Links 12/13/15

Monstrous baby galaxies in dark matter EarthSky

K-Pop Group Oh My Girl Reportedly Detained at LAX After Being ‘Mistaken’ for Sex Workers Jezebel (Chuck L)

This Guy Searches Amazon for the Worst Things You Can Buy Motherboard

Banksy in the Calais “jungle” reminds us that Steve Jobs was the “son of a Syrian migrant” Boing Boing (resilc)


Paris Climate Accord Seen as Healing Step, if Not a Cure New York Times. “Healing step”? Since when is a band-aid over gangrene a “healing step”?

Climate deal ‘is world’s best chance’ BBC. That line is official PR from Obama.

Paris climate deal: reaction from the experts Guardian

Why Poland Is Turning Away From the West New York Times (resilc)

Burundi army: 87 people killed in Friday violence Associated Press’


China Fantasies Jacobin

China clears way for renminbi weakening Financial Times

Angela Knight: Osborne’s new tax guru? The defender of the indefensible Guardian

Refugee Crisis

Refugee Crisis Drives Rise of New Right Wing in Germany Der Spiegel (resilc). Important.

Police use water cannon to break up Leipzig protests against neo-Nazi march DW


Baghdad calls for withdrawal of Turkish troops in northern Iraq euronews (furzy)

Syrian rebels strike deal with Assad and walk out of major city of Homs Independent (YY). Last week had more wide-ranging news flow than usual, so I could have missed it, but I don’t recall this story being well reported….

House to Investigate US Central Command Intelligence

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

With Its Focus on Air Travel, U.S. Leaves Trains Vulnerable to Attack, Experts Say” New York Times. Bill B: “Blatant threat inflation re trains.” And these discussions of “threats” are inevitably linked to proposals for more surveillance

LifeLock used to cyberstalk Gilbert woman 12News (Laura Weinstein via Chuck L)

“Encryption” Is Just Intel Code for “Failure to Achieve Omniscience” Marcy Wheeler

Imperial Collapse Watch

Top 10 Signs the US is the Most Corrupt Country in the World Juan Cole. Sigh. As terrible as American corruption is (and is escalating at an impressive clip), it pales in comparison to the corruption of, say, Ukraine. But it is fair to argue that our corruption has the most deleterious effect in aggregate.

In a bit of Ukraine synchronicity, YY sent this after I wrote the bit above: Ukraine parliament brawl! PM Yatsenyuk manhandled by MP You Tube.


This is what happens if Republicans face a brokered convention Washington Post (Oregoncharles)

The Republican Party fears Donald Trump more than a convention floor fight. Slate

GOP Has Secret Plan To Win The War On Donald Trump Wonkette

Ted Cruz campaign hires dirty data-miners who slurped up millions of Facebook users’ data Boing Boing

“I Would Not Only Not Piss on Him if He Was on Fire—I’d Throw Gas on Him.” Charles Pierce, Esquire

Hillary Clinton Is Going to Appear on Broad City Vulture

Fear Not: More Americans Support Bernie Sanders Than Donald Trump — No Matter What TV Says Raw Story. But given the fragmentation and disarray in the Republican party, Trump looks to have more power by virtue of being a spoiler than Bernie does with his greater popularity….unless he does better in Iowa than the pundits would have you believe (which IMHO is quite possible, the media is determined to underplay Sanders, while he’s getting a lot of support from young people who are not well sampled in polls and quite a few appear to be motivated to do legwork, like canvass. So if Sanders is capable of building an organization that can leverage them, the calls of his political demise may prove to be premature).

“We will not be silent”: American Jews hit the streets during Hanukkah to fight Islamophobia and racism Salon (Judy B)

Black Injustice Tipping Point

Harvard study finds racial discrimination by Airbnb hosts Telegram (Chuck L). Note this is the second study by these researchers finding evidence of racial bias at Airbnb.

The Global Face of Student Protest New York Times. One of the first two comments pointed out that the “safe spaces” and restrictions on free speech were likely to be used by the majority (whites) against the minority, that they had uncomfortable parallels to policies during the period of overt racism in the US.

Students at the Citadel Pictured Wearing White Hoods Charles Pierce, Esquire (resilc)


Despair Over Gun Deaths Is Not an Option New York Times. Editorial.

Kansas cop’s 3-year-old son shoots and kills himself with gun found inside apartment Raw Story

EXCLUSIVE: Inside the commodity trader Vitol that pulls the levers of the global economy Telegraph

Fannie and Freddie’s Government Rescue Has Come With Claws Gretchen Morgenson. A second major article in this series. I hope to post on this tomorrow.

Layoffs Watch ’15: New Barclays CEO Mulling Over Giving Additional 20% Of Investment Bank The Heave-Ho DealBreaker

Sorry, but Your Favorite Company Can’t Be Your Friend New York Times. I cannot begin to relate to the thinking described in this article. I want companies to honor the promises they made contractually and in their marketing (not doing that is advertising fraud). But too many are committed to devising sneaky schemes to do avoid doing that.

Class Warfare

The Rise of the 1099 Economy Bloomberg

Sharing economy threatened as insurers unable to calculate level of risk Telegraph

Fifth of US adults live in or near poverty Financial Times

Smart Car Standoff Pits Social Progress Against Global Competition New York Times. Notice how it’s “workers” who have to make sacrifices, when direct factory labor accounts for only 12-15% of the wholesale price of a car.

America’s biggest housing program is run by the IRS, and it’s a huge giveaway to rich people Vox

Menards Gawker (resilc). It would serve them right if a manager who was leaving decided to help promote an union…

Antidote du jour. Oguk:

Black squirrel, with grey one for contrast.

Wikipedia says they are a “melanistic variant” of Eastern grey and fox squirrels, and “The black subgroup seems to have been predominant throughout North America prior to the arrival of Europeans in the 16th century, as its dark color helped them hide in old growth forests which tended to be very dense and shaded.” Not sure why they would be coming back here (Eastern Mass.)

black squirrel links

black squirrel grey squirrel links

And a bonus video! YY: “Skip everything and just go to 6:07. A very professional cat video.”

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. tomk

    The guy who does the Worst Things You Can Buy on Amazon throws in the following gratuitous shot at alternative healing in his interview which I think undermines his otherwise thoughtful look at useless commodities. I wonder if these folks who seem to know it all about the legitimacy of different health approaches have any idea how many people are helped in huge ways by alternative modes of treatment. Of course there are frauds and scammers, but the damage done is minimal compared to the damage done by the “proven” methods of the medical industrial complex.

    “Which one has made you the angriest? Like, want to throw your laptop out the window?
    I don’t get angry at products. They didn’t ask to be made or sold. But the people who perpetrate medical scams are the worst. Homeopaths, naturopaths, chiropractors, anti-vaxxers, shitheads, nuts, and supplementers are preying on a huge and vulnerable class of people here in America.

    If you can’t afford medical care or insurance, or you’re not making logical decisions due to being acutely or chronically ill, these guys step in and take your money. We’ve got moms feeding bleach to autistic kids and people taking cyanide pills to treat cancer. I’d love to write about these different scams every day, but most people would prefer to laugh at pants that look like you’ve shit yourself, so it’s a balance.”

    1. Ian

      When you run out of, or can’t afford conventional medicine in america, you look for other solutions. Anger should be directed at the current medical industry, not the guy selling SAM-E or St. Johns wort for depression (both proven effective if you bothered to look at the research on

    2. Ian

      When you run out of, or can’t afford conventional medicine in america, you look for other solutions. Anger should be directed at the current medical industry, not the guy selling SAM-E or St. Johns wort for depression (both proven effective if you bothered to look at the research on

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Today, people are educated.

        And yet, partly due to not being able to afford health care, and partly from lacking faith in our medical industry, many of the graduates of the same education system (that produces those working in the medical industry) turn to alternative medicine, that is, quoting above, 95% scamming.

        The best and simplest way, for most people, to health is 1. low caloric intake, 2. weight lifting, 3. exercise, 4. low stress job 5 clean air, 6, clean water, 7. organic foods. 8 plenty of sleep.

        That was what healthy people did, hundreds of years ago, without much education.

        Some are not born so lucky and for them, they need more than the simple way of living above. This is where we need the medical industry.

        1. Ian

          I have absolutely no issues acknowledging that there is a very large BS market out there in alternative health. Having said that, distrust in our current medical industry has been rightly earned and I would say that there is, albeit in a different way, a significant BS market in the mainstream racket as well. I have had and know people that have had far better results using alternative medicine then going through our established medical system. I use both, and make a judgement call after a lot of research.

        2. neo-realist

          Re the simplest ways to health, easier said than done: In some cases, you inherit the propensity for conditions from parents. You engage in the so-called healthy behaviors and keep a trim figure, yet still require the prescription meds since the parents had same or similar conditions. It can be very frustrating to encounter people who are obese or who engage in unhealthy behaviors who require no meds whatsoever and or have healthy checkups w/ low blood pressure/low cholesterol.

        3. Lee

          I am reminded of the New Yorker cartoon in which one caveman says to another:

          “Something’s just not right—our water is pure, our air is clean, we get plenty of exercise, everything we eat is organic and free-range, and yet nobody lives past thirty.”

          1. Gio Bruno

            …that’s because they were living in a high-stress (where’s my next meal), dangerous (Did I just see a leopard?) environment, and sleep was interrupted (howling wolves and a cold floor). Oh, and they didn’t know about virus, bacteria, and the need to “keep the kitchen clean”.

          2. craazyman

            It may be a misleading cartoon. In the Flintstones it looked like they lived past 30. I think Fred and Barney were into their 40s in the show. Their 30s anyway and they were going strong.

          3. hunkerdown

            Two words: infant mortality.

            The bourgeoisie are dispositionally incapable of tolerating variation from type, aren’t they? It would certainly explain why they create such fussy, brittle systems (Conway’s Law).

      2. BEast

        I think there should be a lines drawn between unproven, harmless, and harmful.

        Unproven: a lot of traditional supplements, some of which get proven when scientists bother to test — but they can’t be patented unless they’re “improved” in some way, so many go un-researched

        Harmless: homeopathy (which are almost entirely the media in which they come — to the point where the “active ingredient” is undetectable)

        Harmful: feeding bleach to autistic kids, avoiding vaccines, advocating people take vitamin C or any other supplement instead of getting cancer treatment

        I do think homeopathy should be more clearly labelled — I actually bought a “remedy” or two as a young adult when I thought “homeopathic” was just a fancy term for “herbal.” If someone had told me “homeopathic cold remedy” meant “ingredient diluted to the point of undetectability because reasons,” I would have a) laughed, or b) swore, and definitely c) saved my money.

    3. Michael

      I use alternative medicine extensively, and 95% of it is scamming. The 5% that isn’t is pretty easy to tell apart, if you have access to critical thinking, and it is fantastic at what it does.

      But entire categories of altmed are pure scam. The antivaxxer movement and homeopathy are two of them — just straight scam from top to bottom with no relief or possibility of otherwise.

      1. tomk

        I would probably agree except for a friend whose young son suffered years with severe rashes. Several doctors and dermatologists accomplished nothing but he was quickly healed following the advice and using the solutions of a homeopath, without any diet or lifestyle changes. Who knows, homeopathy does sound like nonsense, but the fact is that a good portion of our medicine is ineffective if not dangerous, especially when dealing with the vague if significant complaints that often lead people to alternatives.

        As far as vaccines go, I support them, but I don’t think there is any question that the dangers are real and are downplayed, which plays into the hands of antivax efforts.

      2. alex morfesis

        Hmmm…when i feel my system talking to me i guzzle down a large hot and sour soup and some singapore mai fun and wake up ready to take on the baddeez again…our bodies react to the poison we feed it and we wonder why…even in akbarz 24 hour gas station convenience store there are a few things that are at least borderline healthy…even raw corporate created plucked when not ready fruits and veggies are better for you since they are not processed and your body can do what it was designed to do…the best diet is snack on things you dont like thirty minutes prior to when you think you should eat…a simple glass or two of tomato juice…or veggie juice…plain…instead of 7 or 8 glasses of water….try 8 glasses of tomato juice…but i come from a different thought process then most…illness comes mostly from the thoughts we digest…adrenaline and other offshoots our body produces when angry or upset or even just annoyed does not force its way out of our system since we dont excrete through our skin pores anymore in our “civilized” world of perfume and other excuses to not smell human…oh well….nufsed

      3. Yves Smith Post author

        I have experimented a lot with alternative medicine and I agree most of it is bunk. The problem is conventional medicine is not interested in a lot of conditions. If they regard it as subclinical, you are typically treated as if you are covertly asking for Adderall or antidepressants.

        I did try homeopathy (it gets the best reports for joint pain) and found it to be useless. But a friend had a dachshund that had an advanced case of cancer that a homeopathic vet treated successfully. I had a two years old Aby that was diagnosed with kidney problems I was told would kill him in 2 years max. I figured I had nothing to lose by trying the homeopathic vet, who was also surprisingly cheap. My cat’s kidney readings improved greatly and the regular vet was utterly flummoxed.

        So my conclusion re homeopathy is that there might actually be something there, but its diagnosis process is utterly flaky. Maybe if a practitioner is really really good or just plain lucky, they’ll give the right remedy. But unless you get recommendations from real people with real ailments that are hard to treat (and you have good reason to think they aren’t strong placebo responders), I wouldn’t bother.

        I also have to say that one the alternative treatments that have worked for me seemed the most unlikely, while other that logically had some potential (Chinese herbs) were a bust. Again, with alternative medicine, you not only have issues with whether there is anything valid about the underlying treatment, but even more difficulty than with conventional medicine of finding good practitioners.

        1. Norm Norton

          Yve, Like you, I’ve tried many remedies with poor results, overall. Due to an accident when I was a youth. I’m now 74 and suffer severe joint pain due to osteoarthritis throughout my body, and due to this, am unable to sleep. One remedy works very well to significantly reduce pain (inflammation) and allow 4 – 5 hrs sleep.

          I take one puff of good quality pot just before I go to bed, one puff only. The idea is not to get stoned but to stop the inflammation. It works! I don’t wake up foggy due to the small amount used. I’ve been doing this for 6 months now, and can verify the results.

          It was recommended by an MD (pain Doctor) to take a small amount of alcohol infused tincture 3x thru out the day for added relief. I have just started that and can’t speak for it’s benefit as yet.

          Just thought you might benefit from my experience.
          Best of luck

  2. Dr. Roberts

    I know many people who work at Menards, some of them managers. They not only have this anti-union clause in their contract, but are forced to attend political rallies led by, in this case, Wisconsin Republicans. A friend was told in writing that he should go in a way that suggested it wasnt mandatory, but his bosses told hik in no uncertain terms that he had to go. Resisting would have put a target on hs back. Scott Walker made an appearance at one of these rallies, which inevitably included appeals to donate. Many managers felt compelled to give token donations.

    1. ambrit

      This form of bullying is everywhere. I remember a Job Manager at a large construction site on the Gulf Coast opening his “welcome” address to the workers with, “I don’t want to hear nothing about unions here, ever. We all want to keep our jobs, right?” This was almost thirty years ago. I shudder to think how things are now.

    2. perpetualWAR

      In my last employment when the Regional VP told us that “to vote Democrat was voting to end your job,” I spoke up. I responded, “It is not your place to instruct your employees on how to vote. In fact, this is actually against the law.”

      Guess who got walking papers and was told it was due to “down-sizing”?

      Well, just to let you know I could care less about working for a company who wants to usurp my Constitutional rights. Fuck ’em. And today, I work for much less and stand in line for food banks. I am now 1/5th of the American adults who live in poverty. But, I would rather live how I currently live than have some douchebag employer tell me how I am supposed to fucking vote.

      Employer was Pacific Coast Building Products, I might add. Douchebags.

    1. Oregoncharles

      Interesting that we still don’t know who the attackers were. They held out for a long time, so I suspect a large portion of BS and coverup in the official story.

  3. Clive

    Re: “Angela Knight: Osborne’s new tax guru? The defender of the indefensible”

    Anyone who does not believe in a concept of Good and Evil obviously has never seen Angela Knight in action. Even her name is like some sort of Faustian pun — “Angela” being derived from “angelic”. This is definitely one Angel who has fallen very, very far.

    Every time I see her being interviewed, defending Big Finance, Big Energy or whoever she is shilling for today, I feel an almost irresistible urge to find a priest and get him to throw some holy water at the screen.

    1. abynormal

      Baffling: In April 2007, she became the Chief Executive of the British Bankers’ Association.[2][3] Bloomberg reports that, in a December 2008 statement, she declared that Libor could be trusted as “a reliable benchmark”.[5]

      After a verdict against the BBA at the High Court in April 2011, some BBA members criticized Knight’s handling of the case and called for her to step down as Chief Executive.[6]

      On 1 April 2012 Knight resigned as chief executive of the BBA but said she would remain until a replacement was found.[7]

      She was appointed as a non executive director of Tullett Prebon in September 2011.[8][9][10]

      In May 2012 it was announced that Knight had been appointed chief executive of trade body Energy UK, effective the end of July.[11]

      She is also a non executive director of Brewin Dolphin and the Financial Skills Partnership. She has previously been a non executive director of Scottish Widows, Logica, Port of London Authority, Lloyds TSB and South East Water.[10][12]

  4. Carolinian

    Interesting Post story on the demographics behind the rise of Trump (perhaps we should start calling it Trumpism). Polls show his support comes overwhelmingly from working class and lower middle and that the decline of the US middle class is the big factor in this phenom that has surprised the pundits.

    Dems–smug about their long term demographic inevitability–should take note.

    1. Steven D.

      Hundreds beheaded every year by Mexican drug cartels. But let’s all go hysteric about the Paris attacks. Sure did wonders after 911. And anyway. It’s towelheads, dummies. We hate those people. Don’t we?

      Who cares about global warming? We don’t need Florida, coastal Louisiana, Charleston, SC, the Boston Back Bay. Yeah. Why do those people think they’re so special?

  5. jgordon

    From the NYT article arguing against guns:

    Could there be anything less controversial than denying gun purchases to people on the terrorist watch list?

    It brings to mind the fact that whenever something is claimed to be not controversial, it is actually extremely controversial. Anyone who cares about civil liberties and justice will understand just how awful and unjust these secret watch(black)lists are, and I would infer that someone who supports them, for any reason, does not give a fig about civil liberties or justice.

    No surprise coming from the rag that covered up a president’s war crimes for over a year because it might affect an election and whose editors come out in public saying that they have to support the government because it’s “patriotic”. Absolute discredit to journalism. One should question whether he’d really want these guys supporting his cause.

    1. flora

      The NYTimes must know that the real problem is too much free speech. The Donald goes around saying Muslims should be rounded up and somebody starts a fire in a California Mosque. A fake Planned Parenthood video about selling body parts gets in the news and a nut job goes out and shoots up a Planned Parenthood clinic. He could have just as easily fire bombed it, as has happened before. Clearly the problem is too much free speech. I’m sure the NYTimes can see that and will have no objection to the govt restricting their speech rights. And of course, no one on a secret govt list should should be entitled to due process because then the list wouldn’t be secret.

      1. Jim Haygood

        ‘I’m sure the NYTimes … will have no objection to the govt restricting their speech rights.’

        When the constitution was drafted, ‘the press’ consisted of individual, local entrepreneurs, printing handbills in their garage like your local Minuteman does today. There were no media corporations.

        With industry consolidation having reached the point that a half dozen corporations control most of the U.S. media, a case can be made either for a vigorous anti-trust breakup, a distinction between individual and corporate speech rights, or both.

        One possible form of anti-trust breakup would be to restrict media corporations from interstate branching, as banks were restricted until a half century ago. Bust up the Times trust!

        1. wbgonne

          I have been thinking the same things. Unfortunately, for us this current SCOTUS thinks corporate persons are at least as deserving of free-speech rights as human beings. It is a bizarre world they inhabit. Also unfortunate is that doctrinnaire civil libertarians have largely encouraged this foray into absurdity.

          1. Propertius

            Aurora Advisors is a corporation. Should the government be able to shut down this blog or restrict its content because corporations aren’t entitled to free speech or freedom of the press?

            1. wbgonne

              I have no problem placing reasonable restrictions upon corporate speech. And I would begin with the common sense point that speech and money are not synonyms.

              1. Propertius

                And I would begin with the common sense point that speech and money are not synonyms.

                I agree with you on this, but I don’t think reversing Buckley v. Valeo has anything to do with “restricting corporate speech”. It has the same effect on wealthy individuals that it has on corporations. The Bill of Rights does not grant anyone the freedom to bribe.

                I think that those who harp on Citizens United are trying to solve the wrong problem and haven’t though through the implications of their position. They also misread the First Amendment (which does not even mention the word “person” when addressing freedom of speech or freedom of the press.

                Attempting to legitimize the denial of civil liberties is a bad idea – it will lead to abuse. So I have very real concerns about restricting anyone’s freedom of speech. I just do not believe there is such a thing as a “reasonable restriction” of speech. Whatever restrictions you envisage will ultimately be expanded – that’s why the Bill of Rights is so absolutist in its language.

        2. Carolinian

          Hasn’t the Times already busted it’s own trust by selling off most of its local papers? For example my local paper was owned by the Times but sold with most of the others a few years ago.

          The real offenders in this respect are the broadcast and cable companies. The Times and Post–our Izvestia and Pravda–gain their power by influencing the influencers. It’s a reputational monopoly.

        3. alex morfesis

          Manipulation vs control…we are manipulated…not controlled…a few media companies control nothing…the average american is happy with a remote, a car payment and something to complain about…spoon fed nonsense and wanting to have a conversation about an episode of some cable program as if it was real life…the kowdasianz…other than momma kow and her ability to make a man into a woman i have no klew which baby kow slut is banging which flavor of the month…there is a story that will be lost as it was a friday story…about some evil kow klown dj calling himself bubba the luv sponge…who openly did what obviously seems to go on all the time…gamed the ratings box and is being sued by that famous N company on the other end of the bus line that startz at the hq of a certain religious organization in clear-water…funny that…oh just me and my tin foil…

          Ratings are an illusion…your cable and sat provider knows exactly who is watching what…yet the big N co at the other end of the bus line which starts at clear- water still gets to decide with a few mystery boxes at various homes…and not really too many…across the you ess of hey what the heck is going on….

          Es lo que es…

        4. Oregoncharles

          Why mess around? Just forbid any corporation from owning more than one media outlet, or put a flat size limit on them that accomplishes the same thing.

          Of course, the same thing should be done with all corporations; they exist at the pleasure of the government, so they should be regulated to the bone. And basic economic theory says that markets function only when ALL the players are small, and when information is roughly equal (meaning that they can never function in eg medicine.)

          Not that we’re anywhere near being able to do any of this, but as long we’re proposing impossibilities, we might as well be serious about it.

    2. wbgonne

      Anyone who cares about civil liberties and justice will understand just how awful and unjust these secret watch(black)lists are, and I would infer that someone who supports them, for any reason, does not give a fig about civil liberties or justice.

      One might simultaneously object to the watch lists while also thinking that, so long as the watch lists exist and are used to bar people from flying on airplanes, they should be also prevent those people from obtaining deadly weapons. Many people do not believe that the right to possess deadly weapons is a core component of civil liberty or freedom. In fact, a good case can be made that the profligate dissemination of these deadly weapons inhibits aggregate freedom and civil liberties by providing a justification for government oppression in the guise of protection. There is the right to free speech, the protection against compulsory self-incrimination, the freedom from unreasonable searches, the right to religious freedom, the right to legal representation, the right to due process, the right to equal protection, the right to a speedy trial and the right … to possess deadly weapons. One of these things is not like the others.

      1. flora

        “…so long as the watch lists exist and are used to bar people from flying on airplanes, they should be also prevent those people from obtaining deadly weapons.”

        The No-Fly list has already been found unconstitutional in 2 lower court rulings. Would you propose such a list be the basis to justify further erosion of civil liberties?

        1. wbgonne

          Fine. Eliminate the watch lists then. But it seems the height of idiocy to suggest that someone is too dangerous to be a passenger on an airplane but is perfectly fine to possess deadly weapons. The Constitution is not a suicide pact.

          1. Gaianne

            One should not assume the watch lists are in some way valid.

            They are not valid. There is a reason they are unconstitutional: The way they are created and maintained results in an invalid list. People are on the list for wrong reasons, and the wrong people are on the lists.

            You want to “control” guns using this list? Delusion: No control–just a fantasy for the rubes and a river of government money to the private companies servicing this bullshit . . .

            Oh, sorry, what’s not to like?


            1. wbgonne

              If the lists are unconstitutional they will not exist and no one will be on them and they won’t be used for any purpose. Problem solved. If they do exist and are used to deny people from entering airplanes they should also be used to deny people deadly weapons. Pretty simple to me. Not having a gun isn’t the end of the world nor is it stealing your precious bodily fluids. It is society attempting to protect itself from dangerous weapons. Will it work? Probably not because there are already so many guns and so many gun nuts in this country. Gun people are difficult to reason with because they are extremists, you know, the kind of people who shouldn’t have guns in the first place.

              1. cwaltz

                Gun people are no more difficult to reason with than anti gun people- or any more extreme than those that are anti gun.

                I can base my statement on your logic that anyone that enjoys guns doesn’t belong owning them to begin with because they enjoy shooting guns.

                1. wbgonne

                  Actually, you have proven my point. Firearms are deadly weapons, not show toys or empowerment tools, and they must be highly-regulated in a modern, congested society. That you can’t see the danger in people making the possession of deadly weapons a matter of fundamental freedom is your problem, not mine.

      2. ambrit

        These “rights” are all under attack. Playing Devils’ Advocate, I would say, get rid of the lot of them and let the “Best and Brightest” rule however they want. We remember how well that worked in Vietnam, don’t we?

        1. wbgonne

          No one is advocating getting rid of civil liberties. Some people simply gun ownership as an aberrant anachronism in the pantheon of civil liberties. In fact, for hundreds of years that’s how most people viewed the Second Amendment. Until now.

          1. jgordon

            No one is advocating getting rid of civil liberties.

            Except your second statement invalidates your first statement. The Constitution and the Supreme Court have both stated that the right to bear arms is a civil liberty. Freedom of speech, freedom from self incrimination, freedom to bear arms–they are all equally valid in America. If you don’t like the Constitution there is a process for amending it. If enough people agree with you, simply do it. There should be no need for all these conniving back door methods that dishonest folks keep trying to come up with.

            1. wbgonne

              I recognize what the Supreme Court did in Heller. It found a personal right to possess deadly weapons, even though the more sensible interpretation — the one held for decades — was that the right was collective and limited to militias. The Supreme Court is sometimes wrong and this one more than most. Maybe the next Supreme Court will reverse Heller. I also recognize that Heller specifically approved restricting the right based on disqualifying characteristics, such as a felony conviction or mental illness. The question is whether inclusion on a terrorist watch list is similarly disqualifying. I think it is.

              1. DJG

                Hear, hear. What part about “well-regulated militia” is so hard to understand. Rights to own guns exist within the larger structure of criminal law and the functioning of civil society.

                And I’m all in favor of the originalists’ owning originalist weapons: Flintlock rifles. Single-shot pistols. Lead balls for ammo.

                1. Jess

                  So what about the privately owned cannons that the colonists stockpiled prior to the Revolutionary War? Guess that means I get to own a howitzer? How about a WWII era German 88?

                  More importantly, the idea of a militia was a group of individual citizens acting as a potential check against an unfair government. It’s hard for me to fathom that all 9 of the other Bill of Rights amendments are clearly aimed at preserving individual rights against the power of the state, but that the Second Amendment is considered to be empowering only of a state-controlled entity.

                  1. wbgonne

                    I don’t think it’s surprising at all. First, the Constitution was enacted when nearly everyone lived within shouting distance of the dangerous frontier. Second, the Founding Fathers were opposed to standing armies. Militias were necessary for local defense. Anyway, that’s how the Second Amendement was drafted (“A well-regulated militia being necessary …”) and that how the Second Amendment was understood for decades until the NRA took over the Supreme Court.

              2. jgordon

                These watchlists are secret–you can not even find out if you are on one–and have no judicial oversight. It is also nearly impossible to get your name off of one, if it does end up on it.

                How can your name end up on one if you aren’t’ a terrorist? Well here are example of people who didn’t want to be informants for the FBI–completely innocent and accused of no crimes mind you–so the FBI put their names on a terror watchlists”


                So why don’t you answer wbgonne: do you think it’s a good idea for Marine veteran Ibrahim “Abe” Mashal is going to have his civil rights disappeared because he wouldn’t kiss the FBI’s behind and so ended up on a watchlist? You are aware that this is completely Fascist, right? I mean, if you’re a Fascist that’s fine, but at least admit to it.

                1. wbgonne

                  A “Marine veteran” can be a felon or be mentally ill or even … a terrorist or terrorist sympathizer. Sorry but there is no military exemption.

                  Guns are extremely dangerous so they should be highly-regulated. If you thin the watch lists are a bad idea or that are poorly executed, fine. But let’s not pretend that some people are wrongfully (or foolishly) convinced of felonies and others are not mentally ill but have been so adjudged. If those people can’t get guns neither should people on terrorism watch lists. Common sense.

                  I mean, if you’re a Fascist that’s fine, but at least admit to it.

                  Oh, please. Happiness is not a warm gun.

                  1. wbgonne

                    Numerous typos. Should say:

                    Guns are extremely dangerous so they should be highly-regulated. If you think the watch lists are a bad idea or that they are poorly executed, fine. But let’s not pretend that some people are not wrongfully (or foolishly) convicted of felonies and others are not mentally ill but have been so adjudged. If those people can’t get guns, neither should people on terrorism watch lists. Common sense.

                  2. jgordon

                    The Marine veteran above ended up on the blacklist because he didn’t want to be the FBI’s servant against his family and community.

                    Just look at how unreasonable and outlandish your claims are becoming. If you are going to this extent to justify something that’s unjustifiable, isn’t it about time that you reexamined your ideas? Because I’m certain that you are convincing a lot of people here who were previously fully against guns that maybe they aren’t as bad as they were thinking after all.

                    1. wbgonne

                      Just look at how unreasonable and outlandish your claims are becoming.

                      Not unreasonable and outlandish that someone is not permitted to be a passenger on an airplane but must be allowed to possess deadly weapons?

                      If you are going to this extent to justify something that’s unjustifiable, isn’t it about time that you reexamined your ideas? Because I’m certain that you are convincing a lot of people here who were previously fully against guns that maybe they aren’t as bad as they were thinking after all.

                      What it shows me is that NC has been invested with refugees from Zero Hedge and is not the venue I thought it was.

    3. Propertius

      How could denying civil liberties based on a supersecret “list” maintained by the Executive possibly be controversial? Due process is soooooo 18th Century, after all.

      1. flora

        The Bush and Obama admins were/are good at whipping up hysteria (instead of sober discussion of the merits) whenever they want to violate the Constitution or invade Iraq (yellow cake! weapon of mass disrtruction! The NYTimes says so!).
        The NYTimes link really belonged in the Police State Watch category.

  6. petal

    I remember seeing black squirrels when I was working at Stanford. It was pretty neat for this east coast kid.

    1. ambrit

      I have seen the occasional flying squirrel, usually way out in the woods. Very shy creatures. Wonderful to watch in the wild.

      1. Inverness

        Black squirrels are the norm in Toronto and Ottawa, for some reason. They are much more nervous than their grey peers in Montreal, who are extremely friendly.

    2. Oregoncharles

      We have black squirrels here, but they’re a different species, called Douglas squirrels. They’re smaller but much more aggressive than gray squirrels – I’ve seen them chase grays.

      They’re also more of a pain in the rear, if you have nut trees. cute, though.

  7. rjs

    the following is an unpaid unpolitical announcement:

    this past week i was afforded the opportunity to pre-screen “Earthquake State” a new episode from the Fault Lines documentary series on Al Jazeera America, which will be airing nationally for the first time tonight…as you all know, Oklahoma has serious man-made earthquake problem, and it’s been getting worse…from an average of less than two magnitude 3 earthquakes per year before 2009, the number of earthquakes of such magnitude rose to 109 in 2013, to 585 in 2014, and to over 2 per day this year…if we include the smaller magnitude quakes that are generally not noticed on the surface, their year to date earthquake count has now topped 5,000, making Oklahoma the most seismically active spot on the planet…it was that situation that prompted Al Jazeera investigative journalist Josh Rushing and the Fault Lines TV crew to head to Oklahoma this summer to cover the story…
    we know these quakes are caused by injection wells; as such induced seismicity has been documented by several USGS studies and was included in the USGS seismic hazard model for 2014, a once every six year 14.4 MB PDF Tome from the USGS, which we covered in detail when it was released….the Al Jazeera take on this Oklahoma story was interesting, but for my purposes, i would have preferred to have seen some detail on how the injected water causes the quakes in that state, ie, what’s the formation that’s typically targeted with injection wells, as how it’s laid out in that area in such a way that the water pressure from the injection wells causes slippage of the underlying bedrock…i’ve seen such diagrams on at least two Ohio manmade earthquakes, and i think understanding how these quakes take place, and how certain we can be that it is the injected water or fracking pressure that caused the quake, would be important to advancing public understanding of what is going on…for instance, in the case of the Poland, Ohio quake, you can line up the formation being fracked with the exact location and depth of the earthquake that happened at the same time, which removes all doubt that the water injected at high pressure has caused these quakes…the connection is not just a smoking gun; it’s watching in slow motion as the bullet travels through the air to it’s target…
    at any rate, what Fault Lines failed to cover about the technical nature of the induced seismicity, they made up for in covering the politics behind why so little has been done up till now to stop these earthquakes….my takeaway from watching this Fault Lines episode is that Oklahoma politics is worse than i thought, and as you all know by now, i usually think it’s worse than it is…nothing that would impede the oil industry had ever been discussed in the state legislature; and that we see Conoco and Halliburton are carved in large letters into the rotunda of the Oklahoma statehouse just about sums why…Governor Mary Fallin and other authorities claim they’re waiting to see the science, but they cut the budget of the Oklahoma Geological Survey, the state agency responsible for that science, from $50,000….in 2013, the state seismologist, Austin Holland, who was attached to the University of Oklahoma, put his signature on statement with USGS scientists linking earthquakes to the state’s injection wells; he was immediately called into a meeting with the university president David Boren and the notorious billionaire oilman Harold Hamm, who warned him to watch how he says things…since Hamm was a major contributor to the University and Boren was on the board of directors of his oil company, Holland was forced to back down and remained silent, at least until the time the Al Jazeera team arrived…he is prominently featured in this episode, and to his credit, understood his situation well enough that he resigned in August, with Al Jazeera crews still on the scene…thus as this episode wraps up, Holland is packing up his books to leave, the lights in his office and the broom closet where the ancient server is housed are turned off, and Oklahoma, the most seismically active state in the country, is left without a state seismologist as the earthquakes rumble on…
    so FYI, here’s a minute and a half preview of the show that will be on tonight at 9 EST…and here’s a gadget where you can type in your zip code and find all the channels that it will air on in your area…you’ll get to see a major earthquake occur during the first 8 minutes of filming..

    1. Synapsid


      One question, about “…how certain we can be that it is the injected water or fracking pressure that caused the quake…”

      The injection wells are used for the disposal of the brines that come up with the oil and natural gas in most any well, fracked or not. Fracking is the use of water under pressure to create fractures that will connect with natural fractures that contain the oil and gas being sought. A good deal of work shows that injection wells are strongly associated with quakes and are their likely cause; there hasn’t been much that links quakes and the fracking itself, I suspect because fracking of a well is something that goes on for days or weeks while the disposal wells can serve whole fields under development and thus receive much larger volumes of fluid and over long periods.

      Are you referring to injection (brine-disposal) wells or wells being fracked?

      I wouldn’t want to be in charge of untangling the two since there will be injection wells pretty much wherever oil or natural gas are being produced.

      1. rjs

        most cases of induced seismicity result from long term buildup of fluid pressures around the site of injection wells; my link to the USGS tome above shows the primary locations where USGS is warning that’s happening…however, there are documented cases where it’s been shown that fracking itself has caused quakes; Blackpool England, the Fayettesville in Arkansas, and the Poland Ohio well i cited above…click that link; you’ll see that a well with 7 laterals was being fracked at the same time and the same location and depth where the 3.0 quake occurred, the first quake ever in that part of Ohio…
        the industry friendly ODNR saw that too, and shut down the fracker the next day…

        1. bob

          I’m really wondering now why they don’t say “explode” the well. Frack is so much more mundane.

          They’re using the equivalent of anti-tank mines, Strings of them.

          One of the studies I looked at showed that one “frack” ended up opening a seam 10 miles long.

          Now, in that sentence, replace frack with “explosion”.

          “Very good propagation” is the industry speak for this.

  8. Jeff Lovejoy

    In the wake of a terrorist attack, that took place less than a month ago, an important summit on climate change just took place. I don’t know if this is a case of “the climate must go on” or just another distraction. Anybody remember Paris? Anybody still remember the 130 people killed? But the show must go on. These politicians can’t fulfill the most basic of their responsibilities — the protection of their own citizens — but they are off to save the planet. Anybody but me see a disconnect here?

    Respectfully submitted for your review.

    1. Gio Bruno

      We all remember Paris. COP21 was scheduled long ago. Learn to walk AND chew gum.

      As for the video: Carlin skewered everybody as a stand-up comic.

  9. wbgonne

    Climate deal ‘is world’s best chance’ BBC. That line is official PR from Obama

    That’s all Obama wants out of this — headlines telling everyone that he still the bestest, smartest person ever born.

    Meanwhile, in reality, this is nothing but a monumental fraud:

    A Western diplomat tells The Associated Press that Paris climate talks have been held up for nearly two hours because the United States objects to one word in the draft agreement. The diplomat, who spoke on condition of anonymity Saturday because he was not authorized to comment publicly, said the U.S. wants the word “shall” changed to “should” in a clause on emissions targets out of fears that it might require the Obama administration to seek approval from the Republican-controlled Senate.

    And get this:

    The draft agreement included a section on “loss and damage,” an issue pushed by small island nations and other vulnerable countries who wanted the deal to recognize that there are some impacts of climate change that they cannot adapt to. However, an adjoining decision linked to the agreement said the loss and damage article “does not involve or provide a basis for any liability or compensation” — a key demand of the United States.

    So let’s think about this in conjunction with ISDS for a moment. The United States refuses to allow itself to become subject to damages for causing global warming and simulataneously pushes agreements that allow the United States to incur damages for trying to curtail global warming. Oh, and, for good measure, Obama is turning the United States into a petro-state by ending the decades-old prohibition on carbon fuel exports. This is a monumental fraud on humanity.

    1. susan the other

      I think i see method in his (Obama’s) madness. He is doing shale and sand to put coal out of business. First things first. And the Saudis are actually helping him price coal out of the market. lt’s working, but too slowly. Obama, nor any other President, can’t go crashing into our private property legal code without sparking off a fight in the courts that would probably last a decade and include restraining orders against the government for interfering in legal commerce. So that’s also why they replaced ‘shall’ with ‘should’. More than one way to skin a cat.

  10. tgs

    Why Poland Is Turning Away From the West

    I find it incredible that this article does not mention the unbelievably strong influence of the Roman Catholic Church on Polish politics. He also doesn’t mention the failure of the previous neo-liberal government especially with respect to the domestic economy. Poland is often mentioned as a ‘post-Communist success’. Ask your average Pole, especially those in their 50’s and 60’s, about the state of health care, housing, pensions etc.,

    By the way, I would like to see these kinds of authors clarify exactly what it is they mean by the term ‘West’ in these contexts. Walking all over the constitution in the ‘West’ is not exactly without precedent.

    1. OIFVet

      By success they mean the successful dismantling of the safety net and the enrichment of a few oligarchs. Poland is therefore a raging success, as is Eastern Europe as a whole.

    2. Robert Dudek

      Being a secularist myself, I have no love for the Law and Justice party. But this article is as superficial as it gets. It reminds me of the post 9-11 “They hate us for our freedoms” drivel.

      There is no mention of the thoroughly disfunctional European Union. Neither is there a mention of the object lesson that the Greece-troika soap opera has played in the shift within Polish society away from blind faith in “liberal institutions”.

      Please remember that the religious and nationalist Law and Justice has greater antipathy to Russia than the Internationalist flunkies of Tusk and company. Authoritarian they may be, but there us no danger of them drifting into the Russian sphere of influence.

      1. OIFVet

        It’s hardly a surprise given who the author is. Ivan Krastev is the director of the Bulgarian Center for Liberal Strategies, generously funded by the Aspen institute, indirectly by Soros fronts and NED. Also funded by the European Council on Foreign Relations, of which Krastev is also a member. You don’t expect the NYT to publish anything other than a transnational establishment hit piece, do you? And Krastev is quite the hitman… Funny thing about these Eastern European defenders of liberal democracies is that their parents and grandparents were, with rare exceptions, high level communist party nomenklatura. Krastev is no exception.

  11. DJG

    Today is Saint Lucy’s Day, once the shortest day of the year (according to Julian calendar). So: the deathless meditation by John Donne.

    And a reminder that Saint Lucy, patron of light and eyesight, is such a big deal that she has two shrines (two!) in Syracuse, Sicily, her hometown.

    1. susan the other

      Thanks for telling me about St. Lucy’s Day. I’m going to adopt it as my own personal New Year’s Eve bec. I suffer so much from seasonal lack of daylight.d Like totally nuts. I’m definitely a SAD kinda person. Good old Lucifer. Why don’t we know more about this holiday? It would be a good replacement for Christmas which has become so very obscene.

  12. Brindle

    Obama’s statement on COP21. This a PR piece, nothing more.
    “powerful”..”unleash” …”innovation”..”bold”…”empowering”—–sounds like a commercial for New Improved Tide. Notice how he singles out “investors”—-Ka Ching $$

    —“Moreover, this agreement sends a powerful signal that the world is firmly committed to a low-carbon future. And that has the potential to unleash investment and innovation in clean energy at a scale we have never seen before. The targets we’ve set are bold. And by empowering businesses, scientists, engineers, workers, and the private sector — investors — to work together, this agreement represents the best chance we’ve had to save the one planet that we’ve got”—.

  13. SoCal Rhino

    Freedom of speech does not give you the right to shout “fire” in a crowded theatre. Constitutional rights should not extend to people whose names appear on a government list that cannot be challenged. Congress shall enact no law establishing religion. Which of these is not like the others?

    Many people feel the 2nd amendment is an anachronism. I think that’s a reasonable opinion to have. So elimininate it. The mechanism is the amendment process. Or pressure presidents to pack the court with judges who agree with that so they can discover new meaning in the old doc, the method that seems to be used of late.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      The last Constitutional amendment was passed in 1992, about congressional salary, the 27th amendment.

      The one before that, quoting Wiki: it prohibits the denial of the right of US citizens, eighteen years of age or older, to vote on account of age.

      That one is interesting because the amendment isitself predicated on age – you are not to be denied (on account of age), but you have to be 18 or older to this amendment to apply to you.

      In any case, it’s been a long time since the last amendment.

    2. ambrit

      Unfortunately, over the last thirty years or so, the Supreme court has reverted to its’ traditional role of ‘protector’ of the elites. Today, and, for all I know, forever, the “well regulated militia” of Second Amendment fame has come to be a private army. It takes money to equip and train a militia. When the hardware was simple and robust, the ‘commons’ had a literal fighting chance. Now that technology has made ‘fighting’ so complicated and expensive, is it any wonder that the majority of the private armies in America work for the rich? (For purposes of discussion, I include local police forces in the category of private army. Spend some time with the local ‘mounties’ and you will quickly understand how this works.)
      So, for any serious attempt at gun control now, an Amendment looks to be the easiest and most feasible course.

  14. Jef

    Of all the things that the thousands of 3 year olds and other toddlers die from every year I bet guns are less than 1%.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      So we shouldn’t prevent clearly preventable deaths. By your logic, if surgeons not using sterilized equipment before an operation would only account of 1% of deaths in that age cohort, you’d be fine with surgeons using dirty scalpels.

    2. cwaltz

      What I don’t understand is why anyone that has a toddler in their household isn’t safeguarding their weapons or at the very least putting a trigger lock on the darn thing when at home.

      I have to wonder if these people are as lackadaisical with medication or other things that could potentially harm their offspring.

      We have several guns in our household over the years and even now when my kids are young adults and teens I have my husband locking up the ammo and the guns separately. They’re weapons for cripes sake with potential for lethal consequences. How much evidence do people need of that before they start treating them that way instead of leaving them lying around?

      1. Yves Smith Post author

        People all over the country treat guns like toys or fashion accessories.

        I have a friend who is over 60 in Dallas. She say all her girlfriends carry guns in their purses. Loaded guns.

        You can see how insane and dangerous this is. Even a cop with a holstered pistol on his hip can’t get it out fast enough to shoot an assailant within 21 feet if the assailant charges him. Guns are just not all that useful in “self defense” situations. And these ladies with guns in their bags are going to be even slower in finding them and pulling them out than a cop with a gun on his hip.

        I’m surprised that there aren’t more report of women hurting themselves by discharging the guns in their bags…unless they have wound up being just discharges or minor injuries by virtue of luck, or they’ve made sure the triggers are not very sensitive.

  15. ProNewerDeal

    what do you think of Trump’s motivation in the Pres race, specifically given Trump’s H1tleresque “keep all Muslims out” “policy”?

    I would imagine that Trump’s obituary/”legacy” will include this bigotry as a major negative point. I find it bizarre that narcissist Trump would not be concerned with other 0.1%ers’ likely negative opinion of him given the bigotry. Or perhaps I am naive, & behind closed doors, many 0.1%ers are KKKlanish in their bigotry?

    1 Does Trump want to be elected Pres & act as a blatant Dictator (even moreso than Bush43 & 0bama’s NSA spying, dictator-murdering US citizens in Yemen, etc), & feels the bigotry is his best chance in achieving being Pres?

    2 Is Trump, H Clinton’s old buddy, a H Clinton wingman, designed to wreck the R Team’s 2016 Pres chances, where in return if H Clinton is elected, H Clinton will give Trump will get some $1B+ crony capitalist deal (either no-bid Gov Contract, or selectively not regulating some business Trump does)? In this scenario, Trump is willing to trash his own reputation in order to build up the family fortune for his children, so his children might be the next gen’s Koch Bros or Walton Heirs in money/power.

    Those are the 2 scenarios I can guesstimate. What do you think?

  16. Daryl

    > Police use water cannon to break up Leipzig protests against neo-Nazi march DW

    I’m not sure why people are expected to stick to only nonviolent protests against neo-Nazis. Engaging every single option against them seems like a good idea to me, although frankly it all sounds trumped up anyway, the Euro version of “he had a gun/knife/strange object/okay he didn’t actually have anything.”

  17. OIFVet

    #Fail! First U.S. Flight of Fancy New Airbus Jet Ends in Disaster:

    The inaugural U.S. flight of one of Airbus’s newest aircraft models was supposed to be a big deal, showcasing the impressive new jumbo jet on its very first trip from New York’s John F. Kennedy Airport.

    Instead, it was spectacularly terrifying and embarrassing fail. The high tech jet’s computer system aborted it’s own takeoff — because it deemed the runway too short…

    Eventually the highest-ranking executive on the Airbus explained to the travlers there was no reason to fear for their safety. “For some reason the A350 decided that our 11,000-foot runway was too short to support the takeoff, and the plane applied the brakes at full force — all on its own”

    I am sure these glitches will not not happen in self-driving cars. If prior history is any guide, unintended acceleration is the norm…

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      In the good old days, all one needed to do was to bang on the computer a few times and all would be well with the take off.

  18. neo-realist

    Re race discrimination by Airbnb hosts, I probably could do ok since I’ve got a waspy name. But even in booking hotels, I make sure I bring the printout documentation of reservation/payment from the online source, e.g.,, when checking in so that the person at the counter has no choice but to get your hotel room key when your brown face shows up at the counter. I’ve been told on at least one occasion, “Mr. ———-, I can’t find you in the system” (deliberately?).

    On a slight tangent, Even the waspy name won’t save you from discrimination when your resume successfully gets through the gatekeepers and you get to the actual interview in which, in some cases, you are confronted by the hiring manager with eyepopping or jawdropping looks or a look of shock and fear throughout the interview (doublecrosser!), which has tended to result in not getting the gig.

  19. Chauncey Gardiner

    Nice piece from the Telegraph on Ian Taylor of Vitol. But know little more of a substantive nature about Vitol and its competitors than before I read the article, other than that Vitol is BIG.

    Wonder when one of these very large commodity trading firms, banks or corporations (and their creditors) are going to be caught out in this Great Commodities Bust and deflation?

  20. Oregoncharles

    “This is what happens if Republicans face a brokered convention Washington Post (Oregoncharles)”

    Note that “brokered” is a misleading term. The correct term is “contested” – that is, no one has a clear majority going in. In reality, although it hasn’t happened in a long time (anybody remember when it happened last?), this is what conventions are for. Granted, it’s also an opportunity for shenanigans, as in power brokers twisting the result – the Republicans have ex-officio “super” delegates, too.

    The suspicion that will be attached to a “brokered” convention, even though they used to be the norm, reflects the antiquated, anti-democratic, and dysfunctional state of our electoral system. The solution is a runoff, but two-stage, “top two” runoffs such as France and Louisiana use merely transfer the spoiler effect to the first stage. I don’t see it mentioned, but LePen Sr. made it to the Presidential runoff in France years ago because there were two left-wing candidates. And a Klan-connected candidate (David Duke) made it to the governor runoff in Louisiana.

    There is a simple solution to these dilemmas: variously called Preference, Ranked Choice, or Instant Runoff voting, it eliminates the spoiler effect and most “strategic” voting, settles ties, and provides a majority winner, all in a single election. You can look up the details – is a good source. It’s been around a long time and is used in some cities, like San Francisco, and countries like Australia, but it’s just too democratic for our legacy parties – they’d both evaporate like dew on a sunny day if it was in use.

    In the meantime, there’s a decent possibility we’ll have nominating conventions worth watching, for once.

  21. allan

    Beleaguered by electronic record mandates, some doctors burning out

    When Dr. Niva Lubin-Johnson sees her last patient of the day, she knows it’s not quitting time. Not even close. …

    There are so many boxes to click through, she wonders whether she spends more time with her patients or with her computer. She’s had to cut back from seeing four patients an hour to three so she doesn’t feel overwhelmed. When she does examine patients, she also spends much of her time on her laptop, filling out dozens of electronic forms mandated by law. …

    More and more, doctors are grumbling that federal mandates are clogging up their days with busy work, turning them into data-entry clerks and taking time away from patient care.

    Even more upsetting, they say, is that after spending hours entering data, software crashes or refuses to upload to national databases. Computer systems among hospitals and laboratories often can’t talk to each other. …

    1. susan the other

      electronic medical records will need fine tuning, but aside from concerns about privacy, electronic records are a big step in coordinating our diagnoses, and treatments and even a good source of info for all sorts of research – so don’t be too paranoid.

  22. Oregoncharles

    “Fear Not: More Americans Support Bernie Sanders Than Donald Trump — No Matter What TV Says Raw Story. ”

    “More” depends entirely on there being more Democrats – but polls disagree about that. I’ve seen at least one that showed a bit more Republicans. Again: their numbers are now so low that we’re talking about a minority of voters BETWEEN them.

    OTOH: Bernie’s numbers may be higher than appears because so many of his supporters aren’t Democrats and may not be counted. At an event the other night I spoke with at least 3 Greens who’ve registered Dem in order to vote for him (this pattern is the bane of our existence, since we need registrations to stay on the ballot). If that’s any indication, there’ll be Bernie voters coming out of the woodwork. I’m not so sure that can overcome Hillary’s 60% and gaining, at last count, and the details depend on state law, but there may be some surprises.

      1. Oregoncharles

        That’s the general, not the primary. Again, the legacy parties are down to only about 25% each of the electorate; not at all representative. The conservative rump of the Democratic party are the ones being polled.

        My point is that a lot of those voters who aren’t presently Democrats and aren’t being polled may participate in the primary anyway, depending on their state law. It’s good news for Sanders supporters, but there’s presently no way to know how large the effect will be.

    1. wbgonne

      Yes, Sanders’ only real hope is to dramatically expand the Democratic primary pool. I don’t know. Is there really that much happening in social media that will endure and actually get people out to vote in primaries? Beats me. (Sorry about the defectors but — between you and me — there’s a fair chance they’ll be returning soon. And if not, that means Sanders is taking off. Win-win!)

    2. Chauncey Gardiner

      Media Matters last Friday noted the remarkably skewed coverage of Trump by ABC, CBS and NBC, and the almost complete lack of coverage of Senator Sanders’ campaign by the corporate networks. Why is this so?…

      I have also noticed that Hillary Clinton is also repeatedly being voiced as the presumptive nominee of the Democratic Party by featured political analysts on televised evening news programs, including PBS. All this is occurring in an apparent effort by corporate-owned media to limit and frame voters’ choices before a single voter has voted their candidate preference in any state’s primary election, or a single precinct caucus reported in. Whatever happened to the Fairness Doctrine and FCC enforcement of the Equal Time rule?

    1. m

      Not if they don’t understand you.

      Thus, to succeed everywhere, that’s the first thing to learn with any new language.

  23. readerOfTeaLeaves

    I hate to see some TSA or immigration employee get crucified over the K-Pop issue — I can imagine why they thought the trip to US with film cameras, very pretty young women, and sexy outfits was suspect.
    They were trying to crack down on something that, IMVHO, is reprehensible.
    I’d hate to see the US employees get the shaft for it.

    But since the topic of K-Pop came up, here’s a bit of shameless shilling from a huge fan — here is one of the latest music videos from Korea’s amazing Super Junior – lots of sexuality going on in this video, so one can see that the TSA types are actually not delusional:
    The K-Pop groups have some incredible choreography and great beats; they get plenty of my $$ via iTunes.

    I’m not aware of this kind of talent and skill in US since the heyday of Motown, although I’m sure that I’ve missed plenty.

    1. ambrit

      Whoever is doing their music has listened to a lot of old Motown.
      Whoever also plotted the video has embraced the Eternal Verity of advertising: sex and violence sell.
      What puzzles me is that this is coming out of a country that has people still around who saw the real thing way back when.

  24. readerOfTeaLeaves

    Incredibly, this item on Microsoft’s use of tax havens showed up prominently on Page 1 of Seattle’s Sunday SeaTimes.

    Shoutouts should go to the Tax Justice Network, Nicholas Shaxon, the Occupy Movement, the Real News Network, Yves, and NC – among others. (The NYTimes has done some good stuff.)

    I interpret this ‘tea leaf’ as one more symptom of people (even those of us with bank accounts, medical coverage, and semi-affluence) being completely fed up with the existing inequality, offshoring, and the irrational, economic idiocy of trickle-down view of economics.
    A symptom of people wanting to find new, better ways of making sense of the world.

    1. Carla

      Thanks for posting this.

      ““Firms will argue that it’s confidential information,” said Clausing, the Reed College economist. “But maybe where you’re paying your taxes shouldn’t be a vital part of your business strategy. If you’re shoving a bunch of money in Bermuda and you’re embarrassed about it, that’s something you have to fix.”

      Gee, I consider where I’m paying my taxes to be “confidential,” too. I kinda doubt the IRS would agree. And somehow, if I happen to “under-pay” my taxes, I’m sure gonna tell the IRS I’m embarrassed. I doubt that will fly, but I’ll keep y’all posted.

  25. OIFVet

    So Le Pen’s FN lost the second round today. Yay?! What does it say about the establishment when the “socialists” and Sarkozy’s right, supposedly ideological foes, work together to prevent the rise of any challenge to the establishment that brought about the miserable status quo?

    1. Daryl

      So the socialists actually withdrew candidates in order to elect conservatives and keep the far-right out of office? Were they getting election advice from the DNC?

      1. wbgonne

        Were they getting election advice from the DNC?

        Good one! With a real kernel of truth. The collaboration of the Corporate Right with the neolibertarian faux-Left (perhaps “Professional Left” is better?) in the U.S. and around the world holds one point most dear: they would rather lose elections than see any change to the status quo. They know the prime directive and they follow it. That is true of challenges from the Left or, as here in France, from the Right. The essential thing for the corporatocracy is to maintain the primacy of unchecked global capitalism.

        The wrinkle in France is that the populist mantle has been seized by the Right, which version of populism typically contains a powerful (if not predominant) nativist, anti-immigrant element. That makes it difficult for the populist Left and the populist Right to collaborate, never mind merge. But perhaps such collaboration can be established. I hope so because, at the moment, I have a hard time seeing either the populist Left or the populist Right alone beating the combined forces of the Corporate Right and the Professional Left.

        1. OIFVet

          I will offer a correction. Many of the new FN voters are disaffected socialist voters. Elsewhere in Europe the populist left also exhibits anti-immigrant rhetoric. So I would be careful about generalizations

          1. wbgonne

            Fair enough. I don’t know all that much about European politics. Since immigration crosses ideology, that appears to remove one major barrier to a Left-Right populist collaboration, if not merger. Yes?

            1. OIFVet

              Possibly. What I see happening is that the old left-right paradigm is no longer an adequate way to frame ideology. These distinctions are dying IMO. Europe will live through some interesting times ahead, as the (Chinese?) curse goes.

  26. Jeff W

    K-Pop Group Oh My Girl Reportedly Detained at LAX After Being ‘Mistaken’ for Sex Workers

    It’s even dopier and more clueless than that article reports. The official statement from WM Entertainment, the record label for the group, says:

    The person in charge of customs asked Oh My Girl and the staff what relationship they had with each other, and one of the staff used the word ‘sister’ and a misunderstanding occurred. They thought it was strange that we were not blood related, but said that we were ‘sisters’. And so they took extra attention to the large quantity of items and outfits we had. And since the members are young girls, they were mistaken as ‘working women’ (prostitutes) which the U.S. has a big issue with right now.

    “Sister” (or “brother”) is one way that people routinely refer to each other in Korean. (That’s what “oppa” in “Gangnam Style” means—“elder brother” [used by females]). One would think that immigration would have the slightest ounce of sensitivity as to how people might address each other in other cultures—or maybe a Korean interpreter on hand—and resolve this issue fairly quickly but it, instead, snowballs into a 15-hour incident and, no surprise, the group decided to return home immediately afterwards.

    There is the question of whether the group had proper visas. Oh My Girl was in Los Angeles to do a promotional event at the Beverly Hilton—they weren’t getting paid for their gig. The company contends that, as such, the group did not need, and so didn’t have, performance visas. Although a performance visa requires that at least three-quarters of the members of the group “have had a substantial and sustained relationship with the group for at least one year” and Oh My Girl debuted just late last March, most of them would have had to have been in training together well before that, and therefore, the group probably would have met the one-year requirement. (There’s some speculation WM Entertainment was just being too cheap to pay for performance visas.) In any case, B1A4, also under management of WM Entertainment (and, coincidentally, the “brother group” of Oh My Girl), has been in the US a few times, as recently as last month, without incident, so WM Entertainment certainly knows about performance visas.

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