Links 12/16/15

Dear readers: forgive the lack of original posts today, and we may be thin tomorrow too. I have a TON of year end business stuff I have yet to complete, plus Christmas tasks, plus being made to abandon my duty station for personal maintenance and a wee bit of social activity.

How hummingbirds avoid overheating BBC (David L)

The Case Against the Woman Who Dared to Give Water to Someone Else’s Pigs Pacific Standard (Chuck L) :-(

‘Thieves stole my wife’s house and sold it for £1.3million’: As a veteran war reporter, Max Hastings thought he was unshockable. That was until he got a jaw-dropping email.. Daily Mail (Jeff W)

Physicists in Europe Find Tantalizing Hints of a Mysterious New Particle New York Times (David L)

The Strangest, Most Spectacular Bridge Collapse (And How We Got It Wrong) Motherboard (Chuck L). A terrific article.

North Slope permafrost thawing sooner than expected PhysOrg (Chuck L)

Facebook’s open-sourcing of AI hardware is the start of the deep-learning revolution ars technica (David L)

This AI expert says that a robot economy will force us to give people unconditional free money Business Insider (David L). I think we’ll see flying cars first.

This man’s potentially huge medical breakthrough can’t get any funding — and now he’s trying something desperate TechInsider

Is Yogurt the Secret to Happiness? Alternet. Junk science! First, not double blind, placebo controlled. Signs of researcher bias too. Second, how much yogurt actually has in the way of good bacteria in it depends a lot on a. how it was cultured and b. whether it was kept cool enough all the time since it was made. No evidence in this writeup as to whether they bothered testing any of the yogurts for their probiotic content, so it appears completely uncontrolled for that too. Third, I can tell you that as much as I like yogurt (plain!), ice cream makes me happier ANY time.

Appeals court leaves U.S. mercury pollution rules in place Reuters. EM: “Another TPP lawsuit waiting to happen.”

Fitch: Oz “falling behind” other ‘AAA’ rated sovereigns MacroBusiness


Why China Is Loosening the Yuan’s Ties to the Dollar Wall Street Journal

Who’s investigating fake Chinese goods? Fake investigators Associated Press

What I learned about Greece’s year from hell Politico. “Year”? As if it just started and is about to end?

Refugee Crisis

Immigration fears and policy uncertainty VoxEU

Israeli man arrested for alleged organ trafficking of Syrian refugees American Herald Tribune (furzy)

Denmark passes law to seize jewelry from refugees to cover expense Daily Sabah (Alan C)


How the Arab Spring Became the Arab Cataclysm New Yorker (resilc)

3 ISIS Twitter accounts ‘trace back to UK govt computers,’ claim hackers RT (Chuck L)

Most Americans Now Support Using Ground Troops World Affairs Journal (resilc)

Natural Resources Were Supposed to Make Afghanistan Rich. Here’s What’s Happening to Them. Nation (resilc)

Imperial Collapse Watch

When the State Department tries to choose Muslim thought leaders to win “hearts and minds Glenn Greenwald, Intercept

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

Europe Approves Tough New Data Protection Rules New York Times

Gun and bomb attack threat closes Los Angeles schools in likely hoax Reuters. Lambert: “Nobody could have predicted….Once a tool of elites, gaslighting has become a mass phenomenon.”

New York Dismisses L.A. Bomb Threat as Creation of “Homeland Fan” Vanity Fair (resilc)

The future military-artificial intelligence complex? FT Alphaville


The 13 biggest moments of the GOP debate Politico

In Republican Debate, Donald Trump and Marco Rubio Become Targets New York Times

And the winner is…ISIS Huffington Post

Ted Cruz Under Attack in Iowa for Bucking Ethanol Lobby Intercept

Don’t Worry, Ted Cruz Isn’t Going to Win the Republican Nomination Salon

5 Questions on the Islamic State for GOP Presidential Candidates War on the Rocks (resilc)

Dyson’s “Yes She Can” Is Another Lazy, Shameless Official Spokesnegro Audition Tape Bruce Dixon

Obama opens White House doors to forge CEO alliances Reuters. EM: “See if you can get through paragraph 1 before succumbing to loud guffaws and derisive laughter.”

Congressional Leaders Agree to Lift 40-Year Ban on Oil Exports Wall Street Journal

Nobody Worries About Water Crises Until They Happen on American Soil Charles Pierce, Esquire (resilc)

Birmingham Mayor and Councilman Get Into Fisticuffs at City Hall Gawker

Police State Watch

LAPD found no bias in all 1,356 complaints filed against officers Los Angeles Times (Alan C)

How To Predict Bad Cops In Chicago FiveThirtyEight (resilc). Pre-crime turnabout is fair play?

Clothing Retailers Lost $185 Million In November Because The Weather Is Too Nice Consumerist

Fannie and Freddie called upon to securitize more low-income loans Housing Wire

How Hedge Funds Deepen Puerto Rico’s Debt Crisis David Dayen, American Prospect

Empire State Manufacturing Contracts Fifth Month, Employment and Workweek Worst Since 2009 Michael Shedlock

Freight Shipments Go to Heck, Hammered by Inventory Glut, Weak Demand Wolf Richter

Battered, Apologetic and Still Pitching Their Hedge Funds New York Times

Class Warfare

“American Dream” over and voters know it Charles Hugh Smith. The post has apparently already gone viral.

Scalia Has It Backwards: Black Students Must Work Twice as Hard as White Classmates Guardian

Antidote du jour (@beautifulnature):

racing cheetah links

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email


    1. fresno dan

      I watched the republican debate so you don’t have to. My favorites
      Paul: Regime change hasn’t won. Toppling secular dictators in the Middle East has only led to chaos and the rise of radical Islam.

      Fiorina: I have been tested. I have beaten breast cancer. I have buried a child. I started as a secretary. (Joe Biden club…am I old fashioned, but is using your own dead child to shill a candidacy despicable???)

      RUBIO: ……..And that ground force must be primarily made up of Sunni Arabs themselves, Sunni Arabs that reject them ideologically and confront them militarily.
      (This is here to document the press ACTUALLY doing its job – a great follow up question much later)

      RUBIO: Yes, let me — three points of distinction. The first is, if you’re an American citizen and you decide to join up with ISIS, we’re not going to read you your Miranda rights. You’re going to be treated as an enemy combatant, a member of an army attacking this country.
      (Mr. Rubio, great believer in the infallibility of government. Its not that you are ACCUSED of being in ISIS…I guess everybody who joins ISIS provides a document written in their own blood. NOBODY EVER accused of being in ISIS will deny it….and the government NEVER EVER accuses innocent people…just don‘t happen)

      Senator Paul, Senator Paul, I want to go back to my initial question, which is you saying that ISIS grew stronger because of hawks in your party. And do you think your own party, the people who you’re describing, are responsible for the rise of ISIS?

      PAUL: I think that if you believe in regime change, you’re mistaken. In 2013, we put 600 tons of weapons — us, Saudi Arabia, and Qatar — into the war against Assad. By pushing Assad back, we did create a safe space.

      We had people coming to our Foreign Relations Committee and saying, “Oh, we need to arm the allies of Al Qaida.” They are still saying this. It is a crazy notion. This is the biggest debate we should be having tonight is is regime change a good idea; has it been a good idea.

      There are still people — the majority on the stage, they want to topple Assad. And then there will be chaos, and I think ISIS will then be in charge of Syria.

      ((Here is the press’s great follow up question to Rubio))
      BLITZER: ….I want to get to Senator Rubio right now. Let’s talk about, one of the aspects of your strategy, you say the only way to defeat ISIS is with ground forces made up primarily of Sunni-Arab forces. Those Arab nations, though, as you well know, they’ve conducted less than five percent of the airstrikes and actually none since August. What makes you think they are willing to fight on the ground if they’re not even willing to fight from the air?

      RUBIO: Well, they most certainly will have to be worked on to provide more than what they are doing now. There’s no doubt about it. And there’s one — one major reason why they have not been willing to be a broader part of the coalition, and that is they have lost complete trust and confidence in this president. This president cut a deal with their moral enemy, the Shia, in Iran. And this is the reason why they no longer trust this president and are willing to work alongside them.
      (So Rubio will use his big brown eyes – I will concede he is a cute guy – to charm the Saudi’s into fighting….)

      BLITZER: Ms. Fiorina, the former defense secretary, Bob Gates, says the chances of getting Sunni-Arab forces on the ground to get the job done, his words, “chances very remote.” What’s your strategy?

      FIORINA: Well, first I’ll just point out that talking tough is not the same as being strong. And to wage war, we need a commander in chief who has made tough calls in tough times and stood up to be held accountable over and over, not first-term senators who’ve never made an executive decision in their life.

      One of the things I would immediately do, in addition to defeating them here at home, is bring back the warrior class — Petraeus, McChrystal, Mattis, Keane, Flynn. Every single one of these generals I know. Every one was retired early because they told President Obama things that he didn’t want to hear.

      We must have Sunni-Arabs involved in this coalition. We must commit leadership, strength, support and resolve. I’ll just add that Margaret Thatcher once said, “If you want something talked about, ask a man; if you want something done, ask a woman.”

      (alright – I also am a big believer in using quotes, and that Thatcher quote is a HUMDINGER that will get those Saudi Sunnis to fight!!!! )

      Senator Cruz, you have said the world would be safer today if Saddam Hussein were still in power in Iraq, Moammar Gadhafi ruled Libya, and Hosni Mubarak ruled Egypt. So would it be your policy to preserve dictatorships, rather than promoting democracy in the Middle East?

      CRUZ: Wolf, I believe in a America first foreign policy, that far too often President Obama and Hillary Clinton — and, unfortunately, more than a few Republicans —
      have gotten distracted from the central focus of keeping this country safe.
      And we need to learn from history. These same leaders — Obama, Clinton, and far too many Republicans — want to topple Assad.
      Assad is a bad man. Gadhafi was a bad man. Mubarak had a terrible human rights record. But they were assisting us — at least Gadhafi and Mubarak — in fighting radical Islamic terrorists.
      (WOW!!!! Something different)

      Senator Rubio, you supported the removal of Moammar Gadhafi in Libya. Now that country is in turmoil, as ISIS is clearly growing there. Senator Cruz says you haven’t learned your lesson. Do you have any regrets for supporting President Obama’s intervention in Libya?
      (I am not taking up space with his non answer)

      Mr. Trump, are Americans safer with dictators running the world in the Middle East?
      TRUMP: In my opinion, we’ve spent $4 trillion trying to topple various people that frankly, if they were there and if we could’ve spent that $4 trillion in the United States to fix our roads, our bridges, and all of the other problems; our airports and all of the other problems we’ve had, we would’ve been a lot better off. I can tell you that right now.

      We have done a tremendous disservice, not only to Middle East, we’ve done a tremendous disservice to humanity. The people that have been killed, the people that have wiped away, and for what? It’s not like we had victory.

      It’s a mess. The Middle East is totally destabilized. A total and complete mess. I wish we had the $4 trillion or $5 trillion. I wish it were spent right here in the United States, on our schools, hospitals, roads, airports, and everything else that are all falling apart.
      (APPLAUSE) (No matter how bad Trump is, to have the above said at a repub debate makes his candidacy worth it)

      FIORINA: That is exactly what President Obama said. I’m amazed to hear that from a republican presidential candidate. But let’s just start with, who got it wrong? Who really got it wrong?
      Hillary Clinton has gotten every foreign policy challenge wrong.
      (Uh, what happened to Iraq Carly????? You think that was a good idea or not??? Who REALLY got it Wrong???? Maybe a Bush????? Geeeeezzzz)


      BLITZER: Hold on Governor Bush., here’s the question. You said, “getting rid of Saddam Hussein in your words was a pretty good deal.” In light of what has happened in Iraq, do you still feel that way?

      BUSH: I do. I think the lesson’s learned are that we have to have to have a strategy to get in and a strategy to get out. Which means, that you create a stable situation.
      (and…Bushes are good at that??????? You really think people will think Iraq was a good deal, so let’s have another Bush??? That the Bush “strategy was well designed, well executed??? We’re in a stable situation??? astounding)

      BLITZER: Governor Christie, if the U.S. imposed a no-fly zone over Syria and a Russian plane encroached, invaded that no-fly zone, would you be prepared to shoot down that Russian plane and risk war with Russia?

      CHRISTIE: Not only would I be prepared to do it, I would do it. A no-fly zone means a no-fly zone, Wolf. That’s what it means. See, maybe — maybe because I’m from New Jersey, I just have this kind of plain language hangup. But I would make very clear — I would not talk to Vladimir Putin. In fact, I would talk to Vladimir Putin a lot. But I’d say to him, “Listen, Mr. President, there’s a no-fly zone in Syria; you fly in, it applies to you.” And yes, we would shoot down the planes of Russian pilots if in fact they were stupid enough to think that this president was the same feckless weakling that the president we have in the Oval Office is right now.

      ((OK, not enough wars with mid east countries, let’s expand and include Russia. All War, 24/7.
      BTW, “feckless weakling“ Is this, or is this not, WORSE than anything Trump has directed at any person??? Where was the yammering and tsk tsking when Christie said that????))

      1. Katniss Everdeen

        And I watched the post mortem on Morning Joe this a. m. so YOU don’t have to.

        In his typical moronic, arrested-development fashion, joe proclaimed HIS favorite moment to be ben carson’s mangling of reince priebus’ name into reince PUBIS.

        Much male giggling (ugh!!), shoulder slapping and Barbara Billingsley-esque chiding from serious journalist mika ensued. Every time.

        Elsewhere on the interwebs, Carly Fiorina’s recounting of her tortured history from secretary to boardroom b-word was referred to as going “full vagina.”

        I don’t write this stupid stuff, I just repeat it.

        1. fresno dan

          I try to tell myself that such nonsense is on TV because of the economics of cable TV and such “entertainment”

          To me, the US with ocean bodyguards, seems to believe that there will never be any serious consequences to our war mongering. Both Fiorina and Christie seem to think attacking Nuclear Russia is risk free…

  1. scott

    A good study on yogurt brands. This will not show up on a Google search, and links to it keep getting taken down. Bottoms line, most of the major brands have so few live cultures that they can’t really be called yogurt.

    While on the topic of bad water and bacteria, this crap is happening all over Wisconsin:

    1. curlydan

      thanks for that link. The amount of sugar in yogurt is sometimes shocking. “Brands
      that include 22 or more grams of sugar per 6-ounce serving receive 0 points. (That’s more sugar than in
      a Twinkie (18 grams) or in 4 Oreo cookies (18 grams)!).” I stopped buying Yoplait for my kids when I noticed that it had 26g of sugar in one tiny package. Luckily, they recently reduced the sugar to 18g (or half the sugar in a 12oz Coke), but it’s still crazy to see how pumped up in sugar that brand was. My cynical mind makes me think they reduced the sugar to save costs.

      1. PhilK

        My cynical mind makes me think they reduced the sugar to save costs.

        The sugar can also be replaced with high-fructose corn syrup, as in Costco’s yogurt.

      2. Katniss Everdeen

        If you’re looking for a good probiotic with zero sugar, try a couple of tablespoons of Bragg’s Organic Unfiltered Apple Cider Vinegar with The “Mother” in a glass of water every day.

        You’ll get used to the taste, and it will have your gut “humming” in no time.

      3. spooz

        Where on your link do they rate the yogurts for live cultures? I see the yogurts being rated for additives like stabilizers and preservatives, but no measure of live cultures.

        1. OIFVet

          Some of the makers provide the information on their websites. The top scorers on the list are quite culture-rich, the taste of real yogurt depends upon it being culture-rich.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          I was going to ask that.

          How easy, for a non-kitchen person like me? Off my head, I think, where do I get the live cultures for it and do I need special utensils?

          1. OIFVet

            You can get the live cultures from high-quality yogurts. Preferably a Bulgarian-style yogurt with shelf live of under a month to ensure purity (like White Mountain yogurt. Dilute a bit of it with water, mix well by and, and to fresh milk at room temperature or slightly warmer, cover with terry cloth or something similar, and let cultures go to work for up to three hours. Ridiculously easy, really, and quite delicious. Full recipes are easy to google.

            1. tim s

              Interesting. I’ve never seen instructions like yours.

              I agree, it is ridiculously easy to make yogurt. I scald milk (~170F), let it cool to room temperature, add good quality starter (greek yogurt or similar) at about 1/4 cup per gallon, and set in warm spot and leave until it is finished. We leave ours in the oven with only the light on overnight, or outside all day if it is warmer weather. Bottom line, any warm spot will do.

              Given how much a quart of quality yogurt costs at around $8/quart, you can do very well with buying a gallon of organic milk and making four times that amount for basically the same amount of money. Non-organic works just as well by all appearances.

              Making yogurt is one of the most forgiving processes I’ve found. In all the years I’ve made it, I can’t recall one time that it didn’t turn out to be yogurt. Sometimes the consistency varies, but it is always yogurt, and quite often it is as fine as any of the best quality yogurt I can buy.

              Best of all, you know there is not any of the junk in so much of the commercial “yogurts”. If a yogurt has gelatin in it, I’d question whether it is actually yogurt….

              1. OIFVet

                It’s my grannies’ way in Bulgaria, but as you point out, there really is no right and wrong way to make it provided one follows the basics: milk, good live cultures, and let it ferment. Add anything else and one gets Yoplait. Ugh… One of my old classmates in Bulgaria is now an exec with Danone BG. I sometimes ask him if he has no shame peddling the fake yogurt of his corporate overlord in the country that’s given the name of L. Bulgaricus.

              2. Chris Williams

                That’s my way too. Has a natural sweetness. Makes me want to go and make some.

                I’ll just add that you can also take out some of the whey by draining the yogi through some cotton.

  2. abynormal

    The mayor of Flint, Michigan, Karen Weaver, has declared a state of emergency because of problems with the city’s water system caused by using water from the Flint River, saying the city needs more federal help.

    She announced the move Monday night and said it is intended to raise awareness of continuing problems. She said damage to children caused by lead exposure from drinking the water is irreversible and that the city will need to spend more on special education and mental health services as a result.

    “I am requesting that all things be done necessary to address this state of emergency declaration, effective immediately,” Weaver told the City Council.

    3rd MI state of emerg. dealing w/water in last couple yrs…FEMA too busy??

      1. abynormal

        suspect indeed. maybethe fact children are testing outrageous levels (effecting IQ levels…who is testing) may have something to do with it, or at least a reason to get in front of the ON-GOING catastrophe.

    1. bob

      Old infrastructure. The plague of the rust belt- Giant systems that only now serve less than half what they were designed to handle.

      Replace it? Pffft. Who has the money?

      They changed water supplies. Different water, different chemistry. The older lead pipes and joints are now being corroded by the now slightly acidic water. The older water supply was more basic, on the PH scale.

      This couldn’t have, or shouldn’t have been news to anyone involved in the changeover.

      Older lead infrastructure, with basic Ph water, is perfectly safe most of the time. The water ends up “scaling” over the inside of the pipe with calcites.

      Change the Ph of the water to acid and all of the sudden the scale is scoured off of the inside of the pipes, and the water goes to work leaching the lead.

      Most water systems these days try to keep the water on the slightly basic side of the Ph scale exactly because of this corrosion problem.

      I’d be more interested in finding out why they had to change the water supply, and who didn’t see this coming.

      1. bob

        Adding- They’re probably having a ton of “brown water” and valves that won’t close properly. All of the scale that was built up is now on the move, inside the water system. Just in time for winter water main breaks. This is just harmless calcium, but it’s not liquid, yet, and ends up clogging up the works.

        Fixing a frozen or broken main is a lot harder to do when every valve you try to close is blocked from operating by chunks of scale that have now lodged into the valves. You can’t fix a water leak, in most cases, until you can turn the water off (almost off works too). If the valves closest to the leak are blocked from closing, they have to move out further out, and shut down more service.

        You go from a 1 block area, to a 4 block area, then …it gets really messy.

        And all of those valves being opened and closed also adds to the amount of “junk” floating in the system.

        How to take infrastructure and completely ruin it, in one step.

  3. abynormal

    scratching head scabs Again…Denmark’s been labeled ‘Happiest Place to Live’ by huffington & NPR notes how Denmark thrives even at higher taxation (instead of 20k…60k) and on and on…there is NO mistaking the Thieving to Thrive

    “Officials said that the recent refugee surge has become an opportunity for some gangs/Government?? in Denmark. The gangs are making large amounts of money through assisting the refugees during their journey to Europe. The Denmark police recently conducted raids to arrest people for human smuggling.” has a Disney feel to it

    1. Furzy Mouse

      I just spoke to a good friend in Denmark yesterday, and the reason the Danes are “confiscating” the jewelry is that most of the “refugees” are absolutely loaded with gems and gold and other monies. They have little or no need for assistance, and yet they apply for it. Many are from the Syrian and other countries’ middle and upper class, who were all too happy to support their dictators whims and corruption while the getting was good. So, before they receive assistance, they should surrender their goodies. Why should the Danes support these wealthy emigres?

      1. JTMcPhee

        Maybe they are actually refugees?

        And why should us USans “support” the border-crossers from China, Hong Kong, etc. that are using funny munny to buy everything? or the ones going the other way, corporate persons as well as “dual-citizenship” Rich Sh_ts, building and maintaining the launching platforms of all sorts for their theft of the present and the future in pursuit of perpetual aristocracy/plutocracy?

        Oh, I get it — these people displaced and dispossessed by that “war” thing are “welfare queens,” right? And for folks who struggle to keep track of what all goes on behind the curtain, one little reminder:

        THAT Denmark, right?

      2. James Levy

        There is a huge difference between charging people who have assets for the help they receive and confiscating their goods. This smells of Jews getting fleeced to get the fuck out of Germany in the 1930s. It also sounds like blanket blaming of the victims of a terrifying civil war. “Most” of the refugees are loaded? Really? Most of them? And by loaded do you mean they have grandma and ma’s diamond rings and some gold and silver coins? When I hear loaded, I think “hundreds of thousands of dollars”, not last-ditch transportable assets you grab when you flee. If my wife and I were to flee she’d take the diamond ring my mother gave her and the few Krugerrands and Canadian Maple Leaves we keep for dire circumstances. I’d hate to have them confiscated at the Canadian border because some clown thinks that means we are “loaded.”

        1. abynormal

          in these times…”Loaded” can only derive from Financial Desperation & Embarrassment. (makes for scary bedfellows)

          “Many Danes think political correctness has smothered the migrant debate in Sweden—unlike Denmark, where no opinion is off-limits. This, they charge, has allowed the far-right Sweden Democrats, an anti-immigrant outfit with roots in neo-Nazism, to rise to the top of Swedish opinion polls as the only alternative to the soggy pro-immigration consensus.

          There is something to this. Yet Denmark’s hard line on asylum has not defanged the populists either. Over the years the DPP (which began as an offshoot of an anti-tax insurrection) has dragged moderate parties in its direction: even the Social Democrats are immigration hardliners these days. But dancing to the tune of the DPP has not blunted its appeal. The party came second in June’s election, with 21% of the vote. The Sweden Democrats, whom other Swedish parties shun, poll only a little higher.”

        2. OIFVet

          “This smells of Jews getting fleeced to get the fuck out of Germany in the 1930s.” Actually, the migrants are getting fleeced to enter Denmark. They are free to refuse to pay up and seek residency elsewhere instead.

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            Would be a shorter trip for man of them to go to stable countries like Jordan, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Israel or even Xinjiang China (this one is about the same or slightly longer).

            Why do they want to go to Denmark? It’s freezing cold there.

        3. JEHR

          James Levy, I’m not familiar with Canadian Maple Leaves. Do they grow on trees? We have Loonies and Toonies but I’m not familiar with Maple Leaves so the border people would probably not bother you as you pass through.

          1. Robert Dudek

            Not sure if you are being serious, but he’s talking about gold and/or silver coins minted in Canada.

      3. craazyman

        can they sell them back to the Syrians?

        that would end up just like a vacation. where you go and pay money for a hotel and restaurants.

        It’s hard when you have to depend on the kindness of strangers. The more strangers there are, they less kindness there is.

        It’s like K = 1/S or even S^2 or S^a where a is a parameterized variable that itself may be a quadratic or cubic function.

        The social scientists should figure this out. If they did, then you could price it efficiently so that markets clear in equilibrium and everyone would be maximizing their utility. If that was the case, nobody would be refugees or locals. Everybody would be consuming each other in a grand mathematical feast.

      1. abynormal

        the thieving is the confiscating & looting of the refugees….likened to stopping to help an accident victim while taking their jewelry, wallet etc for payment on your time

        1. cwaltz

          I think I’d need more information to call it “thieving.” If you are going somewhere with assets, it makes perfect sense that you’d get told to sell some of them to resettle before using the tax dollars of other people to provide benefits.

          It isn’t exactly fair to allow people to keep their gold and jewels while telling others to provide them with food and shelter.

          For the record, I can see why they’d want to hold on to their valuables. They’ve been through a lot and were fleeing unrest, those valuables represent security to them. However, to the Danes, they also represent the fact that these refugees have the means to cover at least some of the costs involved with settling there.

          1. bob

            “It isn’t exactly fair to allow people to keep their gold and jewels while telling others to provide them with food and shelter. ”

            What is it EXACTLY then?

            It sounds to me, EXACTLY, like stealing.

            Also, the assumed “telling others to provide them with food and shelter?” Where are the reports of this? Groups of refugees marching on Copenhagen?

            Let’s look at it this way- Rich people don’t have to carry their worth. They keep it in london, as 1 and 0’s.

            It’s taxing the poor, EXACTLY. What little they do have they brought with them, on their person, to try to support themselves. Why is that odd? Why does it need some sort of explanation, and then require confiscation (stealing, in fact)?

            Why is it so easy for you to buy into the anecdotal evidence that “everyone is rich?”

            Yes, that’s why they’re refugees! Huge opportunities!

            1. cwaltz

              It sounds to me like asset or means testing. In an ideal world it wouldn’t need to happen. However, we don’t live in an ideal world and governments are expected to maximize the use of taxpayer funds. If you have the means to help yourself, it’s to be used first. That way you are helping the ones that don’t have them means to help themselves first.

              I can assure if a rich person with 1s and 0s in London were to show up in an office and ask to use taxpayer funds to cover their necessities that they’d be told they wouldn’t be allowed help either until those 1s and 0s were depleted. It isn’t picking on the poor, it’s about making sure they have the means to help those who truly need it. Money is not an unlimited resource.

              1. bob

                “Money is not an unlimited resource.”

                Yes it is.

                “I can assure if a rich person with 1s and 0s in London were to show up in an office and ask to use taxpayer funds to cover their necessities that they’d be told they wouldn’t be allowed help either until those”

                2008. The banks showed up in every capital, got a lot more than necessities.

                ” governments are expected to maximize the use of taxpayer funds.”

                I really missed the segue from being lectured on this not being an ideal world, and that non-sequitur. How exactly does stealing jewelery follow from ‘maximizing taxpayer funds’?

                Help me out, I need a hand. I will submit to a means test.

          2. abynormal

            weeeeeeeeeeeeell waltz, if your ever homeless, with nothing but a backpack, i’ll put you up AND you’ll leave with your backpack AND probably more. if i show up homeless near you…i’ll keep moving.

            we ALL bring the character we’ve built during goodtimes to the hardtimes


            1. cwaltz

              Actually aby

              After we left the military we relocated. I lived in a motel room with 3 kids while I was pregnant with our 4th. While we did end up accepting help, we did so AFTER exhausting our own means(and I can assure you in order to get help they do look at assets here.)

              Since that time I’ve helped a variety others remembering exactly how it felt to struggle. That being said, I don’t go handing out cash without some sort of understanding of how it will be used. It’s not an unlimited resource. If you give it to people who don’t need it then you may blow through it before you can help people who do.

              Character indeed.

              1. abynormal

                justifications, mean tested with your own experiences…
                = Twain~”never argue with a fool, they will take their arm off and beat you with it”

          3. tSFV

            Hey, I know all about these guys. She’s right. Completely right. All these middle eastern oil types have money. They’re loaded! Gold everywhere. Not as much as me, but they’re up there.

            But, why stop at taking their possessions? It’s their children we should really be worried about. They have tons of kids! And kids are expensive!

            But, because of that- Do you know what a white kid is worth these days? Wow! I couldn’t believe some of the numbers I heard.

            I have a solution. The same people who are going to administer the religious tests to determine americanism are going to be sent to Europe to test for whiteness among the hoards. I bet a lot of these kids could be sold off as white kids, but we’ll let the experts determine. I think it’s an idea worth looking into. My people are already on it.

            Problem into a solution. I see all the angles folks!

            Vote Trump!

  4. IDG

    This man’s potentially huge medical breakthrough can’t get any funding — and now he’s trying something desperate

    But think of Big Pharma! System is corrupt to the bones.

    1. Katniss Everdeen

      Harvoni and sovaldi ($1000 per pill, $84,000 per course of treatment) to treat the hep C VIRUS. Guardisil against the HPV VIRUS. Adult vaccinations to prevent shingles from the herpes VIRUS. Tamiflu and vaccinations against last year’s flu VIRUS. VIRUSES may cause more cancer than previously thought.

      Those are just off the top of my head or out of the last “commercial break” of any tv show on any station.

      A trillion+ dollar industry heavily dependent on the existence of VIRUSES.

      It’s no wonder this guy can’t get 2 measly million dollars to continue his research, plus gets his grant pulled and gets kicked out of two research labs for reasons that are ‘vague’ and ‘can’t be commented on.’

      You’d think the “american cancer society” would jump at the chance to write this guy a check and rent him some lab space, but I guess they’re too busy hawking GE’s cancer diagnostic machines and chemotherapy delivery systems. And I’m sure Rider would be willing to wear pink shoes or a pink lab coat for a few pennies from the ladies in pink.

      “Some of Rider’s fans have posted comments worrying that pharmaceutical companies wouldn’t want a cure like DRACO, because it would prevent them from selling drugs over the long term. But it seems much more likely that these companies are just risk-averse in the first place, worried that a potential drug will be a failure, not that it will be too much of a success.”

      Right. I’m sure that’s it.

      1. Daryl

        I remember reading about DRACO. It sounded too good to be true; I had just assumed it turned out to be a bust.

      2. JustAnObserver

        Easy solution that should appeal to the “Base”.

        Start promoting DRACO as an Islamic Radicalisation Detector (IRD (TM)).

        Before he knows it every Repub candidate would be committing to Gazillions in public! funding … along with the NSA, DARPA, all the super-PACs, MurdoPress, …

  5. ChrisFromGeorgia

    Anyone else picking up on how the US has essentially slipped into one-party rule?

    The latest fit of “bi-partisanship” includes:

    -Lifting the ban on oil exports, right after the Paris Climate conference – kind of like swearing to be a vegetarian then heading for the steak house.

    -A bloated 1.6T budget deal that locks in tax cuts for wealthy special interests and blows out the deficit (even Nancy Pelosi is questioning that aspect)

    – They’re logrolling a cyber-security bill in the omnibus – who knows what’s in that. It will be buried in the news cycle.

    The “tea party” is a myth, a bogeyman created to distract and confuse voters into supporting “moderates.”
    The progressives have been swindled, bamboozled and apparently none in DC will stand up to K-Street and their enablers in the media.

    1. fresno dan

      Yup – I have said for years that the two party system is a rip off of professional wrestling. All sturm and drang on stage, than they go out for a drink afterwards…

      1. Eureka Springs

        Reminds me of news I read yesterday. Sec. State Kerry and Victoria Kagen Nullen paid a visit to Putin together.

        Neither dem nor pug be. Never again.

      2. ChrisFromGeorgia

        I realize at this stage that it is a platitude to say we have one party rule. However, I am chagrined that the few remaining members of Congress with any independence or backbone (Rand Paul, Alan Grayson) get baited into cooperating with their party leaders, and don’t try to work together more to stop the K-street machine.

        If you look at the conservative side of the aisle, they’ve been completely and utterly sold out by Ryan. They’d have been better off with Nancy Pelosi as speaker, because she would be more likely to help achieve their policy goals and as a bonus they’d have a villain to run against.

        Nothing has changed since Boehner left, in fact it got worse as the Ex-Im bank got revived, the sequester dumped and cronyistic tax policies that were temporary are now enshrined into law.

        So far the main channel for blow-back seems to be contained to the presidential race. It remains to be seen but I would think at some level the voters are going to start figuring this out more and going to third parties.

        1. ChrisFromGeorgia

          Also pay attention to process as well as outcome – despite the huge outcry for restoring “regular order” to the House as part of the Ryan speakership, we see another exercise in legislation via alleged “leaders” above the committee level.

          The entire omnibus appears to have been negotiated between Reid, McConnell, Pelosi, Ryan and presumably the White House. No regular members or committee chairmen need weigh in.

          The wrestling analogy is apt – this thing is rigged to prevent democratic outcomes (like left and right working together to end bad policy and law) from happening.

  6. GlobalMisanthrope

    Re What I learned about Greece’s year from hell Politico. “Year”? As if it just started and is about to end?

    Exactly right.

    Here‘s a recent interview with Varoufakis intended for a German audience. He dates the beginning of Greece’s troubles to its creation as Modern Greece in the 19th century and makes a very persuasive case for their having no end.

    The video is long, but it’s worth it. Especially regarding how the Euro Group is organized and run. Hair raising!

    1. financial matters

      Very good interview.

      Vijay Prashad talks about the period from 1989 when we had the Panama invasion and collapse of the Soviet Union as leading to an unleashing of US military power leading to the Iraq War in 2003. This war serious dented the image of the US as being a humanitarian actor and the US pushed for the UN Responsibility to Protect Act in 2005 which was used to justify the Libya invasion.

      Prashad sees the results of that invasion and what is going on now in Syria as reflecting that the period 2011-2015 is seeing the end of this US unipolarism that lasted from 1989 to 2011

  7. GlobalMisanthrope

    RE Gun and bomb attack threat closes Los Angeles schools in likely hoax

    I have to say I was shocked by this. If public officials are willing to upend the nation’s second largest city in order to keep us terrified, what will they stop at?

    1. JTMcPhee

      Keeping us terrified? What will they stop at? Maybe not stop at, maybe “activate” something called “Operation Garden Plot” and its extensions? Here’s a slightly silly link but with links to actual US Gubmint documents that lay out the parameters and operations:

      And there’s always Wiki:, and the “operation” I personally was involved in back in 1968, supposed to go along with units of the Second Armored Division (“Hell On Wheels”) to go “preserve disorder” in Chicago when people were feeling a little uppity about the direction of the Democratic Party’s convention there,

      What will “they” stop at?

      What do metastatic cancer cells and tapeworms “stop at?”

  8. craazyman

    that would be quite mysterious if physicists found a new particle only in Europe.

    That would be like animals that live in one place but not another. That’s weird. It could be alive!

    Did anybody ever consider that every time they try to find a new particle they do. When does it stop? If they looked forever would they find an infinite number of particles? I bet they would. But they don’t think of it like that. For some reason.

    1. weevish

      The really weird part is that in every single case, they’ll find the particle in the last place they look – like Europe. Spooky.

      1. craazyman

        maybe a real physicist can come in here and explain this for us. it makes no sense at all.

        it’s not as bad as economics, for sure, but it’s almost as bad. maybe this is why some physicists try to model economics! Just a theory.

        1. craazyboy

          Heisenberg Uncertainly Principal.

          Oh well. Time to get back to my new programming toy. MIT App Inventor. It’s an online graphical programming tool to make android apps without going thru the pain and drudgery of learning the android sdk and writing java code and becoming an Adept in the Eclipse development environment. There is now an app for it! It’s actually fun.

        2. fresno dan

          “The more nonstandard the better,” said Joe Lykken, the director of research at the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory and a member of one of the CERN teams. “It will give people a lot to think about. We get paid to speculate.”

          Upton Sinclair “It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends on his not understanding it.”

          Werner Heisenberg “the more precisely the position of some particle is determined, the less precisely its momentum can be known, and vice versa.”

          Upton Heisenberg “it is difficult to get a physicist to know the position of a particle, when getting a bowl of ice cream depends on where he last left his spoon”

          Werner Sinclair “An economist, locked in a box, will produce an economic article of superposition, with a 50% chance of being moronic, or a 50% chance of being idiotic….”

        3. craazyman

          you guys aren’t real physicists, so whatever you say, we have to take with a grain of salt. Isn’t there a real physicist who can come in here and explain this for us?

          if you were a real physicist you’d have a huge machine with you. the machine would give you confidence that you were right. if anybody doubted you, you’d just nod in the direction of the machine and that would shut them up.

          and you’d look at the particles through the machine, with the machine, and you wouldn’t be able to see them without the machine. then you’d see them exactly where you expected them to be. But Without the machine, all you can do is make stuff up.

          1. fresno dan

            But you can’t see most of the particles….
            No really, I’m not talking about the teeny weeny itsy bitsy particles – – I’m talking about the particles you can’t see AT ALL

            “Astrophysicists hypothesized the existence of dark matter to account for discrepancies between the mass of large astronomical objects determined from their gravitational effects, and their mass as calculated from the observable matter (stars, gas, and dust) that they can be seen to contain. Their gravitational effects suggest that their masses are much greater than the observable matter survey suggests.”



  9. Brindle

    re: Obama Opens White House Doors…..

    Your basic Daily Mail sidebar celebrity fluff piece has higher intellectual content than this drivel:

    —For Obama and his advisers, spending time with CEOs means gaining valuable insights, while gaining support for various policies. For CEOs, White House encounters may produce tangible business benefits, not to mention providing an opportunity to hobnob with the most powerful man in the world.—

    1. James Levy

      This begs so many questions: 1) fracking is a money pit–most such wells are not only uneconomical, they are gigantic losers, so why try fracking? 2) climate change; 3) it’s a political albatross of the first magnitude, so why embrace it; 4) you could put more people to work on a sustainable basis (because fracked wells deplete at an astonishing rate) on green conversion projects than you ever could with fracking, and you don’t have to pay huge royalties to American firms in order to get the rights to the toxic brew used to fracture the rocks; 5) you could put lots of educated Britons to work inventing useful and exportable green technologies rather than pay through the nose for crappy technology that pollutes your small country and has no future beyond a decade or at most two of uneconomical exploitation.

      And those are the ones I rattled off the top of my head. I’m sure thoughtful and more knowledgeable people will come up with more and better reasons this makes no sense.

      1. Daryl

        At this point, it seems to be mostly a conservative rallying point, another wedge to distract from other more important things.

      2. bob

        “1) fracking is a money pit–most such wells are not only uneconomical, they are gigantic losers”

        Losers for who? The traders love it.

        It’s also not a crazy bet, debt wise. If the company goes bust, you have a claim on the gas. It’s a gas future, of sorts.

        Equity is worthless, yes. But, look at it from the bondholders POV and it’s not that crazy, and because of the opacity of the debt markets, especially junk debt, it’s very easily gamed to the advantage of the people who know what they are buying.

        As opposed to mom and pop, who end up bag holding the subordinate debt via a “bond fund”.

        As Yves points out a lot, debt markets are much more “interesting”.

    2. jawbone

      Oh my…does Britain have many earthquakes? Gonna be fun time in the ol’ fracking waste water deposit areas….

    3. bob

      How is targeting the earth, from deep inside, with millions of anti-tank mines, even on the table to begin with?

      These people are traitors.

      Call it what it is- not “fracking”- EXPLODING!

  10. Vatch

    The cheetah kitten in the Antidote will grow up to be a faster runner than anyone who has ever competed in the Olympics, the NFL, or the NBA. But unlike the professional “athletes”, nobody will ever pay the cheetah millions of dollars.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      The next finding: a living pig emits more green house gas than an eaten dead pig over the course of its natural life.

      And the more generalized finding to all living animals.

  11. Ignim Brites

    “Most Americans Now Support Using Ground Troops” Michael J. Totten cites reports that 53% hold this position. Well, despite our prejudice for majoritarianism that won’t cut it. Even if support would jump to 90% or greater in the wake of a Sarin gas attack or Beslam like incident, the political leadership would move with extreme caution. Republican posturing about taking down ISIS is just that. It is equivalent to Obama’s posturing that he could end the bad war, Iraq, and win the good war, Afghanistan. The fact is the US has no real stake in the middle east and therefore, any position taken will immediately become an opportunity for partisan assault. And because we have no real stake we can hardly imagine that any action taken will have real consequences.

    1. James Levy

      The US does have a stake in the Middle East–the oil, and the global oil system based on the dollar that ties all nations into the US trading and debt orbit because they need dollars if they are going to get oil. You may think that not sufficient for all the blood and shenanigans that have gone into sustaining it, but the boys and girls in Washington and on Wall Street disagree, and what they say largely goes.

      1. PhilK

        WordPress seems to be confused today – I’m looking at James’ comment above, and seeing the “Click to Edit” and “Request Deletion” links. I’ve refreshed the page twice, and those links disappear, and then reappear. Not sure if it’s pertinent, but I’m using Opera on Windows XP.

        1. Daryl

          I had this same thing happen yesterday (naturally, as a helpful shit-stirrer, I mean experienced quality assurance engineer, I tried to edit the other person’s comment to no effect).

      2. Ignim Brites

        The global oil system is based on the oil not on the dollar. The dollar will remain the primary world currency and will therefore the basis for most oil markets regardless of whether or not the US maintains a military presence in the middle east. I might refine my comment to say that the US has no existential stake in the middle east. Consequently, every military posture will be perceived as an opportunity for partisan advantage as every military posture will have relatively weak domestic support. The possibility that the US can conduct the sort of sustained, spanning decades, military posture that would make a difference is nil.

        1. James Levy

          If I’m the Saudis and I buy Toshibas and Toyotas, why not take yen? If I buy Scotch whiskey (under the table) and Rolls Royces, why not pounds? Because in connivance with the USA I refuse to take yen or pounds , and force the Japanese and British to get dollars before they can purchase oil. This is HUGE.

          1. cwaltz

            I’m still convinced that a lot of Iraq was because Saddam decided that he wasn’t going to use the dollar for trade but instead utilize euros.

            It’s really not that big of a deal when you start to realize that some of the world has already decided to do exactly what you have said and work around the dollar and the country that uses it.

            Here’s an article from 2012


          2. bob

            1. The brit’s, or more accurately, the owners of the brits, in the city, print dollars. They don’t have to buy them.


            2. Brent is also considered to be “the price” of oil. london based contract on UK delivery. Yes, $ denominated, but see point 1.

            Using “the british”, what ever that means, isn’t the best example of what you are talking about. Probably the worst.

    2. Daryl

      > Michael J. Totten cites reports that 53% hold this position

      Good, they can be the first deployed then.

  12. Jerry Denim

    I watched some of the Republican debate last night propped up on my hotel bed while dozing off and on. Every time I woke up people were always saying something incredibly stupid or wrong about ISIS or US foreign policy in the middle east. Did anyone at any point during the entire debate (it seemed like it went on forever) bring up any topics besides the middle east and ISIS? Job creation? Trade policy? Tax policy? Affordable health care? The TPP? Revolving door regulation? Government corruption? Campaign finance reform? White collar prosecution? The bleeding of the general populace through draconian austerity measures in places like Flint so that bankers who hoodwinked or bribed local officials into signing trickster derivative deals can extract their pound of flesh? Maybe it happened while I was asleep but I did’t hear a single word uttered concerning domestic bread and butter issues.

    How the hell is Donald Trump going to make America great if our next generation of citizens doesn’t even have access to non-toxic drinking water? It seemed like everyone on stage in Vegas and in the audience was already suffering from the cognitive effects of lead poisioning. Who f%#g cares about ISIS?!! We have so many problems here at home but the Republican Presidential candidates don’t even feel the need to address those topics due to their base being completely preoccupied with Islamophobia. The media and debate moderators have obviously played an outsized role in this preoccupation with matters trivial and foreign. It seems like America is now a mirror image of a middle eastern auto-theocracy. Our government has slowed merged into a system of one party rule and in order to maintain public support and to distract the public from the festering corruption among the elite we are told to focus our energy on hating Muslims just as citizens in the middle east are told by their rulers/media to concentrate their energies on hating Americans and Jews.

    1. James Levy

      You must understand that 1) to Republicans, nothing is wrong with America unless it has something to do with “liberals” and 2) that infallible genius, Mr. Market, is going to solve all our problems and make us all rich if we just “let him loose.” So addressing problems is beside the point. They either only exist because Democrats exist or they are the fault of those lousy foreigners who need a good dose of bombing to set them straight. It’s that frighteningly simple in the minds of most Republicans.

  13. fresno dan

    Police Detective David Edward Abbott, a member of the Northern Virginia-Washington D.C. Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force, committed suicide Tuesday before law enforcement could arrest him on suspicion of sexually abusing minors.

    Abbott, you will recall, was the detective in the noteworthy teen sexting case from July 2014, in which the authorities sought a warrant to take the 17-year-old male suspect to the hospital, inject him with a drug that would give him an erection, photograph his genitals, and compare the photo with existing pictures of his genitals the police had confiscated from his 15-year-old girlfriend’s phone.

    The teen was eventually sentenced to one year of probation. Here’s the kicker: Abbott sued the teen’s lawyer for defamation. The lawyer, Jessica Foster, remarked to the media that the warrant to take pornographic pictures of her client—to be used as evidence that he was guilty of creating child pornography—was “crazy.”

    Authorities now believe Abbott was a pedophile. He had inappropriate contact with two young boys, ages 11 and 13, according to Police attempted to arrest him at his home earlier today, but he refused to surrender and eventually shot himself.

    The fact that any prosecutor, judge, or supervisor of this man is still employed by the government shows that protection of the populace is the last priority….

  14. Jess

    Great line from the Daily Mail story about the house selling scam:

    “I am unable to name the firm which handled the letting of Penny’s house, because her lawyer is roasting them over a slow fire and they are not quite cooked.”

  15. cripes

    “Panama war seriously dented US humanitarian image.”
    With whom, the Vietnamese, whose image of US humanitarianism was so elevated? Did somebody go to sleep for eleven years of that carnage?
    Has anybody paying attention since our liberation of the Phillipines in 1898 left 1/2 million dead civilians been uncertain about US foreign humanitarianism?
    Image in what? The NY Times?

    1. financial matters

      Fair claims.

      What I found interesting was that the US was able to squeak the Libya invasion in 2011 through the UN Security Council using the Responsibility to Protect clause. Countries were willing to give Obama the benefit of the doubt thinking he would be different than Bush and try and protect the local population. Instead it quickly became a mandate for regime change. After seeing this countries were unwilling to provide a similar green light for Syria. And also we are seeing Russia strong enough to reassert itself in the region.

Comments are closed.