Links 3/17/15

Tardigrades are so tough, they can survive outer space BBC (furzy mouse)

Don’t forget to mention climate change Columbia Journalism Review

There are too many scientific studies, says scientific study CNET (furzy mouse)

Fukushima Radiation Found in Sample of Green Tea from Japan EcoWatch. I’ve no longer been buying unagi from my Japanese grocery store, since it comes from Japan, and have similarly given up on hijiki (a seaweed).

Tell the FDA: Ban Monsanto’s artificial growth hormone in milk CREDO

Krugman Is Told to Read More, Write Less, by Swedish Riksbanker Bloomberg. A spat between economists! Looks like Krugman has the better argument.

Is It Time for the Jews to Leave Europe? Atlantic (furzy mouse)

France at war with alternative medias Vineyard of the Saker


Germany and Greece should look to Goethe to resolve their standoff Guardian

Did Greek Minister Varoufakis Show Germany the ‘Stinkefinger’? Reuters


Putin dismisses ‘gossip’ over absence Financial Times

Big protests in Brazil demand President Rousseff’s impeachment BBC (Ryan)

Brazilian protesters are calling for something downright scary Business Insider (Ryan)

Fifty Lashes and Hobson’s Choice, Argentina Edition Credit Slips. A few days old but still important. Judge Griesa is completely mad.


Iran deal could start nuclear fuel race – Saudi Arabia BBC (furzy mouse)

Iran Sent Arms to Iraq to Fight ISIS, U.S. Says New York Times

Fears of Violence Against Western Oil Workers In Saudi Arabia OilPrice

Secretary Kerry Says US Willing To Negotiate With Assad, State Department Spokesperson Says Assad Must Go DSWright, Firedoglake (furzy mouse)

Israel’s Gilded Age Paul Krugmen, New York Times

Imperial Collapse Watch

Europeans defy US to join China-led bank Financial Times

From Pol Pot to ISIS CounterPunch

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

‘Is It Compromised?’ Is the Wrong Question uncomputing (bob). Important.

Skyfii’s Wi-Fi watching you shop in Westfield Sydney Morning Herald (EM). I’ve been in that shopping center, as I bet pretty much everyone who lives in Sydney as some point.

Sharing and the IoT? Patrick Durusau. Agreed, plus those nagging devices will rely on current medical knowledge, which is generally piss poor. How often have diet and exercise advice changed over the last two decades? And what about our modern programmed sleep patterns, versus the historical, and presumably natural, first and second sleep?

Hillary’s Email Defense Is Laughable Politico

White House office to delete its FOIA regulations USA Today (DF)

Jeb’s Anti-Muslim, Anti-Gay New Hire Daily Beast

Buzzfeed’s Partnership With Koch Brothers Under Fire DSWright, Firedoglake (furzy mouse)

House Republican Budget Overhauls Medicare and Repeals the Health Law New York Times

Private Contractor “Deliberately Ignored Medical Needs” of Kentucky Inmate: Lawsuit Brian Sonenstein, Firedogelake (furzy mouse)

U.S. may impose tougher curbs to contain bird flu in Arkansas Reuters (EM)

Chris Christie Officials Sent Pension Money To Subsidiary of Donor’s Foreign Firm David Sirota, International Business Times

Boston gets most winter snow in its recorded history – 108.6 inches Reuters (EM)

Pension funding up, but still way short CNBC (furzy mouse)

How Scary Is the Bond Market? Robert Shiller, Project Syndicate (David L)

Currency swings cost U.S. corporates $18.66 billion in fourth quarter: study Reuters

Would-Be Financial Whiz Is Charged With Stealing From Investors Wall Street Journal

Wall Street’s trillion dollar money managers are under threat from a new breed of low-cost advisers Business Insider

Failed by Law and Courts, Troops Come Home to Repossessions New York Times. Appalling.

Class Warfare

Real estate needs further regulation Washington Square News. Bob H: “More on the Clintons’ donor Wang.”

Finland, Home of the $103,000 Speeding Ticket Atlantic (Chuck L)

Antidote du jour. Martha r insists that this is real and not posed.


See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email


  1. James Levy

    I find myself visiting Nakedcapitalism, trying to get a handle on events and desperately writing down my reactions in a vain attempt to gain some measure of control through at least understanding what is happening to me and the world. You have to know the problem before you can formulate a solution, right? But it’s futile and tragicomic. The decisions on Fukushima, on climate change, on risking war with Russia, on the scary biological warfare program that was instituted after 9/11 that no one wants to talk about, on Panopticon surveillance, were made already, with no input from anyone here or anyone I know. The American experiment in popular participation in governance is over. It was never robust and now is completely shriveled and palsied. Although my natural curiosity and need to speak out will keep me coming here for some time, I’m sure, I know that time would be better spent turning to my neighbors and friends and planning for what those in charge are going to do to my world, because that world will be shaped by them.

    1. Steve H.

      Think of it like reading the weather report. You can’t control any of what it is reporting on, but it’s good to know which way the wind is blowing.

      I culled most of my news sources in the political/finance/dewey decimal 300’s after analyzing their predictions and agendas. Many were just wrong, some (for example Calculated Risk) were right in the numbers but unhooked from the underlying conditions.

      When I think of Yves, I picture Ripley riding the elevator…

      1. hidflect

        Same here. I replaced Calculated Risk with
        Also, when my bookmarks started growing too large I went through and culled any that were just re-affirming my opinions rather than telling me something unique. The risk is you start forming a bubble of satisfying opinions rather than real news and information. NC has become one of my favourite favourites. I think the level of intelligence in the comments section bears out the quality. Often I learn as much in the comments section as the article itself.

        1. optimader

          Reading only thing you agree with –Teleb calls it Firehouse Affect. With a touch of confirmation error. (only recognizing the bits that reinforce your own thoughts, discarding the rest)
          The most valuable reading I do (IMO) is
          1.) Well thought out reasoning on stuff I don’t spend too much time thinking on;
          2.) Well thought out reasoning that challenge my own line of reasoning. It’s easy to find stuff you don’t agree that is ignorant or stupid, the well thought out stuff is what cultivateds some reflection for me.

    2. Llewelyn Moss

      Agreed. It sure looks like the world is spinning out of control and worse than ever. I’m not a Doomsday Prepper but I don’t think of them as fools either. Something major is going to break at some point. And if the greed and corruption does not subside, I can see it headed to a “When The Shit Hits The Fan” scenario. A functioning democracy relies on government leaders having at least a minimal level of honesty and integrity. The US has lost that IMO.

      1. bruno marr

        While prepping for Doomsday can be useful, if not taken to an extreme, it is not likely to provide long-term individual survival. At some point folks will need to reconnect as a group and work together to meet their physical needs (food, shelter, safety, medical, etc.). Being prepared to survive for a week or two during times of chaos or deprivation, is to me the best method of prepping. Anything else is just prolonging one’s inevitable demise.

    3. jrs

      At this point in my life I find myself randomly (often without planning but it has to do with location) participating in protests more often than I contact my congressperson and more often than I vote! Though I don’t think they do any good really, too tame, not radical enough (gotta at least occupy something if we wanted anyone to notice!), too nothing. I merely hope to encourage the spirit of resistance. Writing the congressperson or voting on the small stuff (I don’t mean Prez) probably does at least as much good realistically. So it’s a mark of what? Radicalization I suppose.

      What is the scary biological warfare program that was instituted after 9-11? Something to do with the Anthrax scare? I really don’t know (oh noes it’s the end of the world, some piece of bad news slipped past me! Well it probably is the end of the world, but not for that reason, more likely antarctic and arctic ice melt. But I am curious about anthrax).

      I agree with turning to people locally, realistically it’s the only place change can start I think, although the real hope, if any, may be in other countries finally putting a halt to this retched empire of death and destruction!

      1. James Levy

        We know of at least one major biowarfare lab that was overhauled and another new one built to produce agents “likely” to be developed by “terrorists” so that we can then find countermeasures. The chances of “terrorists” coming up with such weapons is miniscule, while the chance of an accidental or deliberate release of some incurable disease organism is not. The Russians lost 5000 people in Sverdlovsk back in the 1970s when anthrax got loose from a weapons facility. You can imagine what Americans can come up with today with recombinant DNA and other crazy techniques. As for what really happened with the anthrax that was sent through the mail, the official account is ludicrous and unverifiable and the media dropped the story like a lump of plutonium and ran screaming for the exits with their hands over their ears yelling “lalalalala.” Every year we are deluged with recapitulations of 9/11 but the anthrax story has been flensed from the collective memory.

        1. craazyboy

          What… worry? 168 Spanish conquistadores accidently wiped out an estimated 60% -95% of the Incan population with smallpox. That was in the 16th century with a “natural” bug..

    4. JTFaraday

      We have no statesmen, no statesmanship. Just a bunch of careerists on the make and people driven by all consuming hatreds. Probably an all-time low.

      As for democracy, “the people” might do better than that. And then again, maybe they won’t.

  2. Kevin Smith

    re: Saudi Oil Workers

    On Friday I saw a family who had come here from Saudi — dad is still working there.
    Sounds like their departure was abrupt and unplanned — for example, they had no clear idea of where to stay.
    It would be interesting to see the stats on departures of ex-pat families.

  3. timotheus

    Neither the gesture nor the supposed quote from Varoufakis are consistent with his previous positions on the negotiations. Could the usual suspects be so desperate to have cooked up such an elaborate fake? All explanations are incredible, and yet one (or more) must be true.

    1. Lexington

      Neither the gesture nor the supposed quote from Varoufakis are consistent with his previous positions on the negotiations. Could the usual suspects be so desperate to have cooked up such an elaborate fake?


      The gesture and quote are fully consistent with opinions Varoufakis has repeatedly expressed about both Germany and the EU before his sudden decision to enter politics, including those expressed repeatedly in posts that have appeared on NC.

      Indeed Veroufakis, Rose and Helmer have a running competition to see who can fit the most gratuitous references to the Third Reich into a post ostensibly about contemporary politics.

      After making all allowances for inexperience Syriza’s diplomacy has been a case study in crass incompetence. Demanding reparations it has zero chance of getting may play well to the domestic audience but it’s destroying any possibility of conducting negotiations on the basis of goodwill. Maybe in Greece kicking your banker in the balls right before asking for a loan modification is accepted in the intended spirit of good natured high jinx, but it’s high time Syriza clues into the fact that such cultural peculiarities don’t export well to foreign markets.

      1. timotheus

        I distinguish between Varoufakis and other Syriza officials and spokespeople. He has made references to Golden Dawn as a nazi party, which is hardly an invention on his part. But I have not seen him using the more inflammatory rhetoric coming from others in his party. And simply telling the creditors to piss off up a rope has not been his style. So I remain unconvinced. Plus, he denied it, which should be worth something.

      2. hunkerdown

        Maslow’s hierarchy of needs: feeding people comes before bourgeois puffery. At this point in time, professionalism is a blight on humanity and needs to be subordinated.

  4. rusti

    A spat between economists! Looks like Krugman has the better argument.

    I’d be curious to hear other opinions on this. The rosy picture painted by Per Jansson certainly doesn’t match my anecdotal experiences here, with many friends (particularly students) struggling to find paid work or stable employment and people scratching their heads wondering what negative interest rates mean.

    1. Plutoniumkun

      Anecdotal too, but I do think that Sweden is doing worse than the superficial figures suggest. Outside of Stockholm, there is a real air of neglect in smaller cities and towns – I know some people who do business there who say there is a sense of lots of small retailers and restauranteurs just clinging on. I was in Copenhagen a few weeks ago and even though the Danish economy is similarly suffering, they are complaining even more than usual about Swedes coming over to work. There is something quite ‘Japanese’ about the way those two countries seem to have settled into a sort of comfortable deflationary decline. Its not severe enough to impact on most people in every day circumstances, but there is a sense of decay which is unmistakable to outsiders.

      1. rusti

        Ha, great username.

        It seems that politicians and economists here pointing at GDP as an indicator of success is about as disingenuous as Democrats in the US trying to “juke the stats” to use unemployment figures to convince everyone that things are fine. Unemployment levels aren’t at the terrible levels of the periphery, but there certainly aren’t a plethora of good opportunities for young people and immigrants. The far-right wouldn’t be making such huge inroads if people were buying it.

        1. PlutoniumKun

          Yes, I think there is a distinct difference between what you might call a ‘conventional’ recession and the sort of deflationary recession which is eating away at so many western economies. The former is very easy to recognise, and hits most sectors of society. But there is a ‘frog in a saucepan’ aspect to a deflationary recession. People aren’t losing their jobs wholesale, businesses aren’t collapsing – its a slow burning eating away at peoples standard of living, especially those who aren’t in a safe job (where low inflation can make mid level employees feel fine about not getting wage increases), or with investments benefiting from QE.

          And at the expense of indulging in simplistic ethnic generalisations, I think within certain societies, especially northern European Protestant ones, there is a certain masochistic pleasure found in certain sectors of society about ‘taking a hit’ for the economy as a whole. The latter is the only reason I can think of why German and Scandinavian workers have been so happy to see their wages stagnate while industrial leaders grow fatter.

          1. hunkerdown

            #NotAllAngloSaxons ;)

            I think that’s a fair observation — but the We Are All Already Decided contingent have decided that history is irrelevant, which is about as “rational” as denying the existence of momentum to Sir Isaac Newton’s face because he dabbled in astrology to pay the rent, all while standing on the deck of a sailing ship in calm wind.

            But wages are merely one means to the end of securing the means of life. Scandinavia is, or used to be, famous for its social welfare states, and used to be a bit more pragmatic than that. Maybe all this “diversity” homogenization has made the whole North frigid.

  5. wbgonne

    Re: cesium in Japanese tea. As an avid green tea drinker I have been dreading this development. Now what? China? Sorry but I simply don’t trust China’s regulatory system. Neither do I trust the United States government to ensure food safety any longer. And here is a perfect example:

    According to scientific sources, more than 30 times as much radioactive Cesium was released at Fukushima as was created at the bombing of Hiroshima. Some of those isotopes turned up in at least 15 tuna caught off the coast of California. But soon after Fukushima, the U.S. Food & Drug Administration stopped testing Pacific fish for radiation. The FDA has never fully explained why.

    Obama is a neoliberal monster, that’s why.

    1. Plutoniumkun

      As a direct answer, Taiwanese green tea is excellent, and is generally more trustworthy than anything from China.

      However, I have to say that the levels reported are so minuscule that really, there are a 1000 more things you should be worried about in food and drink than Cesium in green tea.

      1. wbgonne

        Thanks for the tip. I’ll look into Taiwanese teas.

        However, I have to say that the levels reported are so minuscule that really, there are a 1000 more things you should be worried about in food and drink than Cesium in green tea.

        I appreciate that but for a product I consume almost daily, I’m not taking any unnecessary chances. As an aside, perhaps if consumers reacted more aggressively by abandoning compromised products, companies and governments would take more care. (Or they might just make more efforts to hide test results.)

        1. royo

          It’s worth mentioning that there are some great Japanese teas from regions farther south. I’ve lately been drinking a nice sencha from Minamikyushu, which is about as far as you can get from Fukushima while still remaining in Japan. Of course, contamination may not decline linearly with distance, but it is one way to mitigate it.

          1. Dan cullen

            American Classic brand green tea is grown in South Carolina and w/o herbicides/pesticides. It can be found in some Whole Foods stores as well as at specialty tea shops.

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef


            Thank you, though, for that reminder we are destructive in many ways…from a long time ago, when they probably cut down hinoki trees or something else, to grow tea, to now.

    2. craazyboy

      The other thing to contemplate here is that Japan has a fairly robust vitamin and supplement industry. For instance, I read that 90% of the world supply of the popular CoQ10 supplement is manufactured in Japan. Statins lower CoQ10 in your body a lot, so many statin users supplement with it.

      Then there are other things like natto, but most people won’t miss it.

  6. wbgonne

    Boston gets most winter snow in its recorded history – 108.6 inches Reuters (EM)

    Very rough winter for my bulldog.

    1. LifelongLib

      Meanwhile Washington State’s snowpack is less than a third of normal. The area where my sister lives has been declared a drought region, which I think limits water amounts for some ag users.

  7. Carla

    Yves, thanks very much for the mention of first sleep, second sleep. Never heard of that before.

    1. Ned Ludd

      A few years ago, the BBC published an article on bi-modal, or segmented sleep. A divided sleep pattern was ubiquitous before artificial light became common.

      Much like the experience of Wehr’s subjects, these references describe a first sleep which began about two hours after dusk, followed by waking period of one or two hours and then a second sleep.

      “It’s not just the number of references – it is the way they refer to it, as if it was common knowledge,” Ekirch says.

    2. diptherio

      Yeah, nobody expected you to sleep eight hours straight until the (24 hour) work day was broken up into three shifts…and now people go to see sleep doctors because they can’t sleep through the entire night–but the problem is with the industrial labor system, not with them.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        The three meals a day problem dates, I believe, a little earlier, a legacy of the agricultural labor system.

        Hunter gatherers are frequently hunger, which means the human body evolves to eat whenever there is food, which is also balanced out by the fact that it’s hard to get food frequently. So, you can’t just say oen should eat whenever possible in our society.

  8. Jim Haygood

    At long last, the truth comes out:

    Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel on Monday doubled down on his appeal to right-wing voters, declaring definitively that if he was returned to office he would never establish a Palestinian state.

    After decades of US-sponsored peace talks, skeptics have been proven right. Israel was just stalling for time, while creating more ‘facts on the ground’ (security walls, settlements, settler-only highways) to make a viable Palestinian state impossible. Now Netanyahu feels comfortable admitting it to the world.

    What’s left is only Israel’s ethnic cleansing, Final Solution fantasy of driving the Palestinians across the river into Jordan. Will train tracks be constructed, so they can re-enact the cattle cars and everything?

  9. Ed

    If the US government is successful at engineering a coup in Brazil (one of the BRICS), you have to change the handle “imperial collapse watch” to something else. Particularly true if they win against Russia too.

    Btw, the WP has to share power with other parties to gain a majority in Congress and would probably lose the next round of elections anyway through normal voter fatigue. So I’m pretty confident that this is a US backed “color revolution”, not something that is coming from the local right, which doesn’t need a coup to take power.

    1. JohnnyGL

      Ed, I’d like to throw in my unsolicited two cents if you don’t mind.

      1) Don’t give the US Govt that much credit. They can’t just engineer coups out of nothing.
      2) Rousseff has foolishly and blatantly pi$$ed in her own drinking water. She barely waited a couple of months before completely dumping her election platform and making a hard push for austerity. I can’t tell if she’s selling out or if she’s just brain-washed by neo-liberalism to believe that budgets MUST be balanced and inflation MUST be crushed. Regardless, she’s become incredibly unpopular in a very short period of time.

      1. Jose

        Dilma Rousseff probably does believe in balanced budgets. She recently said that Brazil had run out of resources to stimulate the economy – while Brazil, being monetarily sovereign has in reality no need to be afraid of running out of money.

        This irrational belief in lack of (monetary) resources is having tragic consequences. The state of São Paulo is undergoing a veritable dengue epidemic and cities in the interior of the state are now complaining that they don’t have enough money to buy insecticides and to pay for the necessary medical teams.

        In fact, most of Brazil’s recent economic problems likely derive from an overvalued exchange rate. During the commodity boom the Real quite naturally appreciated, but once it was over the central bank intervened to prevent a necessary depreciation.

        This helped control inflation and maintain the price of imported goods at levels accessible to the general population but also created a gigantic leak out of the internal economy with ballooning current account deficits. Had the CB not intervened, a lower Real would have led to external equilibrium, higher GDP growth and higher tax revenues. MMT is virtually unknown in Brazil but its lessons (no risk of “running out of money” for a monetary sovereign, flexible exchange rates, etc.) need to be learnt if the country is to find the path to growth and prosperity again.

        1. vidimi

          if she said resources then maybe she actually meant resources, not money. If further exploitation of the Amazon is undesireable then it does put a serious constraint on the economy.

        2. JohnnyGL


          You sure MMT is unknown in Brazil? I saw the below from an interview with Ha-Joon Chang which gave me hope for the future. If there’s post-Keynesians around the BNDES, then the PT has options for the senior economic posts, they’re just not interested in them for whatever reason. Perhaps the abysmal results of the PT’s turn towards austerity will teach them the right lessons? There is substantial pressure on their left flank. Maybe that’s optimistic on my part.

          “Indeed, Latin America itself has great intellectual traditions in economics – the Latin American structuralist school, dependency theory even. Especially if you go to countries like Brazil you have people doing research with many different theoretical heritages. Brazil has lots of post-Keynesians. At the moment the BNDES is run by these academic industrial economists who are influenced by Schumpeter and the Latin American structuralist school. So they think very differently.”

          (apologies if the link doesn’t work, googling the keywords should get you to the right page)

      2. Ed

        In the US, many historians and economists criticize FDR for his efforts to balance the budget in the late 1930s, which is supposed to have prolonged the Depression. But its forgotten that FDR ran on a platform of balancing the budget in 1932, and appointed a well known budget hawk to head OMB (or whatever its precursor was), and really did try to get federal spending under control until World War 2.

        I’ve noticed that people of all political allegiances tend to think there is a link between being identified with being on the left and easy spending, but the actual historical evidence for this is very weak at best.

  10. JohnnyGL

    Re: Brazilian protestors

    I couldn’t help but notice the 2nd to last picture on the BI article. Seems to be a parade of white people at the protests. As a reminder, the country is around 1/2 mixed race or black. I figure that gives you a sense of who’s in the streets.

    Much like Venezuela, it’s not the poor folk!

    1. neo-realist

      I couldn’t help but notice the 2nd to last picture on the BI article. Seems to be a parade of white people at the protests. As a reminder, the country is around 1/2 mixed race or black. I figure that gives you a sense of who’s in the streets.

      Maybe the police are much more brutal toward the darker skin protesters, just like our own country.

      1. Lambert Strether

        The last round of protests in Brazil began as a working class protest against transport prices, and was promptly hijacked by El Globo and turned into a “middle class” protest against the Worker’s Party government. “Protest” can have any number of social bases, globally.

  11. diptherio

    Re: Is It Time for the Jews to Leave Europe? Atlantic

    The historically literate among you may recall that one of the only times/places in Europe where the Jews were free from persecution, blood-libel, pogroms, etc. was–wait for it–Moorish Spain! That’s right, for about 100 years the only place in Europe a Jew could worship (or just be) openly was Al-Andalus. The result was a flourishing of high culture the likes of which the grubby Christian Europeans could only dream of. It was during this period that the Zohar was written (main text of Jewish Mysticism) and great Jewish theologians like Moses Maimonides flourished. In fact, at the end of Maimonides’ Guide for the Perplexed, one finds an in-depth examination of Islamic atomic theory.

    It seems to me a great irony that Islam is now seen as the antithesis of Judaism, when historically it was only the Muslims that Europe’s Jews could turn to for protection.

    1. sid_finster

      More recently than that, Jews expelled from Spain were welcomed to Poland and the Ottoman empire.

    2. PlutoniumKun

      Moorish Spain was certainly a highlight of religious tolerance (not just Moorish Spain of course, for most of its history Jews and Christian populations lived quite happily in the Muslim lands from Turkey to Morocco). But I’d give a shout-out too to the largely overlooked Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth of the 17th Century which was a shining light of the benefits of religious and ethnic tolerance, until it was destroyed by the combined pressure of the Russians, Prussians and various German states at the time.

      1. diptherio

        I didn’t know that about the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, I’ll have to check it out. Reading Martin Buber on the early Hasids, I got the impression that there was a good deal of repression during that time period, in that general area (Galicia–which is part of what’s now Poland, right?).

      2. John Jones

        I don’t think the indigenous christian populations in what is now modern day Turkey fared as well as you think PlutoniumKun. The Greeks, Armenians and Assyrians were subjugated and were largely wiped out by genocide. The remaining survivors ethnically cleansed from their own respective lands were there cultures formed in Anatolia. I wouldn’t call that ‘lived quite happily’.

    3. EmilianoZ

      Very interesting article, but I have to note a mistake in the translation from French.

      “Juif, la France n’est pas à toi”—“Jew, France is not for you.”

      The correct translation is “France does not belong to you” in the sense of it is not your property.

    4. vidimi

      I find this romanticizing of Moorish Spain just bizarre. The Moors ruled by conquest and force, used slaves, put down multiple rebellions; in short, were on par with any authoritarian regime of the day and maybe worse considering how effective they were. Giving them a pass because they were also patrons of the arts and sciences is just as, say, idolizing the Medicis of Florence.

      Also, in Eastern Europe, the Khazar khaganate was still going strong almost 150 years after the Moors arrived in Andaluz: an empire of enormous reach, it was the only Jewish state on the planet between the Roman sacking of the temple in 70 AD and the creation of Israel in 1948. A far cry from Moorish Spain being the only place in Europe Jews were safe.

      1. diptherio

        Ok, so when I said Europe, I meant Western Europe…and I was probably engaging in a little hyperbole for rhetorical effect as well…sue me.

        As for the Moors being just as tyrannical as the rest, I’ll just say, like a good economist: ceteris paribus, i.e. all else equal, I’ll take the Moors: they had better philosophy (thanks to the Sufi influence, I’d guess).

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          That Sufi guy, Nasreddin, he was funny like a Zen man…and a man you need when you are being sued.

          Nasrudin’s law professor took him to court to collect tuition due him, as Nasruddin had not practiced any law since graduation.

          Nasrudin: If I win my first case, you can’t collect. And if I lose, that’s your failure as a teacher. You are not worthy of collecting that money. (Wish our colleges will guarantee their degrees like that).

          1. craazyboy

            hahaha. What our colleges tell students nowadays is that their 40 year career will be worth $5 million, and the college only wants 5% up front.

          2. low integer

            Great anecdote, he was obviously a wise man. I feel a little petty for mentioning this, so apologies in advance, however I note that you have spelled his name three different ways in your post.

    5. Michah

      I would ask, ‘Who are the Jews’ and ‘Who are the Muslims’ today and in historical times. Hard to generalize, obviously, however, IMO, Jews and Muslims, differ from what they were several hundred years ago culturally, economically, politically and socially. Let’s talk about apples and oranges. One cannot compare.

    1. Llewelyn Moss

      Considering that deities are imaginary friends for adults, at what point to we just label religious fanatics as sociopaths? Hey it’s just my opinion and also that of my best friend, an invisible 6 foot tall rabbit.

      1. Jagger

        A Richard Dawkins or Bill Maher disciple? Mockery is cute in theory but in reality, can be very dangerous. Face to face, nothing like humilation or mockery of deeply felt beliefs to push the discourse very quickly into physical violence. Fortunately, there is very little physical risk for most when mocking or trolling on the internet.

        Also I am trying to understand how you confine belief in a diety to religious fanatics, which you then define as sociopaths, when the great mass of humanity actually believes in a diety? As far as I can see you are simply poking people of religion by using a mocking definition of dieties and then by defining all who believe in deities as religious fanatics or sociopaths. What is the point other than general mockery and a superior assumption of knowledge of the unknowable?

        BTW, I am a tolerant agnostic. If it is necessary to criticize fanatics, it is usually best to focus on actions rather than their beliefs or non-beliefs. Not all muslims, Christians or Jews are fanatics nor are all athiests Dawkins.

        And mockery works, it provoked a reaction from me and I don’t even belong to a religion. Must have caught me on a bad day.

        1. Llewelyn Moss

          Let me clarify. The “sociopaths” are those that want to kill or do harm over perceived slights against their religious beliefs or deity.

          I have nothing against religion itself. Live and let worship.

          1. hunkerdown

            Religion, being a social expression of spirituality, is incompatible with “live and let live” at community scale. Henotheism is incompatible with “live and let live” at any scale — it’s like trying to agree not to step on toes with a bitter, drunken Urkel appointing himself president of the meeting.

            So, since Abrahamic religions are, by their very nature, corrosive to pluralism, I see no reason to grant said religions any legitimacy whatsoever.

            1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

              Denying the divinity within each of us is probably the first step down that slippery slope.

              Now, we shroud ourselves in the maya that we only subsist because of some entity without ouselves.

              1. John Merryman

                The problem is the absolute is basis, not apex, so a spiritual absolute would be the essence of being from which we rise, not an ideal form of knowledge from which we fell. It just so happens to be convenient for those at the top to insist the source is top down and not bottom up.
                The other main problem with monotheism is it has no natural reset/regeneration. For instance there was a bit of genealogy to the greek Pantheon; Chaos>Chronos>Zeus. Not to mention that polytheism could incorporate the complexities of life, from the sexes, to tribal identities, while monotheism tends to straitjacket them. Christianity started out as a bit of a reset, with the whole Jesus dying and rising, father, son and holy ghost, being a consequence of the progression from past, to present, to future, but the church, as an institution didn’t have much use for such a radical notion as change being fundamental, so it became defined as the spirit, soul and body of god.
                It all starts when people get that sense of connectedness and oneness, then the politicians start defining it as one, the set and those outside are not welcome.

                1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

                  Interesting thought…father, son, holy spirit as the past, present and future. Nice.

      2. optimader

        I don’t believe they are necessarily sociopaths, strictly speaking, They fit into some other regrettable type of aholiness.

  12. alex morfesis

    sorta kinda flipping the bird…Varoufakis was at the subversive festival in Zagreb 2 years ago…a search under “varoufakis subversive global minotaur” should pop up the 57 minute video recorded for skripta tv…at 38:50 (thru 43:45) he starts to describe why leaving the euro is not possible and stupid considering greece is too small and does not have enough of anything that the global economy wants or actually needs…at 40:08 he calls the stupidity of the previous 3 greek administrations “a crime against humanity” and at 40:20 he leads into a sidebar on what those who cry for a draxma should have done if they were listening to him at that time…so yes, (technically) he did flip the bird…but he was describing what “then” (2010-three years before the talk he gave) might have made sense… he did say that before begging with cup in hand, he would have said, my name is roberto duran…no mas…and then negotiated…

    but he explains plainly why greece has no way after joining the euro, to actually get out without there being a total disaster…he also says that from his point of view, there is a germexit before a grexit…

    but one would think the german press might be more upset at how he ends the video,
    when he calls the german position “stupid”…

  13. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    K-man to read more and write less.

    (To complete the chiasmus:)
    His readers should read him less and write more — the same goes for all of us. We find out more about ourselves when we write.

  14. craazyboy

    US State Dept announces Putin found

    State Dept officials advised that CIA sources in Moscow intercepted an iPhone upload to youtube showing KGB plainclothes agents hauling Putin out of a dumpster behind the Kremlin. Putin could distinctly be heard, mumbling over and over to himself, “I love you dear, I love you dear”…..except in Russian , of course.

    The CIA has been monitoring the situation, say State Dept. officials, ever since a spy satellite over Moscow detected a UFO landing on the Kremlin rooftop. This coincided with the time that Putin was noticed missing. “It had to be alien abduction”, claims a high ranking official whom requested he/she not be named. The official then leaked further news to reporters via a private e-mail, and included an anonymous twitter account to follow for updates on the story.

    Further analysis in the e-mail concluded that although space aliens occasionally mutilate cattle, Putin is not a cattle and was not mutilated for that reason. Anal probing is the preferred action with humans, even autistic ones, concluded the e-mail analysts. “This is consistant with Putin muttering I love you dear [in Russian] over and over again.”

  15. Red harvest

    Not sure what Golumbia’s point is. This brouhaha is really very simple. States are scared of privacy and freedom of association, so naturally CIA will weaponize those things for espionage and subversion. When the weapon (in this case Tor) proliferates, the public can use it against the US government too, so naturally the government, through NSA, FBI, and miscellaneous secret police, will attack privacy and freedom of association. This tension is why coercive control is hard.

    Of course, the conflict is not simply freedom versus tyranny, it’s also CIA v. NSA. That doesn’t mean we have to choose sides. We can just help them kill each other.

    Both sides are vulnerable. Both are under threat. CIA and NSA are equally criminal: CIA tortures and murders, NSA selects their victims; NSA and CIA both sabotage critical infrastructure; they both undermine the foundation of international law with duplicity, clandestine armed attack, and coercive interference. The world is working to dismantle them both – with government-issue cryptography, with government-issue security systems, with government-issue malware, with whatever it takes, if rule of law won’t do the trick. So if you know what you’re doing, use it all, against our common enemy, this criminal US government.

  16. Light a Candle

    A very well written article: “Is It Compromised? Is the Wrong Question about US Government Funding of Tor” and then proceeds to ask the right questions. Always nice to start the workday with a smart, thoughtful article.

    1. Praedor

      Fairly defamatory of privacy and free expression online. Ask this question in parallel: The US government (Defense Department) created the internet. Why? The internet must be evil and not the answer because the Pentagon was behind its creation lock, stock, and barrel. Forget the fact that the people actually creating its hardware and protocols were not Pentagon drones, just “useful idiots” (I suppose) who got tricked into doing what they wanted to do anyway but with Pentagon blessing and money.

      Give up the internet! It cannot possibly be safe and useful to use if the Pentagon is behind it!

      1. Lambert Strether

        Hmm. “Fairly” defamatory. Sounds like the Beltway Adverb to me; tossed in to indicate chin-stroking seriousness and the willingness to qualify one’s opinion.

        What are the missing parts that would make it actually, or extremely defamatory, assuming for the sake of the argument that one can defame a topic as opposed to a person?

        1. jrs

          In order to be defamatory the article would have needed to answer it’s own question: ” The right question is: how do Tor and “internet freedom” [and “internet privacy” from the article] serve the interests of those who fund them so generously”. It doesn’t answer that.

          Although I could readily believe TOR does serve the interest of the powers that be. But as for “internet freedom” and “internet privacy”, they are smeared as being in the interest of the powers that be. But how? And do we want to throw that baby out with the bathwater? Yea we could point to rhetoric on “internet freedom” being used against say China. But it’s hard to take seriously, because the U.S. govt is such a hypocrite. But I suppose. Got to have fake ideals to talk up that noone believes you actually practice I suppose. But at that point does it even matter what the ideal is and does it really say anything at all about the ideal that it is used that way? The only ideals that wont’ be used that way are anti-capitalism for obvious reasons.

    2. Praedor

      Also fairly bogus considering it was TOR that made Edward Snowden’s leaks possible in the first place.

      1. Lambert Strether

        Totally off-point response. Here is the central issue:

        If you are asking how government funding compromises Tor and “internet freedom,” you are asking the wrong question. The right question is: how do Tor and “internet freedom” serve the interests of those who fund them so generously—and have virtually no history of funding (especially on an ongoing basis) projects that are contrary or even irrelevant to their interests? Why do major factions within the US Government so steadfastly promote an internet project whose supporters routinely insist that “the government sure does hate the Internet”?

        And that’s a very good question.

        NOTE One notes again the presence of the Beltway Adverb.

      1. RanDomino

        The math works, even if the social organizing around the math falls short. Why isn’t there a firefox-with-built-in-Tor-and-PGP with one-button installation yet? The hoops I’ve had to jump through to get them running (and I only think I got them working properly) demonstrate that the eggheads who are working on these projects don’t seem to understand how clueless the rest of us are. And I’ve taken advanced calculus and have been a computer technician. Don’t even get me started on Bitcoin. How do they expect these systems to be revolutionary when practically nobody can figure out how to use them?

    3. Jeremy Grimm

      I am confused and unsure how to read the linked source and much of this discussion around today’s “Is it Compromised?” link. I hope my conclusions do not further muddy these waters.

      My take away from the revelation of Government support for the TOR project and site was to ask “Cui buono?” from TOR and in what way — how? Those questions are deeply troubling, especially in the case of benefit given no known compromise of TOR traffic. Based on my reading of the article — there didn’t appear to be any deliberate compromises introduced or detected.

      This makes the US government financial support for TOR especially frightening — most especially if that support originates from one of our many “Security Organizations,” such as the CIA. The US government, DoD, sponsored and helped develop the Internet, Eisenhower’s highway system, and the later development of US space capability at NASA. It isn’t difficult to see a broader public advantage in these developments and the many technologies they brought to fruition. But TOR and Internet Freedom? — the utility for Internet users is obvious but what’s the broader utility of these developments for DoD — or more scary — for the CIA?

      The DoD is used as a conduit for support to promising but risky research whose produce can be passed to Defense Corporations and to strictly Commercial Corporations who then need spend considerably less money and face considerably less risk in development research, and who can reap large gain from the innovations created. But how does this model fit TOR? We have to cut toes off and trim the feet to make that support fit into any Cinderella’s shoe.

      Something is missing from our analysis of what is going on. THAT, to my mind, is the scary part of this link.

  17. Llewelyn Moss

    re: Hillary’s Email Defense Is Laughable

    Excellent rebuttal of Hellery’s “Nothing to see here” defense. And hints at what another Clinton Presidency will be like. It all depends on what your definition of “Honesty” is.

    It all has me wondering what State Dept favors might have been bestowed on the Clinton Global Initiative inner circle of companies. And of course, now we will never know because … delete , delete, delete.

    1. Katniss Everdeen

      Leave it to the Clintons to create problems that we never even knew we had. What EXACTLY does the constitution say about a “server” in the basement? GAWD!!

      Four more years, or, gasp, EIGHT, of endless permutations and commutations of what the definition of “is” is, IS enough to make a person want to blow their head off.

      Three “is’s” in a row! Cue the toothy cackle from the pants-suit section.

      1. Llewelyn Moss

        Ugh. 8 years of listening to Hillary on a daily basis — fingernails on a chalkboard. You are scaring me. :-)

  18. sid_finster

    Ukrainian troops get drunk and use an armored personnel carrier to run over a little girl. Bad enough, but junta government orders troops to shoot protesters on sight, without warning.

    How will vatch and other junta apologists spin this one?

  19. fresno dan

    That may seem like hyperbole, but it is a literal fact. In Ferguson — a city with a population of 21,000 — 16,000 people have outstanding arrest warrants, meaning that they are currently actively wanted by the police. In other words, if you were to take four people at random, the Ferguson police would consider three of them fugitives.
    To give some context as to how truly extreme this is, a comparison may be useful. In 2014, the Boston Municipal Court System, for a city of 645,000 people, issued about 2,300 criminal warrants. The Ferguson Municipal Court issued 9,000, for a population 1/30th the size of Boston’s.

    This complete penetration of policing into everyday life establishes a world of unceasing terror and violence. When everyone is a criminal by default, police are handed an extraordinary amount of discretionary power. “Discretion” may sound like an innocuous or even positive policy, but its effect is to make every single person’s freedom dependent on the mercy of individual officers. There are no more laws, there are only police. The “rule of law,” by which people are supposed to be treated equally according to a consistent set of principles, becomes the “rule of personal whim.”

    And this is precisely what occurs in Ferguson. As others have noted, the Ferguson courts appear to work as an orchestrated racket to extract money from the poor. The thousands upon thousands of warrants that are issued, according to the DOJ, are “not to protect public safety but rather to facilitate fine collection.” Residents are routinely charged with minor administrative infractions. Most of the arrest warrants stem from traffic violations, but nearly every conceivable human behavior is criminalized. An offense can be found anywhere, including citations for “Manner of Walking in Roadway,” “High Grass and Weeds,” and 14 kinds of parking violation. The dystopian absurdity reaches its apotheosis in the deliciously Orwellian transgression “failure to obey.” (Obey what? Simply to obey.) In fact, even if one does obey to the letter, solutions can be found. After Henry Davis was brutally beaten by four Ferguson officers, he found himself charged with “destruction of official property” for bleeding on their uniforms.

    After I left the Air Force, I worked at the IRS “service” center in Fresno in the Criminal Investigations Division for a brief period. An investigator told me that if they wanted to, they could put anyone in jail.
    Of course they can’t….put any white person in jail. But it sure appears in any number of smallvilles USA, most any black person can be put in jail.
    One would think this would engender some critical questions, some real soul searching, about a government premised on being restrained and governing at the will of the people, and how it got so out of control…..but one would think wrong…

    1. Katniss Everdeen

      And while the “dots” have never been explicitly connected, the reality is so obviously in your face.

      What should have been just another “felonious walking” citation in the service of funding the Ferguson municipal mafia has had a COST. And WHITE guys are paying it. And the whole country knows about it.

      While it is very small consolation, I take a certain perverse pleasure in the fact that Darren Wilson will forever be the wimp who blew the sweet Ferguson and wider St. Louis area gig to pieces. The “brotherhood” stood behind him, but I’d imagine that, privately, they wish they’d never heard of him.

      Maybe Rudy Giuliani will give him a “commendation” and a job shining his shoes.

      1. Jagger

        —–Of course they can’t….put any white person in jail. But it sure appears in any number of smallvilles USA, most any black person can be put in jail.—-

        No, that is incorrect. It is a poor person thing. The prison industrial complex doesn’t care whether the person is black, white, hispanic, muslim, etc. It is the poor person that can’t defend themselves that is the prey. The sooner this problem is framed as a poor person issue and not a purely black issue, the sooner a critical mass of opposition is reached. Revenue is the driver, not color.

        I live in the countryside in a poor region of the US. I know several poor white people living within half a mile of me that have been caught in the system as well. Some poor people may slip by if they have relatives in the police/judicial system but if not, they are after you. Poor are the prey of police regardless of color. Although I do wonder if they are more brutal in their treatment of non-whites. I suspect so.

    2. Jeremy Grimm

      Is it really just black citizens or are black citizens among the first — as in “first they came for the Jews” ,,,?

      Even given the large disparity — the grossly unequal treatment of blacks, … and Latinos, Indians … — I don’t feel comfortable with claims they are exceptional targets and I do not believe it is wise to separate the discriminations against them from the future discriminations the larger (for now) white population must expect. They may go first — but that doesn’t mean we are separate from them and will not go next.

      The downtrodden are one. We must stand as one and eschew all efforts to suggest our interests are different than those of blacks, Latinos — or any other HUMAN persons. [I would not leave out the non-humans in our world — they deserve special concern and consideration, not above humans, but special because they are even more defenseless and innocent than we are.] We must stand as one against oppression.

      1. Jagger

        I agree. It is the poor that can’t fight back which are the target. The poor regardless of color. Focusing on blacks alone ignores the magnitude of the problem.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Directly or indirectly?

      Major league baseball pays for future players with their farms. The NBA or NFL uses colleges to train theirs.

      In the same way, corporations hiring college or even high school graduates receive subsidies in the same way Major League baseball does. The alternative, with training cost properly expensed (rather than hidden behind ‘education’ – let’s face it, education is not about enlightening the students, but prepping for corporate jobs…major difference) would mean they have to take over ‘education*’ from the 9th grade onward.

      * again, to be distinguished from real education which is about enlightenment, not career training…that, as stated here, corporations should pay for.

    2. Jeremy Grimm

      I’ve never done the homework — I wonder what kind of gains a mutual fund based on Corporate campaign contributions might earn. My fund would invest in Corporations roughly in proportion to their total estimated contributions — to party, to candidates, and perhaps adjusted for past, and future promised, ongoing direct lobbying and “soft” funding. I’d call my fund — the Slush Fund. I suspect it might beat the S&P? — even after the generous commissions, fee, and gratuities I would pay myself. Every four years I could offer two main portfolios of stocks with another fund devoted to Corporations with contributions positioned to profit regardless of outcome.

      I will become rich and powerful beyond all my capacity to spend or enjoy my gains and you could make ME! the hero of future posts and excoriations — without criminal liabilities, or provable criminal intent. I think I will take a nap on that and dream profitable dreams, American dreams.

  20. p78
    Don’t pass new anti-poverty law, commission tells Greece

    “I think that the leadership of the party knows that it has a very tough choice ahead of it: Do we persevere with the programme that we proclaimed to the Greek people? Or do we submit to what the institutions, the Brussels Group, the troika, whatever you want to call it, want us to do? These two things are incompatible.

    So there is no middle way?
    There is no middle way. The Eurozone will not allow it.
    Do I think the leadership was surprised? Yes, I suspect they were to a certain extent. Because my reading of the situation is that the leadership genuinely believed that you could change the political alignments, you could change electoral arithmetic, and on this basis change Europe, change European policies.”

Comments are closed.