Links 11/6/14

Life-Changing Epiphany Wears Off On Ride Home Onion (David L)

Small businesses ‘must be run by stressed-out lunatics’ Daily Mash

Why Sand Is Disappearing New York Times (David L)

fMRI Data Reveals the Number of Parallel Processes Running in the Brain MIT Technology Review (David L)


Obama seeks billions for Ebola battle as cases keep piling up CIDRAP

Ebola rapidly advancing in rural Sierra Leone Agence France-Presse (furzy mouse)

Expat banker Rurik Jutting charged with double murder in Hong Kong was a ‘money-obsessed bully’

Hindu right rewriting Indian textbooks Aljazeera (furzy mouse)

UK Banks Face Break-up Threat As Competition Probe Launched Reuters

Strauss-Kahn investment company insolvent Financial Times (Scott)

Finland warns of new cold war over failure to grasp situation in Russia Guardian

Spain’s Corruption May Set Catalonia Free Bloomberg

Luxembourg tax files: how tiny state rubber-stamped tax avoidance on an industrial scale Guardian. This isn’t news. Luxembourg has long marketed itself as a tax haven. The part that sort of is news is the effort to put dimensions on the activity. However, having some real data does help focus the mind.

Huge trove of information blasts hole in Luxembourg’s theatre of probity Tax Justice Network (Richard Smith)

Plunging rouble loses central bank prop Financial Times

OPEC shaken by Saudi price move Associated Press. We said the Saudis saw lower prices as a weapon they could deploy against pretty much all of the parties on their current “bad guys” list. That includes the US, since the both the Saudis and the US are big producers of light, sweet, crude (generally the most prized type of oil but now the type also most in oversupply) and the Saudis are unhappy about the US not going into Syria last summer and (intelligently) resisting their calls to attack Iran.


Norway: Terror threat or attack on nation ‘likely’ Associated Press. Escalation, aka fearmongering, is breaking out all over.

Red Bull Fuels Islamists Controlling Syrian Border Trade Bloomberg. Skippy might be able to opine, but I’ve been told on good authority that the US special forces use heavy duty amphetamines when needed.

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

Mark Udall’s loss is a blow for privacy, but he can go out with a bang: ‘leak’ the CIA torture report Guardian (furzy mouse)

Google just removed the biggest obstacle to its real-world surveillance system’s spread Pando

The FBI’s Quiet Plan to Expand Its Hacking Powers National Journal

Election Wrap

Obama Announces Two-Year Golfing Trip Daily Currant

The Message in Republican Victory Speeches New Yorker (furzy mouse)

Chris Christie Says GOP Gubernatorial Candidates Need to Win So They Can Control “Voting Mechanisms” North Jersey. In case you had any doubts…

The Democrats may not recover from this massacre Guardian (furzy mouse). As I told Lambert, there is no way Hillary wins in 2016, absent some miracle, like the Republican nominee being found to have a taste for rentboys.

A New Low For Voter Interest in the Election Taegan Goddard

Hate to say “I told you so”, but…… Zapperto

A Growth Pact for America Glenn Hubbard, Project Syndicate (David L). Looks like a trial balloon, and one positioned to have the Republicans look like job generators: a sustained (or at least “sustained” enough to look credible in the 2016 election window) combined with one of the Republican’s pet obsessions, corporate tax “reform,” as in reduction.

US election raises Keystone XL hopes Financial Times

Avast ye Supreme Court justices, thar be an undersized grouper! Christian Science Monitor (bob). OMG, here we see a creative use (abuse?) of Sarbanes Oxley, when the SEC and the Department of Justice can’t bring themselves to use the law as Congress intended.

Big banks should be able to go into bankruptcy, Fed’s Lacker says MarketWatch. This remark is actually scary. First, banks CAN go into bankruptcy, although the FDIC usually gets there before management is ready to pull the trigger. Title II resolutions under Dodd Frank give the FDIC and other regulators more of those famed “tools” but creates more uncertainty for investors, since no other type of company besides banks has two ways to go tits up (Title II v. bankruptcy, which is allowed for under Title I). Josh Rosner has written tons about this issue, as well as has given Congressional testimony. If Lacker doesn’t understand this issue, as opposed to merely grandstanding (ie saying the living wills process is a fake, which is true), that is really troubling.

Whither Markets?

This stock market rally is for suckers Market Watch

When Negativity Helps a Bull Market Barry Ritholtz, Bloomberg

Class Warfare

Russell Brand may irritate but many are listening to him Financial Times. A zeitgeist indicator: the pink paper has had two articles on Brand in two weeks.

Antidote du jour (furzy mouse):


See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. vlade

    Re red bull & amphetamines. AFAIK, most of militaries do (and not just special forces), and did from at least WW2 (famously speed was Wehrmachts wonder drug)

    1. ambrit

      True. The basic home brew for methamphetamine is called “The Nazi Method” for precisely that reason. As a lot of younger people are discovering to their discomfort, the come down is a b—-. (I wonder if ISIS will be able to rotate troops when the wave of ‘crashing’ front line soldiers begins to crumble at their posts?)

    2. optimader

      standard US army air corp kit in WWII, no doubt through the cold war, especially SAC.

      Listen to the video of the Blackwater slugs shooting up civilian vehicles in Iraq.. No doubt later stages of cranked up paranoid mode

    3. Paper Mac

      Modafinil has replaced amphetamines in many military contexts (eg aircrew) as it promotes wakefulness without increasing aggression etc. It’s popular on Wall Street as well, I’m told.

    4. skippy

      Ref: Red Bull Fuels Islamists Controlling Syrian Border Trade

      In a nut shell – ***increased psychiatric symptomatology*** which is exacerbated by preexisting psychological status – state of said individuals i.e. “generational” – environmental – factors. To make matters worse, it seems a majority of out of state – region fighters, coming to joining the fracas, have or likely to have, upper range personality disorders.

      Anywho – Energy Drinks – National Center for Biotechnology Information › NCBI › Literature › PubMed Central (PMC)

      On the other hand, back in the day on this site, those that remember would be reminded of the Air Force problems during the first and second Iraq et al wars which were unpacked here. Just ask the Canadians and other assorted FF incidents.

      Skippy… Unfortunately same applies to all military personnel during the last few decades imo, WWII, meth and the resulting hells angels club, the Sons of Anarchy television drama comes to mind, for a pop culture example.

      PS. “gives you wings” has a whole new meaning in the ME… eh…

        1. skippy

          A kiss on the cheek and casual cheeky wandering hand… on possibly one of the most enuring features of the feminine form… the hip… whilst honest eye contact…

          Skippy… you are a treasurer in more ways than one… humbled by your acts…

  2. Yonatan

    Finland warns of new cold war over failure to grasp situation in Russia

    Finland suspects a Russian military aircraft on Thursday violated Finnish airspace

    Dear Finland, there is this wonderful thing called radar. Sophisticated military radars can identify aircraft types based on signatures. Rather than giving yourself heart attack through paranoid suspicions, I suggest you buy one. It will set your mind at rest.

    We have enough on our plates given we have MOAR banksters, MOAR Nazis in Ukraine, MOAR US-sponsored terrorism in the Middle East. We don’t not need MOAR CW II bullshit. Thank you.

    Yours truly, someone who has seen Cold War Mk I bullshit, color revolution bullshit, ‘Russia moving closer towards NATO bases’ bullshit.

  3. Furzy

    Dear Yonatan,
    If you had bothered to read the article, you would have noticed that, not only did Finland use their radar to track this incursion, but chased the bears out with their fighter jets, after taking a few snaps….

    1. Yonatan

      Dear Furzy,

      The dead giveaway for state propaganda is the source – The Guardian. Perhaps the photos were taken in International airspace? Qui bono from this rash of Teh Russians are coming? Not Russia.

      PS the radar thing was sarcasm, You might want to gain familiarity with the concept.

    2. Yonatan

      Dear Furzy.

      One other thing. Just in case you didn’t read the Guardian article, the text “Finland’s Defense Ministry said it suspects a Russian military aircraft on Thursday violated Finnish airspace” is from it.

      Note the use of the weasel word ‘suspects’ rather stating that the aircraft did actually violate airspace. Typical propaganda bs.

      1. Vatch

        Hi Yonatan. It might not be as simple as you suggest. Diplomats frequently use weasel words, and in this case, it could mean that an airplane violated Finnish air space, but the Finns are not going to say that it was definitely a Russian plane.

        1. Jack

          They really didn’t, actually. They would have been steamrolled if not for Soviet stupidity. Stalin had recently purged the Red Army, and the new leadership was absolutely terrified of actually using any initiative or even slightly defying the letter of their orders. So lots of very dumb and wasteful human wave attacks.

          As for the Continuation War, it’s a significant part of Finnish national prestige that they supposedly defeated the Soviets in 1944, but the reality is that the Red Army’s goal was never to conquer Finland. It was to push the front line sufficiently away from Leningrad that there would be no real risk of the city being threatened and necessitating a diversion of forces away from the crucial push against Germany. The most you can say is that the Finns proved stubborn enough that the Soviets advanced their time-table for transferring troops to the German front by a couple weeks. Stalin even had to remind the general in charge that his objective was never to take Helsinki. The actual goal of the operation was still pretty easily accomplished.

          1. optimader


            Not suggesting what shoulda/coulda happened if.. Stalin expressed his stupidity throughout the war(s). The fact is the SU had great numerical superiority and Finland fought back above it’s weight class. In the end the SU did not “steamroller” Finland and the bottom line is that as a result of their effort Finland retained it’s sovereignty which was it’s ultimate objective, which can’t be said of the eastern European countries that had a border w/ the SU and succumbed to being defensive “buffer” satellite territories.

  4. craazyman

    When is Russell Brand gonna get the Captain Jack Sparrow role in the next PIRATES OF THE CARRIBEAN? Politics is interesting for a few minutes but art is interesting for a lifetime. The cinema is art. Art is news that stays news. News by itself, which is what politics is, is noise, it’s unstructured chaos. The positing of order on chaos is the essential task. This requires both perception of its essential energetic structure and the relationship that justice poses to that structure. That alone makes chaos navigable. Mr. Brand already has the costume. He wears it every day! They’ve already got the boat and the ocean. Why wait? Mr. Depp is probably ready to pass the baton to a new captain. Even Sean Connery passed the Bond baton to Roger Moore. Then there was Pierce Brosnan and now Daniel Craig. They could be doing Bond in 100 years. It could be like the Presidents of the USA. You’d see an entire poster of their heads in ovals with the dates underneath.

    The time to get rich quick in precious metals seems to be now. Either that or it’s time to lose everything you still have. Which is it? It’s had to say. Silver could go to $4 and gold to $65. I guess. When you have the Pyramid King plunging the obsidian knife into the savers’ hearts anything can happen. What are they doing over there at the BIS besides having fine wine in the dining room? I bet they’d make something up if you asked them, but if somebody investigated I bet they’d find not much was going on. It’s not that Gold is Money and currency is paper. It’s that order and chaos are antipodes on the human continuum of consciousness and good and evil are antipodes on a vertical axis plunging perpindicularly to the chaos – order axis. It’s amazing nobody thought of the Cartesian coordinate system until Descarte. It’s like not thinking of air conditioning. How could they have survived in the old days? It seems impossible

    1. ambrit

      I dunno about the PMs. They crashed through the base support levels and stalled. This wouldn’t be the first time they ignored fundamentals. Perhaps we can take a lesson away from that.
      People survived in the “old days” quite fine, until they didn’t. Old style “air conditioning” usually consisted of a few indentured servants or slaves waving fans. Sometimes, passive air flow systems were figured out by clever boffins, as in all those Eastern houses with big air catchment towers. The big change came with the advent of “Mechanical Power!” Then the ‘lower orders’ started living longer. (Fear not, something is being done about that as we speak.)
      You are complaining about Pirates of the Caribbean? The films based on the old Disneyworld ride? Be of sterner stuff! We’ve been living through a real life enactment of the Disneyland “Hall of the Presidents” ever since Disney’s animatronics department replaced the deceased Ronald Reagan in the spring of 1981. Since then the part of President has been played by various Method actors. All is right with the world! Drink your Tang and dream big.

      1. craazyman

        I’m not complaining! I LOVED those movies and Mr. Brand would be perfect. Johnny Depp was awesome, of course, and those are big shoes to fill, but I think Mr. Brand could pull it off.

        If Hollywood wanted to get political they could have Mr. Brand pilot the Black Pearl to the East India Company’s outpost and somehow take it over and free all the indentured servants and slaves. That would be counterfactual history, but it’s art so it operates on the mind solely as metaphor. If the metaphor has enough structural cogency and essential psychic energy, it can become reality. It wouldn’t be too far a stretch from past plots, just a little more barbed in its cultural overtones.

        It’s an awesome job, writing a screenplay that gets Captain Jack Sparrow in the role of a Spartacus but with happy ending. No bodies crucified mile by mile on the road to Rome. That would not do. That’s not fun, thinking about that. It has to be nice somehow, with violence only in slapstick form.

        It can be done, however. Maybe all the liberal Jews in Hollywood can get their progressive mojo workin, along with the Viagra and 18 year old porn stars. bowhahahahahahahah. C’mon guys, you can get it up one more time — for Ahmurrrica

        1. ambrit

          I was thinking that Depp would “knock one out of the park” if he agreed to play Ben Bernanke in the long rumoured production of “Helicopter Drop USA.”
          Ur, “liberal Jews in Hollywood?” Watcher smoking dude. Ask Upton Sinclair about how “liberal” Jews in Hollywood can be. Hollywood has always been political. Anyway, Jew or Goy, Money Men are constitutionally conservative in nature. “Don’t rock the boat,”” Go along to get along, “”It’s not what you know, but who you blow,” etc. etc.
          Russell Brand would be great as the only live member of Davey Jones crew. That would be speaking truth to (admittedly evil) Power.
          Speaking of Spartacus; who would O-bot be, Tony Curtis or Laurence Olivier? Is he an oyster or a clam? The world may never know.

    2. Chauncey Gardiner

      “[A]rt is interesting for a lifetime. The cinema is art. Art is news that stays news. News by itself, which is what politics is, is noise, it’s unstructured chaos. The positing of order on chaos is the essential task. This requires both perception of its essential energetic structure and the relationship that justice poses to that structure. That alone makes chaos navigable. … When you have the Pyramid King plunging the obsidian knife into the savers’ hearts anything can happen. What are they doing over there at the BIS besides having fine wine in the dining room? I bet they’d make something up if you asked them, but if somebody investigated I bet they’d find not much was going on. It’s not that Gold is Money and currency is paper. It’s that order and chaos are antipodes on the human continuum of consciousness and good and evil are antipodes on a vertical axis plunging perpindicularly to the chaos – order axis.”

      My nomination for the prize:

      And, of course, Russell Brand will be MC at the star-studded event.

  5. steviefinn

    A lot of old farts complaining about Russell Brand over here, including much to my disappointment, the long running satirical magazine ‘ Private Eye ‘. Being an old fart myself I don’t have many young FB friends, but I have noticed that he is managing to galvanise debate among most of those that I do have. This I think can only be a good thing – as previously there only seemed to be apathy.

    Maybe he isn’t the ideal voice, but for me 6 years ago when I started to wonder WTF was really going on – neither was the collection of illuminati, lizard people, Rothschild nutjobs I had to wade through before reaching some sort of sanity – we all have to start somewhere.

    1. ambrit

      In the interests of “balance and fair play” I suggest we begin with the Zen position and start from Nowhere.

        1. ambrit

          As long as it’s not a “Third Way.”
          (“Now-Here” gives a new meaning to “sitting out an election,” doesn’t it.)

          1. steviefinn


            Perhaps we need a fourth way & as for starting from nowhere – Maybe we as creations are a rhyme of the ‘ Big Bang ‘- into inflation, entropy & then death, with the possibility that there was somewhere or something before this.

            Now what was it I was saying in regard to sanity ? :)

            1. ambrit

              AH HA! “Is history real?” That’s a very good question.
              As for our numerically based Socio-Political exegesis, it feels like we are living in an age of Fifth Columns. All our institutions are rotting from within.
              Sanity is as elusive as ever. <[:)

    2. Glenn Condell

      It is quite incredible to see the establishment panic he is creating. Howard Jacobson just had a sneery, content-free go at him in the Independent and the comments there crucified Howard by about 9 to 1. There is light as well as heat emanating from Brand, and he has, under the fireworks, a firm grasp of the basic concepts, a penetrating intelligence and fair sized balls to go with a rare verbal facility. When you add the fact that he is right, you can understand the worry.

  6. moshe

    The image of these penguins in this particular configuration made me brain immediately go “Oh, Ford circles!”. Maybe I need professional counsel.

  7. diptherio

    File Under: There is ALWAYS an Alternative

    The Partner State and the Solidarity Economy: An In-Depth Look at Public Policy in Ecuador ~John Restakis

    This paper builds on this belief and explores the concept of the Partner State in relation to a social knowledge economy and the concept of Buen Vivir as the foundations of Ecuador’s National Plan for Good Living.

    Drawing on both the theoretical and practical foundations of the Partner State as a model of governance, the paper argues that the proposed transition to an economy based on social knowledge and the realization of Buen Vivir requires a radical restructuring of the State apparatus toward a direction of increased empowerment and meaningful engagement of both civil society and economic agents in the small firm economy as prerequisites for this transition. [1] In this context, the Partner State is presented both as the necessary vehicle for the fulfillment of Buen Vivir and as the culmination of this process. The idea of the social market is also advanced as a means of enlarging the scope of social economy activities throughout the economy and as a central aspect of a Partner State approach to empowering civil society.

    Throughout the paper we emphasize the crucial roles of co-operation, social capital, and the common good. They are the ethical foundations of a State in which the civil principle is foremost. The practice of co-operation reinforces and cultivates further co-operation and we argue that a primary aim of the Partner State is the promotion of co-operative systems that replenish social capital and the attitudes and skills that promote sharing and the pursuit of social aims. A social knowledge economy is thus very much a co-operative economy.

    Just as the vision of a social knowledge economy and Buen Vivir represent a radical departure from neo-liberalism, so does the Partner State represent a departure from the State as the command and control apparatus from which economic and social development proceed. The Partner State, in which active citizenship for the common good is a defining feature, is the political expression of a society in which knowledge, economics, and social policy are all in service to civic values and the common good.

    This paper is quite long, but it is also very thorough and holistic in it’s viewpoint. It also includes a case study of the Emilia-Romagna district of Italy, where an integrated cooperative economy has been thriving for decades. Worth the effort, if you can find the time.

  8. Jeremy Grimm

    Reading “Hate to say ‘I told you so’, but……” Zapperto I suddenly recalled the “Walrus and the Carpenter”, seeing the Democrats as the Walrus, who cried as he ate as many fat young oysters as he could, and the Republicans as the Carpenter. The wise old oysters stayed home — things break down there — but delete the word “old” and I think we’re good.

  9. neo-realist

    Re Hillary’s chance’s in 2016, she may be a neo-lib, but I don’t see right wing yahoos like Ted Cruz, Scott Walker or Rand Paul beating Hillary. However, I do see a nuanced right winger like Jeb Bush with the elite connections and the “math” fixing defeating Hillary.

  10. amateur socialist

    I think any election that brings Glenn “Give it your best shot” Hubbard back to the public stage can’t be all bad.

  11. JohnnyGL

    Loved the Spain article from Bloomberg…pretty amazing how Podemos is leading in the polls already. Catalonia referendum this weekend could be interesting. But the full elections in 2015 could be the real showdown. There’s plenty of time to roll out the fear/intimidation tactics to get voters to behave. I wouldn’t be surprised to see some “jitters” arrive in Spain and periphery European countries during next spring/summer in order to ensure the ‘correct’ outcome.

  12. Bill Frank

    The Democrats may not recover from this massacre. Really? The exact same was said about the Repubs after 2008. Just grand theatrics for mass consumption/distraction. Hillary in 2016? Does anyone really think it makes a difference who gets elected in 2016? Whoever that person is will be the best that MONEY can buy.

    1. psychohistorian

      Thanks for the link. It is nice to see Matt producing this and LETS HEAR IT FOR ROLLING STONE!!!!!

      Whoa thunk we would be getting our real news from such a source after all these years.

      Are any in jail yet? Its jail now or lamposts later folk, take your pick. I prefer the more “civilized” jail thing but am open to other effective alternatives.

  13. scraping_by

    RE: Grouper trial

    One of the Far Right’s tactics is satire. Building an absurdist narrative on a useful law is an effective way to undercut that law. What looks like a light-hearted jape becomes sinister when you look at it closely.

    The idea of taking personal responsibility is unarguable, so it has to be undercut. Now, when corporate executives are caught shredding the evidence of their criminal acts, they’ll yell “Groupers! Groupers! Groupers!” It’s a better-looking response than sneering “technical violations of the law.” And it gives hate radio howlers material for their antics.

    The Administration acting as a corporate lackey squad, serving their masters by making government ineffective, is their contribution to the crapification of everything.

    1. prostratedragon

      Thanks for pointing this out. I do think that is what is going on here, and it is important to suggest that some are not nearly as cute as they might think they are.

  14. bruno marr

    RE: Beach Sand

    The west coast is a bit different than the east coast of the US. So, see: “Living with the CHANGING California Coast”, Gary Griggs, et al, Univ. Cal. Press, 2005. A foot by foot analysis of 1100 miles of coastline.
    (A three foot sea level rise in 30 years could make the east coast issues moot.)

  15. carping demon

    Until financial columnists/editors like Michael Skapinker stop writing, “…and the entire system seems unfair,” and start writing, “…and the entire system is unfair,” you’ll know nothing is going to change.

  16. Propertius

    Mark Udall forever relinquished any claim as a privacy advocate when he voted for telecom immunity in 2008.

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