Links 8/4/15

We are a little light on Links. We’ll have them done by 7:30 AM.

The man who speaks 32 languages – and counting New Statesman (Chuck L)

Delta and American Airlines ban transport of big-game trophies BBC (furzy mouse)

Devastation as hitchhiking robot hitchBot found ‘murdered’ in US city London Evening Standard. Chuck L: “Where else but in the US of A?”

HitchBOT video shows attack; tech sector rallies around little visitor

Tiny Drones That Navigate with Insect Eyes MIT Technology Review (furzy mouse)

Conservapedia gets schooled by evolutionary biologist Daily Kos. Worth reading for the quotes from a great takedown.

China’s Response to Stock Rout Exposes Disarray Wall Street Journal

China Seeks Businessman Said to Have Fled to U.S., Further Straining Ties New York Times


Turning “No” Into a Political Front Jacobin (Sid S). Take note of this section:

The third aspect: the appeasement of the center of economic power, the oligarchy, and what is called in Greek “diaploki,” the intricate nexus between business interests, politicians, and the state. And here we must be absolutely specific. It would of course be a mistake to attach all blame to individual persons. But we should be quite clear about the fact that there have been enclaves providing bridges with sectors of the oligarchy inside Syriza, even before it came to power.

There is nothing coincidental about the exceptionally opaque role of the vice prime minister, Giannis Dragasakis, as the person par excellence devoted to keeping the status quo untouched in the entire banking and financial sector, standing as a barricade against any attempted change in a system that today forms the nerve center, the literal heart, of capitalist power in its relation to the state.

Greece expects bailout deal by August 18, spokeswoman says Reuters. That is awfully tight. The ECB payment date is August 20.

How the split in Germany’s Eurosceptic AfD is likely to help Angela Merkel EUROPP

Leftwing Eurosceptics are wrong to use Greece as a reason to leave the EU Hugo Dixon, Guardian

More than half of small businesses saw turnover dive by at least 50 pct due to capital controls Macropolis (free subscription)

Greek banks fall a further 30% Financial Times

Ministers press on with talks on banks, privatization ekathimerini


The Cruel and Indefensible War on Yemen American Conservative (reslic)

Gulf Countries Now Back Iran Deal; Buchanan Explains Republicans’ No-Win Situation Michael Shedlock

USA, Turkey and Israel Act As Air Force for ISIS George Washington


IMF Says Sanctions Take Toll On Russia Wall Street Journal

Ukraine sends new debt proposal to creditors in week – Finance Ministry Reuters

Special Report: State Department watered down human trafficking report Reuters Chuck L: “Per the David Dayen tweet: ‘We’re 1 whistleblower away from a massive problem for the Obama WH (or at least it should be).'”

Obama Sells Out Human Health and the Environment By Making Nuclear a Centerpiece of Climate Policy George Washington

Wary Voters Shake Up Presidential Race, WSJ/NBC News Poll Finds Wall Street Journal

Six phrases to watch for in Thursday’s GOP debate Christian Science Monitor (furzy mouse)

Trump says won’t be ‘throwing punches’ in U.S. Republican debate Reuters (EM)

House of Representatives Passes Bill in 15 Minutes to Revoke Americans’ Passports without Due Process Liberty Blitzkrieg

California fires: Firefighters struggle to contain blaze BBC (furzy mouse)

One Way to Fight California’s Drought: Desalt the Ocean Wired. Aiee. I have not looked at desalination lately, but last time I did, it has meaningful energy costs. And as resilc points, out, “Then what with the salt? Ship to Ghana like e waste??” Water, carbon emissions and food need to be addressed as an integrated problem, not in a one issue-in-isolation manner.

A.C.L.U. Sues Over Handcuffing of Boy, 8, and Girl, 9, in Kentucky School New York Times

Black Injustice Tipping Point

How To Be Filmed Murdering a Man, Cover It Up, Be Free On Bail, And Ask For Your Job Back Daily Kos

March to Washington begins with civil rights rally in Selma Reuters (EM)

The Man Who Shot Michael Brown New Yorker

This Recovery Really Is Different Barry Ritholtz, Bloomberg

Former trader given 14 years prison for market manipulation Associated Press (allan)

The Challenges of Fighting Money Laundering New York Times. Resilc: “If it was laundering for is2 or narcos the Feds would tkae my house and every last dime. If HSBC or Chase, take it from the dividends of retirees. It’s da merikin’ way.”

Investigating The Trading Activity Of Collateralized Loan Obligations Portfolio Managers Liberty Street Economics

Puerto Rico triggers historic default as austerity spiral deepens Ambrose Evans-Pritchard. This is frustratingly off the mark. Puerto Rico has suffered from insufficient fiscal spending. That is not the same as austerity.

An egregious error on the history of central bank actions in crises Carolyn Sissoko. Sissoko scolds Brad DeLong

Gearing Up For Employment Day Tim Duy. Fedwatching.

Credit card holders gouged more than $2 billion since 2011, research shows Sydney Morning Herald (EM)

SEC Set to Probe Pimco Exchange-Traded Fund Wall Street Journal. Looks like they fudged valuations. And Wells notices are serious. They mean roughly, “We are preparing to file a suit but we’ll give the suspect one last chance to try to explain his way out of it.”

How Is Normalization of Monetary Policy Going to Work? St. Louis Fed. Key sentence: “Federal Reserve Board economists estimate that the normalization process will take about seven years once it starts.” And that assumes it actually starts…

Class Warfare

Robert Reich: America is revolting against its ruling class Salon Resilc: “Wake me up when employees start fragging bosses and billionaires’ limos take rpg fire.”

Antidote du jour From the story There’s A Teen Mountain Lion Out On Her Own For The First Time Laist:

teen mountain lion lins

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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    1. susan the other

      Sounds like PR was ultra free-market until it blew up – so not austerity bec. that’s what they do to clean up their own mess at society’s expense after having killed it.

    2. Yves Smith Post author

      Yes. Austerity is choosing to cut spending to balance budgets and/or reduce debt levels. Not running deficits large enough to produce full employment (and prevent the exodus of workers, most important the young and well educated) insufficient fiscal spending. The US’s $800 million or so deficit after the crisis was insufficient fiscal spending. We should have run a deficit of at least $1.2 trillion then and continued to deficit spend at higher levels than we did for a few years afterwards. But no one would call a $800 million increase in spending “austerity”.

  1. allan

    TPP happy talk: Kerry Hails Progress Toward Trans-Pacific Trade Pact, Despite Delays

    Days after negotiators failed to wrap up an Asia trade agreement, Secretary of State John Kerry expressed confidence on Tuesday that the pact would be completed, calling it vital for the economic well-being of the region.

    “We made progress, good progress … Every participant will have to comply with core international labor and environmental standards. Every participant will have to refrain from using underage workers, unsafe workplaces*. Every participant will have to ensure that state-owned companies compete fairly with ones that are privately owned. And every participant will have to fight trade-related bribery and corruption, ensure free and open digital trade, and safeguard intellectual property**.”

    * Offer not valid in Malaysia or Vietnam.

    ** Other rules may apply. But you’re not allowed to see them.

    1. susan the other

      TPP will push forward no matter the setbacks. It will compromise freely: It will give south east Asia big breaks on slave labor and it will betray the honorable constitutions of every country involved. Because it is not a trade agreement, it is a pirates’ agreement.

  2. rich

    Government Ignores Potential Fraud: My Experience with HHS
    Liberty Blitzkrieg reported:

    Federal prosecution of individuals identified by the government as white collar criminals is at its lowest level in the last twenty years, according to the latest data from the Justice Department

    The decline in federal white collar crime prosecutions does not necessarily indicate there has been a decline in white collar crime. Rather, it may reflect shifting enforcement policies by each of the administrations and the various agencies.

    I had a personal experience with this that culminated last week. On August 4, 2013 I submitted a fraud concern to the Office of Inspector General of the Department of Health and Human Services. I shared information that a local agency had fraudulently applied for and gotten nearly $900,000 in federal grant funds through a Section 1115 Medicaid Waiver grant. On October 7, 2013 I spoke with an investigator who said they would refer it to their boss. I heard nothing for fifteen months.

    I submitted a public information request on the status of my complaint on March 2, 2015. I wrote them at the time:

    I reported my concern of fraud as an ethical citizen. I truly wish to learn the outcome of the investigation. The pursuit of rewards is ever so degrading and distasteful, especially when one enters a maze of complexity and obfuscation. I hoped the government would view me as a partner in a serious matter.

    Staff said they had nothing to share as the case was “under review.” They gave me the impression it was being actively investigated and I could check back later. I inquired again on July 17th and received a document on July 20, 2015. The information said the case was closed on November 11, 2013.


    I gave them information that clearly showed a grant applicant violating more than one requirement to receive federal funds, doing so with arrogance and impunity. Investigators didn’t have to do much, just affirm in public records, minutes and video, the admissions of agency leaders that they willfully ignored federal requirements in crafting and submitting their application for HHS funding.

    I was shocked by their callous lack of interest and by their defensiveness when questioned in the most basic way. Now I know why. Government is a fast track for pushing out money.

    fraud is the economy.

    1. apber

      You need to look deeper at the grantee. Friends in high places? Significant campaign donor? Or could it merely be just another element of the Cloward-Piven strategy to bankrupt the Government. In either event, instead of Hope and Change we just got more waste, fraud, corruption, and abuse.

    2. JTMcPhee

      Have you considered pursuing a “qui tam” action? There’s a
      little pharmacy in the FL keys whose owners have gotten rich exposing Medicare, Medicaid and Pharma fraud. There’s lots of lawyers whw love these cased, take them on as contingency litigation. Just search on “qui tam lawyers.” If you really have a lay-down case, they will help you make a little dent in the mostly impervious armor of the Corruptocracy.

      Surprised that more people with knowledge of the other corruptions highlighted by NC don’t pursue such claims. But maybe the impulse to do-goodery gets submerged by the pleasures that all those bonuses can provide…

    3. John Merryman

      “Government is a fast track for pushing out money.”

      Nail on the head. The basis of money is public debt. Do you want to slow the growth of capitalism?

  3. financial matters

    This is another interesting quote from the Jacobin article.

    “The fight of the Greek and of the other European people against the iron cage of the EU will reveal the class and imperialist character of this edifice and will thus allow the struggles inside the historical center of world capitalism to connect with the broader movements against imperialist and capitalist domination at a global scale, and more particularly with the movements of the Global South, which begins just at the other side of the Mediterranean.”

    Jacobin and the Left Platform would definitely like to see a switch from capitalism to socialism but I think it’s important as to how these are defined.

    They advocate for a Grexit with re-establishment of sovereignty which is good as far as it goes but as Ingham points out requires a strong state, particularly one that can establish a sovereign monetary space by effective taxation.

    He points to Argentina as a country whose problems largely stem from not being able to accomplish this and ‘it is therefore difficult to establish the domestic value of the currency and a payments system based on a trusted domestic banking system’.

    So the first step would seem to be to establish a currency that has some value. The second step which might get more into the capitalism vs socialism question would be how to distribute this currency. Here is the power struggle for economic existence. How the power struggle is working out now in many major economies is socialism for the ‘elite capitalists’.

    1. susan the other

      Maybe we need Modern Exchange Theory because money/currencies have lost their meaning.

    2. Jim

      Naked Capitalism and the bloggers/commetariat now have a real opportunity to begin to critically evaluate the catastrophic strategy of Syriza and what Jacobin has called “European leftism.”

      As Kouvelakis indicates, what he calls “diaploki” or “the intricate nexus between business interests, politicians and the state must be significantly dismantled.

      Of course, as “financial matters” comments immediately above and assumes, in my opinion quite erroneously that the reassertion of Greek sovereignty requires first, a strong state and then a sovereign monetary space.

      i will be arguing, to the contrary, that the Greeks must first bust out of the Iron Cage of European Bureaucracy as well as the corrupt and discredited Greek national state and its political class (from left to right).

      Such a move seems to demand a sophisticated mobilization of the Greek population if favor of radical political decentralization–a sort of going back to its roots–as argued by Josiah Ober in “The Rise and Fall of Classical Greece.

      Once steps towards radical political decentralization begin to be articulated verbally and theoretically the left and well as Greece may begin to bust out of its own set of restraining assumptions about what is considered radical.

      1. financial matters

        I think these are some interesting ideas and would be interested to see them more fully fleshed out. I think Argentina presents another cautionary example as the inability to establish a ‘money of account’ to measure value led them to an array of currencies, local IOUs, vouchers and other informal monetary arrangements.

        This seemed to produce this result:

        ‘Money generated by Argentine capitalism has customarily sought to become dollars and to find itself safely deposited in New York and London.’ (Ingham)

        It seems to be important to establish a reliable ‘money of account’ in a domestic space for the currency to have value that can be trusted by all segments of the population. If this is established it can help contain capital flows and make them more self sufficient and help keep them off the dangerous foreign dole.

        As MMT points out this value comes from being able to reliably tax the population. It’s how the state convinces the private players that the money has value and can stay at home.

        As you point out capitalism isn’t the only game in town and there can be new power structures. I like the sort of state/private collaborations suggested by Mazzucato.

        1. Oregoncharles

          That theory seems at odds with US experience; that is, we have an extremely well-established “money of account” but nonetheless have very large amounts of it either fleeing the country or escaping taxation.

          I don’t pretend to understand the theory, so I can’t propose an explanation, other than the universal tendency to decadence. (About which I disagree with Lambert: I think all systems have a built-in decay rate.)

          1. financial matters

            True, and I think that’s a problem. Money of accounts don’t last forever especially if they lose the social trust. We are seeing very troubling trends of inequality and financialization without working on underlying fundamentals of using money for its social purpose.

            We could be investing in and spending on a number of useful items to replenish this social trust as well as taxing more fairly and collecting taxes owed.

            Bill Mitchell has an interesting post today on how hard it is to counter certain beliefs such as we should ‘tighten our belts’ and ‘live within our means’ which definitely can be good but not when as a government there are useful and important (climate change, employment) things to invest in.

            “In the progressive alternative, the same actions force movement towards our desired destinations and without the force the current state does not change and the goals are thus not achieved.

            We want government to act on our behalf to move us from State A (less desirable) to State B (closer to our purpose). It is important to note that the economy has no goals. They are our goals and we use, manage, and control the economy to achieve our goals.

            Progressives would thus frame the concept of fiscal space in terms of the idle real resources that can be brought into productive use via higher government spending and/or lower taxation.”


          2. financial matters

            True, and I think that’s a problem. Money of accounts don’t last forever especially if they lose the social trust. We are seeing very troubling trends of inequality and financialization without working on underlying fundamentals of using money for its social purpose.

            We could be investing in and spending on a number of useful items to replenish this social trust as well as taxing more fairly and collecting taxes owed.

            There is an interesting post today on how hard it is to counter certain beliefs such as we should ‘tighten our belts’ and ‘live within our means’ which definitely can be good but not when as a government there are useful and important (climate change, employment) things to invest in.

            “In the progressive alternative, the same actions force movement towards our desired destinations and without the force the current state does not change and the goals are thus not achieved.

            We want government to act on our behalf to move us from State A (less desirable) to State B (closer to our purpose). It is important to note that the economy has no goals. They are our goals and we use, manage, and control the economy to achieve our goals.

            Progressives would thus frame the concept of fiscal space in terms of the idle real resources that can be brought into productive use via higher government spending and/or lower taxation.”


  4. norm de plume

    Oh great.

    Another bad dream comes true. After full spectrum privacy destruction and robot killing machines comes sci-fi vampire nightmares. What with galloping Gini spreads and the increasing lawlessness of the 1%, this is the sort of ‘progress’ that gives a fellow the willies.

    ‘One enormous obstacle for hopes of plasma therapy is the limited supply. In a rough extrapolation from the mouse studies, Nikolich estimates that the globe’s entire plasma supply would be sufficient for only half a million of the world’s 15 million Alzheimer’s patients. “That means big questions about who gets treatment and who does not,” he said.’

    When the answers are so obvious, who needs questions?

  5. hemeantwell

    Re Reich’s coverage of developing class warfare: the guy has a penchant for conjoining economic and political crimes with the word “seems.” Have his lawyers warned him that a note of uncertainty protects him from liability in case of fraggings and rocket attacks? Or is he just a rigorous Kantian, acknowledging that we cannot directly apprehend noumena, especially when they have to do with power and exploitation?

    – “The game seems rigged – riddled with abuses of power, crony capitalism, and corporate welfare.”

    – “Yet in the last three decades – when almost all the nation’s economic gains have gone to the top while the wages of most people have gone nowhere – the ruling class has seemed to pad its own pockets at the expense of the rest of America.”

    1. Oregoncharles

      He’s an equivocator and an irredeemable Democrat.

      Still, he has a good point about the parallelism of Bernie and Donald as political phenomena. He’s hardly the only one.

  6. vidimi

    on dear old blighty, frankie boyle is at it again with another epic takedown:

    Cameron used the phrase “promiscuous swarm of foreign peoples”. Oops, my mistake, that was Hitler – but you get the general idea. Cameron’s use of the word “swarm” was carefully thought out; he avoided the word “plague” in case it implied God had sent them.
    We invade their countries and justify it by saying that our way of life is better, then boggle at the idea they might think living here is great. We pay no attention to how our actions in other countries have precipitated this situation. There has to be something wrong with a world where the best employment option for a farmer in sub-Saharan Africa isn’t being a farmer in sub-Saharan Africa, but crossing the Mediterranean on a punctured lilo, only to spend days dangling under a lorry so that he can end up selling lollipops in a nightclub toilet.
    Of course, the true existential threat to us might come from ourselves. If we can look at another human being and categorise them as “illegal”, or that chilling American word “alien”, then what has become of our own humanity? To support policies that dehumanise others is to dehumanise yourself. I think most people resist that, but are pressed towards it by an increasingly sadistic elite. If you’re worried about threats to your way of life, look to the people who are selling your public services out from under you. The people who will destroy this society are already here: printing their own money, printing their own newspapers, and responding to undesirables at the gates by releasing the hounds.

  7. Steven D.

    The DKos diary entry highlights an ongoing fight by the right against science to which they object either on ideological or financial grounds. Congress currently is considering legislation that would curb what it calls secret science, similarly to the allegations by Schlafly against Lenski, the molecular biologist. The bill is aimed at the science behind environmental regulations, like air quality standards.

    1. Vatch

      There are millions of so-called conservative Americans who deny the reality of evolution and anthropogenic climate change. i have neighbors and acquaintances like this, and they vote for politicians who support the equivalent of fundamentalist Christian Sharia law. Behind the scenes, billionaires and hecto-millionaires are using this atavistic movement to increase their wealth. As you point out, threats to air quality standards are a prime example of this.

      1. H. Wit

        “… who support the equivalent of fundamentalist Christian Sharia law. “

        If only! Then they might support anti-usury laws, debt-forgiveness and inalienable RIGHTS for the poor. Not to mention justice, kindness, mercy, minding one’s own business wrt to non-believers and quite a few other qualities that few here would disagree with.

        The problem isn’t that many so-called Christians believe Scripture but that they largely DON’T, not when it contradicts their politics.

        1. Vatch

          I would love to see evidence that theocrats anywhere are interested in “justice, kindness, mercy, minding one’s own business wrt to non-believers”. It may be written in some of the holy books, but when has it ever been practiced?

          1. fresno dan

            What is so amazing to me is that an all knowing and all powerful God needs so much help from puny (and the punier they are, the more they want to help) humans…

            1. H. Wit

              “an all knowing … God “ fresno dan

              Except He isn’t all knowing according to Scripture else He would not have chosen Saul as king only to reject him later.

              But enough religion. I shouldn’t have allowed myself to be provoked to begin with but Biblically ignorant so-called Christians is a sore spot with me.

                1. abynormal

                  oGAWDno!…and you are? (a bit familiar…please don’t bait with chum soaked holy h2o)

              1. Jack

                It both says God is all-knowing and implies it isn’t. Depends on which sections you reference. There’s a reason Gnosticism developed the idea that their were two separate entities in the Bible; one the petty douchebag of the Old Testament and the other the all-powerful Godhead.

          2. hunkerdown

            Just call ’em Pharisees. It’s not like they care for the New Testament anyway, or wouldn’t kill a messiah for sport.

  8. ohmyheck

    I would very much appreciate any advice from NC-er’s regarding which is the best (most lucrative) way to run ads on a website.
    I have a sales website that gets 14,000 page-views a month. I’m not doing much in sales, so would like to compensate with ads.
    Any suggestions? Thanks!

    1. H. Alexander Ivey

      I was thinking of putting in my 2 cents here about how a BOT is not human and therefore can not be murdered (or killed since it is not alive), and Americans should put more effort in supporting their fellow human beings instead of fantasy games about hi tech, but this posting says it better and more concisely.

      I’m going to bed now, it’s past my bedtime.

  9. Tertium Squid


    Yet as enthusiasm for the bombastic billionaire and the socialist senior continues to build within each party, the political establishment is mystified.

    WTF Sanders is four years older than Trump. Does Sanders age somehow make his candidacy even more ka-ray-zee?

    If you need the alliteration how about “Socialist Senator”.

  10. optimader

    Trump says won’t be ‘throwing punches’ in U.S. Republican debate
    Why not.. Too much like trophy hunting with a Bazooka?

    The combative real estate mogul will take center stage at Thursday’s debate among the 10 top-polling candidates as he leads the 17 Republicans competing to represent their party in the November 2016 election.

    It will be interesting to see if he is center stage. He should be if he is leading the polls.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      I try not to pay attention to these people, but within the famed McCain criticism was a point about the bipartisan political establishment’s treatment of Veterans. Could throwing missiles or launching a bazooka be closer to discussing issues of the day instead of the more banal lunacy of every politician sans Sanders? The appearance of discussing policy is such a radical departure from the usual invoking of “bipartisan” appeals and claims how the other side is destroying the country when they party together that voters will flock to those outlets.

      A calm Trump or less personal Trump who frames himself as an outsider could just run away with the non-loyal debate audience.

      1. optimader

        Could throwing missiles or launching a bazooka be closer to discussing issues of the day instead of the more banal lunacy of every politician sans Sanders?
        Trump merely needs to dial down some toward normalcy and a “debate” with the rest of the jugheads will be an unfair fight. Man with One Eye come to mind.

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          I don’t think Trump has the personal discipline to be prepared the way he needs to be to not burn out. The Graham phone number stunt was off the wall; although, Graham must have been excited at first when all the unknown numbers started coming in. It’s such a bizarre stunt similar to Seinfeld heckling the heckler at his office.

          Graham has been such a troll for so long Trump should have been able to respond with a less odious stunt.

          1. optimader

            Even more excited if no one called?
            LG is an ass, indeed that was a pretty bizarre response by DT.

            Trump’s response is even more revealing by virtue of it being premeditated rather than just extemporaneous. It highlighted his terminal case of vanity considering what target rich baggage LG drags along. It was Trump’s opportunity lost to knock LG down a notch or two out of the gate. Instead the phone # thing degraded the message he was trying make, leaving you with something a little bit creepy instead.

            Knowing when to shutup and letting the audience fill in the blanks is maybe not Trumps strong suit. I wonder if someone he trusts is telling him that ?


      2. Brindle

        The debate/ forum might the perfect time for Trump to throw a change-up. If he appears to be above the fray and courteous to the other dudes (I think they will all be men) he could come out on top by looking “presidential”.

        1. fresno dan

          I say Trump should blow kisses (literally) – the real homophobes will be totally discombobulated, and the homophobe panderers will be flustered.

    2. susan the other

      Ralph Nader aptly describes Trump as teflon because you can’t satirize him because he constantly does self satire. Trump is a vaudeville show, a one man show on the road, to entertain all the jaded voters of America.

  11. Tertium Squid

    “How Normalization is going to work”

    Can someone help me with this:

    Reinvestment is the process of replacing assets on the Fed’s balance sheet as they mature; so, when reinvestment ends, the balance sheet will begin to shrink.

    So they stop re-buying securities, but what do they do with the money. Are there liabilities they will extinguish or do they give it to the Treasury or something?

  12. Vatch

    One Way to Fight California’s Drought: Desalt the Ocean Wired. Aiee. I have not looked at desalination lately, but last time I did, it has meaningful energy costs. …

    No kidding! Yet another one of the many reasons why we need to reduce the world’s population if we are to have any hope for a sustainable future. Depending on Rube Goldberg desalination schemes to solve fresh water shortages is like using epicycles to make Ptolemy’s astrophysics almost work. Population reduction is the Copernican fix for so many of our environmental problems.


      we need to reduce the world’s population

      You first, when to you plan on going?

      Climate Change will achieve the result you desire. Mother Nature is not always benign, and some systems are self correcting.

      1. Vatch

        You first, when to you plan on going?

        Why would you say such a thing? You do understand that overpopulation is caused by too many births, don’t you?

      2. hunkerdown

        If we can correct them less painfully and nastily, I would consider that a benefit.

        Why do you believe you or anyone else is entitled to breed?

      3. optimader

        The one take away from zerohhedge for me is “On a long enough timeline, the survival rate for everyone drops to zero”
        Global population can resolve itself with subtle human behavior change over time I think is Vatch’s less dramatic proposal as contrasted by your rather dramatic inference..

  13. OIFVet

    It’s Barry’s b-day today! I wonder if Jamie Dimon sang him a song in a sexy voice, or just pledged a few million for the liebarry.

    1. Jim Haygood

      Doubtless our heroes in Syria’s “moderate rebel” Division 30 are firing machine-gun rounds into the air to celebrate Obama’s birthday, which is expected to become a national holiday after Syria’s liberation (much as George Bush Day is celebrated in Kuwait).

      They love us for our close air support!

  14. Jim Haygood

    From the NYT:

    WASHINGTON — The Obama administration’s top intelligence, counterterrorism and law enforcement officials are divided over which terrorist group poses the biggest threat to the American homeland, the Islamic State or Al Qaeda and its affiliates.

    The split reflects a rising concern that the Islamic State poses a more immediate danger because of its unprecedented social media campaign.

    Isis or Qaeda? Coke or Pepsi? D party or R party?

    All of these have become well-established consumer brands, with a sophisticated media presence. But the biggest threats are the cola companies, stoking the US diabetes epidemic, and a political duopoly bent on eradicating the middle class. The other guys are just security theater with a violent streak.

    1. fresno dan

      Well, as both groups have hundreds of mirved and marved thermonuclear warheads on intercontinental ballistic missiles, deliverable from mobile land based launch systems, long range bombers, and invulnerable deep sea launch platforms aka submarines, I would say both groups pose an existential threat to us
      Wha!!!??!?!? Both groups don’t have lots of nuclear bombs?

      In fact the number of Americans killed by social media exhortations is less than the number killed by a typical American mass shooter at an elementary school???
      Well, of course we should obsess over them…. we need military spending

  15. Mark

    Desalination the “Proper” way:

    The twin challenges of desalination using RO are the energy cost and concentrate disposal. there is a very nice solar solution for both issues. You will note that the Carlsbad plant has an adjacent Natural gas electricity generating station, if that was replaced with a solar array then the carbon penalty associated with RO and the energy cost would be significantly reduced. The concentrate should not be pumped back into the sea, instead evaporation basins would allow the concentrate to form salts that could be harvested for industrial use. both evaporation basins and solar arrays use sun light. the big challenge then becomes the acreage of land required for the plant. Unfortunately the need for desal water tends to be driven by population centers where acres are expensive. so you end up building the plant a long way from the population center and spending a lot of money on pipeline and pumping costs.

    In this instance the Naval base at Pemberton would work if you could persuade the Seals to train someplace else. Or an off shore wind farm rather than a solar collector. How badly do you want that water?

    1. ewmayer

      There’s an even better solar solution, which is to use precious rain and groundwater less wastefully.

  16. docg

    Re: Tiny Drones . . .

    The real news here is not the visualization system, but the development of these very small drones in the first place. Don’t know how many here have ever seen the movie “Toys,” featuring Robin Williams. It never became a huge hit, though imo it’s a very beautiful, and beautifully acted, film. Also a very disturbing film, as it featured a cavern hidden away in the guts of a toy factory, in which children were playing video games that, unbeknownst to them, were controlling “toys” in the form of what we now call drones, some big, some small — some as small as tiny insects. And some of these devices were lethal, as in for example, “insects” that could inject someone with a poison dart!

    I realized at the time that I was glimpsing the future of modern warfare, and wondered whether the producers of this film had connections with the military, and were perhaps trying to warn the world of the existence of certain very disturbing possibilities. I’ve thought a lot about those possibilities ever since.

    This was years before we became aware of military drones, which are now of course all over the place. And now it looks as though the “insect” type drones will soon become reality as well. Quite a prophetic film, what?

    The up-side of this development is the possibility of using such devices to assassinate a known villain without the risk of harming innocent people who might happen to be in his (or her) vicinity when the remote trigger is pressed. Since “collateral damage” is such a huge problem with drone warfare, lethal “insect drones” could be the solution. And, of course, they would make marvelous surveillance devices as well. Onward and upward with technology.

  17. Goyo Marquez

    “Then what with the salt? Ship to Ghana like e waste??”
    Uhhhh put it back in the ocean?

    If sea level rise really is an issue then desalinization solves a problem, no? Plus by greening the worlds deserts you take a lot of carbon out of the atmosphere, no?

    When progressives/leftists/liberals oppose obvious solutions to environmental problems they come across as religious fundamentalists insisting that humankind must be punished for their sins, only in this case the sins are against the environment.

    1. hunkerdown

      Oh for bloody sakes. Anyone without an understanding of orders of magnitude should just not be talking in public, let alone about science.

      1. abynormal

        if it wasn’t for NC colors i wouldn’t know where i was today…pondering if im not back in my ole Brooks movie :/

        Dr. Frederick Frankenstein: Aby Normal?
        Igor: I’m almost sure that was the name.
        Dr. Frederick Frankenstein: Are you saying that I put an abnormal brain into a seven and a half foot long, fifty-four inch wide GORILLA?

  18. JTMcPhee

    “Greece” is a geographic descriptor and the name of a political economy and its heritage. There’s a lot of people there, in various categories, from ordinary mopes to oligarchs. I have been trying to figure out what Syriza’s people are doing to try to build a better-functioning structure, maybe one that aims at all those silly virtues of honor, fairness, actual rule of law under a law that’s not just an extension of the corruption. And what the Syrizans are doing to rein in all those many elements of corruption that resulted in the present circumstances, including failure to provide for the basics of life for the present and the future. Not that this is a problem unique to the unfortunate Greeks.

    One wonders if the following is a correct or maybe now just outdated statement of the position, vis-à-vis Syrizan role and mandate in that political economy:

    Left-right distinctions fail to get to the heart of the Syriza phenomenon. Like so many, Zoe Williams misunderstands the rise of Syriza in Greece and, as a consequence, its significance in the context of British politics (Syriza stood up to the money men – the UK left must do the same, 26 January). Syriza is in reality the anti-corruption party – a response to an endemic problem in Greek society, brought to a head by the financial crisis – that of the oligarchs, a small group of families in whose interests Greek society and economy is run, and whose network of patronage and vested interests has effectively stifled any productive development in the country. A matter made worse by austerity.

    The more meaningful comparison is with the liberal political economists of the late 18th century onwards – Adam Smith and David Ricardo, for example – who stood against aristocratic Old Corruption and for “business”, rather than lining Syriza up with the radical left. We need to look for the prime sites of corruption in contemporary Britain. One would be the way in which policymakers have allowed the London property market to be turned into an asset class in the interests of home-grown and foreign plutocrats seeking a safe-haven for their virtually boundless wealth. And another would be the way that much of that wealth has been generated through the operation of the remuneration committees, where effectively one group of executives determine the pay of another, with the roles reversed in due course.
    Dr William Dixon and Dr David Wilson
    London Metropolitan University

    Lots of hopeful punditry on the subject, like this: “Why Syriza might be up to the task of tackling corruption in Greece,”

    More realistic commentary, like this: “Slavoj Zizek: How Alexis Tsipras and Syriza Outmaneuvered Angela Merkel and the Eurocrats: The rebels in Greece are waging a patient guerrilla war against financial occupation,”

    But not a lot of reporting on what the Syrizans, with Tsipras as their titular chief, are doing to try to change the dynamics and power relationships in yet another place where the oligarchs rule and suck the blood out of the mopes. Rather than joining in the looting, or just marking time…

  19. fresno dan

    Is Pat Buchanan the most liberal man in the GOP????
    Is Pat Buchanan the most grounded in reality man in the GOP????

    Republicans seem to be unable to grasp the changes that have taken place in this century. With the Arab Spring, the fall of half a dozen regimes, the rise of al-Qaida and ISIS, civil wars in Libya, Syria, Yemen and Iraq, we have a new Middle East.

    Our principal enemies are now al-Qaida and ISIS. And while both have been aided by our old allies, Turkey, Qatar, and Saudi Arabia, both are being resisted by Iran.

    But, we are reminded, Iran’s regime is founded upon ideological hatred of America. But, so, too, were Mao’s China and Stalin’s USSR. Yet Nixon forged a detente with Mao and FDR partnered with Stalin. And Ronald Reagan negotiated a strategic arms deal with the “evil empire” of his time.

    Bibi Netanyahu and AIPAC, the Saudis and Gulf Arabs, will demand that Congress kill the Iran deal that Lindsey Graham says is a “death sentence for the State of Israel.” But one trusts that, this time, the GOP will add a dose of salt to what the hysterics are bellowing.

    After all, it was Bibi’s rants — Iran is hellbent on getting a bomb, is only months away, and military action is needed now to smash the whirling centrifuges — that teed up the talks for Tehran.

    All Iran had to do was prove it had no bomb program, which was not difficult, as U.S. intelligence had repeatedly said Iran had no bomb program.

    Then the Iranians proved it. They agreed to cut their centrifuges by two-thirds, to eliminate 98 percent of their uranium, to halt production of 20 percent uranium at Fordow, to convert the heavy-water reactor at Arak that produces plutonium to a light water reactor that produces one kilogram a year, and to let cameras in and give U.N. inspectors the run of their nuclear facilities.

    And how is Israel, with hundreds of atom bombs, mortally imperiled by a deal that leaves Iran with not a single ounce of bomb-grade uranium?

    I sure miss the isolationist republicans….

    1. optimader

      PB often time seems to read much more nuanced and reasonable ( IMO) than his MSM/TV schtick.. although I haven’t seen him in a few years, maybe he is becoming more reflective with age?

      Isolationism isn’t all bad in a Benjamin Franklin kinda way. MYOB and allow your good example to influence others would not be a bad policy tack fro this country..

  20. kevinearick

    Interest Rate Utopia

    Interest rates aren’t the answer because they are not going to be applied to governments. Puerto Rico is a prototype that cannot possibly yield results for the larger government that is going to bail it out, with more paper, and no change in behavior. That’s objective-based-management and best-business-practice, derivative replication, for you, China printing to prop up California real estate, sending grants to municipalities to buy trucks at 0% interest, on interest on interest, brilliant.

    Warren Buffet is a welfare ‘earner’ giving advice to welfare earners on how to earn welfare, all convinced that they are earning other people’s debt, issued for the purpose. The only way this gets better/worse is if the majority hires Jerry Brown and Ralph Nader to run the country. Congress is just swapping welfare deals paid for with Wall Street money, oil at $89, off-sheet. The fact that the critters are buying to let, in a demographic collapse and density still increasing at the port, tells you were you are in the dc positive feedback loop.

    The Internet is just a temporary stepping stone, where you can see just how stupid the system is, derivatives Facebook and Twitter arguing about rights, which they both stole from others, neither of which is the solution. Netflix and Amazon, like Wal-Mart before them, are about the territory, not the product, controlling the tile game gate, forcing the cattle through the chute and taxing them in every iteration, with falling living standards in the form of real estate inflation, which they were granted by government for free.

    Funny, just walked by a typical scene in town these days, an old man on SS working as slow as possible on a piece of property, for $10 cash, being watched/supervised by a middle aged man, with his little girl watching his example. If you can temporarily ‘work’ at $10 for a landlord, who is going to ‘earn’ increased rent in accounting perpetuity thereafter, which you must pay to keep a roof over your head, until you can’t, which party do you want to be?

    If your answer is neither, you probably worked at some point in your life. Only you can tax communism out, by discounting its paper in your decisions. Somebody is heavily discounting government, or it would have an exit. What matters is discretionary income and how it is being directed, but there is no real discretionary income in the empire, because credit and debt, all it has, is tied to behavior compliance. If you don’t buy the crap the empire tells you to buy, you lose your credit and the associated job, so what is it worth?

  21. Oregoncharles

    My comment (from Salon). I guess I agree with resilc: Reich is essentially an equivocator who never got over his taste of government:

    “Yet despite the growing revolt against the ruling class, it seems likely that the nominees in 2016 will be Jeb Bush and Hillary Clinton. After all, the ruling class still controls America.”

    And Robert Reich is part of it, despite the considerable virtues of this article. He’s part of it because he refuses to go into WHY Jeb and Hillary are likely to be noninated, and WHY that’s a problem. He isn’t willing to say that the legacy parties, the duopoly, are a crucial part of the ruling class’s grip on us, or that we can’t break their gerip without also breaking the duopoly. A long time Democrat and former Clinton cabinet member, he seems unable to come to terms with that reality.

    And that, of course, is why Bernie and the Donald are ultimately irrelevant: because they’ve put themselves in the same duopoly trap. That makes it absurdly easy for the ruling class to keep them off the ballots that count – not that it’s easy running “3rd” party or independent. The game is rigged, and both legacy parties are equally guilty.

    Truth is, we’re a good way there. Voters who are “independent” of the duopoly are now over 40%, and increasing. Democrats and Republicans are just over and just under 30%, respectively. Independents are the plurality, and at the present rate they’ll soon be the majority. What remains is for people to start VOTING that way. Then we’ll find out whether this country really is still a democracy or a dictatorship. Until then, complacency and blind habit still hold, despite the numbers cheering for the outliers.

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