Links 11/21/14

Dear patient readers,

I am again very off cycle. Please check back at 8 AM for the completed version of Links.

Earth’s Disappearing Groundwater NASA (furzy mouse)

See an aerial view of the Buffalo lake-effect storm’s aftermath (video) Syracuse (bob). Weather porn.

Surprising Study of Human Immune Responses Could Lead to Better Flu Vaccines Wired (furzy mouse)

Neil Young Boycotts Starbucks Over GMO Lawsuit Rolling Stone (furzy mouse)

China’s Central Bank Cuts Interest Rates Wall Street Journal. Mr. Market will be very happy.

China could take down U.S. power grid CNN (furzy mouse)

Mario Draghi: ECB must now raise inflation ‘as fast as possible’ Telegraph. I gather he has not heard of “pushing on a string.”

France Private Sector Output Drops 7th Consecutive Month, Orders Stagnate in Germany, Eurozone Flirts With Contraction Michael Shedlock (furzy mouse)

UKIP wins second seat in British parliament DW

Mayor of London caught up in US tax dispute Financial Times

Icelandic bankers jailed for reckless loans made before crash (Brian C)


Ukraine Death Toll Mounts Despite Truce Wall Street Journal

Poroshenko Challenged to Duel by East Ukrainian Rebel Leader Moscow Times


The Real Reason ISIS Takes Hostages and Beheads Them Defense One. Cynically, consider the disproportionate effect of the media play to the number of deaths.

London court: 3 ‘inspired by ISIS’ plotted beheading CNN

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

Snowden documents: Vodafone-bought firm helped GCHQ DW

N.S.A. Phone Data Collection Could Go On, Even if a Law Expires New York Times. Lambert flags a tweet by Dan Froomkin: “Usually awesome @charlie_savage floats “perverse” NSA theory apparently only 1 person takes seriously (his source)”

Mecklenburg County District Attorney’s office to review surveillance cases Charlotte Observer

Here’s why Democrats couldn’t run on the economy in 2014 Washington Post

Soaring Generic Drug Prices Spark Backlash NewsMax (EM)

A lie in the Darren Wilson defense in the shooting death of Mike Brown that just won’t go away Daily Kos (furzy mouse)

Court rules Michigan has no responsibility to provide quality public education Michigan Citizen (EM)

Goldman in Testy Exchange at Senate Panel Over Its Role in Commodities Market New York Times

Fed Launches Review of Bank-Supervision Practices Wall Street Journal. A way-too-obvious ploy to look responsible on the eve of the Senate hearings on the Carmen Segarra tapes.

Bank of North Dakota Outperforms Wall Street Counterpunch. Remember, a public bank.

Whither Markets?

Crude slide sparks oil-related debt fears Financial Times

Iron Ore Heads for Fifth Weekly Loss as ‘Worst Is Yet to Come’ Bloomberg (EM). China interest rate move likely to give some relief.

Antidote du jour (Tim F):


See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. proximity1

    Meanwhile, here’s my contribution–

    The following front-page [(Sunday) Observer (U.K.)] report, carried by the Saturday (Nov. 15th Guardian wedsite) …

    Revealed: how [U.K. govt.] coalition has helped rich by hitting poor

    “Study shows gains for wealthier half of population, delivering a blow to George Osborne’s claims on fairness”
    [Reader comments 28467]

    Daniel Boffey, policy editor
    The Observer, Saturday 15 November 2014 21.30 GMT

    ‘ A landmark study of the coalition’s tax and welfare policies six months before the general election reveals how money has been transferred from the poorest to the better off, apparently refuting the chancellor of the exchequer’s claims that the country has been “all in it together”.

    ‘According to independent research to be published on Monday and seen by the Observer, George Osborne has been engaged in a significant transfer of income from the least well-off half of the population to the more affluent in the past four years. Those with the lowest incomes have been hit hardest.

    ‘In an intervention that will come as a major blow to the government’s claim to have shared out the burden of austerity equally, the report by economists at the London School of Economics and the Institute for Social and Economic Research at the University of Essex finds that …’

    …got zero mention on the BBC’s Sunday morning news programs–not even during its own regular review of that morning’s press. Intstead, BBC editors ignored it in favor of the usual insipid stuff they serve up to their morning-news viewers– this included the immensely important report they mentioned in a tabloid paper about the return to duty of a [Buckingham] palace guard after his suspension for having been seen and recorded doing some fancy footwork (inspired freestyle steps) rather than the prescribed steady pacing back and forth which is normal and required. That was deemed worth the viewers’ attention while this study and its findings were completely ignored. Over the week which followed ( to date), I never saw or heard a single mention of the report anywhere on the BBC’s news and contemporary affairs programs.

    Were we really all in it together? The distributional effects of the UK Coalition government’s tax-benefit policy changes – Institute for Social and Economic Research (ISER)

    Authors: Paola De Agostini, John Hills, and Holly Sutherland

    See full study at Institute for Social and Economic Research (ISER) site :

  2. proximity1

    WTF ???

    Please note: Just to write and post the above comment cost me five complete re-writes, looking up links, attaching them, etc. Five attempts before one of them “took”. I don’t for a moment think that this was due to any interference originating at this site. Rather, I suspect that it’s the result of some others, hackers, I suppose, who’d prefer not to see this sort of post (above) appear. I mention it in case it may be that others, too, have experienced similar frustrations in some of their efforts to post comments.


    1. Yves Smith Post author

      I appreciate the effort you put into making comments. However, we have warned repeatedly that reposting does you no good. In fact, it makes matters worse by telling our spam software that you are a spammer. We have two sets of filters, a moderation filter and a spam filter. Your comment was in moderation. It showed as being in moderation when you tried posting it. You need to be patient till one of the admins liberates it. We have some regular commentors who have ALL of their comments wind up in moderation for reasons we cannot fathom and therefore cannot fix, and they don’t go nuts with having to wait a bit.

      1. proximity1

        Hi, Yves, and Thanks.

        Please be assured that I don’t mind “waiting” a bit, either. And it’s reassuring to hear that the non-appearances were of simple and innocent origins because, in all of what actually happened there was never any mention any moderation delay going on. Instead, the monitor froze completely and nothing short of closing all the open windows restored any functionality to it. This happened over more than two hours, not over a few minutes. I’ve also found the screen freezes happen after just reading for a hour here without posting anything in the comments during a visit to the site.

        I’m used to seeing my comments sometimes disappear with no indication of why–and used to saying and doing nothing about it here on-line when that happens. This is my first direct reference to it in open comments. Sometimes, on checking later, I find the posts and other times I don’t. Perhaps that’s due to a moderator’s choice. If so, then the reasoning completely baffles me since sometimes the comments that didn’t appear (which is quite rare, it’s true) weren’t the slightest bit controversial.

        1. Yves Smith Post author

          When a comment goes into moderation, you do get a message right after you submit it. I’m at a loss as to why you are having screen freezes. Once in a while comments disappear totally. This is a random mystery we’ve tried figuring out with no success.

          What OS and browser do you use?

          1. proximity1

            OS: Windows 7 Enterprise ™ (2009)
            Browser: Windows Explorer ™

            I Didn’t choose ’em, don’t like ’em & can’t do anything about (tweak) ’em. I borrow this terminal from its third-party owner/operator. So, as it’s free and not mine, I’m stuck with it (almost) “as is.” Hope I waited long enough. A previous answer didn’t appear. But since your comment intervened, maybe I waited long enough to reply, (yes, again) .)

            ( From the previous attempt: Please don’t expend any more effort on this than you consider worthwhile. I think I understand all you’ve explained above.)

            1. dearieme

              Thank you for saying “I suspect that it’s the result of some others, hackers, I suppose, who’d prefer not to see this sort of post (above) appear.” But it would save a lot of time if people advertised their loopiness before their large comments, rather than afterwards.

              1. proximity1

                Coming from you, being called “loopy” is a compliment. Thanks. To save even more time, now you can not only dispense with reading my comments, you can dispense with replying to them, too. I won’t mind your saving all that time and effort and I won’t miss your compliments.

                1. abynormal

                  bahahahaaa …guess you aren’t aware dearieme is really Carol Jane “During her stay in Argentina, she met a group of mothers who lost their sons during the conflict and stated, “We were fighting a war; we won, you lost,” Thatcher

          2. cwaltz

            Hmmmmmm I don’t remember ever seeing something saying I’m in moderation even when I’ve been in moderation in ff. Wonder why?

  3. slick

    “Here’s why Democrats couldn’t run on the economy in 2014”

    Love this, it’s a brief, efficient, instantly classic illustration of valuing the message over the performance. THIS is why the Democrats got smote.

    “Without a cogent argument…” No. Without cogent performance.

    You didn’t lose because you got the message wrong – You lost because you suck.

  4. proximity1

    RE: “We have some regular commentors who have ALL of their comments wind up in moderation for reasons we cannot fathom and therefore cannot fix”

    Well then, just so: that could suggest that something like what I think may be going on is going on. Your site is important for the same reasons that its regular line and contents are, it can hardly be doubted, very unwelcome and infuriating in some quarters. If some posters’ comments routinely go nowhere for reasons that you and your technicians can’t explain, the explanation may be that the site is subject to hackers’ efforts to sow mischief.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      No this is not hackers.

      WordPress is not a very good program but it is nevertheless the best blogging platform there is, unless you want to do a ton of custom programming, which a site of our size cannot begin to justify.

      WordPress’ worst feature is its database management. It is notorious for that.

      We run our comments section in WordPress because 1. Readers hate the third party alternatives like Disqus and 2. We regard reader comments as an important part of our intellectual property, and we do NOT want to cede control to a third party, particularly in the unlikely but still not impossible event that we are the target of litigation. A third party service would turn over info about a commentor in a nanosecond. We would fight.

      We have over 550,000 comments in WordPress. WordPress does not like that, particularly since every time a new comment hits, it requires a database update.

      1. Larry Headlund

        If you are sure the problem is in database management, have you considered switching databases from MySQL? In particular, PostgreSQL. It can handle very large databases (i.e. Skype). There is a plugin to use PostgreSQL with WordPress.

        Fair warning: I know a lot about databases, particularly PostgreSQL. I know little about WordPress.

          1. Larry Headlund

            The more I think about it the less I think it is strictly speaking a problem with your database: your database seems a little small for these kind of problems. However, if it was a database problem it (1) may be easy to find and (2) may be easy to fix. Look around for a MySQL administration expert*. (Specialization: WordPress experts may not be MySQL performance experts.) It should be a matter of running some diagnostics on your database and if the problem is there tweaking the installation (partitioning, indexes, etc.) A very few days work. Worth a try since the effort would be low and the payoff could be large.
            If the problem is deeper in WordPress than that is another story.

            *I am not a MySQL expert nor do I play one on TV.

    2. ambrit

      Hi prox;
      I will have the occasional “Your reply is…” message. My case seems to be an artifact of ‘key words’ triggering the moderation. I suspect that guessing the keywords could become an Internet parlour game. I do sometimes “go off the rails” and do things like push the envelope of Godwins’ Law. I too have had comments disappear into the Internet Aether for no apparent reason. This evidently has a Demonic aspect since no earthly powers can account for it all.
      Considering your hacker surmise, I could well imagine some Shadow Agency placing an Internet “tracking device” in the URL that accompanies your missives across the vastness of Infoland. Then, a sufficiently sophisticated filter would view the “tracking device” askance and call for backup. (Yes, I’ve become cynical in my late middle age.) If, as I suspect, you are communicating across nation state boundaries, perhaps one of those gateway surveillance sites is tagging your message as it transits to follow it into America to see where it goes. The possibilities are as limitless as is our Security State budget.

    3. craazyman

      You may have to tighten up your thinking and your lines. I find my dumbest, most unworthy comments somehow end up in moderation. Some even get lost forever. They won’t admit it here but I think they’re running the DELETE-IT algorithm i.e. “Drivel Entirely Lacking Edifyingly Thoughtful Elucidation – It’s Toast!” Evidently it’s an AI method for sifting out nonsense from useful contributions to the peanut gallery. Becoming a good writer is not always a pleasant process and the ego can be wounded, but no pain, no gain. Be grateful for the honesty. LOL

      1. Yves Smith Post author

        Actually, we are part of a NSA experiment. NSA is incubating Skynet in our mod section. We regularly have comments hung up in moderation that have run afoul of no moderation rules but we are very happy to see got moderated because they were nasty in some manner.

    4. Jeremy Grimm

      Two suggestions to avoid problems posting comments: 1) patience — many factors can delay the software handling your comments, or the net and 2) type your comments into a word processor as a fail-safe. The word processor checks and helps with spelling and grammar. You can read your comment in a more familiar form. You have a temporary copy of your comment you can cut and paste into the comments frame. If there are problems, you can with little effort cut and paste the comment for another try.

  5. Pepsi

    The state imposition of charter schools is the important bit in the Michigan court case. It’s going to take serious organization to turn this tide.

    1. David Lentini

      Agreed. And it’s interesting that the court’s ruling put the two hand-in-hand, basically (albeit tacitly) admitting that charter schools are no better (and often worse) than public schools. Michigan has become a state-wide sacrifice zone.

      1. Ulysses

        I think that the states of Wisconsin and Michigan are real canaries in the coal mine. It is disheartening to see the lack of outrage at the kind of shenanigans seen in Benton Harbor, and Madison. Corporate big money interests have shown that, even on a local level, people cannot demand any accountability, but are reduced to mere objects of money extraction for the vampire squid.

  6. David Lentini

    The Syraqistan Shuffle

    On beheadings and their utility, as Noam Chomsky observed a long time ago, it’s often useful to drive your adversary to atrocities so you can then inflect even worse on them with impunity. And given the connections between ISIS, Saudi Arabia, and the US, this could well come close to a “false-flag atrocity”.

    1. proximity1

      I think the intented results of the beheadings are the same as the observed results : outrage and disgust of those IS (or others) deems their enemies. As for psychology of killing face to face versus remotely by high-tech devices, I’ve already read or heard in the press that, from the last video in question–which I’ve never watched–observers have speculated that both the executioners and their victims may have been subjected to some narcotic so that their senses are dulled. That makes sense to me and I don’t find it at all surprising if it’s true.

        1. proximity1

          You can crack jokes if you wish. But, for others, of course that’s sheer nonsense. The executioners, according to this speculation, are obviously conscious enough to perform the acts expected of them and their victims are still conscious enough to feel physical pain. The suggestion of observers was more that these people were drugged, not that they had taken any drugs voluntarily.

    2. Banger

      Indeed! But let’s look at this realistically, the U.S. has inflicted far, far, far worse atrocities but in a hypocritical and secretive way. The U.S. authorities and the public refuse to confront the horror they have caused in the region or even bother to realistically estimate the deaths caused by “shock and awe” style military techniques of firing a thousand rounds to kill two combatants and kill a couple of dozen women and children to boot, Israeli style. ISIS wants to shock us into something–they kill in a badass way without pretending to be goody-two shoes. Those guys “honestly” rape and loot like soldiers have always done and they don’t have the hypocrisy to deny it. The U.S. has been destroying villages in order to save them as well as crying crocodile tears over “mistakes” U.S. forces made in a variety of theaters. What’s the difference between ISIS and my friend who told me how he shot old women, cows, pigs, children and anything that moved from his helicopter gunship in Vietnam? In fact U.S. soldiers personally did far worse things than ISIS to Vietnamese people.

      I pay the whole beheading thing no mind–knowing that whatever horrors ISIS commits they are nothing to what the U.S. and its agents have done to destroy the lives of millions of people all around the world.

      1. bruno marr

        I’m sure ISIS has there reasons for high profile executions. Putting fear into the civilian population is one. However, it simply creates for more difficult battles against real fighters: they will fight to their death, since capture ensures the same.

    3. Jackrabbit

      ISIS consistently shows beheadings and shootings of mostly Shia Syrians and Iraqi’s but do not show the actual beheadings of Westerners. This suggests that they use violent propaganda to:

      a) incite Shia;

      b) disturb the Western public (yet stopping short of provoking outrage that could force a devastating response); and

      c) stymie news reporters (virtually all the news now comes from ISIS thugs or Government sources).

      Given the support that ISIS had from wealthy Sunni (while intelligence agencies looked the other way) and the strange fall of Mosul (ISIS took this major city from a US-trained force that was 15 times larger), some have raised questions about the purpose of ISIS and whether the beheadings of Westerners were actually real. From Moon of Alabama commenters: An assessment of ISIS. and An analysis of the latest video.


      It is well known that many Western-supported Syrian rebels and their Western supplied equipment have gone to fight with ISIS. Obama now wants to train hundreds more every month. See MoA’s latest post with more info about Western ties to extremists fighting against Assad.

      H O P

  7. Jim Haygood

    In a direct counter to Abenomics’ devaluation of the J-yen, China cut its policy interest rate by 0.4% overnight, and U.S. stock futures are off to the freaking races. Jeremy Grantham says he’ll declare a bubble when the S&P hits 2,250; it’s gunning for 2,070 today. Maybe next week, Jeremy!

    Bubble III, comrades. It’s BAD … and it’s planet-wide. Well, except for two ineducable foot-draggers, Argentina and Venezuela, whose strong currency policies act as millstones round their pencil necks, as they gurgle helplessly down into the quicksand.

    This will all end badly, of course. But for now, it’s PARTY TIME. Got growth stocks?

    1. abynormal

      it’s not a party till the counterparties show up…im hoarding sleep, popcorn & floss

      The youth gets together his materials
      to build a bridge to the moon,
      or, perchance, a palace or temple on the earth,
      and, at length, the middle-aged man
      concludes to build a woodshed with them.

    2. zephyrum

      Our financial sector has finally created the holy grail, an engine of permanently-increasing stock prices. We all know that engine has a red line, but nobody knows where it is until the mechanism tears itself apart.

      1. Jim Haygood

        The financial sector is just a transmission belt for Federal Reserve policy. Like the internet and real estate bubbles which preceded it, Bubble III is wholly sponsored by the Fed, busy celebrating its 100th year of operations with an ecstasy-fueled rave on Wall Street.

        Six years of ZIRP and stock prices … go up! DOH!

        When Bubble III pops (2016?), the Fed’s PhD know-nothings, declaring that no one could possibly have foreseen such an unlikely exogenous shock, will send out their EMS (Emergency Monetary Service) workers with freshly-printed ‘walking-around money’ to reanimate grievously-wounded banks and financial institutions on the shell-pocked market battlefield. Oh, the bovinity!

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Only if that fresh new money goes to the people directly.

          They saved big banks in the name of saving the People (well, actually the economy, but we know without an economy, we die or something like that).

          And in the same way, the government must spend (on welfare perhaps a little, and reluctantly, but a lot on drones), in the name of, again, saving the People (well, actually, stimulating the economy, but by now, we know they are the same).

          All this reminds me of a documentary I saw a long while back and someone mentioned that this or that religion (hey, not all religions perhaps, so you may exclude your choice) had been trying to save the poor for millennia, but the poor were still with us today (more than ever).

          Maybe if we just realize that we need money, but between charity and self-reliance, if there is a choice, we like that latter and we can have the latter because that fresh new money really does belong to us.

          Take that money and then you can feel charitable towards the government…have compassion on the government, help it out a little, with all the sovereign money – as much as we need – at the disposable of the PEOPLE, all of us.

    3. MikeNY

      Grantham is typically early on his calls, and typically underestimates the ultimate collective insanity. So I’ll take the over, both on the peak S&P, and the pop date.

      Obvs, Naz 5000 is looking pretty easy right now….

  8. abynormal

    are those the medically separated push-me-pull-yous ive heard so much about?

    “Mother nature pushes you back the faster you go, same way people will pull you back, the faster you succeed.” Arlin Sailesh Kapadia

    1. craazyman

      they’ve been radiated.

      doesn’t it freak you out to see bright green ears on animals like that?

      where dat cat BTW? hahahah. I heard somebody said the Worldwide News story about it being a 65 pound house cat caught by gendarmes behind a bistro was a hoax. No.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        We must all freak out a little, be a little crazy – that was how Claudius saved himself, pretending to be insane, a fool, long enough become a Roman emperor.

        There are no emperorships available to you and me these days, but the technique is still a good one for survival.

  9. rich

    The FBI Is Very Excited About This Machine That Can Scan Your DNA in 90 Minutes
    Rapid-DNA technology makes it easier than ever to grab and store your genetic profile. G-men, cops, and Homeland Security can’t wait to see it everywhere.

    Robert Schueren shook my hand firmly, handed me his business card, and flipped it over, revealing a short list of letters and numbers. “Here is my DNA profile.” He smiled. “I have nothing to hide.” I had come to meet Schueren, the CEO of IntegenX, at his company’s headquarters in Pleasanton, California, to see its signature product: a machine the size of a large desktop printer that can unravel your genetic code in the time it takes to watch a movie.

    Schueren grabbed a cotton swab and dropped it into a plastic cartridge. That’s what, say, a police officer would use to wipe the inside of your cheek to collect a DNA sample after an arrest, he explained. Other bits of material with traces of DNA on them, like cigarette butts or fabric, could work too. He inserted the cartridge into the machine and pressed a green button on its touch screen: “It’s that simple.” Ninety minutes later, the RapidHIT 200 would generate a DNA profile, check it against a database, and report on whether it found a match.
    A scanner, quickly: The RapidHIT 200 can generate a DNA profile in about 90 minutes. IntegenX

    The RapidHIT represents a major technological leap—testing a DNA sample in a forensics lab normally takes at least two days. This has government agencies very excited. The Department of Homeland Security, the Department of Defense, and the Justice Department funded the initial research for “rapid DNA” technology, and after just a year on the market, the $250,000 RapidHIT is already being used in a few states, as well as China, Russia, Australia, and countries in Africa and Europe.

    “We’re not always aware of how it’s being used,” Schueren said. “All we can say is that it’s used to give an accurate identification of an individual.” Civil liberties advocates worry that rapid DNA will spur new efforts by the FBI and police to collect ordinary citizens’ genetic code.

    The US government will soon test the machine in refugee camps in Turkey and possibly Thailand on families seeking asylum in the United States, according to Chris Miles, manager of the Department of Homeland Security’s biometrics program. “We have all these families that claim they are related, but we don’t have any way to verify that,” he says. Miles says that rapid DNA testing will be voluntary, though refusing a test could cause an asylum application to be rejected.

    uh, anyone else have a bad feeling about this???

    1. Ulysses

      We are living under the baleful gaze of the Panopticon. The emerging dystopia is an interesting blend of Kafka, Huxley, Philip K. Dick, and Orwell. What fascinates me, watching this in slow motion, is how even the Snowden revelations awoke only a small fraction of the U.S. population– to the fact that we are effectively no longer protected by our Bill of Rights.

      1. James Levy

        I have feared for some time that it is a race, a race between the implementation of that Orwellian Panopticon and the collapse of the system due to environmental degradation, resource scarcity, and mismanagement. If the powers that be have the money and the time, they will destroy what people growing up in the 60s and 70s considered privacy. But they may not be given the opportunity.

    2. prostratedragon

      In addition to the obvious 4th amendment objections, haven’t people at ICE heard of stepfamilies? What hollers do they come from?

  10. financial matters

    related to: Goldman in Testy Exchange at Senate Panel Over Its Role in Commodities Market New York Times

    Wall Street banks and commodities fraud
    21 November 2014

    “”On Wednesday, the US Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations released a detailed report documenting yet another aspect of the insider dealing, price-fixing and general criminality that pervades the American financial system.

    The document ( focuses on the role of three of the largest banks—Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley and JPMorgan Chase—in the physical control of commodities, including energy resources and metals. “The current level of bank involvement with critical raw materials, power generation and the food supply appears to be unprecedented in US history,” the report states.

    The growth in the direct control of physical goods by banks has allowed them not only to influence the prices consumers pay, but also to leverage their control of commodities to manipulate the prices of the financial instruments on which they gamble. The consequences can be deadly. Speculation in food prices, for example, is a major factor in price swings that can throw millions of people into poverty and hunger all over the world.

    The bank “approved ‘merry-go-round’ transactions in which warehouse clients [including banks and financial institutions such as Deutsche Bank and the London hedge fund Red Kite] were paid cash incentives to transfer aluminum from one Metro warehouse to another.” The result was curtailed supply and increased prices, which the bank and its financial trading arm could anticipate because they were directly responsible.

    The most significant thing about these exposés is that they have no repercussions. Detailed and damning evidence is presented showing that the likes of JPMorgan, Goldman, Morgan Stanley, Bank of America, Citigroup, etc.—and their top executives—lied, cheated, broke laws and, in general, profited handsomely from the economic and social disasters produced by their actions. But no bank or top banker is prosecuted, let alone jailed.””

    1. Jackrabbit

      Russia Warns Against Arms Sales to Ukraine as Biden Visits

      State Department spokesman Jeffrey Rathke said the United States is “continuing to assess how best to support Ukraine” and “nothing is off the table” including lethal aid.
      . . .
      Swiss diplomat Heidi Tagliavini, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe’s envoy to a Trilateral Contact Group on Ukraine, cited reports of new military buildup. “The outlook is still bleak,” she said.

      U.S. President Barack Obama’s choice to fill the number two spot at the State Department, Anthony Blinken, told a congressional hearing on Wednesday:

      “I believe that, given the serious Russian violations of the agreement that they signed…that one thing that could hopefully get them to think twice and deter them from further action is strengthening the capacity of the Ukrainian forces, including with defensive lethal equipment.”

      Blinken said he was sure provision of lethal assistance would come up for discussion during Biden’s visit to Kiev.

  11. Vatch

    Re “China could take down U.S. power grid CNN “, of course many companies have lax security, and save money by hoping that nothing bad will happen. But even for the responsible companies that do invest in good computer practices, I have to wonder about NSA backdoors and various planned limitations on network and computer security. If the NSA can get in, certainly there are others who can, too. If an adversary (China or whoever) does “take down” part of the U.S. power grid, I think that the NSA should shoulder some of the blame.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      More effective and of more concern is the threat they take down our imperial-money grid, leaving our economic hit men totally exposed.

    2. Banger

      The nightmare scenario is that we have no way of knowing who had crashed the grid once it crashes. We would have to trust what the authorities told us. But the authorities have proven time and time again that they cannot be trusted and that their instincts are Orwellian. We live in world where it is impossible to know anything for sure when it comes to issues of war and peace. We certainly cannot trust the MSM–who can we trust? One has to be skeptical of everything if one is rational.

  12. Marianne Jones

    NC on mobile, a small bug report … the past couple of days, mobile ads are highjacking the RSS reader app and auto-launching the Apple App Store. Closing the the App Store also closes the NC webpage and reverts back to the RSS feed for the page. Error is reproducible 4 times out 5 this AM. The app that is being auto-launched? Kim Kardashian: Hollywood. Yes, I know that Yves is a huge KK fan and wants all her readers to get on board the Kardashian bandwagon. j/k.

    The error flow: Digg Reader > Select NC article > Click “View on” button > NC page loads > Seconds later ads load > Kim Kardashian ad banner loads at bottom of screen > 1 second later Apple App Store launched and brings up KK’s game > Click cancel > Reverts back to Digg Reader NC’s RSS feed & making it impossible to read the NC article.

    Other information:
    Hardware: iPhone5, IOS v8.1.1
    App: Digg Reader v5.5.2

    The does not appear to be happening with a mobile browser if you surf directly to NC via the web. Perhaps this is something unique to the NCC RSS feed. Also possible that Digg is fiddling with the web traffic somehow, but I don’t see this behavior with other websites via Digg.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      Since we don’t insert ads into our RSS feed at all, I hate to say it, I’m not sure how this can be our doing. I have alerted our ad and tech people.

      1. Marianne Jones

        Good to know… If anything other than Kim Kardashian’s app was doing this, I probably wouldn’t bother letting you know. I deleted the RSS feed from Digg, and then re-added. I added the following feeds (there were a lot more available than the sample provided below) and each behaved a little differently. The Kardashian App store auto-launch occurred with some, but not all. I’ll change my usage to the least annoying Atom feed. The next question I’d have is, if you guys aren’t getting ad revenue from your site traffic, who is?
        – Got Kim Kardashian banner + KK App Store auto launch
        – See GEICO, etc. bottom banner + embedded ads, no Kim Kardashian auto launch
        – See Microsoft Direct Access embedded ad, no Kim Kardashian auto launch
        – Got Kim Kardashian banner + KK App Store auto launch
        – See Microsoft Direct Access embedded ad, no Kim Kardashian auto launch

  13. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Draghi-la – must raise inflation (food and energy, I suppose and for sure not wage inflation).

    “Ve must be able charge more for our Tiger tanks or smartphones!!!”

    Does he know that some people are totally defenseless against inflation, not even 1% inflation?

    Here, we are not talking about another set of victims who are dying from negative interest rates.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Has Draghi-la sucked all the blood out of your food/energy savings account?

      Maybe our Ero-zone readers have some stories to tell.

  14. Slick

    Listening to Liz Warren rake Bill Dudley in hearings this morning was pretty swell. Will anything come of it? Probably not, but still much better than the serial fellatio session Jamie Dimon got at his last appearance.

  15. Torsten

    I’m a big fan of public banking, but how much of the success of the Bank of North Dakota is owing to fracking in the Bakken Shale, which began before the Great Recession and must have been a huge counter-cyclic stimulus?

    1. davidgmills

      Ellen’s answer was that Wall Street wants everyone to believe it was due to the oil boom. She makes a compelling argument that was not the case.

  16. rich

    Gene therapy found effective in hemophilia B

    Ten patients with severe hemophilia B have remained cured of the inherited bleeding disorder for as long as three years thanks to gene therapy, according to a new report on the technique in the New England Journal of Medicine.

    The study updates an earlier one from 2011, in which six volunteers were successfully treated with various doses of the treatment that uses a virus to insert genetic material into the liver. The four additional patients received the highest dose.

    “I believe that, scientifically, this is ready for prime time,”

    the chief author, Dr. Andrew Davidoff of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee, told Reuters Health in a telephone interview.

    The problem, he said, is that the genetically engineered virus that delivers the cure “is really a bear to make” and better methods to produce the treatment are desperately needed. To engineer enough virus to treat the 10 patients required six months of work.

    then call the fed and create the credit necessary to complete the job…like they do with real estate and dodgy balance sheets! Make it a priority like you do banker bonuses and oligarch portfolios. I mean jeez at least we’ll finally get something productive out of the institution.

      1. ambrit

        The prior 0.01% got hemophilia from inbreeding. (Queen Victorias’ grandchildren were everywhere just before WW1.) It was a sort of aristocratic gene therapy.

  17. ewmayer

    Re. Iceland bankers:

    Should we read anything into the double negative in Mr. Arnason’s statement that “I did not nothing wrong”? So you admit you did something wrong, yes?

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