Links 8/22/15

Depraved Masochist Enjoys Following The News Onion

Why Istanbul Should Be Called Catstantinople Wall Street Journal

Mexico says it is committed to reducing sea turtle deaths Associated Press (furzy mouse)

Former President Jimmy Carter to be treated for brain cancer Reuters

Bean Counters to the Rescue Foreign Affairs (furzy mouse)

Profit-seeking, confidential rebates driving up cost of generic drugs Summer Academy (Dr. Kevin)

Mr. Market Has a Sad

The Chinese model is nearing its end George Magnus, Financial Times (Scott)

If You’re Not Pissing Your Pants In Fear Over China, You’re Not Scared Enough: Jim Chanos Dealbreaker

Lew: We’re monitoring China’s currency policy CNBC

VIX ‘Fear Index’ more than doubles on week, biggest weekly jump ever MarketWatch

Panic sets in, not over yet: Bob Doll CNBC

‘Hike Havoc’: Can the Fed Ignore This Market Rout? Fiscal Times. The stock market was never on the Fed’s beat until Greenspan’s personal obsession with it made it so.

How would a stock price crash affect us? Fabius Maximus (furzy mouse)

The Fed is at risk of repeating one of the biggest mistakes in the history of the US economy Business Insider

A Fine Fed Mess Wall Street Journal. OMG, a sane WSJ editorial!

Productivity paradox deepens Fed rate dilemma Gillian Tett, Financial Times

Fed policy is bankrupt Scott Summer

China Tests Its Most Dangerous Nuclear Weapon of All Time National Interest

Euro Area Banks Remain Vulnerable Bruegel


Somersaulting Alexis Tsipras prepares next trick Financial Times

Greece is for sale – and everything must go Open Democracy

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

Ashley Madison founder emails leaked in new data dump Reuters (EM)

Extortionists Target Ashley Madison Users Brian Krebs. As we predicted…

Spotify Clears Up Its Controversial Privacy Policy Wired (Robert M). Lists policies of some other majors services. And Wired sorta defends practices that I find invasive, “because social”.

Imperial Collapse

America: A Land Where Justice Is Absent Paul Craig Roberts (RR)

California’s Obamacare exchange criticized for not fixing enrollment, tax errors Los Angeles Times. Lambert: “Nobody could have predicted….”

Democratic Blues: Barack Obama will leave his party in its worst shape since the Great Depression—even if Hillary wins Politico. Friday cover story.

Bernie Sanders To Introduce Legislation Abolishing Private Prisons When Congress Reconvenes ThinkProgress

Donald Trump Just Stopped Being Funny Matt Taibbi, Rolling Stone (resilc)

Why is Donald Trump holding a massive pep rally in Mobile, Ala.? Washington Post

Trump Thinks Alabama Is Key to Winning the GOP Nomination Bloomberg. Someone needs to inform him that Southerners do not like New Yorkers.

For once, Donald Trump drops the mic Washington Post. So much for that “massive pep rally”

Bergdahl lawyer slams candidate Trump over ‘traitor’ comments Reuters (EM)

Wildfires rage in U.S. Northwest, army and foreign crews called in Reuters (EM)

Nestle Pays Only $524 to Extract 27,000,000 Gallons of California Drinking Water AntiMedia (EM)

Drought Watch: Hey Bud, This Water’s for You! FOX 11 LA KTTV. EM: “Compared to Nestle, A-B is a model citizen re. water usage. I might even be tempted to buy some Budweiser by way of ‘thanks!’, except that it’s still what my late father referred to as a ‘pisswater lager’.”

Ranger school success reflects U.S. military’s opening to women Reuters. EM: “I would applaud this, but for the fact that it’s part of our ongoing national moar warmongering program.”

Black Injustice Tipping Point

Black Lives Matters activists outline policy goals BBC

Black teen killed by St. Louis police shot in back-autopsy Reuters (EM)

The Real Demographic Challenge Adair Turner, Project Syndicate. Important section on why aging populations are no economic threat, even to pensions.

Antidote du jour (@SWildlifepics via Lambert):

bird v. mantis links

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. Skippy

    Per a sociopolitical FB page question…

    “What do you call a woman who finishes Ranger School? A Ranger. ‪#‎army‬ ”

    My response – Wayward Septic “What do you call a woman who finishes Ranger School? – a proficient patrol team member.

    August 20 at 5:45pm · Like · 6

    Skippy… since Rogers, Rangers are defined by proficiency, both as individuals and small opt activity’s…. nothing more than “well skilled” tradesmen…

        1. craazyman

          2-dimensional better/worse doesn’t work in n-dimensional characterization by caricature analysis.

          A girlyman in this context is a female with very macho (by stereotypical definitions) tendencies. it’s inarguable!

          Also She could probably kick my butt.

        2. abynormal

          First Female Army Ranger Brags About Her Veiny, Seven-Inch Clitoris

          FORT BENNING — The first woman in history to graduate from Army Ranger School, arguably the most grueling, toughest training in the U.S. military, and thus the world, has just pinned on her Ranger tab — and she is letting the world know how proud she is of her very large clitoris.

          Fellow Ranger School graduates had high praise for O’Keefe.

          “I was really impressed with the way she performed in the SERE portion,” said Staff Sgt. Juan Gonzalez, an artilleryman from 3-319th Field Artillery. “She lasted longer than any of us, because when the instructors got close with their tracker dogs, Ranger O’Keefe covered herself in period blood to hide her scent. It threw the hounds off long enough for her to slip away and last out in the woods another 12 hours before they got her.”

          “The true man wants two things: danger and play. For that reason he wants woman, as the most dangerous plaything.”

          …whistln in the dark here

          1. Skippy


            Tho I thought the causality [Nietzsche] was juxtaposed, just some made claims to ownership regardless to reality.

            1. abynormal

              really? i read it as a warning. i could see Nietzsche shaking his to say somethings just can’t be helped.

              in my book, there’s not a more insightful and equitable blogger than the Skips!…so i’m going to stand corrected/down here:

              The vain.– We are like shop windows in which we are continually arranging, concealing or illuminating the supposed qualities other ascribe to us – in order to deceive ourselves.
              Nietzsche’s Daybreak,

          2. craazyman

            wow. somebody wrote that and put it on the internet? holy smokes. even I wouldn’t write something like that. there has to be a limit to insanity or it’s just madness

            these days in America that could almost be true though. maybe it is!

            I cant believe there’s this female professional fighting sport and some woman named Rhonda Rousey is evidently the champion. It must have been like this in ancient Rome at times. Empire does weird sh*t to the collective consciousness

            1. cwaltz

              I’m surprised that release was allowed by the military. It’s pretty darn crude. It’s disheartening to think a woman is going to encourage “the guys” to continue that vein of behavior instead of encouraging a measure of professionalism. The boys will be boys attitude is part of the problem with the military culture(and their problems with sexual abuse and harassment in a hostile environment.)

              I get that she probably wants to fit in short term but I really wish there was some thought about long term(short of sending women to Thailand to teach them to kickbox with the the Thai fighters) and the message we are sending about what is and isn’t appropriate talk and behavior in a work environment.

              1. NotTimothyGeithner

                No one has mentioned rampant sex assault and abuse in the military. Opening up roles is PR to distract from the real crime and recruit the next generation of victims. The soldier in the cover story might be one of the boys, but the goal is to preserve the environment not change it.

                This is window dressing to calm worried parents.

                1. James Levy

                  People refuse to understand that armies that lack discipline become ineffective armies. You don’t have to be overly kind to know that men who get used to skirting the rules and disobeying orders will starting doing it when you don’t want them to (like wandering off and plundering when they should be at their posts). Armies traditionally frown on “bad” behavior because it is bad for discipline and coherence, not because they have any interest in being politically correct or some-such right wing nonsense. We have a professional army, not a force of citizen-soldiers as we did in WWII or Vietnam. Professionals don’t run around playing grab-ass and talking like clowns. These soldiers better get a grip.

            2. Vatch

              For those of you who are commenting seriously on this, you do know that Duffelblog is a military oriented satirical website along the lines of The Onion, don’t you?

              1. Skippy

                Mythos and Lore go hand in hand as well as Exceptionalism and Paranoia… I think that’s how cortex timing and head set are adjusted…

                The RGR school has a few basic concepts, leadership, advanced patrol, team work, functioning whilst under nourished and exhausted for extended periods, and last but not least – pushed past all previous experiences of mental and physical challenge whilst achieving mission perimeters in a dynamic environment. That said battalion can be as every bit as hard if not more on a YoY basis, you just get more calories.

                Ahhh… to spend a month in the field only to come back to billets, parachute back in and strip and clean everything [start by walking into shower with everything your own]. Bag, tag and secure all gear, head off post for a big feed and some night life. Get “A” alert only to race back to billets and be reissued the gear you just put back, complete lock down of OA, palatalize personal gear for different operational theaters [cold weather, desert, et al], endless gear checks from squad to company, marshal at hangers to board transport air craft and fly around in circles for 8hrs thinking your going to some exotic destination only to be told at the last min its just an exercise. Jump and repeat earlier de-kitting, that’s the happy ending, the alternative is a 12 mile forced speed march [for those in the middle or back of the column, add a few miles due to yo yo effect].

                Skippy…. The punch line is the next morning when a few wake up in camo and boots…. wondering WFT they did last night…

              2. abynormal

                mighty obvious by the pop up for daily jokes.
                Comedy is simply a funny way of being serious.
                Peter Ustinov

              3. cwaltz

                Ha. I guess I have a very different sense of humor since I was one of the lucky females who got integrated on a ship once upon a time back when the Navy was told to up the percentages of females on ships and start integrating us on combat ships.

        1. jgordon

          Not just NO, but F-NO. What’s with this bizarre fetish Americans have with people who are trained to kill for a living? Definitely a good indicator that American culture has entered its death spiral.

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            They can kill you in many ways.

            Taking your job, your livelihood and giving it to a robot, because you are as cheap, can kill you, often slowly, but not infrequently quickly as well.

            1. remarkabilious

              Ach, der alte Brecht –

              You forgot the tagline:

              There are many ways to kill. One can stab a knife in your guts; take away your bread; deprive you of the cure for your illness; put you in a miserable housing; torture you to death with work; take you to war; etc. Only a few of these are prohibited in our country.

          2. pdh

            People don’t even to have anything to do with killing in order to become part of the death spiral. This past winter, our local Columbus (Ohio) newscasters referred to the snowplow drivers as “Snow Warriors”.

            1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

              That’s a very good point.

              We live in an interconnected web.

              Writing software, for example, is not necessary a ‘clean, green’ job, if the program is used to better extract or frack.

              With exponentially growing GDP, there are no green jobs individually. We are all in a not-very-green machine.

      1. bob

        They are not allowed to be heros. They are precluded from front line battle by congressional decree.

        Rangers are first…unless they are woman rangers.

        In my ultimate cynic world view, they will never, ever see any sort of combat. They will be put into the PR corps.

        1. cwaltz

          I disagree. The military is trying to adapt because they are dealing with reality. The reality is when conditions change you have to adapt.

          It’s also interesting to note that women have hit a point where we are also the ones graduating college in higher numbers. If they want an educated work force then they can’t eliminate a pool of applicants because of gender.

          1. bob

            You can’t disagree. It’s a fact. Woman are not currently allowed to be on front line combat units.

            You can disagree with the policy, but that’s set by the people that you then set up as positively “dealing with reality”.

            They are not. They have not. It’s all PR. “women jump through hoops!” Yay!

            Do or do not, there is no try….

            1. cwaltz

              It’s semantics to say they aren’t in “combat roles” when they ARE serving in war zones.

              200 women have died in Iraq and Afghanisthan, in service to their country, just like their male counterparts. That’s reality, To call what they did “PR” is insulting to them.

              1. bob

                It’s not semantics. It’s black letter law. Woman are not allowed to serve on front line teams. They are a separate class within the military, by law and statute.

                I didn’t call what they did PR. I said what they did will be used as PR for the continuation of the status quo.

                “look we let them try out, and they earned the right to play on the team. We just can’t let them play on that team”

                They will, however, continue to be allowed to be targets in war zones. Winning!

                1. Jess

                  Lots of ways around this. For instance, Rangers are often used as “trainers” to develop indigenous forces, but “trainers” have a nasty habit of getting caught up in actual combat.

                  Then there’s the semantic problem of “front line” if you’re in a Ranger squad that gets airdropped behind enemy lines.

                2. abynormal

                  wrong. the Ban against women in fight in hot zones was lifted 2013
                  Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, along with Army Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, plans to announce today that the U.S. military is lifting its ban on women serving in combat, senior Pentagon officials said Wednesday. The move would open hundreds of thousands of military positions to women, said one official who spoke anonymously because Panetta had not yet made the announcement.

        2. flora

          bob and others,

          with greatest respect, please reject the ‘heros’ and ‘warriors’ language. (unless it’s a snark, of course). That language is BS and it’s insidious. Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Marines indicate regular people (apologies, Marines) who wear the uniform. ‘Hero’ and ‘Warrior’ may be a great recruiting tool for young recruits but on the back end it helps the the country and politicians mentally evade responsibility to properly care for the badly wounded servicemen and women. (note: many servicemen and women do extraordinarily brave and heroic acts. my critique is of the PR language, not the men and women in the service. )

      2. Katniss Everdeen

        “heros” x 2.


        Is this some sort of technologically innovative, gender-specific operating system reference of which I’m unaware: her – os?

        Or maybe something that is more appropriate for a Grexit thread?

        Just had to ask.

    1. jgordon

      That really sucks. Now another set of unfortunates is roped into service for the empire on the front line. I wonder what all that glory and honor is worth compared to missing limbs and an almost guaranteed case of PTSD. I’m mentioning this as a disabled veteran of the Marines myself.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        The hope is, with more women in an established institution, they can transform it, making it more feminine.

        Going by the two elected female leaders, in major, Western nations (GB and Germany), we might have to wait a little longer, as Thatcher and Merkel seem to have Yang than most man.

        Hilary is another who can ‘out-man’ most boys (and good for her, but, again, the hope is she can change our aggressive, dominating Yang institutions to be more nurturing, more cooperating, more sharing).

        1. cwaltz

          I’m not sure that is the hope. However, I am confused by what you mean by “more feminine.” Personally, I would hope the military would create a climate that was professional and accountable( and bragging about measuring your sexual organs doesn’t strike me as overly professional behavior and doesn’t make me hopeful that they won’t continue to sweep problems with gender integration, like harassment and rape, under the rug.)

          It’s one thing to have to worry about the enemy when you are in a foxhole, it’s another when you have to worry about the person next to you, who is “supposed to be on your side” as well.

            1. cwaltz

              I realize you meant in a nice way. However, I’m still raising a boy(I’ve already raised 2 and a daughter) and I don’t want him to think things like respect, nurturing, cooperation, and the ability to share is any way shape or form just something that is girlish or feminine. It’s something ALL people should strive for. ;)

    2. ambrit

      I know I’m tap dancing into a minefield here….
      The women successfully passed Ranger school. Good for them. Why did they enter in the first place. This is not a rhetorical question. Being somewhat of a Contrarian in my thinking, I wonder about all this obfuscation of the real differences between Women and Men.
      If men were “chosen” to fulfill the “combat” roles in the society, and women were denigrated for their more “passive” and nurturing abilities, then why are some women being touted as being the “equals” of men in supposedly “mens'” tasks? Wouldn’t a more sane response be to moderate and defang the male patriarchal mindset?
      Instead of becoming a “better” man, which is an acquiescense to the patriarchal model of society, shouldn’t women promote the values of a “better” woman?

      1. cwaltz

        “Why did they enter in the first place?” Most likely for the same reason their male counterparts enter that field. Combat roles can get you promoted. Promotions mean higher pay and more opportunities to advance. Money and power are pretty powerful motivators.

        I personally am on board for that being “better” person or the best person possible. Then again I’m not a fan of the term “male tasks.” It promotes the idea that if you have an interest in something that is nontraditionally feminine that you are less of a woman or not female in the same way other females are (and the same juxtaposition for the male half of the population that might want to be stay at home dads and nurture children or hair dress for a living.) People should be able to pursue their goals without having gender as a barrier to them(which is not the same thing as saying you should necessarily lower standards to promote gender parity if changing those standards don’t make sense to readiness standards.)

        1. Katniss Everdeen

          ” Combat roles can get you promoted. Promotions mean higher pay and more opportunities to advance.”

          It also never hurts to have a few high level “throw-aways” to scapegoat when things get ugly.

          Here is a synopsis of the military career of FORMER Brigadier General Janis Karpinski. Pay particular attention to 2005.

          1987: In 1987 she moved from the regular Army to the Army Reserve.
          2003: In June 2003, during the U.S.-led occupation of Iraq, Karpinski was given command of the 800th Military Police Brigade.
          2003: In September 2003, Karpinski led US Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld on a tour of the Abu Ghraib prison to demonstrate the way it had been used by Saddam Hussein to torture his enemies.
          2004: Karpinski was issued a Memorandum of Admonishment by LTG Sanchez, Commander, CJTF-7, on 17 January 2004.
          2005: On April 8, 2005, Karpinski was formally relieved of command of the 800th Military Police Brigade.
          2005: On May 5, 2005, President Bush approved Karpinski’s demotion to Colonel from the rank of Brigadier General.

          Then, of course, there are the low-level “throw-aways” like Lynndie England.

          1. Jess

            A demotion which caused her to lose a significant chunk of her pension. Lots of difference between retiring as colonel and retiring as a General.

          2. optimader

            She struck me as pretty much a dud. If she were in the private sector she would strike me as a midlevel Human “Resources” bureaucrat. Not that there isn’t a long line of male peers in th military that are also duds.
            As for what do you call a Female Ranger? I’d say poorly advised.

      2. Yves Smith Post author

        I hate to tell you, but the sort of gender role stereotyping you engaged in drives me nuts. If you read psychological literature “feminine” attributes are seen as negative, starting with passivity. And the idea that women are “nurturing” is another pet peeve. How about start with the fact that a lot of culturally inculcated female behavior is due to the fact that the average woman is less large and muscular than the average man, and if she pisses him off, she runs the risk she’ll have the shit beaten out of her? And a lot of the acculturation of women (to be pleasing and cooperative) is based on that fact?

        Matriarchal societies can be plenty hierarchical. Start with hyenas:

        1. abynormal

          i guess some posters didn’t read the piece…her first assignment was to lead a platoon of rangers into Afghanistan

          we better step up our game. nurturing bad@ass shouldn’t be a negative attribute, and men can step up their game too. internal competition is a quality this country needs to go long on.

        2. Emma

          A great comment Yves. Thanks for providing reason in this thread! However, I’d like to point out to everyone that women warriors existed probably long before ‘bon-pour-rien’ men took to the battlefield anyway!

          There’s Artemisia I of Caria who commanded 5 battleships in the Battle of Salamis. She advised the King of Persia who not only safely watched from shore, but allegedly described her bravery (with chauvinistic aplomb…..): “My men have turned into women and my women into men!” Perhaps this explains the naval tradition of rum, sodomy and the lash?!

          There were the Hittites who Pharaoh Ramses II referred to as “humty”, which means “women-soldiers”. There’s Eurypyle who was the leader of an all-female expedition against Ninus and Babylonia.

          And we can’t forget the awe-inspiring Tomyris who led an army to victory against Cyrus the Great. According to Herodotus (Hdt 1.214), Tomyris told Cyrus the Great, “I warned you that I would quench your thirst for blood, and so I shall.” A beautiful painting by Rubens depicts Tomyris drowning the head of dead old Cyrus in a blood-filled container after having killed him!

          And the first known mention of a prosthetic limb was in 1.116.15 in the Rigveda (the Vedic Sanskrit Hymns) and refers to Queen Vishpala who lost her leg in battle, got an iron prosthesis, and then returned to the battlefield! Yet today, Hollywood provides their grand vision on the war on terror care of Iron Man……. WTF?!

          Quite clearly, a woman is history’s way of restoring our faith in democracy! So enough with icing the cupcakes to make the world a sweeter place for men!

          It’s Mega Bowl and Matriots time!
          ‘Aux Armes’ women warriors of the world!

        3. ambrit

          Well, I have set a few land mines off.
          I wonder if this anger at patriarchal mind sets, (which ethos I must be projecting, to judge from the rebuttals,) isn’t a projection itself. Rage at being physically coerced and degraded isn’t strictly a female characteristic. The use of superior power to ensure compliance is a basic violation of an individual. Policing and warfare are organized coercions, violations. That a woman is as good, or better than a man at this is no reason for pride. The personal pride involved in performing a difficult task well we can all agree on and respect. That the task is geared towards violence toward others I cannot. I get the feeling that a lot of the present support for women in the military is an attempt at cooption. Men have been the domineering b——s long enough. Now let us trick the women into buying into the same formula. That formulation looks to be a continuation of the entire force as social determiner process. I guess I’m being a touch Utopian, and expecting that shining city on a hill to loom up out of the mists suddenly.
          As for the ‘nurturing’ meme; I can see the truth in the woman as smaller and weaker idea, but I was under the impression that ‘nurturing’ had to do with raising children and socializing them. Men ideally cooperate in this process, but have an, at best, spotty record at it. Is the antidote for this situation for women to begin to be tougher and more violent than the men?
          The modern age of industrialization has had one good result. Women now no longer need men to support them and the children, because of excess capacity. The distribution of the excess may be questionable, but the potential is there.
          Maybe I’m clueless, (no maybe about that, alas,) but are we being tasked with the creation of a Modern Anthropological Theory?
          Gore Vidal has some good essays about sexual politics, in which he makes the point that population pressure will eventually crush the Judaeo-Christian Patriarchial tradition. I wish I were as optimistic as he was.

        4. cwaltz

          It’s actually quite funny when I hear guys argue that small stature precludes a woman from being able to fight effectively. Some of them should go to Thailand and watch the Thai kickboxers. Their small stature means they are nimble and quick. The small kickboxers managed to do quite a number on the marines who entered the ring with them. Most of the time women can’t fight because they aren’t trained to and most of us really aren’t anxious to learn(I can think of a million things I’d rather do than kick the crap out of someone during my spare time.)

          1. Yves Smith Post author

            Oh, I agree, if you have good training, the size differential matters little. It does not take a lot of strength to gouge someone’s eyes out. But normal people are conditioned to take a defensive posture when attacked, or better yet, if you can, get the hell out of there.

            But if you can’t, you really do need to inflict trauma on the other person if they really intend to do bad shit to you. And you need to do it first.

        1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

          From outside America this all just looks like a nice way to militarize the half of the population that is not already completely pervaded by American war culture. Militarized police, War on Drugs, War on Terra, adulation of war and soldiers in the media, Hollywood worshiping of war, video game war, war, war, it’s become like friggin’ Sparta or Prussia or 1930’s Japan. Americans don’t even seem to notice any more, which I guess is the objective: make war the keystone not only of the entire economy but also the entire culture.

      1. craazyman

        yes the rationalizations in “Henry the V” aren”t entirely persuasive to a philosophical temperment.

        Which is probably why Shakespeare wrote it like he did.

        Act IV, scene 1

  2. Ian

    Do you believe there is any correlation between what is happening with China, Russia… Currencies and crashes and the failure of the talks of the TPP and maybe an attempt to bring the other Countries in line restart the TPP?

    1. susan the other

      I think the TPP has always been a ploy to make the ASEAN nations afraid of China’s brand of imperialism and get their cooperation to then coerce China to open up her markets to “free trade”. Since we are already free traders, to our detriment. And it looks like China just blew the lid off the whole experiment. But the time has passed for free-trading. It has also passed for mercantilism. We are in an age of self defeating capitalism. No amount of rationalizing can revive it. No Trade should be the mantra.

  3. Brindle


    So, Hill & Bill go for a stroll down the beach w/ doggies, stop in at a friends clambake and leave with a mil or two in donations. Wonder what a $2,700 pancake looks like?

    —-Among the places where Mrs. Clinton enjoys stalwart support are the Hamptons, where she and Mr. Clinton have spent the past several summers, walking their dogs on the beach, attending clambakes and raising money for their family’s philanthropic foundation. This summer, the fashion designer Tory Burch is among those hosting fund-raisers for Mrs. Clinton.
    Alan Patricof, a longtime donor and friend, said the pancake breakfast he and his wife, Susan, were hosting for Mrs. Clinton on Aug. 30, for up to $2,700 per person, had almost reached capacity at more than 300 people.—-

    1. optimader

      raising money for their family’s philanthropic foundation

      High net worth Grifters… and I still think HRC is a dull blade tagging along in Elmer Gantry’s errr.. Bill Clinton’s inertia wake..

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Generally speaking, and not directing at any internet or brickwall retailing, but is it time to boycott excess consumption?

      1. GuyFawkesLives

        Haven’t had the money to do any “excess consumption” in this last decade.

        It has made me happier.

    2. craazyman

      i prefer Hershey’s. I even bought a $5 Europeanish gourmet chocolate bar the other day with a frilly foo foo package probably designed to connote some European luxury good experience enjoyed by the aristocracy of the 19th and 20th centuries at the lobby newstand. It was quite disapointing. the chocolate was flavorless and it was mostly just nuts stuck together with chocolate ‘glue’.

      The $1.25 Hershey bar with almonds is so much better and the chocolate is presented in sufficient volume that it can actually be enjoyed along with the almonds! It”s not just there as a gesture.

      It’s Hershey bars for me from now on. Now more foo foo Europeanish excursions into the land of chocolate bar disappointment. in fact, it’s Budweiser, Lipton Tea and Hershey’s chocolate bars for me. No foo foo Europeanish beers or teas. It’s an American Rennaisance. This is like something out of Walt Whitman. or maybe Copeland’s Appalachian Spring. Its time to bring the money back home. Bring the chocolate home!

      1. optimader

        Hershey bar
        gaggingly sweet, Try Icelandic chocolate. seems unintuitive but amongst the best chocolate Ive had.

      2. Oregoncharles

        Unlike coffee, tea actually grows in the contiguous US. I grow it myself, and drink homegrown on a regular basis. It’s a camellia – Zone 7. (Sorry about that, Maine and New York.) Fragrant white flowers in the fall.

        The hard part is the picking and processing, very labor-intensive. But there’s a plantation up by Molalla. Don’t think I’ve had any of theirs; probably all goes to Japan. There’s an olive orchard in the Willamette Valley, too.

        1. Carla

          For those among us who will not make it to Perugia, I recommend trying Chocolove Peppermint in Dark Chocolate… the gourmet version of a York peppermint patty. Very nice with a sip of dry red wine, BTW.

  4. Ex-PFC Chuck

    Thank you very much, Yves, for including the article about me as the very first item on today’s Links page, even though “The Onion” chose to mask my true identity. I’m sure that my many fellow masocists who regularly read NC will agree that you provide a valuable service to our kind. The only improvement for us I can suggest is to cut down on the coverage of cute, fuzzy animals. Thank you again!

  5. John Zelnicker

    Lambert – While you are generally correct that Southerners don’t like New Yorkers, I think in Trump’s case they just don’t care. He speaks to their fears of the “Other” and that our culture is changing in ways that they cannot reconcile with their deeply held (religious) beliefs, e.g., same-sex marriage. His blunt talk and racist and misogynist attacks are like meat and potatoes to them.

    This is a typical quote and reflects widely held beliefs here in Mobile and surrounding areas:

    “All he’s doing is saying what a lot of Americans are afraid to say,” Ward said. “Third world countries are running over us left and right and the reason they’re getting away with it is because Obama doesn’t have the balls to do anything about it.”

    We have a lot of undocumented immigrants here and it is a major issue locally (cf., Sen. Jeff Sessions).

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      Alabama tried making it impossible to hire undocumented immigrants a few years back. Totally wrecked local harvests. They rolled back the law and the Alabama press has stopped noising up that issue. And it’s not like you can even find many Latinos of any sort in Alabama. Seriously. I’ve been visiting Birmingham for extended periods for decades.

      And the degree of Southern antipathy to outsiders is greater than you’d imagine. My mother has lived there 40 years been active in the community (including being elected to be head of some local groups, etc). Yet her ONLY friend who is a native is married to a Yankee!

      1. cwaltz

        I am from Long Island and for the most part am accepted here in SW Va. Actually, I think sometimes that some of the people I speak with appreciate my bluntness and candor. They don’t always agree with me but they tend to respect my willingness to speak my mind and stand by my convictions.

        I fall on the side of believing Trump could reach some Southerners(and actually had a conversation with several that seem to definitely be intrigued by him.) I definitely think the left should take him more seriously even though his views and policy positions are often nonsensical.

      2. John Zelnicker

        First, my apologies for not checking that you posted this, Yves.

        Although born in New York City, I grew up in Mobile from the age of five and after 18 years gone for college and more, I returned and have been here ever since (29 yrs.).

        You are not wrong, I remember the fiasco with that law quite well. They also picked up an executive with the Mercedes plant in Tuscaloosa which came close to causing an international incident.

        While the papers may not be harping on this issue, I was thinking more about the quotes from individuals in the article. There are more such quotes here.

        Also, please consider that being on I-10 and the 6th or 7th busiest port in the nation, Mobile may have far more immigrants of all kinds than Birmingham.

        1. Yves Smith Post author

          Ah, you have a point. I had assumed that by virtue of being the biggest city, Birmingham would have the most jobs and therefore be the most attractive to immigrants. Yes, a port or a city where agriculture was more important could be a bigger magnet.

          But for instance, we do live in an area of town where a lot of people have yard men. In most areas of the US, you’d see a lot of Hispanics. I have yet to see one.

          1. John Zelnicker

            OTOH, there are certainly far fewer Latinos around here than there were before that law was passed. I’m sure they feel the attitude has not changed even though the law has.

      3. ambrit

        With all due respect maam, but it might be a result of where in Alabama you roam. I’m thinking your mother might be living in, perhaps, Hoover? (This is a guess on my part.) Out in the boonies, say, for example, Tuscaloosa, (where I have worked,) there are Latino and Hispanic supermarkets, Rincones, furniture stores, etc. etc. We have a Barrio here in Hattiesburg Mississippi. Hernandez’s Tire Store, down on Hardy Street, sells 22s’ and spinners to all who wish them. We have a heavily Latino trailer park in Oak Grove, next door, so to speak.
        I do commiserate with your mother about the insularity of Southern society. We’ve experienced the same stand-offishness. One acquaintance once remarked that Southern Hospitality was a “civilized way of holding strangers at bay.”

      4. ran

        Come to Hoover or Alabaster next time you’re in the Bham area. You’ll see Latinos and mercados that cater to them aplenty

        1. ambrit

          I have taken my information about Hoover from two people we know who live there. Silly me. Next time we visit the Museum we will have to make Hoover a part of the trip.

    2. flora

      on Trump: I think he is, and knows he is, supposed to be the GOP sheep dog, or carnival barker, getting the crowd worked up and leading them to real show – to Jeb or whoever. So he thinks whatever he says is only entertainment. But something unexpected has happened: the crowd prefers the carnival barker to the main show. I think Trump is as flustered by this as the GOP. He stays in character – that’s his role. But the plan of saying really crazy stuff that will finally turn the crowd away from him and toward the GOP main show isn’t working. What to do? Saying crazier and crazier stuff is causing real harm. And yet the crowd isn’t turning away. My guess is neither Trump or the GOP expected the crowd to itself seriously and take on a life of its own.

      1. optimader

        I think Trump is as flustered by this as the GOP.
        I think he’s surprised too. I wonder how he’ll handle exposing his tax returns

      2. Oregoncharles

        I think this is an over-interpretation. Although even more colorful, Trum reminds me of Ross Perot, except that he’s embedded in a major party – for now. Some of his policy positions – he does have them – are well to the left of the Democratic Party, and he’s talking about corruption in politics.

        That’s one reason people like him, but it’s probably also the reason he’s running: why pay for other people’s campaigns, when you can pay for your own instead?

        He’s personally very offensive, as well as in some of his positions, and I suspect he’s topped out – 24% is not a winning number, once the field clears out. But I see no reason to speculate about hidden motives: the obvious one, ego, will do quite nicely.

        1. Yves Smith Post author

          Perot was willing to and did spend a lot of his fortune on his run. Trump has made a fetish of never spending much of his own money, and by all accounts, he’s spent very little on his campaign organization, less that other serious candidates normally do at this stage.

          Perot built a real business from the ground up. Trump inherited a business and expanded it mainly by turning it into a licensing organization. An enormous difference in the level of organizational skills required. Perot could legitimately say he was a leader. With Trump, it’s all hat, no cattle.

          1. Oregoncharles

            I’m not that familiar with Trump’s career, aside from the buffoonery, so I’ll take your word for it. He SAYS he’s going to self-finance; we shall see.

            What I see is that both represent the authentic American hero, a tycoon with an attitude. Turns out that can go pretty far.

            OTOH: I suspect Trump’s support corresponds roughly with the audience for his reality show. That would explain the topped-out part.

            I don’t expect him to get the nomination, though that would be a lot of fun. As you know, I don’t take either legacy party very seriously. An independent run would be even more fun – anything that shakes things up.

            And like Perot, his support might well cut both ways, especially against Clinton, who really is a conservative and no fun at all.

            1. Yves Smith Post author

              Trump is not a hero. You should be ashamed of yourself for using that word in connection with Trump. Trump INHERITED an established real estate business, right before NYC as as city and therefore its real estate turned around. By contrast, Perot built two multibillion dollar businesses on his own. EDS and later Perot Systems.

              1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

                Trump is simply the perfect reflection of American culture today: his entire life is one great big selfie.
                I made this comment to my wife and at that moment she happened to flick the TV to another channel. It was one of those women’s talk shows where they sit in a semi-circle and chat. That day’s subject: “How Do You Look At Yourself in the Mirror”. I kid you not, some women said “I give myself a hard appraising look”, another said “I like to smile alot while keeping the lights low”. I wish they would all just lean over a little more and fall into that pond already.

  6. Katniss Everdeen

    RE: Productivity paradox deepens Fed rate dilemma Gillian Tett, Financial Times

    The fed will remain “data dependent” as long as that “data” supports the preferred policies of its private bank owners, uber-wealthy beneficiaries and purchased government enablers.

    “Data” which does not “comply” will be adjusted, restated, redefined, subjected to various “preferred deflators” or simply no longer reported.

    Should those strategies fail, the financial “press” will be tasked with explaining the dissonance using words like “paradox,” “fog,” “mystery,” “irony” and “peculiar,” to quote just a few from this article.

    The Downing Street Memo returns to public policy making.

    1. Jim Haygood

      Rand Paul expands on the PPP (Public-Private Partnership) aspect of the pseudo-federal Fed:

      Imagine that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) was a corporation, with its shares owned by the nation’s major pharmaceutical companies. How would you feel about the regulation of medications? Whose interests would this corporation be serving?

      Or suppose that major oil companies appointed a small committee to periodically announce the price of a barrel of crude in the United States. How would that impact you at the gasoline pump?

      Such hypotheticals would strike the majority of Americans as completely absurd, but it’s exactly how our banking system operates.

      The Federal Reserve is literally owned by the nation’s commercial banks, with a rotation of the regional Reserve Bank presidents constituting 5 of the 12 voting members of the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC).

      What’s good for Goldman [which suddenly got invited to the club in 2008] is good for America, comrades.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Another feature is the banking system’s droit du seigneur: The manor lord gets to enjoy any ‘new’ money, any virgin money, before the serf.

        Thus, new money trickles down from the bank to you.

  7. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Obama…party its worst shape since the Great Depression.

    I can hear him explain the need for 2 more terms…a la FDR…the only fear is fear itself…c’mon, give me 4…what are you afraid of here???

      1. GuyFawkesLives

        Jim, thanks for the chuckle this morning.

        “Nobody with half a brain believes Mrs. Clinton had 50,000 yoga routine emails. If she was doing that much yoga, she wouldn’t need to wear pantsuits.”


      2. lord koos

        Remember those millions of emails that Karl Rove’s minions deleted from Republican party’s servers?
        No? Neither does the media.

  8. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    EM: “I would applaud this, but for the fact that it’s part of our ongoing national moar warmongering program.”

    We need more Yin, feminine programs that nurture, cooperate and tolerate, with reduced Yang programs that are aggressive, seek to dominate and warmonger.

    1. cwaltz

      We’d have to have the State Department as something separate from the DoD instead of it being an extension of the War Department and scouting agency( for figuring out which country has which resources we want and need.)

      It’s one of the reasons I was actually a fan of Kucinich’s idea of a Department of Peace.

  9. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    China’s most dangerous nuclear weapon.

    Isn’t her most dangerous non-conventional weapon deflation?

    There is no defense against that, or the billions of refugees.

  10. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Lew: We are monitoring China’s currency policy.

    Don’t forget, Lew, to monitor the number of incoming cargo container ships from China as well.

  11. GuyFawkesLives

    America: A Land Where Justice Is Absent

    This is never more true than if you attend a foreclosure defense court hearing and watch as the “judge” grants summary judgment when the bank has no promissory note. What happened to the promissory note? Well, the bank claims the note is either lost or destroyed, but doesn’t have a chain of custody. And in response to no promissory note and no chain of custody, the “judge” says “foreclose anyway!”

      1. Yves Smith Post author

        No way for real property.

        I wrote a ton about this back in the day. I have no exaggeration, hundreds of posts on this issue and was even invited to help teach a course for CLE credit on this very topic, with Judge Jed Rakoff moderating. Real estate is subject to a different set of practices, dating back to the 1677 Statute of Frauds. And until servicers decided to disregard en masse the very carefully established procedures for handling securitizations and the courts and Administration went whole hog to paper over abuses, everyone complied.

        The next bit is crude because I don’t have the time and energy to give a more precise formulation. Promissiory notes for mortgages are negotiable instruments under the UCC. They are like a check. You can’t let people submit copies as evidence of payment. Too easy to have people make copies and then endorse them over to other parties, Deeds require wet ink signatures. The securitization documents ALSO required wet ink signatures.

  12. ambrit

    Re. the Carter cancer story:
    Doesn’t Reuters have editors any more? One sentence “jumped out at me.”
    “He said he was pleased that he did not become angry or despaired.”
    Good luck to Mr Carter in his end of life struggle. He has been teaching by example since he left office. Now begins the biggest “teachable moment” of his life.
    As for his regret about the helicopters used in the Iran Hostage extraction attempt; not to worry. Obamas’ bunch had tacit, if not overt approval from bin Ladens “hosts” in Pakistan to go in and “take him out.” They still managed to crash one of their helicopters.

  13. Oregoncharles

    “Panic sets in, not over yet:” –
    Not much of a panic; precious metals haven’t jumped. Been waiting for that for quite a while now.

      1. lord koos

        It fell, but not quite as hard as stocks did. Then it took off like a rocket. The next time gold goes up like that, it probably won’t come down for quite awhile.

  14. susan the other

    Foreign Affairs. Bean Counters. Can accounting save capitalism from itself? No, but strict laws controlling the destruction of the environment and society can. Capitalism is a slow and grudging way to do a beneficial thing. By the time corporations realize any spiritual benefit from being good citizens, we’ll all be dead. But the premise of the article seemed to invoke the value of a corporation and how that is measured. They asked this question without addressing the reality that global warming is so critical, and environmental destruction so widespread, that we face immediate action to stop the destruction. And for capitalism that means that common sense will shut down any corporation that cannot comply whether beans are counted or not. And that means, ironically, that the good corporations are probably undervalued because it will soon be prohibitively expensive to do new ones and cottage industries will replace all the useless capitalist overkill. Leaving only a few shining corporate stars.

      1. ambrit

        To be too honest is to admit that much of what passes for knowledge is speculation and or opinion.

  15. Oregoncharles

    From the article on California’s Obamacare exchange problems:

    “consumers blocked from getting health coverage for months because of Covered California’s inability to overcome computer glitches.

    Compare this with Louis Proyect’s article the other day about the IT problems with changing a currency (eg, Euros to drachmas). What he’s really saying is that IT is now a huge hurdle, in fact a barrier, to ANY major change. Granted, Obamacare is a problem because it was deliberately made needlessly complicated, in order to cover up its real nature. A lot of that goes on. (See “financial derivatives.”) Indeed, the other side of that coin is that IT makes it much easier to dream up and implement, or pretend to implement, needlessly complicated schemes.

    It’s more than a little ironic to say this on a Web site, but we’ve walked into a trap. It’s baited with the fantastic ease and new powers that computers and the Web grant us, but it now severely constrains our options.

    NC has been calling this “Code as law.” It’s looking like a bigger problem than that name implies. I think we need a start on solutions, preferably short of banning computers altogether, as Frank Herbert proposed in Dune.

    1. LifelongLib

      Re Dune, maybe the mentats would be trying to complicate things, just to keep themselves employed. They’d probably have a monopoly on all computation. IIRC Baron Harkonnen didn’t like depending on mentats and said thinking machines were a better idea.

  16. optimader

    China Tests Its Most Dangerous Nuclear Weapon of All Time National Interest
    If we were playing connect the dots, rewind the tape on how this capability was enabled and we’re one dot away from Prescott Bush Jr.

  17. jrs

    Just this last week thinking over my time in the workforce (17 years so far), I realized to my chagrin, that only about 7 of that was spend in jobs that were in any way productive. Another 4 were spent doing utterly pointless work that shouldn’t exist (the equivalent of digging holes and filling them up again). Another year was spent in a job that didn’t give us ANY work to do! (yes it was private sector) Another 5 were spent in a role that could be productive but that I personally wasn’t very productive in because it was a horrible fit for my personality.

    There’s a great article in Counterpunch today on the Basic Income.

  18. Oregoncharles

    “The Real Demographic Challenge ”

    Encouraging, at least for the countries with that “challenge,” but an aspect of this article always bothers me:

    The blithe forecasts of highly implausible human numbers for the near future. I simply don’t believe human numbers will ever reach 9 billion – and not because women’s conditions will improve dramatically. Our life-support systems are already collapsing; one stock after another is withering away. To say nothing of the climate, or sea level rise. All the indications are that the population will crash, not skyrocket, and fairly soon. Not something I enjoy thinking about, but there it is.

    Granted, we probably could feed that many, at huge cost to the overall life-support system, IF we did everything right. How often does that happen? All systems have a failure rate.

    That UN projection creeps me out.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      Um, ecological systems collapsing did not lead to voluntary reductions in population in the case of the Mayans or the Anasazi, to name other cultures that faced similar problems.

  19. Vatch

    Bernie Sanders To Introduce Legislation Abolishing Private Prisons When Congress Reconvenes ThinkProgress

    People sometimes compare Bernie Sanders in 2015 to Barack Obama in 2007-2008. Obama was all talk and no walk, did little when he was in the Senate, and knifed his voter base in the back as soon as he was in office. The implication is that Sanders will do the same if elected. There’s a huge difference between Sanders and Obama: Sanders has been in the Congress since 1991, and if someone has doubts about him, we have thousands of roll call votes to analyze. Sanders is not Obama.

    Here’s a very revealing quote from the article:

    Currently, 16 percent of federal prisoners are housed in private prisons. The two largest prison corporations, GEO Group and Corrections Corporation of America, together take in $3.3 billion in annual revenue and the industry doubled in size between 2000 and 2010.

    As far as I know, Obama did nothing about this when he was in the Senate, nor has he done anything about it as President. Let’s stop the unfair implications that Sanders is another Obama. Sanders, whatever his faults might be, is far better than Obama.

    1. jrs

      Who Sanders reminds me of with this is actually not Obysmal but Ron Paul. Ron Paul had the habit of introducing noble legislation (from a libertarian perspective but much of it was desirable) that would never ever see the light of day. But he would ride in on a white horse and introduce legislation, so he was always doing something that seemed noble (for the photo op so to speak), and then he would work with noone to get it accomplished, even within his own party, and it would just die.

      Now Sanders could try to work with the Dems to get this accomplished as he has some ability to, only the Dems don’t have a majority (thanks Obysmal), so unless he got wide bipartisan support for it, it’s going nowhere. But there’s another problem … this congress is the most bought and paid for congress ever, more money was spent to get into congress than ever before, so far more than it represents Republicanism even (whatever that is these days), this congress represents highest bidderism. Who took what from Correction Corporations of America and what is the party breakdown?

      1. Vatch

        Here’s the Federal Election Commission data on Correction Corporations of America PAC donations (the company is also known as CCA):

        House Speaker John Boehner got a huge amount of money. Trade traitors Debbie Wasserman Schultz and Ron Wyden are recipients.

        GEO Group PAC donations:

        Again, trade traitor Debbie Wasserman Schultz is a recipient. The Democratic Campaign Committee got a lot of money.

  20. Carla

    “this congress is the most bought and paid for congress ever, more money was spent to get into congress than ever before…this congress represents highest bidderism. Who took what from Correction Corporations of America and what is the party breakdown?”

    Whoever it was, I’m pretty sure it wasn’t Bernie.

  21. jrs

    On the shade balls in California’s reservoirs and what they are made of.

    They say they are safe. But it seems like worrying about being poisoned by the plastic in shade balls is the least of our worries, when our organic veggies are grown with fracking chemicals, and there’s more news like that every day. We are being poisoned but probably not with “shade balls”. Maybe the Roman empire really was destroyed by lead poisoning, or if not the Roman empire this one is surely going to end itself that way.

  22. Irrational

    Re. Lie of free trade
    Apologies for commenting in links on this, but I do miss a discussion of America’s trade policy after World War II. I have always been taught (at European universities admittedly) that the US extracted market access for their goods from Europe and Japan. Clearly, that would suggest that free trade was seen as good – at least for the US – far earlier than Reagan/Bush/Clinton. I wonder how this period is perceived in the US?

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