Links 11/27/15

Readers, I am deeply embarrassed that I set the timer for Links incorrectly. Damn tryptophan! And I’m delaying Water Cooler ’til 5:00PM, so you don’t feel inundated with linky goodness. –lambert

Pardoned White House Turkey Defects To ISIS Duffel Blog

The Most Famous American Dog on Instagram New Yorker 

Philidor 2.0: Valeant and Stephen King play Chess with a lot of pharmacies Bronte Capital (RS).

Bill Ackman Found a Cheap Way to Buy More Valeant Stock Bloomberg

Meet the ‘snowball’ — the crazy debt deal uncovered by an ex-Goldman banker that almost sunk Portugal’s railway Business Insider

Four KPMG partners arrested in Belfast FT

Volkswagen Told to Prepare Recall Plan for 3-Liter Diesel Models Bloomberg. “The California Air Resources Board is demanding the fix for VW, Audi and Porsche models from the 2009 model year on.” Assuming the problem can be fixed.

Palm Oil Facing `Powerful Cocktail’ of El Nino, Fuel Demand Bloomberg

Billionaire arrest widens Petrobras probe FT


Russia and Turkey’s foreign policy objectives in Syria (by CP) Sic Semper Tyrannis

Putin sends S-400 missiles to Syria to deter Turkey Al Arabiya

Key Turkey opposition journalists jailed over reports alleging Turkey was sneaking arms to Syria rebels Japan Times

The pretend war: why bombing Isil won’t solve the problem The Spectator

Emirates Secretly Sends Colombian Mercenaries to Yemen Fight NYT (Furzy Mouse).

Saudi Arabia ‘to execute more than 50 convicted of terrorism’  BBC (Furzy Mouse).

Cameron says time to bomb militants in Syria Reuters

Why Cameron’s case for Syria airstrikes is highly contentious Guardian

Jeremy Corbyn’s red letter day Channel4. Front bench ticked off that Corbyn might stir up Labour voters to lobby them.

Labour leadership in turmoil over vote on UK military action in Syria Guardian. 

In defence of Jeremy Corbyn The Spectator


Paris attacks: Politicians failed the people of Brussels, says Vincent Kompany CNN. Very good. Kompany is a Belgian soccer star. 

Violence comes home: an interview with Arun Kundnani Open Democracy

Paris Attacks: Plot Was Hatched in Plain Sight WSJ


Refugees, the US and the propagation of fear FT

Armed mosque protesters publish Irving Muslims’ home addresses UPDATE: List disappears after backlash Dallas Morning News


China to Build Naval Hub in Djibouti WSJ

 We’re not having this discussion China Media Project. On “improper discussion” (of the policies of the central Party), or wangyi zhongyang (妄议中央).


Plan A for GOP donors: Wait for Trump to fall. (There is no Plan B.) WaPo. “It’s no problem. We can control him.”

Donald Trump Says His Mocking of New York Times Reporter Was Misread NYT. Sort of amazing to see the NYT write a “he said/she said” story when one of the protagonists is its own reporter, whose claims they could be expected to be able to assess.

As Mayor, Bernie Sanders Was More Pragmatist Than Socialist NYT

Doctors signal more warnings about Iowa’s Medicaid plan Des Moines Register. Privatization scheme looking uglier and uglier.

How the Gates Foundation Reflects the Good and the Bad of “Hacker Philanthropy” The Intercept

Black Injustice Tipping Point

Protesters Gather for Thanksgiving Meal in Minneapolis ABC. From my armchair at 30,000 feet, I think this is actually important; one of the reasons the protesters in Ferguson were and are so tenacious, IMNSHO, is that they ate together a good deal.

New videos raise fresh questions in Chicago police shooting of black teen Reuters

Laquan McDonald shooting protest groups plan Friday march Chicago Tribune

Here’s Evidence The Chicago PD Is Worse Than You Thought HuffPo

Guillotine Watch

Surprise! “Pharma-bro” Martin Shkreli reneges on promise to return jacked-up $750 per pill price on Daraprim to original $13.50 level Salon

Leaked recording: pollution lobbyists discuss exploiting Syrian refugee crisis Boing Boing

Class Warfare

UMich Survey Director: We’re Witnessing the Decline of American Economic Aspirations Bloomberg. Enter The Donald.

A progressive champion in Md. sides with seafood companies over visa regulations WaPo

Clear thinking needed The Economist. “Global warming cannot be dealt with using today’s tools and mindsets. So create some new ones.”

Paris Climate Talks Face High Barriers and High Hopes WSJ

Calgary researcher examines old logbooks for climate clues CBC

Putting powerful platforms under cooperative control Agaric

The Shadows in the Cave The Archdruid Report

Antidote du jour:


See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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About Lambert Strether

Readers, I have had a correspondent characterize my views as realistic cynical. Let me briefly explain them. I believe in universal programs that provide concrete material benefits, especially to the working class. Medicare for All is the prime example, but tuition-free college and a Post Office Bank also fall under this heading. So do a Jobs Guarantee and a Debt Jubilee. Clearly, neither liberal Democrats nor conservative Republicans can deliver on such programs, because the two are different flavors of neoliberalism (“Because markets”). I don’t much care about the “ism” that delivers the benefits, although whichever one does have to put common humanity first, as opposed to markets. Could be a second FDR saving capitalism, democratic socialism leashing and collaring it, or communism razing it. I don’t much care, as long as the benefits are delivered. To me, the key issue — and this is why Medicare for All is always first with me — is the tens of thousands of excess “deaths from despair,” as described by the Case-Deaton study, and other recent studies. That enormous body count makes Medicare for All, at the very least, a moral and strategic imperative. And that level of suffering and organic damage makes the concerns of identity politics — even the worthy fight to help the refugees Bush, Obama, and Clinton’s wars created — bright shiny objects by comparison. Hence my frustration with the news flow — currently in my view the swirling intersection of two, separate Shock Doctrine campaigns, one by the Administration, and the other by out-of-power liberals and their allies in the State and in the press — a news flow that constantly forces me to focus on matters that I regard as of secondary importance to the excess deaths. What kind of political economy is it that halts or even reverses the increases in life expectancy that civilized societies have achieved? I am also very hopeful that the continuing destruction of both party establishments will open the space for voices supporting programs similar to those I have listed; let’s call such voices “the left.” Volatility creates opportunity, especially if the Democrat establishment, which puts markets first and opposes all such programs, isn’t allowed to get back into the saddle. Eyes on the prize! I love the tactical level, and secretly love even the horse race, since I’ve been blogging about it daily for fourteen years, but everything I write has this perspective at the back of it.


    1. ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®©

      Following the Afghanistan model:

      “Freedom Fighters” – when they suit the M.I.C.’s interests. (See popular movie Charlie Wilson’s War.)

      “Terrorists” or “Rogue Regime” – when the worm turns, see just about every U.S. military adventure since World War II.

      1. ambrit

        Better would be “Domestic Terrorists.” Then, in theory at least, the Spy Agencies would be prohibited from getting involved, and the entire matter can be treated as what it is; a domestic police matter.

  1. Pavel

    hi Lambert, I assumed you all slept in this morning or something :)

    This is getting quite a few reads on Zero Hedge, you may have seen it already of course:

    Why The Obamacare Exchanges Are Failing

    Spoiler alert, as they say: grim prognosis:

    Why not scrap the perverse ACA regulations and admit it was a pipe dream to ever assume young, healthy people could be coerced into paying several times their expected costs to cover other people’s excessive spending. Young people already have a lower demand for health coverage because they don’t expect to need care. As I reported earlier in the week, healthy people also know they’re getting a raw deal when they are expected to pay $5,000 for health plans that require an additional $6,000 in spending before the plans will begin to pay claims. Justice Roberts called the penalty a “tax.” I know people spending $5,000 for health plans they get no benefit from. They certainly think in terms of their $5,000 premiums as another Obamacare tax they can ill afford.

    * * *

    In addition to this disaster, and on top of enrollment projections that are proving way off, perhaps the biggest immediate crisis facing the Obama administration’s signature health reform measure, as Eric Boehm (via notes, is the utter collapse of many of the so-called cooperatives that were set up by states as part of the 2010 law.

    I first followed you at Corrente with your excellent ObamaCare Clusterfuck series. Ironic, perhaps, that the whole thing is imploding just as the 2016 election really gets underway. Hillary won’t be too pleased, I suspect!

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      Thanks. I think the real question is “Where do we go from here?” One answer will be (of course) “moar markets,” but we tried that already and in any case it’s clear that neither health care nor health insurance are amenable to market-based solutions (like a lemon market, and a meta-lemon market). IMNSHO the way forward is single payer, as advocated by Sanders, but of course the Democratic nomenklatura is doing everything it can to destroy that possibility, one more reason they should go the way of the Whigs.

    2. nothing but the truth

      you cannot expect insurance to fix fundamental problems of oligopoly, collusion, excessive prices, deliberate physician shortage etc in the healthcare sector.

      who are the top lobbyers in the US?

    3. polecat

      Question?…….If one hasn’t signed up for the ACA,other than not receiving a tax refund (if over-paid) What’s the downside of not paying the individual mandate……if any???

        1. polecat

          Your resorting to snarky conjecture Lambert It’s obvious that signing up for the ACA is a financial bear trap, seeing as it is only of benefit to a small percentage of citizens who have ,to date, signed on…..with the rest left to flounder!!!…so again,I ask…what’s the problem with just not playing into this fucking con game!

          1. polecat

            My concern regards the ambiguity of individual mandate. Iv’e read the IRS bulletin on shared reponsibility payment,and from what i can glean from it is that other than not returning a refund(if any) i can’t be penalized by the gov.. Is this, in fact, the case!…..can anyone help me here…

            1. todde

              You are correct.

              The law takes away all.ability for the irs to enforce payment for the penalty besides withholding refunds.

              From a tax standpoint, it is a cluster f#ck.

  2. Pat

    Call me a conspiracy theorist, wild and crazy, or anything else, but I’m pretty damn sure that Shkreli’s decision to just do what he wants regarding drug pricing is not just a sign of his greed and inhumanity, but that he is well aware that not only is there no will to properly regulate the drug industry, but that enough of his fellow Pharmaceutical company owners have made sure that there are plenty of people who will actively block this from happening. And thus he has no reason to even pretend that he isn’t out to gouge the public.

    Oh and edited to add, the same thing is true of all Health care concerns and possible reforms. This is one where the public outcry will have to seriously indicate that heads on pikes are a possible result of continuing to screw the public for the profit of a few.

    1. Nigelk

      Anyone who profits from human suffering should be on a pike, IMHO. I’m not a very good neoliberal – I don’t ascribe to either of their 2 rules.

  3. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    China’s Djibouti naval hub.

    Also, the morning, the South China Morning Post has an article about Chinese president Xi wanting ‘PLA Inc’ to stop its song and dance, planning ends for profit-making activities.

    Does it mean for the PLA to stop erecting spec buildings and start building naval hubs?

    I understand the top, or one of the top art auction houses in China is owned by the PLA, among many other profit making ventures. Circulating among the improper discussion participants (妄议中央) is the story that that particular art auction house would invite collectors to put up their treasures for consignment, only to tell them their genuine items are ‘very good quality forgeries,’ but they will, out of the kindness of strangers, gladly get rid of them for you*.

    The question is this – why doesn’t the PLA just take over the Poliburo and print money for its black box budget?

    That seems to be much less messy

    Much to learn, our young Jedi hegemon.

    *I hope this will not attract (more) attacks on this site from unknown places.

    1. ambrit

      In the PLAs’ art photography department, the tactic you mentioned is justified as a “ruse da guerre.”
      So sorry to have ‘exposed’ one of the primary ‘foci’ of the art world.

    1. Romancing the Loan

      Not bad. Could have used some Democrat whoppers as well, and the repeated hating on fat people (“thickening couch potatoes” “wait for your obese, over-stimulated customer to come waddling forth”) is offputting and atonal. It’s not even necessary for the (kinda stale) junk food analogy. Plus c’mon, we’ve all seen pictures of Taibbi – and his abs sure weren’t visible.

      1. Daryl

        > Not bad. Could have used some Democrat whoppers as well,

        I’m sure someone will correct me, but overall I do get the sense that Clinton is much smarter about how she minces her words. Fiorina, Trump, et al seem to be suffering from the effects of their own reality distortion field.

        I like your username!

        1. Romancing the Loan

          Thanks! Eh I’m not going to do the work, but I bet her comments on the Affordable Care Act are a potential goldmine in that regard.

          Taibbi is such a mixed bag – his insider perspective is so helpful for his stuff on bank corruption but that same perspective as an entitled yutz means his idea of liberalism is to just slop on his contempt for the poor (the fat, stupid hick caricature) with no regard for how badly it turns off 90% of the people who need to hear what he has to say.

  4. ProNewerDeal

    random suggestion for NC: write a weekly or monthly “news summary”. The idea would be it would allow people who feel they lack sufficient time, OR who fear a health condition (such a hypertension, anxiety, etc) that could be worsened by daily news reading, could follow the news at a lower yet still informed level, without reading the daily NC links every day.

    Just a random idea. NC does a great job. I understand such a request might be infeasible given existing human capacity or budget constraints.


    1. craazyman

      the news never changes, so why not just check in every 30 days. and get a life

      what’s news today that wasn’t news last month or last year?

      the news has been the same for at least 7 years now. I’ve never seen anything like this. It’s like we’re watching a cartoon where the trees and hills in the background repeat in an infinite loop while the racing car in the foreground speeds on and on, to nowhere.

      Thhere is nothing actually happening anywhere and they call it “news”. Things happen but it’s the same things over and over.

      Except on Youtube. Adele just released her first album in 4 years. But nobody here at NC even posted a link. Can you believe it? Wow. Something new actually happens and it’s ignored with a cultivated unction Instead there’s the 149th link with the same news about hormone juiced lunatics killing each other someplace in the world or making speeches, or both. some people call that politics. it could be a subspace within politics but unless you view it from a higher dimensional vantage point it’s not very revelatory. the more I think about Carl Jung the more he impresses me. He is the King of the Woos. that’s for sure. But he had some very good ideas. maybe there shoud be a Carl Jung Day here at NC, where the cartoon is perceived from a higher dimensional vantage point. that would be news.

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        Lord Vetinari in The Truth:

        People like to be told what they already know. Remember that. They get uncomfortable when you tell them new things. New things…well, new things aren’t what they expect. They like to know that, say, a dog will bite a man. That is what dogs do. They don’t want to know that a man bites a dog, because the world is not supposed to happen like that. In short, what people think they want is news, but what they really crave is olds.

        Then again, Craazy, like TINA, that’s true until it isn’t.

        1. craazyman

          what happened is this: the post on Taliban and neoconservatives got me thiking about the Jungian shadow projection. then I started reading Bigfoot sighting reports on the internet. Those are always amazing — filled with such veracity and candor! Then I started thinking about Jung’s late 1950s monograph on flying saucers and his analysis of the collective unconscious — a repository of images that actually manifest in reality as if they were sculptures carved out of a pyschic substance — and his fights with Freud, mostly I think due to Freud, although i’m decidedly not a historian of psychoanalysis. It is kind of weird how Freud got pissed off. At any rate, then I started thinking about the nature of the shadow projection, emanating from the individual and collective unconscious and then the nature of the phenomenon that makes the news and how there’s a) the phenomenon of reality and b) the news itself, as a separate phenomenon, that relates at times in a very indistinct way with reality, colored as it is with propaganda and shadow projection. Then I started typing. See, at least you’re making your readers think! :-)

          1. craazyman

            if anybody wants their little mind expanded check out and then think hard about e = mc^2. it could be a subspace within a larger reality energy space. this is advance physics for sure. it’s so advanced only the most daring intellects will confront it with integrity. as soon as I finish my studies in mathematical physics, I plan to take it on. I hope I don’t end up like Reverend Kirk in Scotland. I’m not talking about Captain Kirk now.

        1. Vatch

          She’s a singer, and Craazyman is one of her biggest fans. Please say something nice about her, or you’ll hurt his feelings. All hail Hydra Adele! Just kidding! She’s much nicer than those Hydra guys.

  5. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

    Chicago PD: how else can the elites expect to keep a lid on things, other than killing 3 people per day (I remember when the 4 at Kent State shocked the whole nation to its senses). How do you keep the pot from boiling over when > 50% of people would have to borrow money to scrape up an unexpected $400 expense? When 1/3 child lives below the already laughable poverty line? When fulltime workers at the minimum wage can’t even hope to cover the basics, let alone a trip to the movies occasionally?
    You can only keep them down for so long with hip-hop, sports, and Silicon Valley social mobility fantasies, with foreign boogiemen and press manipulated reality, at some point they’re gonna start demanding “Peace, Bread, and Land”. Last stand at the Winter Palace…then what?
    Their hope is to keep the induced reality working as the TPP etc levels the worldwide standard of living by a thousand cuts. Start with cool water to boil the frogs.They all have bailout plans anyway, islands, NZ property, Swiss bunkers, etc.

    1. Carla

      The Kent State 4 were WHITE. Of course the whole country was shocked. No one had to tell us White Lives Matter(ed).

  6. nycTerrierist

    Lambert, I thought you and Yves took a well-deserved break from link duty today.

    Belated thanksgiving for all you do and for this terrific site.

  7. fresno dan

    The pretend war: why bombing Isil won’t solve the problem The Spectator

    In this conflict, the West as a whole appears to enjoy the advantage of clear-cut military superiority. By almost any measure, we are stronger than our adversaries. Our arsenals are bigger, our weapons more sophisticated, our generals better educated in the art of war, our fighters better trained at waging it.

    Yet time and again the actual deployment of our ostensibly superior military might has produced results other than those intended or anticipated. Even where armed intervention has achieved a semblance of tactical success — the ousting of some unsavoury dictator, for example — it has yielded neither reconciliation nor willing submission nor even sullen compliance. Instead, intervention typically serves to aggravate, inciting further resistance. Rather than putting out the fires of radicalism, we end up feeding them.

    Millions for defense, not one cent for tribute

    The rationality/irrationality of humans is a curious phenomenon. When I was young, it was common to assert that animals of the same species only rarely kill one another. Modern research reveals that chimps not only kill one another, but engage in group violence, so perhaps human violence is to be expected…

    But with our intelligence, should we not be able to engage in a cost benefit analysis and come to more logical/effective policies?
    Alas, just as I have come to the conclusion that so little of the “rationale man” premises of economics is correct, I believe the same is true with regard to foreign affairs.
    The number killed in a recent terror attack in France would be matched in 2 days of average US murders.
    Rare death by terrorism is a disaster, daily death by murder so common that the vast majority of murders are not newsworthy.

    One could posit that one cannot ignore such attacks, but I wonder if in fact they were essentially ignored if we would not be safer.
    What if CNN reported EVERY auto death, with graphic imagery and fraught debates regarding these wheeled contrivances of death and dismemberment? Interviews with friends and family? Long somber pan shots of the funeral? It is remarkable how some deaths are necessary to the functioning of modern society, yet far fewer deaths demand ineffectual response that merely increases the number of deaths…

  8. Gio Bruno

    Wasn’t it General Shakilishvilli (sp?) that said to Congress it would take 200-300k troops to invade and control Iraq in 2003? That got him fired, right?

    1. DavidLA

      You mean Gen. Eric Shinseki, a four-star general and Vietnam Vet, who was Army Chief of Staff when he upset Rumsfeld when he testified before the Armed Services Committee that it would take “several hundred thousand” troops to keep the peace in post-war Iraq. The White House did not take kindly to that remark.

      Shinseki was later appointed Secretary for Veterans Affairs by Pres. Obama and had to resign due to scandalous levels of care exhibited by VA hospitals for injured and sick vets.

  9. Foppe

    Lambert, if I may (and I realize that opinions on this may seem a dime a dozen), I would encourage you to have a look at the information presented here about the desirability of getting tryptophan via (I assume) supplements, as opposed to from whole foods — (mainly) starchy vegetables. To say a tiny bit about the website: it’s a charity run by a physician who looks into the relationship between nutrition and disease, by considering the balance of evidence when it comes to nutritional/medical research. (So all of his claims are based on / supported by relevant peer-reviewed research findings.)

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