Links 10/5/14

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Sharks have personality traits, study suggests Science Daily

Animal behaviour: the homesick gorilla and the dog that fell out of the sky Guardian. :-(

Pelosi Presses Obama to ‘Brag About’ Economy Bloomberg. Pelosi: “We swallowed the bitter pill on a lot of these things that helped the economy.” Whaddaya mean, “we”?

The Magical Shrinking Unemployment Rate Economic Populist. Lots of nice FRED charts.

Jobs data show US beating global economy FT. Great. I’ll take that to the bank.

Workers in Part-Time Limbo Point to U.S. Job-Market Slack Bloomberg

Why not wage-led growth? Stumbling and Mumbling

A Middle-Class Crunch Obama Didn’t Mention Bloomberg. Crapified pensions.

Finance Officials Will Warn Of Global Economic Risk Next Week International Business Times

The Real Lesson of Lehman NYRB

Prisoners Become Lucrative Market For Bankers FDL

Big Brother Is Watching You Watch

NSA defenders think they can make surveillance reform vanish. This is how wrong they are Guardian. Section 215 sunsets in June.

Facebook wants to tear down the last bastion of our privacy by gathering health data Pando Daily

Compromise needed on smartphone encryption WaPo. This is the amazing “secure golden key” editorial. Somebody should have checked with Jeff on that one.


Ebola patient in Dallas turns critical, no new U.S. cases Reuters

The Ebola Epidemic Is Stoppable Atul Gawande, New Yorker

Out of control Washington Post

Dallas Hospital reverses EHR-related explanation for fumbling Ebola case Health Care Renewal. IT and de-professionalization.

Hong Kong

OCCUPY CENTRAL – NIGHT SEVEN: Full coverage of the night’s events South China Morning Post

Protesters to lift Hong Kong government blockade, vow to stay in Central Reuters

Hong Kong Protests 2014: Students Agree To Reopen Talks With Government, Under Conditions International Business Times

Hong Kong protests: CY Leung says police will take ‘all actions necessary’ to ensure city reopens ABC

Firmly safeguard rule of law in HK: People’s Daily Xinhua

Stark choices face Beijing over any PLA on Hong Kong streets Reuters

Hong Kong legislator says government using triads against protesters Guardian

Hong Kong Backpack Brigade Makes Plans Amid Takeout Boxes Bloomberg

Revisiting Hong Kong Balding’s World

Hong Kong clings to Chinese customs as it defies Beijing’s dictates McClatchy

Japan economy minister Amari ‘a little concerned’ about recovery’s strength Reuters

Kim Jong-un falls off the radar as the two Koreas agree to talk Independent

Thai king readmitted to hospital – palace statement Daily Mail


The war on Isis defies logic FT

What is Turkey’s military role in Iraq and Syria? Al Arabiya (Saudi-owned).

Why Turkey Was Slow To Join Anti-ISIS Forces NPR

US jets attack Isis as Biden apologises to Turkish president for remarks about foreign fighters Guardian

Lessons from French Morocco: “Fanaticism Anxiety” about Muslims has been with us since the Colonial Era Juan Cole


Bodies Pile Up in Donetsk Morgue as Ukraine Ceasefire Continues to Crumble Vice

Ukraine Says Artillery Silence Needed for Weapon Pullback Reuters

Germany Mulls Sending Soldiers to Assist OSCE in Ukraine WSJ

The Sand Thieves: World’s Beaches Become Victims of Construction Boom Der Spiegel

Time after Time — Health Policy Implications of a Three-Generation Case Study NEJM

Some Quality Republican Trolling, 1936 Edition Observations on Credit and Surveillance. With FDR video!

The Buffalo Wind The Archdruid Report

Antidote du jour (furzy mouse):


See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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About Lambert Strether

Readers, I have had a correspondent characterize my views as realistic cynical. Let me briefly explain them. I believe in universal programs that provide concrete material benefits, especially to the working class. Medicare for All is the prime example, but tuition-free college and a Post Office Bank also fall under this heading. So do a Jobs Guarantee and a Debt Jubilee. Clearly, neither liberal Democrats nor conservative Republicans can deliver on such programs, because the two are different flavors of neoliberalism (“Because markets”). I don’t much care about the “ism” that delivers the benefits, although whichever one does have to put common humanity first, as opposed to markets. Could be a second FDR saving capitalism, democratic socialism leashing and collaring it, or communism razing it. I don’t much care, as long as the benefits are delivered. To me, the key issue — and this is why Medicare for All is always first with me — is the tens of thousands of excess “deaths from despair,” as described by the Case-Deaton study, and other recent studies. That enormous body count makes Medicare for All, at the very least, a moral and strategic imperative. And that level of suffering and organic damage makes the concerns of identity politics — even the worthy fight to help the refugees Bush, Obama, and Clinton’s wars created — bright shiny objects by comparison. Hence my frustration with the news flow — currently in my view the swirling intersection of two, separate Shock Doctrine campaigns, one by the Administration, and the other by out-of-power liberals and their allies in the State and in the press — a news flow that constantly forces me to focus on matters that I regard as of secondary importance to the excess deaths. What kind of political economy is it that halts or even reverses the increases in life expectancy that civilized societies have achieved? I am also very hopeful that the continuing destruction of both party establishments will open the space for voices supporting programs similar to those I have listed; let’s call such voices “the left.” Volatility creates opportunity, especially if the Democrat establishment, which puts markets first and opposes all such programs, isn’t allowed to get back into the saddle. Eyes on the prize! I love the tactical level, and secretly love even the horse race, since I’ve been blogging about it daily for fourteen years, but everything I write has this perspective at the back of it.


  1. Carolinian

    Alternate antidote/TV plug; Chaser, genius border collie and local hero will be featured on 60 Minutes tonight. Anderson Cooper was in town a few months ago filming the segment.

    This summer a group of us had the privilege of meeting Dr. Pilley and his famous pooch. My friends talked psychology with the doc. Chaser and I played ball. Here’s a previous Neil Degrasse Tyson report on Chaser.

  2. dearieme

    “Sharks have personality traits, study suggests”. Ooh, I do enjoy a bit of sarcasm. Do squids too? Jackals? Vultures? Any other members of the financial world menagerie?

    1. trish

      actually, re the link, more and more research is coming out that shows -surprise! – other animals on the planet have personality traits and emotions.

      What is unfortunate to me is that the “sharks…squids…Jackals… Vultures of the financial world” have so corrupted the names of the sharks, squids, Jackals, and vultures of the natural world.
      All interesting creatures, with their own beauty and intelligences, acting on instinct, no malice…and important members of their ecosystems. The criminals of wall street are just harmful to our ecosystem. More like giant, bloodsucking, alien fleas. Alien to the natural world.

      re sharks, on a house-sitting trip to Charleston last month in a shallow area while the tide was high, I watched a small hammerhead swimming nearby- within 10 feet at times. beautiful, gracefully gliding about.
      and vultures- seeing 50 plus of them circling way high up on the thermals during the fall migration…lovely.

      1. ex-PFC Chuck

        Hmmm. Were the vultures circling while you were wading in the water near the hammerhead? If that were me I think I’d have removed myself from the surf fairly quickly.

        1. trish

          Generally small sharks swimming in the shallow waters near shore are looking for smaller fish. Rarely bite a human. I’m more afraid of dogs off leash when out for a run (or hike).
          Small hammerheads are generally harmless. And well worth a close look, to me.

      2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        And snakes, and other cold-blooded animals.

        In fact, cold blooded animals are more energy efficient than warm blooded animals. And according to Attenborough in ‘Life in Cold Blood’ documentary, cold blood is no barrier to affection.

        And plants are more energy efficient than animals, in general.

      3. cwaltz

        I’m surprised that it would take research to realize the rest of the animal kingdom, like us, have personalities and feelings. Anyone who has had multiple animals from the same kingdom can easily observe that each of them are not exactly the same in temperament and don’t always respond the same to an environment. It isn’t like we haven’t had domesticated animals to make this observation and infer from(and I’m not even a bonafide scientist.)

        1. trish

          yes, amazing we needed research to show this. And until relatively recently, they felt no pain, either. So we could torture, mistreat and abuse without worrying about it. never mind that pain is evolutionarily adaptive (of course, only to a degree, it seems, as some pain seems along for the ride on some other selected gene, or just something in the body gone awry).

          Of course, the belated knowledge that animals do feel pain, fear, grief, etc., hasn’t stopped our horrible abuse of them, including on a large scale by corporations sanctioned and protected by our government.

        2. Darwin

          There’s still much exorcism to be done from the Victorian, male-dominated era of scientific evolution.

    2. efschumacher

      Well it is clear that the human variety of behaviors mirrors the varieties in nature and so we have all kinds of predators, parasites, opportunists, co-operators and thus and such. Trick is for the co-operators to develop effective countervailing methods against the expropriators and the free-riders. It will be an uphill battle because the Britons, for example, never shucked off the Romans, the Angles, the Saxons, the Normans or the Global Kleptocrats. Each ruling class simply takes over from the last. The subject peoples rarely have sufficient organization and grit to do it themselves.

      1. susan the other

        I’ve been wondering if the actual gap between rich and poor is an illusion bec. the rich simply have to have more money to buy the same lifestyle. Whereas the poor never had it in the first place. The rich can still jet off to the islands, but now they’re squishing human sewage between their toes when they walk on the beach. Why did the Bible say the poor would inherit the earth? Doesn’t seem to be happening. Maybe not until the rich emigrate to the outer planets?

        1. juliania

          Important quibble, it being Sunday.

          …the meek shall inherit the earth.

          I’m holding out for those rich meekies.

      2. trish

        “the human variety of behaviors mirrors the varieties in nature and so we have all kinds of predators, parasites, opportunists, co-operators”
        Yes, but the myriad non-human predators, parasites, etc., generally are acting on instinct. Cruelty and horrors in the non-human animal world, yes…but I don’t think there’s malice with forethought involved.

  3. dearieme

    “Fanaticism Anxiety” about Muslims has been with us since the Colonial Era: aye, since the era when Muslims colonised Christian, Parsee, Hindu, and Buddhist territory.

      1. dearieme

        Do you deny that they colonised areas occupied by followers of those religions?

        If you don’t deny it, what is the point of your adolescent comment?

    1. Paul Tioxon

      Toynbee references the Ishmailian Sect of assassins when he pays a back handed compliment to Genghis Khan. As part of the Mongol invasions of Middle East and the decimation of great centers of civilization, such as Baghdad, Genghis Khan also wiped out the peculiar Ismailian Sect lead by the fabled “Old Man in the Mountain” whose fanatical violence destabilized the entire Muslim world with suicide assassins. Toynbee describes this as the one real contribution to the world made by GK. So scholars attribute the origin of the word assassin from Arabic for hash hish, which was used to develop assassins and also poison targets. Toynbee’s history includes hundreds of pages on Islam as well as the Mongols great empire. While the savagery of Genghis Khan and his descendents is not down played, the eventual settling down to administer the empire from China was seen as civilized where the Arabs and Islam in general, were a more immediate and direct threat to power of Western Europe and the growing British Empire. Toynbee’s intellectual influence characterized fanatical Muslims and this strong attribute retained the imprimatur of validity at the time and long afterwards. Of course, the relentless expansion of the British Empire was romanticized as the people who the sun never set upon. This in contrast to everyone else’s empire, which was a scourge on humanity.

  4. dearieme

    “and then social and presumably some genetic factors combined to lead to a downward personal spiral” seems a little bit too limited, and too determinate, to me. How about: “and then genetic factors, aspects of the Welfare State rules, other social factors, and blind chance combined to lead to a downward personal spiral”?

    It’s unwise, it seems to me, to overlook the role of chance in life. CEOs, for example, should have someone at their elbow whispering “Remember that you have been lucky”.

    1. ambrit

      Unfortunately, if I remember my Roman Empire correctly, that someone also held the Laurel Wreath above the Triumphant Generals head, and usually was a slave. Until recently, I aver that the situation as described would today use a Regulator as Nemesis. (Unfortunately, the Republic was marginalized both in Roman times and today. We are starting into our own Principate period.)

    2. nony mouse

      the article did not want to state its own conclusion.

      long intro about the poor personal factors that make the members of this particular family cost society over 1 million dollars to the system.

      mealy-mouthed, doublespeak method of trying to introduce the social context through focus on housing, nutrition, etc. but saying “these are outside of the healthcare system, so we need social services to address that.” well, maybe. I don’t disagree with the role of the social worker, but there can be no more ‘inside’ the health system of one person (or a society) than nutrition!

      one mention of poverty. no conclusions drawn. just “poor choices and hectic lives, and possibly some genetic predisposition to mental health issues” (paraphrase). how about this: if they’d had enough money to live in decent housing and buy proper food (we shall not address for now how they would know to make these ‘better’ choices), most of their depression, alcoholism and even incarceration likely would not have happened. growing up without hope of a chance for all three drove this family into the ground. no exploration of their social network (well, it was written by doctors!) of support. I bet that this family was isolated. if a similar family had this happen to them, I bet they would have developed similar problems. usually, if a family encounters ‘temporary’ bad times, it is because they have a social network to rely upon to keep them on track, through getting them jobs, goods, and a path out of this.

      they could be talking about my own family. even the age spread is similar. so, I’m not speaking as a researcher looking down from above. these doctors need to get together with the social workers, and then they really should get together with the community that they are supposedly serving, and find out what they think they need. the article is written as though these people are barely human at all:
      “Our clinical colleagues who have reviewed this timeline have had a range of reactions, including frustration that the patients themselves have not been willing or able to take more control of their social and medical problems. ”
      well, how do you ‘take control’ of no money, and no jobs to get money, and no training to get jobs, and no money to get training, and no reliable transportation to get any of the above?
      “Nevertheless, from a pragmatic perspective, when we are the physicians caring for such patients, our jobs are to help these very real human beings — who may, like Muriel, Janine, and Joshua, have their considerable charms. Yet we also have roles as stewards of society’s resources, which must be used to provide care for everyone.”

      so, while the conclusions are not something I can’t disagree with at all, and the fact that a doctor is saying it means that we should stand up and pay attention. no matter that the people themselves would have told you bluntly what their problem was. but hey, it’s not real unless someone with some letters after their name makes a study about it. it certainly can’t be real if some poverty-stricken jailbird with chronic diabetes tells you. the tone suggests that ‘aha! we have come to the conclusion that poverty matters, while trying simultaneously to avoid saying that poverty contributes to poor human health, and overly focusing on the personal determinants like genes and behavior.

      I don’t disagree that they contribute. but which is first? learning behavior takes place in regards to external stimuli and even gene expression happens in terms of environmental conditions. I don’t think the chicken-or-egg debate will ever be ended at this rate!

      1. nony mouse

        was editing the above for clarity, but the time seems to have run out while doing so. if this edit function is to function, it might be better it not expire while you are actually doing the editing!

        many apologies for this -meta- comment.

      2. Otter

        “we also have roles as stewards” == white-coated man’s burden

        Although the original expression was, like green-wash, bruited loudly and frequently by cynical psychpaths, its very popularily proves there are many, perhaps a majority, who know there are grievous wrongs to be urgently righted.

  5. gordon

    Remember the “No more Lehmans!” vow? It was that guarantee which was the cornerstone of US Govt. response to the GFC. The TARP, Dodd-Frank, QE etc. etc. were, comparatively, bells and whistles.

    The real lesson of Lehman was that there would be no creative thought. The toothpaste would be forced back into the old tube.

    Which is a pity, because I remember the huge number of suggestions about what to do with bankrupt banks on all the econoblogs back then. There must have been literally thousands, if you add up all the posts and comments. Many of them were really insightful. They ranged all the way from just sending in the FDIC (Would any “emergency legislation” have been needed? Many thought not) to really fancy “good bank” and “bad bank” ideas, and all sorts in between.

    Aside from just fear of the unknown, my favourite theory is that the US and probably UK and Continental European Govts. knew that the big banks were awash with criminal money and were up to their necks in money laundering and tax evasion. They couldn’t nationalise or send in Govt. administrators for fear of what they would find.

    (Cross-posted with editing from Economist’s View, links for 4 Oct. ’14)

    1. Banger

      You a nailed a key element when you said “there would be no creative thought” in the response to Lehman. But there would be a lot of creative thought put forth to undermine the creative thought. If you expand your statement you could say that most of the creative efforts in our society are aimed at stopping creativity other than the field of “entertainement” which keeps people in a state of “entrancement” so they cannot act because they don’t want to act. In the past decade and a half I’ve found a high number of incredibly creative and imaginative ideas and solutions to a variety of problems on everything from engineering tasks, to education, to energy, to transportation, to you name the problem. Never are any of these solutions and ideas ever considered by any larger authority whether corporate or government–always we have rehashing of old nostrums that don’t really work but are successful at the status quo–and I don’t just mean left-wing ideas either–I mean practical and pragmatic ideas often coming from people who, in the political arena, consider themselves in the center like H. Woody Brock.

      My point here is the the financial crisis was yet another power grab by a powerful interest group that I believe was half-way engineered accidentally on purpose since, I was informed, many people believed a major crash was likely it was just a question of when. But whether or not the crisis was helped along by the finance oligarchs or not the fact is that they gained enormous political power after 2008 I think is obvious. All the “creative” solutions were shelved because of realpolitik and, the Street had its guy in as the POTUS.

    2. susan the other

      I’ve been thinkin that too Gordon. Otherwise why would the Fed be so unbelievably lenient with the banksters. It is because they brought them down in a very brutal manner. But they still needed them.

  6. TarheelDem

    Out of control: How the world’s health organizations failed to stop the ebola virus.

    Bezos’s Bozos strike again. Panic headline. Article that fails to tell how multiple countries’ austerity budgets for foreign aid over a long period of time has degraded the capabilities of world health agency responses. How neoliberalism has gutted the notion of “public health” and devalued the development of infrastructure in poorer nations that would have prevented the outbreak in the first place. How food insecurity worldwide has driven communities back to hunting traditional “bush meat” that risk carrying the ebola virus.

    The second irresponsible article from the Bozos. The first was Dan Sennett’s opinion that Allen West should be guarding Barack Obama.

    1. Banger

      The hallmark of the American MSM is never to seriously question assumptions or authority. The degradation of public health was deliberate. Why the authorities/oligarchs are bent on degrading and undermining civilization is an important subject I would be interested in discussing–any ideas?

      1. efschumacher

        The ring fenced elite know that global warming is a problem, that public health is a global problem that needs a competent, co-ordinated global response, that the margin of misery is ever expanding, that the population is just too large for effective governance or resource husbandry and they proceed along those tracks splendidly unmoved. When you have your house and retinue in six or a dozen different climate zones, you hole up in the least unpleasant, wait for the mass to die off, wait for the smell to go away and re-expand, secure in your control of the greatly diminished remainder.

          1. abynormal

            Agree. (my fav. bday gifts)

            “An attitude to life which seeks fulfillment in the single-minded pursuit of wealth in short, materialism does not fit into this world, because it contains within itself no limiting principle, while the environment in which it is placed is strictly limited.” …“Anything that we can destroy but are unable to make is, in a sense sacred, and all our ‘explanations’ of it do not really explain anything.” efs

      2. Brooklin Bridge

        The degradation of public health was deliberate.

        How did this come about? Well, think back to the Fabulous Furry Freak Brother comics (which explain just about everything) and in particular to the cockroach General that often had his own little story thread going on on the bottom margin of the page. When ever he would “loose a few” of the troops, he would point his sword forward and say, “Plenty more where that came from…”

        And thus was born our modern health care system.

      3. different clue

        Well, I have offered an idea in the form of a question several times over the last couple of years. If the Overclass wanted to arrange the death of 4-6 billion people over the next 50 years and make it look like an accident, wouldn’t defunding and destaffing and demoralizing the planet-wide epidemic-controlling organizations allow such epidemics as arise run wild and free? “Never let a good epidemic go to waste” as Rahm Emmanuel might put it.
        Now . . . if Russia or China or some other big NON-Western powers ban air travel from Ebolastan to their own countries . . . for real and not just for show . . . that would make it look like those NON Western powers are not part of the Overclass disease-attrition program.

    2. VietnamVet

      Since I have already been tagged as hysterical, I don’t mind the headline of the Washington Post Ebola article. It has interesting graphics and information. Hopefully everyone reads it. But, denial is powerful force.

      One week in since the “missteps” in Dallas and no new infections have been reported. Dead bodies due to 50-90% mortality rate are hard to hide. So far so good. Two more weeks to go. I’m surprised those living close together in the apartment were spared unless Duncan took precautions because he knew he might be infected. Not to mention, if the ambulance that transported him was used again for the two days before it was disinfected.

      I am pessimistic due to public health cuts and the transformation of U.S. medicine into a wealth extraction scheme even if Dallas is spared. Without a quarantine and crash program to stop the epidemic in West Africa more zero patients and hot spots will inevitability spread throughout the world.

  7. bob

    Buffalo wind is just another machine analogy. The job of the machine called earth is to restore balance- “the wind off the open prairies that tingles with life and wonder, calling humanity back to its roots in the natural order”

    Natural order. Natural law. Natural christian without christ and a sunday sermon anyway.

    How’s this different from an economist insisting that all models tend toward equilibrium? Can the buffalo wind be late? Early? Do we have a 98% confidence interval?

    Writing that self-contradictory piece without any hint of a clue is telling. Believe!

    1. James Levy

      Nature is wonderful, but not magical. It is also red in tooth and claw, but don’t tell the vegans that. Populations constantly overshoot and crash–it’s been studied a million times. Nature is not in some mystical state of balance (ask the Anasazi–oops, they’re gone). It is a dynamic system that tends to cull the herd (another not so nice reality that the spiritually inclined tend to overlook). Given enough time, extinction is virtually guaranteed. We have the brains and the insight as humans to see all this. We should walk as gently as we can and be kind, knowing that it will all pass. We can make choices that deer and finches cannot, so we should exercise our better natures and choose not to overshoot, overhunt, overgraze, wrecking the environment and taking defenseless creatures with us.

      Oh, we’ve always been in nature, and still are. It is not something we can “return” to because, as the Ebola outbreak demonstrates, it’s something we never left. The Archdruid is buying into a false dichotomy. Fuzzy-headed Rousseauian Romantic claptrap is something we really don’t need.

      1. Antifa

        The word and concept of the “unnatural” is one of the chief means by which we blind ourselves to the systems within systems nature of our reality, and we blind ourselves with it prolifically in order to live the way we do.

        But can anyone actually conceive of any substance, or any event, that is “unnatural”? If it truly exists, if it actually happens, it is by definition natural, and part of a natural system.

        It’s only possible to think of unnatural things if they are based in our human imagination. Things like like Odin, Spiderman, zombies, and the like.

        Or is anything our brain can think of also a natural phenomenon? In which case, there is nothing unnatural.

    2. Steve H.

      The models on Ebola are contained in the links he provides, and the links from the links. The most intensive study ( specifically notes “The lack of detailed data on the 2014WA EVD outbreak makes any modeling approach vulnerable to the many assumptions and uncertainty about basic parameters and the quality of data.”

      The Garret link characterizes the epidemiological parameters in the non-industrialized states (‘Liberia had fewer than 200 doctors struggling to meet the health needs of 4 million people before the epidemic’), while the Odum link addresses the extraordinary costs of containing an outbreak in the industrialized states.

      A major theme on this site has been the inadequacy of models with plenty of data, and with very smart people backing their veracity, to predict sudden catastrophic shifts in circumstances. At least in the case of these studies, they’re aware that the 95% reference range is a best estimate and not an adequate prediction.

  8. Jim Haygood

    ‘Law enforcement authorities are not asking for the ability to surveil everyone’s smartphone, only those relatively few cases where there is a court-approved search warrant. This seems reasonable and not excessively intrusive.’ — WaPo

    Talk about chutzpah. Even as we speak, these very same authorities, using what Sen. Ron Wyden called secret interpretations of the law, are engaged in illegal surveillance on a massive scale. There is nothing ‘reasonable’ about their activities. No presumption we can make about their intent is pejorative enough. The burden of proving ‘reasonability’ to our satisfaction is entirely on them.

    While there’s not a lot we can do about our totalitarian overlords, there is something we can do about their media mouthpieces like the WaPo: starve them till they shrivel up and die.

  9. Banger

    One of the more interesting political stories involves Erdogan’s forcing Biden to apologize for saying something reasonably true. So does the Turkish Prime Minister really outrank the U.S. Vice President? Similarly, we’ve seen Netanyahu dress down the U.S. President–does he outrank the POTUS? These are interesting questions which I won’t try to answer.

    But here is what I do know: both Turkey and Israel are major actors in covert operations often acting together and both countries also host important organized crime operations that profit from conflict around the world including supporting “jihadis.” In fact, I believe ISIS itself is a joint intel/criminal and jihadi organization all rolled into one. I believe a large number of its fighters are mercenaries and criminals. I believe a large part of the motivation of these fighters lies in raping and looting with a convenient sheen of jihad just to mask reality a bit.

    Turkey acted as the main supporter of anti-Assad groups including the jihadis. Everyone knows, and even the U.S. mainstream has reported that the Turkish border is awash with unruly crazies and market towns catering to fighters and that wounded ISIS fighters are being treated in Turkish hospitals. There were no “mistakes” in Turkey’s actions–their goal was to topple Assad and dominate the Sunni parts of Syraqistan and be the oil brokers of that region and continue their unofficial alliance with Saudi Arabia and Israel. Part of teir motivation is that they, like many in the region, no longer see the U.S. as a reliable partner. Why? Because Washington is, as the Imperial Capital, is disarray. I think last year’s balking at bombing Syria was the final straw for the allies I just mentioned so they decided to take matters in their own hands and pump up a force in Syraqistan. The question now remains–is this ISIS organization beholden to anyone? Do the Saudis/Turks/Israelis have a common purpose here? To what extent in the U.S. in on this? (I believe the more criminal elements within the CIA are probably in on all of this?

    Mind you, this is all speculation on my part from reading the tea leaves so take it all with a grain of salt.

    1. Bill the Psychologist

      “in fact, I believe ISIS itself is a joint intel/criminal and jihadi organization all rolled into one. I believe a large number of its fighters are mercenaries and criminals.”

      I agree with you, and agree it was “created” by someone(s) to create chaos that would justify more military expenditures in the so-called Free World, and more justification for more restrictions on civilian populations.

      Exactly who is behind it is another question, but I think our secret rogue agencies — CIA & NSA — plus American military intelligence, Israeli intelligence, are all involved in its creation and support.

      Go ahead, call me paranoid.

    2. tyaresun

      It is a question of who is more aligned with the massas. The ones less aligned have to apologize.

  10. Eureka Springs

    I don’t know what to make out of this so-called new smart phone encryption. Would love to upgrade if it’s true. I mean we know Comey is a liar who should both be fired and prosecuted. The only golden key he deserves is the one his jailer uses to lock his cell. And that goes double for the entire political/judicial/police state – rule of fLaws. This is not the time to trust them for any reason, if ever there was one. Give us a solid decade with proof of utilizing and honoring the warrant system, the first, fourth and fifth amendments. That said, is this one of those moments where Comey doth protest too much? Or are phones actually secure?

    I suppose rather than believe this encryption works on my own I will wait until Yves and Lambert run out and purchase their first smart phones.

    Anyone know of an email system which does not utilize a cloud?

    1. efschumacher

      Anyone know of an email system which does not utilize a cloud?

      Get yourself a domain name, put an MX record out on the domain name system, install postscript (or sendmail) with TLS enabled, run an OpenPGP encryption-enabled client (such as and host your own. (Make sure your cable modem is in bridge mode, and your own router has a competent and secure interface to configure port forwarding, directed at your postscript (or sendmail) installation.

      Or else just make sure that everything stored on the cloud is encrypted and your private key is secured locally. A client like, locally hosted should help you do this.

  11. abynormal

    A Hospital from He!!, in a city swamped by Ebola
    MAKENI, Sierra Leone — “Where’s the corpse?” the burial-team worker shouted, kicking open the door of the isolation ward at the government hospital here. The body was right in front of him, a solidly built young man sprawled out on the floor all night, his right hand twisted in an awkward clench.

    The other patients, normally padlocked inside, were too sick to look up as the body was hauled away. Nurses, some not wearing gloves and others in street clothes, clustered by the door as pools of the patients’ bodily fluids spread to the threshold. A worker kicked another man on the floor to see if he was still alive. The man’s foot moved and the team kept going. It was 1:30 in the afternoon.
    In recent weeks, the world has vowed to step up its response to the epidemic, which has been spreading for more than six months. The United States has sent a military team to neighboring Liberia with plans to build 18 treatment centers to prop up the broken health system. The British have promised to build field hospitals in four urban areas in Sierra Leone, including this one. The French are setting up a treatment center and a laboratory in Guinea. The Chinese have sent scores of medical personnel to the region and have converted a hospital they built outside Freetown into a holding center for Ebola patients. The Cubans have pledged to send more than 400 doctors to help battle the disease in the region.

    But little of that help has reached this city. The dead, the gravely ill, those who are vomiting or have diarrhea, are placed among patients who have not yet been confirmed as Ebola victims — there is not even a laboratory here to test them. At one of the three holding centers in Makeni, dazed Ebola patients linger outside, close to health workers and soldiers guarding them. The risk of infection is high, the precautions minimal. Patients are kept at the holding centers, receiving a minimum of care, until space opens up at a distant treatment center.

    Hush now, baby, baby, don’t you cry
    Mama’s gonna make all of your nightmares come true
    Mama’s gonna put all of her fears into you
    Mama’s gonna keep you right here under her wing
    She won’t let you fly but she might let you sing
    Mama’s gonna keep baby cosy and warm (Mother, Pink Floyd)

    1. katiebird

      I’m not as much interested in the number of soldiers we’re sending over there as what is the plan once they get there. I’m wondering how fast and how effectively can they build/create humane and effective treatment facilities – hospitals, whatever – that allow people to get well rather than sick.

      Are there plans for humane quarantine facilities? How many? For how many people.

      Nothing I’ve read talks about what actions it will take to save the people of Sierra Leone, Liberia & Guinea. Are we just attempting to contain the spread hoping it burns itself out on those poor people in Africa? That seems like a horrific goal to me.

      1. abynormal

        katie, none of it makes sense to me. will the military be hazmat suited? the locals are not very trusting at this time…fear and past transgressions create that lasting effect. getting patients to any facility is still not being addressed.
        im interpreting the numbers to mean the military can’t build to get in front of the spread.
        im not even sure this is why we’re sending them…oil protection is raising its ugly head again and this winter we may witness geopolitical deficiencies in this area.

        the sickening elite reality…there is no profit in fighting ebola in africa but there might be a strong camouflage.

        1. katiebird

          “the sickening elite reality” …. It is sickening. How can so many people & organizations be talking about this without talking about how to STOP it as soon as possible.

          One of the articles I read said that “we” were sending the soldiers to Africa with everything they need, food & water – so they don’t have to go into the local economies.

          I’ve read nothing about supplies for building facilities, what kind of facilities, where/how many — nothing.

          Much less, any of the social issues you mentioned, the lack of trust. If we, here, can’t tell what the goal is – how are they supposed to?

      2. BondsOfSteel

        It is a horrific goal… but one that’s not being met.

        Step One… separate the sick from the healthy.
        Step Two… cure the sick.

        Unless the sick are isolated, the number of sick will continue grow exponentially, and the problems will just be harder to solve. You can isolate and treat 200 people. 2000? Maybe. 200,000? No way.

    2. lulu

      Another account from Professor Peter Piot, the Director of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine: “Peter Piot [in 1976] was a researcher at a lab in Antwerp when a pilot brought him a blood sample from a Belgian nun who had fallen mysteriously ill in Zaire.”

        1. abynormal

          “what ever happened to the Marburg virus?”
          you had to ask….Today:
          1st LD-Writethru: Deadly Marburg hemorrhagic fever breaks out in Uganda

          The deadly Marburg hemorrhagic fever has broken out in Uganda after samples taken to the Uganda Virus Institute tested positive, a top government official said Sunday.

          Elioda Tumwesigye, minister of state for health told reporters that one person has so far died and 80 others are being monitored in central Uganda and the western district of Kasese.

          “The Ministry of Health would like to inform the country of an outbreak Marburg which has so far killed one person. Another person who has developed signs is being monitored,” he said.

          He said the index case died on Sept. 28 after developing signs of Marburg which was later confirmed by laboratory tests. The minister said the deceased’s brother has also developed signs and is currently under isolation.

          He added that all the people that had contact with them are being monitored.

          The Marburg virus was last reported in Uganda in 2012.

          According to the World Health Organization, Marburg is a severe and highly fatal disease caused by a virus from the same family as the one that causes Ebola hemorrhagic fever.

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            Of course, Africa is a resource rich continent that China is eager to rediscover.

            Indentured Indian and Chinese labour in South Africa went back to the 19th Century and early 20th.

            That’s something to be on alert for. We are one flight or two away from Africa to the densely populated Southern China.

  12. Eeyores enigma

    “Jobs data show US beating global economy ”

    And this is looking more and more like the underlying reason for a lot of things going on in the world today. Who ever “wins” or at least is last one standing if you can call that a win, gets to determine whats next. Just like after WWII.

  13. Jim Haygood

    That’s a seriously crapified article from FDL about prisons. The author, DSWright, quotes two paragraphs lifted from an investigation published by four days earlier, with no attribution:

    Wright’s article blasts something called JPay, without further identifying it or (Journo 101) calling it for comment. Business Week did this basic legwork a couple of years ago:

    Miami-based JPay handles money transfers, e-mail communications, and video visitations (all of which are monitored by corrections officers) for more than 1 million prisoners in about 35 states.

    Last year, JPay, which has 200 employees, began marketing its own line of “prison-proof” MP3 players. “We’re looking for products that an inmate would want to buy and a corrections facility would accept,” says Chief Executive Officer Ryan Shapiro, who started the business in 2001 after working in marketing at a New York tech startup. “Music was a no-brainer because inmates don’t have enough music, and they all love music.”

    Inmates use it to browse JPay’s library of more than 10 million songs on electronic kiosks the company installs in common areas inside prisons. Downloads run from $1.29 to $1.99 a tune. Shapiro insists he’s not profiteering from a captive market; JPay shares revenue from all of its services with the “majority” of the prisons it serves, he says. Shapiro won’t disclose financials, but says his company has been profitable since 2006.

    Wonder whom Shapiro was referring to with his biz name JPay … hisself?

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Robot bankers.

      We need robot bankers, programmed for smaller cuts.

      My idea is based on the fact that the people, as a whole, can not go bankrupt.

      1. robot bankers make loans to the people, impartially and without moral hazard
      2. collectively, there is a overall default rate (minimized via intelligent robot bankers) for the people
      3. the government subsidizes the people by back-stopping that default rate
      4. as a result, the people, as a whole, qualify to borrow from the Fed at zero percent*

      I believe robot bankers can be much more beneficial for the people than human bankers.

      *the people borrow at 0%, as a whole, and the robot bankers split that money into many more 0% loans, while, paradoxically the government has to borrow at non-zero rates, e.g. 10 years at, say, 2.5%.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef


        Human bankers ‘claim’ free market means they will
        1. compete to give consumers the best rates and
        2. through competition, they innovate to bring us the most productive banking services.

        Robot bankers can duplicate and even improve on, at least one, if not both, by
        1. charge 0% profit and as mentioned above, with government back stopping, offer 0% loans that no human bankers can do.
        2. Run tests on a virtual US economy, where various alternative banking services are simulated on super computers, constantly, every day, every hour, every minute, as if they happen on other parallel universes, to determine the most productive banking services/practices. Instead of one American free market, robot bankers offer the best that they learn from many, many American free markets.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          That’s a good question and the idea needs some more work.

          It can be applied to a command economy where production quotas are generated, as if they come from a free market, by simulating a virtual free market economy. This way, we can benefit from free market with suffering the unpleasant effects.

          Maybe this is too sci fi.

  14. MikeNY

    Props to Gideon Rachman in the FT for saying we don’t know that the f#*k we’re doing in the Middle East, and we can’t fix it. He diplomatically refrained from saying we actually make things worse, which is plain as day.

    Still, I’m sure he’ll be deemed a lunatic by the establishment and handled with a chain.

    Oil and Israel, the binary star around which America dances.

  15. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    HK Students Agrees To Reopen Talks…

    The other day, there were some comments about ‘respect for elders’ in Asia.

    I wonder if that might be a PR problem…young students challenging old guys in Beijing.

    Perhaps a few really, really old students might counter-balance that.

  16. Kim Kaufman

    “Pelosi Presses Obama to ‘Brag About’ Economy Bloomberg. Pelosi: “We swallowed the bitter pill on a lot of these things that helped the economy.” Whaddaya mean, “we”?”

    Yeah, and whaddaya mean “helped the economy”?

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      With a well-designed, well-executed campaign, you can get enough people to buy your product – advertising 101.

      ‘You need a bridge and I have just the right one for you…’

      1. Johann Sebastian Schminson

        “With a well-designed, well-executed campaign, you can get enough people to buy your product.”


        Twice, if the competition sucks even worse, and the target has already tried it.

    2. roadrider

      I guess Inside Trader Nancy wants Obummer to brag about 95% of the gains going to the 1% (or upper 0.1% – I can’t keep track) under his administration which is a higher percentage than under his predecessor.

      I’ve been out of work since 7/2013. Lost my UI benefits 2/2014. From my perspective the Dems have nothing to brag about.

      Pelosi, as much as Obama, is one of the biggest reasons I’m no longer a Dem and will never vote for a Dem again as long as I live.

  17. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Two Koreas agree to talk…

    I see in my crystal–ball progress, no more rickshaws, and many North Korean billionaires in the future.

    1. neo-realist

      North Korean billionaires and even cheaper labor than China working in a potentially rapidly expanding manufacturing base when the OGD opens up the floodgates to multinational corporations.

      A Kimchi Republic?

  18. rich

    PEU Tank Cars

    PEU money is behind a new crude-by-rail facility proposed for Colorado’s booming Niobrara field.

    It costs $1,300 a month to lease a tank car, which requires only $20 a month in maintenance. That car can hold between $1.5 and $3 million in oil. A tank car ordered today will roll off the line in summer 2016. There are 77,000 new tank cars produced a year.

    Limited supply, huge operating margins, and massive demand from the oilfield as far as the eye can see. This is a PEU’s dream.

    Part of U.S. Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker’s massive fortune came from Union Tank Car.

    She omitted a portion of it in her $80 million error in her federal financial disclosure.

    One has to wonder how multiple layers of massive profits works it way through to the price consumers ultimately pay. Not to worry as long as the greed and leverage boys (and girls) get their grand returns.

    1. optimader

      “It costs $1,300 a month to lease a tank car, which requires only $20 a month in maintenance. That car can hold between $1.5 and $3 million in oil”

      Reality check these numbers..

      –$1.5MM to $3MM/31kgal railcar= ~$48.00 -$96.00/gal for the oil?(I am being generous on the 31Kgal capacity).
      –$20.00/mnth maintenance wouldn’t even pay for a railcar mechanic to walk around a railcar let alone lok at it , let alone turn a wrench on it.. Consumables…brakes, hoses, bearing, wheels, relief valves, inspections???
      $1,200/month lease? I would take a wild guess that the decimal point needs to be moved to the right

      …”Oil companies railing Bakken crude ideally would use a general purpose 31,800 gallon crude oil tank rail car but due to lack of supply of tank rail cars some are using 23,500 gallon an smaller insulated coiled tank railcars. Oil companies railing Condensate are also using general purpose 31,800 gallon tank railcars and most will require a gauge rod on their tank cars for loading purposes. Oil companies loading heavy crude oil are using heated, insulated, coiled cars ranging from 20,800 gallon tank cars, to 23,500 gallon tank rail cars to 25,500 gallon tank railcars. We at tank rail have access to all these cars in addition to a new 29,000 gallon oil tank railcar which is known as our next generation tank car and comes with additional cost but has the ability to handle condensate, heavy oil, bitumen and light oil. We have access to all of the tank railcar manufacturers including many other railcar leasing and rail car manufacturers.”…

      1. Johann Sebastian Schminson

        Good breakdown. To account for all costs and a reasonable profit for the producer, I figure oil at the pump should cost around $150/gal. So, $96/gallon for crude delivered to the refinery sounds about right.

        1. optimader

          Cost externalities are only limited by the imagination, but you can be reasonably confident at $150/gal you wont have time or resource to be able to snuggle up behind the warm LED radiation field and peck at your keyboard.

          So let me take a crack at it, hopefully I’ll bench mark in perhaps a more numerate fashion
          Lets assume:
          344,500,000,000.00gal/annum (US domestic crude oil consumption)
          Brent Crude high water mark: $140/bbl
          Pentagon Bdgt (2014): $527,000,000,000.00 (assume entire amnt so we dont have to parse)
          Add another 50%: $263,500,000,000.00 (because we know the MIC is less than candid)
          Average State Taxes: $80,957,500,000.00 ($0.235/gal)
          Average refining cost: $172,250,000,000.00 ($0.50/gal)

          That works out to ~$4.50/gallon, or something less than your estimate of $150.00/gal
          Lambert can hopefully still heat his house.

      2. Eeyores enigma

        “…massive demand from the oilfield as far as the eye can see.”

        This analyst must have coke bottle bottoms for glasses.

    2. Paul Niemi

      What is not said there is that the fleet of tank cars is in the process of being replaced, at great cost, for being decrepit. Recently Gov. Jay Inslee of Washington proposed a speed limit of 30 mph for trains made up with the older tank cars.

  19. susan the other

    Love the elephants. Those three know where they are headed. Also ibtimes on global economic risk and an announcement next week from the IMF, etc. The IMF/Lagarde are going to announce that their institutions are implementing protections for the world’s poorest. In a “sustained, multi-layered effort.” So how do we balance this out with austerity which causes poverty? It will be interesting.

  20. timbers

    “Pelosi Presses Obama to ‘Brag About’ Economy”

    Any questions on why Democrats are polling behind Republicans in congressional races?

  21. abynormal

    Health officials clam up about effort to contain Ebola in Texas

    Frieden also said that, in theory, a sneeze or cough could spread the virus from someone experiencing Ebola symptoms. 

Officials had previously downplayed this possibility, focusing on direct contact with bodily fluids. 

    “There are certainly theoretical situations where someone sneezes … and you touch your eyes or mouth or nose,” and catch the virus from any transmitted particles, he said. 

“[But] realistically you can say what may be theoretically possible as opposed to what actually happens in the real world,” he added. 

    ?what are they not say’n?…someone this wk asked nc why this outbreak is different from previous ebola outbreaks…well we don’t know for sure which strain we’re dealing with. something is different.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      With so much oil in that part of world, we can’t really disengage ourselves.

      We have to send in soldiers before the Chinese offer to help Africans with 10,000 PLA volunteers to restore order and protect their medical teams.

  22. Yonatan

    The Hong Kong government is using Triads against protestors?

    Yup, just like the Ukraine government was using snipers against the protestors (not).

    Geez, given all the money they get, can the CIA really not afford a new playbook? The whole point of a playbook is not to let the other side know your moves. It seems even the CIA has become crapified.

    1. Massinissa

      Oh, the Ukrainians were shot by snipers alright.

      Heres the thing: They just didnt happen to be government snipers.

      Its called a ‘false flag operation’.

      CIA playbook, doncha know

  23. bruno marr

    RE: Archdruid and Ebola

    The answer to the theoretical geometric doubling (every 20 days) of Ebola patients from 1 million to half the current human population is approximately six months.

    The work of public health officials in the US goes largely underfunded and unnoticed.

  24. Winston

    Have you looked at BLS figs. Oldie goldies on top, not working age adults!
    Of the claimed new jobs in September, 230,000 or 93 percent were jobs filled by those 55 and older. Employment of Americans of prime working age (25-54) declined by 10,000 jobs in September from the August level. release/empsit.t09.htm
    Poverty Report Contradicts GDP Claims — Paul Craig Roberts
    More Bad News From The Jobs Front — Paul Craig Roberts

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