Links 9/19/15

Birds reveal the evolutionary importance of love BBC (Robert M)

Reptilian cow may have been the first to stride on four legs CBS

Mauling, escapes and abuse: 6 small zoos, 80 sick or dead animals Washington Post. :-(

Advanced Ligo: Labs ‘open their ears’ to the cosmos BBC (Chuck L)

Scrap cash altogether, says Bank of England’s chief economist Financial Times

VW Is Said to Cheat on Diesel Emissions; U.S. Orders Big Recall New York Times

Does Windows 10 violate HIPAA? CMIO. Duncan: “It is highly probable that an independent contractor (typically a salesperson) using a Windows 10 computer, who is either subject to HIPPA (Health Care) or FINRA (Securities) licensing, is in violation of the privacy portions of these statutes. Use a laptop out of the box – commit a felony. Nice.”

87 deceased NFL players tested positive for brain disease Boston Globe (Ryan R, Chuck L). Studies now show that three concussions lead to cognitive impairment in later life.

High-fat diet made Inuits healthier but shorter thanks to gene mutations, study finds PhysOrg Robert M: “Read all the way to the end – re correlation vs. causation.”

Coding Class, Then Naptime: Computer Science For The Kindergarten Set NPR (David L)

Australia’s Slow-Motion Crisis Jacobin

Japan Parliament Approves Expanding Overseas Role of Military Wall Street Journal

China’s woes could derail Abenomics Bruegel

German banks face ‘alarming’ profit fall Financial Times

Mas’s Independence Gamble Risks Catalan Pocketbooks: Five Charts Bloomberg

Migrant Crisis

‘Afraid in Baghdad,’ not in Dresden DW

Syria to Croatia: waiting for the trains that never come Guardian


Greece election: Syriza outflanked by hard left as lead melts away ahead of vote Independent (Sid S)

Golden Dawn leader cynically admits ‘political assassination’ failed evolution

GREECE: Sexist rampage against resistance to memoranda CADM (Sid S)


RECIPE FOR DISASTER: How supporting Syrian rebels put US foreign policy into disarray Sic Semper Tyrannis (resilc). A must read.

Russia Moves Its First Fighter Jets to Base in Syria Wall Street Journal

Imperial Collapse Watch

Senate report ‘proves Lithuania hosted CIA jail’: detainee’s lawyers Reuters (EM)


Trump cancels S.C. visit after outcry over Obama/Muslim question McClatchy

Does Voter Anger Drive Trump’s Popularity? Wonk Wire

Trump Is an Outrage Candidate for Good Times New York Times (resilc)

How Trump tried — and failed — to open a casino in Florida Washington Post. Lead story. Oppo is cranking up.

Biden flirts, but black lawmakers still love Clinton Politico. They have not gotten the memo that Hillary is over. She’s trailing Sanders among white women in New Hampshire, and it’s widely rumored that her fundraising for 3Q will be revealed to be lower than 2Q and lower than Sanders’.

Paul staffer says Rubio aide punched him The Hill

Police State Watch

On-duty police officers have shot and killed more than 700 people this year Washington Post (Ryan R)

Death toll in Northern California wildfires jumps to five Reuters (EM)

Deal would let Southern California buy surplus water from Nevada Reuters (EM)


Fed: Sitting still deals blow to America’s great recovery story Sydney Morning Herald (EM)

Dovish Fed unnerves global equity markets Financial Times

Watching the Fed, and Remembering the Tequila Crisis New York Times

Wary Fed has markets recalling years of Japan disappointment Reuters

Vote Will Test Accountability of Bank of America’s Board Gretchen Morgenson, New York Times

Class Warfare

The Typical Male U.S. Worker Earned Less in 2014 Than in 1973 Wall Street Journal

Antidote du jour (martha r):

snail and frog links

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. tony

    This is a few days old, but I think it is a valuable analysis of what is behind the migrant crisis and why it will get far worse.

    In short, exponential population growth combined with a resource base that is shrinking due to climate change and declining resource availability has made it impossible for MENA, and other places, to maintain their populations.

    1. Jef

      Destroyed infrastructure, lack of structure, and constant conflict has made it impossible for MENA, and other places, to maintain their populations.

      I think the title to the above article “‘Afraid in Baghdad,’ not in Dresden” says it all.

    2. nothing but the truth

      since i am not an economist, i can say this at the risk of not losing my economics job that i dont have:

      this civilization is going malthusian.

    3. Ed

      If you look into anything that is happening now, it almost always turns out to be the result of global overpopulation of humans. Sometimes directly, but mostly as a consequence of grabbing the resources needed to support seven plus billion people.

      And places that have had ridiculous rates of population increase, such as Syria, you get the effects first. Usually if you dig deep enough in these instances you will find that the government had population expansion as a goal, for example in Syria apparently they made contraception illegal.

      1. wbgonne

        It’s a combination: too much demand because too many people and too little supply, increasingly and relentlessly due to global warming. The exodus from the Middle East is the tip of the iceberg. When global warming really begins to hit — which is imminent — there will be nowhere to run. It will be chaos and unless we start addressing it now — i.e., abandon fossil fuels immediately, harden infrastructure, develop cooperative rather than competitive social organization — global warming and its attendant resource depletion will strip the veneer of civilization right off and we will be revealed as the shabby animals we pretend we aren’t. It has already begun.

      2. Vatch

        I agree that human overpopulation is often the main underlying cause of other problems. I’m intrigued by your statement that contraception was illegal in Syria. I can’t find a source for that. Could you please point us to a link or other source? Is it possible that contraception was illegal or discouraged for the ruling Alawite minority, but not for other groups? Abortion is illegal in Syria, unless it is needed to save the mother’s life. But that’s not the same as contraception.

          1. Vatch

            Thanks. The additional information helped me track this down, at least partially. Using Google Books, I found that Onn Winckler (not “Winkler”, as spelled by Globus Pallidus) wrote Arab Political Demography: Population growth and Natalist Policies, and on page 115 said that in the 1940s, a 1920 French law banning both abortion and contraception was still in force. In 1949, the propaganda, distribution, or use of contraceptives was forbidden.

            Google Books does not display the entire book, but I get the impression in 1958, following Syrian’s temporary union with Egypt, some family planning clinics were established. At some point in the 1960s, contraception was legalized.

            Of course, as in just about every Muslim nation, there was plenty of resistance to contraception by the clergy. Syrian’s rapid population growth caused enormous stresses, and must be considered one of the major causes of the civil war. The prohibition of contraception was dropped a couple of generations ago, but the legacy of this terrible policy lingers on.

            1. Vatch

              It is worth noting that the 1920 French law was undoubtedly influenced by the Catholic Church. So overpopulation in a Muslim nation was partly caused by Catholicism. So many interconnections — Indra’s Net is everywhere.

              1. craazyboy

                Catholicism is growing quite well in Central and South America. But Muslims are winning the race in the Middle East. 40% population growth over the last 20 years.

                I suspect that since condoms have never been that popular among the male species, it’s quite easy to convince the flock they really are no good.

                1. Vatch

                  Yes, the Muslims seem to be “winning” this race, but the Hindus, Mormons, Evangelical Christians, and some Third World Catholics are giving it their best shot! Meanwhile, the surface area of the Earth does not appear to be growing much.

      3. Oregoncharles

        In “Collapse,” a difficult book that should be required reading, Diamond makes the case that the ethnic blowup in Rwanda, with perhaps a million slaughtered, was a direct result of severe overpopulation. You’re arguing, and I would agree, that that is a typical scenario, and certainly fits Syria and Iraq. Outside meddling certainly hasn’t helped, but had lots of material to work with. (Iraq, which was outright invaded, is a less clear case – but the ethnic conflict depended on pre-existing tensions.)

        It’s worth noting that religion is a big factor in the Middle East, in population policies as well as the conflicts, as it was in Catholic Rwanda. There are several major religions that knowingly stand in the way of rational population policies, as well as women’s rights. Even Pope Francis, for all his efforts to bring the Church into the 20th Century (not a typo), isn’t addressing that one. Islam poses the same problem, only with more power.

        1. BEast

          I have read Collapse, and found that striking. Especially the information that killings took place not just between ethnic groups but within families, in areas with little to no ethnic variation.

          For in depth discussions of population in various countries, I highly recommend Alan Weisman’s Countdown. Really fascinating — and scary — info about population in places from Iran to Japan. Entertainingly written, as well.

          It also included the father of these soi-disant Green Revolution saying that he always knew the new crops/pesticides were only buying us time, not solving our overpopulation problem (as some blithely claim).

          1. Skippy

            A french team did a bang up job on the sociological drama wrt family killings e.g. oldest son got a slice of the patriarchs holdings upon coming of age, land was a key factor in getting a prime female. Second oldest son was then relegated to caretaker of said patriarch.

            Skippy… tradition meets environmental constraints, sort of having the same dramas down under in the bush.

      4. jgordon

        The problem is not strictly with human population, but with the middle class population. 7 billion people living at a subsistence level with good ecological practices and culture could be supported by the planet earth with no issue, and could even continuously enhance and grow the life-support capacity of the planet.

        I’d look to the Greening the Desert Part 2 video to see an example of how conscious design and good practices can expand the habitability of the planet, while potentially expanding the human population at the same time.

    4. willf

      From the article that commenter tony linked:

      The simple truth is that when you find yourself in deep resource depletion and high population no amount of financial hocus pocus or political posturing or brute force can fix anything. The Morsi government nor the military junta before and after could ever possibly satisfy the needs of the people. No government could. Nor could there be massive aid influx to ease the situation. The other nations of the world are all much poorer than they will admit. They cannot pump enough resources into the region to solve the problems. There is no scenario in which this comes out well.

      The bolded portions there are problematic. Yes there is a lack of resources in Egypt, but that alone could not have caused the riots. The deprivation is not the result of lack of resource alone, but a result of the policies chosen by the governments in the region, and those policies have been exacerbated by US involvement.

      Also, the author seems not to understand that America has sovereign currency, and so can not “run out of money” in any conventional sense.

      Finally the author elides completely the fact of US involvement in Syria. He seems to think that lack of resources alone is what caused the refugees to leave their home country. In doing so he blinds himself to the root cause of the crisis.

      1. tony

        While you can’t run out of money, you can run out of real resources. Yes, you might be able to stop the collapse for a moment, but their need for aid would grow explosively.

    5. lindaj

      yes, these darn people living in these remote places using next to no resources but procreating like crazy are just wrecking the planet.

      why can’t they be more like us? we only use the minimum that is required to keep the consumer confidence index up up up. bc if we don’t the economy will go down down down, right?

      1. BEast

        Population is not the sole cause by far, but it can’t be left out of the discussion. As someone in Weisman’s book put it, there is is no environmental or resource problem we face that would not be far easier to solve with half as many humans on Earth… and far harder to impossible with twice as many.

    1. Daryl

      > “Certainly there will be difficulties when we leave the euro, but we will have the chance to impose a different way – stopping payment of the debt, nationalising the banks.”

      And that is when they will impose a different way of ensuring the debts are repaid and the privatization continues.

      I just can’t read about Greece anymore; it makes me sick.

  2. wbgonne

    Trump Is an Outrage Candidate for Good Times New York Times (resilc)

    “Good times”? Based on a phony unemployment rate of 5.1? Oh, please. I guess the author doesn’t know this:

    The Typical Male U.S. Worker Earned Less in 2014 Than in 1973 Wall Street Journal

    That’s why people are angry.

    1. Larry

      The fact that real wages have declined over the last 40 years is a real victory in the war against labor. It only took the commitment of all wings of government, but they were bought cheaply. In phase two of the war, we never get social security and all remaining union jobs are snuffed out. Maybe it will take another 40 years.

    2. cnchal

      In the Jacobin article, near the end is this paragraph.

      In a sense the only novelty about Australian politics is that is has a more virulent case of the same disease infecting many rich Western countries — a weak and panicky political class, unable to rely on a serious social base and facing an electorate that has stopped seeing the political system as representative of its interests.

      It is sickening to see the parade of narcissists and sociopaths that run for office. These are not normal people, and the only interest they have is themselves. They couldn’t give a rats ass about anyone else.

      I like Trump for two reasons. He kicks banksters in the nuts, and is a wrecking ball. The other candidates are skillful at hiding what they really are, the US might as well elect an individual that is overtly a sociopath.

      The Typical Male U.S. Worker Earned Less in 2014 Than in 1973 Wall Street Journal

      How could the political class let that happen? Well, they were there every step of the way as wealth creating jobs vanished to Asia at warp speed over the last four decades. It circles right back to the fact that there is a parade of narcissists and sociopaths in elected office.

      1. abynormal

        i posted way too long ago: “In northwest Alaska, kunlangeta “might be applied to a man who, for example, repeatedly lies and cheats and steals things and does not go hunting, and, when the other men are out of the village, takes sexual advantage of many women.” The Inuits tacitly assume that kunlangeta is irremediable. And so, according to Murphy, the traditional Inuit approach to such a man was to insist he go hunting, and then, in the absence of witnesses, push him off the edge of the ice.” Stout, The Sociopath Next Door: The Ruthless Versus the Rest of Us

        now we’re engineering the extinction of the Inuits (heartbreaking) but NOT their tradition for dealing with kunlangeta…we need to get busy before 1) the Inuits are Gone 2) we lose Enough ice to float away the Socio & Psychopath(S)

        (if anyone finds that ole post…the NC comments were Exceptional)

      2. wbgonne

        I may be wrong but I think Trump is a novelty act and will burn out soon. To me, the more intriguing question is how the Democrats will destroy Bernie Sanders. There is more significance there because it is the Democratic Party (like Britain’s Labour Party) that is the real source of the systemic rot and corruption. The Republicans have been chased by the Democrats into insanity and the Democrats still lose while the people who own both parties just keep winning. Almost like it was planned. Hmmmm.

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          They’ve largely tried. The one overlooked with neoliberals is they aren’t particularly bright. The basic view of Sanders supporters from Democratic elite is they are rotten children supporting a strange old mam, and they are pulling out their own crazy uncle in Joe Biden to appease the children. Democratic elite believe any one who isn’t them is a mental misfit, voting against their interests with nothing beyond belief to support their position.

          The Democratic elite are so out of touch they don’t even understand why Bernie’s numbers are rising. These are people who after the 2014 shellacking decided Hillary Clinton, a divisive and centrist figure would reinvigorate a party that saw Clintonistas tossed out all over the country.

      3. samhill

        I like Trump for two reasons. He kicks banksters in the nuts, and is a wrecking ball. The other candidates are skillful at hiding what they really are, the US might as well elect an individual that is overtly a sociopath.

        Oh my, the rich are not going to wrecking ball themselves, even the psycho-rich (is there another kind?). They will wrecking ball all those below them as suits them, you will be in for quite a surprise. History is the story of the wanton elites going after each others wealth, you’re mistaking fratricide for revolution. Revolution is bottom up, not that much to wrap your head around. As for hating bankers, if Trumps POTUS bid washes out, try offering him the running of a major investment bank and see if he says no.

        1. griffen

          Trump will never work at an investment bank; he doesn’t need the money or the hassle. He’s been involved in real estate and property development for 40+ years. Over the past 10 years he started licensing his brand to varying success.

          Plus, even running an investment bank he would need to answer to shareholders, a board, and sign those pesky quarterly reports.

      4. fresno dan

        I agree.
        Trump is a bad, no-good, terrible, evil, horrible man – but he is the lesser of 21 evils (I am counting dems too)

        The rest of the politicians simply will not address 40 years of declining real wages, under both parties.

    3. Louis

      People are angry for understandable reasons. Not only have wages stagnated more many people but the costs of living, especially things like college, healthcare, and housing, keep going up. This is unsustainable in the long-term, especially in a country where consumer spending accounts for 70% (give or take) of the economy. If this divergence continues, some kind of restructuring is inevitable—it won’t necessarily be in good way.

      All I heard at the recent Republican debate was the usual platitudes about retraining sprinkled with the predictable calls for tax cuts, which makes for good soundbites but does little, if anything, to mitigate the problem of wages diverging from the cost of living. Republicans can write-off concerns about income inequality as envy at the rich, or people being too lazy to work, but this problem isn’t going away—they ignore it at their own peril.

  3. griffen

    It’s another Tequila (sunrise) Crisis – the link to NY Times provides an interesting backdrop to the middle 1990s. The column does include certain points about overseas markets, and the ongoing painful drop in commodity prices. One wonders if/why the FED continues to delay because while the reasoning (and defense of) the initial move needs perfection, the markets are imperfect.

    Wish I understood currency markets a little better (aside from USD being lord of them all).

    1. abynormal

      here’s a quick cheat sheet (fun but useless)
      thanks to Dark Pools and the club of kunlangeta’s…the outcome is unimaginable! example uno:

      Government and associated policies often have unintended consequences. What began in the aftermath of the global financial crisis as an extension of normal interest rate management to improve economic growth increasingly looks like a currency war with countries and regions competing to have the lowest exchange rate to improve their own fortunes. Unfortunately, this is a zero-sum game with losers offsetting winners.
      Ricardo Briganti March 2015

      1. griffen

        Great, I will check the above link. I’ve at least looked at the screens before for the Yen or EUR conversions.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Zaytoun, meaning olive, was also the name for the Chinese port city of Quanzhou (near Amoy) in Fujian province.

      It was at one time, the starting point of the maritime Silk Road and one of the few ports open to foreign trade during the Song dynasty, if not earlier in the Tang dynasty (the well known one during that earlier dynasty was the port city of Guangzhou, which was sacked by Huang Chao in his rebellion, with over 100,000 foreigners, Jews, Arabs and others from Southeast Asia, killed). The Arab travelers who visited Quanzhou described it as the Alexandria of the China, the harbor filled with ships from all over their known world.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Today, there still exists outside the city a foreigners’ cemetery (which Admiral Zheng He visited before his voyages, and the only extant Manichean temple in China, but the locals often confuse Mani with the Buddha, though the former is depicted with straight hair, while later depictions of the latter were with curly hair.

        1. JTMcPhee

          …and there are “reasons” why the modern Israelites are destroying the olive trees of the Muslim inmates of the open-air prisons the Likudnik leadership are so profitably running in the territory they are “illegally” occupying and continuing to take. Leading to one large, festering sore that with so many others afflicts the bodies politic in the ME, and is spreading. Where are, what are the cures, or at least the palliatives? It seems even the aid agencies are corrupted…

    2. DJG

      The Olive: The oldest institution of learning in the Arab world. I picked up this fact originally from a book about the olive tree, olives, and culture, but here’s a squib from Wiki to explain:

      “Ez-Zitouna University (Arabic: جامعة الزيتونة‎, French: Université Zitouna) is located in Montfleury, Tunis. It is claimed to be the oldest teaching establishment in the Arab world, since the Ez-Zitouna madrassa was founded in 737 C.E. (120 A.H) as the teaching arm of the Olive-Tree Mosque (Djemaa ez-Zitouna) and has been in continuous existence since then.[citation needed]]]”

      The olive tree: Truly a gift from the gods–now, whether Athena or Poseidon remains to be determined.

      1. OIFVet

        The Arabs did preserve and added to the knowledge accumulated by the Greeks and Romans while Europe was wallowing in the Dark Ages. BTW, since you are in the Chicagoland area, I recommend the Zaytune Mediterranean Grill, three Chicago locations. Good stuff!

  4. Brooklin Bridge

    Re; Coding Class, Then Naptime: Computer Science For The Kindergarten Set NPR

    I love the idea of greater computer literacy but the post is from NPR so giant alarm bells should be ringing starting at about the first letter of the first word of the article.

    The article does bring up one major issue; exposure to computer screens of any sort is probably terrible for little kids. That is at least hand waved by one group that uses objects such as blocks to represent instructions, but obviously the issue has not been fully thought out.

    Another problem I see is one NPR would be incapable of recognizing because their whole existence is predicated on not recognizing it; namely, establishment code bias. Children may be taught less about computers and computing in general than about the accepted norms and goals of computing today: Smart houses, smart things, big data, big control, the warm security of intrusion and so on.

    Software is exceptional because, at least in theory, it can be changed in a flash to do the opposite of what it did only yesterday. What’s needed, however, is the ability to recognize that; to think critically about WHAT software does rather than simply the nuts and bolts of how to make the instructions you were given happen.

    Right now, software purpose, the intent of software, is undergoing an onslaught much like labor has sustained over the last 3 or 4 decades. That is, the whole ethos of programming is being bent to conform to big business, big finance, global neoliberal capitalism. The use of contemporary software is taking away civil liberties, not enhancing them. It is reducing Democracy, for instance increasing the number of people who can’t vote and limiting the vista of those who can, not making Democracy more readily available. It is preparing a dystopia where unimaginable profits are to be made from pure insanity; from robots and machines that control and exploit every minute aspect of our lives under the absurd banner of convenience and security.

    Get em while they are young is a major win for this sort of generational effort because uncritical acceptance of this insanity as normal and “progress” is far easier and more cost effective on little children that even on high school students.

    1. Inverness

      Interesting to see how what is often recommended in education has less to do with actual research and more to do with what will get children, even those barely out of diapers, work- ready. The child psychiatrist interviewed in the article warns about how dangerous computer screens are for young children. Given equal editorial weight in the article is the presumed second “expert,” Marina Umaschi Bers, the computer scientist who is also (how convenient!) a professor of child development…who is also developing software and gadgets to include in the classroom. I think Ms. Bers just smells a good investment opportunity.

      NPR could have presented this as a conflict of interest, or questioned what Bers is really after — nice profits from sales of said objects and apps, or a genuine interest in child development.

      It’s the same story, over and over, in American education. Instead of consulting the experts with NO VESTED interest in publishing or selling gadgets (tablets, in particular), they work backwards. Find the “next big thing, ” like I-pads, and then act as if they will save education.

      Small children desperately need play time, social skills, and creativity, not this crazed focus on how to prepare them for the work world. Brooklyn Bridge, you’re right: get them while they’re young. Mold them into little workbots, and worry about the consequences later. What is creepy is that early childhood education is becoming less and less oriented towards developing social skills (like cooperation, sharing)…essential for the development into mature, productive, caring adult citizens.

      1. nothing but the truth

        if you ask dangerous questions you will be branded a “non-team player” and quickly lose your job.

        the west is coming close to the end of its domination, and that is looking more and more like a good thing.

        1. abynormal

          “Nihilism is a natural consequence of a culture (or civilization) ruled and regulated by categories that mask manipulation, mastery and domination of peoples and nature.”
          Cornel West

          bite down hard…this might hurt a lill

      2. Elliot

        “Small children desperately need play time, social skills, and creativity, not this crazed focus on how to prepare them for the work world.”
        As do adults! We forget humans are animals too, and all of us need those things to thrive. Humans did not evolve to work in factories and cubicles, it’s only been a mere instant in our evolutionary time that “jobs” even existed.

    2. nothing but the truth

      i am a s/w guy (like all indians in the west who are not driving a tax or running a gas station).

      i advised my son not to get into rat race. most software today is morphing into marketing, basically deception and big BS with no output except a big payout by Google/Fccebook or the stock market at large.

      and there is the dark underbelly of the s/w outsourcing world with its big bucks and shenanigans…..

      the fundamental problem i see in the west is the confusion between happiness coming from a basic “good life” (as in a moral life), and a rich one.

      It is known from the ancients that one cannot be happy unless one is morally upright. And then our modern preachers, the economists claim that it is not about morality at all.

      So not only are we deep in the money illusion, that illusion has destroyed our backbone.

      1. Brooklin Bridge

        You raise some good points about happiness. A great Yogi once remarked it would be nice if we could have India’s spiritual wealth with some of America’s material abundance. Though he never went after personal wealth, he felt crushing poverty was an unnecessarily harsh master.

        Instead, however, we frequently get India’s grabby (and somewhat grubby) merchant mentality combined with America’s sweaty pride in its violent ignorance.

    3. tegnost

      yes, not sure kids these days have it as good as we did back in the 60’s. Also, the purpose for teaching your kid coding? So they’ve got a head start making money before someone else gets it.

      1. Inverness

        Exactly, tegnost and nbtt. When these values have even corrupted how we raise and educate our children, something is deeply rotten. Small children crave moral order, and they need to see their elders model it for them, and give them the space develop into their best selves.

        We just keep adapting to the needs of the market, not to actual human beings. In Bhutan, the government realized that people were happier when they had human directing traffic, rather than mechanized lights. So they reverted back to human beings. Live on a human scale, not on a mechanized one.

      2. Brian

        Many of the younger people today, say <40, understand computers well enough, but few of them read or can spell. Literature is foreign to them after they start going to school. The computer is used as a means for compliance for it is flashy and has words but oh so much more.
        It is the words and music one can not get from a computer that might be the more important aspect of childhood.

        1. abynormal

          hmmm…1987 (there about) my (double major fin./econ) sister asked me, “why do you waste your time reading? your not making any money off it.” po sis hasn’t worked since late 90’s. as comptroller etc., she wouldn’t lie…not a team player. now she lives with manic depression, anxiety and panic attacks. she reads…facebook.

          but check this out….2 days ago she brought me TWO books (mint conditions) she thought i might like:
          The Runaway Soul / Harold Brodkey
          The Man Who Cried I Am / John A. Williams (holy sheeet!)

          i love the ‘if’ in life

      3. cwaltz

        Only the problem is that if every kid knows how to code guess what that does to the wage you can get for that skill? If everyone has a skill it becomes less valuable(Large supply to choose from lowers wages.)

        I have little to no doubt that the PTB would love to pick and choose which workers they want and have their workers become the tech equivalent of the service sector.

        1. aet

          ” If everyone has a skill it becomes less valuable.”

          Is that the case with literacy? I think not.

          Perhaps you are the one making value judgments, and in reality the use and value of a skill may have nothing whatsoever to do with whether or not others possess them – or perhaps a skill may lack any value at all unless and until others have and share them too – like the use of any language you can name.

          “Value” is ALWAYS some person’s judgement on the facts, arrived at by inspection, followed by introspection and rational thought. Do not confuse it with something’s price, which by contrast IS a fact discoverable in the World, by simple inspection. No thinking is required to find out the price – one simply needs to ask – but how different is the process by which people evaluate whether the price is worth the paying, or not!

    4. craazyboy

      I’m assuming that kindergartners won’t be doing Object Oriented Analysis and Design, otherwise I will feel very intimidated. Probable more like basic logic constructs – if statements and such, perhaps ultimately leading to flow charts. So, to program your morning, first put on your underwear, then pants or dress, then shirt or top*, then socks and shoes. IF cold outside, THEN put on jacket.(in pseudocode – specific language may differ)

      So it could be viewed sort of like what educational toys are trying to accomplish.

      But I suspect the main reason is that the “public education” market has always been big and very profitable biz for the industry.

      * This is the manly version. The other way is put on the shirt first, then underwear and pants follow. But school admins will have to grapple with that issue. I’m sure NPR and Fox News will keep us updated on the progress there.

      1. hunkerdown

        Oh dear heavens no. There will be no teaching of how abstract things fit into other things. Kids might stumble into critical analysis and they’ll make you drink the hemlock for corrupting them.

    5. Lambert Strether

      Well, yes and no.

      Software is exceptional because, at least in theory, it can be changed in a flash to do the opposite of what it did only yesterday.

      No, or at least theory is very far from reality, as we saw in our discussion of the Greek payment system. There’s a anti-design pattern called “Lava Flow,” where you couldn’t take the code apart with a jackhammer. I would bet Google’s 2 billion lines of code suffer from the same syndrome (and only that they’re rolling in money keeps their code base from congealing).

      What’s needed, however, is the ability to recognize that; to think critically about WHAT software does rather than simply the nuts and bolts of how to make the instructions you were given happen.

      Indeed, that being the second lesson of looking at the Greek payments system.

      “The program is the political”…

      1. Brooklin Bridge

        The nature of software is it’s ability to be changed quickly. The ability it gives engineers to try different things almost on the fly rather than hard wired machines as in the early days of computing. What you are talking about in Greece is not a phenomenon that would be present in the class room of little children; namely, software stratification due to usage, domain and sociopolitical constraints.

        That’s not to say it wouldn’t be a good class for the following year when they no longer take naps.

        1. hunkerdown

          It’s not “naturally” able to be changed quickly; we just make it look easy, on the best of days and under the best of circumstances (and where the foresight and wherewithal was available). Then everybody wants their ice maker replumbed to make espresso because it should be easy to apply the “other temperature” to water.

          Seems to me any screen time in schools should be accompanied by instruction in the value of seeking to spend the minimum time staring at them. But that would be telling, wouldn’t it?

          1. Brooklin Bridge

            It’s a relative thing. using software to model the behavior of a bridge that is to be built is orders of magnitude faster and easier to change than building multiple bridges and applying stress conditions directly on each one until it fails and you have to build another. And that is including all the code reviews, revisions and test iterations of the software.

            Seriously modifying a stratified (old) code base that handles some of the most difficult issues software has to face, such as fail safe, distributed, tightly transactional (ACID) operations on a highly complex system involving MONEY and BANKERS and international borders, where, on top of all that, source code is rarely available, where integration between completely disparate components is a major part of the project, and where lost time is literally counted in lost lives, and where there is simply no financial resources to fund the project and where the political climate is like rocks hiding inches below the surface of the water upon which you are supposed to be racing along…, well, that is another matter.

    6. neo-realist

      In spite of the broader ramifications for furthering the power of those 1% elite interests, the young seem to be very ok with it as long as they can earn a comfortable living from being software monkeys.

  5. fresno dan

    How Trump tried — and failed — to open a casino in Florida Washington Post. Lead story. Oppo is cranking up.

    “The 1998 meetings have taken on new importance now, as Trump is running for president by presenting himself as a populist political outsider who is free from the influences of special interests that can sway typical politicians like Bush. In a memorable debate confrontation, Bush accused Trump of being a “special interest” who gave him money in the 1990s in hopes of legalizing casino gambling but failed to sway him, because, Bush said, “I’m not going to be bought by anybody.”


    Its unfortunate that Trump doesn’t have the brains and/or courage to say what is wrong with “Bush accused Trump of being a “special interest” who gave him money in the 1990s” and Bush said, “I’m not going to be bought by anybody.”

    That is, you have to PAY to PLAY – you have to pay before you even have the chance to bribe the governor – you have to PAY to have ANY access to the government of the United States. I remember when I was a union representative (yeah – really, even though I used to be libertarian – people are full of contradictions) and we were trying to get some representatives to speak to our union (it was in a Washington DC suburb – they didn’t even have travel expenses) and they were very upfront that we HAD to give a pretty hefty DONATION to get any time with a representative. Uh, if you have to give, than its not a “donation”. As one person who worked for the congress critter said, those commercials don’t pay for themselves. They regarded our members votes as valueless – they wanted the money.

    So Bush saying he didn’t do what the Trump wanted for money is pretty disingenuous. And Trump, if he had any brains, would say the problem is all the people who need not favors, but mere interpretations or decisions, but won’t get them cause they can’t afford them.

    I know in the regulatory agency I worked in, small firms had to hire lawyers, while the big multi corps just called their representatives, and right quick decisions got made….

    1. afisher

      Once again, Mark Ames does a kick-ass job of reviewing the classic Spy Magazine and its historical take down of Donald Trump. Long ( as usual, because details really do matter) and well worth the read. Note: this is a 2 day share via Pando subscription.

      Please ignore DT’s most recent failure to perform due diligence as he jumps in bed with Veterans for a Strong America…and some here believe that he should actually be POTUS.

    2. Lexington

      They regarded our members votes as valueless – they wanted the money.

      You mention this only in passing but it is absolutely crucial to understanding how the American political system works and why it is largely impervious to grassroots political mobilization.

      Those who want to change the system need to understand first and foremost that the system is driven by money and not votes. From the perspective of the elite a system predicated on “one citizen, one vote” is fundamentally flawed because it grants the undeserving the same quota of political influence as the deserving. In any society the undeserving far outnumber their betters, so in aggregate they wield far more power and can use that power to enact wrongheaded public policy that transfers wealth from the deserving to themselves via means like progressive taxation and publicly funded social services. For preservation both of themselves and society at large – because any society that destroys its best and brightest self evidently has no future – they were forced to realign the political system from the failed principle of “one citizen, one vote” to the far more equitable and sustainable alternative of “one dollar, one vote”.

      It’s not a bug, it’s a feature.

      It follows that any political program predicated on the assumption that the system can be changed by offering elected officials votes instead of dollars is going to fail.

  6. Ulysses

    “the whole ethos of programming is being bent to conform to big business, big finance, global neoliberal capitalism. The use of contemporary software is taking away civil liberties, not enhancing them. It is reducing Democracy, for instance increasing the number of people who can’t vote and limiting the vista of those who can, not making Democracy more readily available. It is preparing a dystopia where unimaginable profits are to be made from pure insanity; from robots and machines that control and exploit every minute aspect of our lives under the absurd banner of convenience and security.”

    This is a very important point– the latest novels, of William Gibson and John Twelve Hawks, both do a great job in revealing how far we’ve already travelled in that direction!!

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      And our educational system is subsidizing big business, big finance by training these would-be programmers.

      (College athletes, at least, bring in some money, though sometimes more than enough and other times, not enough.)

      Meanwhile, we don’t teach our students enough on how to spread, defend and preserve democracy and civil liberties.

      1. JTMcPhee

        We have buried the memes, but they rule us from their graves…

        “Meanwhile, we don’t teach our students enough on how to spread, defend and preserve democracy…” School of the Americas, USAID, World Bank and IMF, globe-wide US imperial military Blob, color revolution, etc. What kind of “democracy spreading is in contemplation here? Iraq? Libya? Vietnam? Various Balkan and former Sovietistans? ISRAEL, for Jesus’ sake?

        How much observed horror does it take to constitute sufficient indicia that ” that dog won’t hunt,” in fact will turn around bite your arm off and eat your children and your dinner in a heartbeat? Not to mention eating the future of the species? Not, as Churchill is supposed to have observed, that fatuous fan of rule-of-the-privileged, about democracy being the worst form of government except for all the others except of course what we got is “democracy” only by arbitrary assignment to a cognitively dissonant, comforting category…

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          And failing its task even more, the system educates us to not question that arbitrarily assigned version of ‘democracy.’

  7. RabidGandhi

    Interesting read in Esquire on NYT columnist CJ Chivers with further damning proof of how NYT viewed the Iraq invasion:

    The Times offered him the Baghdad bureau. His editors told him that Baghdad was going to be a great story of reconstruction, that he’d have a house, with a swimming pool, and that he could even move his family there.

    Not that this is news, but it never ceases to amaze me just how NYT manages to keep up the facade that it is somehow the Fourth Estate and not the Second Estate.

  8. timbers

    “On-duty police officers have shot and killed more than 700 people this year”

    Well, so much for ALL Lives Matter.

  9. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Evolutionary importance of love.

    It’s also important to hug.

    More hugged baby chimps survive than un-hugged ones.

    1. Jagger

      Why they do those cruel experiments to report the obvious, mystifies me. I wouldn’t have the heart to do an experiment which denies hugs to chimps or separates those monogamous birds. Too sadistic for me.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        You make a good point.

        Moving forward, let’s put that knowledge to good use. To waste it would be cruelty squared.

  10. Jim Haygood

    Arming Japan is about as sensible as arming the homeless:

    A central question for many Japanese is whether loosening restrictions on the military will turn it into an American “deputy sheriff” in Asia, its new military powers at Washington’s disposal.

    Yoshinori Kobayashi, a right-wing author and manga artist, came out against Mr. Abe’s plans at a gathering of foreign journalists last month, saying, “We must not be caught up in American wars of aggression.”

    Although Japan did not fight in Iraq, its government was a vocal supporter of the war and sent troops from the Self-Defense Forces, as the military is known, to play a noncombat rebuilding role during the American occupation.

    Militarization: the last resort of decaying superpowers. In the 1980s, Japan was the leading economy in Asia. But in the 21st century, China has assumed that role.

    America’s obsolete military alliance with Japan, given Japan’s ugly colonialist history in China, unnecessarily puts the U.S. at odds with China. Not only is the U.S. a mindless bully, it can’t even pick the right friends.

    By the end of this century, both the U.S. and Japan are going to end up like Britain today, as second-tier countries salving their fragile egos and impoverished populations with the rationalization that ‘we punch above our weight.’ It’s going to take a lot of human cannon fodder to make that happen.

    The late Chalmers Johnson surely would point out that beneath the kabuki-show surface of civilian government, both the U.S. and Japan are firmly in the grip of the military-industrial-national security complex, a far more dangerous enemy than the foreign boogeymen they allegedly oppose.

    1. craazyboy

      If China gets smart and licenses the BraMos supersonic cruise missile from India and converts over their recently ailing 700 robotic automation factories to cruise missile production, any fears about the New Japanese Navy will dwindle to nothingness. But the US Pacific Fleet can remain safe if they stay docked in Hawaii. For now.

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      By the end of this century, we all could be worse than GB today…with global warming and resources depleted, fighting will be hand to hand or with atlatl.

      1. optimader

        By the end of this century, we all could be worse than GB today…
        speaking just for myself, I’m certain I will be.

        1. ambrit

          I believe one of the Great Lakes states made atlatls legal to hunt deer with during “primitive’ season. A deadly weapon when used properly. If Cortez hadn’t played the Meso American tribes off against each other, the Conquest would have never happened. The natives were learning to take down the horses with atlatls shortly before the end. (Sorry to be the bearer of bad tidings but, when faced with a horse riding foe, kill the horses first. That eliminates the advantages of height and weight the horse gives the mounted fighters.)

    3. Lexington

      America’s obsolete military alliance with Japan, given Japan’s ugly colonialist history in China, unnecessarily puts the U.S. at odds with China. Not only is the U.S. a mindless bully, it can’t even pick the right friends.

      No doubt the US should severe the “special relationship” with Britain as well, given Britain’s policy of paying for its imports from China with Indian opium and then going to war multiple times with China to prevent the Chinese government from trying to meliorate the massive social costs of widespread opium addiction by imposing import controls. Free trade and all that.

      Also, if this was genuinely a cause of friction between China and the US it would be ironic since it was the US’ attempts to curtail Japanese expansionism in China through economic sanctions that led to war between the two countries.

      The truth of course is that the roots of American-Chinese friction are much more proximate: the US correctly sees China as an emerging rival to its rapidly decaying status as the dominant world power (it’s interesting how the term “superpower” has had a sudden fall from grace), while Japan together with South Korea and Australia are useful buttresses for its influence in Asia. If the US was really concerned with minimizing the potential for conflict it would seek to gradually reduce its global footprint and consolidate its dwindling resources on a few key strategic priorities, including addressing serious domestic educational, infrastructure and social issues. Unfortunately the inside the Beltway crowd gets off on playing Rambo on a global stage so the chance of any meaningful realignment of American policy is virtually nil.

  11. craazyboy

    “Trump cancels S.C. visit after outcry over Obama/Muslim question McClatchy ”

    This is old news. GWB-McCain-Mittens fans told us Obama is a commie Muslim from Kenya right from the get go. Michelle too, which is why they got married in a Muslim temple in Iran.

    1. RabidGandhi

      The morbidly fascinating part of that exchange was that the press focused on the “Obama is a Muslim!” part of the question instead of the meat of what the questioner asked: “We have a problem in this country. It’s called Muslims…. when can we get rid of them.”

      So the objectionable part is not knowing Obama’s religion. That must be corrected immediately. As for the part about “getting rid” of 8 million people, you can just let that slide by.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        People don’t always follow their parents’ religion(s).

        But it is not surprising if they do…some even after their retire from public office….later in life.

        The only thing is one must be true to oneself.

      2. NotTimothyGeithner

        Obama is an elite or at least one of the “good ones” How dare white trash doubt a member of the elite?

        Admittedly, I wasn’t terribly upset by Trump’s response. The questioner was more confrontational than the senior in the McCain response from 2008. I’m not sure what that man would have done, and he looked like he was ready to be outraged.

        Cameras magnify this, but outside of carefully choreographed events, crazy makes a scene. To me, I saw Trump try to get the guy from speaking and console the crazy without feeding it. Romney’s 47% remarks were made in a room full of donors asking absurd questions with little understanding of even USAToday level of civics and the electorate. The whole video explains why there are so many sugar daddies in the GOP, the sugar daddies think they are brilliant strategists and will ride a Ted Cruz type to an ambassador appointment in the UK. This was a similar case where the candidate just had to shut the person up. I’d be more concerned with pretty much everything uttered during their debates than Trump defusing a situation. It wasn’t perfect, but when you hear crazy, do you correct them? I know coded language baits these people, and Trump is a crummy human being for that reason which we already knew.

        1. James Levy

          Your argument makes no sense. Trump could have politely dismissed the man, then turned to the crowd and said he thought such thinking wrong and threating millions of fellow-citizens was either evil or crazy. He did no such thing. He hasn’t done any such thing in the 48 hours since the incident. My guess is the guy in the audience would like Obama assassinated, and to send the Muslims to “relocation centers in the West”, i.e. American Auschwitzes. Trump would be happy rounding Muslims up and sending them to Madagascar (the original plan for the Final Solution).

          1. NotTimothyGeithner

            I just watched the short clip and compared it to the McCain clip from 2008. There was an aggressive questioner in this case and Trump moved away relatively swiftly. I don’t know what kind of security he has, but McCain had Secret Service protection when he corrected a less than aggressive elderly woman.

      3. RabidGandhi

        Again, just to clarify, my beef is not so much with Trump or the questioner; after all wingnut’s gonna wingnut.

        My complaint, as per usual, is with the press, who are the ones straining the gnat of Obama’s faith while ignoring the mote of a “final solution” for millions of people. The fact that this passes without commentary from the mainstream is far more damning than the loons on the fringes blathering their usual inanities.

  12. Jim Haygood

    FrAAnce sinks another notch in its sovereign debt rating:

    London, 18 September 2015 — Moody’s Investors Service has today downgraded France’s government bond ratings by one notch to Aa2 from Aa1. The outlook on the ratings is stable.

    The key interrelated drivers of today’s action are:

    1. The continuing weakness in France’s medium-term growth outlook, which Moody’s expects will extend through the remainder of this decade; and

    2. The challenges that low growth, coupled with institutional and political constraints, poses for the material reduction in the government’s high debt burden over the remainder of this decade.–PR_334715

    Arm the French!

  13. Christian B

    RE: “High-fat diet made Inuits healthier but shorter thanks to gene mutations, study finds

    First, the author calls these changes in the FADS genes “mutations” when they are in fact polymorphisms. There is a big difference. Mutation in alleles will occur in less than 1% of a population while polymorphism will be quite common. [link]

    This is a direct causation (not corelation) of the Intuit slowly changing their diet and this is the function of epigenetics (histone modification). It is the way the mother prepares the child for the diet and environment it will be exposed to upon birth.

    I have those slow FADS1 and FADS2 polymorphisms (found out through getting my genome through 23andme) and my family has a history of early heart disease (40’s) and mental illness when we eat a high mammal protein diet. My haplotype is from the North Sea (Norway, Sweden) and they were a heavy fish eating peoples. Since I have strictly reduced mammal protein from my diet all my metabolic health markers have changed to a very healthy state.

    If you know your nutritional genomics you will know what to eat based on your genetic history and your health will be greatly improved. We are living in a world that is so separated culturally and technologically from how we should be living and it is the cause of 90% of health issues faced in the industrialized world.

  14. Louis

    David Wessel’s piece in the Wall Street Journal on stagnating wages isn’t news but it is an important issue.

    Some will probably to try to it off as envy at the rich, or people not working hard enough, and ignore it. However, the issue of stagnating wages isn’t going away and can’t be ignored—at least not without serious consequences—forever.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      War on wage inflation – that’s not a bug.

      And many have been ‘educated’ to cheer its victories, so their 401-k will go even higher.

      ‘More education is good.’

      1. say_what?

        Assume, reductio ad absurdum(?), that all US citizens owned all US assets equally. Then low wages, inexpensive foreign labor and inexpensive foreign goods would be a universal national blessing, yes?

        The problem is wealth inequality and that devolves partly (largely?) from unethical banking and money creation.

    2. armchair

      Another thing that would be smart to tie-in to stagnating wages is how much more of the stagnant wage is devoted to housing costs, interest payments, medical bills and education. A classic counter-argument of think-tankers is to point to people in public housing who have digital televisions or smart-phones. They suggest that since electronics are so much cheaper, wages really aren’t stagnant. It is a nice argument, because it is true that certain consumer goods are cheaper than ever, but this ignores that internet connections are expensive, that silicon valley creates the need for frequent upgrades, and more importantly it ignores that stagnant wages have been consumed by credit card interest and student loan interest, that people own tiny portions of the equity in their homes, and pay a higher portion of their income for education and medicine than they ever did back in the days when owning more than one television was considered extravagant.

      People are taught to be positive, which is a fancy way of saying they shouldn’t think about how they’re being screwed over. I am glad that WSJ is saying that wages have been stagnant, and I hope this story keeps getting repeated and I hope everyone is ready to push back against the stupid think-tanker rationalizations.

      1. Louis

        I agree with this. One of the more effective arguments concerning income inequality isn’t to point out how the wages of a few have gone up while many haven’t but rather to point out how wages and the cost of living have diverged.

        1. armchair

          Some good news is that the Seattle teachers had a resounding victory in their strike this September. They won the strike with the support of the community. I can’t find a good summary yet, but I think there will be a very good story on this soon. I listened to a local based radio show yesterday, and the local pundits were unequivocal that the union’s strike was a smashing success.

      2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        You used to be able to get (local and national) news and entertainment, every night, for free.

        Now, you have to subscribe to cable, etc.

        That’s an inflation rate of infinity (from zero to some thing finite).

        1. wbgonne

          Exactly. As more and more is moved from the commons into private hands the wealth of the people is diminished accordingly. And environmental degradation is definitely included since that is the ultimate taking: allowing corporations to use finite common natural resources as a dump is just shifting business costs onto the people and stealing their property. Plus, as you suggest, American consumer capitalism is becoming increasingly extractive. Companies today don’t so much compete to convince you to buy their products; instead, they buy the government officials who pass laws and enforce policies that give the companies the power to effectively force you to buy the product. National compulsory health insurance being the most recent florid example.

          Fortunately, there are glimmers of political hope. Sanders. Corbyn. Podemos. Even Syriza before Tsipras pulled his Obama act. But will these catch or be snuffed out? I don’t know. And is it largely too late anyway? I don’t know that either. We’ll see. Interesting times are coming.

      3. hunkerdown

        Of course the “poor” have cell phones. The phone companies want out of copper and employers want 24×7 access to their bespoke labor force; are pundits expecting them to buy antique phones at a resale shop and hook them up to LTE interfaces/ankle beepers so as to keep them tied to the house all the time?

        Of course the “poor” have televisions. Do they want them hearing the elites’ BS propaganda, or believing what they see? Funny how the pundits seem to not want us thinking more than half a ply ahead…

        “The comfort you have demanded is now mandatory.” -Jello Biafra’s Flag Pledge

  15. afisher

    Water banking deal between Southern Cal and Nevada – is a scheme similar to Enron for the oligarchs to make more money. 7 part reprinted series by Yasha Levine / Pando. Here is the older version via NSFWcorp.

    The water bank was designed by California’s Department of Water Resources to function as an emergency reservoir. In wet years, it would collect excess water shipped down the California Aqueduct from Northern California and hold enough water to keep Los Angeles hydrated nearly two years in case of prolonged drought. The water bank was supposed to serve as a last-line defense to protect urban users. But in 1995 California water bureaucrats tweaked a couple of arcane water regulations and handed the water bank over to a small clique of Oligarch Valley landlords.

    Once water entered the water bank, it stopped being a public resource. From that point, the owner could sell it to the highest bidder. “This means they become middlemen making profits on state-supplied water,” reported Redding’s paper Record Searchlight. “If they choose to, they can dry up vast areas of productive agriculture and ship the water to municipalities south of the Tehachapi range.”

  16. Steve on Flyover

    I’ve been repairing corporate jets since 1979. Gone from a newbie wrench turner, to crew chief, to foreman/supervisor for a OEM, to being chief of maintenance for three different corprate flight department, witisnt really stellar performance reviews at all three.

    But, inflation-corrected, I’m making less now than I did as a new hire in 1979.

    Ask the suits about even partially correcting this, and you will hear something like “It is what it is/suck for you to be so specialized” and/or “feel free to pursue any better opportunities”. Unfortunately, nobody will know what I’m “worth” until and unless I quit, get replaced by a substandard replacement, and there is a seriously blown budget, or a smoking hole in the ground. Thus, the situation being experienced by every transportation sector worker in America, and the bitching about “can’t find qualified help”. Funny how the free market never works for us when there is a labor shortage.

    1. Synapsid

      The beauty of that article by Bill McKibben is that at the bottom of that page from the New Yorker is an ad:

      Support Keystone XL. (Learn more)

      To support America’s energy security, you see.

      Bill McKibben is the person who made the Keystone XL pipeline not just a celebrity, but the sole focus of heightened publicity and attention about OMIGOD oil. He was successful for a couple of years in keeping the Keystone XL pipeline in the headlines (got himself arrested protesting against it in front of the White House), with no attention being paid to 1) the numbers, which showed that coal mining and combustion contributed far more to CO2 emission than did all the oil from Canada’s oil sands even if the entire amount were mined and burned (which is not possible); and 2) the continuing expansion of the pipeline systems carrying oil from Canada (mostly from the oil sands) into the US, to the point that Keystone XL became increasingly less and less important; and 3) the completion of the southern part of Keystone XL (no Federal approval necessary since it doesn’t cross a national border) and put online at the beginning of this year, carrying 400 000 barrels of oil a day by February, mostly from Canada, to the US Gulf Coast refineries that buy it.

      I’ve thought for a couple of years now that McKibben serves as what Lenin called a useful idiot, and I wouldn’t be at all surprised if CEOs of coal companies had made sure that checks had been sent regularly to support, the effort McKibben had founded with the aim of protesting against the Keystone XL oil pipeline.

      McKibben has a new topic now, I guess, legitimate and important but, um…what about Keystone XL? After all that hoo-haw?

  17. BEast

    Every time I see some bankocrat saying we should ditch cash, my hackles rise. No cash = every transaction attached to your name, by both bank and vendor.

    Sure, checks and online purchases already work that way — plus store “loyalty” cards — but it still is possible to buy pretty much anything with cash if you wish to. Which means you get to keep some things private from all but the cashier, whether the subject you want to keep to yourself involves your diet, your alcohol/cigarette intake, your sex life, your embarrassing health problems, or whatever.

    Plus, once money was all digital, what would prevent a universal haircut to fund the banksters’ next bailout? Or freezing the accounts of Occupiers? Or, as in one of Atwood’s dystopias, freezing the buying power of all of an entire segment of society?

  18. Jeff N

    I am a huge fan of the VW diesel cars, and I am sad to see them guilty of such a thing.
    They get great fuel economy.

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