Links 2/17/15

I hope readers are patient with the heavy dosage of Greece coverage. I’m a bit frustrated that doing a good job on that topic comes at the expense of other news. I have a more comprehensive post that I expect to go live by 8 AM.

Philip Levine, former US poet laureate, Pulitzer winner, dies at 87 McClatchy

American lobster: the new Chinese New Year delicacy Associated Press (Lambert)

When Time Flows Backwards MotherBoard (furzy mouse)

X-ray machine opens new frontier BBC (David L)

Are Submarines About to Become Obsolete? National Interest (Chuck L)

Mothers can pass traits to offspring through bacteria’s DNA MedicalXpress (Chuck L)

“For comparison, the median age in the U.S. is 37” @conradhackett (furzy mouse)

Obama just took a huge shot at Europe Business Insider

US accuses Europe of tech protectionism Financial Times


Greek crisis talks collapse in acrimony as Syriza defies EMU Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, Telegraph

Leak and counter-leak: how not to achieve a Greek deal Paul Mason, BBC (Swedish Lex)

Greek crisis opens Portuguese faultlines over future of eurozone Financial Times (Swedish Lex). Political cracks are starting to develop….

The Elegant Simplicity Of The Greek Conundrum Ilargi

Greece Does Battle With Creationist Economics: Can Germany Be Brought Into the 21st Century? Dean Baker, Truthout (Nikki)

Afternoon Must-Read: Raquel Fernández and Jonathan Portes: Argentina’s Lessons for Greece Brad DeLong. I’m linking to this ONLY because DeLong presumably knows Varoufakis explained long form in 2012 why Argentina was no model for Greece (as in Krugman took up the argument and DeLong follows Krugman closely).


With Ukrainian Troops Trapped, a Cease-Fire Grows More Fragile New York Times

Western sanctions and Russian perceptions Vineyard of the Saker (Chuck L). Important.


The men who smuggle the loot that funds IS BBC (furzy mouse)

Egypt Launches Airstrike in Libya Against ISIS Branch New York Times

Obama’s ISIS War Request Is an “Extraordinary Opportunity” for Congress Common Dreams (Chuck L)

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

HUGE SPY PROGRAM EXPOSED: NSA has hidden software in hard drives around the world Reuters

AT&T To Match Google Fiber In Kansas City, Charge More If You Want Privacy Slashdot. Bob: “29.99 a month is the cost of doing what most people expect is already done, nothing. Also, is that a guarantee? No cooperation with MPAA, RIAA, FBI, NSA? I have a feeling they are using this to bring Google in a bad light. Backfire.”

Paranoid that GCHQ has spied on you? Now you can find out Dazed Digital

How “omnipotent” hackers tied to NSA hid for 14 years—and were found at last ars technica (Chuck L)

The Face Detection Algorithm Set To Revolutionise Image Search MIT Technology Review (David L). I find this depressing.

Draft U.S. rules on commercial drones keep some limits Reuters (EM)

U.S. Judge Blocks Obama Deferred Deportation Policy for Immigrants NBC (furzy mouse)

Fox News Affiliate Airs Photo of President Obama as Rape Suspect The Root (Stephen M)

Labor secretary to help reach West Coast port deal Reuters (EM)

Freighter backlog worsens outside major West Coast ports Reuters (EM)

The rolling disaster of John Boehner’s speakership Washington Post

With These Hires, Congress Becomes Even More Like a Corporation Nation (furzy mouse)

Judge Dismisses Suit Against Energy Companies Over Louisiana Erosion OilPrice :-(

Appetite for dining out shows US optimism Financial Times. Notice how the article actually spends most of its ink on the fact that a lot of consumer spending indicators don’t look so hot. but pumps restaurant spending as an intention indicator of sorts.

Class Warfare

Junk the phrase ‘human capital’ Aljazeera (Gabriel)

Antidote du jour:

badgers links

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. Ruben

    Regarding the Greece coverage, it seems that European state bosses are presented with the dichotomy of being economically reasonable and thus allowing a political outsider to get a big win, or risking a systemic crisis by booting the outsider out of the union. Since state bosses tend to fall overwhelmingly on the medium to low end of the intelligence spectrum, the high tail of the vanity spectrum, and the parochial extreme of the scope spectrum …

    1. MartyH

      Yves, No apology needed for Greece v. Troika coverage. With the Spanish elections coming and Podemos’s lead, this is the leading edge of something. Whether it succeeds or we see democracy crushed by our Lords and Banksters remains to be seen but this is a heartening exercise and Yanis is a reputable representative for “our” side.

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      It’s possible to overcome low-intelligence, but there is really no cure for greedy hearts.

      Low IQ people are OK. We have to watch out for low HQ (heart quotient) people…especially those who also are highly intelligent.

      High IQ + Low HQ = Bad.

      As for GQ (gentlemen’s quarterly), there is no known correlation to either.

    3. flora

      Antidote du jour – European badgers – is especially apt re: Germany and the Troika. They are badgering Greece.

  2. rjs

    re: Appetite for dining out shows US optimism, et al
    there’s be some consernation that lower gas prices have not turned into greater retail sales of trinkets…even the WSJ asked what are consumers doing with all that money..
    a couple answers: state lottery receipts are up across the board, and regional casinos saw January receipts jump as much as 19%…

    1. Ned Ludd

      It used to be that some small landlords, who owned an apartment complex or two, would lower their rents to the level necessary to keep all of their units filled.

      Now, where I live, management companies run almost all of the apartment buildings – even those owned by individual investors (who outsource the management). The management companies keep rents up at their older properties – even for units in poor condition which (consequently) remain perpetually vacant – to raise the floor on the entire rental market.

      1. Ed

        This is an excellent point, and also on the commercial side, explains the situation where you can have a mostly vacant mall or shopping street with really high rents. I saw this quite often when I lived in Manhattan.

        Its also a disaster and is one effect of concentrating land in only a few hands. Because once you own a certain level of properties, keeping properties vacant to ensure high rents on the remaining properties becomes a viable business strategy, you wind up with increased homelesses, fewer businesses starting up, city streets with no activity (dangerous at night), more properties without anyone looking after them, and everyone else paying out more in rent than they should.

      1. jrs

        :) yea it’s only a lot of money if you drive a large vehicle, but it is some money, I think easily offset by rising food costs etc..

    2. Chauncey Gardiner

      Might be useful to distinguish between more expensive full service restaurants and quick service restaurant chains like MickeyD’s. I seem to recall that Bloomberg used to provide indexes that differentiated between the two segments.

    1. cwaltz

      It’s positively idiotic that CSX was hauling that stuff in a snowstorm/bad weather conditions. I’d be positively surprised if this wasn’t revealed to be a track issue. It isn’t rocket science that the metal rails can and do contract when exposed to extreme cold. *shakes head*

  3. craazyboy

    I’m confused. Why does Obama want to declare war on ISIS when ISIS seems to be in all our ME success stories? Iraq, Yemen, Libya (any day now), Egypt?(The way to tell is look for either heads or headless corpses)… Won’t this involve bombing all our Allies? What if Afghanistan and Syria become Allies and we have to bomb them? Will they understand?

    Should we bomb Israel so all our Allies are treated equal? Saudi Arabia too? (they may deserve it for fcking up our frackers)

    The only thing I can figure out for sure is we shouldn’t bomb Iran.

    1. cwaltz

      It sounds like we should just bomb the European interior designers who seem to be supplying the money to ISIS so that the can decorate the homes of European jahb creators (tongue in cheek.)

        1. Ken Nari

          That’s already covered in the plans.

          Follow the “some places are too dangerous” link in the post about submarines becoming useless. Then read the first comment. You’re in another world there. But the commenter’s easy familiarity with terms and concepts indicates expert knowledge in weaponry and an erie isolation from the real world — that is, the small blue dot, the only spec in infinite emptiness known to support life, the place where most of us still reside. Here’s an excerpt from a long, detailed description of the exciting progress being made in developing tools to end all life known to exist in the universe:

          “Such missiles, at 4 million per shot, will obviously not be something you expend on a ‘flowing white robes’ target. But if you want to hostage Chinese “industry” such that they have to defend in depth (aka spend megabucks) across their entire geographic rear area, now you have a condition which makes sense because that Sony or GM plant probably runs north of half a billion on it’s own and 20 missiles with thermobaric penetrator warheads will drop any civilian building cluster on the face of the planet. And they will do it on a Pizza Hut delivery basis of under 30 minutes or your next one is free. ”

          And having had that Sony or GM plant dropped, China will react just as Yemen and Pakistan do to drones. What’s important is cost and returns. No big deal.

  4. Santi

    A couple of quick comments on Greece:
    * Re: Brad DeLong link, he is not pursuing a Grexit, He, and the article he links to, is actually telling the IMF that persisting with austerity like they did with Argentina is a bad idea. That they should accept Greece haircut and a new plan, or at least this is how I read it. From the article linked by DeLong:

    “The fact that Greek stocks are tumbling and bond yields are soaring means almost nothing; after seven years of economic contraction and human suffering worse than that during the Great Depression of the 1930s, even a large amount of volatility is no reason to persist with failed policies.”

    They refer to austerity, here. They caveat (third lesson) that if Greece, like Argentina, does not implement real reforms in their cleptocracy the good effects of default will only be transient like in Argentina.
    * Reading this comment quoting Ken Clarke linked by your Telegraph link, I’m beginning to guess the conservatives are trapped in their own narrative, like Ilargi said about Ukraine, and Greece will be allowed to default. Only the fact that Yanis Varoufakis has always been one or two steps beyond the austerians gives me some hopes, plus the fact that both France and Italy should know better. This even if a German SPD official, Joachim Poß suggested that Tsipras should replace Varoufakis “with a political experienced, realistic-efficient person.” 8-/

    1. ex-PFC Chuck

      This even if a German SPD official, Joachim Poß suggested that Tsipras should replace Varoufakis “with a political experienced, realistic-efficient person.” 8-/

      i.e. Someone with a rubber spine.

  5. fresno dan

    A cyberespionage group with a toolset similar to ones used by U.S. intelligence agencies has infiltrated key institutions in countries including Iran and Russia, utilizing a startlingly advanced form of malware that is impossible to remove once it’s infected your PC.
    Kaspersky Lab released a report Monday that said the tools were created by the “Equation” group, which it stopped short of linking to the U.S. National Security Agency.
    So, if its infecting Russia, Iran, China, India, etc., than it would seem this malware wasn’t created by those countries. So maybe it wasn’t created by NSA – there is about a zillion other espionage agencies in the US.
    Of course, you create something like that, in a county that will soon be all “internet of things” – great, I will no longer to able to actually control how dark my toast will be…

    1. craazyboy

      I hope my refrigerator orders beer and the store malware charges Putin’s foreign exchange account. Damn commies.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Once they have perfected brain research, all citizens will vote the way ‘they’ want – no need to tamper with voting machines.

        Instead of monitoring what they don’t fully control, it will be ‘total control with minimal follow up monitoring.’

        Thanks to science, it’s possible to dream about that wonderful future. It doesn’t have to be fictional.

  6. fresno dan

    Are Submarines About to Become Obsolete? National Interest (Chuck L)

    Well, with this new tactical and strategic planning, and using advanced technology, we will probably NOW be able to defeat the Taliban in Afghanistan…

    1. Ed

      I skimmed through the article. The simplest summary is that tech now allows people to track anything -its impossible to be stealthy anymore. The advantage of submarines was that since they could travel underwater, they were hard to find. It was easy enough to destroy them if they could be found. Hence if you can track anything, submarines are obsolete.

      This ignores the possibility of stealth technology evolving again to outpace tracking technology. But suppose the arms race stops at the point where everything can be tracked. That has all sorts of implications that go beyond the narrow focus of the article.

      The article throws up some other ideas that are a bit odd. First is the suggestion that submarines become submerged aircraft carriers. What this turns out to mean that submarines would be relevant as a platform for the missiles and drones that are the future of aerial warfare. But what this really means that it is the aircraft carrier that will be obsolete. It will be obsolete because manned aircraft are becoming obsolete. You just need a platform for your drones and missiles.

      The article repeats the canard that battleships are obsolete. The last group of battleships, constructed during World War 2, are obsolete, because they were constructed during World War 2! No craft will be able to keep their effectiveness for almost a century. And with longer ranged aircraft, missiles, and drones, the value in floating artillery platforms becomes limited to providing support to land forces fighting in coastal areas (this is actually really important, but naval brass probably doesn’t think this way). But the concept of a heavily protected and heavily armed warship -the main weapon of all navies throughout history- is not obsolete. Once you get rid of aircraft carriers and submarines, you want ships that are really hard to sink from which you can launch drones and missiles. There is a possibility in the future of being able to patrol the seas with drones launched from bases on land, but in that case all warships would be obsolete.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        One German idea from WWI is perhaps not obsolete – build tunnels from here to Iran, Russia, Syria and just blow them up.

      2. optimader

        A rather broad brush article. It seems to be about the littoral use of attack submarines?

        The thing about ballistic submarines that is so inscrutable as a nuclear deterrent is that they can go park somewhere for 6 months and “sleep”. Im not holding my breath on Chinese or Russian “big data” coughing up the technology to find them.

        “But what this really means that it is the aircraft carrier that will be obsolete.” Yes, well I think that cow is out of the barn already.

      1. ambrit

        I guess it comes down to which sect of post-neo-luddism one were an adherent of.
        From my point of view, it’s all artifice-ial.

  7. Ned Ludd

    “Finally, I would note that while Russia is ready for war, there is no bellicose mood at all.”

    What is disturbing, in the U.S., is how many people think nothing of provoking a war with Russia. NATO is “Planning Military Bases on Russia’s Doorstep”. One of my friends joined the USAF, and he said that everyone loved to watch and re-watch Dr. Strangelove. They did not care that it was meant as satire; they got a thrill from dropping bombs on people and cheered along with Major Kong.

    Kong Rides the Bomb

    1. neo-realist

      No conscription, no war against a competitive foe capable of inflicting significant casualties, and youth raised on war via video games, cosplay and movies (where we usually win and look really cool in the process), has made too many Americans feel very c’est la vie about war….even one with the possibility of a nuclear exchange!

  8. Dan

    “Notice how the article actually spends most of its ink on the fact that a lot of consumer spending indicators don’t look so hot. but pumps restaurant spending as an intention indicator of sorts.”

    Purely anecdotal, but I know a lot of people who eat out a lot because we’re too stressed from doing the work of all the laid off colleagues to cook when we get home – not what I’d call a positive indicator.

    1. Ed

      In the last few years I’ve gone from being single and eating out alot, to being married and mostly eating at home.

      People exaggerate the savings. They are real, but they are just not that great, and only kick in once you get married. The value of buying in the market and cooking it yourself is that you can buy in bulk for your family and save money. This goes away if you are not buying for alot of people. For a single person living alone, it gets worse since the supermarkets tend to sell things in larger portions than you can consume before it spoils. It may be cheaper to eat out all the time if you are single. The real savings come from communal living arrangements, but these can cause problems in other ways.

      However, I have noticed a decline in quality in restaurant food in recent years, which I attribute to margins for restaurants shrinking, and they are unable to raise prices due to low demand so they cut corners on quality. This probably isn’t the conclusion the writers of the article want you to come to.

      1. lord koos

        If you’re single and aren’t saving money from buying and cooking your own food then you need to buy a freezer.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          A rich, elite single buys fresh fish and produce every day.

          You lose a lot nutritionally after a few days.

          Because we brainwash ourselves into believing that greatness is without, not within, that fresh-food inequality does not bother as much as it should (I believe it should justly be an obsession).

        2. jrs

          which you will then haul from 1 bedroom apartment to 1 bedroom apartment (remember the theoretical person was single).

  9. fresno dan

    According to researchers at Liverpool University, the actual production costs of Sovaldi for the 12-week course is in the range $68-$136. Indeed, generic sofosbuvir is currently being marketed in India at $300 per treatment course, after India refused to grant Gilead a patent for the Indian market. In other words, the U.S. price-cost markup is roughly 1,000-to-1!
    We can therefore estimate that private investors spent perhaps $300 million in R&D outlays for sofosbuvir over the course of a decade, and perhaps well below that sum. Those R&D outlays were likely recouped in a few weeks of sales in 2014.

    With a rational U.S. drug pricing system, private investors would expect to earn a reasonable multiple of their R&D for a highly successful drug, perhaps even 5 to 10 times the R&D outlays, in order to reflect the long time horizons and high uncertainties surrounding drug development. Yet at a treatment course of $84,000, the multiple for Sovaldi looks to be around 40 times or more.

    1. Katniss Everdeen

      The only thing that Sachs forgot to mention is Obamacare.

      ” For those not covered by government programs, some will be covered by private insurance….”

      So, what profits the taxpayers don’t directly provide to Giliead through ” a range of Federal and state government programs” [that] “cover the $84,000 for a sizeable number of patients,” they will provide through the recycling of their “health” insurance premium payments through the insurance company to Giliead for its irrationally overpriced product.

      Luckily for Giliead, those premium payments are now COMPELLED by law, in many cases taxpayer subsidized, enforced with the threat of of fines and executed by the all-powerful IRS.

      Without the government squeezing every last drop of “profit” out of a financially exhausted populace on Gilead’s behalf, how on earth would that company make any money?

    2. BondsOfSteel

      I wonder how long until insurance companies start paying for 12 week Indian vacations?

      Medical tourism is already a thing. It’d cost much less than $84,000 to fly to India, stay in a 5 star resort for 12 weeks, and get treated there.

      1. hunkerdown

        Yep, and it’s been profiled in the Wall Street Journal since before Murdoch.

        That’s a really good question, actually. I think it depends on whether big insurance and big hospital see common cause or not. Certainly, insurers could use such treatment plans to bend the cost curve, but why overfeed the livestock?

        1. Katniss Everdeen

          “Big insurance” and “big hospital” will never see “common cause.” Big insurance pays big hospital’s bills. The herd, which supposedly benefits from this arrangement, is runnin’ outta extra dough. Big insurance’s loss is big hospital’s gain, and vice versa. That’s why Obamacare was invented–it’s duct tape.

          1. hunkerdown

            Both industries are somewhat captive to one another: without hospitals, a health insurance policy provides little value (actuarial or otherwise); without insurance, dying becomes a rational economic alternative to treatment. While they may squabble over their respective takes in both the macro and the micro (which, given the magnitudes involved, seems mostly for show), without their continued cooperation in providing service, there is no take to split. If they don’t hang together they hang separately on the gallows of single-payer, and NOBODY in their class wants that! That big insurance hasn’t taken it upon *themselves* to engage in this relatively simple, effective arbitrage (as seen in the WSJ, even!) suggests that big insurance has made Deals with some other participant in healthcare delivery. (I wonder if the US is negotiating *against* that sort of thing in its suicide pacts.)

            I did overlook big pharma and the formulary discounts prescribed by their sales practitioners (and chandelier rides, valid only in North Carolina), which, being part of the natural operation of “representative commerce”, seems a more likely influence.

      2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        How does one do any follow up for something like a surgery – a cooperating local doctor?

        1. Katniss Everdeen

          Ya know, that almost sounds like a business opportunity.

          H-B1 visa holding doctors providing folloiw-up care to American patients originally treated, for a fraction of the cost, in India, upon their return to the “homeland.”

          It could work.

  10. OIFVet

    How Neo-colonialism works: creating a wave of neo-Stalinism in the colonies. Last week I wrote about the defense and foreign ministers of BG issuing threats against opponents of stationing NATO equipment and command center on the territory of BG. Note that even the Soviets never stationed troops and equipment in BG when it was a member of the Warsaw Pact. Couple of days later, an opinion piece was published in a BG daily, which argued that Ukraine has been abandoned to the Russian monsters by the West, and that “if Russia attacks Bulgaria, the West will abandon Bulgaria as well.” These are quite hysterical positions, but the good part comes next: the author argues that Bulgaria must abandon its “slave mentality” toward Russia (?!), and to begin prosecuting for treason those who speak out against NATO (and are therefore pro-Russian “slaves”, I assume). No word on why the demonstrable presence of slave mentality toward the West is preferable to the speculative presence of slave mentality toward Russia. The author proceeds to claim that Russia may well decide to create an anti-European axis comprised of “problematic Turkey, merchantilist Greece, inadequate Bulgaria, insane Serbia, and headstrong Hungary”, so it is not too paranoid to start prosecuting dissent with the blind support by the comprador government for US, EU, and NATO policies toward Russia now before that dissent becomes de facto treason. So there you have it ladies and gentlemen, a proposal to preemptively prosecute political dissent before it becomes “treason”. That author must be a Tom Cruise movie fan.

    Maybe not. The author is employed by The Centre for Liberal Strategies in Sofia. I don’t quite understand what is so “liberal” about the author’s positions, but then it occurred to me to look up who funds his think tank. Turns out, the Centre’s sponsors include NED, Freedom House, the Democracy Commission of the US Embassy in Sofia, and Soros’ Open Society. The media in which this screed was published is part of the Economedia media group owned by an oligarch closely connected with the current government, and whose media has received millions from the US government-funded America for Bulgaria Foundation and Soros’ Open Society.

    So there you have it, your tax dollars hard at work in one of the colonies, attempting to manufacture consent by stifling dissent. “Freedum and democracy” never tasted so sweet to me. All this accomplished with a few million dollars given to the “right” people and with placing a few carefully groomed puppets in key positions. To those who continue to deny the US role in Ukraine, imagine what $5 billion can do. To my former compatriots’ credit, far from being stifled they threw another anti-NATO protest this past Sunday in several large cities, and are preparing for the third one in as many Sundays this coming Sunday.

    1. OIFVet

      PS Much respect to Syriza and the people of Greece for standing up for themselves. May you win, as that will be a win for human dignity as a whole and a first step toward economic justice for all.

    2. Carolinian

      On the other hand Soros, Murdoch, Adelson and a few others are getting to an age where they may soon kick the bucket. Perhaps this tyranny by octogenarians will soon be remedied by natural attrition.

      Trying to look on the bright side.

      1. OIFVet

        Thanks Carolinian, but it isn’t this simple, is it? It’s the system, these individuals are only cogs in the system and when they kick the bucket others will replace them and the system will perpetuate itself. Thus it needs to be dismantled. Different Clue asked me the other day, “Don’t you live in the US now?” The implication being either that I shouldn’t care what happens elsewhere or that I should be pro-American or something (assuming that being pro-American means being pro-government policies, which I think is utterly misguided). The way I see it, neolibcon policies are tried and fine-tuned elsewhere before coming back home for implementation here. So today it is proposed to prosecute dissent in BG, tomorrow it will be US dissent of the kind that thrives on NC that will be the target of official persecution.

        And lest it appears to some that I assign blame exclusively to the US, I don’t. It’s just that it is a heavily American audience here so I bring attention to US actions in BG that you will never find in the courtier press here. The fact though is that this is a transnational system that results in gems like the one I linked to, and plenty of its sponsors are the Euro counterparts of our US elites, and neither elite has the interests of us little people of the US and Europe at heart when they sponsor such Orwellian named think tanks and their illiberal propaganda.

        So thanks for trying to cheer me up but I know that you already knew everything I wrote above.

        1. different clue

          That imputation to my statement is your creative and imaginative imputation entirely of your very own, with no help from me and with zero relation to anything I said.

          It is entirely clear that when I said living in America now means you should think of America as your “home” now and that the overseas American troops should COME home, because home is HERE and overseas is THERE. Your phrasing indicates that you still regard Europe as your HOME and America as a FOREIGN-to-you continent in which you just happen to be living.

          I meant the very same thing by “Yankee COME home” as what candidate George McGovern meant when he said “Come Home America” when running against Nixon and the Vietnam War. If you wish to dis-understand that and dis-attribute fabricated imputations to what I said, that is entirely your choice.

          Here is a picture of a McGovern-Eagleton campaign button with that very slogan on it.
          Come Home America. I meant the same thing that McGovern meant and you knew that very well when you pretended to impute some other meaning to it. I wonder when or whether you will ever regard America as your “home” to which you want our overseas personell to come back to. Here is the link to that button.

          Come HOME America!
          Bring back our NATO hostages!

          1. OIFVet

            That’s the thing though: you may mean something else but every time anyone tells me how I “should think” about the matter all I hear is “love it or leave it.” Whether you like it or not, it is not that simple as you seem to think it is, I think of both as home. I am from both and I belong to both. And I am not about to give one up for the other no matter what anyone says I should do. So I may have misread your meaning, but I still don’t like the tone of it. And in this case, when one of my home countries is endangering the other by placing its tanks there, I will keep saying “Yankee go home.”

            As to GIs being hostages to “Europoids”, I am still waiting to hear how you came to that conclusion. Will you answer the question? Is the build-up of US forces in Europe the doing of Europeans or the doing of the US government?

    3. craazyboy

      WrongSpeak Is Treason

      Ya, smacks of democracy, freedom, liberty, truth, justice and probably even free speech for the right people.

      I guess “Open Society” is like an outdoor jail?

      I thought Soros was supposed to be one of the more reasonable megalomaniacs out there. Plus he’s supposed to retired. Did he have a stroke and only the 1950’s part of is brain is functional?

      1. OIFVet

        We have to destroy freedom in order to save it. Because “the Russians are coming! The Russians are coming!” Plus don’t overlook the dig at Hungary and Greece. The Euros want to spank these problematic parts of the European “family” to make examples of them.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          “We are here to help Greece.”

          Translated: “With this extension, they can continue to be our debt slaves, obeying our orders.”

          But you will never read the translated text publicly.

    4. Ed

      OIF Vet raises a point that I have not come across before. The Soviet Union never stationed troops in Bulgaria. OK, they did invade Bulgaria in September 1944 to overthrow the Bulgarian government and install one under their control, but after that the USSR never had military forces in Bulgaria. For that matter, Nazi Germany had military forces in Bulgaria only briefly, when they attacked Greece, and did not require the Bulgarians to join in on their other military adventures.

      What I’m suggesting is that if the idea of US military being stationed in Bulgaria is insane. There is no national security interest of either the US or Bulgaria that is being served by this. As crazy as Hitler was and Stalin sometimes was, neither had troops in Bulgaria as part of their imperial adventures because it just didn’t make any sense.

  11. fresno dan

    Now, I will admit I am a cranky person. And reading newspapers makes me crankier – because they seem to be trying to be more imbecilic – and the fact that they are using “wonks” seems to be making it worse.
    “Income inequality is still at its highest level in decades, but it’s declined slightly since 2007, Leonhardt writes.”

    So the point of the article is: Hey, equality hasn’t actually increased in the last few years. Well, as much as I dislike Cruz, you kinda have to look at facts. So you go to the another link in this very article

    “Far better instead to focus on the average of the past two years. That average supports the narrative that the economic recovery so far has only boosted the incomes of the rich, and it has yielded no improvement for the bottom 99 percent of the distribution. After adjusting for inflation, the average income for the richest 1 percent (excluding capital gains) has risen from $871,100 in 2009 to $968,000 over 2012 and 2013. By contrast, for the remaining 99 percent, average incomes fell by a few dollars from $44,000 to $43,900.”

    So, if that isn’t an INCREASE in inequality, its hard to know what the word “inequality” means. Now did the writer of the first article like Obama so much, or hate Cruz so much, that he didn’t understand what he was reading??? Now it seems to me republicans are irrationally against ANYTHING Obama is for (invade Syria, UNLESS Obama wants to do that!!!!). But here we have ostensibly a “liberal” wonk, that apparently because a republican says inequality has increased under Obama, takes the position that inequality must not have increased.

    1. diptherio

      The Us vs. Them mentality is alive and well on the Left, as much as on the right. There are a depressing amount of people who will poo-poo any argument that includes any point that a Republican has also made.

      The sad truth is thinking can be hard work, so lots of people prefer to depend on rules of thumb…which allows some other people to take advantage of their unthinking reactions for their own nefarious ends. Go team America!

    2. hunkerdown

      Read the mini-bio. You will see that the author is receiving a salary from a think tank well known for selling a false narrative.

      I thought NYT was supposed to label their native ads.

  12. annie

    fine phil levine obit. compare to nyt which in third or so paragraph finds it necessary to spell out why some ‘critics’ did not appreciate levine’s poetry. what is this obsession with taking down newly dead poets? couple of months ago times obit decided to instruct readers why galway kinnell had failed in his vocation.
    funny, under the nyt levine obit is one for michele ferrero, ‘inventor’ of nutella, one of forbes’s richest, pointing out how ferrero commuted daily by helicopter from his home in monte carlo to the italian factory, making it sound like a quaint devotion to work and not, as one would assume, major tax-evasion. type of boss levine knew very well.

  13. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Mothers passing traits…bacteria’s DNA.

    I believe, also, that a mother can pass on her language to her fetus, through the unique-to-each-language bodily vibration frequencies she makes when she speaks, repeatedly in many months during pregnancy, so when a baby is born, he/she is already predisposed to that tongue.

    That’s my speculation.

    1. ambrit

      Playing music to and talking to the child in utero are promoted as boosting cognitive and language skills. We did it for our three, and our two daughters did for their children. There are CDs specifically designed for playing to mother and unborn child for that purpose. So far, it’s not Lake Woebegone, but we’re getting there!

  14. The heretic

    Can anyone comment on the article ‘ When time runs in reverse’. It seems to me that the hypothesis proposed by the experimenters have drawn on data that itself may have been corrupted by their experiment. I recall that a fundamental aspect of conducting quantum experiments is that the mere observation of the particle will cause it to collapse out of the quantum state. Physically, I assume quantum phenomena are extent sensitive to their surroundings, adding energy to actively observe the experiment or even passively absorbing energy to observe the experiment, is enough to collapse the quantum state of the particle. Hence even using a low energy method to measure the quantum phenomena will disturb the quantum state, and could possibly add biases to the measured outcome.

    Can any physicists comment on that article?

    1. craazyboy

      Here’s a dumbed down summary of the state of the art in quantum stuff. To paraphrase the pysicists speaking here, in cliff notes form, they can get the math to work – but when the try to explain in words what is going on, they sound like crazy people. They have an example of reverse time here too. It is quite nutty. Then they assert their measurements are correct – and also state that they know what’s going on when they aren’t observing – oxymoronic as that may sound.

      So if you were an engineer designing a car and had the same latitude they have, you could design a hubcap and call it a car. When customers ask where the car part is, you say it’s invisible. (Dark Matter) When they ask when will the hubcap be delivered, you answer,”2 days before you ordered, and you must have lost it already.” When you report your car stolen, your insurance company only reimburses you 70% because it is a used car.

      But they assure us that given time (the positive kind), they will get this all figured and someday do wonderful things with it.

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