Links 9/16/15

Agency nixes proposed rafts where walrus can rest off Alaska Associated Press. Lambert: “No QE for walruses!”

Marine population ‘halved since 1970’ BBC

Firms eye jumbo profits from elephant life insurance Bangkok Post (furzy mouse)

Don’t Have Sex With Robots, Say Ethicists Gawker (Chuck L)

Could the Fed. Govt. be Forced to Offer Publicly-Funded Internet Service, Just Like Mail Service? Ring of Fire (furzy mouse)

Uber: Backseat driver Financial Times. On regulatory backlash in Europe.

Nine of the World’s Biggest Banks Form Blockchain Partnership Re/code

Inside the Legal Challenge to Chicago’s 9 Percent Netflix Tax Motherboard (DF)

Genetic Engineering Is (Probably) Protected By the First Amendment Motherboard (Chuck L)

The risk of a ‘Made in China’ global recession Martin Wolf, Financial Times

Refugee Crisis

A Portuguese Town Welcomes Migrant Families WBUR (IsabelPS)

Refugees scramble for ways into Europe as Hungary seals borders Guardian (furzy mouse)

Refugee surge to Europe raises concern about militants Associated Press (furzy mouse)

Eurozone races to restructure Greek banks Financial Times. Nasty.

Corbyn Panic

There are countless sworn assassins waiting to knife Jeremy Corbyn in the back Telegraph

TUC Congress: Excitement and nerves at Corbyn’s rise BBC

Jeremy Corbyn’s vow to fight Tory ‘poverty deniers’ is undermined by symbolic blunders Independent

Very Serious People Atrios

The Elite’s Childlike Commitment to Austerity Dean Baker

Manifesto backed by prominent NDPers calls for overhaul of capitalist economy National News Watch (Sid S)

Operation Naked King: Secret DEA Sting in Bolivia Confirms Evo Morales’ Fears About U.S. Meddling Democracy Now (Chuck L)

40 years ago the US sent Mexico into a financial crisis — and it transformed the narcotics industry Business Insider. Resilc: “Powered by US banks.”


The West dismissed Russian offer to help remove Assad in 2012, says top diplomat Washington Post (resilc)

U.S. Rejected Offers by Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and Syria to Surrender … and Proceeded to Wage War George Washington

One in five Syrians say Islamic State is a good thing, poll says Washington Post (resilc)

War On Syria; Not Quite According To Plan Part 2. The Plot Vineyard of the Saker (margarita)

The West is culpable for the bloodshed in Ukraine and Syria – and Putin holds the key to any breakthrough Independent (margarita)

Accomplishments of US-led airstrikes against IS in Syria questioned as France joins campaign Associated Press (furzy mouse)

Analysts Detail Claims That Reports on ISIS Were Distorted – The New York Times (resilc)

U.S. training helped mold top Islamic State military commander McClatchy (resilc)

Lebanon: Doctors warn of spread of cholera in refugee camps as rubbish crisis intensifies International Business Times

Imperial Collapse Watch

Americans trust the military most. 29% are ready for a coup. Ready for fascism? Fabius Maximus (resilc)

Using Behavioral Science Insights to Better Serve the American People White House. Dan Froomkin: “Brainwashing”.

Trade Traitors

Rush to please US Bangkok Post (furzy mouse)


The Donald Trump scandal he wants you to forget: Inside his despicable scheme to prey on the poor & make himself richer Salon

Jeb Bush Has Made a Huge Mistake New York Magazine Resilc: “Not holding his brother under water in Maine for 30 min as a kid?”

A Pro-Clinton Super PAC Is Going Negative On Bernie Sanders Huffington Post

Joe Biden Backed Bills To Make It Harder For Americans To Reduce Their Student Debt International Business Times

America’s Voting Machines at Risk Brennan Center for Justice. Chuck L: “‘Voters decide nothing. Those who count the votes decide everything.’ Josef Stalin.”

Oil Industry Influence Waning Amid Oil Price Slump OilPrice

When Whitey Bulger Was an FBI Informant New Yorker (guurst).

Patients scarred, insurance firms duped in massive scam, L.A. County prosecutors say Los Angeles Times

Irving 9th-grader arrested after taking homemade clock to school: ‘So you tried to make a bomb?’ Dallas Morning News


US Treasury market suffers steep sell-off Financial Times

Federal Reserve meeting: Will US interest rates rise, and should they? Telegraph

Emerging markets face Fed meeting forewarned, inadequately armed Reuters. After all the best international institutions and experts told them to liberalize their financial markets.

Appeal by ‘Diva of Distressed’ spotlights SEC in-house court Reuters (EM)

Kentucky Pension Fees Much Higher Than Previously Reported Kentucky Center for Investigative Reporting (Chris Tobe). Expect to see a raft of reports like this. As we’ve described, a standards-setter, CEM Benchmarking, has taken the view that a 2012 change in government accounting standards requires investors in private equity to go to greater lengths than before to identify and report private equity fees.

Class Warfare

Young Americans ‘Fed Up’ with country’s economy Joseph Stiglitz, Project Syndicate (furzy mouse)

Timeline: Democracy in Recession New York Times

Antidote du jour (SusanCS):

Baby Deer links

And a bonus video (Emma):

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. Sam Kanu

    I find the surprise about the shadow of the military in domestic US to be surprising.

    We are talking about a country that has had General Eisenhower as president. And recently has seen the likes of Colin Powel, Wesley Clark, Petraeus etc contend for the presidency as “civilians”. All based purely on their prominence in the military.

    We are talking about a country that has had a spook as president. And his son too. And maybe another son shortly. All in a single generation.

    We are talking about a country in which the media reveres and blasts endless amounts of propaganda from “ex” military people a the public, all the while addressing these mouthpieces as “General” this and “Admiral” that.

    We are talking about a country in which the military – that’s what the surveillance forces are – bug everyone 24-7, not just “including” the members of the three nominal branches of government but rather ESPECIALLY them.

    We are talking about a country in which paramilitary forces aka “the police”, lord it over the public, and act a s a law unto themselves, completely unchecked.

    If one said all these things about Pakistan or Rwanda, there would be no surprise, But no, all of the above apply to the world’s largest democracy.

    So how an any one actually be surprised, that the public in this country views the military as the supreme forces in the country? That ARE. Have been for not just a few years but since WWII almost a century ago.

    1. Ulysses

      Yep! Fabius has an important reflection on all this in the post linked above:

      “Loss of trust in our institutions has no inevitable results. It can spark citizen action, as we mobilize to elect officials we trust and reform our governing institutions. But loss of trust is just a milestone for a nation of apathetic people. If we don’t rule ourselves, others will rule us — and do so in their interest, not in ours. Subjects have no reason to trust their rulers or institutions.”

      We citizens can stop tolerating our subjugation– and actively work to dismantle the transnational kleptocratic regime that is currently in power. Or not. The choice is up to us!

      “Washing one’s hands of the conflict between the powerful and the powerless means to side with the powerful, not to be neutral. ”

      Paulo Freire

    2. RabidGandhi

      I think you are confusing having a militarised culture with being willing to supplant the façade of democracy with an openly undemocratic government, although the way the poll was worded, it seems to be leading to the same conclusion.

      By contrast, in South America in the 80s/90s, the ruling classes learned that having a democratic façade was much more effective for implementing their rule than having the military in charge (thus Menem, Cardoso, Fujimori…). IMHO it would take much more than the militarisation/erosion of trust in institutions to create the willingness to abandon the charade.

      Lastly, “world’s largest democracy”? How do you calculate?

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        According to one of the links above – democracy in recession – it’s possible that the democracy fluctuates (recedes and expands) so that different entities can claim that title.

    3. OIFVet

      Surely Ike’s presidency was a bit deeper than a mere military shadow in a civilian government. I don’t think you will find many Ike fans amongst aspiring military dictators.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        Ike wasn’t a mini-Patton. He was a political animal (not necessarily a bad thing) who dealt with deranged egos and competing national interests. Ike was a rare individual who could really claim to be qualified. MacArthur was basically laughed at when voicing his ambitions. Could you imagine being in a room with Bailey, Patton, Montgomery, and DeGalle?

              1. NotTimothyGeithner

                I meant Bedell Smith. I read the comics this morning. Beetle Bailey is still a lay about. He didn’t even make an appearance in today’s strip.

                1. susan the other

                  Bedell was a hyper aggressive defender of Ike and America’s plans for the world and he distrusted the Europeans instinctively. He was so pissed about all the espionage against us as Ike was in his second term that he once recommended we “pull his (Philby’s) guts.”

          1. ambrit

            Get with the game plan OIFVet. We don’t herd those cats anymore. Now, if they don’t voluntarily ‘congregate’ where we want them, we drone them into the Void. Whoever named that missile system “H—fire” had a twisted sense of humour.

        1. Sam Kanu

          Ike wasn’t a mini-Patton. He was a political animal (not necessarily a bad thing) who dealt with deranged egos and competing national interests.

          I could tell you the same about Musharraf, Obasanjo, Buhari, Kagame etc. Surely you get the picture here: same difference: not acceptable.

          1. OIFVet

            So are you saying that Ike was a military strongman on par with the ones you mention? I am not keen on a military dictatorship, but I am not about to exclude a potential civilian leader from consideration just because he or she used to be a general. Ike had a pretty decent record, and it only looks better compared to those of presidents of more recent vintage. And let’s not forget that he warned us about the consequences of allowing the MIC to rise. We didn’t listen, and are paying the price.

          2. NotTimothyGeithner

            Are you comparing thugs who launched coups and held fraudulent elections to the elected Eisenhower?

            1. OIFVet

              Ike to his brother Edgar:

              Now it is true that I believe this country is following a dangerous trend when it permits too great a degree of centralization of governmental functions. I oppose this — in some instances the fight is a rather desperate one. But to attain any success it is quite clear that the Federal government cannot avoid or escape responsibilities which the mass of the people firmly believe should be undertaken by it. The political processes of our country are such that if a rule of reason is not applied in this effort, we will lose everything — even to a possible and drastic change in the Constitution. This is what I mean by my constant insistence upon “moderation” in government. Should any political party attempt to abolish social security, unemployment insurance, and eliminate labor laws and farm programs, you would not hear of that party again in our political history. There is a tiny splinter group, of course, that believes you can do these things. Among them are H.L. Hunt (you possibly know his background), a few other Texas oil millionaires, and an occasional politician or business man from other areas. Their number is negligible and they are stupid.

              Very much the military dictator, huh? There wasn’t any love lost between Ike and the Birchers (many of whom though that a military coup would be a good thing), he thought them stupid and they in turn called him a communist, of all things.

            2. David

              Is this the same Eisenhower who overthrew the elected president of Iran, overthrew the elected president of Guatemala, and approved the Bay of Pigs Invasion?

        2. JustAnObserver

          But wasn’t Ike the one who, under pressure from McCarthy + assorted Godbotherers, replaced `E pluribus unum’ with `In God we trust’ on the greenback. As a way of fighting back against the tides of *Godless* communism.

          Or is that just a myth I picked up somewhere ?

          1. John Zelnicker

            “E pluribus unum” is still on the dollar bill, along with “In God we trust”.

            But, you are right that the idea of adding “In God we trust” to our currency, including coins, was seen as a way of fighting back against the godless communists. As was the addition of “under God” to the Pledge of Allegiance.

      1. Ulysses

        Here’s the excellent comment of “socialbill” that you rightly commend:

        “1) The comparisons with Rome are inescapable, but the rise of the USA is similar to other states with the ‘outland advantage’ (Assyria vs lower mesopotania, Persia vs older states, Rome vs the hellenistic states, Qin v the other 5 contending states.) In each case the large state at the edge of a civilization took over. 2) All pre-modern empires reach their limit when the costs of administrating an outlying territory are greater than what it brings in in tribute. 3) The USA has additional weapons due to modern capitalism, mainly financial transfers, media propaganda, and real-time command control and communication.
        4) In the late Republic the Roman 0.1% consolidated their wealth and control compared to the free small farmers by bringing in slaves created by conquests. (Caesar enslaved at least 2 million Gauls himself.) It was hard to compete against large slave plantations. The modern USS analogy to this is high immigration, H1B visas, and outsourcing.
        5) We are fighting against economics vs the nominal political system. If the top 0.1% have more wealth than the bottom 90% it will be reflected in the political, eventually by legal grades of citizens.
        6) I don’t think the generals are an immediate danger. But you are right to see the fissures start to open.”

    4. DJG

      I’m skeptical of the poll, in the sense that the U.S. has never had a military coup, so there is no basis of comparison. It is a fantasy solution. The same people are probably in favor of a major religious revival, which is another way of forcing “discipline” on the populace. Further, there seems to be a bedrock 29 percent in most polls that favor any kind of repression. They were the same 29 percent who thought that W. Bush was a great president.

      That said, I think that it is time to say loud and clear that the U.S. of A. is inhabited by very fearful people. There is no end of blowhardism, but I doubt that you can rely on Americans in any sort of crisis. Hence, the ridiculous quibbling about climate change and its effects or years of deregulation and looting and their effects on the middle classes. Time to change the national motto to E Pluribus Candy-Asses.

      1. DJG

        I’ll add that the Dallas article about arresting some kid who likes to tinker and who made a clock, largely because his name is Ahmed Mohammed, is typical of U.S. candy-assery. A nation of snitches. Will that result in a military coup? Unlikely. Much of the military reflects the same sort of pettiness.

        1. hunkerdown

          “Irving ISD was named a top digital school district by the Center for Digital Education for our use of innovative technologies such as the 1:1 laptop initiative, STEM curriculum and flipped classroom instruction.”

          A supposed STEM school is scared of people opening up injection-molded plastic cases? Flipped, in more than one sense of the term. 300 million pacifiers squelching in unison…

          1. sam s smith

            Irving was in the news several years ago for (attempted) outlawing the renting residences to illegal aliens.

            1. sufferinsuccotash

              So the school officials were probably making a big deal of being tough on Ahmed to avoid provoking some hysterical wingnut backlash. After all, this is the state which was almost conquered recently by the Kenyan Muslim Tyrant in the White House. If public school officials hope to keep their jobs and their institutions intact they have to cater to that sort of mentality. :(

      2. human

        We had a coup here November 22, 1963 aided and abetted by a junta of brass and spooks who hated JFK for any number of personal reasons as well as his turn to the Light Side. Our Vichy government has been in charge ever since.

        1. Ulysses

          Yet the façade of a representative republican form of government has been maintained, even though many have begun to see the paper-thinness of the veneer. A great test would be to see if Senator Sanders was: a)allowed to become President, b) allowed to curtail, in any significant fashion the power of the MIC once elected as civilian commander-in-chief.

          I could imagine a scenario in which a, but not b, is allowed to occur. Were both a and b to occur, then we would have reason to party in the streets!

          1. ambrit

            I believe that Augustus was insistent that the forms of the old Republic be maintained for reasons of social stability. He came to power after a Civil War. Have we had our next Civil War yet? Or have we not noticed?

    5. Tone

      In my humble opinion, the United States will probably never fall under a military dictatorship. It’s just not in the national psyche. Americans have always (at least up to the present) swung left in their uprisings during times of crisis. The American Revolution, The American Civil War, and the Great Depression all ushered in leftist regimes.

      I believe we are currently living through another great crisis period, and this will usher in some sort of left shift in out society. However I realize the past performance is not always an indicator of the future, still it’s a good bet we’ll swing to the left.

      1. Sam Kanu

        In my humble opinion, the United States will probably never fall under a military dictatorship. It’s just not in the national psyche.

        let’s put it this way: the president of the country, a top notch lawyer by training, bends over backwards to diminish documented revelations that possible crimes against humanity have been committed by people to whom he is titularly the “commander in chief” of. Crimes which, by the way, the head of of state is duty and oath bound to prosecute. But he wont touch it with a 10 foot pole. Curious that, dont you think?

        Tell me: what is the best inference one can make from this most unusual situation?

        If you are seriously waiting for the newsflash on this one, I think I will refer you to Gil Scott-Heron’s most famous song…..

          1. Sam Kanu

            Red herring much, both of you?

            Focus on the point – POTUS is fully qualified to under what has happened there and what his duties are, without needing input from aides or policy staff. He knows 100%.

            But he wont pursue his obligations there. So you feel free to tell us which one is the tail and which one is the dog then….

      2. Lexington

        Neither the American Revolution or the Civil War represented an ideologically leftward swing in American politics. Even the New Deal was “conservative” in the sense that it probably forestalled a far more radical assault on the status quo.

        Americans love the military and military adventurism. The US spends as much on the military as the next 20 largest spenders combined (by some estimates, as much as the ENTIRE WORLD combined) yet the “defense” budget is the one sacred cow in Washington that cannot under any circumstances be questioned, let alone cut. About 70% of Americans initially supported a war of aggression against Iraq, and only changed their minds when the short, cheap (in American lives, no one pretended to care how many towelheads were going to die) victory their leaders promised failed to materialize. American gun culture and the ubiquitous fascination with violence in American popular culture speak to the preoccupations of a large part of the population. Let me tell you, it ain’t all rainbows and unicorns.

        Also, as DJG said above Americans are candy asses. Terrorists launched one spectacular attack on the homeland -exploiting well documented deficiencies in airport security that for reasons of economy and complacency no one had bothered to fix- and the whole country has a fit of collective hysteria, invading countries that didn’t attack the US, tearing up the Bill of Rights, converting civilian police forces into paramilitary stormtroopers and instituting universal, comprehensive surveillance of the population in order to “keep us safe”. The irony is that while many Americans told themselves comforting nostrums about how “they hate us for our freedoms” those were the very same freedoms they gladly surrendered without so much as a second thought for fear that only an omnipotent National Security State could keep the Islamofacists from murdering them in their beds in the dead of night.

        You really think these kind of people are going to have any qualms about the military sweeping aside a thoroughly corrupt and discredited political class and taking matters into its own hands, especially if this is done under the guise of a putative national emergency?

  2. Skippy

    Former banker Satyajit warns that the problems underlying the economy, which surfaced in the crash of 2008, are still with us.

    He says the world has been feeding on debt for decades now and as a result we’re in a period of economic stagnation and effectively, ‘eating our future’.

    Satyajit argues politicians know the scale of the problem but won’t act because the solutions are so unpalatable.

    He says an adjustment will be forced on us, sooner or later.

    Skippy…. been doing the rounds down under of late….

    1. Benedict@Large

      The problem is that we have all these hard money types running around impacting policy, when the really is no such thing as hard money. If money is allowed to float freely, all of the stuff gets worked out (and into the economy) in little tiny nibbles that do no one any harm. The hard money types, in an effort to get every little thousandth of a penny advantage, end up compressing all of these normal nibbles into great big piles of economic horseshit, and then still want everyone else to pay for their greed.

    1. JustAnObserver

      Oh f’in brilliant. A 555 timer chip. Probably one of the oldest bit of silicon still in volume production. I first used one in the early 80s & it had already been around for ~10 years.
      Its even got its own Wiki page for f’s sake. Not many individual chips get that accolade.

      And these are the cretins supposed to keep us safe from Terr ?

  3. Andrew

    The media in the UK are currently getting their knickers in a twist because when Jeremy Corbyn attended a Battle of Britain memorial he failed to sing the national anthem (God Save The Queen). He’s a committed republican and whilst it’s good to see him stand up for his principles the whole affair (and subsequent overblown media led reaction) rather goes to show (or reaffirm) what he’s up against.

    1. diptherio

      This bit stuck out to me in the Telegraph article:

      The adrenalin surge of the short leadership campaign is replaced with the drudgery of half a decade of managing, balancing, cajoling and comforting a couple of hundred of Britain’s most ambitious but insecure men and women.

      Yes, just like in the US, the UK is being run by the most ambitious and insecure. As Bill Hicks once asked, “I wonder why we’re f—ed up as a species?” Gee, I wonder….

    2. Uahsenaa

      The UK media are throwing a bit of a temper tantrum over Corbyn’s reluctance to engage them in all the showy (and often meaningless) ways they expect. Gee, I wonder why the man you spent an entire summer loudly slagging off doesn’t want to have a heart to heart chat with the BBC…

      The strategy so far seems to be reintegrate all the constituencies (e.g. the CLP, the unions) that New Labour alienated over the years in favor of public displays and media manipulation–and Alastair Campbell is still with us, unfortunately, though he did accidentally give us the brilliant Malcolm Tucker. Corbyn’s strategy, if that’s what it is, alienates the media, and I have a feeling this loud spat is born of their own ambitious insecurity.

  4. petal

    Good library meeting last night-overwhelming support for the Tor relay by a very diverse group of residents. Lots of pushback against the security state in the public comment period. The cop that spoke didn’t look pleased on his way out.

    1. grayslady

      Great news. Thanks for the link and for keeping us posted about this small rebellion against the security state.

    2. trinity river

      Thanks for the news, petal. Glad to see a library keep the values that I thought all librarians valued. My own library caved a few years back with a change in the head librarian.

      1. petal

        You are very welcome, grayslady and trinity river. I thought no one was interested but felt it was important and it makes me glad to see someone else thought so, too. Our little library is the first, and because of the controversy and it being in the news this last week other libraries across the country are now interested in setting up relays. Neat stuff at work. Every little bit helps! Plus, it showed a lot of people are not buying the police/DHS scare stories anymore. That in and of itself was heartening. Cheers!

  5. Carla

    Re: Could the Federal Government Be Forced…:

    The U.S. Postal Service is NOT publicly funded. It is entirely funded out of its receipts and receives no tax dollars, which seems to be a very well-kept secret. As Mark Jamison, former postmaster said on this blog earlier this year:

    “In the debates about the Postal Service, the public interest is too often forgotten. It’s worth quoting yet again the stirring words of Title 39:

    ‘The United States Postal Service shall be operated as a basic and fundamental service provided to the people by the Government of the United States, authorized by the Constitution, created by Act of Congress, and supported by the people. The Postal Service shall have as its basic function the obligation to provide postal services to bind the Nation together through the personal, educational, literary, and business correspondence of the people. It shall provide prompt, reliable, and efficient services to patrons in all areas and shall render postal services to all communities. The costs of establishing and maintaining the Postal Service shall not be apportioned to impair the overall value of such service to the people.’

    If these words are to mean anything, the leaders of the Postal Service, Congress, and the Executive branch must be reminded that the Postal Service is there to serve not some narrow economic interests but the people of the United States.”


    OF COURSE the USPS could and should provide Internet, as well as public banking, services to the American people. It’s plain as day.

    1. JTMcPhee

      +100. Constant struggle to fight the Meme Legions who fill “our” heads with all the tripe and fraud and Bull___t that “everyone knows.” Who are the real ” welfare Queens?” Wall Street and K Street addresses, mostly, the ones that even bother, any more, to pretend to US roots at all…

    2. Tone

      One could even argue that title 39 would have also applied to the internet had it existed during the founding of the United States.

      Those socialist Founding Fathers understood the need for an efficient communication network to bind the nation together. And the only way to do this was through the government establishment and protection of such a network.

      But then again the Founding Fathers are old and dead. They didn’t understand the efficiency “markets.”

      EDIT: Ooops sorry didn’t see the last part of the post calling for the postal service running the internet and providing banking. ABSOLUTELY!

      1. Vatch

        Yes, the government creates the money by spending it. So in year AAAA, the government spends and creates X dollars. The next year, the government may again create X dollars, but it may actually spend (X + Y) dollars. The Y dollars are the government’s tax receipts. The government spends more in a typical year than it creates in new money. Likewise, it spends more in a typical year than it receives in taxes.

        Once the money has been created, not all of it belongs to the government, since the government paid people for goods or services. Any of that non-government money that is later used to pay taxes provides the public portion of government funding.

          1. Vatch

            Clarify, please. Are you saying that the government does not create money, or that the government is not partially funded by taxation? Or something else?

            1. Praedor

              The fed government is setup to use tax dollars as part of its funding but it doesn’t HAVE to. It can fund itself without taxing at all. Taxes are useful as a social tool to discourage or limit harmful activities/functions/wealth accumulation. That’s it. They are NOT needed to fund the federal government.

              I like taxes:
              To reduce income inequality (and redistributing the money DOWNWARD instead of upward as has been the case for ~30 yrs).

              To discourage certain economic activities while encouraging others (discourage fossil fuel extraction/use, incourage renewables, infrastructure repair/improvement, upgrade communications).

              To discourage excessive social harms (smoking, drinking, drugs) so we all don’t end up carrying the weight of the dying/injured masses.

  6. Brooklin Bridge

    My insurance company (“supplemental” medicare policy) is suggesting a “free” program where they send out a nurse to examine me for a “preventative” schedule.

    My inclination is to assume anything offered for free by an insurance company is anything but free.

    1. beth

      Funny. My sup. policy keeps calling/mailing me to get me to change to another of their products so me/they (?) can save money. I understand their game plan.

      1. Brooklin Bridge

        Ostensibly, I suppose, the idea with the nurse is that a preventative program will keep the sucker client in better health and (therefore) save visits to the doctor; a win win, they would say (I would say something impolite). There is always a catch, such as, that the free nurse visits would morph into a policy where one could not get a visit with a doctor without approval of the nurse. The nurse, in the meantime, would be mentally washed trained to believe that the only valid visit with a doctor is for a death certificate. Ultimately, the nurse would become my health “coordinator” which is an Obama thing to drastically reduce payouts for care by redefining care as “results.” So unless there is a definable result, then there is no payment for a visit to a doctor or hospital or whatever.

        Anyway, I loath this constant weaseling of the insurance companies into the health care business itself. It is a direct conflict of interest. It’s in a doctor’s financial interest that I get too much care and it’s in an insurance company’s interest that I get less and less but pay more and more. While not perfect, the doctor’s financial interest seems more aligned with my own.

        I may have answered my own question above, but don’t really know. The nurse idea is almost certainly for profit, but what the gimmick is could be entirely something else again.

    2. Jagger

      If they find something wrong, like you have high blood pressure, can they cancel your supplemental insurance or raise your rates?

    3. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      In the future, drones will replace those human nurses.

      A flight over your house at night, the super sensitive monitors will capture all vital information about your state of health.

      We just need more smart graduates to make that come true.

    1. JTMcPhee

      Can I ask when the idiot Bull___t fraud of a cachepot tosspot Meme or whatever figger of speech it is, that “over ten years” bunk, crept into Serious Discourse? And what in the world of Ecraponomics ™ gives countenance and supposed substance to the phrase? There are so many ways that phrase misdirects, mischaracterizes, misleads, subverts…

      For me, it’s uniformly and invariably a marker that marks whatever it’s attached to as something wriggling out of the Mouth of Sauron…

  7. Vatch

    America’s Voting Machines at Risk Brennan Center for Justice. Chuck L: “‘Voters decide nothing. Those who count the votes decide everything.’ Josef Stalin.”

    When I vote, I choose the method that creates a paper trail, even though there’s the option of choosing a purely electronic technique. Of course, the marks on the piece of paper are read by a computer peripheral, and the results are tabulated by computer, so “mistakes” are still quite possible.

  8. Распад USA

    Wisner’s wurlitzer has induced this coup hysteria to divert attention from the obvious alternative, die Wende. When the Warsaw Pact collapsed, no coups were needed. The cream of the nomenklatura simply lost interest in their degenerate state. Snowden, V.I.P.S., and lots more eminent old-timers are the nucleus of a group that questions this state’s reason to exist. As the next generation moves up they will have to start shoveling out and they won’t know where to stop.

    The appropriate historical model for transition is not fascism. You only need to to look back a quarter-century or so. The parallels are inescapable. As with the Warsaw Pact, the US bloc is fragmenting – not because of conflicts with the hegemon but due to tensions among the satellites between hard-line and soft-line states. The Soviet bloc drew apart based on disagreements about clamping down on civil and political rights. The US bloc is pulling apart based mostly on austerity – withholding economic and social rights. Brezhinski saw ethnic self-determination and cultural rights as the Eastern bloc’s achilles’ heel. The Western bloc has the same problem, with Catalonia and Scotland precipitating crisis and Lombardy, Quebec, and the US Southwest in uneasy remission (now that Maricopa County’s an autonomous narco-state.) Central planning by bankers turns out to be no less shambolic than central planning by commissars.

    Russia reconstituted itself the same way African countries did, using human rights as a scaffold (Fun suppressed fact: Russia has accepted international human rights review to a degree that would be inconceivable to the US hermit kingdom.) As the US weakens, it will have no alternative than to accept the outside world’s acquis. Corbyn might be Britain’s Mielke. Tsipras is NATO’s Dubček. It would perfect if America’s Gorbachev turned out to be Trump.

    1. susan the other

      It is never discussed. The fact that people just get too tired of being suckered and just simply quit. Then the government is left with nothing to govern. And they are really in deep shit. I’m thinking Xi should be nervous. The House of Saud. The entire EU. All the Tinpots in South America. Mexico. It amazes me that the US still has the optimism to hold elections no matter how farcical. I like to think that when the whole thing crashes at once, the leaders will be begging the people to “do something.”

    2. OIFVet

      Love the nick :) I will have to correct you though: the cream of the nomenclatura and the secret police became neoliberal capitalists and democrats overnight, or at least they presented their princeling children as such while they worked behind the scenes to “privatize” every valuable asset for themselves. At least that is what happened in my native BG.

      1. Ulysses

        “the cream of the nomenclatura and the secret police became neoliberal capitalists and democrats overnight, or at least they presented their princeling children as such while they worked behind the scenes to “privatize” every valuable asset for themselves.”

        Yep. To put it in Bruce Sterling fiction terms– the Dispensation won’t surrender quietly!

  9. Jim Haygood

    From ‘Accomplishments of US airstrikes …’ link:

    PARIS (AP) — French lawmakers are debating the decision to join a military air campaign over Syria, raising new questions about what a year of U.S.-led bombing has accomplished.

    French reconnaissance flights in Syria began last week, and President Francois Hollande said airstrikes there would follow soon.

    Prime Minister Manuel Valls told Parliament that France will decide “alone” on it targets. He justified the decision to intervene in Syria as “self-defense” against terrorism.

    To discourage mass emigration of Syrians, it would be more effective to bomb France than to bomb Syria.

    It’s worth a go … allons y!

  10. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Young Americans fed up with the country’s economy.

    What about middle-aged Americans and senior Americans?

    Are they different from young Americans in how they feel about the economy?

    1. JTMcPhee

      Depends on how well they at any age cohort are “doing” under the current schema, now don’t it? But the point is absolutely right on– Bidness As Usual is killing us ordinary people, and the life support systems and relationships we depend on.

      1. Praedor

        Let’s put it this way, I’m not one of the “young” as referred to in the article, and I’m not at the elderly state either (no retirement for a while) but I HAVE retirement benefits accrued (military and civilian). Thing is, while I’m counting on them (NEED them) to be there when my retirement comes, I am not confident that they will be there…and I grow more pissed and unhappy with the whole mess making it come into question every day. I did NOT spend 20 years in the military and work my time as a civilian so some rich fucks who never worked a real day in their lives can take it all away so some Wall St firm or the “market” will be OK about things.

        Not happy about the state of the US and its economy AT ALL…and spoiling for a fight about it.

    2. optimader

      What about middle-aged Americans and senior Americans?

      If you consider time a resource, middle-aged Americans certainly have progressively less opportunity to recover from financial blight

    3. hunkerdown

      As posted yesterday, the elderly feel just fine about the economy, if only those prodigal children would stop whining about their own privation and give the elders what the long-dead promised them.

      1. Praedor

        They’re just fine about it. For now. Until they start seeing their Social Security cut, or their Medicare. Those with pensions aren’t safe either. Wall St and banksters are hot to gut the remaining pensions too. No, they wont be fine when they are forced into the job market again when they’re 80 yrs old and have to compete for shit work with 17 yr olds.

  11. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Patients scarred, insurance firms duped.

    I saw an acupuncturist once who made me sign duplicate forms, as if there were two treatment sessions, when there was only one. It seems weird and I never went back again, and I have always wondered how these forms are verified.

  12. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Marine population halved since 1970.

    “Fish is good for you. You need to include more omega-3 fatty acids in your diet.”

    1. susan the other

      Recent studies don’t show a correlation between good cardio and omega-3. Of course the study they will never do is the study we all need – what makes your liver function properly so it produces good cholesterol? My guess is a little vitamin B never hurts.

      1. Vatch

        B vitamins are good; just don’t overdo the niacin. As for the omega-3 oils, the recent studies might be correct, but suspicious minds can wonder whether the studies are being subtly influenced to scare people into buying more statins. Aside from cardiac health, there are also claims that omega-3 oils help the brain and nervous system.

        1. Praedor

          My main interest in omega-3s and -6s are their anti-inflammatory action. Chronic inflammation is THE nastiest thing in your body. It drives cancer, heart disease, crippling arthritis.

  13. JEHR

    Re: NDP Manifesto. It seems that I am not alone in not quite believing that that party is all it is cracked up to be and these famous people want to let Mulcair know that they will keep a sharp eye on him if and when he gets to lead Canada. One of the first things Mulcair did when he became leader of the NDP was to take out the word “socialist” from their literature. A bad mistake, I think. Ever since then, he is trying to take the NDP further toward Harper’s place on the continuum of policies making the Liberals the most left party of all. Strange goings on. It makes voting Green even easier.

    1. Inverness

      Trudeau is using Mulcair’s sudden moderate positions to sound like the real guy on the left. For example, the Liberals would be willing to run deficits to create jobs, which isn’t a radical position at all. Both Mulcair and Harper promise balanced budgets. I still would rather Mulcair, who is more skilled and experienced than Trudeau. I agree that the Green Party’s Elizabeth May would be the best choice, but honestly, I must vote strategically. Another Harper era is terrifying.

  14. fresno dan

    Economic growth outpaced any gains in median household income in every state from 2000 to 2013, a new Stateline analysis shows.

    The divergence between middle-class income growth and general economic growth has been a topic of debate among economists for years. But the new analysis—which uses state gross domestic product per person as a measure of economic growth and income data through 2013, the most recent available—reveals significant differences between states that often reflect their differing economies.
    So where did the growth in wealth go? Why are middle-class incomes stagnant, and why is the middle class shrinking, if there is more economic output as measured per person? And what explains those differences between the states?

    Many economists point to growing income inequality. According to economist Lane Kenworthy of the University of California at San Diego, as the top 1 percent of income earners have gotten a larger portion of the country’s overall wealth,“household income growth for the middle has become decoupled from economic growth.”

    Pretty much why the incessant yammering about increasing growth is ear elephant.

    1. Praedor

      Part of the fix is to REQUIRE profit sharing by corporations with workers. Profits rise, then so do incomes of the workers who make it possible in the first place. Shareholders didn’t do the work, they sat on their asses watching share prices. The CEO didn’t do it, he was too busy fucking his mistress or playing “power golf” all day.

  15. Andrew Watts

    RE: Analysts Detail Claims That Reports on ISIS Were Distorted

    It is a fundamental law of American politics that independent analysis is accepted on the basis of how it supports the current policy pursued by the political class. This scandal is no different. With the possible exception being with regards to the major differences in opinion about the level of military involvement in the war against the Islamic State.

    The overly optimistic picture being presented is meant to accomplish only one thing from a policy perspective. To prevent the widespread deployment of American troops on the front line battlefield. This is something I wholeheartedly support for a variety of reasons. The foremost reason is that neither full blown intervention or a passive non-intervention role is an optimal course of action concerning the Islamic State. Another reason is that crippling the ability of Iraqis to manage their affairs or inhibiting their self-reliance will only reduce their status to that of a tributary state.

    Our political muppets in Washington who insist that if we left a residual force behind in Iraq or that 10,000 troops will solve Iraq’s problems are demonstrating the foolishness that started this war in the first place. These fools would rather have America maintain a permanent imperial presence in Iraq at a time when the region is being engulfed in flames and the empire is on the wane. They would unthinkingly use American troops as poker chips in a game where everybody at the table is on the verge of losing something significant.

    That doesn’t mean that it is wise to understate the very real threat posed by the Islamic State. Nor overestimate the successes against their efforts. After all, just as war hasn’t changed neither has history. I don’t have to look far for an example of a newly emerged proto-state that was surrounded by more powerful neighbors but whose expansion took place in the midst of their petty squabbles as they marched across a continent and conquered it.

    …because if you think Manifest Destiny is only for Anglo-Saxon Protestants you’re probably a racist. Or a true believer in American exceptionalism.

  16. Andrew Watts

    RE: Analysts Detail Claims That Reports on ISIS Were Distorted (Part 2)

    Beyond the analysis of the readiness of the Iraqi armed forces and other issues, I have to wonder if people are even thinking through this problem at all. Contrary to what self-satisfied post-modern intellectuals have been asserting about Syria and Iraq both are artificial and fragile political entities.

    The viability of Syria as an independent nation-state was a question that led the Syrians to join with Egypt as a junior partner in the United Arab Republic. The fact the Egyptians treated Syria more like a colony to be used and abused at their pleasure and the failure of pan-Arabism doesn’t answer that question with any satisfaction. In the case of Iraq the extent of it’s territorial boundaries were a question that led Saddam to invade Kuwait among other things. Nor is it likely the claims over Kirkuk will be solved by anything but blood and iron unless Iraq is maintained as a viable nation-state. This is one reason among many why maintaining both countries as united entities is probably the best route. Although what is commonly called northern Syria is occasionally refered to these days as western Kurdistan.

    Regardless, it is premature for political solutions or a theoretical partition to enter into the conversation. Especially when leading military powers in the region are trying to impose a de-facto partition of their own through force in the Levant. Until these circumstances change nothing will.

  17. Ian

    I read through the 9 Bank Blockchain article. I am not certain I grasp all of the implications, but it seems quite worrying to me as it seems like a way to hide activity. Am I misinterpreting this?

  18. Massinissa

    I have a feeling that this campaign to stop sexbots simply wont work. Its not like the similar campaign to stop killer robots has been having any noticeable effect either.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Nevertheless, let’s hope this is not a setback for the Platonic Human-Robot Mixed Marriage Movement.

  19. Massinissa

    One more thing about the sexbots article. It makes the case that only men will want them.

    Considering that dildos and the like, sextoys for women, make up a substantial part of the sextoy market, I kinda figure that at some point there will definitely be some company trying to make male sexbots for women buyers.

    Whether or not they will be popular with women is going to be another story though.

    1. ambrit

      Program it to give the lady a nice backrub and breakfast in bed. As MLTPB asserts above, if we can program the male sexbots to supply affection, as well as more ‘vigorous’ services, it will be a growth industry.

  20. Massinissa

    About the clock. The child was named Mohammed, so when he made a clock, the faculty jumped to rascist conclusions.

    If the child was the son of Dutch immigrants or something instead this wouldnt have happened. Racism is definitely involved here.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      i think a lot of people would ask German immigrant kids for more Black Forest cuckoo clocks.

      “Hey, ask your dad to make one for me.”

      Of course, in Germany, from what I read in one of yesterday’s links, immigrants don’t assimilate nor their German born kids thought of as Germans. I hope that’s not the case.

    2. craazyman

      I bet if the clock had a big hand and a little hand they wouldn’t have given it a second (no pun intended) thought.

      1. craazyboy

        Things are much, much worse than the Dallas cops realize. The chip used in the clock (or bomb timer) is made by Texas Instruments in Dallas. They have an entire bomb parts factory in Dallas!!

        1. craazyman

          nothing they do in Texas would surprise me

          Even 30 years ago they had mechanical bulls people would ride in bars after drinking a few beers. I think they even wore Cowboy chaps and boots!

          nobody should be above suspicion in a place like Texas. They should arrest everybody as a precautionary measure.

          1. ambrit

            Around here, ‘Gone to Texas’ means you have left town one step ahead of the Law. Texas is our Coventry.
            In some bars I’ve been in, men and women wore only chaps and boots to ride that there bull. A good time was had by all!

  21. ekstase

    “In July, Oasis Earth suggested the Fish and Wildlife Service consider the resting platforms for walrus and offered to fund-raise toward the cost.”

    “We do not think such a measure is needed at this time,” Haskett said in the letter to Rick Steiner of Oasis Earth.”

    What a fascinating conversation this would be in a novel.

  22. Lexington

    RE: Americans trust the military most. 29% are ready for a coup. Ready for fascism?

    The Winter 1992-3 edition of Parameters, the journal of the US Army War College, contained a prescient article by Lt. Col. Charles Dunlap entitled “The Origins of the American Military Coup of 2012”. Written as a piece of speculative “future history” from the perspective of senior officer sentenced to death for opposing the coup it examines a number of factors that could facilitate such an eventuality. Like the Fabius Maximus post he draws particular attention to the fact that the military is the last institution in America that still commands broad popular respect. There are many other important insights, such as how the decline of the ROTC has greatly reduced the inflow of relatively liberal officer candidates, contributing to a pronounced rightward drift in the ideology of the officer corps.

    From the perspective of 2015 I think it is even more relevant and disturbing than when it appeared and should be on the radar of anyone concerned with the health of the American body politic.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      When the generals, after taking over, can create as much money as they like for themselves to spend, they will be really invincible.

      On the other hand, the people can stage their own npn-violent coup to take over the printing press, or its modern equivalent, and print or create money and credit for the people themselves to spend into the economy, that’s one coup many people will not complain.

  23. ewmayer

    Re. the sexbots, I highly recommend watching the fine UK miniseries Humans or its Swedish precursor. Yes, it covers the ‘boys will be boys’ aspects, but it’s not just the boys who succumb to robot-love addiction.

    [Of course the real, um, thrust of the series is the small ‘splinter cell’ of androids which have been seeded with sentience software.]

    [And of course the late great Franz Zappa covered the ‘robotic love appliance’ theme as well, in his classic Joe’s Garage. ‘Plook me now, you savage rascal.’]

    1. Massinissa

      Exactly what I said above. People just dont realize how big a market women are for sex toys these days. Considering how expensive some deluxe dildos are these days, a sexbot that looks like an Adonis is probably not far off.

      1. ambrit

        I am striving mightily to resist the urge to make an inflation joke right now. (This is an economics blog after all.)

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