Links 12/11/15

Scientists have performed the first full-scale genome analysis of the Ebola virus Business Insider (David L)

This AI Algorithm Learns Simple Tasks as Fast as We Do MIT Technology Review (David L)

Naomi Klein: Sane Climate Policies Are Being Undermined by Corporate-Friendly Trade Deals Nation

Chile plans hydropower plant—in desert PhysOrg. Chuck L: “Interesting wrinkle on the proven pumped storage technology. Main obstacle may be ecological impact of the saltwater on the desert.”

Psychiatric Drugs Are Being Prescribed to Infants New York Times. Furzy mouse: “As Bernie Sanders points out, the operating model for m​any​ of these corporations is GREED AND FRAUD….”

Declassified U.S. Government Report from a Week After Fukushima Accident: “100% of The Total Spent Fuel Was Released to the Atmosphere from Unit 4” George Washington


China’s weakening renminbi poses stability threat Financial Times. Ambrose Evans-Pritchard made a similar warning yesterday.

Why Pollution is Good for China New York Review of Books (resilc)

Chinese Authorities Think Internet Companies Should Reward Netizens Who ‘Spread Good News’ Global Voices

What the Danish ‘no’ vote on Justice and Home Affairs means for Denmark and the EU EUROPP

Refugee Crisis

EU plans border force to police external frontiers Financial Times (Li)

Refugee chaos humiliates Berlin Financial Times

‘Flüchtlinge’ (refugees) is German word of 2015 DW


Turkey Prepares For Protracted Standoff With Russia OilPrice

Russo-Turkish Conflict over Syria & Iraq Boils Juan Cole

IS oil trade ‘worth more than $500m’ BBC/blockquote>

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

How Scared Should I Be of the NSA? VICE (resilc)

Can Cyber Warfare Be Deterred? Project Syndicate (David L). Note who the author is and discount as you see fit.

Imperial Collapse Watch

Trafficking in Terror New Yorker (resilc)

Peter Van Buren, Who Will Fight the Islamic State? TomDispatch


Fear of Terrorism Lifts Donald Trump in New York Times/CBS Poll New York Times. But even with the post-Paris hysteria, he is still only at 35%.

Five Supreme Court Cases from the Second Trump Administration New Yorker (resilc)

Donald Trump blasts ‘ungrateful’ Scots politicians Financial Times

Scotland cuts ties with Donald Trump. He says it should be ‘thanking me’ instead. Washington Post

CBS Chief Cheers Trump: “Go Donald! Keep Getting Out There!” Intercept (resilc)

Map: The countries that ban arrivals based only on religion Washington Post

London police offer Donald Trump a reality check Washington Post. OMG, for once I applaud Boris Johnson:

“As a city where more than 300 languages are spoken, London has a proud history of tolerance and diversity and to suggest there are areas where police officers cannot go because of radicalization is simply ridiculous,” he said.

“The only reason I wouldn’t go to some parts of New York is the real risk of meeting Donald Trump,” Johnson quipped.

Marco Rubio’s organization isn’t nearly as good as his opponents: The Florida senator is trailing in all the early states. Slate

GOP preparing for contested convention Washington Post (furzy mouse)

What If Republicans Can’t Pick A Nominee Before Their Convention? FiveThirtyEight. Resilc: “What about the right to open carry folks on the floor?”

Bernie Sanders Wins Poll for TIME Person of the Year, Gets Removed from Finalists Ring of Fire

Texans begin nightly smashing windows of Muslim family only six weeks after they move in* Raw Story (furzy mouse)

When Catholics Were America’s Muslims…. The Broken Elbow (Ed M)

How Electricity Markets Could be Upended by this Supreme Court Decision OilPrice Chuck L: “Even if SCOTUS comes down on the side of FERC I think regulations promoting Demand Response technologies are low hanging fruit for TPP and TTIP suits by the numerous off-shore-based owners of US generation resources. The writer is correct in asserting that the $$$ are huge.:

Black Injustice Tipping Point

Obama silent on fate of hometown mayor amid racial unrest CNN (furzy mouse)

Police State Watch

Autonomous Weaponized Robots: Not Just Science Fiction Wall Street Journal (Li). It is not nice when life starts imitating dystopian fiction.

Ex-Oklahoma cop Daniel Holtzclaw found guilty of rape. Slate

1 in 4 fatal police encounters results in the death of a person with severe mental illness Time (Alan C)


Connecticut gov bans gun sales to those on watch lists CNN (furzy mouse)

Bulletproof backpacks for kids? Here are 10 sick products you can buy in America — thanks to the NRA Raw Story (furzy mouse)

IEA Chief Sees No Oil-Price Recovery Until 2017 OilPrice. Remember how conventional wisdom, when the Saudis said they weren’t going to cut production to prop up oil prices, that the price decline would last only for the first half of 2015 and prices would be back to their old level by not that far into the second half of the year? And that we didn’t buy that?

Plunging Commodities Interfere With The New World Order Ilargi (Chuck L)

Boost From Oil-Price Drop Is Elusive Wall Street Journal

Banks score victory on use of ratings in capital calculations Financial Times (Li). Eurobanks get to dispense with independent rating in their risk weightings. Of course, as London Banker pointed out years ago, pretty much every favored category in the risk weightings blew up in some way, so the whole concept has performed badly. And the ratings provided by ratings agencies are so sus that it’s not clear how much worse the Euro-self marking system will be (but one could also cynically argue that this is about hiding how weak Deutsche is, and maybe some others…)

Structured Settlement Companies Preying On Low Income Americans YouTube

Public Pensions Challenge Private Equity Fees Governing

Older Americans reshape the middle class Financial Times

Class Warfare

The Guardians of London’s Black Cab ‘Knowledge’ Motherboard

‘Sharing economy’ titans stay private Financial Times. Subhead: “Demand doubts cloud outlook for valuations.”

Buybacks enrich the bosses even when business sags Reuters. A feature, not a bug.

Antidote du jour. Reader Rajesh sent us a raft of great nature photos he took himself, and he didn’t e-mail many of his best because they would be too large for us to upload. But I am sure you’ll enjoy the ones he sent, like this one:

watching birds links

And a bonus of sorts from Vlad:

tfl-trump links

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email


    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      This AI algorithm learns simple tasks as fast as humans.

      We are imperfect beings, prone to making huge mistakes.

      Just ask Nature.

      And we are creating more in our likeness.

      To help us making huge mistakes…on an ever wider scale?

  1. Jeff Lovejoy

    In the movie “Casablanca” when the German officer is interviewing Rick as to how he will feel when Germany invades England, Rick replies: “I don’t know. Ask me when you get there.”

    The German officer pushes Rick: “And when we invade New York?”

    Rick says: “There are parts of New York I wouldn’t recommend the German Army going into.”

    And America cheered.

    Why should we be surprised when Donald Trump applies the same analogy to an out of control, war-mongering government, and the response by the American people to this same conquest by a fully militarized police force armed by the same government that believes tanks running down American streets followed closely by these quasi-militarily dressed goons and scum bags is okay? And why should we be surprised when the supporters of such a government condemn Donald Trump for thinking and believing the best about the American people instead of the worse?

    As usual I am more than a little peeved when the locus of this agitation originates from a representative of a failed empire, the zombied United Kingdom, who still doesn’t know it is dead. I just love how these Piers Morgans try instructing a failing empire, like the United States of America, on how it should conduct its business by speaking out against voices of freedom, democracy and survival in my country.

    1. windsock

      Piers Morgan is no more a representative of the United Kingdom than Ann Coulter is of the United States of America; both are media tramps whose job it is to be confrontational, two voices among millions. Your empire will fall in its own unique hubris, as did ours (although aided and abetted by your desire to replace us).

      Are you seriously suggesting Trump is a voice of “freedom, democracy and survival”? Does not compute. And as any US President likes to think of themself as “leader of the free world”, are you surprised if the rest of that free world takes an interest in your election and has an opinion about it?

      1. cassandra

        Trump a voice of “freedom, democracy and survival”? Much more so than Hilarity, sadly….It HAS come to this.

        1. alex morfesis

          Trump is about free-dumb, demo-krasi and sir-viva-el…demo is the people as in demos…and krasi…is wine…krati is state…the proper greek term is demokratia not demo- krasi…as in keeping the people mentally drunk


          Viva-el is spanish for “lives he”…

          Hopefully the one good thing about this kgb and triad funded circus promoter is that from here forward not too much about a candidates personal life or past will stop a good candidate from stepping forward

          Kgb…if you dont understand russian mafia in nyc equaled kgb you were not paying attention…and his west side 65th street train station development partners had some interesting ties in hong kong…and that is not even beginning to discuss his ties to resorts international…

          If he had just quit two weeks ago because of his previously “undisclosed heart condition”, his daughter would have been able to take the mantel going forward nice and clean and no one would ever think about saying abwehr and trumpf/drumpf in the same breath…
          Spelled mantel that way on purpose

    2. Katniss Everdeen

      The “OMG” here is Boris Johnson taking on Trump. Talk about bringing a knife to a gunfight. Maybe Johnson should do a little “research” first.

      “But one serving officer said today Trump had ‘pointed out something plainly obvious, something which I think we aren’t as a nation willing to own up to’.

      Another policeman said that he and other colleagues fear being terror targets and spoke of the ‘dire warning’ from bosses not to wear a uniform ‘even in my own car’. ”

      Johnson and the rest of the UK overlord class had better hope Trump doesn’t decide to turn his guns on pedophiles and perversion in government officialdom….

        1. Chris in Paris

          Boss Johnson has to reassure the owners of Chelsea’s empty houses that London is still open for business.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Is that common in many cities in the world?

        Macao? Mexico City? Rio de Janeiro? Chiang Mai? Detroit? Juarez? San Pedro Sula? Caracas?

    3. tiresoup

      I for one am sick of the vilification of Trump for wanting to protect Americans. And I’m sick of the huge wave of self congratulation among those who deem themselves enlightened because they have figured out that most Muslims are peaceful. But they find it impossible to believe, even after what happened in CA, that SOME Muslims want to kill Americans. Are you willing to gamble with the lives your fellow Americans or play the odds it won’t be you or your loved ones? SOME Muslims still want to kill Americans and they will continue to try. Is it now a radical notion that our government put the safety of its own citizens first?

      1. OIFVet

        Is it now a radical notion that our government put the safety of its own citizens first?

        Not radical but it is laughable. The US government does not care for your safety, or mine. Fourteen years ago Bush declared war on terror, only to go after Saddam for supposedly harboring Al Qaeda. Last Sunday, Obama again declared was on terror, but now the Syrian branch of Al Qaeda are suddenly our “moderate friends.” As is the KSA, the single largest funder of wahabism and other assorted flavors of islamic extremism. Which proves that the US government only cares about protecting corporate interests and it’s delusion of being a hyperpower. You think the Donald cares rather than panders? What a grade A moron you must be.

        1. Katniss Everdeen

          I WAS kind of wondering where he got the idea that “our” government gave a flying f**k about americans.

        2. cwaltz

          If it really considered our safety important, It’d get a smarter foreign policy. One where we don’t interfere in how places govern themselves incessantly.

          I’m sure this person also thinks that we care so much about Syrians that we are love bombing them rather than trying to depose Assad because he had the audacity to say no to having a pipeline through Syria that would have allowed Europe to bypass Russia’s Gazprom.

          You won’t hear that from Trump though. It’s much easier to incite people to be angry at the scary, scary OTHER than actual address problems like an adult and take responsibility for your own actions.

          1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

            It’s simple, just *follow the money*. The only response will always be more war and more bombs because the entire system is programmed so it can return only that answer, whatever the supposed question, you really can’t expect it to do otherwise. WAR is the unifying paradigm of America, from the politics through to the economics to the finance on through to the real economy and of course the culture. Underlying all that are just two groups of people: those making and paying for and profiting from the bombs, and those under the bombs (of the two groups, you want to be in the former).
            As a consequence, the definition of the “targets of opportunity” for Comprehensive Societal War must continually expand. The War on Drugs target serves to expand the Incarceration-Industrial Complex, the War on Information target serves to expand the Surveillance-Industrial Complex, the War on Health target serves to expand the Sickness-Industrial Complex, and so on.
            The early socialization of the citizens who will live in the CSW era is critical, kids watching the Santa tracker on Norad will again be treated this year to a pair of F-16s escorting his sleigh. Gotta catch ’em early so they know how to behave and to (not) think in a CSW world. Debate, reconciliation, compassion, love, compromise, acceptance, tolerance…these have no place in the heart of the citizens of New Sparta.

      2. cwaltz

        Newsflash- Some non muslim Americans want to kill other Americans.

        You can either cower in the corner because the world is a scary place filled with different people or you can accept the risk of living, which is dying someday.

        As for Donald Trump his suggestion that ALL Muslims should have to register because SOME Muslims are dangerous(or heaven forbid be shipped off to internment camps) or that NO Muslims be allowed to emigrate sounds amazingly Hitleresque. What’s next, is he going to consider having people wear armbands so we can identify the scary, scary other people(and by coincidence the “superior” folks who support America belonging solely to those who identify as “Christian(even as they act like jackasses.)

        1. Katniss Everdeen

          I can’t tell you what’s next, but I can tell you what’s not next.

          A suggestion that ALL americans give up their guns because SOME gun owners are dangerous….

          See how that cognitive dissonance thing works?

          1. cwaltz

            I know I’m the minority here but I don’t believe ALL Americans should have to give up their guns.

            I am a person that does believe though that SOME people definitely do not belong owning something that can harm another and that America is far too blithe about gun ownership. It’s a responsibility, as well as a right. If you can’t take the first part seriously, then you should lose your right to ownership.

            I totally get cognitive dissonanace is easy, I’d just like to know who promised people that living was meant to be easy.

            1. ambrit

              “I’d just like to know who promised people that living was meant to be easy.”
              Well, how about the people who bought us “Uncle Miltie,” and “The Beaver,” and “Westinghouse Theatre,” and… better living through Science! (Not in any way meant as snark.)

        2. Ignim Brites

          Why escalate the rhetoric by bringing in Hitler. Roosevelt interned Japanese citizens. That is bad (and racist) enough.

      3. zapster

        Since the vast majority of terrorist attacks in the US are by Christians, you are taking a *huge* chance allowing them anywhere near you, then.
        It’s time we deported all white male Christians immediately, since they are the perpetrators of thousands upon thousands of mass shootings, obviously.

        1. Peter Pan

          I for one am sick of the vilification of Muslims for wanting to protect Americans. And I’m sick of the huge wave of self congratulation among those who deem themselves enlightened because they have figured out that most Christians are peaceful. But they find it impossible to believe, even after what happened all over the USA, that SOME Christians want to kill Americans. Are you willing to gamble with the lives of your fellow Americans or play the odds it won’t be you or your loved ones? SOME Christians still want to kill Americans and they will continue to try. Is it now a radical notion that our government doesn’t give a shit about the safety of its own citizens?

          1. Left in Wisconsin

            Hmm. It’s almost like there is a script. Is there money in posting these comments or is it just good-hearted Americanism?

      4. Gio Bruno

        Now that is patently tiresome, tiresoup.

        If the odds (probability) of dying today weren’t greater for driving to work than being killed by a Muslim, you might get an audience. But the odds are against you. Your neighbors are a greater threat than you think.

        1. Procopius

          Heck, the odds of being struck by lightning are greater than being killed by a Muslim. You’re more likely to be shot by your wife, even if you’re single.

      5. alex morfesis

        Driving in america is much more dangerous than a bunch of goat shagging camel jockeys playing rambo for thirty seconds…i suggest you buy and hide in five acres on the peace river south of winterhaven here in florida and start growing citrus…unless gov dred scott decides he is going to let that little bug he wont fight do the dirty to help kill off oranges and finish opening up florida agriculture for new mcmansions…

        Maybe you can start your own “terrorist/freedom fighter” organization and put in for funding…the que starts in a little town just south of dc…real close to mers and aol…maybe you could give it a nice american name…

        The “al- bundy”…

        and you can terrorize people by complaining about a buxum wife who just wont stay quiet after great sex…that might scare off those goat humping camel jockeys…having sex with women who actually shave their legs…

        And then you could join those other great made for television woody allen 303 clowns…

        His- bullah
        And the grand daddy of them all


      6. bob

        Trump- one nanny to rule them all.

        “I for one am sick of the vilification of Trump for wanting to protect Americans”

        Put any name other than trump in that sentence and see how it works. Does the trump bring enough spite to his nanny to make it palatable?

        Nanny’s for trump! Make Marry Poppins his running mate. Grab that umbrella!

      7. flora

        Here’s the Presidential Oath of Office:
        “I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.”

        The President is sworn to protect and defend the Constitution. Too many presidents have found it expedient for their own ends to violate that oath and excuse the violation in the name of ‘protecting the people’.

  2. wbgonne

    Fear of Terrorism Lifts Donald Trump in New York Times/CBS Poll New York Times. But even with the post-Paris hysteria, he is still only at 35%.

    This poll seems an important indicator to me. Check this out:

    In the aftermath of attacks by Islamic extremists in Paris and in San Bernardino, Calif., a plurality of the public views the threat of terrorism as the top issue facing the country. A month ago, only 4 percent of Americans said terrorism was the most important problem; now, 19 percent say it is, above any other issue.

    Not only is this elevating Trump, it is undermining Sanders and boosting Clinton. Also significant, it appears that Cruz is emerging as the GOP’s anti-Trump. All in all, it seems safe to say that Osama bin Laden is still winning as America is becoming evermore angry, irrational and reactionary.

    1. ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®©

      As usual, our media is able to lead the people around by the nose.

      And as usual, the people put forward as best able to handle the problem advocate more of what caused it in the first place.

      “Why, of course, the people don’t want war,” Goering shrugged. “Why would some poor slob on a farm want to risk his life in a war when the best that he can get out of it is to come back to his farm in one piece. Naturally, the common people don’t want war; neither in Russia nor in England nor in America, nor for that matter in Germany. That is understood. But, after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine the policy and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy or a fascist dictatorship or a Parliament or a Communist dictatorship.”

      “There is one difference,” I pointed out. “In a democracy the people have some say in the matter through their elected representatives, and in the United States only Congress can declare wars.”

      “Oh, that is all well and good, but, voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same way in any country.”

      1. Carolinian

        “As usual, our media is able to lead the public around by the nose.”

        Indeed. Who’s the Sorcerer’s Apprentice here? They put up their War on Terror chyrons and sport their flag pins and grim expressions and then claim it’s the public that is being hysterical.

    2. Ron

      “America is becoming evermore angry, irrational and reactionary.”

      Nothing new about the American attraction to violence either at home or in various wars around the globe. Trump only reflects what a significant number of Republicans want to express further heighten by conservative talk radio.

  3. Steve H.


    : The source term provided to NARAC was: (1) 25% of the total fuel in unit 2 released to the atmosphere, (2) 50% of the total spent fuel from unit 3 was released to the atmosphere, and (3) 100% of the total spent fuel was released to the atmosphere from unit 4.

    To be clear, all the regulatory and government bodies noted specifically suppressed information that the toxins were in a fluid stream where global dispersal is reasonably measured in days, not months.

    Those privy to the information were able to protect themselves better than those who weren’t. They also made a decision, that panic was more dangerous than the radiation plume itself.

    The question is, dangerous to whom?

    1. Hacker

      This is irresponsible journalism by George Washington and all those who repeat it. Anyone with a modicum of scientific training will understand what this says. Clearly too many folks do not understand science and are not willing to admit it.

      NARAC was asked to model what would happen if a large amount of the fuel was released to the atmosphere. This report does not say that a large release is actually what happened. This report also says that the model showed that Americans were safe from even this large a release.

      The US government has a lot of issues, but they usually aren’t so stupid as to classify the actual knowledge of what got release at Fukushima as F.O.U.O. Whatever report has that info in it won’t come out for many years and will have been Top Secret or higher.

      1. Steve H.

        Well, Shit. Looked at the source document. Yup.

        Re-reading the WashingtonsBlog post to make sure that what they said is what I thought they said…

        I completely agree with you. Fermented bullshit to such degree that the site has to be regarded as worseless for information.

        1. Aumua

          Well that’s no surprise at all to me. I read the article, and couldn’t see any overt signs of bullshit, but whenever I see Fukushima, my skeptic shields go right up because while it was a terrible disaster, there’s a lot of misinformation out there on the scare side of it.

          There are just so many people who are ready to believe anything that sounds like something they want to believe, like that there is a big coverup, and they’re being lied to, seems to boil down to people want to believe their lives are not their responsibility or something.

          1. Steve H.

            I like to think that people prefer to have agency in their lives, but conditions are constrained. We need informed help in determining those conditions. Which is why the site is worseless, worse than useless.

            The post was not uninformative, it deliberately gave misinformation. At best that wastes time. At worst it has perverse consequences.

            In contrast, this site is right most of the time, and deals directly with those times that it’s wrong. I judge its intent by its veracity and consistency. But if a source shovels bs, its veracity drops, the likelihood of it behind a worthwhile read drops below even odds, and the node gets pruned.

          2. McKillop

            From birth, even as our brains are unable to process much information, we are exposed to images and ideas and words that induce both doubt and fear. We are also encouraged to accept myths and misunderstandings of phenomena as if there were no questions concerning the stories told.
            As well as inadvertent beliefs repeated we are told lies or kept from being told truth.
            Considering that the ‘authorities’ -including governing agents and those who seek to be powerful within government agencies, including experts and pretended experts and copywriters governed by corporate power, and so on, and so on- are often the custodians of information, the producers of “misinformation” and the chief liars, why chastise the victims?

            1. Carl

              Let me encourage people to read the book published last year by The Union of Concerned Scientists,

              It doesn’t talk about things which, by applying reasonable inferences, one can conclude happened. But, in the cautious manner of that group, enough that we really know for sure happened makes for a very sobering tale.

              But, yes, the early fears among NRC staff and others in the US was that the explosion of unit 4 was an explosion in the pool, but that turned out not to be the case. For that, thank God – even if you think she doesn’t exist.

              The other units, however, are total messes. Likely they don’t even really know yet how bad, that’s how bad they are, with radiation so intense they have only inspected small portions of units 1-3. But, without particularly looking hard, particles of fuel have been found near Tokyo and significant contamination exists in all of the Japanese islands. And they are still continuously bleeding fission products into the sea. Also, despite efforts to discourage reporting, stats are showing large increases of early cancers and immune-deficiency illnesses. Among children.

      2. darms

        I bailed on WashingtonsBlog some time ago as much of the info there is either linked to bs sources or is self-referencing. I know the readers here are thoughtful & sophisticated but I hate finding links to WashingtonsBlog…

  4. craazyman

    If reader Rajesh has nature photos with file sizes too big to email he can easily reduce the file size in Photoshop, Photoshop Elements or any of a wide variety of image editing programs. Even Microsoft Office has one.

    This is a 15 second procedure.

    You can reduce them to 300 or 400K even and lose almost nothing in terms of viewability on the web.

  5. fresno dan

    Mexican drug lord Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán has a lot of enemies: the Mexican government, the Drug Enforcement Administration, Donald Trump.

    But now the world’s most powerful drug trafficker allegedly is taking on what is arguably the world’s most feared organization, ISIS.

    In an unconfirmed report, Chapo’s anger toward the radical jihadist group does not stem from some sense of altruism for the victims of the recent attacks in Paris or San Bernardino, but instead from concerns about his bottom line after ISIS destroyed several of his Sinaloa Cartel’s drug shipments that were being moved through the Middle East.

    Guzmán allegedly sent a harshly-worded warning via email to ISIS leader Abu Bakr Al Baghdadi, which was published by the website Cartel Blog, about messing with the cartel’s business.

    “You [ISIS] are not soldiers,” Guzmán purportedly wrote. “You are nothing but lowly p**. Your god cannot save you from the true terror that my men will levy at you if you continue to impact my operation.”

    finally, the power of the unadulterated free market is unleashed….
    With all the “alleged’ and “unconfirmed” and what not in the article, it is nothing but click bait. As I said about the media….”the best “news” money can buy”

    1. afisher

      UNCONFIRMED? Gee, even the British media is calling this report a hoax. Locally – here in the USA, it is also being called out as a lie by Scopes. Check the sources of this “news” – just saying.

  6. Paul Tioxon

    COP21 day of decision postponed from today, Friday until tomorrow, Sat 9AM, Paris time, that’s 6 hours ahead of EST in the USA.

    Sticking points are stuck. Another draft, 2 so far this week, will be out tomorrow morning. The good news is that it is in its 2nd release this week, down to only 27 pages from over 40 and down to approx 50 problematic portions from over 900 last Saturday.
    From early morning reports:

    “But despite this, it became obvious that more time was needed to resolve particularly thorny questions.
    These center around the issue of assigning different responsibilites to industrialized and developing nations.
    While the UN convention on climate change distinguishes between the two, that is a distinction industrialized nations seek to overcome to a certain degree in the agreement negotiated in Paris.
    “The US has made clear it doesn’t want to continue with a fire wall,” an NGO-observer said.
    For its part, China refused the responsibility assigned in a text stating that “other” than industrialied countries “may on a voluntary, complementary basis provide resources to developing countries.”
    Saudi Arabia, on the other hand, is reported to have staunchly opposed the draft agreement’s stated purpose to limit global warming to “well below two degrees,” and particularly “to pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5 [degrees].”
    “That’s where we have a giant problem,” said Greenpeace’s Stefan Krug.”

    The big story this week was revealed by the Guardian on Wed that there has been a secret group of nations with more ambitious goals, 1.5C as a target for temperature guidelines. The High Ambition Coalition, includes about half of the nations attending. Island nations who are hardest hit, some facing political extinction as the oceans rise, and the US along with some Latin American nations, the EU. There seems to be some impact in that now, below 2C is an emerging point of agreement with a commitment in 2020 to then aim for a 1.5C temperature targets. Miffed nations kept unawares of this group have apparently moved on since Wed and keep engaging in the process. Saudi Arabia is outspoken in opposition to the 1.5C target. They are worried about developing nations and disruption of food production worldwide. Maybe they should just use their petro-fortune to buy the food for the hungry.

    1. allan

      ” major trouble in legacy land.”

      More likely this means a late-Fall 2016 lame duck session that will down in history with the ones in 2010 and 2012 when the Bush tax cuts were first extended and then made permanent. All those defeated Dems will be strutting their neoliberal dance steps for the DC law firms and lobby shops that might be considering hiring them.

      1. ChrisFromGeorgia

        Yes that is a real threat – passing TPP in the lame duck.

        However the article also quotes McConnell as hinting that this scenario might not be so likely either – fast track extends into the next presidency, and that’s where things get murkier.

        If the winner is named Trump, Sanders or maybe Cruz, I can see them pulling this maneuver. However other names might lead to a scenario where they deny a vote until 2017 or beyond.

        Any kind of delay is good because it slows momentum and promotes dissension. As Lenin said about food riots in Czarist Russia, “the worse the better.”

        1. edmondo

          If the vote extends into 2017 then the deal is dead, right? After all, Hillary has already said that she’s “forgainst” it.

          And we all know that a Clinton wouldn’t lie – unless there’s money, power or a blowjob involved.

  7. afisher

    1. Harvard poll: may millenials seem to believe that war in Middle East OK – as long as they don’t have to personally fight in said war.

    2. If we quit hiding the fact that these Middle East adventure are all about oil and move on reducing CO2 emission and leave all that oil in the ground, we wouldn’t have any reason to fight. (this one is indepth) while is a KISS and less history.

    I suspect TL:DR from politicians and war profiteers.

    1. Propertius

      Harvard poll: may millenials seem to believe that war in Middle East OK – as long as they don’t have to personally fight in said war.

      This sounds like an excellent reason to bring back the draft – for men and women, with no exemptions or deferments.

  8. GlobalMisanthrope

    “Psychiatric Drugs Are Being Prescribed to Infants”

    It was bound to come to this. I can’t remember the number of times I have been offered a script for antibiotics after being told I have a cold, a virus. When we were kids we used to get a lolly pop. Now it seems doctors send everyone off with a prescription. And to make matters worse, it seems some people feel they got ripped off if they leave the doctor’s office with nothing. Which, given the outrageous cost, is not impossible to understand.

    I was recently asking my son’s doctor questions about the HPV vaccine. His answers were sound bites. The more I probed, the more he evaded by using a bunch of jargon and a softer (read: condescending) tone of voice. It was like he was trying to spin me around until I got dizzy. Finally, I just directly said, “If you don’t have the answers to my questions, I’d appreciate your telling me where I might find more information.” He directed me to the CDC website. I told him I’d email him a link. He didn’t smile.

    Obviously, we’re getting a new doctor. When questioned, the quality of his thinking was so poor and his stonewalling so willful that I despaired for the years my, gratefully very healthy, son had been in his “care.” But will it be any different with a new doc? I think the med schools are turning out very poor doctors and have been for years.

    This is what the total in total crapification really means.

  9. Tom Stone

    I am delighted to see Connecticut taking the lead in denying American citizens their second amendment rights based on a secret list which is undoubtedly as carefully vetted as the “No Fly” list.
    It’s time we were done with the pretense, America has a government of men, not laws and an armed rabble can make a serious dent in profitabllity.
    We got rid of Habeas Corpus, the 4th amendment, the ban on cruel and unusual punishment…It’s clearly the time for Corporate
    States to supersede the Nation States, thus TTIP, TISA,TPP.
    Go for it!
    A Corporate Christian Nation will lead the world to heaven on earth.

    1. kj1313

      I’m not for it but it is a bit of Schadenfreude from the Patriot Act that is putting the Republican elites on the defensive.

    2. Antifa

      We’ll know we’ve arrived when Heaven has a price tag, and people pay it.

      “Because where you spend eternity matters.”

      Location, location, location . . .

    3. flora

      “Someone must have been telling lies about Joseph K., for without having done anything wrong he was arrested one fine morning.”
      ― Franz Kafka, The Trial

  10. timbers

    Syraqistan –

    I’ve come to the conclusion Russia is several years behind what it probably could and might have done – get S-300 defense missles into Syria and Iran to seal their airspace form US & coalition mischif. Maybe Putin should have sold S-300 to Iran years ago as he reportedly was going to do and ignore sanctions on Iran. Russia playing by the West’s rules only hurts Russia as the West breaks it’s own rules to back stab Russia (IMF on Ukraine). Reports are he is selling S-300 to Iran now. The key is for Russia to seal Syrian airspace from the US and it’s vassals who are funding ISIS & Co. This will put an end to the harm their airstrikes are doing. The next step is to slowly reclaim territory controlled by US coalition funded terrorists. It will take a long time as the US, Turkey, Israel and Saudi Arabia with throw tons of $ at their terrorists. At some point Russia is going to have to target Turkish troops in Iraq if they don’t leave. As long as Russia doesn’t take Western bait and get sidelined from it’s original mission, IMO chances favor Russian success, and is why the West is so desperately trying to incite Putin into a distracting conflict with Turkey.

  11. Katniss Everdeen

    There is an apparent paucity of Pat Tillmans in america’s much ballyhooed millennial generation. They appear to be a group that we older “folks” would refer to as being generally unwilling to “put their money where their mouth is.”

    It appears that they would like to be “protected” from “terrorism,” but would, quite shamefully in my opinion, prefer that someone else provide it. And assume the attendant risks.

    Since ’tis the season of “peace on earth,” this “poll” should be taken seriously along with the recognition that the only way “peace on earth” will be achieved is by reinstating the american draft. With no deferments.

    Since I don’t know how to turn the name Pat Tillman into a link, here is his Wikipedia page for those of you who are unfamiliar:

    1. Antifa

      Oh, gosh, it’s a lovely thought, but doesn’t work out once the shooting starts. You’ve gotta be a believer to fight for moral victories. You’ve got to be a crusader to go all the way.

      We had three species of soldiers in Vietnam — lifers, volunteers, and draftees. Lifers are committed to the military in peace or war, but usually fill essential jobs in the rear. Lifers who showed up for combat duty were usually officers looking to beef up their resume. If they were grunts, they were just there doing a dirty job, putting in their twenty.

      Volunteers generally believed somewhere in their soul that they were really defending America or freedom or justice or something, or believed that they’d given their word and had to live up to it as a matter of self respect. The kind of guy who would do another tour.

      Both lifers and volunteers were amenable to being molded into fighting men. Drill sergeants could make aggressive soldiers out of them.

      Draftees never caught the team spirit, never accepted the mission in their hearts, never aimed higher than getting home alive in a year, and while they fought like tigers in a pinch, it was to get everyone out alive, not to win some imaginary war or virtue like liberty. This hanging back attitude, and only really fighting to stay alive, all too often led to the fragging of officers or gung ho types who got the company into trouble too often. Draftees weren’t looking for trouble.

      The Pentagon will never again seek or accept draftees for their proxy wars. Oh, maybe they will if Oceania or Eurasia is advancing on Manhattan, but not for anything less. Draftees just never lose the notion that they don’t belong, don’t want to be there, and didn’t ask for any of the current insanity. Someone has stolen two years of their life, and will be sorry they did long before those two years are up.

      1. Ed

        After using conscription in World War I and nearly having the country break apart, for World War 2 Canada tried sending only volunteers to Europe and keeping the draftees in Canada.

        This created resentment among the volunteers, who didn’t think they were being sufficiently supported, but I think overall it was a sensible policy. U.S. military personnel policies should recognize more that there is a category of soldiers who would not be much use in a “war of choice” in the Middle East, but fine for doing the large amount of training and supply work in the US, and available for a World War III type emergency. And alot of the problem are the lifers, who are pretty skilled at making sure they are the ones that get the rear area assignments.

        1. JEHR

          Ed, you forgot to mention that any future world war will probably be fought with mercenaries like the Columbian mercenaries who are now fighting in Yemen. That seems to solve most problems of soldiers whether drafted, volunteer or lifers.

          1. Massinissa

            Mercenaries, contractors, and maybe even robots. If not true robots, then some cross between drones and infantry then.

            Why even bother having a draft when you can draft plastic and electronics to do the job for you, with maybe a well paid human operator thousands of miles away? We are already replacing real pilots with mercenary drone jockeys.

            1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

              One truly effective strategy to vanquish your tormentors is by drowning them in Danegeld.

      2. JTMcPhee

        antifa, sounds a little like you were there. I was a “volunteer,” enlisted in 1966 to, in the words of the Boy Scout Oath, “do my duty to God and my country.” But I was not anomalous among “volunteers” or draftees or even a lot of “lifers” in finally getting it, “in country” in 1967-68, that no amount of indoctrination could paper over the revelation that “war” was straight “Catch-22” Milo Minderbinder Enterprises “enterprise,” loaded to the top with corruption, and idiocy and suffering an enormous disconnect between the Official Version and what really was. And that has not changed in the slightest, through OIF/OEF?etc. Go follow and other troop blogs and see what I mean. There are crazies that are all Kill the Other, but there are lots of unhappy troops who see the “contradictions” in bold face.

        And my experience in Vietnam, as augmented by a lot of talking and reading since, is that almost every Troop is motivated by unit cohesion, fighting for your buddies, and the strong desire to “make the other guy die for HIS country.” “Accept the mission in their hearts”? Which mission? Kicking in doors in Kandahar, patrolling in the valleys of Notagainistan inviting the “hajjis” to shoot at you, lay mines and IEDs in your path, then after “taking casualties” to engage in “conduct unbecoming” e.g. as part of “kill teams” as a result, missions like “holding the linchpin absolutely crucial must control Khe Sanh at any cost this is nothing like Dien Bien Phu forget about the stuff that went on in My Lai,” on and on? Paying for F-35s, and these other turkeys, Learning about the accurate and acute observations of Maj. Gen. Smedley Butler on the REAL nature of US Imperial war missions was such a relief — it wasn’t my perceptions that were out of it, it was the real nature of the Beast.

        And the Pentagram does not like the draft, but the Brass don’t like “volunteers” either on account of their too human unreliability and tendency to mutiny when the idiocy of “the mission” and their orders becomes just too much to swallow, even with a well-fostered capacity for cognitive dissonance. Hence the effort to fill the Battlespace with faultless robots, autonomously doing their Terminator mission thing (what could possibly go wrong?). One take: And another: And one has to wonder about reports like this, which may or may not be just more of that ConspThy stuff: And of course this comment is likely destined for moderation anyway, with all these links, but let me add one more curious bit, about some general officers going off the reservation:

        I keep waiting for the Brass and the terds in Congress or maybe our CinC to change the words of the soldier’s oath of enlistment, as they have done with the Soldier’s Creed which has become much more “Hessian” in its latest incarnation, see the former and present versions here:'s_Creed Apparently a lot of Troops have been taking the Oath a little to literally for the Rulers’ and Brass’s preferences:

        § 502. Enlistment oath: who may administer

        (a) Enlistment Oath.— Each person enlisting in an armed force shall take the following oath:
        “I, (state name of enlistee), do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; and that I will obey the orders of the President of the United States and the orders of the officers appointed over me, according to regulations and the Uniform Code of Military Justice. So help me God.”

        (snip) There is no duration defined in the Oath itself. The term of service for each enlisted person is written on the DD Form 4 series, the contract which specifies the enlistment period, which for a first-time enlistee is typically four or six years, which can be a combination of active duty and time spent in a reserve component, although enlisted reservists are subject to activation until the end of the eight-year initial military obligation.

        Officers do not take the same oath as enlisted personnel, instead taking a similar United States Uniformed Services Oath of Office

        Does not seem there is any fixing any of this… Murphy and FUBAR rule, as usual…

      3. VietnamVet

        Western leadership has nothing but contempt for conscripts. The last generation of officers lost control of their soldiers and they hated them for it. American society will splinter apart before the ruling elite mobilize us to end its forever wars, stop climate change, provide jobs for every able bodied man and woman, or provide universal health care.

        I just finished reading Paul Fussell’s “The Boys’ Crusade: The American Infantry in Northwestern Europe, 1944-1945”. Soldier’s experiences are similar. War is a gigantic SNAFU. For good reason, after fighting for a year in Euope, officers feared that the troops would mutiny if shipped across the world to invade Kyushu and Honshu. This is one reason tours in Vietnam were limited to one year. But after the U.S. Army was replaced four or five times with new draftees; in a war they couldn’t win, soldiers mutinied anyhow.

    2. Aumua

      EH. Ya damn kids. Get off my lawn and go fight!

      When I was 20 there WAS NO WAR. Ha hahaha. Sucks to be you.

  12. Kurt Sperry

    Connecticut banning gun sales to people on Obama’s socialist “watchlist”? One thing I never understood, the 2nd Commandment never says you are restricted to small arms. Why do these suspiciously limp wristed NRA-bots accept the framing that our right to arm ourselves can legitimately be constrained by arbitrary rules against (or even requiring a permission slip from the nanny state for!) fully automatic arms, or grenade launchers, or artillery, or ballistic missiles, or even fusion bombs?
    C’mon you nanny state loving sissies, stand up for your rights! When you accept that the government has a legitimate interest in what weapons you, as a free, proud, and patriotic American rocking your own personal one man militia, may or may not possess, then you’ve taken the fateful, irreversible first step off the slippery slope that leads to FEMA internment camps for white people, Christmas being outlawed, affirmative action, and mandatory abortions. And needless to add… cold, dead fingers.

  13. Dugh

    Fly America Act out the window. GSA dumps United for Emirates.

    “It is unfortunate that the GSA awarded this route to an airline (JetBlue) that has no service to the Middle East and will rely entirely on a subsidized foreign carrier to transport U.S. government employees, military personnel and contractors,” said Steve Morrissey, United regulatory and policy vice president, in a prepared statement.

    “We believe this decision violates the intent of the Fly America Act, which expressly limits the U.S. government from procuring commercial airline services directly from a non-U.S. carrier,” Morrissey said. “For the Washington to Dubai route, JetBlue merely serves as a booking agent for Emirates.”

  14. JTMcPhee

    Like every other visionary notion of equality, this one, “Peace on earth will only be possible when the draft is reinstated. No deferments.” ain’t gonna happen. One would think that sitting in at NC for several years and growing one’s awareness of the real way that the world works would be an effective inoculation against notions that the Privileged will ever be obliged “by operation of law” to ever have to shoulder any part of the effing burdens of “our” political economy.

    Not that having a national service of some sort is a wasted notion. The forces that might do some leveling might gain a bit from that, but if one looks at the degree and extent to which privilege and disparity and self-pleasing greed have Hoovered up all the resources and taken command of the levers of power and the degree to which “the masses” have just adapted and accepted the spurious “legitimacy” that our Rulers have been able to hijack and then recast and impose on the rest of us, one might draw the conclusion that there’s no way ahead except further concentrations of wealth and power in the hands of unaccountable parasites and tumors that just do not care if they kill the host or demolish the ecology — they plan to be immune to the destruction, for as long as they live, which is all that matters to them, or even better, like the aliens in “Independence Day,” to move on from world to world, killing and eating and growing and if they have their way and the nature of the universe allows, to become immortal or nearly so…

    1. cwaltz

      Heck, we can’t even get them to go to jail when they commit CRIMES. If the Justice Department can’t equalize us the idea that somehow the DoD is going to be an equalizing force is almost giggle inducing. We are talking about the same DoD that can’t seem to police itself on either the fiscal front or guarantee the safety of females against their male volunteer force right?

    2. Katniss Everdeen

      Haven’t you seen the tv commercial for some tech company or another with a chorus of angelic voices singing in perfect harmony about “peace on earth?”

      It ends with one tiny voice singing the “punchline”: “Let there be peace on earth, and let it begin with me.”

      Forgive me. “Tis the season and I got carried away.

      I need to get away from this computer and go shopping for some hoverboards before they all blow up and my credit card bill in January doesn’t.

      Frohliche Weihnachten. Damn. Still don’t know how to get that umlaut.

        1. JerseyJeffersonian

          Or, if your device is suitably appointed, find the Character Map. Open it, select the font, and then click on “select” and then “copy” to post your choice to the clipboard. Highlighting the letter that you wish to replace, you then do a CTRL-V, and voilà, success. In German, the workaround is to follow the vowel that needs an umlaut with an “e”; this informs the reader that the umlaut is to be understood and the vowel to be modified to this form.

      1. cwaltz

        I know your heart is in the right place and you want a peaceful world. However, as someone who served for over a decade I think that it’s misguided to think that the DoD will be the means to that end.
        They break people(by dropping them off in war zones and telling them to forget everything we teach our children about not harming others and reteaching that the golden rule is survive at all costs). We really need another alternative, one that won’t result in another generation of people dealing with PTSD.

        I do agree with you though that it’s sad that so many would ask another to go sacrifice and do what they themselves aren’t willing to(or that they lack the understanding of what is being asked of soldiers.)

      2. ewmayer

        Katniss, no need for an umlaut here because simply “Frohe Weihnacht” is likely the most common form of the greeting. (Only one I recall from my years in Austria.)

        But for your next legitimate-umlaut-need occasion (I even throw in a Scharfes s as a bonus, just copy this snip to a persistent text-composition file like I do: äöüß

        I find that simpler (and more useful, since works for both plaintext and html) than the html [and-symbol]uml-style-tag. YMMV, but in my text editor the ‘uppercase’ command also properly uppercases the above, to ÄÖÜSS. (There is no UC analog of Scharfes s, hence the double-S result.)

        I have similar textual snips for common markups in Spanish and French. Very handy.

        1. Left in Wisconsin

          Is it still ok just to use an “e” after the vowel in place of umlaut? That’s how we were taught to do it in the typewriter days.

          1. ewmayer

            Yes, ae, oe, ue (and ss) are always OK, too – it comes down to how ‘pretty’ one wants the result to be.

            No German speaker could legitimately complain about receiving a Froehliche Weihnachten und ein Glueckliches Neujahr wish, pretty or not.

  15. Jim Haygood

    Crude Earl, comrades: he’s puking again, to below $36 this morning. Chart:

    Following the relentless logic of markets, energy-related currencies such as the Canadian and Mexican pesos are getting smashed down along with crude, making the mighty USD even stronger (and putting yet more pressure on export-oriented China, whose renminbi is pegged to the dollar and rises along with it).

    Does J-Yel even notice? Is propping up the Federal Reserve policy rate with the untested tools of IOER and RRP — while trillions of excess reserves sit idle — even going to WORK? Do they have her favorite scones and clotted cream on the coffee cart this morning?

    It’s space cadet time at the Eccles Building. Better fasten seatbelts — we’re about to experience high g-forces as we encounter some interstellar turbulence.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Are they hoping for more mergers in that sector, like Dow-Dupont in the chemical sector, to boost earnings through less competition, sorry, more efficiency?

        1. craazyboy

          Ya, and layoffs. Also, the Fed will become a great big gas station too – more demand! Then just light the gas on fire and you can make the dollar drop as fast as oil exporter currencies.

          I’m sure JYell knows these things. I have confidence in JYell.

        2. Jim Haygood

          If you have a few coins under the couch cushions, Kinder Morgan might entertain a bid:

          Over the last 27 quarters KMI paid out $17.3 billion in dividends from cash it didn’t have.

          It borrowed the difference, of course, swelling its net debt load from $14 billion at the end of 2009 to $44 billion at present. And that’s exactly the modus operandi of our entire present regime of Bubble Finance.

          Kinder Morgan is the poster boy. Indeed, KMI is a pipeline company just like Enron. It’s original building block, Enron Liquids Pipeline, was purchased by Richard Kinder and his partner for $40 million back in the late 1990s.

          Man, I’d hate to be on the receiving end of Stockman’s jabs. The man wields an acid pen.

  16. Tertium_Squid

    “Still in a crib, yet being given antipsychotics”

    They presumed that parents and doctors, probably desperate and well meaning, were trying to alleviate thrashing temper tantrums — the kind that get children kicked out of day care

    So many families aren’t able to raise small children in the home, so normative behavior becomes mandatory regardless of future consequences. If mom and dad can’t both work, the family loses the home and all the other trappings of middle class life.

    1. Katniss Everdeen

      Or how about this:

      “There’s this very narrow range of what people think the prototype child should look like.”


      But I was just curious about Rancho Dominguez, CA, the home of four-year-old Andrew Rios, the “star” of the story. In an Erin Brokovich sort of way. I always get curious when human reproduction goes so wrong so quickly. I found this:

      Check out the slide show. Particularly the slide with the oil wells crammed between the houses and what looks to be a water supply.

      And seizures? I thought medical marijuana was LEGAL in CA.

    1. tyis

      I’ll believe it when I see it. We have never seen Obama give as many carrots or sticks, and use every possible legislative rule available, for any other policy “goal” of his. Every time TPP was declared dead, Obama pulled another move and revived it.

  17. Synoia

    Chile plans hydropower plant—in desert

    Technically quite feasible. The reservoirs would probably be lined with Bentonite.

    We proposed a similar system between the Gulf of California and the Salton Sea, but the lift. height equivalent,was probably insufficient. Also private investors were not interested in 20 year payback periods.

    As we know, the Government of the United State is broke, and cannot afford such capital projects.

    Military Adventures around the Globe? No budget problem at all.

  18. Synoia

    IS oil trade ‘worth more than $500m

    This may be true, however it is easy to stop. Sanction the Refineries and Banks processing the transactions.

    Oh wait – banks are never sanctioned….

    1. Massinissa

      Anyway, forgive me if im wrong, but isn’t it Turkish banks doing the transactions anyway?

      Though I guess we could always just sanction all of Turkey, if we really wanted to fight Daesh, but of course we would never do such a thing, or anything else that would actually hurt Daesh or ANYBODY’s banks for that matter

  19. Jeff W

    Reader Rajesh sent us a raft of great nature photos he took himself, and he didn’t e-mail many of his best because they would be too large for us to upload.

    Great picture, Rajesh!

    And FYI, there are, like, a zillion free image resizers, some online, some that run on your “device,” that are really easy to use (basically, right-click the image, select a size, click OK and you’re done). Some of them allow you to resize images in bulk. So email away!

Comments are closed.