Links 2/24/15

Stephen Hawking fears human aggression could ‘destroy us all,’ calls for more empathy Yahoo News (furzy mouse)

Tebartz van Elst: God knows what to do with €31m mansion of Germany’s ‘Bishop of Bling’ Independent (Chuck L)

Freight Farms: How Boston Gets Local Greens, Even When Buried In Snow NPR (David L). More creative uses of shipping containers!

Eric the crocodile’s fate rests on reversal in iron ore price slump Sydney Morning Herald (EM)

Computational Anthropology Reveals How the Most Important People in History Vary by Culture arXiv (David L)

Are Siberia’s mysterious craters caused by climate change? Scientists find four new enormous holes in northern Russia Daily Mail (Chuck L). You need to look at the pictures. If these are due to (former) permafrost methane releases, that is really bad….

What Doctors Should– and Should Not– Say to Obese Patients Maggie Mahar. Even though I’m posting this, I have reservations. As a very fat baby, child, and teenager, and now thin adult, I disagree with the thesis that you can’t get weight off and keep it off, but it takes a lot of effort and vigilance. But the author makes an important point in that overweight is much less of a health risk than being sedentary, yet doctors are almost never inquisitive about how active their patients are. The other part is that there has been an explosion in the percentage of the population that is overweight and obese, which started in the US in 1980 and is now observed (although not to the same degree) in many advanced and even in some emerging economies. There is clearly a big environmental component, so again, having doctors hector patients on an individual basis rather than demand better answers is not terribly productive.

Is China really the world’s largest exporter? China Spectator

Sir Malcolm Rifkind and Jack Straw have whip withdrawn over ‘sting’ BBC (furzy mouse)

Amid a Slump, a Crackdown for Venezuela New York Times (Ryan R)


Greek Reform Proposals in Line With Demands Wall Street Journal. Bear in mind that this statement comes from the European Commission, not the Eurogroup. While it seems likely that the Eurogrpup will agree, remember that last week, it was the European Commission (Moscovici) that worked with Varoufakis to develop a memo that was materially different than the one the Eurogroup presented. The EC cannot speak for the Eurogroup. I wonder if this announcement is to calm Greek depositors, since having the Eurogroup approval in question (the meeting is in the PM, so approval is unlikely to come before the end of the business day) would no doubt stoke more withdrawals from Greek banks. The ECB does not want to have to increase the ELA during the day with the Eurogroup’s decision pending. Or more cynically, by taking a public position that the deal is OK before the meeting, the point may be to pressure any hardliners in the Eurogroup that might be tempted to revolt to fall into line (Spain is now the most recalcitrant). Not much in the way of detail, save it looks like the Greeks gave ground on pensions (they had wanted to resist pension “reform”) but not clear how much.

Eurogroup conference call raises hopes for Greek bailout extension Financial Times

Syriza and Greece Seem to Have Been Owned Ian Welsh (MS)

Greek bank deposit outflows rose to 3 billion euros last week: JP Morgan Reuters (furzy mouse)

A Greek deal cannot fix the flaws in the euro Gideon Rachman, Financial Times

Neo-Marxist philosopher and cultural critic Slavoj Žižek offers a hot take on Greek bailout negotiations Business Insider (David L)

It’s Time to Kick Germany Out of the Eurozone Foreign Policy


The EU and Russia: before and beyond the crisis in Ukraine House of Lords (margarita)

Vladimir Putin : NATO already supplying weapons to Ukraine, Kiev defeated by Novorossia YouTube (Sayed)


Historic US-Iran nuclear deal could be taking shape Associated Press (furzy mouse)

Leaked cables show Netanyahu’s Iran bomb claim contradicted by Mossad Guardian (furzy mouse)

Egypt coup: Leaked tape proves defence minister tried to conceal Morsi’s true location in military prison, say forensic scientists Independent (Chuck L)

Kurdistan’s right to secede: Set the Kurds free Economist (Li)

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

Yahoo executive and NSA chief clash over online data privacy Financial Times (David L)

Rejection of NSA whistleblower’s retaliation claim draws criticism McClatchy (margarita)

Snowden Calls for Disobedience Against the U.S. Government George Washington

Imperial Collapse Watch

Tales of Actual Legislation: Pay to name that government building Times Union (Tom D)

Revealed: The VERY expensive taste in jewelry of Jeb Bush’s reclusive wife – including $25,000 for diamond earrings and several Rolex watches Daily Mail. IMHO, the worst is that she buys at retail…

United States urges update to fast-track trade authority Reuters. EM: “These ‘you have to vote for X to see what’s in X’ creeps just never stop, do they?”

‘Socialized’ or not, Britain’s health care system is superior Center for Public Integrity (furzy mouse)

Jonathan Gruber’s Billing For Vermont Health Care Work Raises ‘Serious Questions’ Daily Caller (furzy mouse)

Ellen Pao seeking $16 million in sex discrimination lawsuit against Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers San Jose Mercury News EM: Allegedly an unusual aspect is that KPC&B have let the case go all the way to jury selection without offering any kind of settlement.”

Silicon Valley dirt flies as sex-harassment case heads to jury SFGate (Nikki)


Oil slide could trigger Opec emergency meeting Financial Times

Recent “Bomb Trains” Expose Regulatory Failures OilPrice

Big Banks Face Scrutiny Over Pricing of Metals Wall Street Journal

Saving for Retirement: Obama Proposal Sets up Wall St. Fight ABC (furzy mouse). Headline assumes that Obama fights, as opposed to postures.

Class Warfare

Telecom workers ratify agreement to end strike in New England Reuters (EM)

HSBC chief says bankers face double standards: Business held to higher account than bishops, says Gulliver Financial Times

Tebartz van Elst: God knows what to do with €31m mansion of Germany’s ‘Bishop of Bling’ Independent (Chuck L)

U.S. refinery strike affects one-fifth of national capacity Reuters (EM)

Antidote du jour:

animals at vet links

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. James Levy

    As for the precious metals story (behind a pay wall), I don’t think it is debatable that the banks and other players intervened massively with naked shorts to drive down the price of gold. The real questions are, who coordinated the process, and to what purpose? Two possible theories as to why are the dodgy state of the dollar at that time and the incredible level of leverage on the gold holdings of the “gold banks”. In the first scenario the rising price of gold was seen as a threat to dollar hegemony–why invest in depreciating dollars when you can invest in gold? The second is that the rising price of gold made the institutional holders of gold nervous because if people started to demand actual physical gold, they could not possibly produce enough of the stuff (because they had lent it out about 40 times over) to meet any demand. Therefore, they had to squelch demand. This scenario was reinforced by the Germans asking for gold from the Fed and being told it would take 7 years to disgorge it.

    Both scenarios may be true, thus leading to a confluence of interest between the Treasury and the Big Banks.

    1. andyb

      Gold Price suppression has been ongoing for at least 3 decades, primarily to ensure that the 1)sheep remain blithely ignorant of the effects of inflation on purchase power and standard of living, and 2) the USD and USTs remain secure as the ultimate safe haven. Unfortunately, for JPM et al, the massive rigging of all markets by the banking cabal is now no longer a conspiracy theory. The German repatriation fiasco, the massive gold shipments from (now virtually empty) Western vaults to the East that have occurred in just the last 3 years, and the technical delivery defaults by Swiss and Dutch banks on cash payments instead of returning full allocated gold to investors have raised many eyebrows. The biggest “tell” is the fact that the price of gold is now some 20% below all in production cost and drilling and exploration activities have been dramatically curtailed.

  2. Ned Ludd

    Silicon Valley Could Learn a Lot From Skater Culture

    Skateboarding can teach Silicon Valley what not to do, like a message from the future warning, “Here’s what happens when a domain in which women once thrived decides women aren’t worthy.” […]

    I was a sponsored skater (team Santa Cruz) preparing for a world contest. When my knee exploded in a bad kickflip pirouette, my competition and sponsorship was over, but I worked my ass off for a year in physical therapy so I might skate again for the love of it. When my leg was finally ready, I rejoined the skate world only to find I’d phase-shifted into an alternative universe. Freestyle had vanished, and so had most of the women. The world-class footwork and flat tricks I did were now mocked mercilessly. In just a few years I went from training for a top championship to the skateboard equivalent of the Fake Geek Girl. In this world, I was not a “real” skater.

    It is disturbing how fast a culture can change, to become bigoted and exclusionary towards even its pioneers. The commercial focus “on selling soft goods to teenage boys meant that women were not simply ignored, their image was co-opted and turned from that of active participants … into passive, hypersexualised groupies.”

    The article responds to Silicon Valley interest in skateboarding culture and Rodney Mullen. “Silicon Valley Has Lost Its Way. Can Skateboarding Legend Rodney Mullen Help It?” The screenshots of Rodney Mullen’s TED talk, lauding skateboarders and open source hackers, consist of “PowerPoints Full of Men”.

    1. Integer Owl

      Not so sure about the skateboarding narrative being told here. Skateboarding evolved from freestyle to street skating, which incorporated and improved upon many elements from freestyle, while having an emphasis on going fast and using obstacles that could be found on the street such as benches, stairs, and handrails. This progression happened very fast. To be honest freestyle was never that popular (and often mocked), pool and ramp skating remained the most popular until street skating came to the forefront. It certainly was never a factor of women being mocked, and in fact the ones who tough it out through the inevitable injuries it takes to even become decent, get a lot of respect from the guys.

      I was very involved in skateboarding, and ended up working at a skateboarding magazine for a while, and there are not many skaters who don’t think Rodney Mullen is a pretty strange guy. He is without question an incredible skater, one of the legends (who by the way did evolve his craft into street skating), as well as an incredibly intelligent man in the maths/science sense, however eccentric is an understatement.

      If anyone wants to see some modern street skating, check out guys like Paul Rodriguez, Sean Malto, Daewon Song, Andrew Reynolds and Geoff Rowley on youtube.

      Never thought I’d end up talking about skateboarding on NC…

      1. Ned Ludd

        From the article, skateboarding became popular as “sidewalk surfing” back in the 1960’s. It was almost two decades before women became marginalized in the sport.

        To be honest freestyle was never that popular (and often mocked)…

        Never‽ Not in the 1960’s or early 1970’s? Also, it is notable that freestyle was actively mocked. Even if freestyle was a small community, the goal of mockery is to extinguish marginal communities, instead of letting them co-exist.

        According to the article, when freestyle became marginalized, most of the women left the sport. It gives examples of how sexist the sport has become, openly engaging in offensive misogyny that male liberals often give a pass for being (allegedly) absurd or ironic.

        1. Integer Owl

          Sidewalk surfing was really just part of surfing culture. I would say skateboarding came into its own when people started skating pools, Dogtown and Z-boys era. Freestyle was always viewed as a bit silly, it comes down to a matter of form and style, and freestyle looked awkward. I’m not going to defend this any more, maybe you had to be there to understand.

          Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying all male skaters treat all women perfectly, I mean they are generally in their teens or early 20’s, full of testosterone and adrenaline, and looking for girls. What I am saying though is that skaters treat women who skate with respect, and they are welcome in the scene. I can’t think of a single exception. There is quite a price to pay to properly learn to skate, and one wrong move can result in concussions, stitches, broken limbs, or joint reconstructions. Many guys are not willing to pay the price, and a much larger proportion of girls aren’t either. In general, anyone without an attitude who had done the hard yards, or was honestly giving it a go, was welcome. Posers, not so much, and you just can’t fake something like skateboarding.

          Comparing skateboarding to Silicon valley/Gamer-gate is pretty silly, imo. Things like programming really have no boundaries when it comes to the different sexes, well written code and good ideas are not the domain of male or female, but creative and intelligent people. I get the feeling sexism comes up more in things like this, as insecure guys try and create some dynamic with which they can prove their masculinity to themselves, when there just isn’t one in that field, and sexism results. Something like skateboarding gives guys advantages from the moment they start because of the physical difference between men and women, like for example football does, and perhaps gymnastics has that same dynamic for women.

          In my experience, most skateboarders are or quickly become pretty secure within themselves, and I think that insecurity really is the crux of the issue with sexism. I can’t speak for those who just pose and pretend to be skateboarders, though.

          1. Integer Owl

            Just to be clear, that last sentence was not directed at you. Just making the point that those who pretend to be something they are not are often insecure

          2. Integer Owl

            Lastly, the time in which I was seriously involved in skateboarding begun in the mid 90’s. However, like anyone who devotes their life to something over decades, I know the history and evolution pretty well. Freestyle was essentially non-existent by this time, and essentially viewed as a disfunctional beginning to street skating.

            Skateboarding is probably the most dangerous board sport due to the concrete that awaits you as a punishment for each wrong move. When you start talking about doing complicated tricks down 20 stair handrails, which are the sort of limits the guys who are saying that skateboarding is not really for girls in the article are pushing, I tend to agree. What’s left unsaid is it’s not really for normal guys either. There are only a very few with the coordination, the mental discipline to stay focused in very dangerous situations, and the persistence, to reach these higher echelons in the skateboarding world.

            TBH, the lady who wrote the article seems bitter to me, or at the least, significantly out of the loop. I imagine the best female skaters at the moment (and there are a few who are really good), as well as the up-and-coming ladies, would not begrudge their male peers in the slightest.

            Damn, I think I’m all commented out. I was looking forward to discussing how much I hate neoliberal politicians or something. Was not expecting skateboarding, of all things, to come up.

            1. bruno marr

              Great comments on the evolution of skateboarding. I remember the early days when my surfer friends were developing new land-skills on skateboards. The dynamic balance and coordination these land and water sports require is not for everyone.

              What I find interesting is the evolution of skateboards into a transportation device. I see more and more young folks (men & women) traveling the sidewalks and bike lanes on short and long boards. It is truly a multi-modal transportation device. As they can hop on a bus or into a friends car with ease.

              1. Integer Owl

                Thanks for the reply. Was hoping my long posts on skateboarding weren’t too out of place here. Also, the skateboard as a mode of transport angle is a good one, less burning of fossil fuels is always a good thing.

                Like I mentioned before, I never would have thought this topic would come up at NC.


                1. hunkerdown

                  I never would have thought this topic would come up at NC.

                  Welcome to the neighborhood, brah (dating myself). You’ll be saying that ^ a lot.

                  There’s much to be said for interdisciplinarism as a way of life. We got sweet, juicy tangents just falling off the trees here.

  3. Ned Ludd

    Syriza’s strategy is to look tough, while ultimately selling austerity-lite to the people of Greece, while minimizing dissent from the left.

    Dubbed Mr Tsipras’s “Aegina gang”, this web of friendships is playing a potentially defining role in Greece’s troubled euro saga.

    Most notably it was here Mr Tsipras befriended Mr Varoufakis and plotted how Athens would confront Germany to rewrite its €172bn bailout terms. Here too that Mr Tsipras bonded with his father-figure Alekos Flambouraris, a veteran communist who will help sell whatever emerges from Brussels to a restive and expectant Syriza party. […]

    Mr Tsipras is very much alive to internal threats… on Mr Flambouraris’s advice, he handed hard-left figureheads top economic posts overseeing energy, shipping and industry, in part to ensure they own the policy dilemmas between trade union and private sector interests.

    Making hard-left figureheads own the neoliberal structural reforms and other austerity-lite policies is an especially clever move. Ian Welsh notes: “The Greek Communist party refused to join with Syriza in a coalition government because they expected this to happen, they have been proved correct.”

    I’ve written in the past how Greece could handle such a scenario. (Here and here.) It’s not an insoluble problem, but it does require being willing to backhand Europe as hard as they have backhanded Greece and then to get even nastier. […]

    I wish the Greeks the best. But as with all those who have been horribly damaged by neo-liberalism and austerity, they need to get through their heads that those in charge of the policy have no fellow feeling for them; that people like Merkel, Shauble and the Germans who support them are enemies, not friends, let alone family members in some big European family which cares about all Europeans.

    This is economic war, with the casualties that implies.

    Syriza is now negotiating to rule as the Vichy Left of Greece.

  4. Inverness

    Yves, apparently MOST people cannot permanently keep weight off after dieting, but that doesn’t mean it’s true for all people. Your specific success probably shouldn’t be generalized. You might be one of the few who could have kept the weight off, or, for other reasons, was better able to control her choices in adulthood. Other factors help tremendously, since wealthier and/or better informed individuals can purchase foods that are not laden with preservatives and hormones, and who knows what else. They may also have the time and energy to cook. This are major advantages. Also, not being a member of the working poor with kids, it is easier to avoid the temptation to succumb to the cheap and superficially tasty McDonald’s diet.

    Other factors contribute to who is fat and who is thin, and I found this British documentary illuminating:
    Apparently, many thin people simply cannot eat beyond a certain point, NOT because they are more disciplined, but because their bodies reject additional food. Others have bodies which literally transform fat to muscle!

    Furthermore, researchers have found that you can “catch” obesity via a virus, and nobody is necessarily immune to that.

    1. Stephanie

      Anecdote ahead:

      I’m another chunky kid who became a fat teenager and then lost that teenage weight and kept it off. For almost 20 years I’ve weighed +/- 10 pounds of the weight I was at when my fast and furious pubescent growth spurt ended. This is to say, I’m not really thin, but I’ve managed to keep off the additional pounds I gained in later adolescence. It occurs to me that set point theory might be in play here; I think my body is pretty determined to weigh this amount, and when I’m not eating as if I’m still growing 3/4″ every month, it keeps me pretty much where I am at without much effort on my part.

      That said, when I lost weight I had no car and a food budget of $25 a week, which I spent mostly on bread, hummus, fruits, vegetables and beans. Think the “Good and Cheap” cookbook-type diet. This was in the late 90s; obviously $25 went A LOT further than it does now wrt fiod. I also ate a few free meals a week when working as a cater-waiter. Still, I ate very little meat and never ate out, not even to fast food joints, as I didn’t want to waste precious bus fare getting there. Every once in a while I would walk to the gas station to get a novelty ice cream bar. What I didn’t have at the time were children, or any of the digestive issues I’ve developed as an adult, both of which have subsequently made food a little more complicated and expensive. I can’t imagine eating the way I did during that time later, with with my stepsons; the time factor alone would be prohibitive, and they quickly informed me that most of the food I liked was weird and yucky (whence began a very long process of culinary compromise, and many, many table fights over the green stuff in the lasagna).

      The point being not that if I can do it anyone can, but that I have a hard time thinking of cost in and of itself as an impediment to buying healthy food. I think time and cultural/family pressures to eat food that tastes a certain way (sugary/fatty/salty) contribute, in addition to whatever other environmental factors are in play. Parenting and co-parenting on a limited income is hard enough on a limited budget without constantly fighting about food, and I can’t fault anyone for wanting to make that part of their lives as easier.

    2. Robert Dudek

      Apart from certain people who have particular poor genetics as regards obesity – EVERYONE is capable of losing weight and remaining near their ideal weight for the rest of their lives as adults. This requires permanent changes to one’s lifestyle. The key word being PERMANENT.

      A traditional diet as something you do for a month and then stop is NEVER going to achieve that. A diet that is overly restrictive is unsustainable and can do long-term physical and psychological damage.

      Whole foods are the key to good nutrition, especially essential fats and lots of protein. “Bad” carbohydrates are the biggest culprit of the obesity “epidemic” – if you doubt this, spend a few hours reading the labels of processed foods in your local supermarket. While you’re at it, check out the stuff most people are buying when you reach the checkout aisle.

      I’ll now indulge in my personal story…

      Like Yves, I was “heavy-set from an early age (about 11) and continued to add weight every year as I reached age 30. Looking back on it is was clear why: I had a poor diet and didn’t exercise enough. I simply did not know how damaging my poor diet was, loaded as it was with sugar and other bad carbohydrates. Being Polish-Canadian, much of the traditional food I ate at home was loaded with white flour and/or sugar – nobody explained that this food was dangerous; not my parents, not anyone at school. I wasn’t active enough to overcome my poor diet and I suffered the consequences.

      Fast forward to my early 30s. I was 181 cm/5 foot 11.5 inches tall and weighed 117 kg (257.5 lbs). I was living in Poland at the time and my wife, concerned about my consistent weight game, bought me a book written by Michel Montignac. MM was a French writer who, in the mid 80s, popularised the link between obesity and glycemic response and created an eating regimen based on consuming low-glycemic index foods. I won’t go into details but I will say that after a rough week of adjustment, following this eating regimen allowed me to reduce my weight to 87 kg (191.5 lbs) in 3.5 months without any drugs or high-tech foods and with no more strenuous physical activity than regular brisk walking.

      As almost everyone who has lost that amount of weight in a healthy manner will tell you, your physical and mental well-being improves almost beyond measure.

      Alas, being overconfident, I went off that regimen. Over the following years, poorer eating habits reinvaded. Year by year I regained the weight until last December (14 years later) I drew a line in the sand: I weighed 131 kg/ 288 lbs and vowed to do everything I could to get down below 90 kg again.

      In the 2.5 months since then, I have managed to lose 13 kg/28.5lbs and of course I still have a long way to go. Because I am in my mid-late 40s now, the weight loss is not nearly as easy as it was 14 years ago. Though I am not even half way to my goal, I feel so much more energetic. I’m able to move better, exercise more – and this creates a virtuous circle. One of the main reason that stopping and reversing weight gain is so hard is that it requires breaking that viscous circle and then creating a virtuous one.

      When I lived in Poland, the fruit and vegetables available to even the poorest of people tasted better and were very likely more nutritious than the stuff available at a typical Canadian supermarket. A year ago I switched to all organic fruits and veggies and have rediscovered that wonderful taste I was missing from my days in Poland.

      In North America, not only do most people rely on processed food, but the ordinary veggies and fruits are bred for yield and tend to be watery and sugary. There has to be a full-fledged organic revolution if obesity is to be tackled. I think part of the answer is Pigovian taxes on processed food that create funds to directly support small-scale organic farming.

      Next, there has to be a real effort made to greatly reduce or eliminate added sugar and other chemicals in processed food. I can still find canned food that has nothing but natural ingredients and no sugar or glucose/fructose added, but instead of being the norm, it’s the exception.

      Schools have to ramp up their physical education programs – gear them less at elite sports performance and more about helping all children reach activity and fitness benchmarks.

      All that would be a start. Those who say that there is nothing to be done to tackle society-wide obesity are indulging in unwarranted fatalism.

      1. James Levy

        As someone who was told they effectively had diabetes and now due to diet and exercise am back to normal blood glucose readings, I’m going to defend those people who are overweight. Doing what I did was only possible because my wife was making enough money so I could afford the right foods, I am both the cook and the grocery shopper in the family and can control what I eat, and I live in the country and so very rarely get a meal out of the house (and have to take care of my land, chickens, and can take long walks with my dog).

        This is all completely unrealistic for the average American, and for poor Americans who work long hours it is borderline impossible. Being thin is now an upper-middle and upper class status symbol, and a way to look down on the “indolent” Other who doesn’t have a nutritionist, a physical fitness instructor, a gym membership, and a cook.

        I had the education to know what to do and the lucky circumstances to do it. But I still struggle even after dropping over 30 pounds and, so far, keeping it off. I sure as hell don’t put myself on any pedestal from which I can scold people for being fat. And with money currently tight in our home I see the quality of what I eat dropping because I can’t stay on budget and wind up eating cheap carbs. Everything is stacked against those who are poor and overweight.

        1. Yves Smith Post author

          I kept thin when I was in college and grad school and had very little spending money and was neither cooking for myself much nor eating expensive foods. My cheap carbs then were hot cereals that I’d use as a starch and eat with salt, not sugar (as the Italians do with polenta). I did not have a “nutritionist” and have never and would never use one. Most nutritionists are peddling the latest diet fad. My sister in law, who tried hanging out her shingle for a while, and was into the current fad, “paleo” which is very expensive (they think meats are OK as long as they are raised hormone and antibiotic free and grass fed) gained 40 lbs. Ironically, my other sister in law got a nutrition degree (a masters!) and knows bupkis about nutrition (no joke, when she was pregnant, she was told she needed to eat a lot more protein. She ate….drumroll…cheese! You can look at any food content label or Google and you’ll see cheese is just about entirely fat with only a little protein content).

          You can do it cheaply. But you have to restrict how much you eat a great deal and be very careful about how much fat you consume, and most people are not willing to eat that little or that austerely. And Americans are also conditioned to eat way more protein than we need. You only need 50 grams or so, which is two servings each the size of a pack of playing cards. Fish and animal proteins are expensive and even the pricey cuts have a lot of fat. And when you go out, you have to be willing to buck going with the social flow and order an appetizer for your main course, or be willing not to finish your main course. For many people when they are out, the issue is as much not wanting to look different/fussy as it is monetary.

          And I did stress that doctors should be much more focused on getting their patients to exercise or at least walk a ton more than on their weight. But the fact that Americans are overweight and when you go overseas, you see that that is not the norm elsewhere, says this is largely an American problem, and the obvious culprit is the American diet, in particular the parts that are more subject to influence, namely what is in the processed/packaged foods many people eat and restaurant food. The medical community is not willing to go to war with the fast food industry and players like General Mills. They should be ashamed of themselves for that, particularly given the rise in diabetes.

          1. James Levy

            You are, by your resume and my observations here: 1) extremely bright, 2) very energetic, 3) focused, and 4) dedicated. In short, you are far from an average individual. As Jonathan Kozol said of inner city school kids, a tiny fraction rise above their environment by dint of talent, superior dedication, and good fortune (they don’t get shot on their way to school or gang raped in a locker room). Their accomplishment is not the norm, and blaming all the other kids who aren’t as talented, dedicated, and/or lucky because some people make it out and they didn’t is just not realistic or fair. I think you are applying the old “why don’t those clods just pull themselves up by their bootstraps” attitude to weight in a way you would not to wealth. Others can reach their own conclusions.

            1. Yves Smith Post author

              I hate to tell you, I think the issue is much simpler:

              1. Really bad information about what you can do. The bad information is everywhere. You have to do things most people don’t like to do and the mainstream is peddling quick or easier fixes that don’t work, or worse, fads.

              2. Unsupportive environment, the prevalence of high calorie yummy foods designed to entice people to eat. Every food vendor is in the business of making tempting food, which generally means high fat and/or lots of sugars. And the unsupportive environment also includes, as I alluded, social conformity pressure.

          2. GuyFawkesLives

            For the last six years, I have been under the amount of stress that would kill most living things and have had plenty of cortisol running through my body……and gained a lot of weight.

            However, on Dec. 9th (I remember the exact date I said “enough already”) I quit eating white flour and white sugar altogether. Since then, I have lost two sizes and the weight continues to just literally drop off me without much effort.

            What I have found: most salad dressings have sugar, most processed foods have sugar, even “gluten free” items……and when you go out to eat, you really have to have conversations with the chef because the servers have no idea what is in the food they serve. But, quitting both the flour and sugar has done miraculous things for my health. The pain from arthritis is GONE! My fingers and knees are not in the pain they were. I have no skin problems (I had terrible rosacea). I saw a friend who hadn’t seen me in six months and he thought I had had a face lift!

            I recommend this way of eating to everyone who struggles with weight loss.

        2. Optimader

          Anyone that can plug in a slowcooker/ crock pot can eat healthy.

          Its a matter of will and palate. One thing most americans dont understand is portion control.

          I just dont buy that fast food is either faster or a reasonable economic alternative to buying real food and cooking. 15minute max to chuck in all the componets for a great soup or stew. Its not rocket science.

            1. optimader

              “For someone who telecommutes, is using a slow cooker just a form of daytime torment?”
              Yeah, it’s all gone, a raccoon broke was all very traumatic, I don’t want to talk about it.

              I have a shelf in the freezer of various goodies in yogurt containers. Zap in the wave and an instant meal.

              Before I go to bed my ritual is to oatmeal and flax in a pan of salted water and let it steep overnight on the stove. Add some milk and in the morning and its ready as soon as it boils, and some banana and what maybe two minutes actual cook time? As well, at night I put a couple eggs in my 1950’s vintage egg cooker. Press the lever. they are done before water is boiling for the coffee.

              If you have time for daily lamentations on the internet, you have the time to eat what happens to be reasonably healthy food. For most people it’s a matter of choice,
              Ultimately you are responsible for what you chuck down your food hole.
              It’s not exactly rocket science.

      2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Great story about losing weight without any drugs.

        Or hi tech foods.

        I would add, get off the couch and stop spending all that time on the internet!!!

      3. hunkerdown

        “Ideal”? Whose ideal? Which year?

        Frankly, I’m not sure I don’t want to horrify and offend the bourgeoisie. Better they spend most of their time scared from below than above.

  5. vidimi

    re: siberian craters.

    wow. they evoke the dawn of the apocalypse. if that’s happening in siberia, it will surely happen in other parts of the arctic within months — if it hasn’t already. it’s bares eery resemblance to what the worst-case forecasters were saying would happen with methane trapped in the arctic.

    1. thoughtful person

      Could be. I wonder if there has been any spike in methane concentrations in the atmosphere in the arctic and in general? So far I have not heard that there has been a big spike. Still, if those craters are methane it is an ominous sign.

  6. Jim Haygood

    ‘Mr. Obama said the Dept of Labor would re-propose a rule that would require more brokers to abide by a fiduciary standard and put the best interests of their clients above their own when providing advice on retirement savings.’

    What’s happening here is that the old wirehouse business model is crumbling. Paid on commission to flog [expensive] products, wirehouse brokers give financial advice despite their obvious conflict of interest, and without being held to a fiduciary standard. Look out, widows and orphans!

    As the wirehouse dinosaurs fade, they are being replaced by RIAs (Registered Investment Advisors) who DO owe a fiduciary duty to their clients. RIAs get paid explicitly for advice, not for churning accounts or choosing products with high commissions.

    Disgracefully, the industry association SIFMA [Shitty Investments For Middle America], instead of proudly doing the right thing for its customers, is still mounting a sleazy retrograde battle to keep ripping off its clients. As one might expect, the usual offender Goldman Sachs is represented on Sifma’s board, as is Fidelity Investments. Sifma’s board represents an excellent list of brokers to avoid:

    Nice to see Obama sticking it to these greedy troglodytes for once.

    1. Paul Tioxon

      I did not notice Vanguard in the list of notables. But, they seem to have a whistle blowing former employee suing them for being a tax dodge of some sort. Amazingly enough, Vanguard is owned by the people who invest in the funds and is not a billionaire making machine for the money managers. Apparently this make them a tax dodge, among other curious reasons. They seem to a have pile of cash, about $1.5bil that is held for some sort of contingency, a run on redemptions? I don’t know, not a lawyer, but they seem to not need bail outs, or have to be purged of corrupt embezzling, fraud committing thieves with Swiss Bank accounts. But now, they are accused of tax cheating. Any ideas on this group?

  7. vidimi

    re: kurdistan’s right to secede

    i wonder when the economist will apply the same logic to the novorussians?

  8. Jim Haygood


    Yellen said that the economic data, especially the outlook of inflation, will be the deciding factor of when the Fed will hike rates for the first time since 2006.

    Yellen said inflation continues to run below the Fed’s 2% target in large part due to the drop in oil prices. Core inflation has also moved lower, she said.

    She repeated that the Fed expects inflation to decline further in the near term before rising gradually toward 2%.

    This month’s CPI report on Feb 26th is unusually late, owing to ‘a new estimation system, the first major improvement to the existing system in over 25 years, a redesigned, state-of-the-art system with improved flexibility and review capabilities’ (according to the DOL).

    Usually these big revisions are designed to understate inflation. In any event, core inflation will likely come in around +1.5% y-o-y or lower. With the US dollar strong, it is hard to imagine core inflation moving above 2.0% until midyear at the earliest, and probably longer. So what is Yellen on about? The rest of the world is fighting deflation, and losing.

  9. Robert McGregor

    Ellen Pao case: The oddness of KPC&B not offering to settle: If the chance of losing $16M (and the legal expenses to fight it) are no big deal to you, then you would be more inclined to fight the accusations. KPC&B may have so much money that ego, pride, and reputation take precedence over a mere $16M.

    1. Ivy

      Whether there is a case or not, she and her companion, noted below, may be up to some questionable activity.

      Mr. Alphonse “Buddy” Fletcher, Jr. , a financier, has a history of both suing and being sued. His hedge fund is bankrupt and pension funds are suing to recover their investments amid accusations of fraud.

      … Known for Hedge fund management, fund bankruptcy, Kidder Peabody discrimination lawsuit, Dakota discrimination lawsuit, Philanthropy

      Spouse(s) Ellen K. Pao (2007–present)
      Prior to his marriage to Pao, Fletcher was in a same-sex relationship with Hobart V. “Bo” Fowlkes Jr. for over 10 years.

      1. Yves Smith Post author

        This is worse than going into the sexual history of the woman in a rape case. Exactly what does a husband have to do with a sexual discrimination suit? This is all to embarrass her.

  10. bob

    “Are Siberia’s mysterious craters caused by climate change? Scientists find four new enormous holes in northern Russia”

    Great pictures, but I have to disagree with their conclusions. If it were the result of some sort of “force” from underground, the force wouldn’t be channeled into a column as it is. It would resemble a crater, sloped sides, not the sheer sides shown.

    Also, where is the material that used to fill the hole? Even if it were an eruption or explosion, you can’t destroy soil/rock. There should be evidence of that, somewhere. If there isn’t, then-

    They could be ages old sinkholes which were then, later, filled with methane deposits, which are now losing the methane, leaving only the sink hole. But, I don’t see how underground “methane” can be responsible for the shape of those holes.

    1. Antifa

      There’s one possibility — they could be ancient sinkholes formed by explosive methane release during warmer times. Then they filled with water, which turned to ice during cooler times. Methane bubbled up through this ice and became trapped as methane clathrates, held in place by sub-freezing temperature, just as clathrates are on the polar sea bottoms.

      The surface of this huge ‘clathrate-deposit’ would gradually be thinly covered with soil and surface ice and snow. It would look just like the rest of the taiga.

      Recent warming caused by humans has raised temperatures the few degrees needed to unlock the clathrates. Surface soil and ice collapses into the hole, the contents of which separates into methane moving upward into the atmosphere, and water moving into the ground or forming a sunken lake. It’s a collapse, not a methane explosion. The methane explosion that originally shaped the crater occurred eons ago.

      As the clathrates dissolve — voila — the original methane crater from long, long ago is revealed.

      1. bob

        “sinkholes formed by explosive methane release during warmer times”

        That’s my point, which probably wasn’t too clear- explosive forces don’t cause holes that look like that. They make slope sided craters, not sheer walls. The military would LOVE a bomb that did this. It’s just not possible, no matter how “big” you go. If it were possible, it would also completely change mining. “we need an access shaft! Boom”.

        The only possible explanation for a hole that looks like that is “subsidence”- a sink hole.

        Did methane come later? Sure, why not?. But, it did not “cause” those holes.

        “The surface of this huge ‘clathrate-deposit’ would gradually be thinly covered with soil and surface ice and snow. It would look just like the rest of the taiga.”

        This I agree with. There are probably many, many more. Filled with water, or clathrate, that turned to ice, and the ice is now melting. Great explanation for why they are only finding the holes now; not an explanation for how the holes were “made”.

      2. craazyboy

        The holes were made by Martian spacecraft crashing into the earth a couple hundred years ago.

        Martians are small with very hard heads and designed their spacecraft like bunker busting bombs. The spacecraft burrows into the ground, knocking the Martians unconscious, and with the aid of hard drugs cause the Martians to hibernate for 200 years.

        They recently awoke and activated their ground machines – pods with long tripod legs and a Cylon style eye that sweeps back and forth making the usual sci-fi noises.

        They headed for Moscow.

        US Intelligence is not sure what happened next, but the Martians are no longer in Moscow, and the Ukraine Military just lost half it’s military. Intel cautions against jumping to any conclusions, but they fear the worst – the Martians have joined forces with Putin. :(

          1. bob

            Also adding that “bunker busters” can’t bore holes. The idea behind them is to get a big bomb deep enough underground to be able to “drop” the “stuff” on top of the bunker, into the bunker.

            The best luck they’ve had with that is using old naval gun barrels as casings. Very hard steel. Free-falling, or under power, the gun barrel casing burrows as far as it can (not very far), then the charge goes off. I’ve heard that they can only reach about 200ft underground. That “reach” doesn’t mean that they can dig a hole 200 ft deep, it only means that the force delivered by the charge is enough to be able to overwhelm the structure of the bunker, dropping the bunker in on itself.

            1. craazyboy

              I know that. There is no direct translation for the Martian word that describes how they work exactly. But Martians do have very hard heads.

              1. bob

                Superheated? If their heads were hard enough, and hot enough, they might be able to “melt” or vaporize the soil/rock on the way in, but the sustained energy requirements would be huge.

                nuke powered brains inside their heads? I’m sure Dick Cheney knows, they might have built his undisclosed location.

                1. craazyboy

                  Not sure. H.G. Wells had the manuals. Then they disappeared, but some people think they are kept in a secret reading chamber deep under the Nixon Library in San Clemente. Cheney goes there a lot.

                  1. ambrit

                    Gasp!!! That’s right in the middle of the Newport Inglewood fault! I had read that the teleportation facility to the Mars Colony was up the coast a ways. Could it really be in the “secret” rooms under the Nixon Library?! And be powered by the energy potential between the two crustal plates? The world is stranger than we can even conceive.

                    1. ambrit

                      There’s a keeper; M-tech.
                      noun | M tech | em-tek
                      “Any technology sufficiently advanced to be hidden from the general population.”

    2. Gaianne


      Good points. There may be real reasons for concern, but the explanations provided are plainly wrong. As you say, these are not explosion craters. Sinkholes, yes–but if so, actual on-site inspection is needed to figure out what was going on before, as well as what is going on now.

      A few gee-whiz photos do not suffice.


      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Bob and Gaianne, don’t sinkholes occur in certain types of rock only? What is the geology of that area?

        1. bob

          I don’t know exactly what the geology is, they also don’t detail that.

          But, in general, gas and oil are found in, or below sedimentary rock. They talk about the gas plant in the story. From the one photo that shows the wall in some detail, it looks like either limestone, or soil that is on its way to becoming limestone in a another few millennia. Exactly where most sinkholes are usually found.

        2. Gaianne


          If there is a general theory of sink holes I have yet to hear of it.

          Sink holes are known to sometimes form in limestone. They probably cannot form in igneous formations. No one is talking about the basic geology of that part of Siberia, and that is a glaring and absurd omission. We are left with a lot of possibilities.

          It was interesting to me that the sides of the holes had small round, almost spherical pockets, as you can see in the photographs. I don’t know what those are, but a blast would destroy them. They won’t last long, either, once erosion sets in. So fundamentally these holes were not created by an explosion. That surface material was scattered suggests some kind of blast occurred–but that did not create the holes, maybe only revealed them.


    1. Jim Haygood

      They’d better not divert weapons intended for Isis moderate rebels to the Ukies.

      How else is Generalissimo Obama gonna liberate Mosul?

      1. OIFVet

        Not to worry Jim, the more moderates and allies we support the more profits we provide for our MIC. Time for democracy to bloom in Uzbekistan….

    2. craazyboy

      Not to mention Putin. He recently stated “there will be consequences” if the US ships in arms. Guess we’ll find out what he has in mind?

      If we start shipping troops in, call it “Ukraine Springtime”, in time for 2016 elections, will this make Americans vote Republican or Democrat? Hard to predict, methinks

  11. DJG

    Doctors and obese patients: Well, you have opened up a huge problem of public health as well as culture. The USA is now a culture that promotes and accommdates obesity. I write this as someone who just got off the plane yesterday from the region of Piedmont in Italy, where nary a fat person can be found. Getting on the plane and then going through U.S. customs on arrival, I noted: general dumpiness (a kind of physical preparation to gain more weight), dressing to be fat (or wearing clothes designed for fat people), deliberate lack of mobility (at O’Hare there is an army of wheel chairs and attendants, something I did not see at Fiumicino, Caselle (TO), Zurich, or Munich). Add in the SUV, the vehicle designed for the obese. Add in Americans’ peculiar ideas about exercises–that it has to be “extreme” or involve “body building.” Like Yves, I was a “heavy” kid. To be thin as an adult requires lots of exercise (but not with the purpose of gain of muscle mass and big pecs) and vigilance about diet (something Italians are rather notorious about). Yet, in the middle of a public health crisis, what’s the debate on the left? “Fat shaming.”

      1. cnchal

        From your link.

        Let’s face facts. We’ve lost the war on obesity. Fighting fat hasn’t made the fat go away. And being thinner, even if we knew how to successfully accomplish it, will not necessarily make us healthier or happier. The war on obesity has taken its toll. Extensive “collateral damage” has resulted: Food and body preoccupation, self-hatred, eating disorders, discrimination, poor health… Few of us are at peace with our bodies, whether because we’re fat or because we fear becoming fat.

        Two “wars”, one “collateral damage”, one “fighting” and one “peace”. And we are talking about ourselves as if we are at self war.

        The MIC has really perverted the language.

      2. DJG

        Obesity is a cultural problem and public-health problem. Naturally, in the USA, it must now be framed as hate, discrimination, and self-esteem. Hmmmm. Yet Europeans are visibly slimmer, as are the Japanese. They also take in fewer calories per person. Maybe it’s not about “hatred”?

        1. Jill


          Would you be willing to read the site I linked to? Fat people can eat the same number of calories as thin people. Further, being thin isn’t a sign of health. Fat protects in some diseases and makes others worse. The same is true of being thin. It protects one in some cases and is harmful in others.

          We do not see the social hatred and self hatred for being thin. If this is strictly about health, then logically thin people should be blamed for not carrying enough weight to prevent certain diseases.

          Further, going beyond thin into anorexia, one confronts a very dangerous disease. It kills around 15% of the people who have it. Yet most anorexics are told they look fabulous. They are not hated and degraded by others. If one was consistent, then one would need to morally attack anorexics as degenerates!

          I think it makes sense to try and be healthy no matter what size one is. I is important to understand what is actually making people sick. If our minds can only go to one thought- obesity– we are going to miss a lot of reasons for illness. We simply won’t see it. It is going to be hard in our society, but we must be rigidly empirical and look at what is actually happening when people get ill. Fat and thin are not sufficient for this task.

          1. Inverness

            Yes–it’s also on the rise in China and South Korea, as well as throughout Europe, as well. I lived in Germany during the 90’s, and never saw obese people. Today, that’s no longer true. Even the Italians and the French are getting heavier.

        2. hunkerdown

          No, it’s never about hatred. Just bourgeois arrogance.

          “You can almost smell see the tourists.”

        3. GuyFawkesLives

          I had a friend from the Netherlands come and live in the U.S. for about 1 1/2 years. She was extremely fit and thin when she arrived. She ate normally, but she said she just kept gaining weight. My theory is that our food is laden with hidden sugar that European food just doesn’t have. She went back to the Netherlands and all the weight she gained in the U.S. came off too.

          1. Jill


            I wonder what is going on as well. There are a lot of toxins in our environment to include the air, food and water. Bee colony collapse began around 1987. Bee keepers and environmentalists fingered insecticides along time ago but they were told that was a ridiculous idea. Now the evidence cannot be denied.

            Fat is part of the human genetic makeup. It helps to keep us alive in famines. Fat is not considered unhealthy or evil in all cultures. It was considered a status symbol in the 1800’s in the US! That was because wealthy people had enough money to buy food and gain weight to show it.

            In some other cultures fat is also still considered a status symbol. In others it is not considered unhealthy. If you know people who do African dance you will understand that fat people can be extraordinarily athletic and healthy.

            I’m going with a multitude of toxicity in the environment which is making people sick, along with poverty. These things make and keep people sick whether they are fat or thin.

      3. DJG

        I will also point out that a friend of mine, who was having some trouble controlling her weight, had a weekly appointment with her doctor in Roma, who then weighed her and worked out a diet for the next week. This went on for some time. No American gets that kind of attention these days (from a general practitioner).

    1. armchair

      Other factors are work hours, infrastructure and recreational attitudes. People who work long hours simply don’t have time to join the slow food movement, or to go for an invigorating walk at lunchtime. Of course, many people work in office parks without a decent sidewalk. For many, the biggest exertion is fighting, while seated, for a spot close to the front entrance of the mall. Another silly thing is too many people idolize exceptional athleticism and won’t tolerate mediocrity. It would be okay to be the chunky person panting away on a bicycle or appearing to die on your feet as you jog. Stop worrying about how much you would make fun of yourself from the comfort of your SUV. Another last thing, too many people let the weather stop them and won’t permit themselves to do anything except when the temperature is between 65-75 Fahrenheit with a light breeze and cloudless skies. So, outlaw drive-thrus, start fat-body basketball leagues, build some more bicycle lanes, whatever.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        You make a great point about idolizing exceptional athleticism.’

        We leave exercising to Olympic medal winners and professional stars, the same way we cede creativity to celebrities.

        Everyone has greatness inside him/her.

        From within, not without.

        Ironically, a country can win more gold medals than all other nations, but that doesn’t say anything about the fitness/health of the inhabitants of that country.

    2. ginnie nyc

      Re: missing wheelchairs in Italian airports – maybe this is because people in wheelchairs have available the extensive intra-European passenger rail system, while rail exists only in fragments in the US.

    3. jrs

      Yea and some people don’t prioritize lots of exercise, they prioritize getting ahead in their career (or keeping their head above water), or keeping informed about the world, or spending time with friends, or cooking, or meditating (you may be thin but how’s your cortisol?), or hobbies, or spending time with their kids, or furthering their education formal or not etc. etc.. YOU CAN’T HAVE IT ALL.

  12. OIFVet

    Other Chicagoans might have different experiences, but I have never gotten so much campaign junk for local elections and certainly never 5+ phone calls a day (mostly robo and push polls) over a period of weeks as I do now. It is nothing short of harassment. I would have put up with it much easier if it meant getting rid of Pharaoh Rahmses, but alas that does not seem likely.

  13. McKillop

    A few days ago an oil train accident occurred in northern ontario. There are a number of pohotos in the Timmins Times that show the smoke billowing into the air, the excavators working, the derailed cars, and son on.
    Also on the site are a number of photos of lynx, beaver and northern denizens of the human species! For craazyman there are a few videos of moose, real moose.

  14. Santi

    Now I think I understand why Spain was working hard to derail… It was not really to derail, but to delay!!!

    This also explain why Tsipras spoke about petty internal politic interests last week:

    Just now the “Debate del Estado de la Nación” is finishing in the Spanish Congreso de los Diputados; i.e. the State of the Nation debate. An early agreement exploited by the Greeks could have been used by the (neoliberal) opposition or by the left IU representants agains him. Now the results will be lower key and delayed so that the matter can be skipped in the discussion.

    Podemos is not (yet) in the Parliament, although Pablo Iglesias has organized one talk tomorrow to rebuke the president discourse close to the “Congreso”.

  15. Jim Haygood

    Ukrainian hryvnias, comrades. They’re shrinking faster than Greek bank deposits:

    Feb 24 (Reuters) – Ukraine’s hryvnia fell by 11.1 percent on Tuesday, with currency controls announced a day earlier failing to halt its slide amid signs a ceasefire deal to end a separatist conflict could fail.

    The local currency closed at 31.63 per dollar, according to the average rate of bank trades registered by the central bank.

    Despite a partial recovery overnight, the currency has lost 13.4 percent since the start of Monday. It has halved in value since the start of this year, after also tumbling by 50 percent against the dollar during 2014.

    What do they call it when the time required for each 50% decline gets progressively shorter? That’s right: going exponential. Keeping halving the Hryvnia every few weeks, and pretty soon there will be hundreds or even thousands of hryvnias per dollar. As Randy Wray is wont to remind us, they can never run out of hyrvnias.

    Every Ukie a millionaire!

    1. Santi

      I wonder how much money has been lost, by Soros and other “investors”, in these businesses. Any idea?

      1. vidimi

        this to Santi above as well, make no mistake, it’s the ukie people who will be made to shoulder this loss

  16. optimader

    RE: “Are Siberia’s mysterious craters caused by climate change? Scientists find four new enormous holes in northern Russia Daily Mail (Chuck L). You need to look at the pictures. If these are due to (former) permafrost methane releases, that is really bad”

    “…This place in Uzbekistan is called by locals “The Door to Hell”. It is situated near the small town of Darvaz. The story of this place lasts already for 35 years. Once the geologists were drilling for gas. Then suddenly during the drilling they have found an underground cavern, it was so big that all the drilling site with all the equipment and camps got deep deep under the ground. None dared to go down there because the cavern was filled with gas. So they ignited it so that no poisonous gas could come out of the hole, and since then, it’s burning, already for 35 years without any pause. Nobody knows how many tons of excellent gas has been burned for all those years but it just seems to be infinite there. ”

    There is also one video down there:

  17. Irrational

    Re. Britain’s healthcare system:
    Must have improved massively since I studied there in the mid-80es and thought it vastly inferior to the Danish and Luxembourgish system (two very different models). Meanwhile I think more of the Lux system than the Danish one…

    1. vidimi

      the luxembourgeois system has the benefit of having a very high GDP-base and a very low population. It’s not a model you can apply to 60+million. Britain’s NHS may not be the absolute best in the world, but it is still pretty bloody good.

    1. Oregoncharles

      Important because it’s all Democrats, all the way down. Not only Rahm – it’s a Democratic machine city, has been for a very long time.
      It’s possible we should have known better than to elect a President from there.
      Anyway, I agree about that post. Very important police-state info.

      1. GuyFawkesLives

        In my “Democratic-laden” state legislature, the bankers were able to drop a bill that will allow the banks to foreclose on a home without proof of owning the underlying debt. I am getting much more assistance from the Republican party to block this Democrat-Banker crappola of a bill.

  18. optimader

    How civilized..
    The agression

    from Jerome Genevray Plus 3 weeks ago / Creative Commons License: by nc nd All Audiences

    Paris. A woman is going to be mugged. For Fake. Who will save her ?
    Directed by Jerome Genevray & Eric Esculier.

    Many thanks to Marie-Jeanne Nalbonne, Ariel Doukhan, Sabrina Renaudeau, Marlène Pons, Jerome Dessay, Grégory Kristoforoff, Sarah Abdel, Yolande Granger, Jean-Paul Dix et Mathieu Bouckenhove.

  19. Roland

    ISIS has forcibly demonstrated that an independent Kurdistan is not viable.

    Without direct military intervention by foreign powers, Kurdish forces were getting beaten badly by a stateless militia. ISIS was driving the vaunted Peshmerga off the field, and the PKK wasn’t doing any better.

    But I suppose the Western powers like to have a world full of vulnerable, deeply indebted pseudostates. Moreover, these give all our NGO types careers-for-life.

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