Links 2/25/15

Cute gerbils, not rats, to blame for the plague Independent (YY, Chuck L)

Ancient cities grew pretty much like modern ones, say scientists Christian Science Monitor (furzy mouse)

Trouble Ahead? Searching For Google’s Future NPR (David L)

Apple To Invest $2B Building Green Data Centers In Ireland And Denmark TechCrunch (furzy mouse). So this is there way of dealing with their “offshore” profits?

Watch out, coders — a robot may take your job, too InfoWorld (David L)

Lies and Fabrications: The Propaganda Campaign in Support of Genetically Modified Crops (GMO) Global Research (NM)

Meditation for a Good Night’s Sleep New York Times (David L)

Sea level spiked for 2 years along northeastern North America PhysOrg (Chuck L)

Rare Double Cyclones Sock Australia—Where Else Has This Happened? National Geographic (David L)

Everest permits: Climbers want Nepal ‘to honour 2014 promise’ BBC (furzy mouse)

China to Spain cargo train: Successful first 16,156-mile round trip on world’s longest railway brings promise of increased trade Independent. YY: “7 gauge changes in the rail lines makes it not all that convenient.”


Greek finance minister’s letter to the Eurogroup Reuters

Troika raises fresh concerns over Greece’s last-ditch debt deal Telegraph

Doubts Shadow Deal to Extend Greek Bailout Wall Street Journal

The IMF Slammed Greece’s Proposed Overhaul to Its Bailout. Here’s Why It Matters WSJ Economics Blog

KTG talks to SYRIZA-voters about Eurogroup agreement, elections promises, expectations & hope Keep Talking Greece (Eleni)

Syriza dumps Marx for Blair Robert Peston, BBC

Thousands join anti-austerity rallies in Greece & other European countries Keep Talking Greece (Eleni). I hate to say it, but these protest aren’t remotely big enough to have any impact, although it is nice to see protests in Germany. Vastly larger anti-asuterity protests in Portugal and Spain when bond market contagion was a real worry did not move the authorities. The biggest threat right now is Marine Le Pen, who I am told leads the polls in France.


Ukraine War: A Reverse Cuban Missile Crisis Consortiumnews (furzy mouse)

Britain to send military advisers to Ukraine, announces Cameron Guardian

Yatsenyuk suspends tax agency head amid corruption accusations Kyiv Post (Mark Ames)

Latvia Torn Between Money and Fear of Russia Moscow Times (furzy mouse)

Imperial Collapse Watch

The State Department’s ‘Twilight Zone’ Consortiumnews (furzy mouse)

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

Gemalto Says Alleged Hack Didn’t Result in Massive Theft of SIM Keys Wall Street Journal. If you believe that, I have a bridge I’d like to sell you. The NSA’s gloating speaks for itself.

Hello Barbie: Hang on, this Wi-Fi doll records your child’s voice? The Register (EM). A new vehicle for child monitoring.


Chief justice could again swing Obamacare case in government’s favor Reuters (EM)

U.S. Won’t File Charges in Trayvon Martin Killing New York Times. Quelle surprise!

White House defends U.S. VA secretary after false statement Reuters (EM)

How Silicon Valley won the day over some of the most powerful lobbyists in Washington Washington Post

U.S. Geological Survey: Fracking waste is the primary cause of the dramatic rise in earthquakes Daily Kos (furzy mouse)

Police State Watch

Chicago’s Homan Square ‘black site’: surveillance, military-style vehicles and a metal cage Guardian (Ron A)

No charges for Los Angeles officers who shot unarmed man after chase Reuters

F.C.C. Net Neutrality Rules Clear Hurdle as Republicans Concede to Obama New York Times

Rahm Emanuel Forced Into Runoff in Bid for Second Term as Chicago Mayor New York Times

A former Kleiner Perkins partner claims she was harassed by the same person as Ellen Pao Business Insider

The great growth destruction? Izabella Kaminska FT Alphaville

Yellen: ‘Patient’ Means Next Couple of Meetings MarketPulse

Why the Fed is now further behind the curve CNBC

Yellen Hearing Raises Question: ‘Who Is Scott Alvarez? WSJ Economics. See our related post. This dust-up is getting traction.

Class Warfare

The incredible decline of American unions, in one animated map Washington Post

Wisconsin lawmakers debate right-to-work bill as unions rally Reuters (EM)

Why a Flat-Rate Tax is Unfair: A Quick Overview of America’s Wealth Inequality and Tax Structure Daily Kos (furzy mouse)

Antidote du jour:

baby lion and ocelot links

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. owenfinn

    “Ancient cities grew pretty much like modern ones”

    By “modern ones” I suppose they mean cities that were developed before automobiles threw those “scaling regularities” completely out of wack.

  2. wbgonne

    KTG talks to SYRIZA-voters about Eurogroup agreement, elections promises, expectations & hope Keep Talking Greece (Eleni)

    Well, if this is a true representation of Greek sentiment then perhaps SYRIZA’s lipstick-on-a-pig pitch may actually work (for SYRIZA anyway). So maybe all that bold rhetoric was for domestic consumption, to show “fight” and give “hope,” and tben immediately surrender and fall in line. The human capacity for self-delusion is astonishing.

  3. wbgonne

    U.S. Geological Survey: Fracking waste is the primary cause of the dramatic rise in earthquakes Daily Kos (furzy mouse)

    I’m sure President Frackenstein will give this report his full attention. In fact, he’ll probably fire the authors.

  4. Integer Owl

    Re: Gemalto Says Alleged Hack Didn’t Result in Massive Theft of SIM Keys

    Yes, this is totally false, at least to the best of my knowledge. Gemalto executives have been opining on this massive breach of their security for days now. Of course, there are significant limitations in being an armchair observer of events like these, however imo the best info appears quickly and is then redacted or thwarted by propaganda i.e. the linked to article.

    From the perspective of logic, I was slightly impressed that the NSA at least worked out that it would be more efficient to get to the source, instead of spending countless hours and dollars cracking the encryptions. From the perspective of ethics, however…. Well, it is obviously an oxymoron mention ethics and the NSA in the same breath.

    1. Benedict@Large

      For what it’s worth. I’m not sure if this I a legitimate study or one commissioned by the entrenched powers to drum up a fear of non-mainstream ideas. It’s at least a very entertaining set of findings.

    1. Santi

      I’m not sure who the author is, but I spot a contradiction in the graphic. She says that any party not arriving to (roughly) 25% of the votes is penalized by the Spanish circumscriptions as evidence that Podemos is not going to win, while showing a graphics where it can be clearly seen how Podemos, coming from 8% of the votes in the European elections, are in current polls second force just shy of the very 25% she quotes. If one looks direct vote intention in a number of polls that have already been first. The rest of the arguments look pretty much conservative (in the sense of “the incumbent will prevail”). The Podemos phenomenon is being something special, one can see it clearly by just observing close to the ground here. Now TPTB are promoting a party to try to block it, called Ciudadanos (the C’ in the wikipedia entry linked). It is a neoliberal party with appeal as a marketing operation, but my guess is that Spanish people does not want anymore marketing and it will only serve to, as Camino say, reduce PP and PSOE below 25% thus paving the way to Podemos. In three weeks we’ll see the first election, one where Podemos is not assumed to be big (assumed to be third for most polls) but where I’m thinking we will see the first surprise results, at least in the differences…

      1. vidimi

        i am extremely skeptical of podemos. aside the disturbing fact that their party name comes from obama’s 2008 hopium slogan, they are pro-nato. i see less hope from them then there was from syriza.

        1. JLCG

          The word PODEMOS has two meanings, the most obvious being, we can, but the other is more interesting because it is the imperative of the verb podar that is lets prune. I would prefer the second meaning to the first.
          The third in command at PODEMOS has had to pay a quarter million euros for taxes he had forgotten to pay. So the integrity morality are lets say a bit suspect.
          Another Syriza, get to power and fold.

    2. Santi

      Says wikispooks:

      The Centre for European Reform is a lobby group closely associated with the American Enterprise Institute and the (NATO-funded) Atlantic Council of the United Kingdom. CER is a former member of the Stockholm Network of neoliberal think tanks, the Centre was listed as a member in early 2009 but in May 2010 Catherine Hoye confirmed that they had left the network.

  5. Jim Haygood

    In place of his weekly jeremiad against the Bubble, this week Dr. Hussman posted the annual report of his funds. It states: ‘the stock selection approach of the [flagship Strategic Growth] Fund has outperformed the S&P 500 by 5.07% (507 basis points) annually from the inception of the Fund on July 24, 2000 through December 31, 2014.’

    Five percent outperformance for nearly 15 years puts Dr. Hussman in Warren Buffett’s league as a stock picker. You can ride Buffett’s coattails by owning his holding company, Berkshire Hathaway. But you can’t buy Dr. Hussman’s stock picks in a plain old long-only mutual fund. His fund comes with a costly overlay of put options that hedge away all the market exposure, with the result that Strategic Growth has undershot the S&P 500 by a ghastly 9.95% per year for the past ten years.

    An enduring enigma is how a brilliant finance guy and ace stock picker can have sacrificed so much return on the altar of a permabear fetish. If he’d just offer his stock picking fund without the destructive hedge, he’d be a rock star.

    1. fresno dan
      “The S&P 500 contains (surprise) 500 companies. But it’s constantly changing. Companies get booted from the index, acquired by competitors, and go out of business. Standard & Poor’s needs to replace old stocks with new ones.

      Since its beginning in 1957, almost 1,000 companies have been removed from the index, and another 1,000 new companies added.

      Siegel calculated how the index would have performed if, rather than replacing old companies with new ones, investors had just stuck with the original components, letting dying companies die and reinvesting proceeds from buyouts into the surviving S&P 500 companies.”

      Through intensive research, much thought, deep thinking, and astute investing, I picked 20 stocks. Afterwards, 10 of them lost all of the money I had put into them by various permutations…
      Despite this overwhelming evidence of total financial incompetance, after venturing to look at the account after 10 years, through sheer luck, it had managed to accrue thousands of dollars in dividends…
      And just like the old ladies in Las Vegas who win some nickels on the slot machines, and keep putting them back in until the nickels are gone, I “reinvested”
      So there is nothing wrong with going to Las Vegas….or to the stock market….as long as you understand your there for fun and not to make money….
      Fortunately, the vast majority of my savings are in a very low cost fund – safe from my “intellect” and “insights”

      I forget the name of the Russian general who defeated Napoleon by not doing anything, but I have always thought doing as little as possible was underrated…

      1. Jim Haygood

        Using a 12-month moving average to time the S&P 500, over the past 100 years you would have been invested about 72% of the time and standing aside the other 28% of the time.

        A strategy hedged against market fluctuations most of the time owing to ‘valuation’ is misusing valuation. Costly markets can keep going up, and cheap ones (e.g. Sep. 1931) can keep going down.

        When all assets are expensive (such as now), you pick the least dirty shirt and carry on.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          If we can all live to be 150 or older, there are not down markets you can’t ride through. Just keep putting your money in, dollar averaging, every month.

          If you expect to live more than 30 years after your first full time after graduation, you have to have a plan B to cover the time from the onset of you early involuntary retirement to your Social Security check.

          In Japan, where skinny people are getting more obese, one way is to incarcerate oneself voluntarily (thank Shinto gods for the Prison Industrial Complex) – finally, something for us Americans to imitate, an idea we can steal, instead of being the victim of idea-theft all the time (sarcasm…please put down the mighty pen, and switch it to non-attack mode).

      2. steve dean

        You might be thinking of Prince Michael Andreas Barclay de Tolly who spent 3 months retreating in front of Napolean’s Grande Armée, but he was fired before Napolean entered Moscow.

          1. craazyman

            We have a winner!!! . . .

            And changing the subject, Kutuzov began to speak of the Turkish war and the peace that had been concluded. “Yes, I have been much blamed,” he said, “both for that war and the peace… but everything came at the right time. Tout vient a point a celui qui sait attendre.
            * “Everything comes in time to him who knows how to wait.”

            *And there were as many advisers there as here…” he went on, returning to the subject of “advisers” which evidently occupied him.
            “Ah, those advisers!” said he. “If we had listened to them all we should not have made peace with Turkey and should not have been through with that war. Everything in haste, but more haste, less speed. Kamenski would have been lost if he had not died. He stormed fortresses with thirty thousand men. It is not difficult to capture a fortress but it is difficult to win a campaign. For that, not storming and attacking but patience and time are wanted. Kamenski sent soldiers to Rustchuk, but I only employed these two things and took more fortresses than Kamenski and made them Turks eat horseflesh!”
            He swayed his head. “And the French shall too, believe me,” he went on, growing warmer and beating his chest, “I’ll make them eat horseflesh!” And tears again dimmed his eyes.
            “But shan’t we have to accept battle?” remarked Prince Andrew.
            “We shall if everybody wants it; it can’t be helped…. But believe me, my dear boy, there is nothing stronger than those two: patience and time, they will do it all. But the advisers n’entendent pas de cette oreille, voila le mal. * Some want a thing—others don’t. What’s one to do?” he asked, evidently expecting an answer. “Well, what do you want us to do?” he repeated and his eye shone with a deep, shrewd look. “I’ll tell you what to do,” he continued, as Prince Andrew still did not reply: “I will tell you what to do, and what I do. Dans le doute, mon cher,” he paused, “abstiens-toi” *(2)—he articulated the French proverb deliberately.
            -Leo Tolstoy, WAR & PEACE

            * “Don’t see it that way, that’s the trouble.”
            * (2) “When in doubt, my dear fellow, do nothing.”

    2. CJB

      Hi Jim,

      Actually, he’s not a “permabear”, he’s following a risk management discipline. And look inside the numbers, quoting Hussman himself, ” It is instructive that, on a total return basis, the S&P 500 lost -47.41% from the
      bull market peak of the S&P 500 on September 1, 2000 to the bear market low on
      October 9, 2002, while Strategic Growth Fund gained 47.83%. Assuming equal
      initial investments in the S&P 500 and Strategic Growth Fund at that bull market peak,
      an investment in Strategic Growth Fund, by the end of the bear market, would have
      been worth 2.81 times the value of the investment in the S&P 500. Similarly, the S&P
      500 lost -55.25% from the bull market peak of the S&P 500 on October 9, 2007 to
      the bear market low on March 9, 2009, while Strategic Growth Fund lost only -6.47%
      during that period. Assuming equal initial investments in the S&P 500 and Strategic
      Growth Fund at that bull market peak, an investment in Strategic Growth Fund, by the
      end of the bear market, would have been worth 2.09 times the value of the investment
      in the S&P 500.”
      Jim, you’re calling the game over but it’s only half time.

    3. Ed S.


      I was (note:WAS) a long term holder of the Dr. Hussman’s flagship fund for over 10 years. 10 long years. My net return was effectively zero. Hussman is a bright guy and a compelling writer, but any return over the S&P 500 was earned in the first few years of his fund (inception to 2003). As a case in point, in the last 12 months the S&P 500 is up 14.65% – the flagship fund is DOWN 10.8%. Over 5 years, it’s +85% vs. – 30%. 10 years it’s +79% vs. -42%.

      Theory can be spun any way you want, but results don’t lie.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Dr. Hussman is a victim of central bankers’ ‘robbing Main Street to help Wall Street’ money management. I give him another 5 years…maybe.

  6. Integer Owl

    Thought I’d weigh in on the GMC (genetically modified crop) article.

    Firstly, a disclaimer. In case anyone is wondering, yes I do have a lot of time on my hands at the moment, and yes, I’ve been on an NC commenting binge for the past week or so. This will change come Monday so please have patience with me, although I’ll still be reading all the articles and making the occasional pertinent (at least imo) comment after then.

    Back to GMO’s (genetically modified organisms). I am not totally against using genetically modified organisms for the right purposes. It seems the ideas of GMC’s (genetically modified crops) for consumption as foods, and the full scale of the possibilities for using GMO’s, are being conflated. No doubt by those who wish to usurp the natural food supply i.e Monsanto.

    I am no expert, however imo there has been some interesting research and potential uses for medical based GMO’s. Cyclic peptides, for example, that have recently been discovered in nature, and can be induced in other plants, have the potential to allow diabetics to ingest, rather than inject, insulin. Also, the very scarcely produced ebola treatment, that saved a couple of western aid workers, was based on GMO plant life.

    There is a school of thought that postulates that modern medicine could actually be grown in plants, allowing third world nations, such as many in Africa, to essentially have gardens full of complex medicines, at a very low cost.

    Like I mentioned, I am no expert, and I also strongly disagree with putting the food supply at risk with genetic modification en masse. As for more targeted use, though, I am cautiously optimistic. Science has the potential to solve so many problems, it really comes down to how the human race wishes to wield its power.

    Plant based medicine

    1. Integer Owl

      Apologies for the misinfo, it was cyclic proteins, not peptides, that I was referring to. Mea culpa.

    2. Integer Owl

      Ugh, I really need to allow cookies so I can edit these posts. PEPTIDES not proteins. As is obviously clear now, I am no expert. To Yves or Lambert, please feel free to delete this and my last post, though I imagine you have more worthwhile things to do. I am starting to make myself confused…

    3. optimader

      GMO plant based medicine –probably salubrious, (unfortunately, surely there is a dark economic model to compromise the ideal)
      Elbowing out natural food flora for corporate GMO –not so salubrious.

      1. Integer Owl

        I had to look up the meaning of salubrious. New word for me, thanks! I’ll try and use it in a conversation tomorrow. Yes I tend to agree that not many ideas make it past the big-money redefinition of what their potential actually entails. I am very sceptical of the intentions of entrenched interests pushing for GMC’s meant for mass-scale human consumption.

        The idealist in me just can’t help but visualise the possible uses of new knowledge like this, I think I’m happier this way…

        1. optimader

          It’s a great word, covers a lot of territory. Should have word for the day here at NC

          Best of luck on Monday w/ your new endeavor.

          1. Integer Owl


            Just want to state that with regard to the GMO article, it is absolutely egregious that the big-money entrenched interests suggest genetically modified crops will solve the worlds food problems, and that those against GMO crops are denying starving people food. An absolutely disgusting lie, when their end-game is to patent all crops.

            Also, to anyone with an inkling of good sense, it is obvious that the problems experienced with the food supply in Africa, among other places, are entirely due to the neoliberal deconstruction of stability of these regions, and the enforcement of bad practices with regard to farming.

            There is plenty of totally natural food to go around, if it wasn’t for all the short-sighted greed.

    1. DJG

      The numbers in the Trib are interesting. (The Chicago Tribune has always been a parody of itself, though, you have to admit.) I realize that this is a family blog, but I’ll put it in Rahmese: Fuck Rahm. I also note many aldermanic runoffs, which is good. For those who want to get even more granular, note the many ward-by-ward advisory referendums on an elected school board. Very good.

    2. DJG

      From the Guardian’s coverage, a good diagnosis:
      Larry Bennett, a political scientist at DePaul University in Chicago, said many of Chicago’s problems, such as systemic population loss and crime, went back decades and were never solved by his predecessor, Richard M Daley, who was mayor for six terms. But Emanuel had failed to show voters meaningful policies that could turn things around.

      “Voters haven’t seen a lot of creative ways public investment can spark private investment in the neighborhoods,” he says. “What is called ‘school reform’ here is called privatization everywhere else. You’re taking one more lifeline out of the place. Some of those schools probably needed to be reorganized, but you don’t just pull stuff out of areas, you have to also put stuff in.”
      [Even as the cities of Los Angeles and New York (the center cities) outpace Chicago in population growth. And much of the population decline has been flight of black people to the suburbs.]

      1. sleepy

        But Emanuel had failed to show voters meaningful policies that could turn things around.

        Turning things around was never his goal. It was rape and pillage 24/7.

        The only surprise, maybe, was that he wasn’t able to fool enough people that “hope and change” were just around the corner.

  7. DJG

    Nevertheless, for all of the bravado and boosterism, Chicagoans regularly run away from any outbreaks of democracy. So Chuy has a lot of work to do. Right now, though, I’m also enjoying the problems caused by the voters for Chicago’s oooshy Democrats (and for Rahm’s bud, Governor Rauner). All of those liberal-ish North Side Dems who have to figure out how to desert the Raht somehow….

  8. Invy

    The flat tax is about equality under taxation. The way to impose progressive taxation through a flat tax is by treating all transactions equally, every single exchange should come with a tax. Anyone living paycheck to paycheck likely uses their money one time in the purchase of goods or paying for services… The wealthy use the same money over and over, and thus will be taxed more. The highest burden, according to the following website, would be on corporations.


    I don’t know if this idea will work, but it allows for the use of the opposing sides propaganda against themselves, which certainly doesn’t help them.

    1. LifelongLib

      Equality of ability to pay is the ultimate equality under taxation. Hence the progressive income tax.

    1. neo-realist

      Our leadership ain’t got the guts for it. We Americans only like nuclear warfare on our XBOX’s and Play Stations.

      1. ambrit

        Do our “leaders” have the smarts to get out of the corner they are painting themselves into? Lots of wars have been stumbled into, even against the wishes of the supposed leaders involved.
        What I will view as the tipping point in Eastern Europe is when the Americans position tactical nukes in forward bases. Then the Russians will have to go to a “launch on warning” command system. At that point, there is no way out short of the West climbing down. If the Western “leaders” are stupid enough to put the nukes up front in the first place, I’ll have to assume that they are too stupid to deal with and in the real world. That’s the ugly horror of Rove’s “we create our own reality.” The Rovian “reality” has little or no connection to objective reality. To be blunt; when is the last time you saw real magic in action?

        1. neo-realist

          To be blunt; when is the last time you saw real magic in action?

          At the risk of going off topic, Dead Boys at CBGB in 77 and they rocked like the equivalent of nukes. Sonic Reducer ain’t no loser:).

          Anyhow, Our leaders talk tough turkey, but when the rubber meets the trenches, they are more likely to provide conventional weapons to the forces in Kiev and stop short of tactical nukes which could bait the Russians into a potentially more aggressive response.

  9. Brindle

    re: Chicago Homan Sq. Black Site

    Not a word on it so far in the NYT. I scanned the “U.S.” section and found nothing, but there were two articles on Hillary; one about her being a woman and one about her visit to Silicon Valley, it’s Hillary world I guess.

    1. LaRuse

      I have been trying to get my head around why this story isn’t getting more interest, and the conclusion I have reached is the general public just doesn’t care. I think there are two reasons for this: a) our basic rights have been eroded so badly that a black site like this is the norm, not an appalling abuse; and b) there seems to be a belief that the people who ended up there deserved it or had it coming. “They were bad guys in the first place so screw ’em.” Combine that detached mindset with casual acceptance of the existence of Homan Square, and you realize our dystopian fiction is now our public reality.

      1. Eureka Springs

        Lots of reasons. My favorite in the article:

        Regardless of departmental regulations, police frequently deny or elide access to lawyers even at regular police precincts, said Solowiej of First Defense Legal Aid. But she said the outright denial was exacerbated at Chicago’s secretive interrogation and holding facility: “It’s very, very rare for anyone to experience their constitutional rights in Chicago police custody, and even more so at Homan Square,” Solowiej said.

        This is the case anywhere in the US except perhaps for the rich. It has long been the case. But hey, as soon as those north siders quit playing footsie with Rahmulans and his neoliberal ilk as if they are anywhere near reasonable excuses for human beings, much less leadership, and the rest of us take over the Democratic party rather than put a stake in its dark sinister heart all will be rosy and constitutional again.

        What I don’t get is why they need a dark building to hide in when its perfectly normal for police to kill people for being mere suspects in the street on camera and never face a criminal charge. I guess torturing is too much fun to give up.

    2. diptherio

      Here’s what gets me about the article: they quote a criminologist saying that the torture techniques and black-site shenanigans by the Chicago PD are blowback from US military and intelligence service practices overseas–however, this interpretation is undercut by information contained in the very article. CPD has been doing this stuff since (at least) the 1970s:

      “Back when I first started working on torture cases and started representing criminal defendants in the early 1970s, my clients often told me they’d been taken from one police station to another before ending up at Area 2 where they were tortured,” said Taylor, the civil-rights lawyer most associated with pursuing the notoriously abusive Area 2 police commander Jon Burge.

      And as another Guardian piece reports, it was actually CPD tactics that were being exported to places like Guantanamo, not the other way around:

      In a dark foreshadowing of the United States’ post-9/11 descent into torture, a Guardian investigation can reveal that Richard Zuley, a detective on Chicago’s north side from 1977 to 2007, repeatedly engaged in methods of interrogation resulting in at least one wrongful conviction and subsequent cases more recently thrown into doubt following allegations of abuse.

      Zuley’s record suggests a continuum between police abuses in urban America and the wartime detention scandals that continue to do persistent damage to the reputation of the United States. Zuley’s tactics, which would be supercharged at Guantánamo when he took over the interrogation of a high-profile detainee as a US Navy reserve lieutenant, included…

      Only a white person could think that torture is somehow a new thing for the CPD. Human Rights violations begin at home…

      1. MartyH

        Short term memory is the second thing to go but …

        There was an article on one of the non-MSM sites a week or two ago that pointed out that the Enhanced Interrogation Techniques came from some Police Department … might even have been Chicago. Sorry for losing the link though. Perhaps a member of the NC Commentariat remembers.

      2. Jill

        There is a very good book: “Fear Up Harsh”. The author explains that many torture techniques did come from prison guards in the US over to Iraq. This is one aspect of the story. Another is that torture was studied by the CIA and academics in the US and Canada helped along with experimentation. And it is equally true that torture techniques have come back from overseas, perfected by doctors, psychologists and general practitioners in the art. This isn’t a one way door, it’s a revolving door.

        There is also an important pattern to what the govt. is doing which people are ignoring. We have a president who says he has the right to kill any person, any where on his say so. He has done this, to include children. The clandestine services have their own kill program which is even less “transparent” than killer Tuesdays at the White House with Tea and Crumpets. We have the diminshment of everyone’s rights. We have mass surveillance of the population. Into the mix comes a “local” boy black site. There is a context which should be clear-a police state. Yet, apparently, this isn’t clear to many people. It’s seems difficult for our citizens to grasp what is going on. In part, this is because we aren’t told about. Then when the information does slip out it is dismissed in one way or another. But, the pattern is there for anyone who wants to see it.

        This should not be taken as my attempt to dismiss the torture of white and black prisoners around this nation, long before 9/11 entered the picture. That has been and continues to be a great evil. However, there is another evil which has come into being and it must be spoken of. They both matter.

  10. bob

    The WSJ on Yellen, closes with-

    ““I kind of looked at Scott Alvarez as collateral damage in the broader attack on the perception that the Fed is in bed with the biggest banks,” said Boltansky, an analyst with Compass Point Research & Trading.

    “Balance” in reporting- asking some asshole to speak in “perception”, and to call green red. “collateral damage”? They love the war talk, but have no idea what it means.

    If a general gets shot, while the enemy is engaging his troops, it’s now collateral damage, according to said asshole.

  11. Jim Haygood

    A Drug Warrior from Utah expresses his contempt for democracy … and his endorsement of the Gulag as the cure for all disobedience:

    In an interview, Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) said: “Federal law, signed by the president, confirms that D.C. cannot move forward [with cannabis legalization, approved by Initiative 71]. If they are under any illusion that this would be legal, they are wrong. And there are very severe consequences for violating this provision. You can go to prison for this. We’re not playing a little game here.

    Chaffetz is chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, which oversees legislative matters concerning the District. The city’s attorney general advised officials that even talking about how to allow pot sales could result in jail time for them.

    Freedom of speech? Parliamentary immunity? Not in Vichy DC, under the dead hand of the US fedgov.

    Maybe some DC voters can be put in prison to punish them for attempting to defy federal law. That’s conspiracy, you know.

  12. Chauncey Gardiner

    Thank you for Izabella Kaminska’s post from the FT on the great growth destruction. Squares with the demand destruction reported elsewhere. For example, the Monthly Absolute Demand Index from the Consumer Metrics Institute shows consumer demand running roughly 75% of average levels in 2005:

    While this may be implicitly desirable public policy from other perspectives, that is another issue.

  13. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Robots replacing human coders.

    Rationally speaking, only robots should practice science, to avoid pitfalls like data-faking, petty favoring of one project over another, becoming too attached or emotional with a subject, etc..

  14. Ronald Pires

    Robots replacing human coders is just one more fantasy story that people like to come up with about machines taking over. These stories actually started at the beginning of the industrial revolution, and have been non-stop ever since. When they are written as science fiction, they can be a lot of fun. When they are written as science, they are hogwash.

    In this case (robot coders), the programming languages may come to look less and less like the original machine languages, and more and more like human communications, but at the bottom, there will still be a programming language with quite exact and demanding rules. Break them, and you will get garbage. The trouble with robot coders is that they will assume that garbage was what you wanted to begin with.

  15. Oregoncharles

    “The biggest threat right now is Marine Le Pen, who I am told leads the polls in France. ”
    Yves – we really need some good material on Le Pen and the NF’s economic positions. Are they really that right-wing? Are their economic positions highly populist? We may be seeing something completely new here – in a position to remodel Europe.

    Yes, I’ll try to find something myself, but it should really be in the Links, or better yet, a posted article.


  16. Gaianne

    “The trouble with robot coders is that they will assume that garbage was what you wanted to begin with.”

    As we continue to make our own reality, this will not be seen as a problem, but a virtue.


  17. savedbyirony

    This article is from Feb. 17 but i don’t think the link has already been posted on NC. It’s from Commonweal Magazine and deals with one man’s experience of attending a Roman Catholic seminary and the insights it gave him into the RCC’s sexual abuse scandels, cover-ups, institutionalized misogyny and approach to human sexuality education in all-male clergy formation. On another thoughtful site i read, it has generated much interest and informative comments, and i thought some people who read here might find it of interest.

      1. savedbyirony

        Your welcome. i can recommend the other articles in the series it links to as well. People at present, perhaps more so those not members of the RCC, seem to get a little caught up in Francis and his hoped for effect, but they perhaps under-estimate the clerical culture and its on-the-ground power to prevent much actual change economically, socially, whatever in the RCC. They might also tend to gloss-over that Francis himself is a very much a product of RCC clergy formation. His behaviors towards women really demonstrate this and his blindness/indifference/defense of his misogyny is very telling. And his insistence on “pastorial” behavior changes instead of desperately needed institutional changes in doctrines, particularly dealing with human sexuality, i think also shows the power and pit-falls of much of the current training in RCC seminaries. However, it does look like Francis is seriously looking into gaining enough support to introduce some-sort of broader married Priesthood opportunities in the Roman CC. It won’t happen without a major internal institutional fight. And imho it shouldn’t happen before women are ordained in the Roman CC, but to get the number of male vocations up and thus try to help protect the all-male clergy and hierarchy, they will figure out a compromise between factions and way to allow more priests to marry.

  18. Dana

    No surprise that George Zimmerman wasn’t acting under color of State law. No real surprise, but a huge disappointment, that the feds fail to even mention investigating the cops and prosecutors who *were* acting under color of State law, who failed to investigate Zimmerman’s crime.

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