Links 10/12/14

Endangered Tiger Released by Putin Escapes to China Wall Street Journal (furzy mouse)

War-talk in the 21st century Financial Times (Li)

BitHammer, the BitTorrent Banhammer Slashdot (furzy mouse)

Make Your Own Silicon Valley Project Syndicate

Phone boxes turn green to charge mobiles BBC (furzy mouse)

Keystone Be Darned: Canada Finds Oil Route Around Obama Bloomberg

Update on Fukushima Plutonium Releases to the Pacific Ocean Daily Kos


What You Need To Know About Ebola Onion

Ebola-killing robot brought into US hospitals Mirror. I do not vouch as to whether this actually works.

Why Africa Can’t Handle Ebola: the Destruction of the 3rd World Ian Welsh

Ebola and the Five Stages of Collapse ClubOrlov (Chuck L). The extreme scenario is way too extreme. We have a post to run Monday on the propagation of the virus. The short version of the story is that while Africa may well be at risk of precipitous declines in population, the rest of the world isn’t. However, don’t underestimate bad second order effects here. If we have a cluster develop, say 30+ infections in a major US city, you can expect panic to rise independent of actual risk. Early Ebola symptoms look like garden variety flu, so anyone who coughs or wheezes could be viewed as having Ebola. You can expect some people to act out, and given how many people in the US own guns, “acting out” could get very ugly indeed.

World economies warn of global risks, call for bold action Reuters. Since when do “world economies” have agency?

Global Alert From Chongqing: Foxconn Strike Is An Epochal Inflection Point David Stockman (Chuck L)

China’s Hong Kong Nightmare Is Back National Interest

Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank Opposed By US, Seen As Attempt To Boost Chinese Influence International Business Times. The US lost in its efforts to do a combo “everyone but China” plus “enrich US multinationals” deal in the TPP. This move by the Chinese has to stick in the US officialdom’s craw even more. And if Australia, which is almost a military protectorate of the US, joins the organization over US protests, this will be real proof of a decline in our influence in the region. Our guns, as in our dominance of the seas, is not beating butter, as in China creating demand in the region and hence jobs.

How an unstable eurozone could topple the world economy Telegraph

Dennis Gartman says the euro ‘is doomed to failure‘ CNBC

Europanic 2.0 Paul Krugman


US To Send Military Team To Turkey To Discuss ISIS Threat International Business Times. This is almost funny. The US is going in person to hector the Turkish government? We’ve already made it plenty clear we are unhappy. The Turks aren’t keen about the Kurds getting more powerful and are perfectly content to see ISIS mess with them. Not hard to understand, but we pretend not to get that. So if I were Turkey, I’d play Japanese: at most pretend to cooperate, but only do the least important 40% slowly, with plenty of good excuses ready as to why.

ISIS Battles Iraqi Forces Near Baghdad Huffington Post


Ukraine crisis: Putin ‘orders Russian troop pullback’ BBC

Aviation Giant Is Nearly Grounded in Ukraine New York Times

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

Edward Snowden: Supreme Court Will Strike Down NSA Spying Programs National Journal

Citizenfour review – Poitras’ victorious film shows Snowden vindicated Guardian (furzy mouse)

Japan court orders Google to delete data Agence France-Presse

Former NSA director had thousands personally invested in obscure tech firms ars technica

Democratic apparatchiks turn Jack Trammell into just another third-way, “Grand Bargain” loser Corrente

Thousands march in St. Louis to protest police violence Reuters (furzy mouse)

Shariah financing growing popular in the West USA Today (furzy mouse)

Fed officials say global slowdown could push back U.S. rate hike Reuters

Bernanke Takes a Harder Line at Trial Wall Street Journal

Banks accept derivatives rule change to end ‘too big to fail’ scenario Reuters. This looks significant (am checking with experts to see if this prospective change lives up to its hype). But note that it preserves ISDA as being in the business of operating a system of private law.

Class Warfare

Scale, progressivity, and socioeconomic cohesion Steve Waldman

All in the Family Jacobin (Chuck L). On the Market Basket strike.

Slumming It Baffler (furzy mouse). A must read.

Antidote du jour (furzy mouse). An NC first! A baby musk ox!

A baby Musk Ox just a few weeks old.

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. Kokanani

    “Slumming It” really is a must read, especially for its expose of how MSM, and even the not-so-MainStream, dispense a lie once it’s created.

    1. Jake Mudrosti

      Interesting to see traction among messages/messengers that oppose the MSM frameworks, such as this:
      (Apologies to anyone in non-copyright-approved territories blocked out by

      In this 4 minute clip from a popular anime series, a young boy discovers that the town’s nobles are preparing a firestorm to kill off the slum dwellers. (The slum was inspired by the Smokey Mountain slum of Manila, Philippines.)
      Key quote: “Even though [the Nobles] know that people will die soon, they act normally and even smile!” A striking aspect of human nature represented here — in a “kid’s show” of all places! (h/t a colleague)

    2. Doug Terpstra

      A great read. The neoliberal transfiguration of squalor and deprivation into glorious splendor is extremely creative. In turning a sow’s ear into a silk purse, Deepak Gandhi should find a co-author named Mahatma Chopra to close the sale. The next bit of Orwellian greenwashing will extol the virtues of the ultimate recycling: cannibalism as capitalism. It’s a slumdog eats slumdog world.

  2. Jim Haygood

    John Pilger on the rise of ISIS:

    By most scholarly measures, Bush and Blair’s invasion of Iraq in 2003 led to the deaths of some 700,000 people — in a country that had no history of jihadism. The Kurds had done territorial and political deals; Sunni and Shia had class and sectarian differences, but they were at peace; intermarriage was common. Three years before the invasion, I drove the length of Iraq without fear.

    Bush and Blair blew all this to bits. Iraq is now a nest of jihadism. The arrival of foreign recruits was inevitable.

    ISIS is the progeny of those in Washington and London who, in destroying Iraq as both a state and a society, conspired to commit an epic crime against humanity. Like Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge, ISIS are the mutations of state terror dispensed by a venal imperial elite undeterred by the consequences of actions taken at great remove in distance and culture. Their culpability is unmentionable in “our” societies.

    Bush and Blair, authors of war crimes on the scale of Kissinger in Cambodia. Now they’ve handed off to their able successor, Obamao. Spreading democracy, comrades!

    * pukes into an urn *

    1. Eeyores enigma

      Bush, Blair, Obama…we really do need to stop applying names of individuals to all of the malfeasance in the world.

      It implies that if only we got the correct named individual things would/will be better. Its BS! It also allows us to not have to look at the real causes.

      “Ok, so what are the real causes?” you ask. Well wouldn’t it be interesting if all these cleaver, witty, verbose, bloggers addressed that ultimately important question on an on going basis?

      1. Jim Haygood

        “Why would Iraq attack America or use nuclear weapons against us? I’ll tell you what I think the real threat (is) and actually has been since 1990 – it’s the threat against Israel,” Philip Zelikow [executive director of the 9/11 commission] told a crowd at the University of Virginia on Sep. 10, 2002.

        “And this is the threat that dare not speak its name, because the Europeans don’t care deeply about that threat, I will tell you frankly. And the American government doesn’t want to lean too hard on it rhetorically, because it is not a popular sell,” said Zelikow.


        Is that too verbose? ;-)

        1. Jagger

          it’s the threat against Israel

          Iraq, with zero nuclear weapons, was a threat to Israel with hundreds of nuclear weapons? No, Israel wanted Iraq broken up even if Iraq was no threat to Israel. Just like Gaza. Although in this case, they told the US to do the job and we did it.

  3. jgordon

    “We have a post to run Monday on the propagation of the virus.”

    A Hospital worker in Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital picked up ebola despite wearing full protective gear. It would be good if the post on Monday has some thoughts on that. Also, let’s not discount the extreme bumbling incompetence shown by the American healthcare system and CDC to date, the unwillingness to close the borders to ebola countries because of “gender identity issues”, etc…

    1. abynormal

      ever seen a horse chase a cart?…“People who had contact with the health care worker after symptoms emerged will be monitored based on the nature of their interactions and the potential they were exposed to the virus.”

    2. dSquib

      Closing the borders is a terrible idea that will see the disease propagate more quickly, cause greater instability in those countries closed off and potentially make all border controls there non-existent.

      Alas closing the borders to “ebola countries” in any such way that could work (though only short term) is in all practical sense impossible.

    3. VietnamVet

      I too am interested in how to stop the logarithmic growth of the Ebola outbreak. Two nurses, one in Spain and the other in Dallas, were infected while treating a patient zero. In each case only one more person in each country has to be infected to match the African infection rate of 2 per patient. Simply you have to prevent any possible way of transmission. This requires clean rooms, space suits, isolation and 100% compliance with safety protocols.

      Every person that has had contact with the patient zero or came in contact with a person who has any degree of contact with patient zero has to be quarantined. Since this is logarithmic it becomes a large number quickly unless brought under control at the beginning unlike Dallas.

      It simply does not make any sense for possible infected persons to enter the United States without go through a 21 day quarantine. Each infected person that gets through can create a new hot spot.

      This is very strange neo-liberal world. The need for more money for the few keeps air travel and trade with West Africa open. It overrides all risk to society from a spreading hemorrhagic epidemic. Wherever Ebola gets established, the local health systems and economies will collapse. Only spending lots of money on public health now and common sense can prevent a catastrophe from engulfing the world.

      1. witness

        The “quarantina” (40-day) containment rule was Standard Operating Procedure of the U.S.Public Health Service through the 1950s at least, honoring a time-honored necessary prescription for safe practice.

        Someone suggested recently that Obama & Co. be arrested for negligent homicide, as puppetcommander of this ship of fools.

      2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        The S&P made a closing high of 2011 on 9/18/2014 and then closed at 1982 on 9/27/14.

        Since the Duncan news on 9/29/14, it has further declined to 1906 last Friday.

        One suspects that Ebola news is harder to manipulate than economic news. And we see moves to price that uncertainty. Any people movement restriction, internationally or otherwise, will hinder the Fed’s goal of propping up asset prices.

        We can work to avoid that, I believe, with the best option being blitzkrieg in Africa with the best we have now.

      3. Bart Fargo

        You really don’t think that West Africans (certainly not a part of “the few”) would suffer at all from being cut off from the rest of the world? Or that far fewer medical volunteers or supply flights would arrive if they all had to be quarantined 21 days upon return to the rest of the world? Public health spending and common sense are certainly needed, but cutting off West Africa from the rest of the world works against both.

        1. VietnamVet

          Dr. Anthony Fauci also makes the argument that a quarantine would hinder aid to West Africa. Yes, if it was permanent. But, a 21 day holding period applies only after leaving West Africa when arriving in a clean zone. If no Ebola virus was detected at the end holding period, they would be free to return to the general population. This is what the NBC News Team is doing voluntarily after their free-lance cameraman caught the disease. Any caring person would want to be sure that they were not an Ebola virus carrier. Yes, it would cost money. Yes, privatized holding camps could spring up out in the boondocks. Yes, the rich would see their taxes rise.

          Greed and the fear of an economic crash once free movement of people and trade is restricted is making the Ebola crisis much more dangerous than it need be. All it takes is one patient zero to start a new hot spot.

          I’m afraid that rather than trying to eliminate the Ebola outbreak, our rulers intend to ride it out. What if deaths occur in the West? 2 million die each year from AIDS worldwide. The rich in America still have the best medical care in the world and god forbid that they would would ever come in contact with a West African.

  4. abynormal

    Texas worker tests positive for Ebola, U.S. airports start screening
    (Reuters) – A health worker in Texas at the hospital where the first person diagnosed with Ebola in the United States died last week has tested positive for the deadly virus in a preliminary test, the state’s health department said on Sunday.

    U.S. authorities are stepping up efforts to stop the spread of the virus, with medical teams at New York’s John F. Kennedy Airport on Saturday beginning the screening of travelers from the three West African countries hardest hit by the worst Ebola outbreak on record.

    The worker at the Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital reported a low-grade fever Friday night and was isolated and referred for testing, the Texas Department of State Health Services said in a statement.

    “We knew a second case could be a reality, and we’ve been preparing for this possibility,” said Dr. David Lakey, commissioner of the health service.

    The worker tested positive in a preliminary test at the state public health laboratory in Austin.

    (obamacare push’n on a string)

    1. Paul Niemi

      Someone forgot to tell the Ebola virus that America is the indispensable nation, exceptional in every regard. We have the magic idea of being able to intervene within other nations without responsibility. This virus may teach us a lesson: that living on one side of a border does not mean we do not suffer, if people living on the other side are harmed. We are in this world together, and when someone in Africa suffers, knowingly or not we suffer too. Exceptionalism, as any tragedy, propagates through denial. This virus can expose the imperial games and thugs and guns and civil wars, offered as heritage of our associations on another continent. We do give food aid and contribute to treating HIV, for example. Nevertheless we must reflect upon what morality we have done what we in the West have done. In sum, I fear the scales are balancing against us.

      1. abynormal

        The CDC Media Office is closed Monday, October 13, in observance of Columbus Day. If you are calling about a public health emergency, please call (770-488-7100) to reach the on-call press officer.

        not from the onion…not an aby trick or treat…….official cdc DEAL WITH IT MOFO’s

        1. Paul Niemi

          I would make one more point. I don’t know about the cost for each Ebola victim’s care in Africa. Where there are few resources, I would guess that relatively little is going to be spent. I am watching the clock. Since in America each new case will require $1000 per hour intensive care for days or weeks, and unknown cost of public health followup, I figure it will only be a matter of time before administrators of hospitals and county health departments start screaming: “who is going to pay?” The costs of an outbreak of the virus here, even if among a relatively small number of people, could be staggering.

          1. LeitrimNYC

            In Liberia, 100 bed treatment facilities run by NGOs are costing about $1 million USD a month, each.

      1. craazyboy

        I think the “survivors have acquired immunity” idea needs to be verified as well. I recall in one of the supposedly scientific/medical links posted in comments around a month or two ago, it stated that survivors may be contagious for a period of 3-6 months.

        Knowing if this is true or not is certainly of utmost importance. But no one has a clue. I see in the articles we read all these sentiments that would lead to propagating the spread if it were true.

        We’d better work out the game plan quick.

  5. trish

    re Keystone Be Darned: Canada Finds Oil Route Around Obama Bloomberg

    “Barack Obama keeps siding with [the environmentalists], delaying and delaying approval.” I don’t buy that. Not about siding with the environmentalists.

    More about 1. politics and particularly election politics. and 2. work on the pipeline can and has continued, hence more investment in, cost of opting out increases. and 3. delays have allowed significant increase in bipartisan support for the pipeline (ISIS great too). and 4. Pipeline PR continues- ie reports from State can be released (and have been) claiming pipeline won’t worsen emissions. Perhaps I’m missing others. Obama gets to play progressive environmentalist president trying to fight the right, might be another?
    And now the Canada pressure- “The best way to get Keystone XL built is to make it irrelevant.”

    1. Synapsid


      The southern leg of Keystone XL began delivering oil in January, to refineries on the Texas Gulf Coast. It has helped the flow of crude oil from Canada reach a record 3 million barrels a day recently. Last year Obama gave a speech in a construction yard for the south leg; he announced that he had instructed his administration to expedite the project in any way necessary because of its importance. This meant nothing, as the southern leg lies entirely in the US so no State Department approval was needed, but it was evidently a message he wanted to send.

      I don’t see him as siding with environmentalists of any sort and neither does the Gulf Coast oil patch, which feels it has a friend in the White House as regards energy policy.

  6. John Jones

    ” So if I were Turkey, I’d play Japanese: at most pretend to cooperate, but only do the least important 40% slowly, with plenty of good excuses ready as to why. ”

    What do you think about Turkey’s position towards the Kurds?

  7. trish

    Slumming It Baffler. A must read.

    Yes, truly.

    Reminded me of what a character in Cesar Aira’s novel Shantytown says: …the poor have been left without a world.
    And now they exist only for market-affirming, for politics, as speech pleasers, useful tools by the elite, along with fodder for/waste from their profiteering greed.

    and re “durable fantasies of the business culture—the notion that the poor make better, tougher capitalists than the rich.” Hack Malcolm Gladwell pushed- to the comfortable- this “business of comforting the comfortable” in his pop psuedo-science book David and Goliath. (Yasha Levine good on that).

    And perhaps Tom Friedman (who John Dolan aptly once called “the empire’s useful idiot”) could jet with laptop to chat with one of these slum-dwelling “micro-entrepreneurs” for a column. Surely there’s an air-conditioned cafe in that Mumbai slum?

    1. Brian

      I completely agree. A must read.

      “Ending poverty was once an international goal. Now it is a personal one. And yes, some succeed. But even when individuals make it out of the slums, the slums themselves endure.”

      To use Lambert’s formulation: The slums must endure, because markets.

      1. diptherio

        “There’s a lot to like about urban poverty.” That one had me laughing and shuddering at the same time.

        My take is this: we love a good rags-to-riches, poorhouse-to-penthouse story–they’re wonderfully inspiring–but in order to have this story we need the rags and the poorhouse; we need the slums as the necessary opening scene in the story. We love our inspirational stories, and without the horrible, grinding poverty from which to escape, we’d lose one of our most cherished feel-good narratives. We don’t want that do we? Seeing as how the Swiffer has failed to fill the void, we are now more in need of up-lifting stories than ever before–and there’s a huge market for them. Therefore, the slums must remain…we wouldn’t want to deprive some poor child of the opportunity to scrap and fight his way to the top (or the lower-middle) of the social heap, now would we; that just wouldn’t seem fair.

        1. ChrisPacific

          Sell hope to the poor and absolution to the wealthy. Clip the ticket on both (although naturally the cut on the former is much higher). Further evidence that neoliberalism solves all problems, even the ones it created!

    2. Doug Terpstra

      The slums of Mumbai/Bombay are replicating in Detroit and coming soon to many American cities, so the entrepreneurial mythmaking will now begin in earnest. Hardship builds character, yes, but that which does not kill you may well do so on your 4th deployment to Syrakistan, or it may also leave you crippled, disfigured, deranged, and/or suicidal.

  8. craazyboy

    “What You Need To Know About Ebola” – The Onion

    As usual, if you need any facts about what is going on in the world, first consult The Onion.

    1. trish

      “How dangerous is Ebola? Easily Africa’s fourth or fifth most pressing issue.”


      Onion complements Ian Welsh today.

  9. tomk

    The Baffler piece had too much attitude (not that I don’t share some of it) and not enough analysis of why smart, well meaning people romanticize poverty and why it’s wrong. Mocking people, even if it’s deserved, is not an argument.

    1. Thorstein

      I’m forced to recall an episode a student related of her travel to Mumbai. “Oh,” she said, “i feel I must give something to those poor beggars!” “Don’t feel that way,” her tour guide explained, “That is their karma. They must suffer for the evil they committed in their past lives.”

      1. Aporia

        I guess even Hinduism has some rough spots – e.g., karma as an excuse not to help your fellow man?

        Wait – doesn’t Christianity, the religion of love, have centuries of wars in its pocket?

        1. cwaltz

          I wonder what the karmic consequences are for ignoring someone in need when your soul is saying act on their behalf?

          It’s interesting that the tour guide didn’t consider the idea that it might be evil to do nothing and that perhaps karma itself had instructed the student to help because it felt that maybe that soul had experienced suffering enough for its past sins for the moment.

      2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        I wonder who, among us today, ( us, meaning cats, dogs, humans, etc. because we don’t have access to the Book of Karma) the reincarnation of Mao is.

        Who is the reincarnation of Stalin?

        Who is the reincarnation of Mussolini?

  10. craazyboy

    “Ebola-killing robot brought into US hospitals Mirror”

    A couple days ago in comments a couple reports were posted by readers. One from the CDC on recommended hospital practices and one from Virology Mag, or something like that. In one or both of these links(can’t remember which) it stated:

    1) Ebola is easily killed* by common hospital chemical disinfectants.
    2) UV light is also effective at sterilization.

    * I know viruses aren’t technically “alive”. But using the word “Undead” sounds too alarmist. I think virologists say “active” when they are referring to the “Undead” state. So I decided for Layman it’s ok to say “alive”, “kill”, etc.. when discussing this amongst ourselves.

    1. abynormal

      Infection Prevention and Control Recommendations for Hospitalized Patients with Known or Suspected Ebola Virus Disease in U.S. Hospitals
      During patient care, transmission of infectious organisms can be reduced by adhering to the principles of working from “clean” to “dirty”, and confining or limiting contamination to surfaces that are directly needed for patient care. It may be necessary to change gloves during the care of a single patient to prevent *cross-contamination of body sites* [559, 740].
      Masks should not be confused with particulate respirators that are used to prevent inhalation of small particles that may contain infectious agents transmitted via the airborne route as described below. [theres those things with wings you talked about]
      Single-patient rooms are always indicated for patients placed on Airborne Precautions and in a Protective Environment and are preferred for patients who require Contact or Droplet Precautions 23, 24, 410, 435, 796, 797.
      Modeling studies provide additional support for cohorting patients to control outbreaks Talon 817-819. However, cohorting often is implemented only after routine infection control measures have failed to control an outbreak.
      when continued transmission is occurring after implementing routine infection control measures and creating patient cohorts, cohorting of healthcare personnel may be beneficial.

      Sometimes, I think our lifestyle has become the victim of a “World of Kinkcraft” gamer mentality, where people just want to download a cheat sheet or a step-by-step walk-through. Many newcomers yearn to “learn the rules” of the lifestyle as quickly as possible, so they can get right to “winning the game.” These are relationships, people. Real BDSM relationships, involving real people with real feelings, living really complicated lives. If this was easy, everyone would be doing it. Stop looking for shortcuts and easy answers.
      Makai, The Warrior Princess Submissive

  11. Jim Haygood

    From David Stockman’s article on Foxconn:

    Economically speaking, China’s cheap labor frontier has now reached its Pacific Ocean equivalent. There are few rice paddies west of Chongqing to drain because no one lives there. And this means the closing of the world’s cheap labor frontier is at hand.

    It was the two-decades-long flow of quasi-slave labor into the export factories of east China that enabled … worldwide prices of consumer goods to fall, even as the money printers were enabling an orgy of credit-fueled spending by American and European households.

    Stockman foresees more deflationary pressure ahead as China works through its excess industrial capacity. He may be right about this. However, he doesn’t go on to outline the consequences of his ‘no more cheap labor’ thesis in the next global expansion: namely, rising compensation to labor and rising goods prices (instead of rising asset prices in the current expansion).

    It’s in that next expansion, perhaps two or three years down the road, when the irreversible legacy of QE starts to feed the inflationary engines.

    1. Left in Wisconsin

      Overcapacity may well become a problem but no more cheap labor? Seriously? How many billions of people are living on less than $1 a day? And according to the WSJ article he references, the workers there were striking (for four hours) to protest a speed-up and get the factory manager fired, not for higher wages.

  12. Banger

    A bit of comedy in the AP in HuffPost on Iraq:

    “The militias are not bound by rules of war,” he [David L. Phillips] added. “They and (the Islamic State group) share one thing in common: Neither is bound by the Geneva Conventions.”

    No one is “bound” by the Geneva Conventions–they are no longer in force and have been systematically ignored by American forces in Iraq and elsewhere.

  13. Banger

    The Ebola crisis will test the human race. We have already failed to act effectively on the environmental threats facing us–can we act effectively to act on the spread of Ebola? So far we have, at the beginning stage, failed. Perhaps we can stop the spread–but just as likely we cannot.

    Why? Because our social institutions (those institutions not focused on greed and the piratical capitalism we have so warmly embraced) are in decline as is compassion. Compassion would dictate that we do something about those suffering in those African countries because compassion may well save us from sharing their fate if we stop the disease now. Many believe that Ebola is not that virulent–well, maybe and maybe not–I’ve read contradictory stories on that. But the point is, if Ebola or another disease that was very virulent were to spread we do not have in place structures that would stop it–we could have had them in place had we not spent so much money and resources on wars fought for little reason other than rewarding contractors and getting hold of the wasteful and destructive fossil fuels we similarly embrace. We have the technology and the systems knowledge to eradicate Ebola–but we don’t care enough about our commons to do that.

    Now it is up to our ruling elites to act–they have cut us out of power so the ball is in their court.

      1. abynormal

        first “go shopping…take family & friends to Disney”

        Richard Quest @richardquest
        World bank prez calls counter Ebola steps by countries like the US as “putting a wet towel under the door of a building on fire”
        10/9/2014 10:37am

  14. Jim Haygood

    Collateral damage in the Americas, as the Saudis (at US urging) flood the market to punish Russia, Iran and Isis’s mini-refineries:

    Venezuela is calling for an urgent OPEC meeting to deal with falling oil prices, the country’s foreign minister said. He also said “certain countries are overproducing to the tune of two million barrels” a day, without saying which ones.

    Venezuela needs a price of $121 a barrel, according to Deutsche Bank, making it one of the highest break-even prices in OPEC.

    PDVSA, Venezuela’s state oil company, has a $3 billion bond payment due on Oct. 28th, and is struggling to find the dollars to pay it.

    1. Jim Haygood

      View from the supply side:

      Top oil exporter Saudi Arabia told OPEC it raised its oil production in September by 100,000 barrels per day. In a monthly report issued on Friday, the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) said Saudi Arabia reported September production of 9.704 million barrels per day (bpd), up from 9.597 million in August.

      Saudi Arabia, supported by Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates, has boosted supply.

      How about them allies of ours, huh? Not that any of this is intended to aid the beleaguered US middle class. But as a wholly unintended side effect, cheaper gasoline prices help boost discretionary income.

      The late Matt Simmons asserted in Twilight in the Desert (2006) that Saudi output was headed for an irreversible decline to below 9 million bpd. But as this chart shows, it didn’t happen:

      1. Paul Niemi

        This gambit has been done before. In November 1985, the price of oil was $64. Then, the Saudis opened the spigots and by March 1986 the price of oil had fallen to $26. In conjunction with the US raising defense spending, it put pressure on the Soviet Union, which depended on oil revenue for foreign exchange to buy necessities and pay bills. In five years they were broke. The price of oil was kept down, and when the Soviet Union was dissolved in December 1991, it was still only $32. I’ll never forget the look on Ronald Reagan’s face, pictured walking in the rose garden holding hands with the Saudi king while this was planned, but it achieved his objectives. If we are doing it with the Saudis again, and I believe we are, then something big is in the works.

  15. Paul Niemi

    An off-topic rant regarding the coinage. This is directed to the U.S. Mint: Your dollar coins could not possibly be made any uglier. They are horrid. The chocolate wrapper gold color looks awful, and it quickly tarnishes or rubs off making the coins look like they were designed by fools. I have to use these coins at the car wash, because it takes too many quarters now. I don’t know who’s head is supposed to be on your dollar coin, but each face decomposes into a macabre grimace that insults the person commemorated. I have a hard time telling what the coin is, because you keep putting different faces on them. Why not choose someone’s head and just stick with it? How about MLK? Look, if silver is too expensive, why not use bronze? Bronze has a nice, natural color, looks better with age, and has been used for coins for thousands of years.

    1. craazyman

      I fear the day when some future idiot at Treasury decides America needs multi-colored currency.

      Money is green. Period.

        1. Paul Niemi

          I was shocked when I saw the new Rainbow $100. Franklin did not look pleased. It really does look like funny money.

  16. not_me

    re: Shariah financing growing popular in the West USA Today (furzy mouse)

    So the Muslims substitute dividends for interest – that’s an improvement for sure but hardly ideal since the most rapidly growing companies pay no dividends at all (See Amazon, for example) because dividends are a drain on the company’s assets. Yet, the POTENTIAL to pay dividends is surely reflected in a company’s stock price so why reduce that price by actually paying them? If one wants to take his profits then simply sell some shares! Amazon does not pay dividends because those in charge apparently realize that the purpose of a common stock company is to CONSOLIDATE capital for economies of scale, not DISSIPATE it.

    Why do shares have value even if they pay no dividends? ans: Because the shares THEMSELVES are a form of money! They are backed by the assets of a company just as the company’s liabilities are though the liabilities are senior. And since the shares themselves are a form of money then why do established companies borrow from the banks? ans: Because bank credit is subsidized by the government. So then why is government subsidizing what should be 100% private businesses? At the expense of their employees and other less so-called credit worthy? Because injustice?

  17. Enquiring Mind

    One of my professors said that he learned a lot about life, teaching, economics and people from touring slums around the world. He was of Irish heritage, and started in Dublin slums, then to London and so on. His goal was to see as many of the large city slums as he could while still ambulatory. He was a kind soul and a straight talker.

  18. Ancaeus

    Can someone tell me what kind of animal is depicted on this antidote du jour? Is it a goat?

    Thanks very much.

  19. abynormal

    Axa SA (CS) is picking up the Bible.

    Some regulators have proposed restrictions on contracts that they see as new and risky. The Bible shows there is a long history of making such deals, said Christian Thimann, who joined Axa from the European Central Bank this year.
    “If one looks back, one finds that derivatives are almost as old as mankind,” Thimann said yesterday at a conference held by the Institute of International Finance in Washington.
    “In the Old Testament, Jacob bought an option to marry Rachel,” he said. “So there are derivatives 1,700 years before Christ.”
    In the Bible, Jacob agrees to work for seven years to earn the right to marry Rachel. He’s tricked into marrying her older sister Leah, then eventually weds Rachel as well.

    Thimann, who’s head of strategy and public affairs at Paris-based Axa, has a Ph.D. in economics from the University of Munich. He spoke yesterday alongside regulators and executives from New York-based MetLife Inc. (MET) and Swiss Re Ltd. at a conference panel, which focused on how to regulate insurers that operate globally.
    John Hele, MetLife’s chief financial officer, said the insurer would benefit from more-uniform capital rules in all the countries in which it operates.
    “It would be great to have one common standard around the world,” he said. “That’s a very noble goal.”
    Thimann quickly applied the lesson he drew from the Bible to the more modern retirement products offered by life insurers.
    “Even variable annuities are in the U.S., since 60 years,” he said. “It’s a very difficult distinction.”

    1. not_me

      Well, if their enemies distort what the Bible says that’s all the more reason for proponents of justice to know it very well so they can intelligently oppose them.

      What’s his face has distorted the Biblical account because:

      1) There was no option; Jacob AGREED to marry Rachel after 7 years of work.
      2) “Eventually” was only a week! Then Jacob married Rachel too though he had to work an additional 7 years afterwards.

      Anyway read it yourself in Genesis 29 if interested.

      1. skippy

        You can’t distort the distorted aby, hence ontological references are the mother of all obfuscation.

  20. Left in Wisconsin

    Per Lambert and IMF: Apparently it’s not the economies that have agency, it is the countries themselves, though “we” thankfully have helpful IMF bureaucrats to speak for “us”:
    “A number of countries face the prospect of low or slowing growth, with unemployment remaining unacceptably high,” the International Monetary and Financial Committee said on behalf of the Fund’s 188 member countries.

    And, interestingly, the actions that “we” are calling for include politically tough reforms to labor markets and social security. But thankfully no jobs programs. Cause that wouldn’t help at all.

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