Ukraine than what he reads in his Canadian newspapers.

      Which is not to say that the rebels won’t fall. Even supposed specialist Vineyard of the Saker keeps blowing hot and cold on the possibility.

      1. OIFVet

        Well, he is Russian even if he has spent his whole life in the West. Too much emotion and passion, life is full of highs and lows and not much in between. That’s the common Russian anyway. Putin is a cool customer, but that just reinforces the Russian preference for benevolent strongmen who are capable of ruling well enough to blunt the roller coaster ride that is Russian life.

        As for Welsh, he must be reading too much Reuters. Not that I will take the sunny reports of Cassad and Slavyangrad without several large grain of salt, but the Ukies do appear to be in trouble. Perhaps the accusations that Army officers’ loyalty is not with Kiev are correct, as they show incredible aptitude for getting cut off and dismantled wholesale. They take tactical retreats as invitation to occupy the vacated territory and declare a victory, only to find themselves surrounded and unable to break out without taking huge losses. Strategically, their plans are a disaster too, they have thrown everything they have into cutting off Donetsk from Lugansk time and again, only to fail to do that repeatedly. The Ukies may yet take Donetsk and Lugansk (though I doubt they have what it takes to fight urban warfare), only to find themselves fighting a guerrilla warfare they have no chance of winning. It appears that sabotage operations are already carried out deep in the Ukie rear, and they will probably intensify. Russians simply refuse to give up, that’s been shown throughout history time and again.

        If this report is to be believed (, the military command has concluded that the operations have been a failure, and are preparing defenses to stop a possible Novorussian counterattack and advance toward the north and the southeast. Again, take all reports from Cassad with several grains of salt, even if generally speaking Cassad has been more reliable source than Kiev and the MSM.

        Also, it has not been reported by Western media, but there is now unrest among the ethnic Hungarians in Trans-Carpathia, no doubt with Hungary’s Jobbik being involved. In the Southeast, watch out for sizable populations of ethnic Romanians and Bulgarians to stir if Kiev takes further steps toward Ukrainization. Kiev’s goose is cooked unless it decides to cut its losses and reach a mutually acceptable compromise with the Novorussians. Will see what comes of Porky and Putin’s upcoming meeting, hopefully reason will prevail. Porky does have a problem though, as Svoboda and the Right Sector have weapons and fighters. He will have to deal with them if he wants to make a deal with Putin and the Novorussians. Easier said than done, but frankly what I see is the potential for much bigger civil war and partition unless these elements are dealt with.

  19. Garrett Pace

    Birth control for teenagers

    “The first is that Rueda chose what is called long-acting reversible contraception. The second is when she chose to start that contraception.”

    Teen mindfulness and responsibility being what it is, the advantages of implanted birth control devices are obvious. However these hormonal things can have whipsaw effects, and dramatic influence on moods.

    There’s always tradeoffs.

    1. jrs

      Non-hormonal IUDs don’t have those trade offs, They are long lasting, reversable, and non-hormonal, and have been declared safe for teens. There are very small risks on insertion, severe cramping after insertion, and the possibility of increased period cramping. Unfortunately noone can afford them – see Hobby Lobby. But they are widely used in the rest of the world where the main determenent of what birth control they use is what women actually prefer and not what their insurance happens to cover or they can afford out of pocket.

  20. bruno marr

    RE: Machine Learning and Art

    The last example in this article is underwhelming: composition on a page is basic to artistic development; objects in a art piece (especially human objects) are important to creating interest/focus; and the depiction of windows in a room is a universal technique for developing depth and mind’s eye movement into “contemplation beyond”.

    Two art compositions 80 years apart, and seeming similar in basic technique, is not unusual. Artists, like art historians, study and integrate techniques from other artists, *into their own STYLE*. (It occurs in music, too.)

    1. Garrett Pace

      Just think, we’re not too far from the day when we can show that David Foster Wallace, Geithner, Bush, or whoever else was influenced by Hitler.

      Instead of the God Algorithm, it’s Godwin’s Algorithm.

  21. fresno dan

    At Multiverse Impasse, a New Theory of Scale Simons Foundation (David L)

    Although galaxies look larger than atoms and elephants appear to outweigh ants, some physicists have begun to suspect that size differences are illusory. Perhaps the fundamental description of the universe does not include the concepts of “mass” and “length,” implying that at its core, nature lacks a sense of scale.

    I don’t know how many times I told my old girlfriends not to worry about length or mass, but they had no appreciation for quantum physics……

    1. craazyboy

      Now I know why I was satisfied with my BSME and left college to get a job.

      But knowing this, I won’t worry if I see a column of elephants marching into the house – the ant trap is still good.

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      So, a billion miles and a hundred miles are what, not real, but illusory?

      What about a billion tons of gold and a ton of gold?

      Or a billion pesos and a hundred pesos?

      1. fresno dan

        Think of it the way the FED gives hundreds of billions of dollars to bankers. As long as they’re getting it, and your not, all is right with the universe….

      2. MtnLife

        You are only viewing distance based on it’s current position in time-space as if that is the only one that exists. It is the only one available to your immediate localized perception and interaction. Distance is not an object to quantum entanglement. This isn’t really an explanation for what was discussed in the article but it covers your distance question. Well, if you view the Big Bang as the initialization of a universal quantum state, mass and length could be non-factors as the system becomes a single entity despite seemingly fractured “components”. As for lacking a sense of scale, the universe resembles galaxies, which resemble solar systems, which resemble planetary formations with moons, which resemble atoms. Who’s to say we aren’t caught in a picture of a picture of a picture etc? Our universe could be the electron in an atom in the next scale up and our quarks could be universes. We can’t “see” on that scale. Even weirder, what if we could?

        1. MikeNY

          I tend to believe that matter is infinitely divisible, and the universe(s) is (are) infinitely large.

          Just because.

          1. MtnLife

            Infinitely divisible, yes (x/2 all day long). Infinitely large is another matter (pun not intended), unless multiple universes are considered, in that we are in a closed system (closed set mathematically speaking) for energy/matter. We can increase the distance between the matter but can’t make more of it. Analogous to blowing up a balloon. It gets “larger” but no matter is added to the rubber/latex itself.

            1. MikeNY

              “finite but unbounded”, right?

              Not sure I’m convinced on that. It’s just something “in my little finger”, as old Albert would say.

              1. craazyboy

                Terry Pratchett is the only one that understands it. The universe consists of four incredibly large elephants and one even larger turtle. The stars are just for lighting. Where the universe is headed, not even Terry Pratchett knows.

                Btw: Dark matter is a bunch of elephant dung. Math doesn’t really work, and there is “something” besides something and nothing that human brains aren’t even wired to comprehend. We can’t say what it is because the concept of “is” is an invalid human construct.

                That said, I’m sorta wishy washy on the whole thing and I go with whatever theory a sci-fi author proposes when reading a sci-fi or fantasy novel.

        2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Sometimes it’s that vast distance can be experienced in no time (or very short time).

          Sometimes, there is no distance at all that we experience.

          In the case of the former, distance is still there.

            1. trish

              this made me think of a really good short dystopian novel I read recently, Satantango, by (Hungarian) László Krasznahorkai.

              and re the physics post, an interesting read. and a quote within can be rephrased and applied to a number of recent science discoveries (some posted recently): ‘We’re not in a position where we can afford to be particularly arrogant about our understanding of what nature looks like.’

  22. Murky

    Yet another neoliberal imperialist has written an anti-Putin screed on Politico dot com, link below.

    The former deputy secretary of state for the Clinton administration, Strobe Talbott, is the a̶u̶t̶h̶o̶r̶ propagandist for this piece. Putin can not possibly be the reckless instigator of war and Russian nationalism that Talbott claims. Weaker minds should not even read the Talbott piece; could cause a brain infection. But heavyweight Marxists here will know how to shred Talbott. Let’s assemble a nice clean list of Talbott’s lies! And the truth and goodness of who Putin really is must also be told. Have at it, comrades!

    1. Jim Haygood

      Comrade J is about a Russian master spy, Sergei Tretyakov, who defected to the United States because he was disgusted with the Russian/Soviet system and wanted to start a new and better life with his family in America. He identifies former Clinton State Department official Strobe Talbott, a current adviser to Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign, as having been a trusted contact of the Russian intelligence service.

      The book says that Talbott was so compromised by his relationship with [Russian official Georgi] Mamedov that the FBI asked Secretary of State Madeleine Albright not to share information with Talbott about an espionage investigation at the State Department, because Mamedov might learn about it and tip off Russian intelligence.


      Can’t say any more in public … let’s meet at the dacha.

      1. OIFVet

        Damn, you beat me to it. I had posted the Talbott piece several days ago. But the question is, why is this fossil being taken out of the closet to spread fear and discontent? Perhaps because of Hillary’s presidential ambitions: “Mr. Kagan has also been careful to avoid landing at standard-issue neocon think tanks like the American Enterprise Institute; instead, he’s a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, that citadel of liberalism headed by Strobe Talbott, who was deputy secretary of state under President Bill Clinton and is considered a strong candidate to become secretary of state in a new Democratic administration. (Mr. Talbott called the Kagan article “magisterial,” in what amounts to a public baptism into the liberal establishment.)”

        So there you have it comrades, yet another proof (as if any more was needed) of Hillary’s neocon bonafides. And the possibility of someone the Russian intelligence viewed as a dummy blowhard whose enourmous ego made him easily manipulated becoming the next Secretary of State. Priceless. Apparently we are very good at manufacturing this type of SecState.

      2. OIFVet

        “”Sergei was told that SVR director Primakov and his deputy, General Trubnikov, decided early on that Talbottt could be ‘massaged’ and developed into a useful source based on a psychological profile that the SVR had prepared. ‘Mr. Talbott saw himself as an expert on Russia and he thought he knew what was best for the country and its people. The SVR had seen this arrogant attitude before in Western leaders. We understood this, and Mr. Mamedov was instructed to massage Mr. Talbott’s ego to suit our purposes.’…Sergei was told that Mamedov’s special relationship with Talbott was an ‘example of how a skilled intelligence agency could manipulate a situation and a diplomatic source to its advantage without the target realizing he was being used for intelligence gathering purposes.'” [source, “Comrade J,” p 182]

        “In 2000 the U.S. House of Representatives released what can only be called a scathing report [see, Russia’s Road To Corruption, How the Clinton Administration Exported Government Instead of Free Enterprise and Failed the Russian People] which outlined the Clinton administration’s malfeasance in handling the transition from communist totalitarian rule in the former Soviet Union [for further reference also see the Cox Commission’s conclusions regarding the extensive Chinese nuclear espionage which took place under the Clintons – Cox Committee Report Documented Massive Nuclear Espionage By ChiComs].

        The report states that Talbott was part of a “troika” within the Clinton team, along with Al Gore and Treasury secretary Larry Summers. Their responsibility was formulating foreign policy toward Russia.

        Remarkably, no one in this trio had any expertise in diplomatic matters.”

        1. fresno dan

          “We understood this, and Mr. Mamedov was instructed to massage Mr. Talbott’s ego to suit our purposes.”

          They told us when we were at the NSA to watch out for those sultry young agents…..
          However, I could never get them to …grasp… that it wasn’t my ego that needed massaging….

    2. Carolinian

      BTW the Talbot Politico piece is definitely worth a look. There seems no doubt that this represents the current party line among US elites both on the current situation in Ukraine and on Russia in general. Which boils down to: Russia following the lead of the West=Good, Russia going its own way=Bad. In Talbot’s version the very existence of an independent minded major power is depicted as a threat that must be dealt with. There’s also more than a little obvious guff including this gem:

      Just before flying back to Washington, Clinton paid a call on Yeltsin at his retirement dacha. “Boris,” Clinton said, “you’ve got democracy in your heart. You’ve got the trust of the people in your bones. You’ve got the fire in your belly of a real democrat and a real reformer. I’m not sure Putin has that. Maybe he does. I don’t know. You’ll have to keep an eye on him and use your influence to make sure that he stays on the right path. Putin needs you. Whether he knows it or not, he really needs you, Boris. Russia needs you. You really changed this country, Boris. Not every leader can say that about the country he’s led. You changed Russia. Russia was lucky to have you. The world was lucky you were where you were. I was lucky to have you. We did a lot of stuff together, you and I. We got through some tough times. We never let it all come apart. We did some good things. They’ll last. It took guts on your part. A lot of that stuff was harder for you than it was for me. I know that.”

      Yeltsin is Talbot’s Russian good guy and one would never know from this article about the disasters of the 90s, the decline in life expectancy, looting of state enterprises etc. You also won’t see anything about Ukrainian neo Nazis, billionaire oligarchs, civilian massacres, anything that might ruffle the good versus evil fairy tale.

        1. OIFVet

          Nelson Strobridge “Strobe” Talbott III. Never trust a guy with roman numerals in his name, or with an initial at the beginning…

          1. Carolinian

            Yes I was just scoping him out on my fave, Wikipedia. Here’s a good quote

            “In the next century, nations as we know it will be obsolete; all states will recognize a single, global authority. National sovereignty wasn’t such a great idea after all.” – Time Magazine, America Abroad: The Birth of the Global Nation, Monday, July 20, 1992

            Silly Russians….what’s not to like? Obviously we are just thinking of them.


            1. OIFVet

              I gather from the article’s title that said “single global authority” will naturally be the US? Yes indeed, what’s there not to like if you are Russia? Or any other non-lapdog nation?

  23. Jim Haygood

    Farewell, Windows 8 … we hardly knew ye:

    Microsoft is planning to unveil its Windows 8 successor next month at a special press event. Sources familiar with Microsoft’s plans tell The Verge that the software maker is tentatively planning its press event for September 30th to detail upcoming changes to Windows as part of a release codenamed “Threshold.”

    The early technology preview will give developers a first look at the new mini Start Menu in Windows 9, alongside the removal of the Charms bar feature and several UI changes.


    ‘Charms bar’ … sounds like a table of paste jewelry at a 6th grade school fair. Glad I skipped this ridiculous P.O.S. Maybe Windows computers will be OK to buy again, after a 2-year hiatus when they were to be shunned at all costs. People still pay a premium for refurbed Win 7 machines.

    1. fresno dan

      Kinda like car companies figuring out after finally making a car that usually starts and usually goes, that what your car really needs for the car company to sell you another car, is a car with a TV, cause who doesn’t enjoy watching TV while driving….

    2. ewmayer

      MSFT: “We haven’t a clue what our dwindling user base really wants because we historically have told them what they want, so our OS product cycle now consists of removing stuff users were used to, adding stuff they hate and which is often unstable, then restoring the removed stuff and claiming it’s ‘innovative’.”

      Not that I really give a crap what MSFT does or does not do anymore – the only MSFT stuff I still own is in the form of a 2008 laptop running WinXP, which I paid extra for at the time because the then-64-bit-OS offering from MSFT, Vista, was widely reported as being a disaster.

  24. OIFVet

    So much for EU unity: “Bulgarian companies have expressed interest in investing in neighboring Serbia, after Russia introduced an embargo on imports of agricultural goods from the Europen Union, Aleksandar Milicevic told Standart. According to the First Counselor at the Embassy of the Republic of Serbia, this way Bulgarian companies try to benefit from the duty free regime between Serbia and Russia.Копирано от” Great, more disinvestment from BG agriculture, a sector that was largely destroyed by entry into the EU. There is widespread discontent among agricultural producers in BG and Greece over the trade embargo with Russia, and EU is a cussword right now.

    Meanwhile, the EU thinks it has the right to dictate to non-members: “EU to Serbia: Russian market is ours. candidate countries cannot be asked to prevent their companies and food exporters who would like to meet the growing demand of their Russian partners, the agency was told by sources at the European Commission in Brussels.

    Commission officials wanted to emphasize that this was “more a question of morality and solidarity” with the EU, noting that EU ministers said the goal of European sanctions against Russia was to “urgently achieve a political, sustainable solution” to the Ukrainian crisis.

    And, as they explained, “to ensure the unity of the international community and to maintain international law, the European Union expects third countries and candidates to refrain from making use of the new trade opportunities that opened up with the introduction of these measures.”

    EU preaching about morality is just too much…

  25. Jackrabbit

    After reading Holder’s Op-ed, it seems to me that the only think that Holder really promises is a federal investigation into the shooting. Everything else is ‘we can do more’ BS or nothing.

    Black officers on the Ferguson police force? We can do more [hangs head]

    Oppressive policing? We can do more [hangs head]

    Militarized police? Silence [blank stare]

    How did we get here? Silence [blank stare]

    Lip service to other communities like Ferguson? Naturally!

    Its laughable how Holder gets portrayed by Democratic press as sooo concerned. AFAICT Holder and the Obama Administration have been rather UNconcerned. And Holder is a guy that has lied to Congress and deliberately instituted To Big To Jail – which protected people that had preyed on minority communities (an outsized amount of bad loans were made to minorities).

    There was a time when the Democratic Party would’ve used Ferguson discontent to advantage. But the ‘new and improved’(TM) neolib Democrats will not be enticed into populism, which could impede their money raising before the elections.

    H O P

    1. OIFVet

      Hey, you are raining on MSNBC’s parade. I watched a bit yesterday for the first time in years, and I was blown away by the “fortuitous”, totally unscripted meeting he had with Johnson. The ensuing love fest conducted in faux ebonics homey style left me reeling. It is the essence of Obama’s administration: appear to be doing something to solve a problem while in fact doing all that is necessary to entrench it even deeper.

  26. rich

    Bulldozing Democracy Haiti: Where Will the Poor Go?

    Where will the poor go? Where have so many tent city dwellers already gone? The Martelly regime has dismantled most of the tent cities through stick-and-carrot methods: many families have received a once-time payment of $500 to relocate while others have been violently evicted from the camps. The $500 payment is notoriously inadequate given the spike in land and housing prices/ rents, a “market reaction” in large part to so many rich foreigners now living in Port-au-Prince as part of the NGO/ UN network. Moreover, the price of rice (now “Made in the USA”) has increased dramatically in recent years, perhaps as much as 500%, further rendering this $500 aid package paltry.

    We gained a sense of where so many desperate people are relocating when we visited Canara, a “city” of approximately 200,000 people seeking to eke out an existence in the arid, “dust bowl” hills in the outskirts of Port-au-Prince. Out of sight, out of mind—that is for the foreign tourists and Haitian bourgeoisie who stay at the new Oasis hotel or who perhaps will shop soon in downtown Port-au-Prince. The people of Canara do not have any meaningful access to water, electricity, education, healthcare, food, and employment, let alone even the cement and cinder blocks to complete many of their houses. People are forced to walk or travel considerable distances just to pay for water, food, and other supplies, if they have the money. And, yet, while we were meeting with an older Haitian woman about a water cistern project our team is funding in her community of Canara, we heard machinery- a bulldozer and truck—at work. After the meeting, we walked about 50 feet behind her dwelling and discovered that they were digging out a vast canyon, extracting truck-loads upon truckloads of rock and sand to be sold elsewhere, reportedly for the profits of a private company. She came to the edge of the canyon and yelled down to the workers not to dig any closer to her home. While she lacked the sand, rock, and cement to build a simple water cistern for her community, an apparently private company poached these resources for free in order to sell to those who could better afford the “market rate”.

    On June 19th, perhaps as the bulldozers were still clearing the rubble of people’s homes in downtown Port-au-Prince, Bill Clinton received the “Lifetime Achievement Award” for his work in Haiti from the Happy Hearts Fund in the NYC Cipriani Restaurant. The award ceremony was led by Petra Nemcova, a super model who runs the foundation and who is the girlfriend of the current Haitian Prime Minister, Laurent Lamothe. Also in the audience was Haitian President Michel Martelly who received an award for his “leadership in education”. Outside of the lavish restaurant, a group of Haitian activists and their allies protested the ceremony, chanting “Clinton, where is the money for reconstruction?”.[iv]

    what a disgrace

  27. YY

    I can’t be the only person to notice that James Foley died with some dignity in that he was able to make a statement, his executioner/ group made a rationalization, and it was clear to the world what had occurred.
    And it can be argued that Foley as well as many other reporters could have avoided the situation.

    Whereas Michael Brown is executed for no reason at all and without any ability to make a statement to the world. The chances of any person not visiting the well known parts of the world where “terrorists” reside of being beheaded, is nil. Whereas the chance of a person residing in the USA (especially if they are male and black) being executed with multiple gun shots for no reason at all is greater than zero. Do people understand that their local police is more of a threat than ISIS?

    1. cripes

      Both deaths are gruesome and unfortunate. On the individual level, it is only tragedy and grief for the families.

      What distinguishes Micheal Brown from James Foley is that he was a citizen living in his own country. He was not captured in a country that the US is waging war against; bombing and slaughtering its people. Their words: “”You do not spare our weak, elderly, women or children so we will NOT spare yours!” I have to deplore their act but cannot deny the truth of the statement.

      Yet, the average American, I suppose, is horrified our citizens being executed by a country we’ve attacked and shrugs off (or applauds!) the execution of our own citizens by our own police. This is a grim state of affairs.

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