Links 3/13/15

Wall Street Firm Develops New High-Speed Algorithm Capable Of Performing Over 10,000 Ethical Violations Per Second Onion (Scott)

The effect of GOP malice and MBA stupidity on Research shows no sign of slowing down riverdaughter (Carol B)

Industry Body Calls for Gene-Editing Moratorium MIT Technology Review (David L)

Some people may be predisposed for PTSD The Athenaeum (Chuck L)

Got an earache? S.F. startup says a smartphone’s the cure SFGate (EM). Um, the last time I had an earache, it took antibiotics.

Reality Check: How Fast is China Growing? Global Recession at Hand Michael Shedlock (EM). Holy moley.

Petrobras Scandal Goes Far Deeper Than Previously Thought OilPrice. Not by our Richard Smith!

Venezuela likely to seek annulment of $455 million Owens-Illinois award: lawyer Reuters (EM)

Citi blocked on Argentine bond payment Financial Times


Tsipras’s blast against foreign powers has familiar ring Financial Times

Merkel Ally Says Greece Should Not Expect Special Treatment New York Times


Nemtsov killing exposes cracks in Kremlin unity Reuters. This also explains why no one has seen Putin in public for two weeks, and the reason never would have occurred to me. Mark Ames sent this on and noted, “This is basically taken from Politkovskaya’s paper Novaya Gazeta, the anti Putin paper. It seems right to me.”

Exclusive: From ‘Red October’ village, new evidence on downing of Malaysian plane over Ukraine Reuters (furzy mouse). Awfully late in the game for eyewitness accounts to be surfacing.

Sweden Plans to Increase Military Spending Wall Street Journal


“‘Dirty Brigades’: US-Trained Iraqi Forces Investigated for War Crimes” ABC News Sic Semper Tyrannis (Chuck L)

Iraqi forces ‘push into Tikrit’ BBC

Standing up to the Saudi Bloomberg (furzy mouse)

Exclusive: Major nations hold talks on ending U.N. sanctions on Iran officials Reuters (furzy mouse)


Health law hasn’t cut insurers’ rate of overhead spending: study PNHP (Thomas R, martha r)

Obama budget would shrink deficits by $1.2 trillion over 10 years: CBO Reuters (furzy mouse)

Budget Referee Sees Less Deficit Reduction in Obama’s Proposal Wall Street Journal

Hillary Clinton’s private email server “not encrypted” for three months after she entered office Pando

If Hillary Clinton doesn’t run, do Democrats have a Plan B? Christian Science Monitor. The inevitable isn’t looking so inevitable any more.

Boeing Helped Craft Own Loan Rule Wall Street Journal

Fake IRS agents target more than 366,000 in huge tax scam Associated Press

Black Injustice Tipping Point

Shots Threaten to Reopen a Well of Unrest in Ferguson New York Times

Black Death: The Rashomon Effect and Our Symbols of Justice Truthout

In America, There’s No Such Thing as Black Innocence: Cleveland’s Tamir Rice is the New Emmett Till American Prospect

Why Was an FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force Tracking a Black Lives Matter Protest? Intercept

U.S. exports at risk as bird flu hits heart of poultry country Reuters (EM)

Dotcom history is not yet repeating itself, but it is starting to rhyme Financial Times (David L)

Latest Rakuten-led funding values Lyft at $2.5 billion Reuters (EM)

Ultra-low interest rates could run and run Gillian Tett, Financial Times

U.S. business interests square off against lawyers in Delaware Reuters. A big reason never to own stocks. And I am not joking.

No, Bridgewater didn’t just build a team of robotic traders — they’ve had robot traders for 32 years Business Insider (David L). Unless they had a mainframe back then, this claim sounds like a stretch.

Commerzbank makes $1.45bn settlement with US Financial Times. Adrien: “…with the inevitable killer email by a reckless staff member..”

Santander Consumer Reaches $9.35 Million Settlement Over Military Repossessions New York Times

Private Equity Is Going Retail Huffington Post

Senators Introduce Legislation To Make Private Student Loans Dischargeable In Bankruptcy Consumerist. Finally.

Class Warfare

Are Uber Drivers Employees? The Trial That Could Devastate the “Sharing Economy.” Slate. Keep your fingers crossed…

Target pressured on wages by group with focus but little to spend Reuters (EM)

Antidote du jour (Kevin H):

Flower Longhorn

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. CB

    I just ducked out to my senators’ websites to leave a message: “Sign on and actively support the Fairness for Struggling Students Act of 2015” Consider doing likewise.

    1. Sam Adams

      It is a feature, not a bug that student loans are not dischargeable and have no statute of limitations to enforcement. It is easy to keep a population docile. Worked in France, until it didn’t. But it was a long run before the strategy failed– many quarters….

      1. Kevin Hall

        Slavery of school loan indebtedness, no jobs or no jobs that provide for an honest living, few to no opportunities to move up the ladder, chaos reigning in the fabric of society, infrastructure crumbling, politicians laughing all the way to the bank, corporations with more rights than you and acting like nation states, destruction of the environment and quality of life, and on and on and on and on………………..

        And then they wonder how it is that Isis can get inside the minds of our future adults in the making – it’s not the message, it’s ANY other message not from the established power.

        1. hunkerdown

          For an elite whose social duty is to preserve the culture of the Roman Empire, you’d think they’d recognize all the Roman youth wearing ghetto Visigoth fashion — but maybe the We Are All Already Decided community are reading that as “diversity”.

      2. hunkerdown

        “Inevitably good will triumph” is the civil-religious version of “Vengeance is mine, saith the Lord” — non-compete agreement with evil, or is it a cross-promotional agreement?

    2. Katniss Everdeen

      It’s long past time for an entire generation to start being considered “too big to fail.”

      ALL student loans should be dischargeable in bankruptcy, not just “private” ones.

      1. Jagger

        Once someone discharges their debt through bankruptcy, who will hire them with a bad credit report? I am afraid the system is set up such that if you don’t pay back the bankers, you are in bad trouble whether you use bankruptcy or not. Although after 7 years, I believe the credit report goes clean. Multiple layers in place to keep the pressure on recovering their money.

        1. hunkerdown

          It’s fascinating how, if we all just work together, we can make the debt peonage of the company store look like a benign b2b transaction.

        2. Katniss Everdeen

          The Bankruptcy “Reform” Act of 2005 (or whatever) specifically exempted student loan debt from relief. There is no reason lenders could not be specifically prohibited from reporting student loan discharge. The vast majority, I think I read 90%, are owed to the Department of Education anyway.

          FICO could also be prohibited from reporting ANY data on student loans should they get their grubby hands on it.

          A special category of bankruptcy could also be devised specifically for the discharge of all or part of student loan debt. Most of these kids didn’t incur this debt maliciously or with “intent” to defraud–they were sitting ducks. And they’re not only PERSONALLY affected. They’re drowning in aggregate, and dragging their portion of the “economy” and their cosigners down with them.

          They are a “systemically important” demographic cohort and, like it or not, need to be treated as such.

          Just as an aside, as a condition of this debt discharge, they could be required to take a rigorous financial literacy course–with REAL information. They’ve already learned a few lessons about unpayable debt. They could become actual functional economic citizens, which is something this sorry country could really use right now.

          Reforming this disgustingly predatory system is not only completely doable, it’s an existential imperative.

          1. hunkerdown

            Reforming the disgustingly predatory system in order to save the disgustingly predatory system so our great-grandchildren can play this asinine game again?

            Why not stop the drama once and for all instead of kicking the can down the road another 80 years? Amish shunning is, as best I can tell, the diametric opposite of neoliberalism. Why aren’t we using it instead of pretending the unrighteous haven’t heard the Good News yet?

            1. Jeremy Grimm

              I like the idea of shunning but I’m not sure how to actualize it. Who or what should we shun and in what manner? In economic transactions embargo seems similar to shunning but I like the added social stigma that shunning brings.

      2. Whine Country

        I think Congress is concerned that students might emulate Wall Street bankers and abuse the rest of us if we open up this “loophole” to them. They fear that role models like Jamie Dimon would lead to widespread fraud by students when they obtain student loans, and that would greatly increase the number of prosecutions that the Justice Department chooses to pass up. I think both parties are solid on this issue.

      3. craazyboy

        I’ve got a better idea – do away with student loans altogether. We’d rapidly see our universities be forced to price their service at what the market can bear.

        Right now, they are only limited by the number of treasury bonds Uncle Sam can issue – which seems to be a lot.

        Tiny anecdote – I heard our community college has a Director of Public Relations [which surprised me in itself]. This is a full time job, and it pays $160,000 plus all the goodies, pension, and reduced work load during the summer months. [I would think]

        1. Katniss Everdeen

          ” We’d rapidly see our universities be forced to price their service at what the market can bear.”

          That is EXACTLY what would happen. Not to mention the fact that “colleges and universities” would be forced to provided quality courses in the appropriate quantity–no more milking the bottomless student loan pile for six worthless years of tuition instead of four.

        2. hunkerdown

          Very clever sleight of hand there, al-walad al-majnoun. The market that will bear a price is not the same as the market that will bear some other price. Which leaves raw and untended the question of which market is to clear, and the question of whether those whose trades didn’t clear are even allies of the market.

        3. Jeremy Grimm

          I like your idea. One problem for me is the “idea of price to market.” I don’t like to think of education as a commodity. I believe education is a social good (as in a good thing) which should be provided by the state (as in the good state).

          Get the market out of matters of human values and return to a sense of community and the good life. The very idea that education combined with internships has become a replacement for training and a class marker for hiring discrimination troubles me. Education should be valued in itself. I very much like Keynes notion that education serves to train the mind for meaningful enjoyment of leisure.

          1. craazyboy

            Redesigning education would be a great big discussion – as would how to properly prepare for our upcoming Utopia.

            But in a small blog comment, I’ll point out we did have secondary education long before we had $2 Trillion in student loans. Also, over the last 30 years, Big Ed had an inflation rate that exceeded even Big Med. So things are very broken – and IMO the loans aren’t helping.

  2. Larry Headlund

    No, Bridgewater didn’t just build a team of robotic traders — they’ve had robot traders for 32 years Business Insider (David L). Unless they had a mainframe back then, this claim sounds like a stretch.

    As it happens, in 1983 I worked on porting an automatic trading system to a Unix server. The source program had been written to run on a minicomputer years before. 1983 was the start of the era of Thinking machines Corporation, etc. Neural Networks were entering there popular phase and didn’t require a mainframe. My first non-academic professional job in 1981 involved machine learning and pattern recognition which ran on a Z80 CPM box. So Bridgewater’s claim they have been using some form of computerized decision making since 1983 is not unbelievable.

    1. Larry Headlund

      I want to add that the articles headline is misleading. The statement from Bridgewater was much more modest. The key part was

      Ever since 1983 Bridgewater Associates has been creating systematic decision-making processes that are computerized.

      This is not saying they had robot traders in 1983.

      1. Propertius

        Right, and given that David Shaw was doing full-blown automated trading in the mid-80s it’s really a pretty modest claim.

    2. craazyboy

      I think the big increase I speed and intelligence would be in network bandwidth and the stock exchange trading system. Mainframes were always networked for almost as long as IBM and ATT have been around – but it was done by batch data transfers over a telecom(slow) line. Then of course the other end (the stock exchange, in this case) ended up with a big text file sitting on a big hard drive (or those big reel to reel tape drives). This would now have to get read and processed by the exchange main frame, matched up with open buys and sells, and executed.

      We know what the stock exchange floor looked like back then – at least anyone who has seen Trading Places with Eddie Murphy and Dan Aykroyd jostling around in a crowd, waving a trade ticket above their head, yelling and screaming “buy, buy, buy” or “sell, sell, sell”.

      Nowadays, computers don’t scream – unless of course they use upper case characters.

  3. Christian Bonanno

    On “Some people may be pre disposed to PTSD”;

    War is a virus to which some of us are more likely to suffer greater complications, while others gather a greater immunity.

    I am sure I am one of these people that gets very ill from war.

    1. optimader

      What psychological /physiological condition does not probably have a predisposed population?

      1. hunkerdown

        More to the point, why are these “conditions” considered worse than the drama-laden society they make possible?

        1. optimader

          I suffer PGMABS and PGBA2AMS

          Post Get My Ass out of Bed in the Morning Syndrome
          & less dramatically,
          Pre Get to Bed Already its 2AM Syndrome

          1. hunkerdown

            Oh wow. I feel for you. I had the type 7am version of the latter this morning. Could it be a THC deficiency?

  4. Katniss Everdeen

    RE: “‘Dirty Brigades’: US-Trained Iraqi Forces Investigated for War Crimes” ABC News Sic Semper Tyrannis (Chuck L)

    “No Americans are shown in the images or footage ABC News has found, nor have any Americans been implicated in any of the alleged atrocities.” ABC News

    We just “train” ’em, employ ’em and pay ’em. And any grand jury in the land would refuse to indict. (Although we’d prefer Ferguson.)

    Color me unsurprised.

  5. timbers

    “Nemtsov killing exposes cracks in Kremlin unity Reuters. This also explains why no one has seen Putin in public for two weeks, and the reason never would have occurred to me. Mark Ames sent this on and noted, “This is basically taken from Politkovskaya’s paper Novaya Gazeta, the anti Putin paper. It seems right to me.”

    So the “cracks in Kremlin unity” are due to many wanting Putin to MORE aggressive towards the West, and help Novorussia claim all the territory of provinces currently mostly (but not all) held by Ukraine federalists.

    This fits in with many of comments posted on Saker of the Vineyard, which say Putin has betrayed the Ukraine rebels by not intervening more forcefully.

    Talk about blowback if hardliners take control of Russia and dump Putin. Just nuke’m, anyone?

      1. strangely enough

        Irony writ large. Or they need Putin dumped to get the hardliners they’ve been hoping for all along.

        1. Gaianne

          “Or they need Putin dumped to get the hardliners they’ve been hoping for all along.”

          Yes. The US is near the end of its rope. The only hope for it now is to launch a global war.

          Putin knows that Russia is not yet ready for war, but will be. The US strategy is to sucker Russia into war too soon.

          Of course, an early war is more likely to go nuclear. But the US is very desperate. When the US oligarchs stare at the blank black wall of the future, they conclude even nuclear war is well worth the risk.


          1. timbers

            Reminds of the original RoboCop movie, the talking heads news anchors reporting calmly as if routine “three former U.S. Presidents were injured and one killed in California when a stray bomb accidentally disrupted an public event they planned to speak at….”

      2. susan the other

        ..which almost explains our weird State Department-paper tiger behavior… and the EU?… I mean it is a little abrupt for the EU to be overriding us politically – stg needs to be rescued and I think it’s Putin… and also our oil interests of course…

  6. Anon

    Re: If Hillary Doesn’t Run

    Hot damn, while I had some awareness that the D prospects looked dim, I didn’t realize how bad it was until reading the article. If this scandal goes somewhere (and based on Lambert’s article from this morning, it probably won’t) then the Ds might be screwed.

      1. craazyman

        Well I woke up this mornin’
        Poured myself a beer
        lit up another cigarette
        and wiped away a tear

        seems my old friends Bill and Hill
        they’re in another jam
        but who on earth is fit to fill
        the shoes of Uncle Sam?

        If she don’t Run
        Oh If she don’t run
        If she don’t run
        Oh if she don’t run
        Just leave that White House empty
        There ain’t no other one
        who’ll make this country great again
        the way she wouda done

        (OK, it’s a horrible, horrible song , . . . hahahahahah. It’s horrible! It’s noise. Just noise.)

        1. Jeremy Grimm

          I like it. [Although I’m not a fan of Hillary.] I could almost hear a tune as I read it. Put a second, maybe a third verse and a reprise with it and it could be a hit for the Dems — just like “Good Ol’ Shoe.”]

          Work with Joe Hill and you could have a hit of a different kind.

        2. hidflect

          Well done. When I read the lyrics I realised they fit well to the Kinks song, “A Well Respected Man”. Interestingly the song’s point is not dissimilar..

  7. andyb

    Re: the 2 Reuter’s propaganda pieces on MH17: hasn’t the forensic evidence showing cannon fire in the fuselage put all “blaming Putin” memes to rest?

      1. bruno marr

        Well, if the Dutch would be more forthcoming with actual evidence (of any kind) about MH17 then maybe a clearer resolution of responsibility would be evident.

          1. craazyboy

            Recently I read that a witness (fighter pilot) came forth in Moscow that claimed he was at an Ukraine military airbase and observed a SU-27 take off with some medium range air-to – air missiles (he claimed he could identify them) during the time MH17 was downed and then returned later carrying no missiles. He was asked by the interviewer if he thought it was possible [in his expert capacity as a fighter pilot] to shoot these particular missiles on an upward angle and hit an airliner at cruise altitude, and the pilot answered emphatically, yes. He also added they had proximity fuses which would be consistent with crash evidence.

            This was a news article meant for internal consumption in Russia, of course – but funny how the political machine works everywhere. At least the scenarios are getting more believable over time.

                  1. optimader

                    I expect any aspiring Quadcopter Fleet Commander would! just a pnt of clarification. Do you have that thing snooping on the lady in 27B w/ no curtains yet??

                    1. craazyboy

                      Not yet. Been working on it at a leisurely pace the past few days. It nearly done, then I still have to config & calibrate the flight controller and radio. Probably will try first lift off this weekend. Will post pics.

                    2. craazyboy

                      Drone is in the longer term plan. Got my eye on this autopilot – they came out with the Pixhawk 32 bit version.

                      I just replace my simple flight controller with the autopilot and a GPS mast.

                      But first, I want to add a GoPro clone and 2 axis stabilization gimbal. That comes after I’m a little more sure I don’t crash the thing.

                      Re: carbon fiber – mine has carbon fiber tubes molded in the arms now for strength. There are other frames I could have bought that are all cf, but they have some disadvantages – like round tubes are hard to keep from rotated slightly in their holder from prop forces, they loose torsional strength over time, they are conductive so they absorb the radio signal. There are a couple kits coming out with square tubes which is better – and I already have a redundant receiver setup positioned to avoid signal blockage.

                      I may try a larger fixed powered glider eventually. About 6 or 7 ft wingspan. I have an RC buddy that wants to do that after I get the electronics figured out.

                      But I still need to learn to fly all this stuff.

    1. Vatch

      Cannon fire? Maybe. But if a missile explodes as it approaches an airplane, the missile’s high speed debris will rip holes in the fuselage of the plane. That could account for the apparent cannon fire holes in the plane’s fuselage.

  8. direction

    Summary quote from gene editting moratorium piece: “The human species is not a laboratory rat, it is not an improved corn plant—it’s a unique species on this planet,” he says. “The fundamental thing for me is this is a boundary that the human species should not cross.”

    ummm…maybe corn should not cross either. Interesting that this new powerful modification process bears the name CRISPR. The choice of that acronym as the new moniker makes it sound like we’re in for a massive new generation of GMO soon.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Sadly, too many believe humans are exceptional.

      In fact, we, corn, cats, etc are on the same Life Continuum.

    2. Jeremy Grimm

      The idea of “GMO” humans conjures flashbacks of so many Sci-Fi movies and books, and echoes the not so long ago efforts to craft der Ubermensch. Monsanto applications of GMO suggest ideas of crafting humans specialized for killing humans — soldiers for our thousand years empire.

      When GMO first arrived I hoped for marvelous new kinds and flavors of fruits and vegetables and amazing flowers. Instead, I got potatoes that make their own insecticide, “Round-up Ready” wheat, corn and who knows along what with seeds that produce sterile plants. Am I to imagine the Medical Industrial Complex is more moral than the Agricultural Industrial complex?

      Even without the moral issues tied to GMO humans — even human embryos repaired for genetic defects — I am very concerned that we know far too little about about the “forces” we could be tampering with. The basic science for modifying genes is slowly maturing, but the basic science for understanding the impacts of those modifications — restating … completely independent from any moral or ethical concerns — seems far too immature for consideration of “GMO” humans.

  9. BF Lie

    Big Lie in the Reuters article: “U.N. measures are a legal basis for more stringent U.S. and European Union measures to be enforced.” The key to the Big Lie is keeping people from reading the UNSC resolutions.

    Sanctions on Iran are regulated by a Security Council committee chartered in S/RES/1737 (2006). Find where the resolution authorizes more stringent sanctions. It does not. The Security Council is expressly seized of the matter. That means nobody moves a muscle without UNSC authorization. The resolutions cite Article 41 as authorities. There’s a reason why the Wurlitzer never tells you what that is. It says,

    “The Security Council may decide what measures not involving the use of armed force are to be employed to give effect to its decisions, and it may call upon the Members of the United Nations to apply such measures.”

    Sanctions, like force, are legal only under UN supervision. Don’t like it? Tough shit. The US government signed on the dotted line. Pacta sunt servanda or not?

    Without express UN authorization, US or European sanctions on Iran are illegal. The whole world knows this, except Americans in the propaganda bell jar.

    1. hunkerdown

      Hmm, maybe the barometer of uncrapified news and analysis is not only the number or quality of comments, but the number and quality of links to primary sources? (Which inspires the question, why does Teh Goog really penalize links?) With the titles and names struck, the New York Times reads like a People Weekly gossip column.

  10. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    10,000 ethical violations per second – Onion.

    Are they the same violations, repeated over and over again? Of 10,000 different ethical violations of the 10,000 Commandments?

    Does it matter? It’s an Onion piece.

    Just curious if algorithms can be creative or are they just dumb, I guess.

    1. MartyH

      The underlying article isn’t actually funny. Front-running a trade in progress is an ethical violation and they are doing at least that many a second at peak (my best guess).

      1. craazyboy

        Front-running is illegal per the SEC, I believe. The other thing they do is send a jillion bids followed by order cancellations. It doesn’t take SEC expert to figure out that the only reason to do such a thing is to manipulate bid and ask prices. That should also be illegal per some regulation – say, price manipulation or some such thing..

    2. hunkerdown

      There’s a class of evolutionary algorithms called “cultural algorithms” which do learn, after a fashion.

  11. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Global Recession Coming? Is China really growing (that fast)?

    Well, we can’t make interest rates more negative, can we? Mathematically, it’s possible, I guess. Negative infinity.

    What can China do, for example? More ghost cities and malls?

    Maybe if they build ghost electrical plants in Africa or ghost waste water plants along the Ganges…anything useful…, with Chinese labor (as an incentive for the Chinese government to go there)…and with Yuan financing.

    1. craazyman

      yes you can!

      you can charge people for lending you money at a rate that exceeds the capital lent.

      for example, consider borrowing $1 million dollars for 1 year. You, as the borrower, could charge the lender $1.5 million in addition to the principal amount, resulting in two cash flows to you:

      1) Upon initiation of the loan, you, the borrower, would receive $1 million. 2) At the end of one year, you would receive from the lender an additional $1.5 million. You would, as the borrower, retain the borrowed principal and be compensated $1.5 million for your stewardship, regardless of what you did with the money.

      In this case, the interest rate would be the rate that turns $1 million into -$2.5 million

      in particular, 1(1+i)^1 = -2.5 ; 1 + i = -2.5 ; i = -3.5 or i = -350% per annum, sort of. The problem would be, what if we turn it around? If you as the borrower start with 0 and end up with $2.5 million, what’s the rate of return? 0 x (1+i)^1 = $2.5 million ; (1+i)^1 = 0 (sort of) ; therefore i = -1 or -100%. If you start with 0 and end up with $2.5 million, your rate of return is -100%? Really? Yes! Math doesn’t lie. It’s either -350% or -100%.

      An infinite interest rate would of course result in you receiving, in addition to the original principal, all the money in the universe that exists both today and that will ever exist over an infinitely long future time horizon. Any money ever made by anyone ever in the future would be due you, as the borrower of the original $1 million.

      You could structure this infinite obligation to receive an infinite amount of money on a continuous basis or you could structure payments of infinite amounts on a periodic basis. In all cases, the interest rate and net present value of money you owe, as the borrower, would be negatively infinite.

      Once again, this proves you can’t borrow money from the future because there’s no money left there to borrow.

      1. craazyboy

        “Once again, this proves you can’t borrow money from the future because there’s no money left there to borrow.”

        But banks can still re-hypothecate lending in this case – if we make it worth their while, of course.

  12. grayslady

    Today’s handsome guest Antidote du Jour appears to be the Purpuricenus humerus (the Purplescent Longhorn Beetle). Unlike the nasty Asian Longhorn Beetle, the Purplescent only feeds on dead trees so is likely to be spotted in old forests and state or Federal parks. This is one of nature’s useful recyclers. Found in the Northeast, Southeast and Midwest.

      1. craazyboy

        Always has been, but now we have we can have Crusaders again – gives some teeth to the word “crusade”.

        Plus they will be useful in our crusade against the Russian Orthodox – they’ve outstayed their welcome on this planet as well. To hell with all of them! Jesus Uber Alles!!!!

  13. Jim Haygood

    ‘Along with a stagnating economy, the high cost of living, and a horrific drought facing parts of Brazil, the public is angry at the extent of corruption that appears to reach all the way to the top of the Brazilian political system.’

    Couple of years ago, I was chatting with my Brazilian seatmate on a flight to Sao Paulo. He was from a provincial town that I knew of, since a girl from there was an exchange student in our home years ago.

    He said his brother, a lawyer working in Brazil’s justice department in the capital (Brazilia), was investigating corruption. After painstaking work, he prepared thorough documentation; submitted his report. A week later, his boss called him in, thanked him for the diligent effort … and informed him that he was being transferred to a city 2,000 miles away.

    Not to single out Brazil, but Brazil’s insiders have known for years that it was corrupt to the core. Now everybody knows.

    1. hunkerdown

      Rousseff’s sudden sucking-up to the austerians… you don’t suppose that challenger in the plane crash had anything to do with that?

  14. JEHR

    Do you want to read a real life Onion article? We have just the thing for you: Canadians are making expert recommendations to the Committee hearings on bill c-51, the antiterrorism bill. The government members of the committee just stand up and make spiels supporting the bill and ignore any recommendations for amendments and ask no questions. We are rapidly losing any semblance of democratic interaction in our parliament. Our country is being ruled by one man who is trying to set up an authoritarian state (our autocrat being Harper) by undermining our Charter of Rights and every other law that will either diminish or destroy the democratic institutions in our country.

    I swear, this performance needs no alterations to meet the criteria for Onion submission:

  15. Oregoncharles
    So if you feel “under attack,” why would you change what you’re called to a term that evokes sleazy private eyes, instead of white-coated scientists?

    I agree that it’s a problem for Know-Nothings to be supervising scientists, AND that corporate greed is a very unreliable source of funding, but this prolonged whine nonetheless triggered my bullshit detectors. She’s speaking for scientists who are spending the public’s money – but a visit from their public funders “feels like an attack?” Somehow this reminds me of Yves’ previous post about the proportion of fraudulent research. Granted, most of that is corporate-funded.

    We have a long-term problem with inadequate funding of research, but somehow this whole piece sounds more evasive than helpful.

    1. Jeremy Grimm

      If an agency, like the NSF, tasked to make sure that puble funded research dollars are well-spent, then why shouldn’t a visit from Know-Nothings feel like an attack? [And no — I am not defending the NSF — just questioning why a visit from Know-Nothings questioning research $ spent shouldn’t be regarded as an attack.]

      Are research $ an investment? Are the researchers trained as a result just an investment? I most strongly believe neither science nor research should be treated as a business venture, nor regarded as an investment. We should allocate public funds to discover what is True whether it has commercial or military value or not. Knowledge is a value in itself. The market has no place.

      However, I do most strongly agree with your close: “We have a long-term problem with inadequate funding of research … .”

  16. Ant Farm resident

    Bleakly interesting and ‘main stream’ news typical re: the IRS scam piece (I received one of those scam calls and didn‘t bite, though was informed the IRS knew all about it),

    The article never mentions that the most likely reason that some group in India has a huge database of 1040 filer’s vital data* (Social Security numbers and contact info along with typical income and vocation) is that, in the early 2000’s the IRS’ decision makers began significantly outsourcing IRS jobs, along with volumes of US citizens vital personal tax data, to India. I discovered that outsourcing when I ended up with a tax on my unemployment income (during the inception of the bombing the fuck out of the sovereign nation of Iraq years) which I could not possibly pay all at one time (I eventually did pay it, along with penalties and an interest rate I never received on any “Savings Account” I’ve ever had).

    They don’t specifically note that it’s Ant Farm resident 1040 filers being attacked, but I would bet that if Corporate Filers were being targeted, it would have made news quite some time ago and been nipped in the bud (at least for those large corporations), instead of at least two years after it began. I can’t imagine that mainstream news entities haven’t been receiving ant farm resident citizen calls regarding this, ever since it began two or more years earlier.

    Lastly, since this has been going on for quite a while, is it really plausible (at least as regards those bank wires) that those wire transfer recipients could not have been determined in less than at least two years time?

  17. Ant Farm resident

    Sorry, but neglected to mention – in my comment above – that the IRS gave me a specific phone number to call if I received anymore IRS SCAM calls (can’t find that number at this moment in my now mountains of punitive Ant Farm resident important documents) I would have at least thought that that ‘mainstream news piece’ would provide that phone number; BUT NOPE, that’s what happens when the wealthy have control over what news is cherry picked, obfuscated, and then trickled down to those it actually effects the most significantly.

  18. Ant Farm resident

    Thinking on my last comment, as regards to ‘mainstream news’ obfuscation of phone contact information when one has been ultimately violated by their own ‘[CORPORATIZED]Government Leaders.’

    I do have to say that the mainstream news is always willing to provide a 1-800, 877, et al Suicide Hotline number which will permanently record the conversation and contact data of someone at their wit’s end of ‘[CORPORATIZED]Government Abuse,’ and perhaps send the police out in what has become a, more likely than not, deadly ending where the rightfully overwhelmed, yet weaponless and unarmed, abused end up murdered ‘for everyone’s safety.’

    1. Jeremy Grimm

      My first thought on reading about the IRS scam was about what horrible image IRS audits have with the public that such scams could be plausible. i can see the utility in such an image for collections and taxpayer fraud mitigation but is that really how the IRS wants to be regarded? If so, is so far fetched to anticipate some future tax-payer rebellion?

  19. Ant Farm resident


    Yeah, that horrid image.

    Despite the fact that for many of my adult years I thought the Progressive Tax system ideally was one worthwhile means of addressing inequality; never griping at the concept in its idealized explanation, I’ve come to experience, way too many times, that the ‘little people’ are generally the predominant majority of victims who are significantly ‘over taxed’ and outrageously penalized by the IRS.

    The massive outsourcing of IRS jobz to India, and the Enron escapade – where the grunt was fired (to my recollect) by an IRS Higher Up for noting the Enron Criminal Endeavor – were the very last straws for me.

    I will note that there are some really nice human beings who work at the far lower level of the “IRS” [Treasury Department] in the US, I’ve had the fellow peer human relief of a few comforting me when shit got totally insane and outrageous. (Hmmmm, perhaps that why many of those workers jobs were outsourced to India?)

    1. Pepsi

      Reagan tilted the tax burden onto the little people, fica and more. So they’re not as progressive as they once were.

  20. Ant Farm resident


    It’s not just stunning Republican assholes like Reagan. And yeah, Reagan also led, as potus (with much aid), in demolishing Income Averaging; which was a life saver for anyone unemployed, or underemployed, for any significant period over a three year time span – though, to this day, I don’t recall any Democrats demanding that it be brought back.

    The chilling cruelty we’re stuck with took a bi-partisan, low life conniving.

    For just one thing: look also at the Democrats who have sponsored and otherwise supported outrageous tax exemptions – which in a sane and humane world would be considered criminal – for Multi National Corporations.

    That, at the same time those conniving Bi-Partisan Thugs were/are supporting brutal tax penalties for those forced to cash in their retirement accounts in order to not become homeless because those same Multi National Corporations are refusing to hire those persons (well below retirement age) no matter how well qualified (and then some) they are.

    It’s near impossible to put into words how stunningly sickening it is for a handful of human [?] beings to turn their backs on those in utter misery whose supposed and proclaimed ‘lapses’ in life don’t even begin to approach theirs.

  21. Ant Farm resident

    (potus, in my directly above comment = ”President” Of The United $tates of America.

    Yeah, those same United $tates of America where all the voiceless millions of ‘residents’ are deliberately set against one another. “For Security Concerns” ….)

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