Links 10/15/14

Yves here. Apologies for the lack of my own posts; this is a terrible week for me, with a lot of personal admin and time required for an ongoing research project cutting into posting time. We do have a piece original to NC going live at 10:00 AM, so please check back then.

Police Pleasantly Surprised To Learn Man They Shot Was Armed Onion (EM)

Heartless Couple Sells Home, Throws in Son’s Cat for an Extra $140,000 Gawker

Lifeform of the week: Owls EarthSky (furzy mouse)

Big Pic: The Sun Gives Off A Jack-O’-Lantern Leer Popular Science

Teens Love Brandy Melville, A Fashion Brand That Sells Only One Tiny Size Huffington Post. Chuck L: “As my daughter says, ‘Boycott Brandy Melville.'”

This Man’s Simple System Could Transform American Medicine Wired

Take note: Jazz and silence help reduce heart rate after surgery, study shows ScienceDaily (Chuck L)

Facebook, Apple pay to freeze employees’ eggs CNN. EM: “On the surface this sounds very progressive – but I can’t help wondering whether it’s a childbirth analog of ‘perks at the office to keep you working there insane hours per day’.”

Hi-tech overload: First case of Google Glass addiction treated RT (EM)

Cyber-worm seeks home data stores BBC (David L)


Texas nurses: ‘There were no protocols’ about Ebola CNN

Are the Ebola outbreaks in Nigeria and Senegal over? WHO (furzy mouse)

CDC Promises Special Ebola Response Teams NBC

Hong Kong

China won’t cede to HK protests, army used only as last resort-sources Reuters

Violent Clashes Between Police and Demonstrators Erupt in Hong Kong New York Times

Slowing China inflation fans concerns over global growth South China Morning Post

How to do better than the ‘new mediocre’ Martin Wolf, Financial Times (Swedish Lex)

Plutocrats tighten siege around Europe failed evolution

Merkel says Germany will not soften its strict budget stance Reuters. Swedish Lex:

Truly exasperating. The Germans appear to have retreated into a total bunker mentality that seems to be strengthening exponentially as the evidence of their policy folly becomes über-evident. I cannot understand how the German social democrats have become collaborators to this process, which historians will try to comprehend in tome after tome, pondering on the question how individually sane and rational people as a group could err so grossly.

BIS warns on ‘violent’ reversal of global markets Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, Telegraph

Stalled pay growth leaves average UK worker £5,000 a year worse off Guardian

How falling oil prices are squeezing Russia, Iran, and Saudi Arabia Vox

Winners and losers from oil price plunge Financial Times

Saudi Prince Alwaleed says falling oil prices ‘catastrophic’ Telegraph


Tar Sands Trade: Kuwait Buys Stake in Alberta As It Opens Own Heavy Oil Spigot DeSmogBlog


Putin pulls back troops from Ukraine CNN

Russia-US relations reset ‘impossible’: PM Medvedev CNBC


Turkish Airstrike Hits Kurds, Complicating Fight Against Islamic State New York Times So now we see why the Turks were so willing to agree to “help” with airstrikes. This is what the US gets for bullying a clearly unwilling ally.

Kurds Are “Fighting For America” Against Islamic State OilPrice. A new PR strategy.

C.I.A. Study of Covert Aid Fueled Skepticism About Helping Syrian Rebels New York Times

US Troops Found Huge Caches Of Chemical Weapons In Iraq — And The Pentagon Tried To Keep It A Secret Business Insider (David L)

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

Are Covert Ops Compatible With Democracy? Counterpunch

Top Level Telecommunications: The German operation Eikonal as part of NSA’s RAMPART-A program Electrospaces

Highly respected conservative judge rips ‘voter ID’ laws—and the GOP—in blistering opinion Daily Kos

WSJ/NBC News Poll: Republicans Hold Advantage as Midterms Near Wall Street Journal

Missouri Official Meant ‘No Ill Intent’ When She Called For Military Coup TalkingPointsMemo

Syracuse land bank to get nearly $2 million more to fix up deliquent properties Syracuse. Bob: “The land bank is just another way to warehouse stock no one wants to hit the market. Who does that help? And $2 million doesn’t even begin to cover the out of pocket costs these junk piles are costing the city. $2 million a month might help them get to the level of being able to demolish some.”

Too-Big-to-Fail Banks Face Up to $870 Billion Capital Gap Bloomberg

Citigroup Consumer Chief Plans to Leave Wall Street Journal. The Banamex money laundering saga is so seamy….

Antidote du jour (Richard Smith). A walrus lounges on a Russian sub.

walrus links

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. dearieme

    “Jazz and silence help”: I laughed at the way the referred to “jazz music”.

    Even as a jazz lover I can assure them I’d prefer silence. Listening to some other sod’s choice of music is not to my taste.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      For silence aficionados, there are many different words to different the different kinds of silence.

      You have rich silence, poor silence, hungry silence, fat silence, happy silence, mad silence, approving silence, disapproving silence, etc.

      To them, silence is beautiful music.

      On the opposite end, to some people, noise is beautiful music.

        1. McKillop

          I’m not too sure that there is such a thing as hospital silence, although I’ve heard the phrase ‘pregnant silence’, which might qualify (and silent as the grave), which proclaims its own diagnosis. As a matter of fact, I’d argue that there is no such thing as silence -at least, Ive only experienced what we call silence because I wasn’t listening to the noise around me.
          From the sounds of wind rustling tree leaves in the wilderness, bird calls, and so on, to my own sounds made by my lungs and heart and (good heavens!) digestive systems, I’m often surprised by how noisy things are.

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            You seem like you have meditated on silence quite a bit and distinguish the different types of ‘silence.’

            Like absolute zero degree temperature, there is the absolute silent state.

            What we mean by ‘silence’ is indeed more complex, once we are out of that absolute silent state, though most just lump them under ‘silence,’ like most non-Eskimos call everything white and cold they see in the north pole snow.

            1. McKillop

              Mind, I still enjoy jazz, and other “noises”.
              Occasionally, the natural silence I experience is too much for me. I make my own sounds by moaning, talking, chattering and pattering and prestending that I’m a man able to sing scat.

    1. Sufferin' Succotash

      According to some of the nurses there weren’t any guidelines regarding Ebola when Duncan was brought in. Question: why wouldn’t the hospital officials agree to put him in isolation?

    2. Brindle

      Non-unionized nurses and medical workers who cared for Ebola patient face intimidation:

      —The Presbyterian nurses are not represented by Nurses United or any other union. DeMoro and Burger said the nurses claimed they had been warned by the hospital not to speak to the media or they would be fired.

      The AP has attempted since last week to contact dozens of individuals involved in Duncan’s care. Those who responded to reporters’ inquiries have so far been unwilling to speak—

    3. Beans

      When this story broke in Dallas, the Texas Health Presby people held widely broadcast (at least in Dallas) press conferences in which they assured the public that this was the USA and not AFRICA, a 3rd world country where the conditions are such that health issues cannot be appropriately handled. In Texas hospitals, we have infection control tightly under control and run our hospitals with first class, evidence based procedures and processes. Nothing to fear, people.
      The Presby press person was so over the top smug with confidence in their ability to handle Ebola, as if he could talk his way to controlling a fearsome virus, that you couldn’t help but worry that the press conference was more happy talk than reality.

    4. craazyboy

      There are CDC hospital guidelines – you can find them on the CDC website. But they are guidelines, and what hospitals actually do is up to individual hospitals. It’s still a free country, ya know.

      Same goes for quarantines it appears. Somehow the CDC recommends it, but there is no facility, and compliance is strictly voluntary. We see in the news little bits like “The CDC is monitoring a 100 or so people whom have come in contact with the one case so far”. But apparently, checking in from your mobile phone seems to count as virtual quarantine so far.

      In todays world, everything is virtual, so we can’t jump to any conclusions based on what our outmoded Websters’ says about the meaning of words.

      But I don’t want to wander too far off topic with that. Some of us meat-brained individuals still have an instinct to relate words to “concrete” (meaning the stuff sidewalks are made of – not the computer graphics rendition of it) physical things, and may be wondering about the rules of quarantine and whether we need to do something personally to help with the implementation of quarantine.

      I haven’t seen the guideline on that, but, to be fair, this came up awfully fast and probably the hospitals and CDC are still working on what our involvement should be. I guess it really is a big surprise that the mostest exceptional healthcare system on the planet in the richest country in world could end up looking like an overloaded barbershop in an African jungle. So I’d recommend staying home until they tell us the right way to do this.

      But don’t despair, we have web tech, and I can advise it is rather simple to come up with an App for this. If we contract out for enough electronic ankle bracelets, then quarantinees can be easily tracked and displayed in real time on a Google map. So all we need to do then is check our smart phone app as you travel about town and insure you are keeping a respectable distance from the quarantinees.

      In this way, we can virtually all get along.

      1. James

        I’m sure there’s some advanced cost/benefit analysis going on behind the scenes as well. We’ll all be able to relax and rest easy as soon as they figure out the optimal number of deaths allowable with regard to maximizing the profit potential of the outbreak. And in the end, isn’t that what’s really important?

          1. James

            I wonder if ObamaCare’s got any hidden pandemic loopholes buried in it as well. I can see it now. I’m sorry sir or miss, you’re coverage strictly stipulates that we will not reimburse for treatment due to unforeseen pandemic of any variety, hemorrhagic or otherwise. We were quite clear on that. If you’d just read the addendum to your policy which is readily available online. It’s just been updated as a matter of fact…

        1. Danb\

          You’ve hit on a great vulnerability of the USA “healthcare” system: until the leaders of this “system” -or those in institutional positions controlling them- feel personally threatened by a communicable disease their decisions will be about how to make or save a buck, with virtually zero value placed on the future. Lost lives are part of the cost-benefit equation. This is not the only problem -over-complexity of system design is another and ecological overshoot is yet another.

      2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        The mostest exceptional healthcare system on the planet and the richest in the world.

        For more proof, see Katrina not too far from Dallas.

  2. Diego Schiavon

    >I cannot understand how the German social democrats have become collaborators to this process

    They supported Germany entering WWI and did not want to look hypocritical now a mere 100 years later.

    1. Lexington

      They supported Germany entering WWI and did not want to look hypocritical now a mere 100 years later.

      Which makes them no better or worse than the socialists in Britain, France, Austria, Russia or Italy.

      Funny, that.

      I don’t understand Swedish Lex’s confusion on this point however: the SPD, like other European parties formerly of the left (have you heard of “New Labour”?) abandoned their ideological patrimony right about the time the Soviet Union collapsed. Hell, the “socialist” president of France just fired his prime minister for having the temerity to question austerity. There are no longer mainstream parties of the “left” and of the “right”, as the mainstream has coalesced around a broad neoliberal consensus.

      The Guardian’s Owen Wilson attended Labour’s Manchester conference last month and his observations about the state of the party are illustrative:

      Labour’s annual conference is as unreal a place as anywhere in the pantomime of modern British politics. There is no shortage of well-intentioned and principled activists. But the people who Labour was set up to represent are mostly shut out, except perhaps for the catering staff, bartenders and hotel cleaners. Political climbers speak in verbless sentences, stare over shoulders for someone more useful to speak to and – you suspect – wet their fingers to see which way the political winds are blowing. Trade unions and strong local government once trained up those who would have otherwise been voiceless to become rooted politicians, giving them resources, confidence and political know-how. As both pillars of British democracy have been ruthlessly undermined, many of those voices have been extinguished.

      British politics, and much of Labour, has become a sport, a professional ladder to climb like any investment bank, even if the top salary only puts you in the top 3% of earners rather than the top 0.01%. You can always use a future ministerial position as a launchpad for a lucrative job at a private healthcare firm or defence giant anyway.

  3. vlade

    @Swedish Lex re Germany’s SDP. I hate to say it, but that’s pretty much in line with historical behaviour of SDP.

    It supported Kaiser’s war in 1914.

    It had problems dealing with Nazis because for way too long it was refusing to take any action (admittedly it was a choice between Nazi’s devil and Communists deep sea, but no choice was a bad choice too)- until Nazis just rounded them all up and jailed/murdered.

    At the danger of using stereotypes, it looks like conservativness is an important value to Germans, whichever way their political leaning.

      1. Diego Schiavon

        I was happy that, for once, I could inflict a non-Nazi stereotype on Germany – and you ruined it :-(

  4. Carolinian

    The Wired medicine article is excellent. Broadening, one could say it fits into the general theme of knowledge workers who do what they are taught rather than acting on practical experience. For many minor diseases it might be interesting to know the NNT (number needed to treat) associated with visiting a doctor versus simply not doing so. “First do no harm” seems to be a precept that is often ignored.

  5. diptherio

    Re: Heartless Couple Sells House, Cat

    The Perceval family agreed to the proposal in exchange for an extra $140,000, reported. They don’t seem to have any regrets.
    “We’re thinking we’ll put $20,000 in a pile next to the cat and say to Sam: you choose,” said the mom, who seemed delighted as she told reporters Tiffany is “the most expensive cat in Australia.”

    So they’re getting 140K for the kitty, but are only willing to give 20K of the sale price to their son, who apparently was the one who bought the cat in the first place. I just hope the young man drives a hard bargain with his ‘rents and gets at least a hundred large out of this deal.

    And one other thing: Any society in which a person can afford to pay three times more for a cat than the average person earns in a year is a seriously sick society.

  6. proximity1

    WRT “Merkel Says Germany Will Not Soften” …

    Yesterday’s links treated us to ” France is Living Fat “… (Foreign Policy)

    (Scratching head) ??? I guess “YMMV.”

    …”If France had been under pressure from bond markets to take on necessary reforms, it too might be back into positive-growth territory now. But instead Paris chose to “muddle through” the crisis, leaving France in the disastrous position it finds itself in now. This reversal of fortunes within the eurozone is raising the stakes in the standoff between France and Germany.” …

    SInce there’s nothing to indicate that the above is satire, I guess it comes to us from some parallel universe.
    By the way, dear FP, I wonder: how exactly does a nation–“even France”–both “muddle through” and “live fat” at the same time?

    1. craazyboy

      Simple. Butter economics. In France, they melt it and it “drizzels” down. In Germany, butter is a store of value and a bread topping. Some must be kept in the fridge for another day, even if it is only a far out futures contract already. Everything is relative, at least according to the German mind.

      1. proximity1

        Sorry, but as I read it, I think that “fat” modifies “living” (verb) rather than “living” modifying “fat”. If you actually think that the French “butter” “drizzles down” then I think you may lack some experience with France and how its butter melts. French youth, bereft of ever having any butter, melted or otherwise, are still fleeing across the channel, home to capitalism’s real charnel house.

  7. Banger

    To expand on the NYT story about the CIA’s study that concluded that almost always arming insurgencies doesn’t work and therefore Obama is skeptical of spending more on the FSA in Syria. A closer look at history would show that, in general, most U.S. operations in the world result in more pain, more misery and more chaos wherever these wars are fought but still the U.S. continually fights these wars and funds insurgencies–why? I suggest the obvious answer: corruption and criminal activity. There are forces associate with and within the CIA that are criminal enterprises. This is also true of many wars we have fought–if you look in closer detail at what happened in the Iraq war and follow the money the outline of a massive fraud become clear. Corrupt contractors, arms, pallets of $100 bills “disappearing” trillions missing from Pentagon budgets, corrupt procurement practices the story is almost endless and rarely, if ever, is the mainstream ever looking in that direction.

    1. Brindle

      This Counterpunch article from 2003 shows the gravy-train line of “construction project” corruption that went from Vietnam to Iraq, some of the companies are the same just with changed names etc.

      —-Rather than avoiding the lessons of such disasters as the “nation building” war in Vietnam, Americans, if not America’s elected leaders, should look to that tragic episode to explain the “quagmire” unfolding in Iraq. This is not a humanitarian mission any more than was the American mission to Southeast Asia forty years ago. It is a fraudulent war that is now perpetuated by political ideologues and war profiteers with much to lose.

      Without legitimacy among the people, the whole project, including whatever “government” is put in place, is doomed to failure. Iraqi resistance will only grow. The cycle of answering that resistance with greater levels of force is perpetual. It should come as no surprise that the Iraqi people are no less impressed with this version of “nation building” than were the Vietnamese people with the earlier version.—-

  8. Roger Bigod

    It would appear that with this new case we have R0 >= 2 for the outbreak that began with Mr. Duncan. These are to be treated in the same medical unit, using the same “protocol” for isolation. Dr. Frieden has assured us that the only fault to date has been human error that “breached” this protocol.

    Thoughtful students of the exponential growth function may notice some troubling extrapolations.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      It’s better to err on the safe side.

      We are dealing here with a lot of unknowns.

      That’s how science works – learn from mistakes, sorry, new (fatality) data.

      Mistakes like meddling with Nature, deforestation in Africa…maybe we don’t learn; it interferes with global GDP growth.

      Mistakes like putting on Hazmat suits properly…maybe we learn these.

  9. JCC

    “Boycott Brandy Melville” ?? Why? They obviously have a limited customer demographic in both size and age, not to mention a very small market presence. L.A. and NYC are not the world.

    But, if necessary and while we’re at it, let’s boycott The Big Men’s Store for promoting Type 2 diabetes. If we’re going to be Politically Correct, then it’s very important that “we” discrimanate against anyone and everyone that does not meet “our” standards.

    Or, better yet, use this as an opprotunity to explain and teach to 12 year old children that what you wear does not define you, avoid processed junk food like the plague it is, and that being strong and healthy is the best strategy over the long haul.

    You may want to add that promoting Political Correctness in Business as defined by an 11 year old may not necessarily be a very good long-term strategy.

    1. Inverness

      Brandy Melville offers one very small size, and not because they are targeting and under-served demographic. Some of us wear small sizes, due to small bones, genetic heritage, or diet. It’s not that hard to find smaller sizes. You can find very small sizes in many chain clothing stores, like the Gap. I don’t know if the mall chain “5-7-9” still exists, but it catered to smaller sizes without being obnoxious, since it didn’t just offer one size. Also, it didn’t invent sizes called “0-0,” which is probably just what a size 5 was, back in the 80’s. However, for women who wear very large sizes, the situation is quite different, since they have to go to specialty stores in hopes of finding dresses that don’t resemble tents.

      When you target adolescent girls the way Brandy does, you encourage eating disorders, period. I agree that it’s essential to discuss healthy body image and eating habits with youth, but not all girls benefit from parents that are this aware and responsible. In the meantime, this toxic brew of only offering sizes which exclude the majority of the population, not to mention the shaming of normal to overweight customers, is irresponsible, or even cruel. Do you really think their PR team isn’t aware of this? Teenage girls do not have the adult capacity to reason, and try to imagine what it would feel like for them.

      1. cwaltz

        When you target adolescent girls the way Brandy does, you encourage eating disorders, period. I agree that it’s essential to discuss healthy body image and eating habits with youth, but not all girls benefit from parents that are this aware and responsible.


        In an ideal world kids would come with instruction manuals and parents would be able to always address any issues they might have. Unfortunately, we don’t live in an ideal world. Not every 12 year old girl is lucky enough to have parents that can give her pep talks and explain to her that she isn’t defined by her appearance over and over to the extent that she believes it instead of the pressure from peers, media and the opposite sex that often directly contradict that very statement.

    2. Jess

      In fairness, most of the stores you mention are Big AND TALL stores. Having worked in pro football and having been around athletes most of my life, I know that many are overweight but a huge number are not. There are guys running around at 6’6″ and 260 pounds with six-pack abs and body fat indexes down around 3-4%. I had an account at a Big ‘N Tall store in L.A. from the time I was eighteen (1964). Try going into a regular department or clothing store and buying a suit where you need a size 48 long coat (tailored down to) pants with a 34″ waist and a 36″ inseam. You can do it now at many of the big box clothing chains like Men’s Warehouse or even Jos. A. Bank but that’s a recent development and even now, for blue jeans and some casual shirts in tall sizes it’s off to the Big AND TALL store.

      1. cwaltz

        I don’t want to diminish men’s obesity but the message sent to men is distinctly different than the one sent to women. The reality is that this country is obsessed with women’s appearance. You’ve got hair dyes to make women appear younger. Make up to make them appear more attractive. We’ve got contests where they are asked to parade around in bathing suits to get opportunities for college. We don’t just have People telling us who the sexiest woman(because to be fair there at least is a sexiest male counterpart and contests for attractive men) is but Esquire and Maxim in which women are picked apart and compared for body parts. Over and over again our culture undercuts the message for women that their appearance isn’t important. Even a proactive parent is going to have difficulty teaching something that is counter to what young girls experience in terms of pressure to be attractive.

  10. hemeantwell

    Re the Saudis dropping their oil price floor, shouldn’t we also consider whether this is their form of an October surprise? The Republicans already had a good chance of taking the Senate, but the additional economic turmoil can only brace their odds. /\ Republicans = /\ tilt in anti-Iranian and anti-Syrian US policy, right?

    1. Tom Allen

      Right, because the Democrats aren’t at all belligerent against Iran and Syria. Well, except for Senatorial war hawks Elizabeth Warren and Al Franken. And Chuck Schumer, Kay Hagan, Ben Nelson, Bob Menendez, and so on and so on.

    2. Working Class Nero

      Typically the Saudis lower the price of oil in the run-up to US elections. But what is interesting here is the impact on Iran and the on-going nuclear negotiations. The Iranians are not stupid and they know very well that the Saudis are our jailhouse bitches and wouldn’t survive a day if they let go of the US’ belt loop. And so the Saudis do what we tell them to do. And so lowering the price of oil is additional pressure on Iran in many ways. Most obviously Iranian oil receipts go down. But even more importantly, it makes the military option against Iran much more palatable. Before, when oil was high, opponents of military action against Iran warned of the economic disaster that would follow the potential spike in oil prices if Israel and the US tried to bomb Iran into submission. But now with the price of oil in freefall, and many critics claiming this is the end of the world, bombing Iran back to the Iron Age could be seen as a way of pushing oil prices back up to reasonable level.

      I’m looking for a big breakthrough in the nuclear talks in mid-November. If not we could see some new product rolled out for late-winter, early-spring, 2015.

      1. George Clinton

        “Typically the Saudis lower the price of oil in the run-up to US elections”

        Not connecting the dots on that at all… what do they gain from doing this?

        1. Yves Smith Post author

          The Saudis did not choose to lower it in 2008. The end of Chinese diesel stockpiling for the Olympics was the big driver. We called that oil move as a bubble. The Saudis and majors were saying the entire time that supplies were plenty loose and prices based on fundamentals should be between $60 and $90 a barrel (it went as high as $147). Prices fell further in the crash due to the real economy decay.

        2. Working Class Nero

          Assuming the Saudis want an attack on Iran, by lowering oil prices, consumers in America get much better deals at the pump and elsewhere and start feeling slightly more confident about their economic situation and therefore vote status quo – Democratic. A “victorious” Obama therefore has more political capital to expend on an Iranian adventure should nuclear negotiations fail.

          Also as I pointed out above, lower oil prices turns an attack on Iran away from being a potential disaster for the global economy into a mission of mercy for America’s fracking infrastructure.

      1. craazyboy

        Yeah, they should have a search page for the Utah archive so we don’t have to re-type all our crap that gets lost at NC.

    1. ArmchairRevolutionary

      I expect the cat is more concerned about staying in her current home than about the servants that she has living there.

  11. CB

    Turkish Airstrike Hits Kurds… This is what the US gets for bullying a clearly unwilling ally.

    This is what the US gets? Looks to me the Kurds got.

  12. Eeyores enigma

    Everyone is using falling oil prices to confirm that the global collapse is all debt/finance all the time.

    Truth is the world was growing along exponentially quite nicely until world oil refineries reached their maximum ability to produce Diesel. Diesel prices rapidly sky-rocketed adding an enormous extra cost to all global production, transportation, and commerce, then eventually physical shortages. Adjustments were made to increase the % of Diesel per barrel and refineries were reconfigured to refine diesel. This helped a bit but it only put additional pressure on price and availability of all other oil products. Everything began getting more expensive. I know because I was there and intimately involved. Chicken …meet the egg.

    BOOM! End of exponential growth and therefore the end of debt/finance as we knew it. All of the banking/financial shenanigans that happened and are now happening stem from this reality which is why we can never get back to a level of exponential growth that would solve anything.

    Our debt/financial/banking system is highly relevant in that it pushed/pulled exponential growth well beyond anything remotely reasonable and therefore we must understand that effect and change it dramatically in the future. What we must not do is look to find some tweak we can make to the existing system that will supposedly set us back on track.

    Many years ago a question was posed over at The Oil Drum asking what people thought would happen with the price of oil going forward. The vast majority believed that it would go up for a while, then it would keep getting cheaper but even as it got cheaper less and less people could afford it.

    The WOrld is in collapse because the worlds resources more difficult to extract and the stuff we make out of those resources are becoming more detrimental to dispose of. Notice I didn’t say “becoming more expensive”, because they are, but when it is put that way everyone automatically thinks Ok it must just be a monetary issue then. No it is a physical reality that no amount of money will solve.

    1. psychohistorian

      Ok, I am going to beat my drum about the need to neuter inheritance here.

      We may have the opportunity to support grwth with alternative energy sources but because existing power centers don’t give up their sector control until way past reasonable time. Disrupting those power centers by neutering inheritance so alternative power centers can grow would make us more responsive as a species.

      end rant

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Goldilocks exit….Just-Right Exit.

        It’s not a Goldilocks exit if a person does not have enough to make to the exit door.

        And it’s not a Goldilocks exit if a person makes to the door but with unspent money.

        That’s why we need a Government Guaranteed Goldilocks exit.

      2. Eeyores enigma

        You are misinformed.

        There is no such thing as “alternative energy sources”. There are a bunch of technologies for capturing existing energy sources but they are extremely inefficient, non portable, and expensive as hell. All of which require storage technologies that we do not have.

        Storage has been the holy grail of energy for more than a hundred years. Real energy storage, even if it where only halh the energy storage potential of fossil fuels would change life on earth. It would cut carbon emissions by 75% in no time. Everyone knows who ever cracked that one will be richer than Bill Gates. Why do you suppose no one has solved that yet?

      3. Eeyores enigma

        There is no one, no entity keeping us from growing “alternative power centers”. I simply does not exist or else we would transition.

        There is not and never will be a species that grows/evolves from an incredibly high quality, dense, portable, cheap almost free energy source, to a much lower quality, less dense, non portable, way more expensive and non self-sustaining energy scheme.

        1. wbgonne

          “There is not and never will be a species that grows/evolves from an incredibly high quality, dense, portable, cheap almost free energy source, to a much lower quality, less dense, non portable, way more expensive and non self-sustaining energy scheme.”

          Um, what are you using for comps? I ask because there ain’t none. We are sui generis and we are going to have to do what you say we can’t. BTW: you are delusional if you don’t think the plutocrats are undermining alternative energy.

          1. Eeyores enigma

            If there was really anything such as alternative energy your so called “plutocrats” would not be undermining them, they would be making certain that they cornered the market securing the lions share of what would obviously be the largest, most powerful industry in the world.

            But I guess “they” are just spiteful idiots cutting off their nose to spite their face right?

            There is no magic except maybe for that which resides in a loving embrace so wake the f%#k up.

            1. psychohistorian

              I am old enough to have watched Firestone and Goodyear keep radial tires out of the US for more than a decade so they could milk their cash cow.

              So tell me your argument against my desire to neuter inheritance to help our species evolve a bit faster. Convince me that the inherited rich of our species represent the best and brightest of mankind and the we should continue to follow them over the cliff they are taking us.

  13. L.M. Dorsey

    Re: Apple/Facebook offer to freeze employee’s eggs
    The idea being that after the singularity (or your retirement, whichever comes first) you’ll have oodles more leisure for bearing and rearing?

    1. bob

      They are trying to build the perfect host for Steve Jobs 2.0. They made quite a bit of headway finding him new organs. Now they’re going for the gold.


  14. rich

    Embryonic Stem Cells Restore Vision In Preliminary Human Test

    No one expected the cells to help any of these patients see better, because the study was designed mostly just to see if doing this was safe. Researchers were concerned the cells could destroy whatever vision was left or lead to tumors in the volunteers’ eyes. So Schwartz picked patients whose eyes were so far gone that they weren’t risking losing any vision. That also meant that there was little hope the cells could help either.

    “We did not expect to help these patients, and they did not expect to be helped,” Schwartz says.

  15. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    China won’t cede…army as last resort (reuters).

    “The People’s Liberation Army will be dispatched only as a last resort if there is widespread chaos – killing, arson and looting,” the source added.”

    A master (empire) would know how to ‘produce” widespread chaos of killing, arson and looting.

    We will find out who the master empire is.

  16. Doug Terpstra

    Prince Alwaleed, draped in his finest picnic tablecloth, launches a highly-public protest over the oil price plunge, thereby convincing the entire world that the oil kingdom’s royal highnesses are not in fact united with the imperium in a great game tactic to cripple Russia’s economy. Not sure I’m buying that just yet, but I must have the name of his imperial tailor. British ladies must be simply green with envy.

  17. flora

    “Big Brother is Watching You Watch ”
    Thanks for these links.
    Saw a very creepy att phone ad on tv this weekend wherein an attractive young man is talking to an attractive young saleswoman asking her questions about a phone plan, but by the end of the dialogue he was thinking his questions and she was thinking back the answers in a way that showed att knows ALL ABOUT this young man. The idea in the ad, I guess, is that since att knows all about him they are his soul mate instead of spies. Bleh.

  18. Ignacio

    Truly exasperating. The Germans appear to have retreated into a total bunker mentality that seems to be strengthening exponentially as the evidence of their policy folly becomes über-evident. I cannot understand how the German social democrats have become collaborators to this process, which historians will try to comprehend in tome after tome, pondering on the question how individually sane and rational people as a group could err so grossly.

    German social democrats engaged, together with conservatives, elites and unions in mercantilistic policies before the euro. Oskar Lafontaine and other true social democrats quited and founded their own party.

    1. susan the other

      This quote by Yves makes me think it is an interesting case of serial Karma. No? Just wondering how German attitudes might change when Baltic levels start to turn Berlin into a swamp.

  19. Jess

    The $870 bil capital gap for TBTf banks reminds me of the test run for “bail-ins” made in the Cypress case. (Can;t remember if it was also applied in Greece directly but I recall that the Cypress bailout was a back door boon to many Greek financial institutions.) Anyway, this brings me to the subject of it possibly happening here. IIRC, the Cypress ripoff was limited to amounts above $100K, which I think might be their equivalent of our FDIC guarantee. So, what do the learned people here think a bail-in might look like in the U.S. Seems to me that any bail-in that hit funds below the $250K FDIC level would effectively destroy the banking system they’re trying to protect. Once FDIC guarantees proved not to be guaranteed after all, I can’t see why anyone would ever deposit money in a chartered bank again. The absence of meaningful interest buildup would only further disincline anyone to put their money anywhere except in a Tupperware container buried in the back yard. (Or perhaps government bonds? Remember the old days when you could buy T-bills direct and earn 8-9-10%?)

    I guess some people might be induced to invest in stocks, but I think any financial crisis serious enough to require a bank bail-in would also decimate the stock market and destroy any lingering vestiges of belief in the market for anyone not already an inside player.

    If a bail-in was limited to amounts above the $250K FDIC limit, isn’t this likely to hit the folks who make up the core political donor class, the people with influence, either directly at the federal level or through local and state party officials who, in turn, have federal access and party clout?

    So, anybody care to opine on the likelihood of a bail-in, and where it might land?

  20. Yonatan

    “Putin pulls back troops from Ukraine”

    The are NO RF troops in Ukraine. There never have been. There are Russian citizens fighting in Ukraine against the US-supported Nazis just as they are (or were – RIP Pawlawski) Americans fighting in Ukraine with said US-supported Nazis.

    The correct propaganda-free headline should be something like:

    “RF forces exercises in Russia close to the border with Ukraine end. Troops moved from one part of Russia to another part of Russia.”

  21. JTFaraday

    re: Antidote du jour (Richard Smith). “A walrus lounges on a Russian sub.”

    Ah, another anti-antidote… I don’t even know what to say. I think it’s over my pay grade.

  22. Everythings Jake

    I’m not sure who the wide adoring fans of Posner are, but I am not among them. Here’s a little gem from 2011: Unless he’s been converted like Saul on the Damascus Road, to different views on law, economics, state security (but y’know hopefully not in a way where he’ll just write dickish preachy letters to everyone he’s visited for the rest of his life), I’m inclined to an even a broken clock is right twice a day type analysis, and will continue to wish for his imminent retirement.

  23. proximity1

    “The Joy of Cooking” or, The ups and downs of a market dominated by programmed-trading giants.

    “WASHINGTON (MarketWatch) — In a session Wednesday marked by heavy, whipsaw trading, there were instances of what some are calling “mini flash crashes,” again showing the fragility of heavily automated stock markets.

    “In the first hour of trading, numerous companies saw a dramatic drop in their stock prices before recovering.”

    Entrées or “Goofy double-edged rationalizations from the market’s faithful” :

    “The market has turned extremely bearish, and probably has to spend quite a bit more time in this mode. However, some oversold conditions are at or near short-term buy signals, so there may be some (temporary) relief in sight.” (Lawrence G. McMillan)
    (hedge: “probably has to” , “there may be some” — unless, of course, things prove out otherwise.)
    “A new bear market in stocks is under way?
    “We should only be so lucky. I’m only half-joking. If your goal is to beat the market over the long term — and, if you’re like most investors, this is the Holy Grail of your investment life — then bear markets play an essential role in helping you attain it.” (Mark Hulbert)
    (hedge: “over the long term”, “if you’re like most investors” — and if you’re not, then, well …)
    “It’s been an ugly month on Wall Street. The selloff that began around Sept. 18 accelerated last week and then turned vicious on Wednesday.
    “The S&P 500 Index SPX, -0.81% is now down nearly 8% from its all-time high in September.
    But for a majority of Americans who don’t own more than a few shares of stock, the impact of the market selloff should be limited. The meltdown on Wall Street isn’t likely to crash the economy of Main Street.” (Rex Nutting)
    (hedge: “isn’t likely” –though of course it might. Oh, well.)

    “Five years into an often uneven recovery, and with stocks more volatile, are the American economy and financial markets running low on gas?
    “No. In fact, the U.S. is in the early stages of an extended business cycle and a secular bull market for stocks that could last another two decades.
    “Compared with previous cycles, this new phase could be longer and more favorable to equities, the U.S. in general, and specific investment themes. Why? Because this is the beginning of a global recycling of growth. The gigantic scale of this transition should lead to a far longer business cycle than is typical, one centered on and driven by changes in the U.S.” (Christopher Hyzy)

    (hedge: “could last” , “could be”, “should lead to” followed by full-throated optimism: “this is the beginning of a global recycling of growth,” one with “gigantic scale” in its “transition” –that is, unless it isn’t, of course. )

    ( By the way, be sure to clip-and-save these gems of prognostication from Mr. Hyzy) :

    “Unlike the past couple of bull markets, this recent upswing is not the result of speculative bubbles in credit, technology or real estate. Instead, it is due to progress in a wide range of sectors exemplified by technological advances, a manufacturing renaissance, supply/demand mismatches in vital industries and low barriers to entry for startups — all supported by greater business access to liquidity. Together, this will result in a period that could be called the “Era of Innovation.”

  24. Alan

    Was waiting for “this time it’s different” variation to surface instead of wall of worry. Looks like a real top is here or near. But I also remember how long people were spouting this stuff around 1999-2000 before the market finally crashed for good. It can take a long time to really turn the corner down.

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