Links 4/28/15

Light Street falcons Baltimore Sun (frosty zoom)

Man’s first day of wearing Apple Watch to work not going as hoped Daily Mash

Letter from John Adams to Abigail Adams, post 12 May 1780 Massachusetts Historical Society (Bob H). On education.

Pope Francis Steps Up Campaign on Climate Change, to Conservatives’ Alarm New York Times (David L)

Experts Warn of “Cataclysmic” Changes as Planetary Temperatures Rise Truthout

Google Launches A Marketplace To Buy Patents From Interested Sellers TechCrunch (Chuck L)

The Sun newspaper launches anonymous Tor-based WikiLeaks-style SecureDrop BetaNews (Chuck L)

Chipotle becomes the first major US restaurant chain to ditch GMOs ars technica (Chuck L)

‘Two phases’ of childhood obesity suggested BBC

Nepal Quake

Nepal earthquake: what the thousands of victims share is that they are poor Guardian

Nepal earthquake: Eight million people affected, UN says BBC

US-Japan defence pact aims to check China Financial Times

Shanghai equities roar as China floats QE-lite Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, Telegraph

Simulection: How I’m testing the party’s 2015 manifestos on the video game Democracy 3 New Statesman (Chuck L)


Greek finance minister Yanis Varoufakis replaced as leader of debt talks Guardian (Peter J)

Tsipras reshuffles negotiating team to sideline Varoufakis Financial Times. A more negative spin than the Guardian. Also note this: “The moves come as senior Greek ministers have publicly acknowledged in recent days that they may be forced to accept economic measures they have been attempting to avoid, a sign they are preparing Greek voters for concessions.”

Greece moves to sideline Varoufakis after reform talks fiasco Reuters (furzy mouse)

Gov’t drafting multi-bill after overhauling negotiating team ekathimerini

University rectors and mayors stall over cash ekathimerini

Uncertainty Over Impact of a Default by Greece New York Times (furzy mouse)

The definitive Greece decision tree Teneo Intelligence. Reassign probabilities as you see fit!


The Rise of the Islamic State Ian Welsh (Carol B)

The War Nerd: Bentleys for Houthis! Pando

Norman Bailey responds: The trick is to get through to January 2017 in one piece Asia Times (furzy mouse)

The Middle East’s Pivot to Asia Foreign Policy. Bob H: “Ignore TPP pitch.”

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

US states take aim at NSA over warrantless surveillance BBC

NSA Whistleblowers Oppose Freedom Act, Endorse Long-Shot Bill US News

Imperial Collapse Watch

Decline in Science Spending Threatens Economy, Security: MIT NBC (David L)

Police State

Holder’s DOJ Sided With Police on Every Excessive-Force Case at Supreme Court New York Times (Judy B)

America’s Soft Police State American Thinker

Trade Traitors

Trans-Pacific Partnership Puts Harvard Law School Rivals on Opposite Sides, Again New York Times. Lori Wallach finally gets the credit she deserves.

Obama’s Big Trade Failure Dean Baker, Counterpunch (Carol B)

Warren Tells Obama To Put Up Or Shut Up On Trade Gaius Publius, Down with Tyranny (Brindle)

Top TPP Negotiators at Odds over Drug Patent, Intellectual Property JIJI Press (furzy mouse)

“Fast Track” Flouts the Constitution Thom Hartmann

Democrats’ free trade war is getting ugly, and Obama is bending the truth Salon (Brindle)

The New Hillary Counterpunch. Li: “Key sentence: ‘. . . the only thing she can do, when she and her advisors find it expedient to take a more liberal or populist turn, is display support for costless (to capitalists) social issues.’”

Jeb Bush Reveals What He Considers to be the ‘Best Part’ of the Obama Administration The Blaze (EM)

Wendell Potter: Allyson Schwartz’s new advocacy group is not what it appears Philly (Paul Tioxon). Lambert notes: “More looting by good Democrats.”

Take That, Christian Right — Americans Go To Church About As Much As Godless Europeans Alternet (Bob H)

Baltimore Protests

Closing Schools Is The Opposite Of Quelling Protests Kelsey Atherton

Baltimore Enlists National Guard and a Curfew to Fight Riots and Looting New York Times

Photos Of Violent Clashes Between Baltimore Protesters And Police Talking Points Memo

Baltimore riots: fires, looting and unrest as Freddie Gray police clashes unfurl – live Guardian< Baltimore Lambert

America’s foremost bankruptcy lawyer dies Financial Times

Air-Safety Experts Weigh Rules for Battery Cargo on Jets Wall Street Journal. Adrien: “Why do we need an international conference on this issue when the solution is so obvious? Until the industry can prove to everyone involved that its product are safe for travel, they certainly should not be carried in cargo or passenger planes. As simple as that.” See a bill along these lines: House Dem wants to ban lithium batteries from flights The Hill

The Reasons We Deny Luck Farnam Street (Bob H)

Antidote du jour. Doug Terpstra: “A soaring antidote: an egret taking off from a Las Vegas lake, captured by my brother, Philip, at about 0.00015 sec shutter speed.”


See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. Joel

    Nothing to do with the links (sorry)…but what ever happened to the mobile version of Naked Capitalism?

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      Thanks for asking. Not a mobile version per se, but fixing the regular version so it renders properly on mobile. For the tech minded, the CSS is screwed up.

      We are in the user testing phase and should be launching in the next two weeks.

  2. Bill Smith

    “Air-Safety Experts Weigh Rules for Battery Cargo on Jets”

    “they certainly should not be carried in cargo or passenger planes”

    Big difference between 1) using the batteries in the operation of the aircraft (being charged and discharged), 2) Carrying the batteries as cargo, 3) Passengers carrying a laptop with one of these batteries.

  3. Ned Ludd

    An offer from Gazprom was “ready for signatures”, and Greece walked away.

    [T]he Greek government in the end balked at the Gazprom offer (which was ready for signature on 23rd April 2015) following warnings from the EU Commission that its terms were contrary to European law – i.e., to the Third Energy Package.

    I was told by my source that the Greek government could not in the end bring itself to defy the EU Commission on this issue because of its fears that this would jeopardise its negotiations with the EU finance ministers at the Eurogroup meeting on the following day.

    Alexander Mercouris’s “source in Athens” may be a Russian diplomat or official at their embassy in Athens, who is aggravated by Greece’s incomprehensible negotiating strategy.

    There was no point in making overtures to Moscow if Greece was not prepared to follow them through. It was totally predictable that the EU authorities would object to whatever deal Greece made with Russia or with Gazprom. If Greece was not prepared to defy the EU authorities on this question, it should not have proceeded at all. As it is the Russians must be annoyed at being led up the garden path, while the European leaders have been antagonised and persuaded that Greece’s anti-austerity posture is ultimately a bluff.

    1. wbgonne

      Tsipras reshuffles negotiating team to sideline Varoufakis Financial Times. A more negative spin than the Guardian. Also note this: “The moves come as senior Greek ministers have publicly acknowledged in recent days that they may be forced to accept economic measures they have been attempting to avoid, a sign they are preparing Greek voters for concessions.”

      Syriza should just hand the keys to Golden Dawn and go home. This seems the inevitable result of Syriza’s hopeychangey bullshit adventure.

      1. ambrit

        This person wonders why Varoufakis is being sidelined now. What’s so special about the present time in the negotiations? Did Varoufakis ask to be given a fig leaf for some proposed massive caving in to Eurocrat demands? This way, Varoufakis doesn’t have to do the “falling on his sword” routine to preserve his ‘Progressive’ bona fides. (“They sidelined me so they could betray the ‘movement!'”)
        If I were a cynic, I might see the beginnings of an exit strategy being developed by key players in the “Moderate” camp in Greece. They now know that the Eurocrats are out for blood, and are positioning themselves for the post Syriza politics of Greece.
        Even though logic dictates a distasteful resolution to the present crisis in Greece, politically, Syriza is a spent force. The unfortunate message being sent is that being ‘Moderate’ is the ‘Kiss of Death’ when dealing with the Eurocrats. Unless the Eurocrats suddenly suffer an outbreak of sanity, expect extremism and cynicism to become the new normal in Europe.

        1. juliania

          An article by Henry Giroux at on Monday (The Perils of Being a Public Intellectual) makes some telling points, although the focus is on American intellectual, Cornell West. The article makes the point that history is open, not closed as some would prefer it.

          ekathimerini has an editorial today by Pantellis Boukalas that reaches a similar conclusion:

          “. . .It is unbearable for Greeks to watch the drama of the negotiations rendered (either simplistically or maliciously) as though it were a western, in which the others are Good and Greece is both the Bad and the Ugly. If this perception is actually reflective of the real situation, irrespective of whether it’s being played up a bit for the sake of the drama, then there is a very real fear that a union which solves its differences in High Noon style is no longer a union.”

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            Despite their rich cultural heritage and being the cradle of Western civilization, it’s interesting their writers, or maybe just this writer, use US metaphors and reference US movies in the writing.

            Maybe it’s just me, but that’s like playing in someone else’s court, forfeiting your own home court advantage.

            Perhaps we are still dominant. We haven’t lost it completely.

      2. Ned Ludd

        I think the majority of Syriza was always amendable to being the new PASOK. The path to power, of course, required pretending that a Syriza-led government would be fundamentally different (and to the left of) PASOK.

        Since the end goal was always a deal with the Troika, though, PASOK would have gotten a better deal than Varoufakis ever could. “If you can’t bite, better not show your teeth.” ~ Yiddish Proverb.

        According to the Financial Times article, it looks like Syriza is now prostrating itself before its Eurozone masters, hoping for a more amicable path to cutting a deal with the Troika.

    2. juliania

      On the other hand, if the Greek government is needing to educate its public on how the situation is unfolding, (see my previous comment below), it may be necessary to have the straitjacket clearly defined before they take the next step, whatever that step may be. It took Russia a long time pursuing all the options before they made their next move, and only with their people in nearly full accord did they do so. The risks to stability nationally speaking are dire these days – the wagons must be circled most carefully with as many factions as possible contained within.

  4. frosty zoom

    wow, just spent a little bit of time perusing this “blaze” linked to above (jebbie-obama nsa thumbs up).

    check, check – glenn beck!?!?

    i feel dirty.

  5. Jackrabbit

    Baltimore Protests

    I have a feeling that this is really about selling the trade deals.

    I saw a news report a few days ago where a black man in Baltimore said that the real problem is that they have no jobs. The statement from John Angelos of the Baltimore Oriels, whose family are big Democratic Party supporters, talks about jobs.

    Baltimore police had days to plan for this funeral. The state had also activated its emergency management team days before. To say that they botched the response would be too kind. The police response seems alternately timid and aggressive. A city-side curfew and closing schools seems excessive and counter-productive. Intimidation by National Guard troops with military vehicles is only likely to inflame the situation. Unverifiable/anonymous messages seem a little too convenient (Crips and Bloods preparing attacks on police, masked protester with sign that reads: “Good night for a Revolution”, etc.) See Lambert’s post at CorrenteWire for other examples of police and official failures that Lambert sums up as “Its a setup . . . its a trap!”

    Obama wants to sell his trade deals as job programs. Progressive critics will now be told not to make the perfect the enemy of the good.

    H O P

        1. wbgonne

          It’s not “an attempt to deflect.” It is an indictment of our cruel and heartless society and a suggestion that a society like that will reap what it sows. Are the Baltimore riots orchestrated to sell TPP? I doubt it. But TPP is part of the cruel and heartless culture that thinks it a positive to further impoverish those already crippled by neoliberal predations. That these black police-murders and the consequent unrest are happening under the first black president should humiliate and shame Obama and make him reconsider his views and approach but I very much doubt that will happen.

        2. winstonsmith

          A militarized police force trained to regard the poor as the enemy is a requisite for a society with extreme wealth inequality. If you want to connect riots to forced trade deals (strangely called “free trade” deals), a long but less narrowly conspiratorial chain of connections goes like this. Forced trade deals exacerbate wealth inequality, which requires greater militarization of the police to protect the wealthy from the poor, which causes more police cruelty to the poor (especially African American poor because police are not economically efficient), which causes the poor to perceive they are the enemy of the police, which causes more riots, which are responded to over-aggressively and incompetently, which has the (not necessarily intended by the incompetent but welcome by the wealthy) effect of solidifying the idea of the poor as the enemy of the police, which allows greater security for the wealthy.

          A cruel society yields angry people indeed.

            1. micky9finger

              A job guarantee program. Give everyone who wants one a job at a livable wage.
              I have recently thought this would be a solution to terrorism. Give them all jobs.

    1. Llewelyn Moss

      Yup. It’s a combination of No Jobs/Income stripping people of a way to a decent living. And Police Depts as a Profit Centers for cities/states preying on citizens for revenue. TPP will accelerate the madness. I don’t see this as targeting of blacks although they get the lionshare of the abuse. I see it as oppression of middle and lower classes. IMO This is just the next eruption since Ferguson and there will be more.

      1. Jackrabbit

        The issue I raised is the possibility that riots were deliberately prompted/worsened so as to highlight the problems in the inner city: especially the need for jobs.

        This topic is about crass political maneuvering, not about the effects of neoliberalism, of which NC-er’s are, by now, well aware. Wag the (police) dog, if you will.

        Just trying to focus the discussion.

        1. Llewelyn Moss

          Yeah. Like the recent riots in Oakland where it was proven police under-covers embedded themselves with protesters and inflamed the crowd leading to violent interactions with cops. I no longer underestimate this US Fascist Police State.

          1. James Levy

            What you also see is what conservative writer Francis Fukuyama sees as a continuing diminution of government competence and capability. The clowns who run things can either overreach with violence or sit on their hands. They have no positive capacity to make things better or solve problems. Fukuyama sees this as the result of wealthy individuals and corporations combining with ACLU types obsessed with rights using courts and lobbying to hamstring government and frustrate any independent power of the bureaucracy. When you have agencies that are so hobbled they can no longer attract quality individuals–you get place-holders. So you have politically micro-managed agencies filled with men and women of indifferent quality afraid of making decisions because if they do someone will howl and the heat will be on. The cops, like the CIA and NSA, are an extreme subset of this problem as they have not been captured by outside players but by their own staffs. The old notion that government agencies were responsible to the citizenry for excellence and frugality has been replaced by a maze of interests trying to grab these agencies for their own purposes, or tie them up in knots so they can’t do a damned thing. The police unions today have captured most police departments so they serve the cops, not the citizens.

            1. Llewelyn Moss

              I don’t have a link. It was the OWS Oakland protests I believe. I recall seeing online stories with pics of cops in the crowd in plain clothes and their official police portrait photos. And people who were there saying these cops were inciting the crowd to attack police and break shop windows, etc.

        2. jrs

          Only if most people believe trade deals = more jobs as opposed to trade deals = jobs go away. I’d find it hard to believe that they do, except in small sectors, but maybe.

    2. tongorad

      You might be right. A quote from the Dean Baker article:

      Much of the discussion now has the same sort of children’s table character that is usually shown toward issues that primarily concern working people. The rules about investment, about environmental and safety regulation, and patent and copyright protection are all right there front and center in the trade agreement. These affect the adults, aka big business. But issues about currency and trade deficits, that can mean millions of jobs and trillions in lost output over the next decade, well that’s kid stuff. The Obama administration will promise to set up a little table and do a little dance to humor the people who care about such things. But they must be kept out of the TPP

      One can see the little dance already…in comfortable shoes, no doubt.

    3. Jackrabbit

      Warren Tells Obama To Put Up Or Shut Up On Trade Gaius Publius, Down with Tyranny


      President Obama has been unusually aggressive with members of his own party on trade and his eagerly sought TPP deal . . . accusing members of his own party not of having misplaced priorities, but of actively working to deceive the public. Obama is rarely so severe even with his Republican opponents.

      As many have recently discovered, perhaps to their surprise, when Obama really wants something, he really tries to get it. . . . His robotic OFA forces are out in number, throwing up Obama’s disingenuous defense of this treaty in many progressive forums.

      Getting the trade deals done is a huge focus and effort by Obama and his Administration. Would they take advantage of a brewing crisis to get the trade deals done? Your answer depends on how cynical you’ve become and how cynical you’ve become depends on how much you’ve been paying attention.

      1. cnchal

        Would they take advantage of a brewing crisis to get the trade deals done?

        Of course, but I am just being cynical!

      2. Lambert Strether

        Make up your mind. First, you say “this is really about selling the trade deals.” Now, you say Obama will take advantage of a crisis. Of course he will, if he wants; he’s an opportunist. That doesn’t mean that he created the opportunity, which is what I take the (vague) “really about” to mean.

        Also, I just noticed you took my post out of context. Please don’t do that. I’m not summing up the entire crisis, but particular events within it.

    4. Lambert Strether

      I think this is one the more tenuous attempts to “connect dots” that I’ve seen. The obvious flaw is that Angelos didn’t talk about trade when he had “the means, the motive, and the opportunity.”

      And if Obama wove Angelos’s statement into some TPP spiel tomorrow, that wouldn’t prove Angelos’s intent.

      1. bruno marr

        My take on John Angelos comments were a bit different. He talks about the lack of jobs for the good folks of Baltimore, and other cities around the US. He attributes that to off-shoring, aided by a government disinterested in the welfare of its citizens. (What’s not to like, here.)

        I don’t think Angelos is in favor of any TPP. He wants good jobs for his city (and the fans of his fathers baseball club, maybe). I don’t see the riots as contrived. Folks are pissed and this is what happens. (That’s not to say some won’t attempt to call the riot a “parade” with themselves as the lead.)

        1. different clue

          I also got the feeling that Angelos disapproved of 30 years of mass jobicide throughout America and I suspect he would attribute that mass jobicide to Free Trade agreements like NAFTA and so forth. If I am right about that, then would Angelos extend his rejection to cover the current Obamatrade proposals if someone he knew were to present Obamatrade to him as the vehicle for yet more jobicide? Would it pay for someone in a position to reach Angelos to try doing so and making Angelos aware of the mass jobicidal potential of Obamatrade? If he became concerned about that, he might oppose TPP/TTIP and weaponise his opposition and disseminate his weaponised opposition to a whole group of people ( TV-watching sports fans) that the Left will never even reach.

      2. Jackrabbit

        Yes, Angelo talks about more than trade and notably bashes off-shoring. It seems to me that in many people’s minds, the blame will fall mostly on Republicans. Despite the fact that NAFTA was signed into law by Clinton, most people blame Republicans for wealthy/corporate-friendly policies like off-shoring and lowering taxes. His family are also wealthy Democrats who supported Obama. But I can’t say with any certainty that his remarks are not genuine.

        Anyhow, JOBS! is how trade deals get sold to the public. And no one needs jobs more than inner city people who are desperate and angry.

        1. Lambert Strether

          No. You either have not read what Angelo said or you expect others not to check. Here is the statement.

          I take your claim that Angelos talks about “more than” trade to mean that Angelos does, in fact, talk about trade. In fact, Angeles does not talk about trade, and specifically does not talk about TPP, which he surely would do if your original claim were true.


          1. Jackrabbit

            I have read it. Here is the relevant part:

            …my greater source of personal concern, outrage and sympathy . . . is focused rather upon the past four-decade period during which an American political elite have shipped middle class and working class jobs away from Baltimore and cities and towns around the U.S. to third-world dictatorships like China and others, plunged tens of millions of good, hard-working Americans into economic devastation…”

            This references ‘off-shoring’ – moving jobs overseas. It is made possible by trade deals that reduce tariffs and other barriers to trade.

            After our manufacturing moves offshore, we in the US must import what we used to produce ourselves. We also export more too (the benefits of free trade). But fundamentally, ‘off-shoring’ is made possible via trade policy.

      3. Jackrabbit

        And if Obama wove Angelos’s statement into some TPP spiel tomorrow, that wouldn’t prove Angelos’s intent.

        True. But in fact, Obama did speak of Ferguson today at a news conference with Japan’s Prime Minister Abe (in which the trade deal was, I believe, discussed) (transcript here). And Obama did talk about the economic issues of the inner city, hitting on some of the same points made by Angelos (good jobs – especially manufacturing jobs – no longer being available). Obama hinted at the need for investment and opportunity for the inner city saying it was an issue that we must address as a society and, without specifically mentioning his trade deals, he noted that: “there’s a bunch of my agenda that would make a difference right now in that.”


        Whether the bungled response to Baltimore tensions was deliberate or not is debatable. But whether Obama will use every opportunity to push his trade agenda is much less so.

        1. montanamaven

          Yes, you may be right about seizing any opportunity to push the idea that these trade agreements are job creators.

          1. Lambert Strether

            Well, Obama says lots of things. Seizing an opportunity (your current claim) isn’t the same as your initial claim that the riots were orchestrated to push TPP (which is what I think your “feeling” boiled down to.

            So now, after immense effort, we have reached the conclusion that Obama is an opportunist. I would never have guessed.

            1. Jackrabbit

              Yes, you’re right. My ‘feeling’ was wrong. It was formed from a combination of:

              a) Obama’s desire for a trade deal;

              b) the politicking and PR of how trade deals get sold;

              c) the resistance to the trade deals being mostly from the left;

              d) Obama’s history of side-lining the left with arguments like “don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good” (in this case, it seemed possible that the argument might be: don’t stand in the way of a inner-city jobs)

              e) The bungling of the response to the protests (despite days to prepare).

              But the more that I have looked into it, the more it seems like connecting inner-city or black jobs to trade deals is unrealistic. “Only 20 percent of Americans surveyed said they believe trade creates jobs, and just 17 percent believe it leads to bigger paychecks.”

              I would’ve reached that conclusion earlier but I had to be out much of the day.

      4. Jackrabbit

        Selling the trade deals involves playing up the economic and jobs benefits.


        From 5 ways trade is linked to our economic strength

        1. Made-in-America exports are a growing pillar of our 21st century economy:

        Last year, we broke the record in American exports for the fifth year in a row, selling $2.35 trillion in goods and services abroad – more than ever before.

        2. The more we sell abroad, the more jobs we support here at home:

        In fact, U.S. exports supported 11.7 million American jobs in 2014, an increase of 1.8 million since 2009.

        3. Those jobs tend to pay better wages than non-export related jobs:

        In fact, businesses that sell their products abroad pay up to 18% more than businesses that don’t.

        4. Ninety-five percent of the world’s potential consumers live outside our borders:

        To ensure our economy keeps pace with China and the rest of the world, we have to ensure our entrepreneurs have access to the fastest growing markets so they can expand here at home.

        5. High-standard trade helps level the playing field for American workers:

        Enforceable protections for our workers and environment in trade agreements like TPP will help our workers compete and win.

        1. Lambert Strether


          You’re saying that any Democrat that talks about jobs is selling TPP? There’s no evidence for that, and you present none. This is dumb, in fact, worse than dumb, because it makes the rest of our TPP work look as sloppy as this.

  6. Brooklin Bridge


    Tried posting this on the TPP thread but the moderation algo seems to have had issues.

    Below is a somewhat helpful map of “clickable” states showing which representatives/senators have taken positions for and against TPP, from “Progressive Democrats of America” (for what it’s worth from a group formed out of the presidential campaigns of Howard Dean and Dennis Kucinich ).

    Right now, however, I’m having trouble connecting to it.

    1. Oregoncharles

      I thought that contradiction in terms had expired, Maybe it has, and that’s why you can’t get the site.

    1. ambrit

      And the killing of ‘poor’ people would be seen as a form of “clipping coupons!” Talk about the financialization of everything!

    1. ambrit

      This is inadvertent gold. (Unless you planned it this way.) “Another good story about the Apple watch,” is a blank page. How true! As someone who has bought automobiles for under a thousand dollars and bought them back to life, out of necessity, I can only shake my head in wonder at this latest “tulip (Apple) mania.” If I had ten grand to blow on anything I wanted, it would be on something a lot more “valuable” than a Dick Tracey talking wristwatch.

      1. ambrit

        For an example see:

      2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        When you are told long hair is rad, you will wear your hair long.

        When you are told tattoos are popular, you will get some.

        When you are told everyone hip wears bell bottom jeans, you will too.

        When all your friends listen to rock, you do too.

        “Sir, you have trained your subjects well. They do as they are told. You have…total control. But we will continue to monitor the situation by introducing fashionable ideas periodically to see if they still follow orders. We will investigate every un-cool person.”

      3. optimader

        conceptually I don’t get it. what is the perceived advantage over an iphone?

        The smaller screen so one has to squint even more?
        The un-ergonomic necessity of having to raise your arm and rotate it at the elbow to screw around with it? Now a two hand operation rather than 1 hand w/ a conventional cellphone?
        The unpleasant sweat under it on your wrist as it heats up?

        Presumably the user has to take it off to recharge (how often/for how long after the battery is baked in)? I put my 4s iphone on a charger at night and whenever I’m driving because the battery is running of bullets.

        Can the user jump in a pool with it ?

        Just stupid. The day I bought my first flip phone, the watch went on the mantle at home where it still resides. Why would I want anything on my wrist if there is an existing alternative in my pocket anyway?
        Just don’t get it I guess.

        1. Joe

          It is a conspicuosly consumptive status device. Functionality has noticing to do with it. It’s the electronic equivalent of a Prada bag.

          If wearing Google glasses makes you a glasshole, what does wearing an Apple watch make you?

          …how about fruity wristed?

          1. Lambert Strether

            I don’t think so, for reasons that are surely obvious.

            (It’s almost as if Apple drew the lesson from “glasshole” and chose “Apple Watch” is something that’s really hard to counter-meme.)

          2. optimader

            Yes, I get that.

            But people that buy a Prada bag at least in the end get a decently functional (I presume) product. My point about the apple watch, and maybe I am just ignorant about it, is that in every respect it is seemingly redundant w/ an inferior functionality to the 4G phone that same person will invariably have w/them anyway.

            Hasn’t Google glass been a big Fail BTW? I’ve never seen one to date, which should be a good clue about market penetration.

            1. skippy

              Apple is becoming the ***Opti-Grab*** Sales and Marketing think tank of the hipster [wannabe nerds] economically terraformed artificial niche.

              Skippy…. “I make a pretty good living developing shit like this….. I’ve got to go… I have a truck load of shit to sell”


        2. Oregoncharles

          Everybody’s gone back to pocket watches. Odd.

          I went out and bought a watch (for $5) because I’m selling my time as a landscaper, and I got sick of hauling out my cell phone to check it – to say nothing of forgetting to charge the damn thing.

          a wristwatch is vastly more convenient for telling the time – but not, I would think, for operating a computer.

  7. Ned Ludd

    In Greece, it looks like the “pragmatic” side has won the day.

    Eurozone officials have seen signs of growing divisions between Mr Tsipras and Mr Varoufakis in recent weeks, and have been privately pressing for Mr Tsipras and his pragmatic deputy prime minister, Yannis Dragasakis, to become more involved in the bailout discussions.

    The socialist opposition Pasok party said the government was “emasculating Mr Varoufakis . . . and attempting to send a message to the Europeans and the IMF indicating political will for an agreement”. […]

    Eurozone officials were particularly heartened by the replacement of Mr Theocarakis by his predecessor, George Chouliarakis, a close ally of the pragmatic deputy prime minister, Mr Dragasakis.

    Already, “Athens will now ensure that visiting technical teams of bailout monitors are given better access to government ministries.” If any members of the left rump of Syriza balk at the coming deal with the Troika, Tsipras can likely replace them by bringing PASOK into the coalition government.

    1. trinity river

      I wrote to Chipotle about a year ago to ask them to select the rice they purchase so that it was free of arsenic, cadmium or mercury. They said they were not interested politely. Forget about it.

      This led me to believe they were more interested in marketing hype than food safety. There has been no concerted effort by the public to know which rice is safer. We do know that the rice grown on former cotton fields contains high amounts of these metals.

      Mercury Surprise: Rice Can Be Risky

      Arsenic in rice: how concerned should you be?

      Contamination: The toxic side of rice
      Recent Advances in the Measurement of Arsenic, Cadmium, and Mercury in Rice and Other Foods

      Rice Consumption and Urinary Arsenic Concentrations in U.S. Children

      The Trouble With Rice

      Grand Rapids, MI 18 April 2014
      Just within the past year, the NYTimes Health page ran an article including results of Consumer Reports testing, that according to that testing rice from India and Thailand had the lowest arsenic content among the samples tested, and rice from Texas and other southern states, and some samples from California, had the highest. Now you say the opposite. Looks as though we the consumer have a right to testing and labeling of all rice sold here.

    2. different clue

      If Chipotle’s dropping GMO inputs is meant to suggest greater chemical safety, it may be marketing rhetoric.
      But if GMOs are understood as a separate free-standing extortion-facilitation tool in the hands of criminal enterprises like Monsanto, then going GMO free means reducing the flow of money and power to criminal enterprises like Monsanto. So going GMO-free is worthwhile in itself for that reason.

      Also, I note somebody in that twitter thread sneering at Global Research as researching things like “chemtrails” and the “New World Order” and therefor having nothing credible to say about herbicide use before and after GMO crop rollouts. But I notice the sneermongers didn’t mention finding anything wrong with the article itself that the Chipotle person linked to. . . . about herbicide use going up in the context of GMO crop rollouts. Is there any reason to think that article is incorrect?

  8. Dick

    On reddit, someone made the suggestion that we should start calling the TPP “ObamaTrade” so that the right will oppose it.

  9. Reichstagsbrandverordnung

    Cassandra Fairbanks, who is there driving around, says the fire [singular] in Baltimore was nowhere near the demonstrations and happened to be in an unoccupied building under construction. So how do we get the 400,000 traditional long-hot-summer photos backlighting strapping bucks against leaping flames?

    Who are all these plucky unconscious officers with serious injuries including broken bones? Betcha “serious injuries including broken bones” will go into the horseshit canon with that Boston Marathon howler, “pulling victims out of the rubble.”

    The frickin National Guard? What kind of timmies are these cops? The sane response to this situation, dating back to the Long Hot Summer, was to substitute streetsweepers for police presence. And how perverse does a cop have to be to kill another arrestee when global public attention is focused on extrajudicial killings by US police? Over and over.

    Gordon Duff views Jade Helm not as a New World Order takeover but as a provocation: put lots of ham-handed green grunts in the face of agitated gun nuts and elicit a skirmish (or better yet, some Andreas Strassmeir style ‘terror’.)

    This smells like a national policy of provocation to justify militarized repression.

  10. Uncle Bruno

    Could be sidelining Varoufakis is a concession in lieu of policy since these things are mostly about public displays of dominance.

    1. jrs

      meh, not horrible but not great either. For character flaws to be the a factor in problems implies a fairly peaceful and affluent state of human existence, it’s got nothing to do with dying in a Tsunami or other less favorable circumstances, things like that will make it irrelevant in comparison, like all the dead people in Hamlet.

      But in that fairly peaceful state character flaws can bring on trouble, but character itself originally arose from various things (childhood experience for one). Was anyone actually the original cause of their tragic flaw? At worst they failed to overcome it.

      “We’re led to believe that we’re responsible for outcomes not process, when in fact just the opposite is true.”

      Yes (except if the outcome was actually forseeable – a case of bad faith).

      “We are culturally conditioned to deny the role of luck because of its impact on our search for meaning.”

      The meaning is in the prior quote, the meaning is in the action. Frankl was an existentialist, now wasn’t he?

  11. Paul Tioxon

    I watched live on the ground reporting on cable last night. CNN, MSNBC, all had reporters on the street talking to all kinds of people. East and West Baltimore all had their share of violence and destruction, but East Baltimore seemed to be the worse off. That’s because before the riot, it was the worse off. The most dramatic thing I saw was a lone Black man, a Viet Nam war vet, a 30 year lifer and retired sarge from the Army, who stood between a phalanx of riot shielded cops and taunting rioters in the middle of the night. He identified himself by name, personal history, and said he was there to get the trouble makers to show some respect and back off. He identified himself as an American, not a black or white, male or female. He was fearless.

    Here is some clue, in addition to “THE WIRE” or the even more gut wrenching “THE CORNER” that reveals the marrow of the bone of Baltimore’s descent into hell.

    Too poor for pop culture
    Where I live in East Baltimore, everything looks like “The Wire” and nobody cares what a “selfie” is

    ““A yo, Michelle was gonna beat on Barack for taking dat selfie with dat chick at the Mandela wake! Whateva da fuk a selfie is! What’s a selfie, some type of bailout?” yelled Dontay from the kitchen, dumping Utz chips into a cracked flowery bowl. I was placing cubes into all of our cups and equally distributing the vodka like, “Some for you and some for you …”

    “What the fuck is a selfie?” said Miss Sheryl.

    “When a stupid person with a smartphone flicks themselves and looks at it,” I said to the room. She replied with a raised eyebrow, “Oh?”

    It’s amazing how the news seems so instant to most from my generation with our iPhones, Wi-Fi, tablets and iPads, but actually it isn’t. The idea of information being class-based as well became evident to me when I watched my friends talk about a weeks-old story as if it happened yesterday.”

    Wallerstein in his many interviews during the financial collapsed was ofter questioned over and over about what would come next. After his stock conclusions based on a lifetime of scholarship and analysis he said one time, that after all, the people can just revolt. That is an option that has happened. Don’t expect to know when or where. Just expect it as part of the over all volatility of a destabilized social order with nothing in the surrounding vicinity growing to replace it.

    1. cripes

      @Paul Tioxin:

      If I were you, I would avoid rendering black american dialogue into written form.
      It’s not working. At all.

      1. Paul Tioxon

        If you were me, you would know what you are talking about. Take your complaints up with the writer. It is an excerpt from the linked article.

  12. Jackrabbit

    The Rise of the Islamic State Ian Welsh

    There was a Moon of Alabama discussion regarding the same Der Spiegel story. Some commentators questioned the reporting. It took place in an ‘open thread’ so there’s a lot of extraneous material. Here are some of the relevant comments:

    That piece again raises the false claim of cooperation between the Syrian government and IS. The Syrian state was all the time mostly on the defensive. It fought only those who attacked it. When IS left the Syrian army alone that army did not attack IS because of lack of available menpower. It was busy enough with other lunatics who attacked it.

    – b (#1)


    sorry b cannot swallow a 100% evidence free treatise whose only proof is an allegedly real document produced by a dead man. Smells like, sounds like, looks like the hitler diaries all over again.
    I don’t trust Spiegel or the little ‘kickers’ in this or the language e.g. “IS are the world’s biggest terrorist army” – is just more of the same old same old. e.g.this kicker: that some of the papers were written on an old letterhead from the dead al-Khlifawi’s former ministry used more than a decade after he got flicked from his job. It just reeks of a set up.

    There are questions to be asked about the formation of Daesh/isis. Indeed if they are one entity or a coalition of different entities with a common agenda, but an unsupported document such as this whose release just happens to time nicely to let amerika off the hook for its complicity in the creation of IS right when the IS war powers legislation is in the middle of congress examination, deserves to be treated with caution.

    The only thing we know for sure is that IS is an inevitable consequence of amerikan, or fukasi, or USuk, or my preferred, whitefella imperialism.

    It suits the proponents of that imperialist mindset to send inquiring minds down rabbit holes of who (a prerequisite of the ‘who’ must be he/she cannot be tied to the invasion and subsequent colonisation) said what first to whom, who first did what to where and all the pointless bullshit the imperialists can drag up.

    The simple facts are as follows – without amerikan/Englander/French/Israeli interference in Syria/Iraq/Libya all those nations would be still secular, strong and sharing out resources with their citizens. In other words an anathema to the neoliberal fucks who want to lead humans up the garden path of superstition & fealty to the leadership of organised cults who can sell the most archaic, irrational ice boxes to eskimos.

    For the fucks in charge in whitefella land, this stuff is always about the money – all the rest is window dressing.

    – Debs is Dead (#29)


    There appears to be another concerted push under way for “humanitarian” intervention in Syria. Legislation is working its way through the Senate to exclude Assad from final negotiations. HRW has recently made claims about Assad and Chlorine Gas (even as reporters who seem off-message talk about the high rates of use of Chlorine gas by ISIS in Iraq). Der Spiegel posts a special report about Syrian gov’t contribution to the formation of ISIS. The UNSC may be considering condemning Syria. And Angelina Jolie makes an appeal to the UN for humanitarian relief for the Syrian refugees (yet what is the “humanitarian” solution that she claims the refugees are seeking?).

    – Rusty Pipes (#209)

    H O P

    1. Lambert Strether

      I disagree with Jackrabbit’s original argument; this dumbing down of it is just that: Dumb. The missing part is trade. Did you read it? Since you can’t add — it’s two, not three, and Angelos is critiquing the police state, not supporting it — I’d like to be sure of your reading skills. Sheesh.

      1. frosty zoom

        i think the fact that we’re at a point where these events could be directly linked is indicative of a society that’s pretty darn frazzled.

        i think the obvious answer is to blame putin, and ¿why hasn’t cnn talked about the crips-alqaeda pact yet?

  13. Jackrabbit

    File under you can’t be too cynical

    Obama-Netanyahu “Fallout” is Theater – Planned in 2009

    US and Israel attempting to establish feigned “diplomatic row” to justify “unilateral” Israeli attack on Iran.


    Note: I wrote of such suspicions at NC several times. I was unaware of the Brookings policy paper. It just never made sense to me that Obama would have the spine to buck the neocons/Israel. And the goings-on of the last few months (Congressional machinations, Obama’s much ballyhooed faux peace deal) smelt like kabuki.

    H O P

  14. Jackrabbit

    Obama-Netanyahu “Fallout” is Theater – Planned in 2009

    US and Israel attempting to establish feigned “diplomatic row” to justify “unilateral” Israeli attack on Iran.


    Note: I wrote of such suspicions at NC several times. I was unaware of the Brookings policy paper. It just never made sense to me that Obama would have the spine to buck the neocons/Israel. And the goings-on of the last few months (Congressional machinations, Obama’s much ballyhooed faux peace deal) smelt like kabuki.

    H O P

      1. Jackrabbit

        I first saw a link to Cartalucci’s site with this report on ZH (yeah, I know) but, the Brookings Report seemed legit (I downloaded that report from the Brookings site and it does appear to be genuine). It discusses many alternative scenarios but one of them is what I was suspecting (and which Cartalucci was warning about in his post). As I haven’t seen many express the same concerns, I was excited to see Cartalucci’s post – especially as the credibility of these concerns are supported by the Brookings paper.

        I just looked up Cartalucci on the web and see that he is controversial. In fact, it seems that “Tony Cartalucci” is a pen name (there is no such person). Still, he has been quoted and linked to on many sites. I’m not sure what to make of Cartalucci but what seems more important is that the Brookings paper appears to be genuine. I still haven’t even finished reading it.

  15. Vatch

    The Antidote reminds me of an anecdote about Bible translation that many others have also probably read about. When translating “white as snow” into African languages, translators are faced with the problem that many Africans have no experience of snow. So they change the text to “white as egret feathers”.

    1. optimader

      This is a good illustration of the more successful branding of Christian mythology vs Viking mythology.
      No snow, work the white feather angle.
      No frozen wilderness, go with fire and brimstone.

      The Christians were more flexible to meet the local standard to effect social control. Although the Christians expropriated the word Hel (pre copyright law era), Norse mythology had the underworld as a cold place , eponymously named after a frozen dead woman, Hel who was loosely the facilities manager analog to Satan, w/o the necessarily evil presentation.

      The fundamentally successful Christian PsyOps angle was the flexibility when working the stick and carrot thingy (yes things may suck here and now, but you can expect things to get a whole lot worse if you don’t conform). The Norse Hel was just an inevitable place, no good/evil value judgments here. Nice to know, but not very effective basis for controlling a populations behavior.
      Despite the fact that Norse Hel lent its name toHell, the Christian afterlife world where “sinners” are eternally tormented, the Germanic concept of Hel was morally neutral. For one thing, the idea of morality in the monotheistic sense (that is, an allegedly universally applicable standard of “good” and “evil,” rather a perspectival, personal standard of “good” and “bad”) was alien to the indigenous worldview of the Norse and other Germanic peoples. The word “Hel” simply means “hidden/concealed,”[1] referring to the invisible character of the realm and the palpable absence left behind in the wake of the departed. For another thing, everyone went to Hel upon death; one’s actions in life had little to nothing to do with one’s lot thereafter.

    1. cwaltz

      Someone should tell Rand Paul he sounds like a plutocrat. How dare the people who pay taxes that cover the cost of police forces demand accountability at some point! Don’t they know they’re just wallets?

  16. efschumacher

    The Counterpunch on Hillary brings to mind a Bumper Sticker:

    “Hillary in ’16:
    She’s Tan, Rested and Ready”

  17. barrisj

    With all the videos that have surfaced the past year showing police brutality, it is utterly dumbfounding exactly how police violence is so casually meted out, whether the suspect victim is young, old, male, or female, but always black. In fact, one can argue that violence is the default position taken by the cops when engaging black people for whatever cause – or lack of cause – as it suits them. And it’s just not white cops who react in this manner, but anyone of any colour who wears a badge takes the same course of action: verbal then physical violence as simply a reflexive – or trained – response. Courts have allowed police enormous latitude in “taking down” those who the cops suspect of some sort of misdemeanour or felony, with the doctrine of “reasonable’ or “probable” cause being stretched to its legal limits. And it’s only when evidence is just so overwhelmingly against a cop or a police department regarding criminal violence is there any form of “justice” to the victim(s). Baltimore is a case in point, where the city has paid out several millions in damages won by people – the bulk of whom are African-American – since 2011 as a consequence of a lawless PD which seems refractory to any “reforms” no matter who sits on the City Council or Mayor’s chair. And the payouts haven’t changed cops’ attitudes to Baltimore’s citizens, as the circumstances surrounding Freddie Gray’s death have shown. The fallback position for police remains shoot or beat up first, question later. Successful lawsuits are treated as the cost of doing (police) business, and to the extent that municipalities will keep paying out without changing cop culture ensures that this situation is immutable to change.

  18. Edward Qubain

    The problem with the reporting on the EU-Greek negotiations is that it fails to explain the details of the disagreements. Everything is reduced to a personality clash between Strouble and Verifaukas. Why is the EU against the Greek plan and vice versa? What are the merits of each plan? Does the EU want to fix Greece’s economy or punish Greece? What are the political stakes for each side that might influence their actions? Why haven’t the banks that caused this crisis been a target? Are the characterizations of Greece fair or accurate?

    1. bruno marr

      …read the archives of the NC Blog and you’ll be able to answer all of those questions.

    2. Yves Smith Post author

      If you had read our posts, the details WERE in the media and we’ve been recounting them. And we’ve been pretty pissed about how Greece was going about this too. It was guaranteed to annoy the creditors to no productive end.

      Basically, the Eurogroup had a substantive complaint, which was that Varoufakis was ignoring the process that Greece had agreed to to get a deal done. They signed a memo which said: to get the money, you need to submit detailed reforms, which get reviewed and approved (as in negotiated) by the Troika and then approved by the Eurogroup. The Eurogroup was not a rubber stamp but it does require unanimous Eurogroup approval to release the funds, so having the Eurogroup give final approval was procedurally necessary plus meant that the Troika would review the reform proposals with the concern of various Eurogroup members in mind.

      Greece has repeatedly done everything but do what it agreed to do. It kept going directly to the Eurogroup with its reform proposals. These are really busy senior guys who lack the time and expertise to go deep into the weeds. And the Troika said the reforms were too sketchy for them to evaluate them, yet Greece was very slow to flesh them out, and then kept changing what reforms they wanted, as opposed to fleshing out the ones they submitted. They also tried end running the process by having Tsipras go repeatedly to Merkel.

      And when these meeting take place with Varoufakis, he compounds the problem by giving lectures to the Eurogroup, when they don’t want to be hearing from his at all on this topic. They has said, and Greece agreed, that they were to get an approved package from the Troika and make up their minds, and not get plans and hear sales pitches from Varoufakis.

      There’s more chapters and detail, but that’s the broad outline re Varoufakis.

      1. Edward Qubain

        It seems to me the basic question is whether the Eurogroup plan is feasible for Greece. The question of whether Verifaukis has followed proper negotiating etiquette should be a secondary issue. It may not be but it should be. (And I am not criticizing this blog– your posts on this were quite interesting.) The EU is going to strangle Greece because Verifaukis doesn’t defer enough? If they were more serious, they would listen to what Verifaukis, a well regarded economist, has to say, and then offer a substantive critique of his analysis, if it is flawed. It may be the case that “These are really busy senior guys who lack the time and expertise to go deep into the weeds” but how is Greece’s economy supposed to be improved without going deep into the weeds? Can good policy ever come from “really busy senior guys who lack the time and expertise to go deep into the weeds”?

        I have not seen a comparison of the analysis of both sides in the press , where they agree or disagree, and what facts support each side. Both sides have a plan, but what is the theory behind the plan? This may have been reported and I missed it, but how much prominence is it given in general? According to Verifaukis, austerity could not possibly work in Greece. Why is such an objection, based on a tangible analysis, not more prominent in the press discussion? Why is the long history of the failure of austerity not a more important topic for the press? (I would be curious to know what economic hit man Jim Perkins thinks of the EU plan for Greece.)

        Does the press really explain the agendas of the various actors in this drama? As this blog has noted there is a political dimension. Some EU politicians stand to lose face if the austerity program is abandoned. There is also the question of the agenda and priorities of the EU bureaucrats– what really matters for them? Helping the banking industry? Why have the banks gotten away with murder? And as this blog has speculated, might they want to wreck Syriza?

  19. Oregoncharles

    Elizabeth Warren, from “Fast Track Flouts the Constitution:”

    “- [we] are prohibited by law from discussing the specifics of that text in public.”

    Sorry, but she’s lying. Members of Congress cannot be prohibited from discussing ANYTHING. They have absolute constitutional immunity for anything they say on the floor of Congress. She could walk out of the viewing room with the text, then put it in the Congressional Record – all of it – as Gravel did years ago, without being thrown in the brig or exiled to Moscow. What are they going to do, scuffle with her?

    Wyden’s been doing the same thing. He admitted to me in a town hall that he had that immunity, but chose not to face the consequences in the Senate. In other words, this is a problem of …spine. Sorry to say this about so many people’s heroine, but she’s lying to cover up her lack of courage.

    In the end, she’s just a Democrat.

    1. James Levy

      I heard one senator say that if they talked about the NSA activities viz. spying on Americans, he’d be arrested. Even if he wasn’t, what they’d do is call him out of order and remove him from the podium (they can do that as the Constitution gives the Congress complete power to write its own rules and discipline its own members) and/or they would immediately go into executive session the way Dan Inouye did during Iran-Contra, which would mean that anything said would be secret.

      I doubt they would actually kill you for saying the wrong thing, but they’d yank your security clearance, censure you, and throw you off any meaningful committees. In other words, you’d be committing political and professional suicide. America has no tradition of public officials falling on their swords in such a manner. Even men as decent as Proxmire and McGovern never had the guts to go that far.

  20. hidflect

    Hillary seems to have a unique organizational structure, starting from the top down:

    Peons (voters)

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