Links 1/3/15

‘US girl survivor’ reports fatal Kentucky plane crash BBC

Prince Andrew sex case claim denied BBC. Note the mention of Alan Dershowitz? I know two different women he tried picking up on the Boston-NY shuttle back when I was still in school. One of them was a roommate, the other the roommate of a former roommate. Only the latter turned him down. As a result, I have had the unfortunate experience of seeing Dershowitz clad only in a towel.

How Building a Black Hole for Interstellar Led to an Amazing Scientific Discovery Wired (martha r)

Must-Have Gadgets You Don’t Need Will Glimmer at the Consumer Electronics Show Bloomberg

Travis Kalanick jokes about hiring sexist, racist blogger who says Uber should be more aggressive Pando

Bad Advice Abounds Regarding Surgery for DCIS Patient Safety Blog

Are some diets “mass murder”? British Journal of Medicine (martha r)

Thousands flee homes as bushfires rage in southern Australia DW :-(

AirAsia Flight QZ8501: Carrier was not permitted to fly route on Sundays, says Indonesia Straits Times. Lambert: “Sunday being the day the crash took place.”

Interview with Börsen-Zeitung European Central Bank (margarita). The degree of disconnect is striking.

Stability and Prosperity in Monetary Union Project Syndicate (David L)

European Union Imposes a Tax on Digital Transactions Equal to 0.006 Percent of GDP CEPR

Tea with the FT: Pedro Almodóvar Financial Times. Considerable discussion of how bad things are in Spain.


Grexit: Papandreou announces that he’s creating a new party France 24

Will Greece be in EMU at the end of 2015? Marc Chandler

Russia and China Mock Divide-and-Rule Pepe Escobar, Counterpunch

Saudi Arabia bets its future on ‘Berlin or Bust’ oil strategy Telegraph

Russia throws lifeline to banks, companies CNN

Two Minute Hate

U.S. Slaps New Sanctions on North Korea for Sony Hack and Vows Further Steps Bloomberg

New U.S. Sanctions on North Korea Seen as Only ‘First Step’ New York Times. Wow, look at the article summary:

The Obama administration doubled down on its allegation that North Korea’s leadership was behind the hacking of Sony Pictures.

And piling on like The brave new era of cyberwar as lead story in Politico

Why I didn’t download ‘The Interview’ Financial Times


US pullout leaves Pakistan fearing blowback Financial Times

Jibran Nasir: The quiet lawyer and activist who is taking on Pakistan’s Taliban Independent (Nikki)

If Only They Would Leave Patrick Cockburn, Counterpunch

Obama Takes Care of Business Counterpunch

Black Injustice Tipping Point

Can’t Stop, Won’t Stop: Black Lives Matter Movement Hits Counterreaction Truthout

Oregon players face team discipline for “No means no” chant Salon (Nikki)

Is the oil price drop good U.S. equity markets? CNBC

Falling oil prices both good and bad for manufacturers Fortune

Gasoline-Tax Increase Finds Little Support New York Times

Pay-disclosure advocates chafe at SEC rule delays MarketWatch

Class Warfare

Male nerd privilege Cathy O’Neil. Another take.

Is Global Poverty Falling? Not in Absolute Terms WSJ Economics

Slave islands: South Korean salt farms ‘a living hell’ Associated Press (martha r). Note the story ran in Australia but does not seem to have gotten much traction here.

Antidote du jour (Kevin H):

Polyphemus Moth

And a bonus video! This tiger cub is so insanely cute that I worry that circulating it will lead to someone going out and getting one of their own. As Scott pointed out, “Were I that Chihuahua, I’d be thinking about getting new digs.”

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. abynormal

    how lovely, another moth provoking antidote of Kev’s… the eyes know.
    “To hear never-heard sounds,
    To see never-seen colors and shapes,
    To try to understand the imperceptible
    Power pervading the world;
    To fly and find pure ethereal substances
    That are not of matter
    But of that invisible soul pervading reality.
    To hear another soul and to whisper to another soul;
    To be a lantern in the darkness
    Or an umbrella in a stormy day;
    To feel much more than know.
    To be the eyes of an eagle, slope of a mountain;
    To be a wave understanding the influence of the moon;
    To be a tree and read the memory of the leaves;
    To be an insignificant pedestrian on the streets
    Of crazy cities watching, watching, and watching.
    To be a smile on the face of a woman
    And shine in her memory
    As a moment saved without planning.”
    Dejan Stojanovic

    1. Kevin Hall

      My images come up far short against all the wickedness we are living in but if it gives you a smile for even a moment, then there was value in making them and offering them here. I very much appreciate this community of people who get it and offer so much to learn.

  2. Carolinian

    Fun stuff for computer obsessives.

    An ebullient, rawboned gentleman manning a coffee and doughnut cart at the corner of Houston and Broadway also cheered me on; he said, “Technology is so high today. Soon they will be able to tell you in your head to go left, go right, go left.”

    I asked him, “Is that the kind of future you want?” He said, “I don’t know. But pictures of doughnuts are very nice.”

    One day, while walking through Whole Foods on Houston Street, my friend Ryan asked me if I ever photographed my snacks from unusual angles in order to try to get a lower calorie count. Thrilled by the idea, I placed an apple crisp muffin on the store’s floor, and was soon smiling at a notice on my iPhone reading “0 calories.” The jig was up.


  3. diptherio

    I’m starting to think this blaming North Korea for the Sony hack is just a big PR stunt. Somebody at Sony realized they had a real turd on their hands and that this POS flick was guaranteed to tank, so they decided to gin up some controversy to get people to actually watch it.

    1. Tom Allen

      A PR stunt indeed. How forceful the Obama Administration looks, declaring cyberwar on North Korea to defend Sony’s corporate honor, despite a distinct lack of proof that the Koreans had anything to do with it.

      1. Katniss Everdeen

        And, according to many cybersecurity experts, plenty of proof that they didn’t.

        And, once again, isn’t Sony a Japanese company? This global police thing is getting way out of hand.

  4. craazyman

    I”m not sure what is more arresting on the imagiation — the black hole simulation or the idea of a famous lawyer in a bathtowel after scoring big time with a college chick. What man doesn’t read that and think “Dude! You rock”. At least one of these images is real, since it can be recreated as a model and experienced by human perception — if anybody wants to — this is the lawyer of course. The other is just a movie, since if anybody went there they’d probably die before they saw anything. So what you’re seeing isn’t reality, it’s an idea of reality. A complicated idea, a brilliant idea, but frankly it’s just imagination guided by certain ideas of order. It’s a way of visualizing in a highly structured way, but what you’re visuallizig isn’t what you’d experience. It’s no more accurate than a painting by Rembrandt and it’s therefore not science but it is art.. This brings me to Pedro Almovadar. It’s interesting he distinguishes between movies seen in theatters and on the internet. This is what Malraux distinguished in Voices of Silence between paintings and photos of paintings in books in his essay Museum without Walls. They are two very different phenomenon. Even photos of photos are less than the original photos, or they are different, perhaps not “less”. They are very very different phenomenon. Alll phenomenon are instrinsically infinite but perception is finiite and it must be ordered to be experienced. Ether the order is a conscious construction or it’s an unconscious instinctual framing. Or it is the former guided by the latter. What iis a black hole. It’s something cooked up by mathematicians and physiists by their system of ordered framing. Is that reality? Partly but never completely. And would you see what you’d see in the movie. No, you’d see something very different probably, if you actually went there, but that’s for the next movie and the next set of equations, maybe in a few decades. In the meantime, it’s art and maybe good art. Certainly a spectacle like a circus in your mind. That’s the only reality you can call Truth. That and making movies for 5000 euros. Holy smokes. That’s not a lot but people will, won’t they. Just the pleasure of creating your own ordered framing of infinite reality. It sounds better than working, if you have a place to eat and drink and sleep. Too bad it can’t last forever, reality has that way of being unavoidable if it has enough time to change.

    1. ambrit

      “It sounds better than working, if you have a place to eat and drink and sleep.”
      Hmmm… One of lifes’ basic problems. Despite too much reading of Theosophy and New Wave SF back in the Dawn Times, I have yet to figure out that warping of reality trick.
      By the way, is there an “Official” ‘Ten Bagger Day’ somewhere? I’d love to celebrate it.

    2. winstonsmith

      the idea of a famous lawyer in a bathtowel after scoring big time with a college chick. What man doesn’t read that and think “Dude! You rock”.

      I think Chomsky once referred to Dershowitz as the most dishonest man in America, but I can only find this at the moment. So taking your question less rhetorically than intended, Noam Chomsky.

        1. craazyman

          Was it as bad as the scene in ALIEN when Sigorney Weaver’s pregnant womb exploded in a bust of blood as she gave birth to that huge snake-like deep space monster?

          That was bad. That was really really bad.

          I think it was probably right about the same time, 1979 or so. That would have been a bad week for you if they both happened within a few days of each other.

          1. Propertius

            I believe the traumatic imagery of Dershowitz in a bathtowel has disrupted your memory of the movie (IIRC it is John Hurt, not Sigourney Weaver, whose abdomen explodes in the original Alien).

            1. craazyman

              Whoa! You may be right. I think it may have been the 1986 film Aliens.


              it’s so traumatizing one loses all frames of reference, and they blend together and merge into a single memory blob of horror movie revulsion — with Sigorney Weaver right smack in the middle of it all.

        2. jeff Chormann

          At least you only saw him in a towel. In the early 1980’s, my wife ran into him on Lucy Vincent Beach on Martha’s Vineyard sans towel.

    3. Jim Haygood

      From a CNBC article titled ‘Steaks, strippers & sweet rides: Wall Street’s Back’:

      A salesman at a high-end car dealership in Manhattan that specializes in selling Bentleys, Rolls Royce and Lamborghinis (that range from $100,000 to $500,000) said that the fourth quarter was his “best quarter ever.”

      Yesterday when I strolled past that showroom, they had a sweet white Lamborghini in the window which screamed sex, sin and seraglios. I’m less interested in driving it than in installing it as performance art in the living room. The roofline is low enough to use it as coffee table; the instrument cluster would make a nice warm glow in front of the fireplace.

      But CNBC’s article don’t even hint at a bigger bubble, Manhattan real estate. Walk the new High Line extension leading to the huge Hudson Yards project, and you’ll see new apartment buildings popping up like mushrooms on every block. The building boom doesn’t reflect real demand: rather, it mirrors six years of ZIRP and a tripling of stock prices. Free money has to be spent somewhere.

      When the World Trade Center towers topped out in 1973, it marked a peak in NYC construction which lasted for years. Likely the topping out of the new Freedumb Tower (with the same non-market state-socialist investors behind it) will do the same.

    4. flora

      “a famous lawyer in a bathtowel ”
      That’s gotta be the punchline of a bunch of ‘lawyer jokes’.

    1. ambrit

      One could make the case that “feminists” have been categorized as a subset of “activists.” Today, “activists,” as defined by Media, are viewed as aggressive and forceful. “Feminazis” comes to mind as a forced categorization. The Big Lie at work in support of the “Culture Wars.” The phenomena of death threats and vilification could be belittled as just the ravings of a minority of cretinous yahoos. However, it is just this demographic that supplies the foot soldiers for most real blood spilling culture wars. Set up an “Other” for them to hate, wind them up a bit, aim them and let them go. It is precisely that simple.
      Everyone here more or less knows and accepts the idea of a century old propaganda regime; Bernays’ “Manufacture of Consent.” It is not too much of a stretch to see the amorphous hand of this loose amalgamation of allied interests behind many of the ‘movements’ in our history. No top down Illuminatii style Conspiracy is needed. The system is self regulating once put into motion. As is standard in psychiatry, where suicide threats are taken seriously until proven to be play acting, so should death threats and other vile utterances be taken seriously. It only takes one deranged person to actually kill an “Other.”
      We live in a world, full of iPods, Smart Phones, talking advertising signs, and 24/7 “news” channels, that fills the bill for a psychotic nightmare. Everyone now walks around with ‘voices’ talking in their head constantly. When we start doing what those voices tell us to, we are doomed.
      Thanks for letting me rant.

  5. MikeNY

    Thanks SO much for the Almodovar link. He’s one of my favorite directors ever, and Women on the Verge is one of the funniest movies I have ever seen — and Pedro is right that it completely captures 80s Madrid. I used to see Almodovar around when I lived in Chueca.

    I saw the B’way version of the musical and it was unutterably bad; I really hope they have fixed it, because it is great subject matter for a show, though I doubt it can ever be as good as the film. How can you ever replace those close-ups of Rossi de Palma’s nose?!

  6. Jef

    Enjoyed the Polanyi thread but what was left out entirely (I did not read the book though) was the part that exponential increase in cheap, almost free energy played in all of the developments he analyzed. The ups and downs and sideways of civilization tracks amazingly well with Fossil Fuel development and production, and also the biospheres ability to absorb our waste stream, arguably the largest subsidy mankind has ever known. These two factors also go a long way in explaining what is happening in the world today.

    I would posit that they are in fact the dominant factors. Everything we do is simply a reaction/response to energy availability and the biospheres ability to absorb our waste stream. Two leave these two factors, the largest economic factors in the world throughout history makes his analysis fall short. However we egocentric humans love to believe that it is our artificial constructs that are at the root.

    1. James Levy

      In critical ways, yes, you are right–why the Industrial Revolution in England? The coal was a necessary condition, but it is important to note not a sufficient one. The Chinese were burning way more coal in 1400 than the British were in 1800. But the British economic, social, and political arrangements allowed for steam engines to be applied to consumer goods, not just government foundries. The energy inputs are critical to development but so are other factors. But when you take away the energy, the clean water, and the soil, no system can endure.

      1. dearieme

        “The coal was a necessary condition, but it is important to note not a sufficient one.” Evidently, since the British were burning coal when the Romans arrived.

      2. tiebie66

        Why the Industrial Revolution in England? Reading A Farewell to Alms (Clark, 2007) has convinced me that the coal was not even a necessary condition, but human resourcefulness was. Switzerland and Sweden and Japan have little coal, but have accomplished much more than many countries that had plenty of coal but whose populations lacked the resourcefulness to utilize abundant natural resources, including coal. Interestingly, after the invention of the printing press, literacy in England, especially amongst women, increased substantially prior to the IR. Japanese were similarly literate in pre-IR times, but their women not, hence the growth of literacy in England started to outstrip that in Japan (due, IMO, to the influence of women), increasing the probability of the IR occurring in England before/rather than occurring in Japan. Both Japan and England are island nations, thus I see literacy density as the primary cause of the IR in the sense of its probability in a given population increasing with literacy density in that population.

    2. fresno dan
      Polanyi argues that land, labor, and money are “fictitious commodities” because they are not produced to be bought and sold on the market. The impossibility of treating these fake commodities as real ones shows how assumptions about free markets begin to break down. Like Marx, he thought that when the effort was made to transform labor power into something that is bought and sold on the market, people became degraded, impoverished, and most importantly for the authors, the objects of “cultural catastrophe.” Unlike Marx, however, he suggests that labor can’t ever be completely commodified, because markets are always socially and politically embedded. Counter-movements inevitably arise to shield people from suffering and protect society. These interventions can take widely divergent political forms—German fascism or the American New Deal, as the case may be.
      This is not just a matter of emphasis on cultural processes rather than economic interests. It points to a crucial difference between TPMF and accounts of the rise of neoliberalism that emphasize class antagonisms. A different view, which the authors reject, is that the revival of market policies was the project of a politically resurgent and active corporate community. Therefore, when they discuss why the Clinton and the Democratic Party embraced the perversity thesis and cut welfare, there is no mention of the ties that bind the Party to organized business or any indication that the labor movement had been severely marginalized as one of its core constituencies. Instead they say that the Democratic politicos promoted free market ideas because of their “electoral potency,” which suggests that American policymaking and politics are pluralistic and actually reflect the collective will of the citizenry.

  7. Andrew Watts

    RE: If Only They Would Leave

    It’s kinda hard to be optimistic when it comes to the Islamic State. It’s impossible for them to lose soldiers when the opposition flees at the first sight of’em. The only force besides the American/Iranian military that has consistently opposed IS successfully is the Kurdish PKK. Uhh, we’re not suppose to call it the Islamic State or anything other than Daesh because it threatens the legitimacy of the surrounding Arab states or something.

    What American airstrikes has apparently taught IS commanders is that instead of taking days or even weeks to liquidate enemy forces they need to swiftly annihilate their foes. Otherwise they will take casualties from the inevitable air strikes launched in support of the opposing ground troops. This is a similar lesson the Chinese learned from battling the US Eighth Army in Korea. When fighting the US military you don’t have any time to delay otherwise ground reinforcements, artillery, and air power is brought into play.

    The latest Islamic State offensive in Anbar Province which possibly undid weeks or even months of progress by Shia-Iraqi government forces was wrapped up within a few hours of it’s final phase. No airstrikes were launched by US coalition forces in time to support the ground troops.

    “From 07:00 until 11:00, we lost territory that had taken us two weeks to gain. In a few hours, it was gone,” said a senior officer from the Iraqi Army’s 7th Division, who did not want to be named. -BBC News

    I think the American troops, err military advisers, located in Ain al-Asad military base are in deep trouble.

    1. James Levy

      The Americans are caught in a conundrum: they need Iraqis who are patriotic to stand up to ISIS and defend their country, but it has never been in Washington’s interest to do anything to foster Iraqi patriotism. We wanted the Iraqis to be disunited, selfish, grasping, and cowardly (to serve the needs of our occupation). Now, we want them to be selfless patriots willing to die for the territorial integrity of Iraq. Such civic mindedness barely exists here after 200+ years of a constitutional republic. Where they imagine it will come from in Iraq, after the US did everything it could to subvert or destroy such values, is a testament to the magical thinking that goes on in Washington. What they may discover is that the Iraqis are simply not infinitely malleable tools in the service of Uncle Sam’s desires. More than likely though they’ll just blame it all on those cowardly wogs and leave it at that.

      1. Andrew Watts

        Yup, the idea that we’re going to shape reality is the height of imperial hubris and delusion. I haven’t really paid much attention to the internal politics of the situation. The political maneuvering matters a whole lot less then the military reality unfolding. Although hearing a Kurdish politician equate the Baghdad and Erbil governments with failed states was quite shocking even though I’ve previously compared both Iraq/Kurdistan as nothing more than imperial client states.

    2. Yves Smith Post author

      The one recent military book I have read, “Military Misfortunes” has an afterword written at least 6 years ago which talks at some length about the disaster of the US occupation of Iraq. The go through the basic requirements of successful counterinsurgency, and the biggie is making sure the standard of living of the locals is OK. We blew that because looting by Halliburton and Blackwater was more important.

      They also mention, merely in passing, that the Iraq army as we constituted it was a ridiculous idea and would never work.

      1. Andrew Watts

        In the aftermath of the Iraqi civil war it was probably delusional to expect that sectarian tensions could be patched up through the formation of a new Iraqi military/government but that was and still is the plan apparently. It took almost a decade to put together the Iraqi armed forces and billions of dollars only to see it implode. With a few exceptions like the “Golden Division” in Samarra. In terms of successful counter-insurgency strategies I have to defer to the War Nerd’s wisdom.

  8. dearieme

    “Isis is better for me, because at least it gives me a job and pays a good salary.” He should learn to defer his gratification, and become President of the United States. The good salary flows principally after leaving office.

  9. Efschumacher

    On Draghi’s call for closer economic union leading to ‘ better in than out outcomes’ and ergo stronger political union to get fiscal policies aligned: to what extent will a TTIP act to destabilize European political and economic self-determinism? Is this US policy – to keep Europe permanently divided and conquered, or is it that European countries just naturally act like a confederacy of dunces?

    1. Chris in Paris

      Of course it’s official policy! Why else would the US push the “breadth not depth” membership view in line with its friends in the UK (that has already saddled us with an unwieldy 28 members)? The most absurd aspect of this policy is the oft-invoked official US support for Turkey to join. Why Turkey? Because its membership would put off the European social-democratic project for a hundred years.

  10. Brian

    about Oregon football players; Isn’t it odd that their statement was personal, politically correct and done to the tune of a racist song and dance used predominantly in the south to promote their “sport” while demeaning native americans? That doesn’t come into the argument because it is true, and Mr. Winston behaved like a child for a couple hours when they destroyed another of his seminal dreams, pun intended.
    People, are we not allowed to express opinions any longer?

  11. flora

    re: Male Nerd Privilege
    good article.
    abuse of power comes as no surprise.
    at all levels: race, sex/gender, wealth, power positions within each group – dominant/subordinate group members.
    why are some forms of abuse accepted, seen as no big deal, and others forms rejected ?
    O’Neil is right: “What I’d propose is to figure out a way to talk about these structural problems in an aspirational way. How can we help make things fairer? How can we move this problem to the next level? ”

    Since this is an econ blog I’ll look at the financial abuse of the 99% by the financially powerful interests.
    See Michael Hudson’s article and the Counterpunch “Obama Takes Care of Business” link.
    The New Deal and Great Society programs were designed in part to rein in the financial abuses of the little guy by the powerful, designed to rein in social Darwinism where “might makes right” and “the strong survive, the weak perish” – a convenient self-justification for the powerful.
    Rolling back the New Deal programs, laws and regulatory work; holding harmless the crooks on Wall St and protecting them in their predations; opens the door to more financial abuse of the 99% by the 1%.
    So I like O’Neil’s question: “How can we make things fairer”?

    1. gordon

      “Rolling back the New Deal programs, laws and regulatory work; holding harmless the crooks on Wall St and protecting them in their predations; opens the door to more financial abuse of the 99% by the 1%. So I like O’Neil’s question: “How can we make things fairer?”

      From the linked Counterpunch article If Only they Would Leave:
      “I saw him with Isis forces wearing their uniform,’ Sameer said. ‘I asked him if he was happy and he said: “I know they are doing many bad things, but the Kurdistan leaders just care about their jobs and big business deals…”‘


      1. flora

        interesting juxtaposition. I hope we correct the imbalances before it comes to that sort of response. I believe we will, but much needs to be addressed.

  12. buffalo cyclist

    The Counterpunch article is wrong about the Democratic base catching onto the damage done by neoliberal policies. The overwhelming majority of Democrats back Hillary Clinton, a committed neoliberal who negotiated the TPP, for president. Most Democratic voters also either blame Republicans for all of the nation’s problems or think that the Democrats should compromise with the Republicans (instead of realizing that both parties embrace of neoliberalism and corporate trade deals are what’s destroying the middle class).

    Also, really love the tiger cub video!

    1. sleepy

      Yeah, if Hillary is somehow not the nominee, and she may not be, I think the only thing the dems will do is run a I-really-mean-it-this-time hope and change campaign that promises some nibbling around at the margins.

      And the whole economic and financial game is so rigged that nibbling at the margins won’t hurt the big boys and girls at all even if they have to throw another peanut to the masses.

      I think the real question is whether the elite even care anymore about the gloss of electoral legitimacy. The state’s open and more frequent use of violence would say they don’t.

      One encouraging thing is the fact that the protests against police violence, or at least the questioning of it, has encompassed wider areas of the political spectrum than before. At least it seems that way to me.

  13. Howard Beale IV

    Death rate is lower in high risk heart patients at US teaching hospitals during cardiology conferences; BMJ

  14. Howard Beale IV

    Dershowitz was making a real big stink when interviewed on BBC World Service and was stuttering. Sounds like he’s busted to me.

    1. Fool

      There is a strong correlation between the stridency with which Dershowitz protests what the other person is saying to the mendacity of Dershowitz’s actual argument.

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      And we all can see a half-naked empire clad only in a towel.

      ‘Oh, boy, when will Mother Russia cry Uncle Sam, my big brother asks me.”

    3. optimader

      “Dershowitz was… stuttering. Sounds like he’s busted to me.”

      My take is he saw a retainer from Bill Cosby evaporating. It’s all about billable hours and rate, not a naïve notion about loosing some perceived lingering shred of personal integrity.

      I’ll speculate that damaging the potentialities of the former is all that matters in his peer group, the latter, not so much, that just an acceptable casualty of his brand of the profession.

  15. flora

    re: Two Minutes Hate

    hoo boy. the whole N.Korea thing is discounted by internet security experts. Real experts. Not Politico “experts”.
    Why do I think the Obama admin is eager to: 1. talk about anything other than its Wall St coddling and lousy election results, 2. wants to pass previously thwarted internet censorship laws, and 3. make itself look tough, on the cheap, going in to new TTIP negotiating rounds.

    1. Banger

      As I often repeat the American mass media is not what it claims to be–not in the slightest. It is, collectively, a series of propaganda organs tailored towards meeting the prejudices of various demographic/cultural groups. The organs are very carefully calibrated and you can see it if you spend a lot of time watching various cable shows, for example. They use similar techniques that Hollywood movies use to gear their products.

      1. optimader

        “As I often repeat the American mass media is not what it claims to be–not in the slightest”
        Which mass media is?

        “It is, collectively, a series of propaganda organs tailored towards meeting the prejudices of various demographic/cultural groups.”
        Which mass media isn’t?

        Textbook distinction without a difference.

        I believe it was Stalin’s propagandist Beria that said ( I paraphrase)” All news is propaganda; all propaganda is lies”.

      1. psychohistorian

        Thanks for the link.

        American empire is being challenged on many fronts and the 2020 time frame for having China finance off US systems and networks is doable. They could probably do it faster if pushed. Depending on the warrior/intransigence nature of the US going forward, getting China and major international partners off US technology/networks could take significantly longer.

        I expect the new SWIFT system that China is having the Germans build will be required to run on the new technology base as well. And if they move themselves and their economic partners to IPV6 in the process, they should be able to survive easily in a “competitive” networked world, unlike the US centric one that currently exists.

  16. fresno dan

    Are some diets “mass murder”? British Journal of Medicine (martha r)

    “trials of diet include more than one variable: for example, a diet of less fat probably means more carbohydrate so as to supply enough energy.”

    As they say, there’s your problem right there. Getting fat means your taking in more calories than you need. Many of the “experiments” in diet substitute 1000 calories of fat for a thousand calories of carbohydrate or vice versa – which is pretty much like asking which weighs more: a pound of feathers or a pound of lead? It never occurs to these guys that satiety may be playing a crucial role in rising obesity rates – why are people eating so much…or physical activity declining so much (as well as more esoteric hypothesizes such as antibiotics that I have posted).
    (and note – its NOT saying saturated fats DON’T cause heart disease)
    I remember telling a friend he shouldn’t eat so much better….while I was eating the “good” poly unsaturated artificial imitation ersatz margarine like product (it wasn’t even REAL margarine…)
    Gave me another view of Karl Popper, how many theories are presented as established fact, and how in general humans don’t WANNA deal with contradictory evidence…

    Speaking only for myself, once I made a conscious decision to eat as few carbs as possible, I lost about 30 pounds. I couldn’t have done it if I had felt hungry – which was the problem when I had tried to eat less before.

  17. participant-observer-observed

    reduced confidence vote?

    “India cuts exposure to US government securities at $77.5 billion in October
    PTI Dec 21, 2014, 05.13PM IST (but published this week in Indian American newspapers)

    WASHINGTON: India has trimmed its holdings of US government securities to $77.5 billion at the end of October even as the world’s largest economy is expanding at a moderate pace.

    Apart from India, other BRICS nations — Brazil, Russia, China and South Africa — cut down their holdings of American government securities.
    Latest data from the US Treasury Department shows that India held securities worth $80 billion in September and further reduced its exposure to $77.5 billion in October — which is also a three-month low.

    In August, the holdings were to the tune of $80.4 billion while it stood at $79.7 billion in July.

    Interestingly, BRICS bloc has reduced their exposure to these securities at a time when America’s economic activity is expanding at a moderate rate.

    While China remains the largest holder of American government securities, it cut down exposure to USD 1.25 trillion in October.

    During the same period, Brazil and Russia slashed their holdings to USD 261.7 billion and USD 108.9 billion, respectively.

    In October, South Africa brought down its holdings of US government securities to USD 10.3 billion.

    The United States saw its real GDP increase at an annual rate of 3.9 per cent in the three months ended September, according to official data released last month.”

    1. psychohistorian

      Unless the US forces the growing cadre of countries at the point of nukes to stay slaves to the, dare I say, private Western financial system, in less than 10 years the US dollar as Reserve Currency will be history. I really see it happening in less than 5 years if “trade wars” break out in lieu of nuclear winter.

      Change is ongoing and we are in the ugly denouement of American empire. How ugly will it get?

  18. Jim Haygood

    Time’s up for apartheid:

    JERUSALEM — Israel is withholding $127 million in tax revenue it collects for the Palestinian Authority in response to its move last week to join the International Criminal Court.

    A United Nations Security Council resolution setting a 2017 deadline for ending Israel’s occupation failed last week, but the Palestinians plan to represent it this month, after the council’s membership has shifted in their favor.

    Without the help of Palestinian security forces, Israel would struggle to curb violence. Taking responsibility for education, health and other services for 2.5 million Palestinians in the West Bank and 1.8 million in Gaza would be a huge budgetary blow. It would also make the nearly half-century occupation more stark on the international stage.

    The occupation already IS ‘stark on the international stage,’ except in the U.S. mainstream media which functions as Israel’s dutiful PR wire.

  19. tongorad

    Ever seen the documentary film, American Radical: The Trials of Norman Finklestein? An interesting expose of US Academic “freedom” and of Dershowitz.

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