Links 11/6/15

Australia Deploys Sheepdogs to Save a Penguin Colony New York Times. Both penguins and dogs are cute!

Japanese inspired bridge sparks hope for Britain’s dormouse BBC (furzy mouse)

Matthew 22:39: Far from bolstering generosity, a religious upbringing diminishes it Economist (Swedish Lex)

New report finds human-caused climate change increased the severity of many extreme events in 2014 NOAA

Fossil Fools New York Times (furzy mouse)

Robots may shatter the global economic order within a decade Telegraph (David L)

Knee replacement surgery rates @conradhackett. Damning.

A Cell Therapy Untested in Humans Saves a Baby With Cancer New York Times. Aiee, a story based on ONE CASE with all of THREE WEEKS of results? Recall how l-dopa looked like it would cure Alzheimers? God only knows how many promising-looking therapies don’t pan out. And who at the Times approved running this story? This sort of coverage is a corporate publicist’s wet dream.

Arms-control lessons from the Volkswagen scandal Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists (resilc)

Facebook Leapfrogs GE in Market Value Amid Blockbuster Revenue Bloomberg

Moscow creates vast new bank from Post Office Russia Beyond the Headlines


After South China Sea patrol, Chinese warship tells U.S. destroyer: ‘Hope to see you again’ Japan Times

China Recalculates Its Coal Consumption: Why This Really Matters Asia Unbound

Statistical study of Turkey’s general election suggests widespread vote manipulation Business New Europe

Refugee Crisis

Migrant crisis disturbs Balkan ghosts Financial Times

Germany’s opposition slams Berlin refugee deal DW


U.S., Allies to Boost Aid to Syria Rebels Wall Street Journal. EM: “Oh gawd, not with the ‘moderate Syrian rebels’ BS again…”

Syrian government ‘profits from enforced disappearances’ BBC (furzy mouse)

The War Nerd: That Russian airliner… bomb or loose screw? Pando (Gabriel). Unlocked for now….

ISIS’ propaganda coup on Russia plane Business Insider. Resilc: “This sort of smells like the run up to Saddam and yellowcake. lets make them a major player so we can go to war.”

Why America Invented Ahmad Chalabi New York Times (resilc)

Imperial Collapse Watch

Maybe We Should Stop Sending Weapons Where We Can’t Keep Track of Them Charles Pierce, Esquire (resilc)

MSF Releases Horrific Details Of Kunduz Hospital Bombing By U.S. Forces ShadowProof (Chuck L)

Doctors Without Borders Seeks Explanation for Kunduz Hospital Attack New York Times (furzy mouse)

The US: Feeding the War Machine Counterpunch (resilc)

CYBERCOM to Outsource $475 Million Worth of Offense and Defense Work Nextgov

In security breach, Russian programmers wrote code for U.S. military communications systems Center for Public Integrity (Deontos)

Human Cost Rises as Old Bridges, Dams and Roads Go Unrepaired New York Times (resilc)


TwentySixteen Presidential Candidates: Where They Stand National Journal

When will we see Hillary’s Bat Mitzvah? Sic Semper Tyrannis (resilc)

Which Candidates Are Taking Uber to Luxury Hotels? National Journal

Chris Christie and Mike Huckabee, in Blow to Their Campaigns, Are Cut From Main Debate Stage New York Times (furzy mouse)

No, Trump Isn’t an “Isolationist” American Conservative (resilc)

We Have (Almost) No Idea What The Economy Will Look Like On Election Day FiveThirtyEight (resilc)

The GOP and the Rise of Anti-Knowledge Bill Moyers (furzy mouse)

Congressional Energy Chairs Form Fundraising Committee, Rake In Oil, Gas Cash As They Push Bills For Fossil Fuel Industry International Business Times

New York Attorney General Subpoenas Exxon on Climate Research InsideClimate (Randy K)

Trade Traitors. I expect more in the next few days as more journalist and pundits digest the documents.

How the TPP Trade Deal Could Blow Up the Primaries Fiscal Times

Breaking down 5 big sections of the TPP Financial Times

ou can now read the text of a major Trans-Pacific trade deal. Read this TPP explainer first.Y Washington Post. Typically dishonest elite PR job. Look at how many times it is called a “trade deal.” And “read me first” is meant to tell the reader how to frame any other information and/or discourage getting any other information.

TPP has provision banning requirements to transfer or access to source code of software Knowledge Ecology International

Police State Watch

New Haven Police Call Off Plan to Take Valuables Out of Unlocked Cars NBC Connecticut. Lambert: “Never let it be said NC never publishes good news!”

How Police Unions Are Using Protests, Boycotts, and Shady Tactics to Fight Reform VICE (resilc)


Open Carry Gun Laws Make It Harder to Protect the Public, Police Chiefs Say Mother Jones

Only 1 Percent Of Bakken Shale Is Profitable At These Prices OilPrice

Low oil lifts credit risk at US banks Financial Times

A Closer Look at Changes in the Labor Market Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta. A very readable summary of recent papers. One finds that the fall in new business formation correlates with loss of housing wealth.

Class Warfare

With “Convoy,” tech billionaires build another castle at another narrow in the stream Mark Ames, Pando (William B, Gabriel). A must read and unlocked for now.

Why is breast cancer becoming deadlier for black women? Guardian (Don G)

James Bond’s Spectre: Every single expensive thing, explained Sydney Morning Herald (Chuck L)

South African Student Protesters Win First Big Victory: historic victory over South African neoliberalism The Bullet (Sid S)

Students clash with police during protest in central London over university fees Telegraph (Sid S)

Antidote du jour (Rajesh). Commemorating the release of the text of the TPP:

croc links

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. -jswift

    Maybe worth a look: strong indictment of gov’t/bank meddling with news, especially re corruption,

    By the way, I recently noticed very good coverage of Spain and the crisis in Portugal in French articles of is a financial journal, but this goes much deeper than what FT offers, eg.

    This is especially welcome as lemonde’s coverage of Spain has been embarrasingly bad.

  2. fresno dan

    An Illinois police officer who staged his suicide to make it look like he was murdered had a troubled job history, ranging from numerous suspensions to sexual harassment allegations to complaints that he intimidated an emergency dispatcher with guns, according to his personnel records.

    Well, I have inveighed against the police enough – now time to inveigh against the news media.
    Perhaps the media is held in contempt because so much of what it does appears to be done with trivial effort and a cavalier relationship to reality. As well as a publicists attitude towards the truth.
    Not every soldier or cop is a hero – they don’t have to be (maybe the baseline should be that they do their jobs competently and honestly). But when you have that premise (every cop a hero) as your baseline starting point, you end up walking back a lot of stories, like this one, where this man was portrayed as a great hero.

    Well, when it turns out that there were YEARS of complaints against this officer, does the media just release publicity announcements? This one sided and unrealistic portrayal does have consequences, in that it slows down, discourages, and impedes investigation of complaints. It certainly appears this officer should have been dismissed years ago. So it turns out this officer’s youth involvement, besides being an extra source of income, was also, as they say, the last refuge of a scoundrel….

    How about police aren’t all bad, they’re not all heroes, they’re government employees doing a critical job that demands stringent oversight and accountability…

    1. Sammy Maudlin

      This guy was no hero, granted. However, if you read past the pearl-clutching headlines (which seemingly change by the hour on; an aside: anyone else notice that online newspaper headlines tend to change throughout the day?) and look at the facts, the stories are making him out to be much more of a villain than he really was. The question is why?

      First, yes, he took money. But even though the evidence clearly shows it, nowhere in any of the stories is it mentioned at least some of it was returned! Before anyone gets upset with me, running a slush-fund out of quasi-public funds (these were not tax dollars, the money was coming out of the finances of a 501(c )(3) supported by donations, so yes taxpayer dollars, but not tax dollars) IS NOT OK. But the evidence is clear, for instance the guy “loaned” a couple grand out of the bank account to some other person (presumably another cop) to fix his truck. But then he insisted on it being paid back. Now, he could have also simply taken money as well, and once again I’m not defending this guy, I’m just pointing out the discrepancy in coverage.

      The story is that the amount he “stole” was “into the five figures.” So, what, 10 grand? More? We don’t know. How much was put back? If all, or a major portion of the amount he stole, was returned it doesn’t make him a good guy, but it sure changes the story. Honest journalism would determine these facts.

      So the media goes from a one-sided portrayal of a “hero” brutally gunned down (and therefore Black Lives Matter is bad and gun control bad, etc.) to a one-sided story “talking about a – a – a dishonest cop – a crooked cop who got mixed up in the rackets and got what was coming to him. That’s a terrific story. And we have newspaper people on the payroll, don’t we, Tom?” Why?

      The big key for me is the head of the Lake County Major Crime Task Force saying at the press conference a couple days ago: “[t]he embarrassment comes to me personally that this is the first time, in my career, that I’ve felt ashamed by the acts of another police officer.” I mean come on, that’s rich. This is only a few days after a big story about years of abuse and wrongful convictions perpetrated by the Waukegan (IL, in Lake County) Police and the Lake County DA. This whole smear campaign seems designed to either to distract from the ongoing problems with the Waukegan Police and the DA’s office, or to pull a “nothing to see here, please disperse” on the public in relation to this case, which certainly still has some unanswered questions.

      1. fresno dan

        Thanks for the further information.

        I certainly agree with your point:
        “The big key for me is the head of the Lake County Major Crime Task Force saying at the press conference a couple days ago: “[t]he embarrassment comes to me personally that this is the first time, in my career, that I’ve felt ashamed by the acts of another police officer.” I mean come on, that’s rich. This is only a few days after a big story about years of abuse and wrongful convictions perpetrated by the Waukegan (IL, in Lake County) Police and the Lake County DA. This whole smear campaign seems designed to either to distract from the ongoing problems with the Waukegan Police and the DA’s office, or to pull a “nothing to see here, please disperse” on the public in relation to this case, which certainly still has some unanswered questions.”

      1. Oregoncharles

        However, it’s clear enough what he’s getting at: was it a bomb, or was it shoestring maintenance?

        1. Lambert Strether


          According to the Aviation Safety Network, the plane sustained a tail strike – when a plane’s tail hits the runway – while landing in Cairo in 2001. That took three months to repair.

          The botched repair of a tail strike caused Japan Airlines Flight 123 to crash in 1985, the worst single-aircraft accident in history, in which 520 of 524 on board were killed.

          But Kogalymavia officials said that the plane was repaired completely after the 2001 incident, and this could not have had an effect on its safety.

          Maybe so; the plane was repaired by Airbus. However:

          Cox said monthly maintenance checks typically can’t spot a return of damage from a tail strike because the cracks are inside the plane in an area that’s not normally accessible during visual inspections.

          Instead, tail strike repairs are examined during heavy maintenance checks that typically take place about every four to five years, he said. Parts of the plane are disassembled so that inspectors can see inside. The plane’s skin is checked for cracks using a device that employs low voltage electricity or special dye.

          “That’s a very complex repair and it requires very special expertise,” said Cox, a former airline pilot and accident investigator. Investigators will “look not only at whether the repair done properly, but were the inspections of the repair done on a regular basis during the normal heavy maintenance checks.”

          Hopefully more puzzle pieces will fall into place via the black box recordings.

  3. Christian B

    On “Matthew 22:39: Far from bolstering generosity, a religious upbringing diminishes it “:

    I my own religious education (Christian then Buddhist now Daoist), I noticed that most people (including myself) seek religion not to find out why they are self-ish, but to provide a quick way to appear unself-ish.

    This ties nicely in with the article on anti-knowledge as well.

    Proverbs 18:2
    Fools find no pleasure in understanding
    but delight in airing their own opinions.

    Matthew 7:15
    Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? Likewise, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them.

    “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’

    1. L.M. Dorsey

      Too, there’s no cynicism quite like the cynicism that thrives in the despair of the elect. H.L. Mencken relates the story of a man who murders his wife in furtherance of his venereal ambitions but is electrocuted in Sing Sing for his trouble:

      What finished the man was not his banal adultery with his suburban sweetie, but his swift and overwhelming conviction that it is a mortal sin…His initial peccadillo shocked him so vastly that he could think of himself thereafter only as a sinner unspeakable and incorrigible. In his eyes, the step from adultery to murder was as natural and inevitable as the step from the cocktail-shaker to the gutter in the eyes of a Methodist bishop…Once the conviction of sin had seized him he was ready to go the whole hog…Its moral is plain. Sin is a dangerous toy in the hands of the virtuous. It should be left to the congenitally sinful, who know when to play with it and when to leave it alone. Run a boy through a Presbyterian Sunday school and you must police him carefully all the rest of his life, for once he slips he is ready for anything.

      And “the cynicism of the elect” is a pretty good working title for a history of the US in the early twenty-first century.

    2. Torsten

      Graeber usefully reminded us of the historical role of temples in blessing (and, occasionally, forgiving) debt. Jesus may have thrown the moneychangers out of the temple, but they got him back.

      1. Vatch

        Were the temples forgiving debt that was owed to the religious elites, or were they forgiving debt that was owed to the political and economic elites? In other words, were they being generous with their own money or with other people’s money?

        1. reslez

          The temples (and the kings that followed them) were forgiving debts owed to themselves. That is why they were able to do it relatively easily. Graeber’s work is well worth a read (Debt: The first 5000 years).

        2. Alejandro

          Some believe it was Caesars money, who unequivocally put the fiat in fiat, which made it acceptable for use by others.

      2. hunkerdown

        I sometimes feel I’m unique in treating the NT as a threat to dissidents who don’t shut up and take what TPTB sees fit to give them. Especially since the spawn of the Pharisees have made themselves the defined beneficiaries of imperial policy.

    3. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Regarding trees, Zhuangzi said that beautiful, tall and straight trees would be cut down and ugly, gnarled and useless trees would live to old age.

      I wonder if he was an amateur carpenter.

    4. participant-observer-observed

      Even if this wanted to be a social science research result, there is the category error of confounding “religion” with a narrow understanding of very few faith traditions aka meaning-making systems.

      There are not yet adequate studies establishing construct validity of numerous theological concepts among most religious traditions (nearly everything outside Christianity). To put it another way, this report requires a Western-centric cultural bias to be meaningful.

    5. cwaltz

      This “study” might as well have said red headed kids are more altruistic then brunettes and blondes.

      I didn’t see an effort to isolate religion at all as an actual factor which is something you would expect when doing a study to determine if a religious upbringing makes one more moral. The age range was fairly large when you consider child development between 5 and 12(they even acknowledge the older the child gets the more likely to be generous. Not surprising the closer you are to toddlerhood the more likely you are to see the world in relation to you instead of the other way around.) There didn’t seem to be any effort to make socioeconomic factors equal(they even acknowledge those that were from richer backgrounds were more generous. Oddly enough this is counter to what studies in the US indicate for adults .) All in all I’d take this study with a grain of salt.

  4. allan

    “Human Cost Rises as Old Bridges, Dams and Roads Go Unrepaired ”

    In the Fall of 2009 I drove across the Midwest on I-80 and -90 and was shocked by the almost complete lack of highway repairs going on. I had naively assumed that some sizable part of the stimulus was going to be spent that way.

    It’s really too bad that Larry Summers left Christina Romer’s upper range stimulus number of $1.7-1.8 trillion out of the memo he presented to Obama in late 2008, instead presenting options of $550 to $900 billion. So that the resulting $850 billion sensible centrist compromise, much of it in low multiplier tax cuts, was grossly inadequate, leaving all those roads, bridges dams and water systems crumbling. Because Summers’ grotesquely inflated sense of self worth.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      On repairing or letting go of dams, how does human cost compare with salmon cost?

      Did they do any analysis?

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          I understand some ‘communities have also begun the practice of transporting migratory fish upstream to spawn via a barge.’

          Diesel-powered barge or galleyslave-powered barge?

          1. Massinissa

            Galleyslave powered barge WOULD be better for the environment… And unfortunately we are at the point where some people need whatever job they can get…

      1. abynormal

        allow me ta feex dat 4 ya: Did they do any analy$i$.
        & of course they did…profit$ b4 people is The bottom line Mantra

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      They are also repairing and repaving roads all over Los Angeles county, or maybe just around where I work and live.

      And I say to myself when I go to work every morning: do I want to be more efficient and more productive in contributing to the GDP?

      What’s wrong with driving slower, in order to spot those potholes on the road?

      I think Nature would appreciate it if we humans are less efficient.

      Of course, we want to be more efficient in, for example, burning gas. The hope then is we would then use less oil. But, someone has to rain on the parade (in this case, Jevon): more efficiency in that area most likely leads to more burning of gas.

      So, I wonder to myself as I navigate around the construction crew: Why don’t we leave the roads the way they are now, and give that money to the general public, instead of a tiny group of workers, with their employers taking a cut, sorry, overhead and profit?

      Money to the People.

      In Praise of Inefficiency.

        1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

          Even better, can’t get to work? Stay home, hug the kids, kiss the wife, plant the garden. Be really inefficient

      1. meeps

        It’s good practice to turn around thinking, as you’ve done here. Resource (of all kinds) is wasted by failing to consider what needn’t be done in the first place!

      2. Carla

        Why does it have to be either/or. Why not fix the infrastructure (roads, bridges, education, healthcare) AND give money to the people?

        That’s what we all need. Yes, even the 1% need it. They’re just too f*cking stupid to know it.

  5. Mike Hachey

    Nice to see an empirical look into the level of generosity in believers. Anyone who’s worked the Sunday lunch shift of a restaurant knows that church groups are the stingiest tippers.

    1. ambrit

      I’ve been there when I worked as a waiter while attending University. One Sunday morning I complained a bit about it to the other waiters who were also “Sentenced to Sunday.” One man, Carlos, from Brazil, (who introduced several of us to the wonders of Bonfa, Jobim, Piazzolla Tangos, etc.) explained it as; “Well guys, it’s understandable. These people have just had their pockets picked by the masters of that art, Ministers and Priests. There’s probably not much left.”

  6. jjmaccjohnson

    Interesting note in the Penguin and sheep dog post:

    “…much of the credit has gone to a local chicken farmer known as Swampy Marsh and his strong-willed sheepdogs.
    Mr. Marsh, whose long-unused birth name is Allan.”

    1. Brindle

      Very much an ‘inside the beltway’ piece. No mention of the Iraqis who were killed or died ( estimates of 500.000 or so) because of the U.S. onslaught. The Iraqi War was just an unfortunate occurrence that was enabled by well-intentioned politicians who believed in the huckster Chalabi. Typical NYT drivel.

      1. Brindle

        Actually opinion piece not that bad but it does come from the place of not questioning basic U.S. foreign policy in the region.

  7. abynormal

    re: CYBERCOM…i dug around the 1st company/Knowledge Mgt(KM) chosen for the ‘project’ “The cyber operations category, a controversial and highly secretive Cyber Command duty, involves synchronizing “offensive cyber operations,” or hacks against adversary networks. The “contractor shall assist in providing maneuver, fires and effects through the application of capabilities in and through the cyber domain,” the solicitation states. Professionals tasked to this area also will help** defend and run military networks**.”

    2012 Knowledge Management: What’s Now and What’s Next
    by Carla O’Dell, Ph.D. CEO
    ex: ” A looming issue for many organizations is employee attrition, especially in the Department of Defense (DoD), where a large number of retirements are anticipated in the next five years. What does an organization do when knowledge walks out the door? But it’s not just retirement or attrition; every time someone leaves a project and moves on to the next one, the really deep knowledge goes with them. This could result in decreased productivity, costly mistakes, and steep learning curves. How do we retain access to that knowledge over time? The approaches developed in KM, such as CoPs, best practices databases and lessons learned can help prevent organizational amnesia. Capture the intellectual capital of your employees–build a solid business case for KM.”

    …soooo there Will be US Corps. exempted from TPP?

    looking forward to hearing from HUNKERDOWN on this whole CYMBERCOM ‘what could go wrong’ affair.

      1. abynormal

        and stop making me laff…this is serious sh!t that i have NO understanding of

        “Information is a significant component of most organizations’ competitive strategy either by the direct collection, management, and interpretation of business information or the retention of information for day-to-day business processing. Some of the more obvious results of IS failures include reputational damage, placing the organization at a competitive disadvantage, and contractual noncompliance. These impacts should not be underestimated.”
        Institute of Internal Auditors

    1. participant-observer-observed

      Oh Boo hoo hoo,

      No one wants to pay decent wages, give employee benefits, or give scholars and researchers tenured positions , and then find it inconvenient that mr. and ms. eco-shafted have to no cause to continue in a position when a better prospect appears!

    2. Carla

      This reminds of me of the aviation mechanic of a certain age who wrote in comments yesterday re: infrastructure.

    3. hunkerdown

      How to keep knowledge from deserting? Courts-martial, of course. They’ve made a case for insourcing that capability and keeping it on a short leash, against interest. But ew, fish, said Jared Diamond of the Greenland colonists.

      It’s my understanding that NSA already has, or is actively working on, a click-here-to-pwn capability integrated with their apparatus. It appears others among the multitude of offices, not satisfied with simply surveilling computers, are now looking for ways to brick them.

      To protect your computers from that sort of attack, use paper instead.

  8. Jim Haygood

    Cool visualization of GDP by U.S. metro area:

    NY-NJ (pronounced ‘ninage’) checks in at $1.56 trillion; L.A.-Orange County at $0.87 trillion. Chicago, Houston and Dallas follow in the $0.5 to 0.6 trillion range.

    No. 6, based on conventional GDP accounting, is Washington D.C. If adjustments were made for its vast value subtraction — ranging from the Fed’s central planning of interest rates to windmill-tilt wars against shadowy boogeymen — the imperial capital’s net GDP contribution would shrink to the size of Toad Suck, Arkansas.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      War on Wage Inflation.

      We need your help.

      Buy War (on Wage Inflation) Bonds now!!! – otherwise known as taxes.

      The enemy is closer than you think…hourly wages going up.

      Time for full mobilization.

  9. ambrit

    Hattiesburg has had a 100% spike in YoY automobile break ins. Local police mentioned, as if in passing, that over 80% of the reported incidents involved unlocked vehicles. This is more a behavioural issue than anything else. It would also help if there were decent jobs available for the people who often end up ‘doing crime.’
    There could be three main motivations for such a ‘proactive’ anti theft initiative as the one the New Haven Police contemplated.
    One, there is a trending upsurge in automobile break ins. (We really do want to ‘Protect and Serve.’)
    Two, this is an opening shot in the drive to financialize Police Services. (There is a twenty dollar ‘Service Charge’ for the return of your valuables.)
    Three, this is a backdoor attempt to ‘legitimize’ warrantless searches. (When Officer X was removing the valuables from the unlocked automobile, intending to bring said valuables to the Precinct House for safekeeping, he encountered [insert illegal item here] and called the Precinct. Arrest of the suspect followed soon after.)
    One cannot be too cynical today, alas.

    1. Carla

      ambrit, my neighbors in an inner ring suburb of Cleveland are reporting exactly the same thing: a huge spike in break-ins to unlocked cars. It has been suggested that it might be wise for residents to lock their cars, but they continue to be lax about it, and feel violated when someone steals their parking-meter quarters. Golly, ambrit, I wish we could talk!

  10. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Robots to shatter global economic order.

    All nice, obedient, productive robots shall not go homeless, even in San Francisco.

    There will be nice affordable warehouses/factories for all you rugged robot-individuals.

    But will there be a Robot-Face Book, though, for them to connect?

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      By the way, I think it’s time for a state-wide initiative on airBnB, after the San Francisco vote.

      It will be a coalition of real progressives with suburban/rural Luddite Republicans to take on housing bubble propping liberal city Democrats.

    2. Massinissa

      When do we hook up factory robots to the internet of things so they can talk to their refrigerator cousins and toaster siblings?

    3. ambrit

      A “Robot Facebook” is not needed. The plain extant Facebook will do nicely. Most of the people I have observed who are conjoined to the Internet of Things, which, as the commodification of ‘social media’ has proven, includes people in the category of “Things,” are more than halfway down the road to Robothood. This process predates the Internet, but is the logical culmination of the prior movements facilitating the ‘objectivication’ of individual persons.

  11. SoCal rhino

    The path to leading a human life…first, sell everything and give away the proceeds. If you looked at those that took up that advice, in spirit if not literally, as opposed to say folks who frequent their club of choice periodically, I think you’d find uncommon generosity. Looking for faith in all the wrong places, seems to me.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      (reply to craazyboy’s 10:35am comment) I will do what I usually do – I’ll comment without clinking on the link (I have to be honest that I have that ability):

      I think we humans used to be like that penguin…not picky about any fish.

      That was in the Neanderthal Age – when everything was organic and free of pesticides, air fragrant and water sweet.

      Now, you have to ask, is the fish from near Fukushima? From the Pacific ocean?

  12. Torsten

    Re Knee Replacement Rates. The rates themselves are not damning, except perhaps insofar as they are correlated with obesity. My wife got her life back after knee replacement. What *could* be damning are the number of botched knee replacements (though the link doesn’t have stats on that). The half-dozen people we knew in Dayton who had had a knee replacement all had to have it redone. So we went 250 miles to the Cleveland Clinic where, five years later, we can say they did it right.

    1. Inverness

      I’d be interested in some analysis. Why do the Austrians and the Finns also get a so many knee replacements? The obesity argument might not suffice. For example, the British and the French have comparable rates of knee replacement, but the French are a significantly slimmer population. Without some kind of interpretation, all we can do is guess what this data really means.

      1. neo-realist

        Have not read studies on this, but do the aforementioned countries have high rates of alcohol consumption? Maybe such rates can contribute to premature wearing away of knee cartilages and ligaments necessitating such a procedure?

    2. cwaltz

      From what I understand the lifespan of a replacement is around 12 years for the first and for each replacement after that the span declines. At least that is what the orthopedic doctor my husband has seen has said.

    3. Yves Smith Post author

      No, the UK and Australia have similar obesity rates to the US, but their rate of knee replacement surgeries is well below ours. Nice try.

  13. abynormal

    its Friday and i’ve experienced a grueling week…so let’s laff:
    Marriage Part I,II,III,IV

    Typical macho man married typical good-looking lady and after the wedding, he laid down the following rules:

    “I’ll be home when I want, if I want and at what time I want-and I don’t expect any hassle from you. I expect a great dinner to be on the table unless I tell you that I won’t be home for dinner. I’ll go hunting, fishing, boozing and card-playing when I want with my old buddies and don’t you give me a hard time about it. Those are my rules. Any comments?”

    His new bride said, “No, that’s fine with me. Just understand that there will be sex here at seven o’clock every night… whether you’re here or not.”

    Marriage (Part II)

    Husband and wife had a bitter quarrel on the day of their 40th wedding anniversary! The husband yells, “When you die, I’m getting you a headstone that reads, ‘Here Lies My Wife – Cold As Ever.’ “Yeah? ” she replies. “When you die, I’m getting you a headstone that reads, “Here Lies My Husband Stiff At Last.'”

    Marriage (Part III)

    Husband (a doctor) and his wife are having a fight at the breakfast table. Husband gets up in a rage and says, “And you are no good in bed either,” and storms out of the house. After sometime he realizes he was nasty and decides to make amends and rings her up. She comes to the phone after many rings, and the irritated husband says, “what took you so long to ans wer the phone?”

    She says, “I was in bed.”

    “In bed this early, doing what?”

    “Getting a second opinion!”

    Marriage (Part IV)

    A man has six children and is very proud of his achievement. He is so proud of himself, that he starts calling his wife,” Mother of Six” in spite of her objections.

    One night, they go to a party. The man decides that it’s time to go home and wants to find out if his wife is ready to leave as well. He shouts at the top of his voice, “Shall we go home ‘Mother of six?” His wife, irritated by her husband’s lack of discretion shouts right back, “Anytime you’re ready, Father of Four.”

    1. Oregoncharles

      There’s an old Irish song in which the daughter complains to her mother that whenever she takes an interest in a boy, her father warns her off because he’s really her half brother!

      Mom replies: “marry whom you please, dear, because THEY may be his, but YOU’re not.”

  14. Jim Haygood

    Lying to law enforcement is a federal crime. Now lying on Twitter is a crime, too:

    The Securities and Exchange Commission is taking aim at a new way of manipulating the stock market — by monitoring false allegations made on Twitter accounts.

    The SEC filed charges in U.S. District Court on Thursday against a Scottish trader, James Craig, after his false tweets, using fake accounts modeled after research firms Muddy Waters and Citron Research, caused sharp drops in the stock prices of two companies.

    The complaint says [Craig] profited approximately $100 [not a typo — JH] collectively from his manipulations.

    If lying on blogs is criminalized, we’ll all be indicted soon, since humorless prosecutors can’t distinguish between /sarc and /seriously.

    1. Brooklin Bridge

      What about politicians? They have fought tooth and nail any legislation requiring that they don’t lie. Perhaps they will get special -For The Good Of The Country- Twitter accounts?

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        For the good of the country – that’ what the Chinese will be hearing after abandoning the One-Child policy.

        ‘Do it for China’

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Why don’t they keep the One Child policy and just take in more Syrian refugees?

          Globally, the population growth impact is zero with this alternative.

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            I should also add that, after the Battle of Talas, many Tang Chinese prisoners of war were taken to Syria (or was it Samarkand) to teach the natives how to make paper.

            So, it would not unusual for it to go the other way today…Syrians, Pakistanis, Afghans, etc moving east to help populate China, and not (or not just) Germany or Sweden.

            Of course, Beijing can welcome Mexican refugees, for another example, as well.

      1. Bridget

        I think that Politico misunderstands the admissions process for recruited students. One of my kids was recruited by the Air Force Academy as an athlete. The coach told her that if she was interested in applying they would secure the necessary congressional appointment, and that her grades, etc. were such as to assure her admission, should she choose to apply. My guess is that Ben Carson, who was in ROTC in high school and quite likely an impressive young man, was very likely recruited, once he came to the attention of General Westmoreland. Similar assurances could well have been extended to him without him every formally applying for admission. It would not be out of bounds for him to have viewed this as a scholarship offer.

  15. Ulysses

    From the conclusion of the thought-provoking Pando piece linked above:

    In the case of Internet Economy, the “narrows” are the app or the platform which control the stream; now replace “German barons” with “Bezos” or “Omidyar”:

    Just as a number of German barons planted their castles along the banks of the Rhine, in order to tax the commerce between East and West which was obliged to make use of this highway, so it is with these economic ‘narrows.’ Wherever they are found, monopolies plant themselves in the shape of ‘rings,’ ‘corners,’ ‘pools,’ ‘syndicates,’ or trusts.’

    With Convoy, another castle is being built at another narrow in the stream.”

    What is very useful in this piece is the clear-eyed recognition of the neo-feudal nature of the emerging kleptocratic regime. All of us are slowly, but surely, being reduced to the status of supplicants to a few great lords and ladies.

    Where to put the political elites in this new order? They are trusted courtiers and entertainers, tasked with creating a diverting spectacle to distract the dispossessed from their misery. They can also take the blame for this misery. Usually after receiving a nice payoff, but occasionally, like with Shelly Silver, actually facing consequences for not hiding well enough the blatant corruption– that keeps this kleptocratic system running smoothly.

    1. Dr. Robert

      I think there are many who fail to grasp the rent-extracting nature of the tech economy. When the regulators and trade negotiators look at trying to improve the economic benefits of the tech sector, they go to the tech companies and ask them what will help their businesses. They don’t realize that most of them can only do business by imposing rents on the rest of the economy and that breaking up or undermining the business models of most of the main tech companies is necessary to fully realize the benefits of these technologies for the broader economy. Protecting their “Intellectual Property” often makes it difficult or impossible for that information to be utilized to its fullest extent.

      Of course it’s rather hard to make money financing a public good.

      1. susan the other

        The Convoy business model is a combination of sharecroppers and robber barons. Isn’t there a law against contracts like that? Totally lacking mutuality and unjust enrichment, not to mention how Convoy actually interferes in free-flow of commerce between states, maybe even a RICO suit. There’s gotta be something.

        1. Chauncey Gardiner

          Appreciate your observation, STO. Would only add that the oligarchs’ “Convoy” effort aimed at disrupting the trucking industry and creating a monopoly in that sector of the economy under their control appears to initially be aimed at disintermediating the brokers, not the independent owner-operator truckers themselves. In fact, they need a critical mass of the latter group to join their initiative with their capital assets and continue to work long hours at very low wages in order for their venture to succeed.

          Assuming they are successful in doing so based on the massive long-term Wall Street and political support they have received in their other ventures and continuing regulatory, tax and anti-trust forbearances, perhaps the oligarchs will also find it in their enlightened self interest to set aside a part of their revenues for infrastructure improvements mentioned above.

          1. ambrit

            The oligarchs can let their running dogs in Washington semi-solve this problem by raising the gasoline tax. This will raise the needed ‘ravenue’ while adding the financial burden to the existing impositions carried by the “independent” owner operators. Taxes go up, the small fry pay them, the big boys don’t raise payments to small fry, hence, the bottom rung of the trucking hierarchy foots the bill, the top dogs reap the benefits. A Robber Barons’ pornographic playground.

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      The brick and mortar economy was with us for many centuries and we learned to mitigate as much as we could.

      Then came the digital economy and apparently we forgot our lessons previously learned.

      We don’t tolerate just one steel mill or one railroad for the whole nation. We break them up. Certainly not putting up with just one fast food chain losing money for many years just to drive out competition.

      Imagine just one or two airlines to take all the passenger traffic of the world.

  16. montanamaven

    Thanks for the story on the Russian Post Office Bank. I sent it to the Postmaster Inspector General’s office.

  17. abynormal

    John Leguizamo boycotts SNL b/c TrenchTrumpMouth

    Fox & SNL, woo nu: Asked about the backlash, Trump said: “I do great with Latino voters. I employ so many Latinos. I have so many people working for me. I’m a job creator. I create jobs. I’m a master job creator. No politician knows how to create jobs. They’re all talk, they’re no action. They don’t know what they’re doing.”

    He added: “And you know, the Latinos love Trump and I love them.”

    “A person who doubts himself is like a man who would enlist in the ranks of his enemies and bear arms against himself. He makes his failure certain by himself being the first person to be convinced of it.” Ambrose Bierce

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Many human billionaires are job creators.

      They create jobs for robots.

      Outside my window, I see a busy honeybee.

      That bee is doing its job.

      It creates its own job.

      1. cwaltz

        The rich don’t create jobs. Consumers do. The rich provide investment capital. While having the capital to bring a good or service to fruition is necessary, it isn’t the same thing as demand for that good or service which is essentially what creates jobs. The rich are just self important enough to think that they matter more than others and their particular contribution is greater than labor or consumers in the market.

    2. Carla

      John Leguizamo is a genius. I was fortunate enough to see him in his one-man Off-Broadway show, which he wrote, “Spic-O-Rama” c. 1993. He was brilliant, and I will never forget being in the 4th row center of that tiny theater, watching him portray male and female characters from a Spanish Harlem neighborhood. We laughed and cried with him. At the end, the audience stood as one and applauded for a full 20 minutes. He earned every second of that ovation.

  18. allan

    AP: Ex-BP engineer pleads guilty in Gulf oil spill probe

    A former BP engineer accused of deleting text messages after the Gulf oil spill and ensuing investigation pleaded guilty Friday to lesser charges and avoided prison time.

    Kurt Mix had been fighting an obstruction charge for more than three years. In federal court, he pleaded guilty to intentionally causing damage without authorization to a protected computer. Prosecutors suggested no prison time for Mix, and a judge sentenced him to six months of probation. …

    This story, like many others about the disaster, refers to the 11 rig workers killed outright. And, like all the others I’ve seen, doesn’t mention the injured. There must have been some horrific burn victims among the survivors, but they seem to have been flushed down the Memory Hole.

  19. Brooklin Bridge

    Robots may shatter the global economic order within a decade

    If the majority of the population are soon to be “dead beats”, soaking up the resources that rightfully belong to… who exactly?… Who is going to be left to vote for politicians that will cut their throats? Who will there be to suck up to slimy corporate masters and watch their horrid TV shows? Who will there be to swallow oceans of propaganda? Except, of course, a lot of useless robots and thunk more AI machines in all their various forms. The idea that our society, or any, will come round to the belief that all humans matter and should, as a right of birth, be given a basic level of sustenance – even if only to prop up this dystopian nightmare of crony capitalism by forced participation – is a non starter. It simply won’t happen where profit is god.

    OK, so to speculate, even if most of us are polite enough to simply up and dissapear, leaving a few million corporate jackals to re-purpose and reduce an army of robots to attend only to them and to take the place of the erstwhile slaves. Economy of scale, gone. Technicians? Gone. The structure of society that enables such technology? Gone. That human touch of making someone squirm and sweat and believe in their own worthlessness? Gone. And the robots start falling over.

    So, better make sure these technologies can reproduce and come up with some sort of proxy for evolution. Perhaps once they’ve gotten rid of the last vestiges of a corrupt, rotting, failed human experiment, they can evolve a more “humane” society of themselves and for themselves.

    1. reslez

      Nah, from the point of view of the predator class there are a few billion people on the planet surplus to requirements. They exist for the convenience of local religious and economic elites. It’s a matter of time before the local elites are overruled and the excess humans are… wiped away. Dispensed with. (Choose your own bloodless term.) You can sustain a perfectly lovely industrial society with far fewer people… just look at the 1950s. 2.5 billion souls and everything was wonderful. Though 2.5 billion is probably too many also. I suspect that once climate change kicks in the Holocaust will be viewed as a rehearsal.

      1. cwaltz

        If I were them I’d consider things very carefully. There are quite a few people that won’t go bloodlessly and might choose to take a few of them out on their way to the other side.

        1. Brooklin Bridge

          Agreed. That’s one fly in the ointment. There are others.

          My comment above was decidedly “dramatic” and I’m well aware it’s always “more complicated than that”, but one thing is certain. We won’t be seeing the 50’s again any time soon and certainly not as the wind down of our present dilemma. Globally, our attitudes are 180 degrees opposed to those of the 50’s – we are the dog eat dog society now and there is no easy or fast way of changing that. That and the amount of destruction and suffering that’s soon to take place, hell, that’s already taking place, the whole momentum of it all, remove any such possibility from the list of possible outcomes for a long long time and perhaps period.

          Obviously in and of itself, as if that were possible, technology is not corrupt, but look at the way we use it; look at what we do with it. For instance, technology is now almost purely rental as a model; it’s other defining characteristic is one of hyper control; a means for extracting ever more rent with ever greater control over anyone being able to break free of the process in deed or thought.

          Is this a 50 year old movement or is it just the flower of our evolution? Which ever, it is deeply self cannibalistic; the 1 percent are in reality feeding upon themselves. Their systematic destruction of human decency in ideal as well as in day to day affairs will not end with some mere equilibrium point in population; they have, all this time, been poisoning themselves as well as the rest of us.

          Climate change seems to me to be just another facet of this cannibalism. It is a direct consequence of runaway capitalism, of insatiable greed and the resultant inability to perceive the dangers and having been set in motion it will not stop simply because population takes a dive.

          1. Carla

            You know, I hope my fellow NC readers and commenters can think about it and admit that things were not great for EVERYBODY in the 1950s. For many white males in America, things were pretty good. For African Americans, not so hot, not even for African American males who were honest-to-God war heroes from WWII. For any American on whom a member of the Communist Party had exhaled at any point in time, things were not super-duper.

            It gets a little tiresome, hearing about the 1950s as the pinnacle of civilization. Uhm, no. If that was the pinnacle, civilization is gonna have to do better.

            1. Brooklin Bridge

              Fair enough. McCarthy was on the flip side of Mayberry. People still avoided even mention of the internment camps never mind talking about the black or Native American experience.

              But the 50’s, even with all it’s issues, WAS a time before we had killed off some crazy number of animal and plant species, before we had set Global Warming into an inevitable mode of catastrophe, and before a small segment of society had started in earnest to undo the social gains we had made after the crash of ’29. The propaganda of the day sung the praises of fairness, of decency toward all, of the rights of the little guy, of labor, of the Nuremberg trials and justice, of the unquestionable barbarity of torture. The reality was considerably different, yes, but our belief system, our outlook, was more generous. Eisenhower was a Republican. He was center right.

              And in spite of our best efforts, there was still a certain equilibrium between technological advances and their relatively moderate consequences, between political parties, between the earth and what humans had done and were capable of doing to it. The big bomb being the terrifying exception.

              I’m not nostalgic for the 50’s, regardless of the above; it was far from, as you point out, the pinnacle of civilization, but it is a legitimate point of comparison, within general memory, to illustrate just how far off track we’ve gone since. For if it was bad then, and it was, think how hopelessly bad it is now.

              1. Carla

                God, I just re-read my comment above and realized that I omitted those of us who hold up half the sky. The 1950s were really, really bad for any woman who had the temerity to even imagine being self-actualizing. Now, how far have we come? Well, not nearly far enough, fellas. But would we ever choose to go back? Not on your friggin’ lives!

                Brooklin’ — you claim the 50’s, before the Civil Rights movement, before birth control and more than a decade before legal abortion, is a legitimate point of comparison.

                Do you want to re-think that AT ALL?

                1. Brooklin Bridge

                  Carla, I suffer the condition of re-thinking things most of the time anyway so sure, no problem (even though you make it sound like a threat). Perhaps you would bother to re-read my comment. I hardly suggest the 50’s perfect, but even on reflection do not find justification for your insistence that I agree with you because women held up half the sky or that the civil rights movement was still ten years away.; Both of those statements are misleading at best.

                  As Oregoncharles points out below, the 50’s was a platform where fairness and social movement in the right direction where gaining traction, not loosing it. Without this period, the gains of the 60’s would likely not have taken place. There was a sort of economic equilibrium between labor and management where fairness suddenly mattered. The GI bill was an acceptable and even honorable concept. The adults in the room couldn’t insist that “greed is only good” or abortion only bad. My mother’s experience was that women had gained the right to vote only a few years before she was born. They had gotten the right and duty to be on juries in 1947. She enjoyed the ability to exert enormous influence on what happened in her town whereas only a generation before that would have been impossible. But most of all, as a woman, she had the wind behind her. There was a palpable sense that what women were demanding was not only fair and just but that the society as it existed really needed change.

                  Yet at the same time, she would not have held anyone hostage (as you do above) to that issue at the exclusion of all others. She was not only fighting for woman’s rights, but also for those of African Americans, for the poor and for the environment (yup, even back then – and she wasn’t all that unusual). So yes, on that issue as on many others, I still consider that period a VERY valid point of comparison with today.

                  1. Brooklin Bridge

                    Sorry, I forgot that it was women in Massachusetts that got the right to be on jury in 1947 (or was it 1950), not in the states in general, so while it would have affected my mother, it was a bad example of “the 50’s” per se.

                  2. Brooklin Bridge

                    Ugg. Also, sorry to mix up abortion being ten years away with civil rights, though it does not change my argument. Those issues were germinating in the fifties. They didn’t simply pop up out of nowhere in the 60’s and when they were addressed, it was from the vantage points that matured in the 50’s.

            2. Oregoncharles

              It was a Golden Age, which is not quite the same thing, even with worms in the Golden Apple.

              And remember, the 60s movement(s) to redress those injustices grew directly out of the 50s – that’s when the people who made those movements were growing up.

              It’s most important as a model of public economic policy: a boom, even though (or because) top income and corporate tax rates were very high. But that was before the resources started running low, and when the US was the only large economy to come through WWII largely undamaged.

          1. ambrit

            As I once heard it expressed by a Nam Vet; “When I hear, well it was just a ‘police action,’ I usually ask, what about all the people we killed in all those villages? I wonder what they thought about that.”

      2. Brooklin Bridge

        Ultimately, yes. But I think the predator class will get theirs. It’s cooked in to the way things have been set in motion and also to the fact that they are virtually incapable of fully seeing or comprehending what they have unleashed. As Gaius Publius has said before, they will take note, as will many of us who dance to their piper, when a city such as Miami disappears underwater.

        To stop it, or mitigate seriously, they would have to do an about face right now or we would have to do it for or in spite of them. Both seem unlikely even if it is very much worth going down fighting.

  20. barrisj

    CNN hitting the good Doctor Carson hard on “credibility” issues regarding his claims of “West Point scholarship”, and his alleged “knife fight”…Carson campaign now admits the “West Point” story was bollocks, and, as predicted, this fool will go the way of Herman Cain, as all of these “missteps” will follow Carson into the next Repub “debate”. So, who picks up his support? The Donald? Marco Rubio? The Jeb! “long game” strategy is fully in play, as several more of the Klown Kar are being ejected from coming debates because of bad polling (Christie, Huckster-bee), and despite Jeb!’s own bad numbers, he is still clearly a major player, and will continue to make the cut on the debate roster going into early primaries next year.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      Rubio. Jeb is Romney without the warmth, charisma, intelligence and charming family (why yes I’m aware Mittens is descended from polygamists in Mexico), and the 2012 GOP contest was basically a search for not Mittens. 2008 was similar too. Once McCain had a handful of delegates, all the primaries went to McCain who was a known commodity. I suspect a similar event will occur because Jeb is just a repulsive version of Romney. Republicans who voted for Mittens for unity won’t stomach Jeb the same way, and Jeb won’t have the Western strength that Mittens had.

      Rubio is openly challenging Jeb and that wing of the GOP just by running. They are all deranged crooks, but some wear red jerseys and others wear really red jerseys. Having Harry Reid criticize Rubio will only help.

    2. skippy

      You know every mob needs a clown, doing inappropriate things at the most inappropriate times thus lifting the spirits of everyone else…

      Skippy…. don’t know how that works when the mob is….. nothing but clowns…

    3. cwaltz

      You have to love Republican Survivor- who is next to be ejected from the car- stay tuned to find out.

      Let’s see 8 left are Rubio, Cruz, Fiorina, Jeb!, Trump, Carson, Paul and Kasich.

      I suspect Carson and Paul may be next although the desire for cognitive dissonance in the GOP is strong and it may well be they keep Carson despite his colorful record on fabricating things.

  21. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    James Bond’s Spectre.

    I need our sartorial expert, craazyman, to review that article. I seem to remember his mentioning of Crockett and Jones shoes, I think, I don’t remember. I know nothing about that world.

        1. optimader

          Hey, I wonder if I can have Vibram soles put on gymshoes?? I am going to run that up the flagpole w/ my shoeguy.
          (Emiliano.. tassles are for dandys! Never do business w/ someone that has tassles on their shoes hahahaha!)

  22. Oregoncharles

    “Knee replacement surgery rates ”

    There would be a very high correlation between knee replacement and obesity. The latter has direct, dramatic effects on knees and backs, regardless of cardiac effects.

    There’s also a high correlation with prosperity, of course, both because of the obesity (Austria?) and because more people can afford the surgery.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      As I said above, the UK and Australia have high obesity rates, but they have much lower knee surgery rates.

      Knee replacements are badly overhyped. I know several people who had them and no one is happy with the results. It’s a very long and painful rehab. You get so-so results if you are vey compliant, and most people aren’t.

      1. Oregoncharles

        Apparently hip replacements have a better record, at least among those I know.

        OTOH, my father died recuperating from one – apparently because of a hiatal hernia.

        Yves, are you considering a sceptical book about modern medicine, as a followup to Econned?

        1. Yves Smith Post author

          I’m so sorry about your father.

          But yes, it would probably sell better than ECONNED! But the problem is well known to insiders. A friend who has worked in a lot of capacities in the health care industry says, “Medicine is a medieval art.”

    1. Carla

      Thank you for posting this. We are having terrible — TERRIBLE — problems with algae in Lake Erie. It’s been blamed primarily on fertilizer runoff from factory farms, which I’m sure is a major factor, but warming has also been mentioned as a factor. Perhaps there’s some fertilizer or chemical runoff contributing to the CA problem as well…

  23. Rajesh

    Saw the TPP post…so many documents It would be quite challenging for one to put it all together and make sense of it all. I always liked that pic thanks !

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