Links 8/6/15

Why the long face? Horses and humans share facial expressions PhysOrg

Pandas set their own pace, tracking reveals ScienceDaily (Chuck L)

California bans trapping of bobcats amid protests over cruelty Los Angeles Times (furzy mouse)

From a million miles away, NASA camera shows moon crossing face of Earth ScienceDaily (Chuck L)

Hiroshima remembers atomic bomb: ‘We must abolish the evil of these weapons’ Guardian

The internet of food: why your steak might have come from a connected cow Guardian

HitchBOT Was A Literal Pile Of Trash And Got What It Deserved The Concourse

Aircraft wreckage confirmed as MH370 Financial Times

MH370 mystery resolution ‘closer’ BBC. Notice difference in degree of certainty.

Hackers expose cars’ online vulnerability Financial Times

China’s Cities Keep Mum in Deep Fog of Debt WSJ China Real Time

How China Is Winning Southeast Asia Project Syndicate

Bad debts in Thailand spread from retail to small companies Economic Times

Breaking a Taboo: Plans for Euro-Zone Tax Take Shape Der Spiegel. From a few days ago, and still important.

New world of work: political cost of Spain’s recovery Financial Times. The precariat comes to Spain.


Greece needs €100bn debt relief as permanent depression looms Telegraph

Tsipras sees talks in final stretch; Juncker hopeful of deal in August ekathimerini

Doubts about third Greek deal by Aug 20th – Bild FXStreet. We’ve been skeptical as to whether it is possible to get a third bailout done by the 20th, when an ECB payment is due, but there’s been way less drama than in past negotiations.


Obama Presses Case on Iran Nuclear Deal Wall Street Journal

Rejecting The Iran Deal Means War: ‘Those Are The Dictates Of Cold Hard Logic’ Huffington Post

Israeli Military Brass Support Iran Deal George Washington

Syria conflict: US fighter plan criticised by key rebel BBC

The U.S. picked the wrong ally in the fight against Islamic State Reuters (resilc)


Mistral warships: Russia and France agree compensation deal BBC

Imperial Collapse Watch

A powerful article by the War Nerd about our odd leaders & lost wars. Today only! Fabius Maximus (furzy mouse). We linked to the Pando pieces yesterday, but be sure you don’t miss them.

Trade Traitors

The TPP Copyright Chapter Leaks: Canada May Face Website Blocking, New Criminal Provisions & Term Extension Michael Geist

Conservatives were sure Trans-Pacific Partnership deal would be signed Globe and Mail (JSC). More on failed TPP sausage-making.

The GOP Debate Drinking Game: Special Trump Edition Alternet

Donald Trump Is a Serious Candidate New Republic

Why is wrong about Bernie Sanders Mark Ames, Pando

Charles Koch’s focus on ‘injustices’ is fueled by an unlikely partnership Washington Post

Elizabeth Warren to Republicans Did You Fall Down Hit Your Head and Wake Up In 1950′s YouTube. In case you missed it, this is a great speech.

Federal court blocks Texas voter ID law MSNBC

University of Cincinnati creates safety post after fatal shooting Reuters. EM: “We don’t need another layer of bureaucracy, we need to take away guns from campus cops.”

US media hit by ‘cord-cutting’ fears Financial Times

Special Report: Multitude of local authorities soak Illinois homeowners in taxes Reuters (EM)

Oklahoma Cracks Down on Disposal Wells To Reduce Earthquakes OilPrice

Denver man charged with seven felonies for handing out ‘jury nullification’ fliers outside courthouse Raw Story (Chuck L)

Northern California wildfire grows further after jumping highway Reuters (EM)

JPMorgan Ranks No. 1 as Bank Most Crucial to Financial Stability Bloomberg. Resilc: “Brilliant, do the crime and never do the time. too essential for USA USA.”

Systemic risk, crises, and macroprudential regulation VoxEU

Puerto Rico

Puerto Rico Crisis Goes From Bad to Worse Mother Jones (Sid S)

Puerto Rico Has Another Debt Worry on Horizon New York Times

Where Did the GDP “Growth” Go? Not into Wages Charles Hugh Smith

My township calls my lawn ‘a nuisance.’ But I still refuse to mow it. Washington Post (EM). Subhead: “Manicured lawns are ruining the planet.”

Antidote du jour. ‏@anishandheria: “A warm moment between 2 siblings & their mother. 523 Asiatic lions survive on earth- all found in Gujarat.”

asiatic lion links

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. abynormal

    about those earthquakes…NMSZ is due: “risk to nearly 150 million Americans”:
    i’ve wonder if fracking will exasperate the fault…not a lot of 411 on the subject.

    those who were around last time said the Mississippi river flowed backwards, then changed course…it rang church bells as far away as Boston

    1. abynormal

      sorry, can’t afford Oil Price site…from SourceWatch: In March 2015 it was reported that Oklahoma geologists were pressured by oil industry not to push on with their assessments of possible links between earthquakes in the state fracking.[14]

      In June 2015 the Oklahoma Supreme Court ruled that citizens had the right to sue the oil and gas companies responsible for the wells that caused earthquakes, which in turn caused personal injuries or property damage.[15] (Motive Operandi )

      1. Synapsid


        Can’t you just google It’s a useful site; maybe you need to register (I don’t remember) but there’s no need to pay anything.

    2. craazyman

      that plus the asteroid hit would make for a very bad day.

      Or two days, if it’s one after the other.

      But even then, even then, the market would probably go up and gold would go down. That’s just reality. You can’t analyze it.

      1. craazyboy

        Obviously the Fed would cut interest rates from 1/4 down to zero if an asteroid hit. They’d have to!

        But that wouldn’t move gold much, of course.

      2. optimader

        Any solid five plan/financial statement blahblahblah should have the boilerplate caveat further asterisked with the asteroid/volcano disclaimer

        Past performance is no indication of future results*

        *the asteroid strike (supervolcano eruption) is way overdue

        Puts the implied precision of any guesses into proper perspective.

  2. mark

    “Oklahoma Cracks Down on Disposal Wells To Reduce Earthquakes OilPrice”

    This is an interesting article.

    So the cheap and relatively simple way of getting rid of the contaminated tracking water is eliminated.

    What are the alternatives?

    1. abynormal

      stop drilling period
      alternative unnecessary…huge glut in process

      “If Moody’s recent estimate for the American oil & gas sector pans out, it would translate into a range of 120,000 to 180,000 job cuts this year, in an industry that at the beginning of the year had barely over 500,000 jobs. At the upper end of the range, it would represent the elimination of 36% of the oil & gas jobs in the United States.”
      Eirik Magnus Larssen @ zh

      1. craazyboy

        I think the laid off workers can be re-trained and relocated to drill for water in the San Andreas fault?

          1. craazyboy

            Well, operating on the presumption that workers must be employed doing something, somewhere, that is both hugely destructive AND profitable, working for Nestle and drilling for water in the San Andreas fault can be a good fit eventually.

            As CA residents slowly realize they can take out home equity loans to pay the water bill, sales revenue, driven by price gains, should increase nicely. This means worker productivity is much improved. (sales dollars per worker) We know, or at least economists tell us, that if high productivity persists long enough, eventually it may result in rising worker wages! So it should all come together eventually – something like The Big Government Plan.

  3. New Deal democrat

    Charles Hugh Smith asks: “How can the economy grow by roughly one-third in real dollars while real median household income drops like a rock?”

    The answer is pretty simple: because “households” include those headed by retirees, of which there are a burgeoning number, and households headed by retirees have median income roughly half of that of those of working age households.

    Here’s Doug Short with median household income broken down by age brackets:

    As of 2013, the median household income for households aged 65 and over was $35,000, while the median for age groups 25-64 was about $60,000. As more and more households are headed by retirees, median household income will likely continue to fall.

    Two other problems with Smith’s piece:

    – as mentioned above, the latest figures for median household income are from 2 years ago. They will be updated through 2014 next month. Since I believe the Census Bureau averages the 12 months of the year, with the 12 months of the previous year, even that won’t bring us up to date — it won’t reflect the improvement due to the collapse of gas prices.

    – That wages haven’t nearly kept pace with GDP growth, really over the last 40 years, is well known. Smith, however, makes use of “usual weekly wages,” which is the one measure which hasn’t made a 30+ year high in the last year. Real average hourly earnings, employment compensation, and nonfarm business sector compensation all did. The more interesting question is why this particular measure has lagged. I suspect it has to do with the continued elevation in the number of part time jobs, but that is another subject.

    None of which is to tout real wage growth. Nominal wage growth is pitiful. Real wages have only grown because (courtesy of gas prices) inflation is non-existent.

    1. craazyboy

      Well no. It’s true we are incessantly told inflation is “non-existent”. But it’s good to look at even an official FRED chart once and a while, just as an insanity check to see if your mind has been playing tricks on you and prices are going up anyway.

      Here the CPI has risen about 35% since 2000. Not my definition of non-existent. Then contrast that with the good ol’ days of the 50s & 60s on the same chart. Almost makes you think back then they should all be screaming “deflation will be the end of us!”. But then this econ news was apparently re-written out of American history.

      And that is our CPI index. Ya ‘know, where 40% of it is “imputed rents” – where a data jockey pulls a number outta his behind and says that’s what you’d rent your house to yourself for!? (wtf – why would you do that??) And our two highest inflation industries, education and healthcare, have been compounding around 8%/year like clockwork for at least 30 years now. These consumer budget items are very much underweighted in the index.

      For completeness, you could overlay “real”, or even nominal wage growth on top of the CPI chart. But I’m retired, so I’ll let someone else worry about that. Anyway, it’s time to stop repeating the lies we are told on a daily basis.

    2. craazyboy

      Well no. It’s true we are incessantly told inflation is “non-existent”. But it’s good to look at even an official FRED chart once and a while, just as an insanity check to see if your mind has been playing tricks on you and prices are going up anyway.

      You can put your own https: in front of this FRED link – I’m experimenting to see if I can get this comment past The Devoureror this way


      Here the CPI has risen about 35% since 2000. Not my definition of non-existent. Then contrast that with the good ol’ days of the 50s & 60s on the same chart. Almost makes you think back then they should all be screaming “deflation will be the end of us!”. But then this econ news was apparently re-written out of American history.

      And that is our CPI index. Ya’ know, where 40% of it is “imputed rents” – where a data jockey pulls a number outta his behind and says that’s what you’d rent your house to yourself for!? (wtf – why would you do that??) And our two highest inflation industries, education and healthcare, have been compounding around 8%/year like clockwork for at least 30 years now. These consumer budget items are very much underweighted in the index.

      For completeness, you could overlay “real”, or even nominal wage growth on top of the CPI chart. But I’m retired, so I’ll let someone else worry about that. Anyway, it’s time to stop repeating the lies we are told on a daily basis.

      1. craazyboy

        Well no. It’s true we are incessantly told inflation is “non-existent”. But it’s good to look at even an official FRED chart once and a while, just as an insanity check to see if your mind has been playing tricks on you and prices are going up anyway.

        You’ll have to do your own search on the FRED data series CPIAUCSL because apparently FRED links make us go into moderation nowadays.

        Here the CPI has risen about 35% since 2000. Not my definition of non-existent. Then contrast that with the good ol’ days of the 50s & 60s on the same chart. Almost makes you think back then they should all be screaming “deflation will be the end of us!”. But then this econ news was apparently re-written out of American history.

        And that is our CPI index. Ya’ know, where 40% of it is “imputed rents” – where a data jockey pulls a number outta his behind and says that’s what you’d rent your house to yourself for!? (wtf – why would you do that??) And our two highest inflation industries, education and healthcare, have been compounding around 8%/year like clockwork for at least 30 years now. These consumer budget items are very much underweighted in the index.

        For completeness, you could overlay “real”, or even nominal wage growth on top of the CPI chart. But I’m retired, so I’ll let someone else worry about that. Anyway, it’s time to stop repeating the lies we are told on a daily basis.

        1. Jim Haygood

          ‘you’d rent your house to yourself for!? (wtf – why would you do that??)’

          A lawyer told me that if you rent your house from your own LLC, you can write off maintenance expenses (not deductible under personal ownership).

          Sounds like audit bait to me. But he claims nearly everybody who owns their home via an LLC rents from themselves. Kill the landlords! ;-)

          [reply to craazyboy’s post above]

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            How about supporting your inner-child, and claiming child-support/dependent deduction?

          2. Ed S.


            Quick thought — write off against what? Except in very limited circumstances, property rental is a passive activity by definition and generally you can only write off passive losses against passive income. The loss from the LLC would flow through, but would (as I remember) retain its character (IOW — it’s still a passive loss). And since the company owns it, you wouldn’t be eligible for the 250K/500K personal capital gains exclusion.

            People try to be too clever by half (without ever considering the possibility of audit resulting in additional taxes, penalties, and interest).

            And if you’re interested, look at Code Section 469.

          3. vidimi

            this sounds correct, but to clarify, you can write off maintenance expenses through your LLC, not through your physical person. if maintaining real estate is germane to your LLC’s function then maintenance expenses are legit business expenses.

    3. craazyboy

      Well no. It’s true we are incessantly told inflation is “non-existent”. But it’s good to look at even an official FRED chart once and a while, just as an insanity check to see if your mind has been playing tricks on you and prices are going up anyway.

      The FRED series is CPIAUCSL – you’ll have to google it yourself. Apparently the moderation software doesn’t let us post FRED links anymore.

      Here the CPI has risen about 35% since 2000. Not my definition of non-existent. Then contrast that with the good ol’ days of the 50s & 60s on the same chart. Almost makes you think back then they should all be screaming “deflation will be the end of us!”. But then this econ news was apparently re-written out of American history.

      And that is our CPI index. Ya ‘know, where 40% of it is “imputed rents” – where a data jockey pulls a number outta his behind and says that’s what you’d rent your house to yourself for!? (wtf – why would you do that??) And our two highest inflation industries, education and healthcare, have been compounding around 8%/year like clockwork for at least 30 years now. These consumer budget items are very much underweighted in the index.

      For completeness, you could overlay “real”, or even nominal wage growth on top of the CPI chart. But I’m retired, so I’ll let someone else worry about that. Anyway, it’s time to stop repeating the lies we are told on a daily basis.

      1. New Deal democrat

        Sorry that is incorrect. Go divide average hourly income for no supervisory workers AHETPI, or the employment cost index, ECIWAG, by CPIAUCSL, and you will see both are up since 2000. In the case of average hourly wages, it is the highest since 1979. Here is the graph, just click on the link:

        If you compare CPI for housing, and CPI for everything else, you will see that ex-housing, this year we are running at about 1% deflation.

        By the way, another problem with Smith’s post is that he is comparing an aggregate, GDP, with a factor, households. So he needs to account for the fact that the number of households has grown by over 20% since 2000. Otherwise he is comparing apples and oranges.

        1. craazyboy

          I was just focusing on the non-existent inflation meme that’s been around for many years now. So I’m not that relieved that we went up 35% since 2000, but only experienced .2% of it in the last year. Plus it’s the “headline” CPI, so we’ve had the generosity of Arabs and oil pricing to contribute to the recent “inflation” weakness.

          If it were the other way around, and oil spiked to $200, the Fed would be making daily statements that the “high” inflation numbers are due to high oil prices – a temporary and “volatile” phenomena – and the Fed can’t do anything about it. So just be patient – it will pass. The USG used to be fond of telling us at this point that America is The Richest Country In The World, and food and gas costs are such a small part of the American’s budget that it hardly matters at all. But I don’t know if they will continue to try telling us that in the future.

      2. fresno dan

        very nice analysis Crazyboy.

        I would also add my point about “crapdonics” (the rebuttal to the incessant bull of hedonics that every product and service is getting better and better). The intellectual dishonesty that the FED does not even consider how services have declined is extremely troubling.

        I constantly am faced with “telephone trees” that prevent me from discontinuing a service. When I moved, contacting ATT U-verse service took call after call, that once you got through the 20 minute phone tree, the live representative tried to dissuade you from discontinuing service. Explaining that ATT internet service in any form was not available at the new site simply resulted in “dropped” calls (I expect the ATT personnel are incentivized to retain service and are penalized if they partake in service actually being cancelled). Than the whole process, starting with the phone tree, had to being again.

        Getting a new doctor after I moved was an eye opener for me. First, I tried the local AMA affiliate, which referred me not only to doctors who were retiring at the end of the month, but to doctors that had ALREADY retired. Suggestions that I use my insurance company likewise resulted in a list of doctors that were in fact not accepting new patients.

        When I finally found a doctor from an internet site stating it had a list of doctors available, the doctor I was referred to couldn’t see me until October (and being ACCEPTED as a patient was contingent upon filling out the extensive questionnaire I was sent – – which included a document that I WOULD NOT SUE AND SUBMIT TO ARBITRATION in the event of any claims against the doctor.) I note that a lot of the questionnaire had nothing to do with health, but put a very bad taste in my mouth.

        I don’t know about you, but if I meet somebody and the very first thing they want me to do is commit to not suing them, it makes me wonder why so many people apparently are trying to take legal action against them….

        I can remember when getting a new doctor took all of a day or two.

        1. craazyboy

          A buddy of mine in S.Cal actually was fired by his doctor. The doc informed him he was refocusing his practice on “corporate accounts”. My buddy(not on medicare for quite a few years yet) was paying for his own health insurance and also happened to have a net worth close to $2 million. Since then, he signed up for O care but has the same problems getting to actually see a doc.

    4. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      That’s a good point about breaking down by age group.

      It would then be informative to look at the percentage change over the same period of those 65 and older vs. the GDP. Did it go up or down, by how much to get to $35,000/yr in 2013, when the GDP grew over the same time by 1/3?

      Similarly, did it go up or down, and by how much, to get $65,000/yr for those in 25-64 age group when, again, the GDP went up by a third?

      As for looking at ‘weekly wages,’ if we are facing the continued elevation of part time jobs, I think it’s the one measure to focus on. That’s how much a worker takes home. His hours might have been reduced, even if the hourly rate is up. And there are more workers in the store/plant, with even fewer hours (his hours previously) than his currently.

      1. New Deal democrat

        Well, if it’s ok let me point to something I wrote elsewhere earlier this week:

        Take real median wages,and adjust by the employment-population ratio, and you get a pretty good estimate of real median household income.

        Also, while FRED doesn’t carry it, the BLS website does have the data for part time for economic reasons in age group 25-54. Here are the numbers in millions at their lows, peaks, and latest readings:

        Q1 2000 1.342
        Q1 2010 4.485 (an increase of about 2% of the labor force)
        Q2 2015 2.857 (still about 1% of the labor force above the low)

        If we simply figure that the typical part time worker earns about 1/2 of the typical full time worker, for a back of the envelope estimate, that accounts for about 1% of the decline in median household income at its worst, and about 0.5% of any shortfall in median household income for age group 25-54 now.

        In short, Median household income has been declining in secular terms the prime working age groups since the late 1990s. Some of that is due to unemployment, but most of it is people who have dropped out of the workforce entirely and tell the BLS they are not interested in a job now. A much smaller secondary reason is the part time issue described above. All of that is laid on top of a flat to slightly increasing trend in real wages.

        If Professor Saez’s tax data is apposite, next month the Census Bureau should report a significant increase for 2014 for the prime working age population. Doug Short of Adviser Perspectives will do a thorough write-up then.

    1. abynormal

      this article is from 2013 and still the Bankers are w/o rope burns…

      “Life is a long preparation for something that never happens.”
      W.B. hope he’s wrong Yeats

        1. abynormal

          i only pointed it out due to my Giddy Hope turn Total Disappointment.
          i’ve done it too but caught by yves ..ouch

  4. jgordon

    Jury nullification is one of the few remnants of justice and fairness left to the American system. It’s no wonder that those in power would despise it so much and would go to such great lengths to hide the fact that it even exists.

    1. Romancing the Loan

      Jury nullification was originally and most prolifically used by all-white juries to acquit their obviously guilty peers of monstrous lynchings/beatings/abuse of black people.

      Mind you the statute this guy was charged under is unconstitutionally overbroad, no question, and he’ll probably have his conviction overturned if he gets a decent lawyer. (The “jury info” thing is just obnoxious enough that he probably won’t get the benefit of nullification in his own case, but a competent defense lawyer would try to go for a directed verdict on the basis that the people he’d targeted may have been called for jury duty but hadn’t yet been seated as jurors.) The federal statute requires you to be trying to influence a juror in a particular case, which makes a lot more sense and doesn’t edge into strictly protected political speech.

      1. Jim Haygood

        That’s not a very good example of jury nullification. In the broad sense, nullification means jurors have the right to judge the law as well as the facts of a case.

        For instance, if as a juror I were presented with a federal ‘structuring’ case [like the one pending against ex-House Speaker Denny Hastert], I would refuse to convict regardless of the facts, because structuring is an oppressive, trumped-up non-crime.

        Jurors in the bad old days of acquitting lynchers had no objection to centuries of common law prohibiting assault, battery and murder. They were simply biased, not to mention unrepresentative of the local ethnic mix. These issues have long since been addressed.

        1. James Levy

          These issues have long since been addressed? Really? Black men go into court with exactly the same chances of being set free as whites do? as the rich do? Bias against blacks has been eliminated? Come on, Jim, I know you love this States Rights/Jury Nullification stuff, but at least be honest about the likely results of going back to that regime for many people in many parts of this country. If you want to make an “on balance, me not being black” argument, that these are good ideas, that’s fine–it’s honest. But the notion that the issues that led white juries to let whites off for killing blacks, and automatically found blacks guilty when they were paraded into court in jump suits, have been addressed is prima facia ludicrous.

          1. fresno dan

            I can’t know other motivations, but I assume Mr. Haywood was speaking just to the law (i.e., juries must be fairly and without regard to race constituted) and that civil rights laws have addressed that point (whether it is EFFECTIVE is another point).
            Which brings up the whole question of law – if Ferguson showed anything, it is how ineffective written law is with regard to justice. If prosecutors fail to investigate, indict, and seriously pursue laws against police misconduct….well, what is that? I would call it prosecutor nullification, and I think it is epidemic…
            But the Ferguson investigation showed it just wasn’t the police, but every aspect of the industrial legal complex, and the political system that empowers such conduct.
            But again, prosecutors ignore laws because it is very apparent to them that doing so not only has no negative consequences, but indeed is what the society as a whole desires.

            And one final point – this isn’t just a southern thing – whether it is Garner in NY, or the incidents in Cleveland or Ohio, the police form a political organization that is effectively immunizing them from civilian oversight.

    2. abynormal
      Judges have worried that informing jurors of their power to nullify will lead to jury anarchy, with jurors following their own sympathies. They suggest that informing of the power to nullify will increase the number of hung juries. Some judges also have pointed out that jury nullification has had both positive and negative applications–the negative applications including some notorious cases in which all-white southern juries in the 1950s and 1960s refused to convict white supremacists for killing blacks or civil rights workers despite overwhelming evidence of their guilt. Finally, some judges have argued that informing jurors of their power to nullify places too much weight on their shoulders–that is easier on jurors to simply decide facts, not the complex issues that may be presented in decisions about the morality or appropriateness of laws.

      On the other hand, jury nullification provides an important mechanism for feedback. Jurors sometimes use nullification to send messages to prosecutors about misplaced enforcement priorities or what they see as harassing or abusive prosecutions. Jury nullification prevents our criminal justice system from becoming too rigid–it provides some play in the joints for justice, if jurors use their power wisely. (i’m guessing you think you’ll be locked in a room with 12 wise humans…a stretch today.)

    3. Oregoncharles

      Several commenters point out some horrible examples of jury nullification. I’ll give you a positive one: years ago now, Portland, OR had a law against stripper nudity. I believe it was 3 juries in a row refused to convict in open-and-shut cases. End of statute.

      So it can go either way; the real reason for it is that it’s an intrinsic part of the right to a jury trial. If the judge can dictate to the jury, it isn’t a jury trial, is it? So juries have complete discretion once in that room, as long as they don’t do something like take a bribe or violate procedure. There is nothing the judge can do.

      Needless to say, judges and prosecutors don’t like this limitation on their power, and are forever trying to overcome it. The prosecution described is egregious and is probably just what the guy intended. It’s a very obvious violation of free speech, jury nullification not even an issue.

      In the end, jury nullification is the reason we have juries at all. They’re a counter to the excessive power of the state in trials, a chance for ordinary citizens to overrule a judge. But we can’t expect judges to like it, aside from those (I know one – but he’s a Green) who believe in it.

  5. ChrisFromGeorgia

    Re: ML370

    I saw a headline on Bloomberg that made a lot of sense (can’t find link right now.) Australia should drop out of the search was the gist of it. The reason I agree with the headline is that they’ve invested too much in that southern arc theory to give up on it now, a variation of the old Upton Sinclair line that “a man will refuse to believe something if his salary depends on it.”

    Is the location of the flaperon really “consistent” with last year’s search area? I’ve seen no real meteorological or oceanographic analysis that says it is, other than some speculation that the currents might have carried it that far in some unspecified time frame. I think a more honest statement would be that the location where the piece of the plane was found is consistent with the plane going down somewhere in the Indian ocean, but over a much wider area extending over millions of square miles and much further north than they have acknowledged.

    At any rate, Australia has spent probably millions of dollars looking for a plane that didn’t originate in their airspace, flew under another country’s airline and had few of their citizens on board. For that effort they’ve gotten nothing, and now a lead develops completely independent of their efforts.

    A fresh set of eyes would help. Maybe China can step up since it was a lot of their citizens who perished.

    1. ChrisFromGeorgia

      I know it’s bad form to reply to your own comment, but since the edit time has passed, just wanted to point out this whopper:

      Mr Abbott later told reporters that the find “does seem to indicate the plane did come down more or less where we thought it did”.

      No it does not – if I find a message in a bottle on the beach in Cape Cod in August, dated over a year ago, that may not rule out that it was thrown in the drink in New Orleans back in December, but it doesn’t rule out North Carolina either nor a countless number of other scenarios which probably include the Caribbean and half of the Atlantic/Gulf of Mexico. Someone either doesn’t understand the laws of diffusion and geophysics, or is back-fitting the data to support their thesis.

  6. Andrew Watts

    RE: TPP

    This thinly disguised geopolitical alliance and the Pivot to Asia was destined to fail. China clearly felt it had the political capital with the Malaysian government and other TPP countries to scuttle the agreement. Once again I need to reiterate that geopolitics is a pseudo-science. The basis of the world island theory is that it’s cheaper to ship goods/armies by land rather than by sea. This hypothesis has never been correct and was based upon the presumption that railway technology would eventually make it a possibility.

    So why is this fact important or even relevant? If China was actually worried about the Straits of Malacca being closed to it’s shipping they would’ve been heavily focused these past few years building the Gwadar-Kashgar railway so they’d be able to bypass the Straits entirely. The expense of this railway project is considerably high but necessary as an expensive alternative to the sealanes. Instead China has been investing in the expansion of the port of Gwadar. Someday this site will provide an excellent base for the Chinese Navy which will make the struggle over the Straits irrelevant as this base puts them within striking distance of the Gulf of Oman.

    Strategic chokepoints go both ways ya’ll.

    RE: How China Is Winning Southeast Asia

    As the TPP negotiations demonstrated the countries of Southeast Asia were merely extracting as many concessions as they could from the US. Of course, they’re playing both sides and that’s to be expected considering the circumstances. Few if any of the ASEAN countries will openly side with the US in any Sino-American war.

  7. allan

    “Why is wrong about Bernie Sanders”.

    Maybe needs to start a branch: How smuggled workers power ‘Made in China’

    The growing influx of illegal labor into China is evidence of an economy that has reached an inflection point. Chinese factories have long depended on an abundant supply of cheap domestic labor to power the country’s $2.3 trillion-a-year export sector. But the number of people joining the workforce is declining as China’s society ages and wages are rising.

    Factory owners are struggling to retain their edge. They face a choice. They can move production from the coast where wages are higher, either to inland provinces or across the border to places like Vietnam and Cambodia. Or they can pay the snakeheads and labor brokers to smuggle in foreign workers who cost less, have no protections and can be easily laid off.

    Turns out the `China Dream’ is the same as the neoliberal dream.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      At the same time, according to one of today’s links above, China is winning Southeast Asia….

      It would seem, then, that at least Chinese factory owners are winning something, but probably not Chinese workers.

    2. Brindle

      Looking at the “Founder” page (Ames links) there are 14 people shown—zero African Americans, zero Latinos and just one woman.Looks like a version of the “good ole boys” club.

    3. craazyboy

      The Neoliberal Dream

      “If we ever eliminate poverty in this country[insert country name here], we’ll have to import it!”

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        That’s a good one.

        The elites have been claiming to want to help the poor for thousands of years.

  8. Andrew Watts

    RE: The U.S. picked the wrong ally in the fight against Islamic State

    Good article. As tragic as it may sound the Kurds were made aware that they would likely be betrayed by the US when it came to any conflict with or started by Turkey. The fools in Washington who thought this was a good idea make the Western Roman Emperor Honorius look like a god—- genius.

      1. Yves Smith Post author

        The Dolan pieces were extremely written and very well regarded by….drumroll…military types despite all the personal disclosure. And in fact the process of either getting involved with or infiltrating groups that are dedicated to radical action does mess with your head. They are cults, even when they are cults dedicated to aims that are (arguably) laudatory. So you can’t make their depiction all tidy and surgical. Most people who wind up in cults are at some sort of personal low point. Why would you fight the system, with all the risks that entails, unless you were desperate or hopeless?

      2. vidimi

        dolan is an entertaining writer but he’s not much of an analyst. despite two articles worth of testimony on a decades long relationship, i have no idea what to make of his mcfate. is she well-intentioned or bad-intentioned? all i know is that she has always tried to fit in. besides, a jilted ex is probably not the best source for impartial information. as with most things pando, it’s not a takedown of a key policy figure but a settling of a personal score.

  9. optimader

    RE: MH370
    An interested party with a budget should be salting the Indian Ocean/Adaman Sea/South China Sea o w/ several hundred transponder equipped surrogate flaperons mockups w/ the same buoyancy/hydrodynamic/aerodynamic properties w/ the objective of characterizing the journey of the flaperon found on the beach.

  10. Jess

    If TPP fails to pass, indeed if the deal completely falls apart, I think it might be some kind of Karmic payback for the trade traitors. How does it feel to sellout for something that then never comes up for a vote?

    1. susan the other

      So I assume the basic four are New Zealand, Austria, Canada and the US. And I think Australia is iffy. One of the things our big pharma is doing is charging EM countries a pittance for drugs (no doubt so they will buy them) and charging us a fortune, to make up the difference, aka their “profits”. But their unilateral patent enforcement must have been a non starter because it reduced the EM’s capacity to do domestic drug manufacturing which would be still cheaper for their populations. So that wasn’t the carrot they thought it was. Agriculture should have been a write off because every country protects their ag. And cars? Dinosaurs of the oil age. So what exactly is there left to bully international trade with? It isn’t even necessary.

    1. craazyboy

      “crank rates in September” = banging up the 1/4% all the way to 1/2% ! The Fed is also saying they plan to “normalize” rates over the next 7 years. That would be 3% in 2022?

      Assuming we can go for 15 years without another recession and/or financial crisis anywhere in the world. (Economy strong – like mighty Bull) We aren’t even sure Hillary and Jeb will stop running for president by 2022. But you know what the Fed will do well before then.

      I think the Fed is wrong about thinking they can make Peak Bubble our stable economic equilibrium point, knowledgeable as they are about equilibrium – being economists and all.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        If there is any disruption to production, hyperinflation here we come.

        Here, we are talking about food production, not industrial production (we don’t do a lot of that anymore).

        Then, we will have hyper food inflation or food-hyperinflation.

        But that is OK because the elite’s inflation is wage inflation, while for a normal person, it’s food/energy/health care inflation.

        So, the elite will tell us to not really worry over the shortage of organic apples, olive trees dying in the Mediterranean, bees disappearing, and the lack of safe water due to fracking and drought conditions prevailing in much of the West.

        1. craazyboy

          The Fed has that one covered already. They tell us the “general inflation rate” is what they target with monetary policy. So if food prices go up, they will tell us that’s not monetary inflation – it’s CA drying up and blowing away.

          Which of course will be a massive problem for the TBTFs (or hedge and bond funds) holding any CA mortgages – at which point the Fed will call it DEFLATION – in a very loud and shrill voice – and cut interest rates. And all will be well again….

          You just need to understand economics – then it all makes sense.

          1. fresno dan

            I always like what Mish says about inflation:
            deflation in what you don’t need
            inflation in what you do NEED

  11. afisher

    Charles Koch – well okey doke – we should ignore all his “free-society” thoughts because he donated to UNCF. Is anyone really that dumb? The amount that he donated is great, but it is there to serve as a PR cover for his underlining “free society”.

  12. The Heretic

    Kudos to NC for posting links to the War Nerd…perhaps a misanthropic, but certainly brilliant in insights. However i find Part 1 was a rambling article, but my take was that studying a people is not something an academic can do over a few interviews. Also there is a human truth; what people say do might be different from what they actually do, especially when they are under acute or chronic physical or psychological stress. And interviewing only a few people can easily lead to incorrect assessments.

    Could anyone unlock Part 2 of the war nerd article?

    Adam curtis (mentioned in the comments) article only points to the fact that anthropological information can be useful in a psywar, as it has been used successfully in the past, but as a tool to transform a nation in a positive fashion, as what was attempted in Vietnam and south america, the record seems much less succesful, and accompanied by perverse results.

    Does anyone glean different insights from those two articles?

  13. linda in chicago

    Have I now been forbidden to post comments on the Naked Capitalism website? A comment that I tried to post about 1 hour ago still hasn’t become visible. Also, a month or so ago, I tried to send Yves a Dropbox link to a scan of a rare pamphlet that documented the WWII famine in Greece and the shipment of Greek children to Palestine to save them, and I never heard back. Why?

    1. Yves Smith Post author


      It appears you do not read this site (or at least its comments section) with any regularity. Our “Policies” section clearly states that we review the moderation queue once every 24 hours and do so more often ONLY as time permits. Your expectation and demand that we do so in less than an hour is wildly out of line.

      We have repeatedly stated that this site is run by all of 1.3 people, that writing new material is our top priority, and we have had to restrict comments because we can’t handle the demands of dealing with the comments section and keep generating content at the frequency and quality level that our readers expect. We’ve repeatedly told readers that if they want us to deal with the mod queue on a faster basis, they need to write a very large check to enable us to do that, and no one has.

      As for your e-mail, there are many messages I do not even read every day because my inbox is overloaded and a target for media spam. I get close to 1000 e-mails every day.

      I have NEVER committed to responding to readers who write to me and you are again out of line in your demand that I reply. And frankly, there were three reasons for ignoring your message: first, it came in as “Linda via Dropbox”. I have no idea who “Linda” is. Second, anyone who has been on the Internet knows that links from unknown parties are the top mechanism for sending malware and viruses. I’d never in a million years open a Dropbox link from someone where I had not invited them to send me something via Dropbox.

      Third, now that I have looked at your message (without opening your link, since I am not about to do that), you described it as “This is what starvation in Greece looked like the last time, compliments of Germany. From Linda.” That’s not germane to our current posting and if you read our site regularly, we don’t use images (save our Antidote, graphs where germane, and the only exception is images that are part of cross posts). Your e-mail did not warrant a reply. It was something you assumed might be useful or interesting but in fact was not and therefore was actually an intrusion.

      People who send us candidates for Links (something we DO value and have asked for) don’t show up in comments angrily demanding a reply or hectoring us for not using them. And I have to confess that there are links sent by readers that we wind up looking at well after they were sent that we wish we had included, but we simply didn’t get through our inbox that day (a normal occurrence) and the good material they went to the trouble of sending us went by the wayside (sometimes we don’t post submitted links out of choice, like we already have a lot queued up on that topic, or we regard it as too narrow to appeal to readers). Hopefully they see enough of their link submissions appear over time to show we do appreciate and use them, since no reader ever has all of his links submissions wind up in Links.

  14. Oregoncharles

    “My township calls my lawn ‘a nuisance.’ But I still refuse to mow it. ”
    Mowing lawns is a big part of my business – but I totally agree with her. (It’s also the most boring part.) The American urban landscape, dominated by lawns in imitation of the sweeping sheep pastures that used to be in front of British mansions, is an artificial imposition and an ecological abomination, as she explains.

    One possible solution: stop calling it a lawn. It’s actually a meadow – if she lets it, it will become a forest. Or she could just call it a flower garden. If she’s weeding it, that’s what it is.

    Actually, our own front yard IS a garden, but I don’t have a township to worry about. Unfortunately, it is NOT less work than a lawn, as I hoped, thanks in part to the M…F… morning glory. It is more productive, though.

    Maintaining a meadow does involve cutting it down occasionally, or even burning it, or, as I said, it will become a forest, certainly in Ohio (or here – and mine has become woodier over the years, since shrubs and trees are a lot easier than perennials. I’m even growing tea.)

    1. Lambert Strether

      Gardens and meadows do require a little maintenance (depending on one’s personal standards!) but the work is a lot more interesting than dragging a noisy, petroleum fume-spewing machine over a flat surface, seeking to make it even flatter. (Actually, I loved mowing lawns as a kid… But now….)

    2. Jagger

      Dependent on what part of the country you live in, mowing a lawn can be a necessity. Overgrown yards are a haven for mosquitos and ticks. It is cover for roaches, mice, rats and the snakes they attract. And they are not going to stay outside. All are health hazards. And those creatures don’t respect land boundaries. If your neighbor’s yard is a haven for mosquitos, ticks, roaches, rats and snakes, they will wonder over to visit you.

      I wouldn’t have a problem not cutting my lawn except for the consequences.

      1. Lambert Strether

        Mosquitos breed in standing water. That’s not a problem with gardens or lawns. As for roaches, mice, and rats… Have you considered that human habitation might be attracting them?

        If I may say so, it sounds to me like your thesis is that everything that isn’t grass on your lawn is a health hazard and ought to be killed. Wouldn’t it be simpler to pave your lawn over?

        1. Jagger

          And as soon as you have a rain, you are going to have standing water with or without human habitation nearby. The grass and weeds are shade and cover for mosquitos. And of course, habitations attract creatures. Much better than living outside. But they also live outside and need cover to exist. What I suggest is live in a place with a lawn and then without a lawn. I am not just making this up. I know for a fact the difference between having a lawn and not having a lawn or an overgrown lawn. It is a reality whether we like it or not.

          Although some parts of the country, it doesn’t matter. Some parts, it does. Climate and terrain makes quite a difference.

          You may say so, but that is just putting words in my mouth. I said control the lawn, not pave it over. And nothing about killing all creatures. The only creatures I kill are those that are trying to put me on their menu.

          And definitely many of those creatures are health hazards-especially in large numbers. Overgrown lawns allow for large numbers in close proximity. It took humanity quite awhile to realise the pathway of so many diseases are through these smaller creatures and their defecation. We don’t want to forget that hard earned knowledge. Nature is not very forgiving regardless of our intentions.

          BTW, I forgot to mention the swarms of interesting spiders which enjoy an overgrown lawn. They will get inside shortly. Just have to make room.

          1. Jagger

            I also forgot the ticks. They hang on the ends of grass or weeds. When something walks by they drop off on to the creature or you. If they are small, you won’t even know they are there until they are engorged.

  15. optimader

    (Actually, I loved mowing lawns as a kid… But now….)
    aging eyes appreciate a wider color spectrum.
    Grass belongs in England. Still need the occasional fix of straight lines –rake a pebble driveway.
    Personally, on a relentless path to eliminating all grass other than a few ornamentals.

  16. JTMcPhee

    Re the EuroTax: since it appears the the PTB can create moneydebt in any given amount at any time to fund the oligoproject and lien and levy upon the commonwealths of all those participating polities into which the debt portion is injected for laundering, what possible need or reason is there to try to create a jurisdiction across the Euroarea that can impose and collect taxes without regard to national boundariesohnevermind… Silly of me…

    Will economists consider this a valid element in calculating GDP going forward, a new larger improved take on the old chestnut about taking in each others’ wash to increase it? (Does GDP now = ‘grosse Deutscherprodukt’?

  17. Disturbed Voter

    On Hiroshima etc. Given the way Japan was from 1931 – 1945 … I don’t feel too sorry for them, but more sorry for their many victims. War is tragedy, and being nuked is tragic. And if it were up to the pacifists, we would all be dead or never born because our parents would be dead under the jack boots of the Axis. Even so I love the Japanese today, and grieve for the many bad things that have happened to them of late.

    1. JTMcPhee

      Got to ask, DV, do you really believe that? My father, a veteran of naval war in the South Pacific, used to. But he studied history and economics, and after I got back from Vietnam, surprisingly saw things a whole lot differently and by my lights, much more clearly.

      How do you feel about what used to be called “Americans,” now feeling the benefits of FreedomnLibrty ™ generously provided by the same class of folks that brought our predecessors those imperial excesses (oh, no American imperialism in the mix, nonono) and the political economy that engendered the peaks of the continuum of looting and violence that are comfortably mythologized as WWs I and II? Yah, them Jap(anese)s got what was coming to them. And look what WE got, these days..

      Oh, who cares? There’s no fixing it.

    2. Jeremy Grimm

      Death rained on civilians in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and in the fire bombings of Tokyo, and on civilians in Nanjing and Berlin, and Dresden. I cannot imagine how your sympathies can find political boundaries. Ordinary people … ordinary men, women and children died whether Japanese, Chinese or German. Three year olds are remarkably alike no matter their nation.

      Imagine you are become Syrian or Iraqi or Salvadorian how do your sympathies transform. Consider what your government has done in your name. Is it right that you should pay for the sins of your government? Are you culpable for the actions of the United States?

      This goes to the question of German guilt, the question of Japanese guilt. How can a population justly be held responsible for the actions of their government? I am frightened by how easily our nation might fall under autocratic rule. And what could any of us do to turn the will of our national government? Even now we are no longer a free people. How should we be held responsible for the actions of our nation?

      “Why of course the people don’t want war. Why should some poor slob on a farm want to risk his life in a war when the best he can get out of it is to come back to his farm in one piece? Naturally the common people don’t want war neither in Russia, nor in England, nor for that matter in Germany. That is understood. But, after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine the policy and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy, or a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship. Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the peacemakers for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country.”
      ― Herman Goering

      I think that should answer any concerns you might have about pacifists. As for the jack boots of the Axis, do not forget whose capital and expertise helped build Nazi Germany.

      1. vidimi

        i think people are responsible for and guilty of their governments, especially in democracies. however, that guilt never warrants death, primarily because no one has the right to dispense death.

        1. JTMcPhee

          I’m trying to figure out which nations and other polities I can recall are “democracies,” now or previously. And which of those are or were structured, in the reality of power and wealth forces and connections, so the “electorate” might be assigned guilt for not effectuating any redirection of that idiot pseudo-thing called “policy” away from genocide or “limited conflicts” or total war, on each other and the planet.

          And the oligarchies/kleptocracies, that sure seem to have ruled and continue to rule and likely will, on into a future obscured by the haze and smoke and smog of consumptive extractive pollution, sure seem to brook no limits on their power to “dispense death,” retail and wholesale,

          Aided happily, and prosperously, and “loyally,” by the many people that find pleasure in “counter-terrorism” and “torturing some folks” and carpet-bombing, and contemplating with grim, smug, “patriotic,” comfortable equanimity the concept of “megadeaths” and the symmetrical theoretical disinterested logical beauties of game theory and Mutually Assured Destruction and Massive Retaliation and the dismissing of likelihoods like “nuclear winters,” and “on spec” are happy to extend the many threads of weapons and death-delivery devices into new “innovative” realms,” nanobots and micro-eventually-autonomous drones for “surveillance” and killing.

          I might accept the notion of collective “guilt” for whatever forces are responsible for the way our limbic systems are designed and operate, “in nature” and as augmented by tool use and our cognitive genius.

    3. vidimi

      even if the axis had conquered all of europe, africa and asia, how, pray tell, would they have subdued the americas?

      1. JTMcPhee

        Loaned us money? Or maybe our own kleptocratic 5th Columnists would have Done more Bidness with them, opened the gates at midnight…

    4. hidflect

      The bad (economic) things happening to the Japanese today are being perpetrated by the same old money, overlord class that foisted the war on their citizens 75 years ago. Japanese peoples’ culture of positivism refuses to countenance any strong criticism of politicians or acedemic “opinion leaders” who inherit their positions from their fathers, and they from their fathers before them. Nearly all of them graduates from one of three universities, they actively despise their common citizens and regard themselves as the vanguards of decency (as all right-wingers do).

      “Don’t be negative”, people say or “Why are you always complaining?” they’ll ask when you point out that most of Japanes policy is a pork-barrel giveaway to the Zaibatsu/Keiretsu organisations like Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, et al.

      1. Disturbed Voter

        You are probably right abut the present day. There are often more continuities than innovations in social/political/economic arrangements. And you are the only sensible reply. Of course I would rather than WW II not happened at all, or the Japanese invasion of China not happen at all … but if I had been presented with the facts of that at the time … I am unable to go all Gandhi on any party involved, including the Allies. Gandhi was anti-Allies anyway.

        As to whether anyone deserves death … the jury is out on that.

  18. Pepsi

    I once stepped on an illegal old style trap that someone was using for bobcats, at least I assume they were due to the place and the season. It chewed up my boot.

    Wild caught fur is much more humane than farmed fur, even though I’m told there are now ethical mink farms, as oxymoronic as that might sound.

    But the question is, why, why bother killing some rare animal for something that isn’t necessary? Fur is a great material for our ancestors struggling to survive winter, now we have wool and various synthetics. (Stay away from fake fur unless you know the source, lots is cruelly beyond words sourced from chinese dog fur farms).

  19. OIFVet

    Beautiful antidote. Other critically endangered big cat populations: Asiatic cheetahs – 50 individuals in the wild, Saharan cheetahs – 250 individuals in the wild, Amur leopards – 69 individuals in the wild. All tiger subspecies are either endangered, critically endangered, functionally extinct, or extinct.

  20. OIFVet

    There’s a new “sharing” trend: income “sharing”. Amid higher-education borrowing boom, programs aim to capitalize on graduates’ future earnings. “The desire of some students to transfer at least part of that risk has given rise to a variety of government, university and market-based experiments with such income-share agreements, in which investors essentially buy stock in the students. At stake: a fundamental shift in the way Americans finance higher education….Meanwhile, under the terms of her loan, Ms. Gonzalez could pay as much as $60,000 for the $15,000 she borrowed from 13th Avenue under the terms of her loan.”

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