Links 8/5/14

Mayor Collins: ‘Our water is safe’ Toledo Blade

Garcetti on UCLA water main break: ‘This will not be the last one’ Los Angeles Times

Central American migrants face grueling journey north Dallas Morning News. Great reporting.

The Meltdown of the Anti-Immigration Minuteman Militia Mother Jones


Officials: Israel, Hamas agree to 72-hour cease-fire CNN. Egypt-brokered.

Israeli troops ‘withdraw from Gaza’ BBC

Police: Excavator driver attacks Jerusalem bus AP

People are taking selfies with hummus to promote dialogue between Israel and Palestine Quartz

Palestinian Authority to sign Rome Statute of ICC The Times of Israel

Both sides prepare for new Gaza war crimes probe AP

Cash, Weapons and Surveillance: the U.S. is a Key Party to Every Israeli Attack The Intercept. At the nexus of “Gaza” and “Big Brother is Watching You Watch”

Ukrainian military urges Donetsk residents to evacuate, clearing way for advance Washington Post

Argentina Bonds Stabilize WSJ

How to rip off a country, Espirito Santo style Coppola Comment

Ebola in America:

Man being tested for Ebola at New York City hospital NY Daily News


US Gov’t Had Role in Securing Ebola Treatment for Aid Workers AP. Meanwhile 885 dead in four African countries, people who didn’t have the same friends in high places.

Extending Unemployment Benefits During The Recession Prevented 1.4 Million Foreclosures Think Progress. That’s twice as many as HAMP!

Wells ruling an affront to ‘good faith’ New York Post

Not all Native Americans are Doing, Let Alone Getting Rich Off, Payday Loans Credit Slips

GM Financial Subprime Auto-Loan Documents Subpoenaed WSJ. A civil suit, but an interesting move.

Cuomo fears the worst as first polls after scandal approach New York Post. Gossipy as hell, but requires a word stronger than “schadenfreude.”

Lawsky opens fresh front in Ocwen probe FT. There’s a copy of the Lawsky letter at Housing Wire. He’s going after both forced-place insurance and the cozy deal where Ocwen has all these subsidiaries to whom they funnel business. Cognitive dissonance: Lawsky works for and is closely tied to Andrew Cuomo.

The United States Needs Corporate ‘Loyalty Oaths’ Jonathan Alter, The Daily Beast. You’re doing it wrong, Jon.

S&P: Wealth gap is slowing US economic growth AP

Former Obama Aides Broke With Democratic Firm Over Anti-Teachers Union Project Huffington Post

America’s Hottest Commodity: Fracking Sand WSJ

Federal judge: Alabama can’t enforce its new abortion law WaPo

Why Barney Frank Thinks Democrats Will Wrest Corporate America From The GOP HuffPo. It’s as appalling as it sounds. Frank’s a BS artist, too: the claim that terrorism risk insurance somehow “deters terrorism” is ridiculous. Al Qaeda doesn’t check to see if the buildings on their target lists are insured. The Ex-Im claims aren’t much better. And the whole premise, that the CEOs should return to the loving bosom of the Democratic Party, speaks for itself.

James Brady, Press Secretary Who Was Shot in Assassination Attempt in ’81, Dies ABC News

Giant penguin fossil shows bird was taller than most humans The Guardian

Antidote du jour:


See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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About David Dayen

David is a contributing writer to He has been writing about politics since 2004. He spent three years writing for the FireDogLake News Desk; he’s also written for The New Republic, The American Prospect, The Guardian (UK), The Huffington Post, The Washington Monthly, Alternet, Democracy Journal and Pacific Standard, as well as multiple well-trafficked progressive blogs and websites. His has been a guest on MSNBC, CNN, Aljazeera, Russia Today, NPR, Pacifica Radio and Air America Radio. He has contributed to two anthology books, one about the Wisconsin labor uprising and another on the fight against the Stop Online Piracy Act in Congress. Prior to writing about politics he worked for two decades as a television producer and editor. You can follow him on Twitter at @ddayen.


      1. Johann Sebastian Schminson

        “I go for penguins . . .”

        Great tune (as is the case with most of Lovett’s catalog).

        1. abynormal

          upon a 2nd viewing of our antidote…i wouldn’t turn my back on birds with beaks and/or long necks (a most unfortunate tangle with a swan left me search’n for a religion)

      2. robert lowrey

        That emperor has no clothes. I wish he’d wap the guy in the back of the head, slap-stick-style, and keep that same expression, it’d be hilarious (reminiscent of, and as vengeance for, Monty Python’s fish dance). Is that wrong?

    1. rusti

      I found the comment section under the article absolutely stunning. A near-unanimous chorus of voices complaining that the article was scandalous “pro-illegal immigrant liberal propaganda” and downvoting of anyone who dared suggest it was a legitimate article. Someone working for the paper meekly defends the author from a barrage of racism and hate and gets shouted down. Is that a realistic cross section of residents in Dallas?

      1. sleepy

        The city of Dallas itself is approximately 43% hispanic. The non-hispanic white population is 28%. 25% of Dallas is foreign-born.

        As usual though, suburban Dallas as opposed to the city, is far more more anglo and most likely to be writing the letters.

        1. R40

          Yes, it is reflective of Dallas. But especially Texas which is a very racist state on par with all the ex-slave state. Why even the proud do-gooder Southern Baptist Baylor University had an extremely embarrassing freakout when Obama got elected.

          1. Slime Pickens'

            To be fair, the Southern Baptist Church did not renounce its racist roots until 1995.

      2. Johann Sebastian Schminson

        A large part of the Texas ethos is apparently to be mean, nasty, and proud.

      3. janie

        Yes. I have relatives just north of Dallas itself. Nicest people ever – until this sort of issue arises.

      4. curlydan

        I grew up in Texas and have no urge to take up residence there again. With regard to Dallas, I always say “Kennedy was shot there” [as opposed to other Texas cities] “for a reason”.

        I actually was shocked that the Dallas Morning News (probably one of the states most conservative papers and that’s saying something) produced something of this quality

        1. Carla

          It pains me to admit that we suffer similarly disgusting comments to most stories on the web site of our local paper, the Plain Dealer, at My acquaintances and I have ceased to be shocked by the racist invective, and the downright hatred of poor people, in the comments to any stories that could possibly elicit such reactions, although they still distress and anger us. Those who write a “letter to the editor” that will be considered for the print edition of the paper have to provide real names and full contact info. They are telephoned by an editorial assistant to verify that they really wrote any letter under consideration. The online comments can be (and most often are) anonymous and go live immediately, without moderation until there is a specific complaint by a reader.

          While I think un-moderated comments work beautifully at NC, and most of us treasure them, it seems that at the local newspaper level, the combination of anonymity, stupidity and mean spiritedness is often as toxic as a glass of untreated water from the algal bloom in Lake Erie.

          1. EmilianoZ

            Actually, anti-immigrant sentiment is also strong here at NC. It is just expressed more subtly. You just have to look for all the comments lashing out at H1B visas. You can also look for some of the comments by Working Class Nero (usually approved by Banger).

            And NC is moderated.

            1. Yves Smith

              You do not appear to understand that that position on HB-1 visas is pro labor. HB-1 visas are singularly responsible for US companies refusing to provide for career paths or even training to entry level workers. Why should large companies be encouraged to hire foreign workers? Our immigration regime is increasingly based on the desires of large corporations to improve profits, and not larger societal goals.

              You are also attacking the site by presenting inaccurate information about site policies. I suggest you refer to our “Policies” section rather than misleading readers.

              The site is not “moderated”. The New York Times and virtually all MSM sites, as well as major blogs like The Big Picture and popular sites like Slashdot, are moderated, which means no comment appears unless it has been approved by a moderator. By contrast, as we have repeatedly stated, we have certain tripwires that lead comments to wind up in moderation. That is completely different and is far more open than the majority of websites.

            2. Doug Terpstra

              You really ought to distinguish between anti-immigrant and anti-uncontrolled immigration aimed at labor arbitrage. I’ve seen little of the former here, but very reasonable arguments against the latter. One can be anti-(open) immigration as I am, without being anti-immigrant. What I saw in the Dallas comments was heartless and spiteful toward very desperate kids.

            3. ChrisPacific

              The H1B is not an immigration visa. It’s sold as one to the applicants, and it’s a way for them to form working relationships that may lead to them being sponsored for a green card in an employment category, but the maximum amount of time for which you can hold one is explicitly capped. The bar for an employment-based green card is much higher, and would be higher still if companies followed the law exactly as intended, since they still need to advertise the position and are required to hire a qualified US person over the H1B employee if one applies (though many companies find ways to follow the letter of the law here and not the spirit).

              It is precisely the fact that US employment is largely closed off as an avenue for permanent immigration while remaining wide open to temporary workers that causes problems. It allows employers to expand the labor pool and drive down wages by hiring ‘temporary’ workers without also affording them the rights and protections that they would receive as US citizens or permanent residents. A policy offering simple employment-based immigration categories based around in-demand skills would be a much fairer approach and would do a much better job of protecting labor rights, and many other countries do it this way. It might also help frame the immigration debate in more sensible terms. However, that requires a government that is willing to act in the interests of workers at the expense of corporate profits, which is not the case in the US.

              I have held an H1B myself in the past, and I’m sensitive to arguments that companies should refuse to employ people for reasons unrelated to their competence to do the job (such as nationality). You do get the occasional redneck comment along those lines whenever the subject comes up, although arguably less often at NC than elsewhere. But I’ve come to realize that the issue is more complex than that, and that it’s not only American workers but H1B holders as well who are losers under the current system.

            4. Christopher Dale Rogers

              I think you’ll find that many on the left of the political spectrum are opposed to unfettered immigration and most of the concerns have nothing to do with racism and everything to do with improving the “lot” of those within “nation-state” boundaries, whilst also assisting those nations not as fortunate as our own.

              As a British citizen married to a Third World citizen I hope I can talk openly about this issue as it impacts myself and my family directly. Immigration hysteria in the UK – much of it legitimate – has resulted in an openly racist government closing the easiest routes into the UK, that of Commonwealth immigration, whilst leaving the doors open as far as EU immigration is concerned – and this has been a massive issue since the Eastern European states were encouraged to join the Western “big boys” club shall we say.

              First and foremost, I like many others in the late 80’s were opposed to Eastern Germany unifying with West Germany – many argued for a decent transitional period for both country’s to make some necessary adjustments. Chancellor Kohl would have none of this, hence Germany was unified at huge cost to West Germany and the average German taxpayer.

              Regrettably, nothing was learned by our EU-masters as far as incorporating the East into the West, indeed, unlike both Federal Germany and Federal USA, the EU does not do internal cash transfer from richer regions to poorer ones, quite the reverse, industry was supposed to do this, which mean’t as far as secondary manufacturing was concerned much was moved to the East, which mean’t job losses in one country and lower business costs in the new host country, with massive local and EU subsidies and tax breaks – this has had a detrimental impact on countries such as my own, this being Wales, which itself is the poorest region of the UK.

              One could go on, but trust me as an expat I find it incredulous that as a born and bred UK citizen at this juncture in time I am forbidden from living in my country of birth due to whom I married, whilst anyone holding a EU passport is allowed to settle in my country, and vis-a-vis I’m allowed to settle in theirs – it just so happens, most of these countries are far worse off economically than Wales, so it’s not much of an option really from my side of the equation – hence I’m now in exile until I can raise US$100,000, the bond I’m expected to pay in order to live in my own country with my wife and daughter.

              And all of the above is before we get to controlled immigration, which usually has a negative economic impact on the country that the person is leaving, be it India, the Philippines or any host of third world nations, and as a Socialist, one who believes in extending an economic helping hand, taking highly skilled individuals from poor nations does not help them, or in the long run the nation they are moving too, for training costs money, and as with the UK and USA, our businesses and governments don’t like offering training, something to do with costs and profits.

              Hence, this is why you’ll find many on the left opposed to WTO and anything with “free trade” attached to it – which is an oxymoron if ever there was one, for the only persons who ultimately benefit are the 1%, the rest of us can just bugger off, regardless of the true economic costs. This is why persons such as Banger are nightly alarmed, rather than being anti-immigration and supposed racists, most of us would like a more egalitarian world full stop, one without hunger and mass poverty, which means living standards dropping for some and rising for others, which by the way would greatly benefit the environment.

              1. brazza

                informative, intelligent commentary, and an incredible personal story! Still can’t quite believe the “$100k-re-entry-bond” situation – the sort of thing you might expect from corrupt 3rd world beaurocrats/officials … certainly not Her Majesty’s government.

                1. Christopher Dale Rogers


                  Regrettably the figure is true, if a UK citizen is married to a non-EU passport carrying spouse the legal framework to bring your spouse into the UK altered greatly in 2012, not as if it was simple before the ConDems changed the goalposts. So here’s the rules from the UK boarder Agency, if as a married man i wish to bring my spouse to the UK I must prove I’m on a annual salary of above £18,800 per annum for three years, and given one cannot guarantee employment of three years, you are require if living in the UK to have enough savings to tide you through any period of unemployment – no guidance is actually given what amount of savings are required – so its all touch and go shall we say. now, if you live overseas and have no job to return to in the UK, you must have adequate funds to live on for three years without recourse to the public purse, which is banned by the expedient of a stamp on your spouses Passport – the rest of the maths you can do yourself, but US$100,000 is approx. £60,000 – if you have children who are not UK citizens, my daughter is a UK citizen, further costs are tallied upon this cost. At this juncture in time approx. 25,000 families are caught up in this nonsense, many of them residing in the UK. Just getting a Visa for your wife to visit the UK is now a major issue, so not very nice for my aged parents – but you know, the UK’s Conservative Party is the Party of marriage, looking after your family and looking after your aged parents, which is pure hypocrisy to say the least. Still, at least in Hong Kong we have a limited welfare state and free health care, as well as heavily subsidised housing for those on low incomes – indeed, I’d be mad to move back to the UK presently under the Conservatives, so just hoping for a change of government next year I’m afraid.

              2. ChrisPacific

                That’s incredible. As critical as I am of US immigration policy based on employment, they are generally very good on family categories.

                I agree with you in the sense that while I think individuals who want to live and work elsewhere should receive fair treatment based on what they have to offer, from a global perspective having our most skilled workers all migrating to the wealthiest countries with the best employment prospects is counterproductive and not what we would want to see happen. It would be much better if we could address and solve whatever economic or political problems in their home country are causing them to want to leave. It would be nice if the US were to implement some policies that supported this, as it’s the best long term solution to their illegal immigration problem. Failing that it would be nice if they stopped actively working against it. Of course that all presupposes that it’s a problem the US actually wants to solve.

        2. R40

          Dallas Morning News is actually considered “liberal” in Texas and especially reviled by Gov. Goodhair.

      5. Doug Terpstra

        It shows a tragic lack of empathy or compassion, moral poverty surely born of profound fear.

        1. hunkerdown

          If they didn’t want to live in fear they never should have bought into Because Markets.

    2. Brindle

      Obama’s support of the 2009 coup in Honduras was critical to the reality of it now being a “failed state”. The economic and political refugees now fleeing Honduras are directly a result of the Obama/ Hillary neoliberal policies in Central America.
      From several year ago:

      —Since the coup, the United States has constructed two new military bases in Honduras (in Gracias a Dios and on the island of Guanaja), ramped up police training and, most recently, on December 27, announced that drones will be operating out of the joint US/Honduras air force base at Palmerola.—

      1. mellon

        Re: Honduras nightmare – Central America Crisis Belies CAFTA’s Empty Promises

        Nine years ago this week, the polemical Central America Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA) was passed by the House of Representatives…in the dead of night…by a single vote.

        CAFTA proponents promised the deal would reduce gang and drug-related violence in Central America, boost economic development, and diminish the factors pushing Central Americans to migrate to the United States.

        Such promises already sounded hollow when they were voiced in 2005. Today, as thousands of Central American children leave their homes and risk their lives to try to make it to the United States, CAFTA’s promises have proven tragically empty.

        When trying to secure passage for CAFTA’s expansion of the controversial North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) model to five Central American nations and the Dominican Republic, the Bush administration and corporate lobbyists could not rely on the standard promises of job creation and deficit reduction that had proven false under NAFTA. Instead, they launched a barrage of political arm-twisting and horse-trading to convince members of Congress to vote against the anti-CAFTA opinions of their constituents.

        Many CAFTA backers also resorted to selling the deal as a pathway to peace and prosperity for Central America. Here is Representative Tom Davis (R-Va.) speaking on the House floor in favor of CAFTA on July 27, 2005:

        “…we need to understand that CAFTA is more than just a trade pact. It’s a signal of U.S. commitment to democracy and prosperity for our neighbors. And it’s the best immigration, anti-gang, and anti-drug policy at our disposal…Want to fight the ever-more-violent MS-13 gang activity originating in El Salvador but prospering in Northern Virginia? Pass CAFTA …Want to begin to ebb the growing flow of illegal immigrants from Central America? Pass CAFTA.”

        One day later, Congress passed CAFTA.

        Nine years later, gang and drug-related violence in Central America has reached record highs and the “growing flow” of immigrants from Central America has surged.

      2. FederalismForever

        @Brindle. I read the Nation article you linked to, but remain confused by your statement that Obama’s “support” of the coup was “critical” to Honduras now being a “failed state” (Clinton avoided the phrase “military coup” and refused to “fully condemn” Micheletti? That’s it?) or how constructing two new military bases and ramping up police training are “neoliberal” policies that have “directly” resulted in Honduras’ troubles, such as having one of the world’s highest murder rates. (Constructing a military base causes widespread murder and mayhem?) Seems like just another attempt to assign a vastly disproportionate share of the blame to U.S. policies, and too little blame to the culture and practices of the local population.

        1. Doug Terpstra

          The relationship of the twelve-fold surge in child refugees and the US-sponsored coup in Honduras is simply undeniable. Though also evident in neighboring countries, cause and effect are starkly obvious in Honduras.

          “The surge in the number of
          children fleeing the country says a
          lot about what has happened in
          Honduras since the coup. First, the
          military takeover, which was
          supported by the Obama
          administration, broke Honduras’
          already weak institutions. Second,
          with rampant corruption and
          police impunity, crime has spiraled
          out of control. Third, state security
          forces have engaged in a bloody
          campaign of political and social
          persecution, killing people who
          opposed the coup, campesinos,
          indigenous protesters and others.
          Journalists are routinely
          threatened; many are murdered.”

          See also “The Central American Child Refugee Crisis: Made in U.S.A.”

          1. toldjaso

            Because “labor” is as superfluous as “useless eaters” — Because 1% Lebensraum.

          1. FederalismForever

            @Doug Terpstra. Thanks for linking to those articles. Having read them (along with the Dissent article referred to in the article) I remain perplexed at how the U.S. could in any way be described as the main, or primary, cause of the troubles in Honduras. The Dissent article, for example, tries to assign blame to the Obama Administration, but when you read closely, its evidence for this is that the Obama team “dragged its feet in condemning the coup and balked at other governments’ demand for Zelaya’s immediate return.” Um, OK. Moreover, the article itself acknowledges that Obama did eventually condemn the coup, but referring to it as a “military coup” would automatically trigger reductions in certain forms of aid. We also read of US “support” for the military groups that are committing these atrocities, yet no precise measurement of the extent of such “support” is ever provided – e.g., there are no citations to official reports listing precisely how much money, or aid, is coming directly from the US (if any).

            You seem quite confident in declaring that the coup was “US-sponsored.” What do you base that on?

            1. Doug Terpstra

              IIRC, you had the same trouble accepting US -sponsorship of the Ukrainian coup also, despite ample evidence, as well as the involvement of the CIA there. Knowing enough US history and the copious circumstantial evidence specific to the Honduran coup, not the least if which is that military funding has never been higher, not even during Iran-Contra, then yes, I’m confident in my declaration. Follow the money, FF. If you require “official reports listing precisely how much money, or aid, is coming directly from the US (if any)”, (a bit of humor there?) then call the CIA and follow the prompts for “covert ops, black sites, and dirty wars — funding thereof” — and they’ll send those reports right over, notarized in triplicate — express mail on request. Or, since I’m not anti-semantic, let’s jusy say “US-supported”:

              “Top Ten Ways You Can Tell Which Side The United States Government is On With Regard to the Military Coup in Honduras”


              See also: “WikiLeaks Honduras: State Dept. Busted on Support of Coup.”


              See also interview with President Zelaya

              “ [Zelaya] talks about why he believes the United States was behind the coup, and what exactly happened on June 28,2009, when hooded Honduran soldiers kidnapped him at gunpoint and put him on a plane to Costa Rica, stopping to refuel at Palmerola, the U.S. military base in Honduras. “This coup d’état was made by the right wing of the United States,” Zelaya says. “The U.S. State Department has always denied, and they continue to deny, any ties with the coup d’état. Nevertheless, all of the proof incriminates the U.S. government. And all of the actions that were taken by the de facto regime, or the golpista regime, which are those who carried out the coup, favor the industrial policies and the military policies and the financial policies of the United States in Honduras.”


              Also, “The U.S. State Department freely admitted it had consulted with the perpetrators prior to the coup (Wall Street Journal, 6/29/09). With the U.S. as Honduras’ largest trading partner, its army heavily subsidized by the U.S., and some of the coup leaders including the head of the military trained in the U.S. School of the Americas, at least some tacit involvement in the coup by U.S. is evident.”


              1. FederalismForever

                @Doug Terpstra. Thanks for the links. I will read them carefully later. I did read the Democracy Now interview Alejandro posted. Zelaya presents a lot of circumstantial evidence which he believes points to US involvement.

                Let me ask you an honest question: Why would Obama, so soon after taking office, approve such a coup? As the interview notes, it had been over 25 years since the last coup in Central America. The Cold War is over. Honduras is a tiny country. Even if Zelaya “nationalized” every single U.S. investment in Honduras, why would Obama take this huge political risk, precisely at the time (2009) when he was traveling the world giving speeches about how the U.S. was going to be “friendly” again?

                1. JTFaraday

                  Who knows what Obama approves and doesn’t approve. It’s like you’ve never assumed the position on the company farm.

                  Obama’s only chance, any president’s only chance, is to bring in his (or her) own very strong administration. Obama didn’t even remotely try to do that.

                2. Doug Terpstra

                  Who knows? I suspect the deep-state coup was presented to Obama as a fait accompli, and he simply rubber-stamped it as the good manservant to power that he’s proven to be. (See how he bends and spreads for Netanyahu)

                  I’ve come to see the great O as a willing and unprincipled narcissistic gigolo eunuch, a brilliant actor and epic fraud who will do anything for power. But ironically, as a result, he’s a pathetic captive who has no real power at all — just a waterboy in the plantation white house. Worse, by wholesale deceit and betrayal, by breaking every campaign pledge, by handing the treasury, the DOJ, the US constitution, unions, fair trade policy, and the military to wall st and AIPAC, he’s destoyed the empire as well as his own legacy and will be fortunate not to swing from a lamppost.

                  1. FederalismForever

                    @Doug Terpstra. So, you can’t even formulate a theory as to why Obama (or the “deep state”) would approve, or engineer, a coup in a tiny Central American country, even though doing so would likely engender even more anti-US hostility and paranoia among the citizens of another Latin American country? It seems that you simply adopt the maxim of deep state as deux ex machina!

                    (Love your last paragraph though.)

                    1. Christopher Dale Rogers


                      Whilst Doug may be unable to offer a succinct appraisal, I certainly can, and this can be done with how Mr. Reagan treated a Commonwealth country in your region known as Grenada – essentially, and with the exception of Cuba, your history since the Monroe Doctrine has been one of interference in all nations attached to North and South America, starting with Canada in 1812.

                      Now, what possible cause for an invasion could a tiny state like Grenada be, apart from wishing to go its own way. Despite the “black flag” alleged cause of the invasion, the fact remains that the good ole US of A wished to make a statement to all countries within its sphere of influence, however, having left its eye off the ball for a few years, you folks in DC are bemused that not all State’s in the Americas wish to follow DC diktats, Argentina and Venezuela being bug bears of late. Obviously, if a nation state desires to actually govern in the interests of the majority of its inhabitants, its a threat as far as the maniacs are concerned in DC – my God what will the natives think in Mexico, another state appallingly treated by you chaps.

                      Now as a Brit with a fair understanding of Empire and colonialism, I can instruct you that my own nations crimes are legion, but they seem to pale into insignificance compared to the USA wearing its post 1945 Superpower hat. Now tell me again, what exactly does “full spectrum dominance” entail, which is a policy that informs all your overseas policy since September 2001.

                    2. Doug Terpstra

                      Wow, you wait for the short bus to remedial reading. One more time, ff, now pay attention: follow the money. Did you get that? Follow. The. Money. What drives this empire are the unexceptional mad compulsions that have possessed all empires in history, power and profit, the insane obsession to dominate and take it all. Any more questions?

                      I’ll ask again, what’s your theory?

                    3. FederalismForever

                      @Christopher Dale Rogers. You need to brush up on the latest historical research surrounding the Grenada Invasion. There is no longer any reasonable doubt that Grenada’s leader, Paul Scoon, requested U.S. assistance via “back channels”, pursuant to a treaty agreement between the U.S. and the Caribbean States. An early report by the NY Times to the contrary has now been shown to be false. Moreover, it has now been shown that Congressman Ron Dellums, who made a lot of statements critical of the invasion at the time, had received numerous payments form the communist militias. The date of the U.S. invasion is now a national holiday in Grenada. Try again.

                      Also, the crimes committed by the U.S. post-1945 can’t begin to compare to the crimes committed by the British Empire throughout its history. If the U.S. truly acted like an “empire,” it would not have withdrawn from Iraq, and Iraq’s oil contracts would not have been awarded to the Chinese. Instead, the U.S. would have completely annexed Iraq, its citizens would today be U.S. subjects, and all of Iraq’s oil profits would now accrue to the benefit of U.S. GDP. That’s how “true” empires operate. Strange that I need to explain this to a Brit!

            2. Alejandro

              Here’s an alternate link to the interview that Doug refers to;

              Your point about “measurements” is interesting and would lead to the very important question of accountability. I vaguely remember the “Iran-Contra” saga but I do remember thinking that accountability was the main issue..

              My question to you, and I ask strictly as a student, from a “Federalism” POV, who should the armed forces of a sovereign nation be accountable to?

              1. FederalismForever

                @Alejandro. To answer your question: ideally, to the popularly elected leaders of that nation.

                In practice, however, things can get more complicated where: the nation lacks the technical capacity to design and/or manufacture modern weapons, and must therefore turn to some other nation for top-grade weapons and training. If the “other nation” is the US, for example, that means army personnel may have spent time in the US getting trained by US military personnel, and may have been supplied with US weapons.

                In addition, where the “other nation” has invested billions to build-out the infrastructure of the “host” nation – e.g., railroads, energy utilities, sanitation systems, canals, etc., – and has yet to fully recover its contractually-stipulated return, the “other nation” may not take kindly to a local politician’s attempts to “nationalize” – i.e., seize, via theft – the infrastructure and utilities and default on the remaining payments to the “other nation’s” companies. This can create a situation where the other country may want to become more intimately involved in the host nation’s politics.

                But, to return to your question, as a baseline rule I would expect that the country’s army personnel would be very strongly inclined to remain loyal to their country – out of sheer nationalistic pride, if nothing else. It would be interesting to explore common patterns where this baseline rule does not apply – i.e, where the army personnel are persuaded/convinced to act contrary to the interests of their nation.

                1. Lambert Strether

                  “[H]as yet to fully recover its contractually-stipulated return.” It’s been awhile since I’ve read Heart of Darkness; I should read it again. As far as Army officers acting contrary to the interests of their nation, the Chilean officers who became torturers and murderers, the ones the Chicago Boys liked so much, come immediately to mind.

        2. Alejandro

          Here are some interesting stats and facts;
          Homicides per 100k inhabitants is 92 in Honduras and 8.7 in neighboring Nicaragua.
          Of the Central American Child refugee crises, a disproportionate number is from Honduras and virtually none are from Nicaragua.
          How do you reconcile this with your posturing of “blame to the culture and practices of the local population”?

          1. Doug Terpstra

            Great point. Blaming victims first is a typical right wing ploy that fails big in this case. This is an unconscionable humanitarian tragedy, made in the USA. I can’t fathom the cold-hearted response to the desperation of tens of thousands of children driven to such extremes by our own imperial policy. It’s sickening.

            1. FederalismForever

              @Doug Terpstra. In 2009 (i.e., “pre-coup”) Honduras had Central America’s highest murder rate. At least, that’s what this article says:


              Now, if Pre-Coup Honduras already had Central America’s highest murder rate, then why do you state that high murder rate in Post-Coup Honduras is “made in the USA”? Admittedly, it seems the homicide situation has only gotten worse since 2009. In which case, are you only blaming the increase on the USA?

              These are not rhetorical questions. I am genuinely interested in the methodology you employ to conclude that today’s dismal situation in Honduras was “made in the USA.”

              1. Doug Terpstra

                From your link, Honduras’s muder rate was under 60/100K in 08, rocketing to 90/100k in 2012, a 50% iincrease.


                I’m not blaming the increase on the US, but the US-supported military coup and neoliberal laissez-faire look like compelling contributing factors to me and to a lot of reporters. I suspect that the victim profile in that increased rate has changed as well, along with increased poverty, leading to the 12-fold increase in child refugees. The methodology is is simply connecting the big flashing dots of major current events.

                Your theory is what, bad parenting? Inferior genes? Chidhood adventure? These are not rhetorical questions. I really want to understand what you believe is driving 60,000 children to flee home and country, brave hunger, exposure, injury, rape, robbery, and death and travel 1,000 miles to an unknown country.

                1. FederalismForever

                  There is no doubt that the situation in Honduras is very grave. I simply question how much of Honduras’ current situation can be blamed on the US, or on “neoliberal” policies. Why would Obama, or the CIA, or the “deep state” want to create a situation that would make it more likely that a refugee crisis would develop?

                  I’m sure you know that Honduras suffered greatly from Hurricane Mitch. It destroyed something like 50%-70% of the crops and infrastructure. Might it be that Honduras has never fully recovered?

                    1. FederalismForever

                      A hurricane that devastating in a country that poor could be a cause of the dislocation and destruction that has resulted in (among other things) an ever-increasing homicide rate which (apparently) starting trending upwards from that time onwards.

                      Look, I’m no expert in Honduran history. But I’m not the one defending the claim that the recent dislocation was “made in the USA.” You’re the one making this claim, yet you can’t even put forward a plausible theory why Obama (or his “deep state”) would have any interest in causing such disruption so that tens of thousands of children would end up as refugees in the USA.

                    2. Doug Terpstra

                      So, again, your most plausible alternative theory to pathological greed, powerlust, neoliberal coups, and rigged trade for the recent explosion of child refugees is dislocation caused by hurricane sixteen years ago? Okay, got it. It’s difficult to debate religious devotion to irrational patriotism, so let’s just agree to disagree then.

                    3. Alejandro

                      Also worth noting is that the very same hurricane wreaked havoc in Nicaragua and Costa Rica, which degrades the posturing to less than plausible but slightly above absurd.

        3. mellon

          Job loss due to CAFTA – a destabilizing influence that seems to lead to an increase in drugs and gang violence, has been a big part of the reason people are fleeing Central America. CAFTA with its mandate to allow cheap food imports from the US has destroyed the livelihood of literally millions of small farmers throughout Central America.

          Also, the US has insisted on rules that have made healthcare – and drugs, unaffordable to a great many people in Central America. For example, see A Trade Agreement’s Impact On Access To Generic Drugs

    1. abynormal

      why didn’t they send a team to him?..if he and his colleagues in Africa were presently experienced handlers of one of the most dangerous strains, then why bring him here to be cared for by less experienced handlers?
      when i hear an American Public/Private organization such as CDC ask me for compassion…i know im about to pony up. religious coalitions stepping in front seals our fate…they were doing gods work and where have we heard that too many times before?

      1. Paul Niemi

        I thought I would check and see if there were other countries, besides the U.S., that might import the Ebola virus, for some reason or just because. Interestingly, there appeared this:

        I can’t imagine the suffering if that virus got loose in China.

    2. abynormal

      profits before people (dead or alive) is our motto…so who will take the highest bid to dispose the deceased? i get the feeling this situation has not been completely thought through…im just using our present economic situation as a guideline. No Exit…

      1. abynormal

        the horror…from your link: “The discussion indicates China has an active Ebola project and the virus is rapidly evolving via recombination. It was not clear from earlier reports if the agent was isolated and sequenced, but this interview leaves little doubt that both isolation and sequencing of Ebola is quite active.”
        Thanks for the Link!

        1. craazyboy

          Grows more, morphs more……WHOcouldaknowed.

          This is beginning to worry me. Been reading bits and pieces about it – don’t know if this is all true or not, but there are supposed to be about 100 infected health workers so far. These are the ones trained, wearing masks & gloves, etc…seems a bit more easily contagious than we’ve been led to believe so far.

          We’ve been told it transmits via bodily fluids, but in reading a list of bodily fluids, SWEAT is on the list. So anywhere you may encounter sweat could be a problem. Gym, public toilets, door knobs, or let your imagination run wild.

          Another scary thing I read is if you survive it, you can still be a carrier for up to 3 months after you are “cured”! That’s a long time to be quarantined in Ebola Camp.

          If the above is all true, we are really playing with fire.

            1. different clue

              Why not? If the Overclass wanted to kill 4-6 billion people over the next 50 years and make it look like an accident, how might they do it?

              1. kj1313

                Civil unrest. Our overlords will not be able to guarantee it won’t bite them in the ass. It’s not like Elysium (yet) where there are living separated from everyone else.

                1. Ulysses

                  I don’t think too many of the affluent people in Cos Cob or Greenwich are living cheek by jowl with a lot of lower income people. Not completely separate yet, but moving in that direction.

                  1. kj1313

                    Yes but the pitchforks can still reach them. With the amount of loss 4 billion deaths can incur it can create pure chaos, sort of like the Walking Dead and there is no escape.

  1. wbgonne

    “Former Obama Aides Broke With Democratic Firm Over Anti-Teachers Union Project”

    Yet another pernicious consequence of Obama’s bait-and-switch presidency: Now it is perfectly acceptable for high-profile Democrats to attack unions … and support carbon fuel … and attack the social safety net … and abuse civil liberties. The rupture is complete. The American political system is now fully divorced from the interests of the American People. I’d say we’re at rock-bottom but Hillary is on deck so we don’t even have the fake hope to hope for this time around. Interesting times.

      1. wbgonne

        The pinnacle of identity-politics liberalism. A black president. But the liberals forgot that an equal share of nothing is still nothing. Identity-politics was hijacked by the plutocrats to take take over the Democratic Party and perfect their monopoly of the American political system. Equal protection is not the battle anymore. Due process is. Universal rights are. Anti-corporatism is.

    1. Doug Terpstra

      Yeah, but Hillary’s a woman, so we can always hope that as the nation’s first woman president she’ll bring for women all the transformative change Obama delivered worldwide for people of color. Keep hopey-changey alive!

        1. abynormal

          ‘IS Hillary a woman’ really the question to ask on site named Naked capitalism?
          (sorrie couldnt help meself and i too have pondered how many ribs she sports)

    2. Johann Sebastian Schminson

      After the Obama fraud/betrayal, I will never vote a party or a man, again. Let me see a specific reform platform, and run candidates for elective office who are willing to be recalled if they deviate from it, and I’ll vote based on that (the Republicans have locked-down party loyalty, but their ‘platform’ is idiotic).

      If no rational platform is presented, I might just throw in with the one most likely to implode what’s left of our corrupt “Republic” (that would be a vote for a completely Republican ticket).

      I also think it’s interesting that liberals (ostensibly-D) and conservatives (ostensibly-R), once elected, slap “neo” in front of their political philosophies rather than simply admitting to being bald-faced, lying fascists.

      1. Oregoncharles

        The Green Party platform is at I think you’ll like it.
        Caveat: no American party has control over its elected officials. Some states have the recall, which enables voters to force a new vote. The Green Party has a huge investment in its principles, so it’s more likely to refuse to renominate a failed incumbent than the others – that’s if we had an incumbent.

    3. Ulysses

      “The rupture is complete. The American political system is now fully divorced from the interests of the American People.” And 9 out of 10 Americans are at least dimly aware of this. The biggest obstacle for change is that the political classes have learned how to drive cultural wedges between us, so that we don’t unite to “throw the bums out.”

      We need to focus on the many things that unite 99% of us against our kleptocratic oppressors. And the 15-20% of us who might lose something, by radical changes to the status quo, need to recognize that our children and grandchildren will have it very, very bad if we don’t get our act together and start fighting back!!

  2. trish

    re Former Obama Aides Broke With Democratic Firm Over Anti-Teachers Union Project.

    so some GOP “operative” corporate hack “surprised” to find “eight years later…”fighting alongside former Obama administration officials against a common enemy — labor unions.”
    Of course this “surprising” alliance against a common enemy- labor unions, homeowners, the poor, the environment – the (global) public as a whole- cranked up six years ago, despite the very useful play in the press about obama fighting valiantly against those evil republicans.
    Putting the obama face on the corporate (global) assault on the public has been a masterful coup. And Arne Duncan has been obama’s man for the continued public school shakedown.
    there’s no “break” with any of these Dems…One can’t keep track of all the aides/appointees/reps (not to mention their spawn) who have left to cash in after stints of “public service” to their cronies during the obama reign.

    1. Katniss Everdeen


      What, exactly, is this story supposed to be about anyway? Is HuffPo genuinely surprised to discover that political whores really ARE political whores? That they don’t actually BELIEVE the crap that they get paid to peddle?

      Brown, Gibbs et al. don’t have any standing to bring these legal challenges, so they find some sympathetic “victims” and offer their “services” for free. Those victims are the ones I want to hear from and about. Those aggrieved parents whose children got such a lousy “education” because of TEACHER TENURE. Not poverty, malnutrition, lack of school supplies, autism, ADHD druggings, large class sizes, the BS of common core or endless ripoffs by “educational entrepreneurs.” No. It was TEACHER TENURE.

      I’d bet money that teacher tenure would not be the first words out of the “victim’s” mouths if they were to be interviewed about the reasons the education system failed their children. Which is why they won’t be. Ever.

      Instead we get stupid, pointless drivel about supposedly inexplicable associations of Washington political whores mounting wholesale attacks on what’s left of our public institutions.

  3. fresno dan

    “A spastic visual tone poem in glorious hyper-saturated 3D about cars, guns, beer, God, family, and country, Transformers 4 is every bit an accurate portrait of not just the American Dream gone buck wild on steroids, meth, and high-fructose sugar, but what America dreams of itself: Our rich, dark, loud, staggering, overwhelming, relentless id writ so large it’s blinding, almost seizure-inducing.”
    “Give us instead Mark Wahlberg, he of the confused earnest look, like a Golden Retriever asked to do algebra. This is an actor who only causes controversy when he loves America and its fighting men too much. Baffled, slow on the uptake, always a little lost, naturally Wahlberg plays a DIY robotics engineer and inventor named Cade Yeager from Texas. (Apparently, this is the only way real ‘Mericans will accept “science”—if it comes from Texas… or outer space.)”
    “There’s also Bay’s endless love of playing soldiers, threading that camouflage needle between glorification of the American fighting man and his military might (John Goodman’s new Transformer character Hound is a cigar-chomping, thick-waisted WWII gunney sergeant—the Greatest Generation of Space Robots) and distrust of the American government, represented here by weak-spined, sniveling, impotent Thomas Lennon as the White House Chief of Staff and granite-jawed Kelsey Grammar as a rogue C.I.A. honcho.

    A walking paragon of American paranoia, conspiracy, and greed, Grammar’s character spouts familiar isolationist fear-mongering propaganda about “alien terrorists” and “us versus them” as he wields secret anti-terrorism Black Ops strike teams and predator drones and invades good Americans’ privacy and property.”

    1. The Black Swan

      I’ve been trying to convince everyone I know of this, since I first saw Transformers 3. Friends and family thought I was crazy because I watched this movie about 20x over the course of a couple months. But it, more than any film I’ve ever seen, perfectly encapsulates 21st century ‘merica. Big, loud, dumb, and utterly fake. Now I just have to wait so I can torrent #4. (there is no way in hell I would ever willingly give them money)

  4. fresno dan

    “Another complaint with the Piketty and Saez results is that they ignore important forms of what might be called “invisible” compensation such as employer-provided health insurance. The street value of that policy — what your employer pays — might be in the neighborhood of $12,000 a year for a family plan.

    Piketty and Saez ignore such invisible income because it isn’t reported to the IRS. Burkhauser, by contrast, imputes the missing data. (That is, he does his best to estimate what the missing number might be.) This tends to bring up middle-class income relative to the affluent. Burkhauser argues that cash wages may have stagnated in real terms, but that’s because employees are getting paid more in invisible currency.”
    ECONOMICSTS – on the one hand, we pay way, way too much for health care….on the other hand, all this excess money (that we never see, as insurance goes right to the medical establishment) can be used to argue against inequality.
    “Where does all this leave us? Even with its limitations, the Burkhauser data still show a substantial increase in inequality from 1979 to 2007. Congressional Budget Office data show that the market incomes of all households grew about $6 trillion, to $10.6 trillion in 2009 from $4.6 trillion in 1979, in constant 2009 dollars. The middle quintile of households — the middle class — captured about 10 percent of this. The top 1 percent captured more than 28 percent, or nearly three times as much.

    The same data show that in 1979 the middle quintile of households earned 77 percent more market income than did the top 1 percent — just as one would expect in a market economy. In 2007, however, the top 1 percent earned 61 percent more in market income than did the entire middle quintile. This is an extraordinary reversal in less than 30 years. ”

    “But as the CBO data show, almost half the growth in median real disposable income was the result of lower taxes or larger government transfers, not real economic gains. Median disposable income grew about 35 percent from 1979 to 2007, while median household market incomes grew 19 percent.
    A moment’s reflection will reveal that one cannot trumpet the advances in available resources of the middle class when those advances are driven to such a large extent by government tax and transfer policies, unless you also are willing to entertain ever-increasing government transfers — and steeper taxes on the highest-income Americans to fund them.”

    “But market triumphalists use the work of Burkhauser and others to argue the opposite: Everything is fine, and there is no need to raise taxes.”
    Inconsistency. I doubt Burkhauser can even see his own inconsistency – in many ways, he’s a “TRANSFORMERS” economist, i.e., the premise is the “market economy” is the best economy you can have, the USA “market economy” is the greatest, ipso facto there can’t be any undeserved inequality. Part of the Hedonics outlook, that sees ever more various sized multimedia screens as the epitome of advancing prosperity – ignoring the incessant commercials, interruptions and product placement (which to these guys is a feature and not a bug….) – I saw it on a little screen, it must be true

    1. sd

      Fascinating article. Bit disturbing. Will they one day extract sound from multiple sources? For instance, a loud radio and a whispered conversation. Or a fan blowing on leaves and two people talking?

  5. abynormal

    Here’s Everything We Know About The ‘Secret Serum’ Used To Treat An American With Ebola
    As Dr. Kent Brantly and missionary Nancy Writebol waited in a Liberian hospital, someone from the National Institutes of Health reached out to Samaritan’s Purse, one of the two North Carolina-based Christian relief groups the two were working with, and offered to have vials of an experimental drug called ZMapp sent to Liberia, according to CNN’s unnamed source.

    Although the Food and Drug Administration does allow experimental drugs to occasionally be distributed in life-threatening circumstances without approval under the expanded access or “compassionate use” conditions, it’s not yet clear whether that approval was granted in this case or not.

    A spokesperson for the FDA told Business Insider that federal law and FDA regulations prohibit them from commenting on specific products, as that information is considered confidential.
    An Emergency Treatment

    However it was approved, three frozen vials of ZMapp, a drug being developed by Mapp Biopharmaceutical, were flown to Liberia and arrived the morning of Thursday July 31.

    The serum needed eight to 10 hours to thaw. (okaaay)

    Brantly, who had been sick for nine days already, reportedly had asked that Writebol receive the first dose, as he was younger and thought he had a better chance of surviving. (It’s unclear from the CNN story why the doses apparently were not all ready at the same time.)

    But his condition worsened as the first dose thawed, and CNN reports that he told his doctors, “I am going to die.”

    He asked for the first dose and had it given to him through an IV. According to CNN’s source, within an hour, he was able to breathe better and a rash on his body started to fade. The next day he was able to shower without help before boarding the air ambulance that flew him to Atlanta.

    Writebol reportedly didn’t respond as well to the first treatment she received, and had to be given the third vial of serum. (okaaaay) Her second treatment seemed to improve her condition, according to CNN, and stabilized her enough that she’s expected to fly to the U.S. on Tuesday, August 5.
    How It Might Have Worked

    The ZMapp serum itself is what’s known as a “monoclonal antibody.” As James Hamblin of The Atlantic explains, these substances are created by infecting an animal with the disease in question. Then, scientists harvest and use the antibodies that the animals’ immune systems create to fight the virus. In this case, the antibodies were harvested from Ebola-infected mice.

    Studies have tested various other blends of similar therapies against Ebola-infected monkeys before, with some efficacy — but only when the therapy is given within 48 hours of infection. As Hamblin cautions, “very little is known about the safety and effectiveness of this treatment—so little that outside of extreme circumstances like this, it would not be legal to use.”
    Could Drugs Stop The Epidemic?

    This Ebola outbreak — the worst in history — has already killed 887 people. But promising news of an experimental serum doesn’t mean that a treatment is close.

    Developing a cure for a virus is complicated, and developing a treatment for Ebola has proven particularly difficult.

    In this case, since health officials can’t comment on a specific treatment or on the patients involved for privacy reasons, we don’t know the exact status of Brantly and Writebol or how that status has been affected by the serum that they reportedly received.

    Before this emergency use, ZMapp had only been tested in a small number of monkeys. The company reported that all four monkeys who received the treatment within 24 hours of being infected survived. Half of another group of four monkeys who were treated within 48 hours survived.

    Brantly and Writebol had been sick much longer than that before being treated, and treatments that work in animals — especially such a small number of animals — routinely fail to work in human trials.

    Standard “treatment” for Ebola usually involves trying to keep patients hydrated and alive long enough to give the immune system a chance to battle the virus. And while that approach may sound unpromising, this outbreak has had a fatality rate of about 60% so far, not close to the 90% that’s often reported.

    That 60% number could still rise, but survival cannot necessarily be attributed to an experimental treatment. While Ebola is highly fatal, some people do survive without any extraordinary interventions.
    A Tale Of Two Drugs: Mapp Vs. Tekmira

    ZMapp is not even far enough along to have entered the clinical trial phase, but it may have been chosen in this case instead of the promising experimental drug Tekmira because an ongoing Tekmira trial was just halted by the FDA.

    That doesn’t mean that all research on Tekmira is over, however. The ongoing trial was halted because healthy patients showed a problematic immune response. But the FDA could still approve a new trial of the drug in sick patients, as the risk-benefit equation would be changed. A potential benefit of surviving a disease that kills 60-90% of patients could outweigh the risks of many potentially problematic side effects.

    CNN also reported that on July 30, the military approved additional funding for Mapp Biopharmaceutical because of their promising results so far.

    If either ZMapp or Tekmira proves to be effective; testing, approving, and then producing a drug will still take time, even if the process is fast-tracked. (ka-ching)

    At this point, the best hope for stopping this outbreak is not curing it, but containing it.

    Even though the virus can only be transmitted by close contact, and thus it can be contained, health officials have been completely unable to do so in West Africa due to a combination of factors including poor healthcare infrastructure, distrust of authorities, traditional burial practices, and fear of healthcare providers. (hmmmm)

    At the present rate, World Health Organization chief Margaret Chan describes the consequences of not being able to stop the disease’s spread as “catastrophic.”

        1. craazyboy

          Yeah, the thing about the 10 hour thaw time is really weird. Anyone with an ice cube in the fridge can test that out and see it ain’t so. Even if it were cryo cooled closer to absolute zero for some odd reason, I don’t think it would take anywhere near that long, off the top of my head. When these articles make a big deal out of impossible things, makes you wonder about the whole article.

          The only thing that would make sense would be if the “cure” was a living organism. I’ll use beer yeast as an example, since it is my area of micro-bio expertise. If you start with de-hydrated yeast, first you re-hydrate in water for 15-30 minutes. Then the little guys have soaked up the water and are becoming active, but they are groggy and weak. At that point you feed them sugar and a couple mineral nutrients and they become healthy and strong – in about an hour of time. Then if you want to grow the culture bigger, provide enough food and aerated oxygen and you can double the population about every 2 hours, I think it is.

          Now many vaccines are weakened forms of a virus, but the things they are talking about as treatments aren’t alive, the definition of alive being that they procreate all by themselves. It would be better if the treatment where alive of course. It will take a long time to grow a few hundred million monkeys and milk them for anti-bodies.

          Course it could be the article just explained it wrong.

          Besides, I like monkeys.

          1. hunkerdown

            Oh for bloody sake. Anyone who’s gotten frostbite on the fingers knows full well not to thrust their hand into a hot bath if they intend to keep it. It’s not just a case of getting up to temperature, but doing so without adversely breaking or folding the heavy (~150kDa) antibody proteins.

            1. craazyboy

              From reading the article, without trying to read a whole lot into it, I assumed they froze the stuff – lets say to the usual freezer temp of around zero F, and then are letting it thaw at the natural rate you would have by removing the individual dosages from the cooling container and letting them thaw at room temp.

              If there is some sort of controlled thaw that takes 10 hours, it would have been helpful if the author mentioned that.

              But now you’ve made me go and look up frostbite treatment at WebMD. See how much work this author is causing us?
              At the hospital, frostbite is usually treated comprehensively because its severity cannot be diagnosed in the first few days. Usually, patients need to be admitted for observation. Initially, the hospital staff will probably do the following:
              Rapidly warm the affected area in water for 15 to 30 minutes.
              Remove blisters that contain clear or milky fluid and cover them with a topical antibiotic, petroleum jelly, or aloe vera gel. Blisters that contain blood may not be removed.
              Splint and elevate the affected area and wrap it in a loose bandage.
              Administer ibuprofen to limit inflammation, tetanus toxoid to prevent tetanus infection, and antibiotics to prevent or treat infection. Narcotic drugs may be needed to treat pain as sensation returns.

              But this is all just a minor point anyway. The real disturbing thing is the article seems to be about a pharm company that is making a vaccine for monkeys, so that the monkeys will make an antibody for humans, which the pharma company will harvest and distribute to humans.

              From what (little) I know about vaccines, you make the vaccine for humans, the humans grow their own anti-bodies, and we can skip the much of the pharma middlemen distribution and the 100 million monkeys.

              So I think the author or someone needs to double check this scenario. Otherwise this whole “treatment” is of insufficient scope to handle an epidemic, except for the obvious few.

              If we do try and breed the 100 million monkeys and steal their bodily fluids, I can’t help thinking this is the prequel to the prequel of the Planet of the Apes. But I know I have an overactive imagination with regard to these sorts of things.

              1. financial matters

                :) Luckily industry is working on better methods. Monoclonal antibodies are routinely used even at the community hospital level for cancer and infectious disease diagnosis and increasingly for treatment and for prediction of response to treatment.


                “”The rapid growth in product demand for mAbs triggered parallel efforts to increase production capacity through construction of large bulk manufacturing plants as well as improvements in cell culture processes to raise product titers.””

                1. abynormal

                  Thanks FM, been hoping you’d show up…
                  “The increase in titers has also led to a marked reduction in production costs, which could then become a relatively small fraction of sales price for future products which are sold at prices at or near current levels.”

                  1. financial matters

                    Thanks aby. As mentioned treating a lot of these infectious diseases is like chasing a moving target. Once the right antibody is identified it can be mass produced. Also as has been mentioned the patenting of these viruses can be problematic. Indonesia refused to release some avian flu strains because they thought the vaccines being developed wouldn’t be affordable to their population..


                    1. abynormal

                      Awesome Link FM…time for me to locate that wee brain cell from hs biology. (i’ll be clicking on the narrated tutorial’) Thanks!

                2. craazyboy

                  Aha. Putting 2+2 together then, when the article says “harvesting antibodies from animals” we are supposed to know they mean perhaps animal cells are cloned in a cloning vat and they are somehow induced to produce anti-bodies that are harvested.

                  Ok. But I think I’ll keep an eye out for more articles on the subject, just in case I’m guessing wrong again.

                  1. petal

                    Look up “hybridoma” on wikipedia. These are made up of special cells that produce a specific antibody, fused with a cancerous B cell(so that way they keep dividing and thus producing antibody). The antibodies are secreted into culture media, and then can be isolated from the culture media and used to treat people. You can do it at the homebrew level on the bench, or scale it up massively(like in giant vats for beer). I grow these cells and isolate the antibodies on a regular basis, so please yell if anyone has any questions and I’ll try to answer them. Cheers.

                    1. petal

                      And as for the long thaw time, the serum may have (more like likely )been stored in a -80 freezer and shipped to Africa on dry ice. I can see it taking several hours to thaw.

              2. hunkerdown

                Oh dear. I’ll have to take a few nibbles on my hat for that one, then — many thanks for updating my store of knowledge. To be fair, when medical assistance is available, the potential complications of a quick thaw for frostbitten areas may constitute less risk overall than a slow thaw.

                Cutting out the middleman wouldn’t work here. The first one requires thinking in terms of flows over time. Can or will the body, especially one that’s under attack by a destructive pathogen right now, create enough antibodies to recruit the immune system’s forces to get rid of the invader before something really important breaks? If the body could, the disease presumably wouldn’t be so lethal. So they mount a few scratch monkeys (caution, anti-antidote) to chase the “horse” that left the stable (semi-antidote). The second is that rapidly mutating pathogens are poor targets for vaccines, which is why last year’s flu vaccine won’t protect well next year. Ebola, as I understand it, mutates quickly, so even if foresight were 20/20 and everyone were to take it in advance of contact, there’s a significant chance it won’t help when needed most.

                1. craazyboy

                  Another fun fact:

                  Freezing and thawing yeast kills them thru shear forces. You can store them in the fridge ok for a few months with occasional feeding. They just hibernate.

                  But if you want to freeze and store some of your fancy beer yeast strains for a year or two – say a nice 1000 year old Trappist strain – you can freeze them in a 15% glycerin solution and they survive freezing and thawing because the glycerin is slippery.

                  But as far as Ebola vaccines and treatments go, it looks like we have a way to go yet. If they mutate fast, that’s a problem for the both vaccine and treatment, I think.

              3. mellon

                To manufacture a new drug they might use genetically modified animals that have been given some human genes, like pigs.

  6. Jim Haygood

    Cabinet revolt in the UK:

    Foreign Office minister Baroness Warsi has resigned from the government, saying its policy on the crisis in Gaza is “morally indefensible”. She wrote on her Twitter feed that she was leaving with “deep regret”.

    Lady Warsi, who was previously chairman of the Conservative Party, became the first female Muslim cabinet minister when David Cameron took office in 2010.

    The prime minister said he “regretted” that she had not discussed her decision to quit with him before announcing it. Labour backed Lady Warsi’s comments, but Chancellor George Osborne called her resignation “disappointing and frankly unnecessary”.

    1. Carolinian

      Phil Weiss suggests attitudes are changing in this country as well:

      More on the left-Israel divorce. This is from two weeks back. Leftwinger Sue Katz of Arlington MA says she’s done with Sens. Elizabeth Warren, Al Franken and Bernie Sanders:

      This is a break-up letter, I’m sorry to tell you. I am done with each and every one of you. Don’t come knocking at my door or my inbox. Don’t look for my support…

      I could do an ABC of brutal Occupation, but you ought to already understand what is being done by a country to which you vote billions of dollars in military and other support. You three are members of one of the most powerful political bodies in the world and you should be as ashamed of yourselves as I am of you.

      Of course we’ve heard this before. Will the progressives follow through?…tipping point finally reached?

      1. hunkerdown

        Doubt it. They’re still in the tank for selling off due process for equal opportunity. Two Republican parties is three too many.

      2. Oregoncharles

        there’s a very similar “open letter” from a local Palestine activist, addressed to Sen. Merkley, circulating here. I’ve invited the guy to the Green Party nominating convention, which will be in his town. We…shall….see.

  7. dagradix

    NDTV video of what they’re calling “exclusive footage” of Hamas rocket fire in dense civilian neighborhood

    I don’t know if there is anything more to this than “yes, Hamas does fire rockets from Gaza…,” but it looks really strange to me. Maybe it’s just seeing people “setting up rockets” like it’s no big deal, near (from what I can make out) are untouched hotels that are lodging a bunch of international journalists. Then again, is that really how Hamas sets rockets up? (I ask bc I don’t know; if so, it would seem that Israel would have no prob finding them with all the drones buzzing around, right?) Is this what a “rocket” look like when fired? (It seems more like a small bomb or firework than a legit and dangerous “rocket”.)

    The video is all over the pro-Israeli (and actual Israeli) press. It’s great propaganda fodder.

    Does anyone know anything about NDTV? Editorial bias against Muslims, maybe? Comments? (I really don’t know what to make of this, myself, other than to question it’s veracity –but, I don’t know what questions and criteria I should use to evaluate it, so… perhaps some of you do?)

    1. hunkerdown

      For some time India has been engaged in territorial disputes with their neighbor Pakistan, whose state religion is Islam. New Delhi is not that far from the dispute. Prejudice would be unsurprising in that context.

      1. dagradix

        Right, anti-Muslim sentiment is widespread in India. I presume this as a generality, but with little knowledge of the culture, and very little familiarity with India’s history (major events of 20th century stuff). I was asking if anyone was more familiar with NDTV (or similar news outlets in India), and if they explicitly show an editorial line that is anti-Muslim. There is no “passive watchdog” type of org (as far as I know) that investigates the biases of Indian news content, or does meta-analysis of Indian journalistic practices.

        As for the video, after watching it over a couple times, I really can’t shake the feeling that there is something really fishy about it. It just doesn’t seem legit. Of course, it doesn’t need to be for propagandistic purposes.

        Have other videos purporting to show definitive proof of Hamas setting up and firing rockets in this fashion surfaced in the media before? IDK, perhaps I’ve just let myself get too hung up on this.

  8. MikeNY

    S&P and the NYT join the reality-based community. At least, tentatively.

    I don’t know whether to rejoice, that these two august institutions have actually wrapped their heads around the blinding obviousness of this mother of all obviosities, or to despair, because it simply feeds into the “groaf / jawbs” narrative, which it will take another two crises for them to see through.

  9. hunkerdown

    Yet another MH17 analysis, by way of The Saker, this one rigorously accounting for observations and evidence. Its author makes the case for BUK SAMs by discounting other proposed possibilities; analyzes four known positions, three observed by Russian radar and one observed by the Telegraph; and weighs each as to consistency with known equipment capabilities and the observed damage and trajectory. Spoiler: the Ukrainians, in Shakhtarsk, with a BUK system.

    1. Lambert Strether

      I read that that. The version I saw says, in the introduction, that a scenario will be proposed in Section 5, but I don’t see a section 5, having searched various permutations thereof.

      Can you give me a string to search on so I can find the spoiler? Thanks.

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