Links 1/25/15

Why Finnish babies sleep in cardboard boxes BBC. Still a must read.

Small Is Bountiful Tim Wu, The New Yorker. Craft breweries outpace Budweiser. See NC’s interview with Wu during the 2012 gubernatorial campaign.

‘Well, Here’s What Won’t Pass,’ Obama Says Before Listing 35 Proposals The Onion

Billions in Lost 401(k) Savings, Abusive Brokers Under White House Scrutiny Bloomberg

High-Frequency Probe’s First Target Is Barclays Bloomberg

Plunging Oil Prices Both Underpin and Threaten U.S. Policy Objectives WSJ

People Are Talking About Michael Bloomberg Buying the New York Times, Including Michael Bloomberg New York Magazine

Oakland cops’ license cams follow drivers everywhere EFF

Press release: It is now 3 minutes to midnight Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists

The Financial Problems in Your Head WSJ. And it’s not like fraudsters, con men, and financial predators would be part of any “problem.”


Samaras Clashes With Tsipras as Greek Campaign Wraps Up Bloomberg. Syriza ahead, but coalition likely.

High-stakes election may put Greece on collision course with European Union Guardian

Greece Is About To Make A Leap Into The Unknown Business Insider. As opposed to being crushed by the known.

Saudi Succcession

Obama to go to Riyadh on Tuesday to meet new Saudi king: White House Reuters. Kissing the ring.

Martin Rowson on the death of King Abdullah – cartoon Guardian. “The great moderniser.”

Hugging the Saudi floggers Economist

Smooth Saudi Succession Amid Rough Times CFR

Before he was king, Salman was the family disciplinarian who put princes behind bars WaPo. And now that he is King, he’s got dementia.

Meet the Saudi royal family’s rising star, Prince Mohammed bin Nayef WaPo. Next up, the Interior Minister. Ulp.


White House says drone strikes in Yemen continue despite Houthi coup Guardian. Phew!

Experts See Signs of Moderation Despite Houthis’ Harsh Slogans Times. Terrible headline; the perpetual quest for “moderates”!

Thousands of Yemenis stage biggest anti-Houthi protest in Sanaa Daily Star

Fatal clashes as Yemen protests spread Al Jazeera


Davos – a complete guide to the World Economic Forum Guardian

Salesforce who? Party heralds dawn of new era Gillian Tett, FT

The Davos oligarchs are right to fear the world they’ve made Guardian

Bill Gates Expects Historic Improvement in Lives of Poor Bloomberg

Slaying the Octopus Dublin Review of Books. Long form history of Brazilian politics, now heating up again.

Ukraine Fighting Spreads to Key Port City as Rebels Attack Bloomberg

Japan offers compromise on rice in Asia-Pacific trade talks: Nikkei Reuters

Imperial Collapse Watch

7 heinous lies “American Sniper” is telling America Salon. Well, at least LBJ isn’t in it.

Is the Pentagon’s Marshall the Leo Strauss of Military Analysis? The Diplomat

The Hidden Hand Behind American Foreign Policy Douglas Feith, Wall Street Journal. Oh my. Hagiography from Douglas Feith, Iraq architect, living exemplar of the Beltway slogan that “Nothing succeeds like failure,” on Andy Marshall.

King Tut’s mask, world’s ‘most famous archaeological relic,’ has been permanently damaged WaPo. For sourcing connoisseurs:

…speaking on the condition of anonymity because who in their right mind would want to be linked with this debacle…

Odd we don’t see more like this, say in Syraqistan coverage. Or finance.

Cash for passports: How much it costs to buy a visa CNN. Headline is deceptive; it’s citizenship. Minimum $100K. I sense a market opportunity!

Class Warfare

The battle between capital and labour FT

Income Inequality Here and There InContext. A bit stale, but a useful chart on inequality by county. Stunning to see great swaths of the Red States have the same Gini co-efficient as Manhattan.

The Gutting of Dayton: Why My City Is Gone Ted Rall, A New Domain. Must read, and a cautionary tale of the effect of arbitrary financial ratios on the real economy.

Ageing research: Blood to blood Nature

The Secret Douglas Adams RPG That People Have Been Playing for 15 Years Kotaku

Why we turned off our comment boards today Medium

Sappho’s New Poems: The Tangled Tale of Their Discovery Live Science. Amazing and wonderful, so but and reads like a sketch for a William Gibson novel.

Is redoing scientific research the best way to find truth? Science News

A fault in our design Aeon. “The Carrington Event.” Great title for a novel.

Antidote du Jour:


See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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About Lambert Strether

Readers, I have had a correspondent characterize my views as realistic cynical. Let me briefly explain them. I believe in universal programs that provide concrete material benefits, especially to the working class. Medicare for All is the prime example, but tuition-free college and a Post Office Bank also fall under this heading. So do a Jobs Guarantee and a Debt Jubilee. Clearly, neither liberal Democrats nor conservative Republicans can deliver on such programs, because the two are different flavors of neoliberalism (“Because markets”). I don’t much care about the “ism” that delivers the benefits, although whichever one does have to put common humanity first, as opposed to markets. Could be a second FDR saving capitalism, democratic socialism leashing and collaring it, or communism razing it. I don’t much care, as long as the benefits are delivered. To me, the key issue — and this is why Medicare for All is always first with me — is the tens of thousands of excess “deaths from despair,” as described by the Case-Deaton study, and other recent studies. That enormous body count makes Medicare for All, at the very least, a moral and strategic imperative. And that level of suffering and organic damage makes the concerns of identity politics — even the worthy fight to help the refugees Bush, Obama, and Clinton’s wars created — bright shiny objects by comparison. Hence my frustration with the news flow — currently in my view the swirling intersection of two, separate Shock Doctrine campaigns, one by the Administration, and the other by out-of-power liberals and their allies in the State and in the press — a news flow that constantly forces me to focus on matters that I regard as of secondary importance to the excess deaths. What kind of political economy is it that halts or even reverses the increases in life expectancy that civilized societies have achieved? I am also very hopeful that the continuing destruction of both party establishments will open the space for voices supporting programs similar to those I have listed; let’s call such voices “the left.” Volatility creates opportunity, especially if the Democrat establishment, which puts markets first and opposes all such programs, isn’t allowed to get back into the saddle. Eyes on the prize! I love the tactical level, and secretly love even the horse race, since I’ve been blogging about it daily for fourteen years, but everything I write has this perspective at the back of it.


  1. Steve H.

    “White Population: Perhaps unsurprisingly, the per-capita data and the white population data significantly overlaps. If you are driving through or parking your car in a neighborhood with a higher density of white families, you are less likely to be picked up by ALPR cameras, particularly northwest of State Highway 13.”

    “Oakland cops’ license cams follow drivers everywhere EFF” reinforcing “Getting Out of Our Lanes: Understanding Discrimination in the Digital Economy” with data! Nicely done.

  2. Ben Johannson

    Regarding turning off commentary: Probably for the best. Commenters, including myself (or maybe especially myself), rarely add much to a discussion.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      Perhaps true at Medium, read the whole article for the stats. Not true here at NC. My point in posting it was the substantial effort to make it all worth it, which here, it is.

      1. Llewelyn Moss

        Zerohedge has a policy of just letting the Trolls Bloom. As far as I know they never police the comments. And man do the comments get ugly sometimes — racist, sexist, homophobic, … and don’t ever mention you support any program that would help the poor. Ever. There is libertarian lynch mob there that will Cut You. hahaha

        1. cwaltz

          Kinda surprised, since if I remember correctly the site requires you to get permission before you have posting privileges.

          I have visited there a time or two even though I get the impression it leans libertarian and they are largely disciples of Ron Paul(who I find to be a big fat hypocrite when it comes to freedom and liberty- he’s for your liberty as long as you look or think like him-long live the rights of the angry “Christian” white male!) They also seemed to have a gold fetish. However, I don’t remember the commentary looking quite as bad as the comments you see on AOL(leans liberal so conservative bashing is a sport although they mainly ignore the idiots who come by to mock the) or yahoo(leans conservative so if your conservative you get to call Pelosi,Pelousy and mumble about how awful it is the gays have rights and the poor have health care on “their dime.” Nevermind that they have their own set of gimmees like interest earning for free in 529s.)

          1. Llewelyn Moss

            You have to signup for an id but the only required info is an email address.

            Next time they post an Obama story, check the comments. I’m no Obama fan but man the white hoods come out in force.

            1. cwaltz

              I might do that. I agree that Obama seems to bring the worst out of some from the right. Although I suspect that we’ll see some of equally bad behavior from the left side of the aisle if Sarah Palin does decide to toss her hat in. (nothing like calling a woman a c*nt and saying she should be raped because you disagree with her. And the stories on Trig being Bristol’s border the insane Obama is a muslim Kenyan infiltrator crap.

              Most of the ideological pom pom wavers don’t add much to a discussion. They blather on even after facts should have shut them down and certainly never seem to admit they might have got something wrong.

          2. lord koos

            Little known fact: the ZeroHedge site is bankrolled by Sprott Investments, Mr. Sprott is a Canadian billionaire libertarian who is in the precious metals business. The site is good on some stuff but seems essentially to be Sprott’s propaganda mouthpiece. The comments are usually pretty horrible, but recently I have noticed an increase in more left-leaning posts. Sometimes I get the impression that at least 50% of the commentators are paid propaganda shills.

      2. DJG

        My attitude toward comments sections is that they prove that Freud and his observations are still valid. At general news sites, stories about Obama produce a spewing, very much id-like, of hatred and irrationality. Even at some “liberal” sites, Naomi Klein’s work elicits plain old anti-Semitism. Some comment sections are simpley American high school, rehashed, which is so much of American life (Eschaton, in particular). When people go on and on about Charlie Hebdo, I say that we have to let the spewing go on. We might as well know what we are collectively up against.

    2. Brooklin Bridge

      Complicated issue. Interesting that one of the few features of the modern internet that provides the capability for some democratic improvement (interactive discussion/participation) to communication beyond the so called marketplace of website choice is under considerable attack. I suspect the frustration with comment sections is enhanced as much as possible by TPTB for that very reason.

      If comment sections disappear, one predictable outcome will be that when the small sites outside the main stream gurgle and bubble also begin to disappear (for not conforming to some bogus standards or other trumped up requirements the puppet masters come up with to rid themselves of critics and the public of information), there will be no noise in the comment sections because there will be no comment sections (or significantly fewer which will more than suffice).

      Who can argue with the frustration of The Guardian, for instance, when they print a pure propaganda story about, say, Ukraine only to find their total BS called out for the shameless propaganda it is by their own comment section? – that they pay for!! – time and again!!! What sensible web site would permit such a travesty to continue and who could reasonably blame them?

      1. Brooklin Bridge

        For the time being, but probably not for much longer, there is considerable pressure for institutions such as the Guardian to include comment sections because such a large number of competing sites do. Once that falls below a certain level, or when the value gained is not worth the public scrutiny and whistle blowing suffered by the Guardian and their staff and pay masters, that will change quickly.

        1. Brooklin Bridge

          Finally (I hope) the fact that frustration with comment sections can be partly – entirely legitimate, adds another nifty dimension of thorns to the issue.

    3. Kurt Sperry

      Turning off comments seems a lazy way out when possible alternatives clearly exist. Just as one possible alternative, one could for instance create a whitelist of commenters who have accounts tied to a verified bank account number and could be microcharged for commenting. You’ve heard of putting your two cents in? Charge people two cents per comment! If the transactional costs per comment are too high, charge one dollar for fifty. It would literally stop comment spam in its tracks and abusive or simply incoherent commenters easily could be stopped dead in their tracks as well. Is it a great idea? No, it isn’t. I could come up with a list of objections ranging from it discouraging anonymous whistleblowing to implementation hassles. Is it better than all likely alternatives? Yes, I’d say it is. If you don’t trust a website with your banking information, why would you trust them to inform you? My two cents.

      1. jrs

        You can get as much commenting as you pay for, just as you can get as much political power as you can pay for.

    4. Jeremy Grimm

      Sorry, I must disagree with your comment Ben — all of your comment. Your comments and the other comments on this site provide one of its great values. I enjoy reading the comments and have learned almost as much from the comments as I have from posts. I enjoy writing comments as a rare opportunity to engage with other people interested in what is happening in our world. I enjoy the range of thoughts and the links people share. Although I would still find great value in reading Naked Capitalism without the comments, I would feel a great loss.

      1. Brooklin Bridge

        Comment sections in general and anonymous comments in particular are a kind of bellwether of the health of the internet not to mention (in this country) of modern democracy. When they disappear, it is likely that many of the sites we depend on will also disappear even if one doesn’t immediately follow the other or if the relationship is not immediately evident. This isn’t so much a question of “rights” as of reality, nor does it mean that a comment section is appropriate for every site.

    5. Jagger

      I imagine a lot of media is removing comments because they don’t want readers contradicting the official line as approved by the editors. Without comments pointing out fallacies, it is too easy to accept the official storyline. For that reason alone, I feel the trend to remove comments is a negative.

  3. Ned Ludd

    Hollywood uses ‘American Sniper’ to destroy history & create myth

    In fact if you had just arrived in the movie theatre from another planet, you would be left in no doubt from the movie’s opening scene that Iraq had invaded and occupied America rather than the other way round.

    Unsurprisingly, the real Chris Kyle was not as depicted by Clint Eastwood and played by Bradley Cooper. In his autobiography, upon which the movie is supposedly based, Kyle writes, “I hate the damn savages. I couldn’t give a flying f**k about the Iraqis.” […]

    They say that patriotism is the last refuge of the scoundrel. In the hands of a movie director with millions of dollars and the backing of a movie studio at its disposal, it is far more dangerous than that. It is a potent weapon deployed against its victims, denying them their right to even be considered victims, exalting in the process, when it comes to Hollywood, those who murder and massacre in the name of America.

    From my own experience: liberal, NPR-listening Democrats who were against the invasion of Iraq (when Bush was president) have transformed into cheerleaders for U.S. militarism. They applaud revisionist, deceptive propaganda films like “Zero Dark Thirty” and “American Sniper”; while lambasting Muslims (using the accusatory “them”) for being the source of violence.

    Conventional thought, in the U.S., has embraced the U.S. government’s role as “the greatest purveyor of violence in the world today”.

    So they go, primarily women and children and the aged. They watch as we poison their water, as we kill a million acres of their crops. They must weep as the bulldozers roar through their areas preparing to destroy the precious trees. They wander into the hospitals with at least twenty casualties from American firepower for one Vietcong-inflicted injury. So far we may have killed a million of them, mostly children. They wander into the towns and see thousands of the children, homeless, without clothes, running in packs on the streets like animals. They see the children degraded by our soldiers as they beg for food. They see the children selling their sisters to our soldiers, soliciting for their mothers.

    What do the peasants think as we ally ourselves with the landlords and as we refuse to put any action into our many words concerning land reform? What do they think as we test out our latest weapons on them, just as the Germans tested out new medicine and new tortures in the concentration camps of Europe?

    To make sure a comparison, now, would have you mocked and ridiculed because of “Godwin’s Law”. The memetic engineering, of a techno-libertarian who went on to become a contributing editor to Reason, is now pervasively deployed to shield U.S imperialism and barbarism from comparisons to its obvious antecedents.

    1. Carolinian

      This review of the movie suggests Eastwood actually toned down the jingoism compared to the published (on the internet) script.

      As I’ve said recently Eastwood is a big rightwinger, but Hollywood’s bias is always toward dramatic simplifications and storytelling over fact. So it isn’t just ideological; lefty filmmakers also manipulate. Personally I think all fiction films about controversial contemporary issues should be regarded as dubious. When you see “based on a true story” at the beginning be sure to read the fine print legal disclaimer during the credits at the end.

      1. Jim Haygood

        Imagine a movie where some foreign terrorists park a ‘fishing vessel’ a few miles off the east coast, launch a missile-equipped drone over the D.C. suburbs, and take out the homes of a few American officials.

        Science fiction? Unfortunately, just as nuclear technology promptly leaked everywhere, so has drone technology. U.S. officials are enjoying a brief window of ‘drone superiority.’ But as Chalmers Johnson warned them, there will be blowback … sooner than they think (though it probably is an anthropomorphic error to attribute ‘thought’ to reptilian lifeforms).

        1. ambrit

          Sorry Jim, but down here in Agartha, we speak of Reptilopomorphization. Who would have imagined that all those small scurrying mammals would end up being you lot?

        2. Carolinian

          Snowden says what’s most wrong about the NSA futzing with the internet is that the US economy is a lot more vulnerable to this sort of thing than the people we claim to be afraid of. Just wait until our critical industries are hit with a Stuxnet. Presumably when it comes to security issues as well as finance the rule of thumb is “I’ll be gone, you’ll be gone.” Those Caribbean hideaways are going to get pretty crowded.

      2. Ned Ludd

        From the Mondoweiss article:

        When it comes to warfighting, American Sniper unspools like a Western; almost all the Iraqis onscreen conform to Quentin Tarantino’s appraisal of Native Americans in the films of John Ford: “faceless Indians he killed like zombies.”

        During conquest, the invader does not recognize the humanity of their victims (of course, there is always room for regret once the conquest is complete). Little House on the Prairie, in the original text, states bluntly:

        “There the wild animals wandered and fed as though they were in a pasture that stretched much farther than a man could see, and there were no people. Only Indians lived there.”

        The New Yorker, where I originally saw the excerpt, observes that the Ingalls family, like all pioneers, received unacknowledged assistance from “the federal government, which had cleared their land of its previous owners.”

    2. Llewelyn Moss

      From my own experience: liberal, NPR-listening Democrats who were against the invasion of Iraq (when Bush was president) have transformed into cheerleaders for U.S. militarism.

      Okaaaay agreed. And how about conservative, FauxNews-listening Repubs. Do you think they also may have swallowed the patriotic, kill em all propoganda oozing from the MIC controlled govt and media?

    3. mad as hell.

      Once again Americans are the victims. The pioneers who were the victims of menacing indians to today’s American warriors you are the victims of post traumatic stress and a host of other maladies.
      It amazes me as to how one sided the American view is and seems to be getting even more jaded.
      Growing up in the midwest and being taught by nuns and priests about the holocast. I never could understand how the German people stood by and allowed those events to happen. It’s becoming much clearer now.

      1. three eyed goddess

        @mad as hell: yes it is becoming much easier to understand how “German people stood by and allowed those events to happen.” As evinced by the three-foot-tall rifle-shaped bottles of American Sniper Commemorative Vodka that appeared yesterday in the local supermarket of our smallish northern Kalifornian town.
        feeling sick

        1. Jim Haygood

          Waiting for the phallic-shaped bottles of American Dickhead Commemorative Vodka.

          Last night on a suburban street, I spotted a big U.S. flag draped across a second-floor bedroom window. Then I noticed it was upside down … ;-)

        2. Lambert Strether

          Russian? Polish? Domestic? I bet it’s domestic. After all, American potatoes are exceptional.

          1. ambrit

            That’s Idaho potatoes are exceptional; as in “My Own Private Idaho.” “This Spud’s For You!” “When you say Idaho, you say “Altered State!”” Etc., etc.
            I would not be a bit surprised if AD Vodka was a blend of vodkas from all over: grain from Canada, sugar from Cuba, beets from Germany, and good old American Midwest corn syrup. (All are used to make vodka somewhere or other.)
            American whiskeys boast about being double distilled? Hah! Good vodkas are sextuply distilled! Which brings us full circle back to our pivot man, A.D. Commemorative Vodka. “Try A.D. Vodka. For those times when you need to get well and truly ‘f—-d up!'” “A.D. Vodka reminds you to get f—-d up responsibly.”

          2. jrs

            sadly most vodka, at least in the cheaper range, doesn’t even seem to be made from potatoes anymore, it’s made from wheat etc. (read the labels). A travesty, one can’t even get properly Russian drunk after seeing American sniper vodka bottles and needing to. crapification.

        3. optimader

          it’s a -0 /+100 tolerance situation. If diversity of opinion offered in blog comment sections offer no value, reading them is not rqd.

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            It would like going back 30 years when you read the paper and that’s it.

            A few might write in response to an article.

            “The silent majority and minority.”

      2. Ned Ludd

        In school, we were taught almost nothing about World War II and Nazi Germany (and nothing about Italian Fascism). Every year, during the last few weeks of history class, we breezed through all the events that occurred after the founding of the League of Nations. In my AP European History course, we spent more time covering the Thirty Years War than World War II.

        I wondered how people justified the killing of Native Americans and the expropriation of their land (in history class, the expansion of the U.S. just magically happened as white people moved west). A 1971 interview with John Wayne, where he justifies “taking this great country away from them“, sounded archaic when I was younger. Now, I expect that many people in the U.S. would nod their heads in agreement.

        Q: For years American Indians have played an important — if subordinate — role in your Westerns. Do you feel any empathy with them?

        John Wayne: I don’t feel we did wrong in taking this great country away from them, if that’s what you’re asking. Our so-called stealing of this country from them was just a matter of survival. There were great numbers of people who needed new land, and the Indians were selfishly trying to keep it for themselves. […]

        Q: How do you feel about the government grant for a university and cultural center that these Indians have demanded as “reparations”?

        John Wayne: What happened between their forefathers and our forefathers is so far back — right, wrong or indifferent — that I don’t see why we owe them anything.

        The first quote can also be found on page 250 of the book Movies as Politics by Jonathan Rosenbaum, who was the film critic for the Chicago Reader.

        1. RWood

          Try Ronald Wright’s “What Is America?” as informed antidote to that cr*pulous exceptionalism.

        2. jrs

          We got through WWII but rushed through Vietnam very fast and never anything after. They were at the end of the history books and there wasn’t enough time in a school year, which I suspect was all very deliberate (put more chapters in than weeks in a year and presto). Some teachers should try teaching history backward, dare to talk about the near present. I tell history in reverse, cause it hurts. Yea it hurts too much to bear.

      3. Doug Terpstra

        Much clearer indeed. And conspicuous among those “Good Americans” standing by are the very same “liberal, NPR-listening Democrats who were against the invasion of Iraq”, just us frogs lounging in the hot-tub.

        1. three eyed goddess

          ‘just us frogs lounging in the hot-tub’
          yeah, ‘we’re with you all the way, here across the bay’

    4. Whine Country

      You are going to get people like Chris Kyle because they are a by-product of waging war. OK, go ahead and prepare to shoot the messenger (me). It is a fact that it is incomprehensible to all who have not been in combat. The experience of combat cannot be duplicated by any other means than first hand experience. Can anyone tell me how they would function and reason in combat. Try to imagine smoke and noise beyond your imagination. At home we shoot weapons with noise suppressing headgear on. I had to use Malrboro filters because we could not get any ear protection and even then I could not hear for 6 to 8 hours after a firefight. Your body is taken over, and I mean literally taken over, by the Fight/Flight syndrome and, believe it or not, flight is almost always the worst option and not because you would be branded a coward. It is a counter-intuitive fact that the enemy prepares in advance for you to flee and that makes it even more dangerous than maintaining the fight. I am not in any way condoning the reprehensible acts that even our soldiers commit. I am merely making the point that combat creates or, at a minimum, enables the Chris Kyles’s of the world. The solution, war should be very difficult to initiate and only be used as the very last resort. War by the US is a choice. It is now far too easy to make that choice, and making it easier has been done incrementally by our elected leaders and our electorate since the Korean police action. (Legally, all military action has not been a “war” because Congress must declare war.) If you deplore this as I do, then accept that we have met the enemy and he is us. We chose to elect people who parse words and argue about what the definition of is is, so they can say a rose by any other name is NOT a rose. I have said before and been criticized on this forum: the military is a jobs program without which our economy would be so bad we would likely have civil war. That money and energy must be channeled to do productive work at home. It is not near enough to decry the behavior of our soldiers and hope for a miracle. Maybe Clint Eastwood thinks as I do and really wanted to produce something that would make us accept who the real enemy is. War is not like the weather – we can complain about it, and if we do enough, we can change it. People who have never experienced combat must understand that you cannot ever know what you will do when placed in the position of having to take action to stay alive. And, sometimes the bravado you see from the Chris Kyle’s of the world is their own form of whistling past graveyard. Sarah Winchester went insane from the ghosts that haunted her because of her husband’s company the Winchester Repeating Rifle Company had caused the deaths of so many people. Is it hard to imagine more than a few of the people who actually did the shooting had some ill effects on their mental health too.

      1. Jeremy Grimm

        I have not been in war but I can imagine all too easily what it would be like. Without the noise, the light and shock of explosions, the dust and smoke, the confusion and discomfort, the fear, the death … just the act of killing or doing great harm to another person and the changes it would make in me is sufficiently terrifying.

        I worked on some of the weapons DoD uses and sells. I profited from the jobs DoD provided and tried to succor my conscience with the belief my efforts were entirely to put money into the pockets of my employers and a little bit of that into my salary. Other than harm to our larger economy, what harm could there be in building weapons to stockpile somewhere and replace every few years with another run of expensive weapons? I fooled myself into believing my country would not be so foolish as to engage in another pointless foreign war like Vietnam. Then came the Bushes.

        Try as I might, I can think of no reason for our recent wars other the making of a great deal of money for a few in our Defense Industries. I know I got my small cut but I was much happier making obsolescent inventories stockpiling against imagined threats … but making war against imagined threats?

        I can understand only too well how we get people like Chris Kyle from our wars. All our soldiers are trained to be like Chris Kyle. A few actually become like him and the rest are forever damaged in their souls. I read an estimate some 2% of our soldiers are psychotic when they enter the service. These soldiers enjoy killing and find their greatest fulfillment in war. Soldiers have been coming home for many years now, having seen and done horrible things, some terribly broken physically. They come home to unemployment and austere support and services from the government they served. They come home to broken families and broken relationships.

        Some of them come home without feeling this same hidden anguish. Instead, they miss the excitement and the joy of killing. What becomes of these ex-soldiers? Where do they fit in? I hope I am wrong, but I fear some of them become police officers or work as the modern equivalent of goons.

        What I cannot imagine is how it must feel for our enemies to see their country and their people, their friends and family torn asunder by one of our pointless, endless wars.

      2. James Levy

        I call bullshit. Snipers are not in the heat of battle with explosions and incoming fire. They sit a mile behind the lines in defilade under cover and kill people who don’t even know where the bullet came from. They are murderers, pure and simple. They are not duking it out in close quarters with an enemy on even terms. Nothing they do is heroic. They are one small step above drone operators.

        1. optimader

          “They are murderers, pure and simple. They are not duking it out in close quarters with an enemy on even terms. ”

          Well, a thread on the philosophical premise of “Just War” could take a few scrolling feet of Comments, but to be sure there is nothing noble about “duking it out…on even terms” in war.

          1. OIFVet

            You are wrong Opti, if two dukes duke it out it is indeed a noble fight. Remarque had the right idea in ‘All Quiet on the Western Front’: “Kropp on the other hand is a thinker. He proposes that a declaration of war should be a kind of popular festival with entrance-tickets and bands, like a bull fight. Then in the arena the ministers and generals of the two countries, dressed in bathing-drawers and armed with clubs, can have it
            out among themselves. Whoever survives, his country wins. That would be much simpler and more just than this arrangement, where the wrong people do the fighting.”

            1. optimader

              “You are wrong Opti, if two dukes duke it out it is indeed a noble fight”.
              true that

              In the theme of kropp, idealistically it should render to snipers and the leaders that are disinterested in good faith negotiation, leave everyone else the hell out of it.
              Short of that, given no alternative who wouldn’t take an uneven fight in their favor?

              1. OIFVet

                The entire US doctrine of war fighting rests upon the assumption that we can make every fight an unfair fight. As Iraq and Afghanistan demonstrated, asymmetrical warfare negates our ability to stage an unfair fight. True, we win the tactical engagements but end up losing the wars anyway, both militarily and economically. So on some level I don’t believe that unfair fights are truly advantageous, in the military sense. If anything, our assumption that our technological and tactical superiority (the latter is debatable, mind you) will be enough to win has ended up backfiring badly on us because our military is simply unable to grind it out and accept high number of casualties.

                I would love to see Obama and Putin duke it out and leave the rest of us alone. My money’s on Putin.

                1. Optimader

                  The iraq 2 and Afghanistan had no mititary objective which constituted winning, consequently there was no possibility to win under any circumstance. Iraq war 1 had an objective not to say it fulfilled the minimum standard for a Just War but in context it was “won” militarily but left a broken country that was kept broken with sanctions and nofly zones.

                  1. OIFVet

                    “consequently there was no possibility to win under any circumstance” i.e., we lost. Like in did in Vietnam.

                    1. Optimader

                      Yes , lost but not like in VM. Very different circumstances.
                      Iraq2 was never clearly articulated what win meant. Vietnam we commited into someone else’s on going civil war which was fought as an idealogical proxy war of attrition. There was an objective albeit unattainable by a third party aggressor.

      3. Michael

        Combat may create more of them, but there are absolutely people like Chris Kyle who are like that before they ever see actual combat.

      4. jrs

        Raise your children not to be soldiers. But what about economics? Well … most people raise their kids not to be criminals (even though some do turn to crime and some for economic reasons). One should prefer one’s kids to be common criminals than soldiers in the imperial army.

    5. DJG

      D.H. Lawrence, capsule review, American Sniper: “The essential American soul is hard, isolate, stoic, and a killer. It has never yet melted.”

  4. tomk

    “He really made a marvelous job of creating Riyadh as a Saudi center of power and a city that works pretty well,” Lacey said. “He is a phenomenal worker. People used to set their clocks right at 8 every morning when his cavalcade of cars would go by on the way to the office.”

    From the WaPo article on the new Saudi king, love that going to work at the same time each morning is an example of him being a “phenomenal worker”.

    1. ambrit

      I really love the inherent idea that “phenomenal worker(s),” deserve cavalcades of cars, like some Oriental Despot on parade. (Oh, wait, he was an Oriental Despot.) So, that explains why he couldn’t walk the streets of his own capital city safely? (ME experts correct me if I’m wrong, but was he really respected by the Saudi public?)
      “Uneasy lies the head that wears a crown.”

      1. Vatch

        “cavalcades of cars”

        Reminds me of Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh:

        Rajneesh was notorious for the many Rolls-Royces bought for his use, eventually totalling 93 vehicles;[92][93] this made him the largest single owner of Rolls-Royces in the world at that time.[94] His followers planned to expand his collection to 365: a Rolls-Royce for every day of the year.

        1. ambrit

          Years ago I worked on a house in New Orleans’ Coliseum Square district. The woman living in the house had lived at the Bhagwans Ashram in Oregon and followed his esoteric regime. She primarily described a philosophy of Unfettered Hedonism. Well, it stands to reason, that’s what Oriental Despots do, isn’t it?
          That wiki is seriously bent. The truth about the Oregon Ashram that I heard was lascivious in the extreme. Someone is trying to clean up the Bhagwans image.

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            You have the Church of Money and then you have the Church of Sex*.

            Let’s remember to separate church and state.

            *one of the esoteric sect of that Church believes in sexually transmitted ideas. That is, some divine ideas can be (and perhaps can only be) transmitted sexually. Look for more details in my next (and first) novel to be published whenever I can get around to it.

            1. ambrit

              Remember those bumper stickers saying; “Sex Solves Everything”? I do. Usually seen on the rear of an old Audi or BMW.

        2. diptherio

          Rajneesh has made a come-back under the moniker Osho. From what I understand, the root of his discipline is sitting across from a partner (whichever gender tickles your fancy), both of you naked, staring into each other’s eyes.

          Rajneesh/Osho is simply one of a long line of spiritual hucksters, a person who realized early the two rules of power (1. half of all people are dumber than average; 2. A disciple is an @$$hole looking for a human being to attach itself to) and decided to use them to his pecuniary benefit. Characters like Deepak Chopra and Ken Wilbur are less extreme examples, but in the same line, nonetheless. Literally anyone can recycle the philosophy of the mystic masters into modern language and people reading it will assume that the author is him/herself enlightened. With a little imagination, one can incorporate whatever cutting edge science is going on at the time and sell a bunch of books to the secular humanists too.

          However, as the Sufis say, “tricksters can make money selling false gold only because real gold exists.”

          Keep searching for the real gold, is what I say–and beware the holy man/woman who tries to sell you a book, for they may well turn out to be merely a book salesman in a robe.

          1. Yves Smith

            Ahem, the big line in that crowd is “follow your energy” meaning have sex with whoever you are attracted to. And it’s considered bad form if you are on the receiving end of the attention to say no. So it is pretty much a sex cult. I’ve run into followers in various New Age settings (places like Santa Fe) and the consistency of the party line was remarkable.

  5. Scientist

    Is redoing scientific research the best way to find truth?
    science is not absolute and should be open to investigation.Sadly,it is now controlled by bureaucrats and corporations who want research results to authentic their personal beliefs.
    I have seen major research work done in fluid mechanics to validate many basic postulates,theorems and the results did find out discrepancies.
    At least,third world nations should focus more on redoing major research which first world has almost abandoned.There many new things to be learned here

  6. ambrit

    A question for the site administrator. Yesterday I spotted a squib for a comment in the Recent Comments sidebar. Then it never showed up on the thread indicated. (The Richard Smith piece.) I’m just curious, that’s all. (It was not a comment of mine.)

    1. Kurt Sperry

      Yeah, comments still in the moderation queue seem to appear in truncated form in the “Recent Comments” column on the right side. When you click on them to read them, it just takes you to the top of the page. It actually allows a little peek into what does and doesn’t get culled from the comment strings.

      1. ambrit

        Ah ha! Thank you Mr. Sperry. This does indeed add a measure of mystery and spice to the process. It also adds a whiff of the transitory nature of our lives.

  7. McMike

    re deviance and defiance disorder. (Slightly o/t today., but of the theme…)

    Recent NC links and comments have brought to our attention the rampant criminalization of poverty & debt, the explosion of private for profit prisons seeking to turn crime into cash flow, out of control police fabricating crime and assassinating unarmed citizens while seizing assets, the forced march of citizens into mandatory corporate rent extraction systems, the criminalization of dissent, the preemptive arrests for thought crimes and conspiracy, the extensive use of entrapment, and the pathologization of defiance.

    It came to mind of course that extent to which the Nazi regime included “lesser” deviants along with the Jews into the gas chambers, racial deviants like Roma, but also homosexuals and the like. Mao (and Pol Pot) of course turned IQ into a capital crime. And Stalin sent millions to their death for the crime of inadequate obedience.

    But we are not immune here in the USA. Think eugenics sterilization programs. Think Tuskegee syphilis, red baiting, female hysterics, lobotomies, and of course the language accompanying the sodomy laws. Hell, think PMRC.

    It can happen here.

    1. Doug Terpstra

      Do you mind? Some of us toads just want to enjoy the hot tub. Please! Your bubbles are disturbing the natural odor of things.

      1. McMike

        That’s me. Mr. Fart in the Elevator. Sir Turd in the Punchbowl. Baron Von Buzzkill. Herr Hot Pocket in the Hot Tub. The Master of the Oblivious.

        At your service.

        1. Doug Terpstra

          Seriously, yours is a good wake up call. It’s amazing how easily we acclimate acquiesce to what would recently have been unthinkable and unspeakable. To your list, prison profiteering, police-state impunity, compulsory insurance, etc., we can add endless war, torture, assassinations, kidnapping, false imprisonment without trial, corporate personhood, open political bribery, lobbyist lawmakers, amnesty for manifest fraud, and a private cartel that buys all bad assets of casino banks and has total control of our currency and government. I had thought the breaking point had come at the end of the Bush regime, but it goes on and on with hardly a croak of protest. I suppose it could last indefinitely.

          1. ambrit

            The Dems played it like that was so, then betrayed us all. There is a special circle in Dantes’ Inferno for betrayers. He knew all about it.

  8. OIFVet

    Video of an English-speaking fighter from the fascist Azov battalion. The accent of this guy makes him a Brit. Then there is a video of a guy with what may be an American accent. Both of these videos were taken in Mariupol yesterday. Are these guys mercenaries or special operators? Will the West take an active enforcement action against its nationals fighting in Ukraine, like it has against its nationals fighting for ISIS?

    1. ambrit

      Oh come on OIFVet. These boys are ‘internationals.’
      By the way, isn’t Mariopul the home base for the Azov? Could they have been put “in harms way” by the Kiev Kleptos because that place was a natural first target for the “Rebel Alliance?” On the principle of matching your assets to the appropriate task.

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      I am reminded of the International Brigade in the Spanish Civil War.

      Those guys were volunteers, I believe.

      They didn’t get paid much by the people who sent them…probably nothing, seeing that they sent themselves.

  9. ambrit

    I see the return of “Master Gekko.”
    That inscrutable smile,
    Complete repose,
    Who contemplates consumption?

  10. craazyman

    Anybody got a 10-bagger?

    This has got to be the year it happens. I want to put about $1 million into one thing and have it go up 10 times. That should be enough to get the fire lit. With 10 million you’ve got breathing room. Then you can reduce your ambition and go for the 5 bagger. That’s $50 million.

    Then you can start buying small companies that make stuff. That would be cool, to run a company that actually makes something. Maybe something related to surfing. That would be cool. God know what it would be. Maybe waves. Maybe a wave machine company. You find a lake or a big river and you put a wave machine about 100 yards off shore and you’re churning up 8 foot swells for the guys to shred. A lot of guys would pay up for a good wave machine. Surfing could break out (no pun intended) all over the world. Even inland! Forget skateboarding. You can do the real thing with a wave machine and a lake.

    That would be cool. To be the CEO of a wave machine company. It’s almost all there in my mind. You just need the first 10-bagger and the rest is easy. This should be the year! The only problem is: I don’t want to risk losing any money. That would be horrible! So It’s hard to know what to do & nothing happens. Thank goodness there’s Youtube.

    1. ex-PFC Chuck

      You find a lake or a big river and you put a wave machine about 100 yards off shore and you’re churning up 8 foot swells for the guys to shred.

      Come here to Minnesota and surf the north shore of Lake Superior. You won’t even need the wave machine. There were probably people out there today. Seriously. And you’d probably get along fine with them, Crazyman.

  11. McMike

    re Visas.

    Not really the point of the article, but the other day I saw this guy, I think he was on Charlie Rose, anyway there’s this guy, a Brit maybe by his accent and stiffness, blathering on about what’s wrong with the US, from the conservative perspective. He was with Heritage or American Enterprise or some other Koch-fronted stink tank.

    So, here he is spewing away with all the usual right wing boilerplate bullcrap, except with a British accent, which we all know makes Yanks assume that the speaker is smarter and seriouser than he is.

    And so as the guy is offering the usual litany of proper British Limbaughisms, in between Charlie Rose interruptions, I am thinking: how did this guy get a Visa to work here? Is he a citizen? How the hell did he get that?

    Then, I thought of all the out-of-work right-wing blowhards born and bred right here in the USA, natural-born domestic bores, and wondered who the f**k does this guy think he is slithering into the country and stealing work from a bona-fide red-to-the-bone Amerikun a-hole?

    Go home to the Torries Mister Thatcher, and vacate that seat for a natural-born jerk.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      We prefer our global reserve currency stay international, for the purpose of facilitating international commerce.

      So, after we’ve paid for some all-natural cotton T-shirts, if the money comes back to the US to buy some global captain of industry some citizenship or a mansion, it defeats that purpose. We would have to buy more T-shirts…AGAIN!!!!!!

      (All that work for nothing.)

  12. fresno dan

    Today’s most vexing governance problems, however, are to be found in well-established liberal democracies that are undergoing “repatrimonialization,” a term Fukuyama uses to describe the capture of ostensibly impersonal state institutions by powerful elites. Britain, Japan, and other liberal democracies each face serious challenges, but the United States, the world’s first and most advanced liberal democracy, has suffered the most from repatrimonialization. “While the American economy remains a source of miraculous innovation, American government is hardly a source of inspiration around the world at the present moment.”

    Despite the Kennedys, Bushes, and Clintons, America is safely past overt nepotism and other neopatrimonial practices. Instead, over the last half century, America’s political decay has been fueled by what Fukuyama characterizes as a new “tribalism” that authorizes influence peddling at the highest levels of modern politics. American government, Fukuyama declares, is now dominated by “interest groups that are able to effectively buy politicians with campaign contributions and lobbying.” This perfectly legal vote buying is an insidious form of “clientelism” practiced with huge sums of money and at a much larger scale than ever before. Congress is now controlled by politicians who raise money and win reelection by granting political favors to their supporters.

    For example, high-priced lobbyists for Wall Street first devised the deregulation that made too-big-to-fail banks possible, and then fashioned the faux financial fix-it legislation that followed the 2008 economic crisis. These new laws featured a “highly complex stew of new regulations” that could not be well implemented and “would likely not solve the underlying … problem even if they were.” Similarly, Fukuyama parses the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010, aka Obamacare, characterizing it as a 900-page “monstrosity” enacted on party-line votes and forged by “concessions and side payments made to interest groups, including doctors, insurance companies, and the pharmaceutical industry.”

    1. Andrew Watts

      Whoaaa. Fukuyama was actually listening to his taunting critics all these years?

      That sir, is the smell of redemption.

  13. Vatch

    The Carrington Event reminds me of the episode of Star Trek the Next Generation “11001001”, featuring the Bynars. It’s about a species that is overly dependent on sophisticated technology, and how that makes them vulnerable.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      I remember a time when technology was sturdier than today, that when the TV reception was not that good, all you had to do was bang on it a few times and it would work again.

      Not sure if you can do with a smartphone. Much more temperamental, it seems to me.

    2. craazyman

      How hot was counselor Troy? Holy Smokes, her curves went in 4 directions from top to bottom.

      If you could travel at the speed of light while people were watching Star Trek on earth you could pop in to earth time like a UFO and do all of them, one after the other — first Uhuru from the original, then McCoy’s nurse, the hot blonde (I can’t remember her name), then years later, Counsler Troy. I can’t remember if Deep Space 9 had any. It must have. That would be four..

      hahahahah. It would take 4 days! And you’d only be 4 days older. You;d still be buff each time. hahaha

      1. ambrit

        Sorry craazy, but Starfleet has very strict rules about temporal meddling. You might become the father of Kahn! As for Majel Barrett, the nurse in sick bay, she supposedly had a thing for Spock, but later settled for some guy named Roddenberry. DS9 was a hotbed of hot mixed species cuties. Then there is Voyager, oh my.
        Let’s not even open that can of Denebian Wriggle Worms that is the ‘Reboot.’

    3. Jeremy Grimm

      I first got hooked on this Carrington Event / EMP Attack Event after reading “One Second After”, a 2009 novel by William R. Forstchen. Around the same time I read this novel, Michio Kaku interviewed Art Bell on a radio show I listened to about Solar Flares. Some further searches on the web turned up an extensive report made to the House Armed Services Committee, in 2004, by the Commission to Assess the Threat to the United States from Electromagnetic Pulse (EMP) Attack. The Commision’s report is available at Looking further, I found that Newt Gingrich and William Forstchen were buddies. The Heritage Foundation issued a report in 2010, at EMP attack and critiques of the “One Second After” were and seem to remain a topic of discussion on survivalist websites. As recently as 2014, Congressman Trent Franks Homeland Security Committee Subcommittee on Cybersecurity, Infrastructure Protection and Security Technologies, heard testimony about EMP and Solar Flare events.

      This issue has a mixed provenance, though provenance is not a valid argument against the claims made. The descriptions of the Carrington Event are quite scary enough without arguing about the possibility of a local or large scale attack using nuclear or non-nuclear EMP weapons. After spending almost a week without electricity, phone, or Internet, with stores and services disabled or shutdown, I cannot help but feel concern about the possibility of even a 100-year Carrington Event. Borrowing an analogy from arguments for taking immediate action to address Climate Change: “Would you fly on an aircraft with a 1 in 100 chance of crashing?” [As I recall the Climate Change Analogy was closer to a 1 in 10 chance of crashing.]

      The last I read on this topic, Congress decided it could not order power companies to take action to protect against a Carrington Event or EMP Attack, and there was no money in the budget for the U.S. Government to pay for the necessary hardening of our infrastructure.

      Just to make things interesting, the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster raised discussions about the vulnerability of our nuclear power plants to the rising Ocean waters, as well as discussion about their vulnerability to an extended power grid outage. I recall reading how the pumps driving cooling waters through the nuclear reactor rely on electric power from the local power grid. If the pumps stop the reactor will overheat and eventually melt down. Nuclear power plants supposedly have backup generators and fuel to continue running for about a month but if the grid is down longer than a month, there could be problems. I don’t know whether our nuclear power plants rely on the electric power grid for their power. Does anyone know whether this is true. It seemed strange to me. I would expect the pumps would run from power generated directly by the nuclear power plant.

      1. Oregoncharles

        Then there’s the Yellowstone Super Volcano (not the only one), capable of ending civilization on this continent – and perhaps the whole world – when it erupts, some time in the next 100,000 years. There seems to be some disagreement about whether it’s due.

  14. efschumacher

    Coming up to 19:00 Greek time when the polls will close. Eager to hear if Yanis Varoufakis gets his seat. Even more eager to see the Syria results, and enjoy the ensuing pyrotechnics. Any chance of a Water Cooler covering this process?

    1. ambrit

      American Administration indicating it will “vote with its’ feet” in the Syrian arena. Administration spokesbots reveal that the Administration defines “votes with feet” as meaning “boots on the ground.” More as it arrives.

    2. Kurt Sperry

      Good news (I think): “Anti-austerity left-wing party Syriza is heading for a substantial victory in Greece’s general election, official projections say.

      The party is projected to win about 150 seats, just one short of an absolute majority, though officials say that number could change.

      The ruling New Democracy party is projected to come a distant second.”

      Source BBC:

      1. ambrit

        This link, though useful, would not allow me to click out of it to anywhere else. Be prepared to close the page and reaccess NC.

    1. lambert strether

      Would simplify matters if Syriza got an absolute majority in Parliament, but that is not known yet.

        1. ambrit

          Now I read on the Bill Mitchell blog that Yiannis Dragasakis is slated for the Finance Ministry.
          So, who is fooling whom?

          1. c

            from the guardian article:

            Milios, who attended Athens College, the country’s most prestigious private school – graduating in the same class as the former prime minister George Papandreou –is part of an eclectic group of experts advising Syriza’s leader, Alexis Tsipras, on the economy.

            Others include the Oxford-educated Euclid Tsakalotos, the political economist and shipping family heir Giorgos Stathakis, the leftwing veteran Giannis Dragasakis and the Texas-based academic Yanis Varoufakis.

      1. Kurt Sperry

        It seems to me that Syriza need to make alliances with Podemos, who have similar electoral prospects and find friends in Italy, which is ripe for anti-austerity pushback. Then it won’t be a simple matter of bullying little Greece into submission and the troika will have to seriously make a deal. I don’t see Syriza’s win as sufficient, but I do see it as necessary.

    2. DJG

      Rather remarkable: Greece has an “informal” system of registering and taxing real property. Sounds almost non-existent:
      It’s like a case study from Hannah Arendt, who points out that private property is more important that wealth. She discusses how the appropriation of the property of the Church and the peasantry was the basis for early captialism. Besides the ease of disappearing from the tax rolls, this means that everything in Greece can easily fly away, be expropriated, be sold off–when there’s no property register, even real estate can be looted with impunity. Syriza has identified this as a problem. Not so astounding that the corrupt elites in the ND and Pasok never bothered.

  15. McMike

    and now for something completely different…

    Belichick also told the world that he has “handled dozens of balls over the past week” in hopes of better understanding the issue, so really, this is the controversy that just keeps on giving.

    I understand that the Jimmy’s Kimmel and Fallon are jointly suing The Patriots for holding that press conference on the weekend.

    At bottom, does anyone really believe that a top-tier professional QB can’t detect when a ball is 10% to 15% under-inflated? Puh-leeze. Apparently, the corner-backs have no problem recognizing it the moment they get their hands on one.

    Meanwhile, over in baseball, pitchers will risk ejection merely to make micro-scratches on the surface, in order to create a little more action. More sensitive hands I guess.

    The Patriots have affirmed the lesson my mother taught me lo so many years ago: if you get the reputation as a cheat, no one will give you the benefit of the doubt.

    1. optimader

      don’t follow the game but heard this story. Is the contention the balls were only underinflated for one team or both teams? If the later, then so what?

      1. McMike

        Just one team. Hence the gaping logic hole in the Patriot’s explanation, which is actually a non-explanation. Essentially, they said they investigated themselves and were unable to replicate it, or determine how this happened only to them. And so wish everyone would focus on something else besides their track record of pushing/crossing the lines, and their inability to explain this one except attribute it to magic or divine intervention.

        It’s actually quite a distraction from the Super Bowl, but couldn’t happen to a more deserving team. The good news is that this gives the media something entertaining to obsess about. As opposed to a wardrobe malfunction or something else less meaty.

        The Patriots brought this on themselves though for being unapologetic about their gray- and black-area methods for gaining an edge in the past (thus a tie-in to more NC-relevant topics).

        They really should just blame an overzealous junior staffer and be done with it.

        1. ambrit

          This can be spun as the financialization of American football. You see, the “boys in the know” could use this information to modify their bets on games, especially where “points” are concerned.
          This has the potential to become the NFL’s “Black Sox” scandal.
          “Say it ain’t so Joe!”

          1. Jagger

            Vince Lombardi, “Winning isn’t everything, it is the only thing.”
            We have always been a bit challenged when it comes to getting our values and priorities straight.

        2. optimader

          l’m surprised the league officials/referees don’t maintain chain of custody of the ball(s). Isnt that the case in other professional sports? Referees always take the ball between plays don’t they? I would think if anyone should be trained to perceive a nonstandard ball it would be a referee. go figure

    2. Deltron

      Peyton Manning, Aaron Rodgers and Drew Brees have all said they air the footballs to their preferred specifications and then see if the refs accept or reject them (some prefer more than 12.5 psi, some prefer less). This isn’t a new phenomenon. Why did the officials approve these footballs? That’s the story that no one is covering. Why does the media let the officials off the hook? Why is it the officials don’t sit behind the microphones during post-game press conferences?

  16. DJG

    Thanks for the Brazil coverage. I had the luck at the end of college to be involved in a project about Brazil, which even entailed learning some Portuguese. The level of ignorance in the U.S.A. about Brazil is rather amazing–the second largest country in this hemisphere by population, and you never hear of it. American attitudes about “Latin America” are made through the distorting lens of Mexico. Brazil’s history is unique. (And the Brazilians have a wicked sense of humor, too.)

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      I agree and not just Brazil.

      We want to know more about smaller and the smallest countries, in this hemisphere and anywhere in the world.

      We are all on the same spaceship.

    2. Pepsi

      I checked out on the Brazil article after this gem

      Vargas is the weightier figure, arguably the most important in modern South American history. Perón took a wealthy developed nation and helped set it on the path to decline. Vargas seized control of a backward giant and laid the foundations for its transformation into one of the world’s largest economies –

      See more at:

  17. DJG

    Thanks for the Sappho. We can only benefit from more Sappho. (And I note the paragraph about Christians destroying Sappho’s works–oops, now how could that have happened? And why? And who else was made to disappear?)

  18. Jess

    Regarding Douglas Feith and “nothing succeeds like failure”: That depends on your definition of failure. For the crowd that Feith runs in, success isn’t in getting a policy to work, it’s in getting the policy implemented in the first place. That is the definition of power; to get done what you want done. The outcome — whatever happens next — is a footnote.

  19. Christopher D. Rogers

    What the “fuck” does the BBC coverage of the Greek election think it is doing and what bloody Orwellian-double speak western world am I living in?

    Before you think one’s language inappropriate please consider this. In its coverage of the momentous events presently taking place in Greece, our bloody wonderful, alleged impartial, BCC reporters are calling Syriza “the radical left Party”. You heard it here folks, Syriza, that 40 years ago would have been to the right of the then UK’s Labour Party, is now a “radical left” organisation, with all the undertones that go with the word “radical.”

    Having read quite a lot of Yanis Varoufakis’s output over the past 12 months, I’d hardly call Yanis a radical, nor for that matter would I call Mr. Tsipras radical for those of you who would like to contrast the Syriza election promises with the 1983 Labour Party manifesto that Michael Foot went to the country with, and which Roy Hattersley, who with Neil Kinnock, started the rot to infect that once proud leftwing organisation, referred too as the “longest suicide note ever written. By the way, in 1983 the actual left of the Labour Party wanted our country outside of the then EEC, they wanted to rid our nation of nuclear weapons and turn back the clock on four years of huge social upheaval caused by Thatcher and her monetarist economic prescriptions, what we call today “neoliberalism”.

    Whilst I’ve yet to reach 50, in my humble opinion as someone who embodies many principles of the actual left, Syriza is not hot bed of radicalism, and yet the Uk media, much of the European media and obviously your US media are making out that Syriza are a threat not only to Europe, but no doubt the world – which I actually only hope is right, for at long last it seems people are awakening and coming out of the shadows to see the world for what it is and those legacy parties, be they left or right, for what they are. Corporate whores no less.

    I’m not usually anti-German, but suffice to say Ms. Merkel should keep her big gob shut, she does not rule Europe and a war was fought only 75 years ago to stop Germany controlling Europe, so its time Ms. Merkel remembered that fact and pays homage to democracy and the democratic outcome of free and fair elections, that she herself was denied for much of her youth in East Germany.

    I only hope now that the people of Spain, the UK, Italy and other nations take sustenance from the encouraging news that a real left-of-centre political party has gained the most votes in Greece and seems set upon leading Greece’s next government. Its message was clear, no more austerity, and the Greeks were not only voting against austerity in their nation, but austerity across the entire European Union. And for that I thank them and the more than 40% of the Greek electorate that voted for real, rather than “faux” leftwing parties.

    1. Clive

      Just tried to keep my morning tea down while I watched Fox’s wanna-be with a cultural inferiority complex (feeling inferior because it isn’t American) Sky interviewing a Syriza spokesman. Their reporter almost had palpitations when the Syriza interviewee said out loud that the “Greek bailouts” were massive stealth gimmies to French and German banks. But the rest of the coverage was blatantly biased with a constant refrain of “how will Greece survive without kowtowing to the ECB ?” handwringing. Yea, like the sort of “survival” which the Greek people have been subject to is really worth having.

      Awful, absolutely awful, journalism. And the BBC isn’t any better.

  20. Kyle

    Well, I was disappointed to read this –
    Syriza is more accurately described as a bourgeoise (comfortably middle-class) party that attracts votes from the workers by pretending to be “leftist.” Careful research reveals that Syriza is, in fact, a friend and ally of capital, not labor, so the capitalists and the market have nothing to fear if Greek voters “turn to the left.” The media hoopla about this issue is just another sham. here:


    1. Christopher D. Rogers


      If that were true, prey tell instruct me why the Euro is collapsing in after hours trading upon the news of how well Syriza has done. I’ll go further, the two actual led-of-centre parries, Syriza and the Communists have won approx. 41% of the counted votes thus far. Any party with more than 40% of the vote in the UK would have a large Parliamentary majority, and, as is looking likely, that Syriza is on just under 36% of the vote, that is a huge result given all the fear mongering thats been undertaken these past three weeks by the majority of the Western Media, you know, the MSM. Suffice to say, Syriza will require a coalition partner, so why not the Greek Communist – now that really would be two-fingers to Frau Merkel, two very deserved fingers in fact.

    2. I.G.I.

      Certainly true AFAIK, there is nothing “radical left” about Syriza. They abandoned their earlier aim to exit the EMU and restore Greece fiscal sovereignty, essentially following the South American model (apparently no party advocating abandonment of the euro is electable in Spain or Greece; in voters irrationality being part of the euro is still perceived as “prestige” no matter the cost). All Syriza aims is somehow to renegotiate the terms of the Greek obligations within the framework of the EMU. I think this is highly idealistic.

      1. Christopher D. Rogers


        Actually, that is not necessarily the case, the German Government position, and indeed several other Northern European EZ member nations position has been there will be no negotiation of the present terms of the Troika’s Diktat to Greece as far as its debt obligations are concerned – indeed, Greece is not even included in the first round of countries to benefit from Draghi’s minuscule QE bazooka blast last Thursday.

        The way I’ve been interpreting it is that the Troika and Merkel are confident that there will be no contagion if Greece exits the Euzo, be this via their own volation or being ejected from the Euzo – see Stability and Growth Pact.

        So essentially Greece is caught between a rock and a hard place – which most of Syriza, and no doubt those voting for them understand. One thing is for sure, things can’t really get much worse than they are under the benevolent gaze of the EU, the Troika and Frau Merkel. it also needs to be said that ejection from, or leaving the Euro does not equate with leaving the EU – although as a leftwinger myself, without reforms, this is what I’d want for my own country, namely the UK, given the EU has developed into the beast many in the Labour Party more than a generation ago warned us about.

        On this occasion, I actually think the EU and the Commission will blink first, for their can be no doubt the Euro has been a disaster and one with tragic consequences for many millions across Europe, and anything that undermines this project the Euro elite either ignores or mollifies. One thing is for sure QE will have zero impact, well apart from on the markets and both the Euro and Europeans shares are on a downwards trajectory following the Syriza victory – and you need to ask yourself why?

        1. I.G.I.

          Thank you for insight. However, I have nowhere stated that the Germans & Co will be willing to negotiate. All I said was that Syriza aims to re-negotiate the terms of the Greek obligations.

      2. William C

        I am not sure that it is prestige that causes the Greeks to want to keep the Euro, so much as distrust of their own political class and the expectation that a return to the drachma would permit further abuse of the citizenry by their politicians. Whatever else may be wrong with the Euro (and I think there is plenty) it probably strikes the average Greek in the street as a reasonable store of value.

        1. Yves Smith

          The issue is operational, as Yanis Varoufakis has pointed out. It would take 3-4 months to get a drachma in place, and the human cost of having no workable currency (the Eurozone would cut them off from Euro payment systems) would be even worse than what they are going through now.

          1. H. Alexander Ivey

            The Devil is in the operational, that is true. But the attitude is the real thing. If the man on the street thinks the gov’t is working to make things better, then he will hold out until then. So, worst case, the German and French banks refuse to accept Euros from the Greeks. So what? I assume the locals will use Euros for their local transactions until the Greek gov’t issues Drachmas.

            1. Yves Smith

              I don’t think I was clear enough.

              If Greece is cut off from the ELA, its banking system collapses. The movie of what happened next in Cyprus and Iceland was ugly, and Iceland, which already had its own currency, did not recover nicely (see Michael Hudson on this one). Moreover, every analysis I’ve read of Greece’s export mix says it won’t benefit as much from a cheaper currency as simple-minded conventional thinking would have you believe.

              The promise of Syriza was that it would make life better for the man on the street. Making it even worse, quickly, is not likely to engender public support.

              In any event, this conversation is moot because Syriza has said firmly that it has no intention of leaving the Eurozone.

  21. fresno dan

    Why Finnish babies sleep in cardboard boxes BBC. Still a must read.

    Would you put your baby or toddler outside in the freezing cold for their lunchtime nap? Most Nordic parents wouldn’t give it a second thought. For them it’s part of their daily routine.
    Makes me glad I was born in California….(Joke – although I really don’t like the cold)
    Actually, getting some sunshine will help with vitamin D synthesis. And of course, upper respiratory infections are a function of contagion, not air temperature. (although influenza survives less well in higher humidity, and therefore is more prevalent in the northern hemisphere in the winter)

    1. Ned Ludd

      When you are cold, you also develop more brown adipose tissue (confusingly called “brown fat”). BAT “burns calories like a furnace.”

      A new study finds that one form of it, which is turned on when people get cold, sucks fat out of the rest of the body to fuel itself. […]

      In the study, the subjects — all men — were kept chilled, but not to the point of shivering, which itself burns calories. Their metabolic rates increased by 80 percent, all from the actions of a few ounces of cells. The brown fat also kept its subjects warm. The more brown fat a man had, the colder he could get before he started to shiver.

      Brown fat, Dr. Carpentier and Jan Nedergaard, Dr. Cannon’s husband, wrote in an accompanying editorial, “is on fire.”

      On average, Dr. Carpentier said, the brown fat burned about 250 calories over three hours.

    2. Ivy

      Our California babies thrived with cold air naps. They were bundled up appropriately and settled quickly into restful sleep. We saw neighbors that had more troubles with fussy kids perhaps due among other things to keeping them in overheated, stuffy houses.

    3. Sam Kanu

      Real story there is not the sleeping outside – its the fact that their country actually tries – and succeeds more than the US – at providing a fair chance for even the baby of the poorest pauper. Which we just don’t care about in our country at all. And never have when you look at the structure of our society.

      The research arm of that “loony left” organisation called the OECD has been screaming this for decades. Am surprised their research funding has not been completely cut off already.

  22. c

    Press release: It is now 3 minutes to midnight Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists

    Special issue: Scientists in the public interest: A celebration of
    seven decades of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists
    Introduction: The Bulletin at the young age of 70
    John Mecklin 10
    American scientists as public citizens: 70 years of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists
    David Kaiser and Benjamin Wilson 13
    Scientists as celebrities: Bad for science or good for society?
    Lawrence M. Krauss 26
    The Serengeti strategy: How special interests try to intimidate scientists, and how
    best to fight back

    Michael E. Mann 33
    Ending the assassination and oppression of Iranian nuclear scientists
    Siegfried S. Hecker and Abbas Milani 46
    Science and policy: Crossing the boundary
    Dale Jamieson, Naomi Oreskes, and Michael Oppenheimer 53
    Out of the nuclear shadow: Scientists and the struggle against the Bomb
    Zia Mian 59
    What should climate scientists advocate for?
    Gavin A. Schmidt 70
    The ozone story: A model for addressing climate change?
    William H. Brune 75
    Nuclear notebook
    Counting nuclear warheads in the public interest
    Robert S. Norris and Hans M. Kristensen 85
    Global forum
    Is “zero” the right target for disarmament? An Arab response
    Wael Al Assad 91
    Is “zero” the right target for disarmament? A Turkish response
    Sinan Ulgen 95
    Is “zero” the right target for disarmament? A Chinese response
    Li Bin
    abstracts and text and pdf’s at

  23. fresno dan

    The Gutting of Dayton: Why My City Is Gone Ted Rall, A New Domain. Must read, and a cautionary tale of the effect of arbitrary financial ratios on the real economy.

    Occupancy rates. OK….
    Still, in the great efficiency of capitalism, shouldn’t those defaulted building cost less to lease, than tearing down the building, and than building another building???

    It reminds me of all those foreclosed homes in Florida, that through neglect just rotted away.
    Now, I don’t wanna (oh yes I do) bring up Marx’s surplus army of labor, but maybe there is an equal and opposite scarcity of buildings/houses to maintain rents, leases, and prices…..
    just a thought
    “The value of land or the value of assets is very closely linked with the credit system. So if you get a flow of credit increasing, as we’ve seen in the last few years (QE: quantitative easing) — that flow of credit increased bubbles of one kind or another.

    What has happened repeatedly in recent years is that we’ve had monetary authorities allowing — through deregulation and lax standards — banks to lend more, but not for creating new business, not for capital goods. The effect of it has been actually to increase the value of land and other fixed resources [buildings, real estate, etc].

    The links with inequality are twofold: one is that if more of the savings of the economy leads to an increase in the value of land rather than the stock of capital goods, then wages won’t go up.

    The other part we allow more lending against collateral. Then those who have the assets that can be used for collateral see those assets go up in price, like land. And so those who hold wealth become wealthier. The workers, who have no wealth, don’t benefit from that expansion.”

  24. Kyle

    @Christopher D. Rogers


    “…prey tell instruct me why the Euro is collapsing in after hours trading upon the news of how well Syriza has done.”

    I’m not familiar enough with the political environment in Greece to venture a response. That was the whole reason for asking for comments. I do know that we have the same problem here in the states with center-right Dems and neocons presenting themselves as progressive to get elected then following the dictates of their neocon donors.

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