Links 7/25/15

The Mysterious Oxfordshire Sheep Panic of 1888 EsoterX

Camping trip only planned to heighten appreciation of house Daily Mash

Male nipples become tools of ‘sexual harassment’ during summer, complain Japanese women Japan Today (furzy mouse)

Fossil fuel companies impose more in climate costs than they make in profits Vox (reslic). Similar to banks, they are purely extractive, in both senses of the word.

An Artist Has Created a Tree That Bears 40 Different Types of Fruit Motherboard (resilc)

At least 8M humans may have lived and farmed the Amazon basin Daily Mail (Chuck L)

Genetic studies link indigenous peoples in the Amazon and Australasia ScienceDaily (Chuck L)

Elephant In The Room: The Pentagon’s Massive Carbon Footprint Counterpunch (reslic)

DARK Act Passes but Fight for Americans’ Right to Know Far From Over EWG (furzy mouse). Food fights.

Congressman and Agricultural Subcommittee Chairman: “Nearly 80 Percent of the Food Produced In the United States Contains Some Kind of GM [Genetically Modified] Product” George Washington. Start with corn and soy products…

Exclusive: Military school knew of doctor’s macabre ways for decades Reuters (EM)

Emerging market currencies crash on Fed fears and China slump Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, Telegraph

Are China’s anti-pollution policies already bearing fruit? Asian Correspondent

Yvette Cooper hits out at ‘startlingly retro’ Labour leadership campaign Guardian. EM: “Labour in regression on equal opportunity?”

Justice for sale: Big companies could soon escape prosecution for corporate corruption – by paying their way out Independent. We’ve already institutionalized that in the US.

Why Is A Country Trying To Join The Euro In The Wake Of Greek Crisis? Huffington Post (Margarita)


Greek bailout talks hit early snags Financial Times. Seriously not good. I should write this up but there is a possibility that this is more smoke than fire. The official line: New Bailout Talks Delayed So Creditors Can Find A Secure Location Out Of View Of Greeks Who Hate Their Guts

Why Greece Should Leave the Eurozone Hans-Werner Sinn, New York Times. Note how he thinks Greek wages need to be lower when the previous reductions in labor costs in Greece did not produce the export bennies that standard models predict. Greece has a much bigger problem with the structure of its economy (what amounts to economic strategy) than simple costs. Plus the “competitiveness” meme assumes everyone can be a net exporter, which is clearly impossible.

The great Greece fire sale Guardian

Greece loosens capital restrictions on businesses Reuters

2010 and all that — Relitigating the Greek bailout (Part 2) Dan Davies (Nathan, IsabelPS)

German Finance Chief Schäuble’s Tough Tone Heightens Uncertainty Over Bailout Wall Street Journal. Missed this piece which contains the very important tidbit that Schauble has mentioned to Der Spiegel that he might resign over Greece. That would virtually guarantee a Bundestag revolt over the deal and could even bring Merkel down. In other words, he’s pulled out his nuclear weapon.

Schäuble was ready to give Greece €50 billion to quit the euro Heard in Europe (guurst)

Syriza’s covert plot during crisis talks to return to drachma Financial Times. Pretty much all the broad strokes were in an earlier Ambrose Evans-Pritchard story, but this has way more detail, including feasibility. And that is consistent with what we have been saying in posts and comments. For instance, on the idea of having Greece seize the mint and print more euros:

Nor would they be able to print more €10 and €20 banknotes: From the moment the government took over the mint, the European Central Bank would declare Greek euros as counterfeit, “putting anyone who tried to buy something with them at risk of being arrested for forgery,” said a senior central bank official.

“The consequences would be disastrous. Greece would be isolated from the international financial system with its banks unable to function and its euros worthless,” the official added.


Turkish jets strike IS and PKK BBC

Turkey Re-Lauches War On Kurds Moon of Alabama

Afghan Buzkashi (FB Ali) Sic Semper Tyrannis (Chuck L)

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

Missed Calls: Is the NSA lying about its failure to prevent 9/11? Foreign Polic Foreign Policy. William Blunden: “This is incredible: back in 2000 the NSA intercepted a call to Osama’s operations center in Yemen from a 9/11 hijacker in San Diego. They failed to follow-up, which should set off warning bells. There’s no way they wouldn’t have tapped this line.”

U.K. Police Confirm Ongoing Criminal Probe of Snowden Leak Journalists Intercept

Imperial Collapse Watch

U.S. Fears Data Stolen by Chinese Hacker Could Identify Spies New York Times. Duh.

Clinton Emailed Classified Information While at State Department, Review Finds Wall Street Journal

Trade Traitors

Trade agreements and modern-day slavery The Hill (curtis e)

Sen. Mike Lee will attempt nuclear option to repeal Affordable Care Act Washington Post

In Clinton email inquiry, a changing story Politico

Clinton to Propose Nearly Doubling Capital-Gains Tax Rate on Short-Term Investments Wall Street Journal

Donald Trump Staffers Eye Third-Party Run Time. The Dems should lose this time around, as Obama should have lost in 2012. But the Republicans managed to screw it up and they may do so again.

Donald Trump bans Iowa’s biggest newspaper from event for calling him a ‘feckless blowhard’ Raw Story. Furzy mouse: “And garners more headlines!”

Black Injustice Tipping Point

Death of woman in Texas jail consistent with suicide: prosecutor Reuters (EM)

Exclusive: Feds Regularly Monitored Black Lives Matter Since Ferguson Intercept

Holder’s Legacy: Mass Incarceration and Protection of Killer Cops, Part II Black Agenda Report

Police State Watch

Seattle-area deputies lied about bus driver’s profanity use during fight Reuters (EM). Keep in mind the bus driver would have lost his job without his recording.

Shocking Video Shows LAPD Cops Shoot Man in Wheelchair With 3 Bean Bag Rounds and a Taser Free Thought Project

Miami Beach police officer cleared in graffiti artist’s Taser death Reuters. EM: “So the suspect was simultaneously ‘fleeing from’ and ‘running toward’ the officer? Gotcha.”

Gunman who opens fire in Studio City dies at the scene Los Angeles Times. I know that ‘hood…

There have been 204 mass shootings — and 204 days — in 2015 so far Washington Post. I’ve predicted for years that the response to rising social stresses, short job tenures, and high unemployment would be more random acts of violence, not organized protests.

U.S. Gun Policy: Global Comparisons Council on Foreign Relations

UBS’s Puerto Rico Bond Funds Implode, “Collateral Value” Drops to Zero, Investors Screwed Wolf Richter

Chicago’s Plan to Change Pension Benefits Ruled Unconstitutional New York Times

U.S. new home sales fall to seven-month low Reuters. Lambert also flagged in Water Cooler but still important…although this could still be noise. But this is the peak sales time of year.

Class Warfare

Gap Widening as Top Workers Reap the Raises New York Times

Beyond Innocence: US Political Prisoners and the Fight Against Mass Incarceration Truthout

It Would Be a Mistake for Progressives to Split Along #BlackLivesMatter and Economic Justice Lines Robert Reich

Reardon v. UBER TECHNOLOGIES, INC., Dist. Court, ND California 2015 Google Scholar. Mark H: “Uber tries to hire people by sending them unwanted text messages—even people who ‘have never been Uber members, drivers, or users, and have never applied to be Uber drivers or given Uber their cellular telephone numbers.’

Antidote du jour. Stephen L, from Alberta Wildlife FB page:

gosling links

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. financial matters

    Nice to see Senator Warren invite Mariana Mazzucato for some Senate testimony. She brings some innovative ideas against TINA such as how we can combat the problem of public financing for private gain.


    “When the profits from this growth are re-invested back into the economy—on future innovation and human capital formation—this helps to increase the possibility that jobs and innovation go hand in hand. When those profits are either hoarded, or used on short-run measures that boost stock prices, the relationship is much more problematic. For this reason, it is great news that this Forum on Middle Class Prosperity is focusing on the role of innovation.”

    “Public investments in both basic and applied R&D were often driven by societal and technological ‘missions’. But that is changing. Today we have public sector institutions that are constantly asked to prove their ‘economic value’, forgetting that some of the greatest benefits to business from public R&D emerged when the goal of the investments was not commercialization per se, but solving grander societal and technological challenges.”

    “What is needed to both fuel innovation and to limit inequality is a change in the narrative about the role of the state in the innovation driven, wealth-creation process. A narrative that doesn’t just describe the state as regulating and re-distributing the pie, but gives tax payers the credit for having co-created the pie in the first place, through strategic public investments of the kind that led to the technology behind the iPhone. Alongside, of course, an active innovative business sector that invests in both basic and applied research. Then, perhaps, we can have the courage to debate the really big questions about how to get public and private actors in the US to build together the future foundations of growth, through long-run investments aimed at new missions— whether they be around climate change, ageing, or even the mission to Mars—galvanizing innovation in many different sectors. Only through such a new conversation can ‘secular stagnation’, which some wrongly treat as inevitable, be combatted head on.”

  2. allan

    “Seattle-area deputies lied about bus driver’s profanity use during fight”. The Reuters story leaves out a twist: although the driver’s own body camera proved that the deputies lied, and he was cleared of all wrong-doing, the incident has led to a new policy:

    Metro Transit spokesman Jeff Switzer confirmed Wednesday that Kirkpatrick was cleared of any wrongdoing stemming from the accusation, but said the incident prompted the agency to send a bulletin to all drivers clarifying they were not to wear personal body cameras while working.

    What on Earth is the rationale for forbidding drivers from having their own body cams? And would you want to be the driver? Look what happened to the guy who filmed Eric Garner’s killing.

    1. Jess

      Are you effing kidding me? This is absurd and insane. Which, of course, makes it par for our Catch 22/through the looking glass police state.

      1. Gio Bruno

        This story reminds me that having an audio recording of any encounter with the “police” is essential. Do most folks know that their smart phones can act as recorders? Do folks know that “ear buds” are actually small microphones? (Hanging unobtrusively from around your shoulders they’re well placed to record any conversation.) Now just need that killer app that converts the phone to recording in one surreptitious touch.

        1. different clue

          And concurrently uploads the ongoing recording to some remote storage facility/ server/the “cloud”/whatever in realtime so that if Legal Enforcement strong-arm takes the cell phone to erase it, they can erase what is in the phone, but they can’t erase the very same thing which is also stored remotely. That would be a VERY killer app.

  3. IsabelPS

    Stephen J. Gould had a very interesting essay on vestigial organs (ex., nipples in men, clitoris in women) with the fantastic title “Maple nipples and female ripples” (credits to his wife).

    1. Mark from California

      The clitoris is not a vestigial organ, that is, not somehow a degraded penis. Recent research on female sexual organs has shown the clitoris to be significant in size and to pervade the female reproductive organs. There’s much more to it than the commonly-acknowledged “glans clitoris” at the top of the labia. The clitoris is not at all comparable to a penis. Look it up! And: yay for correct anatomical knowledge and sexual enjoyment and freedom for women!

      1. craazyman

        Maybe that’s what triggered the sheep panic of 1888. They started the research on sheep before they went to humans.

        Jesus. I thought this was a finance blog?

        I mean really. I thought “Naked” capitalism was only a metaphor — “Shining the light of truth into all the holes and cracks”. That was my recommendation for a tag line but they didn’t go for it. They went with some tedious cliche about fearless commentary and power. Can you believe it?

        1. craazyman

          Genius Means Connecting the Dots

          It just occurred to me, the way things do from nowhere — maybe the Sheep Panic of 1888 was where the phrase “When men were men and sheep ran scared” came from. You know they wouldn’t want to admit something like that to official researchers.


      2. craazyboy

        Really nothing a steady regimen of Flowmax couldn’t fix. American pharma products do work wonders.

      3. Jack

        How recent is recent though? I mean, how difficult is it to cut open a corpse and follow one particular meaty bit all throughout the body? But anyway, my understanding has always been that it’s not a ‘degraded penis’, but pretty much the opposite: the pre-gendered fetus is more female than anything and has a number of proto-organs that can go either way. The thing that would become a multi-function penis in men becomes a dedicated pleasure organ in women. And men have nipples (and breast tissue) that don’t do anything because these form before the chromosomes sort out what gender the fetus will be. Men are sort of ad hoc mutants needed to fulfill sexual reproduction.

    1. Kurt Sperry

      I’ve been following this project for a while. If I got the gist of what the engineer was saying other later planes–notably the P-51–have exploited the Meredith effect. I’m guessing an F1 car’s sidepods which house its radiators use the same or similar ideas to minimize drag.

  4. Steve H.

    In-line with NC’s recent recategorization of political headings, I note that Mike Lee is called a ‘conservative firebrand’ in the Post’s article.

    Interesting that such a label applies to someone who voted against the Patriot Act, Defense Authorization, and voted to reduce minimum sentences for drug offenders while so many self-avowed liberals voted the opposite way.

    Kudos to NC for working to undermine the easy branding onto the public mind.

  5. allan

    FBI arrests animal rights activists accused of releasing 5,740 mink in cross-country road trip

    Two animal-rights activists have been charged with terrorizing the fur industry during cross-country road trips in which they released about 5,740 mink from farms and vandalized the homes and businesses of industry members, the FBI said Friday.

    So … according to the FBI, releasing animals from farms is terrorism, but targeting 9 African Americans for death in a historic black church, including one state senator, is not terrorism. How many agents does the bureau have assigned to the animal rights movement as opposed to the right wing fringe?

    1. Gio Bruno

      Actually, this not unprecedented. The FBI charged Earth First! members with environmental terrorism in the 80’s. See the documentary “If a Tree Falls”.

  6. Disturbed Voter

    Classified Clinton emails … inexcusable. The Nixon SCOTUS ruling that nobody is above the law … LOLs. Watergate only showed to the perps at the top, how much they could get away with.

    Greek plot for illegal printing of Euro notes … didn’t happen. But what happens when everyone realizes that all Euro notes are counterfeit … that all fiat notes are counterfeit … Earth-exit?

    1. susan the other

      There’s a point to be made here. Counterfeit is not counterfeit if everyone agrees to use it. And since the rules were illegally broken by the ECB and the EC in the way they blackmailed Greece, you could argue that the Greeks had every right to print euro. They are not the ones who broke a contract.

      1. alex morfesis

        greece can mint all the coins they can or want to technichally (without bringing up the problems with inflation it might cause) but it falls back again on the idea who is going to play kickball with little stavros or eleni…the ecb has the greek economy in check…technically any credit institution licensed in europe can set up shop ( or could have as i have not read the fine print in the laws passed this week) in greece by just giving a notice using the passaport clause of eu directives…but again…nobody wants to play with eleni and stavros…credit institutions are not deposit taking institutions…as per eu directives and definitions…

  7. Llewelyn Moss

    re: Sandra Bland
    Waller County prosecutor Warren Diepraam told news reporters yesterday “preliminary autopsy results show Bland had marijuana in her system ” (get the story out there quick guys). Then the OFFICIAL AUTOPSY SAYS NOTHING ABOUT MARIJUANA.

    Character assassination of Sandra Bland completed.

    You gotta hand it to the cops, they are very methodical. There must be an official checklist on “How to Cover-up”.

    Official autopsy links.

  8. diptherio

    This scene of impending doom is supposed to be our antidote??? That poor water-skipper…I can just imagine how terrified it must be.

    Cuteness: it’s all a matter of perspective.

      1. Sorry, duckies!

        I wouldn’t stop or swerve into another lane to avoid those ducks. Lucky ducks, and lucky drivers. I am amazed that no ducks or people got hurt.

        BTW the pic is of a gosling.

  9. Yulek

    If fossil fuel companies were made to pay for their pollution, guess who would pay for it? You, me and everyone else not living in a cave, simply by paying more for fuel, plastics, food, quite possibly for everything modern civilized man or woman uses.
    And another thing, what good it is to pay for damages to ecosystem, if ecosystem is incapable of fixing itself with money? Or use money for anything except bacteria feed?
    It is one thing to require that certain standards are upheld at extraction and processing sites, and some funds are directed at developing cleaner ways to utilize fossil fuels. And completely different thing to let some government body gobble up those money.

    1. Robert Dudek

      Increased prices for everything fossil fuel related would spur people to adopt lower carbon footprint technologie such as bicycles and organic farming and gardening.

      1. Yulek

        True, but then again, how far can you commute with a bicycle? Our civilization was built around the easy availability of cheap energy in easily portable form and contraptions that convert this energy in to actual work. Besides, you only address personal transportation and food production, what about commercial transportation? Clothing? Consumer goods? Durable goods? Almost anything we use now is being made with use of oil. You can use natural materials, sure, but some of those materials grow on other life forms (eg. leather, wood).

        1. tegnost

          go to any freeway and check how many single occupancy vehicles there are, I consider that “slack”. Gas over $4/gal without wage increases puts people on the bus. It’s a false equivilancy that we will suddenly be relying on bicycles although some may choose bike over bus.

          1. Adrienne Adams

            Go to any community outside of big metro areas and look for a bus. You won’t find one, except for maybe a token route or three that serves a handful of people. There is no alternative to the car in rural areas or post WWII suburbs. High gas prices just make life harder for the majority of moderate- and low-income Americans. It’s easy to demonize fossil fuels but our civilization would screech to a halt in about ten seconds without them. The industrialized world will move to a lower carbon output one way or another, but it’s sheer fantasy to think it will be easy.

            1. Robert Dudek

              In the old days, towns were small enough that you could walk or bike ride anywhere. And there was rail to connect the towns together. That’s really all the transportation that’s needed if you redesigned the transport system to be maximally efficient. Witness the denser parts of Europe, such as Holland.

              It’s going to be the case that personal motorized travel is going to be a luxury that only the rich will be able to afford on a regular basis.

              1. Adrienne Adams

                @Robert Dudek.

                You confuse the past with the present, and what’s possible with what’s feasible. Good luck with remaking a million car-dependent suburbs around walking and rail transport. The structural changes that have made America car-dependent will not be undone with wishful thinking, but only with enormous changes in zoning and permitting laws and trillions of dollars in investment in public transportation. But take a look at state and local transportation budgets: how much is still being spent on roads vs. public transportation?

                1. James Levy

                  You are very likely right, but that doesn’t change the fact that we’ve got to stop subsidizing fossil fuels before they kill a billion people or more over the next 50 years. The swath of land from Nigeria to Bangladesh is already a powder keg. Add two more degrees to the mix and it will all be a combination war zone/dead zone. I live in the country and higher fuel costs will hurt me badly. I’ll go from lower middle class to outright poor. But I want my kids to have a habitable planet to live on when I die. These are the kinds of measures we will have to take for that to be a reality.

                  1. Adrienne Adams

                    @James Levy,

                    Agreed. But getting from here to there is a monumental challenge: we can’t go back, since what worked for one billion humans won’t likely work for 8 or 10. Going forward requires drastic reductions of energy consumption in every aspect of life. Americans will need to cut back more than the rest of the world, but right now reduced consumption is politically, economically, and culturally a non-starter.

                    Fossil fuel subsidies are a lot different than most people imagine. The top three subsidies for oil companies in the US are 1) the strategic petroleum reserve 2) farm fuel tax exemption and 3) low income home heating assistance. In addition, oil companies pay a lot of taxes on the state and local levels–Alaska gets 90% of it state revenue from taxes on oil companies. So strategies like “end subsidies for oil” and “keep it in the ground” will have knock-on effects that will likely hurt ordinary Americans.

                    We can’t solve the climate crisis by only addressing the supply side, as & other environmental groups claim. Addressing demand is crucial but see above… how do you convince Americans to drastically reduce their energy consumption? How do we re-orient the US economy to something other than consumer spending?

                2. sd

                  Um. See Los Angeles. the fastest growing and most desirable neighborhood is downtown. Part of the allure is easy access to transit.

                3. Yves Smith Post author

                  Go read William Gibson’s The Peripheral about what he calls “the jackpot”. It’s about the best we can hope for on the trajectory we are on and it is still terrible.

                  Or as Herbert Stein put it, “That which can’t continue, won’t.” You can say “We can’t not have our cars and suburbs” in the face of a mass species die-off. This is Easter Island thinking and is going to produce the same results.

            2. tegnost

              The point I was trying to make is that there is a relative ceiling on the pump price of gas beyond which people seek alternatives which in turn brings the pump price down. I would argue that when people in metropolitan areas switch to transit they affect demand enough to bring the price down for those in rural areas as well.

          2. Jess

            Gas over $4/gal puts people on the bus? Evidently you’ve not been to CA recently. Our prices for lowest octane regular are well over $4 and high octane stuff is pushing $5. Bus ridership? I’ve seen no indications that it is up. In fact, where I live I rarely encounter buses in traffic when I’m out and about, and certainly never at non-rush hour times.

            1. cwaltz

              I loved the bus system in SoCal. The buses ran every 15 minutes from 6am until 11pm. That was in addition to having the trolley system. Where I live now the buses normally only run from noon until 6pm Sunday thru Thursday.

        2. Steven D.

          So early 21st Century US-centric. So the bloated, fantastically decadent, extravagantly wasteful suburban US lifestyle is the only way to live in an advanced society. What about Japan, Europe, even New York City? Those people don’t drive to McDonald’s, then get back in the car to drive to the Walgreens just next door, then get back into the car to drive to the Home Depot across the six-lane road with a middle turning lane. A lower footprint certainly is possible. You might say Americans prefer it that way. Then why won’t they pay the taxes needed to sustain all those highways? And, by the way, it would take about a dollar federal and state gas tax to finance it all.

      2. neo-realist

        Can’t organic farm and garden if you rent an apartment in the city without a communal garden in the area. Grow a veggie in a pot of dirt?

    2. tegnost

      Having the price reflect the actual cost may result in people choosing less costly alternatives? To your second point, put money in your car and it won’t go, put money in the ecosystem at least it will become “bacteria feed”, money is a social contract facilitating trade, a bond of zero duration. I don’t know the process by which this all will lead to the gov’t gobbling money, but did daydream, unsuccessfully, about bacteria feed. There are alternatives, its just that industries such as fossil fuel,genetic engineering, insurance, trade protection, lobby heavily to reduce our choices, forcing us to buy what they want us to buy, deferring the true cost of their rapacious greed until they have left the building. I like the way your first sentence implies the benign agency of those poor fuel companies. It’s not likely an input =output scenario, as an example pre “GFC” any miniscule hiccup in nigeria or sabre rattling about iran would lead gas price at the pump to jump .50 cents, until demand was crushed by those prices (That was one of the worst things about the bush cheney years i remember, they believed the market could bear $4/gal gas…i guess not). Nowadays they can’t move the price at the pump under threat of nuclear war. so long story short the price you pay is in my opinion not reflective of the cost but has more to do with what you can pay.

      1. Yulek

        It is not the poor companies, it is poor us, who would pay. And the companies would be as rich, as they are. And of course, those who cannot pay, would have to either find a way to get by without it. Just there are not many ways to get by without oil these days.

    3. micky9finger

      So it’s OK to dump in the commons as long we don’ t have to pay more for a product?
      You probably didn’t maen that.

      1. Yulek

        No, I did not mean that. I mean, that while we have to make sure, that we’re getting the energy in as clean as possible way, but we can’t avoid certain problems. The overall problem is that burning, optimally provides only water and carbon dioxide. These two are at least not poisonous. As for climate change wars, I have no way of knowing which side has it right, if any.

  10. diptherio

    The Miami graffiti-artist death is tragic and absurd:

    The decision hinged on Florida law authorizing Officer Jorge Mercado to use force to arrest a fleeing suspect and to protect himself, after he told investigators the artist, Israel Hernandez-Llach, was running toward him during a chase.

    Because apparently this graffiti-ist got confused and forgot he was supposed to be running away from police. Or maybe the pig is just lying (I don’t refer to all law-enforcement officers as “pigs,” just the ones who deserve it). The rest of the story sure makes it seem that way:

    He was ordered to stop several times as police followed him through alleyways, a building, and over a fence where he fell, injuring himself, police said at the time.

    After Hernandez-Llach was tased, officers laughed and high-fived as he lay motionless on the ground, witnesses said. Once in custody, he displayed signs of medical distress and was soon pronounced dead.

    So, at what point during the chase was Israel coming at the pig in question? It’s not exactly clear…I guess after he’d injured himself, right, since it sounds like he was running away from the cops up till then–which is typically the right approach–until he messed himself up climbing over a fence. So he’s running, trying to get away, gets hurt and then decides to “run towards” the pig? But he’s injured, so I’m guessing he wasn’t coming all that fast. Did the pig claim that he was going for the pig’s gun? ‘Cause, you know, that’s what everyone apparently does….[grinding teeth in rage]

    1. Brooklin Bridge

      The pigs were running in reverse with incredible dexterity so as to leap backwards over fences, through ally ways, etc., all the while wide eyed with terror as the merciless graffiti-artist gained on them little by little?

      1. Brooklin Bridge

        Hmm, allied ways or alley ways or ally ways or what ever, those cops were amazing so you knew they were AMERICAN…

        1. ambrit

          I went to high school on the Beach. I knew several people who became local cops; as well as one gets to know classmates in a school with over 2000 students. One was a white woman, one a Cuban man. The demographics of the Miami area paint the picture of a heavily hispanic population. Then there are the Haitians, Caribbeans, Central and South Americans, Space Aliens, (who live on South Beach,) and, on the Beach, Europeans, (often confused with the SAs.) Miami Beach used to be a colony of New Amsterdam, solidly upper middle class, and class conscious. Now, my correspondents aver, it is part of the Spanish Caribbean, wildly economically unequal, exploitative, and class conscious “con significado.”

          1. Brooklin Bridge

            Wow! A colorful crew. I went to Miami beach once back in the 60’s, fell asleep on it, and am reminded of the experience every time I put the last piece of chicken on the grill and then forget about it until much later (except the chicken is black not bright bright red).

            Coming back to the cops you knew, if they can all run backwards while being chased by an internationally dangerous graffiti-artist armed to the teeth with pastel colored pieces of chalk sticking out from his fingers like tiny little ICBM’s, that grow to full size when launched by his thumb, and (they) still make the backwards hurdle over fences (showing the police never instigate – but always un-wind tense situations – especially with their pistols, you know, undoing the tiny thin wire buried in the intricate mechanism of a bomb with bullets fired randomly in the general direction of the chalk man, as they run, backwards), then they MUST be AMERICAN Cops, even if they are fresh from Pluto.

            1. Brooklin Bridge

              And since I’m probably not at all being clear, bluntly, I agree with Diptherio that this incident, like so many others, seems fishy.

                1. ambrit

                  We’re cool BB. Beach cops are in the vanguard of the anti Proletariat due to the heavy influence from the Nuevo Oligarchs de las Americas del Sur. You may remember the olde days when we were going to bring the worlds poor and oppressed up to our standards of living? Sorry Charlie, the reverse happened. American cops are now acting like the dreaded Tontons and other forces of oppression from the days of los Caudillos.
                  Yes this looks fishy. In a place like the Beach, image is everything. The cops will be explicitly told to be heavy handed with anyone who threatens the Cool Decadence Look. Tagging is most certainly not a sign of ‘Where It’s At.’
                  Running backwards while fending off one of the fiendish Dr. Fu Manchus universally dreaded “Taggers” is possible if Café Cubano, or double strength Expresso has been recently ingested down at some Rincon. Unfortunately, the bomb which no amount of ‘measured response’ can defuse is the sea level rise. Im told, and have read, that at double high tides, lower lying streets like Lincoln Road are now under water part of the time. So, look at the bright side. Those Beach cops will be looking for work in more northerly climes soon.

    2. Jerry Denim

      You’re absolutely right to be outraged but I believe the law in most states allows police the authority to use even ‘deadly force’ to subdue a person resisting arrest (fleeing). I learned this talking to a few law enforcement types about the Mike Brown shooting. A taser is considered “less than lethal” so I can’t imagine anything bad happening to these cops.

      If anybody knows differently please jump in and correct me. It certainly doesn’t seem right that a man could be shot in the back lawfully just for running away from the police but I’m afraid that is the reality in the USA. I think there does have to be probable cause for arrest though, but I would think spray cans and graffiti would easily meet that burden in the eyes of a judge.

      1. sleepy

        I have a law degree for what it’s worth, and my understanding is that the police are limited in their use of deadly force to instances where either themselves or a third party is threatened with serious bodily harm. In other words–in self-defense of in defense of others. Essentially, this is the same standard that applies to civilians as well.

        As I recall, it was c 1980 when the Supreme Court more or less abolished the “fleeing felon” justification for deadly force. There, a teenager was running from a house he had allegedly burglarized in Memphis and was shot in the back. The police never claimed he had a weapon or that he threatened them, just that there was was probable cause to believe he was a fleeing felon and the shooting was therefore justified under then current law. The Court said nope–only when the officer or a third party is threatened with serious harm is lethal force allowed.

        I understand in practical terms the legal theories increasingly mean little.

  11. diptherio

    Since comments are turned off on the SS article (which, sadly, reduces the value of this site considerably), I’ll put my two sense here:

    The Federal Reserve created round about 4 Trillion in new issue to keep the criminal bankers afloat. There is NO REASON why the SS trust fund (and DI trust fund) can’t be kept alive in the same way….except that that would require our politicians to be honest with the American public–aint’ gonna happen.

    1. Disturbed Voter

      The plutocrats need to simply steal it all, and put everyone else under the viaduct. Then people will understand how reality works … for the 1%. My mother uses SS and Medicare … and if anyone wants to end that … then I am all for resurrecting Robes Pierre and dealing with this infestation of greed.

      1. tegnost

        Hey at least shes not on medicaid so blackstone is less likely to get her house in return for a weeklong stay in the hospital…

    2. Jim Haygood

      ‘The whole point of Trust Fund accounting was to keep Social Security separate, to give it the look and feel of a contributory pension scheme even though it is actually Pay As You Go.’ — Perry Mehrling

      Savor that quote: ‘the look and feel of a contributory pension scheme,’ even though it isn’t. When Social Security was enacted in 1935, the constitutional understanding of the day was that the federal government had no authority to offer insurance. Therefore, Social Security was structured as two independent elements: a payroll tax, and a discretionary social benefit program, either of which could be amended or repealed at the whim of Congress. And both have been amended, many times.

      To the public, though, Social Security was marketed as having “the look and feel of a contributory pension scheme.” The essential difference is that a contributory pension scheme is a contractual entitlement, enforceable in court. Whereas Social Security (as Frank Roosevelt intended) is a politically discretionary benefits program.

      Reputable pension schemes are subject to Erisa, which among other things requires adequate reserves to be set aside, and imposes a fiduciary obligation on the trustees to carry out this legal mandate.

      Not so for Soc Sec. It is exempt from Erisa. Four of its six Board of Trustees members are ex officio members (politicians, in the vernacular). The other two supposedly ‘represent’ the public, but have no legal, fiduciary obligation to the public. Nice gig if you can get it!

      As one might expect from this institutionalized lack of accountability, reserves have declined to catastrophically low levels. But no action has been taken, and beneficiaries have no legal standing to hold the trustees or Congress accountable. This is a thoroughly sleazy, second-rate set-up, with a distinct Third World aroma.

      Social Security ought to be made subject to Erisa. Problem is, its negative net worth of $10.7 trillion according to the 2015 trustees report, is nigh on thrice the annual federal budget. When malfeasance has dug a hole this deep, the only solution that appeals to politicians with two, four and six-year election horizons is smoke-and-mirrors with the ‘look and feel’ of a real contributory pension scheme.

      1. Nathan Tankus

        no it shouldn’t. it should be pay as you go it just shouldn’t be cut because its pay as you go. the idea that we need people to “save” for their retirement when whats being saved isn’t real output but just financial claims on output is crazy.

        1. Jim Haygood

          As you know, savings equal investment. No savings means no investment, in turn meaning no future ability to furnish real goods and services to retirees.

          We can do better than this.

          1. Crazy Horse

            “As you know, savings equals investment.” What a quaint idea from the era of “Leave it to Beaver”

            In the era of Corporate Personhood, savings are defined as money successfully laundered and stashed in an offshore tax free vault— re Apple’s 200+ billion and Bain Capital’s Gran Cayman accounts.

            Investment is funded by debt, not savings, and bank loans are not made from saver’s deposits but from borrowed central bank money. At its point of origin debt is a digital transfer between the FED (which creates it out of thin air) and a Too-Big-To-Fail bank. Once upon a time loans were used to expand productive capacity, hire more employees and seek out new markets, but no more. Now they are used to buy out competing companies and thus increase the bonus compensation of the Corporation’s officers, or for leveraged bets in the Derivatives Casino. Or they may be invested in other profitable areas like creative accounting to pad the quarterly report, buying Congresswhores for tax “relief” legislation, hiring retired generals to secure contracts for weapons of mass destruction, or just used to maintain the CEO’s mistress’ villa In St. Barts.

        2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          We are not exacting financial claims on our own output.

          We will be exacting financial claims on other future people’s output. Some of these people are still waiting to be brought into this world.

        3. susan the other

          It should be pay-go when we have full employment at a living wage. When no government entity can achieve this fiscal stability miracle (because the dollar is at risk or whatever), and neither the Fed nor Congress can figure out why shit doesn’t work (right), then the default position should be that the feckless government ponies up the shortfall. That should be the contract.

    3. Yves Smith Post author

      It’s against our policies to make comments on other threads on posts when we have comments turned off. We were VERY clear about that and flagged our comments policy change post for days afterwards at the top of Links. I said these changes were made because dealing with comments was taking more time than Lambert and I have and was therefore coming at the expense of my health.

      From our July 9 post:

      We will continue to allow comments on Links, Water Cooler, original reporting, and media appearances by site writers. However, we are going to be strict about conversations on those posts. They are not an alternate venue for offering your views on posts where comments are closed. If you do that once, you get a warning and go into moderation. If you do it a second time, you will be banned.

      We really value your comments but I trust you will understand that we cannot play favorites on this issue. I hope you will be more careful in the future.

      This also goes for each and every one of you on this thread. If you want there to be a site, you need to cut this shit out. It takes time and energy I do not have to deal with policy violations.

  12. Juan

    Extraordinary speech by Sen. Ted Cruz (

    “It’s not that this majority doesn’t get things done. It does get things done, but it listens to one and only one voice. That is the voice of the Washington Cartel, of the lobbyists on K Street, of the big money and big corporations. You know, if you go to the American people and ask ‘is reauthorizing the Ex-Im Bank a priority for you?’ The standard response for most of them would be, ‘the what?’ They don’t even know what this is. Let me tell you what this is. It is an egregious example of corporate welfare. It is the American taxpayers being on the dime for hundreds of billions of dollars in loan guarantees given out to a handful of giant corporations. It is a classic example of cronyism and corporate welfare. And, by the way, among others, you know one person who had the clarity of thought on that? Then-Senator Barack Obama, who described it as a classic example of corporate welfare. That was when he was in the Senate. Now that he’s in the White House, corporate welfare sounds pretty good. Now just about all of the Democrats are supporting the corporate welfare with the exception of Bernie Sanders. I’ll give credit to Senator Sanders for standing up against corporate welfare. But every Democrat who rails against big money and corruption of Washington, every Democrat who styles himself or herself a populist, their actions on this matter speak far louder than their words. And when it comes to Republicans, Republicans also are listening to K Street and the lobbyists. Why? It’s not complicated. The giant corporations that are getting special favors from the taxpayers hire an army of lobbyists that write campaign checks after campaign checks. By the way, these checks go to both Democrats and Republicans. It is career politicians in both parties that are kept in office by looting the taxpayer to benefit wealthy, powerful corporations.”

    Americans on the left and the right are completely disaffected with the neoliberal project. The establishment is doomed if the masses coalesce in 2016 around such disaffection.

      1. allan

        Until reality intrudes: Billionaire brothers give Cruz super PAC $15 million

        Two low-profile Texas brothers have donated $15 million to support Sen. Ted Cruz, a record-setting contribution that amounts to the largest known donation so far in the 2016 presidential campaign.

        Farris and Dan Wilks, billionaires who made their fortunes in the West Texas fracking boom, have given $15 million of the $38 million that the pro-Cruz super PAC, Keep the Promise, will disclose in election filings next week, according to sources outside the super PAC with knowledge of the giving.

    1. schmoe

      Wow. What a speech: ” The giant corporations that are getting special favors from the taxpayers hire an army of lobbyists that write campaign checks after campaign checks.”

      I look forward to Ted returning that $25M campaign donation from that Mercer guy who lives on Long Island.

      1. alex morfesis

        “meet john doe…” i think we have seen this movie before…

        although “a face in the crowd” might be where this canadian or cuban or whatever cruz is…ends up…

    2. Jerry Denim

      Candid indictments of the system and populist rhetoric that goes nowhere, spouted by a complete hypocrite. It’s the new campaign flavor of 2016. Barack Obama’s epic bait and switch has inspired a new crop of even more disingenuous populist politicians ready to bamboozle Americans. Promise the moon, rouse the rabble, give ’em more Koch. Who cares? Once you’re elected you’re have a well-oiled propaganda machine behind you to make sure at least half of the country will always loves you no matter what. All you gotta do is pick a color and a side on a few identity politic memes. Abortion? School prayer? Gay rights? Confederate flags Y/N? Pledge of Allegiance? Guns? What will it be for you sir? Oh hell no, we don’t care! Just keep voting the way we tell you on the stuff that’s important to us and you do whatever you want with all of that other silliness! We’ll have our people take care of the rest…

  13. Lambert Strether

    “Feckless blowhard”? That’s just Iowa nice.

    “Short-fingered vulgarian” and “Queens- born casino operator” are much more entertaining. And accurate!

    1. craazyman

      too mean spirited!

      Queens is so much cooler than Manhattan now anyway. Manhattan’s nothing but a bunch of hideous glass boxes for boring rich people who made money through graft. That and busloads of tourists. It’s like Dubai without the camels. What a joke. Manhattan. It’s so over.

      Only losers live here. I’m officially a loser, but that’s because I live here. I’m just being honest.

      Queens is cool. Queens has real people doing real shit. like fixing cars and working in distribution centers and gas stations. YOu should see the colors in Queens! Greens, reds, yellows, oranges, pinks. Manhattan is nothing but shadows and glass.

      How about “Trump l’oeil” — it might be too multi-dimensional and abstract. But I thought of it while in Manhattan. I should take the N train over to Queens and try again.

    1. low_integer

      Frumpy and very dumb. Tony Abbott is truly dumb as a rock. Ignore. Let’s do an I.Q. test!

  14. Jim Haygood

    Bond wallah James Grant scourges the central planners:

    We live in an age of pseudoscience. The more [asset prices] rise, the more disconnected they become from the economic value to which they are supposedly tethered. Many a market, like many an exchange rate, is today an instrument of national policy.

    Central bankers’ first financial-markets objective is not the integrity of prices and exchange rates. It is rather crisis prevention — to keep the bouncing bond and stock market balls moving in their sanctioned orbits. (For an individual to fix Libor is a crime. For a central bank to suppress European bond yields is an act of financial statesmanship.)

    You would think the value of those securities would ultimately be reconnected to the reality of future income. And you would be correct — “ultimately” being the operative word.

    Bubble III, comrades: there’s still time to get in on the ground floor!

    Well, maybe the mezzanine level, anyhow.

    1. micky9finger

      Very nice .
      Now can they make it like the Rijksmuseum and allow high definition file downloads of items, especially pictures.
      They say they need money to digitize more.
      Well, write a check.
      By the way what does the Vatican use for money.

  15. tommy strange

    You are amazing, both of you with posts and daily links, but why not coverage on the YPJ and YPG? And that Turkey is bombing the kurds now? The most effective, and revolutionary, secular fighting force in Rojava,…and aligned with the PKK in northern Iraq. Please post. Your readers would be very interested in a social revolution happening right now before our eyes. common dreams, huff post, and salon are ignoring it.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      This is an assignment and is against our written policies. I suggest you read them, in the header bar: “Policies”.

      And this is a finance and economics site, not a general news site, run by all of 1.3 people.

  16. allan

    Against the TPP-Borg, resistance is futile.

    Australia on the verge of joining huge new Pacific trade deal

    Australia is on the cusp of joining a huge new United States-led trade deal which will “set the rules” for doing business in the region at the expense of China.

    The Trans-Pacific Partnership, involving twelve Pacific-Rim nations, could be sealed in coming days, after talks that had drifted for five years narrowly escaped death in the US Congress.

    “It could be done this week,” said Trade Minister Andrew Robb last night, as he prepared to depart for what he hopes will be one final round of talks in Maui, Hawaii.

    During which all the pretty little concerns voiced during the US congressional debate on TPA will be thoroughly discussed and vetted. Between rounds of golf.

    1. Brooklin Bridge

      Makes me think of Massachusetts and it’s Governor and other politicians that are in the process of converting a resounding public NO-WE-DON’T-WANT-THE-OLYMPICS-HERE !!!NO-WAY!!! into “solid” public enthusiasm for the enrichment of the .001% at public expense project.

      Of course it’s nothing compared to the TPP, or it’s evil cousins, but then we are just a small state doing our best to keep up with Imperial collapse as fast as we can…

    2. andyb

      Every global politician voting for the trade agreements get $20 million in an off shore account; treason comes at a cost, dontcha know.

  17. Jerry Denim

    I know this site (understandably and thankfully so) tries to keep a lid on the wild eyed conspiracy stories and commentary, but thanks for the solid 9/11 story link. I find it particularly interesting that it relates to the San Diego hijackers as they were the hijackers with the most irrefutable ties to the CIA. The CIA’s connections to the events of 9/11 and the San Diego hijackers in particular are well documented and quite damning. The journalist Lawrence Wright’s book, “The Looming Tower” contains many extremely troubling and difficult to reconcile revelations concerning the CIA and their level of knowledge/involvement with the attacks. In his Pulitzer Prize winning book Wright documents that the Al Qaeda duo in San Diego were widely known terrorists before the attacks. Both of the future hijackers were on the State Department terrorist watch list but the CIA had them removed so they could get American visas! I can’t remember the exact details offhand but I believe there were some details involving a pliable Jordanian government, Jordanian passports for non-Jordanian citizens etc. in the book. Perhaps even more telling, while the terror duo was in San Diego taking flight lessons they stayed with a CIA asset/watcher/minder who had deep and long ties to the agency. Apparently the San Diego hijackers spoke very little english and needed help managing their day to day affairs and getting around town as neither could drive. Now we learn during this timeframe the NSA was intercepting the San Diego hijacker’s calls to the Al Qaeda “switchboard”, further widening the circle of government agencies who must have had at least some vague knowledge of the pending attacks. Why is such shocking information which is in the public domain not better known and why has the CIA never been forced to explain their deep level of involvement with the San Diego duo? Just what did the NSA know but refuse to share with law enforcement? To call this troubling is quite the understatement.

    Given this information and several other well documented intelligence “failures” it’s hard to see how any informed person could come to a conclusion any more generous to the US Government than “knew about it, let it happen”. The information that has managed to surface concerning deep-state knowledge and involvement with 9/11 thus far paint a picture which really looks more like, “Helped orchestrate attacks, prevented interested actors from thwarting attacks, let it happen.” It appears that dark corners of the deep state were almost certainly involved in 9/11, but was it just a few well-placed rogue agents in high places or was it a more widespread conspiracy involving even elected leaders in our visible government? I think most Americans who lean left with their politics wouldn’t be completely shocked if they were to find out Dick Cheney, Don Rumsfield and the chicken-hawk neo-cons that planned the Iraq war were involved in 9/11 as well. That’s the more interesting question that I hope one day we’ll have the answer to. Maybe in thirty years time enough secrets will bubble to the surface that astute observers will be able to piece together a more accurate narrative. People like to spill secrets on their deathbeds.

    Lawrence Wright for the New Yorker, January 2014 on this very story:

  18. TedWa

    RE: Missed Calls: Is the NSA lying about its failure to prevent 9/11?

    Of course, it’s called job security at the NSA.

    1. hidflect

      The Iron Law of institutions

      The people who control institutions care first and foremost about their power within the institution rather than the power of the institution itself. Thus, they would rather the institution “fail” while they remain in power within the institution than for the institution to “succeed” if that requires them to lose power within the institution.

  19. ewmayer

    Rather than blowing lots of WiFi bandwidth on individual replies-to-several-posts, gonna collect ’em all here:

    o Re. “Are China’s anti-pollution policies already bearing fruit?”, I hope the optimistic take proves correct, but I would look first at the economic slowdown – which most proxies-for-actual-real-GDP (e.g. and electricity consumption and demand for steel and cement, both strongly linked to coal consumption) before crediting “policies”. The author does note this angle under the subhead “It’s the economy, stupid,” but that cites the WSJ which parrots the official “GDP growth slowed to *only* 7%” propaganda. Falling coal consumption in the presence of 7% real (i.e. industrial-output, as opposed to bubble-finance-based, or simply flat-out whole-cloth fictitious) growth would indeed be quite impressive, but any thesis based on official numbers is only as sound as said numbers.

    o The “Labour leadership campaign” link/comment wasn’t from me – is there a UK reader with the same initials, or is this simply a misattribution?]

    o Re. the minks and their connection to the twin evils of the still-fur-buying-even-if-in-secret-much-of-the-time oligarchy and domestic terrorism: Much like prototypically ‘weasel-wording’ human politicians, Minks, those doomed but entitled-feeling members of the weasel family, give their hard-working weasel, stoat, marten and ferret cousins a bad name. ‘Nuff said. (I’ll admit that stoats can get similarly uppity when they are in their winter-coat glory and humans start flatteringly calling them ‘ermines’ which invariably goes to their head, but I guess I have a soft spot for the species because back in college me and a stoat buddy once road-tripped across the country together, hitching rides from strangers and sharing both laughs and hardships, and even though he liked to bogart the booze he was pretty cool. Of course he *hated* minks with a passion, and I had to listen to his frequent drunken – try to imagine an improbable-sounding combination of slurred and high-pitched-squeaky at the same time – stoatish rants on the topic, so perhaps I’m being unfair to minks, I guess I just let his vehemence on the topic of The Pure Evil That is The Mink Species cloud my better judgment – apologies to any minks amongst our readership, if I slighted your species it was my knee-jerk fraternal solidarity speaking, rather than the better angels of my nature.)

    o Re. Lambert’s re-invocation of Mark Ames’ Pando piece on [i]Spy[/i] vs The Donald (Pando: The short-fingered vulgarian cometh): That one is worth reading all the way through – some hilarious satire in there. But [i]Spy[/i] is alas long gone, the Donald’s fortunes have been revived thanks to reality TV and a flood of central-bank-mandated cheap credit intended to inflate precisely the kinds of asset bubbles Trump projects typically mark the peaks of, and The Donald is left forever wondering ‘Why did that bankrupt satyr [sic] magazine call me a Bulgarian?’

  20. Jay M

    re sheep panic:
    might be the epic tale of the supposed Clinton Bush cage fight
    we just don’t know what will panic the sheep

  21. BEast

    Deserving to lose isn’t the same thing as any of your existent opponents deserving to win. Frankly, I think we deserve better choices than any of the establishment/celebrity candidates.

    Don’t tell me we get what we deserve. I sure as hell don’t deserve any of the faaahkery that has been the American presidency in my lifetime. I don’t deserve to live in this corporate kleptocracy.

    And while a goodly portion of the voting populace are historically, economically, financially, environmentally, and geopolitically ignorant or outright delusional, there has been a huge amount of money spent making and keeping them that way. Starting with miseducation in primary and secondary school.

  22. flora

    I see Bill Moyers’ site has turned off comments completely. Reasons given are: not enough time and man power to do moderation.
    Moyers has been fierce in challenging ALEC, US oligarchs, and political corruption associated with same. Makes me wonder if supranational finance is rolling out the trollery brigade to shut down reporting on their malfeasance; reporting which might alarm and arouse the public. No, I’m sure that idea is just my foil bonnet misleading me, since even though comments are off the reporting continues with verve.


      If Moyers himself is still doing reporting on that site, then reporting continues even if comments have been turned off.

Comments are closed.