Links 12/13/14

Cat gorges on $1,000 of fish in Russian airport BBC

Cape Cod Mystery: A Surge of Stranded Turtles New York Times

Time capsule buried by Paul Revere, Samuel Adams sees light of day Christian Science Monitor (furzy mouse)

Beads Found In Ancient Danish Graves Match Glass Made For King Tut io9 (furzy mouse)

A New Physics Theory of Life Quanta

Delhi Cops May Get a Squadron of Night-Vision Spy Drones Wired (martha r)

Dark social traffic in the mobile app era Fusion

Middle-class sexism: who cares? Financial Times

Why Japan’s Abe wants an election CNN

Greek Reminder Of Sovereign-Bank Doom Loop WSJ Moneybeat

Mexico Faces Growing Gap Between Political Class and Calls for Change New York Times

Uruguay Takes on London Bankers, Marlboro Mad Men and the TPP Truthout (fury mouse)


U.S. Congress readies new sanctions on Russia Reuters

Weak Ruble Keeps Russians at Home Wall Street Journal

Ukraine’s frozen war brings dramatic changes to world economy Reuters

Russian Recoil Hits Oil WSJ Marketbeat


‘Shami Witness’: Twitter’s top Islamic State ‘jihadi’ outed as a fake Christian Science Monitor

Shamed in Afghanistan London Review of Books

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

The Inside Story of How British Spies Hacked Belgium’s Largest Telecom Intercept

Verizon’s New, Encrypted Calling App Plays Nice With the NSA Businessweek

Documents Shed New Light on Legal Wrangling Over Spying in U.S. New York Times

CIA Torture Report

Americans are deeply divided about torture The Conversation (martha r)

The Problem With the Torture Report Council on Foreign Relations

After U.S. torture report, Poland asks what its leaders knew Reuters

Rectal feeding is rape – but don’t expect the CIA to admit it The Conversation (martha r)

Justice Department ‘won’t force’ journalist James Risen to reveal source Guardian

Black Injustice Tipping Point

U.S. congressional staffers stage walkout in latest police protests Reuters (EM)

“Teach For America” Trojan Horse Among Ferguson Activists? Bruce Dixon

Did a Group of NYPD Cops Plant Guns on Innocent People to Make Arrests? Gawker

Homes slip into sea as storm hits west US coast BBC (EM)

U.S. corporations winning fight over human rights lawsuits Reuters (EM)

The Gift of Inside Information New York Times. Even Dealbook has a problem with the Second Circuit ruling.

Convicted money manager to stars avoids repeat trip to U.S. prison Reuters (EM)

Citigroup Will Be Broken Up Simon Johnson. Sheila Bair actually did force the bank to downsize a fair bit, but that didn’t do enough to chop down its hubris.

CRomnibus Disaster Signals a Sad New Normal in D.C. Dave Dayen, Fiscal Times. Important.

Mr. Market Has a Sad

Oil price fall sparks market turmoil Financial Times

All of 18 western European markets and US indices decline as oil prices slip Irish Times

Why investors’ view of falling oil prices has just pivoted Financial Times

Data Supportive of Fed Plans Tim Duy

Class Warfare

Again, the Hospital CEO as Scrooge – Erlanger CEO and Other Top Hired Managers Get Bonuses Months After They Froze Employees’ Paid Time Off Health Care Renewal

Hackers reveal how New York Times’ Maureen Dowd promised to make her friend and Sony chairman Amy Pascal ‘look great’ in article that ‘impressed’ staff back at Sony Daily Mail. Chuck L: “The New York Times, a bastion of media ethics.”

Antidote du jour. Proud members of the Indian dog squad (Lambert):

Italian dog squad links

And a bonus video, by special request, the famed green Bulgarian cat. Backstory.

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. petal

    Good morning, everyone. Indian Point nuclear power plant is exempt from NYS’s coastal management program.

    And a Vermonter took on Chikfila and won.

  2. Bunk McNulty

    Americans are deeply divided about torture? Rather misleading headline to a story that ends with: “When Americans are informed about the realities of torture, just like Senator McCain, they find themselves repulsed. Anyone who thinks there is widespread American public support for torture is badly mistaken.”

    1. James

      In my experience, the vast majority of Americans are just fine with torture, especially when you frame the question in terms of “making them safer” and “uncovering terrorism.” We Americans are easily propagandized, and at our core, cowardly and infantile. Take away our military tech, guns, and our bluster, and we’re pretty much scared of everything. The fact that Guantanamo Bay continues tells you all you need to know.

      1. dearieme

        I regret to say that Americans are prone to brag about rule of laws and not of men, and pride in their constitutional republic, and then, when anything is very important to them, to ignore all that stuff entirely.

        1. hunkerdown

          “Representative” “democracy” is the rule of men after Mad Ave gets through with it. USians are just too obsessed with branding and/or appearances, or alternately too busy living in the lie in order that it may become real, to come to terms with it.

      2. TheraP

        I have to say that the dumbing down of education, a deliberate tactic of the right, is partly responsible for the inability of many Americans to “think through” complexity.

        You see it in every area today. An inability to connect the dots.

        1. nycTerrierist

          Excellent point.
          With the corporate Dems’ support of gutting schools (privatizing),
          I’d say the dumbing down is a bipartisan effort!

          1. wbgonne

            That is indeed an excellent point. Americans are astonishingly ignorant, even about our own history, which makes it all too easy to trick people into repeating the same mistakes that our predecessors suffered greatly to correct. Look at what we have done to unions, as one example. Ignorance isn’t bliss; it’s weakness.

            1. TheraP

              No history. No geography. No anthropology. No logic. No geology or evolution. I could go on…

              Then add a dollop of liberal education being the work of the devil. Stir. Bake. Voila!

              1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

                Fatally, no knowledge of basic nutrition.  The fundamental failure of our education system.  They only teach skills necessary to keep the machine going –  computer programming, accounting, gene splicing, atom splitting, mathe inequalities, etc.

                  1. dearieme

                    “the dumbing down of education, a deliberate tactic of the right”: that’s interesting, because it’s the policy of the left in Britain. Why the difference? Perhaps because we don’t have a Religious Right and our Left essentially pursues secular religion.

      3. diptherio

        …the vast majority of Americans are just fine with torture, especially when you frame the question in terms of “making them safer” and “uncovering terrorism.”

        This is nothing to do with Americans or cowardice per se. It’s long been known that framing has huge effects on how people respond to survey questions. There is no contradiction between your claim above and the Reuters statement that “When Americans are informed about the realities of torture, just like Senator McCain, they find themselves repulsed.” It’s a matter of framing (specifically, the ways in which our MSM has framed this story to the public), not of some universal cowardice.

        The major failing of most of us Americans, imho, is not cowardice but naivety. One of our major problems is that a majority of USians still seem to take anything a talking head on NBC or PBS or FOX says as gospel truth. They wouldn’t lie to us, would they? What are you, some kind of conspiracy theorist?

        USians are not more cowardly than citizens of other countries…we’re just not as hip to PR and it’s effectiveness, which is what the title should be about. Psychological Manipulation Works to Create Positive Attitudes About Torture, or something like that.

        1. Lambert Strether

          Yep. Had a link (too lazy to find it) talking about polls specifically: Extremely large variations based on the questions asked.

          In general, I lament the constantly repeated talking point that the American people are dumb. For one thing, dumb compared to whom? The elites? The commenter? For another, it’s disempowering, because you can’t fix stupid. But solid and real political change happens all the time over history and even in our lifetimes (gay marriage, civil rights, even to a degree marijuana) and so some movements manage to work around the difficulties, so why not your movement of choice? Finally, there’s no doubt that agnotology is real. But that’s dis- and misinformation, which can be fixed, albeit with a tremendous level of effort required.

          1. Banger

            Well, of course you have to define “dumb” a term I don’t like. But I do like the term “stupid” because it implies being in a stupor–Americans are so overloaded with information that they can’t make heads of tails out of anything–I talk a lot to “ordinary” people and can assure you they have no clue at all WTF is going other than it smells bad or vague notions they get from Fox News or CNN.

            Let me put it another way–most Americans are stupid (in a stupor), confused and largely unable to reason but tend to think from a tribal perspective–why do you believe that crap? The answer comes–“well, I’m a redneck and like guns, NASCAR and “country” music so I believe that shit.” You can offer proof of whatever you want–no Obama is not a crazy leftist Muslim and out to rule the world through decree but they won’t believe you because, well, that’s their tribal colors showing. Now you say that is disempowering–but do you really think that if these guys were in power that you wouldn’t have flags flying and jackboots marching in the streets? Maybe it’s because I live in the South….

            Look the average member of the elite is more knowledgeable, knows something of geography and science, can reason on a very basic level–and yes, I’m smarter and more informed about current affairs and history than almost anyone I know–should I pretend I don’t? Should my son who is a software engineer and who has put in the work and sweat not admit that he may be able to program in C better than me? Or should you pretend you don’t understand Obamacare, frankly, better that nearly everyone? I don’t believe human value depends on their particular knowledge but if we have the knowledge and they don’t we don’t need to be ashamed of it–we don’t need to pretend that drunken cops in a bar (I’ve been around them) have a good idea about the history and nature of Iranian society.

            Or, the short version, is that yes the American people are dumb in the common sense of the word and that’s as much a fact as anything we can say about such a group.

            1. Jackrabbit

              So which is it Banger? The left failed or the people are too dumb/stoopid? Does your charge that the people are COMPLICIT make any sense if they are really just dumb/stoopid?


              I think you just want to point the finger away from the elites and oligarchs that you admire.

              H O P

              1. Banger

                The left gave up–that’s not my critique–that’s reality. As for the masses they have the opportunity to learn about the world around them but choose not to because the educational system and the media, particularly the entertainment media (maybe it’s all “entertainment”) has deliberately confused everything in order to manipulate the public. So it’s, in a sense, not their fault–but I don’t like the “fault” it just is what it is. People are stupid and they’ve learned to live with it and the left has not been good at deconstructing the deliberate effort by the Corporate State to make people stupid–issues are, in a way, irrelevant if people lack the capacity to reason because their heads are spinning.

                1. Andrew Watts


                  That isn’t even close to the whole story. The generation which grew up during the Great Depression and was committed to left-wing causes mostly died out in the 1990s. Very few of them are still with us in the present.

                  The people born after the depression largely forgot the lessons en masse. These were earned previously through experience. That doesn’t make them stupid… it makes them human.

                  Your disillusionment is getting in the way of your thinking.

                  1. Jackrabbit

                    You are being kind.

                    Banger seems obsessed with protecting neolibcon elites by pointing at boogeymen (the ‘Deep State’) or ‘the people’ as the cause for our troubles. After being called out on the ‘Deep State’, he has resorted to cloaking their actions with ‘fog-of-war’-like ‘Imperial-court intrigue’.

                    Everyone is responsible for the abuse but the abusers!

                2. Jackrabbit

                  You are ‘spinning’ reality (again).

                  People ARE reasoning and acting on their beliefs. Occupy may have been early but the criticism was biting and persistent so it has to be stomped on. Trust in, and approval ratings of, government are at all time lows and many many people are disillusioned by Obama’s deceitfulness. Hundreds of thousands marched for climate change a couple of months ago. Ferguson has ignited another round of protest.

                  The left didn’t give up, it split into blue-dog/neolib sellouts (the ‘vichy left’) and progressives whose ideals were attacked by the sellouts. People were slow to catch on because they were too trusting and blinded by easy credit and distractions. That doesn’t mean they are dumb/stoopid, or signal that the left failed. In fact, Obama & Co. engage in ‘hippy punching’ from time to time because the progressives are still a thorn in the side of TPTB.

                  1. Jackrabbit

                    It seems to be that at the core, progressives are humanistic, moral people. Even if there is not a political organization that can realistically vie for power, there is still a progressive movement.

            2. different clue

              It seems to me like this comment of yours wants to have its cake both ways and eat it too. Everyone knows what stupid means. You want to be able to call people stupid and get away with it by pretending you mean “something else” . . . some very casuistically tortured re-definition of “stupid” as not really STUpid, but rather, uhh . . . mind-controlled, info-deprived and over-stimulated into a state of facultative stupor, etc. But there are words for that other than “stupid”, which is what you dearestly want to call people.

              ” Hi! I’m from the hippie-snob Left, and I’m here to smarten you stupid people up!” Think that’ll play in Peoria? Think that’ll play with everybody here on these threads?

              1. Banger

                I play just fine in “Peoria”–I can speak their language and interact with people you might classify that way pretty well and I can assure you they are fucking confused. I take your point on definitions I just want to offer a different take–why are you so offended? Why should I apologize for the efforts I made to educate myself?

          2. Roland

            “But solid and real political change happens all the time over history and even in our lifetimes (gay marriage, civil rights, even to a degree marijuana) and so some movements manage to work around the difficulties, so why not your movement of choice?”

            Certain kinds of progress do happen in our time, as with the examples you mention. However, things like gay marriage or marijuana are issues regarding which the bourgeoisie are amenable to change. From a bourgeois class perspective, gay marriage doesn’t matter much one way or another, since it doesn’t really concern control of capital.

            That being noted, I must say I dislike the use of terms like “dumb” or “stupid” to describe large numbers of people. That usually means only, “Most people are not acting politically in ways which I think would make most sense for them.” It’s more a matter of one’s own frustration, than of others’ stupidity.

      4. ambrit

        “Take away our military tech, guns, and our bluster, and we’re pretty much scared of everything.”
        I suspect you have the cause and effect reversed here. We’re very scared already. Why else all the tech and guns?

        1. Ernesto Lyon

          The system runs on fear. If you want to sell a product, get people scared about problem it addresses, and when they’re scared enough the government will appropriate money to you to protect against the fear.

          “We” were scared of the Soviets for decades, building up a massive arsenal to defend against them, only to find a decaying paper tiger behind the wall. “Mistakes were made” they say when asked how they could not have known the true state of Soviet military capabilities. But it was not a mistake, the weapons contractors needed to generate the fear that would allow them to sell their massive weapons systems to the government and the taxpayers.

          You see the same thing with the exploding incarceration rate. Those who profit off of incarceration, the private prison operators, prison guard unions and prison service industries need only drum up fear of crime to get the people to vote for the politicians who will write laws that lengthen prison sentences. A 20 year prison sentence is a 20 year annuity for the PIC, an hard tap on a public funding stream into their pockets.

          You see the same thing with pharma. How many of us walk around on lifelong prescriptions that are supposedly keeping us alive, or preventing us from degrading sooner or faster? In 1980 we spent a $200 on a child for a lifetime of vaccinations. Now it costs $2000-$3000 per child, and is increasing constantly. We are terrified of diseases like measles and chicken pox, which were previously childhood rights-of-passage that no parent feared. Vaccines are paid for with taxpayer money and insurance premiums, they are not free.

          The government funding faucet gets turned on by fear, and once it’s running it’s hard to turn it off. The fear is created purposefully. It’s a psychological warfare operation targeted against the people of the US by public and private entities with the intent of swaying public policy (and thus funding) into the desired beneficiaries.

          1. Cynthia

            No doubt that paranoia feeds the military-industrial complex in the US. It is all about money, and without enemies and without war there is no money for these industries. The military-industrial complex will do anything to preserve itself, and will hire plenty of lobbyists, ex-politicians (or their spouses), and ex-military to promote the paranoia.

      5. DJG

        As James notes, the problem is very basic. I see plenty of evidence of cowardice and infantilism, from the feat of showing up at community meetings or jury duty (let alone a demonstration or a die-in) to the infantilism of the American cafe or diner, filled with sugar and donuts and things to eat without utensils. And that’s just scratching the surface. I’m not sure that education will resolve this, given that we have so many glib cowards now in power.

    1. TheraP

      I agree. But were they Arab detainees, in a black site, forced to sit like that – for hours, maybe days – we’ have to call it torture. (Please forgive me for desecrating the “antidote” but that was my first thought.).

      Part of torture is not just physical pain, but degradation. And proximity to dogs, being called “dog” or forced to behave like a dog, an obedient dog… That would be severe humiliation – for an Arab. Torture.

      Just so we understand.

        1. TheraP

          But that’s the whole point! Picture laughter and mocking from the torturers. You can see exactly where this goes: Instill humiliation!

          It’s too troubling to have worked with torture victims…

          1. TheraP

            The ultimate in torture is to make them BEG for it! To make it appear they deserve it and want it. To make THEM feel responsible for it, they must be forced to beg.


            I have to be careful here… Or I will upset myself. Very destabilizing to work with victims.

            1. hunkerdown

              Do you think the mainstream success of 50 Shades is going to encourage equals to act this stuff out consensually, or will it simply “foam the runway” to a new society built on old hierarchies?

              1. Generalfeldmarschall von Hindenburg

                The whole 50 shades thing is deeply disturbing. People looking for the comfort of a loving and dominant master. It’s a big part of the population that just wants to surrender control.

            2. ambrit

              Deep down, the torture affects the normal soldiers too. Psychopaths are another matter entirely. I worked with an ex Afghan and Iraq Campaign vet for half a year in the Bigg Boxx Store. He had PTSD and been blown up. The young man had serious issues, and knew it. Not a torturer, yet his favourite expression of disdain or disgust about someone was to mutter, “Light ’em up Gunny!” One day he caught me looking at him somewhat askance and volunteered; “It’s a H— of a lot better than going home and taking it out on the dog. The dog is my friend. These people are not.”
              At root, a sound case. (Last I had heard of him, he was doing fine working towards a Masters in a subject he really liked, that had real job prospects.)

      1. wbgonne

        It’s an interesting article about the lost turtles, though it presents no clear connection with warming water. Incidentally, Wellfleet oysters are the best I’ve ever eaten. Let’s hope they’re around for a while but, with ocean acidification, who knows. So eat up!

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      About turtles.

      The ancient Chinese believed that the Dragon had nine sons.

      One of them failed to become a dragon himself. He remained a turtle.

      For that disgrace, people punished the turtle, making it bear heavy burdens. And in one tomb, archaeologists have unearthed stele-bearing turtles – apparently, the deceased was expressing his wrath over his shameful sons.

  3. steviefinn

    The physics link is interesting – it fits well with the thought I picked up from somewhere that the cosmos needs life as a witness & another thought that without witnesses – it would not exist.

    1. Lambert Strether

      I think that physics link is important, and would be glad to have others knowledgeable in the field chime in. We get “neat stuff” from physicists — maybe bored with string theory? — all the time, but from the sourcing and the logic, this looks like the real deal.

      I like very much the idea of life as a continuum rather than a binary relation. Tendentiously, it leads to seeing preventing the planet from cooking itself as a profoundly “pro-life” position! (And if the elite manage to rocket off to Mars, leaving a dead Earth behind, it would be the greatest crime in the history of the solar system.)

      Of course, a person who thinks that the mycelial mat is a candidate for The God(ess)(e)(s) Of Choice, If Any would find this concept attractive, but we all have our crotchets.

      1. steviefinn

        Thanks Lambert you have just expanded my cosmos in terms of mycelial mat, which previous to looking it up – cued by your comment did not exist for me. As for the so called elite ending up on Mars – what a poor world that would be & how long would it be before they tore each other apart, in that dog eat dog style they seem to like so much. Who would end up being boss in a village solely populated by the likes of Cheney, the Koch brothers, & other assorted power junkie nutjobs ? – I spent a lot of time with a person with similar character traits, whose own cosmos struck me as being incredibly barren.

        MLTBP – Yes indeed, through amongst other things – mathematical abstract realities, such as fractals & transformers

      2. hunkerdown

        I seem to remember vaguely (and yes, I understand that you have pointed out this sort of phrasing as a form of gaslighting, but I really do remember this) in my copious readings on astrology and paganism that the orbit of Venus cannot be determined accurately before a certain point in the past several thousand years, and that some traumatic cosmic event (“as above”) reflected itself in human consciousness and brought male domination to the fore (“so below”).

        In the old days, before these newfangled PCs, I might’ve filled a hundred notebooks with all this information and, as a consequence of writing it down using muscles and neurons, might have retained the details and sourcing more clearly. Onshoring one’s memory of the past is easier said than done.

        steviefinn, I imagine they can do socialism just fine and keep their squabbles to a dull roar when a convenient underclass to exploit is neither available nor affordable and when the psychopaths’ psychopaths can be “pushed off the ice” at the touch of a button. At least from outside, they don’t seem to reflect so much personal interest as class interest. I don’t think they’d need a vested, titular “boss”, just an alpha they can accept.

        As for the internal cosmos, the late founder of Maxim, Felix Dennis, wrote prolifically On the Getting of Money, and I remember a brief tip sheet in which he discouraged people who pursued richness in hopes it would enhance their appreciation of the finer things in life by that it would more likely do just the opposite. (Mathbabe’s recent piece on the homoeroticism of Princeton old-boys’ culture and their surgically altered trophy wives, and Graeber’s observation that status is a measure of how much you can exploit and harm others and get away with it, provide some of the context that the fact of Maxim itself does not.)

        1. ohmyheck

          Regarding your first paragraph, Michael Tsarions’ writings delve into it, as well as David Talbott’s work, which include “Symbols of an Alien Sky”.

        2. steviefinn


          I think they might have a problem when they all sit down to decide who gets to do the necessary menial tasks, hopefully Cameron gets to clean the toilets.

          It would be an interesting experiment as parasites usually die without a juicy host – they usually have the intelligence to take just enough to live well off, but not enough to seriously damage or kill their source of sustenance.

      3. different clue

        This looks like something that could be more or less tested, explored and worked with in a way that string “theory” can not be.

      4. Optimader

        “and would be glad to have others knowledgeable in the field chime in”
        Some might think Sidney Harris had this covered ~40years ago?

        On rocketing off to Mars:
        The thing of it is, as long as Earth has a magnetic field, from a habitability perspective presumably it will remain a less fckd up place (and more economical place) to have a gated community Colony than on Mars.

      5. rfdawn

        Could well be real deal. Article rightly mentions Ilya Prigogine’s prior work. And it is “very much worth the investigation”.

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      We are beyond just witnessing the Cosmos.

      Right now, we are imagining the Cosmos in our minds.

      When we become smarter, we will alter it.

      The Homo Not-So-Sapiens species is not a passive one, you have to give that to them (or us).

      We insist on getting involved in things we only know partially (the best current explanation though – the best money can buy at the moment).

    3. susan the other

      Yes. Interesting. Jeremy England’s new explanation of the older theory that life is possibly just another entropic process that organizes and replicates. So life probably organizes to dissipate heat and then replicates to dissipate more. Am I the only one who finds this vewy paradoxical? That entropy organizes? So my brain tweaked over to another thought – remembering the clip from the brave scientist who went into the ruins of Three Mile Island to retrieve a beaker of melt-down water. It was said to be both “buzzing and throbbing.” So, a little too energetic to begin to organize and replicate? Or maybe once the atom is split it cannot participate in any reorganization? But wouldn’t it be nice to think up a way to trick the radionuclides back into an organizational mode? Nevermind. Just agonizing about Fukushima as usual.

  4. wbgonne

    Excellent Truthout article re: Uruguay. The author writes:

    In this moment, we are all Uruguayans

    I only wish. But the author’s point is well-taken: Uruguay is under assault by the neoliberals and tobacco companies suing for damages from public-health initiatives is just the opening salvo. If (when?) the sovereignty-surrendering, treasonous trade deals get passed, this will be the dystopia for all of us.

    1. Jim Haygood

      ‘Capital Economics concludes that given Vazquez’ promises of continuity and more social spending, and the Uruguayan economy running at full capacity, any attempt to bolster domestic demand most likely will generate more inflation and more strains in the balance of payments.’

      Inflation in Uruguay is running at 8 percent, higher than neighboring Brazil’s 6.5 percent, but far better than the horrendous 40 percent inflation across the river in Argentina, a country with which Uruguay shares a culture and a dialect, rioplatense.

      In a region with a nasty history of hyperinflation, even the mild inflation in Brazil and Uruguay is a bit like an alcoholic who’s ‘got his act together’ with only a couple of drinks a day.

      It’s unfortunate that the left-leaning regimes on the east side of the Andes are so tolerant of inflation, the worst scourge of the working class. Uruguay is a really pleasant and admirable little country, though it’s kind of flat. One wag called it ‘Iowa by the sea.’ Many people in Buenos Aires have vacation houses in Uruguay, because the Argentine side of the Rio de la Plata is too polluted to swim in, while the Uruguayan side has public beaches.

      With South America’s high-inflation outliers headed for the dustbin (Argentina has already defaulted, and Venezuela likely will follow in 2015), their failed economic models serve as cautionary tales for more serious countries such as Brazil and Uruguay, who would do well to take Capital Economics’ monetary advice under consideration, even if there’s a self-serving agenda behind it.

        1. Alejandro

          “where the silt-laden river meets the blue south Atlantic”

          What you curiously fail to mention is that this is always the result of heavy rains. If you would juxtapose a snapshot from the same POV, several weeks after the rains subside, it would be a more “honest” representation. Which compels me to ask, whats your point? An assignment from ES, or is it Mr. Singer to you?

            1. Alejandro

              I must have misread your lead comment.

              ” because the Argentine side of the Rio de la Plata is too polluted to swim in, while the Uruguayan side has public beaches.”

              P.S.: True freedom looks great, anywhere it’s real, but an irrelevant distraction from this specific exchange. Demagogic obfuscatory misdirection much?

      1. wbgonne

        Uruguay, who would do well to take Capital Economics’ monetary advice under consideration, even if there’s a self-serving agenda behind it.

        Could you be more specific? What neoliberal advice should Uruguay follow? Destroy its unions? Allow itself to be overrun by penniless migrants working for nothing? Surrender its sovereignty to transnational corporations?

        1. Jim Haygood

          Running a low-inflation policy doesn’t necessitate any of the parade of horribles you offer.

          High inflation almost cost Dilma Rousseff her re-election bid 6 weeks ago. Employees, including unionized ones, justifiably hate constantly rising prices.

          1. Alejandro

            “High inflation almost cost Dilma Rousseff her re-election bid 6 weeks ago. Employees, including unionized ones, justifiably hate constantly rising prices.”
            How much of this inflation can be attributed to the recent world cup and how much of the “spending” was “directed” away from necessary social programs? The same “employees, including unionized ones”, would hate the “constantly rising prices” a lot less if their wages and salary were rising as well. From my POV, it has less to do with inflation and more to do with HOW and who winds up with the claims and who winds up with the debt.

            1. Roland

              Even if you’re able to use collective bargaining to keep your wages in pace with inflation, inflation is still hellish for unionized labour.

              It burns out the union, it burns out the activists, it burns out the membership, and the constant bargaining strife angers the customers and others affected by all the disruptions.

              Inflation in North America in the 1970’s did tremendous harm to organized labour. Workers had to do so much fighting just to keep pace with the central authorities’ relentless expansion of the money supply, while the public at large got angry–with the workers!

              1. Alejandro

                Thanks for your honest feedback. All I can offer is my POV in exchange. The point I struggle to make is how ‘we’, the 99.99% (we’re all workers, in various capacities, whether we admit it or not), use language to relate to each other. Then how a shared language becomes distorted and confused to the point that it becomes extremely difficult to coalesce and find common purpose. E.G., “inflation”, by Jim’s pre-supposed definition, it causes “constantly rising prices”. But aren’t wages and salaries the “price” of work? Why doesn’t “inflation” cause these “prices” to rise as well? Also, if we accept the supposition that 99.99% of us work in some capacity, then “the public at large” can get angry, but not at “workers”.
                Mostly absent from these conversations is how compound-interest bearing debt, eventually distorts our sense of obligation without a corresponding (or regulating) sense of reciprocity. What makes this difficult to recognize is an over-commitment to the “money-came-from-barter” myth.

              1. Alejandro

                I’m not sure what you mean by “pile on” but if by union you mean collective effort, then it seems to me that discerning how terms like “inflation” are used/misused/abused is important in forming alliances and finding definite common purpose. Also worth clarifying is the meaning of solidarity. I welcome your feedback.

          2. wbgonne

            Fair enough, although those were the policies discussed in the article. So I ask again: what specific policies do you suggest Uruguay adopt to combat inflation?

            1. Jim Haygood

              What they’re already doing. In June, Uruguay announced a tightening of monetary policy, when 12-month inflation of 9.18% went well past the official target of 3 to 7%.

              The central bank’s latest report shows that their policy target, M1* (line 7 on the second page of the report) has actually declined by 5% since June:


              With a more disinflationary environment externally, Uruguay’s inflation likely will recede back within the 7% upper band in coming months … though I would argue that 7% is too high.

              1. susan the other

                Jim, I wish you would elaborate even more because every time I hear an argument about inflation it seems incomplete at best. It’s like the accounting for inflation is limited to an agenda. And the agendas are all over the place. But if the agenda were a socially beneficial one, then great. So far, social benefits seem to be few and far between. At least in contrast to what is needed. imo.

                1. skippy

                  Inflationistas have a psychological impediment [value must have an atomic weight]. Inflation allows someone to screw with Gawds metric system and provide payment in lighter atoms than the ones Gawd created. Deflation on the other hand means Gawd atoms are enriched, meaning payment in heavier atoms, which is good as means receiving more of Gawds gifts.

                  Skippy…. hyper inflation is pure ev’bal, a sign of the dark one rising to power…

      2. Brian

        “left of the Andes” Seriously. Chile has been interrupted by neofascists, and finds a way back from the edge every time to provide its citizens with a lifestyle its neighbors would not consider appropriate for its own slave population. I am certain we both have a slanted view of reality Jim, but social justice is on display in only one of these nations.

        1. Jim Haygood

          ‘Social justice is on display in only one of these nations.’

          You got me, bro. Which one is that? As JLG pointed out yesterday in the water cooler, President Bachelet of Chile and President Mujica of Uruguay both were tortured (30 or 40 years ago), and now lead left-leaning administrations in their respective countries.

          So which one of them is the evil neoliberal bad guy???

      3. Alejandro

        “In a region with a nasty history of hyperinflation, even the mild inflation in Brazil and Uruguay is a bit like an alcoholic who’s ‘got his act together’ with only a couple of drinks a day.”

        The banksters who own the pub, don’t give a shit who or how much they drink, their only focus is who’s left with the tab(debt).

        “the worst scourge of the working class” [everybody works in some capacity, except parasites, wouldn’t you agree?] “is” debt-deflation. You know, the life sucking sound of “compounding interest” as exigency-of and/or tribute-to “the ever fewer good men”.

  5. Brooklin Bridge

    So our honorable Congress is trying to gin up the war in Ukraine (Ukraine link 1) by imposing ever more sanctions on Russia and providing financial support for Kiev-Coup military operations while the truce appears to be working (Ukraine link 3).

    Interesting that Obama wants cover from Europe. Does that mean he thinks this is a step too far or that he is fine with it but simply wants European heads of State to roll over and wag tails some more?

    1. wbgonne

      This is the kind of shit that started World War I. Clueless incompetents certain of their righteousness and dismissive of consequences. Hubris is like that and, under the New World Order, the neoliberals have more hubris than Icarus.

        1. wbgonne

          Hubris affronted. The second is key. Sparks narcissistic rage.

          Indeed. And the Uruguay article is a companion piece:

          How dare you defy us?!

      1. Banger

        Indeed that’s the danger–however, in the case of a war against Russia–that is unlikely for the near future as it was unlikely that a war in Iran had much chance of being initiated. Why? The military knows it can’t fight those wars–it can barely fight insurgents with AK-47s and flip-flops how the hell are they going to fight a real army?

        This is all posturing to leverage support for whatever plots and conspiracies are going on in Washington to see who can grab the most money, the foxiest women and power–nothing more. Mind you, that’s not to say there aren’t deeply ideological forces within Washington–but they don’t dominate policy despite appearances–though they are trying to.

        1. Banger

          We also have to understand that Hezbollah’s stout resistance to the attempted Israeli invasion put the fear of God into the U.S. military (no one talk about this). Also, Russian new air-defense systems may change the balance of power a bit, as well as it’s new generation of fighters (the jury is still out there but they look promising).

        2. wbgonne

          I agree that that is the game being played by the United States. The problem is that we assume everyone must play our game with us because they have no choice. In our arrogance we make horribly wrong assumptions about what other nations and leaders will do. I think that is the case with Russia and Putin. From what I’ve read, Russia and Putin are fed up and prepared to respond asymmetrically to the next round of sanctions. Maybe it’s posturing, maybe not. These things can escalate and get out of hand very quickly. That’s the reference to WWI.

          1. hunkerdown

            The problem is that we assume everyone must play our game with us because they have no choice.

            Internally, too. The inside baseball school of politics and LOTE-ism are just that. Many other social relationships seem to be styled on that same con gametract of adhesion — at-will employment, careerism, organized religion, even down to monogamy (where they even call it “cheating”).

        3. Jackrabbit

          No worries folks! Its all posturing!

          Pay no attention to . . . anything, you dumb/stoopid goofballs!

          : )


          Disclaimer: Banger is a human being with his own interests and his comments include forward-looking statements that may or may not align with those. Readers should carefully examine ALL comments against their own experience (including this one).

          Smile inserted because Banger believes that Americans are dumbasses and dumbasses respond so well to smileys.

  6. nycTerrierist

    Excellent, damning summary of the ‘Cromnibus’ by David Dayan.

    Ugh! among other outrages, disgusting betrayal of pensioners, cutting back
    benefits that were promised and earned. That sacrifice should be shared by Congress!

    1. wbgonne

      Yes, Dave Dayen rocks. This bill is an abomination and the GOP isn’t even in control yet! Now that Obama is finally getting a Congress he can work with we will see the mask drop and the real Obama unleashed. Frightening to consider, terrible to behold.

      1. diptherio

        It’s not about the GOP, it’s about our political system that allows this to go on–and that system is a bi-partisan creation. What we need is not more Democrats in congress, what we need is a little f–king transparency in our law making. No one will even cop to having written the campaign finance rider! And how much good is that Dem in the White House doing us, btw?

        Let’s not kid ourselves, the Ds would also happily pass policies in this way, and no doubt will once the pendulum has swung back their way. And it’s not like riders on must-pass bills are a new thing, either. The root problem is that this legislative tool exists at all, not so much what, particularly it’s being used for at the present. Turning this horror-show into a simple pitch for more Dems is missing the point entirely, imo.

        1. wbgonne

          Most definitely not a pitch for more Democrats because I no longer believe that is sufficient, primarily for the reasons you mention. But Republicans are generally still worse on substance than Democrats — sometimes far worse — and my point is that Obama is really a Republican. Which we will now see for certain.

          1. susan the other

            Obama wants to pass the TPP and TTIP so bad he can taste it. Because if the world turns its back on corporatist control of trade and sovereignty then the rich will not stay rich and the poor will begin to work their way out of destitution. Ultimately corporatists must have a way to guarantee their profit and pass the risk on to us mere mortals. If they do not have a means to accomplish this (secret trade deals) the whole scheme falls apart. Yay!

            1. wbgonne

              Obama wants to pass the TPP and TTIP so bad he can taste it.

              Absolutely and revoltingly true. I posted a link to his recent comments to the Business Roundtable about this and related topics. When one of the corporatists said they really really wanted to raise workers’ wages, Obama fawningly replied, “Oh, I know you do.” Seriously. Like a trained seal for his masters. I’m surprised they didn’t throw him a fish.

    2. Lambert Strether

      As for Dodd-Frank, “Elizabeth Warren, David Vitter Make Last-Minute Press Against Reid On ‘Wall Street Giveaway'” HuffPo:

      UPDATE: 6:20 p.m. [Saturday] — Reid filed cloture on the omnibus and “filled the tree,” a procedural maneuver that bars everyone from offering amendments. In other words, Warren and Vitter’s amendment has no chance of being added to the spending bill.

      So, if I understand the arcana correctly, no filibuster and no amendments. Slick as a whistle. My question becomes, how many of last week’s players knew in advance this would be Reid’s play?

  7. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Weak Russian Ruble.

    It was over a century ago the Imperial Russia and the Imperial Japanese clashed in Manchuria. Japan was still modernizing then. She needed hard foreign currencies.

    I watches a few documentaries by Imamura when he went searching, in the sixties, imperial soldiers still in SE Asia, some voluntary, disillusioned over the Emperor and all the war time propaganda or over prospects back home due to their low social status, some still believing in the return of the Imperial Army in about 10 years.

    In one of the films, he focused on the so-called Kara Yu Ki sans (literally means ‘going to China’)- the prostitutes sent overseas, to Singapore, Malaysia and elsewhere as early at the late 1880’s or 1890’s to earn money to modernize Japan, with Malay, Chinese, Japanese, Hindu and Western customers. They were properly honored (according to their status I guess, for prostitution was legal in such quarters as Yoshiwara in Edo, Gion in Kyoto, etc.) for their ‘contribution’ to the victory over Russia.

    After World War I, when Japan became a recognized world power, she needed to clean up her image, though not the practice and the kabucho quarters lasted until after WWII, these Kara YuKi sans were ignored and abandoned.

    With the weakening Russian Ruble, all these things come to mind.

  8. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    King Tut’s beads in ancient Danish Grave.

    They will probably also find dead ancient involuntary (captured) Danish slaves in Egypt as well.

    What they will likely not find are voluntary Egyptian serfs in ancient Denmark. That ‘voluntary’ characteristic only occurs in ‘free’ societies, for example, you might find voluntary Coptic serfs in New York today.

    That’s progress.

    1. hunkerdown

      The funny thing about slavery is that, back in the ancient days, it could happen to pretty much anyone. Even Plato found himself on the block, with his freedom purchased by Anniceris, a fan of his work who chanced upon him in the market. (A candidate for the worst good deed in history, IMHO.)

  9. Howard Beale IV

    CSPAN’s editing of Warren’s speech on the floor of the Senate is disturbing. When she mentioned about Rooselvelt’s part about political power the ‘political’ part got chopped out six ways from Sunday. Seems to me we can’t trust CSPAN anymore.

        1. VietnamVet

          It is like watching a train wreck. Both Jim Webb and Elizabeth Warren will be scrutinized intensely until the media finds the clip that sinks their chances. A replay of Howard Dean’s “scream”. Billions of dollars are going to be made off of the Jeb and Hillary Sequel.

  10. James Levy

    The article about Abe calling for elections is absolutely depressing if accurate. The ysay Abe doesn’t even represent the center of his own party, much less the nation, yet is poised to increase his hold on the Diet and plunge ahead. Why the tiny clique of Japanese elites are letting Abe run amok is not mentioned and beyond me. Perhaps the old men want another crack at China before they die–hey, dad and his buddies came pretty close back in the day, perhaps this time we’ll win! Everywhere you look, here, Japan, Europe, Africa, South Asia, you see leadership elites that are either inept, corrupt, deranged, or delusion (sometimes all of he above). I guess as the problems of a civilization grow more intractable, those who want to exploit things for their own benefit replace those who wish to manage the system.

    1. Banger

      I think we live in an age of confusion–the electorate of the major democracies are giving up on the the progressive ideas that came out of the late 18th century. People long for simplicity–thus the appeal of neofeudalism–let the aristocrats worry about complicated stuff–just let me go about my life.

  11. Light a Candle

    So interesting to read about Facebook’s domination of journalism in the dark social matter link above. In 2011 Pew reported 11% of America mobile users got their news from Facebook, in 2014 it was 30%. This is a huge shift.

    Plus for some mobile users, Facebook is “free” for data usage. So another huge incentive for Facebook users to use Facebook for news.

    That is a lot of power accruing to Facebook, not to mention their experiments in controlling users’ moods . . .

    1. hunkerdown

      Ever wonder why consumers were carved out of the net neutrality “compromise” recently floated? If every household, or even just a number of the fairly well-to-do ones, dropped $100 on a Raspberry Pi (or equivalent) and a hard drive, stored and served their data from home, and built decentralized/mesh-like social networks that cut out the middlemen, trillions of dollars of investment in social control would be sunk overnight. I still find myself wondering on occasion whether that Diaspora founder’s suicide was at all nudged by incumbents in the space.

  12. Jackrabbit


    Hope you read “Americans are Deeply Divided About Torture”.

    The public has seldom been supportive of torture, even when presented with “ticking time bomb” scenarios where the intelligence is described as vital to stopping an impending terrorist attack. When asked about actual torture practices such as waterboarding or sexual humiliation, public support mostly collapses.

    Also see my response to your previous comment.

    H O P

    1. Optimader

      Attempted to post a reply, didn’t stick, maybe it will appear sometime. ..Renders to I hope you are right and I am wrong.
      My reply was in the context of your original : “….rendition/torture, lying us into war, and the Iraqi debacle….”
      Not the more narrowly framed:”….When asked about actual torture practices such as waterboarding or sexual humiliation, public support mostly collapses”
      I don’t perceive a change in opinion about the former and I suspect the latter would be highly sensitive to how the question is framed.

  13. NOTaREALmeican

    Americans divided on torture….

    Soooo…, even with all the children being above average, a significant/measurable proportion support torture?

    Any society that’s divided on torture shouldn’t be surprised with the government they got, but then… I’m sure in the next election when the nice people win they’ll fix things. But we MUST have hope.

  14. cwaltz

    I remember having a discussion that centered around depression possibly being linked to an infection and thought those involved in it might find this interesting:

    They think that schizophrenia may also be triggered by an immune system response after discovering that there are some links to it in the immune system pathways instead of just in the neuropathways.

  15. Jay M

    According to the local teevee news, KGO 7 SF, the state is still operating under short term spending rules.
    So the geriatric club will have to reassemble and do some real votes on language that a fair number of people understand at this point.
    That idiot Dimon has contributed to the fire.

  16. skippy

    Cannibalism at its finest hour….

    Cheney Throws Bush Under The Bus On Torture Program

    “Dick Cheney discussed the newly released Senate torture report Wednesday on Fox News, and in particular challenged a finding that former President George W. Bush hadn’t been briefed on the CIA’s harsh interrogation methods until years after they’d already been in use.

    Fox News anchor Bret Baier asked the former vice president whether the agency deliberately kept Bush in the dark about its so-called enhanced interrogation techniques.

    “Not true. Didn’t happen,” Cheney responded. “Read his book, he talks about it extensively in his memoirs. He was in fact an integral part of the program, he had to approve it before we went forward with it.”

    Asked if there was ever a point where he knew more about the CIA’s activity than the President, Cheney said “I think he knew everything he needed to know and wanted to know about the program.”

    Baier then asked if the former President knew about the “details” of the program. The report — which Cheney called “full of crap” — described brutal interrogation methods including waterboarding, extensive sleep deprivation, threats to harm detainees’ families and “rectal feeding.”

    “I think he knew certainly the techniques, we did discuss the techniques,” Cheney said. “There was no effort on our part to keep him from that.”

    “The notion that the committee’s trying to peddle, that somehow the agency was operating on a rogue basis, and we weren’t being told or the President wasn’t being told, is just a flat out lie,” he later added.”

    Skippy… Circular firing squad anyone???

    1. TheraP

      Circular firing-squad. I’ve had the same thought.

      But what intrigues me even more is this one sentence you quoted, which stood out for me when I watched that clip of Cheney: “There was no effort on our part to keep him from that.” Effort on OUR part, he says. The hint of cheney’s power and of that power behind the throne as a shared power. And we might read into that the power to withhold info, if the chose to. So yes, throwing bush under the bus in more than one way. Putting him down while also calling him complicit.

      1. skippy

        A few big screws do seem to be backing out, if not hitting the floor.

        This is going to be interesting as they stick to their guns [infallibility], which will only make matters worse [deteriorating social conditions], because to do other wise would rip then from stem to stern [one orifice to another]…. which will spill out the feted rotting corpses for all to see.

        Skippy…. how the voters handle… it is the big question.

        1. ambrit

          Mayhaps not so much how the voters handle the information as how much they are allowed to understand just what this information really means. As in: America, H— Yeah! = Torture H— Yeah!
          (It just occurred to me that the acceptance of torture as a normal way of doing business might be an echo of the internalization of the Initiation Rites of Skull and Bones.)

          1. TheraP

            A week or so ago, someone in a comment here connected up the idea of fraternities with the venality we all over the place. And hazing… Well it inculcates a culture of violence.

            So, yes!

    1. ambrit

      Where did you find this! There is so much going on in there. Look at the expression on the background cats face. Then notice the title of the book underneath the stack behind both cats: Pharmacology II. Now make up a story from these three parts. Modern angst at its’ best!

  17. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Prenatal Exposure…Low IQ.

    Domestic Horror-sim.

    We need to teach kids self-defense, as in nutrition and proper toxic chemical handling.

    Instead, we teach them how to fit into the machine as replaceable parts.

    Neanderthal caves were a lot safer than the modern kitchen/the modern home.

    PS: Again, the obsession with IQ, being smart and intellect, thus the search, in vain, for Artificial Intelligence, insetad of, say, Artificial Love. I wonder if the exposure makes kids more vicious or more psychopathic.

    When walking into a chat room, does the Modern, Educated Mensch try to impress with intellect, wit, energy or compassion? What does he/she want to be known for?

      1. ambrit

        Contrawise, in Politics and the other modern entertainment media, people now want to be recognized for the size of their publics.

    1. ambrit

      I would aver that he/she just wants to be known, and acknowledged. Therefore, the first thing he/she would do is try to figure out the consensus values of the “room” and play to them. The smarter ones will keep looking in new “rooms” until one that most closely matches their needs is found. This is not very common if present history is any guide. So, if some sharp operator set up a “room”, he or she will establish dominant values within the “room” to favour whatever agenda was being pushed. Examples of this are all around us. Acronymedia is now based on this system. Perhaps it always was.

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