Links 8/29/15

Something to crow about: New Caledonian crows show strong evidence of social learning Science Daily

Quantum ‘spookiness’ passes toughest test yet Nature

HSBC system failure leaves thousands facing bank holiday without pay Guardian

Retail brokerages keep breaking Business Insider

REFILE-SPECIAL REPORT-U.S. banks moved billions in trades beyond CFTC’s reach Reuters

Ratings agencies aren’t doing enough to anticipate market volatility Nouriel Roubini, Globe and Mail

Crisis, what crisis? U.S. economy steams along McClatchy

Uh-oh, Canada. China Pales as a Risk to U.S. Growth Bloomberg

Brazil’s economy enters recession BBC

Cheap Oil and Global Growth Project Syndicate

OPEC Divorce And Self-Destruction Thanks To Saudi Oil Strategy? Oil Price

Fed’s Stanley Fischer keeps September rate rise on table FT

One of Facebook’s founders is taking on the Federal Reserve WaPo

The peer-to-peer scaling, matching and pricing fallacy FT Alphaville


China local pension funds to start investing $313 billion soon Reuters

How much do we really know about China’s stockmarket? Sidney Morning Herald (EM)

Stock meltdown exposes how markets cling to myths about China McClatchy

The Chinese economy is slowing down and there can be no denying it Guardian

The Verdict on China’s Easing of Foreign Property Rules? A Resounding ‘Meh’  WSJ

Zombie Factories Stalk the Sputtering Chinese Economy NYT

The Party Has Its Tea, but Deserves No Sympathy Caixin

Return to Thaksinomics Nikkei Asian Review


Who Lost Greece? Parallels with Russia in 1998 Brookings

How the IMF’s misadventure in Greece is changing the fund Reuters

Former Greek PM Tsipras Wants Greek Voters to Dismiss ‘Old Political System’ in Snap Elections Greek Reporter

From Greek comrade to nemesis Politico

Greek Q2 GDP growth revised up (yes, up) to 0.9% FT. “That is from the time immediately before capital controls came in, the impact of which will only be seen in the third quarter reading.”

Mass Migration: What Is Driving the Balkan Exodus? Der Speigel

The Latest: UN chief ‘horrified’ by latest refugee deaths, asks states to act with humanity US News

Europe shouldn’t worry about migrants. It should worry about creeping fascism New Statesman

Ukraine Offers Creditors GDP Warrants. Here’s How They Work Bloomberg


Twelve years on, remembering the bomb that started the Middle East’s sectarian war Quartz (Re Silc).

British Library declines Taliban archive over terror law fears BBC

Welcome to the World, Drone-Killing Laser Cannon Wired


Here’s When You Can Expect Primary Polls To Really Start Mattering HuffPo

Who Do Polls Say Will Win the GOP Nomination? Check Back in November. Medium

At DNC Meeting, Hillary Clinton’s Quiet Moves Are the Ones that Matter National Journal

Bernie Sanders was called a liar for saying Hitler won an election. But he was right. Vox

Donald Trump and the shadow of Europe’s far-right WaPo

Meet the Flop Pickers FT

Airbnb names ex-aide to Bill Clinton as policy chief Sidney Morning Herald (EM). Ka-ching.

‘The Teacher Shortage’ Is No Accident—It’s the Result of Corporate Education Reform Policies In These Times. Idea: More TFA scabs?

Black Injustice Tipping Point

Liberals Are Wrong to Separate Race from Class TNR. Rather, Democrats.

Micromanaging Cops? ‘Black Lives Matter’ Can Try Bloomberg. Oddly, or not, McArdle praises ending “civil forfeiture” but has nothing to say about ending “‘for-profit policing,’ in which communities use fines as a substitute for taxes.”

Where Black Lives Matter Began Slate

What happened when Brad Pitt and his architects came to rebuild New Orleans WaPo

Lawyers plan challenge to arrests based on secret cellphone tracking USA Today. Stingrays in Baltimore.

Rome’s notorious mafia families are putting their rivalries aside to work together The Independent

Japanese police bracing for gang war as Yamaguchi-gumi mafia group splits Guardian

How to Prevent Your Local Searches From Being Sent Over the Internet How to Geek. No, you probably didn’t expect and don’t want to send your SSN to a remote server just because you searched your own machine for it.

United in-flight Wi-Fi reportedly blocks Ars Technica and New York Times Ars Technica

Seeking diversity, Twitter plans to boost female employment by one percentage point Los Angeles Times

That time Jimmy Carter walked into a nuclear reactor Patheos

I HAVE A DREAM… MARTIN LUTHER KING – August 28, 1963 YouTube

Antidote du jour:


See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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About Lambert Strether

Readers, I have had a correspondent characterize my views as realistic cynical. Let me briefly explain them. I believe in universal programs that provide concrete material benefits, especially to the working class. Medicare for All is the prime example, but tuition-free college and a Post Office Bank also fall under this heading. So do a Jobs Guarantee and a Debt Jubilee. Clearly, neither liberal Democrats nor conservative Republicans can deliver on such programs, because the two are different flavors of neoliberalism (“Because markets”). I don’t much care about the “ism” that delivers the benefits, although whichever one does have to put common humanity first, as opposed to markets. Could be a second FDR saving capitalism, democratic socialism leashing and collaring it, or communism razing it. I don’t much care, as long as the benefits are delivered. To me, the key issue — and this is why Medicare for All is always first with me — is the tens of thousands of excess “deaths from despair,” as described by the Case-Deaton study, and other recent studies. That enormous body count makes Medicare for All, at the very least, a moral and strategic imperative. And that level of suffering and organic damage makes the concerns of identity politics — even the worthy fight to help the refugees Bush, Obama, and Clinton’s wars created — bright shiny objects by comparison. Hence my frustration with the news flow — currently in my view the swirling intersection of two, separate Shock Doctrine campaigns, one by the Administration, and the other by out-of-power liberals and their allies in the State and in the press — a news flow that constantly forces me to focus on matters that I regard as of secondary importance to the excess deaths. What kind of political economy is it that halts or even reverses the increases in life expectancy that civilized societies have achieved? I am also very hopeful that the continuing destruction of both party establishments will open the space for voices supporting programs similar to those I have listed; let’s call such voices “the left.” Volatility creates opportunity, especially if the Democrat establishment, which puts markets first and opposes all such programs, isn’t allowed to get back into the saddle. Eyes on the prize! I love the tactical level, and secretly love even the horse race, since I’ve been blogging about it daily for fourteen years, but everything I write has this perspective at the back of it.


  1. Leo

    Why do I always get such a yucky feeling when reading Megan McArdle? She creeps me out so much. Other writers are just as craven and deceitful but she takes sliminess to another level.

    1. Michael

      McArdle is pretty much any kid at B-school or law school. Don’t know what they don’t know and ideology prevents them from figuring it out.

    2. tongorad

      Check out the S.H.A.M.E. (Shame the Hacks who Abuse Media Ethics) profile on McArdle.
      She actually wrote an article titled: The Virtue of Riches: How wealth makes us more moral.
      That just about says it all.

    3. craazyman

      I never read anything so I have no clue who this woman is. But it didn’t sound totally horrible to me.

      This sentence was a brain stopper though:

      ” At the end of the day, we still have to send police officers out to deal with our society’s most desperate moments. ”

      I sort of like that phrase — “our society’s most desperate moments” — since it manages to convey both the worst depths of human trauma and, at the same time, a removal of the author to the position of spectator that both disqualifies her from any coherent perspective on that trauma and renders the entire sentence a totally hysterical example of the use of the “our” word as a sentimental bromide that balms the conscience of society’s winners at the expense of its losers.

      Other than that, I can’t remember much of what it said.

  2. MikeNY

    Great piece from the WaPo on the Trump phenomenon.

    The venality and corruption of our political system, along with the creeping impoverishment of 80% of the population, explain much of the rise of both Trump and Sanders — the only two candidates who can call venality and corruption by their proper names. Certainly Hillary and Jeb! can’t.

    1. Vince in MN

      The right-leaning of the disenchanted are going for the charismatic leader, while the left-leaning are attracted to the charismatic program. That is cajones v. ideals. It will be interesting to see how this plays out, if it even comes to that. The ruling elites still have six months or so to get together on a marginalization plan for the “extremists”.

  3. cnchal

    RE: Zombie Factories Stalk the Sputtering Chinese Economy NYT

    At the Changzhi Cement Group, where the only sound is a barking dog, a former company electrician, Zhao Liwei, 43, watches TV inside a decrepit room for janitors at the compound’s entrance. Two years ago, as production at the state-owned plant ground to a halt, her paychecks stopped coming. Most employees were left to fend for themselves.

    Since the factory was never formally shuttered, they have not received severance payments or other compensation, Ms. Zhao said. Though a private company took on a handful of employees to produce cement in a portion of the plant’s facilities in August, the work is only temporary.

    Ms. Zhao has not worked at all. The only jobs in the area, she says, are sweeping floors and waiting tables, for as little as 500 renminbi, or $78, a month. She earned twice that working at the factory. “We were promised an iron rice bowl” — the Chinese term for lifetime employment — she said. But now “it is like we’ve been left on an eternal, unpaid vacation.”
    Over the long term, Chinese policy makers are trying to decrease the economy’s dependence on excessive investment for growth and allow household consumption to play a bigger role. That means the factories in many heavy industries, like cement, may never run again at full tilt.
    How can this contradiction be resolved? The Chinese workers make what is essentially zero, but are expected to be a pillar of growth.

    When looking at pictures from China it has become obvious that there are not enough paint factories, and paint brush factories, or if there are, the Chinese export it all. They could do a neighborhood beautification program, and put some lipstick on the pig. Though, to start the process of “household consumption” the painters need $25.00 per hour instead of $0.50.

    1. Katniss Everdeen

      “….sweeping floors and waiting tables….”

      That’s a “service economy.” Works here in the u s. What’s the problem?

      “How can this contradiction be resolved?”

      Credit cards, negative amortization loans, interest only loans, subprime loans, home “equity” loans, student loans, mortgage loans, mortgage refis and types of loans yet to be invented. Works here in the u s. What’s the problem?

      1. cnchal

        What’s the problem?

        In China, it’s $0.4875 per hour at 160 hours per month and $78 dollars in wages.

        They need to be paid much more to be able to afford the debt.

        1. Katniss Everdeen

          “Students” here in the good ole u s of a make $0.0000 per hour and have borrowed and spent over $1 TRILLION in “loans.”

          I get it, cnchal. I was being sarcastic.

          1. cnchal

            I know you were. I was being cynical.

            Students loaded with debt for an education to perform corporate functions for their oldsters is as close to a sure thing as one can get, as they have their lives in front of them to pay for it, and no way out, except to pay.

            Another problem for the Chinese peons, is that their leaders are taking the money, and running as fast as they can out of there. The astronomical house prices in Vancouver and Toronto are so distorted by rich Chinese buyers, it may even become an election issue in Canada. But we know who they stole the money from.

      2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        I was informed yesterday that no one in Beijing cares about any crisis in China.

        How the person who said that knew about what everyone else in Beijing thought, I am not sure.

        Perhaps, by ‘Beijing,’ he/she meant the central government, though usually, they prefer to keep it hush-hush.

  4. craazyboy

    I think we need The Onion to report on the JH Fed brain fest.

    Something like this:

    “Fed Vows To Continue ZIRP Until HFT Computers Stop Flash Crashing”‘

    1. Katniss Everdeen

      I am starting to get seriously embarrassed for all these distinguished fed ladies and gentlemen who relentlessly wring their hands over a QUARTER POINT rise in interest rates and endlessly dissect their angst-ridden “decision” process.

      Not to mention the boot-licking “reporters” who refer to each such incident as “breaking news.”

      Maybe that’s why they use the term “basis points.” I think it’s an attempt to make the issue seem less puny and trivial.

      1. craazyboy

        Ya, I’m beginning to think reality must have forked to a parallel universe. I took out my first home mortgage in 1980 at 12%. It stayed at 12% all the way thru Volker’s 81-82 recession. And far beyond.

        If I were on the other end of that deal today, I’d almost feel like a rich guy.

        1. ambrit

          Hah! My folks took out a home mortgage in Miami of Florida in 1967. They were quite worried about paying the scandalous interest rate of 3.25% The house note was only $87.00 a month. Dad was making all of 24K per year. I remember the surprise when Dad drove home a second hand 1963 Lincoln Continental for Mom to drive about. Those were the Go Go Years.

      2. griffen

        While only 0.25%, it gets treated as if / that “whoosh” prime rate will be at 10.0% and no one can cope with that.

        Prime going north towards 4.0% should be the GOAL at this point. And a modest goal at that. SMH

        1. ambrit

          Yes, but have you noticed the “point spread” between a Prime rate loan and a garden variety credit card rate? There’s the “whoosh” for you.

    2. Jim Haygood

      Posted last Sunday:

      [Dr. Hussman’s weekly] column provides charts recapping the disasters of 1987, post-2000, and 2008. Dr. H’s graphical recap of these previous historic peaks implicitly presents a strongly negative view. ‘Vertical losses’ is a euphemism for ‘crash’ — inherently a rare event.

      From a contrarian perspective, this looks excessively bearish. Therefore one would expect for stocks this week, after some rocky moments in the early going, to turn around and finish higher.

      Results: S&P 500 down 3.94% on Monday; up 0.92% for the week.

      Although it’s difficult to extract a meaningful signal from a bearish stopped clock, after his next update we’ll take another shot at assessing whether the good doctor has moderated his stance or (as is rather more likely) has doubled down by hurling a fresh volley of projectiles at the stumbling old bull, urging it to ‘just die already.’

      1. craazyboy

        Everyone is a Matador that can’t see Bulls coming and going. No thanx. Getting too old for that game.

      2. craazyman

        I remember that Jim. You were right. You’re often right, in fact (about a lot of things, not just money). But this is the thing: When I finally say to myself “Jesus. Jim is so right, so often, that I have to put some money down and profit from this free advice.” Then you’ll be wrong, big time. Just that once!

        1. Jim Haygood

          Ned Davis Research published a book titled Being Right or Making Money, much of it dedicated to proving with backtesting that the illogical and irrational often is more profitable than the conventional wisdom.

          Probably the implication is that with the benefit of a lobotomy, or least trepanation, we would be better traders by avoiding overthinking.

          Nevertheless, I think that the Fedsters — those creatures with heads bulged by the rippling PhD cranial musculature beneath — are about to lay an egg. All that can save us now is a ‘final missive’ from Doctor Hussman, asserting that an imminent asteroid strike finally will drive the Dow to its fair value of zero. ‘God’s mercy on you bullish swine!’ he will conclude.

          1. andyb

            The FED, a privately owned entity, has an agenda of global debt enslavement to achieve a totalitarian utopia. From 1913 on, it has achieved the 99% debasement of the USDollar, totally wrecked the once strong US middle class and has enabled fascism on a global basis. Within the next 6 months, it will purposely crash the markets, thus further impoverishing the 99% and destroying the future benefits of all pensioners counting on a stable retirement.

            1. Skippy

              Since Berle and Means published “The Modern Corporation and Private Property” in 1932, the majority of corporate lawyers and law professors have come to accept the view joint stock corporations (the regional Federal Reserve Banks included) are not owned by shareholders: all shareholders own is a right to receive performance of whatever obligations the governing corporation law and corporate charter and bylaws happen to say the corporation owes them, and these obligations never add up to amount to the property law concept of private ownership. In the real world, corporations (including the regional Federal Reserved Banks) are so organized i as to prevent the stockholders from having any control, or any use, or much if any say, concerning what goes on in them.

              There is a formal legal argument to explain my reasoning, property law defines “ownership” as the exclusive right to possess and use a thing; “property” is defined as a thing that is owned. Corporations are not “things” that are capable of being owned in this sense. Also, “private property” is property owned by private “persons” (including private business associations fictitiously treated as persons). A regional Federal Reserve Bank can’t be “private property” of shareholders if they don’t collectively own exclusive right to possess and use the regional Federal Reserve Ban, and they do not own any such right to possess it, or use, exclusive or otherwise.

              So, if the Federal Reserve Banks aren’t the private property of their members, who owns them? The answer is: no one owns them. The Federal Reserve Banks themselves are fictitious corporate persons that own their bank buildings, office furniture, and other assets, as the private property of the Federal Reserve Bank. The regional banks themselves are not the private property of anyone. (They’re not public property owned by the state, either. No one owns a “Federal Reserve Bank” as such. No one owns any joint stock corporation, as such.) – comment from NC archives

              Skippy… I would note that the Fed is/has been increasingly managed by economists from the 70s, with that observation its important to understand the guiding principles by which the Fed is run via the dominate school of economics e.g. a hybrid of austrian neoclassical w/ a bolt on on neo-new Keynesian.

  5. financial matters

    Europe shouldn’t worry about migrants. It should worry about creeping fascism New Statesman

    I think Laurie Penny gives a useful perspective.

    “Fascism happens when a culture fracturing along social lines is encouraged to unite against a perceived external threat. It’s the terrifying “not us” that gives the false impression that there is an “us” to defend.

    Living standards have certainly gone down across the eurozone, but that has very little to do with immigration.

    Nobody can quite decide whether migrants are a problem because they work so hard that they’re taking all the jobs (the biggest fear of a working class pummelled by unemployment and falling wages) or because they’re too lazy to work so they’re taking all the benefit money (the biggest fear of a middle class suffering with rising rents and cuts to social services).

    The greatest threat to our “way of life” is not migration. Migration does change society, although far less so than, for example, technology, economic austerity, escalating inequality, globalisation or climate change.”

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      When making aioli, pouring oil too fast, you don’t get that rich, smooth, creamy sauce.

      The fact is a sudden influx of migrants does present absorption/adjustment problems for the host country, except its 0.01%.

      But we can’t blame these homeland-less people, but imperialists who created the victim-refugees in the first place.

      As for right wing and left wing leaders, they reflect our two brains and when we can balance both, we get more out of life.

  6. jef

    “Cheap Oil and Global Growth”

    What he fails to reconcile is the 2 trillion funneled to consumers means 2 trillion taken away from producers many of which subsidize consumers with that money. Globally it seems to me to be a wash.

    It seems that cheap oil hurts producers but expensive oil hurts consumers…thats pee coil folks, lets call it what it is and deal with it.

  7. Brooklin Bridge

    They tried it in the ’90s but people didn’t like to hear their computer called a, “dumb terminal.” So they came at it from the other side (Marketing) and instead called remote servers, The Cloud. Then they reduced the size of the monitor down to that of a wrist watch and lo, verily, people can’t get enough of it. Go figure. Surprising the boot text isn’t, “You’ve come a long way baby!”

    As to people not being bothered with distinctions between “local” and “out there”, they’re right. There is no difference, unless you dig deep in the configurations settings of, SuDataEstMiData10, at which point it will store local stuff on your (shrinking?) hard drive (but search queries would probably still go out over the net unless you attend to that as well). Who knows how much longer even having your own hard drive will be legal, never mind those unpatriotic CPU cycles involved with anything other than cloud binding.

    Come on in, the water’s fine.

    1. Oregoncharles

      I still don’t understand why anyone thought something called “the cloud” might be secure.

  8. frosty zoom


    turns out this government ornithologist was suspended for this song:

    it’s on his own time and he never mentions his government job. this is the straw that broke the straw that broke the straw on the camel’s back.

    please spread the video. this attempt at silencing democracy must backfire.

    thanking y’all from the north,


  9. Michael Hudson

    Dear Yves,
    I must say, I’m quite annoyed at the Reuters piece on Greece. Last week the e-version of my Kiling the Host came out. There are four chapters on Greece, including an entire chapter on the IMF 1980-82 episode that Reuters claims they just got from unpublished documents.
    Their report follows mine directly — the same quotes from the same directors. What they did NOT say was that this information was leaked by an IMF whistleblower who left, went to Canada and wrote up the story — on which I based my chapter. (I also made a similar point on Democracy Now last week.)
    What the Reuters report does NOT say is the intervention by Tim Geithner and Barack Obama at the G8 meetings, warning that if Greek bonds were NOT paid, U.S. TBTF banks would lose heavily, and their losses could create “contagion” to Europe.
    Also, Reuters praises Lagarde, as if she recognizes that Greece cannot pay. She’s not been any help at all to Varoufakis or the Greeks. She insists that the loan CAN be paid — simply by “extend and pretend,” lowering the interest rate and stretching out the maturities.
    Its selective quotes and decontextualization is almost as if the report was done to counter the political points I make in Killing the Host.

  10. Steven D.

    The main thing Kessler was trying to communicate wasn’t anything useful about Sanders but rather something about himself: “I’m not a liberal.” This is a preoccupation of the Beltway media, which is why they either dog the left about trivial or bogus stuff, mock them or studiously ignore them, while letting the right get away with murder or lavishing praise on them.

    Kessler may think it makes him look courageous to concoct a reason to give Sanders four Pinocchios, but it does the opposite. It shows he’s a gutless coward.

    1. jrs

      Sanders tweet is actually flawless. The conclusion is not that elections matter but that politics matter, politics include even the intimidation that may go on at street level. With enough force and intimidation it would be hard to call an election anything most Americans would recognize as an election (some minority disenfranchisement exempted I suppose, although the obstacle hit there is usually bureaucracy, and yea we’ve got other things to worry about as well like Dibold).

  11. fresno dan

    Rather, each case suggests that institutions that are starkly divided in theology, politics, and culture perpetually improvise lethal and even self-defeating partnerships of convenience.

    The thinkers, tacticians, soldiers, and leaders of the movement we know as ISIS are not great strategists; their policies are often haphazard, reckless, even preposterous; regardless of whether their government is, as some argue, skillful, or as others imply, hapless, it is not delivering genuine economic growth or sustainable social justice. The theology, principles, and ethics of the ISIS leaders are neither robust nor defensible. Our analytical spade hits bedrock very fast.

    I have often been tempted to argue that we simply need more and better information. But that is to underestimate the alien and bewildering nature of this phenomenon. To take only one example, five years ago not even the most austere Salafi theorists advocated the reintroduction of slavery; but ISIS has in fact imposed it. Nothing since the triumph of the Vandals in Roman North Africa has seemed so sudden, incomprehensible, and difficult to reverse as the rise of ISIS.

    An analysis based on rationality and logic, I fear falls short, perhaps because of the inability to acknowledge some very dark aspects of the human psyche. As Monihan said, “defining deviancy downward”

    “And the al-Qaeda leaders were not the only Salafi jihadists who assumed that their core supporters preferred serious religious teachings to snuff videos (just as al-Tayeb apparently assumed that an Islamist movement would not burn a Sunni Arab pilot alive in a cage).”

    Even Nazis tried to hide or obscure their most barbaric acts – this may be the first group that psychopathy is blatantly used as a public recruiting feature. Perhaps the true appeal that attracts their adherents is nothing more than sadism, torture, and rape – with only a veneer of ideology

    1. James Levy

      I see the breakthrough coming a long time ago with the idea that if a conventional war with the Soviets was going the wrong way, it was better to destroy the world and wipe out the human race than allow the Godless Commies to win, i.e. “better dead than Red.” Modern jihadists seem to have taken this ethic to heart. In the struggle against the American Satan and the Western culture for which America is a stand-in, nihilistic rage is the last and only response. It is still the ideology of a small minority, but the spirit, which is expressed in the West as the drive to use up every resource and despoil the globe in a final orgy of consumption, is gaining ground in various manifestations everywhere. King got the vibe in “The Stand” in several segments that highlighted the murderous rage unleashed when some people dimly grasped that the world they knew was passing away in the plague and somebody was going to pay for it before the disease gets to me. Very scary stuff.

    2. different clue

      I don’t know enough to know whether your assessment of the real baseline reality of ISIS’s psychic existence is correct or not. IF! you are correct and IF! ISIS’s appeal is to pure recreational sadism, torture/rape opportunities, etc., then the people serving in ISIS and the people it attracts from around the world are indeed radioactive human waste. It would be an interesting question what turned the ISIS volunteers from human beings into radioactive human waste . . . so as to avoid turning more human beings into radioactive human waste. But the ex-human beings who have already been turned into radioactive human waste can’t be turned back into human beings again . . . IF your analysis of ISIS’s attraction is correct. So IF you are correct about what attracts what kind of people to ISIS, then the only way to make those people safe for the rest of us is to kill them. And the only legal way to kill them is to allow ISIStan to remain a surviving state just long enough to attract all the potential jihadis in the world to go join ISIS. The reason for letting them all go to the Islamic State is so that they could all be killed in an ongoing war between IS and its surroundings. When the very last jihadi wannabe has joined ISIS, gone to IS and been killed, then the world can move in and exterminate ISIS itself within the borders of IS by killing every single leader, member, cadre etc.

      If ISIS really is what you say, that is the only approach which makes sense. HowEVer . . . if ISIS has an ideological basis, then perhaps a combination of bodywar and brainwar may be used against ISIS.

    3. Oregoncharles

      This kind of terrorism to intimidate enemies actually has a long history (for instance, the Mongol invasion of Persia).

      But we hoped we were done with it.

      whoever instigated and is paying for this (Saudi Arabia, at least, and quite possibly the CIA) has a lot to answer for.,

      1. different clue

        A lot of the best fighters and war-leaders of ISIS are bitter ex-Baathists from Iraq. Their unique atrociousness against the Kurds is probably a desire for vengeance dating back to fall-of-Baathism days. So they too have a lot to answer for.

        As do the Turkish Erdogists for supporting ISIS so hard and effectively over the border. As do all the Western Powers who obstructed all Russian/Iranian/Hezbollah efforts to help Assad crush and exterminate the rebellion before a vacuum could open up for ISIS and Nusra to fill.

    4. alex morfesis

      about isis…the opposite of sisi …has anyone ever actually seen any photos of more than 75 of these pickup truck loving garbanzos in one actual photo…not trying to be cute…just wondering is it just me or is it that no one gets close enough to see if there are actually any of then out there…not that smoke and mirrors does not win battles…but have never seen a photo that even looked like 100 of them together…

  12. susan the other

    Tsipras calls on voters to “dismiss the old political system” that caused their economic mess in the first place. Something tells me Tsipras and Varoufakis are not really at odds. If Tsipras is against his radical Left wing, it seems to be because it has no long term solutions for change; he implies they just want to go back to the status quo ante and pick up the bliss where they left off. To my ear that is a condemnation of the last 40 years of neoliberal crony politix. While, similarly, Varoufakis is almost laughing at the oligarchs accusing him of treason and has joined forces beyond Greece with the entire European Left to create a new EU. Creating a New EU is not a radical idea, it is a conservative idea.

  13. susan the other

    New Caledonian Crows and Social Learning. It might help this kind of research if “social” learning could be clearly defined. If it is a phenomenon of the transmission of ideas through language, then lets look at that first. Why isn’t demonstration a form of language? It requires lots of skills to decipher. And what could be more social than demonstrating how to harvest all those delicious ants? And then, really, adding a lot of words to that is just description. Right?

    1. Kurt Sperry

      “Language” is just the way we define how humans as a species typically communicate. Other species have their own means of communication that work perfectly for their own circumstances. Anthropocentric observers would point to language in exceptionalist terms or as something other than the peculiarity it more probably is.

      Which is higher bandwidth, Rush Limbaugh talking, or a coyote howling in concert with her neighbors?

    2. tegnost

      right it’s like if particular sounds being repeated variably, as we do, is the only way to communicate. I think birds in general and ravens in particular seem to communicate well, but I’ve been scoffed at by people who study speech professionally, but how do we know they aren’t communicating with encrypted photons?

    3. ewmayer


      Social learning theory – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

      The one major lacuna (IMO) in the article is the lack of any discussion of priming, e.g. human infants being ‘primed’ to acquire language, and various attention-differences exhibited by the 2 genders even as neonates (which is key in the ‘to what extent are gender roles inborn (and merely reinforced socially) versus artificially imposed’ debate.)

  14. Brindle

    re: Liberals Are Wrong To Separate Race From Class

    In this article “Liberals” means right of center Dems, also known as Dem party elites.
    In a way the #blm disruptions of Sanders campaign point to the success of neoliberal propaganda in the indoctrination of the primacy of identity politics over class politics.

    —The growing acceptance of the view that racism was distinct from economic inequality and capitalist exploitation set the stage for underclass ideology and ultimately the paradox of the Clinton presidency. Clinton, though popular with black voters, did quite a bit to undermine the material wellbeing of black Americans.—

    The same could be said of Obama.

  15. TedWa

    Sunshine, people forget, the big wheel spins, the head spins, people forget
    forget they’re hiding
    Eminence front
    it’s a put on

    1. abynormal

      song now used in a GMC commercial: “In short, it’s a song that criticizes the kind of people who buy a chrome-grilled GMC truck over a Chevrolet. What an idea! Make a series of ads for your gussied-up versions of trucks, trucks that, in Denali trim, literally have an eminence front bolted onto the front fascia, and use a soundtrack that lampoons the idea of buying such a device! It’s like the LAPD making a recruiting video and using “Bulls On Parade” as the soundtrack! Sheer brilliance! What’s next for GMC?”

      Come on!
      Yes I know my enemies
      They’re the teachers who taught me to fight me
      Compromise, conformity, assimilation, submission
      Ignorance, hypocrisy, brutality, the elite
      All of which are American dreams.
      Know Your Enemy/Rage Against the Machine

    2. abynormal

      26 natl universities to abolish humanities, social sciences
      Nearly half of the 60 national universities with humanities and social science faculties plan to abolish those departments in the 2016 academic year or later, according to a survey conducted by The Yomiuri Shimbun. Conducted among presidents of national universities across the country, the survey found that 26 intended to eliminate these departments. The universities will stop recruiting students for a combined total of at least 1,300 places, mainly in their teacher training faculties. Some of these slots will be allocated to newly established faculties. The survey highlighted the wave of reform sweeping over humanities and social science faculties. The Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology Ministry issued a notice to national universities this June calling for their humanities and social science faculties to be abolished or converted to other fields. The faculties it sought to have eliminated or converted included law and economics departments and teacher training faculties, both at the undergraduate and graduate levels.

      I really hope that the Japanese are going to stop demonstrating to the world what man-made radiation does to people. Steven Magee

      1. abynormal

        not sure why this post showed up here but hey…

        Education, n. That which discloses to the wise and disguises from the foolish their lack of understanding. Ambrose Bierce

  16. TedWa

    Anybody willing to bet that the suicide rate among seniors will rise exponentially in the next 10-15 years?

  17. griffen

    Regards to the column on rating agencies – well it is free speech, and only an opinion on the matter at hand. After 100 years of doing what it is they do, a/any investor should be able to rely on those opinions. But, possibly no.

    I’ve begun to wonder how well these “blessed” NRSRO will handle higher interest rates on the muni bonds that they rate. Never mind, just an opinion.

  18. Oregoncharles

    “HSBC system failure leaves thousands facing bank holiday without pay ”

    Money + HSBC + the Interwebs: what could go wrong? Several of my more techy clients insist on using web-based payments. Not HSBC, of course, but I just got more nervous about it.

    And more broadly: this, and another example yesterday, are early examples of the same sort of IT brittleness we’re told is one reason Greece (for example) can’t change its currency overnight. These are breakdowns in day-to-day operations; making big changes, like a currency, poses much bigger problems – which means , in turn, that IT is a major barrier to solving other problems – in general. Grexit is merely one example.

    I’m glad to see NC reporting these breakdowns, now that they’ve pointed out how brittle the systems really are. Unlike the Mellon Bank example, where there was suspicion of peculation, this seems to be a clear-cut breakdown – at a very troubled bank. Just the sort of thing that could propagate through the system.

    A good reason to go back and watch those Permaculture videos: you may need those homestead skills.

  19. Oregoncharles

    “Ratings agencies aren’t doing enough to anticipate market volatility Nouriel Roubini, Globe and Mail”

    Nouriel Roubini is among the VERY few prominent economists who “saw the bubble” in real estate and foresaw the crash of 2008.

  20. different clue

    About those smart crows, ravens, parrots, etc. . . . consider that they are all descended from a branch of the great dinosaur order which included theropods like . . . velociraptor among others. Imagine a velociraptor being as smart as a crow, or a rave, or an African gray parrot. And sociable like wolves.

    If the killer asteroid hadn’t arrived, the intelligent dinosaurs might have evolved intelligence further. Veliciraptor might have become Philosoraptor. Philosoraptor might have created civilization, domesticated various vegetarian dinosaurs into stock animals for reliable meat, etc. Just picture philosoraptors riding on the backs of domesticated Tyrannosaurs wrangling herds of Triceratopsians. We mammals would still be the little ratlike things living under rocks or monkey-squirrely things living up in trees that our ancestors were.

  21. tegnost

    Thanks for the report on moving derivatives trading beyond the CFTC
    “Consistent rules around the world are better for investors and markets,” said Andrew Williams, a spokesman for Goldman Sachs. “That is what we advocated for then and continue to do so now.” ”
    I think he means consistently weak rules around the world …

  22. Jim Haygood

    Excerpt from Stanley Fischer’s J-Hole speech today:

    ‘Core inflation can to some extent be influenced by oil prices. However, a larger effect comes from changes in the exchange value of the dollar, and the rise in the dollar over the past year is an important reason inflation has remained low.’ Transcript:

    Fischer goes on to discuss Chart 5 attached to his text, showing that a strong dollar depresses inflation the next year, but continues weakening GDP by -0.7% even in the second and third years afterward.

    Yet he concludes by saying that:

    ‘With inflation low, we can probably remove accommodation at a gradual pace. Yet, because monetary policy influences real activity with a substantial lag, we should not wait until inflation is back to 2 percent to begin tightening.’

    Given Fischer’s strong dollar analysis, his conclusion is a non sequitur. A soft economy with soft inflation and a strengthening currency doesn’t need a rate hike. But the feckless Fedsters are tired of pushing on a string. They think a rate hike will tighten up the lines, so the great lumbering U.S. economy once more will clack its little wooden feet in response to their puppeteer’s hand jive. This delusional notion is a formula for failure, if not catastrophe.

    As clueless as Greenspan was (I used to cue up the Beatles’ Fool on the Hill every time Magoo testified to Congress), the Yellen-Fischer comedy duo may be even worse.

    1. craazyboy

      But..but..what about bubble blowing, price discovery in markets, mal investment (M&A and bond funded stock buybacks) and the highest broker margin leverage in history? Not to mention screwing savers out of half a trillion the past 6 years and giving it to banks to lend with 12%-22% credit card rates?

      Plus China is selling $50B/month of treasuries – potentially up to a trillion. That should help tamp down “King of the Junk Yard” Dollar a bit.

  23. ewmayer

    Re. ‘How to Prevent Your Local Searches From Being Sent Over the Internet’ — Under linux and os x, grep and find are your friends. Learn how to use them.

    1. dk

      For windows machines, there are also third party file search tools, some are free. I’ve been using Effective Search for years (even before it was freeware). Boolean conditions and regular expressions are also supported (regex may not be your friend, but it’s still good to know).

  24. Jay M

    re Retail Brokerages Keep Breaking

    gotta keep the rubes penned up, barbed wire was a great invention
    might destabilize the market
    puny players should expect ill treatment

    I find these all convincing

    Jay M

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