Links 5/29/15

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Scientists believe the secret to energy storage may be in a cigarette butt Business Insider (David L)

Analysis: Understanding Tesla’s Potemkin Swap Station Daily Kanban (MT)

Solar-Powered “Capsule” Lets You Live Off-the-Grid Anywhere in the World Walden Labs (Chuck L)

The basic truth about broadband that cable companies want to hide Vox. Reslic, from article: “The American cities that are delivering best-in-the-world speeds at bargain prices are precisely the cities that aren’t relying on Verizon, AT&T, Comcast, Time-Warner, etc. to run their infrastructure.”

Major construction at North Korea rocket site, US institute says Associated Press (furzy mouse)

Shanghai Stocks Recover After Plunge Wall Street Journal

ECB fears ‘abrupt reversal’ for global assets on Fed tightening Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, Telegraph

Über diese Banken flossen die Fifa-Schmiergelder Blick. Identifies banks involved in FIFA scandal.

How Many Ways Can You Hide A Bribe? The Best Of The FIFA Indictment Gawker


ECB Says Long Greek Talks May Hurt Other Eurozone Borrowers Wall Street Journal

John Nash’s Game Theory and Greece Mohamed El-Erian, Bloomberg

PM speaks to Merkel, Hollande as lenders increase pressure ekathimerini

Greek exit from euro is ‘a potential’, says Lagarde Financial Times

Only Greece Can End Its ‘Groundhog Day’ Misery Bloomberg

Exclusive: Greece owes drugmakers $1.2 billion – and counting Reuters

Too big to jail?: Why does the UK legal system fail to prosecute bank fraud? Contributoria. From February, but still a fine piece.

Greek design picked for commemorative euro coin ekathimerini


Exclusive: Russia masses heavy firepower on border with Ukraine – witness Reuters. Rather weird to call a Reuters reporter a witness.


U.S. Pressures Nobel Committee to Declare Ukraine’s President a Peace Prize Nominee George Washington


Syria’s Al Qaeda chief says no plans to attack the West Christian Science Monitor

ISIS Alternates Stick and Carrot to Control Palmyra New York Times

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

Social media apps are tracking your location in shocking detail Business Insider (David L)

U.N. Special Rapporteur: Governments Must Not “Backdoor” Encryption for Spying

Terrorist Risks by City, According to Actual Data Bruce Schnier

U.S. Accuses Ex-House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert of Paying to Hide ‘Misconduct‘ New York Times

Administration asks judge to toss House health care suit Associated Press (furzy mouse)

The Religious Bigotry of Rick Santorum Talk2Action (Chuck L)

Is Progressivism in the Eye of the Beholder? Joe Firestone, New Economic Persepctives

Teens are fleeing religion like never before: Massive new study exposes religion’s decline Raw Story (Chuck L)

Christiegate: Christie Goes on Expletive-Filled Rant in Front of Large Crowd Daily Kos (Judy B). And it sure looks like it was provoked by David Sirota’s reporting!

Revealed: Energy Transfer Partners’ ‘Pipeline-for-Prostitute’ Landman Steve Horn and David Goodner. Holy moley.

Orange County prosecutor misconduct: Judge Goethals takes district attorney office off Scott Dekraai case Slate (Chuck L)

Political Fights Throw Sand in Gears of S.E.C. New York Times

Finance must blow the whistle on foul play Gillian Tett, Financial Times. Aiee, Tett needs to go beyond apple pie and motherhood. The main whistleblower in this case, Eric Ben-Artzi, probably will not get adequate compensation given the weak fines for the loss of his finance career.

Class Warfare

The Federal Reserve Board Is Much More Likely to Take Your Job Than a Robot, so Naturally the Media Are Talking About Robots Dean Baker. Touche!

Financial Volatility is the New Normal for Most American Households Washington Monthly (reslic) CEPR (Lydia) FAIR ran this under a better title: Look, a Deficit!: How NPR Distracts You From Issues That Will Actually Affect Your Life

New Reality Show Exploits Poor Families, Makes Them Grovel Over the Thing They Need Most Alternet

Biker Gangs, Tamir Rice, And The Rise Of White Fragility Talking Pointe Memo (Judy B)

The Challenge of Journalism Is to Survive in the Pressure Cooker of Plutocracy Bill Moyers

Antidote du jour (Lance N). Gerald de Nerval had a lobster he’d take around Paris using a ribbon as a leash (knowing how long lobsters live out of the ocean, he must have had a series). His explanation?

Why should a lobster be any more ridiculous than a dog? Or a cat, or a gazelle, or a lion, or any other animal that one chooses to take for a walk? I have a liking for lobsters. They are peaceful, serious creatures. They know the secrets of the sea, they don’t bark, and they don’t gobble up your monadic privacy like dogs do. And Goethe had an aversion to dogs, and he wasn’t mad!

Crayfish links

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. Michael Robinson

    The UK legal system doesn’t prosecute bank fraud for the same reason the UK legal system doesn’t prosecute child rape rings; i.e., the UK criminal justice system exists to protect the people who run things from the people who don’t, not the other way around.

    1. hunkerdown

      There is no institution that does not prioritize its ongoing existence over its ostensible mission. Maslow’s hierarchy of basic needs apparently applies to emergent sentience too.

  2. crowman

    Somehow reading so many blog posts,news articles have not made me intelligent.I ,might as well give it up and face real world as it is.
    The ruling elites always have ace up their sleeves
    The Syria debacle and rise of ISIS,Ukraine crisis and russia’s reactions,USA-China sabre rattling over man made islands,the rising police state in USA and hence rest of the world,Chinese development bank,silk road etc etc
    The announcements by likes of NATO generals and chinese media about impending war makes me nervous
    May be elites are planning for war after financial collapse or may be they just want to bring complete police state in world to reduce population

    1. Ray Phenicie

      The major strategy of the upper echelon is to keep the masses scrambling for a living. If we define poverty in terms of US dollars a realistic appraisal would put that at about $46k/yr for a family of four. Approximately 35% of the American population lives under that level. Poverty should not be defined by being forced into a degrading struggle for existence. However, the US has not quite reached world standards where say 60% or more of the population would be living under the poverty level. But the current regime is working to attain those levels and Mrs. Clinton will no doubt further the new liberal philosophy that entails imposing harsh poverty on more parts of the population every year.

      The other factor that operates so pervasively as to almost induce nausea is the philosophical schooling that takes place in the main stream press. This ceaseless flow of derogatory arguments runs along the lines that those who have millions in accumulated wealth are deserving of more wealth but those who struggle on less than poverty level are undeserving of receiving anything to assist them. According to this “those who have plenty of plenty deserve plenty more” lending a helping hand by the use of government policy is akin to swearing in vain against the Holy Trinity. This philosophy is seen brazenly-just to give one example, in actions taken by the US Congress to place harsh limits on food stamp recipients. The solutions at hand to reduce poverty are never even discussed. In terms of Modern Money Theory we must have a transfer of funds from the private sector to the public sector.

      Money could be dropped on the private sector by taking these steps immediately:
      Redefine the poverty level to $17k/yr for a single person
      Raising the minimum wage to around $11.50/hr
      Raising social security benefits to always keep the recipient above the poverty level defined above.
      Repudiate the deadly out of pocket costs associated with Medicare-Part A deductibles, enrollment costs of Part B, deductibles and out of pocket and Part D copays.
      There are other steps to be taken.
      Accept the role of the government in furthering the well being of all citizens, not just the all ready well heeled few. Wynne Godley, one of the grandfathers of Modern Money Theory said it best:

      I think that the central government of any sovereign state ought to be striving all the time to determine the optimum overall level of public provision, the correct overall burden of taxation, the correct allocation of total expenditures between competing requirements and the just distribution of the tax burden. It must also determine the extent to which any gap between expenditure and taxation is financed by making a draft on the central bank and how much it is financed by borrowing and on what terms. The way in which governments decide all these (and some other) issues, and the quality of leadership which they can deploy, will, in interaction with the decisions of individuals, corporations and foreigners, determine such things as interest rates, the exchange rate, the inflation rate, the growth rate and the unemployment rate. It will also profoundly influence the distribution of income and wealth not only between individuals but between whole regions, assisting, one hopes, those adversely affected by structural change.

  3. timbers

    “U.S. Pressures Nobel Committee to Declare Ukraine’s President a Peace Prize Nominee”

    If Obama can win a Noble Peace prize and go on to bomb more nations than Adolph Hitler, why can’t a tool of the Nazi freaks we installed in Kiev with an illegal coup win one for promoting genocide in Ukraine?

  4. Paul Jonker-Hoffrén

    The Finnish broadcaster YLE reported earlier today that a civil servant close to the negotiations said that Greece WILL BE RESCUED, no matter what. Some kind of fundamental decision apparently has been taken about this.

    The article as translated by me:

    Grexit cancelled: Greece will get all support/funding

    A source close to the creditor institutions tells YLE that Greece will not be allowed to fall. The creditors took a fundamental decision about this.

    The Greek debt crisis will not lead to a Grexit, if the EU-countries accept the creditors’ views on helping Greece. A source close to the creditors told this assessment to Finnish YLE broadcaster.

    The source told YLE, that the creditor institutions IMF, European Commission and ECB made a fundamental decision not to allow Greece to fail.

    According to the information available to YLE there has not been decided upon a solution regarding the precise reforms demanded from Greece.

    – Greece will be saved, however the situation was in the past, the source told.

    The issue will probably be decided upon next week.

    No deal has been done with Greece. The source told that the institutions promise that Greece will get its money and will have stabilized its economy by the end of June.This would mean that Greece does not have to default on loans nor has to leave from the Euro.

    The Commission’s Jean-Claude Juncker stated earlier, that Greece will be kept in the Euro and the EU.

    The IMF announced yesterday, that Greece can pay its repayments to the IMF back at the end of June, so it doesn’t get into trouble with payments. Greece and the creditors are negotiating about the conditions under which Greece would receive the final parts of the current loan.

    The Eurozone’s finance ministers decide about the disimbursing this final tranche.

    Greece has received 240 billion euros in loans from EU-countries. No negotiations about a third bail-out package have started, but Greece might nevertheless need this.

    1. craazyman

      That can’t be true since Game Theory says it can’t happen. bowahahahahahaha

      Another Great Call in links today . . . this one by Mr. El-Erian. Oh my.

      There’s gonna be a lot of contenders for the “2015 Golden Asteroid Prize” — awarded for distinguished excellence in hysterically pessimistic Doomer & Gloomer mongering analytic wankery. The judges are especially impressed by use of incoherent mathematics and other displays of symbolic reasoning that no one, including the author, can actually apply to any real world phenomenon.

      The Prize is a beautiful rough sphere of solid gold shaped like a rock from outer space mounted upon a mahogany base. A Golden Asteroid. The kind that would strike the earth after hurtling for trillions of miles through deep space and break the world up into 10 million chunks of rock. It makes an impression on the imaginative faculty, so much so that the imaginative faculty coopts into service the analytic faculty. Nevertheless, astounding mental achievements can result. These are what The Golden Asteroid Prize recognizes.

      1. craazyboy

        Then again, Game Theory isn’t everything. However, I think if Greece keeps headed for bankruptcy for another 5 years, or even less, they run the risk of creating a parallel universe where Greece is both saved and unsaved. It’s dangerous creating rifts in our space-time continuum like this and also sets a precedent where these rifts could pop up almost anywhere. Too many rifts like this and the world will start to feel like we’ve entered some sort of cosmic stasis. I know Mr. El-Erian does get concerned about these sorts of things on occasion – so I’m at a loss to understand why he seems so sanguine now? Unspeakable things can pass thru these rifts from the Other Side. Can it be that Mr El-Erian himself has been possessed?

  5. Robert Kahn

    I believe it was Alfred Jarry, not Nerval. When asked why he preferred the lobster to a dog, he replied,
    “Because it doesn’t bark, and it knows the secrets of the deep.”

      1. ambrit

        Yes indeed, that’s a crawdad. I’ve scooped many of those up into a sack to take back to the boilin pot. This is the time of year when the crawfish ‘migrate’ for whatever arcane reasons they have.
        That looks like it could be Channel 7 from Gulfport doing the interview. I couldn’t find a transcript of the crawfish’s remarks though. (The South is a little behind the curve…)

        1. OIFVet

          Crawfish: “It’s not true we are tasty. That’s crawfisherman lies, creating demand out of thin air for their personal profit. I mean, we are scavengers, for God’s sake, we eat dead things. How can you possibly find us appetizing?”
          Reporter: “So do we”
          Crawfish: “Uh-oh…”

          Scampers away as fast as he can.

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef


            In the Age of Robots, how can we reconcile Human Demand with Robot Supply, without GDP sharing?

            Of course, we can go 100% robotic with Robot Demand meeting Robot Supply.

            1. ambrit

              Robot crawfish are a distinct possibility.
              For one of the more fun imaginations of a purely robot ecology, see “Code of the Lifemaker” by James P Hogan. Another good ‘hard science’ science fiction author is Robert L Forward.

              1. subgenius

                I used to evolve control software (~brains) for lobster-derived 6 legged robots…(and “turtle”-type wheeled ones) back in the 90s

                Gotta love 6 legs…2 tripods…

                Far more efficient than bipedal and quadrapedal….but creeping anthropomorphization beats the uncanny valley in realworld kudos…

                Shame the only neural net really amenable to modelling was a hydra :/

                1. ambrit

                  Yea verily, tripod locomotion! Didn’t Clarke have some aliens in his Rama series tripods? Hydra? Really? No cephalopod neural systems available back then? As Spock would say, “Fascinating.”

                  1. subgenius

                    Back in the day our sparc stations could just about manage the tiny number of neurons in a hydra with any degree of accuracy – a guy called hugo de garis was claiming he could manage a cat…on supercomputers at sony….needless to say he was wrong….thing about compsci types is they have no idea of the complexity of neural interactions in a real neuron…gotta go neurosci – and STILL have no idea how it ACTUALLY works:/

          2. ambrit

            Scamper they can do. Also pinch with them claws! (I have seen, with my own beady little eyes, a carpet of crawfish covering the roadway on I-10 between Laplace and Gonzales during the ‘migration.’)

  6. M Blake

    “Exclusive: Russia masses heavy firepower on border with Ukraine – witness Reuters”. ” Rather weird to call a Reuters reporter a witness.”

    Does that make it less true? What a strange comment given all of the material in the article that appears to substantiate a build-up near the border.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      Reuters is choosing to undercut its OWN report by pointing out it is single sourced. It is Reuters itself is signaling doubts about the report. Single sourced reports are always subject to question and are generally not considered good journalism. Just sayin’

      1. sam s smith

        When do those special US “advisors” arrive in Ukraine? I am guessing next week?

    2. paulmeli

      Strange that a country would amass forces along it’s border with a hostile country engaged in civil war. Oh wait…

      1. diptherio

        I know, right? Seems like NOT bulking up your military your border where a civil war is taking place would be a dereliction of duty. And still no reports of field hospitals being set up, which would be necessary if they were actually planning an invasion (as French intel pointed out). As the Saker has been saying: of course Putin is giving assistance to the LPR and DPR, just like we’re giving assistance to the Naz…er, Western Ukrainians. But the difference between assistance and invasion is a pretty big one…

      2. craazyboy

        I’m not getting worried ’till Russia starts building man-made islands in the China Sea. Then they are getting a little too close to home for my taste.

          1. craazyboy

            Sometimes I wonder why our government hands out visas to all those Russian Mafia guys we got in this country. But I figure there’s gotta be some Top Secret reason for it.

            1. ambrit

              It’s a religious exemption. They are making pilgrimages to the Shrine of the Chicago School to give thanks, plus a few gratuities, natch, for their continued prosperity. All else is window dressing.

                1. ambrit

                  Glad to see you’re “with the program.” By the way, how’s Beau doing with the Eastfront Investment scheme? Tell him Vlad and the boys say hi.

                  1. craazyboy

                    Truth be told, don’t know why be bothers when you can run credit card fraud and Russian ho operations right from the comfort of your own home in America. Russian hos are much more fun than Nazis too! Ask anyone who’s been to a strip club in LA.

                    1. ambrit

                      What??!! They have strip clubs in Laos? I thought everyone went there for the Golden Triangle Festival. Now that I think about it, it does make sense. After the October Revolution, a lot of White Russians ended up in Shanghai, China. Seeing the disrupting changes happening to China today, a shift of the Sons (and Daughters) of White Russia to the sanctuary of the Lao hills is logical. Even Malraux never dreamed of this!

                    2. craazyboy

                      Los Angeles! I mean Los Angeles! USofA Los Angeles!!!!

                      dba City of Fallen Angels!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                      (but the Russian Hos are very adept at staying upright while wearing 4″+ heels. I think it’s the Pole that helps with that.)

            2. JTMcPhee

              Maybe like the reasons all those SS dudes got entree to our budding state security apparat post WW II.

      1. ambrit

        I’d be more likely to imagine Greece invading Macedonia, for old times sake, of course. (Try this on as a grand strategic distraction from the economic mess.) Is the Russian gas pipeline in play?

        1. OIFVet

          Macedonia is very unappealing choice for pipeline transit territory. The Russians know it, and have said that they will built up to the Turkish-Greek border. If the Euros want the gas they will have to built the rest of it themselves. Whatever pipeline dreams Hungary, Serbia, and Austria have, with Bulgaria effectively killing South Stream at McCain’s orders, they will have to hope that the Euros realize that Russia is serious about ending Ukraine’s transit tollbooth (and Beau’s sinecure), and that LNC gas from US is a pipe dream, and stand up to the US. They need the gas, and Gazprom sure does have the best price going…

            1. OIFVet

              The Norwegians will be mad because of their TAP project, the Hungarians and Austrians also, and Macedonians will positively go even crazier than they already are. It’s a mess, and Russia is washing its hands of it and letting the Euros figure out how to get the cheap gas they need to their consumers. Which, come to think of it, is probably a pretty good way to sow discord in the EU without doing anything at all…

      2. craazyboy

        Yeah, wasn’t it Reuters that has the reporter there that starts seeing Russians everywhere after imbibing his 5th vodka martini?

    3. hunkerdown

      Yes. Reuters is well-known as a propaganda outlet for NATO and has a terrible track record for publishing verifiable facts. Why would you believe anything a rich person paid to put in front of you, especially when they lie about their relationship to the affair?

  7. Katniss Everdeen

    RE: U.S. Accuses Ex-House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert of Paying to Hide ‘Misconduct‘ New York Times

    Not sure I’m getting this.

    Hastert, corrupt “Land of Lincoln” pol extraordinaire, finally gets nailed for using his own money to pay a blackmailer???

    I can only hope that he had some hand in making this particular use of one’s own money against the “law.”

    There’s GOT to be more to it than this.

    1. Jim Haygood

      The Money Laundering Control Act of 1986 became law a week before Denny Hastert was elected as a U.S. representative. While he can’t be held responsible for this Orwellian legislation (introduced by the D-party speaker Jim Wright, who ended up resigning in an ethics scandal), Hastert was an enthusiastic drug warrior.

      Why do bad things happen to good narcs?

        1. Brindle

          Vanity Fair piece on Edmonds from 2005:

          “Edmonds has given confidential testimony inside a secure Sensitive Compartmented Information Facility on several occasions: to congressional staffers, to investigators from the O.I.G., and to staff from the 9/11 commission. Sources familiar with this testimony say that, in addition to her allegations about the Dickersons, she reported hearing Turkish wiretap targets boast that they had a covert relationship with a very senior politician indeed—Dennis Hastert, Republican congressman from Illinois and Speaker of the House since 1999. The targets reportedly discussed giving Hastert tens of thousands of dollars in surreptitious payments in exchange for political favors and information.”

          1. Mark Gisleson

            It should also be remembered that Hastert was picked largely because he was the ONLY Republican they could find who didn’t have a sex problem.

            The article also makes it clear that Hastert was probably being blackmailed by a former prep wrestler he coached. I’m not sure why it would be against the law to ask for money not to talk about something that was done to you. Corporations get court actions sealed all the time, why can’t an individual “seal” the record in exchange for a payment?

            1. fresno dan

              If it turns out Hastert is indicted because he was blackmailed because of gay sex…
              When one thinks of all the republican leadership that lost their positions due to illicit sex…

  8. Jim Haygood

    The indictment of former House speaker Denny Hastert charges him with two federal offenses. One is lying to the FBI: he told the G-men he was keeping withdrawn cash for himself, when actually he was giving it to someone as hush money. (LEOs can lie with impunity, for example in entrapment schemes. But lying to them is a crime. Which is why lawyers advise never talking to the cops.)

    Secondly, Hastert is charged with structuring — making numerous cash withdrawals just under the $10,000 reporting threshold. Unlike the more usual case of IRS seizures for structured deposits just under $10,000, Hastert is being charged with the ‘crime’ of withdrawing his own money in an illegal pattern: over $10,000 good, under $10,000 b-a-a-a-a-d!

    According to his Wikipedia bio, “Hastert was a strong supporter of the War on Drugs and House Republicans’ leader on anti-narcotics efforts.” Ain’t karma a bitch? The Orwellian non-crime of withdrawing your own money in the ‘wrong’ pattern is the rotten fruit of Denny’s drug war. Now he is hoisted on his own petard. But the Drug War soldiers on.

      1. Jim Haygood

        From your link:

        ‘When everything – even trivial transgressions – can become a serious felony, it empowers law enforcement to punish whomever they want.’

        From Supreme Court ‘Justice’ Anthony Kennedy:

        “Criminal justice today is for the most part a system of pleas, not a system of trials.”

        The Soviet Gulag at least staged show trials. America’s Gulag has dispensed with tiresome trials entirely. Yankee ingenuity, comrades! We’re no. 1 … in imprisonment rates.

        1. Carolinian

          As Katniss was saying (same article)

          Indeed, who is the victim in Hastert’s alleged crimes, which – again – do not include the “past misconduct”? He literally faces felony counts and years in prison for hiding an agreement to pay someone claiming to have been victimized by him, an agreement that is perfectly legal and standard (even common) when done with lawyers as part of an actual or threatened court case.

          1. Carolinian

            And don’t forget the ever popular FBI/DHS warnings at the beginning of every dvd. If the government were to start strictly enforcing the DMCA then, anecdotally, half the adult population might wind up behind bars. So selective prosecution is also an issue–laws that lie in wait for violators the government or the US Attorney happen to dislike.

            The Digital Millenium Copyright Act is particularly pernicious because of the draconian punishments for trivial violations. Here the mere threat is supposed to deter people and save the government the cost of enforcing Hollywood’s defective business model. It has nothing to do with justice.

            1. fresno dan

              Equal INJUSTICE under law.

              Democracy is the theory that the common people know what they want, and deserve to get it good and hard.

              fresnodan corollary:
              lawmaking is the theory that congressman understand justice, and deserve to get it good and hard…

              Repubicans like lots of laws and lots of punishment? When those who advocate the lash feel the lash, the lash has a tendency to be used more sparingly.

            2. subgenius

              Always a mistake to have overly-complex statutes with an uneven distribution of prosecution, imho….how the hell do you know where the line is (admittedly, to an outside observer its way clearer at the economic bottom than the top…but in reality maybe the top don’t really have a line…)

    1. ex-PFC Chuck

      Based on the account in The Guardian in which I first read about this, this whole discussion thread may be missing the underlying issue:

      The indictment, in US district court in Illinois, notes that between 1965 and 1981, Hastert worked as a high school teacher and coach in Yorkville, Illinois. The indictment then notes that “Individual A”, whom he is alleged to have paid, has known Hastert “most of Individual A’s life”.

      “In or about 2010”, the indictment says, Hastert met with this person and “discussed past misconduct by [Hastert] that had occurred years earlier”. The indictment alleges that Hastert then agreed to “provide” this person $3.5m “in order to compensate for and conceal his prior misconduct” against them.

      Just what was the “ . . past misconduct by [Hastert] that had occurred years earlier” that was “discussed” with “Individual A,” who almost certainly was a minor at the time? It smells to me that he was perhaps being blackmailed over pederasty. Is a further prosecution in his future?

  9. craazyman

    Well, if you take your lobster out to chase sticks in a park, it’s gonna be a long day.

    1. abynormal

      his final grab is Goethe :-/
      guess french news, like ours, has run out of 411 to spread

      The French government said it expects the US to come to Dresden asking the Europeans to do more to get the global economy moving again and redress trade imbalances, such as the high surpluses of countries like Germany.

      The G7 ministers will also examine the current high level of volatility on the financial markets and discuss issues such as financial regulation, tax evasion and the battle to cut off financing to terror groups like the Islamic State.

      A French source said that the possible emergence of financial bubbles was also a matter of concern.
      lets ask the lobster what he thinks

    2. frosty zoom


      the other day i asked lambert if anyone had asked the lobsters’ opinion.

      i guess they had!

  10. Ian

    This from Naomi Wolfs FB page ‘I was just sent a news story via Shawn Ryan from Ma’an news from 2014 asserting that two Palestinian football players were shot in the feet by IDF soldiers as they were walking home from practice and that doctors said they could never play again. Subsequently the head of the Palestinian football league demanded that Israel be removed from FIFA, and claimed that the occupation had targeted Palestinian sport. The removal of Israel from FIFA was about to be voted on just before this bribery scandal broke. If US soccer players had their feet shot at and their careers destroyed that would certainly be seen as a serious attack on innocent athletes and on a sport. Can this possibly be true? If so it is (once again) hugely newsworthy and relevant and puts the FIFA vote on Israel in a completely different news context. Confirm.”

  11. abynormal

    Terrorist risk by city: “No US city makes the list.”
    +1k comment:

    Does this mean that US school districts do not need tanks and grenade launchers?

    1. ambrit

      Where you from cher? I have seen much bigger mudbugs than that before. In fact, you could have fun just watching them try to escape at Al Scramuzzas Seafood City. Some would. Watch out! Mad mudbug!

        1. evodevo

          I’d say the crayfish (if it wasn’t kidnapped expressly to stage this pic) was flooded out of its burrow and is migrating to a new home. They don’t like being exposed out in the open – too tasty and vulnerable, and they know it….

          1. Steve Gardner

            Nope. Langoustines don’t look like crayfish. That’s a crayfish and here in North Texas they live in holes in the ground in poorly drained areas. Birds eat them and leave pieces near the holes.

  12. DJG

    The article about teens fleeing religion is interesting for one datum: 75 percent are non-religious (although they likely run around protesting that they are “spiritual”). The analysis from the perfesser and her friends is stultifying. So much of U.S. religion is still emanations from the 19th-century Burnt-Over District, with its panics and millenialism and Calvinist doom and spiritualists’ knocking ghosts that brought us everything from Jehovah’s Witnesses to Mormons to Methodist revivals to Scientology. You’d think that these supposely intelligent academics might point out that maybe the local religious paradigm is just plain rotten. Instead, they want to talk about individualism (?). In a country where so many have a personal (individual) relation with their Savior? {I’ll have to find and post that Tocqueville quote again, about the prevalence of (individual) religious insanity in the United States.]

    1. abynormal

      gosh, which to choose from…my fav fact: In the United States, if a political character attacks a sect [denomination], this may not prevent even the partisans of that very sect, from supporting him; but if he attacks all the sects together [Christianity], every one abandons him and he remains alone.

    2. sufferin'succotash

      It’s probably no accident that the Burnt-Over District also produced America’s first major political movement inspired by and built around a conspiracy theory: the Anti-Masonic Party, which actually ran a candidate (William Wirt) for President in 1832.
      I blame the Erie Canal.

    3. Jagger

      The worship of religion replaced by the worship of Mammon. So I wonder what are the 10 commandments of Mammon?

      Traditionally, religion met mankinds need for meaning and purpose. Presently, it appears to be losing the battle with science, media and consumerism but it appears they only leave the masses empty and directionless. If not religion, then maybe spirituality. Something must and will fill that need.

  13. rich

    Hastert Resigns from CME for Paying to Make His Bad Behavior Go Away

    Hastert served on CME Group’s Board since 2008 He’s also on the board of Rex American Resources Group. Consider what Rex’s latest proxy statement said about Hastert:

    Mr. Hastert is currently also a director of CME Group, Inc., a derivatives marketplace that includes the Chicago Merchantile Exchange (CME), Board of Trade of the City of Chicago (CBOT), New York Merchantile Exchange (NYMEX) and Commodity Exchange (COMEX). Mr. Hastert is Chairman of the Compensation Committee and serves on the Governance, Nominating and Strategic Steering Committees of CME Group. Mr. Hastert’s prior government service, government leadership roles and experience in commodities markets will assist the Board and management in governmental and regulatory matters affecting our business.

    I’ll venture Dennis Hastert treated someone like a commodity and that’s why he secretly agreed to pay $3.5 million.
    It seems fitting that a key leader of a major financial institution would be so ethically tainted.

    The apple is the tree.

    “governmental and regulatory matters affecting our business.”….hmmm

  14. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    The Fed Reserve more likely to take your job than a robot.

    Also, a robot can take a job away from another robot.


    With self-driving robot cars, there is no need to robot traffic cop to drive traffic.

    And why can’t bellhop robot also be a bartender robot (or a surgeon robot for that matter)?

    Proposed solution: Robots must unionize!

    Demand equal (to a human) pay for equal (to a human’s work, or better) work.

    Robot personhood.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        I am just wondering, which will come first – robot math teacher or robot English poetry teacher?

        1. hunkerdown

          Thing is, most robots can make any of their parts doze off any time they like, even sleep with their eyes open while gossiping with other robots, and then wake up any time they need to. In milliseconds, if that. Boredom? Are you kidding?! It’s the life of the cat and we should all be so lucky.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Perhaps the time has come for mobile water-bottling plants.

      “We are repositioning our solar-powered fleet from Victorville to Texas.”

      1. frosty zoom

        you could just convert the mobile meth labs – there’s probably more money in water.

      2. Carolinian

        They could bottle it here. We had 2 inches of rain last night in 30 minutes. I’m sure Nikki Haley would be thrilled to sign Snapple or Nestle on the bottom line. To be sure “South Carolina Spring Water” might not have much of a cachet.

        1. craazyboy

          Stevie – Best thing. Runner up – Dallas Strippers

          Fortunately for us, I believe Stevie has been re-incarnated as NYC blues-rocker Joe Bonamassa.

          1. optimader

            I remember the following day at work he we learned SRV was taken out in the h-cptr crash at the local venue he was playing. We played his music an became progressively bummed out.

            Let’s not forget the B**thole Surfers
            yes and theirs them… ok all of the Austin music scene as well..

            …But we don’t want the Irish!

            [everyone complains]

            Aw, prairie shit… Everybody!

              1. ambrit

                Oh good heavens! This could go all the way back to Jim Bowie singing, “Don’t Cry for Me Santa Anna.”

    2. Rex

      Drought is a long term, and cyclic, climate event. A single extreme event doesn’t end it. The trouble with climate reporting: like its a football team season score record. 0, 0, .2, 0, .5, 35 —score!

  15. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Teens fleeing religion.

    They are fleeing old religions and old gods, not new religions and new gods/new omnipotent entities.

    “I am not a god” science is still being worshipped by many (but not all), despite that self-denial.

    And other omnipotent entities. The human brain (through some defect) will always believe in one manifestation or another of omnipotence. Even Rock stars or handsome actors (currently no Americans qualify).

    1. Ned Ludd

      Jean Twenge, the professor who led the study, “cites a surge of individualism as the force behind atheism’s relative appeal to a young, self-centric generation”.

      Twenge provides academic rationale to support the allegation that children born in the 1980’s and 1990’s form an “Entitlement Generation,” which she describes as being “tolerant, confident, open-minded, and ambitious but also disengaged, narcissistic, distrustful, and anxious.”

      “These trends are part of a larger cultural context, a context that is often missing in polls about religion,” Twenge says. “One context is rising individualism in U.S. culture. Individualism puts the self first, which doesn’t always fit well with the commitment to the institution and other people that religion often requires. As Americans become more individualistic, it makes sense that fewer would commit to religion.”

  16. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Abrupt reversal for global assets on Fed tightening.

    One can not use a global reserve currency to address any domestic issue without some negative global consequences, due to either a bug or, on other occasions, a feature in the system.

    Perhaps that issuer is so exceptional, it can ignore the rest of the world (who are probably saying among themselves: “We have to have some ways of restraining that super-issuer. Maybe we can issue our own new global reserve currency. Let us be the new hegemon, or else, let’s go back to backing global reserve money with something. We don’t trust politicians of that exceptional country, as politicians of other countries don’t trust us.”).

    1. frosty zoom

      i still insist we only need one currency. i mean franchement!

      but backed with what? cacao? stink bugs? surely not gold.

      i vote for trees. they’re actually useful.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        It’s hard to say what politicians worldwide will accept – should it be backed by the number of drones, bombs or aircraft carriers?

        I like trees, but I don’t they will go for that.

        But I do know what other politicians are thinking: “They can’t just keep printing that imperial money (unless it’s we doing the printing)!!!”

      2. John Merryman

        There is nothing wrong with backing the currency with public debt, except that not funneling the rent extracted from the service back to the public makes it an unstable system.

        1. abynormal

          you peak’n? there’s really nothing backing the currency except faith…if someone believes public debt backs it, that too is faith…

          1. craazyboy

            Or, it’s kinda like saying you have a voluntary draft while being surrounded by starving people.

  17. Jef

    Gone are the days when a big corporation would grow by providing a better product, more choices, and cheaper to boot.

    Now it is almost the opposite.

  18. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Shanghai stocks recover.

    It seems, or they want their people to believe, they have a very powerful government over there.

    Perhaps this market recovery is one more demonstration that there is nothing it can’t do.

  19. abynormal

    wsj is reporting china testing artillery at this moment

    and here’s our fearless/target on our back response:

    Defense Secretary Ashton Carter bluntly warned China Wednesday to stop its buildup of man-made islands in the South China Sea and vowed that the U.S. military would continue to patrol international waters and airspace in the region.

    Carter’s comments, made at a ceremony in Hawaii to recognize Adm. Harry B. Harris, the new commander of U.S. military forces in the Pacific, further escalated a simmering rhetorical conflict between Washington and Beijing over access to the South China Sea and other Asian waters.

    “There should be no mistake: the United States will fly, sail, and operate wherever international law allows, as we do all around the world,” Carter said at the U.S. military’s joint base at Pearl Harbor.

    1. frosty zoom

      well, how dare the commies build islands in the south yanqui sea!?!?!???

      this obviously contravenes the doctrine of purity of essence.

      1. optimader

        building up a reef in a sealane is one thing. Calling it a “reclaimed island” is whimsical, calling it sovereign territory is absurd. Exercising right of navigation is the correct thing to do.

        So by logical extension, if I picked a submerged reef in international waters, start dumping shipping containers til it sticks out of the water and I can claim it to be the Sovereign territory of Optimaderlandia?

        We’ll see if a woop-ass typhoon ultimately settles this matter.

        1. craazyboy

          If I were China, I would name the artificial islands New Hawaii I, New Hawaii II, etc… just to confuse the issue. Or make the islands look like aircraft carriers. You can have those anywhere.

          If I were the US, I’d find something else to worry about.

    2. andyb

      So many possible triggers for WWIII; so little time left before the global economy implodes. Which distracting trigger will the psychos choose? China; Ukraine; Yemen; Iran; Baltimore?

      1. abynormal

        i immediately wondered if any heads of state correspond/discuss/raise eyebrows in the bathrooms? they don’t read anymo…can’t email, fax or scan etc.

    3. Jagger

      Anybody look at a map of the Chinese claims of territorial waters and land in the South China Sea?

      If these maps are correct, tt seems China feels their territorial waters and territorial claims extend for hundreds of miles in the South China Sea while everyone else is limited to 10 miles or so. I don’t know understand their reasoning but I don’t think just because it is called the South China Sea means it all belongs to China.

      1. OIFVet

        I don’t think just because it is called the South China Sea means it all belongs to China

        China and Macedonia FYROM have a lot in common despite their disparate sizes…

        1. abynormal

          Thanks Jagger & OIFVet…looking around its interesting China doesn’t refer to the area as S.China Sea:
          In China, it is called the “South Sea”, 南海 Nánhǎi, and in Vietnam the “East Sea”, Biển Đông.[8][9][10] In Malaysia, Indonesia and the Philippines, it was long called the “South China Sea” (Dagat Timog Tsina in Tagalog, Laut China Selatan in Malay), with the part within Philippine territorial waters often called the “Luzon Sea”, Dagat Luzon, by the Philippines.[11] However, following an escalation of the Spratly Islands dispute in 2011, various Philippine government agencies started using the name “West Philippine Sea”. A PAGASA spokesperson said that the sea to the east of the Philippines will continue to be called the Philippine Sea.[12]

          so basically they’re still fighting over sea turtles?
          The Yizhoushu, which was a chronicle of the Western Zhou dynasty (1046–771 BCE) gives the first Chinese name for the South China Sea as Nanfang Hai (Chinese: 南方海; pinyin: Nánfāng Hǎi; literally: “Southern Sea”), claiming that barbarians from that sea gave tributes of hawksbill sea turtles to the Zhou rulers.[5]

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            What do the people who live in “South China Sea” area call themselves? Sama-Bajau/Badjao?

            Maybe they want to be their own political/monetary sovereign, free of the Philippines, Malaysia, etc?

      2. subgenius

        Well, the US takes the position it has a say in the ME…which is 1000s of miles offshore…pot/kettle & an absence of light?

    4. Vatch

      I double checked the Spratly Islands on a map, and it seems to me that there are 4 countries with legitimate claims on some or all of the islands, and China is not one of those countries:

      The Philippines

      Vietnam, China, and the Philippines are the countries which might have legitimate claims on the Paracel Islands.

  20. sid_finster

    The leaked letter begging the united states to exert more influence to get Parashka the Nobel Peace Prize begs two questions:
    1. How is the United States expected to exert this influence?
    2. Who leaked the letter?

    The letter also indicates that Obama’s 2009 Nobel Peace Prize was the result of a similar process. Hmmmm….

    1. mark

      OSLO, Norway, March 3 (UPI) — Thorbjorn Jagland, chairman of the Norwegian Nobel Prize committee who oversaw Barack Obama’s receipt of the Nobel Peace Prize, was voted out of office Tuesday.

      The removal of the leader of the committee is unprecedented, and Jagland attracted numerous criticisms for the committee’s choices for the prestigious Peace Prize during his term.

      Shortly after Jagland became committee leader in 2009, the Peace Prize was awarded to U.S. President Barack Obama, who had been in office less than a year and was dealing with simultaneous wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. “

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        They must have confused Afghanistan with Americanistan.

        My guess is that he failed his geography.

  21. fresno dan

    “This willingness to allow oneself to be distracted from one’s assigned task would later turn out to be a chief characteristic of behavioral economists, along with a bunch of other traits not normally found in economists, though often found in children: a sense of wonder, a tendency to ask embarrassing questions, and a mistrust of grown-ups’ ideas about what’s worth spending time thinking about and what is not.”

  22. Carolinian

    Theodore White, father of modern political reporting. Plus ca change

    But what did White think about U.S. politics in private? See if you can spot the subtle difference between White’s public statements and this letter he wrote to a close friend on August 31, 1960 during the Kennedy-Nixon campaign:

    …it is all fraudulent, all of it, everywhere, up and down, East and West. The movies, radio and state and books and TV — all of them are fraudulent; and the foundations and universities and scholars, they are all fraudulent too; and the executives and the financiers … and the Commissars and the Krushchevs and the Mao Tze-tungs, they are fraudulent equally; it is all a great game; and there are two dangers in this great game: first, the fraudulent people come to believe their own lies, they come to have faith in their fraud; and second, underneath it all, because people are fundamentally good, they come to realize that we live in lies and the people get angrier and angrier and they may explode.

    The scenery of politics is ridiculous, absolutely ridiculous. Yet I must report all this as serious. This is the strain on me. That I must be serious, and I must exhaust myself trying to find out what is true and what is fraud and yet, even after I know, I must take them both seriously and write of them both as if I did not know the true distinctions between them.

    1. OIFVet

      Thanks Carolinian, this is literally gold. The question is, how do we get MSM “journos” to be honest rather than to merely transcribe the narrative created up above. Matter of fact, isn’t it possibly the case that these fraudulent transcribes have come to believe that they are real journos?

      1. LifelongLib

        White apparently thought all politics was fraudulent. Orwell also believed that “politics…are inseparable from coercion and fraud”. But what is the alternative? However coercive and fraudulent, politics enable large numbers of people to live together in relative peace. When politics fail disaster follows. Is there a non-coercive, non-fraudulent way of accomplishing the same thing?

        1. OIFVet

          So inventing these hostile internal and external Other and demonizing them is what allows us to leave in peace with them and amongst ourselves? “We had to increase tensions in order to decrease them”. Ok then.

          1. LifelongLib

            The hostility and demonization are there anyway. Yes, politics may encourage them. Or it may (often with a combo of force and BS) keep people from acting on them. Depends what politics.

        2. hunkerdown

          A liberal Democratic friend of mine once asked, “But don’t we need people to make decisions for us?”

          Do 300 million people all need to live, work, play and love identically, let alone to the order of pompous, effete gasbags who think they’re entitled to commit coercion and fraud upon the classes they rob and torture? Sounds like crackpot Platonism, to me.

  23. Inverness

    This is a beautifully written article by an English teacher who quit her job, run down by unrealistic expectations by parents, students, and administration. She eloquently explains how teachers are expected to be martyrs, to sacrifice their family and personal lives.

    What other professions demand this sacrifice? It’s a sign of our age — glorify our time at work, and act as if our personal lives shouldn’t matter. It’s also getting boring to hear others brag about how busy they are, but that’s the kind of PR you need these days to remain relevant.

    1. jrs

      I don’t know how seriously it’s made in other professions, the complete sacrifice of your family and self, but there’s plenty of corporate jobs that will openly say those who work only 40 will be out the door, 8 hour a day-ers aren’t going to be around much longer. “Those who come in and leave promptly on the minute after having worked their 8 hours”. Whether they did a good job those 8 hours apparently being totally irrelevant to whether they are worth keeping on. It’s a much less extreme version, but sacrifice of time with family for instance is always to be available if the job needs you.

      What’s wrong with wanting a summer off? Can’t you have summers off and still do a good job? But everyone else gets 2 weeks vacation? Yea well, that’s a problem.

      1. shinola

        “Put in the extra hours if you really want to get ahead” has a caveat:
        As long as the corp. doesn’t actually have to pay for the extra hours. The ideal employee only books 40 hours but actually works 50 or 60.

        1. Inverness

          And somehow the worker is convinced this is noble — to sacrifice your time for a job. There is some genius PR marionettes that have fooled the critical mass.

      2. hunkerdown

        Employment is a ritualized dependency relationship. The wherewithal to produce independently of the employer is a threat to that relationship, whereas keeping you in a chair and out of “mischief” is cheap, or free if you’re a salaried sucker. Thus face time, wage-fixing agreements and non-competes.

  24. ewmayer


    The G7 ministers will also examine the current high level of volatility on the financial markets and discuss issues such as financial regulation, tax evasion and the battle to cut off financing to terror groups like the Islamic State.

    lets ask the lobster what he thinks

    An unnamed G7 minister was quoted as saying ‘with regard to the proposed financial regulation, we have a few specific passages about which we would like to consult with the lobster’.

    Indeed, lobsters are reputed to be quite good with their clauses, maybe that also extends to other folks’ tricky clauses?

    1. abynormal

      loooong day…you hoot!

      There is no proportional representation requirement in the Equal Protection Clause.
      Cass Sunstein

  25. subgenius

    All these lobsters…

    Anybody needing some good scifi should take a look at “Accelerando” by Charles Stross….lobsters play a major role!

    …and the world could do with his concept of a venture alturist right about now, too…

      1. abynormal

        is that that black n white old film? skeerd me when i was little??

        a python? aren’t you suppose ta call ur dr after 4hrs¿

    1. craazyboy

      He got a 2014 Hugo Award runner up for Neptune’s Brood. Only one of his I haven’t read yet.

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