Links 8/1/15

You’re More Creative When You’re Sarcastic, Says Study Huffington Post (furzy mouse)

Headlines editors probably wish they could take back Columbia Journalism Review

Humans cling to their primal fear of the dark Astronomy Magazine (furzy mouse)

Cecil the lion’s killer may have trouble avoiding extradition, experts say Washington Post (furzy mouse)

New insights into the production of antibiotics by bacteria PhysOrg (Robert M)

Iran city hits suffocating heat index of 165 degrees, near world record Washington Post (furzy mouse)

Ebola vaccine trial proves 100% successful in Guinea Guardian (furzy mouse)

Mt. Gox head arrested over loss of 650,000 bitcoins ars technica. As we’ve said, Bitcoin = prosecution futures.

What It’s Like to Have the Oldest Phone in San Francisco Gawker. What a poseur! My phone is older than hers (see image)! And I even have a fresh one in the same antique model (as well as another battery) as backup.

Google has secretly released a new version of Glass Business Insider. It’s not secret any more!

All Power to the Makerspaces Jacobin. Chuck L: “A meditation on the economic, social and political implications of “replication” (i.e. 3D printing).”

What Pierre did next Mark Ames, Pando

Debris Shows MH370 Didn’t Nose-Dive Daily Beast (furzy mouse)

U.S. Decides to Retaliate Against China’s Hacking New York Times

Why China’s Olympic win might not be a cause for celebration Washington Post (furzy mouse). BTW an acquaintance used to organize heliskiing near Almaty, the loser to Beijing. I gather it was fantastic skiiing.

Calais migrant crisis: PM offers extra fencing and dogs BBC


Total health spending down to 8.65 pct of GDP as public healthcare sees big drop MacroPolis

SYRIZA Central Committee Session Turns into a Battlefield Greek Reporter (Sid S)

Hay for cheese? Barter booms in cash-squeezed rural Greece Reuters

Capital controls are eased but companies see it as insufficient ekathirmerini

How could the third Greek bailout change without the IMF? Open Europe. Note that funding isn’t the biggest issue. The other creditors need the IMF as a babysitter and enforcer.


Despite bombing campaign, Islamic State is no weaker than a year ago Japan Times

Iran calls for Israel’s nuclear disarmament Christian Science Monitor

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

Obama Administration War Against Apple and Google Just Got Uglier Pando. Wow, when Google and Apple are the good guys, you know it’s bad. Of course, the tech cos’ opting for a smidge in the way of principles is due to the loss of business overseas due to how much access the US government has to users’ info.

Windows 10: A Potential Privacy Mess, and Worse Lauren Weinstein (furzy mouse)

Imperial Collapse Watch

How Pentagon war fund became a budget buster Washington can’t resist Reuters (EM)

US Corruption vs. World Corruption Ian Welsh (furzy mouse)

The Cimmerian Hypothesis, Part Three: The End of the Dream Archdruid (Chuck L). Today’s must read.

Trade Traitors

Progress’ but no deal at TPP talks BBC. Trust me, the fracas in Congress made it easier for smaller states to throw sand in the gears. This is deadly: “No date has been set for the next round of talks.”

Trade talks fail to break TPP deadlock Financial Times

$1m donors show elite’s role in US race Financial Times

Ted Cruz’s Super Stingy Sugar Daddies Daily Beast (furzy mouse)

Chris Christie: Exxon’s Lobbying Firm Donated To His Super PAC As Governor Pushed For New Jersey Environmental Settlement International Business Times

Drones impede air battle against California wildfires. ‘If you fly we can’t,’ pleads firefighter Washington Post

Black Injustice Tipping Point

An L.A. Cop Pressed His Gun Into the Chest of an Unarmed Man And Shot Him Through the Heart GQ (Brucie A)

St. Louis justice system biased against black children, U.S. probe finds Reuters (EM)

Larry Wilmore on Cop Who Killed Sam Dubose: ‘Basically Motherf*cker, You Just Lied’ ålternet. The clip is worth watching.

Accused Charleston church gunman pleads not guilty but plans to plead guilty to federal hate crime charges Washington Post (furzy mouse)

Police State Watch

SC cop killed teen with two shots to the back during weed bust — and didn’t even report it: attorney Raw Story (Oregoncharles)

The world gears up for a surge in the US dollar Financial Times

Sex, Lies, and Interest Rates BuzzFeed (Lambert)

Here It Comes: Puerto Rico Is Headed for a Debt Default Slate

Economics feeling the bite of declining demand Sydney Morning Herald. EM: “‘Faculties of economics are becoming business schools’ – does exchanging ivory-tower voodoo priests for MBAs represent progress, or is it just trading one evil for another?”

Hedge Fund Risks May Be Bigger Than Regulators Know, Despite Dodd-Frank International Business Times

A Slack Lifeline for Drowning Homeowners Gretchen Morgenson, New York Times. Important. HAMP is still foaming the runway for banks.

Class Warfare

Private jet startup JetSmarter raised $20 million from Jay Z and Saudi Royal Family Business Insider

Nevada’s New Voucher Plan Is Designed to Bankrupt Public Schools Alternet

World Bank Peddling Private, For-Profit Schools In Africa, Disguised As Aid Barry Briggs, Firedoglake

A Snapshot of Imperialism’s Crime of Homelessness: Why Boston’s Homeless Crisis Deepens Black Agenda Report

US wages grow at slowest rate since 1982 Financial Times. And for months, the propaganda has been about wage pressure.

Antidote du jour. If I were into birds, I’d want to have one. @planetpics: “Ruff, a rather peculiar bird from Norway”:

eccentric bird links

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email


  1. Pepsi

    I downgraded from an iphone to an old nokia in an attempt to rid myself of the purposeless attention stealing segment of the internet, it worked! Mostly!

    Don’t give undeserving people/things/items/devices/ your precious attention!

    1. petal

      I have a Motorola 120C from 2002. It’s my only phone. Had to replace the battery and charger, but knock on wood she still works. It’s lived through multiple lacrosse seasons at a field right on the ocean(was a HS coach), cold, heat, you name it. Apparently not so good on radiation but I keep it off except for emergencies.

  2. abynormal

    re: US retaliation for China cyber attacks…”In response to the Office of Personnel Management attack, White House officials on Friday announced the results of a 30-day “cybersecurity sprint” that began in early June after the federal personnel office disclosed the gigantic theft of data.”

    did we sick our junkyard dogs on’em?
    The Financial Futures Exchange, which hosts China’s stock index futures, said on Wednesday that the 63 overseas institutions that currently trade index futures in China, including Goldman, can only trade for risk-hedging purposes.

    China Southern hasn’t even opened an account at the exchange, the exchange said.

    “These institutions’ risk-hedging using index futures conform to relevant rules, and there’s no such thing as massive shorting,” it said in its official microblog.

    The exchange said it would ask regulators to punish those who spread rumors that threaten to seriously disrupt market order.

    Goldman declined to comment on the rumour. China Southern’s Hong Kong unit couldn’t be immediately reached for comment as Wednesday is a public holiday in the city.

    “You don’t say ‘they all do it’ unless you know you’ve been doing it too.”

  3. Steve in Flyover

    Unlimited “private jet” flying for $9k a year? LMAO. Including a helicopter ride to your destinatiom ROTFLMAO.

    If you invest in this fantasy, you deserve to be taken to the cleaners.

    Director of Maintenance for coroporate flight department

    1. PQS

      You still have to pay for the flights….but yeah I wonder how long before some upper class twit gets assigned to a small prop plane with hilarious results on Twitter.

  4. jjmacjohnson

    As a person who has used 3-D printers they are so far away from the dreamy future that most people propose. So many of the creations can be made by hand and tools better. Not saying the future devices will not be better.

    1. cnchal

      3D printers are in their infancy, even though the technology has been around for decades. Where their real power lies is the ability to make objects that would be impossible with other methods.

      Here is a contrasting article to the Jacobin article in links.

      What seems to be happening is the 3D printer is being treated like a paper printer, in that the machine is not too costly, but the consumables will kill you.

      “A toy is not going to create the next industrial revolution,” he said. “The biggest barrier that we have in the studio is just scaling products because the price points are so high.”

      Printing materials are too expensive, he added: “You’re paying 65 dollars for a kilogram spool of PLA, which is crappy plastic, and you can’t compete with injection moulding or any other type of production.”

      Commodity resins such as polypropylene for injection moulding are in the neighborhood of $2.50 per kilogram.

        1. cnchal

          Not yet. From Jacobin

          The bubble burst when people saw actually existing 3-D printing, especially in its nascent commercial versions in the new so-called “maker” shops in major cities: small machines slowly turning out toys in tacky plastic polymer filament. There was also a reaction to some of the utopian celebrations of the new technologies in the “makerspaces” that were springing up.

          3D printing is an additional production method, and it will take time to learn what one can do with it. The creative part will be designing objects, and having a piece of equipment that you don’t care about, churn out your objects.

          The maker movement arose from diverse sources — hackers moving from soldering to welding and beyond, hipsters crossing from steampunk fantasies into realities, counterculturalists exploring new possibilities — but they all had in common a carryover of the New Left idea that any revolution in production had to include a commitment to a production process that offered authenticity and meaning through a renewed engagement with the physical world.

          This is a fine thing for people to pursue in their lives, but to generalize it as a precondition for a transformed production system would mean a different sort of misery. That would simply reinstall another form of obligated labor in place of wage labor. The rhetoric suggesting that instead of buying household implements, people should weld their own Burning Man–styled toasters in a converted warehouse in Bushwick is exactly the sort of nightmarish vision that will have people running back to neoliberal capitalism in a heartbeat.

          I think though, there is too much expectation that people will actually be interested learning these design methods.

          The promise and possibility of replication is not that of the robotic technological dystopias, which occupy mainstream fantasies and which implicitly involve a surrender of human autonomy.

          Replication does not offer an end to necessary activity, but it does offer the possibility of a layer of life that approaches an everyday communism, one in which many of the necessities of life can be produced either in a home-based replicator, or (for more complex objects) a locally based production hub, an entity which would be both a collective locus of free activity and a client-based service.

          When replicators are combined with other technologies such as CNC routers (cutting tools), most of the products now purchased within the global capitalist circuit can be produced for a vastly reduced cost at a comparable level of quality. Furniture, large equipment, and entire houses — currently underway in China, the Netherlands, and the United Kingdom — can be produced. The latter can be printed with plumbing and electrical and fiber-optic cabling built in.

          I don’t think so.

          What I see happening, is that the people that are determined to learn a new skill such as designing for this production method will want to be paid, and at some point it is likely there will be some type of copyright to those designs.

          3D printing has not solved the economic problem.

    2. Jeremy Grimm

      Are 3-D printers useful for printing a 3-D image of a CAD drawing, finishing up the rough out and using it to make low volume molds for the item? That would be something of a revolution to me. Are there other, better ways to do make a prototype?

      I like to imagine new gadgets but the costs of building prototypes and small production run are even more prohibitive than the costs for patenting anything I come up with — which might be patentable.

      The cost of printing materials seems like an opportunity for someone to come in with a better, less expensive plastic printing thread.

  5. timbers

    “Despite bombing campaign, Islamic State is no weaker than a year ago Japan Times”

    This should be added to “Headlines editors probably wish they could take back”

    A more probable headline might read: “Because of Bombing Campaign, Islamic State is Much Stronger”

    1. Jim Haygood

      Tragically, the war situation in Syria has developed not necessarily to our advantage:

      BAGHDAD — A Syrian insurgent group at the heart of the Pentagon’s effort to fight the Islamic State came under intense attack on Friday from a different hard-line Islamist faction, a serious blow to the Obama administration’s plans to create a reliable military force inside Syria.

      The American-led coalition responded with airstrikes to help the American-aligned unit, known as Division 30, in fighting off the assault.

      While American military trainers had gone to great lengths to protect the initial group of trainees from attacks by Islamic State or Syrian Army forces, they did not anticipate an assault from the Nusra Front. In fact, officials said on Friday, they expected the Nusra Front to welcome Division 30 as an ally in its fight against the Islamic State.

      This regrettable setback likely was the result of an overlooked airdrop of flowers and chocolates to our heroes in Division 30, so that they could welcome the Nusra Front like brothers. Sensing a loss of face, the Nusra Front took umbrage, acting out their wounded feelings with automatic weapons and grenade launchers.

      Generalissimo Obama has a Plan A and a Plan B. Plan A is to send more money, to lubricate the bonds of brotherhood. Plan B is aerial bombing of all concerned, which has always worked so well for us in the past. It takes a Peace laureate …

    2. Bill Smith

      It is weaker. The Kurds with the US & other airstrikes to back them up have certainly pushed them back in the north of both Syria and Iraq.

      Elsewhere not so much progress.

  6. timbers

    Under Imperial Collapse Watch – How Pentagon war fund became a budget buster Washington can’t resist Reuters (EM)

    I like this part:

    “President Barack Obama has threatened to veto defense spending bills over what the White House calls the OCO “gimmick. The administration wants budget caps lifted for both defense and domestic spending.”

    Yes, Obama opposes the budget caps for domestic spending he proposed, fought for, and implemented.

    1. Emma

      One should be able to speak ones’ mind no matter the age. But many are unable to for a variety of reasons, and thankfully Carter recognizes this. It should also be noted that some grandparents only know how to abuse the truth. So many children and grown-up children simply know psychological and/or physical, and/or sexual abuse. I think these kids merit a special day just like Mothers or Fathers Day ie. a Kids Day.

  7. Ulysses

    Ian Welsh hits the nail squarely on the head:

    “You want corruption back to reasonable levels? You want it illegal again? Take the oligarchs’ wealth away from them and break the great monopolistic and oligopolistic companies or bridle them with uncorrupted regulators who will crawl up their backside and tax the hell out of them.

    Nothing else works (and the second solution works for a while). Nothing else has ever worked. Anyone who tells you otherwise is lying to you.”

    The biggest lie often told to us is that fear of “reputational damage” is sufficient to keep huge corporations and oligarchs reasonably honest. No, all that it does is to keep them spending huge amounts on MSM propaganda– to confuse and divide people who know they’re up to no good, but not how to unite against them.

    1. sufferinsuccotash

      “Reputational damage” really only matters among other corporations and oligarchs. If they basically couldn’t care less because they’re equally crooked then to all intents and purposes there’s no damage at all. Honor among thieves. Needless to say what the common herd thinks is of no consequence.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        But for some, whose reputation is their ruthlessness (say, for a sociopath or a member of the Mafia), they are more likely to be less honest or more violent, in order to prevent ‘reputational damage.’

        In these cases, the fear of ‘reputational damage’ can be sufficiently bad for the rest of us.

    2. Jeremy Grimm

      I believe the concept of “reputation”, very much like the concept of “noble oblige,” is a feature of past oligarchies. We suffer from an oligarchy whose tone is set by the nouveau riche, or those whose sentiments fail to verge past those of the most crass of the nouveau riche. To riff upon paraphrase of the Jocker — “What we need is a better class of oligarchs.” [ — Or perhaps we need exactly what the Jocker proposed.]

      At least Marie Antoinette expressed some concern for the Poor’s lack of bread in suggesting cake with her apocryphal utterance. I doubt our oligarchs can mouth even the sentiments of Scrooge without the motivation of a gain from investments on the side.

  8. TheCatSaid

    Testing the Global Swap Network mentions “CIP” half way though:

    So long as prices stay at or near CIP, private agents prefer to do business directly with each other.

    The abbreviation isn’t explained in the excellent article; I haven’t found an explanation elsewhere. Please help!

    1. abynormal

      scroll down to Customer Identification Program a Patriot Act thang…CIP is also tagged used ‘locally’ as Capital Improvement Projects a short-range plan, usually four to ten years, which identifies capital projects and equipment purchases, provides a planning schedule and identifies options for financing the plan. Essentially, the plan provides a link between a municipality, school district, parks and recreation department and/or other local government entity and a comprehensive and strategic plan and the entity’s annual budget.

    2. abynormal

      sorry if this double post…
      Customer Identification Program…falls under the Patriot Act

      but also know locally as Capital Improvement Program…a short-range plan, usually four to ten years, which identifies capital projects and equipment purchases, provides a planning schedule and identifies options for financing the plan. Essentially, the plan provides a link between a municipality, school district, parks and recreation department and/or other local government entity and a comprehensive and strategic plan and the entity’s annual budget.

      pretty much confirms Ivy’s post!

    3. TheCatSaid

      Humor aside, none of these make any sense in relation to the original post.

      From the context, CIP should have something to do with some kind of interest rate, but it’s not clear what. The lengthy list of CIP acronyms I’ve viewed don’t show any obvious good fits.

      Can the original author illuminate?

        1. abynormal

          thanks Jim… ‘they’ don’t seem to want us distinguishing acronyms

          @CatSaid, my apologies for sloppy 411

  9. Edna M.

    Might I suggest a source for Greek news? It’s called The Press Project. Here is the international, English language version:

    Kathimerini leans to the right. But the Press Project is as close as you can come to being objective. It does not support a specific political party, which is very unusual in Greece. It is anti-austerity, but that, in my mind, counts as a sane position, rather than a subjective one. Maybe a better way to describe it than to call it objective is to say that it does not have a hidden agenda. When the writers have an opinion, they tell you what that opinion is upfront.

    1. TheCatSaid

      What a great website!

      They have an absolutely amazing article at the moment about Corruption in Greece, focusing on the role played by advertising agencies. It is eye-popping stuff–great journalism, a great read, very helpful in understanding the local “culture”–and offers yet another example of reality exceeding fiction.

      This deserves a special blog post somewhere. I don’t see anyone else talking about this kind of thing with the specific examples.

  10. optimader

    Debris Shows MH370 Didn’t Nose-Dive

    The utter lack of debris revealed during the during search seems to be clue enough to me that It sank intact gear up(?) along the lines of the flt 1549 Airbus that performed an unpowered ditch in the hudson.
    The fact that the flaperon was found suggests to me that it was deployed which means low speed controlled flight, otherwise it would have been retracted in a parked position in the trailing edge of the wing, not particularly subject to the huge non-design loads sufficient to rip it off the wing.(ie if it was deployed and actuating it would have been exposed to one hell of a instantaneous load if the 777 was flared for landing gear up and first touched the water.)

    So, why did the cabin emergency exits presumably not open and release all manner of floating debris and passengers when it finally sank? What incapacitated everyone onboard? I presume it would human intervention to convince the aircraft to land gear up, if that was the case.
    A smoke generating fire say the nose gear tires damaging electrical systems so the electrical busses get pulled still ticks a lot of boxes.

    1. Gio Bruno

      … I think this small piece of the doomed aircraft (many experts say it is a 777 part; and there is only one missing) will provide important clues to what happened on impact. Finding the aircraft under the sea will still be the ultimate challenge.

      The article indicates that some experts didn’t anticipate floatable wreckage near Reunion Island. However, I’ve read that some university professors predicted Reunion as a real probable location for wreckage. My guess is that the aircraft will eventually be found.

      1. optimader

        In the full course of time aluminum and magnesium bits will dissolve away and release a stream of positively buoyant plastic bits that will wash up there again and points beyond on the eastern coast of Africa

  11. nothing but the truth

    wage pressures are there, but not that much and are being rebuffed by employers.

    what we are seeing are cost pressures. esp insurance, rent, healthcare, govt enforced costs and raw materials.

    employees are facing these too and are asking for raises, that we cannot give because our revenues are not increasing because our customers are faced with falling living standards as well.

    anybody who has a govt granted monopoly is increasing prices. basically govt mandated actors are increased their share of the economy. i dont see where this will stop as the govt keeps grabbing more and more power and passes it to its cronies. they have dug up almost all the roads here and out of the dozen or so major digs, work on two or three at a time. the digs have been going on for 4 years now. this is prime cronyism. public is harassed, construction companies and unions are making it like bandits.

    this powerlessness in the face of being pushed into the corner is manifesting as “rage” / Trump.

    1. Emma

      Everyone seems to be stumpin’ it for Trump these days, don’t they?! Definitely the ‘rage’.
      What his fans fail to recognize is that Trump supports ‘Trump Tower’ and is both unwilling and incapable of providing for a full house ie. The outstanding example of what other leaders can do elsewhere…….and that is, to ensure a high national minimum wage, low unemployment, low levels of low-paid employees (because they’ve all got access to decent jobs), free or near-to-free healthcare and education for all, increased literacy and numeracy levels, genuine consumer spending power, and still provide businesses/entrepreneurs with great incentives that increase productivity levels and the economy. These countries are far from being Greece or Banana Republics either.
      Food stamps, earned income credits, or if you’re real lucky, nothing-at-all but the Calvinistic attitude that it’s your own goddarned fault, do not affect the root cause and Trump simply thinks we should all be self-made like him. Just like the Trumpixie I met earlier this morning. Everytime I set foot outdoors I’m accosted by the Trumpixies or Reaganomes who all appear to have a sixth-sense right, and therein insight, into when I go out, and what I communicate in private emails or on the phone……….
      The sprightly Trumpixie appeared to spring out of nowhere today (ex-Tennis Coach (originally introduced to the game care of Migrant Pop), who quit due to boredom with tennis-skirt girls (yup!) – he presumably couldn’t share any ‘Juice’ for ‘Advantage’…..then again, perhaps it was because neither Williams sister was free to thrash his XXXX….) to ‘eruditely’ educate me on his perceived idea of the merits of a Trump Presidency.
      The Trumpixie said he could relate to Trump because he was a self-made man like himself. I had neither enough energy or will (to fight) to correct him and ‘eruditely’ educate him about Fred Trump, the real ‘Don McCoy’. So, he took full advantage to also unnecessarily name-drop about who he works for and whose homes he has keys or security access codes to.
      Is this Trumpixie a security risk or am I a neurotic nut-nag?! I’m fast coming to the conclusion that a not-so ham-fisted hamburger invasion is taking over the world! So, beware of Trump and his Trumpixies!

  12. sufferinsuccotash

    Mark McArdle, chief of Treasury’s Homeownership Preservation Office, said the agency had “robust compliance procedures” to test whether banks were improperly denying loan modification applicants.
    Why is it that whenever I encounter something referred to as “robust” I always reach for my (figurative) revolver?

  13. Disturbed Voter

    Archdruid … is always depressingly prescient. But he is just rewriting St Augustine’s “City Of God”. The city of man is a great theft. William Jennings Bryan also noted this over 100 years ago at the 1892 Democratic Convention. Human society is criminogenic, and the acme of crime is the city. Unfortunately there probably won’t be any way to sustain eco-technology without the crime of the city to sustain it. Perhaps an advanced species gets one and only one chance at tecknic society, and once achieved, must decay into a permanent pre-modernity. The future is more likely to not be a petri-dish of urbanity that “Logan’s Run” envisaged, with an abandoned countryside … but the reverse.

    1. Andrew Watts

      As a French playwright once said behind every great fortune is a great crime. That doesn’t mean that concentration of power/wealth isn’t a common factor in barbarian societies. We just don’t know that much about’em from the historical record. The massive concentration of wealth/power that is commonly found in cities gives birth to the disparity in the distribution of wealth. Which isn’t justified by any individual’s special ability or societal utility as imagined by members of the privileged classes.

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      The city – the suburb – and the countryside.

      Right now, for many starting out in life, it’s about moving from the suburb to the city, to be away from the crime of the suburb, which is the less sustainable of the two nature-invading armies.

      For them, it’s about the paradox of getting more dense living (from the suburb to the city) to eventually return to not too dense living (the countryside).

      So it is the one can achieve no-thought, the no mind, two ways

      1. meditation in a quiet place, calming oneself and gradually reducing thoughts from many to none
      2. Overloads one’s mind that it short-circuits itself so that it frees itself of thoughts

      And in other areas as well – for example, gluttony or the opposite of it

      1 One can gradually reduce the obsession on eating, or
      2. Over-eating, one becomes so sick of it, one can’t eat any more

      These are some of the ‘non-flat-Earth’ observations I have noticed, that one has to go east to get to the west…go liberal to become conservative, finding conservatives in a liberal party, something like that.

    3. susan the other

      7Bn people spread out over the countryside using manpower and retro technologies is not a good vision. It is a recipe for quick bread – for 15Bn people in 20 years. I don’t like Archdruid’s tendency to promote rural living without looking at how destructive it might become. At least cities contain and confine civilization; promote creative solutions to shared problems and have a tendency to prevent population explosions. The population explosions of big cities (think Mexico City) have happened because all the campesinos have migrated to the city for more access to cooperation and efficiency. The best trick now would be to use cities to transform cities into sustainable places for the long haul.

      1. Montanamaven

        Right on. As someone who has lived in NYC and now a county of 3500 people, the country is far less co-operative than one is led to believe. Neighbors are cordial until there is a problem with water. And it’s easy to shut yourself up on your ranch or farm and not have to deal with pesky humans. Whereas in the city, you are literally shoulder to shoulder and you just have to figure out how to get along.

      2. Oregoncharles

        You missed something. He is NOT talking about spreading 7 bn people over the land. After an ecological and civilizational collapse, the numbers would be far smaller – how much smaller depends on whether we actually cope with what’s coming.

        By my seat-of-the-pants, not at all scientific calculation, we’ve overshot the planet’s carrying capacity by about 4-fold, something I’d rather not think about too much. Most of us would rather not. But I think Greer IS thinking, and writing, about it.

        We’ve been acting like bipedal lemmings, only able to do far more damage to the ecology.

    4. John Merryman

      As I see it, treating money as a commodity, rather than the social contract it functions as, is the social equivalent of thinking the earth is flat, or the center of the universe. It’s based on an individualistic sense of property that is effectively encouraged by government and business as a means of “baiting the hook.”
      As I’ve been pointing out, money is really just a glorified voucher system and there is nothing more destructive to such, than an excess of vouchers. Which given that capitalism has metastasized from the efficient transfer of value, to production of capital as an end in its own right, they are actively destroying their own system.
      When it does blow up, there needs to be a move to make finance much more of a public function and as local as possible. Even to the point of encouraging communities to sustain local voucher systems, in order to prevent the growth of these global wealth extraction functions.
      The bigger they come, the harder they fall.

  14. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    More creative when sarcastic.

    It depends.

    Some people are more creative when drunk.

    Or mad.

    It’s about how one channels a particular energy. I see a lot of sincere, earnest creative beings. When, for example, a chimp channels its hunger energy and creates a tool from a tree branch, it is being sincere, not sarcastic.

    Of course, one person’s sincerity is another’s sarcasm. That’s the other dimension to this discussion.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Another question for the curious – are people more likely to be sarcastic when frustrated or unhappy (say about wealth inequality), or when they are content/not frustrated?

  15. Andrew Watts

    RE: Despite bombing campaign, Islamic State is no weaker than a year ago

    For a brief moment the war against the Islamic State looked as rosy as any war could. The Iran nuclear deal cemented an anti-IS alliance while the major defeat the Kurds inflicted on the Islamic State cut a major supply line that comprises vital cross-border smuggling networks to Turkey. This was followed by a Kurdish advance southwards that captured Ain Issa which is a major supply/communication line that extends from Raqqa to Aleppo province in western Syria and towards the city of Hassakeh and the Iraqi border.

    It was at this moment the Turks decided that it was time to bomb the Kurdish PKK in Northern Iraq and shell Kurdish YPG/YPJ forces in Syria that are located west of the Euphrates river. The Turkish attack should’ve come as no surprise to anybody and I already pointed out this possibility awhile back. I’m not going to regurgitate the propaganda that’s flying from all sides around this intervention. The important aspect this attack on the Kurds revealed besides how easily this war can spread is the divergent aims of defeating the Islamic State and the goals of America’s regional allies is. The deliberate weakening of Kurdish forces can only be seen as a positive outcome for the Islamic State.

    In an ongoing development which should kindle a sense of deja vu the US is already making the same mistakes that were made before the fall of Ramadi. First by working at cross purposes with Iraqi-Shia forces thus dividing the deployed forces because their goals do not align. The ISF and Shia militias appear to be attempting to establish a security buffer area to protect Baghdad. While the US is unrealistically focused on re-capturing Mosul, oops I mean Ramadi, while IS threatens to seize the last shreds of territory not under their control in Anbar province.

    If I was a betting man, and I most certainly am, I reckon that IS will launch a diversionary offensive, probably in Kirkuk, before they attempt to seize Haditha. The Turkish bombing of Kurdish forces has opened that particular window. When the will-to-survive metamorphoses into the will-to-power warbands successfully emerge from the chaos. Or rather from the sanctions, invasion, sectarian civil war, and bombing campaigns.

    1. Jeremy Grimm

      Of all the “Services” the US Air Force seems least able to learn from past experiences.

      At the end of the day it is all settled by boots on the ground — a most inauspicious and highly unhelpful remedy for current US incursions. But, none of our “Services” seems able to learn from the past.

  16. JEHR

    Re: Corruption

    As far as Canada’s corruption is concerned, at the moment we have the most corrupt government that we have ever had! Our PM pushes against all the limits of legality and democratic principles in order to get re-elected and in order to bring forward his neoliberal ideology. It is an ideology of the corporations, especially supporting the tar sands that makes Canada a one commodity oil state; it is the ideology of not believing in climate change; it is the ideology of getting rid of regulations against air, land and water pollution; it is the ideology of ridding Canada of its socially responsible institutions including unemployment insurance, pension funds, unions, charitable organizations, watchdogs, oversight bodies, whistleblowers, etc. that go against Harper’s beliefs; it is the ideology that does not believe in a diversified economy; it is the ideology of the global governance of our sovereign nation (including all those “free trade” deals where a corporation can sue local and federal governments if they perceive they have been denied a profit [TPP]); in short, it is Harper’s ideology and not the average Canadians idea of a just and fair country.

    One never knows whether or not another party would go against these new ideas when thse ideas could serve to make THEIR party more powerful. I guess we will know soon enough.

    I am sad for Canada and sad for the world that is remaking itself into a corrupt planet.

    1. Jeremy Grimm

      I held Canada as a shining City where refugees from the US might find some hope for a future. Now you dash all my dreams and hopes.

  17. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    “(D)oes exchanging ivory-tower voodoo priests for MBAs represent progress, or is it just trading one evil for another?”

    Judging by the success stories of mathematicians and physicists on Wall Street, it’s ‘evil that’s worth the exchange.’

    1. John Merryman

      With theoretic physicists, every thought bubble is a potential whole other universe, while with real accountants, funny math can create serious legal trouble. If you were a banker, who would you want to construct your elaborate gaming structures?

  18. New Deal democrat

    When it comes to wages, it is important to differentiate between nominal and real wages, and cyclical vs. secular changes.

    The FT article re yesterday’s Employment Cost Index is accurate, discussing secular, long term trends through several economic cycles, in *nominal* terms. The WSJ article has a nice graph, but it is hidden behind a subscriber wall. But the same trend of declining nominal wage increases quarter over quarter turns up in average hourly wages. Click on the links for the interactive graphs:

    But when we adjust for inflation, a completely different pattern shows up, indicating that real, inflation adjusted wages in the first half of 2015 have been among the best since 1980:

    The difference is pretty much all about the price of oil.

    Turning back to the ECI, even in inflation adjusted terms it was a stinker, but not so bad as in Q3 2006 or during the oil spike early in the Great Recession:

    And even so, the trend in YoY compensation still looks pretty positive, even with the Q2 clunker:

    In other words, from a real, inflation-adjusted, cyclical viewpoint, the “propaganda” still looks correct. If the price of gasoline remains low, and if the broad U6 unemployment rate continues to decline towards 9%, wage pressures probably will increase.

    But from a secular standpoint, the deceleration towards zero of nominal wage increases ought to be setting everybody’s hair on fire. Wages always increase less during recessions, but there is a world of difference between declining from, say, 4% to 2%, and declining from 1% into outright wage deflation of -1% (or worse). Simply put, we are more at risk for a wage-price deflationary spiral in the next recession than we have been at any point since the 1930s, including being substantially more at risk than we were in 2007.

  19. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    From the Ebola vaccine trial link:

    The rVSV-ZEBOV vaccine is sometimes known as the Canadian vaccine as it was originally developed by the Public Health Agency of Canada before being sold to Merck to conclude the testing.

    It costs money to do the testing, but in this case, it seems Merck didn’t spend much (the article doesn’t say, except money from the governments of Norway and Great Britain, and others).

  20. mad as hell.

    “I am sad for Canada and sad for the world that is remaking itself into a corrupt planet.”

    A corrupt planet indeed. One has to wonder how is this possible with so little blow back? The biggest reason that I can come up with is the control and the collusion among the politicians and the media. It’s monumental. However the worse it gets the bigger the revolt is going to be. It’s becoming obvious to more and more that the game is rigged.More people are beginning to notice that THEY are the only suckers in the room !

  21. susan the other

    No date has been set for further deliberations on the failed TPP negotiations. Sweet success.

  22. Chief Bromden

    Color me foily but “100% effective” ebola vaccine trial made me chuckle when I read it. I’m wondering how a “ring trial” could make those claims without actually shooting a control group up with the Ebola virus, a GMO. And all this done in ’emergency’ fashion in a literal vaccine race between various criminal drug racketeers.

    Human Guinea Pigs in Guinea, you can’t make this stuff up… I’m guessing the real trial has only begun. To refresh memories, the WHO is the same pharma front organization that claimed to have “eradicated” polio in India while adding roughly 50,000 new cases of Acute Flaccid Paralysis a year. I guess it’s easy to make something go away if you change the definition of it.

    There will be plenty of free silver bullet shots to go around while the trial subjects are scrounging around for clean drinking water and something to eat.

  23. EmilianoZ

    Re: Ian Welsh

    In the US, corruption is:

    1) Legalized.

    2) Indirect. It’s not a cop taking a bribe directly from you. It’s taken from your paycheck (you get a low salary which economists can then attribute to other causes) or from your bank account in the form of zero interest or from the inflated price you pay for goods, … Because it is indirect, it is invisible for most people (especially those still following the mainstream media).

    3) Delayed. Politicians and oligarchs do not exchange goodies simultaneously like in the developing countries. Politicians deliver first. Then years after the deed, once they’re out of office, they get their reward in the form of lucrative jobs or gigs,… This contributes to the invisibility. But it requires some degree of confidence between politicians and oligarchs and delayed gratification from politicians, which might still be lacking in third world countries.

    4) Industrialized. A cop soliciting a bribe from you, that’s a mom and pop enterprise. Having the whole apparatus of the state devoted to transferring money from the 99% to the 1%, that’s corruption on an epic industrial scale.

    Developing countries still have a lot to do to catch up with the degree of sophistication of corruption in western countries.

  24. Phil

    The World Bank’s International Finance Corporation (IFC) also took a $150M stake in Laureate, one of the nefarious for-profit education companies a few years ago. Just prior to that announcement, I learned (through a professional contact) about a new company that had already been venture funded and had already distributed its technology in South Asia (to accolades). The company needed more money to deploy post-secondary teacher training and content distribution technology that was far more efficient than anything I have ever seen (the company had overcome the limited bandwidth constraints in the developing world – it was a brilliant technology play).

    After having had a deep look at the company that was turned down by IFC, it almost made me physically ill to hear (a few moths later) about the $150 investment in Laureate. Since that day I have completely lost faith in the WB. The For-profit education sector is rapacious, and delivers very little value to students. How the WB, given all the pressure that Laureate and other for-profits are under for fraudulent activity, could invest $150M in Laureate is beyond the ken. btw, the small company (unnamed, for strategic reasons) needed a “measly” $3M to take itself to the next level. Sad.

  25. TheCatSaid

    Creepy that Lauren Weinstein trusts Google (as mentioned in the article about Windows 10 dodgy security).

    Why anyone would ever trust Google with anything, given its beginnings with a blank check from the US security establishments, is beyond me.

  26. Chris in Paris

    Re the Pando article on Omidyar, it must be comfortably engaging working for such a comfortably engaged conglomerate.

    1. vidimi

      i thought ames was doing so well until he had to drag greenwald into it. greenwald stays silent on omidyar for the same reason that ames doesn’t cover mark andreessen and peter thiel. making a stink out of it is hypocritical. when i see ames take down thiel or andreessen, i’ll give him some credit.

    1. Oregoncharles

      Really? He’s profoundly boring,and has the same too-old problem as Hillary and Bernie.

      And since Nixon, VPs never, ever become President.

    2. NotTimothyGeithner

      Not really. He might eat into Hillary’s slice especially among Hillary’s softer support that might be suffering from Clinton/Bush fatigue who aren’t quite anti-Clinton.

      Iraq, Clarence Thomas hearings, and the 2005 Bankruptcy Reform Act will follow Biden if he makes any noise. In the 2007/8 cycle, his biggest crowds were the people behind him in line at a Dunkin Donuts.

      Even if Hillary were to drop out, Biden won’t just win the Rorsach Hillary supporters. He hasn’t been the target of delusions for years.

  27. Kim Kaufman

    “This week, Omidyar Network announced yet another partnership with the National Endowment for Democracy and the Poynter Institute to create an international online fact-checking hub. ”

    The Poynter Institute???

  28. ewmayer

    Re. How Pentagon war fund became a budget buster Washington can’t resist Reuters:

    No worries – we can just print more fiat to fund as much militarism and defense-related graft as we like. It’s the MMMT (Modern Militaristic Monetary Theory) way!

    1. Nathan Tankus

      the reason to spend less on the military is we want the military to consume less real resources and the services it provides are undesirable. this is perfectly consistent with MMT.

        1. Nathan Tankus

          quick googling would help you discover the answer. this has causality reversed. the measurements of the money supply are normally growing because banks are making more loans which finances transactions that wouldn’t otherwise happen. it’s the lack of demand that’s been discouraging borrowing. it’s a lagging not a leading indicator. Keen has a bunch of good work on this too.

  29. ewmayer

    @Nathan: To paraphrase the Lone Ranger’s famous sidekick – who was no fool despite lack of Spanish awareness of his character-creators – who is this ‘we’, and ‘undesirable’ to whom? Surely not to the warheads in DC.

  30. Oregoncharles

    I enjoy the Archdruid pieces often linked here, at least the writing, and unfortunately, tend to agree with him. In fact, I think his time lines are longer than is plausible – the ecological collapse has already begun.

    But it seems strange to me that they’re being linked here on NC, even labelled today’s “must read,” when they contrast so dramatically with the usual tone and approach of the site. They make fussing about the corruption of the SEC look like pretty small potatos; yet that kind of “into the weeds” analysis is precisely Yves’ strong suit, the reason we’re all here.

    I’m not complaining about them being recommended, quite the contrary; but I wonder how they fit in and what the site operators actually think of them.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      Huh? While what the Archdruid says is interesting, I’m not a believer that these cycles are inevitable. Correlation is not causation.

      We do have an issue, historically, with more complex societies being harder to manage. That to me is what happens as civilizations become more urbanizes. Relations become less personal and with more distance, ethical norms matter less. And bear in mind that all animal social species have ethical norms. They have cheaters, and they have members who engage in altruistic punishment, as in they punish cheaters at no obvious personal benefit to the enforcer. Those norms seem to break down in highly complex societies. Either the cheaters become too powerful to stop except at extremely high cost, or people become too atomized to identify with community needs, and can’t be bothered to go after cheaters.

      Riding herd on the SEC is a way of riding herd on private equity, which not only controls ~20% of the real wealth of America, its companies, but also has led the way down in corporate behavior and governance. They are a standard setter in a bad way. And norms in corporate behavior in turn set norms for employer-worker relations.

Comments are closed.