Links 9/25/15

Highlights Of Pope Francis’ Speech To Congress Onion (David L)

Pig and Dog Best Friends Have Been Roaming the Florida Wilderness Together Gawker

When and Where to Watch This Weekend’s Total Lunar Eclipse Wired

Kids Who Use Computers Heavily in School Have Lower Test Scores, Major Worldwide Study Finds Hechinger Report. We linked to an earlier report about this study, but this headline is clearer about the main finding.

The big step climate scientists can make to restart the climate change debate & win Fabius Maximus (resilc)

The Fake Traffic Schemes That Are Rotting the Internet Bloomberg (resilc)

Conservatives swing into lead, close in on majority government, new poll suggests Toronto Star

Oh Canada! Four in 10 Americans Want Wall on Northern Border Bloomberg (resilc). Huh?


China in the Debt-Deflation Trap Project Syndicate

China to cut growth target: economists Taipei Times

Yuan Undervaluation? Menzie Chinn, Econbrowser

30 charts and maps that explain China today Washington Post

Macron calls for radical reform to save euro Financial Times

France signals EU treaty change to avert Brexit, warns on euro survival Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, Telegraph


Die Linke’s Sarah Vagkenknecht: “I find it hard to congratulate SYRIZA” iskra, original Greek version here (Sid S)

Greek Police Are Under Investigation for Alledgedly ‘Torturing’ Teens Last Week VICE

Greek debt remains unsustainable: Here is why VoxEU


ISIS’ cash-flow problem Business Insider (resilc)

Iran’s Parchin nuclear myth begins to unravel Middle East Eye

Saudi king orders Hajj safety review BBC

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

NSA Director Admits that Letting Government Have Encryption Keys Leaves Us Vulnerable to Bad Guys George Washington

Homeland Security to create self-destructing ‘brain chip’ with Boeing and Android Daily Mail

“Snowden Treaty” Calls for End to Mass Surveillance, Protections for Whistleblowers Intercept

Imperial Collapse Watch

President Obama makes the ‘nudge department’ official Fusion. “Nudge” = subtler forms of propaganda.

Pope Decries “Shameful and Culpable Silence” on Arms Sales “Drenched in Innocent Blood” Intercept

U.S. State Department “Welcomes” News That Saudi Arabia Will Head U.N. Human Rights Panel Intercept

Destined for War: Can China and the United States Escape Thucydides’s Trap? Atlantic (relilc)

Shuttering the government actually costs more than keeping it open — more than $2 billion last time Washington Post faulted for weak cybersecurity The Hill

U.S. Senate blocks Republican bill denying Planned Parenthood funds Reuters

The Vatican and the GOP: What Republican Casuistry Says About Pope Francis Pacific Standard

Daily Fantasy Sports and the Hidden Cost of America’s Weird Gambling Laws New York Times


Hillary Clinton Wants Poor Students to ‘Work’ for Tuition—Though Her Dad Paid Hers Alternet

Ex-HP CEO Fiorina used job-creating tax breaks to buy back stock — then fired thousands of workers Raw Story


VW ‘cheated diesel tests in Europe’ BBC

Volkswagen’s Scandal is Libor on Wheels Bloomberg

White Collar Watch: The Potential Criminal Consequences for Volkswagen New York Times

Volkswagen ‘allowed torture’ under Brazil military rule BBC (RR)

Kentucky Republican state Senator: the First Amendment protects my right to receive bribes Boing Boing (resilc)

Investors Are Mining for Water, the Next Hot Commodity New York Times. I had a friend who was a partner in a project in Southern Colorado in the late 1980s-1990s in which they bought the land over the second largest aquifer in the US, the Baca ranch, meaning they were decades ahead of their time. They should have made billions. Unfortunately, they hired the “best” law firm for perfecting their water rights. That firm represented municipalities, which meant when it showed up, the local farmers saw the developers as the bad guys, and mounted a successful fight to hold them off (this despite the developers having studies, which might actually have been genuine, showing that the amount of acre-feet they planned to lift annually would not deplete the water table. The aquifer was so large that it might have been possible to develop it “responsibly”). The net result was that my buddy had a negative net worth of $3 million at the age of 30. He was the sort that was able to earn his way out of his hole without declaring bankruptcy (although he also did stuff in his lean years like buying food stamps from winos at cents on the dollar).

High-Frequency Firms Dominate Treasury Trading in Near Secret Bloomberg

Yellen reiterates case for 2015 rate rise Financial Times

Durable Goods Orders Decline 2%, Led by Transportation; QE Bounce Effect is Over; Recession on the Way? Michael Shedlock

Surprising Data on Who Owns U.S. Firms and How Much They Pay in Taxes Wall Street Journal

The importance of global health investment Larry Summers, Financial Times

Class Warfare

The sharing economy is now a playground for Wall Street Gillian Tett, Financial Times

Maine Republican Demands Bill To Post Welfare Recipients’ Addresses Online Gawker

Antidote du jour. We got a very nice note along with this image from reader Sam B. earlier in the week:

Naked Capitalism is the first place I go after pouring a cup of coffee in the morning and where I go in the evening after pouring a glass of wine. Attached is a picture of a tree frog at our winery yesterday, Beaton Farm, in Oregon.

Thank you very much for your effort.

tree frog links

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email


  1. MB

    “Hillary Clinton Wants Poor Students to ‘Work’ for Tuition—Though Her Dad Paid Hers Alternet” One of the stupider hit pieces I’ve seen on HRC and they are legion. Wonder why NC thought this was “news worthy”????

    1. j in baltmore

      because NC is linking to ANY hit piece on HRC from Paglia to Woodward to that bastion of forward thinking, The New York Post. Have to wonder if NC is now part of a Morning Joe journolist group.

      1. Yves Smith Post author

        This is desperate as a Hillary defense. If we wanted to link to Hillary “hit pieces,” as opposed to news, we could fill Links two times over with them alone. And contrary to your slurs, the Post occasionally does break news stories and the one we linked to was taken up by other MSM outlets.

        1. Emma

          Look everyone, there simply appears to be a lack of responsibility shown by the US (both Rep & Dem) in how money is collected and spent (ie. non-tax paying corporations, defense waste, etc..…), and a clear disregard for the long-term health of its citizens. The high cost of US student debt is contributing to the overall weakening of the economy and will negatively impact both pensions and retirement savings in future – if not for many already. It’s another sub-prime debt debacle waiting to happen, isn’t it? Only when it does, there won’t be a sufficiently large enough middle or working class left to hold the can.

          With regards to Hillary Clinton, let’s not ignore the fact she’s probably surrounded by a fair few self-serving idiots which exacerbates any poor decision when it comes to policy-making. Out in the real world, we know that women in the US have lower earnings potential than men. They then endure longer loan repayment periods. After having opted to, or been forced to take time out from their careers, women who’re able to return to the workforce are simply assigned to lower-level paying positions. In part, because of limited resources or means at their disposal to keep up with training, or to maintain a current network of contacts.

          US Gov employment stats show the only area of significant job growth is in the restauration sector. This isn’t encouraging for youngsters, is it? Aside from which, the sector is renowned for a lack of job security. As are the mall and call centers where many graduates find themselves working. There are diminishing options to get ahead but the prospects for scraping by are endless, aren’t they? All the more so if you have a second-rate degree from a second-rate college in a second-rate town with second-rate career options. Perhaps the real objective is to simply have everyone working in menial jobs after all? Or rather, to become a nation of debt collectors. The upside being that less docility and compliance is required of the latter.

          A real issue for the less well-off upon graduation, if they were able to stay the course, and many cannot, is that due to their student debt, they take the first job offered. They’re driven by this overwhelming financial burden and cannot afford to wait for the right career opportunity. This is detrimental to both career prospects and earning potential. It also doesn’t take into account the continual rising costs of living, lack of minimum wage increases or that goal posts move with different administrations in power.

          These poorer students may also spend more hours actually working than studying whilst at college, and graduate with a poor degree like I did. Fine, after a whirlwind passage through six high schools across the globe, I have no idea how I actually arrived at college! What Hillary Clinton fails to appreciate however, is that for example, weekly 24 hour shifts in retail whilst pursuing a degree don’t make for ideal conditions in which to excel. In my case, I was fortunate because I mostly got to choose the shift hours I worked. This meant I was able to earn money and didn’t miss out on too many classes.

          Perhaps one solution in the US might come from those wonderful US ‘corpeoplerations’ who continually decry a lack of skilled graduates and workers. How about US leaders properly tax them for a change?! They’re bumper-mega-sized ‘people’ aren’t they?! They could definitely lose a few pounds and then some…. This fat could be converted into cost reductions for education, student loans and training. Perhaps though, investing in Americans and the local talent pool for a change is just too much to ask?!

          1. Lambert Strether

            “weekly 24 hour shifts in retail whilst pursuing a degree don’t make for ideal conditions in which to excel.”

            Exactly. Just horrific, and debt at the end of it all. Why free tuition is the way to go.

    2. Sam Adams

      Likely because it highlights her rapacious character demonstrated by neo-liberal policies. I hear slaves pay a 4% return on capital. I’m waiting for that jewel to be thrown to the swine.

      1. wbgonne

        Yup. Also: 1) hypocrisy; and 2) class unfairness (poor college students with jobs have less time for studies).

        One thing you can say for the Clintons: they have made self-pity into an art form and a political strategy. But is doesn’t work anymore because people are now suffering themselves. While the Clintonistas still lap it up, the rest of the country wants to vomit.

    3. j in baltimore

      …beause NC will link to any HRC hit piece these days. See past links to Camille Paglia and that bastion of forward thinking, the New York Post. NC seems to be sharing a list-serv with Morning Joe these days.

      1. OIFVet

        It’s a conspiracy! Glad to see that you find student indentured servitude and debt slavery a perfectly reasonable policy prescription.

          1. cwaltz

            Yes, and tell us how that has worked out? Are people who have to work while in college more or less likely to graduate from college?

            I’ll give you a hint- the affluent graduate at much higher rates than the working class and it has nothing to do with them having larger aptitudeaptitude.

          2. JTMcPhee

            …I did work-study, but long enough ago that the “work” paid fairly and honestl, and actually related in many cases to the “study” part.. You don’t get to conflate the current political economy with what existed long ago when “work-study” had a decent sta5us, before tuition ripoffs and the whole student loan csam and when a lot of schools were still at least a little bit about teaching citizenship and critical thinking. Clinton’s schtick is redolent of rented bodies.

          3. OIFVet

            It did, and worked so great at $5.50/hour for me that I had to join the ROTC to make it possible to attend school, in addition to other odd jobs. Like I said, good to see you supporting indentured servitude.

            1. JTMcPhee

              My work-study stint was both a little before, and then after I enlisted in “Sam’s Green Dream” in 1966 and did a tour ’67-68 in Vietnam playing with Hueys and was given my DD-214 in June 1969, so maybe we live in different universes.

              Certainly tuition/books/expenses even at the snotty Liberal, I say again LIBERAL, college I went to, at around $4000 a year, was a long way (even increased to present bucks) from today’s ripoff pricing of that Brass Ring, the “degree.” And of course I got the “benefit” of the GI Bill as it existed in the late ’70s-early-’80s, I recall it was $95 a month, going all the way up to about $200 a month by the time I finished putting myself through law school in 1976. Not like earlier “benefits,” that are generously described here: (especially liked the brief paragraph on the Bonus March…), and the little bit more that current Combined Joint Servicepeople are offered.

              Fundamental point is that all us mopes ought to be on the same side, rather than savaging each other like the neocons/neolibs/0.001%ers want us to do so we don’t focus on how they are eating our livers and hearts. There is no ineluctable reason, other than how the whole system is powered to run all the wealth and value right up to the very narrow top end of the table we all have to eat at, why the species needs to die and most of the biosphere with it, with us mopes happily, joyously killing one another off, for all the idiot reasons we even build for ourselves on the froth of bulls__t that we are smothered with by the Few, justifying it cuz Markets and My God vs. Yours and Welfare Mothers and all that idiot jazz, as the band plays on and the C-Suite-ers and Fund Babies mug and chortle and nudge each other on the decks of private yachts and looking out over their Infinity Pools…

              Did I say I support indentured servitude? I’m all for putting the wealth our Rulers waste, on their fripperies and indulgences and those enormous fraud-peddled wars like I guess yours and mine too, into investing in the education (not just indoctrination and job-training) of our fellows and our progeny. So the mopes don’t have to either be hyper-energized and -organized saints with unlimited personal energy, like the models held up by the parasites who say “anyone can be President if they work hard enough, see, e.g., GWB and Obama”, especially the “single moms with three well-fed-well-adjusted kids who get their degrees at night by not sleeping, all on $2 a day from their minimum-wage-minus-wage-theft pay and the Public Assistance their employer tells them how to apply for.”

              In my war, we routinely came under fire (with US-supplied rounds) from ARVN bases and encampments, as well as from The Enemy. All, as in OIF, in an asymmetric idiocy where the only winners were the MIC and CIA and Big Drug Dealers and arms merchants. And now, mirabile dictu, people like the Commiecapitalists that rule Vietnam where mope wages are supposedly 68 cents a day to make the shirt and slacks I can buy, “cheap,” “Rolled Back” even, at Walmart. And of course there were the Pat-Tillman/JDAM-on-Special-Forces-Foreheads inevitable “Friendly Fire” booboos, and our Brass earned the right to be fragged for being evil lazy cowardly lying fu__ers, and maybe your war too with its well documented idiocies and enormous corruptions and blowbacks. So that really, it’s hard to know where to point your rifles, some days… You know OIF was originally slated to be “Operation Iraqi Liberation,” right? But really, Operation OIL was just a little to cynical and honest for the Acronymic Acrobatic Brass and the Great Geopoliticians Who Rule Us…

              All because “we” don’t know how to identify and activate a central, sustainable, homeostatic, fundamental organizing principle that looks to LIFE, and decency, and comity, not just the pleasures of the very few and the faux “pleasures” of the Whopper and “American Sniper…”

              1. OIFVet

                Sorry JT, I was responding to the unesteemed J in Baltimore; it just so happened that it is directly under your own response to him/her. I think that you and I are on the same page on this issue. I don’t know what Universe J lives in, but in the late 1990’s paying my UChicago tuition with an $5.50/hour work study job (capped at $2,000 per year, if I recall correctly) was and is mathematically impossible. So that leaves people two choices: debt slavery or indentured servitude in the military (which would still only cover part of the total expense). Being Chelsea’s contemporary, her dear mommy’s nonsense really grates, what with her voting for the war that is part of my moniker. So while I was in the sand, Chelsea was groomed for the boardroom. All because she descended from Bubba’s wandering testes. Like my late father once asked his factory director/Communist party apparatchik, “Why is it that some families birth only directors while others birth only laborers?” Well, as long as Hillary and Hillbots pass the myth that one can pay for college with work study job, that question will remain relevant.

      2. wbgonne

        Speaking of list-serves and such, have you seen this?

        Investigators with the FBI have recovered a trove of personal and work-related Hillary Clinton emails that had been thought to have been deleted and lost from a private computer server, one source familiar with the investigation tells NPR’s Carrie Johnson.

        The recovery might mean that those emails may one day become public.

        Just think of it: 30,000 emails about Hillary’s yoga practice and planning Chelsea’s (million dollar) wedding! Or perhaps some other matters, some that weren’t so personal after all. Ka-ching.

        So pre-emptive whining about persecution may be a good plan under the circumstances. Because this may get very ugly. Where’s Ken Starr when you need him? Are Alternet. Camille Paglia, MSNBC, and the New York Post in a vast right-left wing conspiracy against the Clintons? Of course they are. OTOH: the Obama DOJ will fight like the dickens to protect Hillary and keep the emails secret (some of the dirt is probably on Obama, too, after all). So we’ll see. Pass the popcorn.

      3. Carolinian

        Feel free to post some pro Hillary links and not just kvetch. I for one would be interested to see them. However please spare us from links to David Brock’s Correct the Record. Hillary hasbara.

          1. wbgonne

            You’re citing the daily Hillary puff-piece from Daily Kos’s resident Clintonistas? Seriously? For what purpose? Humor? Even the sentient commenters at Daily Kos oppose Clinton and want Sanders (two-thirds of the site, I believe). Of course, the Daily Kos “management” is in the tank for Hillary but that’s because the Great Kos himself is a neoliberal toadie. Thanks for the chuckles. With you on her team, Hillary can’t lose!

              1. JTMcPhee

                Like the others who precede her, if she ends up being Presidented, she won’t “govern,” she and her posse will RULE. Not at all the same thing, of course…

              2. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

                Reminds me of the bumper sticker “Who Would Jesus Bomb?”. I’m sure Hilary’s crop of Chanel-suited Kissinger-wannabes will have a long list of new countries that are not doing precisely what America wants them to do. “Humanitarian bombing” was the phrase Obama’s Desperate Bomb-Flinging Housewives came up with, I’m sure Hil’s Council of Geniuses will turn lovely new phrases to describe brown children with their heads blown off. And after the coronation I’m sure we’ll be treated to some great new quotes: “Let them eat bruschetta”? “Apres moi, le jacuzzi”?

      4. nigelk

        Hypocritical policies should be criticized. HRC doesn’t have a monopoly on them, but damn does she have a lot of them.

      5. timbers

        What’s the equivalent to Obot – Hillbot? How to explain a sudden influx of pro Hillaries? Do you get paid like some Obots do?

    4. tegnost

      Not allowing student loan borrowers to claim bankruptcy is a hand out to the fire sector where they securitize the confiscation of tax returns and social security. Does Ms. Clinton have a stand on this issue?
      I will commonly ask elders in their preachier moments how much school debt they had upon graduating in the 50’s 60’s and a small portion of the 70’s.

    5. diptherio

      Under Hil’s plan, students would be required to take a job from someone else in-order to attend college. How is that helping anything?

      On the other hand, if we pay people to go to college, at least the local businesses will get an influx of cash, which will allow them to (possibly) hire more non-college students to fill the new demand. Seems like a much better idea to me.

    6. alex morfesis

      MB…one day, hopefully, you might get old enough to maybe collect on what is left of your 401k and/or social security…if the ones who have to work to pay for your retirement are in a weak position financially, how will that add up to a better nation in the future from students stuck with insane student debts ?

      and as for hillary…she can not win…for one simple misogynist reason…a republican will ask her the ugly question and do a goldwater on her…and she was a goldwater girl, so she should know what it is…and she has done nothing to prepare for the question or the alluding…and so it will be fatal…

      “If she could not be trusted to take care of her husband when she was first lady,
      why should we trust she will take care of us…”

      there is no way around it…

      she was made senator because she put on the stoic face in the heat of the moment…and the nation thanked her by giving her a political seat she was neither qualified for nor had earned politically…and then she was made Secty of State…again…unqualified…and considering how un un she was, she did not totally make a total mess…but she is not presidential…it is not her turn…she already got two turns…time to play nice nice with bill and just fade away…she got her moment plus…she is not presidential…sorry…

      yes, I would like to see a female win the presidency this time through…but the two female candidates in the main parties are duds…this nation has better…and maybe just maybe, the nation is ready for a leader with some warts (maybe the donald is doing some good after all…)

      maybe with the slogan :

      “jane doe…

      she is not running for sainthood…

      she is running for president…”

    7. Gabriel

      Hey wbgonne, sorry this comes mega-late for me to say as I foil re fish faces (“c’mon, you’re a jap, or from Hawaii anyway, make them do that thing!”), I’m really sorry even the replies to people got to your replies were such that I forgot my point and wrote another offensive point and taunted them some more…. I’m sorry, where am I. What, a “coaster of rollers”…? Whatever Mr-the-guy-I-claim-my-friend says, vavaRooom, yzooooUUUP (disappears into share econonmy darkness).

    1. financial matters

      Can taxes save the Euro? I don’t think so. Taxes are an important way to solidify a currency space and Macron, the French economy minister, among others is suggesting that the EZ collect a tax.

      But to be effective a tax has to be enforced. I don’t see the EZ as being a legitimate enforcer. Where are they going to get the legitimacy to jail someone for not paying a tax?

      I think this comes from a social unit/country/group of countries that accepts a common set of rules and has a voice in forming and enforcing these rules. For taxes it seems to be important that they seem fair and put to good use.

      Greece seems to be providing the most dramatic example so far of this failure of the Euro.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        The EU depends on dues from member states not taxes. Virginia doesn’t collect taxes for DC. Before the EU could jail someone for non-compliance they would need a corresponding bureacracy and a police force of some kind.

        Greece has made all of its membership due payments to the EU on schedule. Private, Greek bond holders were the ones in danger.

        1. financial matters

          I think this gets into the private/public power struggle. Who was guaranteeing these bond holders? The euros are printed by the ECB but they don’t have taxing authority. They rely on the individual countries to enforce taxation and thus give value to the currency. So they haven’t created an effective monetary space.

          The credibility of the individual state bonds is left to the ability of the individual countries to enforce taxes. So this gets back to a currency exchange rate problem instead of a standard currency.

          The private investors rely on the power of the state to tax in order give the currency a level of stability.

          1. susan the other

            I really didn’t follow any of this AEP article. If France wants the EU treaty/constitution changed to accommodate British fiscal sovereignty, shouldn’t it want its own? In the EU fiscal sovereignty is just a fantasy – there is only monetary sovereignty of the Euro and it might as well be a gold standard. But Macron is busy doing TINA to bring down the old French benefits system and on the other hand he is talking about a fiscal union for the benefit of countries needing welfare of some sort. He really doesn’t talk about an EU taxing authority with teeth – he talks about a tithing authority, just after he condemns everyone for their religious fiscal ideologies. Crazy.

  2. Bill Smith

    “Iran’s Parchin nuclear myth begins to unravel” story is confusing. The story starts talking about a “steel cylinder for testing explosives”. The cylinder (if it existed) would be for testing conventional explosives for a triggering device. That has nothing to do with the radioactive part of a nuclear weapon. The article then goes on to say there is no way to remove all traces of nuclear material at the site. Okay, but what does that have to do with a cylinder for testing high explosives? What would environmental samples turn up in this case? Nothing?

    1. JTMcPhee

      Ah, yes, those who gain from continuing to sell the Narrative really do like the cross-examiner’s tricks. Like winning the initial point of assigning the burden of proof to the other side. And framing ” the issue” to obscure the interlocutor’s own outrageous culpability. And getting the unbiased and uninformed jury to buy into the notion that “Isn’t it the case, Mr. EXPERT Witness, on your honor as an honest person and scientist, that anything is possible?” And gloating over having winkled the court into requiring his opponent to face the impossible task of proving the negative? And of course artfully inserting ever-more fraudulent “evidence” into The Great GameCase…

      Iran’s MIC presumably has an active conventional weapons development program. Testing all kinds of high explosives, from bomb and shell-filler stuff to fuses and detonators goes on all the time, all over the planet more’s the pity, even in the Empire, Some no doubt is part of the I Wanna Big Dick Too nuclear-club syndrome. Most is probably that other kind of weapon ization fetish.

      But the Narrative (ignore the Israelites squatting there in the back of the court, and their 200 or 600 or however many nuclear weapons and ongoing development of same at that Dimona place and elsewhere, undeniable actions where the rest of us humans threatened by Israelite stratagems and behaviors) carries a lot of idiot momentum doesn’t it? Iranians sneaky Bad Evil, We Good Honorable. No doubt the ordinary Iranians have their own neocon burden to shoulder, and their own homegrown woukd- be neoloberals parasites, and a whole lot of corruption. The jury should be reminded that we humans are all stupid, credulous and venal and venial, all of us, and maybe it’s time to nullify the idiocy we all buy into and let our Rulers and Leaders and Owners get away with, every freaking day on that other kind of “road to Damascus…”

  3. jefemt

    4 in ten Americans want a wall along Canadian border…. article failed to add they will vote for the Donald.

    1. cnchal

      What’s good for Mexico should be good for neighbors to the north, they reason.

      Four in ten Americans couldn’t find Canada on a map of North America.

        1. optimader

          Four out of ten Georgians cant find the star for Georgia on the American flag.. But I’ve heard they do live long lives because they eat yogurt

          1. ambrit

            Not yoghurt, peaches! (Look for the star with the itty bitty peach in it.)
            Some others:
            Maine- Look for the bear in the star. (The bear! It Bernessss!)
            Florida- Dolphins of course.
            California- Since Maine had prior rights to the bear, California has a Sasquatch.
            Illinois- A pyramid. (For Pharaoh to rest in.)
            New York- A dollar sign.
            Etc. etc.

            1. Vatch

              Regarding yogurt versus peaches: I believe Optimader was having a little fun with the American Georgia and the Sakartvelian Georgia. I remember those old television commercials about Bagrit Tapagua (sp?) and his mother.

    2. abynormal

      mo walls? are these voters aware they’ll be desperately seeking lower drug prices and possibly food??…with zero strength and crippling health to climb or dig under these walls???
      “Bravery is absence of contemplation and idiocy is the extinction of it.” M.F. Moonzajer Take a Bow Donald.

      1. wbgonne

        Good question! Though this might eliminate the need:

        Conservatives swing into lead, close in on majority government, new poll suggests Toronto Star

    3. diptherio

      They could have just as easily made the headline “Large Majority of Americans Oppose Wall on Northern Border,” but that wouldn’t have gotten nearly as many clicks….

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        You could be right, and I haven’t read the linked article, but it could be that 3 out of 10 are undecided (with only 30% against it).

        Or perhaps the shocking thing about it is that most (or those editors) expected the percentage to be much lower.

        “Forget facts. We at MSM are all about providing entertainment and propaganda.”

    4. RabidGandhi

      One engineer’s estimate for the Mexico wall (just double for a rough estimate for both borders, not including AK):

      Actually upon reading it, it doesn’t sound completely un-doable: 12.6m cubic yards of concrete makes it much less than the Great Wall of China, and that worked out just dynamite for them (not so much at keeping folks out, but it is one of the world’s top tourist destinations).

      Also, he mentions that

      We could melt down 4 of our Nimitz-class aircraft carriers and would probably be a few cruisers short of having enough steel

      Which is a win-win as far as I see.

        1. RabidGandhi

          I’m not sure what you’re point is (please elaborate), but I think it’s a darn good analogy: in a few centuries the current borders will most likely be meaningless, but a huge pointless civil works project would be a great tourist draw to any humans still alive/able to visit (climate/nuclear destruction notwithstanding).

        2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          I think he meant ‘just dynamite’ as in ‘not too well.’

          One of the problems was that sometimes, the Chinese ventured beyond the Great Wall (imperial adventures, I guess).

          Here is the story about a man who was emperor TWICE (from Wiki):

          Zhu Qizhen (Chinese: 朱祁鎮; 29 November 1427 – 23 February 1464) was the sixth and eighth emperor of the Ming dynasty. He ruled as the Zhengtong Emperor (Chinese: 正統; pinyin: Zhèngtǒng) from 1435 to 1449, and as the Tianshun Emperor (Chinese: 天順; pinyin: Tiānshùn) from 1457 to 1464.[3]

          This was what happened (again, Wiki):


          At the age of 22, in 1449, the Zhengtong Emperor was imprisoned by the Mongols when, advised by Wang Zhen, he personally directed and lost the Battle of Tumu Fortress against the Mongols under Esen Taishi (d.1455).

          Then, the second act:

          The Zhengtong Emperor was released one year later in 1450 but when he returned to China, he was immediately put under house arrest by his brother for almost seven years. He resided in the southern palace of the Forbidden City and all outside contacts were severely curtailed by the Jingtai Emperor. His son, who later became the Chenghua Emperor, was stripped of the title of crown prince and replaced by the Jingtai Emperor’s own son. This act greatly upset and devastated the former Zhengtong Emperor but the heir apparent died shortly thereafter. Overcome with grief, the Jingtai Emperor fell ill and the former Zhengtong Emperor decided to depose his brother by a palace coup. The former Zhengtong Emperor was successful in seizing the throne from the Jingtai Emperor, after which he changed his regnal name to “Tianshun” (lit. “obedience to Heaven”) and went on to rule for another seven years.

          1. Daryl

            The other problem with the Wall is that sometimes the people in charge would just open them up or surrender. The Khitans did this out of resentment for their Jurchen rulers.

            But hey, I’m sure border guards in the US get good pay and benefits, and they wouldn’t think of doing something like letting a bunch of cartels smuggle things in the next time the Republicans shut down the government.

            1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

              The Khitans were related to the Mongols, the Jurchens Manchus.

              Jurchens chafed under their Khitan rulers (and not the other way around), who took a few border provinces, including present Beijing, from the Tang, and established the Liao dynasty.

              When the Jurchens overthrew the Khitans, their empire was called the Jin (not to be confused with another Jin that followed the Wei dynasty).

              The Mongols then allied with the Southern Song dynasty to take out the Jin empire, for the Mongols hated the Jurchens and the South Song emperors deemed it a disgrace the way their ancestors were humiliated (the last 2 Northern Song emperors were captured by the Jurchens and their imperial women sold as brothel workers).

              A few hundred years later (during that time the Ming had replaced the Mongols’ Yuan dynasty), the Manchus returned to rule all of China, not just northern China, outdoing their Jurchen ancient relatives, when a Ming general opened the the first gate of the Great Wall to Nurhaci and his son’s nomads.

              1. JTMcPhee

                Thanks, mlpb, for reminding me what a sorry bunch of _________s we humans are, across time and space. Time to re- reàd Barbara Tuchman’s works, for what, a little perspective on the Judeo-Christo-Euro part of my heritage… Put to the sword, crucify, salt the earth, not one stone left on another, climate collapse from unbridlable app-etites, Mutual Ass-ured Destruction…

        3. Ed

          Despite being featured in a must-read passage in Sima Qian’s history, the story of the Great Wall is complicated (for one thing, there were essentially two, constructed over a thousand years apart, which causes confusion). However, suffice it to say that when steppe nomads moved south, it was always because they were let in, usually to do jobs that Han Chinese wouldn’t do such as serve as mercenaries for contending warlords.

          So the Great Wall does have some lessons to teach about immigration, just not the lessons that open borders advocates want it to teach.

        4. RabidGandhi

          You all seem to believe the purpose of a wall is to keep people in/out. I always assumed it was just like any other massive civil works projects:

          1. a good use for slave labour you don’t want doing anything useful, and
          2. a way to leave a monument to those who commissioned it.

          Since you cant really expect the US 1%ers to commission a pyramid or moai, a wall or two seems to fit the bill perfectly.

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            Per Michael Hudson, massive projects weren’t built by slaves.

            At the time, I mentioned exceptions like China’s Great Wall, and Meso-American pyramids.

            It seems ancient Middle East mega projects were the exceptions.

      1. Carolinian

        Banksy could come decorate it like he did the wall in the West Bank.

        I suspect Trump’s wall is more of a rhetorical device than something that would ever happen should he improbably become President

      2. sam s smith

        Seems to me we could import 500,000 Syrians to help build that wall. We could even allow them to build houses into the wall. Win-Win.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          A good idea.

          Another option – hire Syrians to guard against the north bound Latin American refugees and hire Mexicans to fight ISIS.

          Why not? We have plenty of global reserve money and can always create more.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        I would add the invisible walls in our hearts.

        Before we put up physical walls, we erect invisible ones.

        1. Paul Tioxon

          They used to say that we wanted to win hearts and minds in Viet Nam. Today, the Tea Party has lost its heart and its mind.

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            We have lost many hearts and minds all over the world, with our global reserve currency and printing as much of it as we want and rushing it in and out of defenseless countries, and with imperial adventures and bases in over 100 nations.

  4. JTMcPhee

    Offered sort of without comment:

    “Swap rates are what companies, investors and traders pay to exchange fixed interest payments for floating ones. That rate falling below Treasury yields — the spread between the two being negative — is illogical in the eyes of most market observers, because it theoretically signals that traders view the credit of banks as superior to that of the U.S. government.

    Any preferences which category to file the “condition” under?

    1. financial matters

      “If the flip to negative spreads persists, it would signal that its roots are in regulators’ efforts to head off another financial crisis, according to Kohli.”

      It seems that the signal is that creditors such as mortgage-backed and auto-loan securities will be protected at all costs. So the roots would be more extend and pretend.

      Overt monetary financing would finance jobs and thus create demand.

      “Companies are piling into the debt market to lock in low borrowing costs.”

      Without demand, this is currently financing asset appreciation.

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Is the credit of individuals and corporations always inferior to their government?

      Is, say, a debt-free company that holds billion barrel reserves of underground, ready to be (but not yet) tapped (priced in global reserve currency) oil, better credit risk than its home government?

      I guess not, because that government can always nationalize it to pay, say, foreign drone suppliers.

      1. JTMcPhee

        …as long as the long tail externalities of that still- buried oil are excluded from the accounting, the subtle parasites would favor the corporation, with all the games that “store of value” empowers it to play with lie lives and futures of the rest of us…

      2. susan the other

        Yes. We should all foment a critical new level of understanding about just what kind of demand we want. We want sufficient demand to run a complex of producers to satisfy human needs. War is not one of them. Nor are private cars. That reduces the “demand” for oil hugely. Besides which we’ve got more warheads and other ghastly materiel to last us a century. And then to bluff for another century.

      3. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Here, I am thinking of companies that survived the USSR or some of the warring nations of WWII.

        Their governments are long gone, but the companies still in business.

        1. JTMcPhee

          …and of course many “American” companies, like Ford and IBM and others, and British too, did their parts to gin up the wars and give aid and comfort to the enemies, and the CIA all happy to make room for Nazis and all…

          “It’s for the good of the Syndicate, and everyone has a share!” Milo M. Minderbinder.

    3. griffen

      A possible market anomaly – if it persists then market commentary can circle back to it. This is a deeper dive concern for one wiser (than myself).

      Demand for interest rate hedging, maybe.

      1. optimader

        If he has been planning to punch out, what a shrewd reason to co opt. Retire on a high note rather than an indictment.

    1. ambrit

      If a Republican Conservative replaces him as Speaker of the House, then I’d lay money on a Democratic win in next years Presidential election. Boehner is saying loud and clear: “Let’s see how well you do in control of the Legislature. I’m giving you a chance to prove, once and for all, the ‘superiority’ of your ideas. You might not like the results.”
      A strong Roman Catholic, Boehner managed the first address by a Pontiff to the joint houses of Congress. I don’t know what the Pope said to him during the private audience, but it seems to have helped the man make up his mind.
      The man cannot be a fool to have been in Congress for so long. I imagine he wants to get out of the Republican led House before the Republican Party destroys itself. He’s just given the Conservative Republicans all the rope they need.

        1. ambrit

          Well. If the Pope needs divine help, what’s a simple old Speaker of the House to expect? (I understand that the Neo-Liberal and Neo-Conservative Dogmas, each complementing the other, as in the Manichean Heresy, are viewed as “received wisdom,” but come on now.)
          Short of some truly twisted conspiracy theory, I suspect that Boehner finally has had enough. He was, after all, trying to herd cats, and I don’t mean hipsters.

      1. craazyman

        off topic but I noted the latest GDP revision for Q2 came in at 3.9 up from previously reported 3.7

        IIRC, the Fed Bank of Atlanta’s “cutting edge” GDP Now model was cited by the internet’s “Team Asteroid” earlier this year as predicting near recessionary conditions for the quarter.

        Now one of the prominent Asteroid Team members, Mish, is hammering the same nail he’s been hammering for as long as I can remember. Maybe he’ll be right one day.

        I’m coming to the, perhaps cliché, conclusion that nearly all economic data is meaningless noise, like a roarsach test for somebody’s personality and temperament.

        It’s sure as hell hard to get a 10-bagger by paying it any mind. Unless somebody’s selling it or quoting it to provoke page views. haha.

        1. Jim Haygood

          Being a maff maven, you might want to check out XIV, the inverse VIX vehicle. It harvests the contango drag from the VIX futures, so has a strongly positive expected return. But it’s monster volatile, so you need ace timing. An astrologer might be more help than an e-clownomist in that regard.

          1. craazyman

            I’ve had my eye on that for a while, but my confidence is low.

            My theory is: the day I buy it, that’s the day the asteroid hits.

            I take solace in my new Crockett & Jones Westfields. Woah they are sweet. hahaha.

            Just looking at them, it’s like “Whoa!” I forget about the 10 bagger for a few moments.

            1. craazyboy

              If it’s a strongly positive return zero sum game, sign me up! I may even buy some new Adidas based on my expected returns.

              1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

                Buy their shares, not their shoes.

                In this case, I refer to Nike – the top Dow performer in 2015.

            2. craazyboy

              BTW, Crockett & Jones sounds like a couple bank robbers back in the old wild west and they held up banks, and probably trains, with their bolt action Westfields.

              Not the same snobby English Aristocrat image you get from anything named “Edward Green”. Are you sure you made the right choice? As far as pairing them with an Ascot, I mean? Then there is the beer vs. red wine issue.

              Just sayin

              1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

                For those without the wealth required, wearing a pair of shoes like that will mean going without trousers and shirt.

                When you are on a budget, you have to choose.

              2. craazyman

                what you say is true and that did occur to me

                one of my fave TV shows as a kid was “Alias Smith and Jones”, the usual Old West quick draw cowboy stuff.

                so I figured it’s OK.

                I can always get the Edward Greens when the 10 bagger finally hits.

                A gentleman needs more than 8 pairs of shoes, after all. It’s like an art collection. You wouldn’t just get one piece of wall art would you?

                1. craazyboy

                  I remember Alias Smith and Jones. They were cool.

                  Crockett & Jones Westfields is what New Yawkers would wear to a New Yawker Cowboy bar and drink Bud, imported all the way from St Louis, I would think. They wear real cowboy boots at the cowboy bar here, but New Yawkers won’t know the difference.

                  After the 10 bagger you can get the country club membership in Longa Island, or maybe a straight sauna membership in Manhattan. Then you’ll need the Edward Green shoes. Something to look forward to.

                2. optimader

                  thing is, Edward Greens and Crockett & Jones Westfields are just part of a uniform. If you ever hit a 10 bagger all you need are two pairs of Sperry Topsiders, no socks

  5. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Kids using computers heavily in school should spend more time communing with Nature.

    Don’t know if this will improve test scores, but I think it will become them happier and wiser.

    1. tim s

      What about the grownups who use a computer all day at work? Are we even stupider?

      -if self-loathing is any indication, I’d say yes.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Thanks to antidotes, animal and plant kinds, the risk for NC readers is mitigated a little bit.

        I would put a potted indoor plant next the screen, just to improve the odds even a little bit more.

  6. diptherio

    Re: Fiorina

    In 2004 Congress passed the American Jobs Creation Act of 2004 — after high pressure lobbying from Hewlett-Packard among others — that included an incentive for companies to repatriate profits stashed overseas with the understanding the money would be invested in job-creating research and development.

    “With the understanding”? Really? Let’s be honest people and not pretend that we’re all that naive. The tax-holiday was never intended to be used for hiring and R&D, that was just the rhetoric they used to get the thing passed. The intent was always to enrich the already affluent. If the congress that passed the tax-break really cared about the jobs and R&D, they would have put a requirement in the bill, not just an “understanding.”

    So Fiorina dodged some taxes, manipulated share price, drove the company into the ground and made off with $21 M+. Who could possibly claim that she’s not a good business person? Sounds like she maximized her personal profits, which is what all good business people do, right? What am I missing here?

    1. David

      Carly’s wasted a decent chunk of her ill-gotten gains on lost causes.

      …the candidate contributed generously to herself in 2010, spending $5.8 million of her own money and loaning her campaign another $1 million, which the campaign paid back.

      For every cloud..

      Fiorina also ended the 2010 race with $500,000 in campaign debt, which she didn’t fully repay until this year, irking former staffers and GOP contractors who waited nearly 5 years to get paid.

      1. diptherio

        I’m sure she was living in penury right up until she was able to pay her employees and contractors, squirreling away every spare penny and living on ramen and whatnot….ha!

        Also, “…contributed generously to herself” is a hilarious misuse of the English language.

  7. Eureka Springs

    In re the “Snowden Treaty”.

    I’m a little surprised, even more disappointed Greenwald, Snowden and Miranda would align themselves with AVAAZ. Even more surprised they think the U.S. Government would honor a treaty.

  8. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Next hot commodity.

    You look at any chart, for example, for soybeans, it is down.

    But I believe for organic soybeans, it will only go up.

    And they are talking about setting up a commodities exchange for organic crops.

  9. Dr. Luny

    It’s Sahra Wagenknecht. Though the way you misspell her name suggests you’ve actually heard of her. In German a V is unvoiced, sounding like an F and a W is pronounced like a V in English. Germans have a hilariously hard time trying to make our W sound.

    1. Left in Wisconsin

      My son, Vincent, took a youth trip to Germany earlier this year and reported that most people called him “Wincent.” Which makes no sense to me.

    2. Yves Smith Post author

      I did not misspell it. This is a copy and paste from Google Translate. You should get on top of facts before making accusations (and using them as a basis for put-downs, since we’ve posted speeches by Wagenknecht before), and direct your criticisms at Google. I copy headlines faithfully, warts and all.

  10. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Yellen reiterates case for 2015 rate hike.

    I hope we don’t copy the Chinese, repeating cycles of tightening and loosening every 3 months.

  11. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    This weekend’s total lunar eclipse.

    When wealth orbits into a position in space that blocks the heart and rest of the world and Nature, there is also a total eclipse of the heart.

    And no more lights with darkness everywhere.

    “It’s very rare to get a total eclipse of the heart. And we are in the middle of one. How lucky!”

  12. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Sharing economy.

    It’s interesting we are being ‘educated’ (continuing education, one never stops learning) about the purported ideal of ‘sharing’ among the non-rich.

    Do the rich share (their wealth), via, say GDP sharing?

    1. Jim Haygood

      Did you watch the video? J-Yel fell apart on the last paragraph — the one with the poison pill claiming that ‘We’ll hike some day — just y’all watch.”

      Most likely, J-Yel was simply handed a script to read. Her gut told her, this crap makes me sick, and she was unable to continue.

      Who wrote that script? Prolly the same NatSec interests that slotted Obama into office. If hiking U.S. rates provokes a large Chinese devaluation, the Chinese economy would shrink in PPP terms. Its ability to project power militarily and with overseas infrastructure projects would be curtailed. Russia would get winged too.

      Controlled demo, comrade: sometimes it’s for the greater good.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Hopefully, also cheaper (and genuine, but that requires luck) Chinese antiques, with that RMB devaluation.

        I believe I have scored a few 10 baggers treasure hunting, but until I pass them unto the the next ‘true believer,’ it may be just my own vivid imagination.

  13. Vatch

    Straight talk from Paul Ehrlich about inconsistencies between Pope Francis’s views on global warming and overpopulation:

    Those thrilled by the pope’s intervention on climate change – and Ehrlich counts himself among them – were troubled by Francis’s refusal to countenance the need to limit population, the scientist said. “It is crystal clear. No one concerned with the state of the planet and the state of the global economy can avoid dealing with population. It is the elephant in the room,” he said.

    1. wbgonne

      Sexuality and all its related issues (birth control, abortion, homosexuality, divorce, priestly celibacy) remains the Catholic Church’s huge blind spot.

      1. JTMcPhee

        …and of course the Old Men Hierarchy hopes to blind the rest of Christ’s Body to centuries of doing what “we” find so abhorrent (when “we” deign to notice it, if that won’t impede the progress of other geopolitical jerkmeatery in oh, say, can you see Notagainistan? when done by “our” putative allies), that stuff with little vulnerable Believing Fully Catechised boys and girls. For which whole parishes are having to pay millions and millions in blood money. Interesting, the patterns of corruption and immunity and impunity. “Abba, forgive them– they know not what they do…”

        1. susan the other

          That might be a tad harsh with this Pope. I really like this guy so I hesitate to condemn him. But, Ratzinger? Maybe he was given the Popeness so he could ax all the naughties, and then resign. Who knows. It’s all political. Don’t ever let anybody kid you. It has really never been religious – since nobody can even define what religious is. I think the best thing the Vatican could to to rehabilitate themselves is have a free-for-all. Let their sexuality fly high. Who cares?

      2. James Levy

        I’m of two minds on that point. It’s a matter of first principles. If we have souls, and souls come from God, then much of Catholic doctrine makes sense. In time theologians could, if they wanted, work around some of the anti-gay ideas (the way all the American Protestant Bible-thumpers get around eating pork and shellfish) but to get to Francis’s point about the sacredness of all people and the value of each human life you’ve got to found that claim on something, and that something is the belief that we all have souls, placed in us by God, and that these souls are immortal and subject to salvation.

        So, if you want to make the kinds of claims about the world that Pope Francis does, and give them heft, they have to be based on something more than “I say so.” But if you start from his premise, then abortion and birth control are out. It’s a very sticky wicket and I don’t see any easy way around it.

        1. wbgonne

          As a “life” issue, I have always found abortion to be a very troublesome matter from a theological perspective. Fortunately, I am not theologian and, from a public policy perspective, it is easily resolved, at least for me.

          In a related matter, I liked how the Pope threw a curveball at the GOP during his Congressional address. When the Pope started with his sanctity-of-all-life segment, the GOP Congresscritter were thrilled, thinking it was leading to an anti-abortion conclusion. But then — WHAMMO! — the Pope segued into the death penalty and the GOPers sat on their hands. Quite the trickster that Pope.

          1. William C

            It is possible per the Catholic Church to distinguish between abortion and birth control. Indeed, the concept of birth control is not rejected by the Church per se (rhythm method), the problem they have being with artificial methods. I think there is a way out for them as the prohibition is based on the argument that artificial methods make conception impossible (not open to life). Data show that no artificial method is 100% reliable. so they do not make conception impossible, just much less likely. Perhaps some day they will realise that this provides them a face-saving way out of the corner they have painted themselves into.

            1. anon

              Ha, ha! So, contrary to Scripture, one must ALWAYS run the risk of pregnancy or sex between husband and wife is sin according to the RCC?

              Actually, a major purpose of marriage according to the Bible is for those who cannot have self-control with regard to sex and moreover “the marriage bed is undefiled.”

              One should not try to go beyond Scripture with regard to morality …

            2. Bridget

              Especially since infertile married couples are allowed to copulate under Catholic doctrine, even though they are probably less likely to conceive than couples using artificial birth control. Never have been able to work out how the Church squares that. At least as far as barrier forms of birth control like condoms and diaphragms are concerned. (possible abortifacients like birth control pills and IUDs can’t be distinguished from abortion if you believe that life begins at conception)

          2. cwaltz

            I’ve always thought of abortion as God’s way of being tired of dealing with the idea that children belong being abused or neglected or dealing with the “free will” of a rapist. I can’t imagine the heavenly Father wants a 12 year old rape victim to compete with her fetus for the nutrition her body needs to grow. I also can’t imagine he looks down with favor at people who he gives children to who then ignore and abuse them.

            Then again, I believe that if there is a soul involved that essentially that soul returns home to God. The loss is of human potential, not life.

          3. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            From a public policy perspective, I think a dead person has rights.

            A dead person’s will is executed.

            A dead person’s property (his/her cemetary plot) belongs to him/her (right to own properties)

            A dead person’s body can not desecrated. Another right.

            Symmetrically, rights for individuals should exist before and after life.

            1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

              In the case of a fetus, I think of it as one’s right of way when driving.

              The space straight in front of a driver is his/her, even though he/she is not there yet.

              He/She is allowed to proceed unimpeded.

              1. cwaltz

                The reality is a fetus can’t survive without leaching a woman’s body of nutrients. For that reason alone it’s “rights” shouldn’t supercede the rights of the person taking the risk to bring it into the world.

        2. MikeNY

          I’m not RC, but as I understand things, the RC teachings on sexuality are of a lower order than the doctrine regarded as infallible, hence such teachings could be changed without compromising the church’s eternal truth claims.

          I don’t think I’d want to impinge on divine omnipotence and presume that a soul in a fetus that was aborted was any less likely to be saved than any other soul, hence I would suggest we not make that decision ourselves.

          I think that regard for human beings once they are born must be at least as important as ensuring that they are born. And this, perhaps, allows the entry of notions such as contraception and abortion. I do not think it is moral to insist on life at all costs, regardless of the suffering this insistence inflicts on the self, or on others. I think the truth must lie somewhere in the middle. (Thus I support “death with dignity” laws, and would desire that right for myself.) I do not think all suffering in life can be avoided, but neither do I think it should be actively courted when there are reasonable means to avoid it.

          Again, I’m not RC, so these are ruminations from one a bit ‘outside the fold’. I could be wrong both in my assumptions and in my thinking.

          1. ambrit

            The Church itself is not monolithic. The American Bishops have a history of opposition to the Vatican. Look up the American order, the Maryknoll Sisters for an idea of the conflicts within the Church.
            As for the abortion issue, I enjoyed Phillip K Dick’s story “The Pre-Persons” where the Supreme Court rules that a fetus is not legally a person until it learns algebra. Until then, it can be ‘aborted.’ Being Dick, the story works on many levels.

            1. susan the other

              must read it next time I get to the library… what a funny premise… But PKD was sent to us just to let us know just how idiotic we are.

            2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

              I don’t get that.

              If a 10 year old girl doesn’t know algebra, she is not a person legally – a higher hurdle for a fetus than a 10 year old?

          2. cwaltz

            If the point of view is that a fetal soul is innocent, then why would it need to be saved?

            Essentially all it would know would be of a world before this one.

            1. MikeNY

              Way into the weeds, but I think the doctrine of Original Sin views human nature as fallen at conception, irrespective of any actual sin.

              1. James Levy

                Bingo! That’s why we need to be Baptized, because all are born in sin into a sinful world. But since babies cannot commit sins of volition on their own, if they die they go to Limbo!

                The Catholic Church may be totally wrong but what I think annoys Protestants the most is that the system is logical and based on clear principles. It’s not ad hoc or arbitrary (like in thinking that the abomination of pulled pork is terrific but the abomination of men having sex with other men is totally evil).

                  1. cwaltz

                    I don’t think it’s logical at all. If I’m a fetus that dies before I actually take a breath than my “soul” is gone long before it enters a sinful world. I’m not really being “born” because the light that I was has actually already left the proverbial building.

                    I’d have no need to be cleansed in purgatory because I’m essentially as sinless as something can possibly be(unless you are counting the fact that I’m involuntarily taking nutrients from someone else and can potentially harm them. )

                    As far as baptism goes, I was taught that it essentially was a parent making a pledge before God to teach the child to live in accordance with Church doctrine(unless you actually believe , in the case of the Catholic Church, an infant is accepting Jesus Christ as their savior.) Personally, I think baptism is one of the few things evangelicals get right(it should be something that is done when the person is of an age to know what they are accepting and what it means.) Heck, I was confirmed and I pretty much had no idea what I was agreeing to(although I did get a cool saint name out of the process and an affinity for my saint, who first and foremost was a mother and wife to people who did not share her faith.)

                1. cwaltz

                  You don’t get baptized until you are outside the womb(instead of upon conception) and the Church’s position is there is no longer a limbo.

                  Purgatory really doesn’t make much sense for a fetal destination since they aren’t stained by earthly sins at all. Purgatory is supposed to be a place for souls to be refined and “fixed” before ascending into heaven.

              2. cwaltz

                The doctrine says we are born as sinners. In the case of a fetus it essentially isn’t born, it dies before taking it’s first breath(which initially was the Church’s position on when life began.)

                The competing doctrine was the imperfection of our nature and the corruption of this world made sin inevitable.

        3. skippy

          Dualism has been taking a beating for some time now w/ institutional rigidity the only thing propping it up.

      3. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Compared that to the Dalai Lama, who said recently the next reincarnation could be a woman.

        But, he added, ‘she has to be attractive.’

        Oh, dear.

            1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

              Only if she is discovered as an infant llama, so the elders can act as regents to shape her to their liking.

              This has been instituted as a perpetual tradition in order for elders to exercise power via a boy/girl reincarnation.

              Quite ingenious.

              It also makes any lama-blessed Dzi beads worth $200,000 and more each.

    2. Ed

      To put this into context, population growth alone accounts for half of GDP growth. Many environmentalists correctly say that a no-growth economy is key to solving the emissions problems. It just can’t be done without stopping world population growth too. Also in a world with a smaller population, these problems would be alot less pressing.

      Going to a paradigm of no economic growth and a smaller population is almost impossible (Japan is managing it), but then both will happen at some point, whether done deliberately or not.

      I understand that to do otherwise means turning 180 degrees on huge amounts of Catholic teachings -and its not much easier for the other churches- but it does rob the recent encyclical of much of its point.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Less consumption, as I have always said.

        Less consumption per capita and less total consumption.

        Instead, the money is in promoting and worshiping ‘technology saviors.’ You know all the names. I don’t want to know and, as forgetting (simple information) is harder than learning (even quantum mechanics), I wish I hadn’t known those I have come across.

        And the sad thing about small populations is that a country with billions of people, but lower GDP per capita, is WAY, WAY more powerful than a country with, say, 1 million people with higher (much higher) GDP per captia.

        So, because people/taxpayers don’t matter, and because there has always to have one person to head a government (you must grade on a curve and can’t fail every candidate), the power-hungry, the psychopaths are going to be attracted to the model of more population (never mind the quality of living, not very well gauged by GDP per capita).

      2. wbgonne

        it does rob the recent encyclical of much of its point

        Well, yes and no. The encyclical addresses one of the two variables in the equation. If we ever deal with global warming it will require worldwide cooperation. If that occurs, the framework could then be used to address population issues. The Pope is addressing what he can address within the constraints of Catholic dogma, but neither he nor the Catholic Church can solve all the world’s problems. An international effort to combat global warming is a pretty good starting place.

    3. cwaltz

      You are really caught between a rock and a hard place because human potential may be the thing that helps humanity however, it also has the capacity to hurt it. *shrugs*

      I don’t find the pope that inconsistent. Then again, I also am a person who wants to understand how CO2 levels rose during the Ice Age without human intervention to heat the planet enough to melt it.

      Now I will call the Catholic church inconsistent on medical interventions. God made bacteria and it is living too. I don’t exactly hear the Vatican arguing that antibiotics should be outlawed.

      1. JTMcPhee

        …bacteria and fungi and molds don’t tithe, don’t confess and don’t ever go to Mass except fortuitously (on your toes, in your gut, on your skin, in the air, in the dank corners where other things happen too… )

        Lots of miracles to watch for — has your research come up with a Virgin Birth explanation for the Ice Ages, beginning and end? A lot of people we call “scientists” have been trying to figure it all out, or occasionally trying to obfuscate cause, effect and credulity. Lots of research seems to support the current most likely scenario of current climate change. One source for you to start your looking, regarding the end of the last Ice Age by something other than burning all that stuff for fun and profit: Causation, correlation, data sets, Eureka! moments? Maybe CO2 is a marker and not altogether an agent in the processes?

        I understand Exxon knows, but isn’t telling. The corporation has A LOT of money, so its agents do pay relatively well…

        1. cwaltz

          I suspect a good portion of the answer lies with the fact that water vapor is actually the largest greenhouse gas(since we’re a planet made up of 75% water.) CO2 does potentiate though. The part I find puzzling is that the levels of it rose even without us around back then(which makes me wonder if typical human narcissism makes us think we’re the ones largely responsible when Mother Earth really has a different answer.)

          Science kind of makes me laugh because it seems every time we think we have an answer, the questions just change. I’m pretty sure God is having a good laugh at the lot of us(in a kind way of course.)

          1. wbgonne

            There is no dispute that atmospheric CO2 causes global warming. There is no dispute that burning fossil fuels causes atmospheric CO2 to increase. What is the problem? Stop torturing yourself.

            1. cwaltz

              Don’t worry, I’m not torturing myself over it. CO2 potentiates global warming(feedback loop which allows water vapor to evaporate more quickly). However, apparently burning fossil fuels is not the only thing that causes CO2 levels to increase (as evidenced by the fact those levels were also in evidence to be increased when the Earth warmed following the Ice Age even though there weren’t any people around to burn fossil fuels.) I think it is well within the realm of reason to wonder how much of Mother Earth’s warming may be natural and how much is a result of humanity(even as you try to curb your impact on the planet.)

      2. ewmayer

        Re. long-term CO2 variations: Go to
        and have a look at the chart “CO2 concentrations over the last 400,000 years”. Sure, there is a consistent variation between 200-300 ppm over the last several hundred thousan years, and if you go back further, over the entire 2 million+ year record of Pleistocene glacial cycles. Combination of insolation changes (Milankovitch cycles), accompanying floral/faunal changes, sequestration of CO2 in oceanic clathrates, positive feedback when insolation increases cause permafrost to melt, releasing massive amounts of methane, etc, all involve significant variations in temperature and CO2 concentrations. But now look at CO2 levels following the end of the most recent glaciation, and tell me what’s different relative to all the previous warm interglacials. (And the chart immediately below the CO2 one shows a similar but even more dramatic trend in methane). Clearly, over the previous 2.5 million years (and long before that, including some massively warm periods) the concentration of greenhouse gases (in combination with insolation variations) and global temperatures were highly correlated. Obviously correlation does not in and of itself imply causation, but knowing the heat-trapping properties of said gases it is foolish to deny causation. And assuming that ‘this time is different’ because somehow manmade rises in said gases interact with the climate system differently than natural ones requires a leap of faith which is at odds with the preponderance of evidence in the historical record.

  14. Ian

    I seriously doubt the Toronto Star story on Cons near majority. I follow multiple polls and best case scenario for Cons is a 3 way race. It is either an anomaly or a plant and suspect. Considering the piece of shit they brought in from the other side of the pond, it could quite probably be a plant to reinvigorate their base which has been showing signs of cracking.

    1. Ed

      Myself, I would not be surprised if the Canadian election resulted in another Conservative majority. I would put the chances of that at about 50%, with another 30% chance of the Conservatives as the largest party in the House of Commons, meaning that Harper continues on Prime Minister unless and until the Liberals and NDP work out how they are going to form a government together.

      There are a number of factors behind this prediction. First, in a system where MPs are elected from single member plurality districts (usually called “first past the post”), and several parties, 36% of the vote gets you a majority in Parliament. Chretien, Blair, and Cameron have all recently gotten majorities on about that percentage. The Conservatives are polling even with the Liberals and NDP, but this doesn’t necessarily mean no one will get a majority. Each party needs to someone get an additional 6% or so.

      The Conservatives have a big money advantage over the other parties, and Harper somewhat sleazily made the election campaign as long as possible, so the other parties would run out of money during it. The NDP has been very stingy with spending so far and is still hanging in there, so they might be able to beat this strategy. Still, it means that the Conservatives are best placed for a last minute surge. English speaking Conservative parties now pretty much all use the same campaign advisers, so these are the same guys that just engineered the last minute Conservative surge in England.

      Also, there is a pool of about eighty rural ridings in the western provinces and some parts of Ontario that a united Conservative Party in Canada will always win, even in a complete meltdown. The NDP and Liberals don’t have anywhere approaching this pool of safe ridings. They have to fight for almost every riding they get. Its enough of an advantage that polls showing the Conservatives even with the other leading party probably means that they will wind up winning.

      1. Ian

        One of the big issues is though that strategic voting will likely be a factor as there is a large ABC vote out there that is interchangeable between the Greens, Libs and NDP and many of the ridings that the conservatives won where razor thin margins. They have also permanently lost a lot of support from people that in 2011 voted for them and the sudden switch over from Lib and Bloc to NDP that propelled NDP into opposition has now been factored in. As it stands the Cons have only about 5% of the voting populace that could swing in their direction beyond there base to bring them up to around 35%. The adjustment of the ridings is a wild card, but the odds as it stands in my mind are slightly against Harper even getting a minority Government and favor the NDP. As too safe ridings the NDP have Quebec which rivals Ontario and I think that Ontario isn’t nearly as safe as you believe. I favor the NDP to win with Cons a close second.

      2. James Levy

        Didn’t the Conservatives lose like all but a few seats at one point in the last 25 years? Am I making that up but at one point I thought they were pretty close to dead. Is money that critical in Canadian politics, that it could resurrect a party from oblivion?

        1. cnchal

          Yes, the Conservatives were close to finished when the Reform Party took them over.

          Those guys were from Alberta. The Liberals enacted laws limiting campaign finance, which the Conservatives have watered down since they have been in power, which is a looong time.

          I’m hoping for a minority government. Too bad I can’t vote for that, directly

  15. Cynthia

    ObamaCare is at fault for creating a cybersecurity problem, but more importantly, it’s at fault for creating a healthcare inflation problem.

    Some though will argue, people like Paul Krugman, that healthcare inflation isn’t such a bad thing as long as people are getting more healthcare. But that’s not the case. Far from it. Most growth in healthcare costs is due to higher administrative and overhead costs, on the insurer as well as provider side of things. Looking back over the last 30 years or so, the numbers of practicing doctors and nurses that are entering the workforce has trended toward a constant number (with little or no growth), while the numbers of administrators has risen nearly 3000 percent.

    And believe me, very few of these administrators are doing anything that could remotely be described as providing healthcare to patients. Most of them are sitting in the back office collecting a nice paycheck to do nothing but count beans and push paper. Most of their tasks can be easily automated, but they won’t be. That’s because ObamaCare is being sold as jobs program to boost the flailing labor market. Never mind that most of these jobs that ObamaCare has created are adding to the bureaucratic burden plaguing healthcare. Never mind that the more is spent of administrative and overhead costs, the less there is to spend on patient care.

    As I have mentioned before, ObamaCare is based on a “bastardized” version of Keynesian economics. It’s the “New Deal” equivalent of digging ditches and refilling them back in again. It can in no way, shape or form be described as the “New Deal” equivalent of constructing roads, bridges and dams.

    1. Jim Haygood

      Was talking to a nearly retired sole practitioner pediatrician this week. He claimed that under the “meaningful use” provisions of EHR (Electronic Health Records) regs, he would have had to provide 75% of his patients with a printout of his consult notes before they left the office. This would have required him to hire a staffer. So he’s phasing out his practice.

      Culling capacity: it’s a great way to make prices go up.

      1. Cynthia

        With the passage of ObamaCare, federal stimulus money allocated to large hospital systems intensified, by leaps and bounds. One example among many, which you specifically mentioned here, is that hospitals were given roughly $30 billion in federal grant money to purchase new medical software under the mandated “meaningful use” provisions of ObamaCare. Stuff like this explains why the healthcare sector has out performed all other sectors trading on Wall Street by a long shot. ObamaCare hasn’t made the healthcare industry fabulously wealthy because it has introduced more market-based medicine into the system. No, the healthcare industry has become fabulously wealthy because ObamCare has introduced more corporate socialism into the system.

        Neal Patterson, the guy who started Cerner, the company which my hospital purchased its medical software from, came from being less than a millionaire to an outright billionaire faster than Mark Zuckerberg did with his launching of Facebook! Besides the huge age difference, the only other difference between Patterson and Zuckerberg is that unlike Zuckerberg, Patterson got his billions by profiting off the government. Don’t get me wrong, my hospital needed new software. But that’s nothing new. Every business needs to buy new software from time to time, in order to stay competitive and up to date. But no business should be given billions in government handouts to pay for IT software, or any other capital expenditures for that matter.

        And how much good has Cerner software done to improve patient care or improve hospital efficiency? I would say very, very little. Oh sure, it has created more good paying jobs in the hospital’s IT department. But because hospital budgets are finite, the more hospitals spend on IT, the less money they have to spend on direct patient care. I work in direct patient care and my patient load is at an all-time high and the amount of time I spend plugging in data behind a computer is also at an all-time high. In other words, the ObamaCare stimulus has enriched healthcare IT, but has done so at the expense to patient care, as well as to hospital efficiency.

        1. wbgonne

          Perhaps related. I had medical treatment at a large hospital in Boston about a decade ago and I needed the medical records so I sent in the records-request form about a month ago. Yesterday, I received a package from company in Florida to whom the hospital had outsourced the records-work. They sent me someone else’s medical records. Nothing similar about our names or anything else. When I called the FL company they seemed like they couldn’t care less; didn’t even bother to apologize or put a supervisor on the line. Just some phone flunky who just didn’t care. I see this more and more: No one really cares about the organization they work for, nevermind the quality of the work they do. Cheap is all that matters.

          1. Massinissa

            Its called Neoliberalism, Wbgonne. And for people my age and younger (im 23), its all they will ever know.

          2. Vatch

            Wow! They sent you someone else’s records? That’s got to be a major HIPAA violation. That sort of thing could lead to a very expensive lawsuit, and maybe criminal prosecution as well against the company that sent you the wrong records.

  16. JTMcPhee

    Re the “Department of Covert Nudgery,” bear in mind that our Ruling Sneaky-Petes have been all over this “strategy”, since long before this little ” we lie to some folks” revelation:

    But after all, it’s always gonna go on, maybe, barring some enormous sea change, until the sum of all fears and greeds and the rest of that limbic-system stuff, amplified by our “new brain” powers, finally kills us off…

  17. barrisj

    My man Jeb! is firing on all cylinders now, as he has reached into the Mittster’s playbook and recycled the “free stuff” line as it concerns African-Americans who vote Democratic:

    Speaking to a crowd of mostly white Republicans in South Carolina this week, former Florida Governor Jeb Bush mused on his strategy to win over African American voters.

    “Our message is one of hope and aspiration,” Bush said at the East Cooper Republican Women’s Club annual Shrimp Dinner. “It isn’t one of division and get in line and we’ll take care of you with free stuff. Our message is one that is uplifting — that says you can achieve earned success.”
    The remark echoes a comment made by Mitt Romney four years ago, when he was asked at an NAACP event about his stance on the Affordable Care Act. “If they want more stuff from government, tell them to go vote for the other guy — more free stuff,” Romney said.

    Charleston? Racism? Fuggedaboudit, it’s the lazy negro that is the problem, and Jeb!, showing very keen sensibility on how to capture the “hard-working” black vote, is sending a strong message to Democrats that by God the Republicans under Jeb!’s leadership will create the necessary climate for (black) people to prosper under freedom, without suffering the indignity of accepting food stamps or other such disincentives to merely survive, but rise above all that and…well, “…achieve earned success”.
    Jeb! is really now poised to take charge of the Republican race for nomination, as what worked for Mittster just has to work for him.

    1. James Levy

      What sickens me is that, like his father and unlike his brother, he knows better. I am sure of that. Which makes him either hateful, pathetic, or both, depending on how generous one feels.

      1. barrisj

        like his father …with due respect, do you not remember the “Willie Horton” ad back in the 1996 campaign? Bush Sr. had NO problem with pandering to white fears.

        1. barrisj

          Bush said at the East Cooper Republican Women’s Club annual Shrimp Dinner.

          Also, full marks for speaking at the “Annual Shrimp Dinner”…I would wager that all of the African-American kitchen and catering staff roared their approval…waddya reckon?

    1. cwaltz

      The right side of the aisle has always excelled at the ability to bring the stupid.

      It isn’t like they don’t have proof that defunding isn’t going to increase costs of social services due to increases in unplanned pregnancies(from states that already did so.)

      1. skippy

        “The San Francisco Bay Area has been the epicenter for technological revolutions for the better part of the past half-century, the launching pad for world-shaping startups from Intel and Apple to Google, Facebook, and Twitter. But Silicon Valley is also home to “The Jungle,” a 68-acre homeless camp in South San Jose, considered the largest such settlement in the United States. And as tech firms have shifted from suburban nerdistans to more urban locations, longtime Bay Area residents have raged against the Google buses, which shuttle tech workers between their city digs and offices and have become a symbol of the gap between the metro’s rich and poor. There is increasing concern over skyrocketing rising housing costs and rents (which are among the very highest in the nation), growing displacement of long-term residents, and the widening economic wedge between wealthy techies and everybody else.

        All of this suggests that “startup” urbanism—not just the winner-take-all mentality of the one percent—is at a minimum connected to growing inequality and increasing unaffordability of America’s leading knowledge cities. But to what extent?

        With the help of my Martin Prosperity Institute (MPI) colleague Charlotta Mellander, I decided to take a closer look at high-tech startups and these two key urban problems: increasing economic inequality and worsening housing affordability. Mellander ran a basic correlation analysis between several measures of high-tech startups (including the concentration of high-tech firms, the level of innovation measured by patents per capita, and the level of venture capital startups and investment) and income inequality and wage inequality. Mellander’s analysis of high-tech firms and innovation covers all of the nation’s 350-plus metros, and her analysis of venture capital investment covers the roughly 130 U.S. metros that received venture capital investment. (The usual caveats about correlation not equaling causation and pointing only to associations between variables apply.)”

        Skippy…. Of course, tho, that is just one click of the sociological magnifier…

  18. tongorad

    Technology as a silver-bullet public education fix-it is perhaps the epitome of neoliberal’s mealy-mouthed private-public partnership ideology. Now that they’ve done all the marketing and have installed their techno-junk in all the schools, their take-over strategy (charter schools, core curriculum) is progressing nicely for them.

    Anyone who has spent any time with computers/networks knows how fickle and high maintenance they are – by design – planned obsolescence and all that. My school district employs an army of people to maintain the crap. I’m glad these working class folks have jobs, however they are working at cross purposes a bit.

    Meanwhile, lots of quaint, low-maintenance old stuff in the library like books and ideas seem to be working just fine…

Comments are closed.