Links 9/27/15

Horrified Pope Calls Philadelphia Humanity’s Greatest Sin Against God Onion

The language of frogs — it’s more than just ‘ribbit’ Bangor Daily News

The AP will no longer use “skeptics” to describe people who don’t believe in climate change Quartz

OpenBCI: Control An Air Shark With Your Mind IEEE Spectrum. Chuck L: “Even if you don’t read the somewhat geeky article, be sure to scroll down and watch the 2 minute video.”

The Jocks of Computer Code Do It for the Job Offers Bloomberg (Chuck L)

F.T.C. Is Said to Investigate Claims That Google Used Android to Promote Its Products New York Times

Volkswagen’s Diesel Fraud Makes Critic of Secret Code a Prophet New York Times

The United Nations has a radical, dangerous vision for the future of the Web Washington Post (Chuck L)


China pledges $2bn for developing world BBC. Jeez, this is not much. The US sends over $3 billion in military aid to Israel each year.

Collision course? Rise of China a stress for the US BBC

Corbyn Panic

Here’s what life under Jeremy Corbyn would be like Telegraph

Jeremy Corbyn on Labour divisions and media attacks: ‘There’s nothing like a challenge!’ Guardian

Refugee Crisis

“Refugee” or “Migrant” – Which Is Right? Truthout. Note our cross-post from Ilargi takes issue with belaboring this distinction.

Flow of migrants good for Euro economy Business Insider

The Terrible Flight from the Killing New York Review of Books. Important.


Vladimir Putin bids for major world role as his forces move into Syria Guardian

Syria Turns The Corner Moon of Alabama

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

From Radio to Porn, British Spies Track Web Users’ Online Identities Intercept. Important. New revelations based on Snowden docs.

America’s most secretive court invites its first outsider ars technica

Imperial Collapse Watch

Putin: Does anyone even listen to us? YouTube (timbers)

Boehner Defenestration

Congressional agenda thrown into disorder with Boehner’s departure Washington Post

John Boehner exits: Who is Kevin McCarthy? Christian Science Monitor

John Boehner just made Janet Yellen’s life harder CNBC

Anti-Immigrant Frenzy May Not Significantly Impact Local Legislation Truthout


Jeb Bush can’t explain the cost of his tax cuts correctly Vox. Resilc: “i’m still in shock that he is dumber than his brother. How can this be?”

Bill Clinton says Hillary would be ‘great president’ despite ‘this email thing’ Guardian. We are supposed to take this seriously?

“She’s going down”: Star GOP strategist Stuart Stevens on why Hillary Clinton won’t be the Democratic nominee Salon


Volkswagen scandal costs Qatar’s sovereign wealth fund £3.3bn Telegraph

Police State Watch

Think Police Can’t Use Illegally Obtained Evidence Against You? Think Again. Nation

Utilities seek to charge solar system owners more for connection to grid Los Angeles Times

Wall Street braces for grim third quarter earnings season Reuters

Luxury-Perfume Makers Turn to Wal-Mart, Target Wall Street Journal (Li)

US Q2 GDP Growth Of 3.9 % Shows That We’re Measuring It Wrong Forbes

Document Reveals How Deutsche Bank Fires Traders With a ‘Thank You’ Bloomberg

Yellen returns to Washington; questions remain after health scare Reuters

Monetary stimulus doesn’t work the way you think it does, redux FTAlphaville. Important.

Class Warfare

Martin Shkreli’s Free-Market Fetish: How the Drug Profiteer’s Pathetic Excuses Reveal a Dangerous Ideology Salon. The headline seems excessive until you see how smug he looks in his pictures.

It’s Time to Rein in Exorbitant Pharmaceutical Prices Harvard Business Review

It Is Very Expensive To Be Poor Pamela Foohey, Credit Slips

Antidote du jour (martha r):

turtle and fish links

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. JoeK

    This Shkreli character is indeed unusually odious. In the videos I’ve seen he manages to project such a greedy, creepy, slimy, deceitful vibe (never mind the transparent prevarications) it’s quite amazing he can conduct any kind of business FTF. Maybe he can’t.

    That said, I’ve been reading a bit about this case and nowhere yet, including the pretty good article you link to, have I seen any serious consideration of or follow up on the fact that the drug costs at most a buck to produce, has no amortized R&D costs associated with it, and sells for about a buck elsewhere (like the UK) but was already $13.50 a pop in the US before Mr. Slick tried reaching for the moon.

    I guess profit’s only off-putting when it gets into the four-figure range.

    OT: has anyone else noticed that alternet won’t let one control/command-S to save their articles? In fact, in Firefox even the command for it is grayed-out in the drop down menu, whereas another browser I use allows saving from that but not via keyboard command. I wonder what’s up with them over at alternet or if it’s some unintentional software problem.

    1. diptherio

      Good point on the unasked question of how the drug got to be $13.50 a pill in the first place.

      As for Alternet, ever since their re-design I’ve noticed that I can no longer use my arrow keys to scroll down the page…annoying!

      1. Anonymous

        Derek Lowe’s blog on Science has the best coverage I’ve seen on this:

        Daraprim, which is also used to treat malaria, was approved by the FDA in 1953 and has long been made by GlaxoSmithKline. Glaxo sold US marketing rights in 2010 to CorePharma…
        Daraprim cost only about $1 per tablet several years ago, but it went up sharply after CorePharma acquired it.

    2. abynormal

      re: Harvard Bis. Rev/script cost link…

      “I believe in the free market and rarely advocate any type of price regulation. There are compelling reasons, however, to consider doing so for pharmaceuticals.”

      “A tethered price regulation is the answer.”
      (worked out great Kenya 2010)

      “I believe that truth has only one face: that of a violent contradiction.”

      Georges [life student of power and potential of the obscene] Bataille

      free markets/deregulate everyday necessities = iGotMineSoFuckYou TaDa

      1. scott

        How about a simple rule. If a drug in the US costs more than 5x it’s cost in any other country in the world, it can be legally imported. And this is the retail price the uninsured would pay, not some obfuscation that insurance companies pull so no one ever knows what drugs cost.

        1. abynormal

          them use to be fight’n words, but today rules are for super-profits:
          Compound drug war continues
          “TRICARE saw compound drug costs jump from $23 million a year in 2010 to almost $550 million — a month — by last April. The cost explosion punched a $2 billion hole in the TRICARE budget, forcing the DoD to seek permission from Congress to reprogram more than $1 billion from other defense accounts just to sustain health care operations through this month.”

          When retired Coast Guard Cmdr. James A. Granger of Poquoson, Va., had three toes aching from arthritis, his podiatrist prescribed a compound cream, with automatic refills. A week after receiving “240 grams of this miracle goo,” Granger said, the first refill arrived. Like Turley, Granger faced only a $17 co-pay but he saw TRICARE billed more than $3,000 per refill.

          “I didn’t really feel the cream was all that beneficial,” Granger wrote in an email. “And it certainly wasn’t worth $6,604 for three aching toes … I would love to see this sort of borderline fraud stopped!”

          After TRICARE imposed tougher screens to mirror those used by commercial insurance plans, its average cost of a compound drug claim fell from $5,500 to $325. Total compound drug costs per month fell to $10 million from $547 million in April. The industry, however, is irked.

          Rep. Earl L. “Buddy” Carter, R-Ga., a pharmacy owner and co-chair of the congressional Community Pharmacy Caucus, had 20 Republicans and 10 Democrats join him in signing a Sept. 11 letter to Dr. Jonathan Woodson, assistant secretary of defense for health affairs. It complained that DoD’s response to deceptive marketing by a “select few compounders” has been “too restrictive,” cutting off access to drugs beneficiaries “desperately need.”

          Compound medicines, the letter argues, “are often the last option for many patients, and these changes force them to make difficult decisions, which sometimes involve illegal drug use as a last resort.”

          In a 15-minute phone interview Tuesday, Carter conceded that his office drafted the letter “with help from some of the industry, yes.”

          That’s significant because Dr. George E. Jones Jr., chief of pharmacy operations for the Defense Health Agency, said most claims made in the letter are false. Since May, for example, TRICARE still has paid for more than 120,000 compound drug prescriptions, those deemed medically needed.

          No beneficiary is being denied any drug medically required to treat a condition, Jones said. He also hasn’t heard of any beneficiary who, denied compound drug coverage by TRICARE, has had to resort to illegal narcotics.

          Carter couldn’t name any such patients or cases either. Had he been pushed to make those arguments by an industry that supported his election?

          “Well, we are basing our argument on the complaints that we get and the concerns that we get from the compounding pharmacies,” Carter said. “And these are legitimate complaints. Quite often compounding pharmacies and products they provide are the last resort for many of these veterans. They’ve tried everything else and nothing’s worked.”

        2. Cynthia

          Big Pharma will often argue that high drug prices are needed in order to cover the high costs of researching and developing new drugs. They’ll say that if drugs prices aren’t high enough, they won’t have the money to develop life-saving breakthrough drugs. Well, here’s proof, and something I’ve suspected for a long time, that they are lying, or a least not tell the whole truth:

          “Big pharmaceutical companies are spending far more on marketing than research”

          And needless to say, Big Pharma has got its priorities all wrong if they are spending more money on sales and marketing than they are on research and development. If they really value the importance of R&D, they’d be more than willing to shift money out of sales and marketing and put it in R&D. And if they really do have drugs that are life-saving or even just make some improvements in quality of life, then they’ll have very little need to spend money on selling or marketing their drugs in the first place. A good product will pretty much sell itself, and drugs are no exception to this.

          1. Adam Eran

            Marcia Angell, former medical journal editor, notes that big pharma typically spends 55% of its gross profit on marketing, and only 15% on R&D…and the bulk of that 15% is to extend the patent life of existing drugs (e.g. time-released viagra) rather than new drugs. 75% of pharmaceutical innovation comes from government-funded research, not drug company profits. See for her articles.

    3. MikeNY

      It’s almost enough to make me think there might be something basically wrong with a for-profit healthcare system…

      1. Katniss Everdeen

        Ha! Absolutely!

        Who would have thought that a system built on the idea that a few people have the RIGHT to sell all the others their very lives back from disease or injury FOR PROFIT would be able to demand any price and get it?

        The only “crime” here is the pubic display of excessive creepiness in the furtherance of official state “healthcare” policy.

      2. craazyboy


        Could be. I remember reading some pharma industry analysis back in the early 2000s. Back then the big “fear” was lots of drugs were going off patent and few new “blockbuster” miracles were on the way. The analysis concluded, without lots of patented drugs, the industry was sorta just a commodity chemical industry. Not much different than aspirin, soap & shampoo, processed food, or shoe polish makers.

        So we have a long way to go before we learn what we need to know about industry “costs”. Besides, I thought glibertaians like competition???

      3. tegnost

        Yes, can’t admit that the problem is the system not the ancillary impacts. I got a kick out of the last couple of lines. Business should, it is implied in the statement, be moral or suffer the consequences of supposedly immoral behavior. This is mind boggling for me, an admission that for some capitalism is a religion in itself where you can be punished in real time for “sins”. (As pointed out by JoeK the $1 drug sold for 13.50 before “gouging” started, a 1300% discrepancy, is that the correct math?)This is ludicrous. But it does show how the mindset of the elite can come up with things like the ACA.

      1. Ian

        One can hope his new found recognition, a back alley, and various friends and/or relatives of people reliant on the drug will come into play.

      1. Brucie McBruce

        Under Capitalism, no.

        It’s like “gouging” for water after a hurricane? How dare people be outraged? It’s just the way Capitalism is supposed to work! *Eventually* competition will bring the price down…

        Unless having a monopoly on a particular drug means that the anti-trust laws come into play, in which case the government *does* have a role to play in regulation. Come on, FTC and Justice, get with the program!

    4. flora

      re: HBR drug prices.
      “But pharmaceutical companies aren’t to blame. They’ve executed well on the rules set by the U.S. government as well as the “make the most money” dictum set by their stockholders. ….”

      The subset of stockholders setting the dictum are probably the CEOs who get massive stock options as deferred compensation and direct pay based on stock price instead of real company profits. A lot of CEOs get rich while destroying good companies. Here’s an idea: remove stock options from CEO pay packages and disconnect pay from stock prices. Don’t incentivize destructive practices.

      And yes, regulate drug prices.

      1. tegnost

        “But pharmaceutical companies aren’t to blame.” They’ve written the rules governing them and “make the most money” is their religion …there, fixed!

    5. craazyboy

      I guess I’ll ask the obvious question. If Glaxo sells the drug in Britain for a buck, what is preventing them from doing that in the US? Assuming they aren’t shipping pills individually via FedEx.

    6. Pepsi

      Before he deleted his twitter account, he talked about shorting his own stock. He’s making money from internet outrage. Don’t let THIS GUY IS THE WORST stories distract you from systemic corruption.

  2. allan

    Cheap Chinese imports threaten Vietnamese businesses selling traditional festival masks

    … experts are concerned about the impact this is having on the [mid-autumn] festival — the most important holiday for children in the communist country.

    Vo Quang Trong, the director of the Vietnamese Ethnology Museum in Hanoi, said it was important for people to appreciate the craftmanship and heritage of the original papier mache masks.

    Craftmanship and heritage. What quaint, outdated notions.
    What part of TINA doesn’t Dr. Trong understand?

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      One can include car making, TV manufacturing, etc. as part of a nation’s heritage.

      But economists tell us it’s all about pricing, so people can afford more (of the same, or can save enough from that to buy more of other products/services).

      1. optimader

        What do you think beef? Maybe JoeK means modern cultural iconography.. Cultural artifacts, maybe not so much? Plenty of ancient cultural artifacts that are doing nothing but appreciating across the board.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Republican period (after 1911) iconographic porcelains, like those from the restoration emperor, Hongxian, are getting expensive in China too.

          Modern cultural artifacts, to do with Mao, shoould be appreciating, if not already.

          1. optimader

            Beef when I was there in the mid 1980’s as a fairly freshly minted project manager I had my colleague bring me to the bowels of the Beijing antique district a couple times. At that time it was a flea market w/people selling “old junk” as he put it. “yeah that’s where I want to go, where the old junk is”.
            I bought a box full of Mao pins,as giveaway ephemera, maybe for the equiv. of US$1.00, then more seriously oooold, cool looking (to me) small jade pieces, a set of terracotta erotic scene panels and quite a few assorted opium pipes and the ornate tooled stash boxes. Joe Huang my man in Beijing comment : “What chew wan all that junk for?”

            Probably the terra cotta is the most valuable, but what I like best are a matching pair of translucent jade baboon face shash buckles.
            That’s how I spent a couple days perdiem, I’m pretty certain it would be called smuggling these days.
            Customs: What are these?
            Oh, those are all opium pipes, check out this tooled silver water pipe, still has all the accessories in the little cubbies. fascinating, eh?
            Customs: Ahh, Come with me please

            1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

              That baboon face could be the legendary ‘taotie’ beast.

              If you can scratch glass with the jade sash buckles, it’s Hotien jade (always translucent, unless buried and ‘calcified.’), with Morh’s hardness from 5 to 6.5. They sound like the most interesting pieces (m any will like and pay for the erotic scene panels).

              1. optimader

                searching on taotie, ill bet your correct. They look like baboons you wouldn’t want to meet in a dark alley. i’ll have take some pic and put them online, Its all packed away at the moment as I am moving. Ultimately I want to display the buckles backlit w/ an led

                Ever been here? I spoke to a curator as I was thinking of loaning some of the interesting bits, need to bring them in

                1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

                  It’s a great institution. Very educational for me, new shapes I have not seen before.

                  On page 16 of the Chinese collection on their website, the Han dynasty green lead oxide glaze has degraded to show a beautiful iridescence. I have a small one like that, from the Sackler family bought at an auction.

                  And on page 23, that Song dynasty marblized bowl is very interesting. The art of making it has been lost for almost 1,000 years now. The marble look can be either just from the veneer or through the entire clay body. I have 2 Tang/Song tea pots like that. On the same page, there is a Jin dynasty bowl (sky blue or robin’s egg blue, with hazy purple splashes) – that’s from the famous Jun kiln (one of the 5 important kilns of the Song dynasty), made under Jurchen rule. And the glaze is not actually blue, but from Raleigh scattering. And on page 17, a sagger for firing such Jun wares.

                  On page 25, two white Ding bowls (from another one of the 5 Song kilns) with metal rim (fired upside down, to prevent warping, because body is thin, clay very fine and white, their only way to produce white wares. The only true white glaze in Chinese ceramic history was the Egg-white, with bluish tin, glaze), made in the Yuan dynasty. Ding wares also come in purple (more like brownish) and black. I have a few white and purple pieces. Yesterday, I acquired a Northern Song Ding kendi, with a bird head spout, and with an inscription of ‘Y, Ding,’ on the bottom; they were apparently given by the emperor to worthy officials and generals. The available texts I found described a ‘purple’ glaze as being ‘snow blue,’ which is what the one I got looks like.

                  1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

                    When a bowl was fired upside down, the rim could not be glazed.

                    They then put a metal rim (gold, silver or bronze) to cover that.

                  2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

                    I just saw their egg(shell)-white Yuan dynasty bowl with peony, vajra and ‘ Shufu’ inscription on page 33.

                    Another one on page 34 (luanbai glaze), a more typical shape.

                2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

                  The 3 olive-green , Song dynasty bowls on page 32 are from Yaozhou kiln, known for their unique olive green celadon and beautifully carved bowls.

                  I have a Yuan dynasty one, the typical glaze of that period is more light brown/dark yellow.

              2. Synapsid

                MyLessThan… and other jade lovers:

                Both jade minerals, nephrite and jadeite, scratch glass. Hotien/Khotan jade is nephrite.

                Most nephrite (except perhaps the Central American stuff) is spinach green with black flecks; the whites and pale greens from the Khotan region are the major exceptions that I know of. The Fisher collection in Seattle has some beautiful grey pieces, and I have seen one that is blue.

                New Zealand nephrite is a good example of the spinach green, as are Alaskan, British Columbian, Siberian, and Californian. We find BC nephrite in the northern Puget Lowland of western Washington, in the outwash gravels from the melting ice sheet that carried it down from Canada.

                  1. Synapsid


                    Yes, Mayan and Olmec jade were jadeite, and the sources were finally located. There’s Central American nephrite too, and it’s the color of that that I’m not sure about.

        2. JoeK

          Pardon my comment’s obtuseness, I see it wasn’t clear; I was referring to more mundane artifacts like traditional clothing, jewelry, religious objects and such. For example, in SE Asia, the mass-produced Buddhas, made from some resin, painted to look like wood. The traditional-styled fabrics which are now made from polyester produced, I suppose, in China. In Kyoto, Japan, there are megatons of fake samurai swords, kamikaze headbands, and other claptrap with varying degrees of authenticity and quality, but pretty divorced from the real deal, but on my visits there the foreign tourists are just gobbling the stuff up, same in SE Asia of course. And so on.

          I spend a lot of time in this part of the world (there–or is it here?–now) and see it all around me.

    2. Nick

      Here in Egypt the new regime banned the importation of cheap Chinese knock-off Egyptian souvenirs, in effort to support local production. Seems like a good solution.

    3. different clue

      Vietnam needs some Protectionism. As long as the VietnamGov believes in Free Trade, the VietnamGov has no basis for lamenting Chinese undercutting of Vietnamese folk handicrafts. Sad that Vietnamese mask buyers apparently have no more understanding of political economics or concern for quality that Walmart customers in America.

  3. JoeK

    The article’s a bit simplistic however, with it’s concluding catechism on selfishness, and the subtitle is sophomoric and ungrammatical. That’s web journalizm I guess.

    Re keyboard commands, alternet won’t let me close the page with C-W either, so I suspect they’re hitting me with some invisible popups. Funny how the “alternative” web news/opinion portals are full of SUV ads and/or clickbait aimed at adolescents.

  4. Ditto

    Corbyn – Media Hysteria

    Even when he does well like on the Andrew Marr show, the media claims he’s not.

    In other words, believe us, not your lying eyes.

    I wonder if this is what we can expect if Sanders wins the Presidency?

    It’s truly been an eye opener

    1. wbgonne

      Exactly what I thought, And we wouldn’t have to wait for the presidency: if Sanders gets the Democratic nomination the corporate media will go into a frenzy of Bernie-bashing. Of course, since the ground has shifted so much and continues to do, the attacks from the corporate media might actually help Sanders. How things play out with Corbyn should be instructive.

      1. Ditto

        The jury is out and things do not look good on whether the U.S. or UK media will buy the media. Winning Labour leadership has not helped Corbyn with the general public. Nor is it clear to me that peo are willing to consider a democratic socialist although the name is not actually what sanders is

      2. sleepy

        Sanders’ positions are straight out of the 1960s era dem mainstream. Hubert Humphrey comes to mind. While it’s true that there has been some leftward shift–or at least some anti-establishment shift–in the past few months with the public, the fact that the media continues to treat Sanders as some sort of renegade is far more indicative of the extreme rightwing lurch of politics and the media in general. I’m preaching to the choir here of course.

        1. m

          The corporate democrats hate Bernie.
          Here in the supposed gold coast, have a friend that is long time corporate dem stooge, hates Bernie/loves Hillary. He was doing work for another dem corporate party lifer in Bridgeport, CT. Well, the voters spoke and he lost the mayoral primary, to a felon no less.
          While he cried I suggested that Bernie may win after all, he cried harder.

          1. lulu

            The mayoral election and the Democrats in Bridgeport, Connecticut don’t get much attention outside our local area, but it is getting kind of creepy… a convicted felon is well on his way to victory in this city that has been a magnet for political corruption since the late 1950s and the defeat of Jasper Mclevy, the city’s long time Socialist mayor. One of Ganim’s former inner circle (while he was mayor, and who was also caught in the scandal, serving prison time) has a weblog detailing Bridgeport politics; a piece from a few years back describes the Republican challenger in this heavily Democrat city (about 36,000 D to 5,500 R). Although the old saying “A sucker is born every minute” is supposed to be incorrectly attributed to P.T. Barnum, a mayor of Bridgeport during the 19th century, it seems applicable here.

          1. Nick

            Just the other day Sanders pledged to nationalize prisons….socialism at its finest. If Sanders wins the nomination, it guarantees a Jeb Bush presidency….which would admittedly be a hilarious twist of fate.

            1. Vatch

              Until recently, all prisons were owned by various levels of government in the U.S. Nationalizing them will just restore the normal state of affairs, and eliminate the abuses of private prisons (such as kids for cash). How is that socialism? Was the United States socialist under Eisenhower or Reagan?

              1. Bridget

                The capitalist way to return prisons to government is to simply stop sending prisoners to for profit prisons. Drive them out of business and then buy them up cheap. Why bother to nationalize them?

                1. Vatch

                  Your way would work, unless a unit of government has a contract with the for-profit private prison corporation to provide a minimum number of prisoners per year or per month. It’s creepy, but my understanding is that such contracts actually exist.

            2. Massinissa

              Is this sarcasm, or do you actually LIKE private prisons for some reason?

              Prisons were national for thousands of years until just a couple decades ago. Or have humans been socialist for most of human history?

            3. different clue

              If Sanders wins the Dem nomination, it guarantees a choice. If a voting majority of voters choose to choose Bush ( or whomever), then that is a choice they will deserve to live with. ( And which we will have to figure out how to survive through).

      1. Massinissa

        If the Media believed that they wouldn’t be acting so hysterical either.

        Or at least not the British media. I guess the US media hasn’t been that hysterical about sanders, at least not yet.

      2. low_integer

        Nick, the industrial prison complex fan, has declared that Corbyn and Sanders won’t get any nearer to power. Well that settles it. I guess everyone should just forget about them and go back to business as usual then, right Nick?

  5. Garrett Pace

    Enough of my fellow LDS are worked up about predicted tribulations surrounding today’s “blood moon” to prompt church leaders to issue statements trying to calm things down.

    (That I understand, nobody’s expecting armageddon or the Second Coming today or this month, but vaguer tribulations and calamities.)

    I take the excitement as a sign that lots of LDS upper-middle-class aspirations are not panning out. People are usually way less eager for “end times” when they are fat and complacent.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      Religion is always infested with the superstitious. Take Democratic Bob Brady of Philadelphia. He swiped the Pope’s drinking glass, has saved the Pope’s backwash water to bless his grandkids, and he, his wife, and select staffers are drinking from the glass to gain the power to wear white after Labor Day. I kid you not. This is a major player I the Democratic caucus who is more or less worshipping a stick he found.

      You shouldn’t be too concerned. It’s part for the course.

        1. Brian

          thats “holey loogies” Perhaps the vatican will hire this dimwit to test food? It would be a good use of his abilities.

      1. anom de plume

        He swiped the Pope’s drinking glass, has saved the Pope’s backwash water to bless his grandkids, and he, his wife, and select staffers are drinking from the glass to gain the power to wear white after Labor Day. I kid you not.

        Talk about missing the point! If he wants to bless his grandkids, he should aim for being righteous and that would include working for justice as a public servant.

        1. abynormal

          likely an LDS Choir membrane got whistlin CCR…all hell break’n loose Tonight YeeHaw!
          I see the bad moon arising.
          I see trouble on the way.
          I see earthquakes and lightnin’.
          I see those bad times today.

          Don’t go around tonight,
          Well it’s bound to take your life,
          There’s a bad moon on the rise.

          I hear hurricanes a blowing.
          I know the end is coming soon.
          I fear rivers over flowing.
          I hear the voice of rage and ruin.

          Well don’t go around tonight,
          Well it’s bound to take your life,
          There’s a bad moon on the rise.

          Hope you got your things together.
          Hope you are quite prepared to die.
          Looks like we’re in for nasty weather.
          One eye is taken for an eye.

          Well don’t go around tonight,
          Well it’s bound to take your life,
          There’s a bad moon on the rise.

          The reason people use a crucifix against vampires is because vampires are allergic to bullshit. Richard Pryor

    1. cnchal

      Cheating on emissions tests solved several issues at once. Not only were drivers rewarded with better mileage and performance, but the automaker also avoided more expensive and cumbersome pollution-control systems.
      It is not Volkswagen’s first run-in with regulators over emissions. When the United States began regulating tailpipe pollutants in the 1970s, Volkswagen was one of the first companies caught cheating. It was fined $120,000 in 1973 for installing what became known as a “defeat device,” technology to shut down a vehicle’s pollution control systems.

      Whatever punishment they get, it will not be enough.

      1. Howard Beale IV

        Sounds like to me the EPA’ dynanometere’s test is broke. They usually only check the wheels on the powertrain and not all four wheels, which is what I suspect the VW defeat code used to drive the mission rates lower. Seems to me a massive redesign in the dynamometer is in order.

        1. JTMcPhee

          …so, fraud by corporate scammers is EPA’S fault for not trying to stay aehead of the scammers, in a universe where the thieves and brigands are always demonstrably ahead of any Ordinary People efforts to regulate them… I have no real brief for the rulership at EPA or FDA or FTC or SEC, personal experience inside EPA and with DOJ showed me the faces of venality, ambition and other parcels of corruption. But we live in a political economy where even our schools are “teaching to the test” and regulators are there in the agencies on “temporary duty” and Fifth Column orders from the (UN)regulated. To expect anything other than scams and fraud coming to light, if at all, only long after the profits have been banked, and to lay off even sarcastically that the fault lies with those who pretend, or even try (albeit ineffectually), to “protect the public and the commons, just completely mischaracterizes the reality.


        2. cnchal

          . . . Seems to me a massive redesign in the dynamometer is in order.

          That may be true, but misses the point. There are 11 million vehicles that wouldn’t be there, in the form they are in, if they had decided to do it right. So, now we have these NOX polluting cars everywhere, and have been lied to about the true effectiveness that small diesel engines have, wasting valuable time in figuring out the optimum technology for use of fossil fuels. whether you believe burning too much will cook us or we will run out of oil soon.

          There is no defense for this. It went on far too long, and people inside knew and it’s likely some on the outside knew too. There should be some interesting questions about the relationship with Bosch.

          It seems that at no time did VW try to engineer a solution and just kept selling the same fraud. At the same time they expanded their empire to include exotic and luxury cars to the plutocrat class. Lots of engineering for those cars. No expense spared.

          Ironic for a company with the word “Volks” in it.

        3. low_integer

          If you knew the test was conducted with the car stationary (i.e. on a dynamometer), all you would need to do is have a piezoelectric accelerometer feeding data to the software. Car moving, defeat code on, car not moving, defeat code off. As to what VW actually did, per a link provided by optimader the other day, they used the vibration of the steering column to determine whether the car was moving.

          Agree with others that VW’s lack of integrity is the main problem, however the EPA really should be doing these tests in a few different sets of conditions at least. Not like the non-H1B STEM cohort couldn’t use the work, and I expect if testing for environmental regulation compliance was carried out in the spirit in which it is intended, many would feel good about doing this work and bring their A-game.

          1. cwaltz

            With what money?

            The GOP has attacked their budget strategically for several years now. I’m pretty sure those STEM workers aren’t intending to work for free.

            1. low_integer

              If we’re working from the assumption that the GOP geniuses will always hold the levers of power then you are probably right that there will never be any money for this sort of endeavour.

    2. gordon

      Volkswagen will just say (or maybe threaten is a better word) that any punishment of the corporation will cost jobs and do you really want that? The old TBTF argument. Meanwhile, Winterkorn is on the golf course contemplating a $32m. payout:

      The obvious solution is to find the guys responsible and put them in gaol. That won’t cost jobs. End of TBTF argument.

  6. MartyH

    Just FYI. Putin Youtube links to UN VAWG scare story. NYRB Very Important dumps me at a paywall sign-in (oddly, I don’t subscribe).

  7. wbgonne

    Bill Clinton says Hillary would be ‘great president’ despite ‘this email thing’ Guardian. We are supposed to take this seriously?

    I think this signifies desperation in Clintonworld. Bill was supposed to stay on the leash after the last Hillary campaign debacle. The problem is that, as a poor politician, Hillary can’t sell self-pity like Bill. The bigger problem is that Bill can’t do it anymore either. And without self-pity the Clintons have nada.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      I think there is a sense Bill was a phenomenal politician when he really was in the right place at the right time (Mario Cuomo not running, Jerry Brown losing his mind, Tsongas running after another Taxachussets liberal, 41 falling apart). Then of course, Bill led the party to major defeats wiping out Democratic voices leaving Bill and his cultists.

      As Team Blue elite realized Obama was Obama and things weren’t going too well in 2014, they started to blame the voters for electing Obama not Hillary who they originally supported and bought and sold the idea that Hillary could save them. As Sanders builds support without major donors or politicos, Billary Inc. is coming under performance related scrutiny, and they don’t like what they see because it’s the same song and dance Obama offered the last 6 and a half years. My guess is Billary Inc is being told to get their act together and have Hillary hit the trail which would be difficult because she has an unfortunate record and age to contend with. Bernie has an age issue too, but he can limit his exposure and doesn’t have to face questions about his record because he is an outsider with a history of being right for the right reasons. Except for support of the F-35 (like everyone else in DC), Bernie can’t be held accountable for much except believing Clintonistas would see the light.

      1. optimader

        Bill knows Hillary drove herself into a hopelessly muddy ditch but if he remains silent he’ll be in the familial outhouse, so he’s the guy that has to get behind and push Hilary’s campaign car w/ her behind the wheel knowing it will go nowhere.

        Hillary would be ‘great president’
        Kinda reminds me of the pathetic blind date meme:” but she has a great personality”

        I would love to be a fly on the wall w/ whomever recommended doing it. You know she told Bill.

        This is a perfect fail example of HRC being not being as smart as she thinks she is

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          I don’t know. I’ve always believed Billary Inc. was a partnership. Keeping Bill on the sidelines helps diminish the notion Hillary is only a celebrity because she married well or married a future star. Yoko Ono still makes headlines be cause she married John Lennon. If the goal is to portray Hillary as an American worthy of remembrance even if they aren’t President, it’s probably best to not remind people she would still be working for Wal-Mart or admissions at Welleley if she had not been dating Bill, who recommended her for her big break with the Watergate commission.

          Bill helps with campaign rallies, but he hurts her. Al Gore had a similar dilemma as his political career was launched because of his last name. Al made good because of daddy and was lucky enough to wind up in Bill’s good graces.

          1. fresno dan

            Nice analysis.

            “Bill Clinton says Hillary would be ‘great president’ despite ‘this email thing’ Guardian”

            What do you think of the last part of the sentence – “despite this email thing”???

            I think Hillary should say, “Bill was a great president, despite oval office blowj*bs”

            1. NotTimothyGeithner

              The email situation is still just a tabloid scandal, and this is largely due to Democratic elite closing ranks, our stenographer press corps, and the GOP being more interested in finding Hillary’s Vince Foster confession than the problems with violating federal law or why we have these standards.

              The polling indicated Sanders strength is independent of the email scandal. Bill probably understands this, but who knows what major supporters/donors believe? My guess is prominent supporters are connecting the email rhetoric and a drop in support for Hillary when her surge in popularity was tied to the illusion that she was a team player/loyal Democrat willing to work on behalf of the guy who destroyed her ambitions. Democrats imagine themselves as the mommy party who know whats best for voters and can’t imagine the little people don’t love Billy Inc as much as they do. Right now, I don’t believe the email scandal matters to likely primary voters, and I suspect Bill is trying to keep the email situation on the down low because it really hasn’t blown up. He’s still being asked about it as donors wonder whether Hillary is such a wise investment. Sanders is winning in a state that already voted for Hillary on the strength of just making the news.

              1. different clue

                I thought I read somewhere that arcane election law in New Hampshire can be used to keep Sanders off the Primary Ballot because he is running “as” a Democrat rather than being “is” a Democrat.

                If that is so, and Sanders is kept off the New Hampshire ballot, one hopes that every member of the Sanders movement in New Hampshire will find a way to “write Sanders in” on their primary ballot. If the “write ins” for Sanders equal or exceed the number of “votes cast” for Clinton, the MSM will have difficulty covering it up completely. It could also demoralize Clinton and/or her people into self-harming actions.

                1. cwaltz

                  Oh don’t worry the party elite will just use this as an opportunity to award delegates as they wish- just like they did in 2008 when they gave a guy not on the ballot half the delegates even though the other candidate had earned more than half- pesky voting base just likes to think they are in charge, the Democratic elite know differently, they’re the “kingmakers.”

            2. optimader

              The email thing is as issue of fidelity to a public oath, the bj thing is an issue of moral interpretation. Presumptuous to judge the behavior of someone married to HRC. Frankly I wish GWB was getting BJs, or whatever would relax him into a reflective mood , as an alternative to his weird OCD cranky dry drunk lack of focus.

      2. optimader

        I think there is a sense Bill was a phenomenal politician
        He was a default candidate for sure but he seasoned into the excellent proto-neoliberal politician. Much of his energy was consumed by dodging political bullets.

        IMO excellent politician, policy-wise failed leader, that is, if you have a perspective from who his constituency was supposed to be. Similar the BHO in that respect but less obvious at the time.

        1. different clue

          Policy-wise sucCESSful leader if you admit to yourself the reality of which constituency he was REALly devoted to serving. Free Trade and anti-New Deal dismantlement were his policies and he got a lot of success.

      3. neo-realist

        I have to say that with all the campaigning around the country Bernie has done compared to Hillary’s paltry efforts, he strikes me as a younger (healthier?) older person than Hillary, even though he’s older than Hillary.

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          I think the record is part of the issue. Hillary’s mother campaigned in 2008. I think Bernie is a thoughtful human being, so as long as he is being honest, journalists and even town halls questioners can’t hit him with a gotcha question designed to elicit embarrassment or hypocrisy. A few months ago he admitted to not understanding much about plains corporate v small farming. After all Vermont is scaled down versus everyone (not that Vermont is squeaky clean).

          Hillary has issues with her record and her associates on top of scandals. She always has to be on guard, and I think by allowing herself to be presented as a Democratic savior and champion for women, she invites questioning from experts who really know their stuff. When Hillary does her usual routine, she gets hard questions where she is searching for an answer to shut a person up. Over time, it eats at a person.

          Also, Hillary is a grandmother, and I think both Clintons were wonderful parents given the White House upbringing. Does she want to work? I’m not convinced Hillary is doing this for the reasons she needs to at her age. A host of people such as James Carville depend on the Clinton sheen. They need Hillary to run to remain relevant. Hillary has also been presented as a standard bearer for women, and is this why she is running? I don’t know, but even Sarah Palin spun a great line about Hillary’s candidacy and the glass ceiling. Where does Hillary really want to be? I’m not certain Hillary has an interest in being what her supporters have convinced themselves she is.

          Bernie is free of stresses he has, and his message is very similar to who he is. I suspect the rallies are a means of keeping him off the trail and away from the unwashed masses. Obama could shake every hand and kiss every baby because he was young enough to just need a day off if he became sick.

    2. shinola

      “Bill Clinton says Hillary would be ‘great president’ despite ‘this email thing’”

      And in other news, the Sun rose in the east this morning.

    3. Jim Haygood

      Posted yesterday in Links 9/26/2015:

      “Now there will be a steady drip-drip-drip of discrepancies between her selections and the government’s selections of “official correspondence.”

      What to do — offer a groveling apology, or lash out at a vast right-wing conspiracy?

      Hillary, this morning on Meet the Press:

      She acknowledged, however, the “drip, drip, drip” of accusations leveled at her.

      An exasperated-sounding Clinton asked Chuck Todd whether his next question would be about “another conspiracy theory.”

      The Clintons, comrades: like groundhogs, they never their routines … and it’s the same day over and over.

  8. petal

    A follow-up on the DHS-Lebanon, NH public library Tor dispute. ACLU of NH got a hold of the emails between DHS and a member of the Portsmouth, NH PD.

    “In West Lebanon, library officials’ decision to temporarily halt participation in Tor this summer began with the Aug. 5 email from DHS Special Agent Gregory Squire, based in Boston, to Detective Sgt. Tom Grella, commander of the Portsmouth-based New Hampshire Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force.

    “Just terrific … that kid seems to be thinking just an inch past the end of her nose,” Squire wrote.”

  9. abynormal
    i think this link reads bigger trouble in lill china

    zh-Heilongjiang Longmay Mining Holding Group the biggest met coal miner in northeast China which has been struggling to reduce massive losses in recent months as a result of the commodity collapse, just confirmed China’s “hard-landing” has arrived when it announced on its website it would cut 100,000 jobs or 40% of its entire 240,000-strong labor force.

    Be the first to the field and the last to the couch.
    Chinese Proverb otay

    1. susan the other

      I saw this item too. Somebody shut my jaw. Not 2 days after Xi said China would do CO2 cap and trade. Screw those coal mines. Capitalism in its last effective move. Because energy. Stay tuned.

    2. allan

      But coal is so old-economy. Let’s get disruptive:

      Beijing backs equity crowdfunding to develop entrepreneurial economy

      The mainland will promote greater use of equity crowdfunding for startups to encourage entrepreneurship in the world’s second-largest economy, a cabinet document said on Saturday. …
      Yingda Securities chief economist Li Daxiao said he believed the document, approved by Premier Li Keqiang, was aimed at facilitating the economy’s transition from traditional labour-intensive mass production to one based more on innovation, as well as creating employment through the starting up of new ventures.

      What could possibly go wrong?

  10. Kokuanani

    When I read that “utilities seek to charge solar system owners more . . .”, I thought, “gee, the oligarchs now own the Solar System too??????”

    1. heresy101

      Thanks for the heads up; I read the headline the same way even though I deal with solar installations regularly for a small municipal utility.

      This article doesn’t delve into the details, so the issue of net energy metering (NEM) is not really addressed, which probably makes Solar City ecstatic. NEM has been useful in helping to get solar costs to the point they are almost economic thru a subsidy from other electricity users. Under NEM, solar generation gets credited the full retail rate for every kWh generated over 12 months. Thus, NEM customers never pay anything for the electric grid and the power that they get at night if their solar system is sized to 100% of their annual electricity usage. The solar customer uses the electric grid as a giant battery but doesn’t pay anything for the costs of the energy or the grid that delivers the energy.

      In CA all current NEM customers are kept on NEM for 20 years so their is no penalty for their previous decision to install solar.

      If solar customers only were credited in the day, or better yet the hour, when they generate, this would go a long way towards solving the transfer of costs. Rive wouldn’t be too happy about this because it would be difficult to offer double digit earnings to his wall street investors. Maybe his cousin Musk can help develop a business model that uses those batteries from the Reno gigafactory.

      1. Jess

        My local city has a Utility Users Tax. If you have solar or your own power generator (which a few condo associations have done) and use zero power from the local utility company you still have to pay the tax that you would have paid for the equivalent usage from the power company.

      2. Gio Bruno

        The solar customer uses the electric grid as a giant battery but doesn’t pay anything for the costs of the energy or the grid that delivers the energy.

        The solar customer is given no choice but to use the grid as a “battery”. To get the solar rebate in Calif. you must connect to the grid. (Stand-alone systems (w/battery bank) get no funding.) It was initially a way to grow an “alternative power” source (rooftop PV). That was fine in the beginning, but rooftop PV is growing rapidly in CA and the grid owners (Edison) are now feeling the pinch (lower profits and higher grid maintenance costs).

        The best solution, of course, would be to use less home electrical power (passive solar home design, LED lighting, hydronic heating, etc,) and improved stand-alone battery efficiency that allowed each home to avoid the grid (and grid costs) entirely. (See:

        Folks that are contemplating leasing solar PV (SolarCity) should look closely at the lease agreement. Nasty things are occurring to owners who try to sell their homes and the new buyers dislike the solar lease agreement (which is tied to the property).

    2. Vatch

      Maybe the Guardians of the Galaxy have a subsidiary group of heroes known as the Saviors of the Solar System.

    1. Emma

      Labour has become a breeding ground for the ‘masseshadists’! Whatever next?! The Corbyn-Cakewalk?!
      With their extreme views, they’ll truly be tickling (off) the Tories. Sporting burkazooka jockstraps, Dave & the Frontbench Infidelettes will demand minority status in next to no time….. But Queenie will boogie ‘Waka Waka this time for Africa’ like Shakira……So the hooray-henris-against-humanity-set will have to get their jollies from the invisible hand of Adam Smith instead……..Except his hand is too good to share with just anyone…..So their jolly world will crumble…….they’ll be in the bread-queue…….pay little attention to intelligence……& become casualties of welfare instead. Hmmm…Corbynomics IS scary stuff! ;-)

  11. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Flow of ‘migrants’ good for Euro economy.

    Perhaps the heart’s in the right place, but someone’s going to twist this into blowing up more countries for the good of another’s economy.

    “Our foreign policy is just and, on top of that, it’s good for the economy. Life is grand, isn’t it?”

    Is it good for refugees’ home country economy?

    1. OIFVet

      Spain and Greece each have about 50% youth unemployment rate. Bulgaria’s is about 20%. If Germany is truly concerned about shortage of workers, why did it do its best to keep out EU migrants, as did all other Northern EU countries? This sudden influx of refugees and sudden discovery of a pressing labor shortages are utter BS, a targeted propaganda action against the European populations for most of whom this is not going down well.

        1. OIFVet

          Indeed? Syrian, Pakistani, and Afghani schools must be full of German language scholars who will fit right in with the burghers. Sample asylum application: “Ich bin ein Pakistanisch burgher!”

  12. craazyboy

    From Radio to Porn, British Spies Track Web Users’ Online Identities Intercept. Important. New revelations based on Snowden docs.

    So…..if you listen to marching band music….that means you’re a Nazi?

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Connect that to this – Putin: does anyone listen to us?

      Yes, there are plenty of people, all over the world, getting paid to do just that.

      1. JTMcPhee

        Eavesdropping, spying, looking for bits of text to warp and present as excuses for more neocon deathwishery is not “listening,” seems to me…

    1. drexciya

      What is your actual experience with Muslim inhabitants? Why are you throwing out hyperbole when it’s the typical behavior, not Israeli propaganda, which turns people against them? In The Netherlands we’ve seen the following (and that’s a small list):
      – Retarded youth going around with ISIS flags and saying there’s a kaliphate in parts of the Netherlands (in the Hague, the Schilderswijk has become a sort of Muslim enclave)
      – Honor killings, including a teenage girl that was killed by her brother, because she was too westernized
      – Aggressive anti-Western speeches by some imported imams (even at specially organized conferences), since websites like Geenstijl publicized this, the number of those wacko’s has come down a bit, but still.
      – Youth performing robberies (specifically against people that are not Muslims) and going aggressive when their mates are killed and not showing any sympathy for the real victims (The Uden jeweler case).
      – Always making demands but never ever questioning their own beliefs, let’s say when it comes to women and gays, where there’s obviously a lot wrong with Islam.

      Well, to sum things up, I’m not a big fan of Muslims since there’s a big problem with their religion, it excludes a lot of people and anyone not in their league is inferior and anything goes according to their belief. Unless that religion undergoes a transformation like Christianity, I think it’s fundamentally at odds with Western society. Some flavors of Islam, like Sufism, may be more reasonable, but the dominant Sunni and even worse wahhabi/salafi variations are a big problem.

      1. abynormal

        in case you Choose to scroll past it(or not even open the link): “All the great masterful races have been fighting races… No triumph of peace is quite so great as the supreme triumph of war.”
        – Teddy Roosevelt, 1893

  13. Larry Headlund

    Jeb Bush can’t explain the cost of his tax cuts correctly Vox. Resilc: “i’m still in shock that he is dumber than his brother. How can this be?”

    There is nothing in the article to suggest Jeb Bush is dumb; it is just another example of his willingness to lie. His brother rode this convenient substitution of dimness for mendacity all the way to the White House. Funny how all of their “mistakes” give results to their advantage.

    By the way, the author Matthew Yglesias manages to get simple arithmetic wrong:

    GDP will be 8 percentage points higher in 2025 in the Bush Utopia than it will be under current policies. But, crucially, there are two elements to this Bush Utopia:

    “Employing conservative assumptions, we estimate that the tax reform plan itself will lead to at least five percentage points higher GDP by the end of a decade.”
    “The Governor’s regulatory reforms — which will be unveiled separately — will increase GDP by at least an additional three percentage points by 2025.”

    In other words, 60 percent of the dynamic growth effects Bush is counting on aren’t even part of the tax cut at all.

    No, 37% of dynamic growth effects aren’t part of the tax cut: 3/8, not 3/5.

  14. Ignim Brites

    Russia’s move into Syria presents the US with a chance to get out of the middle east altogether. Having achieved a detente with Iran and seeing his Syrian policy stalemated and now checkmated, Obama’s best choice would be to leave the fight against ISIS to the Russians and the French. These nations after all have national interests at stake in contrast to the ephemeral, “world historical” interests of the US. However, the hue and cry from Republicans, other than Rand Paul, and the neocons might be too much for the President to weather. However, the President could counter by suggesting that it is time for the US to withdraw from NATO. Putting this squarely on the agenda for the 2016 election would give the President enough cover to complete a withdrawal from the middle east.

    1. optimader

      Russia’s move into Syria presents the US with a chance to get out of the middle east altogether.

      NO KIDDING.. Back away like the kat vomiting a hairball.

      1. Ignim Brites

        Well Bernie Sanders might put it on the agenda but it is unlikely since he is a socialist and probably susceptible to the illusion of world historical significance. Jim Webb might be the best bet on the Dem side.

        1. Massinissa

          “since he is a socialist and probably susceptible to the illusion of world historical significance”

          Wait what now?

          “Jim Webb”

          And who the hell is that? I didn’t realize there were people lower in the polls than Martin O Malley.

          1. cwaltz

            He’s a buttwipe who voted for FISA and an all around swell guy who was Secretary of the Navy under zombie Reagan- oh wait, he actually served during the years Reagan was alive. He’ll definitely be great for defense contractors and military graft.

        2. Massinissa

          I looked up Webb. He really IS lower in the polls than O Malley. Sorry man but I don’t see how he could possibly be the nominee.

          1. Ignim Brites

            The idea that Jim Webb might be the man to lead the nation out of the morass of world historical vanity is that he seems to be capable of thinking independently of ideology and party. It is true that thus far he has opposed the Iran deal. But now that it is a fait accompli he seems the most likely to be able to draw out all its implications.

            1. cwaltz

              He was actually my Senator and I wouldn’t vote him for dogcatcher, let alone for President.

              When asked why he voted for FISA he informed us that it didn’t matter because the House would never approve it(nice way to pass the ball their Jim.) Needless to say he was WRONG.

    2. Jim Haygood

      Perry Anderson, in the Salon article posted in Links yesterday:

      Over the past decade, the objective [of U.S. foreign policy] has always been the same: to protect Israel’s nuclear monopoly in the region without risking an Israeli blitz on Iran to preserve it—that might set off too great a wave of popular anger in the Middle East.

      Syria wouldn’t mean a thing to the U.S., but for Israel’s decades-long occupation of Syria’s Golan Heights.

      America: we’re basically Israel’s septic tank service guys, dutifully cleaning up their sh*t.

      Just ring (202) 456-1414 for snappy service.

    3. OIFVet

      Obama’s best choice would be to leave the fight against ISIS to the Russians and the French. Like the US ever did fight ISIS anyway.

  15. Chauncey Gardiner

    Thank you for the link to Matthew Klein’s retrospective on the international implications of Fed and ECB QE monetary stimulus at FT Alphaville. To quote Yogi Berra it seems that once again, “In theory there is no difference between theory and practice. In practice there is.”

    As an American I have been focused on the implications of Fed QE-ZIRP policy domestically, asking whether there is a point when government and the central bank will publicly acknowledge that their monetarist policies coupled with policies based on neoliberal ideology have failed the vast majority of Americans, and propose new policy alternatives?

    Expanding the frame to a global picture, Klein’s post caused me to again question not only central bank policy but the overall costs and benefits of the $USD as a global reserve currency funding the global carry trades. It seems to me that citizens of the EU (and Japan, although the latter was not mentioned in Klein’s article) should be asking the same question of the ECB and BoJ, respectively.

    Based on Klein’s article, it certainly appears that those who borrowed foreign currencies ($USD, euros, yen) to arbitrage against their domestic currencies were sophisticated investors and borrowers who knowingly took highly speculative currency risk. Why should we give a moment’s thought to indirectly subsidizing them or bailing them out through continued ZIRP which in real terms is NIRP (Negative real interest rates)?

    1. craazyboy

      We now are in the part of the cycle where the US is getting “flight to safety” financial inflows, due to zero or even negative rates in most of the ROW and also poor FX pressure on non-reserve currencies.

      So strong dollar is bad for US exporters.

      I think we get the inflows whether the fed moves a quarter point, or not.

      In 2011-2012 when the flow was the other direction, Ben simply told foreign governments they can use capital controls. Time for the Fed to take their own medicine, methinks. Tax inflows. That would be cool! They can mail the money to us!

      1. Jim Haygood

        In the rarified world of Fed watchers, subtleties of stance are as abundant as subatomic particles:

        Yellen seemed to redirect the market’s perception of the September decision toward a “hawkish hold” rather than a “malign” dovish hold. The malign dovish hold is one in which the Fed delays lift-off because it is concerned about the vigor of activity domestically and abroad. The hawkish hold, in contrast, leaves rate hikes on the table for 2015.

        “Hawkish hikes” and “malign dovish hikes” are further possibilities, along with Type I and Type II errors.

        Don’t attempt this analysis at home without a PhD Econ, brother.

        1. craazyboy

          It’s like mimes playing tennis
          with no tennis ball.
          Mimes playing air guitar
          Mimes to the right of me
          Mimes to the left of me
          Stuck in the Zero Bound again

          1. Gio Bruno

            …with an assist from Dylan?:

            Trying to make some sense of it all
            but I can see that it makes no sense at all.
            Is it cool to go to sleep on the floor?
            I don’t think that I can take anymore.

            Clowns to the left of me!
            Jokers to the right!
            Here I am stuck in the middle with you.

            1. craazyboy

              Well, if you’re gonna raise the bar on me, I’ll have to try harder.

              “All About The Fed Power”

              “There must be some kind of way out of here, ”
              Said the Fed Chair to the thief,
              “There’s too much confusion, I can’t get no relief.
              Bankster men – they drink my wine
              Wall Street digs my earth
              None will level on the line
              Talking book is all it’s worth.”

              “No reason to get a stroke, ”
              The thief – he kindly spoke,
              “There are many here among us
              Who feel the Fed is but a joke
              But you and I we’ve been through that
              And this is not our fate
              So let us not talk falsely now
              Don’t change the interest rate.”

              All about the Fed power
              J-Yell kept the view
              While all the people came and went
              bare-foot servants too
              Outside in the cold distance
              Financial Press did growl
              Two fifty basis points were approaching
              And Wall Street began to howl, hey.

        2. craazyman

          PhD macroeconomists don’t make errors of any Type

          it’s reality that gets it wrong

          Actually maybe that’s a “Type III” error, when reality fails the modeled prediction. bwahahaahah

      2. Chauncey Gardiner

        Re: …”Tax inflows. That w/b cool.”

        Heh, yep. Regarding taxation of foreign capital inflows, nearby abandoned ball field that is gradually returning to its natural state as a wetland would make excellent temporary landing or drop site for chopper drops of tax proceeds. After the crushing disappointment of Helicopter Ben’s continuing use of the pre-existing primary dealer network for distribution of QE, this could go some distance toward restoring institutional trust.

        I would imagine this policy would also please major U.S. exporters and ordinary Brazilians et al, too.

    2. MikeNY


      Are you implying that the Market doesn’t solve all problems, and that the Fed doesn’t control the Market??!

      **heads explode everywhere in DC and NYC** **Janet Yellen is speechless**

  16. say_what?

    re: It Is Very Expensive To Be Poor Pamela Foohey, Credit Slips

    Inch by inch we may be crawling toward ethical banking but oh so slowly and reluctantly – pulling impacted wisdom teeth comes to mind.

    Still, attempts to deliver the poor from loan sharks may lead to a more general debate on banking itself and lead to a better principled system for all of us.

    1. say_what?

      “In her book, Baradaran details how banks and government are and always have been inextricably tied,” Pamela Foohey, Credit Slips

      Not “inextricably tied” since while banks may need government, monetarily sovereign governments certainly have no need for banks. As for the private sector, it can certainly finance itself without government-privileged banks, ie. ethically.

    2. nigelk

      “Ethical banking” sounds like one of those terms like “honest car salesman” or “ethical attorney”

      1. say_what?

        Borrowing short to lend long is inherently risky and uncertain but not necessarily unethical – so long as the depositors are truly voluntary ones. With the current system, that is not the case.

  17. Jagger

    Looks like China may be committing to the Middle East. Pravda, Debka plus other sources state China is committing a carrier, a missile cruiser and 1000 marines to join Russian forces building up in Syria. If true, we might see an end to the Syrian conflict sooner rather later and a significant increase in Russia/China middle-east influence. Who could have imagined invading Iraq 14 years ago would ultimately lead to this on the ground opportunity for China/Russia/Iran. So where will we be in another 10 years???

    Also some references to Iran building up in Syria as well.

    ——Iran is already moving forward fast to augment its military presence in the war-torn country, buttressed by the ground, air and sea support of two world powers, Russia and China.—-!

  18. Roxan

    The Onion almost fooled me! A lot of truth in humor. I think the Pope would be disgusted if they took him on a genuine tour of Philly

    Just take him for a ride on the Rt 23 bus–longest route in the country which goes from the southern borders of the city to the northernmost, through all the worst areas. It used to be a trolley and I rode it almost every day from my house to Center City.

    Years ago, I had to ride it to see my doctor when my car wasn’t running. Her office is at the very end of the route. I’ve worked in a lot of those areas, so I didn’t see anything shocking, but once we crossed Girard Ave, which is sort of the dividing line between N. Philly (mostly black and destitute) and Center City, I began to get the ‘hairy eyeball’ as the white ‘spot in the bucket’. I must be a cop or a narc. Or, at least, lost. Finally, a kind old lady came over and inquired as to whether I need directions?

    I had a good laugh to myself, and told her the truth. I could hear a sigh of relief from the whole bus, and the other passengers became sort of protective.

    1. craazyman

      wow. that sounds like an epic bus ride.

      i bet that would make for a cool photojjournalism project or maybe a narrative treatment

      or maybe a movie.

      it has that presence of narrative spine.

      this could be the 21st Century Road Novel. this could make. Huck Finn and On the Road and Moby Dick footnotes to a sublime genius so bright it not only lights the realms of perception but transforms them like a chemical reaction. Holy Shit this could be big. This could be better than Robert Frank’s The Americans.

      I’ve seen those north Philly neighborhoods from the window of an Amtrak train and I’ve often thought of a photo project there. They might kill me, bering a white man with Crocket & Jones Westfiields, but I’m too cool for that. They’d realize that and they’d come to believe I’m a black man i disgusise. What about you? Are you a black woman with a white face? It’s weird how some people are like that. OK, maybe I’m exaggerating. At some point every body is shades of orange burnt umber raw umber cadmium red and cadmium yellow. That’s an artistic fact, so I’m not making it up

        1. Rageon

          Thanks for the head’s up. Them’s sum powerful images…Almost a little too real, approaching surreal…Heavy stuff. Well worth a gander.

  19. ewmayer

    Re. “Utilities seek to charge solar system owners more for connection to grid | LA Times” – I was unaware the solar system now has been staked out via an official real estate claim. Yowzers.

    1. different clue

      Here in Michigan, I get gas and electric from the same company . . DTE. On the gas side, they charge an overt fee for being hooked up to the gas system. On the electric side, they seem to charge an implicit fee for being hooked up to the electric system. I make that guess because one month I used so little electricity that my “electricity use” fell below their billable threshhold, so they charged me some kind of “grid maintainace fee”. Maybe that fee only kicks in if you use so little electricity that charging just for the electricity would charge less money then what that grid maintainance fee would have been.

      It seemed fair to me. The grid needs to be paid for and everyone on the grid should help pay. But this California law doesn’t seem designed to help keep the grid paid for. It seems like a conspiracy to drive solar electricity all the way off of the grid. Grid charges should be honest and for grid maintainance. And if enough people are selling enough homemade solar power back through the grid, then the utility becomes more of an electricity broker and should perhaps charge a fair price for brokerage services while paying a fair price for homemade solar power.

      In the meantime, perhaps solar-minded people should simply use their solar power for their own in home use. They could even “give” their surplus back to the grid if their ultimate motive were ideological . . . reducing the utility’s need to buy fossil carbon from the Merchants of Carbon to make electricity with.

  20. different clue

    Unless I missed it, no one seems to have commented on United Nations seeks to remake the Internet.

    The United Nations proposal is pure evil, designed on purpose to exterminate every blog, multiuser site, social media site, etc. where people of any sort may make or read comments of any sort. ” Sexismal abuse” against women and children is merely the cynical excuse. The goal is to use it as a precedent to goverlicense and prior-censor more and more and more areas. The goal is to create a North Korea-style Chinese Internet for the whole world. It says a lot about what the United Nations stands for to see it support turning the Internet into the Slave Net.

    Hopefully countries under democratic self-government can prepare to detach themselves from the coming Global Slave Net and preserve their own Freedom Internets within their own borders. They (we) can then air-gap our countries’ Freedom Internets from the World Wide Slave Net. We would have zero net access to any computer withing the geographic borders of the Slave Net, and the Slave Net would have zero effect on the workings of the Free Internets.

  21. craazyman

    and in other news. this is Big!

    this is certainly Links material for Monday in the ‘cutting edge science’ department

    there’s no excuse, really, not to have this one as a Science Link


    You can write one off to an overly active imagination, but not several similar reports. From independent sources

    This isn’t foo-foo woo-woo stuff like money being a Newtonian object that has velocity and a state function modeled by differential and integral calculus that defines location, speed and acceleration. What nonsense. That may entertain college kids and their professors who can’t tell mythology from natural phenomenon, but I mean really. No sane person would believe something as ludicrous as that.But this is hard observational science, total empiricism . . . . and it’s even better than the 50-year old grandma who became a Dallas Cowboy cheerleader. That was a classic but somehow it did’t make Links. I can only assume it was an oversight.

  22. redwoodrosie

    Who is Kevin McCarthy? Kevin McCarthy is a political animal through and through. Under his leadership, Republicans in the California state legislature perfected the art of holding the state budget hostage every year to force tax cuts and policies (usually weakening of environmental protections) which they could not get through the legislature on a vote. It was governance through manufactured chaos. Its no accident that when he went to Congress, the Congressional Republicans began threatening government shut downs to get their way. If he becomes Speaker, we can expect his caucus to continue the practice of creating constant crises as a means of trying to force adoption of policies with little or no public support.

  23. Jay M

    went to Wal-Mart to get a new aroma
    poverty was so stale
    you should see the Gucci snaffle-bit loafers I acquired
    the soles seemed to be epoxied newsprint, I could make out a Calvin & Hobbes strip
    heals were some of that dog beef jerky that poisoned your pets a few years ago
    the loafer was encouragingly labeled leather not sourced from illegal creatures
    walked on the lot and a young woman bumped into me and dropped her shopping bags

  24. skippy

    Texas ‘good guy with a gun’ shoots carjacking victim in head — then runs away

    **Police officials say that two men jumped the owner of a Chevrolet pickup truck and absconded with his vehicle.

    As the men struggled with the car-owner, a passerby produced a gun and fired multiple shots, missing the thieves but striking the victim in the head.

    The shooter quickly gathered up his shell casings from the pavement and fled the scene.**

    Skippy…. sigh – tm….

  25. participant-observer-observed

    “Jeb Bush can’t explain the cost of his tax cuts correctly Vox. Resilc: “i’m still in shock that he is dumber than his brother. How can this be?””

    This may be how Bush will win if Sanders can’t hook up with a Rand Paul character to split the middle: Bush will remind everyone of the betrayal of the Obama democrats to normalize the Bush tax cuts.

    That was the proverbial straw that broke the camel’s back for many of us, on top of the Wall St coddling. It still makes me sick to think about it, and dems are never getting those voters back.

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