Links 1/5/15

The iconic Maine lobster finds its way to Beijing, Shanghai, Tokyo, Seoul, Hong Kong….are Bangkok & Singapore next? Portland Press Herald

Lumbersexual? Forest Journal: The fine art of distinguishing NH’s real men New Hampshire (Scott)

God is on the ropes: The brilliant new science that has creationists and the Christian right terrified Salon (margarita)

Find love tonight: The first Sunday after New Year’s Day is the busiest night of the year for online dating PsyPost (Chuck L)

Let this be the year when we put a proper price on carbon Larry Summers, Financial Times (David L). The pink paper had an editorial in 2007 on this topic (and we posted on it). So Summers is a bit late to this idea. And the FT editorial was better argued too.

Limiting Rest Is Found to Help Young Concussion Patients New York Times. Two days versus five of rest??? I had a concussion at 16 (as in passed out and still can’t remember what happened immediately prior) and all I got was overnight observation and was back to a very competitive summer camp the next day (looking woozy…).

Innate behaviour determines how we steer our car PsyPost (Chuck L)

If Greece turns left, will Europe follow? Aljazeera (Nikki)

Greece Is About To Dance A Wild Sirtaki Ilargi


Ukraine: “From the spirits that I called …” – Part II Moon of Alabama (Chuck L)

Thousands of ultra-nationalists march in Kiev honoring Stepan Bandera YouTube (Chuck L)


Rouhani threatens to hold referendum Financial Times

Lebanon tightens flow of Syrians BBC

Children, Extremist Ideas And The British Establishment Moon of Alabama. Chuck L “Churchill and Roosevelt must be spinning in their graves at this fear-mongering on both sides of the pond.”

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

The Future of Getting Arrested Atlantic (Nikki)

Jaguar Demos a Car That Keeps an Eye on Its Driver MIT Technology Review (David L)

Murdoch, Scaife and CIA Propaganda Robert Parry, Consortium News (Chuck L)

Top Iowa Democrats Slow to Rally Around Clinton Wall Street Journal. From the summary: “…they would prefer a more liberal candidate or at least a robust debate over policy.”

Adviser Guides Obama Into the Google Age New York Times. Chuck L: “Like you I have mixed feelings about cutting edge IT. But still using floppy disks?”

Republicans Say They’ll Act Fast to Push Agenda New York Times. “Act fast”???

The Koch Brothers Launch A Surrogate War Against Pope Francis PoliticusUSA (Glenn)

West Virginia school board alters climate change education standards ars technica (Chuck L)

NYPD Soft Coup

New York City Police Turn Backs on Mayor at Second Funeral Bloomberg

Pittsburgh Police Chief Under Fire For Controversial Photo, Union Says Calls Department Racists CBS Pittsburgh. Martha r: “Another big city police chief trying to show he gets it, meeting protesters halfway, and getting heavy backlash from his troops.”

A Record Year for Auto Recalls New York Times. Crapification.

Plunging Oil Prices Test Texas Boom Economy Wall Street Journal

Why New Credit Cards May Fall Short on Fraud Control Wall Street Journal. This is appalling, particularly as far as debit cards are concerned. Someone who gets your wallet can drain your account and you have no recourse. My bank (TD Bank) offers PIN cards only on ATM cards that are not debit cards. And you cannot get a business account PIN card of any kind.

A handy tool — but not the only one in the box Martin Wolf, Financial Times (David L). Reviews, and takes some issue with Richard Koo on balance sheet recessions.

Princeton graduate, 30, ‘who shot dead his $200m hedge fund founder father, 70, in NYC apartment’ arrested after he ‘went on the run’ and barricaded himself in his Manhattan home’ Daily Mail

Permanent capital: Perpetual cash machines Financial Times. This is insane. Private equity and hedge fund returns are faltering, and these clowns want a BETTER deal?

Class Warfare

Coca-Cola’s anti-American outsourcing scheme: How Big Soda gets the public to shoulder its costs Salon (margarita)

Minimum Wage Increases in the Wake of WW II Menzie Chinn, Econbrowser

Antidote du jour. Andrew S: Here are a few pics of my family playing scrabble with our cat, “Phydeaux”. As you can see we are all geeky nerds chez nous (and proud!). Phydeaux insists on having tiles and rack when we play. Otherwise he’ll sit in the middle of the board and destroy the game. With his tiles, however, he patiently waits his turn, occasionally showing us his very cute belly.

cat scrabble links

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. dearieme

    I laugh at the anti-Darwinists in the US, with their bonkers rejection of evolution. But at least they have the merit of consistency. I sneer at those on the American Left who claim to espouse evolution but believe that it somehow doesn’t apply to humans over the last few tens of thousands of years: the intellectual dishonesty is breathtaking.

    1. James

      Interesting article. I’ll watch the video link later today. Still wading through the 4 part Bernays video from a few days ago, also excellent.

    2. jgordon

      Religious nuts don’t need anything like rational logic to believe the stuff they do. Literally every discussion I have with a nut devolves down to: I believe this stuff because I feel like it. So there!

      How can Salon or MIT physicists argue with that?

      1. evodevo

        Exactly. Facts don’t matter to a fundie – religion appeals to emotions, not rationality. They get VERY defensive if you attack them on their own ground, too, like quoting scripture that annihilates their position, or reference self-contradictions (on every page) in their holy book. Science is only admissible if it supports whatever nutjob position they hold. As a teacher of genetics and evolution, I have run into creationist students every semester. Usually the best you can do is dazzle them with footwork.

  2. abynormal

    Love the Strings Andrew! what am i seeing?…a martin too?
    im experiencing a windy cold morning but suddenly toasted by your family moment!
    thanks for sharing.

    And if we were to collect these small moments in a notebook and save them over a period of months we would see certain trends emerge from our collection—certain voices would emerge that have been trying to speak through us. We would realize that we have been having another life altogether; one we didn’t even know was going on inside us. And maybe this other life is more important than the one we think of as being real—this clunky day-to-day world of furniture and noise and metal. So just maybe it is these small silent moments which are the true story-making events of our lives.”
    Coupland, Life After God

    1. frosty zoom

      now i know what valerie plame went through. i had hoped ms. yves would credit moi, aka “frosty” for the pic of the many fanged phydeaux, but alas.. still happy to share!

      thanks for the wonderful quotation. and yes, that’s a martin packbacker. only bankers can afford the “real deal” anymore but that’s ok. i can always find a cigar box in their trash and make my own!

        1. frosty zoom

          i’ve got it tuned in “drop Q” so the top doesn’t split more. i’m saving up phydeaux’s stray whiskers in order to make some lighter strings.

      1. Llewelyn Moss

        You should video tape the Scrabble Cat and Youtube it. Too funny. And yeah, I’m envious of the guitar collection. Rock on frosty.

        1. frosty zoom

          there’s no way i’m gonna let my cat go viral before i do!

          as to the guitars in the picture, that’s a fender classical my dad gave me, my son’s purple mexican strat, a “roland” ibanez for an old school analog synth, the emergency canoe paddle, and a green uke size mini guitar.

          but don’t be envious ’cause music can be created on just about anything except shortbread cookie backed derivatives.

            1. frosty zoom

              a gracious winner as long as there’s dinner.

              you know, mltpb (that’s arabic, no vowels), i sent yves those pics a while back, hence the absence of 17 other layers of clothing.

              and the funny thing is that they appear today, the day that happens to be the first day of a months long absence of my beloved wife.

              and the pic appears today..

              thanks, doctora yves for a very well (through the tubes!) timed antidote.

              1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

                I once said to my beloved “the coldest winter I ever spent was one summer in San Francisco, but the hottest summer I even spend was one winter with you.’

                My cat is a gracious winner as well. Every time she wins the ‘I want my food now’ fight, she’s very nice to me.

          1. Brooklin Bridge

            Awesome cat and amazing story! Perhaps they are just biding their time until we do ourselves in so they can take over without missing a beat.

  3. Llewelyn Moss

    re: Republicans Say They’ll Act Fast to Push Agenda

    These next two years may exceed W Bush in terms of selling out the people, taxpayers and middle class. Obama, a closet conservative, now has a Repub congress to push through his neoliberal agenda. Sure Obama will hem and haw about how Repubs ‘forced him to sign legislation’ — Gotta keep up appearances of being “Progressive”. Poor Dems, saddled with the ‘image’ that they are the ‘populists’. I count about a dozen real progressives in congress (Warren, Sanders, et al) and Obama will no longer be encumbered by them.

    1. James

      Beautiful strategy, wasn’t it? Run a silver tongued virtual nobody from the midwestern hinterlands as a D, then have him make an abrupt about face once he’s elected. Have the Rs ramp up the socialist rhetoric while he’s in office to distract the electorate, then sit back and reap the benefits until the next go round.

      1. Llewelyn Moss

        Exactly. I was a bit skeptical of Obama in 2008. He came off sounding like a Baptist Preacher in his speeches. But I voted for him twice. The second time only because the Repubs offered up Romney, a Corporate Raider, as a candidate. I’m voting 3rd party from now on. I am SO OVER both of these red/blue neoliberal parties.

        1. Propertius

          Obama lost any hope of my support when he blathered about wanting to give “health insurance companies a seat at the table” back in 2007. If you looked carefully it was pretty obvious he was a corporate stalking-horse (shilling for Exelon back in Illinois, etc.). Didn’t vote for him either time (in spite of having been a county and state Democratic official prior to the convention in 2008 [resigned after the convention]).

    2. Katniss Everdeen

      And what IMMEDIATELY found a place “on the table?”

      Why a gas tax INCREASE, of course.

      Funny, I was under the impression that republicans didn’t do tax increases. Let Americans “keep” more of their own money instead of having to give it to big government and all that. Free market capitalism I think they’ve been calling it.

      Hey, Bait, Switch says, “Hello.”

      1. Llewelyn Moss

        Hey gotta pay for the Endless Pointless Wars somehow. Gas tax, sure why not. Politicians love to talk about “Shared Sacrifice”. Funny how the Working Classes Share is always a much larger percentage of its income than the Richies. The question is: How much can they tighten the screws on the middle class before the House Of Cards collapses.

      2. wbgonne

        And what IMMEDIATELY found a place “on the table?” Why a gas tax INCREASE, of course.

        I don’t think the GOP is or will be proposing a free-standing gas tax increase. It will be coupled with tar sands pipelines, “public-private” graft, corporate tax cuts, clean energy defunding and — who knows? — maybe even social security cuts. All of which Obama will gleefully sign into law as he heralds a new era of bipartisan attacks on the American people.

      3. afisher

        The sad part is that only a few in DC will offer the real fix, which is to quit bailing out Big Oil via subsidies – no siree they will throw in the smoke screen that they need this bail out because of “markets” and never tell the voter’s the truth about the oil swindler’s that purchased these folks to go to DC.

        The comparison will be made that gas prices are lower than today ( Mitch selectively chose 1993) so to make his sales pitch – and GOP will never mention the decrease in wage to the worker – ah yes, the “new normal”.

    3. diptherio

      Warren is only a “Progressive” in the financial regulation sphere. When it comes to pretty much everything else, though, she’s a mainstream (i.e. center-right) politician.

      1. Vatch

        Elizabeth Warren has a 100% score from the League of Conservation Voters for 2013. The results for 2014 haven’t been tabulated yet (her tentative score is 80%), but her good environmental score for 2013 implies that she’s progressive on more than just the financial issues. See:

        1. Christopher D. Rogers


          I was under the illusion that Ms. Warren was a old-time Republican, in the UK she’d be what’s known as a “Liberal Conservative”, which is now an endangered species in all three of the UK’s main neoliberal legacy parties.

          So, whilst Ms. Warren may wear a Democrat hat for her seat in the Senate, the fact remains she was never part of the Democratic Party and all its madness, which is why in my opinion she’s quite independently minded in the Senate.

          So lets call her out for what she is, an old-time pre-Reagan mid-Western Republican, most of whom are to the left of today’s Rubinite Democratic Party.

          1. Vatch

            I don’t think it’s accurate to categorize her as a Republican any more. 25 years ago she was one, but even then, I think she was a fairly moderate Republican. But she’s moved far beyond her Republican past, as the link provided by Llewellyn Moss demonstrates.

        2. cwaltz

          She’s also a bit war hawkish. It’d be nice to have someone who didn’t spit in the eye of everyone who disagrees with us. Sadly, I’m not convinced that is her. We need better foreign policy if we ever want to have the means to pay to fix domestic issues.

        3. Kim Kaufman

          The League of Conservation Voters has a poor record. Not to be relied on or trusted without further investigation. Will look for a link.

        1. diptherio

          Try this:

          Progressive Hero Elizabeth Warren Toes AIPAC’s Pro-War Line

          Warren’s statement on Israel consumes far more space than any other foreign policy issue on the page (she makes no mention of China, Latin America, or Africa). To justify what she calls the “unbreakable bond” between the US and Israel, Warren repeats the thoughtless cant about “a natural partnership resting on our mutual commitment to democracy and freedom and on our shared values.” She then declares that the United States must reject any Palestinian plans to pursue statehood outside of negotiations with Israel. While the US can preach to the Palestinians about how and when to demand the end of their 45-year-long military occupation, Warren says the US “cannot dictate the terms” to Israel.

          Warren goes on to describe Iran as “a significant threat to the United States,” echoing a key talking point of fear-mongering pro-war forces. She calls for “strong sanctions” and declares that the “United States must take the necessary steps to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon” — a veiled endorsement of a military strike if Iran crosses the constantly shifting American “red lines.” Perhaps the only option Warren does not endorse or implicitly support is diplomacy. Her foreign policy views are hardly distinguishable from those of her Republican rival, who also marches in lockstep with AIPAC.

          1. diptherio

            War-mongering is a deal-breaker for me. I’m pleased when she goes after financial criminals, but I won’t ever support her unconditionally or hold her up as some sort of progressive leader. If you’re not speaking out against the atrocities of our foreign policy from the position that she has, you are complicit in the fall-out. And her rhetoric on foreign policy, far from speaking out against it, has been completely within the Washington Consensus.

            Of course, if she steps on too many toes the PTB wouldn’t let her keep her job in the Senate and she’ll end up like Cynthia McKinney.

            1. Banger

              War-mongering is indeed a major problem in Washington. But I wouldn’t call Warren a war-monger. On the issue of FP she in the “go along to get along” party. As I’ve said many times, you cannot be considered a “serious” politician in Washington and not be pro-Israel. You will be vilified in the press, you will get threatening phone calls on your private line, your children will have strange men following them and so on–that’s the reality that keeps everyone in line in Washington. In private there’s a lot of anti-Israel opinion in official Washington but in public it means political death forever. You genuflect before almighty Israel and go on with your life. You can attack Wall Street, the MIC, the police but you cannot touch Israel in the U.S. Just ask Norman Finklestein and Cynthia McKinney or even, way back in the day, Chuck Percy and a host of others.

            2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

              I would include financial attacks (covert or not, acute or chronic, including unhindered global reserve currency printing for government use) on other nations under war.

            3. Vatch

              It is strange that a nation as small as Israel has such a hold on U.S. politics. Some people won’t support a politician unless the politician approves of Israeli government behavior, and other people demand that politicians oppose Israeli government behavior. If a senator is on the Foreign Relations or Armed Services committee, it might make good sense to pay close attention to a senator’s views on Israel. But if the senator is not on one of those committees, and isn’t in the leadership, I think the senator’s position on Israel is not very important.

              Elizabeth Warren is not on either of those committees. Here are her committee assignments:


              Committee on Banking, Housing, & Urban Affairs
              Committee on Health, Education, Labor & Pensions
              Special Committee on Aging

            4. Llewelyn Moss

              Fair points. I watched all her debates against Scott Brown. Her stance on Isreal and Iran stood out as negatives to me. But given the current state of Washington today, almost totally corrupt and bought-out by corporations, I give her two thumbs up. It is incredible that we have reached a point when someone who stands up for workers and the middle class and against the oligarchs, is viewed as a revolutionary.

        2. Christopher D. Rogers

          Forgive me for my ignorance as far as the US-political scene goes and how the term “Progressive” is bandied about. As a Brit I know what a Conservative is, I know what a Liberal is and I know what a Socialist is, and here I’m talking about UK-inspired and home grown Socialism, rather than European Socialism, the two being quite distinct.

          Now, in the USA you had a left, you had a centre and you had a right, the Democrat’s firmly planted in the centre right up to Dukakis in the 1988 election if memory serves me right. Since that time both the Democrats and the Republican’s have moved in tandem to the right, there being no centre ground so to speak of in the USA, and this is also true of the UK.

          Hence, and when I refer to Ms. Warren as an old school Republican, that is a non-Reagan non-Nixon Republican, today this equates with straddling the actual centre ground, a centre abandoned by both US legacy parties, so essentially its a fact-based compliment and nothing to be ashamed about.

          as for Warren’s seeming hawking opinion on overseas issues, we’ll like many an American she sure is US-centric and probably is not too well versed in international relations. She also has to watch her P’s and Q’s as far as any run for the Whitehouse is concerned, and this means giving no ammo to her political enemies in both legacy parties. Indeed, i don’t think we could make an opinion on Ms. Warren’s overseas opinion until she was in the Whitehouse and this would be gauged upon who she’d nominate as her Defence and State Secretary. Put it this way, the Progressive tag attached Obama fell off the moment he surrounded himself with Rubinites, among them Summers and Geithner – I became anti-Obama from that instant, and on further inspection should have been anti-Obama from the day he slung his hat into the ring, there was enough dirt on him to see who he actually was.

          I cannot say this of Warren, hence, and if i were allowed to vote in a US Presidential election, if Warren was head of the Democrat ticket in most probability I’d vote for her, if not, I’d vote Green all the way. Warren may surprise like Roosevelt, or be a complete pawn of the rich and vested interests like Obama. The USA requires a Roosevelt and I’m not talking about Teddy, who was a bit of a warmongerer for my liking.

          1. Banger

            Excellent. Indeed, Warren no matter what she thinks must be at least a semi-Hawk on FP matters because a number of mainstream media honchos will invite her to an office somewhere and let her know that if she persists on being anti-war she will no longer be covered with any objectivity and will be put in the realm of “conspiracy theorists” and cranks and ridiculed and insulted at every opportunity. No one in Washington can be pro-peace–not because the electorate will hate them but because the MSM and a variety of operatives will spend their time destroying your career. You have to have know how Washington operates to know what it’s like. The good news is that many of the people who are adamantly preaching war don’t really want it including the President.

            1. ran

              So we’re supposed to give these corrupt, gutless wonders a pass no matter what they say or do because their hearts are in the right place?

          2. Llewelyn Moss

            I tend to use Progressive and Liberal interchangeably. And I agree both Repubs and Dems are right of center now. I lost my faith in Obama at the exact time that you did (the appointments of Summers and Geithner). Then the past 6 years have been a “reliable disappointment”. I doubt Warren will run for Pres in 2016. But if she did, I vote for her and hope she ‘evolves away’ from hawkish positions. If Hillary gets elected, she’ll be bombing Tehran within a month.

          3. hunkerdown

            Progressives, generally speaking, are devotees of the religion of Progress. A bit like your Whigs were, I suppose.

            1. Left in Wisconsin

              General usage these days in US: liberal means Democrat and conservative means Repub. Some liberals like to call themselves “left” (to crowd any real left out of the space) but most Dems are scared of the word and more often it is the rightwing that uses “left” as a slur against anyone left of the Koch bros. Progressive is a very slippery term, often embraced by Dems running from the “liberal” label, some of whom are centrist Dems and others of whom “don’t see things as left/right.” But lots of times, progressive just means “good government,” which I have no problem with as long as the usage is clear.

              Older US usage that some old farts (guilty) still try to stick to (not to be confused with traditional English or continental usage): liberal means you want everyone to have a chance in life, and believe this to be possible without directly confronting capital, so you support various policies to “help” those less fortunate/capable than yourself; left means you see distinct classes that have opposing interests, and support empowering working people at the expense of capital.

        3. Yves Smith Post author

          Her student loan fix was pathetic. She as someone who presumably understand finance ought to be ashamed. She didn’t even have the guts to MENTION bankruptcy reform, let alone curbing higher ed costs.

          1. Propertius

            Exactly right, as usual. Making student loan debt non-dischargeable is pretty much tantamount to reviving debt peonage. Anyone who doesn’t advocate changing this is part of the problem.

          2. Christopher D. Rogers


            Many thanks for pointing that out about Ms. Warren, I’ve not looked too closely at her Senate voting record since she was elected to Capitol Hill. Suffice to say, your nation urgently requires a Roosevelt figure as President and like many non-American I too yearn for this, and if Warren cannot deliver, or is not interested in delivering then I can only advise all US-based readers to vote Green at the 2016 election. I understand calls to boycott elections full stop because of the fear one is endorsing the current regime, but I also remember all the blood that has been spilled for many of us in the West to enjoy universal suffrage and frequent elections, this is why one will not renounce voting and participation, but I have renounced all allegiance I once held for all legacy parties, they are all neoliberal now, be they in the US, Canada, most of Western Europe, Australia and New Zealand, which is quite sad to say the least.

  4. James Levy

    People may contest this, but my general feeling, from being a 12 year NY suburban Catholic school product who grew up around cops and went to school with plenty of kids who became cops, is that most of them are decent people and not out to deliberately injure or exploit anyone. But what drives me nuts about them is how easily and completely the lousy, hard-ass, and criminal cops cow and cajole the good ones into going along with them and covering their asses. When I see creepy nonsense like their using the funeral of a fellow officer for a nasty political stunt, I don’t think “they’re all a bunch of racist thugs who think they are above the law”, I think, “what a bunch of gutless lemmings.” But as a man who was never a “joiner” or a “team player” (and has paid a price for that) it is hard for me to have any sympathy for that kind of mentality/behavior. It’s hard for me to square their macho self-image and posturing with the fact that most cops seem to have no moral courage or independent sense of ethics. They seem to just fall in line with the worst of their “tribe.”

    1. Banger

      My own impression of those attracted to being cops or soldiers or anything involving “security” in the hard sense is that they aren’t any worse than anybody else it’s just that they’re really attracted to order and rules in a time of radical uncertainty. It’s also true that there are many women who love uniforms even people you’d not expect.

  5. Ben Jammin

    Re: A record year for auto recalls and ‘crapification’ – while I certainly would agree with the concept of crapification of the products now available to us, I would suggest that the U.S. legal system is doing a far better job of increasing the quality of autos than captured regulators. Given the G.M. ‘heavy key chain’ problem leading to numerous deaths, the potential of facing law suits would seem to be the driving force behind the big increase in the raw number of recalls. Remember this when people say that the U.S. tort system really needs reforming. Real lives are at stake, and we cannot leave safety merely to captured (or to be fair, potentially captured) regulators.

  6. Ned Ludd

    Funny that the fascist march in Ukraine is credited to “YouTube”. In the U.S., RT is the media organization who must not be named.

    And from Billmon:

    “Sure, but here they’ll call it anti-fascism” – Huey Long, when asked if fascism could come to America.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      No, I did that based on the link I was sent. I’ve referenced RT repeatedly in Links before. I don’t always check links if I am super time pressed and they come from a credible reader who provides a brief description of what the link is about.

      I’ve APPEARED on RT, fer Chrissakes. Don’t attribute motive when there is none.

      1. Ned Ludd

        In the U.S., there is a stigma against RT. I was pointing out what looked to be an example.

        Also, bias can be nuanced. Glenn Greenwald, when he wrote for Salon, used to appear on The Alyona Show, and he would defend his appearances on RT. However, there was a marked difference in enthusiasm for publicizing his RT interviews versus his appearances on MSNBC. (Will be on MSNBC tomorrow… Later today, I will be on… Just finished my talk with… Thanks for having me on, … Will let you know when the video is up… Here is a link…).

        1. Banger

          In defense of Greenwald, once you take on power you are in the power game cannot escape it and must play your own game or be squashed like a bug one way or the other. MSNBC is more where the power is. RT is a pariah news organization like Press TV. Note how Al-Jazeera has valiantly tried to become a “good” news organization by following the rules and not making waves. I’ve seen some disgusting bits of cowering by AJ lately–I can’t bear to watch–though they are better than CNN or MSNBC in quality of content.

          1. Ned Ludd

            Press TV is even more illustrative than RT. How many of us would ever cite Iranian public media as a source? How quickly would Naked Capitalism disappear from blogrolls if “Press TV” links occasionally appeared?†

            If the same story appeared in both the Daily Mail and Press TV, I think most of us (including myself) would prefer to cite the right-wing British tabloid.‡ Stigma, and social capital, are effectively leveraged in the U.S. to constrain the news to voices that are acceptable (and non-threatening) to the establishment.

            † Searching for “Press TV”, I did come across these apropos remarks by Julian Assange:

            Our cables revealed, for example, that this country, the United Kingdom, engaged in a conspiracy to kill off Press TV, the Iranian state TV station, the Iranian equivalent to the BBC, from being able to broadcast into the United Kingdom. They cut off its satellite feed, which is one of the Sky satellites to this country, the death penalty, effectively, for a national broadcaster. What does that mean? Well, it means that the Iranian government can’t get out its view. Iran is surrounded by 45 military bases that are hostile to it on every side. There is no border that Iran does not have that is not already hostile or will probably shortly become so. That produces an atmosphere of intense fear.

            ‡ As a thought experiment, if you had to choose between citing Fox News or Press TV, when talking with a group of liberal Democrats, which would you choose?

            1. OIFVet

              I agree. I know I have certainly refrained from citing PressTV and RT here if the same info was available from other sources, and in conversation with liberals. It’s a rather unpleasant flashback to the 1980’s BG for me. Most people could access RFE and VoA on their radios, as my parents did, yet they never talked about what they heard even with their closest friends, and always cautioned me to do the same. The more things change…

              1. OIFVet

                PS On NC at least, it’s mostly a strategy to deny the exceptionalists from diverting attention away from the merits of the content by saying “Of course Putin’s media will say that”. That’s to be avoided, so for me at least it is a tactical move to deny the exceptionalists the use of one of their old reliables. When it comes to the wider world outside NC, it is a way to subvert lifetime of preconceptions about the relative truthfulness of Russian vs. Western media. Let’s face it, many still think that Western MSM is a paragon of integrity. It isn’t, but it takes time to build up enough cognitive dissonance in your targeted liberal to force them to at least re-examine their assumptions.

  7. Whine Country

    Links 12/5/15? My goodness is it really December already. Time flies when you’re having fun!

  8. fresno dan

    WARNING – may cause cynicism….
    In 2011, Freeh issued a public statement saying that his investigation had “completely vindicated” both Kazeminy and Coleman. Sure, Kazeminy had bought Coleman $100,000 worth of presents, but, Freeh said at a press conference, “There was no quid pro quo in the gifts. There was no wrongdoing.” Freeh also met with the Justice Department – which was investigating the bribery charges but declined to bring a case—on Kazeminy’s behalf.

    Oh yeah, about Freeh’s Palm Beach penthouse. As I discovered through Florida property records, Freeh’s wife co-owns it with Kazeminy, which kind of makes you wonder about just how thorough and impartial his investigation was. The quit claim deed giving Freeh’s wife one-half ownership of the penthouse was signed nine days after Freeh’s vindication of Kazeminy.

    I’m glad that we have only the highest caliber people in government and law enforcement…

    1. Vatch

      Thanks, I guess. Louis Freeh is also trustee for the MF Global bankruptcy labyrinth. I haven’t seen any news about that recently. Still being paid lucrative fees, I suppose. Fees for Freeh — hey, it rhymes!

  9. Ignim Brites

    It takes a certain amount of intellectual naviete to believe that re-introducing the idea of causality into the concept of evolution is threatening to religious belief.

    1. Garrett Pace

      I have observed a more or less constant expectation that most any new thing is threatening to established belief.

      A galaxy filled with planets? So much for God!
      Life on Mars? So much for God!


      Doesn’t mean it won’t affect how people see God, the universe or themselves. But the assumption is facile.

  10. Jef

    “God is on the ropes” is a click bait title but the science is good.

    It would seem to give Tim Garrett’s theory as applied to life on Earth as a whole more footing;

    “Throughout history, a simple physical “constant” – an unchanging mathematical value – links global energy use to the world’s accumulated economic productivity, adjusted for inflation. So it isn’t necessary to consider population growth and standard of living in predicting society’s future energy consumption and resulting carbon dioxide emissions.”

    1. Jake Mudrosti

      “…but the science is good.”
      It’s actually not, though. Not even remotely.
      This is a good case for people to scrutinize the specific methods and specific claims, and see how many similarities they find when compared to weak-yet-celebrated economic analyses.

      On a related note: Salon’s clueless “science” cheerleader-writers (e.g. Sarah Gray) have actually achieved something quite special in the past few years: they’ve inspired some really illuminating discussions among certain scientists about culture, crapification in science journalism, and historical parallels. (I can’t believe that I’d never before been clued in to the existence of Lysenko’s 1948 address to the Lenin Academy of Agricultural Sciences. (“Soviet Biology”, Birch Books Limited) A must-read. It might help to lay soft objects on the floor in case of sudden, catastrophic jaw-dropping.)

  11. Jim Haygood

    ‘The increase in the minimum wage from $0.40 to $0.75 [in 1950] was not associated with a decrease in general employment, nor of youth unemployment.’ — Econbrowser

    Sure, if you ignore lag effects. But let’s out those nasty little devils. When this swingeing hike was imposed on 25 Jan 1950, the U.S. was in deflation, with CPI falling at -1.95% yoy. Twelve months later in Jan. 1953, with wage hikes feeding through into prices, yoy inflation was at +7.93%.

    In turn (as usual) the Fed tightened against overheating, and the economy fell into recession in July 1953.

    Cause and effect? Not necessarily. But min wage hikes tend to be implemented during economic expansions, when their deleterious effects on low-wage employment are obscured by the larger growth trend. That’s exactly what we’re seeing in 2015, as dozens of states gleefully decree prosperity for low-wage workers.

    It’s only during recessions that the ugly fallout — earlier layoffs, longer unemployment — appears. Typical timing from wage shock to recession is a couple of years, suggesting we’ll enter recession around 2017. Then the central planners will rustle up a new tonic to counter the illness induced by their previous medicine.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      We did have something called the Korean War during that period, which both entailed an increase in demand from the MIC as well as more young men being taken out of the labor force to serve.

    2. cwaltz

      Even without wage hikes you can have inflation(as evidenced by increases in costs despite no wage increases over the past couple of years) so I find it interesting that you are pinning this on the wage hikes. I’m sure none of those price increases are the result of anything else. It had nothing to do with price controls being lifted. I also notice that you don’t seem to acknowledge that during the 50s we started trading overseas and had our first negative trade balance. I’m sure the fact that products were coming from overseas had absolutely nothing to do with increased costs and it is the cost of DOMESTIC workers solely that spurred inflation. I also see you don’t mention that in the 50s you saw an economy that functioned by credit and that consumers could now buy things based on projected future income. But hey, I’m sure you’re right it had everything to do with giving workers a few more pennies and nothing to do with any of those other factors.

  12. OIFVet

    US elites are insane. The Brzezinski Clown Posse, if you will. This is the only conclusion I can come to after reading Vox’s How Putin Could Lose Power. It’s an interview with Mark Galeotti, and basically it envisions a scenario in which the great liberal hope Navalny, an avowed racist, plays the “street nationalist” card against Putin’s “state nationalism”. IOW, it is about stoking racism and inter-ethnic conflict in the multi-ethnic Russian Federation. Which is basically Brzezinski’s play to break Russia into its constituent parts in order to swallow them in more manageable bites. Empire of Chaos, indeed.

  13. flora

    re: The Future of Getting Arrested

    All that talk about policing high crime areas without ever once mentioning Wall St.

  14. Jackrabbit

    Ukraine: The Spirits That I Called . . . – MoA

    I doubt very much that US/Ukraine would call Putin’s Russia to help with the crisis. But otherwise b is right to highlight how Ukraine is toxic for US/EU.

    H O P

    1. Skyburn

      Thanks for that article. I didn’t realize that Philly’s Archbishop was involved with them. The part where Chaput says the pope has seen elites keep people in poverty, but we Americans can’t see that because we live in a “rich, free, stable country”, was especially interesting. I’m not sure if he’s criticizing American myopia, or trying to dismiss the pope’s statement at just applying to those other “unexceptional” countries.

      It interesting to see the Kochs organize against the Vatican. How many PACs has the pope?

      1. savedbyirony

        Your welcome. If you are interested in news and info about the catholic church, The National Catholic Reporter site is quite good. It’s not Naked Capitalism good, but they are critical as well as supportive of the church and religion in general, and employ many well informed people from diverse backgrounds, plus their comments are well moderated and some discussions there develop into high quality. Similiar to the UK’s “The Tablet” if you are familiar with that publications. The NCR does not kow-tow to the USCCB.

        1. savedbyirony

          Yes, and Pope Francis is coming to visit Philly and the good Bishop for a conference on familes and youth next September. He has spoken critical words before to Bishops and others in power thru his public speaking right in their own neighborhoods, but we shall see.

          1. cwaltz

            Until the pope sees the nuns of the Catholic church as equals I have no time for his speeches on fairness or equity. It’s hypocritical to run around talking about fairness while still insisting in the view that women are somehow less able to speak on behalf of God. It’s somewhat absurd that people like Mother Teresa could become a Saint after death but basically be told because of the church hierarchy that she should just be quiet and let the boys speak for God unless what’s she’s saying is what the boys told her to.

            1. savedbyirony

              With this i very much agree. You know who should have been made a Cardinal? Sister Sharon Holland, IHM -the present President of The Leadership Council of Women Religious. And “Complimentarity” is all male catholic clergy and CDF controlled theology code for institutionalized misogyny. And If they want a well informed encyclical on the environment, have the sisters do it. They have been advocating and practicing thoughtful environmental stewardship for years. Francis has been good for some, but his speech towards women is often outright offensive and though his practices are better than Benedict/JPII’s (which is hardly difficult to achieve) if one looks at some appointments in the Vatican they are no where near to dealing with the heart of the problems.

  15. Garrett Pace


    “It’s our country, so if we show up or not, that shapes what our government’s going to be,”

    No doubt true, but the “our” is very restrictive in its present sense.

    I love the photo of the White House meeting where everyone is laughing. The most powerful person must have just told a dumb joke.

    1. hunkerdown

      Ah, yes, the royal “our”, the fallacy of composition that makes authoritarianism possible.

  16. fresno dan
    Brill’s intention is to point out how and why Obamacare fell short of true reform. It did heroic work in broadening coverage and redistributing wealth from the haves to the have-nots. But, Brill says, it didn’t really restrain costs. It left incentives fundamentally misaligned. We needed major surgery. What we got was a Band-Aid.

    One of Brill’s examples is drug prices. While he was working on his book, he writes, “a drug called Sovaldi burst onto the scene.” Sovaldi is used for hepatitis C, and its manufacturer, Gilead Sciences, has priced it at a thousand dollars per pill—which comes out to eighty-four thousand dollars for a course of treatment. Brill quotes Sarah Kliff, who writes on health-care policy, pointing out that California might well end up spending more on Sovaldi for its Medicaid patients than it does on all K-12 and higher education. “The exact price Gilead chose for Sovaldi said something in and of itself about the nonexistent regulatory environment drug companies knew they faced in the United States,” he writes. “Rather than set the price at, say, $989 or $1,021—at least to create the impression that it was based on some calculation other than ‘Let’s charge whatever we want’—the company had chosen a simple round number, $1,000.”

    How can we have a solution to the health-care crisis without making any attempt to curb runaway drug prices? Medicare isn’t even allowed to negotiate directly with drug companies. “Should we be embarrassed and maybe even enraged that the only way our country’s leaders in Washington could reform healthcare was by making backroom deals with all the interests who wanted to make sure that reform didn’t interfere with their profiteering?” Brill writes, in a section structured around a series of italicized questions. “Of course. We’ll be paying the bill for that forever.”
    American reform – those that can’t bribe…er, uh, influence politicians are the one who pay…and pay

    1. Llewelyn Moss

      Obama’s Legacy Legislation = “a Band-Aid”. It was funny how Max Baccus kept chipping away at Obamacare until it was nothing more than a windfall to the For-Profit Healthcare Industrial Complex. And he got his Ambassadorship for it. 40 million guaranteed new customers for an unaffordable industry. “Affordable Care Act” — haha, affordable for who? Does congress have a staff of people whose only job is to make up Ironic Names for bills?

      1. hunkerdown

        Insofar as K Street is a staff organ of Congress, pretty much. Though, to be fair, statecraft has always been little more than the art of convincing people that they should be more inclined to follow orders than hang the order-giver.

  17. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Will the iconic Maine lobster find its way to Europe, now that it’s about to wrap up its Pyrrhic victory in Asia?

    Or has it already conquered the European market but was not news then? Something special about Asia?

  18. kj1313

    Yves I had a concussion when I was 7 and it was the scariest thing ever. I was doing a handstand and I lost my balance and went down hard on my head. I lost my sight for 1-2 hours until it came back. Went to my Pediatrician had a couple of x-rays and was told to take a couple of aspirins. This was in 1982-83.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      Lordie. I amazed you survived that pediatrician. My understanding is that overnight observation is considered essential (they had me sleep sitting up and woke me up often) because if you sleep horizontal and your brain swells, it can be really bad in ways that are over my pay grade.

      1. optimader

        The brain is a delicate organ, one may easily have an initially asymptomatic epidural hematoma, like Natasha Richardson did as a result of just tipping over and apparently banging her head while on a bunny hill learning how to ski a few years back.
        Asprin probably isn’t your friend in this circumstance. She appeared fine went home then died. I always cringe when I see people skiing w/o helmets as I’ve retired a few with dents and scratches.

    2. cwaltz

      I fainted(vasovagal syncope) and landed on my head in 1986. I was in boot camp. I didn’t get observed either. I got put on bedrest for the remainder of the day and then was right back to training the next day. They did xrays of course. I needed stitches since I busted my chin open and had to wait until work week to get my front teeth, which broke during the fall, fixed. Overall, it wasn’t treated like a huge deal though. Once they realized I wasn’t addled and the x rays came back okay it was treated pretty casually.

    1. OIFVet

      Meanwhile, heard from countries that escaped the big mean Russian Bear: “Petty, selfish people not suitable for the political arena are twisting the fate of countries and peoples from North Africa to the Middle East and Europe”, “…there is not a square centimeter of area that falls outside of [US] interests.”, “…apart from [US] no other country can have sovereignty.” “…the American wire tapping and spying scandals of the past few years have made it clear that our allies do not respect their partners”, “They want to tell us how to behave, what to think about the world. And they tell us how we should live.” This is from Hungary’s ruling party. In the meantime, Czech President Zeman has delighted in denouncing the US sponsored coup in Ukraine, calling Yatsenuk and Porkoshenko warmongers waging war on their own people, confronting neocon clown Karl Bildt over his lies and propaganda, reminding everyone that Khodorkovsky is a criminal, etc. Slovakia’s Fico is not far behind.

      What we are seeing is the dawning realization amongst Central Europeans that the US and the EU are lousy “friends” to have if one seeks to maintain sovereignty, and the resulting disillusionment. A process that is hardly limited to former Soviet satellites, I might add. But sure, let Georgia bend over for the US and the EU if it so wishes. Hopefully it will remember to lube up first.

        1. OIFVet

          Hardly unexpected though, coming as it did from a liberal source (European usage of the term). As for Zeman, it is hard to avoid the “political death spiral” once NED’s Regime Change Tsar Eyes Czech Republic. Still, what is remarkable about Czech governments is the continuity of the positions of its PMs and Presidents: Zeman’s predecessor, Vaclav Klaus, was far to the right of Zeman but expressed (and still does on his blog) remarkably similar opinions. It is one of the things I admire about the Czechs: they do not shy away from expressing their considered opinions, whether others like them or not. All in all, it is the Central Europeans (including Austria) whom I see as most likely to force an outbreak of sanity in the EU in regards to Russia.

          1. optimader

            Either you admire the Czechs considered opinions, whether others like them or not, or you think they are subjects of some NED opinion forming.
            As for Zeman, he’s at a solid 34% approval largely based on his foreign policy proclivities.
            Ultimately the Czechs deserve to decide what is best for the Czech Republic. Hopefully they thread that needle successfully, they (the citizens) certainly were shortsheeted during the postwar occupation and certainly deserve better political leadership (as do the US and Russia).

            1. optimader

              “postwar occupation”
              of course that was, ahem.. at the request of the government of Czechoslovakia

                1. OIFVet

                  As a politician close to Orban said, “Hungary is not for sale. Neither for the Russians nor for the Americans.” Believe it or not, countries get tired of being pawns to the great powers, no matter how small and insignificant they may be compared to the bigs. We Eastern Europeans had to be subservient to the Soviet bratushki first, and now we have the American brotherushki. Both suck. The Central Europeans want to chart their own, independent course, and that’s obviously not very welcomed by the brotherushkis in DC. Because Freedom is Slavery.

            2. OIFVet

              Why do you think that it has to be one or the other? It is how the apparatus of regime change works: influence opinion through social networks and captive native media and NGOs. Why else would USAID try to launch a Cuban Twitter??? The fact is that Czech, Hungarian, and Slovak leaders talk about maintaining their nations’ sovereignty, something that is at fundamental odds with US interests and those of its EU neoliberal flunkies. In that they sound dangerously like Putin and are thus…inconvenient. You tell me what the US has done to such inconvenients for the past 70 years. And then here comes the US and German courtier media, bemoaning the rise of right-wing populism in Europe, even as they say nothing about their Ukie allies holding a Nazi march in Kiev to commemorate that butcher Bandera. The stink of hypocrisy is overwhelming, and no NED campaign is going to mask it for much longer. The Europeans will be forced to make a big choice in 2015 or 2016: will they continue to sacrifice themselves and their economies for the benefit of the declining empire, or will they begin to look out for their own interests. As things stand, Euro and US interests are opposed, courtier press propaganda to the contrary notwithstanding.

              1. optimader

                “The fact is that Czech, … leaders talk about maintaining their nations’ sovereignty” While currying favor from china and Russian leaders. It’s an old story.. Zeman is a dud and the Czechs have wised up to that.
                I have every confidence they are best to render out their own national interests, which in their case I believe right now is not in favor of hosting NATO bases, so don’t get your shorts in too much of a bunch yet.

                “Ukie allies holding a Nazi march in Kiev to commemorate that butcher ”
                What is their representation in the Rada? Politically relevant in forming policy?
                Do Russian Communist Party members rallying for a return of Stalinism represent Russia?
                Was Stalin more or less of a butcher?

                Should the KKK or neo Nazi lugheads in the US have the right to freedom of speech/assembly?

                1. OIFVet

                  While currying favor from china and Russian leaders If it is in the country’s economic interest, then why not?

                  I have every confidence they are best to render out their own national interests Then who? The EU?

                  What is their representation in the Rada? Politically relevant in forming policy? Them that has the gun has the power. They do hold the security ministries, they formed the Maidan muscle. Is it really that hard to comprehend what that means???

                  Do Russian Communist Party members rallying for a return of Stalinism represent Russia?
                  Was Stalin more or less of a butcher?
                  Yawn. Really? Stalin’s dead, the nazis in Kiev and Lvov are alive and kicking.

                  Should the KKK or neo Nazi lugheads in the US have the right to freedom of speech/assembly? The “liberal” media is quick to condemn those rallies, while remaining conspicuously silent on the march by the Kiev nazis. And then there was the specter of the US, Canada, and Ukraine voting against the anti-nazi resolution in the UN. Hardly surprising, given the red carpet that US and Canada rolled out for Ukie nazis after WWII.

                  1. OIFVet

                    About nazis being “politically relevant”:

                    Pyatt: Yeah. I guess … just let him stay out and do his political homework and stuff. … We want to keep the moderate democrats together. The problem is going to be Tyahnybok [Oleh Tyahnybok, the other main opposition leader, head of the far-right Svoboda party] and his guys …

                    Nuland: [Breaks in] I think Yats is the guy who’s got the economic experience, the governing experience. He’s the … what he needs is Klitsch and Tyahnybok on the outside. He needs to be talking to them four times a week, you know. …

                    Just in case you need a translation of diplomatese: Vicky is saying the nazi’s are more useful on the outside, as muscle for, say, burning Russkies in Odessa alive. But Yats is nonetheless to consult with them, “four times a week”. That’s the answer to your question, though I am quite certain you won’t like it one bit. Don’t blame me, blame Nuland and the rest of our government.

      1. optimader

        I trust he will return any ongoing financial remuneration as well, because it is clearly a matter of principle.
        I call BS on sophisticated professionals (he was an PhD/MD not some manipulated 17yo) that serve out a military careers then have their “philosophical awakening” but keep the money.

        1. OIFVet

          I suppose I should return the remuneration I received from the US government for serving and for my higher education too then? I assumed you received some government help too in obtaining your education, should you return it too? Your argument is flawed. You mean to tell me that all those “sophisticated professionals” that support/ed the Democrats are not capable of being fooled too? Then there is the overwhelming naivete we Eastern Europeans did have after 1989, when we truly saw the US as being this incredibly good nation that truly represented freedom and democracy. You may not have been there at the time but I was. I laugh at it now, ruefully, but most of us were indeed incredibly naive, regardless of profession or age. If anything, I would equate more education with more naivete. It was the peasants who possessed the innate age old skepticism, like my grandparents, who were more likely to call BS right away. Cause, believe it or not, education IS propaganda and manipulation.

  19. optimader

    some cool images
    SUBWAYSPECIAL 194 Moscow Metro stations for 365 days and All stations of St. Petersburg Metro daily Please see Famous Russian Metro with my eye and enjoy your stay.

    little known fact (I suspect):
    “.This man on the pic above was the Russian scientist Tsiolkovsky. Some people in Russia call him the “father” of Russian space program. He also invented the hard-bodied dirigibles and published his works about such models right before foreign scientist Zeppelin, though the name of the later is more associated with dirigibles.

    But what’s interesting is that some times later after the construction of those hard bodied aircrafts started, the Soviet state cut the financing and some of them were left unfinished. So Russian people have found another use for large steel “skeleton” frames of the dirigibles – they used them in the subway construction. For example these photos below are shots from one of the subway stations in Moscow. One can clearly see the remains of dirigible implanted in the metro station. If to use some imagination you can find yourself not deeply underground but high in skies, while waiting for the next train…”

  20. optimader

    Galleries » Cats and Mice
    “The Cats and Mice project by Canadian artist Jeff de Boer, based in Calgary, who transposes the ancient war between cats and mice into our own history, creating real metallic war armors for cats and mice, inspired by the knights of the Middle Ages, the Japanese samurai of the Edo era or the gladiators of ancient Rome and the armors of Persian warriors…”

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