Links 1/24/15

Disneyland seeks to reassure public amid measles outbreak Reuters (EM)

This Battery Has Lasted 175 Years and No One Knows How Motherboard (Chuck L)

Researcher explores how the universe creates reason, morality PhysOrg

Ray Kurzweil is Building a “Synthetic Neocortex” 33rd Square (David L)

Leaders in Davos Urge Quick Action to Alter the Effects of Climate Change New York Times. Talk is cheap.

Parsing Draghi’s QE Gambit Mohamed El-Erian, Bloomberg

Germans united in the conviction ECB has gone rogue Irish Times

As Euro Falls, Analysts Slash Forecasts Wall Street Journal

America’s Losing the Currency War Bloomberg


Syriza’s Moment Counterpunch (Nikki)

Syriza faces a choice between capitulation and open sedition Verso (Nikki)

What a Syriza Victory Would Mean for Europe Council for Foreign Relations. Notice the pervasive neoliberal/proausterity messaging.

Greece’s solidarity movement: ‘it’s a whole new model – and it’s working’ Guardian (Nikki)

Some official admissions of the past year in Greece of crisis failed evolution

Succession Comes at Critical Moment in Saudi-U.S. Relations New York Times

The Last of the Sudeiri Seven Project Syndicate. Nikki: “Good background on Al Saud clan. The author, Mai Yamani, is the daughter of Sheik Yamani. My recollection of Mai- as an undergraduate at Bryn Mawr- is of an exceedingly charming woman and very hard working student.” Notice the statement at the start of the final paragraph: “Saudi Arabia feels a deep fear of abandonment by the US, and is acting accordingly.”


Yemen. (Arizona in 1870 reborn) Sic Semper Tyrannis (Chuck L)

US woman jailed for plotting IS help BBC. Gotta watch for those commies under the bed!


EU Nears Deal to Reinforce Sanctions Wall Street Journal

War in Ukraine Explodes Anew, With Hints of Russian Role New York Times

Nothing is true, everything is permitted – the US establishment’s attack on RT RT

Diary London Review of Books (Eric H). Important. FYI Mark Ames has made similar observations.

Russian banker warns west over Swift Financial Times

Kim’s ‘crime’ is Putin, not Sony Asia Times RT (Chuck L)

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

How the CIA made Google Nafeez Ahmed (MS). Today’s must read. Notice that the DoD’s Highland “Group” became the sorta private Highland “Forum” to evade open government laws. Also names “journalists” like Thomas Friedman who are presumably carrying the messaging.

FOIA: Department of Justice CCIPS Notes On Aaron Swartz Investigation DSWright Firedoglake (furzy mouse)

Obama abandons telephone data spying reform proposal: U.S. officials Reuters

Big Brother map spots illegal fishing in an instant New Scientist (Chuck L)

Trans-Pacific Partnership Deal Isn’t Secret, Says US Official, But Access To Text Is Highly Restricted David Sirota, International Business Times

Mitt Romney and Rand Paul Are Going to Make Climate Change a Real Issue in the GOP Primary New Republic

Supreme Court to Review Drug Protocol in Oklahoma Executions Wall Street Journal

Heather Zichal to Industry-Funded Think-Tank; “Bomb Trains” Continue to Roll Steve Horn

Bharara challenges insider trading definition Financial Times

Greasy Palms Watch

CFTC Official Tied to Wall Street Profits From Merger Fight Bloomberg (blub)

Offshore vs Football Tax Justice Network

Class Warfare

Bob Dylan wants billionaire ‘job creators’ to start actually creating some jobs Raw Story (Chuck L)

At Davos, Blackstone CEO Says Schools Should Use Unpaid Labor, Refuses to Back Tax for Schools David Sirota, International Business Times. This sort of thing temps me to change the name of this section to “pitchfork watch”.

Antidote du jour (Ric Seet):

keeping baby warm links

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. Ned Ludd

    To be sure, the King and his courtiers are much relieved that the Arab Spring did not lead to the creation of functioning democracies in Egypt, Yemen, Bahrain, Libya, or Syria. Better still, from their perspective, rival Islamist regimes that emerged proved to be either incompetent and easily overthrown (as with Egypt’s President Mohamed Morsi), or without appeal to others (as in Tunisia). […]

    Since 2013, Syria has become the main focus of Saudi Arabia’s attention in the region.

    Chaos keeps adversaries weak. For certain elites in Saudi Arabia (as well as the U.S.), it is in their interests to target populations that could disrupt the current world order and reduce those nations to perpetual chaos and violence (while mercenaries protect the extraction of resources from the rubble).

    Jimmy Carter used a similar strategy to successfully breakup the Soviet Union, by destabilizing a bordering country. But why limit the strategy to destabilizing bordering countries?

    Chaos may not produce the most robust economies. However, in the West, merchants of destruction – such as military contractors and intelligence agencies – prospered over the last decade. Not surprisingly, they want to expand their natural habitat all over the world.

    1. McMike

      Destabilizing individual countries is child’s play.

      We destabilize entire regions! Whole continents!

      BWA HA HA HA

    2. Doug Terpstra

      Whoa, hold on there! It was Reagan who single-handedly defeated the evil empire!-) That’s settled history, Chalmers.

      1. Ned Ludd

        Reagan was old-school: fund death squads, overthrow left-wing governments, and install right-wing regimes that create a negative peace which enables U.S. corporate interests to prosper.

        Carter’s (and Obama’s) strategy is much more nihilistic: undermine the adversary with chaos. Reagan withdrew the Marines from Lebanon, after the 1983 bombing of their barracks, because he did not see a clear path to winning. Liberal militarists, however, know that you do not need to win to force your adversary to lose.

        Regret what? That secret operation was an excellent idea. It had the effect of drawing the Russians into the Afghan trap and you want me to regret it? The day that the Soviets officially crossed the border, I wrote to President Carter: We now have the opportunity of giving to the USSR its Vietnam war.

        1. Doug Terpstra

          Yes indeed, the manifest benefits of lesser (covert) evilism. Obama makes his idol Reagan look like a senile B-movie actor.

          Great link!. The deep state is alive and well.

        2. afisher

          Yea Reagan??? His regimes long lasting gifts include the on-going War on Drugs ( which he actually instigated and funded the Drug trafickers) , the horrific drug laws and the rise of the Private Prison Complex along with it’s useless healthcare regime. Less we forget he also gave GHWBush, Cheney and Rumsfeld their places at the table. How different our world would be without that right wing political nonsense.

          The worst possible effect was that he was not Impeached and many turned a blind eye to his administrations illegal acts.

  2. McMike

    re American ISIS woman.

    I kept wondering what the woman actually did, what crime she actually committed. As far as I could tell, she hadn’t actually done anything yet to be a terrorist. (Except wearing a head covering and participating in an online affair with an alleged member of ISIS – which we should take with a major grain of salt and wonder if he was in fact an FBI fabrication).

    The news reports seemed to be glossing over this, and never mentioned the actual charge. Just the verdict.

    So, turns out the charge is conspiracy. aka: a thought crime.

    It’s a crime to fall in love with a bad guy that targeted you, who probably doesn’t exist, and fly abroad to see him. Land of the free, baby!

    1. Ned Ludd

      My social studies teacher, years ago, showed us a 1970’s sci-fi movie about a dystopia where the government arrests people before they commit crimes. The basic concept of the film was probably inspired by pre-crime, from Philip K. Dick’s 1956 short story, The Minority Report.

      The judge also expressed doubt about Conley’s claim that she had disavowed jihad.

      “Defiance has been a part of her fabric for a long time,” he said, adding that Conley needed mental help.

      Now, simply having a history of “defiance” makes you suspect as an unrepentant thought pre-criminal.

      1. Carla

        It also makes you mentally ill, as cited in Links the other day:

        The precise diagnosis is “oppositional defiance disorder” or ODD.

        According to the DSM, ODD is defined as:

        […] an “ongoing pattern of disobedient, hostile and defiant behavior,” symptoms include questioning authority, negativity, defiance, argumentativeness, and being easily annoyed.

        1. Doug Terpstra

          Do you suffer from ODD? Both men and women can be afflicted with this debilitating disease which not only causes acute public embarrassment, it may also require hospitalization or compulsory quarantine to prevent contagion. But now even occasional episodes of oppositional defiance disorder can be relieved with a high-dose daily regime of Hopium*. Hopium is available for free withou a prescription. Contact your doctor if you show signs of doubt about the sincerity or integrity of your betters or the veracity/objectivity of major media, if you ever wonder about the manifest benefits and inherent fairness of rigged trade, if you question whether corporations are real persons or deserving of welfare services, if you wonder whether it’s the divine right of 1% of the world’s population owns more than half its wealth and resources, if you don’t understand the need to relinquish your privacy and personal liberties in order to security your freedom, if you worry about global warming or nuclear war with Russia, you find yourself puzzled about what the US Constitutional actually says, or if you oppose the divine right of the wealthy to bribe politicians, conduct a proper one dollar, one vote democracy, or wage war anywhere these rights are challenged. These and other symptoms may be signs of a more serious form of ODD requiring forced quarantine and possibly drone treatment.

          * Frequent side effects of Hopium include painful cognitive dissonance, profound delusions, dissociative disorders, bipolar disorders, schizophrenia, frequent thoughts of homocide, and permanent psychosis. Contact your insurer immediately, BEFORE seeking medical treatment, if you experience convulsions, cardiac arrest, or respiratory failure in order to verify coverage.

            1. Doug Terpstra

              Excellent! And, both Obedium and Hopium are easily assimilated by osmosis. Both share similar side effects, however, in rare patients with active frontal-cortex synapsis.

              1. John Merryman

                Actually hopium and obedium are synthesized and concentrated varieties of monetarism. The economic catheter installed in pre-adolescence, to replace tribal and communal based trust and reciprocity mechanisms, in order to incorporate such local groups and their attendant resources into the global Engine of Progress. Since the quality of the original has been degraded and watered down, more powerful versions are being developed. Unfortunately the side effects are also proving concentrated.

        2. ambrit

          This sounds like normal adolescent behaviour to me.
          It’s now a crime to be the ODD man out. Well, it always was. Now it has ‘official’ support. That’s how the old Soviet system did it. Declared you to be suffering from ‘deviance’ and shipped you off to a “Hospital” to be ‘cured.’

          1. Ned Ludd

            Adrian Schoolcraft, a Brooklyn police officer, refused to ticket or arrest innocent people.

            Duty Captain (secret recording): If you let that go because there’s no violation, because he didn’t break the law, then I feel bad for you. Because then you have a tough job. And then maybe you should find something else to do, you know?

            The NYPD locked him up as a Emotionally Disturbed Person (EDP).

            Ira Glass: Now that Deputy Chief Marino has labeled Schoolcraft EDP, the police take Schoolcraft and commit him to a psychiatric ward, saying he was a danger to himself. Schoolcraft, who had spent months documenting his bosses telling cops to lock people up on contrived pretenses, now found himself locked up on contrived pretenses.

            Adrian Schoolcraft: They told the hospital staff that I left work early, I yelled at my supervisor – and I swore at my supervisors, cursed at them – that I ran from them, and I barricaded myself in my home.

            Ira Glass: But the tapes showed that isn’t true.

            Adrian Schoolcraft: Correct, no. None of that happened.

            Ira Glass: Schoolcraft’s father, the last person Schoolcraft talked to, is unable to find him for days. The last he heard, his son was in an apartment surrounded by police, the next, he just vanished. His father says he called Internal Affairs, the FBI, the press. Finally he located him by calling around the hospitals all over Queens.

            Adrian Schoolcraft: That’s the only way I got out, because he confronted the hospital administration and said, here’s my son’s health care proxy, I’m his father. Why have you imprisoned my son here?

            1. ambrit

              Another example of “great minds think alike.”
              I remember hearing that presentation on ‘This American Life.’ It got me thinking about how systems work, irrespective of the people inhabiting them.
              Corruption wears a human face.

    2. Ned Ludd

      Technology and pre-crime:

      Planning a sojourn in the northeastern United States? You could soon be taking part in a novel security programme that can supposedly ‘sense’ whether you are planning to commit a crime.

      In tests, they study whether their system can catch “people passing through the system [who are instructed] to carry out a ‘disruptive act’”. Consequently, they are targeting protesters and dissidents, as well as thought criminals.

      The DHS says that although the first round was completed at the end of March, more testing is in the works, and the agency is concerned that letting people know where the tests are taking place could affect the outcome. “I can tell you that it is not an airport, but it is a large venue that is a suitable substitute for an operational setting,” says Verrico [spokesman for the DHS].

      In the 1970’s film about pre-crime, the basic narrative was: advanced computers + government → locking people up for pre-crime. It took the theme from The Minority Report and grounded it in realism.

    3. Yves Smith Post author

      Yes, that is how it looked to me too. Her crime appears to have been to love a supposed terrorist, convert to Muslim, and (gasp) wear a headscarf to her trial (as in be visibly non-repentant).

  3. McMike

    re taxes for schools.

    Because nothing else says high-quality high-impact productivity like unpaid interns.

    This is the central contradiction of these private equity school reformers – a bunch of overpaid people who worship money as the means to attract and reward performance, and whose rewards grow despite under-performance in their own jobs and crashing the economy – complaining that we should pay teachers less.

    1. McMike

      Follow the logic:

      1. Education is important to America.
      2. Teaching is an important job.
      3. Teachers need to provide consistent high-quality outcomes – defined as above-average data-based standardized results – across the entire spectrum of students, in crowded classrooms, year-in and year-out, in challenging circumstances, or they should be fired.
      4. We should pay teachers less money.

      1. Ned Ludd

        If we pay teachers well, people will be in it for the money. Hence, pay teachers poorly, and you will only get teachers who are dedicated to students.

        (The people who I hear this rationale from often make six figures, which presumably demonstrates that they are not really dedicated to their work).

      1. Katniss Everdeen

        I wonder if he’s planning to pay the teachers anything, or just use an “unpaid workforce.”

        1. YankeeFrank

          That’s no joke. Private schools across the country charge a fortune to rich dumbasses while paying their less qualified teachers half what they’d earn in a public school. In fact, its so lucrative I’m thinking of setting up my own “elite” private school. I’ll hire teachers at $15k/year and charge $30k/ year per student. At 15 students per class (trick them with “small class sizes”) that’ll be $435k per classroom profit, minus room rental. Ka-ching!

      2. Cynthia

        I propose that banks should also be run with unpaid labor. No reason to stop there. Why don’t we run all businesses with unpaid labor.

        Needless to say, we can get the most bang for our buck if we first start with those who are paid way too much, people like Stephen Schwarzmann and all the other overpaid Squids, then we can work our way down to those who are paid far too little. Though by the time we get down passed the corporate suite level, we can pretty much stop there.

        Having an entire workforce of unpaid executives would put businesses so far into the green that the rest of us workers can get a raise and more workers like ourselves can be hired, who actual add value and improve productivity for the company — something which can’t be said about those in the corporate suite. Oddly enough, Squid Schwarzmann deserves most of the credit this modest proposal, including all the radical changes that’ll come from it.

        1. Doug Terpstra

          Agreed. The Emancipation Proclamation is one of history’s great travesties. The US has made great progress toward its repeal, though. Perhaps this new Congress will enable America’s first half-black president to getit done. How appropos! I wonder what it will be titled.

          1. John Merryman

            You don’t want to slow the current dynamic down that much, where the circle around those in charge is drawn so tight it becomes a noose…

            1. Mel

              No disagreement there. But people picked the computer so that decisions could be made without anyone having to look at anything, or think about anything, or take any blame. You say yourself, “Code is Law”.

    2. Jef

      I have some very wealthy inlaws who make certain all their kids and grand kids go to private school and think public schools should be defunded. I asked them if they truly believe that only children of wealthy should have the opportunity to get a good education and they said that that was obvious, “if you wanted a good education for your children you have tried harder to get rich”.

      1. John Merryman

        The actual intelligence of some of those riding this wave is open to question.
        After the wave comes the trough and it is easy to fall down the backside, especially when those at the top start pushing each other.

  4. Butch In Waukegan

    Re How the CIA made Google, I’ve casually followed the “deep state” discussion on this site, and in my opinion it often ended up in unhelpful hair splitting. This, and the following paragraphs, reveal a lot about how soft corporate power, through the government, controls important decisions about war and empire. (My emphasis.)

    The Highlands Forum doesn’t need to produce consensus recommendations. Its purpose is to provide the Pentagon a shadow social networking mechanism to cement lasting relationships with corporate power, and to identify new talent, that can be used to fine-tune information warfare strategies in absolute secrecy.

    Total participants in the DoD’s Highlands Forum number over a thousand, although sessions largely consist of small closed workshop style gatherings of maximum 25–30 people, bringing together experts and officials depending on the subject. Delegates have included senior personnel from SAIC and Booz Allen Hamilton, RAND Corp., Cisco, Human Genome Sciences, eBay, PayPal, IBM, Google, Microsoft, AT&T, the BBC, Disney, General Electric, Enron, among innumerable others; Democrat and Republican members of Congress and the Senate; senior executives from the US energy industry such as Daniel Yergin of IHS Cambridge Energy Research Associates; and key people involved in both sides of presidential campaigns.

    The power elite, the deep state, the ruling class, whatever you want to call it, uses shadow social networking to influence and control.

    1. Uahsenaa

      I can’t emphasize enough how important Ahmed’s dot connecting is in this piece. It’s massively dense, but all the material is of a necessity. I know a lot of info science types from my grad school days, and whenever I would suggest at parties, only half jokingly, that their work is at the beck and call of the government and DoD, they would bristle at the assertion and claim that there is no clear and direct link from the Pentagon to the work going on in labs. Both Ullman’s and Brin’s (through his communications people) non-responses and attempts to change the nature of the question show that Ahmed has established the very link that my friends and their cohorts so vigorously deny.

      1. Llewelyn Moss

        Sidebar – When I graduated college in the ’80s (with BS in CompSci) I had an interview scheduled with MITRE in DC. All i knew about them was they did govt contracts. It snowed hard the day of the interview so I canceled my flight. That was the day the jet plunged into the Potomac River due to weather conditions. I never rescheduled. I was that close to becoming ensnarled in this whole Surveillance State.

      2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Isn’t there a quote about “it’s difficult make a man or a woman understand something if his/her job depends on not understanding it?”

        Does that mean we should go with Basic Income Guarantee, instead of Job Guarantee, to avoid people not understanding what their jobs might induce them to not understand?

        1. Carla

          Upton Sinclair, 1878-1968:

          “It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his job depends on not understanding it.”

    2. flora

      Excellent article. The worst aspect, to me, is that it seems the NSA/DoD have escaped civilian control wrt domestic use of these capabilites. TIA was resoundingly voted down in the 90’s, yet here we are, with a full TIA program under different names.

    3. Carolinian

      Delegates have included senior personnel from SAIC and Booz Allen Hamilton, RAND Corp., Cisco, Human Genome Sciences, eBay, PayPal, IBM, Google, Microsoft, AT&T, the BBC, Disney, General Electric, Enron, among innumerable others; Democrat and Republican members of Congress and the Senate; senior executives from the US energy industry such as Daniel Yergin of IHS Cambridge Energy Research Associates; and key people involved in both sides of presidential campaigns.

      Anybody that leaves out? It’s no great secret that the computer industry was joined at the hip to Stanford’s defense research from the very beginning. That’s why Silicon Valley is where it is. And without that research this thing we are all typing on wouldn’t exist. Does that make us all dupes of the Deep State?

      I certainly do think that Google is far too nosy about its users and personally I do what I can to limit that. But if there is a Deep State I suspect it’s located somewhere in the vicinity of Madison Avenue rather than that five sided building. Capitalism exists to sell you stuff and the more they know the easier that becomes. This is a different kind of sinister (perhaps worse). But re above story: the Pentagon gave seed money to Google and a zillion other things. Where there’s smoke there’s not necessarily fire. Snowden showed that Google–and all the others–have been willing cooperators with the NSA’s big brother fantasies. That’s not quite the same, however, as saying the tech sector was a plot from day one.

      1. Llewelyn Moss

        Having worked at one of the corps on that list, I can say with certainty if Gmen showed up in a company conference room with a bag of money, any whacky project description, and a promise of immunity, the greedy azz managers would take the money.

      2. YankeeFrank

        Read the whole thing. Its not just some early financing. The IC has been intimately tied up in Google from before day one in myriad ways.

    4. Kurt Sperry

      Yeah, the “How the CIA made Google Nafeez Ahmed (MS)” must read is what I think of when I hear the term “deep state”, the tying together of lifer high level bureaucrats, big business and the media. If one were to make a rash characterization you might even call it a huge “conspiracy”. It does kind of walk like a deep state and quack like a deep state. Not that I endorse such a framing.

      1. NotSoSure

        Hm …. I have no doubt that parts of the article are correct, but it doesn’t mention for example of how the Google founders had such a low opinion of the commercial value of their technology such that they tried to sell it off for a a cool …. 750K

        Or how eBay and McKinsey also looked at Google and decided to pass

        All I am trying to say is that the boogeymen could not have been so prescient and predicted the success that Google is right now.

        1. YankeeFrank

          The article doesn’t assert that. What it shows is that Google’s tech was not just funded from before it began (the IC, In-Q-Tel, etc. does that with tons of firms) but that they were extremely interested in the tech itself as they were already planning “big data” for surveillance back in the 90’s (as we know from TIA). Sergey Brin was briefing people from the IC every three months for several years while he was building the core page rank and net search algos. So Google’s work was tied into mass surveillance from the very beginning. Whether Brin and Page were so dumb business-wise they tried to sell their work for a song is irrelevant to the real story. And now ferget it. Google is working hand in sweaty glove with the Pentagon, NSA and every other IC sleaze-weasels they can butt-rub with.

          1. Carolinian

            I have no doubt what you say is true but that doesn’t make it a rational or even necessarily dangerous goal although it does violate our Constitutional privacy rights. The panopticon has proven to be a not very effective way of gathering intelligence. Humint always beats sigint. Just ask the Israelis. The occupied territories are full of informers.

            Spying is never a good thing but there may be a bit too much heavy breathing over this. There are far worse things that the blunt instrument of the military is involved in.

          2. NotSoSure

            When Google says Do No Evil, they are telling you not to do it because they know it pays; that’s why they are hands in glove with the surveillance state.

    5. Yves Smith Post author

      Presenting actual relationships and connections is COMPLETELY DIFFERENT than vague incantations about powerful forces behind the scenes. This is what we’ve insisted has to be done, name names (individuals and organizations) and provide evidence. Only when you find the mechanisms can you do something about it. Talking about vague mystery associations, by contrast, is deeply disempowering.

        1. neo-realist

          It can also be potentially very dangerous work that could cost you your life, e.g., Louis Lomax was working on a documentary regarding the role the intelligence apparatus played in the death of Malcolm X when the brakes on his car failed while going at a high rate of speed on a New Mexico highway, was injected from the car and died of massive head injuries. Dorothy Kilgallen, a journalist who was granted an interview with Jack Ruby and said she was going to break the JFK case wide open, was found dead from a barbiturate and alcohol overdose (she wasn’t a drug user) and was found sleeping in a bedroom that she rarely used and her notes on the case were disappeared.

          It’s easier and more profitable to parrot elite propaganda on the cable news shows.

  5. McMike

    re Bombs Trains.

    Follow the logic:

    1. Shipping fracked oil by rail is no riskier than any other freight.
    2. Rail companies can’t share train data with local authorities due to security concerns.
    3. rinse
    4. repeat

    1. fresno dan

      All the trains that crashed were due to terrorists….and if any water is polluted near fracking wells, well, that’s terrorism too! But we can’t tell you about that due to security.
      Now we’re gonna whomp you, and disappear you….due to security…

  6. Ulysses

    In the linked IBT article USTR Froman denies that the TPP is secret, yet admits that “the actual text of the agreement remains under lock and key.” Wow, I’m really reassured. Just the way I feel so much better when our militarized police explain that they never kill unarmed civilians here in the U.S., yet sometimes are “compelled to apply lethal force.”

    The most disturbing aspect of living under this kleptocratic regime is the enthusiastic use of Doublespeak by our overlords and their servants. Asking employers to pay almost a living wage is an onerous “tax,” legally codifying the monopolistic power of huge multinational corporations– as greater than the power of sovereign governments– is “free trade,” destroying public education is “reform,” etc.

    1. McMike

      Today’s theme… Follow the Logic:

      1. The terms of the TPP are not secret.
      2. You cannot see the terms of the TPP agreement.
      3. Rinse
      4. Repeat

  7. grayslady

    Steve Schwarzman at Davos:

    If you can get unemployed people that cost nothing, that can have this dramatic difference, that costs nothing.

    Maybe Schwarzman should try working for no money and see how satisfying it is.
    This jackass definitely needs to be prodded with a pitchfork.

          1. Marko

            Not only would I not require compensation to serve as the operator of the guillotine , I would happily pay for the opportunity. This should please Schwarzman as a businessman. We’ll know , I suppose , if his severed head is smiling.

    1. Jeremy Grimm

      That line about the unemployed struck a nerve for me too. What kind of lessons might an employed engineer or software type have to offer to school children about the value of an education? Too bad the generation of engineers who put man on the moon are too old to pass on some of their wisdom about how our society values education. We could get some of our unemployed wounded veterans from our ongoing wars to come in and teach lessons on how our society values them, or bring in long time unemployed and underemployed master machinists from the Rust Belt to explain how our society values skill and experience. The unemployed definitely have a lot to teach our young.

    2. ChrisPacific

      “I’ve always wondered, what you do in a society with people who just retire,” he told conference attendees. “If you could get those people, like a board, [to be an] unpaid workforce, pay them next to nothing or nothing, and have them go into the school system… …you would get dramatically different outcomes.

      So there you have it. Public education should be paid for by the unemployed and elderly. In labor, since they have no money.

  8. p78

    Lagarde interview with Euronews (EU sponsored channel) –an exercise in langue-de-bois. The only bravery from the reporter, when he talks about saving the northern banks (when bailing out Greece) is ignored by Lagarde.

    Christine Lagarde: “I think we need to wait until Friday. See what the result of the election will be and then figure out what kind of coalition is put in place and then remind that country that it has made commitments to its European partners. To its creditors. And that’s of the structural reforms that were to be implemented to restore the situation of the Greek economy.”
    ‘Only very few out of what was committed has been delivered and more work needs to be done. Not for us. Not for the European partners, not for the European Parliament as Mr Schulz as indicated but for the Greek people themselves.”
    Euronews: “And for some northern European banks as well.”
    Christine Lagarde: “In terms of tax collection, for instance, hardly any of the benchmarks have been respected.[…]


    Euronews: “So the mantra is: keep calm and carry on cutting. Couldn’t we have done anything differently apart from these harsh austerity measures?”
    Christine Lagarde: “You know, I think in the case of Ireland there was clarity of purpose. There was focus on financial and fiscal. There was determination. There was ownership by the authorities, as well as by many people in Ireland. That they wanted to get out of the very deep financial crisis they were in. There was also extraordinary human competence to try and carry it through and deliver the results and the performance and the jobs that are being created now.”

    1. Chris in Paris

      Some pundits here are touting her as a potential challenger to Sarko for UMP candidate in 2017 presidential primaries. It makes me sad that Jacques Chirac now seems a wise, even brilliant leader compared to these neolib buffoons.

  9. MartyH

    “Parsing Draghi’s QE” parsed: Well, they did it to make Mr. Market happy and hope the Macro Effects don’t work out too badly. I (the guy being interviewed) don’t think it is going to work out so well.

    Hope that helps.

  10. Jim Haygood

    ‘The new chief of the US Broadcasting Board of Governors [Andrew Lack, ex-CEO of Bloomberg and CBS] stirred up a storm when he equated RT to two of the world’s most hideous terrorist organizations.’ — RT

    Don’t know whether this prompted or is in reaction to the RT story, but yesterday Leonid Bershidsky at Bloomberg (Lack’s old haunt) sat down the play the mighty Wurlitzer:

    The problem … is that when foreign media cite RT, they don’t use it as a source of information. Rather, RT quotes are used as samples of Russian propaganda, or sometimes to convey the Kremlin’s official views. It appears not to matter to Kremlin ideologues, however: They just want to make sure their point of view is out there.

    “The aim of this new propaganda is not to convince or persuade, but to keep the viewer hooked and distracted, passive and paranoid, rather than agitated to action,” Peter Pomerantvev and Michael Weiss wrote about Putin’s domestic propaganda in their recent paper, “The Menace of Unreality: How the Kremlin Weaponizes Information, Culture and Money.”

    The creators of the Russian propaganda machine assumed this approach would work for European and U.S. audiences, too. That was too audacious an assumption.

    Talk about laying it on thick. No one would care if this were just Bloomberg, ranting to an audience of the faithful. It’s when Big Media insiders such as Lack insidiously worm their way into Big Gov that serious damage gets done.

    Smash the Media!

    1. OIFVet

      Media whore cat fight. Might as well make it a WWE PPV event, it is just as staged as wrestling anyway. As to Pomerantsev’s diary, I loved the lack of self-awareness regarding Alexey’s exit from RT as a return to sanity, and the attempt to paint the Guardian’s editorial page and other Western media as Kremlin propaganda centers. I think he might benefit from a little sabbatical in the mental ward himself. It might help him notice the lack of jews in what used to be a jewish city next time he takes a little stroll through the streets of Lvov

  11. timotheus

    Schwartzman’s line about how “money doesn’t matter” to education is such an ancient cliché you’d think he’d be more inventive. Jonathan Kozol took it apart decades ago by showing how every time the people trotting out that hoary bromide wanted something for THEIR children, there was inevitably tons of $$$ being thrown at it. Spending levels are absolutely central to education quality by every known yardstick. The proof is in how much people who can afford it are willing to pay.

    1. McMike

      For the rich and academic neoliberals, money is always the answer to bigger/better everything, except when it comes to the wages paid to people who actually do the work.

      It is really a remarkable contradiction they’ve managed to sustain for decades. Arguing for instance that CEOs and Wall Street must pay themselves hugely inflated and always-growing wages – despite a legacy of fraud and failure – putatively in order to attract the best and brightest talent, while in nearly literally the same breath, they argue that companies, civil service, and education cannot succeed unless compensation is relentlessly pushed down.

      It’s a goddamned nice gig, if have the stomach for spewing that sort of twisted bullsh*t.

      1. fresno dan

        incentives for me, but not for thee….
        its also kinda of funny how they always go on about how money doesn’t buy happiness…

      2. LifelongLib

        You can tell how you rank in society by whether you’re encouraged to work harder by being paid more or being paid less…

        1. neo-realist

          Or where you rank in a corporation—Do CEO’s with bonuses and golden parachutes work harder than clerical grunts with self funded 401K’s–in most instances?

  12. Llewelyn Moss

    Yves, agreed. I vote for changing the “Class Warfare” header to “Torches and Pitchforks”. And please consult with Lambert on how to boldface the section titles. ;-)

    re: How the CIA made Google
    That is an eye opener. Confirms that sociopaths are running the USSA gubmint and bankrupting the country chasing boogymen for fun and profit.

    O’Neill’s proposed strategy identified three categories of targets for IW [Information warfare]: adversaries, so they believe they are vulnerable; potential partners, “so they perceive the cause [of war] as just”; and finally, civilian populations and the political leadership so they “perceive the cost as worth the effort.” A secret briefing based on O’Neill’s work “made its way to the top leadership” at DoD. “They acknowledged that O’Neill was right and told him to bury it.

      1. Llewelyn Moss

        Exactly, when has the gubmint ever given an account of how much has been spent on GWOT and/or the Stasi Surveillance State. Spoilier Alert: Never. If taxpayers figured it out, they would give all of congress a Courtesy Flush.

      2. MartyH

        COST!? … there is no stinking cost!

        Nope, nothing but benefits to those loyal, trustworthy, wise, omniscient, and omnipotent folk looking out for our best interests :-(

  13. fresno dan
    The story on the trade deficit should be equally straightforward. Our annual trade deficit of $500 billion (@ 3.0 percent of GDP) is a direct drain on domestic demand. This represents money being spent by workers and companies in the United States that is creating demand in other countries, not in the United States. In the good old days, mainstream economists ridiculed the idea that a trade deficit could lead to a shortfall in demand because they assumed as an article of faith that any demand lost due to a trade deficit would be made by increased demand from other sources.

    Well, now we have “secular stagnation,” a story of a sustained shortfall in demand. And this is not a story just coming from the left, it’s being preached by all sorts of very mainstream economists. While the recognition that the economy can suffer from a shortfall in demand is a great step forward for the economics profession, they keep looking for the causes in the wrong places. We keep hearing about depressed consumers and balance sheet problems discouraging consumption. However fans of the data know that consumption is actually relatively high. The current saving rate of less than 5.0 percent of disposable income is actually quite low by historic standards (low savings means high consumption).

    I am glad we have progressed beyond “everybody benefits” from free trade. Than it was acknowledged that there would be “winners and losers” (all the winners just happen to be the 0.1%). Now, maybe, just maybe, some economists will own up to the fact that the theory and practice are two different things…

    1. James Levy

      I love the “doesn’t just come from the Left” line, as if that mattered more than demonstrating that the contention is true. Why are these writers so afraid to just marshal the evidence, demolish the untrue nonsense, and leave it at that. No, they must make an appeal to ideological cover. Things must be mainstream (whatever) that means before they can be true. It’s one of the many pathetic characteristics of public discourse today.

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      I vaguely remember the argument at the time of NAFTA and WTO for China like this:

      Our strength: Financial services

      Theirs: Manufacturing.

      That makes sense, I think.

      You can only run a hedge fund with unfettered access to the imperial currency.

      Hard to imagine a Chinese hedgie based in Shanghai putting on all the fancy trades, using RMB.

    3. Andrew Watts

      The oligarchs and their lackeys think they’re better than everybody else so their privilege is justified. This dangerous belief is a fundamental betrayal of democracy which only undermines the idea that all citizens are equal and reinforces social elitism. It’s why so many people on the political fringe think we’re going to see a fascist movement in the US. Any successful fascist will merge these anti-democratic views with an apolitical and anti-establishment movement.

    4. LifelongLib

      “low savings means high consumption”

      Not necessarily. It could also mean that after paying for necessities most people don’t have any money left to save.

  14. Jef

    The battery story- The headline feeds the technocopian belief that we are just moments away from some new magical technology that will end all our problems even though the article states that no new useful battery will come from this.

    Also it would seem that if there was some ground breaking information available here opening it up would be a thousand times more important than going for some kind of world record.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Perhaps this will be helpful to others as it is for me:

      We can’t get out with the same we-believe-in-technologoy-or-science that got us in the hole in the first place.

      1. ambrit

        Having grown up in a technocratic household, I must mention that the uses to which science are put are actually more important than the science itself.

  15. Jef

    “Leaders in Davos Urge Quick Action to Alter the Effects of Climate Change”

    Yea no need to change what we are doing to create it, we just need to “alter the effects”. So everyone just keep on doing what your doing, we’re on it.

  16. Vatch

    It looks like Pope Francis has backtracked from his concern that people should not breed like rabbits.

    He said:

    “It provides us with consolation and hope to see so many large families who welcome children as a gift from God”

    He correctly blames an unfair economic system as the major cause of poverty, but he ignores the sad fact that the average person cannot change the economic system. But the average person can limit the size of his or her family, and that would help to reduce poverty significantly.

    The official Catholic position against contraception is routinely ignored by Catholics in prosperous countries, but the situation in the impoverished Third World is completely different. Hundreds of millions of poor Catholics would have better lives were it not for their Church’s opposition to contraception and effective family planning.

    It’s not just a Catholic problem, either. Numerous Muslim, Hindu, and fundamentalist Protestant leaders continue to worsen the world’s poverty by opposing reasonable family planning.

    1. ambrit

      I remember reading that family size drops as family ‘wealth’ rises. Not only is it a factor of ‘education’ levels, but also family size is closely related to agricultural viewpoints. Most farm families in pre-mechanized agricultural societies view children as extra labour units. Get hold of an unromanticized version of the Brothers Grimm stories and see just how dangerous being a child used to be.

      1. Vatch

        Wealthy Mitt Romney has 5 children, and he’s not the only rich person with a large family.

        If the poor won’t start having smaller families until they are wealthier or better educated, we’re going to have a very long wait. Of course I support improved educational opportunities for women and the poor, but people need to take charge of their lives, and stop having so many children. Large families for the poor just perpetuate their poverty. Our religious and political leaders need to face the extremely simple fact that our world is finite, and that we have a finite amount of resources.

      2. Roland

        Fertility rates are dropping rapidly just about everywhere–even in the world’s poorest countries, even in the world’s least educated countries, and even in the countries which have the worst status for women.

        The old theories of demographic transition are simply inadequate to explain the observed massive worldwide decline in fertility rates during the past 30 years.

        For example, we’re going to see the completely unexpected phenomenon of countries going grey without ever having achieved a high standard of living. If you had presented a paper on this in a demography conference 20 years ago, you would have been laughed out of the room.

        If the fertility decline trends hold, world population will be shrinking rapidly by the late 21st century, without any sort of positive Malthusian check having been imposed.

        As in any other science, when the hypotheses get murdered by the data, the investigation simply becomes more interesting. For instance, is developed-world media penetration in developing countries more potent against fertility than rises of formal education or legal change in developing countries? How do you measure historical rates of foreign media penetration?

  17. Jeremy Grimm

    I’m not sure what to make of the “Diary” from the London Review of Books. One thought there especially caught my attention:

    “The Kremlin has, however, become adept at turning Russian scepticism towards their rulers to its own advantage, actively promoting a conspiracy-driven view of everything that happens in the world. Once you stop trusting your own institutions you’re easily convinced that everything, everywhere is a sham and that events are directed by a hidden hand.”

    This statement might just as easily apply to American skepticism towards their rulers. I confess to an increasing tendency to believe conspiracy-driven views of events. The link to the discussion of Google’s ties with the NSA, CIA, and friends doesn’t help.

      1. Joe Robinson

        While at the LRB, check out the Letters section. There is an excellent letter from Edward Luttwak – “Fierce-Lookers”, on the Middle East.

    1. Demeter

      The problem is: we long ago left the clouds of Conspiracy Theory behind, and crash-landed in the land of Conspiracy Fact.

  18. Andrew Watts

    ISIS Gaining Strength, Warns Iraqi VP Ayad Allawi

    “ISIS is getting stronger,” Iraqi Vice President Ayad Allawi said here Thursday evening during a panel discussion at the World Economic Forum. “It’s not true that they have lost control in Syria and are losing control in Iraq. Let us face the facts as they are.”

    Allawi’s warning came as part of a plea for greater cooperation among Arab countries in the fight against ISIS, an effort he described as currently chaotic and uncoordinated.

    “Without really an effort to get things moving with a structured strategy, not only in Iraq and Syria, but globally, then it will not work. We will not control ISIS,” he said. “Without this, the region is going to be exploding more than it is now, and the whole region will be engulfed by the fire.”

    Everybody should remember that Allawi was apart of the Iraqi exiles group that propagated the lies about Saddam’s WMD program. You would think he’d be the last politician to actually tell the truth.

    I have nothing else to say so I’m going to hijack my reply with a picture of this cute kitty.

    1. Jackrabbit

      I hope you saw my previous reply to you a couple of days ago.

      As for ISIS: Allawi is making the same point that I (and others) have: to date there is a mismatch between the stated threat and the actions taken against that threat.

      1. Andrew Watts

        Allawi is stating the lack of cooperation between countries is due to the fact that there isn’t any trust between Arab countries. Furthermore, the failure to form a unified coalition between Arab countries and Iran is because of longstanding regional rivalries and tension. Which the United States has only contributed to without showing any real kind of leadership.

        One of his suggestions is a regional conference between Iran, Syria, Saudi Arabia, and Egypt to overcome these barriers. Which is probably a good idea given the circumstances.

        I hope you saw my previous reply to you a couple of days ago.

        Yup, I still don’t see any reason to change my assessment of your views. In fact you’re building the reasoning and case for it all on your own.

      1. Andrew Watts

        Should we abandon Saudi Arabia and the rest of the region’s oil producers too? It’d be fairly ironic if the Islamic State consumed the state that spawned it’s ideology but you’re only kidding yourself if you think this wouldn’t have enormous consequences for… let’s call it the “American way of life”.

        1. James Levy

          Why? ISIS would have a miserable time ruling the place over there (it’s no picnic and internal opposition would be fierce and endless) and it would have to sell oil to survive. Without our spare parts the fancy equipment over there would rot pretty quickly (the damned planes need maintenance virtually after every sortie). The long-term threat would be a devastating war between ISIS, Iran, and Turkey for dominion in the ME, but again we could ride that out. I think we Americans have simply convinced ourselves that without our direction civilization is doomed. I simply don’t buy that premise.

          1. Andrew Watts

            Uhh, Saudi Arabia produces around 9.5 million bpd of oil. How do you think it would affect the world economy if this amount of oil was suddenly taken offline? By comparison the exploitation of domestic shale reserves only increased US oil production by about 3.5 million bpd.

            The Islamic State could always begin targeting oil infrastructure in the region to increase the value of their black market sales, hurt their enemies ability to wage war, and spread chaos in general. Things can get worse a lot quicker than you think.

  19. craazyman

    holy Infidels. BD lives! Taken it to the billiioaires from the cover of an AARP magazine!

    the young BD put it pretty well back in The Day:

    “Now he worships at an altar of a stagnant pool
    And when he sees his reflection, he’s fulfilled
    Oh, man is opposed to fair play
    He wants it all and he wants it his way”

    -Bob Dylan – License To Kill

  20. Lexington

    RE: Diary London Review of Books (Eric H)

    Uh…has anyone at NC actually read this article? Because at best it’s seriously off message, if not actually subversive.

    Among the highly heterodox and frankly profoundly disturbing views expounded by Pomerantsev are the following:

    – The mainstream Russian media acts as the Kremlin’s propaganda arm, and is very comfortable with that role (there is indeed no such thing as a “free press” in Putin’s Russia)

    – Russian attitudes toward Ukrainians are frequently characterized by chauvinism which can morph into outright racism (this is actually true of Russian attitudes to the non-Russian peoples of the former empire generally)

    – Russian leaders are adept at playing the fascism card to tap into Russian nationalism, inspire a “rally around the flag” effect, and suppress dissent by making it appear unpatriotic

    – Russian forces massed on the Ukrainian border were preparing to invade (contra other equally likely explanations -for example, maybe they where just there as a precaution in case the Ukrainians got too full of themselves after crushing the rebels and decided to celebrate Independence Day in Moscow)

    Actually none of this is news to informed observers of the region, but you know it’s going to be deeply, deeply upsetting to Russia’s many apologists in the West. Indeed the irresponsible dissemination of this information is likely to cause cognitive-dissonance induced paroxysms of febrile dementia, followed by heads exploding all over NC’s comments section.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      As I said, Mark Ames has said precisely the same thing, that propaganda is more advanced in Russia than here.

      As we have also said repeatedly, saying that the US action in Ukraine was deplorable and reckless, and that Putin has been more statemanlike on the international stage, is not the same as being pro-Russia. The logical fallacy is Manichean: that if you are anti what the US did, you must be pro-Russia. You can acknowledge re Ukraine that Russia was provoked and that many of its responses were entirely logical, indeed to be expected, without condoning Russia’s behavior across the board.

      1. Jack

        Even if we run with the idea that RT is nothing more than a modern-day Pravda it’s still a better source for information on events in Ukraine. Biased or not the fact is that it reports on a hell of a lot more events in that area than the Western media does. And when the Western press does report on things it’s usually very obviously hand-picked to paint Russian and the rebels in the worst possible light. As an example literally from today Al Jazeera (which is generally less bound to the Beltway narrative than other sources) is reporting how those dastardly ‘Pro-Russian rebels’ (notice how they’re never federalists or separatists) have bombarded Mariupol and killed at least 27 people. But I can hop over to Graham Phillips YouTube page and see video after video of dead Novarossians and destroyed buildings, events on which Western MSM is conspicuously silent.

        That’s one of the most amazing things about this whole affair. We’re now in an age of high-quality portable video recording devices being commonplace. Events in both Eastern Ukraine and Kiev are well attested by an extensive video record, and yet for instance the idea of there being Nazis in Ukraine at all is still widely dismissed as Kremlin fabrication. But I can find numerous videos of them very easily. Even BBC Newsnight acknowledged their existence.

      2. L.M. Dorsey

        Mark Ames. Pando. Everything You know About the Ukraine Is Wrong.

        Nearly everyone here in the US tries to frame and reify Ukraine’s dynamic to fit America-centric spats. As such, Ukraine’s problems are little more than a propaganda proxy war where our own political fights are transferred to Ukraine’s and Russia’s context, warping the truth to score domestic spat points. That’s nothing new, of course, but it’s still jarring to watch how the “new media” counter-consensus is warping and misrepresenting reality in Ukraine about as crudely as the neocons and neoliberals used to warp and Americanize the political realities there back when I first started my Moscow newspaper, The eXile.

        It is one of those moments when having a credible press corps would be pretty snazzy. Instead, Adam Curtis’s preface to his little film about Nixon and moral panic keeps coming to mind:

        “This is a film about how all of us have become Richard Nixon. Just like him, we have all become paranoid weirdos. Its the story of how television and newspapers did this to us and how it has paralysed the ability of politics to transform the world for the better”…

    2. craazyman

      After the Lions

      sounds like people everywhere! What’s Russia got to do with that – why can’t the Russians on the border go to Kiev and start a professional soccer league? that’s weird to think — they go to sleep one night as special forces operatives and wake up the next day and forget whaat they are & why they’re there, then they remember they’re soccer players.

      Has that ever happenned to you? You wake up and for a brief minnute you can’t remember who you are or where you are? That little space, that little void. Its always there but something fills it all the time and its hard to say whaat that something is. What would they have thought there in the Roman coliseum after being ripped apart in front of 50,000 cheering madmen by the lions. That’s probably were they are, in that little space. It’s amazing what it takes to get there, where you can think strait finally

    3. Jack

      I’m under no illusions that Russia isn’t playing a geopolitical power-game. If you want to see delusion, head over to Sakers site and read the blog posts and comments full of people waxing poetic about the noble Russians who simply believe in international law and want to set up a politically multi-polar world. But at the end of the day it is the West that repeatedly reneged on promises to not expand the NATO empire further East, culminating in the final straw in the form of a literal fascist coup in Kiev, and has essentially declared open economic warfare on the Russian people as a whole. Russia is playing a game of realpolitik to defend its own interests, and at the absolute worst they are doing literally nothing that the US hasn’t done, and largely continues to do to this very day. I actually don’t like a lot of what Russia is doing domestically, regressing into religious moralistic bigotry (or as Saker would call it ‘traditional values’), but it’s their country, I don’t have, and shouldn’t have, any say in what they do within their own borders. At the minimum they are currently the lesser assholes on the international stage, and whether particularly nice guys or not the leadership in Moscow has become the core of a rapidly forming new power-block that is disrupting US imperial hubris in a big way.

    4. Carolinian

      Russia’s many apologists in the West

      Where are those exactly? You seem to be unaware that the vast majority of the journalists in the US and UK–those working for the major media outlets–have exactly the same views as yourself. Your comment is a trip to upside down world. It’s quite true that many commenters here don’t happen to agree with you, but we are merely conveying the information that we receive from sources we judge to me more objective than the known liars at the NYT and Washington Post (most egregious example: war in Iraq). You see it’s not just the Kremlin that has a propaganda arm or relies on a compliant toadies to convey their spin.

      So, head unexploded, I’d say you might want to provide some stronger arguments than simple invective. The LRB article was standard issue stuff that I’ve seen many times before. Indeed one might even call it the (Western) party line.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Lucky for us it is not 28% subtraction of working stiffs and plus 2% more management.

    2. Llewelyn Moss

      IBM has about 400,000 employees world-wide. So these cuts would be in the neighborhood of 100,000 workers. Ouch. They have run an annual ‘jobs off-shoring’ program since about year 2000 to dump US employees. Last I looked they had squeezed out more than 50% of the US workforce to less than 90,000. IBM stopped reporting geography workforce numbers because the press could figure out what they were doing. It was making them look bad. haha

      1. ambrit

        Ever since the Hollerith business, IBM couldn’t make itself look good if it sponsored the “Second Coming.”

  21. zephyrum

    I went into it with an open mind, but the Google article is long and noisy and hard to read, and lost me when it referred seriously to:

    …Google’s patented ‘PigeonRank’ search system…

    “PigeonRank”, as is obvious from the link, was an April Fool’s joke some years ago, a play on the term PageRank, the inaugural search algorithm of the company. That said, under the rule of the big lie, Google’s “don’t be evil” motto is most suspicious and occasionally explanatory.

    1. jo6pac

      It’s really amazing story of our tax dollars at work against us and the last bit of it tells the story of how Amerika uses yesterdays bad guys to go after today bad guys. Sad

  22. jo6pac

    This is a must read and I haven’t made it to part 2

    How the CIA made Google Nafeez Ahmed (MS). Today’s must read. Notice that the DoD’s Highland “Group” became the sorta private Highland “Forum” to evade open government laws. Also names “journalists” like Thomas Friedman who are presumably carrying the messaging.

  23. bruno marr

    Davos Climate Change

    Ms. Lagarde sounded the alarm about rising global temperatures. “We are at risk of being grilled, fried and toasted,” she said.

    Actually we’re more at risk of being flooded, starved, or shot by roving bands of hungry neighbors. It’s the oceans , stupid.

    1. craazyman

      I think she’s already been grilled, fried and toasted.

      There was a photo of her on the internet last year. She looked like a Florida beach queen after a year in the sand working the full-body tan. Maybe it was Cannes in her case.

  24. Jack

    Part of me is going to smile when Ray Kurzweil drops dead one of these days (if there is any real justice in the world it’ll be from a severe vitamin overdose). The guy is insane, and pretty much the definitive techno-narcissist. On second thought, maybe he shouldn’t die too soon. I want him to live long enough to see his beloved ubiquitous technology world collapse because it’s on the very end of a long chain of resource exploitation and human misery. As with all such first-world delusionals he confuses annual iterations of cheap consumer crap for progress and is apparently blissfully unaware that those things are made possible only by what is essentially slave labor and neo-colonial resource wars.

  25. Generalfeldmarschall von Hindenburg

    There’s a world of difference between indoor plumbing and electric lighting and mountains of cheap plastic geegaws. A lot of people like that noble archdruid seem to be aching for a total collapse. Anyone who thinks humanitys spritual malaise will be settled by open ditch latrines and small farms should go see Mad Max. Because that’s how that’s really gonna go down. Cannabalism, slavery, nuclear meltdowns everywhere. Have fun with that.

    1. Jack

      Oh, the collapse and aftermath will suck, no doubt. But at least there won’t be any more unregulated garment buildings collapsing or Chinese electronics workhouses with suicide nets on the side. And maybe in the long run a better world will emerge. It can’t possibly be worse in absolute terms, at most it will be equally terrible but in different ways.

      1. Lambert Strether

        I don’t see why it can’t be worse in absolute terms. For example, public health is greatly aided by clean water, so both municipal water systems, and by extension, the grid, need to work. To avoid epidemics, we need to distribute medicine, and so the transport networks need to work, it’s helpful to have an Internet, so the servers have to churn, and so on and so on.

        Now, you could be arguing “After the dieback, everything’s gonna be jake” (see William Gibson’s newest, The Peripheral, on “the jackpot”) but is that the argument I hear you making?

    2. sd

      I gather you actually haven’t read the Archdruid Report. If you had, you’d understand that what he describes is not in fact a sudden collapse, but rather slow grinding bumps down as we humans try to hang on to our unsustainable modern conveniences. The descent is uneven and masked by the ordinary petty difficulties that people experience in day to day life. The big picture view is one of steady decline. He advocates learning practical skills and adopting a simpler life to minimize the pain of the transition.

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