Links 4/18/15

EXCLUSIVE: The Lion Queens – Meet the brave Australian women who look after big cats from zoos and the movie industry… and even let the deadly animals sleep in their beds with them Daily Mail (bwilli123)

These amazing pictures reveal what it takes to win a rabbit show Business Insider (David L)

45 years after Apollo 13: Ars looks at what went wrong and why ars technica (Chuck L)

The patron saint of internet warriors breaks down every type of troll Marie Claire. Useful.

4 surprising reasons why clean energy is gaining on fossil fuels Grist (Glenn F)

The past’s long shadow Economist

At Global Economic Gathering, U.S. Primacy Is Seen as Ebbing New York Times

Weather leaves solar-powered plane stuck in China CNN (furzy mouse)

China is a “major driver” of environmental degradation in Latin America Dialogo Chino (Bob H)

Germany Rebuts Lew-Bernanke Criticism of Current Account Surplus Bloomberg. “Tries to rebut” would be a more accurate headline.


Obama: Greece needs to make “tough decisions” Financial Times. So even Obama is telling Greece to fall into line.

Lew urges Greece to speed up reforms Financial Times

Exclusive: Greece scrapes bottom of barrel in hunt for cash to stay afloat Reuters (furzy mouse)

Greece’s Main Creditors Said to Be Unwilling to Allow Euro Exit Bloomberg

Greek debt relief a possibility once bailout reforms in place-Eurogroup head Reuters. Not news per se.

ECB’s Nowotny: ELA Can’t Be Long-Term Financing Substitute for Greek Banks WSJ Economics

Greece: Decision time Financial Times. A good analysis of the Greek political calculus.

The Other Greek Left Jacobin


Ukraine: “Both Sides Touched” By NATO Related Murder Of The Other Side Moon of Alabama

Ukraine rebel leader asserts claims BBC

Ukraine’s Bond Restructuring: Surgery, Conspiracy, and Campaign Anna Gelpern, Credit Slips

How Ukraine Commemorates the Holocaust Consortiumnews (Chuck L)

Russia’s Economy Steps Back from the Brink Leonid Bershidsky, Bloomberg Views


ISLAMABAD: Pakistan agrees to send ships to block arms shipments to Yemen rebels McClatchy (furzy mouse)

Iraq-Yemen Update 17 April 2015 Sic Semper Tryannis (Chuck L)

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

TSA Trained Disney, SeaWorld to SPOT Terrorists Intercept (furzy mouse)

The NSA’s Fight To Keep Its Best Hackers Defense One (furzy mouse)

Wall Street Is Cool With Hillary Clinton Pretending To Be A Populist DSWright, Firedoglake

Behind Christie’s Budget Claims, a More Controversial Legacy ProPublica

“The Ron Paul of the left”: Why Bernie Sanders is the cranky socialist 2016 needs Salon (Ryan R)

Hillary Clinton Trade Deal Flip-Flop? She Praised Trans-Pacific Partnership, Now Hedges International Business Times

Tell Secretary Hillary Clinton: Speak out against Fast Track and the TPP Credo. Please sign! Embarrass her for her silence.

Analysis of Awful Fast Track Legislation/TPP Public Citizen. You can read a more thorough treatment here. Please circulate.

Police State Watch

Free-Range Kids Washington Monthly

California Drought

Rebecca Lawton: drought and ostrich thinking Radio New Zealand National (Mike C)

California Governor Brown hears business concerns about drought plan Reuters (EM)

Feds Against Comcast-Time Warner Merger Daily Beast

Dow recovers from 350-point plunge but ends week down 1.3% CNBC

The Economy Has Slowed Because the Fed Has Already Tightened WSJ Economics

Goldman sued over ‘sex discrimination’ Financial Times

Class Warfare

Food Feud: More Cities Block Meal-Sharing for Homeless NBC (furzy mouse)

Supply-Side Doom in Kansas Bloomberg (furzy mouse)

Number of Adjunct Professors on Public Assistance Is Shocking Alternet

Prison Labor Company Features Promo Video Touting “Best-Kept Secret in Outsourcing” Intercept

How Corporate America Invented Christian America Politico

Antidote du jour:

racing cat links

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. Carla

    “Obama: Greece needs to make “tough decisions” Financial Times. So even Obama is telling Greece to fall into line.”


    1. Ned Ludd

      I agree. The goals of the E.U. line up with Obama’s own capitalist, anti-democratic ideology.

      Since 2010, Greece has been the terrain of a giant experiment into the possibility of the European institutions imposing a violent change in the social paradigm.… The euro and the European treaties are neither technical nor simply monetary issues. They lead to a condition of limited sovereignty that facilitates the most aggressive capitalist strategies.

      In this sense, the fight against the euro and the EU is also a struggle to recuperate popular sovereignty.

      If Greece resists “the treaties and mechanisms regarding the eurozone”, then Obama will switch to a destabilization campaign. After all, turning recalcitrant countries into failed states is part and parcel of Obama’s foreign policy.

      1. different clue

        Why are the Southern European countries supporting this slo-mo “holodomor-lite” against Greece?
        I suggest they are acting out of prospective envy. If they are going next, how dare Greece get out of being first?

    2. trinity river

      Obama: Greece needs to make “tough decisions” Financial Times. So even Obama is telling Greece to fall into line.

      I was waiting for this headline. A week or so ago, the headline said the opposite. I don’t have time to find it, but this is O’s mo. Reverse yourself so that both sides think you are on theirs.

      1. Benedict@Large

        I was waiting for Obama to put on his sneakers and walk the protest line with the Greeks.

    3. Yves Smith Post author

      As we posted, Obama initially told the EU to back off on Greece, that it needed to pursue more growth-oriented policies. See Obama, Treasury Pushing Back Against Troika Grexit Threats; Bernie Sanders Presses for Fed to Prod ECB

      The Administration relented Obama Administration Throws Greece Under the Bus; ECB Leak Recommends Capital Controls; Greece Weighing Capitulation (Updated: Germany Rejects Greek Proposal)

      But that still falls short of Obama basically piling on after meeting Varoufakis.

      1. Jackrabbit

        Use of “even” for emphasis can convey surprise.

        Carla sees your formulation as conveying surprise (that Obama is not being helpful). But it is no surprise that Obama is not a friend to the downtrodden.

        I’m sure that Carla and other NC-ers know that any word choice from you that conveys such a meaning is inadvertent.

      2. Brooklin Bridge

        One wonders if Merkel told Obama that if he wants continued support for sanctions against Russia, he needs to stick to the EU script re. Greece.

  2. Another Gordon

    Scary things are brewing in cybersecurity according to Cringeley.

    “Forget about bad tax returns and fake credit cards. What if what’s been compromised are the real keys to the kingdom — literally the accounting records of banks, sovereign funds, and even governments? A criminal could steal money, I suppose, or they could simply threaten to destroy the accounting data as it stands, casting into doubts all claims of wealth. What makes Bill Gates richer than you or me, after all, but some database entries?

    I have reason to believe that the game has been compromised and significant change has to follow.”

    1. Disturbed Voter

      If banks and governments have become criminal enterprises … then of course, the keys to the kingdom are in the hands of evil men. That is not to say, that banking and governing are inherently evil activities. I can only see an endless tightening of banking/government oppression … that can only be relieved by an unlikely Marxist revolution.

    2. sd

      The Sony hack deleted all of the data. Entire databases of information were wiped clean and of course, the back up was wiped clean too. So it wasn’t just that hackers took data that was the problem. It was the data loss that crippled Sony. And that was the real problem with the hack.

      1. Yves Smith Post author

        Except Sony was fabulously badly protected. It was the equivalent of leaving doors wide open. And the hackers still did not wipe out Sony’s accounting records. Banks are at the other end of the spectrum in terms of security.

    3. jrs

      If that was really taken literally, it sounds almost utopian. Full jubilee of debt and wealth. Not Marx but Rawls. Sure many stand to lose a lot including many middle class people saving for hard times and retirement, but it’s STILL utopian compared to the status quo where we stand to lose *EVERYTHING*, not only all power, but the habitability of the planet itself.

      Only things never really work our that way it seems. 2008 has shown me no matter how badly things crack up of their own accord, they seem to get restored to the previous condition for the wealthy and then some. A better world won’t just come it needs to be pushed.

      1. hunkerdown

        The middle class people stand to lose their power over the lower middle class, and frankly, I laugh at their loss. However, as Scandinavia shows, if you have a robust social safety net, you don’t need to sock away a million dollars just to avoid losing your standard of life.

          1. tongorad

            The power of the voting booth, as middle class voters continue to support brutal neoliberal policies and politicians. Said support stems a great deal from the ideological straight jacket known as meritocracy, aka The American Dream, which only the middle class believes in and supports. The Rich and the poor know better.

    4. Jeremy Grimm

      @Another Gordon — I went to the “I Cringley” site you referenced and ran across a comment there I believe says it all about “Identity Theft”:

      “Identity theft” is a lie. There is no such thing as “identity theft”, it’s all fraud. The term “identity theft” was created to put the burden back on the consumer, away from financial institutions. The actual problem is that the cost of actually verifying identity is higher than financial institutions want to bear. Most of the cost would be in missed loan opportunities. Financial institutions don’t want to bear the cost of verifying identity so they experience fraud (surprise!) and then tell us that somehow we have to protect our identity. It’s insane.

      If it was legally required that you appear in a bank with an ID to get a loan or a credit card, imagine what would happen to “identity theft”. There’s nothing wrong with filing electronically, but how about having people come to the post office, with ID and a thumb drive, show ID and sign a log, then file from there?
      [John Mcging April 16, 2015]”

      The larger issues raised at that site are very disturbing.

      The idea that the Internet is safe is crazy. If the GAO report from the other day showing the onboard network for a jet liner is correct (the diagram showed anything BUT what I recall as an “air gap” between the cockpit systems and the passenger network) the level of stupidity behind many designs is truly scary. From what I could tell from the New York State Tax site New York is all but pushing everyone into filing on-line. I had to hunt around to find pdfs for the forms I needed so I could file by snail mail.

      1. hunkerdown

        Look, if the cockpit door is locked, the false-flag operatives have to have *some* way of taking the craft down. Not every op can have a large a footprint as Malaysia Air Lines. Whose side are you on, anyway?


  3. Ulysses

    From the DSWright piece linked above:

    “The most pathetic part of the primary process may end up being progressives trying to contort their brains into seeing her as a progressive – she isn’t one. She is from the corporate wing of the party and now would be a good time to accept that reality.”

    If we’re very lucky, Bernie Sanders may be able to prevent the Clinton campaign from easily fooling people. There is, of course, a very real risk that, for careerist motives, some of the professional political types involved with Sen. Sanders will actually try to help Secretary Clinton in duping people.

      1. BDBlue

        Well, I like a lot of Matt Taibbi’s reporting and certainly don’t disagree about the fake populism re Hillary, but his track record on covering Democratic Primaries isn’t exactly great. I still haven’t entirely forgiven him for this piece of shallow crap that occurred at a time when an actual hard hitting look at Barack Obama would’ve been, you know, helpful. And the information was out there, but instead of discussing his close ties to hedgies, coal companies and health insurers, Taibbi decided to go with crap like this because Obama made him feel good:

        So maybe it’s OK to let the grandiose things that an Obama presidency could represent overwhelm the less-stirring reality — i.e., Obama as more or less a typical middle-of-the-road Democrat with a lot of money and a well-run cam­paign. Maybe it’s OK because it’s not always about the candidates; sometimes it’s about us, what we want and what we want to believe. And if Barack Obama can carry that burden for us, why not let him? Seriously, why not? The happy end­ing doesn’t always have to ring false.

        But, of course, when the happy ending is built on BS, it’s going to ring false, it can’t help but do that and, again as much as I like what Taibbi has done since, he is one of the people who was shoveling the BS at a time when guys like him were desperately needed to cut through it.

    1. ScottW

      The problem is a substantial majority of Clinton supporters will vote for her because of the evil Republican candidates. They throw their votes away, proudly proclaiming, “I will vote for Hillary no matter what.” No need to wait for any policy statements, nor any interest in demanding progressive policies. And when you point out that agreeing to vote for someone without making any demands on them will never bring about change, they became even more rampant in their support.

      I think the problem is that most of these voters, at their core, support the status quo and fear more what the unknown will bring.

      1. Carla

        “most of these voters, at their core, support the status quo and fear more what the unknown will bring.”

        Absolutely. No other reason to support the duopoly.

        Unfortunately, all signs are they will support the status quo until kills them — and us.

        1. jrs

          If people just habituate, I’m tempted to think they should use whatever psychological techniques exists to overcome habituation. Maybe work up the exposure hierarchy, first we vote Green for dog catcher, and notice it doesn’t kill us, then ….

          It’s hard in some ways to blame people for the way they vote at all in something as rigged as the Presidency. So I see the main problem as when they start to actually believe their own act and to think Hillary or Obomber is not just “lesser evil” but good in some sense. And of course lesser evil (LOTE) thinking could justify electing Stalin, if a greater evil was competing. If there are no limits at all to how evil one has to be not to vote for them.

          And yes there is a lack of risk taking. If mass voting 3rd party is “too risky” a move to try to take against what faces us, against this system, which is imposing corporate dictatorship backed by an iron fist of police state, this system which will disempower, impoverish, criminalize, and ultimately kill us all and take the planet with it, then are such people even able to contemplate anything that might actually be more risky than (OMG it’s so scary!!!) casting an unconventional vote, which is afterall for all it’s “horrible risks”, really just the ultimate trying to work within the system.

          1. hunkerdown

            I’m curious exactly what it is people feel they *gain* by having voted for the victor, as if the victor then somehow owes them something. (Skipping high school and devolving straight back to pre-K?! Greeeeat.)

            1. Optimader

              It’s real brain stem stuff. Ask any professional sports fan with no opportunity for material gain in the outcome why they are so personally invested in a game someone they dont know is getting paid to be play. Inexplicable to me and i have never gotten a sensible answer. “It’s my team!” Well, no it isnt, but most people have a urge to define their identity by association with a group of like minded individuals whether they are truly associates or just the virtual variety.

      2. petal

        ScottW, spot on. I have already run into *exactly* this with a friend-he posted when she announced, and I pushed back listing reasons why she’s awful and just like Republicans (thanks, NC!) he went off on me saying I want crazies like Rubio and Cruz in power then. At that point I didn’t bother replying. The “evil Republican” thing is everywhere and is very difficult to make any progress against. Facts and reason mean nothing with that lot. Cheers.

        1. sd

          There is no Democratic Republican, left right or liberal conservative nexus. There is only money not money. Most of us are not money.

      3. fresno dan

        I get the impression that most humans can’t be bothered with making choices. As well as the need to be part of the crowd — I can’t vote for a loser!!!!!!!!!

        You go to a grocery store and there is Coke and Pepsi….even though there are hundreds of flavors of soft drinks.

        1. hunkerdown

          Or, heaven forbid you not go into a grocery store because your thirst is quenched just fine by water. Yes, from the toilet.

        2. Optimader

          It’s real brain stem stuff. Ask any professional sports fan with no opportunity for material gain in the outcome why they are so personally invested in a game someone they dont know is getting paid to be play. Inexplicable to me and i have never gotten a sensible answer. “It’s my team!” Well, no it isnt, but most people have a urge to define their identity by association with a group of like minded individuals whether they are truly associates or just the virtual variety.

        3. Optimader

          “I get the impression that most humans can’t be bothered with making choices.”
          Well, that is the real barometer for deperation, isnt it? Desperation is a great clarifyer for making choices.

      1. curlydan

        Hey, don’t pull out the “nose ring issues” (as I like to call them), before you see the whites of the skeptical voters’ eyes. For the left of center, any potential apostates must be reminded of the Supreme Court, abortion rights, and MINIMUM WAGE. Pull hard on those nose rings, and the voters will fall back in line. Same thing for the right of center. Guns, pro-life, prayer in school, low taxes, Socialism and Sharia law coming, etc all pull them back into line.

        We’ll see heavy doses of nose ring issues next summer.

        1. hunkerdown

          Nose ring issues! I second that.

          So what do we do about that Cartesian guilt-tripping? Apparently these people can’t handle any narrative that doesn’t come with instructions…

    2. different clue

      I think a Webb campaign would have more chance of that than a Sanders campaign. Maybe Webb will run as well as Sanders running and we can see who causes more actual fear and pain to Clinton.

      1. cwaltz

        I’d vote for Clinton over Webb.

        A vote for Webb is a vote for the MIC and the government spying on you.

  4. Dino Reno

    4 surprising reasons why clean energy is gaining on fossil fuels
    Carbon fuels are now seen as a stranded resource by producers who are dumping en masse. Cheaper renewables and climate change mean lower demand and prices going forward. Carbon fuel producers may have a 20-year window to bring their 40-year existing inventory to market before the market shuts down and the remainder is stranded. There is no strategy to drive prices higher by shutting down rivals. There is only a mad rush to get everything to market now before the carbon door slams shut.

    1. optimader

      20 years? before the market shuts down and the remainder is stranded? Gotta love predictions.
      Would be fun to see some detail on that timeline.

    2. charger01

      I call bs. Most people in 20 years will still drive IC vehicles to work. Most utility companies will still burn coal and natural gas to provide electrons on the grid. I believe what you’re referring to is growing wind/solar/geothermal /tidal energy from 2% of the energy portfolio into 5%. We’re not going all-clean anytime soon.

      1. ambrit

        It all depends on political will. The poor farmers of the Tennessee Valley weren’t big supporters of dams and hydropower. The Federal Government made a conscious decision to sacrifice them on the altar of “Progress.” Also, as American power wanes, other world actors gain influence over what is a global problem. Pollution and weather don’t respect borders. Either a World Order starts controlling national energy policies, or we will have to get used to a New World Climate Order. The physics of it is relatively simple. It’s the politics that are chaos theory complex.

        1. different clue

          A World Order is exactly what will prevent any decarbonization of the economy from ever being achieved or even permitted. The International Merchants of Fossil Carbon engineered and operate the current World Order to sell as much fossil carbon as possible for as long as possible.
          Free Trade is part of the Carbon Conspiracy. Free Trade is designed to exterminate industry in advanced countries where every unit of output emits “less” carbon and re-assemble the wreckage of that industry in backward countries where every unit of output emits “more” carbon, such as China for example. And Carbon Conspirator Abbot of Australia fully supports Free Trade because it allows the Australian Coal Sector to make more money shoveling coal for Satan.

          In fact, the way to reduce carbon emissions is to destroy Free Trade and restore belligerent national protectionism all over the earth. The most carbon efficient countries could ban imports from every less carbon-efficient country. The most carbon efficient countries would force everyone else into a “forced march to the top”. Whereas a World Order we have now locks everyone into a race to the bottom.

          1. hardWorkingBee

            Actually, the two latest free trade treaties being pushed could be the first step to provide a viable way to keep current carbon reserves unused: we’ll just have to pay oil and carbon companies for their lost profits due to any future laws to prevent climate change.

      2. Paul Tioxon

        Obviously, you are representing the mindset of someone who has grown up with the affluence of the Western Powers economies. Maybe a lot of Texans who want their ICs pried from their cold dead hands will be driving, but they will have to do what the Cubans did out of necessity to maintain classic cars from the 1950s. Since Obama has been in office, instead of killing alternative energy as Reagan did the second he took power, it has not had road blocks thrown in their path and in some ways have been actively promoted as in the case of the US military going for 100% sustainable, meaning mostly solar and wind installs, even at Gitmo.

        With over 5 million hybrid Prius autos alone on the street and over 250,000 EVs, pure electric plug ins in the USA, the real reason behind the Saudi Oil Price War is not as much US or other tight oil producers as it is the complete, eventually sooner than they thought abandonment of oil as the daily bread of developed economies. It will be the sun in sky giving us our daily bread and not OPEC or Exxon or BP. By the time Obama leaves office in Jan 2017, don’t be surprised if there is almost 1 million EV on the streets of America, if not Texas. Outside of the capitalist petro autarky, that dog just don’t hunt!!

        1. Brooklin Bridge

          The questions now arising behind closed doors are how to preserve the rent extraction model with solar and wind. How to get legislation through that makes it illegal to be self sufficient in the country whose core value – with almost religious fanaticism – is self sufficiency.

          1. optimader

            Claims like this periodically get trotted out on NC by commenters disinterested in offering even a glimmer of rationalization of the contermplated energy balance. The notion HCs will be supplanted in 20 years is a fantastic notion.
            Replaced by what?
            nuke plants?
            Wind turbines?
            how many per year will have to be built, starting tomarrow?
            Just a simple contemplation in a hugely complex seachange of energy generation, how much HC will be allocated to constructing WT blades (polyester/epoxy/carbon fiber egass?)
            Figure a WT blade will offer a ~20year useful life. Hell, how will all that energy/HC investment be recycled ever two decades?

            1. andyb

              Forget about nukes. Once the truth gets out about the poisoning of the planet from the unstoppable Fukushima radiation, all pro-nukies will be tarred and feathered. No one in North America born today will live to be 30 without a life threatening cancer appearing. Just wait until the total ban on all Pacific Ocean food sources; maybe the sheep will wake up then.

          2. Paul Tioxon

            Boo Hoo
            They run on less gas and coal is all but dead in the USA. Oil consumption is going down the drain and that motivates the Saudi behavior, not cash negative belly up tight crude. That’s the point. The car engines are changing to non fossil fuel, bit by bit. You and your fatalistic element of all or nothing right now, pure and holy is why so little moves forward. You wait for perfection before you take any risk, any action.

            But then, you’ll tell me about all of the dead birdies from solar plants.
            More Boo Hoo Politics from the pure and holy arm chair commissars.

            1. TruthAddict

              Touchy subject?
              Look, I know coal and gasoline demand are dropping. I know everyone is chasing that renewable energy rabbit and that’s great. But realistically, nothing can replace the energy density of fossil fuels. Harnessing explosions verse coaxing and leaching electrons from this reaction or that movement. No competition.
              I’m not saying scrap alternative energy R&D, it definitely has its place on personal level. But stop expecting miracles. If it is that oil has/will become to expensive to extract, so be it. Everyone gets to take a step back in time.
              It’s nothing to get worked up over. Walk or ride a bike everywhere. They used to have these animals called horses and oxen for agriculture. Windmills pump water. Families live together, local markets, grow your own everything. No more consumer crap though and most likely even that 1% Ive heard about will have to get their hands dirty.

      3. subgenius

        I call bs on your call of bs.

        If people are still driving ic in 20 years the human race will have been lost.

        And no, electric vehicles wont be the solution absent massive advances that are currently unlikely.

    3. Jef

      From the article – “…the shifts from wood to coal and from coal to oil each took 50 years. The same length of time, he has argued, will be needed to complete the transition to renewables,…”.

      Trouble is we never did “transition” from any of these fuels in fact we use more than ever. Those who talk about “clean energy” taking out FF burning are dreaming.

      1. Dino Reno

        What if Climate Change is not a dream, but a nightmare? We may be headed for Carbongeddon sooner than later. Put all those carbon fuels in the same category as whale oil, that used to light the world.

  5. Ben Johannson

    To summarize the NYT article on ebbing American influence: “The United States is not draining its resources at a fast enough rate to prop up the ailing neoloberal order. The world needs America to ruin its citizens lives in a more enthusiastic manner.”

    1. ambrit

      “The world needs America to ruin its’ citizens lives in a more enthusiastic manner.”
      I remember when we were taught in Civics class that America was its’ citizens. This must have been too radical a proposition. Echoing one of Mr. Strethers’ favourite themes; The world needs America to ruin its’ ‘consumers’ lives in a more enthusiastic manner. Then it makes more sense.
      Another aspect of the situation might be that America has claimed for itself all of the worlds’ resources for the last six decades. Now the world wants those resources back.

        1. ambrit

          Will do. The case for “Citizenship” isn’t made enough. I always prompt young people especially to get involved in their local politics, not just “volunteer” endeavours. NGOs are well and good, but being the G is vastly more efficient. Just ask the Christain Protestant Fundamentalists who now control the textbooks used by Texas and other states. An entire generation of young American kids is growing up under the influence of Calvin. For more on the origins of Calvinism, see:

          1. hunkerdown

            Let ’em. This whole clash of civilizations thing is arrogant, stupid, and serves ONLY to benefit the oligarchs and strengthen their order. If that’s the kind of world you want to create, then by all means continue proselytizing bourgeois liberal values based on fantastic first principles and keep pretending that you aren’t the reason people aren’t being fed, housed and clothed.

  6. timbers


    Regarding ways to encourage opposition to Obama’s TPP, IMO telling people that TPP will compel legalization of selling cigarettes and nicotine candy to children could be successful at getting attention.

    1. Jackrabbit

      Great way to fight TPP!!!

      No doubt there are others:
      – No requirement for seatbelts in cars?
      – Lowering of food safety standards?
      – etc.

      1. hunkerdown

        The first one would appeal too much to the average American, so maybe not that one in particular.

        But yes. I suppose manipulating the muggles with their sentimental culture is about the only way to turn them against their masters. I suppose one could ask how many countries they would like to manufacture and sell shoddy “Chinese” goods for us, and whether that’s a sort of growth worth pursuing.

  7. Andrew Watts

    RE: Iraq-Yemen Update 17 April 2015

    Just another day in a collapsing empire while the future of Iraq is being decided in Ramadi ‘hic. The Colonel is being a bit hard on Gen. Dempsey and company. Downplaying a major Iraqi defeat in Anbar while the Prime Minister is in Washington seems wise. It’s already a source of major political embarrassment for all parties concerned,

  8. Andrew Watts

    RE: The NSA’s Fight To Keep Its Best Hackers

    I have the world’s smallest violin playing for the NSA right now. The NSA internal “reforms” and evolving marketplace of the late 90s changed the composition of the NSA workforce from a long-term professional force to a short-term mercenary outfit. (“Heckuva job Hayden!”) With an attrition rate of almost 30% per year practically the only people they’re hiring these days are the kind that are looking to use NSA as a resume and skill builder while they search for another job opportunity to cash out on.

    The tech companies are looking to sell us all out to the NSA and the NSA workforce is looking for an opportunity to exploit the NSA itself while they create job opportunities for themselves in the private sector.

    Is this a great country or what?

    1. Andrew Watts

      I wasn’t going to follow-up my original comment but the current state of affairs is a national disgrace in more than one way. When I was considering a career in the NSA a long time ago my chosen path towards Fort Meade was joining the US military > Basic > SIGINT for Army/Navy/Air Force/Marines > NSA. An ROTC cyber division would expedite that process which could potentially create a larger talent pool for both the NSA and Cyber Command. The bottom line is that using the US military as a gateway towards that kind of career may be the only option for these organizations to cultivate a dedicated and long-term workforce.

      I doubt there’s very many people out there who possess that particular skillset who are all that inclined to join the NSA voluntarily, particularly while Edward Snowden isn’t a free man. This will be the gift that keeps on giving until people forget about Snowden and something’s done about the revelations. The only other real option for recruiting that kind of talent is found in our country’s wonderful penitentiary system.

      1. hunkerdown

        If the IP provisions of TPP flower fully, I suspect lots of talented, bright young people of conscience will be pressed into service rather than risk the US coliseum/gulag system.

        1. Andrew Watts

          Possibly. In the course of Operation Buccaneer a Australian national was charged with copyright violations was extradited to the US under the authority of a free-trade agreement. Operation Fastlink/Buccaneer was a real game changer.

    2. different clue

      What if part of what they are learning at NSA is how NSA “duzzit” to programs and computers. They can then sell this knowledge to private companies who want some hope of blocking all of NSA’s “duzzits”. So there may become a spy-counterspy arms race between NSA and ever more cohorts of its own decamping personell
      to spy better and prevent spying better.

  9. Brooklin Bridge

    From the Salon article on Sanders: “He’s experienced in articulating populism

    About sums it up.

    1. cwaltz

      Articulation is good. Implementation would be better. Unfortunately Bernie and the few people who genuinely seem to believe we’d be better off with a more egalitarian society are not the majority. More often than not big reforms that would give us a more populist environment are bargained away.

      1. hunkerdown

        Which is why granting people irrevocable terms in offices, based on feewings and beweefs and other intangible nonsense, consistently fails. If the population can’t denounce them, then voters, by participating in the system, are endorsing the rogues they pretend to get the vapors about.

        Autism is pathologized not because it’s a lesser form of thinking, but because not believing fairy tales and bullshit is counter to “because markets”.

  10. JEHR

    I know that Lambert loves words and he may even have been the person who disparaged the use of “consumer” to mean citizen (or any other identity for a person who does things). I found a website that deals almost exclusively with the idea that consumer should never be confused for anything that a citizen (voter, resident, inhabitant, etc.) does. See:

    There are many other interesting ideas that spring from that blog:

    “This difference between Citizen and Consumer is no mere assertion. There is a steady build up of evidence from the social psychology field of priming in particular. In one study, 1000 people were given a survey of environmental and social attitudes. For 500 of them, the front cover said ‘Consumer Response Study’; for the other 500, it said ‘Citizen Response Study’. There was no other difference. Those who answered the ‘Consumer Response Study’ reported far lower levels of environmental and social motivation. The very word makes people less likely to care. As a result, and as I’ve written elsewhere, consumers simply aren’t going to solve climate change.”
    (quoted from Citizens not Consumers: the next frontier for systems innovation by Jon Alexander, June 7, 2014)

    1. Lambert Strether


      So if people were evaluating the ObamaCare website as citizens, they’d be ticked, but since they’ve been primed as consumers, they expect it to suck, so they don’t push back. No wonder HHS was so careful to say “consumer.”

  11. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Global Economic Gathering – US Primacy Webbing.

    We can print as much global reserve money as we want.

    At what point do we feel the presence of a second Prime Nation?

    My guess, the threshold is somewhere when another power has enough of your money that is approximately your annual GDP.

    At the point, the Johnnie Come Lately can start to act like you.

    Maybe even be the major driver of environmental degradation of Latin America…with or without the Monroe Doctrine.

    “With enough Imperial Money, you can imitate the emperor in many, many ways.”

    Let’s print more because International Commerce.

  12. MyLessThanPrimeBeef


    Still one paw on the ground.

    There was a big question a century ago approximately. People weren’t sure whether a horse was completely off the ground, all four hooves, when it galloped, until the question was answered with the camera.

  13. fresno dan

    Food Feud: More Cities Block Meal-Sharing for Homeless NBC (furzy mouse)
    “Homeless people are visible in downtown America. And cities think by cutting off the food source it will make the homeless go away. It doesn’t, of course,” said Michael Stoops, director of community organizing for the National Coalition for the Homeless, based in Washington, D.C.”
    Probably just makes them (more) hungry. Although I suspect the real desire is that the homeless just die somewhere out of sight.

    So what is the phrase? Government is what we choose to do together? I wonder what percentage of people in those cities actually support fining people who feed hungry people…

  14. fresno dan

    Hmmm….I would say Politico gets the causality backwards. Religion as a repressive force, or defender of the status quo has been going on forever (Christianity defends slavery, inquisition, etcetera) and is the default position.
    What’s novel is that for a short period of time there was a “left” perspective with some small portion of mainstream religion.

    Father Coughlin existed way before this conference, though I suspect business would use modern public relations to make the same message more palatable….

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      Hiccups in the general status of religion as a defender of the status quo pop up all the time. The pharisees opposed the sadducees and the dominance of the temple worship. The Good Samaritan story is a shot at the sadducees who made enemies of the Samaritans because the Samaritans didn’t worship god’s house in Jerusalem.

      You noted Father Coughlin, but what about Father Drinan? I know the Vatican would like you to forget Drinan. Only one of the two stopped a President.

      Of course, MLK and Abernathy were attacked by black ministers because they pointed out the shortcomings of the black church. Those young people in King’s cadre weren’t exactly believers. Henry VIII broke up the hold of lavish religious orders. In the days of Rome, Julius Caesar and Augustus brought back the old time religion which required the rich to hire laborers and artisans for all kinds of official holidays, host entertainment, and pay taxes to the state.

      1. hunkerdown

        Hiccups, or changing of the guard? The Pharisees may have opposed temple worship, but replaced it with legalism, which boils down to just another form of idolatry.

  15. susan the other

    Jacobin. The Other Greek Left. The anticapitalist left: the Antarsyna. An interview with anticapitalist Panagiotis Sotiris. Interesting their Marxist pedigree from 1948 on, and thru the student movement primarily, but as usual it’s an alphabet soup. And all hat, no utopia. But interesting. It reminded me why I hate political philosophy. It’s even worse than politix. The anticapitalists espouse the thinking of one French polphilo named Louis Althusser who carried the idea of class warfare beyond the means of production to something that sounded like commodification of the working class. Sounds approximately correct to me. And supposedly Richard Wolff, whom I love, is influenced by Althusser’s thinking. But poor Althusser. Wiki says he was always a troubled soul and in 1970 managed to strangle his wife to death and land himself in a nuthouse. That’s what political philosophizing can do to you. On the other hand, there is Pragmatism.

    1. hunkerdown

      Wikipedia would say he’s a troubled soul — it’s an integral part of the bourgeois academic voice to pathologize the smallest dissidence.

      And that reminds me. I need to dig more into the Situationalists and what they were about — I get the sense they were on to something.

  16. ohmyheck

    Speigel says “Russia/Putin may offer $5 billion in urgently needed cash.”

    Telegraph says “Russia denies striking gas deal to net Greece €5bn”

    ZH cuts to the chase – “Russia (Gazprom) gives Greece money, which Greece uses to repay the IMF, which uses the Greek money to fund a loan to Kiev, which uses the IMF loan to pay Russia (Gazprom). A perfect circle.”

    If this is true, why wouldn’t Putin cough up 5 billion?

  17. LifelongLib

    Re the link on various types of trolling, is it “gas lighting” to agree that people have problems, but that an ideology that claims to address those problems is wrongheaded? No doubt many conservatives and neo-liberals genuinely think their ideas will make life better for people. Is it gas lighting if someone goes to their websites and disagrees? It sounds more like a term for shutting down uncomfortable criticism.

  18. VietnamVet

    A suggestion for the Ukraine/Russia links:

    173rd Airborne Brigade arrives in Ukraine for Fearless Guardian

    This is the 50th anniversary of my former unit’s deployment to Bien Hoa Airbase in South Vietnam. This signifies that the West’s seizure of Ukraine is progressing. History rhymes. US troops are, once again, flat ass in the middle of a civil war. Inevitability they do what they did in Vietnam; go looking for the bad guys and World War III will be on.

    1. Andrew Watts

      The Ukrainian civil war looks like it’s going to re-ignite again soon. The cease fire is barely holding as it is and according to some reports both sides are bringing in the heavy artillery to the restricted area. The only good news is that it’s only the far right-wing and oligarch-backed militias, errr “national guard”, who are involved in violations of the cease fire. There hasn’t been any indication that the Ukrainian military is participating.

      So… good news maybe?

  19. rich

    American Realty Investors Allege Fee-Driven Scheme by Schorsch

    Behind the accounting errors that knocked $4 billion off American Realty Capital Properties Inc.’s market value was a hidden scheme that generated more than $900 million in managers’ fees and bonuses, investors said in a lawsuit against the company.

    Ex-Chairman Nicholas Schorsch turned a small real estate investment trust into a massive engine of payments for himself and cronies, adding $20 billion of assets in two years and charging for services rendered by 47 entities he controlled, according to court documents filed this week.

    As American Realty Capital Properties, or ARCP, grew, Schorsch was in line for $94 million in incentives over five years, on top of $28 million in potential 2014 compensation.

    In their class action, begun in January, teachers’ pension funds that lost money on American Realty shares accused managers of manipulating cash-flow data to inflate the stock for takeovers. Those deals were “designed” to generate fees for the executives and didn’t deliver the promised benefits to the REIT or its shareholders, the funds said.

    “This complex and opaque web of interrelated companies is permeated with conflicts of interest and was used to transfer hundreds of millions of dollars to Schorsch-controlled entities in connection with the acquisitions,” they said, pointing to $55 million in fees from two big deals alone.

    Schorsch didn’t return messages seeking comment on the allegations. John Bacon, an American Realty spokesman, declined to comment.
    $917 Million

    After the October report, ARCP’s top five executives and most directors resigned or were fired.

    Schorsch has resigned and ARCP says it’s putting its house in order, ending deals with the web of companies he controlled. It said in March that some payments to Schorsch entities “warrant scrutiny” and the compensation committee should only have approved $120 million of a $222 million incentive plan, keyed to the company’s growth.

    ‘Accounting Tricks’

    Their scheme had been “breathtaking in both its breadth and magnitude” — “a collage of accounting tricks” designed to inflate cash flow and “line senior insiders’ pocketbooks,” investors said.

    Recurring expenses were classified as one-time costs, while executives delayed reporting many expenses, used so-called goodwill from acquisitions as a “slush fund” to absorb losses on property sales and devised unusual metrics to swell their bonuses by $100 million, the investors said in their complaint, citing a report by ARCP’s accountants.

    The fraudulent accounting was necessary to oil the fee engine, investors said: American Realty was borrowing money for acquisitions so it had to show good numbers, and it was using cash and stock for the acquisitions so the stock had to be propped up by rigging the numbers.
    ‘Overvalued’ Securities

    Mr.Conduit….how many others? Wonder how much wealth has been “modeled” off this game?

  20. words

    Anyone else despise General Electric fluorescent lights (those fcking TUBES)?; especially when there are two or more in a row? And, especially when someone from your local electric utility (PG&E in my case) proclaimed all was as it should be in the unit they screw into.

    (sorry, but I won’t be responding to any comments in a timely manner, I’m currently tied up, and still angry that incandescents have been banned. Incandescent lighting was not that huge electricity sucker (unaffordable TESLAS, computers and online gadgetry are, for just two) compared to the AFFORDABLE benefits they gave, when used wisely. Nonetheless, Incandescents were banned, despite: the far better light to read by when one does not live in a well solar lit mansion or penthouse; the mercury in those coiled “energy savers”; the constant on and off flickering of those energy savers in those apartments where one is not allowed to correct that problem; and, despite the unaffordability of LEDs (let alone: how deadly hot they get, last time I accidentally touched one; what toxins are involved in those; and what waste of ‘rare earths’ are involved; etcetera).)

  21. Jack

    Re: the article on trolling. ‘Gamergate’ is beyond pathetic at this point. Yeah, you keep on trolling, flamming and doxing, you losers. That’ll really show people like Sarkeesian that they shouldn’t dare to…engage in basic critical theory…eeyup…really fighting the good fight there…

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