Links 4/27/15

Dear patient readers,

I despise WordPress. Something has gone wrong with its image upload function which means I can’t control how the antidote renders. This started overnight and I am tearing my hair.

Rockaway resident finds a ‘beary’ cute surprise NJ (Fred A)

Very Angry Lady Successfully Files “Fuck This Court” Legal Brief Gawker (Carol B)

This Map Will Let You Know What Your State Can Cheer “We’re #1!” About Distractify (Chuck L)

Nepal Quake

Nepal earthquake: Death toll rises above 3,000 BBC

Nepal Reels Amid Fears of Aftershocks Wall Street Journal

Hongkonger cheats death and then rescues other climbers on Mount Everest in Nepal South China Morning Post

Lessons from Haiti, the tsunami and beyond: To help Nepal quake victims, send money, not stuff GlobalPost

When Bots Collude New Yorker (Dr. Kevin)

Security Experts Hack Teleoperated Surgical Robot MIT Technology Review (David L)

Amazon built an enterprise business out of nothing Business Insider (EM)

The Swiss Have Eliminated The Zero Lower Bound Forbes

The “War on Cash” Migrates to Switzerland Pater Tenebrarum (Chuck L)

Apology Or Not, Japanese Leader’s Address To Congress Next Week Will Be A No-Win for the U.S. Forbes (Bob H)

Fitch Downgrades Japan Credit Rating on Fiscal Worries Wall Street Journal

ECB Taper News Edward Hugh. A meaty, important piece.


Greece: The Noose Tightens Stathis Kouvelakis, Jacobin (Donald G). By a Syriza central committee member.

Eurozone officials seek to bypass Varoufakis to spur Greek talks Financial Times

The Rumble in Riga: How the EU Lost Patience With Varoufakis Bloomberg

Talking down the risk of Grexit is not the answer Financial Times. Important.

Greeks have afterthoughts but hope dies last Hurriyet

If Greece falls, no one wants their prints on the murder weapon Reuters


Russia is looking for allies, not deals, in Latin America Financial Times

Ukraine and pro-Russian separatists trade accusations as Minsk deal frays Reuters

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

NSA Failure – THIS Hacking Of The White House Was Not Really Severe Moon of Alabama

NSA veteran chief fears crippling cyber-attack on Western energy infrastructure Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, Telegraph

Imperial Collapse Watch

How to Turn a Nightmare Into a Fairy Tale, “40 Years Later, Will the End Games in Iraq and Afghanistan Follow the Vietnam Playbook? TomDispatch

Rising Police Aggression A Telling Indicator Of Our Societal Decline Chris Martenson (furzy mouse)

Drought Frames Economic Divide of Californians New York Times

Officials Block Food Deliveries to Tufts Students Protesting Fossil Fuel Investments Intercept


Former BP CEO Tony Hayward believes oil prices will rebound soon Business Insider

Oil-Fund Outflows Bode Ill for Prices Wall Street Journal

US banks push for bond trades delay Financial Times

Fed mulls perma-QE MacroBusiness

Mankiw Mendacity and Morality and his League of Failed Economists Bill Black

BofA ‘Hustle’ appeal tests Justice’s novel use of old S&L statute Alison Frankel, Reuters. Adrien: “BAC says that Rakoff is not impartial and should not preside over potential retrial. I would have liked the same interest in “impartiality” in the selection of the last two SEC Chairs, the last two SEC Heads of Enforcement..not to speak of the last two heads of the NY Fed..But hey, the revolving door does not exist (dixit Rodgin Cohen at Sullivan) and even if it were to exist, it would not affect the level of penalties imposed (dixit Khuzami) what should we be worried about??”

Class Warfare

Walter Brueggemann: Speaking Truth To Power, Confronting Today’s Pharaohs Jesse

Sovereignty in the Ancient Near East Michael Hudson.

The Neoconservative Counterrevolution Jacobin. A must read.

Antidote du jour (Leslie M). Story here.


See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. BobW

    Antidote looks good, maybe a little larger than usual. I wonder if the birdie can take off with his dinner, though.

      1. ambrit

        I agree. I’ve had a small falcon perched on my forearm once, (it belonged to an acquaintance, he hunted with it,) and those talons drew blood even when the bird was calm. There’s a reason falconers wear those huge leather gloves and arm protectors.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          I suspect that’s an escapee from London’s Wax Museum and we won’t see any blood, as wax celebrities have no blood.

        2. Lambert Strether

          Yes, that’s how I feel in the morning, too.

          Anyhow, I fixed or rather hacked the main page image. But yeah, something is wrong. Something a functional CMS should do is upload graphics for posts. Alas, WordPress is not that CMS.

            1. ambrit

              Thanks for this. Could it be a ‘tamed’ bird with talons filed down? This critter isn’t afraid of people, suggesting some degree of domestication. Maybe the topology of claws grasping around an arm is different from that of claws resting on a larger, flatter surface? You have me there, I would have expected blood.

        3. hidflect

          Aha.. As someone who lived 5 years in The Netherlands I can attest there is almost never any shadow in that cloud-blighted region.

        1. bob

          It has to be a domesticated bird that was set loose, as the story alludes. Those talons look like no match for a scalp. The trainer probably has some scars from trying to teach the bird how to do that without “digging in”, which would make the landing much easier for the bird. It would be much more painful– and I’d say photogenic– for the human. Half dozen sharp headwounds– lots of blood.

  2. Watt4Bob

    “The time when white men, whatever their motives, could tell Negroes what was or was not good for them, is now definitely and decidedly over. An era of bad manners is certainly begun.”
    Daniel Patrick Moynihan

    Well, if I can’t tell those Negroes what is good or bad for them, I’m taking my ball and going home!

    1. diptherio

      “The time when white men, whatever their motives, could tell Negroes what was or was not good for them, is now definitely and decidedly over. An era of bad manners is certainly begun ended.”

      There, fixed if for him.

      1. James Levy

        I’m always fascinated on how conservatives of all stripes bristle at a “nanny state” that “thinks it knows better what my interests are than I do” then turns around and tells women, blacks, and gays to conform to their established ideals and norms because “we know better than you what’s good for you.” And they can’t even imagine, no less see, how hypocritical that is!

        I think there is an unacknowledged and unacknowledgable war within many a Jewish mind between the universalist notions of the Enlightenment and the particularism of the Jewish identity and its epicenter is the neoconservative mind.

        1. Antifa

          Well said. The Left/Right divide that polarizes the Western world is identity politics, based on differing world views. The reactionary and authoritarian right deeply identifies with the patriarchal traditions of the Judeo-Christian religions. That’s why they can deride the “do-gooders” of the political Left as moronic dreamers or commies or liberal fascists, and yet feel divinely granted the right to tell others how to live and how to behave. They feel particularly entitled to rule over women and their sexuality.

          The core of the conservative mind is hierarchy and authority. They cannot think other than in terms of fitting themselves into a hierarchy of varying levels of authority, and they must necessarily place a divine being atop this human hierarchy.

          They have to. If there’s no God who created this planet and these humans, and who will one day return to judge everyone, then the hierarchy is just a bunch of humans, and humans are fallible. A constant complaint of conservatives is that liberals are “Godless” this or that, whereas conservatives consider the existence of a Supreme Being too obvious to question.

          God, YHWH, Jesus, the Creator of everything is atop their worldview, even if they don’t overtly say so. (Some of them make God their entire message,)

          In the West, the conservative mind is a religious mind is an authoritarian mind. If they got to know them better, they would find the Muslims of the Middle East to be brothers in this same patriarchal worldview. They are all children of Abraham.

          1. John Merryman

            The problem with a top down monotheism is the absolute is basis, not apex, so a spiritual absolute would be the essence from which form rises, not an ideal from which it falls. Fluctuations of the equilibrium.

            We view time as this narrative march to an enlightened future, while the ancients and aspects of eastern philosophies see it as cycles of expansion and contraction in an eternal present.
            Jesus is actually something of a throwback, as he tried to reset a corrupted system and Christianity’s real influence was largely due to the Greeks seeking to update their pantheistic religious model, without totally throwing out the natural regeneration inherent in it.
            God the father, son and holy ghost is effectively an analogy for past, present and future.
            The essence of life and consciousness moves to the future, as the forms it manifests, recede into the past.

          2. ex-PFC Chuck

            Bob Altemeyer, a professor of Social Psychology at the University of Manitoba, devoted much of his career to the study of the conservative, authoritarian mind set. John Dean (yes, that John Dean) used Altemeyer’s peer reviewed writings as a major source for his book Conservatives Without Conscience. About ten years ago, at Dean’s urging, Altemeyer wrote a summary of his findings for the general audience entitled The Authortarians. It is available for free download here at his faculty web page. He makes other of his publications available there as well, some free and some not.

        2. hunkerdown

          Neoliberalism isn’t immune, either. Maybe not even liberalism. If you strip all away all the cheesy tear-jerking self-promotion, isn’t the two-party game rooted in whether the position of the local overlord vis-a-vis the monarch-by-committee is as subject or body?

        3. different clue

          Would the same unacknowledged and unacknowledgeable war between the universalist notions of the Enlightenment and the particularism of the Black identity exist within the Black mind? If so, where would its epicenter be? If not, why not?
          Would the same unacknowledged and unacknowledgeable war between the universalist notions of the Enlightenment and the particularism of the Armenian identity exist within the Armenian mind? If so, where would its epicenter be? If not, why not?
          And etc. for the same unacknowledged and unacknowledgeable war between the universalist
          notions of the Enlightenment and the particularism of every ethnic identity there is. If so, where would their epicenters be? And if not, why not?

        4. susan the other

          I agree. The Jacobin article is a clear recent historical depiction of the conflict between freedom and equality. And the Jews felt it sharpest. Moynihan’s comment, at the end, that the ethnic group which would suffer the most from quotas would be the Jews because they only comprised 3% of the population was the best summary for this analysis of “politics.” Politix always comes down to rubber and road. The article really took me back. Viscerally.

  3. ilpalazzo

    There’s this Skyrim, a PC computer game that sold millions. It’s been released with a sort of SDK that allows for relatively easy way to add or modify content in the game, from weapons and hats to designing whole new adventures or quests. This sort of thing happens around many popular games greatly extending their life and reach as community of fans keep producing expansions (or just fixing bugs and keep old games playable on new systems) for ten years after release or more.
    No money is present in the system in part because IP concerns but the effect is people widely share tools and effects of they labor.

    Then Valve (a near monopolist in PC gaming digital distribution) introduces a marketplace to trade “mods” for real money. It took a couple of days to damage the community.

    1. Jack

      I’ve come to the conclusion that Valve is a libertarian hellhole. They take pride in it; their policy is that so long as you show up everyday and can show you’re actually working on *something*, they’ll pay you. Which is why the company has a long history of inane decisions reaching back over a decade: the Half-Life 2 episodic plan imploding, Left 4 Dead amounting to a 50 dollar demo for the sequel, Team Fortress 2 devolving into an unbalanced mess of new weapons and item farming, the Steam Machine program which I suspect will turn out to be a disaster etc. The lack of real coherent organizational structure means the company just blindly stumbles along from boondoggle to boondoggle, kept afloat by the fact that they essentially are PC gaming at this point and rolling in the money. Plenty of other companies make games just as good or even better than anything Valve has made, and they do it in a reasonable time-frame.

  4. mad as hell.

    This Map Will Let You Know What Your State Can Cheer “We’re #1!”
    Every time I avoid or run over a pot hole I yell USA USA! Beats swearing.

    1. Goyo Marquez

      When my kids first saw the Little Cesars bacon wrapped pizza commercial on TV they spontaneously began chanting, USA, USA, USA!

      1. OIFVet

        Wait a few years and asian carp will be Great Lakes contextual. Something that would always scream “Chicago” to me would be Da Mares past and present, and their merry band of aldercreatures. Perhaps a sprinkling of Lucas, Pritzkers, and assorted beneficiaries of Da Mares’ largess. Failing that, I think the tulips are quite lovely and bring my BP down just by looking at them.

      2. Lambert Strether

        Someone in my town started planting flowers in potholes. “And the next day the pothole was filled,” they say.

        Seems a shame to destroy that beautiful mosaic.

    2. ex-PFC Chuck

      My wife swears that the City of St. Paul “fixes” potholes with a mixture made up of molasses and potato chips.

  5. diptherio

    Re: Nepal Quake–send money, not stuff.

    Here’s an email I got from a friend this morning, who has also spent a lot of time in Nepal, regarding where we should be sending support:

    I hate the NGOs, especially after working in that world for 13 years. I have lost all trust in them.

    My friend…is an American expat in Kathmandu and understands very well about the problems of NGOs. He’s delivering funds directly to Nepalese people who are doing real work and have been for years – people who work with street children etc. My friend isn’t an NGO, but I completely trust him and have known him for over 15 years.

    Just by way of pointing out that donations made to large international non-profits are probably not the best way to offer your help. If anyone feels moved to send some money, and wants to know that it’s all going directly to Nepalis, you can email me at mahankalschool[at]


  6. grayslady

    The handsome eagle owl in the antidote is being referred to by the Dutch press as the knuffle-oehoe, or “cuddly owl”, as opposed to the terror-oehoe, which was the name given to the eagle owl that was attacking people in the village north of Amsterdam earlier this year. The name oehoe specifically refers to an eagle owl because of the “ooo-hoo” sound that it makes, but my Dutch friend tells me that oehoe is also used colloquially to refer to any owl, rather than the formal word for owl in Dutch, “uil”.

  7. Norman

    Don’t fret too much Eves, WordPress sucks about a lot of stuff. Who ever they intern certainly have an agenda, if not perhaps a new policy. I’ve been experiencing problems for the past month, probably because I dared question some wannabe sycophant, or perhaps one of those foreign first congress critters. Censorship is alive and well, here in internet land, though they will deny it.

  8. Spring Texan

    link to Rising Police Aggression A Telling Indicator Of Our Societal Decline does not work.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Would be interesting to read the link, but I imagine as the Roman Empire disintegrated, power devolved to local knights and local sheriffs. And this is the same process for all empires at the end.

      1. fresno dan

        Just another article that shows that police abuse is pervasive, constant, and condoned.
        Remarkably, what has happened to Freddie Gray in Baltimore has happened in Baltimore MULTIPLE times…the fact that it continues just shows there really is no difference in the parties – they both are corrupt and oppressive forces.

        1. Lambert Strether

          It didn’t just happen, Baltimore was sued for millions and lost, just as in the Berge Chicago torture case, the one that Chuy was so conspicuously silent on. At some point one concludes — and if I were subject to this treatment, I’m sure I would have concluded long ago — that it’s not a bug, but a feature.

  9. Goyo Marquez

    Loved this from Bill Black’s column:
    “It is actually “Economics 101” – and has been in writing for well over two centuries – that the CEOs’ lobbyists have never, and will never, secretly draft a “free trade” agreement. It is Economics 101 that they have always and will always secretly draft language that aids their corporate CEO clients at the expense of the public – that TPP must be another in a long, dismal line of Faux Trade agreements. That’s what theory, all human experience, and the leaked portions of the TPP draft all show. That doesn’t have “near unanimity” among economists, it has actual unanimity.”

    One of the areas where the left misses it, I think, is arguing against the free market, when what’s happening is the exact opposite of the free market.

      1. Goyo Marquez

        Well… I’d say that the government should set up and maintain markets and I don’t mind so much if the market isn’t alturistic so long as the benefit enures to the governed.

        1. Massinissa

          If a government has to ‘maintain’ a ‘free market’ then its not really a ‘free market’, is it?

          Most of us on NC think that ‘free market’ is an oxymoron that doesnt exist.

  10. Toni Gilpin

    Re the Nepal quake: my husband Gary Isaac serves on the U.S. Board of Doctors Without Borders (MSF) and I can say with confidence that this is one NGO that you can donate to and be sure your money will be used prudently and effectively. Here is info on how MSF is helping in Nepal. One thing I respect about MSF is that they do not take earmarked contributions — in other words, they do not capitalize on disasters for fundraising purposes and use the money they receive where it is most needed, so those areas of the world that are overlooked by the media still get their ongoing help. Their volunteers are among the most courageous and selfless people I have ever met. And incidentally they are also campaigning against the TPP, so that’s another good reason to support their work.

    1. OIFVet

      Good info. I have a friend who spent a year in Africa with Medecines Sans Frontieres providing medical care to very isolated villages, and she was certain that they kept their administrative costs to the bare minimum. Diptherio has a point about the present day reality of the NGO world, thankfully there are exceptions such as MSF. The Red Cross OTOH…

      1. Carla

        I won’t give blood to the Red Cross anymore. Unfortunately, they have a monopoly and there’s no other way to donate blood in my area, so I’m keeping my blood, even though I’d rather give it away.

        1. optimader

          Unfortunately, they have a monopoly and there’s no other way to donate blood in my area,
          I’d surprised you cant donate blood directly to a local Hospital wherever you live.
          highest level

          I’d guess most any hospital in Chicago would take a qualified blood donation

    2. Katiebird

      Can this comment of yours be shared on Facebook? I have many friends who want this information. I know others who don’t want anything posted at Facebook……

      1. Toni Gilpin

        Katiebird, if you’re asking if you can share what I said about MSF onto Facebook, yes please do. Please of course include the links for those who would like to donate, and here is a link to their general donation page. (Note their request about unrestricted giving there.) And you can be confident that MSF spends its money on the actual work that needs doing, as they receive extremely high ratings from charity watchdog groups.

        Don’t mean to sound like a commercial, but of course this is a pressing need and MSF is such a worthy organization, and I am also proud and pleased by what they are doing with their opposition to the TPP, a cause that many NC readers are correctly livid about. MSF is very reluctant to get involved in political lobbying so it was a major decision for them to enter this fight. So you can help the people in Nepal and also stand against the TPP with a contribution to MSF.

  11. rich

    So About That So-Called ‘Charity’….
    2015-04-27 07:55 by Karl Denninger

    I have to admit this is a pretty impressive tax return…. and belies a simple question: Why would anyone “donate” to such a “charity”?

    $144 million in direct contributions and grants; $149 million in total revenue (2013 numbers);

    of that $8.9 million went to grants paid (that is, about 5.9% of the funds that came in went to charitable causes.)

    The rest was either “absorbed” (that is, the “charity” still has it) or was paid out in things like executive compensation.

    You might be interested in knowing that the “charity” had 35 employees with reportable compensation (that is, over $100,000) and their top five combined had $2.6 million in direct (that is, cash) compensation and another $278,000 in benefits for approximately $3 million — or 1/3rd of all spending on “charitable causes”. On a grossed-up basis the charity spent $21.8 million on salaries and wages or approaching three times what it spent on “charity.”

    In fact this “charity” spent as much on travel ($8.4 million) and more on conferences and similar confabs ($9.2 million) as it did on actual grants for charitable purposes.

    What is this “charity”?

    Bill, Hillary and Chelsea Clintons so-called “charity” that was operating while Hillary was Secretary of State and continues to operate today.

    Again, if you were not trying to buy influence of some sort exactly why would you donate to a so-called “charity” that only spends 5.9% of the money received on actual charitable programs?

    Go ahead folks, tell me what possible motivation someone who is rich might have in “giving” to such a foundation when virtually none of your money is going to go to actual relief causes such as feeding poor people and helping disaster victims.

    Oh by the way, that’s not really much of a one-off either. In 2012 (the previous tax year) the ratio of spending on charitable programs to “contributions” was just under 15%.

    is it alms for the poor or palms(as in the shade)?

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Charity starts at home.

      Or perhaps even closer – at oneself.

      Gotta spend on oneself.

  12. Lambert Strether

    Sovereignty in the Ancient Near East Michael Hudson

    tl;dr: Conviviality, not slavery, built the pyramids.

    The article also seems to nod to Hirsch’s “Exit, Voice, and Loyalty” — one reason the pyramids couldn’t be built by slaves is that there was plenty of exit available in the form of land outside the state. Interestingly, for around 80% of the population at least, neo-liberalism has produced none of Hirsch’s posited alternatives. There’s a lot to be said for the neolithic era, it seems.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Gobekli Tepe at 10,000 BC was before, or in transition to, when people settled down as farmers.

      And yet, it was a permanent place people went, people from all over gathered, year after year.

      A very interesting place.

      Question 1: Were there slaves 10,000 BC, relating specifically to Gobekli Tepe?

      Question 2: If slaves did not build the pyramids in Egypt, what were Egyptian slaves doing at that time? Staying home with the mistresses?

      Question 3: Was China’s Great Wall built by slaves?

      Question 4: Regarding the military manual prof. Hudson mentioned in the interview, by one Tacticus (not Tacitus, as he clarified), of promising debt cancellation and slave emancipation to those to be conquered, can a modern nation attack another with that tactic? Why doesn’t China try that? Maybe North Korea can stop with making nuclear bombs and present that offer to South Korea?

      Question 5: With regular debt jubilee upon the coronation of a new king, did it mean that, upon hearing the old king being sick, no one was able to borrow, however urgent, however willing at any interest rate, from any lender?

  13. Sid Stuart

    Hi Yves,

    Sorry to hear about your WordPress problems. I’m an operations guy and there have been a lot of warnings about WordPress plugin security issues of late. Please make sure your support staff is keeping the plugins upgraded.


  14. EmilianoZ

    WordPress rage, LOL. I sometimes have Microsoft rages during which I want to smash my computer to pieces. I reckon Microsoft has probably shaved a few months off my life expectancy.

  15. cripes

    Regarding “Rising Police Aggression” I have to note the increasing militarization, zero-tolerance prosecution of petty crimes, targeting of young black men, warrantless searches, dope-dealing cops, torture squads operating with impunity, false evidence and testimony, drug war civil forfeitures, and West-Bank style encirclement of poor communities has been underway for at least thirty years.

    When I saw this evening black kids throwing rocks at armored carriers in the streets of Baltimore I couldn’t help but to picture Palestinian children.

    Only now we are seeing, via cellphone video, the tip of the state violence iceberg. For the foreseeable future, pundits will nash their teeth, police brass will deny the beatings and murders on a thousand videos, politicians will mumble about rule of law, inquiries will dissipate justice, courts and prosecutors will choreograph stage trials with pre-determined results–as in Ferguson’s grand jury and Rekia Boyd directed verdict in Chicago.

    Obama’s new quisling of an Attorney General will deliver lectures on restoring confidence in the police.
    And the beatings, taserings, shootings, chokings and spine-breakings will continue until morale improves.

    So please, let’s not hear again how poor people RIOTING and LOOTING in Baltimore is RUINING everything.

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