Links 9/29/15

Thanks for your kind notes yesterday. I appear to have gotten food poisoning. I’m getting back to normal. If you do not see an antidote, that is due to considerable tech difficulties we had overnight. I was unable to get to the backstage and you are lucky to have Links at all. We’ve had a bad patch of tech problems since a WordPress upgrade.

“Individual utilized the raccoon…” ‏@NickatFP

Stubborn goat refuses to leave Sask. Tim Hortons CBC (frosty zoon)

Mormon church issues statement about lunar eclipse apocalpyse Christian Science Monitor (EM)

Physics of falling says professional athletes are running wrong New Scientist (Robert M)

Hip implant maker claims surgical funder inflated patients’ bills Reuters (EM)

Apple Censors App That Tracks Drone Strikes, Calling It ‘Objectionable Content’ Alternet


China’s industrial profits fall 8.8pc in biggest decline in four years South China Morning Post

China statistics: Making the numbers add up Financial Times

As RM11b of Malaysian bonds expire, concerns over foreigners pulling cash out Malay Mail Online

Jamaica calls for Britain to pay billions of pounds in reparations for slavery Guardian (furzy mouse)

Corbyn Panic

Jeremy Corbyn is wrong: the UK public backs capitalism Telegraph

British Labour Party to Launch Radical Review of BOE CNBC

Fraud probe into BoE guidance in emergency auctions Financial Times

How an independent Catalonia plans to keep the euro Telegraph


Putin steals Obama’s thunder on the world stage CNN (Oregoncharles)

Obama and Putin Clash at U.N. on Crisis in Middle East New York Times

Leave it to Vlad (and the Supreme Leader) Foreign Policy. Lambert: “A howl of pain and rage.”

Why the US should give Putin a free rein in Syria Quartz (resilc)

The Power of False Narrative Robert Parry, Consortium News (Chuck L)

Saudi royal calls for regime change in Riyadh | World news | The Guardian (furzy mouse). Note we linked to a story like this from a Middle Eastern source last week. The death of the old king was long feared by the US, since the crown prince was not well liked domestically and is perceived to be heavy-handed, even by the autocratic standards of the region.

UK deal to back Saudis exposed Australian. Lambert: “Sadly paywalled and no independent source.” Hopefully derivative stories will run shortly.

Petraeus reborn! Sic Semper Tyrannis (resilc)


WSJ/NBC Poll: Joe Biden Is Stronger Than Clinton in Test Match-Ups Against Bush, Fiorina, Carson Wall Street Journal

Trump’s Tax Plan: The Best, Most Luxurious Tax Plan For Those Already Living In Luxury ThinkProgress (furzy mouse)

Is the end near for ‘anti-immigrant Democrat’ Trump? CNBC (furzy mouse)

How Journalism Helps Lunacy Become Reality Al Jazeera America (furzy mouse)

The U.S. Congressional Defunding of the Export-Import Bank Atlantic

Record number of guns found in U.S. airport searches: TSA Reuters. EM: “Self-licking ice cream cone PR.”


All car companies cheat on emissions tests—it’s just that most do it legally Quartz (resilc)

Chart of the week: The impact of Volkswagen on the automobile stock market Bruegel

Glencore Slump Continues in Hong Kong After Record London Slide Bloomberg

Whole Foods Market to cut about 1,500 jobs Reuters. EM: “Not including the CEO position, alas.”

General Electric to shift engine plant to Canada, creating 350 job Globe and Mail. Frosty zoom: “What on earth?!?”

Mixed messages as Fed officials go public in force Reuters

Dow Industrials Sink 313 Points Wall Street Journal. Can’t threaten those rents!

Big US banks lose patience with Fed Financial Times. Gee, you’t think this was their decision. And this will become self-fulfilling as the Fed won’t want to whack bank equity by raising rates.

Rarely enforced SEC rules may give green light to earnings manipulation Francine McKenna, MarketWatch

As Banks Retreat, Private Equity Rushes to Buy Troubled Home Mortgages New York Times. Important. Wish I had time to post on this. Yet more proof that the regulators have not done remotely enough to crack down on predatory servicing.

Class Warfare

Retrotopia: Public Utilities, Private Goods Archdruid

GoPro CEO Nick Woodman has lost $2b this year Sydney Morning Herald. EM: “OMG, his annual comp. is threatening to plunge below the $100 million mark. His hedge-fund buddies might be forced to start disinviting him from their soirees at that point. Scary!”

Antidote du jour (martha r):

bird of paradise links

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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    1. frosty zoom

      and aloe vera gel. you can buy whole leaves at mexican or vietnamese grocers. just cut away the green stuff and scrape out the clear goop inside.

      great for any ailment from the mouth, through the tubes, and all the way to the exit.

    2. trinity river

      Could you provide us with some research? Any collaborating information? I’m not being negative, just curious.

        1. Lambert Strether

          When I sent in the link, none of my Google tricks worked, presumably because Google had not yet index it. Now, Googling on the headline does work, and the full text of the story appears at the URL (though you have to get there from Google, not the URL). Some excerpts:

          Classified cables, translated by The Australian, reveal British Prime Minister David Cameron’s government engaged in talks with Saudi Arabia about a vote trade to support each other’s election to the UNHRC — the body responsible for the protection of human rights around the world.

          The documents indicate Britain initiated the backroom talks by asking Saudi Arabia for its support ahead of the November 2013 UNHRC elections. The Saudi regime has beheaded more people this year than Islamic State and has an appalling record of killing or lashing people who speak out, are homosexual or commit adultery. Britain and Saudi Arabia were elected to the UNHRC, which has 47 member states. …

          The Saudi cables, dated January and February 2013, were translated separately by The Australian and UN Watch.

          “The Delegation is honoured to send to the Ministry the enclosed memorandum which the Delegation has received from the Permanent Mission of the United Kingdom asking it for the support and backing of the candidacy of their country to the membership of the Human Rights council (HRC) for the period 2014-2016, in the elections that will take place in 2013 in the city of New York,” states one cable dated January 14, 2013. “The Ministry might find it an opportunity to exchange support with the United Kingdom, where the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia would support the candidacy of the United Kingdom to the membership of the Council for the period 2014-2015 in exchange for the support of the United Kingdom to the candidacy of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.”

          The cables are among 61,000 files from the Saudi Foreign Ministry released by WikiLeaks in June.

          Another cable reveals Saudi Arabia transferred $US100,000 for “expenditures resulting from the campaign to nominate the Kingdom for membership of the Human Rights Council for the period 2014-2016”. It was unclear where or how this money was spent and whether other UN ambassadors received payments, gifts or entertainment, such as dinners.

          $100K doesn’t seem like a lot.

          I wonder if the Saudis, as good Muslims, were aware at that time of David Cameron’s proclivities regarding pork?

  1. abynormal

    i once tried normal for two minutes…worse two min of my life

    Glad your on the mend Yves, i worry.

    (martha r., you come up with some mesmerizing antidotes…Thank You)

  2. Ignim Brites

    Leave it to Vlad (and the Supreme Leader). The wailing and gnashing is salubrious but the best is yet to come. Obama can only render irreversible his withdrawal of the US from the middle east by putting withdrawal from NATO on the agenda.

    1. montanamaven

      “Will they work the same way to stabilize Iraq? Perhaps. But is their goal there restoring Baghdad’s control over the whole country or just ensuring its control over a substantial portion of that country? What will that mean if IS remains active and pushed up against the Jordanian border? What will it mean if the result is further minimization of Sunni interests in Iraq and a much more pronounced Iranian threat to the Gulf states? These are questions Washington should have been asking before ceding leadership to those who lack Obama’s values but have the will to act that eludes him.”

      Well, I was enjoying that article until I got to the phrase “…those who lack Obama’s values…” are now in charge. President Putin actually mentioned values in his speech. He compared those who valued selfishness to those who valued the collective. Hmmm? That’s what needs to be highlighted.

  3. lyman alpha blob

    RE: Jeremy Corbyn is wrong: the UK public backs capitalism

    The article included this rare nugget which started my day with a laugh:

    ‘ “Austerity is not an economic necessity, it’s a political choice,” the shadow chancellor also opined. But that is nonsense: governments face budget constraints. They cannot rack up a 10pc of GDP deficit with impunity. The laws of economics cannot simply be willed away by politicians…’

    That’s right – they have to check with the corpse of Milton Friedman first to make sure it’s OK first.

    1. Mucho

      Your comment made me laugh. The article itself made me seeth with rage: it is almost unbelievably sycophantic. His other articles are the same. Here is another gem, from an earlier article:

      “As for the various wholesale financial markets scandals, nobody in finance doubts the authorities’ willingness to act any longer. Financial crime will always be with us: like in every industry, human nature means that a small minority will occasionally break the law. But we have become more like the US in one respect: no one in their right mind can possibly believe that the regulators, for all their other faults, are a soft touch.”

      (From this article, July 2015)

      1. FriarTuck

        So the people who voted for Corbyn… don’t exist?

        I don’t get how a newspaper can blatantly deny democratic reality so brazenly.

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          What good does it serve a newspaper to announce “everything we’ve peddled has been bs”? The answer is nothing, and it would only serve notice to their readers that Corbyn voters are better informed despite not reading the msm machine.

          I suppose if they knew a way out, but the Internet is already saturated with alternative media. Even with government bots, I can follow breaking events on twitter. Why do I need CNN? Take MSNBC’s rapid growth after Katrina. What drove it? The answer was Olbermann letting loose when there was less corporate control, not the green belt project of an MBA. Can Maddow let loose? No. She’s a known commodity who has already accepted the GE/Comcast approved corporate line. Her credibility is in doubt. They brought in Chris Hedges, but the Olbermann and Democratic resurgence viewers left when they saw the true face of MSNBC. Hedges is too close to the stench. It’s better money, and I have nothing against the man. He can’t bring an audience to msnbc.

          Yves and Lambert read the news for me providing links. Even if they dug up Walter Cronkite and put him in the anchor chair, would I watch MSNBC? The answer is no. Will MSNBC bring in young viewers? Probably not because they have Facebook news feed which despite my views on Facebook provides access to other news sources without the stench of Comcast/Disney/GE/Microsoft/Viacomm/Murdoch. The msm has to sell itself to advertisers, and they don’t want to risk losing eyeballs, so they preach to the choir and pray it turns around.

    2. Benedict@Large

      Jeremy Corbyn is wrong: the UK public backs capitalism | Telegraph

      As if capitalism and socialism are mutually exclusive. That is the meme here that the neolibs are trying to foist upon the public (who, by the way, couldn’t define capitalism if their lives depended on it.)

      1. cwaltz

        Capitalism- Hmmmmmm isn’t that when PUBLIC money is used to subsidize things like health care, oil exploration, crops, utilities, etc, etc and some rich guys get to take all the credit for their profitability despite that public investment and then vote to give each other millions? No wait, isn’t that when big companies get to write laws to benefit themselves and immunize themselves from any malfeasance? Surely it must be when PUBLIC funds are utilized to bail out the bad decisions that corporate America makes. Or wait, isn’t it when the guy in charge destroys a company in less than a year and earns millions while the guy who headed to work for 17 years, doing his best, gets a pink slip and six months of unemployment? Capitalism is so darn confusing.

  4. abynormal

    tax porn data
    2011 General Electric (GE)
    Untaxed foreign profit: $94 billion
    Tax Haven: US
    Strategy: An army of 1000 former IRS accountants keeps GE’s taxes near zero

    2012 Bloomberg: The 70 U.S.-based companies studied hold $1.2 trillion in profits around the world. GE and Pfizer have built up the most money outside the U.S., with $102 billion and $63 billion respectively, according to securities filings.

    12/2014 The Federal Reserve just came out with a request for public comment on the regulation of General Electric Capital Corp (GECC) as a Sifi, “Application of Enhanced Prudential Standards and Reporting Requirements to General Electric Capital Corporation”.
    TaDa: Starting in 2017, GECC will have to comply with stress testing (applicable to bank holding companies with $50 billion or more of consolidated assets) and, as of 2016, CCAR.

    “Don’t run away.”
    “I’m not running away.
    I’m already gone.”

  5. Bunk McNulty

    Harvard Medical School Puts Strict Ethics Under Microscope (Boston Globe)

    Excerpt: [Dr. Marcia] Angell said she worries that by reopening its conflict-of-interest rules, Harvard Medical School will “be going along with the times — and the times are that everything is for sale.”

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      You are the second person to say that, but when I click on your link, I get the page in both Firefox and Safari. What browser and OS are you using?

      Update: I relaunched the post, so it should work now. Sorry for the trouble.

  6. OIFVet

    No roundup of “howls of pain and rage” can be complete without checking in withbAnnie Applebaum, and her contribution is a doozy:Putin’s Power PlaysBut the appearance of influence is even more useful at home. You and I might assume that the prospect of a Russian street revolution is far-fetched, but Putin, having watched what happened in East Germany in 1989 from his KGB office in Dresden, and having then watched what happened to Moammar Gadaffi in 2011, clearly worries about it quite often. To stave off this fate, his state-controlled television rumbles on constantly about the fecklessness of Europe and the corruption of America — just in case any Russians are tempted by the lure of democracy — as well as the total chaos that his policies have helped foment in Syria.. So it is what the Hillminator did to Gadaffi that scares Putin, you see, what with the Russian populace’s yearning for the freedumb and democracy of the 1990’s no doubt…

    1. Carolinian

      I think this Applebaum quote falls into the “empires make their own reality” category–their own imagined reality. Someone should tell her that good propaganda needs at least a grain of truth to convince.

      Your neocon elites: evil and dumb.

    2. tegnost

      Yes thats funny. I actually think leaving syria to putin is probably a good idea, but i don’t think my good ideas are the same as their good ideas.

      1. montanamaven

        Trump thinks it’s a good idea too. On “60 Minutes”

        the GOP front-runner said the U.S. should let Russia take the lead in battling ISIS in Syria, where the Russian government is allied with the Assad regime.

        “Russia wants to get rid of ISIS. We want to get rid of ISIS. Maybe let Russia do it. Let them get rid of ISIS. What the hell do we care?” Trump said.

  7. Bridget

    Individual utilized the racoon.

    I just spit coffee all over my computer screen. That’s some funny stuff.

  8. craazyboy

    Leave it to Vlad (and the Supreme Leader) Foreign Policy. Lambert: “A howl of pain and rage.”
    That was the biggest convoluted logic salad mind fck I’ve read in a long time. Of course, it was penned by US Foreign Policy wonks. Cleary, they have no clue.

    1. OIFVet

      That was the biggest convoluted logic salad mind fck I’ve read in a long time. Today’s Annie Applebaum WP column gives Scheisskopf Rothkopf a run for his money.

    2. optimader

      Penned byDavid Rothkopf
      He is a visiting scholar at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace,

      Note to self, no donation this christmas (Hanukkah?) to Carnegie Endowment for International Peace

      …then there is still the necessity of figuring out how to best advance U.S. interests going forward. (The specter of foreign fighters, the stream of refugees into Europe, and the strategic consequences of long-term control of the Middle East all underscore that we actually do have long-term interests and the “it’s not our problem argument” is just naive and shortsighted.)

      Apparently Rothkopf implies the best strategy to advance US interests is to escalate out involvement with ground troops?
      What exactly are US interests there?
      What does “long term control of the ME” mean, really? Why do US policy wonks still harbor concern ME countries that have a monoresource (hydrocarbon) will stop selling into a world market which dictates price??
      The hdrocarbon market is a big bathtub with many spigots of various size going into it

      1. craazyboy

        Not to mention they need the money. hahaha.

        I think if you are going to kick around a term like “foreign policy”, your analysis/policy needs to at least communicate some basics – name what the game is, does it have rules, whom are the players, what side are the players on, how many sides does the game have, does this game have a final goal, how do you tell who’s winning, is there an end to the game and is a winner announced at that point…????

        The article/ US Foreign Policy fails on all counts. It didn’t even get it right when the game started. Obama? Neocons? Palestine? Shah of Iran? 1948? Before 1948?

        1. cwaltz

          Shhhhhhhh, all that is a great big secret. National security and all that you know. (tongue firmly in my cheek.)

        1. JTMcPhee

          Really, Emma? Do you have suggestions for doctrine, strategy, tactics, and policy for how Imperial ground Troops could/should be trained, armed, deployed, supported, provisioned, fueled, “,contracted,” and all that, in any way that will improve the situation in the ME? What would the goal(s) of that kind of expenditure be? What would be the metrics of “mission accomplished,” since none of the other sh_t the Empire has done there has produced any “victories” to crow about?

          My suggestion: don’t even think about that kind of repeated serial one-after-another Notagainistan? idiocy. I do grant that all that jazz is a great mechanism for unaccountable wealth transfer, corruption of every kind, and as some point out, fewer Troops We Support are getting killed per Operation though the battle damage seems rather severe and increasingly expensive. And the troops are going to do what, win hearts and minds like the last many times?

          1. Emma

            Calm down Nanny McPhee!
            Back in the 1870s, Sir William Hunter in ‘The Indian Musalmans’ was warning us all about ‘fanatical swarms’ of Sunnis funded by rich men playing devoted murderers (in the name) of Islam. Today, they’re still doing it, and quite content to take the fight to our own shores.
            Given that neither they, nor we, seem sufficiently capable of (or interested in…..) shifting them all towards far greater economic development, cooperation & democracy, the chaos will continue to prevail.
            That’s it. Bloodshed and bullshit.
            If you’ve got a bullet-whizzing idea Nanny Mc Phee, I beseech thee to educate meee! Because……..if there’s some way to undermine the manic manhood of mavericks and morons, and mop up the mess…you’ve clearly got something well in hand!

      2. optimader

        Yes I agree CB, a pathetic scrap of an Opinion piece that takes a D in Rhetoric.

        I’m glad his parents packed him off to Columbia to get a BA in BS rather than casting a dishonorable shadow on the door at U of I Champaign-Urbana. Yet another member of the East Coast Bloviating Beltway Fake Intellectual Mutual Admiration Society .

        Not to mention they need the money. hahaha. to trade for carbohydrates, to some extent infrastructure for fresh water, and of course decadent western bling.

        Bottom line, no new regime in a ME Petrostate would stand a chance if they ceased hydrocarbon production, so IMO it social order and security should be self correcting in the ME if we left them alone and take our relationship to a state of mercantile mutual benefit. What is in our interest in sticking our collective noses in some other countries social order?? Military incursion raises the cost of hydrocarbons and lowers “security” systemically.

        As far as Syria goes, Russia has vested interests in maintaining status quo (Tartus Naval Facility and hard currency for weapons contracts), so oj that’s their potential quagmire to negotiate.

        The US?, IMO nothing justifies perpetual war in the form of an ineffective but destructive bombing campaign, let alone ground troops.

        We are waaaaay overdue to back off and allow our superior societal role model sell itself.

        1. craazyboy

          Sanders did say his position is the ME needs to learn to fend for themselves.

          No such common sense out of the other 20 some candidates. The US will get it right one of these years/decades/centuries.

          1. optimader

            I’ll give Sander a +100 on that.

            Unlike a clock and other human designs, a complex system is never finished, never has a “final” shape.
            Taleb got it wrong here if you consider perpetual war a distinctly human design.

    1. craazyman

      my opinion of The Donald is going up and up.

      He’s a performance artist extraordinaire and, very nearly, a stand-up comic master who effortlessly blends parody and self-parody.

      and he’s having fun.

        1. Emma

          I wish I were the specs embracing the cherubic face of Snowden!
          @Snowden is live today and already hitting the 300K mark….
          First tweet ever “Can you hear me now?”

        2. optimader

          I wish I had his hair, or more precisely, that much hair.

          mmmm. if you look close I think you’ll see that’s one piece of hair that’s 300ft long.

  9. Synoia

    How an independent Catalonia plans to keep the euro

    Either: Becoming independent while remaining a debtor colony of Germany?

    Or: Is Catalonia running a trade surplus — which would explain the Spanish consternation over democracy?

    We live in interesting times. Rent due at noon.

    1. sam s smith

      I think the countries in Europe are slowly evolving( or is it devolving ) back to the fuedal city states of 2000 years ago. Next, I suspect that Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland leave the UK. Followed by the Flemish part of Belguim splitting off and the northern part of Italy breaking off.

      I think all of the former Soviet Bloc nations in Eastern Europe will follow the lead of Yugoslavia and break up into small pieces.

      European’s intense dislike of the people in the next village over is strange.

  10. mad as hell.

    The Power of False Narrative Robert Parry, Consortium News

    “Yet, while the U.S. press corps deserves a great deal of blame for this failure to investigate important controversies independently, President Obama and his administration have been the driving force in this manipulation of public opinion over the past six-plus years. Instead of the transparent government that Obama promised, he has run one of the most opaque, if not the most secretive, administrations in American history.

    Besides refusing to release the U.S. government’s evidence on pivotal events in these international crises, Obama has prosecuted more national security whistleblowers than all past presidents combined.”

    Fifty years from today in an American History book this is either going to be
    a) a chapter of it’s own.
    b) a footnote.
    c) not mentioned at all.

    I’ll take “c” Alex!

    1. abynormal

      uh, kiddo’s 2011 history book inserted a half paragraph on watergate. that’s okay b/c the publishers gave TWO pages on MADONNA (NO, not the raphael madonna).

  11. allan

    University of Washington will raise its minimum wage to $15 an hour

    The UW announced Monday that it plans to follow Seattle’s $15-an-hour minimum-wage law, raising student and other employee wages to $13 an hour this January, and to $15 an hour the following year, on Jan. 1, 2017.

    Earlier this year, the university had argued that as a state-funded institution, it fell into a gray area of the law. … About 5,500 workers — 3,500 of them students — will get a raise. … The University of Washington is believed to be the largest employer in [Seattle].

    1. tegnost

      There are still howls from the restaurant industry. It’s good to see the big players being forced to go along (they all generally said thats great but it doesn’t apply to us for this reason or that). Sea tac airport was made to comply, now UW…wondering about boeing because I’m pretty sure their apprentices rates are lower but right now the seattle min is $11. These big employers are where the money is and they can afford it and thats critical for the trickle down to work (hey I didn’t make the plan, but I did vote for it)the kicking and screaming is comical, I’ve been paid basically the same rate since 1992 when I rented the nicest room in the house for $400/month

  12. Synoia

    Putin steals Obama’s thunder on the world stage…(link has typo, missing leading h in http)

    “History is littered with the failure of false prophets and fallen empires, who believed that might always makes right, and that will continue to be the case. You can count on that,” Obama said.

    Obama never said a truer word, Was this said while looking in the mirror?

    1. montanamaven

      Over at The Saker, a commenter said that the gist of the speech by Putin was about the UN. You either “use it or lose it” as a body of international law. Since WWII a few players at the top of the pyramid thought they could do what they wanted without the United Nations. Putin is calling for a renewed investment in the UN. So as Ignim Bites said above, that would also mean getting rid of other institutions like NATO that conflict with the UN as the world’s governing body. I guess that would mean scrapping all those trade agreements too? Thoughts on this idea?

  13. gonzomarx

    Lambert please please please!! Put on your waders and give the good folks at NC your take on Corbyn’s leaders speech.

    I can’t remember a leaders speech like it. Not polished but more like a old time revival meeting.

  14. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    All (car) companies (and people) ‘cheat’ on something…

    Rarely enforced SEC rules may give green light to earnings manipulation, for example.

    Some try to cheat death, for another example.

    It’s a matter of degree or frequency.

    Of course, the smart ones try to re-write rules or hire lobbyists.

    Or one can become one of the ‘who will guard the guards’ guards. “What I find in your car belongs to me now.”

    What does this mean?

    1. cnchal

      The first comment by Mike Potter says it all.

      Economist have ideas. It doesn’t seem to matter if they’re correct or not as the money rolls in and they live well.

      From the article:

      China will no longer flood the world with excess savings. The elderly will have to draw down on their reserves. Companies will have to invest again in labour-saving technology, putting their stash of money to work.

      Let them eat concrete.

  15. Garrett Pace

    Mormons and the Blood Moon

    It’s not *just* the moon which is a thing that happens from time to time. It’s not just the prophecying hobbyists either, they are always out there too. LDS is a very middle class church and I think lots of people are feeling increasing insecurity about their middle class position.

    I should also say this is *mostly* a Utah Mormon thing. There’s more LDS outside of Utah than in it, and outside the US than in it, and unless I miss my guess very few of them are dialed in on this stuff.

    1. Garrett Pace

      Dealing in the future is risky and destabilizing. I note with interest the Medieval kings who would forbid fortune telling or predicting the downfall of the king. And Cassandra who knew what would happen but couldn’t convince anyone.

      Numbers 11:27 is a hard principle for any community: “would God that all the Lord’s people were prophets, and that the Lord would put his spirit upon them!”

      Even from the most optimistic point of view that some of the people really have that gift, is you end up with a lot of stuff to sift through to separate wheat from chaff.

      1. anon de plume

        Prophets don’t necessarily predict the future except perhaps in general, eg. “repent or else.”

        Surely the LDS know this?

        1. Garrett Pace

          In general and specific, but yes LDS do indeed know this and some aspire to it and some aspire to other heavenly gifts.

          Here’s from the Book of Mormon, Mosiah 8:16-17

          …a seer is a revelator and a prophet also; and a gift which is greater can no man have, except he should possess the power of God, which no man can; yet a man may have great power given him from God.

          But a seer can know of things which are past, and also of things which are to come, and by them shall all things be revealed, or, rather, shall secret things be made manifest, and hidden things shall come to light, and things which are not known shall be made known by them, and also things shall be made known by them which otherwise could not be known.

            1. Garrett Pace

              Depends on who you ask! There is more or less unanimous agreement that Joseph Smith dictated the text to a handful of his earlier followers, and then had the manuscript published by EB Grandin, a printer of Palmyra, New York

              Where Smith himself got the text is a subject of very colorful and long-lasting debate. We LDS believe it is an ancient record written by the ancient of inhabitants of the Americas.

              More skeptical explanations revolve around Smith himself making it up (which for all of Smith’s abilities I find absurd) or some “evil genius” writing it but for whatever reason passing it off to an obscure farmboy to start a religion with.

              1. skippy

                Christopher Hitchens does a factual contextualization of Joseph Smiths machinations in “God is not Great”.

                Skippy… more a case of plagiarism than divine inspiration or guidance.

                1. Garrett Pace

                  If all you’re looking for is confirmation bias then God is Not Great will do fine, but I had the privilege of reading the Mormon sections of the book and it was clear that Hitchens had not made a serious effort to inform himself about the LDS.

                  There are plenty of better informed critics out there of the LDS in general and the Book of Mormon in particular.

                  Actually, the chapter is still available online:


                  If by “factual contextualization” you mean the “View of the Hebrews” plagiarism accusation, that was first made fifty or a hundred years ago.

                  1. skippy

                    No…. the issue is Joseph Smiths own personal history and actions and the broader anthropological purview.

                    Skippy…. the persecutors suffer the same problem set, all the way back to PIE.

                    1. Garrett Pace

                      That’s a popular view about Smith. For myself, such narratives (even ones less glib and superficial than Sr. Hitchens’) are convincing on the surface but not in depth.

                    2. skippy

                      Popular is not to confused with historical accuracy, your personal needs are not applicable in lieu of.

                      Skippy…. hay I grew up with the Bashas

                    3. Garrett Pace

                      I wouldn’t want anyone taking my word for it regarding an angel from heaven. May God demonstrate himself to you in His own particular way.

                      Have a terrific tomorrow.

              2. Katniss Everdeen

                I was under the impression that the text was presented to Joseph Smith by the “angel Moroni” on golden tablets for him to transcribe. The “angel” then, helpfully, took the tablets back so no one could check Smith’s work.

                A “likeness” of moroni adorns the spire of the temple in Salt Lake City, I understand, in homage to this miraculous “revelation.”

                1. Garrett Pace

                  That’s about right – adding that the tablets were written in an obscure language and required divine assistance to translate. According to accounts, Smith would read off the translation and the scribe would write it down.

                  Scare quotes are scary.

                  1. Garrett Pace

                    Whoops! The angel did not give the plates directly to him, but rather told him where to find them, and Smith went and dug them up.

                    This coheres nicely with “money digging” that Smith had done in this period of his life and fits in the milieu nicely, for both critics and faithful.

                    1. Larry Dallas

                      He supposedly put his head into his hat that contained a magic stone.

                      This had previously allowed him to create treasure maps.

                      Open main menu

                      EditWatch this page
                      Seer stone (Latter Day Saints)
                      For other uses, see Scrying.

                      Mormons believe that Joseph Smith used this seer stone in the Book of Mormon translation effort.[1][2]
                      According to Latter Day Saint theology, seer stones were stones used by Joseph Smith to receive revelations from God. Some other early Latter Day Saints also possessed and used seer stones, including one of Smith’s self-professed successors, James Strang.

                      Smith owned at least two seer stones, which he had earlier employed for treasure seeking before he founded the church.[3] Other early Mormons, such as Hiram Page, David Whitmer, and Jacob Whitmer, also owned seer stones.[4] Seer stones are mentioned in the Book of Mormon and in other Latter Day Saint scriptures, usually by the term “Urim and Thummim”.[5] James Strang, who claimed to be Smith’s successor, also unearthed what he said were ancient metal plates, known as the Voree plates, and translated them using a seer stone.

                    2. Garrett Pace

                      Oh definitely – that Joseph Smith dictated many of the 500-odd pages of the Book of Mormon with his face buried in a hat (rather than, say, reading aloud from a hidden original) is definitely upping the degree of difficulty in the effort.

                      It is a powerful confirmation of its validity!

            2. Elliot

              I actually know descendents of the person who wrote the book of Mormon (hint: Not Joseph Smith) and had it plagiarized by Smith. When they told me, the family seemed to find it all weirdly hilarious–not being Mormon. In the 1980’s maybe, a Mormon historian was excommunicated for having the temerity to report to the LDS elders just where their book came from.. it was in many newspapers at the time, so should be in online archives I would think.

          1. optimader

            But a seer can know of things …., and also of things which are to come
            Link? ( someone working the crowd with matl a little more challenging than the time of sunrise or a tide table)

        2. cwaltz

          I’ve met a few of them and they seem like good folk. However, like many religious people they seem to think everything is already written in stone instead of a work in progress with fluidity(Can I add how ridiculous I think it is that most of Christianity seems to think the be all and end all to God’s Word and Work seems to be a book written thousands of years ago? Divinely inspired? Sure. Divinely written? Uh not unless God was the author and not using some third party ghost writer.)

          1. anon de plume

            A large part of Scripture is ignored by the modern church since it commands such things as debt forgiveness, land reform and forbids such things as collecting interest from one’s fellow countrymen.

            Indeed, von Mises, a non-believer, is more widely believed than Moses it often seems.

            So no. Sadly, Scripture is not truly revered but ignored by many churches if it contradicts their politics.

              1. craazyman

                didn’t god create humanity? where does the buck stop?

                did god create dog or, god forbid, was itt the other way around?

                I guess this is the Deep Thoughts thread of the day

                Deep Thoughts. They makes you scratch your head that’ for sure. Wondering and wondering scratching you head and thinking “well . . . ” and “hmmmm . . . . ” while furrowing your brow, and then finally, after realizing all you’ve done is rearrange words, saying “oh never mind” hahaha. It gets to be too much work. that’ when you go for the Spanish wine and it all make sense without any words at all

                1. skippy

                  You started it….

                  “Mario, what do you get when you cross an insomniac, an unwilling agnostic and a dyslexic?”

                  “I give.”

                  “You get someone who stays up all night torturing himself mentally over the question of whether or not there’s a dog.”

                  ― David Foster Wallace, Infinite Jest

    1. OIFVet

      They can’t even get their stories straight: “They are different people,” McFaul said. “The president is analytic. Putin is emotional.” Ok, so we have eleventy dimensional thinker versus a compulsive actor. What say you, GWB? George W. Bush fumed over his aggression toward the Republic of Georgia, and ended his presidency by telling the Russian: “You’re cold-blooded.” So Putin is both emotional and cold?! Yes, I know that “…and the kitchen sink” strategy of media demonization does not much care for logical consistency even within the same story, but this is still too inane even by courtier press standards.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        After losing the House, I believe the White House recognized they weren’t going to leave a wake of accomplishments and decided to be foreign policy big boys latching onto Libya when the opportunity presented itself with the expectation of Democratic smart warring the presidency away and doing an “I told you so” routine over ACA, well, that’s not looking too good. Putin blunted Obama’s place in history as a benevolent conqueror, and with a lack of domestic accomplishments, Obama alums have no positive accomplishments for future advancement. The Obama White House won’t produce future elected leaders or the sheen necessary to procure great corporate jobs. Holder just has his old job. Universities aren’t knocking down the doors to give him a phony provost job. The White House is now focused on white washing their record and building what little legacy they can. They blame Putin for their own incompetence.

        Also, the chatter was that Putin use to be autistic, not emotional.

  16. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Jamaica…billions of pounds in reparations.

    Can’t Britain just print that money? It’s EZ – ‘Here, a trillion. Take it. We can print more.’

    And trillions more for colonialism, neoliberalism, communism, capitalism, War on Wage Inflation (WOWI), War on Assetless (WOA), educated-to-be-replaceable-machine-parts-in-the-system victims, as well.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Perhaps also victims of untested economic policies as well (where is the FDA).

      You can’t conduct economic experiments on billions of humans. It’s unethical.

  17. Jim Haygood

    It depends on what the meaning of ‘we’ (and ‘is’) is:

    Karen Finney, Senior Spokeswoman for Hillary for America, stated that Clinton saying “We went through a thorough process to identify all of my work-related emails” and stating that she “did not participate” in the process of reviewing her emails is “consistent” because “she said ‘we’” on Monday’s broadcast of CNN’s “The Lead with Jake Tapper.”

    Host Jake Tapper played clips of Clinton saying, with regards to reviewing her emails and deleting personal ones, “all I can tell you is that when my attorneys conducted this exhaustive process, I did not participate. I didn’t look at them.” On Sunday’s “Meet the Press.”

    He then played Clinton’s remarks on March 10 at the UN, where she stated, “We went through a thorough process to identify all of my work-related emails, and deliver them to the State Department. At the end, I chose not to keep my private, personal emails.” Tapper then played Clinton stating, “So we went through a painstaking process, and turned over 55,000 pages of anything we thought could be work-related. Under the law, that decision is made by the official. I was the official. I made those decisions.

    Same old, same old … with the Clintons, even an such as “I made those decisions” can morph into “I did not participate” when legal exigencies require it.

    Slipperier than greased weasel …

  18. rich

    Mexican politician says homeless people should be put down by lethal injection
    A Mexican councillor has got into a spot of bother after suggesting homeless people should be culled by lethal injection.

    Olga Guiterrez Machorro’s suggestion for the town of Tecamachalco, Puebla, was met with anger.

    She said: ‘Yes they’re a little crazy, but they’re harmless. Which is why I think to myself wouldn’t it be kinder to just give them a lethal injection?’

    She’s since apologised, adding that she didn’t think the idea would create such outrage.

    Read more:

    Read more:

    1. abynormal

      i’m only finding the minuscule of numbers on Mexico…are you homeless if you live in a box? this distinction could make a life or death difference. the last numbers (2012) total poverty level was 86% of 105m pop. that’s a lot of shots.

      The fact ‘she didn’t think the idea would create such outrage’ screams psychosis.
      roll up your sleeve dhalin…

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      “You have no house. No property. You can’t vote.”

      Boy, we have progressed a long way from that.

      Life in the 18th century suddenly doesn’t seem that bad after all.

  19. Oregoncharles

    Glad you’re feeling better. CalSTRS and CalPERS are not.

    Those “upgrades” will getcha every time.

  20. Oregoncharles

    “Apple Censors App That Tracks Drone Strikes, Calling It ‘Objectionable Content’ Alternet”

    OK, you made me actually go to and comment on Alternet, which I swore off of in 2012 because of their dishonest coverage of that campaign.

    The big question, not answered in the article: who asked Apple to do that?

  21. Oregoncharles

    “The current hot phrase for this practice is “strategic communications” or Stratcom, which blends psychological operations, propaganda and P.R. into one mind-bending smoothie.”

    Or asks Apple to take down a drone-attack-tracking app – now where did I see that? OK, brain cloud done for now, it’s in the Links.

  22. Oregoncharles

    “General Electric to shift engine plant to Canada, creating 350 job ”
    Not mentioned: single-payer health care makes production in Canada more competitive, sharply reducing employment expenses.

    The auto industry has been moving there for that reason for years.

    1. craazyboy

      General Motors has been publically stating that for about 20 years now. But now they’ve discovered China.

    2. Oregoncharles

      Addendum: “sharply reduces employment expenses” AT THE SAME WAGE LEVEL. Canada is otherwise very similar.

  23. Jay M

    The UN proceedings seemed incredibly civilized. Everyone seems to have flown in and out with no great event. Perhaps one can hail progress on the Syrian war. Many egos are on the line this fall.

  24. GuyFawkesLives

    The most important story: the story about the servicers selling off the HUD loans to nasty-ass subservicer, Caliber………and not one NC comment.

    I am disgusted with my fellow Americans. They watch silently as their neighbors are kicked unlawfully from their homes.


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