Links 6/9/15

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Hillary Clinton will stage her first major campaign rally this weekend, June 13, on Roosevelt Island. If you planned to attend or were thinking of attending, please ping Lambert or me this week. We’d love to get impressions of attendees.

Triple Crown Winners and False Correlations Barry Ritholz, Bloomberg

That’s so cool!’: Bill Nye gushes as ‘solar sail’ spacecraft marks successful test run Newsweek (furzy mouse)

This US military-funded security company can tell who you are just from the way you touch your phone Business Insider (David L). Another reason I am glad I have a stupid phone.

Is Overpopulation a Legitimate Threat to Humanity and the Planet? New York Times (Lawrence R)

Data scientists find connections between birth month and health PhysOrg

Researchers discover key to maintaining muscle strength while we age MedicalXpress (Çhuck L)

Evolution is unpredictable and irreversible, biologists show PhysOrg (Robert M)

CNN’s ‘Courageous’ Advertorial Mill FAIR (furzy mouse)

Retiring Cisco CEO delivers dire prediction: 40% of companies will be dead in 10 years Business Insider (David L). If you read the article carefully, Chambers tries to claim his own experience at Cisco proves the need to “go digital,” whatever that vague label is supposed to mean (in fairness, maybe the speech was more specific than the reporting). However, the story he tells is the typical fate of a company that goes on an acquisition binge. They become too sprawling and balkanized and need to be a major restructuring, and often very serious work to get the units that are left to play together better. This has nada to do with the march of tech. This sort of thing is standard fare across all sorts of industries.

China to Have Veto at Infrastructure Bank WSJ China Real Time Report

China’s emissions may have already peaked China Spectator

Chen Guangcheng: 26 years after Tiananmen, things are worse in China Washington Post (Bob H)

Red alert: Hong Kong warns against travel to South Korea amid deadly Mers outbreak South China Morning Post

Italy’s Migrant Scams Now More Lucrative Than Drugs Daily Beast (furzy mouse)

Regulator Said to Have Pressed for Exit of Deutsche Chiefs New York Times. It had that look to it…

The innovators: the Bristol pound is giving sterling a run for its money Guardian (Chuck L)


Obama puts onus on Tsipras to reform Financial Times. Hard to square the speech to Parliament last Friday with this:

Athens appeared to be attempting to mend fences and hammer out a deal after talks soured late last week. Mr Tsipras on Monday sent three of his most trusted aides to Brussels to restart negotiations.

Also has a good timetable. The drop dead date of June 14 indicated by Hollande (see below) could be extended by an emergency session of the Bundestag. We’ve been guessing that the event horizon lies at some point between June 15 and June 20. The timetable here indicates the absolute last time is June 18, since Greece is expected to pass legislation as a condition of any deal.

Tête-à-tête for Merkel and Tsipras Politico. OMG, whatever Merkel is smoking, I want some too: “According to a senior European Council official, Merkel wants to have the question of Greek economic reforms settled before the summit begins Thursday.” Note it also says the drop dead date for a deal is June 14. But both Tsipras and Varoufakis have said Greece has till June 30 to get a deal done…..

Capital controls risk increasing etkathimerini. Of course, there is the possibility that the ECB has cooked up something, with Merkel’s blessing, to focus the Greek ruling coalition’s mind.

Varoufakis says Greece needs deal quickly; Obama urges action – as it happened Guardian. Varoufakis gave a fine speech, but its seems totally disconnected from the realities of process. A mulitparty deal that requires parliamentary approvals can’t be done overnight. Note this section from the live blog:

Despite Tsipras’s tough talk in parliament on Friday night, there were signs today that Athens was softening. It sent two top ministers to negotiate in Brussels today, as a government spokesman pledged that Greece wants a solution that suits both sides.

Greek media are reporting that Athens is rejigging its 47-page list of reforms, but remains opposed to making significant changes to VAT and pensions.

And get this:

And Greece’s minister of labour, Panos Skourletis, told Mega TV this morning that some bank officials are apparently advising savers to withdraw holdings from account

Merkel at the G-7:

“The measures proposed by the troika have led to success elsewhere.” #Merkel in full trolling mode on #Greece? @SpiegelPeter

Merkel makes it clear that the creditor proposals (dismissed by Tsipras as absurd) are the only ones on the table @BrunoBrussels

Merkel-Schaeuble Differences Over Greece Talks Said to Widen Bloomberg (Dimitri). We’ve discussed this in comments. Another big obstacle to a deal getting done.

ECB’s Mersch Downplays Danger From European Government Bond Yields Rise WSJ Economics

A Speech of Hope for Greece Project Syndicate. Varoufakis’ speech in Germany covered similar ground.

A Greek Default Slashes U.S. Exports and Jobs Fiscal Times

The Greek Trap New York Times. An anti-Greece rant. Tons of pushback in comments. I’m cynical enough to wonder if Cohen felt that Obama’s pressure on Greece gave him cover.

The Quiet German New Yorker. A profile of Merkel from last year.


Putin warned of fresh sanctions over Ukraine Financial Times


Supreme Court backs Obama and invalidates Jerusalem passport law Reuters (furzy mouse)

Imperial Collapse Watch

Hacking as Offensive Counterintelligence The XX Committee. A must read.

Bulk Collection Is All Fun and Games Until Office of Personnel Management Gets Hacked Marcy Wheeler (MS)

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

Army’s Public Website Hacked by Unknown Intruders NBC (furzy mouse)

Are passwords and PINs history? Biometrics are closer than you think. Banks about to get into the surveillance data collection game. The only sorta good news here is the US is so behind in its payments processing technology (to milk existing infrastructure) that we’ll be late to implement this sort of thing.

Trade Traitors

Fast Track to the Corporate Wish List American Prospect (Salon)

On trade, Obama’s most loyal allies are abandoning him (+video) Christian Science Monitor (furzy mouse)

Supporting NAFTA Was the Kiss of Death for Democrats –Why Dems Should Think Twice About Voting for TPP Alternet

Leader McCarthy Pressured By GOP Conference: What’s The Rush On Obamatrade Breitbart (curt e)

Tea Party Oddsmaker Has Best Campaign Finance Reform Idea Yet (Really) Intercept

EXCLUSIVE: Hillary Clinton sold out Honduras: Lanny Davis, cash, and the real story about the death of a Latin American democracy Salon (Steven C)

Concerns Over Earthquakes Spread To Texas OilPrice

Black Injustice Tipping Point. Notice all three NYT stories were included in the daily top headlines e-mail.

Cleveland Leaders Bypass Prosecutors to Seek Charge in Tamir Rice Case New York Times

Ex-South Carolina Officer Is Indicted in Shooting Death of Black Man New York Times

Jarring Image of Police’s Use of Force at Texas Pool Party New York Times

‘Paramilitary thugs’: Colorado man livid after SWAT blows up his entire home in pursuit of shoplifter Raw Story (furzy mouse)

Greenwood: Police Destroy Home Leaving Family Homeless Fox31` (Stacey B)

Dow loses gains for the year; transports off 2% CNBC

Gartman: Beginning of long bull market for dollar MSN

Class Warfare

Public Universities Underpay Their Presidents Bloomberg. Readers encouraged to practice their debunking skills in comments. Bonus points for skilled use of snark.

Fed Policy May Have Widened America’s Wealth Inequality, Philadelphia Fed Paper Says WSJ Economics. Contradicts Bernanke.

A Practical Vision of a More Equal Society by Thomas Piketty New York Review of Books

Why Technology Hasn’t Delivered More Democracy Foreign Policy

Antidote du jour> Stephen L: “Waterton Lakes National Park, Alberta.”

black_bear_family links

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. Robert dudek

    On the CBC news last night, in discussing the g7 meeting, the report editorialized that the group was meeting to contemplate more sanctions to counter Russian AGGRESSION.

    I didn’t know that watching someone move their military alliance up to your border and taking appropriate readiness measures is aggression.

    Btw, solid Putin interview in that Italian newspaper a few days ago. Especially Putin inviting the interviewers to put up maps showing both Russian and US military bases in the article.

    1. RabidGandhi

      This is standard in the media now. I was even shocked to see the normally rock-solid Amy Goodman say yesterday on Democracy Now:

      Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras is not in attendance. Neither is Russian President Vladimir Putin, as leaders agreed to continue sanctions against Russia over its aggression in Ukraine

      (Emphasis RG’s)

  2. Ignacio

    Regarding the earthquakes in central parts of the US, I watched a documentary where they showed that the pacific plate sinks in Northamerican continent with such an angle that it reaches the central part and beyond. According to geologists the earthquake risk is moving eastwards from the coast. This is not to say that more frequent earthquakes is a pure geological feature. On the contrary, I believe that human activity migth be waking up the beast resting well below.

    1. Synapsid


      I didn’t see the documentary but I suspect that “earthquake risk is moving eastward from the coast” refers to the lack of awareness, in the Central US, of the potential for strong earthquakes there. The hazard comes from two things:

      One is that that lack of awareness shows up in building standards that are not drawn up with strong quakes in mind, as are emergency-management measures, distribution systems for water and fossil fuels especially in cities, and a whole range of other standards for infrastructure from state levels on down to individual homes;

      Another is that the population in the central parts of the US is much greater than it was the last time a big quake hit–there’s much more potential for damage and loss of life now.

      Along the West Coast there is a high level of public awareness of earthquake hazard–try buying or selling a house in some regions, especially in California, to get a taste of it. “The Big One” is part of everyday vocabulary from San Diego to Vancouver BC, but such is not likely the case in the Central US to anything like the same extent–tornadoes, yes, but earthquakes?

      There is another factor: Bedrock geology in the Central US is nowhere near as variable as it is in the Western US, and as a result quake energy can travel farther and with less attenuation than is the case from the Rockies westward. This means that greater damage can be done over greater distances in the center of the country (where, I pointed out above, preparedness is much less advanced) than in the western parts.

      It’s true that downgoing plates can be detected beneath the center of North America but that’s been the case for a couple of hundred million years, since the Atlantic began to open–the scale is that of the continent itself and that downgoing plate is deep beneath the Midwest. By way of contrast, what’s been happening in Oklahoma is happening in the thin skin of the apple, but hey! that’s where we all live, and that’s where our activities can affect the shallow faults that are doing the moving.

      A good source of information on seismic risk, besides the US Geological Survey, is insurance companies. They pay attention (to climate change too–especially the big reinsurance companies) where others don’t.

  3. frosty zoom

    ain’t she sweet?
    she’s got splenda and not meat.
    yes i ask you non-biodegrably,
    ain’t she sweet?

    1. craazyboy

      I think we’re on to something. If more foods were not bio-degradable, we could re-cycle them and solve World Hunger. But for now, we can pan for rock candy in the river.

      1. frosty zoom

        this planet must have the universe’s happiest fish. sucralose, ibuprofen, cocaine, lipitor..

        pretty soon the crayfish are going to start opening malls and drive-thrus.

        1. lord koos

          Speaking of happy fish, the waters of Puget Sound (Starbucks country) were found to contain elevated levels of caffeine.

    1. JohnnyGL

      Quick, look over here, some athletes got free tattoos! Bring the outrage about the moral failings of today’s student athletes!

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        All we see is the coaches failing to share their wealth with the student-athletes, except perhaps those free tattoos.

    2. ambrit

      Let us hope that none of these highly paid presidents and coaches ever catches up to a boojum.
      It is as the Donne rhymes:
      “Each coaches overpayment diminishes me.”
      “For I am involved in education.”
      “Therefore, send not to know”
      ” For whom the Bellman tolls,”
      “He tolls for thee.”
      Again, as Charles “The Artful” Dodgson remarked at the end of another work,
      “For the Snark was a Boojum, you see.”
      It is time to apply the Wisdom of the Ancients to this conundrum. Let us invoke the ‘Rule of Three’ :
      “No University President or Athletic Coach may receive more than three times the salary of a Professor teaching at the Institution they also work at.”
      “No University President or Athletic Coach may receive more than three times the salary of a Professor teaching at the Institution they also work at.”
      “No University President or Athletic Coach may receive more than three times the salary of a Professor teaching at the Institution they also work at.”

  4. frosty zoom

    i’m sure the colorado police will declare the house guilty of being an accessory and arrest what’s left of it.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      You think it matters what color the owner paints the house?

      Would it be better to paint one’s house white?

      “My house is white. I live in a white house.”

  5. NIMBY

    “China’s emissions may have already peaked”
    It’s the economy, China’s economy is much worse than the stats say, because stats in China are what the CCP decides they will be, while electricity can’t be sold, it can’t even be thrown away (in any significant amount) to hide the lack of demand or to prop up the Independent Power Producers. Even the new Nuclear Power Plants in NE China are taking extended outages because the grid can’t handle their output. Hence the urgency to get both Nuclear Power Operators listed in both Hong Kong and NYC before the cash flow crunch really hits and hurts the listing price.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      There is something about Chinese companies being potentially added to some index Wednesday.

      Maybe after exchanging shares for more global reserve currency, they can relax a bit…be their real selves.

  6. Jim Haygood

    The sequel to the Jerusalem passport law case:

    The petitioner, Menachem Zivotofsky, an American citizen who was born in Jerusalem in 2002, will only have the city of his birth listed on his passport.

    After the Supreme Court’s decision was read, Zivotofsky ‒ now 12 ‒ told reporters, “I’m an Israeli, and I want people to know that I’m glad to be an Israeli.”

    Don’t that just take the cake. The 12-year-old twerp seems to think a U.S. second passport is his political bumper sticker.

    Thank you for allowing us to serve as your doormat.

    1. Katniss Everdeen

      “I’m an Israeli, and I want people to know that I’m glad to be an Israeli.”

      With an attitude like that at 12 years old, I suspect it won’t take a notation on a passport to tell.

      By your actions shall they know you.

      1. ambrit

        I spent my teen years around ultra Zionist types on Miami Beach. I’m told they’re not much different from fanatics of any stripe by knowledgeable people. They, however, have a willing partner in a sovereign states government. Combine a government with a fanatic religious movement and you have a monster.

        1. Carolinian

          Perhaps it’s time to say that theories of racial superiority are just as pernicious as ideas about racial inferiority. To have the Holocaust you needed a Master Race. I noticed you talking yesterday about the Chinese and their (only historical?) contempt for the foreign “barbarians.” So this is a pretty universal phenomenon and doesn’t just take place in the Middle East. Dehumanizing your opponent is the oldest thing there is. One would hope that being modern and scientific we’d realize that people are a lot more alike than they are different. Unfortunately much of our behavior is irrational and instinctive and this too seems universal. Science often has nothing to do with it.

          1. ambrit

            Too true. Human psychology is an endlessly fascinating subject. Unfortunately, politicians, (I dearly love the Latino insult “politico”) use psychology for base ends. Perhaps most people do. That’s probably why ‘saints’ are so revered; there are so few of them.

        2. hunkerdown

          This kid seems little different from any other 12-year-old American bourgie selling a narrative that serves authority. If by “fanatics” you mean “ambitious careerists”, I might buy it.

          1. ambrit

            I’d visualize “fanatics” and “ambitious careerists” as a Venn diagram; two somewhat overlapping circles.
            As for the kid, well, what kid wouldn’t enjoy being at the centre of attention in such a high visibility and, for a certain small subset of humanity, high status affair? You’re right, he’s just acting out what he thinks Mom and Dad want him to do. Poor kid. Just wait till the spotlight fades and the hoopla dies down.

    2. Synoia

      As an Israeli, then please go and live there.

      At 12 he might have an attitude – one wonders about the home environment…

  7. Steve H.

    re: Tea Party Oddsmaker Has Best Campaign Finance Reform Idea Yet (Really) Intercept

    “To understand the potential scale of this proposal, you have to multiply the number of adult American citizens (about 230 million) by $200, to get $46 billion.”

    So the solution to an industry specializing in corruption is to increase its available cash by an order of magnitude?

    Add fiber to your diet to produce more crap, not less. Otherwise you get “intestinal gas (flatulence), bloating, and abdominal cramps.”

    1. lolcar

      In practice the bottom 50% of the population would struggle to find a spare $200 to drop on a political donation even if they could expect a refund down the line (and that’s assuming they had sufficient federal tax liability to offset with a tax credit). They’d get nothing out of the proposal. The money that would be raised would assuredly come from affluent single-issue whack-a-loons. No wonder it’s a tea party proposal.

      1. Rostale

        I think this system, if properly implemented, (unlikely, I know) could actually be beneficial. For example, make the tax credit contingent on the voter in question actually going to the polls and voting and the resulting increase in voter participation would be very beneficial. Not to mention, if large sums of money are involved, that alone will make the races much more competitive and could create inertia to implement better redistricting.

        1. hunkerdown

          To whom would the increase in voter participation be beneficial when it’s still a popularity contest and a rigged one at that? Getting more cattle to line up behind some oligarchs’ heraldry is a ridiculous inducement to get people to the polls in a system that has not shown any sign it deserves more legitimacy.

          You know what’s proven to drive turnout? Questions. People know full well what democracy is and aren’t willing to accept the Orwellian resale of beauty pageant republicanism under the brand. People who aren’t willing to stand in line to pledge allegiance to their oligarchs will gladly wait for the opportunity to circumvent them.

  8. roadrider

    Re; biometrics

    More tech hubris that fails to acknowledge any down side.

    Passwords suck but at least you can change them if they’re compromised. What are you supposed to do when cyber criminals figure out how to compromise biometrics? And yes, they will, Its only a question of how quickly they will do it.

    There’s also privacy issues and the inevitable errors and misidentifications due to aging, changes in physical appearance, etc. that the article fails to mention.

    Finally, if you’re sick of answering those inane “security” questions that many web sites use (and that have been shown to be not very secure) biometrics will not provide much relief to you. The article says that security questions will likely be required for biometric systems.

    Count me as a skeptic.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Perhaps they can refine those personal questions.

      What is your shoe size?

      How big is your head or ego?

      How old were you when you had your first pimple?

      Questions only you can answer.

  9. Carolinian

    Great Alternet story on the history of NAFTA and Bill Clinton’s many broken promises. One can only wonder what kind of promises Obama and Pelosi are making as we speak for fast track. This paragraph stands out

    Then a top advisor to Clinton, Emanuel was a key leader of the NAFTA war room, along with chief trade negotiator Mickey Kantor and NAFTA czar William Daley. Asked about Clinton’s final drive for passage, Emanuel said: “He had to win. It’s better to win than to lose. I’m a big believer in that. I do not believe in moral victories.”

    Shorter version: it’s all about power and it’s always all about power. Principle is a distant second. Reportedly Hillary was one of the ones urging Clinton to push NAFTA and sink his own party. The insurgent Sanders faction, should they decide to actually take her on, might want to talk about this.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Worse 26 years after Tiananmen, in one place.

      Also worse some 20 years after NAFTA, in another place.

      It’s not known whether even if it was not worse 26 years after Tiananmen in that first place, it would be better some 20 years after NAFTA in the second place.

  10. Steve H.

    : A Practical Vision of a More Equal Society by Thomas Piketty New York Review of Books

    “In that era, he reminds us, many member states called into question the financing of the British welfare state (especially the National Health Service) through taxes. This was seen as an unacceptable form of competition by those countries where the cost of the welfare state rested on employers.”

    Seems relevant to the ‘lost profits’ portions of the TPP.

  11. allan

    David Dayen on yesterday’s for-profit college debt relief charade.

    The vast majority of student borrowers will need to prove they were defrauded through a documentation process that forces them to become both private investigators and lawyers. This burdensome hurdle will limit any forgiveness the Education Department will have to make.

  12. Vatch

    “Is Overpopulation a Legitimate Threat to Humanity and the Planet?” New York Times (Lawrence R)

    Absolutely. Overpopulation is the number one threat to humanity and the planet’s biosphere. I read the 6 short articles at the New York Times site, and some of the comments. Many people obviously get it, but some are still stuck on a misunderstanding of the overconsumption problem. Of course excessive consumption is a major problem, but it is partly caused by overpopulation. When the number of consuming people increases, the total level of consumption increases.

    In the United States, some people consume far too much, and that needs to change, but there are also too many people in the U.S., as there are in India, China, and in many other countries. According to the CDC, in 2013 there were 3,932,181 births, and in another CDC report, we learn that there were 2,596,993 deaths in 2013 (this doesn’t even include U.S population growth from immigration). Too many Americans are having too many children, and it’s not just the Duggars. Some of these people will grow up to be high consuming Americans, and many more will try to be. U.S. overpopulation, like overpopulation in India, China, Africa, and elsewhere, is a major problem.

    1. Ed

      To put the response I just posted more succinctly, Malthus did not argue that more resources supporting increased population could not be made available, so pointing to increased resources supporting increased population does not in any way refute Malthus’ argument. You keep running into people who think it does.

      1. Ed

        I had a longer and fairly thoughtful response that I see the server ate, so my short reply will have to do. But basically there is no such thing as “we don’t have to worry about population getting to big as long as we control consumption.” Overpopulation IS overconsumption. Plus most critics of Malthus are not coming close to engaging his actual arguments. Nor has the data “proved” the neo-Malthusians of the 70s incorrect, in fact quite the opposite.

    2. micky9finger

      “Is over population a threat…”?
      Does a 44cal. bullet to the head cause death?

      1. ambrit

        Your assertion is inexact. I worked with an Iraq and Afghan vet who survived the ‘intrusion’ of a piece of shrapnel into his brain. (“IEDs are a b—h!” he’d yell when reminded of it by another Iraq vet who worked there.) So, overpopulation is indeed a threat, to those who die as a result. For the rest of us, there’s the Archdruids’ post industrial paradise. (I helped my father-in-law take care of his animals, goats, cows, horses, chickens, turkeys, guinea hens, and their assorted hangers on, and can testify from first hand that small scale agriculture is labour intensive. The farmers labour at that.)

        1. Vatch

          “overpopulation is indeed a threat, to those who die as a result. For the rest of us, there’s the Archdruids’ post industrial paradise.”

          At some point in the future, probably closer to fifty years from now than ten years, those who die as a result of overpopulation will very likely number in the billions. When high intensity agriculture is no longer possible because fossil fuels have become too scarce and expensive, when fresh water is in short supply, when diseases spread more quickly because people are packed so closely together, we will experience something quite different from a post industrial paradise.

          1. ambrit

            I prefer, “When high intensity agriculture is no longer [cheap] because…” High intensity agriculture will always be possible. It’s just the source of the energy to carry it out that will change. I agree about the basic shape of the disaster looming in our collective future. However, as the present day neo-liberal elites are already demonstrating, the oppression of the many to support the extravagances of the few is nothing new under the sun. The pain from overpopulation will not be evenly distributed. A quick perusal of Boccaccio’s “Decameron” will show that quite clearly.

            1. Vatch

              I think you are being overly optimistic about the future of high intensity agriculture. An electric car is one thing, but electric tractors and combines are something else entirely. And even today’s electric car depends on nuclear power or coal. Nitrogen fertilizers currently are derived from methane and atmospheric nitrogen. The atmospheric nitrogen isn’t going away, but the methane is likely to become scarcer and more expensive. There’s also the developing resistance of weeds to herbicides.

              You are quite correct that the pain will not be evenly distributed.

              1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

                With more robots, we would need more energy, assuming displaced workers still eat the same amount of zero-nutrition food.

                So now we have unemployed humans still needing food*, produced with the same amount of energy.

                And we need to feed robots now.

                *Unless they die, which maybe the goal of our over-lords.

              2. ambrit

                Yes, well, high intensity does not correlate with high yields. For neo-liberal agriculture, something on the order of a mid nineteenth century system will suffice. When it again takes two farmers to support one urban dweller, the NWO will have entered its’ optimal state. Electric tractors? I’m thinking Percherons pulling McCormick combine reapers. Can you see it? A farmer sitting in the steering saddle of a four horse tiller turning over the South Forty, talking to the homeys on his solar powered cell phone. How you gonna keep them up in the city when they ain’t got enough to eat?
                History teaches us, if nothing else, that the future isn’t going to be anything even remotely like what we imagine.

    3. susan the other

      Overpopulation is always a topic of opinion. It can easily be reduced to an equation which even an idiot can see is malthusian. Every person requires enormous quantities of resources to live and thrive. The planet was maxed out 50 years ago.

      1. susan the other

        And also too. Our fellow travelers. Healthy looking momma bear and cubs today – they look larger than our black bears. But that’s only because we have the vision to protect their habitat. That should tell us all something which isn’t a superficial cocktail party discussion on what your opinion is. In Japan they are doing something which might be pure disinformation – they are promoting “living with nature” in a way (on NHK) that implies the Japanese are living in harmony with nature. That’s a little harder to do in Africa. Elephants need a wide territory and lotsa degrees of freedom. So did the buffalo. But the idea is clear. We need to stop hogging down the planet. Because in the end we will wind up consuming each other. And we do not have much time left.

    4. reslez

      The issue is not necessarily too many people; as one of the editorialists points out, due to the gross misallocation of resources, we really have no idea how many people the planet can actually support.

      The real issue is the existence of people whom the elites do not need. The population that is surplus to requirements.

      1. Vatch

        You are correct — we don’t know how many people the Earth can support. What we do know is that the Earth isn’t adequately supporting the existing population of 7.3 billion people. As you say, resources are severely misallocated. There’s a lesson here: if resources are misallocated at 7.3 billion, the resources will continue to be misallocated at a higher population. At a higher population, the number of people who live in poverty will certainly increase, but I doubt that the number of people who have adequate resources will increase.

        I’ve posted this link before, and I apologize for the repetition, but I think the graphics are quite illuminating. If everyone agreed to live like Bangladeshis, we could support a very large population. But if everyone insisted on living like people in not very rich Costa Rica, we would need 1.4 Earths. You’ll have to scroll down to see the graphics:

  13. Skyburn

    So if you’re just exchanging one pound for another, what’s the point of the Bristol pound? If you want to support local businesses, couldn’t you just spend pounds sterling there? And if you have no pounds sterling you can’t get any Bristol pounds, so sucks if you’re poor.

    1. hunkerdown

      My understanding is that those pounds sitting in the central bank are doing other safe, honourable forex-type things for the polity and its “central bank” while their Bristol derivative hussies are working their way around town calling on goods and services, within and to the preferential benefit of the local citizenry, without paying, begging, promising or being otherwise accountable to absentee landlords for the privilege.

      The point is not about the individual, so much as about a polity determining that they’re more fit and more qualified to decide how their labour shall be deployed to serve the polity’s interests than absentees in London.

  14. armchair

    On the Hilary Clinton and Lanny Davis in Honduras story, I think Hilary’s actions or omissions in the 2009 coup are exactly the type of thing that give her presidential credibility. It is also the type of thing that no Republican can attack head-on, because stomping on Latin American nations is one of their cherished ideals, so how can they attack a democrat for doing something they wish they could do too? However, it is the type of the thing that a false flag operation could use to remind principled lefties not to vote for Hilary. This type of thing could be the difference in a state like Florida.

  15. Jim Haygood

    The war situation in Iraq has developed not necessarily to our advantage:

    U.S. President Barack Obama is weighing steps to bolster Iraq’s battle against Islamic State, including expanding the number of training sites for Iraqi forces, but the overall U.S. strategy is not in question, the top U.S. military officer said on Tuesday.

    General Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told a small group of reporters during a trip to Israel that it was still “to be determined” whether more forces might be needed in such a scenario.

    Well, presumably he’ll get his marching orders before he leaves.

  16. Rula Lenska

    In regards to the Cisco comments, I still don’t understand why if, as the nominee for the highest office in the land of one of the two political parties in the country, Mitt Romney, can state to his constituents, and the world, that “Corporations are people too, my friend”, meaning that it’s his understanding of the “Citizens United” decision, then how is it possible in these United States for these People to be bought and sold like chattel when it is explicitly forbidden by our constitution, as amended following the Civil WAr? Perhaps that sounds facetious, but many people thought that the inclusion of same-sex couples under a law that didn’t explicitly forbid something they didn’t realize was protected because they never conceived of such a thing when drafting the law, I would maintain that the same logic applies here. By trying to give Corporations rights they never should have, by proclaiming them to be something they quite obviously are not, the SCOTUS has made Wall St’s practises of buying and selling what, a major trader and owner of a Hedge fund, Bain Capital, knows and fully acknowledges, to be People, the US has quietly re-legalized slavery and the owning of People, shorn of their rights, to be used for fun and profits, by the buying entity. Why is this simply accepted as okay?

  17. rich

    Yesterday’s Federal Court Decision: Constitutional Tyranny at the SEC By Pam Martens and Russ Martens: June 9, 2015

    U.S. District Court Judge, Leigh Martin May, ruled yesterday in Atlanta that the SEC’s system of selecting in-house judges to hear and decide SEC cases brought against individuals charged with securities violations was “likely unconstitutional.” The Judge imposed a preliminary injunction in an SEC insider-trading case until she issues her final decision in the matter.

    During the tenure of Mary Jo White at the SEC, the agency has increasingly used its own in-house judges to decide securities fraud cases. That practice is now being increasingly challenged by individuals demanding their right to have their cases heard before a federal judge and a jury of their peers as provided for under the Seventh Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

    The public is not widely aware that the Dodd-Frank financial reform legislation, that was billed as a means of cleaning up Wall Street,

    gave the SEC the ability to unilaterally decide if it would bring its cases against unregistered individuals in a Federal Court, with full due process protections, or use one of its own, in-house Administrative Law Judges and its watered-down due process rules.

    That kind of tyranny is what the founding fathers alleged against King George III in the Declaration of Independence. They stated in the historic document that King George III “has made Judges dependent on his Will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries” and, furthermore, he was “depriving us in many cases, of the benefits of Trial by Jury.”

    Not to put too fine a point on it, but this nation fought an epic, bloody revolution to preserve the very freedoms that Mary Jo White is now cavalierly usurping. Thomas Jefferson said that trial by jury is “the only anchor ever yet imagined by man, by which a government can be held to the principles of its constitution.”

    1. susan the other

      Maybe similarly to getting rid of the ultra-corrupt OCC, we should also just get rid of the SEC. Create a financial justice branch within the FBI and send it all to Federal Court. They say prosecutors win 90% of the time in Federal court. A much tougher place than the SEC.

      1. hunkerdown

        The FBI is inherently authoritarian and right-wing, and they have been manufacturing “terrorists”. The very least sensible thing to do would be to put them in charge of financial fraud.

    2. abynormal

      BEST news out of this city in decades!

      I can’t be calm when I drive through sections of Atlanta that look more like Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo, than America.
      Cynthia McKinney

  18. susan the other

    Really good read about Angela Merkel in the New Yorker. If you can read between the lines. The magazine went beyond its limits trying to make Putin look bad and Germany look anti-Russian. I don’t buy a word of it. Especially after Minsk. Using the example of the M17 flight crash – blaming the Russians of course – the New Yorker tried to make a point without any evidence. Bad form. But Angela herself is too teflon for them to screw with. Which I like about her. Since I think she is very smart and very moral. A deadly mix to stir with poison if you are just another “free trader” without a conscience. This article qualifies as sophisticated propaganda in that it takes a few facts and combines them with a whole lotta nonsense. And in spite of all this, Merkel comes out OK.

  19. craazyman

    Who needs a 10 bagger? I’m not ashamed to admit I do. Any man who wants to live a stylish life needs a few million just for walking around money. And that’s a floor not an “average”. An average would be more like $10 million. Think how fast it goes! A spacious apartment, vacations, restaurants, various hobbies and clothing (Saville Row and English shoes like Edward Green of course). Of course you won’t be working so a salary is out of the question. If you can do things people pay you for, well, that’s a bonus. But you can’t plan on that. It’s 10 bagger time for sure. What’s the point of reading all this yada yada about all sorts of boring shlt like Greece for 199,872nd time in a year. Wow. What an assault on tender sensibilities. The Ukraine stuff is worse. And the South China sea stuff is unbearable. And the 2016 presidential election, it already rakes the brain like sandpaper on an open wound. This stuff can kill you, don’t kid yourself. But a few million for walking around money and you can ignore all of it completely like it’s happening on another planet. Think about that. What if there were 10,000 planets with all sorts of shlt like this going down and news reports hourly. Where would you start your daily reading? I don’t know. I don’t even know now and it’s only 1 planet. A planet and a moon. It’s weird, really, why it’s like that.

    1. craazyboy

      Until you get a 10 bagger, you can still go the movies. We got $5 matinee shows here. That’s were I’m headed in a few minutes. Gonna see Mad Max. That’s like reading 10,000 planets of news in only a hour and 45 minutes. I figure it will be like talking a strong laxative. Cleansing and lightens the load – then you can go days without new news. When you feel compelled to take a peak again, the news will still be the same. Just a different robot wrote and timestamped the article.

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      When the world population is times the present size, it will be easier to get a ten-bagger, right?

      Everything is scaled up ten times…in theory…ten times more search engine users, ten times more social media accounts…etc., etc.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          And do you want to be the supreme leader of a billion-strong nation or the super-supreme leader of a nation of 10 billion consumers?

      1. ambrit

        But then a ten bag will only be worth one bag in inflation adjusted ‘cargo container units’ (real world model.)

    3. Skippy

      As it happened: Explosion rocks Queensland cafe

      A 37-year-old woman has been airlifted to Brisbane overnight, reportedly suffering burns to 80 per cent of her body following Tuesday’s northern Queensland cafe blast.

      The woman was one of four people who suffered critical injuries when a ute ploughed into gas cylinders at the Serves You Right Cafe in Ravenshoe, about 120 kilometres southwest of Cairns, causing a massive explosion.

      The chaotic scene erupted as cafe diners were eating lunch just after noon.

      Police are investigating whether the ute driver suffered a heart attack at the wheel and are not treating the incident as suspicious.

      Skippy…. Yet some are still drawn to Game of Thrones…. from the safety of the lounge….

      1. ambrit

        I feel very sorry for those people basically because they have run full speed into the brick wall of blind chance. Being in the wrong place at the wrong time can happen to anybody, I know, I have the literal scars to prove it.
        Game of Chairs? A Muppet catharsis.
        I don’t know about your neck of the woods, but our present hometown, Hattiesburg Mississippi, can get frisky. We just had two town policemen shot to death by a drugs dealer during a traffic stop. It didn’t help that the stop occurred at the edge of one of the more notorious drugs dealing public housing projects in town. At least once a week I hear multiple gunshots off in the distance, generally at night. The occasional AR and AK multiple shots fired scenario happens too. All this in a town of about 50,000 souls. I’m guessing that some of the laggards are hiding in the lounge because it’s not safe out of doors.
        Stay safe and tell them you love them often.

        1. Skippy

          The “Serves You Right Cafe” life imitating art thingy…. all whilst some seek price as a panacea…

          Pretty good around here, considering the economic absurdity. Tho the lower bound socioeconomic areas are truly feeling the pinch, w/ all the bells and whistles attached – the dark side starts making appearances. The middle class is sure romantic visions are just around the corner, steady on. The upper quintiles have never had it better, tho are hedging.

          Skippy…. its quite sad to see the sons under 12 rugby games spoiled by the friction heating up wrt the parents when vs those that are suffering the most. When all the kids want is to have a go, build skills, enjoy the day with mates in the little fracas we call rugby.

          1. ambrit

            Oh boy! Team sports as a displacement mechanism! For the spectators no less! (Under 12s is a little young to be studying deviant psychology.)

  20. Sanctuary

    Re: Chinese emissions peaking, this is another indirect proof of what I’ve been saying, i.e., China’s growth is far less than the government is admitting. They are not growing anywhere near 7%. This emissions rate is peaking early because demand is dropping off a cliff domestically and internationally and has been for some time. This is not really about them furiously putting forth environmental measures. It’s just like the fact that US carbon emissions have fallen to 1994 levels. Partly due to environmental measures, but mostly due to the Financial Crisis curtailing demand. Another article a few days ago showed how China’s deflator is significantly understated in its GDP forecasts, somewhere on the order of 2.3% at least. So take your 7% and subtract at least 2.3% and you’re down to mid 4’s, at least and its rate of deceleration is increasing, hence the recent plummeting in exports and collapsing rail freight volume.

  21. participant-observer-observed

    This is a few day’s old but still relevant (from last week’s Taipei Times.) It is hard to fathom the DPP voters going in for TPP on agricultural products.

    Tsai clarifies China policy in ‘Wall Street Journal’

    “Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Chairperson Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) on Monday said that her “core goal” for the nation was “a more consistent and sustainable relationship with China.”

    Tsai made the statement in a bylined commentary published by the Wall Street Journal as she flew into Washington for a key five-day visit to the US capital.

    Tsai called for “open channels of communication, both with China’s leadership and the Taiwanese people.”

    She faces a whirlwind of meetings with officials in US President Barack Obama’s administration, US Congress and the US Department of State, as well as think tanks and Taiwanese-American organizations.

    It will be her main opportunity to convince Washington that if she wins next year’s presidential election, she will follow policies that will maintain peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait.

    Tsai is in the US for a total of 12 days and has already visited Los Angeles and Chicago.

    Tsai’s Wall Street Journal article laid out the platform she is presenting in Washington.

    “My priority will be to implement a transparent process to enhance trust and cooperation across the Taiwan Strait,” she wrote.

    “Through principled engagements, joint initiatives and dialogue, I will ensure that the spirit of cooperation that has guided the betterment of China-Taiwan relations continues,” Tsai wrote.

    She wrote that 36 years ago, the US Congress enacted the Taiwan Relations Act (TRA) and launched a “historic friendship.”

    “I have no doubt that our mutual interests in the region’s peace and prosperity will further strengthen these bonds and ensure that they will endure for many decades to come,” Tsai wrote.

    While the US is Taiwan’s most important strategic partner, she said that the nation must also expand its contributions toward a more promising future for the region.

    Tsai wrote that Taiwan needs to articulate an open and forward-looking strategy for the future that is “fundamentally premised” on robust economic, defense and people-to-people relationships with the US in parallel with a comprehensive and principled engagement with China.

    Tsai outlined a four-pronged foreign policy based on multifaceted cooperation with the US, identifying and participating in international projects, protecting Taiwan’s economic autonomy through trade diversification and enhancing principled cooperation with China.

    “The net impact of this strategy will not only depend on the successful execution of each pillar, but on how we are able to draw linkages between the four elements and put forth a comprehensive paradigm for Taiwan’s international role,” she wrote.

    Tsai wrote that she was committed to enhancing cooperation with the US on joint military training, exercises and defense-industrial cooperation.

    “In addition to strengthening our already extensive ties in these traditional security areas, it is equally important for Taiwan to support the region’s capabilities to address nontraditional security threats, highlighted by the growing challenges presented by climate change and the increasing frequency of natural disasters across the Asia-Pacific,” she wrote. “I am committed to advancing an open dialogue with the US, China, Japan, South Korea and other like-minded nations on how we can fortify the region’s humanitarian and natural-disaster relief architecture and capabilities.”
    Tsai said that Taiwan must articulate a stronger trade agenda, necessitating changes in how the nation conducts business and establishes strong frameworks to bolster investor confidence.

    “In the near term, ensuring that Taiwan is ready for future candidacy into the Trans-Pacific Partnership and other regional economic agreements will be an important cornerstone of my economic policy,” she said.

    In response, an unnamed source from the Presidential Office asked why has Tsai not mentioned “maintaining the ‘status quo’” as she did in Taiwan, and whether she takes different stances when in Taiwan and abroad.”

  22. Jeff

    Hi Yves,
    Just wanted to say thank you for the css update for the mobile version.
    Not only it loads at a breeze – quite a change after several years of nightmarish slughish behavior, but it has a nice large font which is just fine for my old eyes.
    So again, thank you for all the efforts spent on form.

    1. craazyboy

      craazyman is my mentor in NYC! The erudite dude that likes Edward Green shoes!

      This is craazyboy – the sort of western dude.

      I just bought a new autopilot chip today from China. Will be playing with that in a few weeks.

      1. optimader

        OOPS! my bad!
        CM=remote madmax model truck
        So you need to raise you game!..
        I’ll be looking your Rainbow charged Supercapacitor powered hovercraft commuter at Costco this Holiday season

        1. craazyboy

          Still not quite right. I did the GPS navigating, Arduino augmented, self driving RC Monster Truck too. The quad is my current project.

          CM specializes in mental theoretical stuff – like math, xanax & wine, working at a Wall Street investment firm, and dreaming of the relationship between 10 baggers and $1000 Edward Green shoes.

          I can only do LiPo batteries. Sorry.

          But I did just buy this guys autopilot flight controller for my quad. Here’s a youtube where he demos it on one of his mini-quads w/ camera and gimbal. He designed the board plus is the lead firmware guy at his open source company, Tau Labs.

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