Links 10/8/15

How Fukushima exclusion zone has become an overgrown wilderness Daily Mail (Chuck L)

Administration of thimerosal-containing vaccines to infant rhesus macaques does not result in autism-like behavior or neuropathology PNAS. Lambert: “Hilariously funded by anti-vaxxers.” See Newsweek for details.


US warships to challenge China sea claims Financial Times

Beijing Is Showing Us Exactly Why America’s Debt to China Isn’t a Problem Slate

This video proves China has the most insane traffic jams on Earth Boing Boing (resilc)

China pioneers the world’s first driverless bus Tyler Cowen

Bangalore Is Getting Inundated by Creeping Toxic Foam CityLab. OMG you must look at the pictures!

Merkel slams eastern Europeans on migration Politico

There is actually a way to guarantee Harper’s defeat. Here’s how Medium


Next stop Syria? Ukraine rebels weigh options as fighting stops France24

MH-17 Yet Again, Poring Over the Data (and Translations); Serious Factual Errors by Time and Western Media Michael Shedlock (EM)


Kunduz Hospital Was Raided By Afghan Special Forces Just Three Months Before U.S. Bombing Huffington Post

Russia fires cruise missiles into Syria Financial Times

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

Former Reuters Journalist Matthew Keys Found Guilty of Three Counts of Hacking Motherboard. Resilc: “But never a banker.”

Imperial Collapse Watch

A Short History of U.S. Bombing of Civilian Facilities Intercept

Hawks Always Want to Escalate a Conflict Somewhere American Conservative (resilc)

Trade Traitors

Pretty photos, small companies: how the White House is selling TPP Reuters. Allan: “Selling TPP as good for small-batch bourbon and craft beer producers smells of desperation.”

Hillary Clinton Opposes Obama’s Trans-Pacific Trade Deal New York Times. Lambert sees “lotta wriggle room” in her statements.

Hillary, I don’t Believe You Oppose the TPP Huffington Post. Only till she gets past the debate with Bernie.

Users Have Been Betrayed in the Final TPP Deal—Help Us Tell Washington How You Feel Electronic Frontier Foundation

TPP prevents NZ from regulating foreign buyers MacroBusiness

This is How the Trade Pact Escalates the Currency War Wolf Richter


Hillary Clinton Is Reliving Al Gore’s Nightmare New York Magazine

Hillary Clinton has a new plan to toughen Wall Street penalties Washington Post. Resilc: “Until the checks clear at the Clintoon Foundation LLC? What about her son in law?”

Boy accused of fatally shooting girl after she wouldn’t let him play with puppy CNN. What is it going to take to get real gun controls? At a minimum, gun owners need to carry serious liability insurance, just like car owners. We now are expected to have more people die in 2015 in the US from gun deaths than auto accidents. Gun owners need to bear that cost just as car owners do for the risks they represent to others.

Black Injustice Tipping Point

NYPD steal black woman banker’s BMW, commit her when she asks for it back Boing Boing (reslic)

Volkswagen and the Future of Honesty Project Syndicate

78% of Americans Want Citizens United Overturned—So Why Does the Media Never Cover It? Alternet (RR)

Four Ways the Oil Price Crash Is Hurting the Global Economy Bloomberg

U.S. Consumers Splurged with Gas Savings After All, Study Finds WSJ Economics

Wall Street’s Compliance With Settlements Probed by Top Democrat Bloomberg

Top Republican Urges Yellen to Comply with Congressional Subpoena Wall Street Journal

The Latest Cognitive Dissonance: Weak Recovery is all Dodd Frank’s Fault Barry Ritholtz. Just wait, soon mass shootings will be Dodd Frank’s fault too.

A Sex Scandal Rocks Stanford’s Business School Bloomberg. Unusually ugly.

Class Warfare

Join Uber in a tale of rent seeking and employment law The Register. Why the Uber end game will be way worse than regulated cabs: “What about monopoly don’t you understand?”

Urban Outfitters to end on-call shifts for New York employees Reuters

Why you shouldn’t be surprised that prisoners crushed Harvard’s debate team Washington Post

These political scientists may have just discovered why U.S. politics are a disaster Washington Post (margarita)

Teamsters’ Pension Fund Warns 400,000 of Cuts New York Times

Antidote du jour. Gopinath Kollur from FB:

gopianth links

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. craazyboy

    “Bangalore Is Getting Inundated by Creeping Toxic Foam CityLab. OMG you must look at the pictures!”

    Bangalore used to be known as the “good” city in India. It was remade with modern buildings that even came with indoor plumbing and was intended to be an attractive area for India’s high tech middle class wannabees.

    1. Vatch

      What the heck? Did the Ghostbusters blast a giant demonic Stay Puft Marshmallow Man in Banglalore?

      On a more serious note, this is the sort of thing that will happen in the United States if the Republicans succeed in abolishing the EPA, either explicitly, or implicitly (by starving the EPA of funding).

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Consumers can help out, by taking a conservative position.

        Assume all offshoring is based on getting around environmental regulations/exploiting native workers, and work from that basis.

        Once the consumer has satisfied her/himself that it is no the case, he/she can proceed with the consumption.

        Be thorough, fair and open minded.

        Do not let your prejudice against a particular country to cloud your judgment. Let it have a chance to show you its smartphones or chemical dyed shirts are worthy of purchase.

        But do not buy if you haven’t satisfied with a solid proof.

        Let the burden of proof be on you.

        1. Just Ice

          “Let the burden of proof be on you.”

          No. I’m too poor to shop ethically (though I won’t use self-checkout).

          The burden is on those who’ve gotten rich off the current system and the guilt too perhaps.

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            Everyone chips in.

            The government, business and consumers.

            When the consumer is doing her/his part, the burden (in this case, this part of a team effort) is on the consumer.

            It does not mean others have nothing to contribute.

          2. jrs

            Oh the guilt is ultimately on them. We just must do what we can to undermine at every turn (and fair trade might meet Prime Beef’s criteria), but the real guilt is not on the bottom 80%.

      2. jrs

        I thought it’s the type of thing that will happen regardless with the TPP. Stopping giant toxic foam rivers would interfere with corporate profits afterall, and must be appealed before the ISDS. EPA? Pfft, that would assume a country has some sovereignty over it’s laws.

        In the end they are going to leave us not just without jobs or access to 20th century healthcare (so we all use whatever methods existed over 100 years ago – well might still have a few antibiotics that work) but without water to drink when they’re done.

    2. Jim Haygood

      It’s a lovely wintry look. Psychologically it imparts a feeling of coolness and well-being, even in Bangalore’s sweaty tropical climate.

      One is reminded of the iconic ‘Ski Mississippi’ poster, although the white stuff in that scene was cotton.

  2. James Levy

    We’ve had a big year for bears up where I live in the Berkshires. My wife and I collectively or separately have run into bears six times since July. Last year we only saw a bear once. What struck me as a suburban person displaced to the woods is how beautiful they are and how gracefully they move. However, when my Dachshund and I ran into a large male at 6 AM while out for the morning walkies, it certainly scared me. Luckily, Marvin exercised the better part of valor and I followed swiftly right behind him!

  3. James Levy

    About the anti-vaccine people funding research that shows their position is not credible: forget it. They will denounce the people they hired as stooges for the people they distrust, even though they signed the checks. Jews and Moslems need to anathematized pork, Hindus need to make beef verboten, Catholics used to have a bewildering variety of meatless days, and a certain kind of upper middle class person needs to believe vaccines are “unclean.” It seems to be some deep-seated human need, the way society turned on cholesterol as the root of all evil back in the late-1970s. It’s a way of magically warding off contamination, contagion, and death, I guess, or a way to control exposure to danger and evil in a topsy-turvy world.

  4. abynormal

    Gail Zappa Dies at 70…love to the Zappa clan.

    Ask not what your president has done for you lately — ask what you have done for yourself, your neighbors, your friends, your countrymen, your countrywomen, your country-children, your environment, your planet.

    VOTE like your life and your planet is at stake. GZ

    1. optimader

      She did an admiral job maintaining FZappa’s musical legacy in a pure form, as well progressively releasing archived music.

  5. craazyboy

    Pretty photos, small companies: how the White House is selling TPP Reuters. Allan: “Selling TPP as good for small-batch bourbon and craft beer producers smells of desperation.”

    It is if you make Russian Imperial Stout. It is best if aged 6 months, and was first invented in England as a export beer for Catherine The Great in St. Petersburg. (rumor has it she drank a lot – and was quite loose as well)

    Same is true of a heavily hopped IPA – it was developed for the English Navy because it would remain good during those long voyages to India. Although there wasn’t really supposed to be any left by the time the Navy got to India.

    The bad news for TPP is lightly hopped lager is best fresh, and deteriorates badly after a few weeks and should be refrigerated the whole time. This will put an additional load on our solar farms, not to mention solar refrigerated beer ocean tankers.

    Bourbon ages well, so that should be ok. OTOH, Kentucky could just sell to Virginia?

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      I think the “very serious people” have no idea how far apart they are from their critics and believe we are spoiled children who can be appeased by trying to appear trendy. Take Hillary Clinton and her appearance on SNL, the show hasn’t been cutting edge for over 20 years anyway. It really just comes off as stupid outside of DC.

      Whoa, Donald Trump jokes! Wow! I mean I had no idea there more questions about his hair than William Shatner’s.

      Nixon said, “Sock it to me,” almost 50 years ago.

  6. hemeantwell

    The “These political scientists may have just discovered why U.S. politics are a disaster Washington Post (margarita)” link goes to a story about prisoners winning a debate with Harvard students. Unless the political scientists are concerned about a world turned upside down, I can’t see the connection.

      1. nippersdad

        I have to call on BS the researchers rationale. The studies start at exactly the time in the mid nineties that the DLC was successfully dragging the Party far to the right in order to coopt Republican positions, and ignores the fact that one of the reasons that the Democratic Party has lost ground is precisely because that shift to the right never really represented those who voted for the Party. Ultimately, it looks to me like their conclusion that the left has shifted further left than the right has shifted to the right is a rigged game; typical WaPo propaganda piece.

        The question is always where one places the “center” of the political spectrum, and if one leaves it permanently to the right of Reagan then one is always going to get a poor reading of the electorate at large.

        1. Sufferin' Succotash

          Well, you have to admit that defending a social insurance program which was originally enacted in 1935 is a pretty left-wing thing to do. Next thing you know those pinkos will be fighting to keep the Pure Food & Drug Act.

          1. skippy

            “Pure Food & Drug Act.”

            Hinze had a tough row to hoe, seems others thought killing your costumers with gastrointestinal illness was an intelligent thing to do. Crazy to think it was the leading cause of death or morbidity in its day, yet, we are coming full circle soon.

              1. skippy

                Strangely or not the wife already does just so with a small step.

                Skippy…. btw you will pay….

  7. frosty zoom

    well, despite not being kept in a transparent bottle, the tpp still tastes horrible because it was already skunky when they bottled it.

    [in response to “craazyboy”]

    1. Llewelyn Moss

      There seems to be a full court press to sell TPP — like a turd rolled in confectioners’ sugar.

      I was watching Madam Secretary on teevee on Monday. The story line had her talking up the dire need for TPP (I think they called it something similar). The show ended with her staff singing a stupid song about TPP at some public event. I wonder how much the producers got paid and by whom.

      And Hillary last night on PBS news hour. She basically played dumb. Says she doesn’t know enough about what’s in TPP to endorse it. But says we really need a trade deal badly.

      1. curlydan

        Anyone could drive a truck through her statement. Her “based on what I know now” leaves wiggle room for a sumo wrestler or Jupiter. Nobody officially knows anything about the TPP. It’s seeeee-cret After the primaries, she’ll at last get to see the final document and say that she’s now satisfied with the worker and environmental protections.

      2. frosty zoom

        i think at this point that chez nous, i.e. this thing called canada, should dump the tpp and instead lobby to join the shanghai thing with russia and iran and the stans and such.

        i hope us rats will abandon ship before the s.s. yankempire finally bottoms out on the shoals of hubris and self-petting.

        on a side note, why are there no central american and pacific island nations in the tpp? aren’t they worthy of such refined pillage? doesn’t being a coalition of the willing kinda place get you a backstage pass? don’t they hate china, too?!?

      3. Brindle

        On PBS Clinton’s lack of authenticity was front and center. She just is not a good candidate–period.

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          Hillary’s main issue is she let her supporters hail her as a visionary and super expert, and I think most likely Team Blue voters were willing to give her a chance. Her roll out was filled with nothing except announcements about how great her experience was.

          With her time (she was unemployed for two years and just Secretary of State, a significantly reduced office since ’48) and resources, she should have come out rolling with a list of ills and prescriptions instead of telling get everyone how smart she was.

          Now she is trying to appear like Bernie, who previously was unelected because of his views and seem to oppose Obama when there already is a anti-Obama candidate and Hillary continues to keep the usual Clinton show around such as John Podesta. More voters than cynics realize do pay attention to this.

          1. optimader

            Spot on.
            Team HRC pitches the CV list of job titles rather letting that exist in the background while preemptively identifying/prioritizing problems and proposing creative root cause solutions.

            Realistically I’d be less cynical about her even if she offered a glimmer of what the real problems are and offered up adequate solutions…make that, I’d settle for just not threatening to generate more unmitigated Gordian Knot disasters.

      4. Jess

        And the show right after Madam Secretary on the same network, The Good Wife, has Chris Noth’s character running for president to establish his bona fides for the VP slot under…Hillary. Scratch this program from my watch list.

  8. Katniss Everdeen

    RE: Teamsters’ Pension Fund Warns 400,000 of Cuts New York Times

    “In 1982, the Teamsters were barred from investing their retirees’ money because of the union’s ties to organized crime. Under a federal consent decree, the fund’s investment duties were shifted to a group of large banks, where they have remained.”

    A distinction without a difference.

    1. mad as hell.

      Got my letter from Central States stating that my pension will be cut by 5% effective July 1, 2016; I along with 400,000 members can vote on the reduced pension in an upcoming election.

      “If a majority of all plan participants and beneficiaries do not vote to reject the proposed reduction of benefits, then the Treasury Department is required to issue a final authorization to permit the reduction of benefits to take effect.”

      1. jo6pac

        Thanks for sharing and I’m sure the rest of us pensioners aren’t far behind you in receiving a letter like yours.

        Sadly the cost 12 f-35 would save must pensions in the New Amerika.

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      We need a single-payer pension plan for all.

      Investing in TIPs (inflation protected) does not protect you when organic foods are getting more expensive, but you can substitute with cheaper, pesticide infested/genetically modified foods, and plastic toys for infants are also getting cheaper, but medical care is getting more expensive (what, 50% or 90% of a senior’s living expense), when the CPI shows deflation/disinflation.

      Another victory for the crusaders of War on Wage Inflation.

      Victims are everywhere, union or non-union retirees.

      1. Just Ice

        Agree. If government subsidizes the villains, the banking cartel, then it should subsidize their victims too, nearly everyone else.

        Otherwise, we only have “progress” for a few.

  9. rich

    Hillary Clinton Proposes HFT Tax; “Hillarity Ensues” ·

    However, if your memory is sound, you will know better. You will know Clinton is just following the Washington Insider Sound Bite Playbook. You know she is just tapping into populist fears at the moment to shore up voter support ahead of her debate against Bernie Sanders; she just wants to look like a tough-on-Wall-Street “Warren-esque” populist leader.

    Clinton is gambling that voters do not have any long term memory. However all any voter needs to do is “follow the money.”

    First of all, Clinton has ex-CFTC Commissioner Gary Gensler working very hard for her campaign. Gensler is widely respected, and although he also has a “tough on Wall Street” image, he is friendly to HFT firms. He was especially friendly to those firms after Hillary Clinton’s friend, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, paid him a visit a few years back – flying down to see him on DRW’s Don Wilson’s private jet.(Emanuel’s Rare Political Reach Fuels Fundraising Machine) to advocate for certain positions around rulemaking. Specifically, HFT firms paid large sums of money to Rahm Emanuel’s campaign to persuade Gensler and the CFTC to ease commodities futures trading rules for firms like DRW, Jump, and Infinium.

    Secondly, Hillary Clinton is also gambling that your memory is so short-term, that you won’t remember the Chicago fundraising dinner thrown for her earlier this summer by Chopper Trading founder Rajiv Fernando. Chopper Trading has since been sold to DRW trading, whose founder’s lobbying efforts we discussed in the last paragraph.

    No. Be certain. Be appeased. High-five yourselves, just like Clinton and Emanuel always do. There will be no trading tax imposed on high speed trading firms, especially one advocated for real by Clinton.

    Money always trumps words, and words never trump actions.

      1. TedWa

        I always felt that the voluminous D/F bill was created to buy the banks time… to get away with it, and they have. Barney gets rewarded. Kind of solid proof isn’t it..

    1. Brindle

      Greg Sargent gives his take on Clinton’s feint to the left:

      “So, yes, Clinton appears worried about this very real Sanders constituency and its demand for a candidate who will not flinch from embracing very ambitious, forthrightly redistributive government action. But she doesn’t appear worried enough about it to come even close to fully embracing the Sanders/Warren agenda.”

  10. rich

    JPMorgan says its felony plea for market rigging shouldn’t bar it from owning part of LightSquared

    most felons can’t get a liquor license but hey what’s an air wave license??what a joke.

    1. OIFVet

      Ahh, I see that Vasya’s rant has made the english language press, at last. Took a couple of days though, last summer it would have taken a couple of hours!

    2. Synoia

      Pieces of missile have been found in the bodies of victims from the Malaysian Airlines Flight 17 crash

      One can believe there is shrapnel.

      First: How it is know it came from a Buk missile, and not some other missile, is not explained.

      Second: Who fired the missile is an unknown.

      1. Yves Smith Post author

        I pinged Helmer and said, “The Dutch are reading you!”

        His reply:

        Yes they have – here is how the story was planted in Dutch:
        Vovk gives himself away as not a pathologist at all. The report claims he was an “investigator” who “pulled apart multiple samples of Buk missiles”. Note that the JIT makes an official statement that he had “worked on the case for nearly a year, up to June 19”. The clumsiness not only indicates its Ukrainian origin, and the complicity of the Dutch state (and the Australian, through the JIT); it also confirms our last report – there is no legally admissible evidence of a Buk missile at all. Oliphant, the Telegraph reporter of this plant, has faked stories before. He and Shaun Walker of the Guardian produced one of the first claims that Russian Army tanks and armoured vehicles were operating in the Donbass. They claimed to have witnessed this by tailgating an armoured column – only they unaccountably failed to take a photograph of what they saw.

      2. Chris Williams

        Believe me, I think this is right. If the Dutch, Australians etc had one, just one piece of shrapnel from a BUK missile, there would have been a big press release.

        A BIG one.

        They don’t have the evidence, it points to another version of events.

    1. rich

      For $115 million, you can live in this enclave for the super-rich

      If you want to put in solid-gold taps and cut-crystal chandeliers with rare quartz, it’s going to probably cost more,” said Barry Watts, president of Domvs London, the developer pitching the project with financial backing from J.P. Morgan investment arm Junius Real Estate Partners.

      If Domvs finds a buyer at the price it is seeking, it would be the first property in Los Angeles to sell for nine figures. The area’s high-water mark was the 2000 sale of a Bel-Air spread for $94 million. Another palatial Westside estate, Fleur de Lys, sold last year for $88.3 million.

      But none of those are in a subdivision — in this case a tiny enclave of super wealthy residents who would have to pay a fee to a homeowners association with some uncommon amenities, such as a top-and-tails-clad security guard stationed at the development’s entrance.

      Watts and John Fraser, a Junius managing partner, are looking for buyers worth hundreds of millions, if not billions, of dollars. And while they acknowledge that’s a small target market — Forbes estimates that there are about 1,800 billionaires on the planet — they say there are so few properties of this size and type that they should be able to find buyers.

      “There are people looking to $100 million or $150 million, but they’re coming here and they’re not finding what they’re looking for,” Watts said.

    2. James Levy

      Political Scientists are such spineless jellyfish. The rich are buying politicians to “fix” the system to protect their wealth and power. And the idea that the Democrats have moved Left, I want to see how they come up with that crap. Obama is slightly to the right of Richard Nixon on most issues. That’s been demonstrated convincingly by other Political Scientists. So how the Democrats could be moving to the Left is simply impossible to imagine. Fewer Blue Dogs does not make Obama, Biden, Andrew Cuomo, or Hillary a Ted Kennedy/McGovern/Mondale liberal.

  11. OIFVet

    Merkel has some nerve criticizing and trying to shame Eastern Europe after she invited everyone to come to Germany. And that after she did all she could to keep certain Eastern Europeans from migrating to Germany. She is a cancer on Europe.

    1. drexciya

      That’s the first thing I thought as well. And just like in other parts of Europe; the media will paint everyone black, using Godwins like it’s nothing, for even daring to object to what’s happening now. This is completely killing any rational discussion and provokes a potentially violent backlash. And Frau Merkel is the prime example of this.

      Before resorting to any sort of mudslinging, the politicians should have to come up with some serious answers to the following questions:
      – How can refugees be refugees if they’re already safe in Turkey/Greece/… and they still want to explicitly go to Western Europe or Sweden?
      – How many people are using false Syrian passports or just go with the flow to try to get refugee status?
      – Why shouldn’t there be a real actual limit to the number of “refugees”, in order to make it manageable and also to prevent the smugglers from making money in this very lucrative business.
      – What to do with the people that don’t get a refugee status; what are you going to do with this potentially large group of people? Is there any plan or strategy when it comes to handling them?
      – Why is the majority of the “refugees” young single men and not actual families, which you would expect if it’s really about refugees?

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        Concerning your last question, conscription into militias is a motivator for single men to flee. Americans in Canada during Vietnam springs to mind. If they aren’t the head of a family, there isn’t much reason to stay.

        1. OIFVet

          Most of these young men were in refugee camps in Lebanon, Jordania, and Turkey, out of reach of militias. And it is becoming increasingly clear that many of these young “Syrian” men hail from Afghanistan, Pakistan, Africa, etc. So why now and why Central Asians, too?

          1. NotTimothyGeithner

            I didn’t answer the other questions for a reason, but refugees are often young men. Moving children and the elderly isn’t easy especially in the worst conditions. My dad’s great grandparents all came alone to the U.S. and were around the age of 16.

            The refugee camps are probably recruiting grounds for ISIS and “moderate” militias.

            1. OIFVet

              Well, there is that distinction between ‘recruiting’ and ‘conscription’, of course. I doubt ‘recruits’ are headed toward Europe.

              I have no doubt that many of the young men are fleeing the violence in Syria. I also have no doubt that well more than half of the wave consists of economic migrants from elsewhere. My cousin in BG is a cop, every couple of weeks he rotates to the Turkish or Greek border to interdict refugees. He says a very large proportion of those they catch are not Syrian. Other sources in Europe have the same observation. So a large proportion of “refugees” are in fact economic migrants. Therefore I have little patience for Merkel’s hypocritical wailing and attacks on Easter Europe. She worked very hard to keep away Eastern European migrants away, particularly those from BG and Romania. These are EU states, BTW. So much for “common Europe”. Yet Merkel invited every Tom, Dick, and Harry from Middle East, Africa, and Central Asia to come to Germany, under the pretense of labor shortage, but didn’t anticipate the backlash at home and is now trying to dump the guests she invited onto others’ laps. Well, Eastern Europe does not have the resources of the West, and whatever aid comes frombthe EU will not be very much. So Eastern Europe will have to pick up the difference, while its own populations have been in permanent austerity mode for a quarter century now, and they will have to in fact pay for Western imperial follies. Screw that, Merkel can go to eff herself.

              1. NotTimothyGeithner

                I agree. I just am pointing out young men aren’t an unusual refugee.

                One of the reasons the anti-Assad campaign really drives me up the wall is Assad despite Syria’s economy accepted and cared for Iraqi refugees in excess of two million for years without U.S. assistance. There are camps in Jordan, and of course, refugees from Bahrain and Yemen where we have our own crackdowns also moved to these camps over time. There are all kinds of issues in Western Turkey and Northern Iraq, predating ISIS.

                1. OIFVet

                  We in the US tend to have short memories, generally speaking. Another reason why the anti-Assad rhetoric grates is that he was perfectly acceptable when he was willing to torture people on our behalf. Now all of a sudden he is an unacceptable tyrant (unlike the acceptable Saudi tyrants).

                  On October 1st the BG FM visited the Bulgarian community in Chicago. I wrote about him earlier in the year, being a US flunkie trained by the National Democratic Institute, so naturally I went to see if we could have a word. He started his speech with how Assad was the root cause of all problems. I asked him during the Q&A, if Assad was such a problem why didn’t the West accept Russia’s offer to Ahtisaari to have Assad step down. Naturally the FM demured, going off about how this is all part of “Russia’s hybrid warfare.” Apparently Nobel Peace laureate Marti Ahtisaari, who never bombed anyone, is a Ruskie agent, while Nobel Peace laureate Obama, lately of Kunduz fame, is a staunch defender of human rights, freedumb, and democracy. I told him that he is in the employ of a foreign power and that’s embarassing and hypocritical to wail about the refugee problem while defending the very cause of the problem. Needless to say the BG Consulate removed me from their invite list for social events, but it felt good to unload on the puppet.

              2. JTMcPhee

                Some thoughts on Merkel and the Völkerwanderung (

                “Europe and the refugees: a demographic enlargement,” Did you get what you wanted for your birthday and Christmas, Mutti?

                Anjd some further thoughts: “The meaning of the refugee crisis,,”

                Pictures and video clips are just minute passing anecdotes, but I’m not finding demographics on the Wanderers. But yes, there may be young males who if they find no meaningful work to do, are fungible creatures more adaptable than any current robot when it comes to operating machines whether touchscreens or AK-47s. Seemingly designed to either build stuff, fix stuff, or blow stuff up and kill people weaker than they are and what, like the corporate models they see, “take their stuff.”.

                The images I’m finding, however, are of families, from infants to ancients. Short of killing all of them when they depart the horrors of their native space, horrors kind of unarguably due to to the actions of the nations (“corporate spaces”?) the Völk are wandering toward, what can our Rulers possibly do to “sort the wheat from the chaff”? Other than activate the nativist tribal genes, and let the bad stuff happen?

                As to the scope and press of the problem the Great Games have cued up this time, in the fully-automatic cannon called “blowback” they’ve aimed at the “civilized advanced nations” in serving the amassers of wealth and other parasites and tumors, there’s this from the UNHCR:

                GENEVA, June 18 (UNHCR) – Wars, conflict and persecution have forced more people than at any other time since records began to flee their homes and seek refuge and safety elsewhere, according to a new report from the UN refugee agency.

                UNHCR’s annual Global Trends Report: World at War, released on Thursday (June 18), said that worldwide displacement was at the highest level ever recorded. It said the number of people forcibly displaced at the end of 2014 had risen to a staggering 59.5 million compared to 51.2 million a year earlier and 37.5 million a decade ago.

                The increase represents the biggest leap ever seen in a single year. Moreover, the report said the situation was likely to worsen still further.

                Globally, one in every 122 humans is now either a refugee, internally displaced, or seeking asylum. If this were the population of a country, it would be the world’s 24th biggest.

                “We are witnessing a paradigm change, an unchecked slide into an era in which the scale of global forced displacement as well as the response required is now clearly dwarfing anything seen before,” said UN High Commissioner for Refugees António Guterres.

                “Am I my brother’s keeper?” “Am I supposed to welcome the stranger?” Lots of high talk, until the sandals hit the road…

                1. OIFVet

                  The first OpenDemocracy article, by Etienne Balibar. Just wow. More central bureaucracy, less local autonomy. Because the trend toward centralization has worked so well for the EU so far. Oh, but the demographic shift will force changes, argues the perfesser. Uh-huh, because the neoliberal Euro elites are just so darn sympathetic to suffering that they went ahead and spanked Greece some more. And now Merkel wants the rest of Europe to pay to her new-found humanitarianism? Good luck with that, Angie. Given how much Germany has extracted from the periphery, it should be more than financially possible to handle its invited guests.

          2. Sufferin' Succotash

            As for the demand to “pick up a gun and fight”, the question is “on which side”? Assad’s government? No, that’s the wrong side. ISIS? No, they’re the Bad Rebels. The Kurds? No, they’re now Bad Guys because our good friends the Turks are bombing them. The virtually non-existent “Moderate Rebels”? Um, well…
            It’s all Putin’s fault!!

            1. William C

              My daughter is in a senior role out in the Near East in the humanitarian relief effort for the Syrian refugee crisis. I talked to her last night. She- and all those she works with – is astonished at the response of the European countries to the relatively tiny number of people who have so far tried to enter the EU. There are about ten million displaced people inside and outside Syria as a result of the fighting and the EU -with 28 countries- gets itself into hysterics at the idea it might have to help 150,000. Turkey, Lebanon and Jordan have had to accommodate four million between them. Europe has made itself a laughing stock in the Levant.

              She also said the quality of reporting by Western media is very poor. If you think the media are giving you an accurate picture of what is going on, you are deceived.

              Why have we had a recent movement of people? One, food aid has been cut. Two, the fighting has intensified, causing a further surge in refugees. People who think they will be bombed where they are (and used as human shields) flee for their lives because that is what people do when in mortal danger.

              The infrastructure in Turkey, Lebanon and Jordan is breaking under the strain. Oh, and fighting has now broken out in Turkey.

              1. OIFVet

                Jordan and Turkey actively participated in the destabilization of Syria. So them shedding crocodile tears is not going to win them any sympathy from me. As for the fighting inside Turkey, why do you omit the fact that Erdogan initiated a campaign against the Kurds under the pretense of fighting IS? And where, pray tell, did you find the 150,000 figure?

                I find it astonishing that your daughter is not astonished by the fact that the US, KSA, and their ME flunkies broke it and expect someone else to deal with the consequences.

                1. William C

                  I was relating what my daughter told me. As I did not ask the questions you put to me, I cannot answer them on her behalf.

                  Our conversation barely touched on the role of the US in the saga. Another time I will ask her for her views on that.

                  1. OIFVet

                    Well go ahead and ask her why my granny, with almost 50 years of hard agricultural work behind her, is a laughingstock for refusing to share her €120 pension with a refugee who made several times that before the US, Turkey, KSA, and Qatar decided they wanted to do a little regime change operation in Syria.

                  2. NotTimothyGeithner

                    What your daughter is failing to recognize is she is there by her choice. Has your daughter invited any refugees to live with her in the states? Well, no, she is an aid worker and likely has no money.

                    Those same European populations are now being asked to clean up the mess of others.


                    It’s a very simple problem. Europeans didn’t ask for violence to be inflicted, and they shouldn’t have to pay for the fallout without reform. Neither should we. If Obama wants to let in Syrian related refugees, let him pay for it. His actions have been opposed and done in secret with bizarre rationales to claim legality.

                    If we continue to tolerate this behavior from elites, they will keep making refugees, and the funding to help will come from solar, schools, infrastructure, pensions, etc. under the guise of humanitarian claims while the elites defense stocks split.

              2. cwaltz

                Turkey, Qatar and Saudi all fund the FSA. The fact that Turkey is paying consequences for attempting regime change really doesn’t concern me. In the real world if you encourage wars there SHOULD be consequences for more than the refugees that you create.

      2. afisher

        I wonder if people think before they write nonsense. People are attempting to flee their own country and the argument is that they should be forced to stop where they touch foreign soil. HUH? That is unhumane as the country that they first land in may not be of their choosing. Overloading a singular member of the EU State – how is that helpful, unless you really just don’t want to deal with the human condition of people fleeing war torn nations and would greatly prefer that they die quickly and quietly in the home nation. Soon these same people are going to say that each state in the US should have a Fence and people from State A wanting to move to State B – must be vetted before being able to move.

        The false passport meme is a RW talking point that has been debunked several times.

        Those asking the false or misleading questions are in that group of “others are dangerous” and often fall into the far right fearmongering class – where asking rhetorical or nonsense questions and never listening to sane responses is their model.

        1. OIFVet

          Debunked by whom? Got links? And a “refugee” is by definition a persecuted or endangered person seeking safety. Why were Jordanian and Turkish refugee camps safe enough for several years, and suddenly are no longer safe? Its about preference, you say. Well, that makes them economic migrants, not refugees.

        2. OIFVet

          PS Almost all of the refugees, real or not, want to go to Germany. So if it is ‘choice’ that you care about, why are you arguing against them going to their country of choice? Its a bit illogical.

        3. generic

          The whole thing is a typical EU action. First of all it is a fake crisis. If an industrial state can’t deal with population growth of ~1% a year I would suggest dissolving it because what is even the point? Of course faced with a minor challenge they redefine the crisis to be about something else that lets them continue the same policies as before. In this case its smugglers in the Euro case its state debt.
          Peak nonsense of course are the twin complaints of “most of them are economic refugees” and “those people aren’t even poor” which I’ve been hearing all the time. Often from the same people.

          1. OIFVet

            Relative to Germany they are poor. Relative to some of the Eastern European countries asked to take them in, they are quite well-off. What civil strife is driving Pakistanis to Europe, pray tell?

            1. generic

              Are you really disputing that most refugees are fleeing from wars? Because from Lybia to Afghanistan there more than enough wars to go around.
              And no I see no point in forcing the eastern countries to take them in. That was the old system and everyone knew that it was a built to fail humanitarian catastrophe. This talk about quotes for a few hundred thousand people is just part of all the pretend actions like the boarder controls between Austria and Germany. Germany should take them, France should take them. My country should take them.
              Nearly all problems that could be caused by this can be solved by policies that should be implemented anyway e.g. job guarantee, fiscal expansion, public housing construction, rent controls….

              1. OIFVet

                Yes, I am disputing that most are fleeing from wars. There are plenty of Central Asians mixed in, and as to most Syrians they had already spent a long time in refugee camps in safe places such as Jordan and Turkey. I am scratching my head at the sanctimonious liberal do-gooders who fail to ask why it is that this wave of humanity was suddenly unleashed on Europe after having previously been bottled up in Turkey. Do you not realize what is being done to you? And if you care so much, why do you so eagerly act like lemmings that enable the US in creating these disasters in the first place?

                I also wonder how you imagine that this refugee influx will magically result in the abandonment of Germany’s dearly held belief in austerity in favor of your leftist wish list. Particularly in light of the abject neoliberal spanking administered to Greece earlier this year. All of Europe is in the throes of wild neoliberalism, and here you are imagining the leftist sparkle ponies that will suddenly spring up. Good luck with that, and keep Eastern Europe out of it. 25 years of being bled dry is quite enough, thank you very much.

                1. generic

                  Go on and tell me what’s being done to me.
                  The complicity of Europe’s leaders in the US’ adventures is exactly the opposite of a reason to wash our hands of the problem. Also show me one US war or NATO stooge I supported or pack in your straw men.

                  And no the refugees will not magically change anything. The point is that not having those policies will probably destroy everything that’s worth keeping in the EU. Compared to that a few million additional immigrants won’t matter.

                  1. OIFVet

                    You are being forced to accept total US control over Europe is what is being done to you, and that’s not in Europe’s best interests. And you are just an useful peon, it is your leaders that are the stooges, but then again you already knew about the generic use of ‘You’.

                    And your last paragraph, what is it supposed to mean? “It’s all going to hell anyway so what difference does it make to take a few million migrants”? That’s the spirit, little wonder Europe is being destroyed from within. Might as well help the process along from without…

                    Again, keep Eastern Europe out of it. Some have long enough experience with Ottoman perfidy to know better than to volunteer to go through it again in the name of Sultan Erdogan’s Ottoman aspirations.

    2. VietnamVet


      This all goes back to 2001 when Muslims became the “Others” to vilify as the enemy in order to justify a never ending war to enrich a few war profiteers, financiers and globalists. Like all scams it is divorced from reality and is causing all sorts of fallout including millions of refugees in the Middle East and bringing Russia and USA to the brink of world conflict.

      When Turkey started its war on the Kurds widening the Syrian Civil War they opened the camps to let the refugees to travel to the coast. Due to austerity Greece had stopped border enforcement. A route was open for Muslims and others with enough money to pay the smugglers to trek into the heart of Europe. The Oligarch’s predatory capitalism and their paid politicians are directly responsible for bringing the chaos to Europe

    1. Daryl

      > “Going forward Saudi Arabia will have to implement spending cuts and efficiencies in order to avoid a runaway fiscal deficit in 2016.”

      > King Salman bin Abdulaziz booked the entire Four Seasons for his three-night stay, forcing guests who had booked to stay in the 222-room hotel during his visit to be moved to nearby luxury hotels.
      > And the hotel, where suites run for more than $2,000 a night, has added some new touches to suit the 79-year-old king’s tastes.
      > Eyewitnesses told Politico they’ve seen gilded furniture wheeled into the hotel this week, with red carpets being laid down in the hallway and even on the asphalt of the hotel’s parking garage.

      Hahahahahahaha, good luck with that.

  12. Inverness

    Yves, Thank you for the link “there is a way to defeat Harper.” The petition is signed, and I’ve forwarded along the message to several locals. Really, for me, right now, it’s just about defeating Harper, by any means necessary.

  13. McWatt

    Re: All Dodd Franks fault

    Had lunch with a downtown Chicago banker this week who was complaining about
    all the Dodd Frank compliance issues his bank is facing. I want to put his statement
    in the national record: “There is absolutely no possibility of a bank caused crash with all these

    “Catch-22 says they can do anything we can’t stop them from doing.” Heller

    1. griffen

      As long as Citibank / Citigroup is open for business, they will find a way to impale themselves on a few rusty swords.

    1. Steve H.

      The US bombs a hospital, the Russians bomb al Qaeda. Petraeus self-lickingly supports al Qaeda against Isil.

      F*k Petraeus, f*k al Qaeda.

    2. Carolinian

      The Russians can just follow our example and ignore the whole thing.

      It’s the ICJ not the ICC in the earlier case but we haven’t ratified the ICC, just like the Russians, Israel.

      Of course this won’t stop the US govt from making a deal out of the above accusations. Shorter US: do as we say, not as we do.

      1. OIFVet

        The timing of the news is curious, wouldn’t you say? Anyway, in a perfect world the great powers would be held responsible for their crimes, be it Russia or the US. Ours is not a perfect world, however, so small fry like us are reduced to pointing out the hypocrisy and propaganda of the great powers. As far as Georgia, I think it was a crime for the neocons to pump up Saakashvili’s vanity to the point where he thought it safe to mess with the bear.

  14. Steve H.

    Fukushima: literally post-apocalyptic. Particularly touching are the bags of poison soil by the seaside, waiting to be swept away.

    1. Llewelyn Moss

      Yes that is an eerie photo essay. Time standing still. Those bags look like plastic trash bags. They are probably already leeching nuclear waste water from being rained on — draining into the sewers then into the sea.

    2. Chauncey Gardiner

      Yes, thank you for the photos from the Fukushima zone. Reminder of the very long-term effects of these catastrophic meltdowns.

      Based on the article, I was surprised at the Fukushima exclusion zone’s relatively small size compared to that of Chernobyl. Assume it has to do with prevailing winds at the time of the event, and the nature of the meltdown itself.

      1. Gaianne

        While it is true that most of the radioactive debris blew out to sea–to the northwest or the southeast–the size of the exclusion zone is determined by politics, not safety.

        To avoid personal health effects, the entire northern third of the island of Honshu would have to be evacuated, at least to the suburbs of Tokyo. That is never going to happen. Instead the political calculation is based on what can what can be suppressed and ignored. At a certain level of cancer and birth defects, people become personally aware of health problems, and government lies fail. Below that level, the government can lie successfully and suppress information about the number of health problems as well as their causes.

        This level can be, and is, being determined empirically. This in turn determines the boundaries of the exclusion zone.


    3. ira

      There’s a fascinating book, ‘The World Without Us’ by Alan Weisman, that shows the amazing regenerative power of the natural world.

  15. rich

    Revealed: Scotland’s four richest families are wealthier than poorest 20% of population

    Scotland’s four richest families are wealthier than the poorest 20% of the population, a new report on inequality has revealed.

    Oxfam Scotland also calculated the country’s 14 wealthiest families are better off than the most deprived 30%.

    The charity revealed the figures in a report which called for more to be done to tackle economic inequality.

    It suggested members of the Scottish Cabinet, along with senior civil servants, should undertake a poverty training course in a bid to ensure they “understand the realities of living in poverty”.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        I don’t think he could win a caucus vote. The post 2000 or so Republicans grew up in state houses or college republican clubs as Newt henchmen, but none of them are outstanding without being an obvious freak to maintain leadership. The result is there are a bunch of would-be fuhrers who cant rebel because they are divided, and the old guard probably can only muster 75 or so votes before a Peter King type might cast his name in sensing weakness as both responsible and unconnected to the previous leadership group.

        I don’t remember where Dreier was in the order, but Cantor and Dreier were ousted (leadership role for Dreier anyway) by the KKKonservatives. That left Boehner with little support at the top or a real succession plan in place.

  16. Jess

    Re: The girl being shot over the puppy. Many states already have laws which make gun owners liable if their weapons are not properly secured (locked racks, gun safes, trigger locks) and are misused by someone else, esp. a child.

    1. JTMcPhee

      And those laws, even when enforced, do just what,again? Oh, after the fact of the “incident,” some Asst DA might get to show a little compassion and some spine…

      1. Gio Bruno

        …the laws assigning liability for misuse/handling of a gun are likely predominately for purposes of civil law, not criminal law. While not foolproof, encouraging folks to think about personal liability (loss of income/real estate) may be helpful in reducing “incidents”.

  17. optimader

    Re: Mish’s piece on MH-17.
    One thing that puzzles me at this point is why the commercial carriers and pilot organizations are not pushing back to achieve some transparency on this event?

    Seems like a joint “letter to the editor” to major media venues from the Presidents/CEO of say the top 10 international carriers and/or from pilot professional organizations is waaay overdue and would demand some media exposure and governmental response.

    If this were a crash in the US, it would have been forensically picked apart with 3D computer simulations to at least rule out scenarios.

  18. Oregoncharles

    “There is actually a way to guarantee Harper’s defeat. Here’s how ”

    It’s, umm, ironic that Canada has a nasty right-wing government because the electorate swung to the LEFT. Their electoral system is indeed deeply dysfunctional – and the same as ours, or Britain’s. Aside from the kind of cleverness suggested in the article (which will be difficult to arrange – 16 candidates have to resign, and rival parties have to agree), there is a systematic solution:

    It’s variously called Instant Runoff, Preference, or Ranked Choice Voting. It’s a clever way to decide among multiple choices, while always obtaining a majority. As the first name implies, it also saves an election (there would be no reason to have primaries) and shortens the election season.

    It’s been available for a long time – authorized in the Oregon Constitution for over a hundred years (but never put in effect), and in use in a number of countries and US cities, like San Francisco. But it’s just too democratic for our legacy parties – or Canada’s, apparently. It was actually put to a referendum in British Columbia, and failed.

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