Links 12/3/14

Dear patient readers,

The combination of holiday travel and a return to tech problems (the result of a bizarre fail across three DNS servers at our webhost) has taken a lot out of your humble blogger.

World’s oldest banded bird returns 63rd year USFWS (Stephen L)

Richard III’s DNA throws up infidelity surprise BBC

NASA Prepares To Test New Spacecraft (That You’ve Likely Never Heard Of) NPR (David L)

Conserving Asian newts could save the world’s salamanders Australia Museum

Explosive deal: 100-acres, bombs and booby traps included Housing Wire

Texting and Driving Statistics Texting and Driving Safety. Guess how dangerous texting while driving is compared to drinking before clicking through.

Hawking warns on rise of the machines Financial Times (David L)

Amazon Releasing 15,000 Robots In Its Warehouses Huffington Post

Is Chernobyl still dangerous or was 60 Minutes pushing propaganda? Atomic Insights (bob)

Here’s How Climate Change Has Altered Life On Earth In The Past 20 Years Associated Press (David L)

Richest 2% Create 4 Times as many Greenhouse Gases Per Capita as Poorest 20% AllGov (martha r)

The Virus Detectives New York Times (David L)

Ebola: The economic damage is mounting Financial Times

Educational feedback loops in China and the U.S. Cathy O’Neil

Australia enters income recession, dollar dives as economy stalls Sydney Morning Herald (EM)

Modernization Efforts, Concerns over China Giving Rise to Robust Asia-Pacific Defense Market Forecast International (Bob H)

Rattled by Chinese subs, India joins other nations in rebuilding fleet Japan Times

How might a China slowdown affect the world? Michael Pettis

Revisiting the Juncker Recovery Proposals – guest post by Stuart Holland Yanis Varoufakis

French bank dumps British assets, contrasts UK sclerosis with Francois Hollande miracle
Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, Telegraph

Chile’s turn with the power of people failed evolution


Anger and dismay as Russia scraps $50bn gas plan Financial Times. Collateral damage.

Putin Just Scrapped a Gas Pipeline to the West. Should Europe Be Scared? BusinessWeek

With Russia on Brink of Recession, Putin Faces ‘New Reality’ New York Times. The Western triumphalism is ahead of events. The West may well be able to precipitate a banking crisis in Russia and that could have nasty side effects. However, what all this focus on the economic cost to Russia misses is that Russians correctly see the effort to destabilize Ukraine and move NATO in as an existential threat to Russia. Putin’s poll ratings are at record levels and even his leftist critics in the intelligensia have fallen in line.


Iraq’s Ghost Army Patrick Cockburn, Counterpunch

How the US Intervention Against the Islamic State Has Alienated Syria’s Sunni Arab Opposition TruthOut

Aiming for Two Militant Leaders in Pakistan, U.S. Drone Pilots Killed 233 People, including 89 Children AllGov (martha r)

U.S. to Use Psych Tests to Vet Syrian Rebels for Moderateness Peter Van Buren,
Firedoglake. If you believe that, I have a bridge I’d like to sell you.

An Economic Agenda to save America: Bernie Sanders Daily Kos (RR)

Shocking mistake in Darren Wilson grand jury MSNBC (furzy mouse). Important. If you need a simple anecdote to demonstrate that the prosecution was out to get Wilson off the hook, this nails it.

Researchers: Police likely provoke protestors — not the other way around Salon

Watchdog Group Files DOJ Complaint Against Dallas Police, Alleging Racial Pattern of Excessive Force TruthOut

Computer hackers taking aim at insider information at health care companies Star Tribune. Chuck L: “At the intersection of cyber crime and financial crime.”

Oil Price Plunge

Saudi Arabia Declares Oil War on US Fracking, hits Railroads, Tank-Car Makers, Canada, Russia; Sinks Venezuela Wolf Richter. A good overview of how various sectors are affected. Also provides evidence in support of the thesis we’ve advocated from early on (and some readers pooh poohed), that the price decline was engineered by the Saudis refusing to play their usual role of controlling output to support prices, and one of the biggest drivers of that ploy was to make fracking unprofitable for a large proportion of US operators.

Low Oil Prices Are History’s Greatest Case of Market Failure American Prospect

Northern Oil and Gas: Michael Reger’s deeply misleading tweet John Hempton. An interest case study of a company bragging that it hedged oil at $90 a barrel. Mind you, not all are in this shape, but just a warning to look beyond the “we are hedged” part of the story.

Class Warfare

Even When Minorities Do Well in the Suburbs, Racial Inequalities Follow WSJ Economics

Teaching Economics After the Crash BBC. A must listen.

Antidote du jour (@SuzanneLepage1, hat tip Lambert):

canadian lynx links

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. wbgonne

    Saudi Arabia Declares Oil War on US Fracking, hits Railroads, Tank-Car Makers, Canada, Russia; Sinks Venezuela Wolf Richter. A good overview of how various sectors are affected. Also provides evidence in support of the thesis we’ve advocated from early on (and some readers pooh poohed), that the price decline was engineered by the Saudis refusing to play their usual role of controlling output to support prices, and one of the biggest drivers of that ploy was to make fracking unprofitable for a large proportion of US operators.

    Maybe the Saudis believe that frack-nations like the U.S. should apply for OPEC membership. That hardly seems unreasonable.

      1. Yves Smith Post author

        Yes, even if this does hurt us net economically (which contra the cheerleading re the benefits to consumers, I suspect the losses on the producer/employer side will more than offset that), this is in our long-term best interest, and no amount of environmental agitating or even fracking-induced earthquakes could produce this outcome.

    1. david s

      Has 6+ years of hope and change taught us nothing? Look at the comments below the Kos article; nothing but desperate rubes yearning for yet another “leader” to save us.

      Sanders’ list could have been written 5,10,15,20 years ago and would be essentially the same.

      The two party system is the problem.

      1. slick

        If the two party system is the problem, then you should vote for Sanders. He is, after all, “the Independent” aka the only Congress person who is not in either party. He will have my vote and support if he decides to run. Cynicism will get you nowhere.

        1. Eureka Springs

          It’s not enough to leave the two parties, declare oneself to be Independent, Green, Socialist, or Polka Dotted… D vs R’s must change who they actually are, their methods, and what they have wrought. Sanders, imo, is a Democrat in the neoliberal sense through and through. Independent in the party sense means nothing more than the word moderate these days. Does Sanders or the Independent party have a basic platform? Otherwise he wouldn’t caucus with D’s and be able to look himself in the mirror. Furthermore the US Senate should be abolished… if he can’t or wont say it after experiencing it first hand then that alone demonstrates he is happy to be part of the problem. The system is broken and criminal and all I see in Sanders is yet another denial hopiate suggesting it just needs some tinkering around the edges.

          1. slick

            “the system is broken and criminal” – I do not disagree in any way, but puh-lease, Bernie Sanders is a neoliberal? If I am not mistaken, he was placed in office as an Independent and subsequently won re-reelection. Maybe you should take a look at his legislation page…


            You will see things like Campaign Finance Reform, Civil Rights, Health Care Reform. Try reading what he is about. He had the balls to vote against the Iraq war, when numerous other “D” folks did not. I live in North Carolina, but I wish Bernie Sanders represented me.

            What reform, exactly, are you waiting for? Do you think more parties are on the way? Do you think the corporate money will leave politics? Is change right around the corner? What reform, exactly, are you proposing? Sanders has put some ideas on paper, have you?

            I would not presume to make any decisions for you, but the broken system is gonna keep going for the foreseeable future, Sanders is the most far out candidate I see at the moment. Will he win? Hell no, but he might be able to pull the ticket further left. Will that fix the system? No, but I plan on doing everything I can to change the way things are, and voting in a primary is something I can do.

            …but, don’t let me disturb your wallow in self-pity,

            1. Eureka Springs

              Campaign Finance »

              For more than thirty years, Sen. Sanders has been a staunch advocate for effective campaign finance reform that reduces the influence of special interests and corporations.

              Reform! Reduce! Yeah boy, that will surely get you and me some representation.
              S.1522, the Comprehensive Dental Reform Act. This legislation, supported by dozens of organizations, extends comprehensive dental health insurance to millions of Americans

              Tinkering around the edges = status quo. There are countless reasons to abolish ‘health insurance’ and no good reason not to provide dental for all.

              Moderate, Independent, reform, caucus with D’s = status quo.

              I stood in the streets protesting all Iraq wars… got arrested with tens of thousands. It was an act of conscious, not at all ‘ballsy’ to be against such madness. One doesn’t caucus with D’s and get an ounce of anti-war, much more anti-neoliberal credibility with me. It took me longer than I want to admit to learn that about D’s, but I expect a person in the US Senate to have learned it and totally abandon an ongoing criminal enterprise, I mean party that does by not so much as caucusing with them. You mistake self-pity for self-respect and at least an honest attempt to have some integrity.

              1. slick

                Sir or Madam,

                You are fighting a straw-man here. I am not defending the Democrats, I despise them. And that was after a lifetime of support and effort on their behalf. If you really want to f**k-over the D party-machine, the centrist, neoliberal, corporate phonies, and make them the most miserable human beings in Amurka, get Bernie Sanders on the ticket. We all know the system is broken, do something to change it.


                1. Massinissa

                  How is Bernie different than the Democratic party hacks, though? Isnt he just the same as the neoliberals?

                  1. cwaltz

                    How is he the same? For years the guy pushed single payer. Is it his fault that not enough people on the outside agitated for it to make a difference in Congress or ours?

                    Don’t get me wrong I don’t see the guy as a “savior” and he’s still have to deal with a legacy Congress but I do think he’d be the best of 3 alternatives if the options are Bush, Clinton, or Sanders.

                    *shrugs* It’s 2014 so I really think that this conversation can wait until we actually have a field to look at rather than just a potential field.

                2. Eureka Springs

                  You sir have not yet refuted my assertions even with the info/links you provided that Sanders is not a D fender and a neoliberal. Honestly I don’t think you understand the meaning of straw man either.

                  I always vote third party and I may even vote for Sanders if Jill Stein or someone I like better isn’t on the ballot.. as an act of voter triangulation. But I will do it begrudgingly if at all.. as a No Clinton vote. And I certainly wouldn’t sign a petition to put him on the ballot after re-reading his web page of weasel words. Keep pushing Sanders like you do and you will lose more millions of uncovered citizens votes with health and dental needs than you ever gain. Demand all have it (H.R. 676 – include dental and optical for pete sakes) and garner the more votes. Plain, simple, unequivocal, financially spot on, morally sound. To not do so whilst pimping more insurance for a few millions is definitive neoliberalism.

                  If at times like this, mere weeks after the last election “we” cannot talk about our desires, beliefs, facts, problems etc…then when can we? Is there any good time to vet a potential candidate? Must we just jump into another weasel worded old Democrat, now Independent-ish ploy without question?

                  It may be fantasy to you to suggest abolishment of the Senate, or suggest more then just campaign finance ‘reform’ is in order, but it needs to happen (along with either a entirely new constitution or many, many amendments) if we the peeps are ever going to establish a chance at representation. Sanders and You are not even asking for it. It’s probably much more important that we face the constitutional issues rather than fret over a president… especially as long as the body/US Senate exists. Want to get the Senate to pass some amendments down the line, then at least use an amendment demanding they are abolished as a bargaining chip. It’s way past time to not play hard ball. Sanders is soft as it gets. The red mist D’s and R’s will eat him for sport lunch… because he’s weaselly. That’s their turf… it’s covered.

                  Every statement on the front of Sanders web page holds a remarkable percentage of weasel words. He stands for nothing but status quo whilst asking many to fall for everything. It’s pure straw-reform to pretend otherwise. Maybe we need straw insurance for a few million. Oh wait!

                  1. slick

                    I don’t know the meaning of straw man? Funny, I thought it was when your opponent misrepresents what you are talking about as you have above. I guess I need more education. As far as refuting your assertions, you’ve made none. Callings someone’s web site “weasel words” or a “D fender” doesn’t really mean anything, looking at Sanders voting record and numerous political stands against the system speaks for itself. I do not need to defend him. I am totally for single-payer, and so is Sanders – and he actually voted against the wars, tried hard to financial reform legislation passed, etc. I thought you might find the article humorous, because it was Sanders directly calling the Democratic party “broken”, and calling for a “revolution”, seemingly as you have above.

                    I concede, it isn’t useful to argue with those who are not of open mind. But I’ll tell this, s**t in one hand, and wish for the Senate to be dissolved, or the two parties to go away, or money to leave politics into the other, and you will quickly see which one fills-up faster. Me, I am going to vote.

            2. Vatch

              “I plan on doing everything I can to change the way things are, and voting in a primary is something I can do.”

              Yes! We need to do what we can. And after the wrong person wins the primary, which is very likely, we can still support the best of the third party candidates. All of this is feasible, and it’s better than fantasizing about what definitely won’t happen, such as Eureka’s belief that

              “the US Senate should be abolished”

          2. Ulysses

            “The system is broken and criminal and all I see in Sanders is yet another denial hopiate suggesting it just needs some tinkering around the edges.”

            I understand your frustration with the system. Indeed, if you have a sound strategy for toppling this system tomorrow, I would be very happy to show up with torches, pitchforks and thousands of my angriest friends at any U.S. street corner you name! If, on the other hand, you’re not quite ready to put yourself in the crosshairs, as the leader of an open rebellion to bring down the USG, I can understand your hesitation. In that case, maybe the more modest goal of moving the Overton window to the left– through supporting one of the few political figures in the U.S. not hell-bent on making union membership illegal and handing Wall St. even more power– shouldn’t be met with your contempt.

            1. Eureka Springs

              I’ve presented more substantive ideas in casual replies here than all of Sanders proponents, their links to his page and the salon article. That Salon article… whew, just like his web page. D fender for neoliberalism to a tee. Is slick reading the links he/she provides as an argument for Sanders / example of no straw, no neoliberalism?

              This has been enlightening.. I thought those in the NC commentariat had learned more from their failed dem party obot ways of olde. As I mentioned straight away, it’s not just a party which needs abandonment, but our/your old ways. But the replies here remind me of the ’08 primary all over again. And I was a full over-time mod at FDL in those days… full time support of Blue America, etc. I wonder if the Clintons or the Third Way aren’t delighted, if not funding a Sanders meme this week… back to Liz next?

            2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

              “The system is broken…”

              I have a small suggestion.

              It involves audience participation or a mild form of direct democracy.

              Reserve 33% of the senate and the house for direct voting by the little People…kind of like All Star voting in sports You get votes from coaches, beat writers and also from fans.

              If successfully implemented or at least when we feel more comfortable, we can increase the People’s percentage.

              That way, corporations can bribe us directly, instead of going through some corrupt middlemen.

              Everyone talks about technology and its awesomeness. I think this is one way to take advantage of that.

            3. hunkerdown

              The recent guest post over on Club Orlov had some interesting thoughts from Machiavelli that suggest what to do with a broken system: stop trying to fix it, leave it to grind itself into a broken hulk. Open revolt isn’t even needed, just malign neglect and open mockery of those people who think the system ought to be saved.

              1. Ulysses

                This sounds like a step towards the kind of sound strategy– for toppling this illegitimate regime– that I asked for in my earlier comment! Malign neglect and open mockery will certainly help erode the system’s credibility. Yet even reformists can also have their part to play in toppling this regime.

                To give an historical example, the Girondins, who called for severely limiting the king’s power, made it easier for the Jacobins to later gain public acceptance for the king’s trial, subsequent execution, and the abolition of the monarchy altogether.

                1. hunkerdown

                  Hmm, “One hand grasps, the other hand manipulates,” as Lambert says. Good thinking. An upset vote does drain significant resources from the parties’ machinery and provides opportunities for people talking with one another (how quaint, I know) to provide their own narratives, and consequently to separate the players and dogmatists from the allies.

                  That said, it’s arguable that popular participation in the regime’s ceremonies constitutes a large and visible portion of the regime’s legitimacy, and it’s wise to vote with that in mind if leaving the pitchforks in the barn until the last possible moment is part of the objective.

        2. Charles Misfeldt

          His independence aside he still votes for everything the conservative democrats throw in front of him.

          1. cwaltz

            Actually no he doesn’t. Has he voted in ways I disagree with? Sure. However, it’s absurd to suggest that his support of single payer in the Senate, ignore that he voted against and continues to vote against the Patriot Act, his support for transparency at the Fed, or his attack on big players engaging fraud through DoD funding is neoliberal.

        3. hunkerdown

          Who said I want to get “anywhere”? Whig careerists are The problem, and those that jump on websites performatively claiming TINA to the pecking order to which they aspire are at the top of their class.

          Go play football, Lucy. Your context is not welcome here.

        1. slick

          Show me a better politician, and I will vote for them. I make no claim the guy is perfect, but he’s better than most that are in Congress. And as someone with Richard Burr and Thom Tillis representing me, I’d be damn happy to have Sanders. The same with Elizabeth Warren. I’d be damned happy to have her represent me too. I am happy to follow, really, just show me where the better folks are and I will support them.

          1. bruno marr

            No matter Bernie Sanders. Perfect or imperfect, he’s but ONE person in Congress. Change starts at the bottom, with a polity that understands their true economic self-interest (no American Dream myths allowed) and consequently elects local and state officials that will implement THEIR desires and not special interests. Congress will follow.

            There is a long slog ahead.

          2. hunkerdown

            The 99% are not represented in government, by design and by choice. Pulling the lever for yet another oligarch, especially one that corporate Democrats like Kos are trial-ballooning, won’t get you represented.

            Chomsky was right. The USA is full of drama peasants just begging for a lord to actualize them.

    2. TedWa

      Another Aye here for Sanders !! Independent is as close to a 3rd party as we can get. He reminds me of the democrats before they sold out.

  2. David Lentini

    Hawking on AI

    I couldn’t (read: wouldn’t jump through the FT’s paywall-registration hoops) read the article from the link posted here, but I found a BBC story through Truthdig.

    As usual, it’s nothing by fear and hype. While I can’t gurantee these fears won’t come true, I’m getting tired of reading these statements and being asked to accept them ipse dixit without any evidence or discussion as to why they may be true. All we get are scary quotes from “really smart people”. None of whom, by the way, are active in developing AI.

    To me, right now the real danger from “AI” is not that machines will somehow duplicate or supass human intelligence. The real danger is that we’ll continue our pattern of re-defining basic aspects of humanity in terms of what a machine can do, so that we can then claim our machines are “human-like”.

    The result could well be a world run by machines, but machines that are far less capable than humans in most respects. And so we continue with the crapfication of intellect. Perhaps still worse, we’ll be ruled by a technocratic-financial élite who control the “AI” that they claim rules us by virute of it’s being “post-singularity”. AI would be the ultimate curtain behind which the little men and women would rule.

    1. rusti

      Here’s an alternative Guardian article on the same subject. I guess it might be fun playing with the idea in an abstract sense for nerds like Hawking and Elon Musk, but my impression is that there’s about a thousand more tangible things likely to knock mankind back a number of pegs on the developmental scale before that danger comes to fruition.

    2. Banger

      I’ve never feared robots or worried about the implications of AI as a legitimate human project–I’m for taking it to the max. However, what I do fear, like you is that we define humanity down to the mechanical. I see machines as liberating devices that can perform practical service so we don’t have to so we can develop areas of life we have the capacity to explore but, in this philosophically hyper-materialist time, we actively repress. What is that? Well, imagine….

      If we need to fear anything it is the current oligarchy that seeks not to use technology to create a dynamic culture but to acquire ever more power and control over others and increase human misery rather than pursue human happiness. Our oligarchs are grim creatures indeed who believe the answer to all problems is control and repression–at least that is how it appears. I’m sure that there are a minority of oligarchs who might have different visions–but they have yet to assert themselves.

      We can help by opening up ourselves and helping develop a new culture based on compassion, connection, spirituality rather than continue with the culture of narcissism.

      1. McMike

        There’s a quote somewhere about how anything that can be weaponized, will be weaponized. That’s pretty much my take on AI.

        I also add a “peak complexity” take on it, and categorized AI in with nuclear power and GMO foods and nanotech. Eventually crossing the unsafe at any speed horizon. I am generally allergic to quarter-century half-lives, claims of immunity from natural processes, or the idea that we can control what happens when we release highly complex technologies.

        Finally, there’s the Naked Capitalism corollary, anything that can be crapified, will be crapified.

        1. Banger

          I think that’s one sided. We’ve created a lot of non-crapified technology and don’t ask me to name everything–the proof is all around you. The crapification movement is real but not ubiquitous and has more to do with the structure of the political economy than any inherent issue with technology.

          1. McMike

            the proof is all around you

            Just for fun, perhaps you could name one.

            I cannot think of a single technology that is not linked to the political economy. Nor of a single one without substantial unintended, adverse, or self-perpetuating consequences.

            1. Banger

              Everything is linked to the political economy in some way so that stops me cold.

              Of course for the rest of your request it depends on what you mean by consequences which, in turn, depends on what you value and don’t value, which in turn, depends of metaphysics and/or moral philosophy.

              I use the Square to take credit card payments, works well, simple replaces a very cumbersome, more expensive, and wasteful system. I an perform mathematical calculations and save info using a spreadsheet program. If I have to do calculations then what’s wrong with that? Also, power-tools really help me make and construct things–would it be better if I had to only use hand tools? I don’t know–depends on what you value. I paint with acrylic paints and makes painting far easier for me.

          1. Kurt Sperry

            Is an autonomous missile less ethical than a purely ballistic one? Or less ethical than land mines, or even ground artillery in an urban/suburban environment with poorly trained operators likely working on bad or absent targeting intel? We after all are talking about killing–murdering–people on an industrial scale to achieve financial and political advantage, there is no ethical way that is possible to do. The ethics of warfare are simple: war is unethical.

      2. Keenan

        Oxford scholar Nick Bostrom has put substantial effort into what should be considered before AI becomes a more proximate possibility, the “control problem” being most prominent, as the architects will get only one opportunity to get it right before an exponentially-self improving AI will be beyond control:

        (snip) Bostrom thinks it safer if research on implementing superintelligent AI advances slowly. “Superintelligence is a challenge for which we are not ready now and will not be ready for a long time,” he asserts. He is especially worried that people will ignore the existential risks of superintelligent AI and favor its fast development in the hope that they will benefit from the cornucopian economy and indefinite lifespans that could follow an intelligence explosion. He argues for establishing a worldwide AI research collaboration to prevent a frontrunner nation or group from trying to rush ahead of its rivals. And he urges researchers and their backers to commit to the common good principle: “Superintelligence should be developed only for the benefit of all humanity and in the service of widely shared ethical ideals.” A nice sentiment, but given current international and commercial rivalries, the universal adoption of this principle seems unlikely.

        In his book, he suggests that a “multipolar AI” world of competitive superintelligent entities might paradoxically result in an ultimate sort of “race to the bottom” for all entities – biological or artificial.

        1. Banger

          Sadly I don’t think there are widely held ethical ideas at least not among those with political power. That makes philosophy (broadly defined) as the key to our further development.

        2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          I have always believed robots should be owned by the People jointly, and not to some elite individuals.

          They (the robots) should work for all of us, not be used against those without robots.

        3. Grog

          It’s a bit disconcerting how easily the concerns about future AI map to the present ones about the nature/scope of corporations.

          1. Keenan

            Quite so. Numerous instances of corporate behavior offer useful insights for AI architects to the hazards of setting goals and motivations without sound moral / ethical grounding.

    3. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      “…basic aspects of humanity….”

      I have always believed that, in addition to Artificial Intelligence, there is also Artificial Love (as love is another aspect of humanity).

      But for Artificial Love, humans have already perfected it. I doubt robots can exceed us.

    4. Brian

      The history of AI begins with those who imagined it. The writers creating new worlds were the first to develop the concept. Asimov demonstrated the problems inherent in human control over AI. Who will benefit from AI?, no one. Who would profit brings us to a vast rabbit hole.
      We might be wise to be wary of any creation by a human. Open the pod bay doors Hal.

    5. trish

      The real danger is that we’ll continue our pattern of re-defining basic aspects of humanity in terms of what a machine can do, so that we can then claim our machines are “human-like”.

      agree. a danger far too neglected in any discussions of these issues to my mind.

  3. dearieme

    My browser won’t connect to the texting & driving stats. So I’ll just tell you my guess: texting is riskier than being over the limit (at least until you are a country mile over the limit).

      1. grayslady

        Thanks for the operating link.
        The map in the article is somewhat out of date. Illinois has banned using a hand-held phone while driving statewide.

        1. bruno marr

          … and the article understates the distance travelled at 55MPH for 5 seconds; (55mph x 5280′) / (60 sec. x 60 min.) = 80’/sec. That’s 400′. A football field is 360′ (including end zones). Given the poorly lighted streets, random pedestrian movement, and flasher-less cyclists in my town, that 40′ would be critical.

  4. David Lentini

    Iraq’s Army Meets Gogol’s Dead Souls

    Loved this quote from Cockburn’s article: One Iraqi politician told The Independent a year ago that Iraqi officers “are not soldiers, they are investors”.

    Mission Accomplished for our neo-liberal world reformers. And of course, shortly afterward we read abou the rampant corruption that has wrecked the Iraqi army.

    Heck ‘uv a job!

    1. Banger

      At some point someone may have the courage to report on the corruption that is the U.S. National Security State including the armed forces. We fight so others might profit from it–if you look at the wars the U.S. has fought they have been nonsensical both from a strategic and (in general) tactical point of view. Each part of this enormous enterprise just thinks about their very narrow task and no one thinks about the whole not even the President–who must focus on his narrow task of keeping all the demands of people around him in some state of balance.

      The reason why the Iraqi Army is as corrupt as it is stems not from an inherent tendency of Iraqis but because they were “trained” by U.S. forces who showed them, as soon as they conquered Iraq, how corruption is done. Every aspect of U.S. activities in Iraq since the invasion has been dominated by the need of contractors to profit–there was no rhyme or reason for U.S. policies, particularly right after the invasion. This fact is another one of those forbidden areas that no mainstream reporter or publication can look at for more than a moment–picking out this or that isolated bit of corruption but never ever seeing the pattern of corruption.

      1. McMike

        Mission accomplished indeed.

        But disrupting a nation and corrupting its politics/civil service/security is not at all a new process then, is it?

        1. bruno marr

          Disruption is exactly what the US did to Iraq in 2003. Without, of course, understanding the culture in Iraq. They had their own customs for surviving/thriving under Saddam, we simply showed them how WE do it in the US. They are quick studies, I’d say.

      2. neo-realist

        Courage to report on the security state—-maybe if the reporter doesn’t drive his/her own car and sticks to public transportation. More difficult to take out a bus or subway full of people.

    2. tyaresun

      Folks in the West seem to think of “officers are not soldiers, they are investors” as something new. This is a very old phenomena. For example, in India you have to buy police posts in lucrative areas. Forget police jobs, you have to pay very good money to get a job at busy urinals and then collect 10 paisa per person from the users.

    3. trish

      Mission Accomplished for our neo-liberal world reformers.
      Yes, so much corruption, and so much death and destruction. For greed.
      I think of all the dead and damaged, the ‘non-investor’ soldiers (and civilians), who would have so preferred to have been just a “ghost soldier” who did not exist, one of the “50,000 fictitious names,” in the accounts of this war and its aftermath.

  5. rich

    Pensions Sue Carlyle Group for Cobalt Losses

    Courthouse News reported two pensions filed suit against Cobalt Energy and its PEU sponsors:

    On the morning of August 5, 2014, Bloomberg reported that an anti-corruption organization had determined that Cobalt had made an apparent bribe to the Angolan government, because Cobalt had paid the Angolan government millions of dollars to support an Angolan research center that Cobalt could not confirm actually exists,” the complaint states.

    On Nov. 5, Cobalt disclosed that contrary to its previous claims that one of its Angolan wells was oil-rich, testing revealed the well contained neither oil nor gas.

    PEU Report wrote about Cobalt numerous times with one post exploring possible bribes.

    The named plaintiffs are two pension funds: one for St. Lucie County firefighters in Florida and one for firefighters and police in San Antonio.
    They sued Cobalt, a Houston-based oil drilling firm, its directors, and several investment firms that controlled the company, including Goldman Sachs and The Carlyle Group, on Nov. 28 in Federal Court.

  6. McMike

    re Chernobyl.

    The guy doesn’t actually rebut the article, just snipes at it with ad hominem, anecdotes, and non sequiturs. Is there somewhere else on his site where he actually documents how nuclear waste is good for us?

    1. rusti

      The article does seem to be more ad-hominem than fact, the “About” section of the site gives some clues as to why:

      Atomic Insights LLC is a for-profit, tax-paying, publishing company based in Virginia whose aim is to produce and distribute accurate information about a variety of topics associated with atomic technologies. We discuss atomic energy, the competitors to atomic energy, radiation, the risks and benefits of using nuclear technology, and the hazards of avoiding the use of nuclear technology.

      It always strikes me as baffling how so many people seem to approach technology issues like sports teams.

      I do a lot of reading about transportation and a lot of car enthusiasts are enraged by Battery Electric Vehicles, Battery Electric Vehicle proponents foam at the mouth when anyone mentions fuel cells. In the power sector a lot of hydroelectric and nuclear proponents think wind and solar are bogus sideshows and there are no practical mitigation techniques for variable generation. I guess the same sorts of debates rage over processors, programming languages and computer architectures.

      So the non-specialist gets barraged with a lot of cherry-picked information trying to create a particularly bleak or optimistic picture of whatever the issue in question is when they’d be happy to have some blend of technologies tailored to the strengths and weaknesses of each.

      1. McMike

        When we get into the realm where the potential downside risk includes deliberate destruction of entire continent’s worth of people and structures, or accidental annihilation of an entire region’s population – or the permanent altering of the climate and destruction of all water supplies – I tend to think we’ve reached the point where you can’t blend that away.

  7. Dino Reno

    The Saudis are faced with a secular, structural reduction in the consumption of oil and their response is to target their #1 competitor, the U.S., in order to maintain market share. Like Mike Tyson says, “Everybody has a plan until they punched in the face.”
    Frackers are like condo developers. These project will keep rolling over until someone can finally make a profit (or not) at the going rate. Production rates will keep going up and consumption rates will keep going down. When this cycle finally goes bust five years from now, the oil market will be smaller and prices will be still be in the basement. At that time, the Saudis can raise their hands in victory after being dealt a technical knock out.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      With oil approaching $60/barrel, how long will it be before we see more carbon in the atmosphere?

    2. different clue

      Raising vast amounts of corn/soy/etc. to feed to vast amounts of livestock in confined feedlots certainly contributes to carbon emissions. But does raising livestock strictly on rangeland/ pastureland contribute to carbon emissions? I have read that land in perennial polyculture forage ecosystems under livestock net-suckdowns and net-biosequesters more carbon than what the cattlebeasts themselves personally emit over the course of their lives.
      What about live wildstock and the land under it? Didn’t the prairie-buffalo land-system sequester so much soil-carbon as to create the famously deep brown topsoil of Iowa, for instance?

  8. Vatch

    “Russians correctly see the effort to destabilize Ukraine and move NATO in as an existential threat to Russia.”

    This is quite an exaggeration. Russia has natural gas and petroleum, and industrial metals such as titanium and platinum group metals. It is by far the largest country in the world, with 17 million square kilometers (6.5 million square miles), which is almost twice the size of either Canada or China. There is nothing remotely close to an existential threat to the country. The only place where there might be such a problem is along their border with Chinese Manchuria, where thousands of Chinese migrants live. Some day, China might follow the example of Russia in Crimea, and claim that border territory for themselves, citing the overwhelming Chinese ethnicity of the population.

    If Russia truly cared about a stable Ukraine, they would not have worsened the situation in Ukraine by seizing Crimea and by supporting the rebellion in Luhansk and Donetsk.

    1. Massinissa

      Have you thought about how your perceptions and russias perceptions might differ?

      To a russian, NATO moving eastward looks like a knife moving closer to the throat. What you or Europe think it looks like is irrelevant.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Actually, those Russia-Manchuria border area is where the ancestors of the Manchus lived. The Russians took them in the 19th century from the Manchurian-ruled Qing empire through war and unequal treaties – this is what the Chinese would say.

        On the other hand, with winter upon us in the northern hemisphere, Russia must feel like she has been besieged at Stalingrad by the Sixth Petro-Army of the Euro-Anglo-Saudi-US Reich.

    2. Massinissa

      Have you thought that perhaps you and Russia have entirely different perceptions?

      I dont know what it looks like to you or Europe, to Russia NATO’s eastward expansion looks like a knife going closer to their throat. They took action accordingly.

      What your perceptions are are irrelevant. Russia still sees it the same way, regardless of whatever the objective reality is (not to say your reality is the objective one or not).

      1. proximity1

        “Have you thought that perhaps you and Russia have entirely different perceptions?”

        Strikes me, again, as more along the line of “We have to support Putin in order to oppose Obama,” or, in its classic version, “We had to destroy the village in order to save it.”

        Irony is dead, isn’t it? Too bad. Wish I could find a response I posted one or two Saturdays ago– replying to OIFVet’s “It’s that simple.” Did anyone see that?

          1. proximity1

            Error message : ” ‘both’ not found ”

            According to the prevaling paradigm, we’re not allowed to oppose both at once. This is axiomatic. We can apparently only oppose one or the other–specifically, we can only (here) oppose one of them by voicing support–more or less–for the other one.

        1. Banger

          I don’t see how you brought up the village analogy.

          Without getting into particulars about Ukraine and Crimea because we disagree there, Some of us feel that the Uranian crisis was deliberately caused by Washington neocons and others, along with the US mainstream, say it is about imperial ambitions of Russia.

          But one point we need to clarify is which world capital poses the most danger to world peace and the well being of the planet? I say the danger comes overwhelmingly from Washington. Moscow is neither a major irritant nor a world super power and has shown a mainly a defensive mentality in its foreign affairs while the US has not wavered in its obvious imperial ambitions for seventy years. As for Russia’s domestic politics we can all agree they are fairly repressive.

        2. OIFVet

          “We have to support Putin in order to oppose Obama”: what a gross mischaracterization of what I said. Whoever wants to check out who said what, feel free to check out the thread on Thanksgiving Day links at Why do you feel the need to resort to strawman? Why does Vatch feel the need to boost his nonsense by making appeal to false authority, i.e. Soros’ “leftiness”? It’s almost like you can’t make an argument without fearmongering (Putin!) and repeating the neolibcon propaganda verbatim. You two don’t know the first thing about Russia’s collective psyche and motivation but feel you can dismiss Russian fears out of hand. You at least live in Europe, isn’t the unfolding BG humiliation a good enough illustration of what happens when a country gives up its sovereignty and the pursuit of its national interests?

          1. Vatch

            Oh for goodness sake! Are you still complaining about the fact that Soros is left leaning? That doesn’t mean that he is a leftist or a socialist. Leaning to the left is not the same as standing or stepping to the left. But for a billionaire oligarch, he does tend to the left. He’s donated millions to, for example.

            1. OIFVet

              And a bang up job Move-On does in being the party organ of the Third Way democrats. Soros is a liberal on social issues, neoliberal in terms of his economic positions, and has now joined the neocons on foreign policy. He is the consummate Flexian. That’s what you call “left-leaning”? Yes, compared to Genghis Khan he is, but ultimately that’s nothing more than obfuscation of Soros’ true actions. So we discover yet another ongoing crapification. You got called out for your demagogical appeal to authority, then you doubled and tripled down on the same lie by quoting a person whose salary depends on Soros. You, who likes to proclaim your supposed leftist views. Never mind the neoliberal plague that Open Society spreads throughout Eastern Europe, let’s that Soros is a leftie because his propaganda conforms to your existing prejudices. Can you spell confirmation bias? Better yet, ask Soros to disclose his financial interests in Franklin Templeton, which holds billions of Ukie debt. Then again, Soros might just be motivated by his love of Nazis, cooperating with them seems to be an old habit for him.

                1. proxinmity1


                  Well, indeed!, to any thinking person, such an assertion about Soros admiring Nazism is absurd. But what’s becoming clearer is that this guy OIFVet is so blinded by his ideological fevor–God only knows where he got it–that, in his simplistic mind, Soros’ important financial ties to Ukraine in the form of grants, support for various projects of a social and political character–all that apparently means, for OIFVet, that Soros is a Nazi-lover.

                  It’s now very obvious that your efforts to discuss this topic are wasted on OIFVet. The guy is a joke. Period. End of story.

                  1. OIFVet

                    Thank you for your unenlightened perspective on Soros. May I respectfully suggest that you spend a few minutes googling the social and political character of Soros’ project before you cast aspersions on my ideology (which, I dare say, you know nothing about)? If you are such a fan of neoliberalism and neoconservatism just say so and stop pretending to be such a principled critic of Obama and Putin. For it is obvious that most Americans haven’t the faintest idea just what Soros’ “charities” do and fund in the rest of the world. Spoiler alert: it is neither left-leaning nor democratic. It’s base anti-democratic globalism and neoliberalism that advances the interest of Soros and his fellow transnational Flexians.

                2. OIFVet

                  Absurd, is it? From Soros’ 60 Minutes interview:

                  KROFT: (Voiceover) And you watched lots of people get shipped off to the death camps.

                  Mr. SOROS: Right. I was 14 years old. And I would say that that’s when my character was made.

                  KROFT: In what way?

                  Mr. SOROS: That one should think ahead. One should understand and — and anticipate events and when — when one is threatened. It was a tremendous threat of evil. I mean, it was a — a very personal experience of evil.

                  KROFT: My understanding is that you went out with this protector of yours who swore that you were his adopted godson.

                  Mr. SOROS: Yes. Yes.

                  KROFT: Went out, in fact, and helped in the confiscation of property from the Jews.

                  Mr. SOROS: Yes. That’s right. Yes.

                  KROFT: I mean, that’s — that sounds like an experience that would send lots of people to the psychiatric couch for many, many years. Was it difficult?

                  Mr. SOROS: Not — not at all. Not at all. Maybe as a child you don’t — you don’t see the connection. But it was — it created no — no problem at all.

                  KROFT: No feeling of
                  Mr. SOROS: No.

                  KROFT: For example that, ‘I’m Jewish and here I am, watching these people go. I could just as easily be there. I should be there.’ None of that?

                  Mr. SOROS: Well, of course I c — I could be on the other side or I could be the one from whom the thing is being taken away. But there was no sense that I shouldn’t be there, because that was — well, actually, in a funny way, it’s just like in markets — that if I weren’t there — of course, I wasn’t doing it, but somebody else would — would — would be taking it away anyhow. And it was the — whether I was there or not, I was only a spectator, the property was being taken away. So the — I had no role in taking away that property. So I had no sense of guilt.

                  “If it wasn’t me it would have been someone else”. I guess that defense wasn’t tried at Nuremberg. Soros is a swell guy though: after the ADL called him out for making anti-semitic remarks, Soros made sure to replace the director with a flunkie. Problem solved!

                  1. Vatch

                    So he found a way to survive the Holocaust. How on Earth does that make him a Nazi or a Nazi sympathizer !? Other Jews managed to survive. Are they Nazis?

                    By the way, I don’t approve of billionaires. I don’t think that anyone should have as much money as Soros has. It also would have been nice if his godfather hadn’t been involved in the confiscation of Jewish property, but that’s not something that is Soros’s fault. What you quoted from the interview provides zero evidence that he loves Nazis.

                    1. OIFVet

                      Fine, it doesn’t show that he loves Nazis. It only shows that he profits from collaborating with them. Looking out for Number One, if you prefer. Very left-leaning trait in this day and age, no doubt. Personal survival uber alles, ya? He has his priorities firmly figured out, I will give him that much: his survival at the expense of everybody else. That’s some crapified leftism if you ask me, but apparently you are fine with that. So be it.

                  2. optimader

                    “Soros might just be motivated by his love of Nazis….”

                    A rather hyperbolic and unsupported reaction to that interview excerpt. It goes w/o saying whomever framed the leading nature of the questions for the 60 Min Talking-head is a dick; and you can say that you hate George Soros, but you loose any credibility when you call him a “Nazi” lover or even a sympathizer for that matter –based on that excerpt.

                    My impression is that Soros was remarkably candid about his experience in those times when in reality he really has nothing to gain by offering it up other than making a contribution to historical perspective. Stuff like that makes for unvarnished history lessons for anyone wise enough to listen.

                    “…after the ADL called him out for making anti-semitic remarks,..”
                    Tilt… your suggesting the Anti-defamation League has a shred of credibility left, no less than w/ regard to it’s primitive smearing people as being anti-Semites?? Come on… I wouldn’t expect you to even defend that.

                    “Soros made sure to replace the director with a flunkie. ”
                    You suggest Soros had editorial control of this piece? I would like to se a link on that. No less, a bit of detail on what his “flunkies” manipulated/removed/added.

                    1. OIFVet

                      1. So who was providing the leading questions that forced Soros to say the same things in his own autobiography? And what is the historical perspective that his candidness offers, that millions were idiots for not collaborating to save their own lives? One must face the fact that sometimes people really are telling the truth about themselves especially, as Soros, they have no regrets about what they did. There are 1% of people that can live with themselves after collaborating with mass murder. Soros’ last explanation offers his rationalization for it. Everybody else would either refuse to participate, or else would live with a debilitating guilt. The lack of which is quite ovious in Soros’ case (and his financial criminal brethren).

                      2. Last I heard, the ADL did not collaborate with the Nazis, Soros did. Soros himself has said that his own parents were anti-semites. Again, sometimes we should just take his word on it.

                      3. Which piece, the ADL (???) or the one by Andrew Wilson of the European Council on Foreign Relations? The ECFR was A) founded and funded by Soros’ Open Society, and B) is the main neocon think thank in Europe. Need I remind you that “It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends upon his not understanding it.” Or to adopt it to this situation, it is difficult to get a man to tell the truth when his salary depends upon his not telling it, or even worse, upon his telling of lies. This is the reality of Soros-funded media and think tanks in my own homeland, it is the reality of all Soros-funded media and think thanks where his financial interests are tied to the propagation of fiction.

                    2. optimader

                      “So who was providing the leading questions that forced Soros to say the same things in his own autobiography?”

                      I doubt anyone forces G. Soros to state his opinion on any subject, let alone how he survived WWII, ( jus tto be clear, I think the 60min questions were framed in a dickish manner, I really don’t have a problem with his answers.)

                      OIF, if you consider the ADL as some standard for adjudicating racism/Anti-semitism, that’s fine by me. Personally I think ADL uses that claim as an epitaph to attack prominent individuals critical of Israel and Zionism.

                      Ironically enough, on this particular point (Soros/Nazi lover), you are more aligned with Glenn Beck than you are the ADL because a ADL spokesman even thought Beck’s attack on Soros, which very much reflects yours, was beyond the pale.

                      “In a statement, Abraham Foxman, the ADL’s national director and a Holocaust survivor himself, expressed outrage over Beck’s charges about Soros’ behavior as a boy in Nazi-occupied Hungary, which Beck made on television on Tuesday and again on the radio Wednesday. “Glenn Beck’s description of George Soros’ actions during the Holocaust is completely inappropriate, offensive and over the top,” said Foxman. “For a political commentator or entertainer to have the audacity to say—inaccurately—that there’s a Jewish boy sending Jews to death camps, as part of a broader assault on Mr. Soros, that’s horrific… To hold a young boy responsible for what was going on around him during the Holocaust as part of a larger effort to denigrate the man is repugnant.”

                    3. OIFVet

                      “Ironically enough…” It is a fact that even a broken clock is right twice a day.

                      “To hold a young boy responsible…” How does that excuse the almost 90 year old’s lack of moral compass? Because he supports gay marriage? So did Foxman.

                    1. OIFVet

                      I can’t find the part where Brasse willingly collaborated with the Nazis to confiscate jewish property. What I did find were the parts of his resisting and refusing to be co-opted. In reference to Soros, you insisted that he was “making a contribution to historical perspective. Stuff like that makes for unvarnished history lessons for anyone wise enough to listen.” Brasse’s photographs are in fact what provide unvarnished history lessons, and he didn’t have to confiscate any jewish property to do it. In the end, the joke was on Brasse’s and the jews tormentors for unwittingly enabling Brasse to document their crimes. To even compare him to Soros is an insult to Brasse’s memory. Sheesh…

                    2. optimader

                      “What I did find were the parts of his resisting and refusing to be co-opted”
                      If he “refused to be co-opted” he would have summarily been killed, just other victim. What he chose was to be cog in the gear-set in the working of the death camp. That you judge the morality of a 14 yo that processed confiscated “stuff” differently than the morality of a young man that assisted in the documentation process that expedited death camp victims any differently IMO rates a “sheesh”.. They both did what they did to survive.
                      I find it pretty bold that you differentiate one as being a “Nazi lover” and the other as one who “refused to be co-opted”.

                    3. OIFVet

                      Apparently you find the taking of photographs to be the moral equivalent of confiscating property. As is your right, but such moral equivalence is what perpetuates the myth of Soros’ good deeds. He hasn’t any to his name, at least not any that are on the public record. And while it may be too much to expect your average 14 year old to make moral decisions, it is not too much to ask of a 80-some year old to have learned Morals 101. His bidy of work suggests he hadn’t any and still has none. It’s the hallmark of sociopaths, which he is by DSM-V definition.

                    4. optimader

                      “Apparently you find the taking of photographs to be the moral equivalent of confiscating property.”

                      In the context of Soros’s participation in “confiscating property”, yes absolutely, I consider them morally equivalent.
                      For both individuals theirs were opportunities to survive and no I don’t think either affected in any meaningful way the deaths of WWII holocaust victims.

                    5. OIFVet

                      “I don’t think either affected in any meaningful way the deaths of WWII holocaust victims.” Of course not, Soros only affected their material wealth. As he does that of billions more today. Because “in a funny way, it’s just like in markets.” They don’t call them vultures for nothing, they feed on carrion all the same.

            2. hunkerdown

              One-dimensional reductionism isn’t fact. It’s a value judgment at best, but usually projection.

              1. Vatch

                You might be correct, and my assessment of Soros’s left leaning tendencies might be mistaken. But I think it’s a trivial issue, and definitely not worth the sound and fury that OIFVet has expended on it.

                1. OIFVet

                  Not worth it? Hey $5@%&#%, go tell that to the millions of Eastern Europeans whose misery is duly ensured by Open Society’s money funding neoliberal media, neoliberal think tanks, and neoliberal politicians. The destruction of their pensions, their social safety nets, their healthcare, their public education IS IMPORTANT. Unless of course it is as seen through the lenses of your Russophobic myopia and its need to feed on demonization and imperial propaganda. But there are those of us who actually care. There are those of us who do want a real left and not the neoliberal democrats that pass for the “left”.

                  1. Vatch

                    Your hysterical tirades are good for one thing: they convince me that you are wrong. Which is unfortunate, since you might be correct about some things.

                    1. OIFVet

                      Gee, I apologize that I can’t be a dispassionate demagogue. If you can’t see how damaging it is to present Soros’ sociopathy as “left-leaning” then take a stroll through the right wing blogosphere and see how his neoliberal deeds get presented as “socialism” and “leftism”. Good job reinforcing that nonsense, and calling his depredations “trivial”. With friends like you, etc…

                    2. OIFVet

                      Funny how the “left” finds advocacy for the victims of the neoliberal Washington Consensus to be “hysterical tirades”confirm the triviality of the subject. Could you try to be any more of an ugly American about it? I know that you have it in you, do it in the name of Saint Soros!

                      Your real problem is that it was me who called you out on your Soros-as-left-leaning BS. No way will you admit that you are wrong when the challenge comes from a “Putin lover”. Like I give a $hit about your approval. Take a trip to Eastern Europe before you expound on the beneficence of Soros’ “leftiness.”

          2. proximity1

            I looked for a reply from you, expecting one but I never recalled the date of our exchange correctly–so, until now, I’d missed seeing it. The only “straw” I’ve found in that exchange (of Thurs. 29th) comes from you–where you allege of me, completely without justification this: …”what you are really doing is swallowing the neolibcon propaganda hook, line, and sinker. Sign #1: Putin bashing. It is the hallmark of the neolibcon propaganda campaign. ..”

            Imagine yourself as a Russian–with essentially all of your present socio-political views, you now, for purposes of this thought experiment, live under Putin’s rule. Across the sea is your identical counterpart. He (or she) shares all your views on society and politics. But, perhaps unlike you, he’s supposedly clear-eyed about Obama–and so, a firm opponent of that scourge (with which I completely agree. In despising that worthless, disgusting good-for-nothing fool, I take a backseat to no one here.) But, your U.S. “self”, for good measure, is a vocal advocate of what he claims are Putin’s just concerns and fears about an encroaching NATO at his doorstep.

            And your Russian self? Is that your major concern, too? Are you worried –before everything else which has happened to civil society in Russia since Putin took power–about some eventual alignment between Ukraine and NATO or the even more distant prospect of Ukraine joining the E.U., the developed world’s fastest disintegrating voluntary union?

            What you’ve argued here is in direct and utterly illogical opposition to your own supposed political ideals–none of which mean a damn thing to Putin, about whom I suspect you know even less than I do. Where was Putin formed, where did he cut his political teeth? I have it from the Russians who’ve lived–and some who’ve died–under his ever-lengthening regime: in the KGB, now the FSB. These sources explain that he has never left those formative impressions behind him and that to this day, the best indication of his thinking and his operative moves is to be found in those source-years of experience. Divided, as two people, one of you living under Obama and the other under Putin, you make a mockery one way or the other of all that we have to suppose you actually believe and hold dear. The only way to hold a decently respectable set of liberal political values is to oppose one and the other, Obama and Putin, together–and for what are, in actual fact, hardly distinguishable reasons. Both are menaces to any worthy idea of free and open society. But apparently you can’t or won’t see this about Putin while for “some reason” you have no trouble seeing it about Obama. It’s just a sheer coincidence, I guess, that you have direct experience under one–unless I’m mistaken–but not the other.

            Please, tell me where this is false or where I have it wrong. I’ll try not to lose my place again.

            1. OIFVet

              Nice try, but remind me what part of the KGB training influenced Putin to start out as Antlanticist, going as far as talking about Russia joining NATO? Why was he rebuffed? The only “partners” the US wants are those who role over and let their national interests be subjugated to the needs of the Empire. The nations that refuse get to be demonized, if they are lucky, and color-revolutionized or bombed if they are weak enough for the bully.

              I was born in BG, I know Russia and Russians far, far better than you could. I am old enough to remember life before and after 1989. Eastern Europe changed masters, and any pretense of social equality was dropped. These are the main differences. I can understand where Putin and Russia come from, and the South Stream fiasco only reinforces that understanding. You live in Europe yet you still haven’t seen a thing, haven’t woken up to the insidious neocolonialism that the US and their EU poodles have unleashed on humanity. Wake up already.

              1. optimader

                “but remind me what part of the KGB training influenced Putin to start out as Antlanticist”
                Maintaining ambiguity.. What makes you think he “started out as an Atlanticist”?

                “…Where is the place of Putin in this ideological pattern? He always preferred to be above the fray of liberals and conservatives, Atlanticist and Eurasists, agents of the enemy and patriots. This is his mysterious tactics. Usually Putin himself speaks ambiguously, so that his words can be interpreted either as Eurasian or as Atlanticist. Similarly, the support or opposition to Putin are not structured ideologically : his supporters and opponents are indiscriminately Eurasists, Orthodox, liberal and Atlanticist. However, the vast majority of Orthodox Eurasians are in favor of Putin and the vast majority of Atlanticist liberals are hostile to him. Putin is not fundamentally opposed to Orthodox Eurasianism as, alas, he has no objection to liberal Atlanticism. He does not reveal his own ideology. He makes evasive statements that are immediately interpreted in one way or another…”

                The eastern European countries that petitioned for NATO membership are Sovereign or no? Did they have the right to choose there affiliations, or no?

                How about the post SU states that joined eh that joined the CSTO (Collective Security Treaty Organization). Did they have the right to choose there affiliations, or no?

                1. OIFVet

                  Motyl good enough for you? Read page 271-272. One can knock on a locked door only so long before he gets the message that he and his nation are not welcomed.

                  And what sovereignty does BG have? It just became the major loser of the cancellation of South Stream, having been ordered by the EC and McCain to torpedo the project. The rest of the lemmings also are sovereign in name only. Its called neocolonialism. Google it.

                2. OIFVet

                  And just to be perfectly clear, it is NGOs like Open Society in particular that impose “opinions” in the East, by its myriad networks of sponsored politicians, think thanks, media, etc. Public opinion does not matter any more than it does here, the public is told what to think, and if they thin otherwise, well, who cares? So we get the absurd where BG people are overwhelmingly Russophile and majority for cooperation with Russia, see many common interests, don’t see it as a threat to national security, insist that the national interest WRT Russia should not be undemined vby “membership” in NATO and the EU, (, use google translate on page, survey conducted October 18-28), yet you get different story from the Open Society alum president and from media getting “grants” from Open Society. Some sovereignty, some democracy, some respect for plurality. Its a sham, neocolonialism dressed as “partnerships” that inevitably leave the junior “partner” worse off. Thank you for defending this travesty by pretending that it doesn’t exist. To say that I have felt acute humiliation the last couple of days is an epic understatement. BG was ordered to do the Imperial bidding, and to eat the costs. Thanks for that too. I suggest that you go and pay a visit: it is a beautiful country with devastated economy that is far worse than what it was 25 years ago. Then talk to me about how “free and sovereign” it is.

      2. Vatch

        You’re probably right about Russian perceptions. I was commenting on the quote that began “Russians correctly see…”. That Russian perception is wrong. It’s also worth recognizing that many of Russia’s neighbors see Russia as an existential threat. For some of those neighbors, I think the threat is real. The history of the partitions of Poland is a good example of what it means to be a neighbor of Russia. Finland, Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia also have good reasons to fear Russia.

        Having said all this, I would like to point out that I have no desire for Ukraine to join NATO. Sweden and Finland are not NATO members, either, and Finland is one of the countries that has reason to fear Russia.

        1. steviefinn

          I just keep thinking that a good illustration of how bad things are is the fact that in comparison, Putin for all his obvious faults, doesn’t look so bad as he probably should,

    3. Yonatan

      Russia cares about Russian speaking people being murdered by Nazis, as do the greater part of the ordinary people of Russia. As for supporting the the break up of Ukraine, when the people in Lugansk and Donetsk proposed their referendum, Putin said it was not a good idea. As for Crimea, Russia did not seize it. It was accepted into the RF after referendum as the Crimeans wanted no part of a Nazified Ukraine.

      1. Vatch

        You’re wrong about multiple points. Very few of the Ukrainians are “Nazis” or “Neo-Nazis”. As for Crimea, Russia seized it starting in late February, and held a rigged election on May 17. 96% voted to join Russia!? I don’t think so. Putin may have publicly advised against the independence of Luhansk and Donetsk, but he started the rebels’ momentum when he seized Crimea. And he only worsened things when he sent troops in to help the rebels.

        1. vidimi

          yonatan didn’t claim that ukrainians are nazis but that russian speakers were being killed by nazis. while you can still argue that, literally, this isn’t true because the killers were not members of the defunct, german NSDAP, the statement isn’t false the way you claim it to be (e.g. odessa).

          i would suggest that the claim that russia cared about people being killed was false – i don’t think russia is much different from the u.s. or just about any other country in that regard – but it rationally cared about the threat to its own geopolitical situation were all of ukraine to succumb to the maidan putsch.

          1. Vatch

            “Maidan putsch”? Oh, come on. Yanukovych’s Berkut thugs were murdering peaceful protesters. After a while, some of them fought back. There was no “putsch”. The parliament declared their lack of confidence in Yanukovych (a few votes short of a full impeachment) and he fled the country.

            1. OIFVet

              Never mind the tape of Paet telling Ashton that the Maidan killings were false flag operation. Never mind the murder of ethnic Russians in Odessa by Ukie nazis. Who cares for the Russian untermenschen, right? What, Soros apologia ain’t enough for you?

              1. Vatch

                What happened in Odessa was horrible. Nobody told anyone that the Maidan sniper killings were a false flag operation. Rather, someone speculated that it might be the case. And Yanukovych’s thugs were murdering people before the sniping started.

                1. OIFVet


                  And, in fact, what was quite disturbing, the same Olga told that, well, all the evidence shows that people who were killed by snipers, from both sides, among policemen and then people from the streets, that they were the same snipers, killing people from both sides. [8:38]

                  Aston: Well, that’s … yeah.

                  Paet: So that, then she also showed me some photos. She said that as [a] medical doctor she can, you know, say that it is the same handwriting, the same type of bullets, and it’s really disturbing that now the new coalition, that they don’t want to investigate what exactly happened. [8:58] So that there is now stronger and stronger understanding that behind [the] snipers, they were … it was not Yanukovych, but it was somebody from the new coalition. [9:10]

                  “Stronger and stronger understanding” is not the smae as speculation. Take what Olga told Paet, consider who could gain and lose from the violence, and ask yourself why the junta refuses to investigate the killings. Don’t forget that the day before Yanukovich had reached an agreement with the Euros to hold early elections in the fall, while the nazi junta wanted to overthrow him yesterday. In the reality-based community, 2+2=4. In the Russophobe community, 2+2= Yanukovich done it. Putin derangement syndrome is so powerful it can even overwrite the otherwise ironclad rules of basic arithmetic…

          2. optimader

            Facts are the first victims of generalities, The Nazi thing is ultimately an unproductive point of debate. Fasists political elements exist in Russia as well in the Ukraine, and the US for that matter.

            One of the key issues that Russia consistently tries to misinform the world about is the supposed “nazism” of Ukrainians and the far-right powers that were purportedly behind Euromaidan. The little sympathy that Ukrainian society has for far-right political powers was shown in the early presidential elections of 25 May 2014, where less than 2% of Ukrainians voted for far-right candidates. However, in Russia open nazism is quite frequent and even receives support from the government. Moreover, Russian nazis are not only fighting among the ranks of DNR in Ukraine, but are also among the leaders of the separatist “republic.” ICTV channel investigated Russian neo-nazism serving to invade Ukraine as part of the Civic Defense series of documentaries.

            Like all good propaganda, Russian claims of neo-fascist thuggery in Kiev are based on a kernel of truth. During the Euromaidan protests, two far-right Ukrainian groups rose to prominence. Pravy Sektor (or Right Sector), a nationalist group, manned barricades and clashed with riot police in Kiev’s Independence Square over the course of the uprising against Yanukovych. The militant organization has denied claims that it is anti-Semitic, but it has spoken out against homosexuality and embraces an ideology that, in the words of journalist Simon Shuster, “borders on fascism.” But Pravy Sektor is only a minor political player in Ukraine’s post-Yanukovych government.

  ….The nationalist Svoboda (Freedom), a political party founded in 1991 and the more powerful of the two organizations, draws upon the ideology of Yaroslav Stetsko, one of Bandera’s OUN allies during the war. It holds 37 seats in Ukraine’s 450-seat parliament and five of its members are part of Ukraine’s new government, including the deputy prime minister. Although its leaders claim to have moderated in recent years, the European Parliament condemned Svoboda in 2012 for racist, anti-Semitic, and xenophobic sentiments that were “against the EU’s fundamental values and principles.”

            But Russian officials are exaggerating both groups’ size, strength, and support. International news organizations, including the Associated Press, have reported no evidence of hate crimes committed after Yanukovych’s downfall, and Ukrainian rabbis have also denied Russian claims that anti-Semitic acts had taken place since the revolution. Ukraine’s UN ambassador, Yuri Sergeyev, pleaded with the international community earlier this month not to make generalizations about his people, stressing that “millions of Ukrainians in the West are normal European citizens.”…

            1. OIFVet

              Blah blah. Them that has the guns and the backing of the West, also has the power. It’s not like the US is stranger to cooperating with Nazi’s in its fight to undermine Russia, that has been the case since several months before WWII was officially over in Europe. The US has a long and infamous history in sheltering and cooperating with Ukie Nazis, as is made clear in this article: In the name of “freedom” of course!

              1. juliania

                Well done, OIFVet! If I could have joined you at any point I would have, but you never missed a beat.

                There’s none so blind as those who will not see.

                1. Vatch

                  “There’s none so blind as those who will not see.”

                  Very true. And fanatics are the ones who are most likely to refuse to see. I am very resistant to rants by apparent fanatics. Shouting may convince some people, but not me.

                  1. OIFVet

                    Thank you for the compliment. It is a ringing endorsement coming from you, the brave defender of US exceptionalism, indispensability, and the resulting neolibcon Imperialism. Yet for all your “bravery” you still can’t screw up the courage to say what you really wanna say, can you?

        2. Yves Smith Post author

          A significant number of Ukraine government positions ARE occupied by Neo-Nazis.

          And the government started a policy of what amounted to ethnic cleaning, for instance, banning the use of Russian and a roadmap of steps after that:

          On June 1st, the press secretary to Yarosh, Borislav Bereza, posted to Facebook the new Government’s plans for the southeast. An English translation was posted of it on November 6th. Here are excerpts from that translation:

          “What I am going to say is brutal, but honest. ” There is only one solution to the problem [in the southeast] — a full-scale military operation.

          Phase one — a locality is surrounded, through loudspeakers population is notified to leave the territory in 1-3 days, after which all remaining will be declared accessory to the enemy. “

          Phase 2 — the city will be subject to massive attack with heavy weaponry.

          Phase 3 — ” the final phase of the operation [like Hitler’s ‘Final Solution’]. Targeted strikes against the city. “

          You will say it’s harsh? It’s absolutely necessary.

          Otherwise in a couple of months it [opposition to Obama’s February coup in Ukraine] will metastasize in other regions [where Yanukovysh received, say, only 70% to 80% of the vote]. Therefore an urgent surgical operation is needed [to remove the malignancy, the spots where he received more than 80%]. Those who want to be human shields for the occupants [in the regions that in 2010 had voted over 80% for the man whom Obama’s coup in 2014 overthrew] are not brainwashed citizens of Ukraine, but are traitors helping a foreign invader [Russia]. These people have always been eliminated. … There are no other solutions to the problem in Eastern Ukraine. ” If [the newly elected but only in Ukraine’s northwest, President, Petro] Poroshenko wants to go down in history as a person who brought peace [like Hitler’s Thousand-Year Reich was to be a reign of peace] to the country and preserved its territorial integrity, then he will give that order.”

          Note: President Poroshenko gave that order.

      2. optimader

        “blah blah blah..As for Crimea, Russia did not seize it. It was accepted into the RF after referendum as the Crimeans wanted no part of a Nazified Ukraine.”

        that’s as interesting as it is unworkable of a notion of how “independence” referendums work in Sovereign countries!
        So if I understand correctly, say if Rick Perry decided to sport a referendum for “Texas Independence!” and it passed, that would be sufficient basis to recognize “Texas” as an independent Nation?
        Or more historically consistent, if Alaska decided to host such a referendum and it passed. The propaganda was floated that the Alaskan transfer from Imperial Russia was not legitimate anyway, then the Russian Duma could push some paper around ratifying the entry of Alaska in to the RF –that should all be legit, Do I have that right?

        1. Oregoncharles

          If Perry wants to take Texas independent, he’s welcome to it. Refugees will be vetted at the border.

          More seriously: I, for one, support precisely that version of self-determination. If a sub-unit really wants to leave, the only right course is to kiss them goodbye. Canada’s handling of Quebec is a model.

          Of course, this is more than a little ironic of Putin, considering Chechnya, but there you go.

    4. Oregoncharles

      Vatch – you have a good point that “existential” is an exaggeration. That doesn’t change how Russia FEELS about it.
      Further, because Ukraine lies athwart their only warm-water port (granted, also controlled by Turkey), encroachment there is especially threatening to their interests, if not their existence.
      Even more tothe point: Russia still is and acts as an empire, but a much more land-bound one than the US. Consequently, “existential” is a bit secondary to issues of pride and self-image – and in that, Ukraine is still part of their empire. It’s actually the original Russia.
      Baiting the bear is still a bad idea.

  9. craazyman

    Holy Smokes this is big! Breaking news everybody has been waiting for — for years! . . . Worldwide News just keeps getting the scoops. My oh my what reporting!

    Italy to Launch New Currency

    by D. Tremens
    European Correspondent
    Worldwide News Service

    December 2 — Rome, Italy
    Italy’s long and painful experiment with the European common currency appears to be nearing an end. Confidential sources told Worldwide News yesterday the Italian government has decided to exit the euro and return to a national currency, to be called “The Amore”. The Amore will convert into Euros at a ratio of 2 to 1 for a period of time, after which convertibility will cease. “Money can’t buy love” confidential sources told a reporter, “so why should euros be able to buy Amores? The Germans will have to fend for themselves.”

    Sources close to the Finance Ministry told a reporter that amores will be printed in unlimited quantities, until the entire nation is satiated and satisfied. Public works projects, to be administered by the Ministry of Culture, will include film festivals, arts festivals, food festivals, media and publishing projects, automotive industry initiatives, design competitions in the worlds of fashion and industry, opera productions and massage parlors with lax enforcement of regulations that sources expect to be minimal.

    “This should put the economy back on track”, sources told Worldwide News. “Everybody will do what they love and they’ll get paid for it. That’s the way it should work. That’s what a little amore will do for Italy.” When asked whether the European Central Bank has been notified of Italy’s plan, sources told Worldwide News that notification is likely to come as early as March of 2015, however the amore is expected to be launched in February. “It may be too late by then,” the source conceded, “but we won’t care by that point anyway.”

    Italy has labored under the discipline of the fiscal restraints imposed by the euro, with unemployment reaching historical extremes, especially for younger people. “Italy isn’t about discipline, it’s about love,” said a source close to the Ministry of Culture. “Look at what happened to Pentheus in The Bacchae,” he said, referring to the plot of an ancient Greek drama, while acknowledge that Greece is not Italy. “Who would you rather be Pentheus or Dionysus?”

    1. susan the other

      And just think, if the terminal for the new silk road is good old Venice, both the drachma and the amore are gonna be gold. So many middlemen, so little time.

  10. flora

    re: Wilson grand jury, and Police provoke protestors
    it’s just a hunch – but when I saw facebook posted pictures of a parking garage just outside of Ferguson full of DHS trucks a few days before the verdict was announced my first thought was, “oh, the Feds already know the verdict and they’re going to use Ferguson as some sort of training exercise.”

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      The WSJ sent an e-mail alert just before 4PM that the verdict would be announced within the hour. The authorities clearly chose to hold the announcement back until 8PM.

    2. Doug

      Wow! The Lawrence O’Donnell piece on MSNBC illustrates how the police state and their prosecutors have unlimited, unchecked power to manipulate the system with impunity to achieve their desired ends. When I see these police chiefs and prosecutors speak, all I hear is convoluted BS. While I often bash the MSM, it’s good to see them digging into this and exposing the manipulations that are disguised as “justice” these days. And the outrageous, threatening response by the police union to the Rams’ pre-game hands up gesture indicates a totalitarian culture within law enforcement that undermines everything this country stands for.

  11. Jef

    Economics should be a focus on one thing, reconciling what we have (natural resources and the biosphere) with what it takes to support humanity in a reasonable fashion. Don’t ask what a reasonable fashion is, it is what we as a population say it is and is defined by natural resources/biosphere divided by population.

    Finance makes this reconciliation impossible.

    Limits to Growth did the inventory in an attempt to steer economics in the right direction but they got the EXACT DATE wrong so finance threw the whole thing out. This makes as much sense as stating “I haven’t died yet therefore I never will die”.

  12. JohnnyGL

    Interesting read, not sure how correct it is. Also, unintentionally funny here:

    “In 2010, for example, the Saudis spent $130 billion to combat the Arab Spring, the Persian Gulf Fund reports. Some of that money went for better education and health care, and a little for infrastructure. Then there was a 15% raise for government employees, higher unemployment benefits, a government-subsidized minimum wage hike and 500,000 new homes in a nation of 28 million people. It cost 30% of Saudi gross domestic product.
    Exxon Mobil and Devon have no such burdens.”

    Yes, here in America corporations are free to treat people like crap, that’s our competitive edge! Freedom from welfare state burdens!

    One thing that’s interesting is how much R&D is going into oil/gas extraction to lower production costs in some of these fields in N. Dakota and Texas. I wonder if the Saudis should have pulled this stunt 1-2 years ago for it to work more effectively?

  13. rich

    JPMorgan Rushed to Hire Trader Who Suggested on His Resume That He Knew How to Game Electric Markets

    The internal emails at JPMorgan and Bartholomew’s resume are now marked as Exhibit 76 in a two-year investigation conducted by the U.S. Senate’s Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations into Wall Street’s vast ownership of physical commodities and rigging of commodity markets. Senator Carl Levin, the Chair of the Subcommittee, had this to say about the resume at a hearing conducted on November 21:

    “There’s two things that I find incredible about this. First, that anyone would advertise in a resume that they know about a flaw in the system — signaling that they’re ready and willing to exploit that flaw. And, second, that somebody would hire the person sending that signal.”

    JPMorgan not only hired Bartholomew, according to the Senate’s findings, but within three months from the date of the email to Dunleavy, “Bartholomew began to develop manipulative bidding strategies focused on CAISO’s make-whole mechanism, called Bid Cost Recovery or BCR payments.” By early September, the strategy to game the system was put into play. By October, the JPMorgan unit was estimating that the strategy “could produce profits of between $1.5 and $2 billion through 2018.”

    The strategy of gaming the Bid Cost Recovery payments, or BCR, was producing such windfall profits that another JPMorgan employee sent an email on October 22, 2010 to his colleagues, joking about the success by featuring a photograph of Oliver Twist holding out an empty bowl with the subject line:

    “Please sir! mor BCR!!!!”

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef


      Though people of the Hinayana school don’t call themselves that (Small Vehicle). They call themselves the Old Ones or something like that.

      Which brings to mind a Zen question: If you are wise, do you think to yourself that you are wise?

      That is, if you are great, do you think to yourself that you are great?

  14. JEHR

    Years ago while walking in the UNB woodlot near Fredericton, a bobcat jumped out of the woods on one side of the trail I was on and disappeared into the woods on the other side. I haven’t seen one since. Another walker told me about a family of bobcats he saw resting and sunning themselves on a tree trunk in the same woods. About the only animals I see now are coyotes, deer, porcupines and foxes (and I walk in a different part of the province).

  15. JEHR

    I am of two minds about Canada’s economy being hurt by the plunge in oil prices. On the one hand, our PM is only concerned with economic development of tar sands without regard to preventing environmental degradation and, on the other, if the economy goes sideways, he may not be re-elected which would be a bonus for Canada. If only there were some balance between development of renewable resources, slower development of earth-bound resources and some commitment to prevent degradation of the ecological system. Without that balance, it may be better that we suffer a bit over lower oil prices. It cannot be a good thing to depend on one aspect of “development” to the detriment of earth, air, water and animals (including human ones).

  16. Synoia

    Russia’s piple lein cancellation:

    In the Bloomberg article:

    The EU had asked member states to stop construction of parts of the pipeline connecting Russia with Bulgaria.


    The EU, for its part, appears eager to keep the project alive. A planned Dec. 9 meeting of EU and national government leaders on the pipeline will go ahead despite Putin’s announcement, European Commission Vice President Maros Sefcovic said on Tuesday.

    So the EU both does not want the pipeline line and does want the pipeline.

    And Bloomberg cannot see this as nonsense?

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      That’s what happens when you write too much, and I have always thought Bloomberg articles are 40% to 50% too long.

    2. hunkerdown

      Nothing in the first statement speaks to factual desire or intent, and in any case, that was some time ago, before the costs to the EU of not having *a* pipeline became apparent and the US salesbluster to provide all Europe’s energy needs proved nonsense on its face. The EU, for its part, appears eager to *stay warm* without unduly upsetting its various and disparate relationships. They may well have realized that hot bluster from across the Atlantic is a very poor source of thermal energy.

      Let’s take even more account of the temporal dimension and of the tendencies of the players. Putin’s MO of late seems to be returning sanctions (economic warfare) under the principle of proportionality. Which European government just scotched a multibillion-dollar boat deal? Which European nation is at the far end of any pipeline coming from the east and therefore likely the first to take any shortages?

      Relationships are not static, and trajectories are not destinies.

  17. rich

    Charter School Protests Target Hedge Fund Billionaires

    Dec 3 2014 | 8:18am ET

    A small group of protesters gathered on the steps of the Tweed Court house in New York on Tuesday to decry the influence of hedge fund billionaires on New York State’s educational system.

    Parents and activists led by Zephyr Teachout—who ran against Andrew Cuomo in the recent New York governor’s race on an anti-corruption platform—held placards emblazoned with the faces of well-known hedge fund managers including Daniel Loeb, Paul Singer and Paul Tudor Jones. Beneath the pictures were numbers indicating their campaign contributions in New York, mostly to pro-charter candidates, reports Buzzfeed.

    The spark for the recent demo was a special session of the New York legislature, rumored to be happening next week, during which Cuomo is expected to raise the cap on the maximum number of charter schools allowed by the state.

    Loeb chairs the board of directors of Success Academy, a charter school group poised to expand throughout the city, while Tudor Jones, Singer and even Carl Icahn have backed other charter schools and legislation.

    Critics say the hedge fund managers’ support for charter schools may have less to do with education and more to do with economics—investing in charter schools is good for their bottom line.

    Alan Singer, a social studies educator at Hofstra University, writing in the Huffington Post, explained it this way:

    “As a result of this change to the tax code, banks and equity funds that invest in charter schools in underserved areas can take advantage of a very generous tax credit. They are permitted to combine this tax credit with other tax breaks while they also collect interest on any money they lend out. According to one analyst, the credit allows them to double the money they invested in seven years.”

    for the kids….hmmm….

  18. Mark

    Are you (Yves) going to be writing about this G20 agreement which I read about at another site today?

    “It was all so fast, they may not have known what they were endorsing when they rubber-stamped the Financial Stability Board’s “Adequacy of Loss-Absorbing Capacity of Global Systemically Important Banks in Resolution,” which completely changes the rules of banking.”

    (counterpunch article today)

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      G20 agreements aren’t binding. This is just optics. US banking regulators are all opposed to bail-ins, plus they are not consistent with Article II resolutions under Dodd Frank.

  19. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    From NASA’s new spacecraft:

    Critics say the strange asteroid mission speaks to a larger problem at NASA: The agency doesn’t seem to know where it’s going. To date, NASA has spent billions on the Orion Capsule and a mammoth rocket that will eventually carry it, known as the Space Launch System. Decades from now, Mars is supposed to be the final destination for the capsule. But in the near term, different administrations have given it different destinations. President Obama set the current asteroid mission, while President George W. Bush called for the spaceship to carry astronauts back to the surface of the moon

    Whatever the budget is, it’s ‘stimulating the economy’ one supposes. We just need to make spacecraft go somewhere near term. Gotta look for a place to spend that money, with the eventual goal of building either a penal colony or a resort for our billionaires, depending on what amenities the smartest humans among us can provide there.

  20. Luke The Debtor

    The so called liberal northeast still runs on coal and heating oil. Easily half a century behind the rest of the U.S. If so concerned with global warming, why the lack of effort to catch up to big bad boogy man that is Texas, you know the state forces you to burn oil? Texas is the largest producer of wind energy – led by oil executives. Yves, how can anybody take this stuff seriously? Even Germany is reverting back to coal.

  21. Jess

    “The combination of holiday travel and a return to tech problems (the result of a bizarre fail across three DNS servers at our webhost) has taken a lot out of your humble blogger.”

    In all seriousness, I see no reason why you should be humble. Most valuable blog on the internets.

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