Links 3/14/15

Germany court orders measles sceptic to pay 100,000 euros BBC

How one perfume company misled scientists into believing in human sex pheromones Vox

Internet providers ordered to stop hiding the true size of monthly bills ars technica (Carol B)

Man v machine (again) Financial Times (David L)

Melting sea ice will probably hit the US harder than anywhere else Business Insider (David L)

Ever-Expanding Debt Bubbles in China and India C.P. Chandrasekhar and Jayati Ghosh,

Thai Junta Seems Ready to Put Elections Off Longer Council on Foreign Relations (furzy mouse)

U.S. drone strike in Somalia said to kill organizer of Kenyan mall attack MarketWatch (furzy mouse)

Investors pile into eurozone shares Financial Times


EU executive warns of Grexit ‘catastrophe’, urges euro solidarity Reuters (Nikki)

Roubini Greek Doom Scenario’s So Bad It May Keep the Euro Intact Bloomberg

Greece’s Yanis Varoufakis Paris Match Photoshoot: Twitter Reacts WSJ Real Time Brussels

Is Greece Planning to Print Energy? Allan Stromfeldt Chris­tensen. A bit hyperbolic at points, but focuses on energy as a generally-ingored practical impediment to the idea of a Grexit.

Βαρουφάκης – Στράτου: Η φωτογράφιση σε μεγάλο γαλλικό περιοδικό που προκαλεί αντιδράσεις Fay’sBook (Greece). The Paris Match article in Greek, with the photos (the photos are what trigger reactions). Reader Dimitri: “Tragic….while Athens burns.”

Gerry Adams, and the burden of the living The Week. (Mark Ames, via bob)


Russia in a spin as its main man goes missing Financial Times

Putin spokesman denies baby rumours Agence France Presse


Americans ‘Fighting ISIS’ Are Just Props The Daily Beast (furzy mouse)


Imperial Collapse Watch

Without Getting Into History Corey Robin (martha r). If you haven’t seen this clip (Glenn Greenwald also flagged it), you must.

2015 Worldwide Threat Assessment of the US Intelligence Community Senate Armed Services Committee. WB: “DNI Finally Admits Cyber Armageddon is Bunk: The likelihood of a catastrophic attack from any particular actor is remote at this time. Rather than a ‘Cyber Armageddon’ scenario that debilitates the entire US infrastructure, we envision something different. We foresee an ongoing series of low-to-moderate level cyber attacks from a variety of sources over time, which will impose cumulative costs on US economic competitiveness and national security”

Some Clinton Emails at State Department Could Be Lost New York Times

Why Hillary Clinton’s cyber life is an issue Financial Times

Bernie Sanders is increasingly iffy on running for president — and the reason is thoroughly depressing Salon (martha r)

Feds Knew About Medicare Advantage Overcharges Years Ago NPR (furzy mouse)

CA Supreme Court Erred When It Struck the ‘Overturn Citizens United’ Initiative (Prop 49) from 2014 Ballot: Court Brief BradBlog (martha r)

California only has about year of water left Business Insider (David L)

Teenager charged in fatal shooting of Iraqi immigrant in Dallas Reuters (EM)

Black Injustice Tipping Point

Rudy Giuliani blames Obama for shooting of police officers in Ferguson Guardian (furzy mouse)

Edits to Wikipedia pages on Bell, Garner, Diallo traced to 1 Police Plaza Capital New York (martha r). Tacky and defensive.

Woman in Silicon Valley bias suit faces tough jury questions Reuters (EM)


Not clear why Fed in rush to tighten, Sufi says MarketWatch (furzy mouse)

Investors in ‘patient panic’ over Fed language Reuters

Commodities Fall to 12-Year Low as Dollar Rises Amid Surplus Bloomberg

IEA warns of more oil price volatility Financial Times

Billions fly out Dow and Nasdaq-100 funds even in a bull market MarketWatch (furzy mouse)

Class Warfare

Wow!!! The Fed Gives A Giant Fuck You to Working Class Americans!! First Rebuttal (Richard D)

The American Story Is A Mystery Only to Economists Ilargi

7 Reasons Why Uber Launched a Desperate PR Campaign to Team up with the UN to Help Women Alternet

The Omega Man Wealth Syndrome Counterpunch (SK)

Abandoned America – An Autopsy of the American Dream Matthew Christopher (Chuck L)

Antidote du jour:

cute-llama-pair links

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. Disturbed Voter

    The commentary on Hillary-gate has been very disappointing. It isn’t up to the Secretary of State to decide what is or is not classified. All official correspondence, except for what is publicly released thru a public affairs office … is top secret. This is why obtaining the Lorenz cipher method of the Nazi high command was so important in WW II … we knew what the Germans were saying to the Germans at the highest levels … not just individual orders to individual u-boats (Enigma traffic). And yes, her correspondence regarding her plans for her daughter’s wedding, would at least be temporarily top secret … because her location etc, while in office, was subject to the concerns of her personal security detail, the Secretary of State being a target for more than just petty criminals. Any lower echelon person in the government, who willfully mis-located official correspondence electronically or physically, would be immediately punished. To continue to hold official correspondence or to destroy the same after leaving office would be punishable as a crime … unless like Richard Nixon, everything you do is legal by definition. For reporters to accept this story without batting an eye, makes someone who watched the Watergate hearings spin in circles with disbelief.

    1. hunkerdown

      No, it’s not. It’s confidential, which is two rungs below top-secret. If you’re going to come here and defend authoritarian agnotology, you should at least show your work.

    1. wbgonne

      Yes, interesting. This is undoubtedly true:

      How did we get to the current triple crisis? Three Western strategic blunders stand out, all directly or indirectly related to oil and Western global dominance. Each time, the West willfully took the wrong decision.

      The Middle East coups, the post-Soviet Russian oligarchy, and American banksterism: How to explain these 3 “blunders”? Well, when you worship the Golden Calf you do what gets you the gold.

    2. susan the other

      Thanks Ruben, that was interesting on Taub’s caste cycles of history. Spiritual, military, merchant, and worker. A lot of it rings true about our present neoliberal chaos. I would guess that demographics is the driver of the next turning. The Age of Age. And finding economic facts to back that up would include the end of consumerism and a new environmentalism. Reading my own book here.

    3. Ed

      Like much commentary in the Asian times, this is interesting and thoughtful, but probably wrong:

      1. I’m a sucker for hand waving grand analysis involving the rise and fall of four “castes” as much as anyone else, but it has to be more tied to actual historical events and data. For example, the “Merchant Caste”. The only time that “merchants” were the sort of force in themselves he mentioned was in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, and before that they could control city-states such as Carthage, Venice, and the Dutch cities he uses as an examples, but never dominated entire civilizations. For example, in the classical Western world, it was pretty much Warriors, all the time. And come to think of it, the “Worker Caste” has been even less of a force than the merchants, its also an industrial revolution creation.

      2. Given that he writes about East Asia, you would think he would incorporate what essentially are palace officials (both the bureaucrats and the eunuchs) into the meta-historical analysis. An analogous group was less important in the West, Middle East, and South Asia, but then on the other hand priests have never figured much in East Asian history.

      3. Things like the TPP are probably not the last gasp of a Merchant Caste being displaced by a Worker Class, but a wedge for fascism which I think is much more likely for our future.

      4. For that matter, the coming end of the industrial age in ecological chaos probably means all predictions of the future have to be thrown out the window.

      1. Yves Smith Post author

        On 1. I disagree completely. Read Karl Polyani’s The Great Transformation. There was a clear power transition from the landed wealthy in England to the rising merchant/manufacturing classes. The real watershed was the passage of the Corn Laws and the New Poor Act in 1832.

      2. Ruben

        Although I cannot argue with you on the nature and meaning of specific historical events that may or may not disprove Taub’s hypothesis (though our humble blogger have done just that), I should nonetheless point out a vision that I find intriguing enough to force me to write these words.

        The growth and expansion of our humble species calls for an imminent (as in evolutionary time scales) speciation event (barring doom scenarios which I find unlikely to lead to imminent extinction). It can be argued that this is going to happen along racial lines, noting that most white, asian, black, etc, types mate with their own types. In other species though just very little crossover suffices to preclude speciation. Taub’s hypothesis suggests another possible continuum though which our humble species may speciate: the caste continuum. Taub’s hypothesis strikes me as beautiful because it posits that precisely the trait that made our humble species successful, the budding out of the mindscape, in the mid-term (centuries) fuels the historical dynamics, while in the long-term (millenia) creates the space for the great coming human split. Zooming back to our brief runs, Taub’s hypothesis makes sense of the rise of liberalism, fascism, marxism, as the struggle between the two most creative castes that percolate the mindscape, the merchants and the workers.

  2. Llewelyn Moss

    I like Robert Reich for all his alarm bells about Income Inequality. And he’s been calling out Obama for all his Neoliberal BS. But then he posts this on his facebook page. Classic Stockholm Syndrome.

    If Hillary Clinton or any other Democrat wins the White House next year, Barack Obama should be their first Supreme Court pick. He’s been a constitutional law professor. He has the right temperament and values. He’s a superb writer. The average age of newly appointed justices is 53; Obama will be 55 on leaving office. Even a Republican Senate would be hard-pressed not to confirm a former president. There are precedents (William Howard Taft was appointed to the Court after his presidency).

    1. Faye Carr

      I’ve had a problem with Reich (and T. Hartman for that matter) for a decade or more.
      All progressive outrage & working class heros – only to turn to “lesser evil” campaign chanting. Never supporting alternate candidates or campaigns.

      Let alone actual support for movements like Occupy.

      1. Brindle

        I’ve felt the same about Thom Hartmann. I mostly agree with him but he has a convenient slipperiness when it come to issues like Palestine and lesser of two evils etc. His co-authored Kennedy assassination book was flimsy.

    2. sufferin' succotash

      You never can tell. Former KKK member Hugo Black and former CA Attorney General Earl (“put the Japanese-Americans behind barbed wire”) Warren wouldn’t be considered brilliant choices for the Scotus either.

    3. wbgonne

      Good grief. The president who has trampled on civil liberties like none other and who is a University of Chicago neoliberal ideologue should be elevated to the Supreme Court? Are you effing kidding?

      In today’s America, political partisanship should be classified as a thought disorder.

    4. Lambert Strether

      Reich’s right. It’s very important to get Obama’s bureaucratic system of whacking US citizens without due process enshrined in “law,” especially when we’ll need to use it domestically. And what better way to legalize great crimes than to put the perp in a judge’s robes? Obama would have to recuse himself, of course, but who would that fool?

      * * *

      Tells you everything you need to know about Reich. What a tool.

    5. Jim Haygood

      ‘If Hillary Clinton or any other Democrat wins the White House next year, Barack Obama should be their first Supreme Court pick. He’s been a constitutional law professor.’

      What is Reich smoking? Has he forgotten that Bill Clinton is a constitutional law professor too?

      If Hillary wins and appoints Bill to the Supreme Court, the Clintons will control two branches of government.

      Chelsea for Congress, comrades!

      1. Ed

        Though it was put in the memory hole, Clinton was disbarred after being impeached. If the impeachment doesn’t effectively remove him from consideration for the Supreme Court, the disbarment would. But he could have still run for and held local and state elective office, at least until his heart attack.

    6. CB

      I don’t know, does teaching an intro class get you to constitutional law professor status? C’mon.

      1. ambrit

        It’s in the same league as rookie Senator with questionable governing skills gets to be President.
        The poor sap really is a lawn jockey; a place holder.

        1. Demeter

          Oh, that’s cruel! It’s also stereotypically racist on its face (but only because Obama is half-African–it would be equally accurate if he were 100% Anglo-Saxon protestant).

          But unfortunately, it’s 100% true.

          1. ambrit

            Mea culpa on that. I’m a middle aged white male living in Mississippi. Even when you swear on a stack of Holy Korans you’re going to be strictly objective and non biased, you end up bent in some manner. It’s part of being human. Now, when you start bragging about being a racist, sexist, classist, s. o. b., you’ve crossed some important threshold; you’re not living in the “real” world any more.
            I chose the term I used so as to not be too “dog whistle” in my terminology. There are words and phrases that are the apotheosis of ‘bitter ender racist’ speech. Cruel but potentially funny can work, while outright cruel and degrading is counter productive. (Lamberts antipathy to anti-Hillary misogyny is a case in point.) As an example of how the Lawn Jockey image can be coopted; there is a house in the ‘black side of town,’ remember, we are talking America here, that had a white lawn jockey holding the reins of a Pink Flamingo in its’ front yard. Everyone who saw it said it was great.
            What’s really pathetic is that the image I evoked is true. That is just plain sad. Chester A Arthur wouldn’t have let himself sink so low.

                1. John Merryman

                  I still think Wayne Madson’s original story that his parents, maternal grandparents and stepfather were all CIA is the most explanatory of his behavior. Both the total bs on the surface and complete deep state/banking cooperation. He may be a tool but one built for the job.
                  That doesn’t change the fact they are driving their bus off the cliff and are doing so because it’s the only way to control the various elements within it.
                  Even Masters of the Universe are bugsplat when Mother Nature is the opposition.

              1. Lambert Strether

                Much better. By the time I saw “lawn jockey” there was a good thread that I didn’t want to rip out.

                This is Yves’s house. If you’re a guest in her house, one of the requirements is to be welcoming* to all the other guests;lawn jockey really isn’t.

                (The nice thing about “garden gnome” as a metaphor is that we can ask whose garden it is and what grows there. Those are not questions that “lawn” inspires, and lawns ought to be abolished anyhow.)

                * Of course, brutal policy debates are welcoming. That’s just obvious!

              2. ambrit

                I can get on board with that.
                (The problem with the change of images here is that, racialism aside, the concept of a person who holds the horses for someone else does convey the image of subservience. Garden gnomes evoke an entirely different image, somewhat of an amorphous, quasi-mystical faerie being. The homage to the wonderful film “Amelie” helps.)

          2. craazyman

            it’s not racist anymore. white guys can be lawn jockeys too.

            here’s proof:

            It would be racist if only black dudes could be lawn jockeys. moreover, I feel offfended at the expression Lawn Jockey, because I do’t have a lawn. What about people like me? Don’t we count for something? What about a Lobby Jockey? And I don’t mean a Doorman — that’s a union job. I mean something ornamental that conveys an aura of sophistication and savoire faire, within which I can bask as in a cloud of subtle but unmistakeable prestige. Wnen a visitor appears and sees the Lobby Jockey, perhaps holding a lantern in an outstretched hand with an alert and attentive beariing,, the will know iI am a man of cultivation and distinction. It will put them in a frame a mind that orients them to the sort of gentlemanly interchange of views on issues of the day that i would personally expect as a baseline for our iinterlocution. If our discussion, conducted in the grave and restrained tones used by gentlemen, wihtout excitiable revealing bursts of enthusiasm that only demarcate one as an uncultured rube wtihout self restraint, is elevvated to matters artistic centereing on old master painters and the collectors who own themm, all the better. This is what a Lobby Jockey can facilitate. If it’s paintted black or whhite iit hardly matters. An evocation of subservicence, loyalty and master of the craft of attetiiveness to the need of the lords of the manor are the crucial properties botn possessed and conveyed,

            1. ambrit

              I love the fact that he is wearing American flag colours.
              (He would make a good ‘bag man’ too.)

        2. different clue

          Poor sap? Or rich agent? The extent to which Obama is revealed to be a non-poor non-sap will be revealed by the amount of money he ends up harvesting.

          1. ambrit

            I would assert that ‘agent’ by its’ definition, implies sappishness. One has subsumed ones’ own goals into those of others. Thus, if true, venality will have been shown to be the mans basic nature. A shame if true. (One can be non-poor and still be a sap.)

    7. Ed

      While Obama is not that popular in these parts, I always thought it one of the oddities of the American political tradition that ex-presidents are not supposed to continue in politics in lesser offices. You would think the experience would be useful. And the handful of cases where the tradition of violated (JQ Adams in the House of Representatives, Taft on the Supreme Court, and the third party presidential runs of Van Buren, Fillmore, and Theodore Roosevelt, though Tyler in the Confederate Congress may be a counterargument) shows that this wouldn’t be a disaster if it happened so often.

      EIght presidents died in office, and most of the rest leave office too old or too ill, but of the post-World War 2 presidents, Truman, Carter, and Clinton could have had a post-presidential career. I would not be upset to see George W Bush as Commissioner of Major League Baseball, which is the job he should have had instead of President of the US anyway.

    8. JTFaraday

      Obama is not going to sit on the Supreme Court and moulder. Obama is going to go off and have his own foundation like his hero, Bill “deliver corporate legislation and get rich quick” Clinton.

      Much more fun that way. Obama likes to play golf and shoot hoops and shut down public beaches in temperate climes

  3. annie

    putin is long time buddy and co-conspirator of berlusconi. i’m sure he’s getting a facelift or hair transplant.

    1. JEHR

      Recently, when I look at Putin’s image in the paper, I ask myself whether or not he has a double. Some of his appearances do not ring true. Just a thought. He wouldn’t be the first leader with a double (or more).

    2. Yves Smith Post author

      Haha, why did that not occur to me? He’s almost certainly already had work done on himself. He looks freakishly young for his age. Even good genes, exercise, and not getting much sun doesn’t explain it.

  4. Brooklin Bridge

    The melting ice is a clarion call for the wealthy to wake up and start a more serious process of stealing real estate from inland inhabitants. I assume this is what this second RE boom bust cycle is about. Expect more families to be out on the streets soon, more Mom and Pop rentals to go under, Big Money soon to buy inland RE for pennies (which is the amount our legal system charges the elite to put a veneer of legality on such a heist).

    1. wbgonne

      Interesting point about inland real estate becoming more valuable. I haven’t seen it happen yet but I won’t be surprised. It is just a matter of time and it may occur very rapidly once it starts.

      1. Brooklin Bridge

        Agreed, not yet. But it is now inevitable that current sea shore real estate from Florida to Maine is subject to massive change and very probably sooner than sooner than expected (sooner is becoming a recursive loop in scientific community when it comes to putting dates on sea ice melt). That’s why I say it’s time for the rich to wake up – as the greatest contributors to global warming, they do not like or appreciate being hoisted on their own petard.

        1. wbgonne

          You are correct, of course. But I just read that the largest shopping mall in America is about to be constructed in Miami, even though Southern Florida is Ground Zero for sea-level destruction in the U.S. Talk about burying your head in the sand. Sometimes I feel like the world has gone insane. And am I paranoid to think it will be the American taxpayer that pays (yet again) when all this greed-addled AGW-denial and chicanery goes south, while the Rich will drive off to dry land with their riches?

          1. ambrit

            The shopping mall is the perfect example of short term thinking. The developers will have absconded with their ill gotten gains before the tides lap at the food court steps.
            It will not be the taxpayers who foot the bill. It will be the poor of all types who literally ‘foot it’ inland when the real crunch comes. (I fear something on the order of an “outburst flood” happening in Antarctica, or, less likely, from sub glacial Greenland.) The inland itself will be the riches, which will not be going anywhere any time soon. Possession being 9/10s of the law and all that…

        2. Synoia

          They key item in close-to-the ocean housing loss is the potential loss of sewage works.

          This is a multiplier, because large inland areas, over 100 ft above mean sea level, are subject to becoming uninhabitable because of the loss of sewage processing

          How quickly can the sewage pant be rebuilt inland, and still be connected to the network of sewers? Very difficult, as large areas will be sacrificed as a section of the sewage network become “downhill” of the new sewage plant.

          Composting toilets shares might rise, as might sales of port-a-potties.

          1. ambrit

            Shares in antibiotics manufacturers are where it will be at. Think public epidemics related to human waste contamination, find the best monetizable containment and treatment strategies, and, bingo, investment scheme!

          2. bruno marr


            While sewage plants are usually near the ocean (low point, near dilution source) and mostly gravity systems, some areas in a municipality require sewage pump systems to facilitate route completion. The technology is mature, but requires electricity.

            A larger problem of sea level rise is rainfall runoff. Storm systems are ALL gravity systems and depend upon specific outlet elevation for design flow. The ocean being the outlet elevation for coastal cities. Sea level rise not only causes backup flooding adjacent to the ocean, but also creates flood conditions far up stream (well away from the ocean). The hospital in my town is miles from the ocean, but will see ground surface flooding (from a nearby watercourse) if a major storm event occurs while the sea level is 2′ to 3′ above existing levels.

      2. different clue

        Well, as long as Global Warming Deniers buy up all the flood-sale coastal properties to show their faith in Global No-Warming, that at least is all to the good.

    2. Llewelyn Moss

      I suppose the rich will have to relocate somewhere after all the beach mansions in the Hamptons wash into the ocean on rising sea levels. Would love to see them go to Alaska and get eaten by brown bears. I’m a sucker for a Happy Ending.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        They are working on floating cities and underwater living.

        They will jet to the coolest places when it’s hot and the warmest places when it’s freezing.

        And if there is a viral outbreak, they have island sanctuaries.

        When you have money and money is power, so also power, you can do a lot.

    3. Mel

      Yeah, but they’ll need more than luck to monetize it. People who need to live under roofs inside walls are increasingly broke. Check the Ilargi, mentioned above in the links.

      1. jrs

        Even if your pay is still ok, even if your not in debt to your eyeballs, so in other words even if you’ve done well and been lucky, what kind of financial future is there? Unemployable (or at best bound to be WAY WAY underemployed) by 50? And that’s supposed to make people want to spend?

    4. craazyboy

      Truth be told, I’ve stopped worrying about how the rich are gonna survive. I worry more about the double whammy that seems to be shaping up – at least in the western US. Combine our serious drought with rising oceans destroying property and infrastructure (which includes a nuke plant or two with large local waste storage) and you get a large amount of saltwater and a dwindling amount of potable fresh water. Mass migration is the only possible result – but then millions arrive somewhere and overload drinking water and waste treatment capacity in the new “good areas”. Not to mention everything else, like indoor living space.

      And here I was thinking retirement was supposed to be golf, tennis, generally screwing around and having a good time.

      1. susan the other

        and also unmentioned as far as the west coast of the Americas is concerned is the little problem of desalinization for drinking water… since those plants don’t filter out the tiny particles of radioactive waste from Fuku and many other places that have not yet been sufficiently exposed for dumping radwaste directly into the oceans.

        1. Antifa

          Not to worry. The tiny isotopes from Fuku will eventually Fuku all of us in North America, spreading through rain, our food supply, through wind, and through ocean currents. The entire planet is open to wandering radiation.

        2. hunkerdown

          I’ve seen the inside of one of those plants, and they’re just big ol’ reverse osmosis units, which should be up to the challenge of filtering particles…

    5. Demeter

      there’s only one problem with everybody moving inland….

      That’s where the food comes from!

      It’s not as if the inland-fleeing Obscenely Wealthy would confine themselves to the small unfertile areas, and live in compact, multi-level tenements, either.

      1. jrs

        There is another problem with everyone moving inland ….

        Some climate predictions DO NOT predict things are going to be good inland at all, massive heatwaves, the middle of the country (parts of the midwest) as a frying pan. Now I’m far from an expert on this but I’m less than sanguine things will be good inland either from what I’ve heard.

  5. wbgonne

    Melting sea ice will probably hit the US harder than anywhere else Business Insider

    At this point, I’d say that the U.S. coastal real estate market is the most likely catalyst for seriously addressing AGW. But I am not sanguine. As insurers pulled out, government subsidies were all that maintained real estate values and those subsidy costs are so prohibitive and accelerating so rapidly (Katrina, Sandy) that they became unsustainable. That was the reason for the Biggert Waters Act of 2012. But Congress already rolled back the subsidy cuts in 2014, keeping the market distortions in place. With an anti-science Congress firmly in control and a neoliberal president at the helm, we may simply continue to make U.S. tapayers fund AGW-denial by subsidizing coastal real estate.

  6. sufferin' succotash

    As a card-carrying history teacher I thoroughly enjoyed Jen Psaki’s response at the St. Dept. presser. With a little help from enlightened state legislatures like Oklahoma’s we won’t even have to worry about “getting into history” before long.

  7. Brooklin Bridge

    Regarding Bernie Sanders acknowledging the obvious – as he always does in the end,

    Always loved the line in The Usual Suspects, that “The greatest trick the devil ever pulled was convincing the world he didn’t exist. And like that, poof, he’s gone.”

    The greatest trick the .01% ever pulled in the US was to convince the public that they (the people) elect the president. And like that, poof, Hillary is coronated.

    For those who think it’s the Republican’s turn, I suspect TPTB, besides being VERY satisfied with efficacy of a Vichy Democratic president and a kamikaze austerity crazed Republican legislative branch, are aware that in any good rigged match, the points can not always go back and forth like tennis balls. Sometimes one party has to win the point twice in a row to keep up the illusion of an match election.

    1. Jim Haygood

      ‘Sometimes one party has to win the point twice in a row to keep up the illusion of an match election.’

      They have. And the R party won twice before that. And the D party twice before that.

      Time for the next ‘change in Washington,’ Depublicrat-style, maybe even with the same Clinton-Bush ‘Coke vs Pepsi’ taste test that we all know and love.

      Call it ‘Continuity in Government.’

      1. Ed

        Since 1992, about the time the Cold War ended, the White House has switched between the two parties once every eight years. This has happened twice, in the course of three consecutive two term presidencies (only the second time this has happened in US history), including one occasion where a plurality of the electorate voted for the incumbent party’s president. During two thirds of this time, the non-presidential party has controlled at least one chamber of Congress.

        If you go back to the passage of the twenty-second amendment, then since 1952 you have the pattern of one party holding the White House for eight years, then it goes to the other party, with the big exception of the four years of Democratic control followed by the twelve years of Republican control in 1977-93 (essentially Carter’s second term is missing). This doesn’t necessarily imply some secret agreement between the two parties. People can just get tired of a party in power after a certain period. The popular vote margin of the party holding the White House has also dropped the second election after they first took control of the White House, consistently since the Civil War, the big exception being 1904.

        So as Jim Haygood points out below, the 2016 election is shaping up as a Republican romp, with the Democrats giving Hillary Clinton or maybe Joe Biden a “thank you for your service” nomination with no one expecting them to win.

        In these circumstances, since Sanders is old enough to be leaving politics anyway, and he is not actually a Democrat, I don’t know why he just doesn’t run in the general election as a third party candidate. The usual arguments against this don’t apply. He has no shot of winning anyway. Nor is siphoning votes from the Democrats really a concern. They are going to lose anyway (granted I would have said the same thing in 2000, but the Democrats had a larger margin to work with, Gore ran an unusually effective campaign -particularly on turnout efforts- which is always really underrated, and Nader neither deprived Gore of a popular vote or an electoral vote victory over Bush anyway).

        Once problem which is underreported is that the only fringe party that has maintained a stable party organization, and is willing and able to run candidates at all levels, is the Libertarians. For some reason efforts to put together a leftist or progressive equivalent never got off the ground.

        1. Oregoncharles

          ” never got off the ground”???
          At this point, the Greens are more stable than the Libertarians. Jill Stein was on 85% of ballots and qualified for federal campaign funding (not so sure she ever got it – they were stalling the last I heard).

          We could use a LOT more money and help, but we ain’t goin’ away.

          We wouldn’t nominate Bernie, though. Too right wing on some issues.

    1. craazyboy

      That completely destroying my image of Apple Engineering Excellence. Always thought I was missing out with my PC clone and lack of any smartphone, laptop, netbook, tablet and my $15 Casio sports watch. Tho I do have a nice Sony mp3 player.

  8. kei

    A heartwarming sign of multipolarity: US threatens to cut Russia off from SWIFT; SWIFT puts Russia on the board. What a great kick in the nuts for an overweening USG.

  9. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Man vs. Machine…not.

    It’s the working people vs. the rich people’s machines and robots.

    There is a different way, though.

    This is the way – Give robots to the working people.

    Each worker is given a robot by the government. The robot will go out, find a job, put food (organic, of course) on the table, clean house, water the yard (the most water efficient way), cook (with ingredients from the backyard garden the robot has grown) and pleasure the worker every night.

    Why would anyone be against such robots? I think we’d be bickering over whether Man-Robot marriage is allowed.

    ‘I am forgiving a Social Security number for my robot.”

    “I bequest all I have to my beloved robot.”

    “Can I be married to two robots simultaneously?”

    But instead, we have ‘man vs machine,’ like we have ‘the R’s vs. the D’s.’

    1. craazyboy

      Btw – I did answer your drone question from yesterday’s links. But it went into purgatory. It got dug out and is visible now. I included a link to a large open source project for do-it-yourself drones. Pretty impressive stuff. Been studying all this for a while now – and sometimes I feel like a one man DARPA.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        I hope there will be no calls for drone-control.

        We need People’s drones in case there is a Drone War in a galaxy far, far away..

        1. Mark P.

          There’ll be calls for drone control. But the genie is out of the bottle and they cannot really be regulated — at least, not with any more success than gun control has had — because: –

          [1] A cellphone chip with GPS works perfectly well as a drone’s brain. Anybody can build them.

          [2] Drones can be brought down by jamming, but everything else in the vicinity also gets jammed — a fairly self-defeating, if not impossible, proposition in urban environments

          [3] Drones can be brought down physically, but how do you do that? From the ground? Very low effectiveness there, and little control of potential chunks metal falling on people and property . With other drones? Higher effectiveness, but then there’ll be drone wars going on overhead, and more chunks of falling metal.

          [4] You can spoof drone GPS systems and crash them remarkably easily at present. That’s how the Iranians took down a big U.S. Predator in 2008. This is the main direction the Pentagon’s counter-drome measures are developing in, with ‘geofencing’ —

          However, although drone operators could theoretically be reduced to pure line-of-sight operation, which might be pretty vulnerable and ineffective for a live human operator, the real future for drones is ….

          [5] Drone swarm technology, like Vijay Kumar’s lab has developed for purposes such as building out architecture, etc –

          In other words, in a hypothetical adversarial/attack situation, the drone operator sends in a swarm but sites part of it outside the immediate GPS-geofenced area, providing guidance to those drones in the swarm that enter the geofenced area.

          Furthermore, we’re learning how to build these suckers really small. If you’ve got a drone swarm, whose hundreds of constituent units the human eye has difficulty seeing and tracking, there isn’t going to be much defense unless the defenders are inhabiting an entirely closed-off underground bunker.

          1. craazyboy

            You do have to make a distinction between the hobbyist radio control model aircraft flyer and what may be possible from an organization with ample funding.

            DJI, the ready made drone maker, already updated their firmware to not allow their drones to fly within 5 miles of airports and other restricted areas. The problem that comes in for hobbyists is these things do fall out of the sky fairly easily – either operator error or equipment failure. So you really can’t fly them safely over a populated area. But at least it’s only about 3lbs of plastic and carbon fiber, plus a lipo battery that could go up in flames. Then the FAA is considering limiting hobbyists to line of sight flying.

            But if you are a terrorist org with funding, then that’s a different story.

            1. hunkerdown

              If you’ve got the wherewithal to build a flying unmanned vehicle of any sort, methinks you’ve got about half the skills necessary to fix the exclusion zones for yourself, or to build and install an unrestricted cybernetics package.

              1. craazyboy

                Depends. Check out “Ardupilot”. (I’d post the link, but the moderation thingy got it when I tried posting it once before.

                This is an open source project for a completely autonomous autopilot. The autopilot sells for about $200. You can have it fly to waypoints beyond visual range and transmitter range. Then you can also add a camera and AV transmitter and fly “first person view”.(like a bird) They have goggles you can wear to see the camera view and telemetry info. You can also have this go to a laptop or LCD display. Going the goggles route adds around $600.

                Quadcopters have a big problem with battery life, 15 minutes is typical. But people are building powered gliders with 6 or 7 ft wingspans that do a 5 mile round trip. They need expensive long range control transmitters and video transmitters to fly under their control out past the typical 3/4 mile range of the affordable 2.4Ghz control transmitter gear. ($100 – $300)

                My barebones quad is costing me about $300. A friend loaned me a $300 transmitter and receiver.

                As far as moding or hacking firmware – I’ve downloaded the firmware codebase from ArduPilot. This is getting to be very sophisticated stuff. There was probably close to 100 source code modules. They’ve got 1000s of man hours in dev and testing (very important) in this. You wouldn’t want to hack and rebuild it unless you were very good at microcontroller programming, and had lots of time and energy. Then they just came out with a 32 bit processor version. Someone told me the developers manual for the processor is 6000 pages long!

                As far as DJI making the firmware keep quads away from airports, I like that idea. These things can and do get away from people.

                1. Lambert Strether

                  I’ve often wondered where I would encounter Arduino in RL. Turns out it’s here. I think about intrumenting my garden (for what?) but I think it might be a little pricey.

                  1. craazyboy

                    I’ve seen article headlines for “greenhouse automation”, but I’m not sure what they would be doing besides using a standard $15 Arduino board and realtime clock to have a programmable timer turn irrigation pumps on and off.

                    Unless there is something more to do than that, I’d just buy a irrigation timer from Home Depot and save myself a lot of work.

  10. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    The Fed gives a giant middle finger to working class Americans.

    Those money-priests molesting the little People…all in secrecy, resisting investigation.

    We know though, they first started abusing a long time ago, when they began stalking wage inflation. And of course, it’s all the victims’ fault – not working hard enough, not productive, not educated or trained, etc.

    1. susan the other

      The chart comparing average household net worth with median net worth says it all. That was even more extreme than I had been imagining. And it is a veritable graph of inequality. So is everyone else as interested as I am to learn that we are worse off than the most destitute European countries? I would have speculated about this, now I don’t have to. They have had better government for 70 years and it is a very measurable quality.

    2. LifelongLib

      And then we hear about life expectancies dropping in for some in the U.S., which should never happen in a developed country (or anywhere for that matter). This also occurred in the Soviet Union before it imploded.

  11. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    California…about 1 year of water left.

    Basically, if correct, we are out of water here in California, because, well, because, as the song goes, it never rains in California, at least from about now to the end of the year (approximately)…that’s like 9 months or so.

    You don’t see rain in June, July, August or September for sure.

  12. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Not sure why the Fed is in rush to tighten.


    Master Sufi: And we have seen some signs very recently that perhaps finally we’re going to get some wage growth.

    Dear Amir, meditate on that and you will see the light as sure as when you dance like a whirling dervish.

  13. fresno dan

    On the phone, she could offer only the most generic of suspect descriptions, which apparently made the officer on the other end of the line suspicious. By way of explanation, Hunter told the officer she was just 16. The police called her back: once, twice, then three times, asking her for more information. The interactions began to feel menacing. “I’m not from here,” Hunter said. “I’ve told you everything I know.”
    The fourth time the police called, she looked frightened. Her interrogator asked her, “Are you really trying to be helpful, or were you involved in this?” She turned to us, her voice aquiver. “Are they going to come get me?”
    “See,” one of us said, trying to lighten the mood. “That’s why we don’t call them.”
    We all laughed, but it was hollow.

  14. Brindle

    re: Drone Strike Kills Shopping Mall Attack Guy….

    This a variation of Al Qaeda #2 being killed for the fortieth time or so.
    Notice how the double-weasel attribution allows the possibly of a fictitious statement to be presented as reality.
    90% of nothing.

    “U.S. officials said privately that the target of the drone strike was Adan Garar, a planner of the 2013 attack on the Westgate mall in Nairobi. One official said the U.S. is 90% certain that Mr. Garar was killed in the attack but said the information hasn’t yet been confirmed. “

    1. Barmitt O'Bamney

      And now brace yourselves for the reprisals against innocent US citizens that you know are sure to follow.
      I have a nephew headed to Kenya in the next year :-(

  15. Mel

    One of the Lawyers, Guns & Money bloggers gives a rationalization of TPP Intellectual Property Provisions written entirely in system-speak buzzwords. I’m starting to agree that this could accord with the USTR’s mindset in pushing for these rules. I haven’t fully agreed because the initial framing makes the article look like it’s describing a weakness in Chinese policy concerning innovation.
    Here’s a look at the same thing from somebody who is innovating in China.

  16. craazyboy

    Time for a musical interlude once again.

    Apologies to the Allman Bros and the great power blues ballad – Whipping Post

    “Voting Booth”

    I’ve been run down
    I’ve been lied to
    I don’t know why,
    I’ll let that mean woman make me a fool
    She looks all neo-libby
    State neo-con
    Now she’s with all of our old time nemisis
    Thinkin’ world war can be fought on the run

    Sometimes I feel
    Sometimes I feel
    Like I’ve been tied
    To the voting booth
    Tied to the voting booth
    Tied to the voting booth
    Good lord I feel like I’m cryin’

    My friends tell me
    That I’ve been such a fool
    And I have to vote for the Clinton babe,
    All for Bill in’ you
    I drown myself in sorrow
    Whitehouse, here they come
    Nothin’ seems to change
    Bad times stay the same
    And I can’t run

    Sometimes I feel
    Sometimes I feel
    Like I’ve been tied
    To the voting booth
    Tied to the voting booth
    Tied to the voting booth
    Good lord I feel like I’m cryin’

    Sometimes I feel
    Sometimes I feel
    Like I’ve been tied
    To the voting booth
    Tied to the voting booth
    Tied to the voting booth
    Good lord I feel like I’m cryin’

  17. fresno dan

    Wow!!! The Fed Gives A Giant Fuck You to Working Class Americans!! First Rebuttal (Richard D)
    I was shocked today by the absolute gaul of the Fed releasing a statement about Net Worth in America reaching record levels. Now I get that they are under extreme pressure to sell the story that everything is rainbows and butterflies. But surely they understand that working class Americans are going along with the story because they really don’t have any say in our nation’s policies anymore. That doesn’t mean they want it thrown in their faces that the Fed has spent 6 years now inflating the wealth of the top 10% so much that it actually lifts the total wealth of the nation’s citizens to record highs. The ugly reality is that the bottom 80% of Americans experienced none of that gain. That’s right: a big ole goose egg.

    And so when the Fed via its ass pamper boy, Steve Liesman, start banging on about the fact that some sliver of society is being handed extraordinary wealth while the working class has lost 40% of their net worth since 2007, well a big fuck you right back at ya bub! The Fed is very aware that the bottom 80% of Americans own less than 5% of US equity markets. And so the Fed is very aware that its manipulation of stock prices such that it creates immense unearned wealth to those in the markets doesn’t reach the bottom 80%. So why celebrate the results of the stock market price manipulation?? It is embarrassing that our policymakers are either that inconsiderate or that stupid to celebrate such a brutal dislocation between the haves and have nots.

    I don’t know what one can even say about the Fed making a celebratory statement like that today. It is somewhat beyond words. And really paints the picture as to how little thought goes into the lives and well being of the bottom 80%. Just to give you something to compare and contrast the situation of the bottom 80% here in the US to counter the Fed’s celebration today. I want you to think about how lucky we are not being in one of the PIIGS nations of Europe. These are the nations that are essentially bankrupt and just hanging on by the kindness of the Troika.
    Well, the FED could be evil, but it probably is just their economic religion that equates any thought whatsoever with the word “distribution” to ….
    commies, commies, commies…..and COMMIES!!!!!
    If GDP went up to to babies being put in blenders, the FED would still be oblivious.

    So the word or thought of distribution of gains can never, ever, NEVER, NEVER pass the lips of anybody anywhere in the US government anymore. And the fact that the squillinaires only buy assets that the FED assures get more valuable…because deflation of squillinaries’s assets is bad, terrible, rotten, unacceptable.
    Now if your in the 99%, when your pay stays the same for…oh, 40 years, that is not disinflation or deflation….that is you getting f*cked, according to plan….

  18. docg

    Gratifying that Roubini agrees with me re Grexit prospects, or lack of same. I’ve been making the same argument for some time, so it’s nice to see he’s finally got on board. :-)

    The Euro-meisters will never permit Greece to default, as it would precipitate an unacceptable moment of truth. They will howl and they will rage, but ultimately they’ll hand Greece all those billions of Euros so all the banks and banksters can be repaid. Yanis should just ignore their insults and plunge ahead with his “reckless” policies, geared toward human welfare rather than banker profits. No one’s going to stop him, least of all the Eumenides (alias “Furies” alias “Institutions”).

    Of course, serving as a conduit from the ECB to the banks is NOT really the best way to deal with Greece’s problems. So sooner or later a default will be necessary in any case. When that happens: hold onto your hats! It’s gonna be a fun ride!

  19. craazyboy

    but…but bagholders!

    The flaw in the plan is the rich need bagholders to sell the bubble to. Now is a great time to be a commie and “just say no to crony capitalism”.

  20. Ed

    The “Omega Man Wealth Syndrome” on Counterpunch is worth a look. It postulates something that I have been struggling to put into words, in that there is a theoretical limit on wealth inequality.

    Consider the most extreme inequality situation possible. One person holds all the wealth and all the money. If that person wants anything from anyone else, he would have to pay, which would put some wealth and money back into circulation and lesson the inequality. If he insists on hoarding it, everyone else would still want to trade with each other, and eventually a barter system or alternative currency would take hold, and his money might then not be recognized by the rest of the world as good when he did try to use it. He could go with the Spacer World option and kill everyone else, but that would also remove the inequality.

    What is interesting about the current situation is that inequality is advancing enough that something like this dynamic might come into play. The peons would eventually come up with some means to trade whatever they are left with among themselves, and the next step would be that the currency of the overclass is not even recognized when they try to participate. It would be a poorer world, but a more equal one, and there are historical precedents for the process.

    1. LifelongLib

      We seem to be headed for a situation where a few wealthy pile up the bucks, the vast majority live at a subsistence level, and some number of professionals/managers/enforcers gets extra perks for keeping the whole thing going. What limits inequality then?

  21. Oregoncharles

    The most basic issue of all: (Richard Heinberg).
    Very short form: we’re scr..ed.
    This is an issue I’d really like to see nc addres, especially given its roots in finance and the economy. How do we have prosperity, or at least liveability, without growth? Because we’re going to have to.
    There IS an organization addressing that; it’s the Center for Advancement of a Steady State Economy: . Plenty of material there..

  22. valley gurl

    Re Travis Kalanick/Uber, et al (‘Trigger’ alert for those feeling very horridly overwhelmed by the monsters that be; you likely already know this, no need to read the following),

    What might give one another clue (outside of that obscene Big Pharma Gifting) as to why that recent US sourced DSM5 manual – which so many mental health practitioners countries outside the US (along with so many mental health practitioners from the US) were so outraged about – was met with utter outrage, is that there wasn’t at least one chapter devoted to the inhuman classist, misogynist, racist, ageist, now billionaire, power mongers such as Gates, Bezos, Thiel, Brin/Page, Zuckerberg, Kalanick, et al (notice any commonalties among that handful? not to even mention those quiet and lethal type whom one may have never heard of until they up front and personally horrify some tech promoting nooz founder, such as Sarah Lacy, who was pretty Lean Inish prior to that and never really acknowledged how so very many females had previously lost their shirts in “The Valley”) magically arising, mostly out of Wall Street/DOD funded Silicon Valley, as our new, More Rational! And Scientific! Gawdz, like maggots on a rotted potato.

    4. CEO Travis Kalanick openly brags about how the company’s success has increased his access to women. From a GQ profile by Mickey Rapkin published last year, “Not to make assumptions, but Kalanick probably wasn’t the first kid in his class to lose his virginity. But the way he talks now—which is large—he’s surely making up for lost time. When I tease him about his skyrocketing desirability, he deflects with a wisecrack about women on demand: ‘Yeah, we call that Boob-er.‘”

    5. Uber ran a French promotion suggesting attractive women would pick you up if you entered a promo code. The strikingly sexist ad, which featured photos of women in various states of undress, was taken down after Buzzfeed reported on it, but Uber has never issued an apology for its content.

    What to say, I read the above a while ago, and still am unable to force down the horror of the current $tate of human affairs after all of that secular (not really) “Enlightenment.”

    I do wonder whether youngish (and rapidly aging, in his case: like toxic mold ridden cheese) Travis may have bitten off a bit more than he can chew by wholeheartedly deciding to prey on quite young rust belt, etcetera, ‘soldiers’ for others fortunes class, war fodder, before moving on to wholeheartedly preying on females (oops, sorry BOOBIES).

    Time will tell. I’d prefer he seeks some king of cure for his horridly predatory behavior, but it sure doesn’t look like that will be happening any time soon.

  23. valley gurl

    re my comment above,

    sorry, intended to write “kind of cure”, not “king of cure” (as Big Pharma would be the last cure source that might help him, in his case).

  24. pffffffffffffffff f ff ff f

    Hey, Disturbed Voter, the early bird gets the first comment, so congratulations on your partisan fervor. But next time do yourself a favor and check your facts. That way you won’t detonate your credibility in the second sentence.

    The assertion that all official correspondence is Top Secret identifies you as someone who never had a clearance. It also exposes you as someone who never looked at Cablegate – making us think, Why are you lecturing us about state secrets? Worst of all, the beltway security parasites would agree wholeheartedly with you that everything is ever so secret. It’s not. You have a right to all that information. And that’s the problem – not that Hillary is jeopardizing national security but that Hillary is hiding things you have a right to know.

    We appreciate how much you hate your designated partisan enemy and we are moved by your poignant need to pretend this is a democracy and vote. But bone up for chrissakes.

    1. Disturbed Voter

      Project much? I was using informal classification level talk … but been there and done that, and anything official that a Secretary of State … or President … would be doing officially … is way above your pay grade or mine. I don’t care for the previous regime illegalities either … but I have misplaced my time machine, to go and post 10 years ago.

      I would love if Ms Clinton was … the best the US has … but politics doesn’t work like that. I even wish Mr Bush Jr had been … the best the US had. No partisanship at all.

  25. I.G.I.

    Varoufakis Paris Match Photoshoot. Am I the only one who finds the whole photo-essay crass and cheesy? Or was it conceived to be seen as a humorous take on the patriarchal Balkan-man stereotype, glass of vine in one hand_grab of woman’s flesh in the other_sat in front of an abundantly served table?

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