Links 12/30/15

Dear readers, for some reasons there is a lot of news this week, but yours truly has competing responsibilities….Forgive me for not hat-tipping links-providers tonight. It was necessary to get more links up. Furzy, EM, Adrien, resilc, GlennF and steve h supplied links.

Pouring a Thermos of Hot Tea at -40°C Near the Arctic Circle Colossal

The reindeer that glow in the dark BBC

Victory: Obama Signs Bill Banning Plastic Microbeads Center for Biological Diversity

Climate economics: The high road Nature Publishing Group

Photographer and filmmaker Arkadiusz Podniesinski visits Fukushima Axis of Logic


Dancing With Wolves: Why Chinese Traders Love Manipulated Stocks Bloomberg

Financial Talking Points: how bad will it get for China? Telegraph

China’s Rap Song Features President Xi Jinping Wall Street Journal

US-European Threat Perceptions Diverge Marc Chandler. Fed v. ECB.

Vladimir Putin’s bank needs a $24.7 billion bailout Sydney Morning Herald

Poland’s new government cracks down on state media Financial Times

Saudi Arabia’s budget blowout sends petrol prices rocketing Sydney Morning Herald

Outlook for oil hit by Saudi budget cuts Financial Times


Vladimir Putin Fights the War Party on All Fronts Pepe Escobar. Headline is a bit too rah-rah a headline for my taste, but the US weirdly does think breaking countries is an attractive exercise, and so anyone who opposes that does come off looking good by default (and that’s before you get to the fact that Putin has played a weak hand extremely well).

Israel Now Has Its Very Own Jewish Hamas Haaretz

U.S. Spying on Israel Snared Congress Wall Street Journal

The Great Hypocritical Muslim Cover-Up Daily Beast

Imperial Collapse Watch

US Army scraps $42m Darpa robot for being too noisy International Business Times

Most of the World Is at Peace American Conservative


Former KKK Leader Says Donald Trump’s Rhetoric Might Be a Little Too Radical ThinkProgress

Trump’s effect on Muslim migrant debate reverberates in heartland Washington Post

Inexperience at Top of Field Big Gift to Cruz New York Magazine

Trump’s latest targets: New Hampshire’s largest paper and its favorite candidate, Christie Washington Post

U.S. Election Debate Complicates Passage of Pacific Trade Pact Wall Street Journal. Hooray, but this was also anticipated by all the foreign participants…hence the push to get it done in 2015.

Database of 191 million U.S. voters exposed on Internet: researcher Reuters

How Industry Oil Exports Sold to Media; Meet the Company Shipping First Oil Batch Post-Ban Lift DeSmogBlog

The New Extreme

Unprecedented Water Levels Along the Mississippi Spark Evacuations Time

Unprecedented security set for California’s Rose Parade, Rose Bowl Reuters

Worries grow over ‘strongest El Nino’ BBC

The year market economists failed to see coming Sydney Morning Herald

Whole Foods to Pay $500K to End Overcharging Investigation TakePart. Employees eyeballed the weights? Is that “dog ate my homework” to make systematic cheating look less bad?

Federal Consumer Agency Considers Curbs on Class Action Waivers New York Law Journal

The Fed and financial reform Larry Summers, Financial Times. Summers actually agrees with a lot of the premises of Sanders’ Fed reform proposals and is surprisingly respectful about where he disagrees.

Class Warfare

For the Wealthiest, a Private Tax System That Saves Them Billions New York Times

Ex-JPMorgan Chase Bankers Charged With Forging ATM Cards to Steal From Accounts International Business Times. The reason these guys were busted is this was penny-ante stealing, by bank standards.

Will Inequality Ever Stop Growing? Atlantic

Texas ‘affluenza’ teen captured in Mexico, to be returned to the United States Reuters

The Military: An Alternative to the Brutalities of the Modern Economy Atlantic

Antidote du jour (Rajesh):

tortoises links

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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      1. abynormal

        MaN O MaN am i Glad to see you post……MISSED YOU MUCHES

        hope you had a blast and share some details at pearls!

        “by traveling to all the corners of the globe it allows me to further define the ever changing world we live in, which in turn helps me to redefine myself, therefore it is an important process towards becoming a complete person.”
        Andrew James Pritchard, The Man in Seat 11B

          1. participant-observer-observed

            Yeah welcome home diptherio!

            Indian border blockade of landlocked Nepal cooking fuel shortage leading to massive tree cutting in urban areas….

            Meanwhile load shedding power cuts in Kathmandu are now up to 11hrs a day! (more people are using electric cookers).

            Thanks for the nice meet up!

      2. Pavel

        hi diptherio

        Just to say that is the best comment posted anywhere in 2015, posted on December 30th nonetheless!

        “She sells Seychelles sea shells by the sea shore”

        Wonderful. Warm best wishes to all the NC community (and especially our hosts Yves, Lambert et al) for a happy and safely tipsy New Year’s Eve and a better New Year (unlikely, I sadly realise).

  1. allan

    Apple tax fraud probe: US tech giant to pay €318m to Italy’s inland revenue [IBT]

    Apple has agreed to pay €318m (£235m, $348m) to Italian tax authorities following a two-year fraud investigation, according to reports. Prosecutors hope the agreement will form an important precedent for corporate tax evasion in Italy and other EU countries.

    The US tech giant had been accused by Italy’s inland revenue of transferring profit made in Italy to a subsidiary in Ireland where corporate tax rates are more favourable.

    Political crap, as Tim Cook would say. Move on, nothing to see.

    1. edmondo

      Shorter Tim Cook:

      “The number of qualified accountants in Italy would fit into just one little room; in Ireland, they would fit in a football field.”

      Why do people continue to buy products from people who hate them?

      1. Titus Pullo

        Because brands are the new-ish religion. People buy because of their perceptions, which are routinely focused on flashing lights and loud music indicating the greatness of a brand.

        I think one of the great problems on the left (the great monolith? the greater shibboleth?) is the lack of understanding how human beings are “wired” for this kind of interaction. This “wiring” is something that the capitalists and the attendant image/perception industries have sought to understand and manipulate for well over a century (you could say millenia if you want to talk about Plato’s Republic).

      2. Skippy

        Consumers are a blank slate [state] which seeks identity… the “market place” offers a wide array of Identity’s and Accoutrements… this is known as freedom… tho is made manifold by numerical expression]s…

        Skippy…. Will A.I. go on an epic shopping spree…. will it find an identity…

        1. optimader

          Consumers are a blank underlying slate [state] which seeks identity
          Yes indeed. Case in point the ironic agenda underlying the recent successful consumer market penetration of Tattooing. A desire to conform to an identity.

        2. cwaltz

          You are what you buy…….geez we’ve become a shallow species. It almost makes me want to root for global warming.

          1. optimader

            It’s actually pretty hard if not impossible to buy certain clothing w/o a bloody logo on it.

            As good a technical wear The North Face may shill, I refuse to buy their products due to the kitchey logo.
            I was walking in downtown Chicago a couple weeks ago and in a confluence of likeminded consumerism, something like 10 people in front of me all had The North Face logos on their shoulder. if I had my phone I would have taken that shot.

            1. Skippy

              Had some fun the last few days…

              Just finishing up the new fence between our rental and the next door neighbors, as they are selling, for a few Schöfferhofer hefeweizen and all done with hand tools, just for the fun of it….

              Next comes painting gutters, fascia, soffit, window frames and side panels. They have been great neighbors over the last 6 years and its the least I can do…

              Backyard neighbor trotted out yesterday to ask if I need any circular or drop saws whilst et al watching me hand saw and chisel out, cut outs in posts for runners, not to mention the brace and bit w/ masonry bit, to attach brackets, to brick footing fence sits a top. All whilst I have top of the line AEG industrial gear in the garage… hahahaha~~~

                1. Skippy

                  Nay good Sir… it was kind of them to allow myself to engage in activity’s and display skills which are dying… too have that fleeting eye contact… which by nothing is said but so much is conveyed… I am human and am not afraid to be so…

                  Something that can not be weighed or measured… but is… regardless of attempts of others…


                  Skippy… why will no sun shine… happy new year mate…

              1. jonboinAR

                You were cutting mortises with a brace and bit and chisel, for a fence?! What are you, a craftsman?! But yeah, beautiful gesture, certainly.

    2. craazyboy

      Yeah, and the fine probably just subtracts from all the taxes Apple pays to Ireland for sales in the US!,

      Why do people hate Ireland???

    3. Pavel

      Tim Cook in that 60 Minutes interview:

      When Rose followed up with the Senate’s assertion that Apple’s running a scheme “to pay little or no corporate taxes on $74 billion in revenues held overseas,” Cook simply said it’s “total political crap.”

      “There is no truth behind it. Apple pays every tax dollar we owe,” he said.

      Yeah, right.

  2. Steve H.

    – The Military: An Alternative to the Brutalities of the Modern Economy

    Hm. Does anybody know if the author, Scott Beauchamp, is the same author whose work was repudiated by ‘The New Republic’ after an Army investigation?

    1. DJG

      Interesting. Check out Scott Thomas Beauchamp entry at Wikipedia and then the TNR controversy. Clue: The link to St. Louis in his past postings.

      There are second acts in American lives. Hmm.

    2. Pespi

      It’s a strange time to write that piece about the military, as troop drawdowns begin and more and more positions are spread to contractors. Contractors might make good wages, but they pay their own health care, life insurance, and their work is contingent.

      As the military comes more and more to resemble the rest of the economy, there will be trouble.

  3. craazyboy

    “Whole Foods to Pay $500K to End Overcharging Investigation TakePart. Employees eyeballed the weights? Is that “dog ate my homework” to make systematic cheating look less bad?”

    Translation: Wholefood employees pass eye exam. See “baker’s dozen” equal to 11. No management profit bonuses were harmed in the filming of these transactions.

    1. GlobalMisanthrope

      It’s standard practice to use this approach in a restaurant setting.

      Say, you have a whole beef tenderloin to cut into steaks. You weigh it, calculate the number of steaks, score it, cut one, weigh it, adjust the scores if necessary, and cut the rest. Same with meatballs. Imagine having to weigh each meatball from a 20lb batch of forcemeat, that’s at least 175 meatballs if they’re big. Could be as many as triple that.

      No way there’s time for that or enough scales lying around to have one tied up for that amount of time. You weigh the first few, making adjustments, and then go at it. If nobody else needs the scale, you might check periodically, but probably not. An ounce here or there? Whatever. Okay. But that’s in a restaurant where the customer isn’t paying by the pound.

      It’s a logical approach, but an unethical one if weight is the sole determiner of price.

      What I imagine is some efficiency dude (in my experience women are much less inclined to look for shortcuts or to shy from tedious tasks) with no moral compass coming up with this plan and nobody among higher-ups, also lacking said compass, seeing a problem with it. They’re thinking an ounce here or there will all shake out in terms of profit, the same way we do in kitchens, without any grasp of the ethical error they’re making. Because profits.

      Anyway, that’s my two cents.

      1. GlobalMisanthrope

        Protest/Performance Art idea:

        Everybody who shops at WFM takes their bulk items to the cashier un-weighed and says, “I eyeballed it. It’s about a pound,” or whatever. Fun times!

        1. Oregoncharles

          Sorry to rain on your parade, but bulk items are normally weighed at the cashier. You just give them the number.

    2. JeffC

      Check out WFM’s income statement on yahoo finance or other ready source and compare. That settlement amounts to less than an hour’s worth of corporate income.

  4. efschumacher

    Help me out with this:

    – The US is concerned that China’s State managed economy gives it an unfair advantage.
    – The Neocapitalist talking point for the last 100 years has been that the best thing the (US) government can do to promote a roaring economy is to get out of the way.
    – If the second point is true, why wouldn’t the US wholeheartedly endorse China’s State management of the economy under the Bonaparte Rule (Never stop an enemy when he’s in the middle of making a mistake).
    If the first point has force, then we have been lied to for the past 100 years.


    Chinese bureaucrats are more efficient than Western bureaucrats,so their interventions are positive while our interventions are not. Wouldn’t the right solution then be to promote the immigration of Chinese bureaucrats and employing them in the US government? This could be made to work both ways if we encouraged a government exchange program …

    1. JohnnyGL

      I like the idea, but I’m much more interested in shipping large numbers of beltway consultancies and law firms over to Beijing. Those guys are so good at destroying countries (and not much else), I’m sure they could vanquish our rivals within a few years!

    2. abynormal

      there’s an ole Marco Polo quote ‘China will open and close its door at will’…at this point, our Bureaucrats have to be hoarding xanax…

    3. susan the other

      Yes, the link above about the divergence of policies betw. the ECB and the Fed. The Fed is more threatened by China (economically) and Russia (militarily) than the ECB – hence monetary policy differences – and here I thought they were completely independent from global concerns and sought to have strong currencies based on bleeding their populations dry with austerity to keep wages down. The Fed pretends to promote jobs and to not care about globalism? What comedians. Of course Russia and China are threatening to us because we eviscerated our economy long ago – no need here for belt tightening. The only way we maintain a strong currency that can import cheaply is to prevent other countries from promoting their own strong currencies. How long can that last? In other words, we have to do everything we can to screw up the Russian and Chinese economies. So, that’s already a lost cause.

  5. lyman alpha blob

    RIP Lemmy from Motorhead who passed away a couple days ago. Thought he deserved a mention here after producing this video a few years back of bankers getting their just desserts in a much better way than simply being frogmarched from the C suites. It may not quite be an antidote du jour but it always makes me feel better: Get Back in Line.

  6. CSTH

    Leave it to the US Military to sink millions into a robot that can almost perform as well as a mule. Real mules, of course, don’t need much of a supply chain – but naturally that’s a bug and not a feature.

    1. OIFVet

      In ‘Charlie Wilson’s War,’ there is a story of how mules almost derailed the mujaheddin campaign by causing hurt feelings between Pakistan and Egypt.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        The one story I remember from the movie, and I like it much, is the Taoist/Zen story about a boy, his broken leg and his horse.

        One might call it ‘blessing in disguise,’ but it sounds more interesting as a Taoist/Zen story.

    1. abynormal

      “When the United States of America, which was meant to be a Utopia for all, was less than a century old, Noah Rosewater and a few men like him demonstrated the folly of the Founding Fathers in one respect: those sadly recent ancestors had not made it the law of the Utopia that the wealth of each citizen should be limited. This oversight was engendered by a weak-kneed sympathy for those who loved expensive things, and by the feeling that the continent was so vast and valuable, and the population so thin and enterprising, that no thief, no matter how fast he stole, could more than mildly inconvenience anyone….

      Thus did a handful of rapacious citizens come to control all that was worth controlling in America. Thus was the savage and stupid and entirely inappropriate and unnecessary and humorless American class system created. Honest, industrious, peaceful citizens were classed as bloodsuckers, if they asked to be paid a living wage. And they saw that praise was reserved henceforth for those who devised means of getting paid enormously for committing crimes against which no laws had been passed. Thus the American dream turned belly up, turned green, bobbed to the scummy surface of cupidity unlimited, filled with gas, went bang in the noonday sun.

      E pluribus unum is surely an ironic motto to inscribe on the currency of this Utopia gone bust, for every grotesquely rich American represents property, privileges, and pleasures that have been denied the many.”
      ~ Kurt Vonnegut, God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Inequality, meaning for most of us, wealth inequality.

      Will it stop growing? Will it go away, for the most part, if not entirely? If so, will people still try to dominate, prevail over others through other kinds of inequality?

      When we all more or less have the same amount of money, will skinny legged people have an advantage attracting followers and become powerful? Will, for another example, people with large, shining teeth be favored? Or will squeaky voiced people be special? Maybe people with more hair dominate those with less hair? Maybe people who can invent bigger sci-fi weapons will be privileged?

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          I think we are too obsessed with money and so, that moneyless idea appeals to me to.

          Money is power, but power is more than money. A world without much power concentration (much less than the status quo) is also appealing.

  7. Carolinian

    From the Atlantic/military link

    The military is tasked with something almost pre-modern in scope and seriousness: destroying the enemy. Not maximization of value for shareholders. Not the opening of new markets. The goal is simply to defend the lives and property of the United States. In other words, the focus is on people instead of profits.

    Is a response even needed?: What a load of bs. War is a racket.

    1. Romancing the Loan

      I can see why he’s being put back to work. Skilled propagandists aren’t as easy to find as you’d think.

    2. Katniss Everdeen

      Since I got bounced to moderation I’ll requote the “esteemed” henry kissinger:

      “Military men are just dumb, stupid animals to be used as pawns in foreign policy.”

      At least uber drivers are not likely to get their limbs or faces blown off, get raped by their fellow “soldiers” or have their chromosomes jumbled by depleted uranium or experimental anthrax vaccines.

      On the other hand, they do have easy access to the payday lenders that cluster around the front gates of their bases.

    3. ran

      Yea I threw up a lot in my mouth when I read that too.

      Wtf does destroying third world countries on the other side of the planet have to do with defending US lives and property? What a tool

      1. polecat

        “Wtf does destroying third world countries on the other side of the planet have to do with defending US CONgress, MIC, & Oligarchs lives and property!….. FiFy

    4. craazyboy

      Well, maybe Lockheed shareholders. But that’s just a minor quibble. Other than that, does get the patriotic juices flowing. Defending our lives and our little abodes here in America. That makes me feel so safe and secure. Except for the Russian nukes pointed at my world’s largest missile plant on the other side of town, I mean.

      1. JTMcPhee

        I wonder from time to time if those steely-eyed thin-lipped square-jawed trained-up imperial warriors of “ours,” spread across the planet (“Global Network-Centric Interoperable Battlespace,” in MilBabble) like rancid butter over too much burnt toast, I have to wonder if any of them know, from strategy to tactics, where the hundreds of Israeli sub-launchable and missile- and aircraft carried nuclear weapons are, and where they are targeted…

        I mean that would only be fair (and wise?), since the Israelites have so completely penetrated and compromised “our” (sic) deepest secrets of strategy, and “policy” (that Fokked sick slick dysconceptualization) and made it really clear they will sink our ships (USS Liberty) and kill our citizens and Fokk around with “our dumb, stupid animals” as pawns in their apartheid- nation war games…

    5. jrs

      The focus is on people, mostly on killing them. To serve man. And how do you get from the goal is to defend property (quite close to the truth there, above all secure the oil wells) to the focus is not on profits. In capitalism the two are one and the same.

    6. jrs

      But it is a new argument: the gig economy and post-industrial precarity sucks -> therefore war is wonderful.

      Yea well …. no war but the class war.

  8. Katniss Everdeen

    ” But in many ways, the gig economy, and the contemporary economy more generally, provide the more brutal environment: People are isolated, uncared for, fungible or disposable, and without the opportunity to cultivate the higher human need to sacrifice for a noble purpose. In this sense, it’s the military—and similar occupations—that provide the more humane option.”

    Pretty creative use of the words “brutal” and “humane.”

    But while I’ll admit that the so-called “gig” economy is about as cravenly exploitative as it gets, I’ve yet to hear uber’s travis kalanick channel the great henry kissinger and tweet “Military men are just dumb, stupid animals to be used as pawns in foreign policy.”

    So much for the military providing the “opportunity to cultivate the higher human need to sacrifice for a noble purpose.”

      1. ambrit

        A big yes to Owen. Also, “Goodbye to All That” by Robert Graves, or “Memoirs of an Infantry Officer” by Siegfried Sasson. Memoirs by English officers from WW1 partook of the suffering and desperation of an Empire destroying itself. I’ll bet there are similar works by German soldiers from that war. Their Empire was self destructing at the same time.

        1. Generalfeldmarschall von Hindenburg

          France and Germany both had a lot of great lit after the war. Storm of Steel by Jünger and All Quiet on the Western Front by Remarque. Plus lots of pretty vivid fine art.

      2. Pavel

        flora: thanks for that… posted below for easier reading. And well worth the read… sigh. How many more years of endless and pointless war?


        Bent double, like old beggars under sacks,
        Knock-kneed, coughing like hags, we cursed through sludge,
        Till on the haunting flares(2) we turned our backs
        And towards our distant rest(3) began to trudge.
        Men marched asleep. Many had lost their boots
        But limped on, blood-shod. All went lame; all blind;
        Drunk with fatigue; deaf even to the hoots(4)
        Of tired, outstripped(5) Five-Nines(6) that dropped behind.
        Gas!(7) Gas! Quick, boys! – An ecstasy of fumbling,
        Fitting the clumsy helmets(8) just in time;
        But someone still was yelling out and stumbling,
        And flound’ring like a man in fire or lime(9) . . .
        Dim, through the misty panes(10) and thick green light,
        As under a green sea, I saw him drowning.
        In all my dreams, before my helpless sight,
        He plunges at me, guttering,(11) choking, drowning.
        If in some smothering dreams you too could pace
        Behind the wagon that we flung him in,
        And watch the white eyes writhing in his face,
        His hanging face, like a devil’s sick of sin;
        If you could hear, at every jolt, the blood
        Come gargling from the froth-corrupted lungs,
        Obscene as cancer, bitter as the cud(12)
        Of vile, incurable sores on innocent tongues,
        My friend, you would not tell with such high zest(13)
        To children ardent(14) for some desperate glory,
        The old Lie; Dulce et Decorum est
        Pro patria mori.(15)

        Wilfred Owen
        Thought to have been written between 8 October 1917 and March, 1918

        Footnotes found at the link above.

        1. RWood

          Howard Zinn quoting
          Emma Goldman:
          ‘Verily, poor as we are in democracy how can we give of it to the world? …a democracy conceived in the military servitude of the masses, in their economic enslavement, and nurtured in their tears and blood, is not democracy at all. It is despotism—the cumulative result of a chain of abuses which, according to that dangerous document, the Declaration of Independence, the people have the right to overthrow….’

    1. ilporcupine

      Like “No war but the class war”. Apparently those who profit most do not share “opportunity to cultivate the higher human need to sacrifice for a noble purpose.”
      Not much sacrafice among those who send our young men and women to do their dirty work.
      Same as it ever was.

  9. mle.detroit

    “‘Pouring a Thermos of Hot Tea at -40°C Near the Arctic Circle’ Colossal”
    Cool (or hot) that you posted this today. See also “The Storm That Will Unfreeze the North Pole”

    While institutional science will take years, if not decades, to confirm a correlation between human-forced climate change and strong North Atlantic storms, Scribbler believes that Wednesday’s insane warmth at the pole resembles the southern incursions of the “polar vortex” that have been seen in recent winters. These changes are related to human-forced climate change, he writes: a sign that something in the atmosphere has gone “dreadfully wrong.”

  10. cripes

    I haven’t forgot about you Motherf*cker

    Bill Cosby Charged in Sexual Assault Case

    The authorities in Montgomery County, Pa., announced criminal charges on Wednesday against the entertainer Bill Cosby stemming from a woman’s accusation that he drugged and abused her at his home in Cheltenham Township, a suburb north of Philadelphia, in 2004.

    Kevin Steele, Montgomery County’s district attorney-elect, said that Mr. Cosby faces a felony charge of aggravated indecent assault in the episode. He said the investigation that led to the charge involved a “relationship” with the victim that stemmed from her work with the Temple University basketball team.

    She went to Mr. Cosby’s home, and he made two sexual advances that were rejected, Mr. Steele said. According to the accusations, Mr. Cosby then urged her to take pills and drink wine until she was unable to move

    1. Titus Pullo

      The whole Cosby sex assault for decades coming to light thing seems like something a smart politician would try to have happen with Bill Clinton. It also seems like something that could happen to Bill Clinton regardless of politics. Regardless of how willingly any of the women participated in these “relations”, that willingness is suspect when you factor in the power differential (which is enough for men to be discharged from the military, lose a job in academia or with a corporation, etc). People argue that power is an aphrodisiac, but that argument is suspect because it denies female agency, and it denies the power Bill Clinton had over these women as employer and/or as the chief executive of a state and nation.

      The Democratic party, instead of being out front on this, is going to defend Bill Clinton until the end of time or the party. And I really think that this could blow up in a bad way for the party and Clinton.

      1. optimader

        It also seems like something that could happen to Bill Clinton regardless of politics.
        Regardless of how willingly any of the women participated in these “relations”,
        Drugging and raping an unconscious person = a mutually consenting adult sexual partner have parity when it comes to legal status/felony prosecution.? Hokey Smoke Bullwinkle, a brave new world.

        and it denies the power Bill Clinton had over these women as employer and/or as the chief executive of a state and nation. Is there any supportable allegation that Clinton coerced any of his sexual partners against their will?

        which is enough for men to be discharged from the military……
        Just men?

        In the case of academia, military and many corporations sexual interaction amongst colleagues, superiors, subordinates is in explicit violation of employment codes of conduct.

        Is that the case you’re trying to making re: BClinton, felony assault ? If so, I wouldnt burn too many candles in the window waiting for that one to come home.

        1. GlobalMisanthrope

          If I mash on one of my cooks, how free is s/he to rebuff me? That’s the question. It’s also one of the things that makes the idea repugnant. I mean, who wants somebody who either feels they can’t really say no or wants you because of your power?

          Yeah, that’s right, lots of men and especially men who get off on power. That in and of itself doesn’t make them criminals, but it does make them creeps.

          I think what’s being mused about here is what, if any, liability does Hillary’s creepy husband become if the spotlight on the Cosby story transforms (via FOX, say) into a larger discussion about serial creepiness in general.

          1. optimader

            If I mash on one of my cooks, how free is s/he to rebuff me? That’s the question
            I have no idea about your professional environment.
            1. a flirtation or infatuation.
            2. a flirt; sweetheart; lover.

            That’s the question.
            no, that’s a different question.
            TP equates BCosby’s behavior to BClinton’s. Different Universes.

            I surely don’t see the equivalence of drugging and raping with flirting. In the case of BClinton, did he ever “mash” a direct report subordinate who then was in fear of some professional repercussion? I’m not aware of it. Did he drug and rape anyone!!? That would be one hell of liable suit.

            Frankly, as I recall extraordinary tax dollars and time were spent attempting to bring charges against BClinton on his mutually puerile sexual conduct with several women to no effect. Had he raped anyone I believe he would have been crushed.

            The notion that such a historical behavior rock will be miraculously flipped over to explode HRC’s campaign seems pretty dmn unlikely to me.

            Yeah, that’s right, lots of men and especially men who get off on power. That in and of itself doesn’t make them criminals, but it does make them creeps.
            Dingdong!, isnt this is a thread speculating about (an unlikely) strategy to derail a power lusting woman running for POTUS?!

            The notion that “creepy behavior” and “getting off on power” is strictly a male attribute is somewhere between naive and misandry.

            1. GlobalMisanthrope

              My. Head. Hurts.

              I’m using the word “mash” as everyone else does, to mean that which a masher does. A masher is not a sweetheart or a flirt.

              Random House Dictionary of the English Language says a masher is “a man who makes advances, esp. to women he does not know, with a view to physical intimacy.”

              The New Oxford American Dictionary says a masher is “a man who makes unwelcome sexual advances, often in public places and typically to women he does not know.”

              Funk & Wagnalls Standard Dictionary says a masher is “a man who persistently annoys women unacquainted with him, as by attempting familiarities, etc.”

              WordReference translates masher into Spanish as “depredador de mujeres” and into French as “homme lubrique.”

              The notion that “creepy behavior” and “getting off on power” is strictly a male attribute is somewhere between naive and misandry.

              I never said it was a male attribute. My subject was creepy men who enjoy abusing power. I didn’t feel the need to also name pedophiles, slaveholders, Wall Street bankers, cosmetic surgeons and all the many other creepy people abusing power because they, like creepy women who enjoy abusing power, were not my subject.

              All in all you are mischaracterizing everything I said and then arguing with the mischaracterization. This is called a “straw man” argument.

              Anyway, you can rest assured that the only thing I’ll be mashing on tonight is celeriac. Off to the wars! I mean, NY Eve dinner service.

              Happy New Year!

        2. JTMcPhee

          Humans f__K. Humans kill. Most often with no thought to consequences, too often because there are none for the Fokkers and killers.

          Sex and death-dealing define way too much of what we are. “Call of Duty,” “GTA,” “Game of Thrones,” netporn and war porn, what gets our Motors running? Pretty much we humans are any-opportunity fornicators. With the thin veneer of “civilization” fostered by the so very thin coats of stage paint and whitewash that obscure the rapist, pedophile, necrophile, all those other -philias that we are so surprised to find manifested in teachers and Congresscritters and senior and junior military officers, and priests, for Jesus’ sake, and police and firemen and doctors and lawyers and farmers and the various flavors of rednecks, just to get started on the list… Get it on! Stick and go!

          Fix that how?

    1. ilporcupine

      Expressing frustration with the slow progress programming “meat machines”, Oligarchs decide on new Silicon based paradigm.
      -Headlines 2016-

  11. DorothyT

    Photographer and filmmaker Arkadiusz Podniesinski visits Fukushima (Axis of Logic):

    Podniesinski: While I am waiting for the permits to be issued I visit the towns in the orange zone (less contaminated but uninhabitable). It takes me two days to find the house of Naoto Matsumura, a farmer who returned illegally to the zone, which at that time was still the red zone, not long after the accident. He returned to take care of the abandoned animals. He gives the reasons for returning, saying that he could not bear to see whole herds of cattle wandering aimlessly in the empty streets when their owners had fled the radiation. He tells of how they were starving to death or were being killed and used for recycling by the authorities. What have they done wrong that makes it right to kill them for no reason – he asks, trying to explain why he returned illegally.

  12. Jim Haygood

    From the WSJ article about U.S. spying on Israel:

    Stepped-up NSA eavesdropping revealed to the White House how Mr. Netanyahu and his advisers had leaked details of the U.S.-Iran negotiations—learned through Israeli spying operations—to undermine the talks; coordinated talking points with Jewish-American groups against the deal; and asked undecided lawmakers what it would take to win their votes, according to current and former officials familiar with the intercepts.

    Same old, same old. In They Dare To Speak Out (1985), former Rep. Paul Findley described pro-Israel constituents visiting his office and asking for still-classified U.S. weapons to be shared with Israel.

    Since the Lobby has great expectations of getting a friendlier president from the Sheldon Adelson Republican Party(TM) in 2017, the main implication of this article is that U.S. KongressKlowns are utterly PWNed by the administration.

    Either they affix their well-worn rubber stamps to tens (maybe hundreds) of billions of secret funding — some of which is used to spy on them — or they get taken down.

    Democracy, comrades: you can’t run a kabuki show without a capable director.

    1. Katniss Everdeen

      “…..asked undecided lawmakers what it would take to win their votes…..”

      As if they didn’t know.

      Hint: starts with $ and kind of rhymes with “pollard.”

      1. Jim Haygood

        From the Democratic summary of the FY 2016 Omnibus Appropriations Act, page 7:

        $527.6 million for Israeli cooperative missile defense programs and tunnel detection,
        the same as the House bill, $369.8 million more than the request, and $92.2 million less
        than FY 2015.

        This document’s letterhead bears the smiling mug of Nita Lowey (D-NY), who voted with Republicans against the Iran deal. Giving Israel an extra $370 million for “tunnel detection” was her revenge.

        1. Pavel

          $370 million here, $370 million there… pretty soon you’re talking about real money.

          The Israelis standard of living is higher than that of the US, yet the latter keeps sending the former with billions of dollars of “aid” (mainly military) each year. Go figure!

  13. James Housel

    Re” The War Party”, a quote of Lionel Trilling lifted from “The Brothers”, a great bio of the Dulles bros.

    ” Some paradox of our nature leads us, when once we have made our fellow men the object of our enlightened self-interest, to go on and make them the object of our pity, then of our wisdom, ultimately of our coercion.”

  14. Jim Haygood

    Microwaved History Lite from the NYT:

    Pennsylvania Station was ruined long before it was wrecked.

    Its demolition is the stuff of New York legend, an act of architectural vandalism so unspeakable that it gave rise to the Landmarks Preservation Commission, saved Grand Central Terminal and upended the city’s development priorities.

    Pink granite walls were allowed to turn gray. Straw-colored travertine looked nicotine-stained. Jules Guerin’s murals disappeared under veils of grime. In Lewis Mumford’s eyes, the crowning horror was a modernistic, clamshell-shaped, sawtooth-edged, fluorescent-bathed ticket counter. It was built in 1956 in the general waiting room.

    Every old building gets accretions of anachronistic “modern” materials. The surface discoloration and outcroppings of commercial clutter that the NYT wrings its hands over would have been trivial to remove.

    Probably this ridiculous article was just clickbait. And I fell victim to it.

    *claps hand to forehead in dismay*

    1. sd

      I don’t know if they are still there, it’s been many years since I lived in New York, but the original brass railings from the old Penn Station used to be visible as you descended the stairs to the Amtrak platform below.

    2. Carolinian

      Worth remembering that the noted celebrant of the old Penn Station, Ada Louise Huxtable, worked for the NYT back when it didn’t suck so often. Sheldon Adelson has said he’d like to buy the Times–thinks he just has to offer them enough money.

    3. ambrit

      I’ve mentioned before the WPA mural I saw on the wall of the St Tammany Parish officials’ office. The office had been made out of a previous Post Office, converted when a new Postal Service building was constructed. As far as that goes, aren’t rabid aesthetes still searching for the legendary Van Gough mural purportedly hidden under layers of latter paint in some Parisian café?

  15. Pespi

    The thing about microbeads that confuses me is that the products were introduced, and the plastic beads had to go somewhere. What did they think would happen? What was the point in that, just showing they didn’t give a damn?

  16. fresno dan

    Pouring a Thermos of Hot Tea at -40°C Near the Arctic Circle Colossal

    That reminds me – so I was perusing Amazon for a keurig like coffee maker, and found that they actually make these like little “hot plate” things to rest your coffee cup upon to keep your coffee hot. It takes me a long time to drink my coffee, and I have to keep microwaving it to heat it back up. So I thought this would be great…but I read the comments, and for it to work well you need a coffee cup with an absolutely flat bottom….I looked at all my coffee cups and every single one of them has a ridge around the circumference…maybe the idea is that the bottom of the cup will be hot and burn whatever you set it upon is why they don’t make flat bottomed coffee cups… kinda of disappointing….

    well…..I’ll just be moseying along now. Have a happy new year.

    1. participant-observer-observed

      Those things work pretty well.

      It doesn’t take long for thermal equilibrium to equalize the temps on the plate, the lower ridge on the mug, and any air pocket gaps. Since the gap is also under gravitational pressure, that will also hedge against thermal loss.

      (PV equals nrT)

      1. ewmayer

        It’s not about thermal equilibration, it’s about heat transfer from the hotplate to the mug. Problem is that air is a very poor conductor – you need something (basically a non-sticky analog of CPU thermal paste) to fill the gap under the concave mug bottom. Something like a circular brass insert, but ideally something conductive which is also shape-accommodative … I’m picturing a flat circular plastic baggie, roughly the size and shape of a circular teabag, filled with water. Are there any consumer products which would fill that bill?

    2. Oregoncharles

      We use it for the carafe/pitcher of coffee, rather than run a stove burner.

      They also make electrically heated travel mugs for use in the car, but we’ve never found one that works well.

    3. bob

      Get a good ‘vacuum bottle’ travel mug. Not one that just looks like it’s “thick”. You want an honest vacuum bottle.

      I bought one of these locally at a drug store-

      Great cup. Holds temp very well, even better when you remember to lock the top. Spill proof too, again, with the top snapped shut.

      Not one to recommend stuff often, but I’d have no problem saying that might be the best cup ever.

      As far as the whole keurig thing goes…you’re on your own there.

  17. JeffC

    My read of Summers’s exposition on Sanders’s ideas on reregulation of finance is that he has decided that Sanders represents Summer’s best chance at ever becoming Secretary of the Treasury. He’s thinks Sanders can win, and he’s angling for a job.

      1. Steven D.

        It feels like Summers is saying to people like me that we would have liked him better than Yellen. He may be right.

    1. 3.14e-9

      Interesting theory. Summers has always been in the Clinton camp, so is he defecting, or is there another motive?

      WaPo and the WSJ ran the same article, and both with the same headline, “Here’s what Bernie Sanders gets wrong – and right – about the Fed.” Wall Street On Parade also ran it, with the sneering headline, “Larry Summers Lectures Bernie Sanders on Monetary and Financial Policy.” Maybe agreeing with some of what Sanders wrote was a sneaky means of calling into question the senator’s financial expertise, without being dismissed as a Clinton plant?

      Ever since the Center for American Progress released its “inclusive prosperity” report, co-authored by Summers, I’ve assumed he was aiming for a role in a new Clinton administration. At the time, WaPo’s Greg Sargent wrote:

      It’s hard to avoid the conclusion that this new report represents a kind of opening template for the larger broad-strokes story Hillary Clinton’s presidential candidacy will try to tell. After all, as Ed Kilgore has noted, the Center for American Progress is “generally thought to be the beating heart of Hillaryland.”

      It would be quite a shock indeed if Summers were courting favor with Sanders.

      1. JeffC

        Yes, nanopi, he’s always been a Hillaryite. That’s what makes it so interesting that he seems, at the very least, to be pulling his punches here. He’s not willing to bet the farm on Hillary. He seems to be at least hedging his bets by offering constructive suggestions. Time will tell.

      2. Vatch

        In the article, Summers criticizes the Sanders position on restoring the Glass Steagall separation of banking functions. If Summers seriously wants a job in a Sanders administration, he’ll need to change his thinking (or pretend to change his thinking) on Glass Steagall. It’s only a small part of what needs to be done to restore the financial industry to sanity, but it’s a very visible issue, a litmus test, and for now, Summers fails the test.

        1. 3.14e-9


          Vatch, I saw that, but already had gone on too long, so thanks for honing in on it. Part of me wondered whether his criticism of Sanders’s position on Glass-Steagall was the whole point of his commentary. It’s a crucial difference between Clinton and Sanders, who has cited her unwillingness to repeal Glass-Steagall as proof of where her true allegiance lies. It has come up in past debates and likely will come up again.

          Summers may be “polite” in his disagreements, but essentially he’s cutting Sanders off at the knees, or at least sharpening the hatchet.

    2. bob

      I think you’ve got the power relationship wrong there. Summers would be the one to summon Bernie to the white house.

      After his failed float for t sec, he realized the negative value of his brand, and is putting it to good use for team rubin.

  18. Synoia

    Saudi Arabia’s budget blowout sends petrol prices rocketing

    No, the Saudis do not subsidize petrol in Saudi Arabia. It is only a paper subsidy, not a cash subsidy. Their oil income is not “spent” on subsidies.

    This has the appearance of austerity, Saudi style.

    1. Daryl

      Mmm, but if I’m being a stickler, it didn’t seem like she was drunk, she was drunk, even if most of the alcohol was created inside of her. Certainly seems worthy of a DWI to me.

      1. McKillop

        The drunks I have endured, or been myself in my life, are dull and obnoxiously repetitive at parties and frequently dangerous to the point of murderous. As well, the old saw that “Candy is dandy but liquor quicker” isn’t quite so funny when the sexual assault charges are brought against ‘creeps’. Never mind the danger caused to boozers and others at work or simple daily routines. Never mind the damage alcohol does to the health of those who consume. Never mind the abuse inflicted through purpose or neglect on loved ones and others.

        I used to sneer and laugh at the term ‘demon rum’ and I worked hard to deny my body’s repulsion to the stuff; luckily I was not afflicted with alcoholism and so, when I used my brains to make a choice against drinking, could merely stop.
        I don’t want to be a scold denying others their cakes and ale but it appears to be that minimizing the poisonous effects of alcohol is similar to laughing about abuse against others. Mockery against those who do not drink alcohol prevails and ‘drives many to drink. ‘
        The woman cited in the links is ill from her diet, reportedly. Too much carbohydrate? To drink as well, rather than heal her illness by eating foods fit for her health rather than for her wee beasties’ benefit, makes the hyperbole less a conceit than an accurate description.

        That said: Happy New Year to all of you!

  19. Jim Haygood

    Dr Hussman peers through his cracked spyglass at the contours of the future:

    I fully expect the S&P 500 to double, and to double again over the coming 10-12 years. Yet I also expect the total return of the S&P 500 over that period to be zero.

    Both aspects of that expectation are likely because markets move not diagonally but in cycles. How did the S&P 500 trace out a total return of zero between 2000 and the end of 2011? By first losing half its value, then more than doubling, then losing more than half its value, and then doubling again.

    Our outlook is one of historically-informed optimism, enthusiasm, and confidence. It’s just that those assessments relate to our own discipline and not to the market in general.

    ‘Bullish on me,’ says Dr H. Too bad about the rest of you lot. Got puts?

  20. Oregoncharles

    “U.S. Election Debate Complicates Passage of Pacific Trade Pact”
    As the article notes, this is one of the ways that Trump is well to the left of the Democratic Party.

    Others are health care and political corruption, on which he’s been quite outspoken.

  21. OIFVet

    I immigrated to the United States 20 years ago. I still miss the Soviet holidays. Me too, Dedo Mraz and Snezhinka have Santa Claus beat. Even after I discovered that Dedo Mraz was in fact our neighbor, who would make stops in a dozen or more homes in the neighborhood, I still looked forward to New Year Eve’s celebrations. It was always a big company of family and friends, lots of tasty food and yummy treats, and the special programming on state TV with lots of great animation for us kids. Thankfully I don’t have the religious hangups of the author’s family, so the new year’s tree is a fixture, and gifts are exchanged on new year’s eve.

    1. grayslady

      The Russian celebration sounds perfectly lovely. Sort of like Thanksgiving, but with presents. I think the tradition of decorating with evergreens goes back to early celebrations of the solstice, so it’s more a winter tradition than a Christmas tradition.

  22. ewmayer

    Quick hits:

    Re. “Pouring a Thermos of Hot Tea at -40°C Near the Arctic Circle Colossal” — I think they mean -40°F. ;)

    Re. “Re: Unprecedented security set for California’s Rose Parade, Rose Bowl | Reuters” — But will there be a ‘two minutes hate’ float? Iowa has always been at war with Stanfordia…

    Re. “The year market economists failed to see coming” — Cue Upton Sinclair’s ‘It’s hard to get a man to understand…’ line.

    Re. “Whole Foods to Pay $500K to End Overcharging Investigation | TakePart” — Not that the ripped-off customers will be seeing any of that money – straight to the state treasury! Even if actual customer refunds are logistically infeasible, I saw on last night’s news that one of the local big food banks is $500K down from last year in terms of contributions – hey Whole Foods, how about a gesture of goodwill, have your douche-CEO donate his 2015 pay package to food banks in every area WF operates?

    Re. “Texas ‘affluenza’ teen captured in Mexico, to be returned to the United States | Reuters” — And he’s still gonna skate – note the bit about the double-jeopardy-clause preventing him from being held accountable as an adult for his parole violations, even though he is now 18.

  23. Plenue

    “the US weirdly does think breaking countries is an attractive exercise”

    I hope that years from now we look back and hang our heads in utter shame at the President appearing on camera and publicly gloating about how the Russian economy, and thus its people, are suffering under our sanctions.

    Congratulations, you moron, you’ve made it abundantly clear to 140 million people that this isn’t a conflict between governments, it’s a war on the population itself. And Russians are a lot more willing to suffer inconvenience than we are, and they don’t easily forget. I think years of drop kicking backwards countries (and still managing to lose, but we ignore that bit) has given us the hubris to think we can make a major nation submit to our will.

    Not holding my breath on the feeling shame part.

  24. allan

    Jamie Dimon of JPMorgan Still Strong After 10 Years as Chief [NYT]

    Jamie Dimon has generated his fair share of controversy as the boss of JPMorgan Chase. But he marks 10 years running the New York bank on Thursday having fashioned an institution with some of the leading results in the business — and in a strong position to outperform competitors for another decade.

    Avoiding the worst of the financial crisis was Mr. Dimon’s key achievement. By ditching the bank’s structured investment vehicle in 2004 and reducing its presence in subprime mortgages and collateralized debt obligations, Mr. Dimon sidestepped the messes that required bailouts for Citigroup and Bank of America. …

    Looking at the calendar, I’m confused – it’s neither Valentines Day nor April Fool’s.

    File this one under Will Write Dealbook Puff Pieces for Food.

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