Links 12/12/14

The tiger who flew halfway across the world for a better life BBC

Study supports the theory that ‘men are idiots’ PhysOrg (Chuck L). Cute, but the hypotheses are unimpressive.

As gay marriage gains voter acceptance, study illuminates a possible reason PhysOrg. More important than the title suggests in terms of shifting attitudes. It demonstrates that well structured personal proselytism works.

A Look Inside the First Commercial Coal Plant with Carbon Capture and Storage MIT Technology Review (Chuck L)

Victoria takes legal action against Uber MacroBusiness. Unabashedly pro-Uber but nevertheless gives the basic facts.

It’s time for Tor activists to stop acting like the spies they claim to hate Pando. A bit unhinged but not without justification. Gives you an idea how bare-knuckle tech players are when they fight the media.

Falling Oil Prices Threaten African Growth Wall Street Journal

China Industrial Output Slows as Factory Halt Compounds Slowdown Bloomberg

Bhopal’s Unending Catrastrophe Der Spiegel (martha r). :-(

Charts Show 28 Seriously Troubled Mega-Banks: 24 of them in Europe Michael Shedlock (EM)

Europe, get ready for war! The “Battle of Greece” will be decisive … failed evolution

Grexit’ threat could complicate ECB QE IFR. The author has a gift for understatement.


Russia’s Rate Increase Fails to Halt Ruble’s Slide to Record Bloomberg

Rouble Is Tanking Again Business Insider. An AM update.

Rebalancing the EU-Russia-Ukraine gas relationship Bruegel

Russia Cozies Up to Uzbekistan With $865 Million Debt Write-Off Moscow Times

Ron Paul: US Resolution Condemning Russia Similar to One Preceding Iraq War Sputnik (furzy mouse)

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

TSA’s new security checks: absolute joke or absolute necessity? Airport-Technology

Report: Sony Pictures Is Using Its Own Cyber-Attacks to Keep Leaked Files From Spreading Slate

CIA Torture Report

‘A Lot of These Gomers Didn’t Know Shit’: Former CIA Officer on Torture Report Intercept (martha r)

Report on CIA Torture Shows Need for Limiting Military Force Against ISIS Truthout

The Complicity of Psychologists in CIA Torture Counterpunch

Americans Involved in Torture Can Be Prosecuted Abroad, Analysts Say New York Times (furzy mouse)

Did torture really help U.S. find al Qaeda chief Hambali? Reuters (EM). This ought to bev a rhetorical question.

Obama’s immigration policy leaves companies exposed Financial Times

The Abolition of Abolition, How the President Who Pledged to Banish Nuclear Weapons Is Enabling Their Renewal TomDistpatch

In 2003, U.S. experts doubted key Iraq war claim: cable Reuters (martha r). Not that this should come as a surprise.

Few See Quick Cure for Nation’s Political Divisions Pew

Obama Signals KXL “No” on Colbert Report As “KXL Clone” He Permitted Opens Steve Horn

Congress could soon allow pension plans to cut benefits for current retirees Washington Post

‘Driving while black’ apps give tips for police stops Associated Press

Richmond police chief a prominent participant in protest against police violence Contra Costa Times (martha r)

US Senators Pass Law Enforcement Reporting Bill to Avoid Police Brutality Sputnik (furzy mouse). Wee problem is the DoJ has an existing mandate to report on police killings and is ignoring it.

Not Just a Rape Culture: The University’s Rape System. Public Discourse. Martha r: “Well worth the read as it goes beyond the usual back-and-forth.”

Dodd Frank Budget Battle

Why Citi May Soon Regret Its Big Victory on Capitol Hill American Banker. Important. Makes clear that this was not a fight that mattered at all economically to the banks; they could achieve pretty much the same results through other means. This really seemed to be more about bankster ego, as in “the hell with you regulating us”. By all accounts, this is a classic example of what I call winning by losing, not that you want to lose, but that you can win despite appearing to lose.

Bair on Wall Street’s mistaken power play CNBC

Liberals: Obama abandoned us Politico. There was actually a bona fide fight in the Senate over the Dodd Frank rollback, including the opposition running it like a real campaign (whip counts, etc). This hasn’t happened (leftist opposition to the President over banking matters with his party) in anyone’s memory. This is an important start.

Citigroup Wrote the Wall Street Giveaway Congress Just Snuck Into a Must-Pass Spending Bill Mother Jones

How Wall St. got its way Politico

Activists Seek More Public Input in Fed President Picks WSJ Economics

U.S. authorities face new fallout from insider trading ruling Reuters

The Lie Factory In The Media Karl Denninger (Scott). On the retail sales report.


IEA Cuts Global Oil Demand Forecast for 4th Time in Five Months Bloomberg (Joe Costello)

$550 Billion Energy Junk Bond Bubble Busts; “Whac-A-Mole” Distortions in Multiple Markets Michael Shedlock (furzy mouse)

Class Warfare

The Vanishing Male Worker: How America Fell Behind New York Times. Today’s must read.

Antidote du jour (furzy mouse):

pretty snail links

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. abynormal

    will Congress Critters cut their pensions FIRST?

    “Is the prison that Mr. Scoundrel lives in at the end of his career a more uncomfortable place than the workhouse that Mr. Honesty lives in at the end of HIS career?”
    Wilkie Collins

    1. cwaltz

      That’s a very good question, particularly since these are the very same folks that have pretty much made the argument that pensions should be rolled back so that budgets can be balanced.

      Since we’re always on a neverending financial precipice that requires cuttting food stamps and gutting seniors retirements it seems to me that they should also see benefit cuts to their pension plans in the interest of fixing that all fired important deficit they conveniently love to whine about.

      1. Adam Eran

        I think it’s more telling that the entire “fiscal responsibility” meme was mute during the multi-trillion-dollar wars in the Middle East and multi-trillion-dollar financial sector bailouts.

        Oddly enough we don’t hear “But we’re out of money!” until social safety nets are the topic of discussion.

        Of course the entire “debt” debate is baloney. See Randall Wray’s historical analysis of the distinction between household budgets and national ones.

  2. Carla

    The Vanishing Male Worker summed up in one sentence:

    “There are about 10 million prime-age men who are not working, but there are only 4.8 million job openings for men and women of all ages, according to the most recent federal data.”

    Seems to me we’re going to need every combination of JG and BIG that can be devised.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        What you are asking for will only happen if, more than 50% of the time, the female is the courting party and the male is the one granting approval.

        In a truly utopian society, the granting power of a potential relationship is removed…perhaps under a random, lottery system.

        1. optimader

          “In a truly utopian society”
          Males would be responsible for little more than resting under nice shade trees while digesting very large meals… in peace and quiet. The rest of their activities would be elective after they cant possibly rest anymore

      2. Adam S.

        Read that back to yourself. Now, think about what that sentence means if the genders are flipped.

        “Female workers are not necessary in [a] fully equal society. Let men take charge and feed women.”

        What you suggest is not equality but domination.

        /not sure if serious or trolling

    1. Garrett Pace

      That is necessary, but this contains multitudes:

      Many men, in particular, have decided that low-wage work will not improve their lives, in part because deep changes in American society have made it easier for them to live without working. These changes include the availability of federal disability benefits; the decline of marriage, which means fewer men provide for children; and the rise of the Internet, which has reduced the isolation of unemployment.

    2. Garrett Pace

      And this!

      “They’re not working, because it’s not paying them enough to work,” said Alan B. Krueger, a leading labor economist and a professor at Princeton. “And that means the economy is going to be smaller than it otherwise would be.”

      Shut up about the economy already.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        In a free market economy, this should increase the supply of higher paying jobs, but with our legions blowing up the world and our economic hit men doing their best, new Rome will not be deprived of willing serfs nor voluntary slaves.

        “But Americans don’t want those jobs!!!”

        So, for our ever vigilant wage-inflation (the only inflation worth fighting) fighters, even though they have created millions of low-quality jobs, there is not much to worry about at the moment.

  3. McMike

    On the topic of Wall Street, philanthropy, and privatization… what is “pay for success“?

    I stumbled across the concept of “pay for success” aka “social improvement bonds.” The idea is wall street makes loans to nonprofits, who then pay bonuses (on top of the P&I) back to wall street if they perform certain benchmarks. Sounds harmless enough on the surface (when processed through the default neoliberal filter).

    The obvious concerns this is a Trojan Horse to get private companies on the gravy train for grant and nonprofit funds, particularly in education. Not to mention conduit for scams, fees, shenanigans, and diverting money to wall street and away from nonprofits and their human beneficiaries. And yet one more knife cut in the relentless assault for privatization of education. Man, these privatizer parasites never freaking sleep.

    [One thing is clear: when I hear Goldman Sachs. Rahm Emmanuel, and Arne Duncan in the same sentence, I grab my wallet and head for the exits.] Rahm’s “Pay-For-Success” PRE-K Program. Who Gets Paid? Who Gets Screwed?

    [Oh look, the fix is in] For the Record: Paying for preschool with social impact bonds

    [If Forbes is a’for it; I’m-a’gin’ it] Why Pay for Success Matters

    1. diptherio

      I am highly skeptical of these “social impact bonds.” They reek of the same mentality that has brought us deregulation of all varieties: “The market will fix it!” The reason we’re even talking about them, of course, is as a response to austerity measures and a general lack of public funding for public projects. So it’s a neo-liberal solution to a problem caused by neo-liberal policies…brilliant

      It also has that “doing well by doing good,” stench to it: I want to get rich but not have to feel bad about it–i.e. I want to help, but only if there’s something in it for me. Sounds like just another Wall Street racket to me….

  4. gnomeubuntu

    Study supports the theory that ‘men are idiots’-BJM

    If British journal of medicine publishes worthless trash in name of “medical research”,then there is something wrong with the journal,the researchers who wasted govt money and feminists.
    This is supposed to be an intellectual publication,not trashy magazine.
    Good luck BJM.I never read this journal but will never believe something they will publish in future.
    This attitude of pop tabloid journalists and feminist militant ideologues will harm pure scientific research.

    1. Oregoncharles

      It’s a joke, in their “silly” issue.
      There’s a kernel of truth: men are generally more reckless – risk-takers, on average. Makes good evolutionary sense: males are expendable.

  5. Banger

    In my mind, since I don’t think death is “the end” torture is worse than murder. It is, in a sense, equivalent to the “sin against the Holy Spirit” that cannot be forgiven. Torture is an active insult against the mind, the soul, the body and insults all of us by existing. No cause is worth torture whether it is torture of humans or animals.

    I knew torture was used and has been used throughout U.S. history but never in quite this “open” a way. Why? I don’t think torture became official U.S. policy because of any practical need. The terrorist threat is minor. Someone high up was quoted that they wanted to show the world what happens when they oppose the will of the U.S. and that was why Guantanamo was set up–they didn’t care who they populated the prison with–they just wanted bodies and “bought” then from Afghan and Pakistani operative with few, if any, questions asked. This was clearly state by neocons in the 90s when they said that the U.S. should inspire fear not love.

    And we the people have been complicit in these crimes against the human spirit and the Holy Spirit. We were so easily led into a fantasy world of fear of things that go bump in the light that we betrayed what was left of our collective values to feed the angry maw of the War Party and its gangs of ghouls. The good part of this is that anyone with even a slight ability to reason can no longer fall into the American Exceptionalist ideology of ideocy. But, I know, from talking to people, that many will simply pretend, as in all dysfunctional families that Daddy is not fucking Sister.

    1. McMike

      We are entering the Age of the Dropped Pretense.

      This week’s lame-duck corporate wish list grab bag is a perfect example. The efforts at pretending it is anything except a naked giveaway to contributors and cronies is barely there, just a half-hearted reflexive flutter of the hand.

      It is, in it’s own way, refreshing.

      1. James Levy

        We see it, I think, most blatantly in the courts, whose connection to any historic or philosophical notion of “justice” is becoming a memory. Poor Scalia wants to hold the line on Leviticus (although, strangely for an avowed orthodox Catholic, any mention or even thought of the Sermon on the Mount is certainly out of bounds) but can’t get many of the soulless technocrats to go along.

      2. voxhumana

        ““The illusion of freedom will continue as long as it’s profitable to continue the illusion. At the point where the illusion becomes too expensive to maintain, they will just take down the scenery, they will pull back the curtains, they will move the tables and chairs out of the way and you will see the brick wall at the back of the theater.” – Frank Zappa

    2. Jackrabbit

      “we the people have been complicit”

      Again, blaming the victim. You cast blame (again) on ordinary people who were manipulated. Virtually everyone is horrified and disgusted by the rendition/torture, lying us into war, and the Iraqi debacle. It was the politicians that were complicit as they looked the other way.


      The same can be said regarding climate change. Energy companies spend billions to ensure that the party goes on.

      H O P

      1. optimader

        “Virtually everyone is horrified and disgusted by the rendition/torture, lying us into war, and the Iraqi debacle.”

        Sadly, I question that assumption.
        IMHO, although much of MSM in this country is superficial noise in the bandwidth opinion stated as fact, and downright propaganda, Americans do have the opportunity to be informed. Maybe not perfectly informed, but better than most. I have access to any form of (free) media/journalism/information in the world,

        The issue I see, many people seek out (and retain) only media/journalism/information that reinforces their POV.
        I would have no issue finding people in my geography that support “rendition/torture, lying us into war, and the Iraqi debacle” and more right down the line.

        1. Jackrabbit

          Its somewhat funny to me that you argue that they are complicit because they haven’t found the initiative to be better informed, while simultaneously acknowledging the power of the MSM propaganda campaign that causes people to hold views that are demonstrably false and which lead them to act against their interests.

      2. JerseyJeffersonian

        Yeah, the propaganda is a problem, but by laying this on so thick, you are vitiating the idea that we ultimately have the capability – nay, the responsibility – to resist these blandishments. We are, after all Citizens of the Republic, and if we surrender our agency, then it’s our own damned fault for what issues therefrom. In the final analysis, this moral collapse, while egged on by the Bernays Boyz, lies on our own doorsteps, so I don’t let the poor, poor propagandized American people off so lightly.

        Ask the Germans how bleating about how there was no alternative, no realistic chance for resistance, worked out for them at the end of the Second World War. The rise of der Führer and the Nazi state was effectuated by a moral collapse of the citizenry that waltzed them into power, and any talk to the contrary was just that, talk. It’s just so convenient for the citizenry to turn it all over to the Man with the Plan, it absolves them of the day to day moral choices and the duty to reflect upon the meaning and cumulative power of their actions (and often enough, their inactions).

        Obama was a Man with a Plan (albeit a rather vaguely articulated and well-hedged plan), and the electorate ate it up. Here, you make it all good, Daddy; time for us to go back to sleep.

        As I sometimes observe to my wife when I am disgusted by the passivity and/or the learned helplessness, “It’s enough to make you a Republican”. I mean, if they’re just gonna chew their cuds, why not treat ’em like cattle. But my better angel always pulls me back on side. Our Misleaders clearly want us to be, and actually denominate us as, “consumers”, and not as citizens. How about we surprise the fuck out of them, and refuse to play along? It’ll be work, though, and I’m not always too optimistic that we still have it in us. But in your repeated criticism of Banger’s insistence that we still have agency you run perilous close to a counsel of despair, my friend.

        “What type of Government have you given us, Dr. Franklin?”
        “A Republic…if you can keep it.”

        1. Jackrabbit

          Citizens do have a responsibility to resist / exercise their constitutional rights – and protests are increasing as people ‘wake up’.

          The delayed reaction of the citizenry has been discussed on NC before. People have been lulled by easy credit, misled by propaganda, distracted entertainments (what shows are YOU watching?), bribed with government assistance (food stamps to QE), and even drugged (viagra to anti-depressants).

          Resistance can come in many ways: voting, signing petitions, marching, staying informed and spreading awareness, refusing to participate in corruption/corrupt government, are all examples of ‘resistance’ that is peaceful and that most people are capable of.


          The German’s of the 30’s didn’t have nearly as good an historical example as we do from their experience! Their failure to throw off tyranny is not proof that resistance is futile.


          You are badly misreading Banger’s siren song. He doesn’t trumpet our agency, or call for us to exercise it. He excuses Obama and TPTB by pointing fingers and blaming the victim. In fact, he has said that things have progressed to a point where people have lost the capacity to effect change (IMPAIRED AGENCY) and on that basis advised that ‘the people’ they should turn to oligarchs as savoirs – supporting/empowering those that appear to be sympathetic to our interests (Banger holds libertarian views). To me, his prescription is very similiar to what the Democratic Party (‘the vichy left’) has become AND takes us further toward neo-feudalism.

  6. Andrew Watts

    RE: ‘A Lot of These Gomers Didn’t Know Shit’: Former CIA Officer on Torture Report

    There’s a whole generation of young officers who think that intelligence gathering is getting information out of a guy shackled to a chair.”

    Yeah, this doesn’t have a happy ending.

    At the same time, he said Senate Democrats are being totally disingenuous about their own role in tacitly condoning torture.

    Yup, that’s what I thought too… because there is a ton of blame to go around. Any official who says otherwise is either guilty or lying. If I know Cheney like I think I do he has it all documented and hidden away somewhere for the implausible scenario where he faces any criminal charges.

    RE: Report on CIA Torture Shows Need for Limiting Military Force Against ISIS

    The problem with this proposal is that the Islamic State is not limited by borders or geography. How many people saw IS rearing it’s ugly head in Libya? I didn’t even though I guessed that IS would be able to spread it’s influence Egypt. There is a bigger issue at stake here and it looks like I’m going to have to write about it. (“Yay Water-Cooler!”) It has to do with imperial client-states and the collapse of empires.

    1. dearieme

      I’ve been wondering why a report so damaging to the USA has been issued. I conclude that it is because the report defends the interests of a cadre of powerful people: not just the obvious Bush and Cheney, but the Senate and, presumably, Obama. I like AW’s suggestion that Cheney has a file of info with which to protect himself. Do you suppose Hellary and Kerry have got one too?

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Beyond the Senate and presumably, the White House, you got many Western ‘democratic’ nations covered as well.

      2. Andrew Watts

        I don’t know about Hillary but John Kerry and his staff were lead investigators into the Iran-Contra affair. How do you think that ultimately turned out given the circumstances?

        During the last hundred pages of the SSCI torture report I was thinking to myself, “They’re doing it again… and I don’t know if there’s any coming back from it this time.” That’s when I started to re-evaluate the report and attempted to exonerate as much of the federal government as I could. The redactions blotting out the individuals made it almost impossible.

      3. optimader

        I’m thinking because recent history suggest that nothing will become of it.
        Yes some outcrys, embarrassment (make that inconvenience for the sociopaths) and gnashing of teeth. Ultimately it will be one of these “it’s so big nothing can be done about it” and “besides it was all done w/ the best of intentions, we promise this will never happen again” moments.

        1. Andrew Watts

          Of course the people in power are not going to listen to us peons. Especially when they’re worried about their own necks. However, the Geneva Conventions exists to protect the well-being of our military. If the US military throws it’s weight around and demands that Cheney is indicted for war crimes, and he rolls over and provides all the documentation he has, than this is a whole lot easier than anybody suspects.

          Darn, I think I just gave away my evil genius plan…!

          1. psychohistorian

            Of the signers of the agreements behind the Geneva Conventions, how many countries were/are supporters of US torture initiatives?

            If Obama were to try and deliver any American to the Hague he would suffer the same fate as JFK. The documentation that Cheney has is the list and hierarchy of the global elite that own the banks, corporations and many governments of the world.

            If this is not a testament to how effective the Big Lie technique in conjunction with the MSM is, I don’t know what is……I expect no significant change but would actively support any serious attempt to neuter global inheritance and reclaim much of the global commons “acquired” by the global elite over the past centuries.

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      “…a ton of blame to go around…”

      Including those who voted for the ‘lesser of two evils.”

      ‘The other guys would have tortured more…” “They didn’t get my vote.”

      1. Andrew Watts

        I don’t think people were actually thinking about that kind of lesser of two evils when they voted.

    1. JCC

      I love it… my first introduction to the world of “anti-authoritarianism” happened when I was around 10 years old. One of my best friends at the time was killed in a hit-and-run accident, my dog. My mother sent me back to school – after I found out at lunchtime – with a note to the Nun explaining why I might not be too happy for the rest of the day and the Nun took that opportunity to explain to the class that my dog would not be in heaven to greet me. When I stated, in no uncertain terms, that if Sam wasn’t going, then neither was I, I was stood in the corner for the rest of the day (I was pulled out of that school within a couple of years as my grades started noticeably disintegrating).

      That was my first step on the (50 year since) road to believing that the entire Catholic theory of how God and Heaven “works” is a myth and that “authority” is not to be trusted. If you want children to believe something, myth or not, it’s important to be all inclusive, even to the point of including their dogs.

      1. nycTerrierist

        Amazing story. How awful for you and all the kids who received the nun’s mean-spirited ‘lesson’.

        What’s more ‘heavenly’ than being re-united with your buddy of any species?
        canine, feline, etc…

        1. optimader

          Will this include the neighbor’s favorite pitt bull that had a habit of biting the local children? Will that relationship be renewed in Heaven?

          1. cwaltz

            It’s not the pit bulls fault that it’s owner is an idiot who couldn’t bother to ensure that it didn’t bite (and therefore didn’t need to worry about being euthanized.) Perhaps in heaven that pit bull finds Someone who cares enough about it to make sure it is happy instead of upset and prone towards biting?

      2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        A competing theology, hoping for more converts, states that if you behave like a good boy (or girl), you will come back in your next life as a cat or dog (whichever you prefer).

      3. aletheia33

        bravo, bravo for what you said back to that nun!
        that is an indomitable spirit at work.
        i hope you are busy somewhere teaching kids and adults how do that.
        that’s what we desperately need right now at all levels of our society.
        for speaking out, and speaking out of love, you were tortured.
        thank goodness your parents (or whoever) eventually figured out that place was really bad for you and were able to spring you.
        what children endure. :(

  7. Jim Haygood

    ‘If I know Cheney like I think I do he has it all documented and hidden away somewhere for the implausible scenario where he faces any criminal charges.’

    Precisely. Federal criminal prosecution is all about muscling low-level perps to rat out the kingpins. Cheney is anything but a minor accomplice. Nevertheless, even the suggestion of using CIA-style tactics on him (visualize a rubber-gloved hand poised over his pacemaker battery) likely would induce the cowardly Cheney to fold like a cheap suit and rat out Bush, who presided over America’s lurch into national socialism.

    [reply to Andrew Watts @ 9:39 am]

    1. Carolinian

      “the cowardly Cheney”

      Are you implying that he’s a chickenhawk just because he got all those student deferments? Come to think of it, it is curious how so many of our current warmongers never came anywhere near the shells and bullets. An exception would be McCain, but he’s nuts.

        1. McMike

          McCain is like Ron Paul, they roll him out for obligatory right wing pantomime. The token true believers with street cred.

          The left has its sort of version with Warren, Sanders…. Kucinich is probably a better example.

  8. Luke The Debtor

    Clean coal will never be as clean as natural gas. And speaking of natural gas. By my rough estimates, the Eagle Ford and Bakken produce about 10% of US natural gas. For those energy companies with significant gas production, I wonder if the cutback in production in those two regions (plus the Niobrara) will have any significant impact on natural gas. Maybe we’ll see the same kind of twist we saw 4 to 5 years ago when companies went from drilling for natural gas to drilling for oil.

  9. Andrew Watts

    RE: It’s time for Tor activists to stop acting like the spies they claim to hate

    There’s a few reasons why Pando’s criticism of TOR is not going over so well with the internet. To the very first internet generation of technophiles; a collection of techno-communist, socialist anarch, and libertarian hackers, the internet was always considered a “free-state” devoid of any government influence. It was the only plane of existence that was free of the hypocrisy of politics and a genuine forum that could guarantee basic human rights for all. What the Snowden disclosures revealed is that this was all an illusion and the free-state was always under attack from the forces of the nation-state.

    Not only were these ideals all an illusion but the forces of the nation-state had won a crushing and almost complete technical victory over the internet free-state. This major victory is now posed to threaten the basic civil rights and right to privacy of us all. Ned Ludd posted a good quote from TOR Developer Andrea Shepard that reveals not only how persecuted these idealists feel but also their genuine sense of loss. By criticizing any efforts to remedy this situation, without adding anything positive I might add, it looked like Levine/Pando was taking a side in a struggle they honestly didn’t even know existed.

    With the mass disillusionment Americans feel in the US government and now the CIA torture report revealing how lacking in common decency they are, I feel an increasingly more desperate need to prove that basic civil rights and privacy can be protected. We’ll see what progress has been made depending on the outcome of the renewal of section 215 of the Patriot Act.

    1. Light a Candle

      Interesting, I had a different take on it. Pando’s coverage of TOR’s funding by the US military was news to me and a topic that deserves exploration and careful consideration as, in my experience, the funders call the shots. I thought Pando did a good job with it, and I was new to Pando.

      However the TOR response was *terrible*: dismissive, name-calling and planted stories and tweets. In fact the TOR response was very similar to an NSA response: no need to worry, no story here, we know best. And doxing a troll? By a person who works for web privacy??! Wtf? TOR’s responses do not reflect my values and were in fact a huge red flag. Although Quinn did write a reasonable recent post in defence of TOR on Pando.

      Fwiw, I am now extremely skeptical of TOR, I think dissidents would be crazy to use it and my guess is that their traffic has dropped significantly hence the hilarious TOR home page as they try to lure people back.

      1. Andrew Watts

        I didn’t have a problem with Pando’s coverage either, but I knew it wasn’t going to turn out well. Carr seems genuinely baffled why they received the hostile reaction they did. That doesn’t mean that I agree with or support the backlash that erupted in the wake of the stories. This hostile response is the result of a sense of self-righteousness that usually alienates the general public.

        Most fringe or radical movements develop this attitude once their idealist phase has ended. Social movements like the abolitionists, prohibitionists, feminists, marxists and others have repeatedly done so. Uhh, I’m not going to bring Edward Snowden or Glenn Greenwald into this. Heh!

        Most techies who develop encryption software are commonly targeted by intelligence agencies, both foreign and domestic, so their paranoia is firmly grounded in reality. Whether it’s for recruitment purposes, harassment, and/or suspicion of working for a foreign intelligence agency it depends on their personal circumstances. That’s all I have to say about that.

    2. bruno marr

      This is tangentially related, but the Pando critics of TOR promoters is misguided. People should try the TOR Browser and see the difference between anonymized browsing and what you get without it. Anonymizing takes time, so browser response is slower. You must limit your activity so as not to inadvertantly expose your IP address AND the specific computer you are using.

      The real goal of Internet users interested in privacy is BOTH encryption techniques AND legal protection through limits to government (NSA) dragnets. One way is to defund the MIC. Stop paying for it!

      1. psychohistorian

        The problem I have with your comment is that it ASSUMES that Tor is safe if used correctly.

        I believe this to be a Big Lie. I had CCNP certification in my career and call BS on your assumption.

  10. Dan

    This “rape culture” needs context. Here is some:

    A doj study I read this week found the incidence of rape to be lower for college students than nonstudents by 25%, and the incidence of rape on college campuses on the level of 1 in 165 rather than the often quoted 1 in 5 (from a study with huge blindspots along the lines of severe sampling biases and including things such as unwanted attention and sex while drunk as “rape/sexual assault”, if I recall correctly).

    Here is the full study for those interested:

    1. Stephanie

      The argument from the Public Discourse article was not that rape is more prevalent on campus than elsewhere, but that universities are encouraging victims to not treat attacks as if they were criminal acts. Granted that the justice system does a terrible job at prosecuting these crimes when they are reported, but I think that treating them with the gravity they deserve is doubtless more helpful to everyone involved than for trial and judgment to occur in the comments on reddit.

    2. dandelion

      This is the definition used for the study: “The NISVS uses a broader definition of sexual violence, which specifically mentions incidents in which the victim was unable to provide consent due
      to drug or alcohol use; forced to penetrate another person; or coerced to engage in sexual contact (including nonphysical pressure to engage in sex) unwanted sexual contact (including forcible kissing, fondling, or grabbing); and noncontact unwanted sexual experiences that do not involve physical contact.”
      NOT drunk sex: unable to consent. NOT unwanted attention: unwanted sexual contact. Are you seriously arguing that forcibly kissing a woman who doesn’t want it or grabbing her aren’t assault?
      You know, sometimes I think a better way to examine this is (and abortion) is through the lens of the 13th Amendment prohibiting involuntary servitude. A woman’s body doesn’t exist for someone else’s use.

      1. Oregoncharles

        What are ” noncontact unwanted sexual experiences that do not involve physical contact.”???

        I thought I had a dirty mind, but I can’t even imagine what this means – that anyone would call rape.

        It’s a catchall that provides no limit whatsoever. And some of the other categories, while offensive, nowhere near rise to the level of rape or even violence. IOW, the study intentionally inflated the numbers. In fact, I’m surprised it was only 20%. Women who really were raped are offended by this sort of thing; it trivializes their experience.

        In particular, it was designed to catch unpleasant experiences that result from misunderstanding. Our normal courtship system is guaranteed to produce those regularly. It’s a recipe for disaster. We’re all navigating a minefield of potential offense. How on earth is anyone to know what’s “wanted,” unless they either ask (you’ve heard of being coy? ) or try it? Yes, there’s a whole system of signals; some men are terrible at reading them and some women are terrible sending them. And most are designed to be ambiguous, just one more invitation to failure.

    3. aletheia33

      it can be interesting to conduct an informal poll.

      how many of the people you know (male or female) have been sexually assaulted? (by whatever definition of that pleases you.) if you think you don’t know anyone who has, go ahead and start asking your friends and family members. if you do already know some, add up the positives. you can also ask your friends and family to tell you of any people they know who have been sexually assaulted. you may wish to make a list to aid in your tallying.

      be prepared for a certain amount of awkwardness in the direct asking and the response, especially in conversation with males. this awkwardness is illuminative of the stigma and shame that victims of sexual assault endure. don’t forget you’re dealing with trauma and be ready to witness some degree of suffering even just conversation. don’t forget to tell them how sorry you are that it happened to them. you may want to ask them why they did or did not report the assault, who they reported it to and why, what consequences ensued from that for them.

      this is a great first step toward a better understanding of the actual landscape of sexual assault.
      if you’re afraid to do this, you are part of the problem.

    4. cwaltz

      Uh you do realize that if you get a girl drunk and then have sex with her that she can call it rape because intoxication essentially means that she was incapable of consent right?

      Of course, the solution would be not to have sex with drunk people, not make the argument that if a woman drinks that she’s fair game.

    5. Scylla

      From the original source document:

      “Note: Includes only reports to the police, not to other officials or administrators.”

      Of course this source document not only ignores sexual assaults to school authorities, it also ignores the assaults that went unreported.
      Do you think it is maybe possible that the reason that non-students reported more assaults to the police is because the police are the only “authorities” they can report them to, while even the so called study that you are sourcing ADMITS that it is not capturing all of the assaults that were reported by students?

      Your comment and the source document are indeed context- they are part of rape culture in that they are deliberately downplaying how extensive sexual assault is.

  11. not_me

    re The Vanishing Male Worker: How America Fell Behind New York Times.

    More conflation of working with having a job when neither requires the other. The norm, not the exception, should be people working on their own land for themselves and for their families with a Citizen’s Dividend or BIG to distribute the common wealth that was created by themselves or their ancestors but legally stolen by the banks or the so-called creditworthy.

    Luke 12:56-59 New American Standard Bible (NASB)

    You hypocrites! You know how to analyze the appearance of the earth and the sky, but why do you not analyze this present time?

    And why do you not even on your own initiative judge what is right? For while you are going with your opponent to appear before the magistrate, on your way there make an effort to settle with him, so that he may not drag you before the judge, and the judge turn you over to the officer, and the officer throw you into prison. I say to you, you will not get out of there until you have paid the very last cent.”

    Luke 12:56-59 New American Standard Bible (NASB)

    Lambert asked what the source of justice is. Apparently, we should know according to the passage above.

  12. Jim Haygood

    Trouble inna IMF, comrades:

    WASHINGTON (MarketWatch) — The International Monetary Fund will discuss alternative reform options after the U.S. Congress has failed to ratify a four-year deal to restructure the emergency lender, said Christine Lagarde, the head of the international financial agency, on Friday.

    “As requested by our membership, we will now proceed to discuss alternative options for advancing quota and governance reforms and ensuring that the Fund has adequate resources, starting with an Executive Board meeting in January 2015,” Lagarde said in a brief statement.

    The U.S. could lose its veto power on the IMF’s executive board under one reform option being pushed by some emerging economies.


    ‘Reform’ is a code word for doubling quotas, meaning the US has to pony up more money. This effort has stalled just as the Ukraine (whose next tranche under its IMF program is due this month) has signaled that $17 billion ain’t enough … and that its economy is imploding even faster than expected (surprise, surprise).

    What are iMFers to do: keep throwing good money after bad in Kiev … or pull the plug and let nature take its course? Today Christine Lagarde has laid down the gauntlet to a recalcitrant Congress: Don’t make us hold an executive board meeting!

  13. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Richmond police chief…participant in protest against police violence.

    Good for the chief, whom I hope they treat civilly.

    But that’s the problem. They should treat all protestors like living beings.

    I’ve always found it bit disturbing that ‘They even roughed an AP reporter!!!’ or something like that.

    Reporters risk their lives on the front line, but equality starts in the trenches. ‘They even roughed a strong, healthy protester!!!’

    Perhaps we have gods and goddesses living among us mortals. You have famine in Africa, for example, and some famous or important person can just fly in and fly out (for a noble cause, of course), amidst starvation or drought or whatever other disasters. It’s as if they are special or exceptional. There is nothing like the bodhisattva spirit of ‘I won’t enter Nirvana until everyone else is there (which begs the question, who will be the last bodhisattva, among all bodhisattvas, to enter – the bodhisattva of bodhisattvas).

    “Thank you for coming from a rich, powerful country to this poor place to care for me. But you will leave in 3 moths or 2 years to your comfortable home, away from this squalor and misery, and I am still stuck here.”

    Maybe that’s why some people go native.

  14. McMike

    Democrats. Simpsons sum up the problem in 12 seconds: That one Republican is great at getting his way

    [in the future….]

    Bart. Isn’t your mom 87?
    Nelson. With social security a thing of the past, she can’t afford to retire.
    Bart. I don’t know how that happened in a senate with 99 Democrats.
    Nelson. That one Republican is great at getting his way.

  15. Chauncey Gardiner

    Thank you for the link to the article from American Banker, which is generally a mouthpiece for the large Banks. Salient extract: … “But in finally getting what they wanted, big banks also thrust themselves back into the limelight in the worst possible way, simultaneously reminding the public of their role in causing the financial crisis and in their continuing influence over the various levers of the U.S government. In one fell swoop, they undid whatever recovery to their battered reputation they’d made in the past four years.”…

    Can anyone make a cogent argument why these large bank holding companies should not be nationalized?

    1. Ivy

      Seriously, would you want a bank run by, or set up by, the politicians? So much of what they touch gets worse.

      That would not live up to the idealistic, admirable impulse that drove your comment.

      There is a lot wrong with banking, but trying to get the dysfunctional Congress and its K Street and Wall Street paymasters to do anything remotely resembling a workable solution for the average citizen is not plausible.

      Nobody eats an elephant in one bite, so instead, look at (perhaps only slightly) more feasible options such as some type of return to a Glass-Steagall regime (one can dream) and go from there.

      1. psychohistorian

        Your argument that government can’t be trusted to run a banking system is offensive to this NC reader.

        THIS government can’t be trusted to run a banking system because they are tools of the global elites behind the private side of the international banking system that is raping the world.

        A government that worked for the people it represented could effectively run a sovereign banking system. The 99.9% don’t have that form of governance currently but are stating currently that the existing system is not plausible an longer. A suggested return to Glass-Steagall is like saying that closing the barn doors will keep the animals running all over in control now.

        I think we should get the private folks out of banking AND control of our government.

      2. Propertius

        Seriously, would you want a bank run by, or set up by, the politicians?

        I fail to see how this would be worse than the converse, which is what we have now.

        Of course, hanging the banksters from lampposts back in 2008 would have been better still.

  16. Jim Haygood

    Bloomberg maintains its ‘Venezuela deathwatch’ vigil:

    The Venezuelan government and state-run oil company owe $21 billion on overseas bonds by the end of 2016, an amount equal to about 100 percent of reserves. Those figures explain why derivatives traders aren’t only betting that a default is almost certain but that it will most likely happen within a year.

    Venezuela, which has nationalized more than 1,000 companies since Chavez came to power 15 years ago, relies on oil for 95 percent of its export revenue.


    All that state industry, and no export diversification. Where is the Venezuelan Trabant?

  17. Benedict@Large

    Why Citi May Soon Regret Its Big Victory on Capitol Hill (American Banker) Important. Makes clear that this was not a fight that mattered at all economically to the banks; …. This really seemed to be more about bankster ego, ….

    Oh no, this was BIG. You’re forgetting that derivatives BY LAW clear first. That means that in any collapse, even one not too big, the FDIC reserve fund with be emptied before we ever get to paying back depositors’ funds. It means that any attempt by Congress to add funds will be met by the banks insisting, “NO, pay us off FIRST.” And then you know what will happen. The Republicans HATE the FDIC because they hate everything. Once the banks are paid off, the GOP will insist that there’s no more money to pay off depositors, and we’ll be having ourselves a new Cyprus-style haircut where depositors take it on the chin in REAL TIME this time.

    No, this was deliberate. The GOP hates government, and they want to make sure the rest of you hate it too.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Some of them are more ‘progressive’ – they love government, big government, or more precisely, imperial government and all-hearing, all-seeing government.

    2. Jess

      The day the government fails to make good on the FDIC guarantee and starts bailing-in (confiscating) small depositor’s money is the first day of the Second American Revolution. It will be spontaneous, nationwide, and feature tens of thousands of lone-wolves putting all that Second Amendment firepower to work. The police, who always run and hide during large-scale riots, won’t be willing to confront the violence and won’t be able to stop it.

      The elite think that the military will step in, but we have a relatively small number of ground troops for a country this size. Besides which, many of those in the military will have family whose money has gone missing and will be distinctly disinclined to fire on folks who look just like them. (i.e. white). After all, I’d bet that there are a whole lot more white folks with insured deposits than minorities, who live paycheck to paycheck.

      1. jrs

        Even a taxpayer bailout of wall street again would get real ugly, they’re pushing something like that yea. We’re already approaching the point of constant low level insurrection and civil war (constant protest, even of the most peaceful sort and I’m not opposed to it) against this government. That’s de-legitimization, but it’s only of primary concern to a few – like minorities and poor people that keep getting killed by police. But bail out wall street again and it’s completely ripping out the social fabric.

        Not that I believe anything good will come out of a whole bunch of people with very different agendas, very few with any historical background, trying for a revolution, for however many reasons one may be called for. It will be a disaster.

        1. psychohistorian

          Your last sentence is, IMO, the plan of the elite.

          Without focus on the inheritance and private ownership accumulation “rules” of our social organization, any struggle of competing agendas plays into the hands of the existing plutocrats…..and since the plutocrats own global communication tools and the bit pipes that support them, viable alternatives to their order never see the light of day.

    3. Yves Smith Post author

      That provision does not help the banks. It helps the banks’ counterparties. It therefore makes derivatives a smidge cheaper.

      And you miss that the FDIC resolves depositaries, and the FDIC is NOT subject to bankruptcy law. It’s in bankruptcies that derivatives are senior. That came about in the 2005 bankruptcy reform.

  18. William

    Like many “Antidote” of the day, this one is emblematic of exactly how we should not view nature. Nature as human plaything, in this case placing a snail and ladybug on an oak tree acorn, goes hand-in-hand with the extractive, exploitative mentality. Such an “antidote” also promotes ignorance–a ground-dwelling snail in an oak tree? Even if it were a canopy snail, and I’m not sure such a thing exists, it certainly would not be perched in such a ridiculous and impossible position. That a ladybug would be there is also highly unlikely.

    Continually putting forth such romantic conceptions of nature, especially calling them “antidotes” to, what, exactly? To remind us of nature’s beauty and sublimity in contrast to human chaos and darkness? Fail. What I see in the current image is oak wilt death, continuing loss of oak savanna, near disappearance of ladybugs largely due to an invasion of asian species but also due to loss of habitat and pesticide use. The same can be said of the pressures facing native snails. No, I do not have this response to all images of natural beauty. My response is prompted by the romanticization behind the image.

    A real antidote would be examples of nature (IOW “living things besides humans”) being respected, not romanticized. We romanticize what we destroy. Alternatively, images of human work toward restoration (opposite of exploitation/extraction) would be real antidotes because they would help promote the very concept upon which our survival depends. How about an economy based on restoration?

    Ninety five percent of people would probably consider my protests to be over-the-top. But that is exactly the problem. Romanticizing nature keeps us conceptually separate from it, and that guarantees our continued rush into the biggest extinction event ever.

  19. Oregoncharles

    “The Lie Factory In The Media”
    This is only one among many datapoints that depict a disastrous economy – at the same time we’re being told that unemployment is way down and we finally have a real recovery.

    Somebody’s lying.

    Seems to me there’s a very useful article to be had here: How is it done? Is there a real discrepancy in the numbers, or are some of them being faked? Personally, I see the government employment numbers as very suspicious. Are they – or is there something unprecedented going on?

    nc calls the optimistic pronouncements into question on a daily basis. Isn’t time to analyse the discrepancy?

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