Links 10/13/15

Facebook applies for housing benefit and tax credits Daily Mash

US dentist who killed Cecil the lion will not face prosecution Financial Times :-(

No more nudes in Playboy magazine, centerfold’s future at risk: report Reuters

1491 Atlantic (Ryan R)

You see, money doesn’t exist in the 24th century” FT Alphaville

An awesome new technique is giving doctors an unprecedented look at cancer Business Insider (David L)

Unclouded vision Economist. On “superforecasting”. From last month, but still germane.

Google Bestows “Bug Bounty” On Guy Who Successfully Bought And Owned (For A Few Minutes) Consumerist. This smells of being more than a bug….that he did really own it and Google could assert that the didn’t because the transaction was conducted via a Google-controlled platform. In other words, the cancellation was fraudulent and the big payoff was to assure that the guy who made the purchase didn’t lawyer up.


China growth expected to fall below target Financial Times


US Caught Faking It in Syria Counterpunch (resilc). Important.

An Even Better Question for Syria Hawks American Conservative (resilc)

2 powerful Gulf sheikhs talk Syria with Putin Asia Times (margarita)

America’s Failed Quagmire Marcy Wheeler

Lowdown: Making Sense of Russia’s Syria Strategy National Interest

The Meaning of Russia’s Intervention in Syria New York. Resilc: “The neoconjobs dont want Putin moving in on their corner on the chaos market.”

The U.S. Government Supplied ISIS’ Iconic Pickup Trucks George Washington

Turkey is the next failed state in the Middle East: Spengler Asia Times (margarita)

Imperial Collapse Watch

Imperial Failure: Lessons From Afghanistan and Iraq Counterpunch (resilc)


Bernie Sanders Exceeds Obama’s Historic 2008 Run in Crowds, Donors and Polling Alternet. Blowback from the neglect of the elites, particularly widening inequality, stagnant real wages, low job stability and high student debt levels.

45 times Clinton pushed the trade bill she now opposes CNN (furzy mouse)

Enough of Hillary’s Heart Is in Enough of the Right Places Charles Pierce, Esquire (resilc)

Bernie Sanders, the Populist Prophet New Yorker (resilc). Wow, that headline really sticks the shiv in. “Populist prophet” evokes images of William Blake’s old tanned men in loincloths with wild hair.

Trump’s Anti-Immigration Platform Is a Loser Bloomberg

Jeb Bush has a new plan to ‘repeal and replace’ Obamacare Business Insider

Latest Unease on Right: Ryan Is Too Far Left New York Times. If the Ultras can’t agree on Ryan, they really do have a death wish.


Meet A Generation That Has Grown Up Free From Mass Shootings Huffington Post

Black Injustice Tipping Point

VIDEO: Same Dept that Arrested Sandra Bland, Taser City Councilman In the Back While on His Knees Alternet

Pro Publica: Extraordinary Struggles of African American Debtors Credit Slips. From last week, sadly still germane.

Most thieves are actually really bad at what they do Washington Post. Lambert: “Unlike fraudsters and con artists, apparently. I wonder why.” Moi: Sample bias! This was a survey of young people (narrow age range) and only for a short period of time. Plus this was entirely self reported. I’d never trust the confidentiality of a survey like this, and could not imagine giving an honest answer if I had been a successful thief.”

IEA Sees Oil Market Remaining Oversupplied Next Year Wall Street Journal

SEC Touts Inflated Numbers to Look Way Tougher Than It Is David Dayen, Intercept (Teejay). Late to see this, but still worth noting.

Central Bankers Urge Fed to Get On With Rate Increase Wall Street Journal. Contrast with concerns expressed by Lagarde and Mark Carney.

Bond predators humbled by distressed bets Financial Times

Fortress Investment to Close Flagship Macro Hedge Fund Wall Street Journal. And this is when CalSTRS wants to commit more to global macro…admittedly supposedly for risk reduction.

CalPERS officers propose lower investment targets: WSJ Business Insider

Switzerland Said to Impose 5% Leverage Ratio on Biggest Banks Bloomberg

For-Profit Colleges Accused of Fraud Still Receive U.S. Funds New York Times

Class Warfare

The Winner of the Nobel Prize in Economics Has Deep Concerns About Income Inequality Slate

Six Air France Workers Arrested After Violent Demonstrations Last Week Gawker. Meaning the effort to strip the execs. Although if the execs resisted having their clothes taken off (which you’d expect), one can see ho things would rapidly get physical.

Angry investor stabs China asset manager Financial Times

Man arrested, accused of planting bombs on California golf course Reuters (EM)

Update 7:50 AM: I should have turned in by now…aargh…but the Wall Street Journal reports that

MH17 Hit by Russian-Made Missile, Say Dutch Investigators

The BBC has a non-paywalled version: Missile confirmed to have downed MH17

The Russians were apparently expecting this and planned to release their own report today. It will be instructive to see whether the Western media deigns to give the Russian report a serious hearing (and whether the Russian account actually does an effective job of undermining the Dutch findings).

Antidote du jour (furzy mouse). From a Renaissance festival in Maryland. Wonder what elephants make of having their faces made up.

Elephant at festival links

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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    1. Eureka Springs

      I have to laugh (or cry)… “Faking It” should be War Crimes.

      And I read somewhere recently many of the Syrian refuges are Iraqi refuges who were still in Syria from our other war crimes.

    2. Brindle

      9/11 was certainly the most convenient terrorist attack in history.

      —-Then there is Wesley Clark’s famous interview, given in 2007, in which he revealed the true strategic aims of those running US foreign policy in the wake of the September 11th attacks. In it, he tells of a conversation he had at that time with a Pentagon official who admitted that the real plan was “to attack and destroy the governments in seven countries in five years”—-.

      1. Katniss Everdeen

        The word “convenient” hardly does justice to the myriad of “gifts” 9/11 gave and continues to give to the planet.

        Especially to those anxiously awaiting the rapture.

    3. Jagger

      Alon Pinkas, the former Israeli Consul General in New York and well-connected member of Tel Aviv’s conservative policy elite described the Syrian conflict in the following terms in the New York Times:

      “This is a playoff situation in which you need both teams to lose, but at least you don’t want one to win – we’ll settle for a tie,….Let them both bleed, hemorrhage to death: that’s the strategic thinking here. As long as this lingers, there’s no real threat from Syria.”


      In it, he (Wesley Clark) tells of a conversation he had at that time with a Pentagon official who admitted that the real plan was “to attack and destroy the governments in seven countries in five years”.

      Those countries, according to Clark, were: Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, and Iran.—

      I can see how Israel may believe this strategy is in their national interests but how is this in the national interest of the US? And why did we do all the dirty work at such huge expense with no logical national interests?

      So how many millions of untermenschen have to die before Israel feels satisfied with its lebensraum? Is it over if Iran is overthrown? Although I suspect Iran is safe as long as Syria does not collapse. If it does, Iran is next on the list. Better hope there is no such thing as a hell because if there is, it is going to be full of a lot of people we know.

      A good summary of information that is hard to find and virtually unheard of in American main stream media.

      To initiate a war of aggression, therefore, is not only an international crime; it is the supreme international crime differing only from other war crimes in that it contains within itself the accumulated evil of the whole.

      1. andyb

        No part of the neocon agenda is to the benefit of the US or its citizens, but rather for those who control America through bribery of all 3 branches of government, selective assassinations, blackmail. This same group had its origins from, and owe its generational longevity to Rothschild banking interests and extreme Zionist ideology. The US Treasury and Stat Departments have been captured since 1913, and the IRS, a separate corporation and not part of the USG, is the enforcement agent.

      2. Raj

        It’s in the interests of corporations like Halliburton, Bechtel, Lockheed Martin, Exxon, Noble Energy, Raytheon, Northrop Grunnam, etc…which makes it in the interests of U.S. decision makers since they stand to benefit monetarily and professionally.

  1. Mark P.

    Why is the Charles Mann piece “1491” from the ATLANTIC in 2002 linked to here?
    It’s a great piece. But, seriously, it’s thirteen years old and who hasn’t read it?

    In fact, Mann published a whole book, 1491, and then a sequel, 1493, so it made his career. It’s got the status of GUNS, GERMS AND STEEL, except it’s, like, properly researched and good.

    Well, read the book, if you haven’t.

    1. Steve H.

      I hadn’t read it. Glad I had the opportunity.

      The pub date is probably why it didn’t mention mycorrhizal fungi or glomalin.

    2. Massinissa

      Lots of us havnt read it before. I certainly hadnt. I was 10 years old when it was first published.

      1. Gio Bruno

        …let me suggest another book to complement “1491”: “One Vast Winter Count” by Colin Calloway; Univ. Nebraska Press, 2003.

        You will be amazed to learn that Cahokia (St. Louis Mounds) was a thriving “city” exceeding the population of London (Yes, that London) at the time. Your understanding of native americans will be forever changed.

      2. Chris Williams

        A long piece. I hadn’t read before either and learned something new today.

        Thanks for posting

    3. different clue

      I bought a copy of the unrevised edition at a library book sale. So at some point I can read the revised edition and memorise the differences.

  2. financial matters

    I think this statement by Bill Mitchell is important in understanding the liquidity problem.

    “They learned that the central bank is unable to control the growth in the money supply, which is, in fact, generated by demand for credit by the non-government sector.” (fiscal rules)

    There is an hierarchy of money starting with the government, then regulated banks and then the shadow banking arena. Government money especially backs the banking sector and therefore is supposed to regulate it. The government is much less successful in regulating the massive credit creation of the shadow sector (money markets/tri-party repo) and trying to bail it out would take a lot of liquidity. Letting it fail leads to a money market run.

    1. Just Ice

      “They learned that the central bank is unable to control the growth in the money supply, which is, in fact, generated by demand for credit by the non-government sector.” Prof Bill Mitchell [billy blog]

      Let’s say we had a Postal Savings Service and no government deposit insurance (because what need for it then?). Then if a bank created a deposit (“loans create deposits” but also ostensible* liabilities for the banks) there would be a significant risk that some of that deposit would be transferred to the safety of the risk-free Postal Savings Service – dragging precious bank reserves with it. Then banks WOULD be reserve constrained and have to behave accordingly.

      The lesson is that if we wish to reign in the banks, we need to de-privilege them.

      *Since reserves are largely trapped within the banking system as a whole then banks can borrow back their reserve liabilities to other banks for a cut of the interest on the loans they make. Thus the banks are a government-enabled cartel.

      1. financial matters

        I like the idea of a postal savings service that would essentially act like individual accounts at the Fed. The Fed could guarantee a 2-3% interest rate.

        This could replace what most people use money market funds for which is a safe parking place for some funds.

        If people want their money to participate in tri-part repo they should get an interest rate appropriate for the risk and no bail out function.

        1. Just Ice

          “The Fed could guarantee a 2-3% interest rate.”

          Except welfare should be proportional to need, not to the amount of cash one has.

          But yes, if you want interest lend it yourself or let 100% private banks do it for you, acting as true intermediaries for a change.

          1. Just Ice

            Adding that all new fiat should be injected from the bottom, perhaps means tested as to amount, so every citizen’s account would receive occasional new fiat injections.

          2. financial matters

            This would just be to help stabilize the money market funds from a run and give smaller savers some security.

            As you point out we also need a people’s QE to get the money into the right hands.

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Maybe time for a different system.

      One possibility is to reverse the hierarchy completely..,not top down, but bottom up.

      1. Just Ice

        Yes, new fiat should be injected at the bottom and be spent, lent and taxed upward – as if (to put it in crude gold-bug terms) it rained gold equally on everyone.

  3. JTMcPhee

    Re the piece on the US “faking it” in Syria etc.:

    The source material cited is all from apparently open sources, lays out the intended course of the barstids who are chasing personal interests that are anathema to most of the world, and are in my mind analogous to the festering-sore creatures that are proud to call themselves neoliberals. Have those monsters spelled out their strategies in similar ways? Do Goldman or the USTR or other players have a nice collection of similar “Strategic” documents that might benefit and behoove the rest of us to read, learn and inwardly digest, possibly inoculating us a bit against the premature demise of our loved ones and maybe even the whole species?

    1. tim s

      The Counterpunch article was about Neocons. I’d imagine the strategic documents of the Neoliberals is captured in the TPP. Too bad we can’t read it (yet). Given that the financial warfare that has been occurring through debt for decades/centuries is not as easily identified or as audacious as military action, it is probably coded into the many texts of the Fed guidelines, economic theories, WTO docs, etc if one has an eye for it. This eye may only come in hindsight. I don’t have it, that’s for sure, so pure speculation.

      I think it’s important to distinguish between the Neocons & the Neoliberals. They are not the same, though they may be the opposite sides of the same coin.

      Neocons – want to take control of the world militarily. Their actions are on display most obviously in the Middle East, particularly Syria now, and have been in the past in Iraq, Palestine, etc. They will use the greatest military force possible, which right now is the US/NATO force to achieve their ends.

      Neoliberals – want to control/enslave the world financially. Think austerity and global central bank coordination, along with the myriad frauds that are perpetrated by the TBTF banks, hedge funds, etc.

      The lines are blurred with much overlap, but it is a good guideline, for me at least (but what do I know….). So, when Obama signs a deal with Iran and distances himself from Syria (relatively speaking), he is showing that he is not a Neocon. But by pushing TPP, not pursuing banker prosecutions, Obamacare, etc, he is showing himself to be firmly a Neoliberal, or at least a puppet for them.

      So, when I hear people who say there is no difference between Dems & Repubs, I think of this, and realize there is a difference. It’s like the difference between getting abused in the basement by the creep across the street or by your favorite uncle. The end result is about the same.

  4. wbgonne

    Enough of Hillary’s Heart Is in Enough of the Right Places Charles Pierce, Esquire

    The author’s “proof” re: Clinton’s goodheartedness?

    Recently, the great Alec MacGillis at ProPublica revealed the way a coal company was planning to use the bankruptcy laws to rob the pensions of retired miners. Almost as soon as this trickeration came to light, both Bill and Hillary Rodham Clinton jumped on the issue with both feet, HRC saying in a statement that: “Patriot Coal is trying to take $18 million of the $22 million put aside for retired coal miners, wives and widows and use it to pay its lawyers instead…Ensuring healthcare and retirement security should be the first priority in a bankruptcy proceeding, not the last.” It is the second time in two weeks that Clinton has taken aim at a company. Last week, she criticized Turing Pharmaceuticals AG for raising the price of an anti-infective drug to $750 from $13.50 per pill, sending industry stocks tumbling.

    ​Say what you will, but this issue was far out of the spotlight of the campaign. (Hell, it only involves the survival of widows and people with black lung. It’s not like it’s a four-year old e-mail from Sid Blumenthal or something.) The public pressure was enough for lawmakers to put the kibosh on the scheme, which is an unmitigated good for all concerned. Neither Clinton had to step in on this situation. Both of them did, including the one running for president. Enough of her heart is in enough of the right places for me, thanks.

    But here’s the thing: the Clintons and the rest of Democratic Party Establishment use the coal companies as punching bags because the Dems are raking in millions and millions — directly and indirectly — from fracking. Especially after the defeat of Mary Landrieu, traditional oil money is effectively locked down for the GOP. Fracking is now the spigot for funneling Big Oil money for the Democrats. Coal is the enemy because coal is the competition and coal is weak. When Hillary begins bashing the frackers for their environmental destruction, that might be some evidence of a good heart; going after coal companies is just serving her financial backers. (And it is silly to suggest that Clinton wasn’t milking the hedge fund ogre who became instantly notorious for jacking the price of medicine used in AIDS treatment, a political winner with the important gay vote.) I am not suggesting it was wrong for Clinton to take either stance because I agree with both. But I think it nonsensical to suggest this shows she has a “good heart,” whatever that means in this context.

    As for the de rigueur point of self-pity in the puff piece (Hell, it only involves the survival of widows and people with black lung. It’s not like it’s a four-year old e-mail from Sid Blumenthal or something.), we’ll see if the Clintons can use that trick one more time. With the assistance they are getting from the Keystone Cop Republicans, one almost suspects that some in the GOP would be quite happy to see Hillary as the Democratic nominee, if not the next president. They certainly don’t want the Democrats nominating Sanders, who will cause the examination of assumptions and shibboleths that cannot withstand scrutiny. After all, a lot of Big Money Republicans have done very very well under Obama and they probably believe — correctly, I think — that the same will be true under Clinton II.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      The article itself is one of the problems with morality. When faced with a direct and obvious crime, right and wrong guy is so easy, but where was Hillary when her husband’s welfare reform was destroying families? The answer is nowhere to be found because the fallout was quiet.

      It’s on a larger scale because of their last name, but the Clinton example is no different than a person dropping a $20 in the collection plate at church and hyperventilating over a property tax increase to pay for schools they don’t use. If Hillary was a private citizen, she wouldn’t have had an outsized influence, but it should be pointed out Bill and Hillary have contributed to a regulatory system where the victims are in constant need of celebrity defenders instead of a sane system.

      Ooh, Hillary criticized a price increase on a drug which everyone criticized. Wow, talk about being a hero.

      1. Katniss Everdeen

        “Ooh, Hillary criticized a price increase on a drug which everyone criticized. Wow, talk about being a hero.

        And black lung. Takes a strong, principled candidate to make a stand against black lung. I’m just guessing here, but I’d bet it would be pretty hard to offend the black lung constituency.

        Trouble is, I don’t even believe she’d hesitate to step over a pile of black-lungers if they were getting in her way.

      2. Carolinian

        where was Hillary when her husband’s welfare reform was destroying families?

        Encouraging him to do it according to insider accounts. Doesn’t the Bible say “by their deeds shall ye know them”? Words mean nothing–particularly in the context of a campaign. Hillary’s biggest problem is that she does have a track record and it isn’t pretty. Arguably she was a stronger candidate in 2008 before she had given herself away as Secretary of State.

        1. Brian

          and she won’t approve of reinstating Glass Steagall. The lowliest animal has feelings, senses, and understands the difference between inflicted pain and pleasure. No Senses, No Feeling. (stolen from a Three Stooges title, which seems apt)

        2. rich

          Meet Alan Blinder, Hillary Clinton’s economic advisor (and Wall St. One-Percenter)

          Hillary Clinton’s economic advisor, Alan Blinder, co-founded and is Vice Chair of a super-elite Wall St financial firm, Promontory Interfinancial Network. He is a former Vice Chairman of the US Federal Reserve Bank and chair of Princeton University economics department. Let’s learn a little about Alan Blinder and Promontory, their ethics, values, world-view, conflicts of interest, and the policies he supports and whispers in Hillary’s ear, shall we?
          Reich is right.

          Wtf? How deeply in bed with 1% Wall St can the Clintons be? And how blind, ignorant or uncaring can some ‘Democrats’ be, to tolerate this?

          1. hunkerdown

            Democratic mind: As long as the designated barbarians get civilized or eliminated, where’s the problem?

    2. Rhondda

      Well said. Seems like “has her heart in the right place” is more like “knows which side her bread is buttered on.”

  5. abynormal

    regarding FB tax dodging, smash got game!
    to the moon mf’rs (the darkest side)

    In the time of chimpanzees, I was a monkey
    Butane in my veins and I’m out to cut the junkie
    With the plastic eyeballs, spray paint the vegetables
    Dog food stalls with the beefcake pantyhose

    Kill the headlights and put it in neutral
    Stock car flamin’ with a loser in the cruise control
    Baby’s in Reno with the Vitamin D
    Got a couple of couches, sleep on the love seat

    Someone came in sayin’ I’m insane to complain
    About a shotgun wedding and a stain on my shirt
    Don’t believe everything that you breathe
    You get a parking violation and a maggot on your sleeve

    So shave your face with some mace in the dark
    Savin’ all your food stamps and burnin’ down the trailer park
    Yo, cut it

    Soy un perdedor
    I’m a loser, baby, so why don’t you kill me?
    (Double barrel buckshot)
    Soy un perdedor
    I’m a loser baby, so why don’t you kill me?

    Forces of evil on a bozo nightmare
    Ban all the music with a phony gas chamber
    ‘Cause one’s got a weasel and the other’s got a flag
    One’s on the pole, shove the other in a bag

    With the rerun shows and the cocaine nose-job
    The daytime crap of the folksinger slob
    He hung himself with a guitar string
    A slab of turkey neck and it’s hangin’ from a pigeon wing

    You can’t write if you can’t relate
    Trade the cash for the beef, for the body, for the hate
    And my time is a piece of wax fallin’ on a termite
    That’s chokin’ on the splinters

    Soy un perdedor
    I’m a loser baby, so why don’t you kill me?
    (Get crazy with the cheese whiz)
    Soy un perdedor
    I’m a loser baby, so why don’t you kill me?
    (Drive-by body pierce)

    Soy un perdedor
    I’m a loser baby, so why don’t you kill me?
    (Sprechen sie Deutsche, baby)
    Soy un perdedor
    I’m a loser, baby, so why don’t you kill me?
    (Know what I’m sayin’?)

  6. OIFVet

    Since Barbara Byrd Bennett will plead guilty today, here is a look by a CPS principal into what exactly the SUPES training program for principals was: CPS: CORRUPT PUBLIC SERVANTS.

    The workshop was a continuation of CPS’s “Do more with less” theme. The session was filled with CPS talking points about its new “Student Based Budgeting” (SBB) scheme; talking points we’d already heard in a dozen previous meetings. Principals’ chief complaints about SBB was that it slashed their budgets, forced them to increase class size to save money, and pushed them to hire cheaper inexperienced teachers. It was as if our work for children was being deliberately undermined. In fact SBB would be better described as Sabotage Based Budgeting.

    Yet there we were once again being insulted by SUPES “master teachers” with CPS budget spin regarding the additional “autonomy” and “freedom” the new system would give us. Later that afternoon we all had to tell our “leadership story.” When each of us was done, every person in the room had to say something complimentary about each story they heard. This was the principal “training” for which Rahm Emanuel’s appointed board of education and CEO spent twenty million taxpayer dollars.

    A month later I attended my second SUPES course. It actually went well. I had great conversations with fellow principals and learned a lot from them. Then, at the end of the session, the facilitator announced, “I know I went off script and just let you guys talk, but I felt that was what you needed today.” My disgust returned as I realized the reason the session went so well was because the facilitator ditched the SUPES curriculum and just let principals talk and learn from one another. Did CPS have to pay SUPES $20 million to put principals in a room and let us talk to each other?

  7. griffen

    argh. Can not access the link below, or is it only me not wanting to scale the FT pay wall. Suggestions are welcome, and thanks.

    “Bond predators humbled by distressed bets Financial Times”

    I’ll venture a guess that market volatility this summer has provided ingredients for humble pie.

  8. vidimi

    US dentist who killed Cecil the lion will not face prosecution Financial Times :-(

    No more nudes in Playboy magazine, centerfold’s future at risk: report Reuters

    the sad face emoji is on the wrong line :)

    1. abynormal

      In a closed society where everybody’s guilty, the only crime is getting caught. In a world of thieves, the only final sin is stupidity.
      Hunter S. Thompson

      1. Steve H.

        Then the liars and swearers are fools,
        for there are liars and swearers enow to beat
        the honest men and hang up them.

      2. Paul Tioxon

        So true, incompetence is beneath contempt, unforgivable.

        That’s why the whole world loves a winner. Winning!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      3. Brindle

        —In a nation ruled by swine, all pigs are upwardly mobile—and the rest of us are f****d until we can put our acts together: not necessarily to win, but mainly to keep from losing completely.—

    2. Vatch

      It’s a shame that Walter Palmer won’t be prosecuted for killing Cecil, but we can take consolation in the fact that this episode has cost him money, since his dental practice was closed for several weeks. So in a sense, he paid a fine. I hope his employees were paid during that period, though. If they weren’t, then that’s bad. Often it’s the people who are lower on the totem pole who suffer the most.

    3. participant-observer-observed

      Rest assured it’s the same gratuitous patriarchal selfishness in both instances!

    4. Praedor

      No more nude pics in Playboy…so now we will learn how many guys really do like Playboy for the articles (It actually had done some truly good stories…but enough to keep or gain a readership post nekkid?).

      1. Massinissa

        Their sales have been on the decline for years anyway. Theyre trying to become a respectable merchandise brand.

  9. abynormal

    Man arrested, accused of planting bombs on California golf course
    Authorities said that Hornbuckle told them that the device was an “acid-bomb.”
    i’m flash back’n a peak’n momo & surrounded by gofers

  10. ChrisFromGeorgia

    Re: Ryan and general disarray in GOP

    It’s fun to laugh at the situation, but I suspect that the framing of dynamic as “the crazies vs. the grown ups” is too easy and misses the real ground shift here.

    The reason nobody in the GOP base can get excited about Ryan (or any of the main players) is that much like the counterpunch article on our Syrian policy, activists know that “they’re faking it.” My take on the implosion of the House GOP leadership is that there are finally limits to how far you can go when totally blowing off your base. Ryan voted for every bailout that hit the House floor, and also managed to sell out the fiscal conservatives with Ryan-Murray and his phony “balanced budget” plan. He’s just another liar.

    Set aside ideological or other passions. See the reality that Obama has gotten everything he wanted since the 2014 house elections, with the exception of immigration reform (which Paul Ryan supported.)

    The analogy with the way the Democratic party treats its left wing is obvious. If you are actually going to govern in a fashion that is diametrically opposed to the people who put you in office, why should those voters stick with you, or bother to show up in the next election?

    Syriza and Greece come to mind as well. I’m detecting a pattern here.

    1. Ron

      The GOP no longer has a Brand that has wide appeal and finds itself isolated politically. The Tea Party districts that are producing the strong right wing congressmen have to produce results which is based on the idea of shutting down government or making it useless through tax reductions. This worked in Calif for a number of years but voters got tired of lawmakers who only response to problems was no new the taxes and cutting services.

      1. ChrisFromGeorgia

        Both parties have decided to allow the neo-liberal, centrist doctrine to rule despite repeated failures (Glass Steagall, deregulation, trade agreements.) My take is that at this point in time there isn’t enough political space for both parties to continue to adopt “stay the course” chamber of commerce driven economic policy, and maintain their independent brands.

        The failures are too obvious, and the social and foreign policy diversions aren’t working as reliably as they used to.

        The first cracks have shown up in the GOP, but I wouldn’t expect it to end there. The tea party groups that are as you say isolated could pack up and leave the GOP behind, and join with the far left in demanding a new model of governing that removes the corrupting influence of big money and allows for a genuine choice, not the same old clowns masquerading as new ones.

        1. JTMcPhee

          “demanding a new model of governing that removes the corrupting influence of big money and allows for a genuine choice,” hmmmm?

          As I like to remind people, in several tellings of the Pandora myth, the last and worst plague on humanity that the hapless heroine released from that fateful box was the one called “Hope…”

        2. fresno dan

          I agree.
          Most of the political disagreements are analogous to professional wrestling – all for show, and back stage the script is written so that the one who “wins” assures the most profit.
          40 years of stagnant and declining wages for the working class, and even the republican base is saying having a flag lapel pin is no longer enough.

      2. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

        “The best lack all conviction, and the worst are full of a passionate intensity”
        It would nice if someone emerged from the Vichy Left and had a passionate intensity like the Tea Partiers do. Glimmers from Bernie and Elizabeth…but that’s all. Maybe it’s just because I was weaned on guys like Eugene McCarthy and George McGovern (not to mention Abbie Hoffman).

    2. Wayne Gersen

      My take on this is more paranoid.. but also plausible. This whole “Ryan is too liberal” campaign is being underwritten by the Koch brothers who don’t see any “products” they want to buy among the current cast of characters running for President and know that Ryan will do their bidding and has some name recognition and stature in the party— with the exception of the wing-nut group who appears to be calling the shots and supporting uncontrollable candidates like Trump, Carson and Fiorina. They think that if Ryan gets in as Speaker and ”unlocks the gridlock” he could emerge as a viable Presidential opponent to HRC and would likely blow Sanders out of the water should he get the nomination… The Republican primary doesn’t matter… it’s the Koch Brothers primary that counts!

  11. NotTimothyGeithner

    Suddenly, the articles in playboy seem way less interesting

    ESPN has been bleeding money due to cable cutting with the rise of Netflix and the rest. Between firing half their popular staff and becoming the NFL’S puppet, former viewers/readers are looking for somewhere else to go. My guess is Playboy is looking to take advantage of ESPN’s weakness. ESPN’s Grantland was a great farm for young writers and brought in established talent too until NFL Commissioner Goodell demanded ESPN purge the network of anyone who didn’t think his leaving smelled like roses. Since then, their website has been in limbo.

    Obviously Hunter S. Thompson was a sports nut and journalist, so Playboy might be trying to become the go to site for pop-culture/sports/occasional relevant journalism which might seen as not beholden to a sports league because they don’t have a contract. ESPN’s Outside the Lines reports love to take on high school coaches but not the systems that promote their behavior or address the NFL’s role when it comes to their minor league system or college football. Unlike Deadspin, they can draw top names and not be founded by Terp alum.

    1. griffen

      I hope the departure of Bill Simmons, and others, comes to hurt ESPN.

      Just look at the Cowboys with the Greg Hardy circumstances. Seriously, you can not make this stuff up most days. Not as an absolute moralist, but on which planet does that man find gainful employment with another employer that easily. Only on planet NFL.

      1. Jess

        Let’s not sanctify Bill Simmons. Yes, he called out ESPN over its shilling for Goodell and the NFL. But he’s also notoriously needy, more than a little arrogant, and is in the tank for the Patriots, Red Sox, and Boston Bruins.

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          Isn’t Simmons great*? What fun would sports be if the writers weren’t in the tank or had bizarre axes to grind?

          *I’m far past the age where I’m proud I’ve been in his mail bag.

        2. Gio Bruno

          Oh, but it’s even worse than that! Simmons was the editor of a story (by a junior writer) that was less than opaque about a transgender person (the subject was easily identified). The Trans did not agree to being “outed”, but Simmons went ahead and published the story. And the Trans person committed suicide.

          Simmons claimed he had “no idea” that his actions would be so catastrophic. His mild “mea culpa” was a pure lie! Simmons previously knew LA Times sport columnist Mike Penner, who transformed quite publicly, but killed himself after being “isolated” from his sport writing colleagues (Simmons, being but one.)

          Simmons knew the danger of outing a Trans person, but ignored the very real evidence he himself had seen. Bill Simmons is not worth the time of day!

    1. Brindle

      Article is by Cass Sunstein, neoiliberal propagandist and husband to war criminal Samantha Power, Not a bad article though for someone of such a dubious background.

    2. fresno dan

      that was a good article!

      I liked this one:

      because of this quote of Deaton’s:
      The very wealthy have little need for state-provided education or health care; they have every reason to support cuts in Medicare and to fight any increase in taxes. They have even less reason to support health insurance for everyone, or to worry about the low quality of public schools that plagues much of the country. They will oppose any regulation of banks that restricts profits, even if it helps those who cannot cover their mortgages or protects the public against predatory lending, deceptive advertising, or even a repetition of the financial crash.
      To worry about these consequences of extreme inequality has nothing to do with being envious of the rich and everything to do with the fear that rapidly growing top incomes are a threat to the well being of everyone else.

      Keynes said, more or less, that it was better that men lord over their bank accounts instead of other men

      Unfortunately, Behavioral economics, and history, shows even when men accumulate fortunes in which they cannot possibly spend all their money, they continue to try and amass more. And in doing so, they continue to skew the market not to be fair and impartial, and let the best product win, but to tilt the process to their own advantage, which always harms everyone else. See:
      “Embedded within that original IBM deal was the seed of Microsoft’s vast fortunes. Microsoft’s true genius was in their license agreements of MS-DOS (and Windows) to computer manufacturers. They offered a variety of different licenses, but the version that charged the least per copy included a clever kicker: Microsoft had to be paid for every machine sold, regardless of whether MS-DOS was the operating system.”

      I won’t overfeed every one with links, but it was just a couple of years ago that the richest men in Silicon valley were engaged in a conspiracy to drive wages down by allowing more temporary visas, as well as signing a “no-compete” agreement among themselves to keep compensation low.
      And they could only do this because of their great wealth, which they use to make themselves….even wealthier….

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Any lexicographer around?

        A cannibal is a person who eats another person.

        What is the word for a corporation that eats its employees?

        And the word for a corporation that eats its customers?

        1. JTMcPhee

          Single word, since it’s largely the same alimentary and gustatory function in either instance:


  12. fresno dan

    “Casual evidence and personal experiences suggest that banks and intermediaries tend to distort their customer choices towards high-fee products or products they have on their shelves and want to get rid of. For instance, one of the authors of this column once asked his own bank for advice on how to invest a sum of money. He was recommended to put all in a bond issued by Cirio – a company that soon after would have gone bankrupt. Cirio was exposed to the bank and the bank was also Cirio’s advisor in the bond placement. Later it was discovered that the money from the placement was meant to repay first the loan to the bank. No doubt, the advice was meant to benefit the bank not the customer.”

    Wicked Italian banks – I’m glad our good old American banks aren’t like that….

    Akerlof and Shiller believe that once we understand human psychology, we will be a lot less enthusiastic about free markets and a lot more worried about the harmful effects of competition. In their view, companies exploit human weaknesses not necessarily because they are malicious or venal, but because the market makes them do it. Those who fail to exploit people will lose out to those who do. In making that argument, Akerlof and Shiller object that the existing work of behavioral economists and psychologists offers a mere list of human errors, when what is required is a broader account of how and why markets produce systemic harm.
    Akerlof and Shiller are aware that skeptics will find their depiction of human beings as “phools” to be inaccurate and impossibly condescending. Their response is that people are making a lot of bad decisions, producing outcomes that no one could possibly want. In their view, phishing for phools “is the leading cause of the financial crises that lead to the deepest recessions.”
    Akerlof and Shiller make related arguments about the marketing of pharmaceuticals (with reference to the Vioxx scandal), the success of Facebook (which, they argue, is a mixed blessing for young people in particular), the sale of junk bonds, and the democratic process. With respect to the latter, they are concerned about a clever electoral strategy commonly used to hook “phishable voters.” With this strategy, politicians endorse policies that “appeal to the typical voter on issues that are salient to her, and where she will be informed,” while also adopting a “stance that appeals to donors” on issues on which the typical voter is uninformed. Because of the largely unregulated system for corporate donations, lobbyists can enjoy spectacular returns, as when they give money with the hope of extracting votes, or favors, on high-stakes issues (such as regulation of savings and loan companies or highly technical tax questions) that are too complex to attract the attention of most voters.

    From all of these examples, Akerlof and Shiller offer a general account, which is that phishing occurs because of the “manipulation of focus.” Like magicians and pickpockets, phishermen are able to take advantage of “an errant focus by the phool.” Indeed, the idea that free markets work, and that government is the problem, “is itself a phish for phools,” a kind of story, one that does not capture reality. With respect to Social Security reform, securities regulation, and campaign finance reform, the United States has suffered from false and skewed claims that fail to account for the fact that free markets make people free not only to choose but also “free to phish, and free to be phished. Ignorance of those truths is a recipe for disaster.”

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      An idea from a while ago – professional citizens to combat professional politicians, professional lobbyists, and their arcane issues that ‘the typical voter is uninformed.’

      Give him/her money so he/she has time to study those issues, instead of running around trying to survive.

      “Too many Americans are sleep deprived.” – certainly not from staying up late studying those issues.

  13. Jim Haygood

    Mad Dog 2020: that’s where the S&P 500 topped out in mid-Sep after the late August smash. And now it’s hitting the same glass ceiling today, in what the e-wavers would call a perfect a-b-c pattern since Aug 25th. Chart:

    Dr. Hussman’s extraordinarily detached, mellow weekly column (which is about as close as he ever gets to screaming bullishness) warns that the end is nigh. Short it to oblivion.

    1. craazyman

      I had this theory that all the data he uses (and not just him) is based on only about 8 or 10 true market cycles over the past century.

      Consider a multi-year rising and then falling trend. Consider that is driven by one underlying “cycle”, which is a unitary phenomenon. And then consider the standard error of an estimate based on 8 or 9 observations relative to the standard error based on 90 or 100 monthly observations.

      As a result, all the standard errors of all the estimates would make the estimates worthless.

      At any rate, he’s certainly one of the most thorough and rigorous analysts out there and I respect his integrity. He’ll be right eventually. But it’s like the 100 years war. I bet there was a time 40 or 50 years into it when somebody said “This can’t go on much longer.” That event was one singular phenomenon. Not 100 yearly observations.

          1. optimader

            I’m an expert post event curve fitter. Perhaps you would like some investment advise for yesterday, I have a perfect track record..

            1. craazyman

              It would probably be better advice than something I’d do.

              If it doesn’t involve buying gold it would have made me rich.

  14. optimader


    anna holligan
    ‏@annaholligan Shrapnel from Russian made BUK surface-to-air missile found inside crew – everyone lost consciousness instantly (Dutch Safety Board)

    BUK types

    There are severall generations of the BUK. Basically the SA-11 and SA-17 which is an upgrade of the SA-11.

    The table below shows the most relevant information. The table will be updated if I find any error. Please let me know if you find mistakes in the table. Do provide me links to be able to verify.

    22-3-2015 An earlier version of the table showed radome of BUK M1-2 is different from BUK-M1. That was a mistake and has been corrected.
    22-3-2015 added photo showing BUK M1-2 with two types of missiles
    22-3-2015 added several links for verification purposes
    22-3-2015 table version 1.3 BUK-M2 can only use 9M317 missile.

    Janes states that the 9N314 warhead can be used on the 9M317 missile. This source seems to confirm that.


    Russian Minister Lavrov claims the 9M317 missile has a warhead which has parallelpipeds.

    Another source says 9M317 has rods

    Russia Today itself confirmed a while ago only Russian armed forces operate the Buk-M1-2 and Buk-M2 missile systems which Ukraine does not operate.

    The 9A310M1-2 SPM can fire standard 9M38M1 missiles or new 9M317 missiles (developed by the Dolgoprudny Research and Production Enterprise). (source)

    Verification the BUK-M1-2 can fire 9M317 as well here.
    This website mentions the BUK-M2 is only capable to use the 9M317 missile. Check internet for BUK-M2 photos. They all have missile 9M317 (small chords) . This is another website on the BUK-M2 using 9M317.

    Info on rod and lethal range of 9M317

    This picture shows a BUK-M1-2 loaded with two types of missiles. The right one is a 9M38M1 (long chords) and the second from the right is a 9M317. (short chords).Picture taken from this website

    1. low_integer

      Critical Materials in Large-Scale Battery Applications

      Thanks for this. Bookmarked it for later reading.

  15. OIFVet

    Bruce Rauner comes to UChicago Incubator , gets heckled:

    But a man in the crowd then taunted and cursed at the governor.

    “Why don’t you go to the real South Side?” the man yelled.

    He criticized the governor’s education policy as harmful to Chicago children.

    “The low income are getting f—ed,” the man yelled only a couple feet from the state’s top official.

    Rauner, though, didn’t respond. He hopped into a waiting car, which drove away.

    Sounds like a cut-and-run kinda guy, our gov’ner.

  16. CaitlinO

    “From a Renaissance festival in Maryland. Wonder what elephants make of having their faces made up.”

    Wonder what elephants make of being representative of Renaissance animals.

  17. JTMcPhee

    Not sure where this goes — Imperial collapse? Syriaqistan?

    “Ungovernend — Interactive World Map of Refugees, Terrorists [big SIC] and War,”

    Sort of interesting that none of the kind of “ungoverned” parts of the US are included — like Langley, the Pentagram, the various outposts of the NSA, The Goldman Tower down in South Manhattan, certain counties where the sheriffs have decreed 10th Amendment rule… And of course the broad swath of mostly the entire nation where police forces can kill with virtual impunity, judges send “kids for cash” to private prisons, debtors prisons and other sorts too. Add your own categories — under the heading “Mythical Nation of Rule of Law Under Sacred Constitutional Mythology,” maybe?

    1. Massinissa

      Libya and Iraq had Governments once… Before we blew them up and killed Gaddhafi and Saddam. Unsavory folks, but at least they kept the Jihadis at the door.

  18. Daryl

    > Google Bestows “Bug Bounty” On Guy Who Successfully Bought And Owned (For A Few Minutes) Consumerist. This smells of being more than a bug….that he did really own it and Google could assert that the didn’t because the transaction was conducted via a Google-controlled platform. In other words, the cancellation was fraudulent and the big payoff was to assure that the guy who made the purchase didn’t lawyer up. is registered through 2020. It really was just a bug.

  19. optimader

    When I visited Chernobyl for the first time 7 years ago, I didn’t think that a similar disaster could take place anywhere ever again, and certainly not in Japan. After all, nuclear power is safe and the technology is less and less prone to failure, and therefore a similar disaster cannot happen in the future. Scientists said this, firms that build nuclear power stations said this, and the government said this.

    But it did happen.

    When I was planning my trip to Fukushima I didn’t know what to expect. There the language, culture, traditions and customs are different, and what would I find there four years after the accident? Would it be something similar to Chernobyl?


    This photographic documentary is not intended to tell the story of the events surrounding the disaster yet again. Like the incident that occurred on 26 April 1986, most readers know the story well. It is worth mentioning one very important aspect, however, which is an essential issue as we consider the story further. It is not earthquakes or tsunami that are to blame for the disaster at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power station, but humans…..

    1. craazyboy

      Very creative. I like how first they show a picture of the BUK warhead – it has a toroid of explosive and shrapnel that explodes out in all directions perpendicular to the missile airframe. The shrapnel has forward momentum of course. But the animation of the missile delivering shrapnel only to the cockpit fuselage and none sprayed out to hit the wings or wing fuel tanks, causing the wing tank to explode immediately, takes a leap of faith.

      1. optimader

        budget animation, but its out there. Actually a BUK missile only has a 15 sec burn time as well, small detail…

        Correct on the torriodal shape, forward momentum so I understand is negligible due to the relative velocity of the explosion. Incidentally, they did find green BUK paint smears in wing damage areas ( I think attributed to stabilizer fin?) how that particular part source would be ascertained I don’t know.
        Bottom line, the warhead has very characteristic preformed shaped shrapnel which they apparently found pieces of in the crew. Case closed on the weapon at least w/that forensic detail imo

        1. craazyboy

          BUK paint smears would be very good evidence – if that wasn’t some BS someone cooked up. I’ve only seen a hint mentioned so far in the “reports” we’ve seen to date. If it were true and the evidence verifiable, you would think they would have announced cased closed by now.

          The John Helmer post here from a couple weeks ago informed us that the Australian coroners did NOT find shrapnel in the bodies, so now I don’t know what evidence there is to be believed.

          As far as ballistics go, the BUK reaches MACH 3 in a 15 second burn. The ground radar controls it towards the general target projected position during that phase. Then at some point the on board radar takes over and the missile fins guide it the rest of the way. The proximity fuse detonates at 17 meters away. The airplane approach speed, at some relative vector, would make the relative speed around maybe MACH 3.5. If someone knew how fast exploded shrapnel flies (not in my repertoire of fun facts) , then we could calculate what the blast diameter is. Or the Russians (or CIA) probably could just tell us.

          I’m typing this this AM before reading today’s J Helmer post. Getting to that next. :)

    2. VietnamVet

      Thanks for the link. The dutch final report is worth watching. The conclusions are the very bare minimum. It took a year and half to release. This speaks to the underlying conflict that caused crash in the first place; United States proxy wars with Russia. First in Ukraine. Now Chris Christie saying Obama is a “weakling” he would shoot down Russian planes over Syria.

      A year ago when I saw pictures of the plane wreckage in the hanger, I realized the investigators had to have shrapnel from the missile. I knew that then that the investigators knew what caused the crash. They also have parts and paint from the BUK missile. Yet, they gave no history of the missile itself. If paint chips can identify model and year of automobiles, it seems possible to determine when and where the missile was made. Logistic records would track its history within Russia and if it was exported to Ukraine or not. They also showed the possible launch area. But no intelligence or satellite information was used to narrow down the location. It had to be an isolated area since no cell phone photos of the launch or testimony to hearing it have appeared on the internet.

      We have to wait for a criminal investigation. Fat Chance with Cold War 2.0 underway and the politicians stated intent to start World War III.

      1. optimader

        Yes, I think it has been a done deal for a while. I defer on how long a crash investigation should actually take tho.. beats me.
        On the paint, if you look at a BUK missile they look like rattle can paint jobs, so yeah they can surely determine it’s not Boing OEM paint and they can probably characterize it at paint that is used on BUKS and a bunch of other Russian MIL hardware, not so confident that it can be resolved to a mfg date/model. The Shrapnel? maybe more resolution because that changed with missile model designations.

        1. VietnamVet

          A BUK air to ground missile is a complex system that has to undergo the stress of accelerating to 3 times the speed of sound reaching 30,000 feet in a minute and maneuvering to precisely explode to take down the radar targeted aircraft. To work reliability the manufacturer would require exact specifications for the paint, explosives, and the metal used to make every part of missile from fins to the shrapnel. Any modifications would be recorded for quality control.

          My personal opinion that it either was a Ukrainian false flag operation to get Putin flying nearby or some other weird plan or a total screw up by the rebels who did not knowing what they were doing. The 777 was on a known flight path with other passenger planes and transponding its location. It has a huge radar signature that any professional radar operator would identify that it was not a Ukrainian aircraft. The shoot down only benefited the Ukrainians and Westerners who greenlighted the civil war. In the end the rebels with Russian missiles did take control of the airspace over Donbass allowing them to stop and destroy the Ukrainian tank attacks leading to the current stalemate.

          1. low_integer

            The Shrapnel? maybe more resolution because that changed with missile model designations.

            This looks to be the key point of contention at the moment. I saw a picture of the inside of one of the BUK’s that matches the forensics (if what we are being told is accurate, that is) and it had a continuously integrated pattern of bow-tie shapes and diamonds, with what looked to be paper thin joins of the same metal. I’m assuming that when the energy from the blast is released, these joints tear like paper and send the shrapnel flying.

            In any case, Russia has stated that their military no longer has or uses this type of BUK, and that Ukraines military does have stock of these. The JIT info so far does seem to be light on detailed facts, and a cynical person might think that they are trying to muddy the water before more positive evidence is released.

        2. craazyboy

          The shape of the shrapnel is different between the old version BUK and the new improved version which Russia claims they don’t sell to the export market. There was the theory that Russia trucked in a BUK system – along with necessary trained personnel whom could launch the thing – along with overriding the civilian aircraft failsafe. We’ll need a false flag scenario to explain the logic there!

          But getting into the question of who fired the BUK goes way down the rabbit hole, and the Dutch said at the outset of the investigation that they would not try and answer that one.

    3. vidimi

      i’m not sure how to square it with john jelmer’s three-part report in which he claims there are no buk fragments mentioned in any of the passengers’ coroner reports and no damage to the pilot’s body.

      that, and how much do i want to trust a nato report on a conflict they are partisan to? at best, they would release the truth if it was in line with their narrative – but there has been precious little evidence released and a lot that has been unjustifiably withheld – and at worst, they would not let the truth stand in their way. the same applies to the russians, obviously.

      as far as i’m concerned, this is still very much unresolved.

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